Online poker is a fast-paced, engaging intellectual game that rewards actual skill unlike slots or the lottery. The ability to play at any time, from anywhere in the world, for whatever stakes you like, is the main reason why so many people are drawn to it.

Licensed poker sites process thousands of secure transactions daily and are monitored by government and financial bodies to ensure game integrity, safe transfer of funds and data protection for players. This gives players peace of mind knowing they are playing on a reputable and well-regulated platform.

The COVID-19 pandemic is believed to have driven many recreational and professional players who normally prefer live poker to turn to online platforms for their gambling needs. Traffic has spiked since the pandemic began with regulated markets reporting double or more than triple the average volume.

New players can use a variety of online poker learning resources to improve their skills at the tables. Basic rulebooks and guides, detailed strategy articles and A-Z lists of poker terminology are all available for free.

More advanced players can take advantage of software tools to optimize their game. These include hand database programs that save, sort and recall all the hands played in a session and then scan active tables for known players and display previous statistics next to their name (known as a heads-up display or HUD). Other software provides odds, equity and variance calculators.

As you play more and more poker, the numbers begin to ingrain themselves into your subconscious mind. Eventually, you’ll find that the frequencies of suits and their relative values in combinations will become an automatic consideration when you analyze hands.