Online poker is enjoying surging levels of popularity around the world, particularly in newly regulated markets across the US. Online poker boasts many superstars, noteworthy among them is Chris Moneymaker, a US WSOP champion who gained popularity as arguably the most-hyped poker player of all time. His $86 bet in an online poker satellite transformed his fortunes, and ostensibly changed the online poker world forever. 

Moneymaker qualified for a seat at the $10,000 Main Event of the 2003 WSOP in Las Vegas, Nevada. After a power-packed performance against legendary poker players, including Sammy Farha, Moneymaker emerged victorious. His $2.5 million payday goes down as one of the greatest underdog poker stories of modern times. He became the undisputed poker champion of the world, and it was all made possible through an online poker satellite!

In the years since his spectacular victory, online poker struggled amid a torrent of regulatory challenges in the US. These culminated in an anathema known as ‘Black Friday’ in 2011, where the authorities shut down multiple online poker rooms.

Fortunately, the poker gods were having none of it and within a few years, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), and a groundswell of support from poker fans helped to turn the tide and deliver fully regulated online poker in several states, including New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, with many more states to follow.

This captivating game of skill, tactics, strategies, and good fortune continues to reel in the crowds, with poker fish, poker sharks, and poker aficionados of all types cashing in on the action. Online poker presents a dazzling ensemble of cash games, ring games, SNGs, MTTs, freezeouts, rebuys, and satellites for players to enjoy. 

It is the quintessential gateway to the highest echelons of poker popularity. A veritable playground of captivating tournament action where mere mortals are transformed into gods. From freerolls to high-stakes play, online poker caters to the casual player and the poker pro alike.

The online poker arena embraces sophisticated gaming technology, replete with innovative features like face-to-face poker, customized poker tournaments, and fast-fold poker action for players on the go. It is a tour de force in adrenaline-loaded entertainment, and it's rushing towards you at a blistering pace.

How to Play Poker Online?

First things first. Pick an online poker room, but not just any old online poker room – it must be a regulated and respected online poker room. Fortunately, players are spoilt for choice nowadays. With multiple authorities around the world regulating online poker rooms, there is absolutely no reason to play online poker at an unregulated site. 

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), the Government of Gibraltar, the Ireland Revenue Commissioners (IRC), the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJ DGE), the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) are some of the many government-sanctioned bodies tasked with regulating online poker rooms. 

If your chosen online poker room is not regulated, forget it. There are dozens of online poker rooms to choose from. You must be of legal age, and resident in the state, jurisdiction, or country where you are playing online poker. Next, register an account, validate your information and safely store your username/password combination. Some of the premier online poker rooms feature thousands of players participating during peak hours, in SNGs and MTTs. 

Once you've registered and verified your account, it's time to pick an online poker game. There are many different poker variants to play, including Texas Hold’em Poker, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7 Card Stud, Razz, Badugi, and others. For the most part, you will likely find yourself playing Texas Hold'em or Omaha variants in Fixed Limit, No Limit, or Pot Limit formats. The rules of these online poker games are relatively easy to learn, albeit challenging to master.

How to Play Poker Online in the US?

Online poker is legal in several states across the US. In 2013, then Governor of the Garden State, Chris Christie signed a bill into law allowing online casino and online poker gaming in the State of New Jersey. The NJ DGE (Division of Gaming Enforcement) has authorized 4 poker networks to offer services to legal-age players in the state. 

These networks operate multiple poker sites, including the following officially licensed and regulated online poker rooms in New Jersey: PlayMGM Poker, Pala Poker, 888poker, PokerStars,, PartyPoker, and Borgata. All of the New Jersey online poker rooms are authorized to offer services to players courtesy of their partner casinos in Atlantic City.

There were initially 5 poker networks operating in New Jersey, but Ultimate Poker shuttered operations, allowing the other 4 networks to consolidate operations and build a strong community of poker players in the state. By 2018, New Jersey teamed up with Delaware and Nevada, creating a tri-state poker network for liquidity purposes.

Each online poker room in New Jersey has a partner land-based casino in Atlantic City. For example, and 888poker have partnered with Harrah’s Casino. In Delaware, there is a single provider system in place. The Delaware Lottery chose to go with 888 Holdings to provide for its casino games and online poker games.

In Nevada, online gambling was signed into law on February 25, 2013. The first regulated online poker room in the Silver State was Ultimate Poker, but it soon shuttered operations. This left only in Nevada and Real Gaming Online Poker. The legal online gambling age in Nevada is 21, and players must be physically present in the state to register and play for real money. 

Pennsylvania launched online poker gaming in July 2019. All Pennsylvania-based
poker activities are governed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). To date, 7 casinos across the state have submitted applications to allow online poker play for legal-age players. Several top-tier poker rooms in Pennsylvania include 888 Poker and, GVC and PartyPoker, PokerStars, and Rush Street Interactive. 

In all cases, geolocation-based technologies are used to ensure that players are within the geographic boundaries of each state, or compact. Powerful tracking technology ensures that players are where they say they are, and not simply using a VPN, or proxy to pretend to be in a regulated online poker state.

The rules of poker are identical whether you are playing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia-Pacific, or Latin America. Age requirements may differ between the US and other jurisdictions, with some countries allowing players who are 18+, while the US allows players who are 21+.

Additionally, many countries across the EU have blanket regulations to allow online poker gaming throughout the European Union, while the US regulates one state at a time. That's why important to ensure that your chosen online poker room is allowed to offer real-money games to players in your state.

Play Poker Like a Boss: Look the Part. Talk the Part. Play the Part

While you are learning how to play poker online, you will invariably come across poker bonuses and promotional offers. These are really important, as they serve as bankroll boosters for your stack. As an online poker player, it's important for you to manage your bankroll effectively. It makes precious little difference whether you’re playing live poker at the WSOP, WPT, or EPT, or grinding it out against virtual opponents at your favorite online poker room – your bankroll is key. 

It's worth checking out in-depth articles on bankroll management if you are looking to get serious with online poker play. Casual players may want to stick to low-stakes play with affordable buy-ins until the requisite level of experience and confidence emerges.

Bonuses and promotions are a big deal in online poker. Since so many poker rooms are competing for your patronage, it's worth shopping around to find the best promotional offers. Promos are also available for returning players in the form of re-deposit bonuses – so keep your eyes peeled for them.

Online poker rooms generate their revenues from the rake. The rake is a small percentage of every pot. It also includes the fees paid by players to enter a tournament. You can expect most online poker rooms to offer you a welcome bonus for signing up. Sometimes, you will luck out and score a no deposit bonus, but most of the time you will need to make a deposit to claim a match bonus offer. 

Once you satisfy the terms and conditions (wagering requirements) of the promotional offer, the winnings are yours to keep.  Poker bonuses are designed to attract new players and keep them playing. Be advised that you will need to play a set amount of raked hands (real money) to cash out winnings from your bonus. Provided you are learning from your mistakes, poker bonuses can ‘pad’ your game until you're good enough to compete with the big dogs.

It's worth checking out top online poker room offers like no deposit bonuses and multi-deposit bonuses – these are great ways to boost your stash of cash in a flash. Think of your bankroll as your ammo; without it, you can't buy-in, raise, or go all-in. Nobody wants to be a lame duck in poker – that's why bankroll management is key. 

Over time, your online poker game will improve as you learn the intricacies of poker play, bankroll management, and poker psychology. During your learning curve, you will encounter many weird and wonderful terms like: poker odds, poker outs, pot odds, check-raising, limping into the pot, grinding it out, bluffing, on tilt, holding the nuts, and countless others. Learn the poker lingo and be the boss.

Where to Play Poker Online?

By now, your ‘Spidey Senses’ are tingling. You’ve probably got a pretty good idea about where to play poker online. For starters, you will want to pick a reputable online poker room like 888poker NJ. Credibility is sacrosanct. The last thing you want is a rigged poker room with faulty software, limited safety and security features, or payment processors which simply don't work. 

The licensed and regulated online poker rooms pass the litmus test, since they are held to high standards of conduct, integrity, and fairness. Beyond poker rooms, it's important to play at stakes you can afford with games that you enjoy. You may be inclined to play cash games, satellites, tournaments, ring games, Sit & Go’s, or Multi-Table Tournaments. Whatever you decide, always put safety first when you’re learning how to play poker online. 

What is the Best Way to Play Poker Online?

Pick a reputable online poker room and get registered. Be sure to claim the best possible bonus package, preferably a no deposit bonus, or a big match deposit bonus. If you are a returning player, pick out generous re-deposit bonuses and maximize your game accordingly. The low-stakes poker games are a great place to learn the ins and outs of poker. 

There are plenty of fish competing for the pot, and this presents you with opportunities to fine tune your game before you step it up a notch. The best way to play poker online is responsibly. That means you should allocate a set budget, and schedule for your poker games. It pays to refresh your memory with hand rankings, game rules, poker positioning, and bankroll management. 

With a standard game of Texas Hold'em, the action begins with two ‘hole’ cards dealt face down to every player at the table. Betting rounds will follow. The Flop consists of the first three community cards, followed by a round of betting, The Turn (the fourth community card), followed by round of betting, and The River (the fifth and final community card). A final round of betting ensues and players will compete for the pot, at the showdown. 

It's important to know that your objective in a standard game of Texas Hold'em is to construct the best five-card hand given the community cards and your two ‘hole’ cards. It's entirely possible to simply play the board – you don't have to use any hole cards in Texas Hold'em poker.

The winner is the player with the strongest-ranking hand. However, in games like Omaha Hi-Lo there is a high hand winner and a low hand winner. That's why it's important to understand the rules when you are learning the best way to play poker online.

How to Play Poker Online with Friends?

One of the most commonly-searched questions on the web is the following: ‘Can you play poker online with your friends?’ The answer is a resounding yes – let's take a look!

Casual poker games among friends have been around for many years. The advent of online poker rooms, particularly mobile poker on Android and iOS devices has fast-tracked a new era of online poker play. Many of the world's premier online poker rooms allow players to crank up the heat with multi-player functionality on the go, on PC, or Mac. 

Customized settings with respect to blinds, antes, game variants, betting limits, and player invitations are readily available. Once all your friends have been invited to the online poker room at a set time, the game begins in earnest. Many of the poker apps that are readily available nowadays offer ad-free gaming, uninterrupted entertainment, and the option to power up and play any time the mood takes you.

The game of poker is by its very nature a social game. Unlike slots, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and other casino games, poker decision-making hinges upon the actions of other players. That makes it one of the most exciting games to play online with friends.

It's a great game to play with strangers, but it's even more immersive when you're playing with friends. Once you set up a private table with your friends, they will be sent a link to join the action. Once all the friends are ready, the poker action kicks off. The best apps for social poker games automatically shuffle the cards for you, deal the cards for you, and accept the bets for you. Other important functions include side pots, split pots, game history, and even hand replays. 

Ready to play online poker? Make that call….

About the Author

With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em. 

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