When you play poker online you’re competing against real people who are betting their money on the outcome of the cards. You’ll typically have to register for an account and provide some basic personal information before you can start playing for real money. Some sites will require proof that you are of legal age to gamble and there may be identity checks as well. This is all normal and necessary to prevent underage gambling. You may also need to submit a picture of your government issued ID for verification purposes.
Once you’ve completed the registration process you can then move on to depositing money into your poker account. Most poker sites offer a variety of different methods for depositing funds and withdrawing winnings. Some are more secure than others so it’s important to do your homework and choose a site that you trust.
Many of the top rated poker sites will offer an instant bonus for new players. These bonuses can be worth up to a few thousand dollars and they’re intended to help you get started playing for real money. In most cases, you’ll need to earn frequent player points before the bonuses are released so it’s important to be active early on.
Aside from the welcome bonuses most poker sites will have a rewards program that gives you comps and other incentives for spending time on the site. Keeping track of your earnings and the amount of money you’ve won is crucial to making a good profit from your poker play. If you can stay focused and avoid going on monkey tilt when things don’t go your way you will be able to build a solid bankroll over the long term.
In addition to the rewards programs most top rated poker sites will feature a large collection of tournaments. These include large multi-table events known as Millys with guaranteed million dollar prize pools and daily monster stack tournaments where each player starts with a massive stack of chips giving skilled players an advantage. These tournaments are an excellent way to get a feel for the game and build up your experience before you venture into bigger stakes.
While most new players are intimidated by the thought of multi-tabling it’s actually quite easy and something that most professional poker players do on a regular basis. Having multiple tables open means that you can fold your trash until you hit a decent hand and then focus on one table at a time. This allows you to increase your win rate significantly over the long run.
Another great feature of online poker is the ability to use tools such as a hand history tracker and a HUD or heads up display. These two simple tools give pros a significant edge over their competition by helping them to analyze their own play and that of their opponents. A lack of these tools will often come back to haunt amateur players, such as underplaying pocket kings on the flop only to have your opponent clinch a straight with their 8-4 offsuit.