Online poker is a fun, easy-to-play game that rewards actual skill unlike slots or the lottery. It can be played for free or for the smallest stakes imaginable or for satellite entries into the most prestigious live poker tournaments around the world, and it is accessible on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phones.
While the rules of online poker are identical to those in live games, the pace of play is faster online and players have easier access to tools that can help them hone their skills. This combination has made online players much more skilled than their live counterparts.
The most popular tool among these is database software, such as PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager. These programs run detailed stats on your own game and can also collect and display information about opponents while you are seated at an online table. This heads-up display (HUD) of your and your opponents’ statistics allows you to spot leaks in your game and discover opportunities for improvement.
To play online poker you must be at least 18 years old or have the legal age of majority in your state, whichever is higher. You must also agree to certain terms and conditions that may be imposed by the operator and follow basic security procedures. This includes creating a user account, verifying your identity and following any deposit instructions provided by the site. It is important to play only on sites that are regulated in the states where they operate; unauthorized gambling websites lack basic consumer safeguards and may shut down at any time.