How to Play Poker GuidePlaying online poker for real money can be an exhilarating and sometimes profitable experience. But even the ability to turn your skill and luck into real money winnings at a table largely depends on the types of online poker available in your jurisdiction.

If you’re a beginner, things can get confusing, so we’ve come up with this quick starter guide to playing real money online poker.

Follow the few simple steps below to jump straight into the action or continue reading to learn more about all the different options available to you and more details about every individual step.

Real Money Online Poker Key Facts
🌎 AvailabilityMost of the world
✔️ Main types of real money pokerTournaments, cash games, sit & go, and more
🔥 Top Real Money Poker SitesGGPoker, PokerStars US, PokerStars Ontario, WPT Global
🔞 Minimum legal age18 – 21+ (depending on country / jurisdiction)
💳 Accepted payment optionsCredit & debit cards, e-wallets, bank transfers, cryptocurrencies, and more (country-dependant)

Quick Start Guide to Real Money Online Poker

  1. Pick a safe real money poker site based on your location
  2. Register for an account with your real information (this is very important as you’ll need to verify your identity)
  3. Download the poker client / app & install it onto your device
  4. Open the app and log in with your newly created account
  5. Navigate to the cashier to make your first deposit

With this, you’ll be all set to start playing, and you don’t really need to do anything else. However, if you’d like to be more informed before you dip your toes into the vast ocean that is online poker, keep on reading.

What Is Real Money Online Poker?

Real money online poker gives you an opportunity to play poker games for real money using your computer, mobile phone, or tablet. The game is played with the same rules as poker in land-based casinos and poker rooms and any money you win, you can cash out and use however you want.

At a Glance: Where to Play Real Money Online Poker

There are hundreds of different real money poker sites and apps out there. Which ones will be available to you will depend primarily on your location, so we’ve prepared this handy table with a quick overview of all the different options and our top pick suggestions for a quick and easy start.

Country State / Province Top Poker Site Total Number of Sites
United States Michigan PokerStars MI 3
United States Pennsylvania PokerStars PA 4
United States Nevada WSOP NV 1
United States New Jersey PokerStars NJ 5
United States Other US states Sweepstakes poker & social sites 3
Canada Ontario PokerStars ON 5
Canada Non-Ontario GGPoker 5+
Rest of the World ROW GGPoker 5+

How to Start Playing Online Poker for Real Money

Picking up real money online poker is pretty easy. There are a few simple steps to go through, as described in the introduction. We’ll now go through each of these steps in more detail to explain what exactly it entails.

Choosing Your Online Poker Site

The first and arguably most important step is deciding where you want to play. There is a great number of poker sites to choose from, and all of them have something to offer.

The most important thing is to stick to sites that are properly licensed and regulated and that enjoy a good reputation with the players. You can check out poker site reviews on our site to find such operators and take your pick.

What poker rooms are available to you will depend on where you live. If you are from the US, you could be lucky to live in one of a few states that offer regulated poker. Otherwise, sweepstakes and social poker rooms might be your only real option.

Registering for an Online Poker Account

Once you’ve found the site you’re happy with, it’s time to set up your player’s account. While the exact procedure will differ between the sites, it boils down to the same thing.

During the registration process, you’ll need to provide your email, desired username and password, and then fill in your personal information like name, surname, date of birth, address, etc.

All this information is required because real money online poker involves money transactions, and regulations are quite strict. With that in mind, you must always provide accurate information, and you can’t make up any of it.

At some point, you will go through the identity verification procedure, and if the information provided doesn’t match, you will lose your account and, quite likely, any accumulated winnings.

Some people are reluctant to give up their personal info, and this fear is understandable in this day and age. That said, and reiterating once again, if you stick to safe and regulated sites, you don’t have to worry about it, as your information will be kept safe and not shared with any third parties.

Downloading the Poker Software / App

Downloading and installing the real money poker software is an easy task. All operators make their desktop readily available on the site and the link or the button you need to click usually stands out.

One thing worth mentioning is that, if you follow our previous advice, there is nothing to worry about in terms of safety. Software solutions from reputable poker rooms have been independently tested and verified, so they’ll not harm your PC in any way.

If you want to download the mobile app, you’ll usually find it on the relevant store. However, depending on the jurisdiction you play from, this may not always be the case. If you have to download the app from a source that’s not the official store like Google Play or App Store, you’ll usually need to give a manual permission for the installation to complete.

Once again, this is nothing to worry about and there is nothing nefarious about it. Mobile app stores are still reluctant to list gambling apps for users in some countries, so operators provide a different way for you to download and install the software.

Log Into Your New Poker Account

Once the software/app is installed, you can proceed to run it and log into your account using the username/password combination you selected during the registration process.

If you happen to forget any of these details, the important thing is that you mustn’t try to create a different account. Instead, use a link provided in the software or on the poker website to obtain your info and reset your password.

Creating two accounts with the same set of details can create problems for you later down the line, even if you had never played on the first one, but it’s a common mistake that beginners make.

If you know your username and password, you’ll be able to log in without any problems and proceed to the final step required to start playing poker for real money.

Making First Real Money Poker Deposit

With previous steps out of the way, there is just one thing remaining: getting some cash into your account to start playing. Some poker sites also offer no deposit bonuses where you can start playing right away, but, for the most part, you’ll need to use some of your own funds.

Depositing money online isn’t hard. Online poker rooms accept a variety of payment options, including credit and debit cards, e-wallets like Skrill and PayPal, prepaid vouchers, bank transfers, and much more. The list of all possible options is very long and, once again, dependent on the country and the operator, but the table below shows some of the most popular ones.

Payment Method Deposits Withdrawals
Visa Yes Yes
MasterCard Yes Yes
PayPal Yes Yes
Skrill Yes Yes
Online banking Yes Yes
Paysafecard Yes No
Check No Yes
Direct bank transfers No Yes

The process of transferring money is similar to making an online purchase. You select the payment option you prefer, enter the required details, and then the money is moved from your bank or e-wallet balance into your online poker cashier.

Once the money is in, you’re all set to proceed to the tables and start playing poker for real money!

Real Money Online Poker FAQ

Can you play online poker for real money?

Yes, you can play poker for real money online. There are many different sites and mobile apps offering a variety of options and stakes, catering to all types of players. However, the biggest determining factor for what types of real money online poker someone can play is the jurisdiction in which they live.

How old do I have to be to start playing online poker for real money?

The legal age for real money poker will depend on the jurisdiction you play from. In most of Europe, you’ll have to be 18 or older, in Canada the minimum age is 18 or 19, while in most of the US it is 21. However, you should check your local gaming laws prior to playing.

What types of poker games are offered online?

Online, you’ll find an even greater variety of options than at live rooms and casinos. There is everything from cash games to tournaments and everything in between.

How much money do I need to get started with real money online poker?

You can start playing real money online poker at very low stakes, as low as $0.01/$0.02 and tournaments with buy-ins under $1. So, you can start playing with as little as $10, or even build your bankroll playing freerolls without making any deposits.

Can I start playing real money online poker on my phone?

Yes, of course. Almost all real money poker sites offer standalone apps and/or web-based mobile platforms that allow you to register for an account, deposit, and play online poker on your handheld device.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500