Online poker is an internet version of the popular card game where players place bets with real money or chips that represent a value. The cards are dealt out by computerized random number generators (RNG) which ensure that every player gets an equal chance of winning. The game is played against other players from around the world. The rules of the game are similar to those in live games but the online version is much more complex and requires a higher level of mental ability.

The first step in playing online poker is to create a real money account. Once you have registered you will be given a user name and password and the funds will be automatically transferred to your poker account. Some sites also offer a welcome bonus for new players. This may be in the form of matching your initial deposit or even doubling it. This is designed to attract new customers and encourage loyalty.

Once you have a funded poker account you can then choose to play cash games or tournaments. Most real money poker sites have a lobby that is divided into different sections for these types of games. Each section is categorized by the type of poker game, stakes and number of players. The lobby is easy to navigate and you can quickly select the game you want to play.

Most poker sites offer a variety of banking options and many support multiple currencies. These methods are safe and secure and the best sites will display a lock icon to indicate that they have an SSL certificate. Some sites also have live chat and email support for players who need help with a particular issue.

If you are a newcomer to poker it can be helpful to track your results. This will help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses and can be used to improve your game. Most online poker rooms have their own tracking software that you can use. This is usually free to use and will provide you with a lot of useful information such as your win-rate, the number of flops seen and the times you have gone to showdown.

It is important to note that the faster pace of play online can cause a larger variance than in live games. This can make your wins and losses seem bigger than they really are. This can also cause you to feel like you are getting more bad beats than you would in a live game.

Using poker database software is a critical tool for any serious online poker player. These programs will continuously monitor your hand histories and instantly process any updates. The on-screen statistics will update without any action from you and will allow you to find persistent errors in your opponents’ games. Using this information will give you the advantage you need to win more pots and increase your bankroll. The software will also help you to read your opponents and make more accurate bets at the right time.