Online poker is a game of skill, luck and chance that can be played for real money or virtual cash. It is regulated in the states that offer it and offers players strict consumer protections and safety guarantees. It can be found on many reputable websites and is one of the most popular forms of internet gambling. However, it is important to play responsibly and be aware of the risk of addiction.
In 2003, the game of online poker really took off when Tennessee accountant Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event after qualifying through an online satellite. Since then, the game has become even more popular and new technologies have made it possible for players to connect with each other. The proliferation of online poker has led to major changes in the poker world, including a growing number of legalized sites and innovative content that has helped to make it more accessible to new players.
Despite the popularity of the game, there are still challenges for regulated online poker. For example, it has taken a long time for Pennsylvania to get its sites up and running and for the first hands to be dealt in the state. Other states have struggled with regulatory issues and the looming threat of federal action.
There are a wide variety of ways to fund an online poker account, including credit or debit cards, prepaid cards and web wallets. Once a player has funds in their account, they can begin playing. Some sites offer free games and tournaments for players to try out the software and learn the ropes without risking any of their own money.