Online poker is a game of chance that can be played on a variety of platforms. Its availability has led to a massive increase in the number of players. It is available at most real money gambling sites, and you can play it on your computer or mobile device. All you need is an Internet connection and a computer or smartphone with a web browser. Then, you can log into your account and begin playing. Some sites even offer downloadable software for PCs. There is also a wide range of mobile poker apps that allow you to play on the go.
There was a time not so long ago when the contrast between live poker players and those who play online poker was quite stark. It was common to hear stories of live pros venturing into the world of online poker and finding it to be a completely different experience (with some complaining that it wasn’t “real” poker). Today, however, there is a great deal more overlap between the two types of players, with most top-level professionals engaging in both.
While the rules of poker are the same whether you play live or at home, the game requires a different set of skills when you play online. One major difference is that you don’t have the opportunity to read physical tells when you play online, although there are ways to size up opponents and make good decisions without having to look at their faces.
Another difference is that the pace of play is much faster online, which can artificially affect your results over short periods of time. This is a key factor in the perception that you see more bad beats when playing online. Finally, you’re playing many more hands online than you would if you played the same game in a casino or at a local home game.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a lot of players who prefer to play live games opt for the convenience and accessibility of online poker sites, and this is expected to continue as more and more people seek alternative forms of entertainment. The fact that many live venues have closed during this period has also boosted online traffic, with some poker sites reporting double or more the normal volume.
Most online poker sites are regulated by the governments of the countries in which they operate, with European regulators such as the UK Gambling Commission being particularly strict in their licensing requirements. This means that any site with a licence from one of these bodies is almost certainly safe to play at.
In addition, most reputable poker sites use RNGs to produce random results, and there is no way that they can be rigged. The only possible exceptions to this would be if the poker site was intentionally skewing their games to maximize rake and player profits. This is a very unlikely scenario, though, and any attempts at rigging the games would quickly result in a large loss of player confidence.