Poker is hugely popular for multiple reasons: it’s a fun social game; there’s an element of skill involved to keep players interested; and it can be played with real money. Online poker has been booming since the introduction of new technology. For example, video platforms like Twitch have facilitated connections between players and fans; and new tools have made it easier for people to learn the game.
Many different types of poker are available online. Some are free, others require a subscription fee. Texas Hold’em is the most common form of the game, but there are also Omaha, 7 Card Stud and Crazy Pineapple variations available, depending on the poker site. Players can play cash games, Sit & Go tournaments or Spin & Go tournaments (the latter are single-table tournaments where players spin a wheel before starting their hands and are rewarded with a share of the buyout depending on the location that the wheel lands on).
One of the most important aspects of online poker is tracking results. While some poker sites have built-in tools that track your session stats, there are other programs that can take the analysis a step further. These include hand database programs that save, sort and recall all the hands you have played online; software that scans active tables for known players and displays previous statistics from hands with them next to their name (known as a heads up display or HUD); and odds, equity and variance calculators.
Licensed poker sites process thousands of secure transactions daily and are monitored by government regulators. They are also required to adhere to strict rules on player identification and age verification. This helps to protect the interests of all players and ensure that those who are genuinely gambling are playing the game.
While a push for federal regulation of the industry has been on the table, the issue has been largely resolved at the state level, with Michigan becoming the latest to join the MSIGA in April 2022. The state-based approach is more in line with the general philosophy that individual states should be able to regulate online poker on their own.
Currently, regulated online poker is only available in Nevada and Delaware. However, the legal battle is far from over, with a number of major states including California having opted out of the MSIGA due to their own unique circumstances. Until California passes its own legislation, it’s unlikely that the state will be able to participate in an interstate poker agreement with other states, as this would require the state to regulate online poker and license operators within its borders.