Online Poker Sites
The first decade of the 21st century saw what is often referred to as the “online poker boom” – a phenomenal increase in the awareness and popularity of online poker games for real money. Various forms of poker had long been played all over the world, but it was Texas Hold’em that rose to the top as the game of choice. Online poker websites popped all over the place and to this day there are a huge number of providers for players to choose from. We can help you choose where to play at.
Many of us at OnlineBettingSites.com are keen players and we all have our favourite rooms to play at. The following recommendations are for the brands that we consider the best based on our own experiences. We only recommend establishments where we are confident players will have a positive experience.
Best Online Poker Sites
All of the websites we list meet our criteria for being a reliable place to play online poker. However, not everyone will be looking for the same things from a site. We have written detailed reviews of each our recommendations and we suggest reading through these before deciding which rooms to play at. The software and features can vary greatly from one website to another so it is a good idea to try more than out to see which one you like the most.
Why Play Poker Online For Real Money
Poker has been around in one form or another for a very long time, but has never been as easy to play as it is now. You don’t have to wait for your weekly home game, or drive somewhere to play. Internet poker services ensure you have access any time you want to join a table, day or night.
There are a number of reasons for choosing to play for real money online, for both beginners and veterans. Most online poker sites will also offer the choice of playing for fun. Playing against competitors from around the world for “play money” is a great way of learning the game and getting used to playing it online. You will also find very low stake games, often referred to as micro stakes, available. Meaning you can experience playing for real money without risking much of your hard earned cash.
For more experienced players, one of the biggest attractions is the ability to play several tables at once, known as "multitabling" – which can dramatically increase the win rate of a strong player. The fact that an average hand of is played a lot quicker than at land establishments also means more hands per hour.
When playing live, there is always the chance for something to go wrong that could affect a hand. It could be a misdeal, someone betting out of turn or any number of things. With web based tables, the chances of something going wrong are vastly reduced. You can generally expect more accurate deals than at a home game, or even at a land based card room.
The sheer number of partaking today is another benefit of playing at poker sites. You will find a cash game going at your preferred stakes 24/7 and “Sit And Go” tournaments start up around the clock. You can also take part in huge multi table tournaments with big prize pools.
You can also gain significant extra value when taking advantage of promotions inspired by competition between sites for new depositing customers. Most websites offer decent signup bonuses and various on-going incentives designed to reward regular players – such as reload bonuses, freerolls, and different forms of prizes and loyalty schemes.
There is no doubt that poker sites have significantly changed the landcape. Poker is now considerably more mainstream than ever before – with a lot more events compared to ten years ago. If you haven’t tried the game out before then visit one of our recommended destinations and give it a shot.
How We Determine Top Online Poker Sites
There are many different things to look for when choosing where to play at, not everyone has the same expectations. Beginners, for example, will likely be interested in the amount of traffic at the low stakes, while experienced players will want the ability to play several tables at once. The following factors should all be considered when choosing which sites to play at:
- Suitable Licensing - A relevant license from a suitable authority is a must for any reputable site. In fact we advise you avoid playing anywhere without a legitimate license. When the average customer has so many places to choose from, we cannot see any reason to take the risk of playing at an unlicensed site. This is often a red flag of a scam of some kind. The safest sites will hold licenses in many jurisdictions, we find this indicative of a reputable company. The biggest brands tend to operate in the most countries.
- Number of Active Players - The number of active players at a site is both a good sign of quality and will ensure you can always find a game going in a variety of formats and table limits. Keep in mind this number can fluctuate depending on the time of day. Many savvy customers will download the software and check out the traffic before making a real money account. We think this is a good idea, and one of the most important variables we use when rating operators is traffic and market share. That said, good tables can be found at some smaller spots, and many savvy players use this as a profitable tactic. However, it requires patience, timing, and great table selection skills.
- Reputation and Trust - There is a strong internet poker community and brands that don’t serve their customers well will quickly pick up a bad reputation. Avoid this and stick to reputable online poker sites that can be trusted. Check popular forums like 2p2 to gain insight and look for the companies that aren't being complained about as much, just keep in mind the law of averages indicates more players will complain than will praise a brand. Also realize traffic and popularity can affect the number of customers with something good or bad to say about an operator. Generally we do not advise playing at new poker sites, instead preferring to play at well established brands with a proven track record.
- Real Money Safety and Security - Strong security measures should be in place at all good web based poker rooms. Ennsuring your personal details and banking information are kept safe from hackers, fraud, and unauthorized activity. In addition, any reputable provider will have an active team monitoring and detecting for cheating and collusion amongst players. The industry has already experienced a fair amount of cheating scandals in recent years, so we are extra careful in considering who we recommend in our ratings.
- Range of Betting Stakes and Limits - The top options will offer stakes from the smallest microstakes right up to high roller levels. For most players it only matters how the opponent quality is at the stakes and limits they play at, but some also enjoy "railbirding" high stakes games. Generally most places will offer limits as low as .01/.02, ranging up to bigger levels in various increments. Compared to brick and mortar card rooms where the lowest limits are usually 2/4 or even 3/6, this is much cheaper for beginners learning the game and those who don't want to risk a lot but still enjoy a real money experience. Having comfortable limits encourages more people to play, and we think that is good for the health of the game.
- Choice of Game Formats and Variations - Other formats and variations beyond Texas Hold’em have also become more popular in recent years, and internet poker rooms will offer these different options in similar limits and formats. In addition to having more available variations, we like to play at sites that offer different formats - such as fixed limit vs no limit, or even pot limit structures. In recent years, numerous new types have become popular, such as "bounty tournaments", cash games with antes and "caps", and even completely unique formats such as fast fold poker aka rush poker. The more choices a site can offer while keeping the tables full helps smart players select easier games, while recreational players have more fun.
- Accessibility and Reliability of Customer Support - Customer service should be paramount for any reputable operator – with support available around the clock and plenty of ways to get in contact. Players often have questions before playing, and all reputable portals will offer a way to get help and find answers. Inquiries should be answered quickly and efficiently, and it is preferred that a website lists response times alongside it's various contact options.
- Depositing and Withdrawal Options - Funding real money accounts and withdrawing your winnings should be easy. The best options offer plenty of fast, safe, and reliable banking methods. Look for sites with large selections of available ewallets, transfer methods, and high rates of credit card acceptance. Reputable sites will list payout times for each method, and frequently be adding new sources. Players should be prepared to supply proof of ID when requested as a security precaution, it helps for faster withdrawals of winnings.
All of the above considerations are used when we decide which poker betting sites we recommend in our listings. We believe you will have a good experience at any places we list on this page, and can be sure that your money is safe at the same time. As fans ourselves, these are the places we keep our bankroll at. Beginners, highly experienced veterans, and everyone in between will find only premier listings in our ratings and reviews.