There was a time when the contrast between live and online poker players was quite stark. Many live pros shunned playing online and vice versa.
The current state of regulated online poker in the US is encouraging. New Jersey joined Nevada and Delaware in a multi-state agreement allowing shared player pools in 2017. Michigan is the latest state to legalize, but virtual hands have yet to be dealt.
Online poker has never been explicitly legal in the United States. However, a number of legal challenges have allowed the industry to thrive in some states. These include the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and state-level regulations. Currently, online poker sites invest the money that players deposit into their accounts. These investments are typically low-risk and backed by state laws that ensure player protection. These regulations include age and identity verification, financial services, anti-money laundering solutions, cyber security, and responsible gambling advocacy.
The COVID-19 pandemic drove many professional and recreational players who normally play live poker to the Internet. As a result, traffic at online poker rooms doubled or even tripled in some cases. This resurgence may offer hope for legalizing the game in other states. However, the process will take time, since new online poker sites need to pass age and identity checks. They must also avoid violations of federal law, including the Wire Act.
Online poker games offer a variety of stakes and tournaments for players at all levels. Stakes start at $1, with some games allowing players to make a substantial return on a small investment. Players can also play micro stakes games for pennies a hand.
The most popular game is No Limit Texas Hold’em, which dominates high-prestige tournaments worldwide. NLHE is also the game of choice for most cash games. Unlike live poker, online play is faster and more streamlined. Players can log on and off in short bursts without disrupting the flow of play.
Various software programs are available to help online players improve their game. These include hand database programs that save, sort and recall hand histories for all active tables. Some programs even scan active tables for known players and display their statistics next to their names (known as a HUD). Other software can quiz players, analyze hands or calculate odds, equity, and variance.
Sites to play
When choosing a poker site, look for one that offers a wide variety of games. These include video poker, baccarat and keno. You’ll also want to check the site’s reputation, player traffic numbers and bonus programs. Some sites offer rakeback, which redistributes a portion of the rake collected from real-money games to loyal players.
Some of the top online poker sites have huge player pools, like Ignition, America’s Cardroom and Bovada. These sites attract players by offering anonymous table gaming, anti-HUD software and a $3,000 casino and poker welcome bonus. They also host tournaments with guaranteed million-dollar prize pools.
Other sites have a wide range of game options, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha and seven-card stud. Some of these games are available for free, while others require a fee to play. Many of these sites have a separate section for cash games and Sit ‘N Go events, and you can narrow your search by buy-in level or table size.
The best online poker sites offer a variety of secure deposit options. Some are more popular than others and some may only be available in certain countries. The majority of online poker players use credit and debit cards to make deposits and withdrawals. These methods are quick and easy to use. In addition to PayPal which is accepted by all major operators there are also a number of e-wallets that can be used. These include Skrill, NETELLER and AstroPay. In the US you can also use PayNearMe which is a convenient pre-paid card that you can charge up at high street stores like 7-Eleven.
If you prefer to avoid sharing your personal details online then you might be interested in a payment method like Boku which allows you to make a deposit via your mobile phone bill. Another popular option is a wire transfer which offers a more traditional deposit experience but with world-class security protection.