Online poker has exploded in popularity over the past decade, with new providers constantly looking to win over your custom. Many of these are licensed and monitored by government and financial bodies to ensure game integrity, safe transfers and data protection for players. This allows them to offer competitive deposit and withdrawal options as well as a huge selection of tournaments.

If you’re new to the game it’s wise to start in the free lobbies before wagering any money. This will give you a feel for the speed of play and the controls before you move on to paying tables. Once you’ve made the transition, make sure to set limits for your sessions and stick to them. This will prevent you from getting too carried away and will help your poker games remain fun.

Another important aspect of online poker is understanding the differences between playing live and online. For one, the faster pace of play online can create an artificial impression that your variance is greater than it really is. You’ll be playing a lot more hands than you would if you played live, and this can lead to bigger wins and losses in the short term.

The other difference is that you won’t be able to read any tells from your opponents at the virtual table. This can be difficult for some, especially for newer players who are still learning the basics of poker strategy. However, there are still a number of ways to determine if someone is bluffing. Among these are the use of a “tell”, which is a physical action or change in demeanour that lets you know that an opponent is holding a strong hand.

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the basic rules and strategies of online poker, you can try to improve your game by experimenting with different betting patterns. For example, you could try making fewer raises in certain situations, or try increasing your calls when your opponents hold weaker hands. Alternatively, you could take on a mentor to get advice from an experienced player.

There are also a number of software tools available to aid in your poker development. These include poker solvers, which are computer programs that can help you find the best moves in a particular situation. They can be a little intimidating at first, but once you learn how to study them closely you’ll be able to use their solutions at the tables.

There are also poker tracking software programs, such as PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager (both of which are published by the same company). These can collect and present tracked information on your opponents while you’re seated, helping you to see how they’re playing and counter their strategies. Unlike the trackers used by professional players, these are designed to be user-friendly and can be used by recreational players as well.