Online poker is a popular card game that can be played for real money at a variety of internet sites. It is fun, easy to learn and rewards actual skill unlike other games like slots or the lottery. The game can also be played for as long or short as a player chooses. However, it is important to understand the rules of the game before playing for real money.

Before the early 2000’s most people didn’t take online poker seriously at all. It wasn’t until a former accountant from Tennessee named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event through an online qualifier that the game started to gain in popularity. Since then, the number of players has grown rapidly.

The first step to playing online poker is to find a reputable site. Look for one that offers a good selection of poker variants, secure payment options and responsive customer support. Some sites may offer a no-download version of the software which is convenient for those with limited memory or an older computer. However, this option typically doesn’t offer the same playability as a full download of the poker client.

Once you’ve found a reputable site, sign up and deposit money to start playing. Most poker websites have an extensive list of banking methods that can be used to add and remove funds from your account. Review the minimum and maximum deposits and withdrawal limits, as well as any fees associated with each transaction. Lastly, check to see that the poker website accepts your preferred method of payment and allows you to withdraw in your preferred currency.

Most poker sites will categorize the available games in their lobby by cash games, tournaments and sit & go’s. They will also usually have a “beginner” tab that can be clicked to place you at tables with players who self-classify as beginners. This is an excellent feature for new players as it will dramatically level the playing field and prevent them from being beaten by more experienced players.

While there was once a large divide between live and online poker, many top pros now play both. The only difference between the two is that live poker has to be physically present and requires more face-to-face interaction with opponents. However, most online pros are familiar with the nuances of playing live and can adjust their strategy accordingly.

The best thing about playing poker online is that you can play at any time of the day or night. Most poker rooms have a decent amount of traffic and you can almost always find a game to play. This is a huge advantage over live poker where most casinos and poker rooms only spread games during the afternoon and night.