Online poker is a popular pastime, but it can be dangerous to your bank account if you’re not careful. It’s important to make sure that you are playing at a legitimate site that is licensed and uses top-of-the-line encryption methods. It’s also important to play responsibly and set limits on your spending.

If you’re new to online poker, it’s a good idea to try out free games before investing any money. This way, you can practice the game and get familiar with the software without risking any of your hard-earned cash. You should also check whether online poker is legal in your jurisdiction before you start playing for real money. If it is, make sure to choose a trusted site that is regulated and audited regularly.

Before you deposit any money, it’s a good idea to read reviews about the poker sites you are considering. Look for a site that is licensed and regulated in your jurisdiction, has a long history of reliable service, and offers a variety of tournaments. Ideally, you should also find a site that offers mobile compatibility and is easy to use.

Once you’ve found a poker site that meets your needs, download the software and create an account. You’ll need to select a screen name, which can’t be changed later, and you should only register one account. Multi-accounting is against the rules and can result in a permanent ban from the poker site.

The big advantage of playing poker online is that you can see your opponents. This is particularly useful when playing turbo Sit ‘n Gos and fast-fold cash games, where you’re dealt a huge number of hands. By watching their body language, you can pick up on tells and capitalise on them. You can even spot bluffs by checking their facial expressions and the twitch of their nose.

When you play online, the table is displayed on your computer screen and the user interface makes it easy to make in-game decisions. The software automatically informs you when it’s your turn to act, so there’s no need to keep other players waiting while you figure out how to play the game.

The most popular poker variant is Texas Hold’em, but many sites offer Omaha and Stud as well. Some of them even have unusual games like Razz, a type of Stud where the lowest hand wins. Choosing an online poker room that offers the games you like will help you maximize your enjoyment and chances of winning.