For years poker existed in the smoky back rooms of bars and casinos but with the rise of online gaming it has exploded. Today there are plenty of sites where you can play for real money and satellite entries into live tournaments around the world. All you need is a desktop computer or laptop with a good internet connection and you’re all set.
You can also play mobile poker on your smart phone or tablet. There are even dedicated apps for these devices, making it easy to get in a few hands on the go. Just remember that you won’t be able to look anyone in the face and there will probably be age checks too so don’t try to fool them.
Before you start playing poker for real money you need to sign up to a site and create a user account. This will usually involve entering your date of birth, address and a few other personal details. You’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions of the site. Once you’ve done this you can then download the poker software or play in a no-download client if that’s your preference. The poker software itself isn’t very demanding on memory so it shouldn’t take long to install on any device.
Once you’re signed up and ready to play you’ll want to deposit some money into your account. Most sites will offer a welcome bonus to new players. These bonuses can be worth up to $5000 depending on how much you play. The rules of these bonuses can vary so be sure to read them carefully. Generally they’ll be released in stages based on how many frequent player points you earn.
Most reputable poker sites use random number generators to ensure that each deal is fair. That said, there are some rogue operators out there so it’s important to find one that’s regulated by an independent authority. This way you can be sure your funds are safe and won’t disappear out of thin air.
When you play poker for real money you should never risk more money than you can afford to lose. It’s also important to only play when you feel calm and focused. If you’re feeling frustrated or tired, it’s best to walk away from the table and come back another time.
If you’re in the United States, it’s important to find a reputable poker site that offers legal games. Most sites will offer US-only games, but some may feature players from other countries. If you’re worried about this, contact your state gaming commission to see if the site is licensed. If not, it’s likely an illegal site that you should avoid. Licensed poker sites will be clearly marked as such and will only accept players from the states they’re licensed to operate in. That’s to protect against unscrupulous operators who try to lure unsuspecting players with fake licenses.