Online Poker Introduction

The success of online poker was never anticipated by serious players of the game. A relatively new development, online poker has come onto its own only in the past five years. It is credited for the massive growth in the number of people who play the game of poker worldwide. The estimated monthly revenue from online poker in 2005 in the United States was placed at a phenomenal US $200 million, and this revenue has continued to grow.
Online poker is not the same as the machine game seen in casinos that resembles a slot machine, known as video poker. In video poker, you essentially play yourself (using a machine that randomly deals cards). In online poker, you play against real people through a game server. Many poker sites are neutral, so you also don’t play “against the house” as you would in a casino. These sites typically take only a fraction of the total amount in a pot before awarding it to a winner.
Unlike traditional poker games where all the players are seated at one table, online poker makes it possible for players from different parts of the world to compete with each other. As Internet access improves, the potential for multinational games grows too.

Online Poker Sites

Currently, hundreds if not thousands of online poker sites are available. It’s a good idea to visit some of the top sites and to familiarise yourself with them before choosing a site to join. Search engines may provide a quick list of the most popular sites, although these sites aren’t necessarily the best ones. Read as many independent reviews of an online poker site before signing up with it, and consider trying out free online poker at a site before you start to bet real money.

How Online Poker Works: The Basics

Once you have chosen which online poker site to join, you will need to download the software that it supplies. This is called the poker client. The poker client provides a graphical display of the game that shows the players and cards, along with buttons you use to bet or fold. The poker clients from different online poker sites may have variations, but they all work in pretty much the same way. Once running, the poker client connects to the particular site’s poker game server.
The poker game server is a central computer that hosts the games for a site. The server runs computer software that functions as a dealer, floorman, and cashier for all the players. It follows the progress of the game and makes sure all players are playing by the rules. All communication between and with each player goes through the game server.