For years poker existed primarily in the back of smoky bars and casinos but online poker takes that concept and cranks it up to 11. Players can play for as little as pennies or for a shot at satellite entries into the best live tournaments in the world. And the entire experience is available from virtually any computer, laptop or mobile phone.
Choosing an online poker site is a major decision and it all depends on what your goals are. Do you want to have a casual experience or are you interested in making a living from playing online? Once you have decided this it’s a matter of finding an operator that supports your platform and meets your financial needs.
Another important consideration is the safety of your funds. The top operators are licensed and regulated by state authorities and adhere to strict consumer safeguards. They use software to monitor gameplay and prevent issues like chip dumping and player collusion. In addition, all transactions are securely encrypted which is critical for protecting your financial information.
A good online poker site will also offer helpful tools for new players. For example, a hand history tracker lets you log and review your hands to see how well you’re doing and learn from your mistakes. And a HUD, or heads-up display, helps you size up your opponents by looking at their betting tendencies and other factors.
Another key feature to look for is rakebacks, which are a percentage of your raked hands that a poker site gives back to you as cash. They’re not as lucrative as a big jackpot but can make a difference for break-even players.