Best Online Poker Sites
This list of the best online poker sites comes to you directly from a group of highly experienced poker players. At least one of us is a former professional but we all still play to this day. Our collective experience in online poker adds up to at least 20 years. When we tell you a poker site is worth playing at, you can take our word for it.
Online poker has had a tumultuous history in the United States. At one point, it seemed everyone had an account and sites like PokerStars were able to get upwards of a hundred thousand people online at a time. Things have changed since then and new poker sites have come in to fill the void left by the old giants. What we have below are the new kings of online poker.
Why These Sites?
We did not just pick these sites at random. In fact, you could say we are a bunch of cranky, picky old-timers. It's not good enough for a poker site to just offer a decent experience. For a site to earn a spot on this page, it has to get everything right.
For the sites that cater to US players, we are especially picky. Banking laws in the United States have caused all kinds of problems for the poker industry in terms of paying winners. Some poker sites have been able to adapt and process withdrawals quickly. Others have stumbled and made it difficult for players to get their money.
Even though slow-pay sites may have legitimate excuses, that doesn't make it any better for players. So we absolutely refuse to recommend sites that have had issues paying players. This isn't a problem for UK and European poker sites, but it's definitely something we look at closely for our US players.
Aside from payment issues, we also look at each site's player pool, the number of active tournaments, average tournament prize pool, software and overall treatment of players. There are enough poker sites to choose from that we can be as picky as we need to find sites that offer a high quality experience on all counts.
So if you care at all about getting the best online poker experience possible, these are the places to visit first. We have put in some serious hours on the virtual felt and are completely confident in recommending these sites to our readers. The only thing you need to do is pick one and make an account.
Best Poker Sites by Category
This isn't the only page on GamblingSites.org dedicated to listing the top poker sites. We have a few other pages in addition to this one that provide recommendations based on specific features offered by some sites. Take a look at any of the following pages for a list of safe poker rooms by category.
You'll see some crossover between the sites on those pages and our top all-around rooms recommended above. If one of our favorite all-around sites fits any of these categories, you can be sure it gets a mention on that page.
For Those Making the Switch from Live Poker
It seems most people trying out online poker for the first time already have some experience either at home or at the casino. If you're making the switch from live poker, we'd like to offer a few tips to help make the transition.
First of all, remember that although the venue has changed, poker is still poker. You don't need to make any drastic changes to your game just because you can't see your opponents. You do miss out on live tells, but you'll learn how to read betting patterns and pay more attention to each opponent's tendencies. It's our opinion that online poker sharpens your hand reading skills significantly.
You should also prepare yourself for a much faster pace. Online poker games move at a good 60 hands per hour compared to the 30-40 you see with live poker. This isn't a good or bad thing, but it's worth noting and preparing yourself for just in case you have a bad night at the tables. It's easy to play way more hands than you realize when you first make the switch.
One nice thing you have to look forward to is the new player bonus you'll get when you join a poker site. When you make your first deposit, you'll get some sort of bonus added to it. For example, a typical bonus gives you a 100% match bonus on your first deposit. The maximum bonus amount ranges from about $500 to $1,000.
The bonus doesn't go straight to your account, though. You'll need to play real money hands to release the bonus. Most sites today release the bonus in $5 or $10 increments as you play. This goes a long ways towards offsetting the rake and helping build the bankroll.
One last thing before we send you off: the players at online poker sites tend to be sharper than the players you see at your local casino. Online poker players are generally young, internet savvy and have done at least a little research on strategy. Move down a couple levels when you make the switch. Give yourself time to adjust to the pace of the game and the more aggressive style favored by internet players.