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Online Poker

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Online Poker is a game of chance where players wager real money against one another and, in some cases, the house. The game is easy to learn and can be very exciting. It is also an intellectual game that rewards actual skill unlike slots or the lottery and can be played at any time, from anywhere with a computer, tablet or smart phone and a good internet connection.

For years poker was mostly played in the back of smoky bars or casinos but things started to change in 2003 when an amateur player named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event through an online qualifying tournament. This brought the game into the mainstream and people flocked to play. Online poker sites offer players a safe, convenient place to gamble from the comfort of their own homes and with secure deposit and withdrawal options.

Research shows that poker players spend more time gambling, gamble more frequently, and score higher on problem gambling indices than non-poker players (Shead et al., 2008). Furthermore, despite the popularity of the game, it is not well regulated in the US and there are many unlicensed operators. This makes it difficult to verify the authenticity of games and to protect players from fraud.

While the current state of regulation is problematic, there are still several reputable poker sites that accept players from all over the world. Licensed operators are subject to rigorous testing by independent auditors and are required to provide their players with a fair game. They also must adhere to strict anti-money laundering and responsible gaming guidelines. In addition, licensed operators are generally required to offer multiple methods of deposit and withdrawal.

A common feature on most poker websites is a lobby where you can find the available games, their stakes and number of players. Typically there are tabs for Cash Games, Tournaments, Sit & Go’s and any other special format games the site runs. Most sites also have “beginner” tables where new players will be seated with other players that classify themselves as beginners. This is a highly recommended option for novices as it levels the playing field and helps them get accustomed to the speed of the games.

In addition to the games themselves, poker websites also offer various tools that help players improve their skills. These include hand database programs that save, sort and recall all played hands. Other software applications scan active tables for known players and display their previous statistics next to their name (known as a heads up display or HUD) and odds, equity or variance calculators.

The ability to deposit and withdraw funds is very easy compared to the old days of having to go to a land-based casino or using a third party eWallet service. Most poker sites now accept a variety of credit and debit cards as well as pre-paid cards, wire transfers and even e-checks. There are also many reputable cryptocurrencies that are now available to use at poker sites as well.

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