Online poker really began to gain traction after 2003 when an amateur player named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event by qualifying for it through a $40 tournament online. Since then the game has boomed in popularity, thanks largely to legalization and technological advances. It is now possible to play online poker in most states that have regulated the industry.
When you begin playing online poker you will need to create a user account, this is usually done by providing your personal information such as name, email address and age (there will be checks to ensure that you are of legal age to play). Once you have an account you can deposit funds using one of many methods on offer. Most online poker sites accept major credit and debit cards, prepaid vouchers as well as web wallets.
The best way to learn how to play online poker is to read up on strategy articles and watch training videos. This will give you a good grounding in the basic concepts of the game such as frequencies and EV estimation. As you play more hands you will begin to develop an intuition for these concepts and they will become natural parts of your game.
One of the differences between live and online poker is that you cannot read physical tells (physical actions or changes in demeanor that reveal the strength of your hand). However, with careful observation, it is still possible to work out how your opponents bet, as well as their overall game plan.