Finding the Best Online Poker Rooms
At first glance playing online can look very similar to live, all sites offer Texas Hold-em but have different strengths. Bonus offers may be easier to clear, some feature unusual games or types of tournaments. Our reviews will help you to make the best choice of sites suitable for you.
Our online room reviews cover all the features of the poker rooms with in depth information, quick stats and screenshots for each site. As well as things like player traffic, software, games variations offered they also have my personal opinions of the sites.
Personally I feel one of if not the most important factor for choosing a site is fish factor, giving an indication of how easy it is to win at a site, how bad the players are and how much easier it is to turn a profit at a site relative to others.
Most Important Considerations for Choosing a Poker Room
- Strength of Competition
- Player Traffic
- Software & Graphics
- Bonus Offer & Rewards
We’ll look at each of the factors to consider and why in more detail below –
Strength of Competition
Unless you really are at the top of your game, playing high stakes or really want your skills to be stretched you want to be playing at the easiest to win poker sites. If your a novice there is little point in signing up at a tough site to try and qualify for a big bonus if your going to loose more money in the process.
Below is a list of poker sites, networks and skins with links to our full reviews including over 20 of the biggest and best online poker rooms & networks. The list is ranked in order of player traffic showing independent rooms or which network a site is in, starting with the biggest in the industry.
The size of the poker site is also an important thing to consider. Player volumes & variety of tournaments & games will give more choices at larger sites. Whilst bigger bonuses, tournament overlays and reduced competition make smaller newer sites appealing.
- Why is Poker Player Traffic Important ?
There are several advantages to playing at the largest sites –
Always find a cash game at any stakes from micro to high stakes in a format you prefer whether that is short or deep stacked, 6 handed, heads-up or full table.
Much wider choice of tournament types and buy-ins with a lot of entries which means the biggest prizes and guarantees on offer.
There also tends to be more variety of satellites and qualifiers at the bigger sites.
If you like to play non Texas Hold-em variations like Omaha, HORSE, Badugi or Stud then you will definitely want to play at some of the bigger sites as the small ones will not have the choice of games you need.
Equally important when consider a new site is a good level of security, customer support and easy deposit and withdrawal methods for players all of which tend to be better at the biggest and most established names.
- Poker Networks – Positive & Negative
Many poker sites are part of a network of sites or “skins”, the advantage is this maintains a better volume of players by pooling them and offers a better variety of games across all stakes. However the disadvantage is sites on the same skins look very similar apart from colour scheme and branding with generally the same poker games at each site.
On the plus side if you have found a particular networks software & design you like and are comfortable with it’s worth checking out and playing the other sites in the same network.
You can gain additional bonus sign-up money from bonus hunting while continuing to play on a familiar platform. Most networks allow this, but some require signing up with same details and a common ID across the same network – Make sure you understand the rules and don’t break them.
Software & Graphics
Whilst it is important to play at the most profitable tables and against the weakest competition it can be frustrating when the graphics or software let you down. Using a slick and playable site will allow you to play your best rather than fighting against the look or features of a site.
One of our most important rating features is software and graphics. While playing using a winning strategy is key to success you don’t want to play at a site that makes your eyes bleed or is frustrating to spend time on due to poor playability and bad layout.
It’s important to find a site with well designed table and lobby that you enjoy playing at, logical and with a good level of playability. While most sites offer similar looking overhead view poker tables it does make a big difference if you don’t like a sites look or can’t change things. Lobby navigation can be crucial, there is nothing more frustrating when trying to find good games than a badly laid out lobby or poor playability on the table design.
- A Good Poker Lobby Design is Vital
It would be easy to think that the most important design element in a site is how pretty it’s table looks and pleasing the avatars are at the table. While important this is not the most important element of a well designed room – the most important element is how easy it is to navigate the lobby and find the games you really want to play.
One of the most frustrating things is knowing about a particular tournament and not being able to find it easily in the lobby, or wanting to play a certain type of game or format but having to sift through a pile of other games to find what you want.
This problem gets infinitely more pronounced as the poker rooms get bigger …
More games on offer = Much more trouble finding the game you want
The effectiveness with which those sites handle this problem of their own success is vital to your enjoyment and minimising frustration as a player. There is no doubt the bigger sites like PokerStars & FullTilt and networks like iPoker have vastly improved their lobby organisation and layout but they really needed to.
While smaller rooms have fewer games they are generally vastly easier to navigate so if your needs are simple Texas Hold-em games and basic choice of tournaments often you will find the medium sized poker rooms are actually less stressful as a result of a bit less choice. If you regularly want to play HORSE or Badugi games or your a high stakes nose bleed cash game player in whcih case you’ve got to look to PokerStars.
Free money is clearly a tempting bonus for most online players and it can be a useful addition to your bankroll – But you must look at how easy the bonus is qualified …
- Does it have a time restriction ?
- Do points only get earn’t above a certain stake of game ?
- How many raked hands or time at the table is required to clear the bonus ?
- Are you able to take full advantage of the offer and deposit near the maximum ?
Similar looking offers may not be as worthwhile and some sites may not offer the biggest bonuses but they may be far easier to clear.
Final Thought – Trying New Sites Could Be Good For You
Sticking with your favourite poker site is OK but you will be missing out on a lot of free bonus money, freerolls, promotions and you may well be playing at a site which is tough when you could be playing far more profitable poker at several other sites … Give plenty of recommended new sites a try. Everyone and his dog does top 10 lists or rankings but very few will actually rank them based on player priorities … We DO
- About Our Rankings
We have played at 100′s of different poker sites online and fully reviewed over 40 poker rooms in order to compile our top feature ranking lists and country specific recommendations – With only you, the players best experience in mind.
Our various lists are designed to help players find the good sites with the features you want most. We look for the best all-round sites offering a good balance of promotions, VIP incentives and bonus offers as well as a solid range of games and tournaments at all times. Equally important is a good level of security and customer support with easy deposit and withdrawal methods for players.