Online poker is an intellectual game that relies on high-level skills. It differs from other gambling games such as slots and lotteries, which rely on chance. The popularity of online poker has been boosted by several new technological developments. These include the rise of live streaming video platforms like Twitch, which facilitate connections between top players and fans. Online poker is also becoming more accessible due to advances in software and hardware.
In the United States, the regulation of online poker is constantly changing. There are currently no state laws that outright ban the activity, but many have strict guidelines for operators. These requirements include responsible gaming and verification of fairness through a random number generator. Some states also require a license from the gambling commission to operate. In addition, players should look for the following:
Poker software saves hand histories and provides a “poker HUD” (heads-up display) that shows statistics live at your table. This software helps you understand your opponents and make smart decisions during each hand. It is also useful for analyzing your own game, as it can show you which hands you are winning and which ones you are losing.
In the early days of online poker, many major companies grew to prominence by attracting affluent players from all over the world. These halcyon days were short-lived, however. In 2006, Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and prohibited payment processors from processing funds related to online poker. This drove many of these companies out of the market, although several of them remained operational.