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How to get started playing online poker.


   First choose which site you'd like to play on. There are currently about 50 online poker sites offering varying degrees of software quality, game types, limits from 10 cents to 40 dollars or more and promotions including freeroll tournaments and sign-up bonuses. Many sites offer frequent player points, loyalty bonuses and some even pay you to play. Use our poker rooms listing page to help you choose.

   When you've made your selection, go to their site and download their software. Most sites have proprietary programs so if you choose to play at more than one you'll need separate programs for each. The software will vary in graphics quality and features including preselect buttons to check, fold or raise in turn, the ability to keep notes on other players and to play more than one game at a time. Having good graphics and a nice chat program add greatly to the enjoyment of playing.

   Once your program is downloaded and installed, you will set up an account. This basically consists of choosing a login name and password for your account. There is no cost at this point. Your login name will generally also be your screen name or handle also so pick something you don't mind being called. All of the sites that I have seen have a play money section and will give you fake dollars to play with. I suggest taking full advantage of this feature. The reasons are obvious if you are new to poker but even those who play regularly can benefit. You may not be familiar with certain variations like high-low split or pot limit and at the very least, you should get used to the interface before risking real money ( there's nothing quite like raising when you meant to fold, or vice versa).

   If after playing for "funsies" you feel comfortable and want to go for it, the next step is to fund your account. Check the site your are playing on for a list of deposit options. Although most poker rooms claim to accept credit cards, most credit card companies block gaming transactions and the ones that don't usually list it as a cash advance. Wire transfer, check by phone, Western Union and money order by snail mail are all possibilities but the best way is to open an online checking account and fund it through your bank. This involves an extra step but is well worthwhile. It will also make it easier for you to cash out your winnings :-) and you can also use the accounts for other online purchases like auctions etc. The most popular are Neteller and Firepay. The entire procedure is fairly painless taking only about ten minutes the first time and no time at all thereafter.

   That's it! You're ready to go. Visit the poker rooms lobby, pick your favorite real money game at a comfortable limit (many sites have quarter games with a $10 buy in) and WIN WIN WIN. P.S. Don't forget to visit our winning page.


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