Poker is a card game played for money or prizes. Whether you play for cash, for satellite entries into world-class live tournaments or simply for fun, there is no other game like it. Online poker takes that concept and cranks it up a notch by making it available on a computer, tablet or phone at any time of day or night and in a whole range of different stakes from free to millions of dollars.
Before the internet poker was a game of cards shuffled in the back room of a casino or bar and dealt by professional dealers. Online poker takes that concept and puts it on your computer screen in a user-friendly interface where you can make decisions with one click of your mouse. All you need is a decent internet connection and the game is just as exciting and fast as it would be in person.
First you need to find a reputable poker site and download the software. This will usually take a couple minutes and will only demand a small amount of memory. Once the software is downloaded you will need to create an account. At this point you will need to decide on a screen name and password. You cannot change your username or password later so be sure that you choose wisely. It is also a good idea to set up your deposit and withdrawal options at this point. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Once you have your screen name and password established you can log in to the poker lobby. This will be categorized by cash games, tournaments, Sit & Go’s and any special format games the poker site runs. Generally the lobby will have a beginner tab as well which can help level the playing field for new players by seating them with other players who have self-classified as beginners.
While the game is extremely competitive there are some simple rules that can be followed in order to maximize your profits and minimize your losses. Most importantly you should always play when you are in a good mood and can give 100% focus to the game. Never play when you are tired as it can lead to poor decision making. Similarly try to limit your session times as it can be tiresome to sit around for hours on end.
Another thing to keep in mind is that bluffing is more effective when other people are at the table with you. It’s much easier to convince other players that you are bluffing when they can see you face and read your body language.
Most online poker sites offer a variety of different poker variants from Texas Hold’em to Omaha. Each of these has slightly different rules so you should familiarize yourself with the basics of each before jumping in to play for real money. You should also be familiar with the hand rankings as these will vary from variant to variant.