Poker is a game of skill over the long run and the top pros spend as much time studying the game as they do playing it. Online poker is an amazing experience but it can be very expensive if you don’t play smartly and take the right steps to protect your bankroll.
The first step to protecting your money is choosing a reputable poker site. You’ll want to find a site that is licensed and independently regulated in your jurisdiction and that offers a variety of banking options for depositing and withdrawing funds. You should also avoid sites that have a reputation for poor customer service or do not provide adequate security measures.
Another way to protect your money is to make sure you’re only playing poker with a limited amount of funds in any one session. This can be accomplished by separating your poker funds from your general casino account and by setting realistic loss limits. You can also use tools like a hand history tracker and a HUD (heads-up display) to help you analyze your own and your opponents’ plays.
All major poker sites allow players to practice without risking real money using what are called “play-money” tables. When you open the lobby of a poker site you’ll usually see a tab for cash games, tournaments and Sit & Go’s along with play-money tables. The play-money tables are a great way to familiarize yourself with the software and practice before you start wagering real money.
Most online poker sites have a number of different ways for you to deposit and withdraw your money including credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid cards, third party eWallets and wire transfers. Withdrawals are typically processed quickly as well. This is a major improvement over the old days when players had to wait weeks or even months for their winnings to be credited to their accounts.
One of the biggest mistakes amateur players make when playing poker is to overplay certain hands. This can lead to a lot of bad beats and it’s often better to play cautiously with high value opening hands such as A-K or A-Q than to call when your opponent raises with J-J or Q-Q. Lastly, a lack of aggression in the early stages can often come back to haunt you as the top players will be able to tell when you’re bluffing.
To be a profitable online poker player you must treat the game seriously and eliminate all distractions. This is why top athletes don’t play with the TV on, music blaring or their phone vibrating with notifications when they are in the zone for competition. This is important for all online poker players and it’s especially critical if you want to play at the higher stakes. Keep this in mind and you’ll be a profitable online poker player in no time!