Online poker is a game that takes place over the Internet between players who are located at multiple sites. It is played with real money and is regulated in many countries. The game has evolved from its back-room beginnings in smoky bars and casinos. Today it is accessible from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection and a computer. The rules of the game are similar to those of live poker. Several different types of poker games are available online including texas holdem, Omaha, and 7 card stud. The main difference is that players cannot see each other’s faces and must rely on other player’s actions and betting patterns to determine if they are bluffing.
Several tools are available to help online poker players play better. These include hand database programs that save, sort, and recall all of a player’s hands; programs that scan active tables for known players and display previous statistics from previous hands with them next to their name (known as a heads up display or HUD); and odds, equity, and variance calculators. These software programs can increase a player’s winnings significantly.
In addition to these tools most online poker sites offer player tracking, which can be helpful for both casual and serious players. This is a way for players to keep track of their win/loss record, number of flops seen, and times they went to showdown. A player can access this data by clicking on their session stats after playing a hand.
Some online poker sites also allow players to play multiple tables at once. This can be a great advantage when you’re waiting for good cards. You can open two tables and work on them simultaneously, essentially doubling your profits. However, if you’re new to multi-tabling you should start with just one table and build up your experience before moving on to more.
Another thing that can be a huge advantage when you’re playing online is the ability to deposit and withdraw money much easier than in the past. Depending on where you live, online poker sites usually accept credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid cards, bank wires, eChecks and even third-party eWallets.
The US online poker market is growing rapidly. In 2012, the first regulated poker sites went live in Nevada and Delaware. New Jersey became the third regulated US market in 2013, but it took a while for the state to join the interstate poker compact with NV and DE.
When you’re starting out it’s important to practice for free before you try your hand at real money poker. There are a ton of options to choose from, so you can find the best poker site for your needs. In addition, there are tons of poker strategy websites that can teach you the basics and help you improve your game. You can also read books like Harrington on Hold’em and The Theory of Poker to get a more in-depth understanding of the game.