Top Online Poker Sites: Best Sites to Play At
In this poker sites guide, we cover all important details and information players must understand and learn to get started with playing online the right way. Poker is definitely one of the most widely played card games around that combine many different factors, including skills, strategy, and a bit of luck. All poker games involve gambling as an intrinsic part of gaming sessions.
It should be noted that the game of poker, no matter which variant you choose, is extremely difficult to master. What can make a huge difference is choosing the right room, and fortunately, here were examine many top-rated online poker sites so you do not make a mistake. Even though online games had several bad years, mainly between 2011 and 2015, the game’s popularity is once again on the rise.
Nowadays, online games attract millions of players from different parts of the globe, and top poker websites are growing. Since there are many virtual destinations where players can enjoy online sessions, it is extremely important that players do their research, choose only regulated and licensed sites, and stick to those rooms that cover other important gaming aspects as well.
How We Pick the Best Poker Sites
As previously mentioned, choosing the right room can make a huge difference in your gaming sessions. There are a large number of active online poker websites that you should avoid and a great number of those that are definitely worth checking out. Naturally, these are top-rated online poker sites you can find here. Now you probably wonder how our team picks the best poker sites and what the main criteria in doing so are.
When choosing the best sites to list here, we consider several major factors, including their licensing and regulatory measures. We check their variety of games offered, their bonuses and promotions, and of course, their tournament schedule. Hence, you can only find fully regulated and licensed websites here, which we have tried ourselves. Other criteria we have while reviewing them are their software quality, customer care offered, and overall reputation.
Who Are They Licensed By?
One of the most important things that make a difference between the best online poker sites and the sites you should avoid is their licensing. Players should keep in mind that online games are prohibited in every country. In fact, many countries in the world ban any kind of online poker games. At the same time, there are many countries where the games are readily available across multiple channels and top-rated online poker sites.
Basically, regulated games are those games that are fully licensed by government authorities within a specific country or within a specific region. To be fully protected, players should only register at poker websites that have a license issued by an authority that allows it to offer its service in that country or region. The process of licensing of online poker websites usually involves regulatory tax structures, where certain profit or revenue percentages are paid to countries.
Some of the biggest online markets include the United Kingdom market, where online play is fully allowed, and the Canadian market, which is ruled by the country’s provincial laws. In the United States, online games are allowed in several states, including Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. For an American player to play online poker, they must be physically located in one of the states where the game is regulated by law.
When choosing an online poker website, it is extremely important that you play from a country where it is allowed, or you will expose yourself to all sorts of issues. Keep in mind that playing at regulated sites means being fully protected in every way, which is not the case when playing at unregulated, unlicensed rooms, many of which are currently flourishing in the industry.
Staying Safe and Protected While Playing
Besides checking your chosen poker website’s licensing and regulatory measures, you should always check its safety and security measures. This is one of the most important criteria we consider when reviewing top-rated online poker sites. This means that leading operators, in addition to holding a valid license provided by a government authority, should also use the most modern, most reliable SSL encryption.
Remember that online poker websites that use this kind of safety and security measures can fully protect their customers. This technology is aimed at keeping customers’ private and financial data safe while helping and maintaining responsible gaming. Besides using SSL encryption technologies, top online poker sites are generally audited by prominent third-party organizations that have the main goal of ensuring fair play.
Some of the most prominent third-party organizations in the industry are eCOGRA, iTechLabs, EGBA, GamStop, GamCare, GLI, ESSA, IBAS, and Thawte. Established in 2003, the United Kingdom–based eCOGRA is definitely the most renowned independent regulatory and audit body in the online gaming industry. This international regulatory body focuses on both player protection and fair gaming, and majority of top online poker sites are audited by them.
Another highly trusted and reputable independent regulatory body is iTechLabs. This Australia-based certification and testing company also specializes in all sorts of online gaming systems, and it tests a massive number of RNGs every single year. Some of the best rooms are also regularly audited by other regulatory bodies of this kind such as Thawte, which provides the most modern SSL encryption certificates. Other mentioned companies also ensure fair play at all times.
Variety of Games and If There Is Enough Traffic
Before you choose your poker website and register, the best idea is to check that site’s gaming offering. This is exactly what we do while reviewing poker websites. In other words, we check the variety of games they offer and whether the websites have enough traffic so that players have tables ready at all times. Keep in mind that all top-rated websites feature a rich variety of choices packed with all sorts of variants to suit everyone’s preferences.
Fortunately, you do not have to look at other places as you will find a number of top online poker sites right here offering loads of games, including Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo, 5-Card Draw, 2-7 Triple, and Single Draw. Some of these websites also feature popular speed variations such as Rush and Zoom, while some also offer more unique variants, including Badugi, HORSE mixed games, and Razz.
As previously mentioned, top online poker sites feature a number of tournaments, which generally boast impressive guaranteed prize pools. Depending on your chosen website, you can play daily, weekly, or monthly tournaments. Furthermore, since these websites feature massive player bases, there are always enough players in the pool.
In conclusion, you should pay attention to your chosen site’s traffic in general and, of course, the variety of games on offer. Depending on your preferences and on your budget, find a website that offers a variety of games that you want to play, featuring enough players in the pool so that you do not have to wait to start your gaming sessions, and finally, find a website that offers enough exciting scheduled tournaments that can help you boost your bankroll.
Quality of the Poker Client and User Experience
When reviewing poker websites and rooms, we always check what kind of player experience customers can expect. In fact, it is one of the most crucial aspects you should consider when choosing your room. You definitely want your chosen site to offer a top-notch, high-quality client in addition to a reliable and trustworthy customer support service, which make the two most important factors in overall player experience.
Keep in mind that top online poker rooms always offer the best player experience. Moreover, all of them feature neatly rendered, beautifully designed poker platforms that are super easy to navigate. The poker platforms that are user-friendly usually feature all the most important information displayed so that players can easily find what they are looking for.
In the majority of cases, players see bonuses and promotions on offer displayed on the main screen, alongside info on the current and upcoming tournaments. Top poker rooms also feature neatly displayed contact forms so that players can get in touch with the websites’ representatives easily in case of any issue, question, or concern.
Therefore, before you register, make sure that you check the website’s navigation and ease of use. Do your homework, check some reviews left by present or past players, and note what other users are saying. Another important thing to check is the registration process as well as deposit and withdrawal methods as you do not want to register somewhere where your preferred banking options are not supported.
Enjoy Rich Bonuses and Promotions with Top Poker Sites
All the best online poker rooms and websites offer rewarding bonuses for their customers. This comes as no surprise because bonuses are the biggest acquisition tool used to attract more fresh players as well as keep loyal players from finding a new online poker room. Since bonuses are among the most attractive features in the industry, registering at top online poker sites means enjoying all sorts of perks.
Some of the biggest names in the industry offer a variety of first-deposit bonuses or welcome bonuses, generous no-deposit bonuses, and invite-a-friend bonuses as well as depositors’ free tournaments, tickets for special events, and much more. It is important to mention that some bonuses are offered to newcomers only, while others are reserved for already-registered players. They also come with terms and conditions, which should always be checked before claiming them.
What is even more, top online poker sites also offer player-favorable rakeback, thanks to which players can maximize their profits. For those who do not know, the rake is a certain percentage that sites take from every single real-money pot. This percentage is usually small. Afterward, the rakeback is used to redistribute a part of those funds back to loyal players. For instance, with a rakeback of 10%, you receive 10% of your rake generated back on a weekly or monthly basis.
Reputation in the Industry: What Others Are Saying
Another extremely important thing you must check before you register at any room or website is its reputation. To do so, check its online reviews, and even more importantly, check its current and previous customers’ reviews. Top online poker sites mentioned here all have a great reputation among players for a variety of reasons. This is also the case with bigger, long-standing brands.
While choosing a big, prominent, and long-standing brand is always a great idea, you should not run from newly established, up-and-coming rooms that are just emerging on to the scene. In other words, you should not run from smaller, new sites as they still have to prove themselves; therefore, they focus on bringing new unique features and perks to the table.
In addition to checking the features mentioned in the previous sections, another important thing is to check your chosen website’s customer care department. Most new players fail to think about customer service when finding a reputable, legit website to play. In fact, this is something that rarely occurs to people until they need customer support, and by then, it may be too late if they have picked the wrong room.
The best online poker sites feature reliable and trustworthy customer support departments with professional, friendly agents who are knowledgeable and always ready to assist. All the best online rooms mentioned here offer several different methods players can use to get in touch with customer support agents. The most popular methods are phone and e-mail support, a convenient live chat feature, contact forms, and FAQ sections available on the website.
You want your chosen website to feature at least a couple of these options, and you want them to be available 24/7. This way, you can rest assured that you will get assistance any time you need it and that your concerns or possible issues will be resolved in a timely fashion. Otherwise, you may be disappointed with your chosen destination if things don’t go as planned and you find yourself in need of assistance.
Poker Tips That Will Help You Raise Your Game to the Next Level
It is being said that poker is super easy to learn but extremely hard to master, and this is definitely true. Playing at top online poker sites, enjoying the most popular game variations, and joining the biggest tournaments do not mean winning without a good strategy, basic skills, and knowledge of the game. There are some valuable tips and tricks that can definitely help you boost your bankroll by raising your game to the next level. In this section, you will learn some of the basic tips that can turn you from a newbie poker player to a winning one in almost no time.
Pick Your Game
If your ultimate goal is to become a winning player, playing big tournaments means investing hours. Hence, you should prepare yourself for long playing time, and stay patient at all times. If your goal is to play tournaments, make sure you prepare yourself to play against a large number of professional and nonprofessional opponents.
In other words, newbies are advised to avoid playing poker tournaments at least at the beginning as their opponents may be professionals with more skills.
It is extremely important that you explore different game variants so that you refine your skills and finally beat the game.
Another idea is to choose lower-stakes games simply because you do not want to waste your money at the beginning.
One better idea for newbies is to try free games first, which are usually available at almost every online poker room and, after some time, try real-money tables. Playing all sorts of games means constantly improving your skills, and this is what makes a difference between losing and winning.
Do not be afraid to play new games and, if possible, play against nonprofessional players who are similar to you. Once you have refined your skills, you can increase your stakes and try some higher-stakes games and tournaments. This leads us to another extremely important thing, your bankroll management skills.
Handle Your Money: Bankroll Management
To turn into a winning player, you have to build your bankroll and carefully manage your finances. At the beginning, spend only what you can afford to lose and never spend a penny more than what you intended. It is extremely important that you stick to your budget no matter your winning or losing streak.
While playing lower-stakes games, work on familiarizing yourself with all important aspects. Even though it may be tempting to multi-table, avoid this until you have set your budget, you have refined your skills, and you have a great understanding of the game.
Make sure that you begin playing lower stakes at least at the beginning, it is important that you stick to your budget.
Get to know the lobby and layout of your chosen poker website, the game, and start playing at a single table.
Control Your Emotions
Overall, it is all up to you and your mental game. Top online poker sites offer loads of fun; however, it is up to you to boost your game, devise your strategy, and build your fortune. Nonetheless, you can control your budget, you can refine your skills, you can familiarize yourself with the game, and you can boost your winning odds.
Another important thing is to always try and keep your emotions in check. Poker can be a mentally draining game, and your emotions can get better of you at times. This is often described as “tilt”—a broad term that describes a variety of emotional responses to things happening at the poker table.
Remember that poker is a game of skill and chance; therefore, there will be losing and winning hands, and you cannot control it.
While there are different types of tilt caused by all sorts of triggers, it is important to try and avoid as many of them.
Ideally, you always want your reason to come ahead of your emotions when playing and only make decisions with your head, not your heart.
Comparison between Online Poker and Live Poker
Whether you play poker from the coziness of your home at your computer or in a land-based casino, it is exactly the same game. Players in both variants make good and bad calls, win and lose, devise their strategies, and so on. In fact, many of the skills developed in one format easily translate to the other. Therefore, there is much more overlap than before as many players, including some top players, play both live and online.
Even though live and online poker is essentially the same, there are some minor differences. First of all, online games are tougher on average as the play quality is usually higher, especially as you move up through the stakes. Furthermore, online play is much faster, and you get to see many more hand when playing on your computer than in a live casino setting.
Variance or swings are usually higher in online poker games because of their faster pace than in live poker, which is usually softer. At the same time, online poker features more variety, while live games offer a much better social setting. Thus, at the end of the day, it is still the same game; however, switching between the two does require certain adjustments.
What Is the Future of Online Poker?
The future of online poker looks brighter than ever, thanks to the best online poker rooms that utilize the most modern technology to give a truly immersive gaming experience to every single player. The truth is that the 20-year history of online games, with emerging tech and improved product, is being enriched every single day, and there is plenty of reasons for great optimism.
What is even more, the number of sites and players has been increasing rapidly since 2012. This signals a massive rise in demand. The poker rooms are also constantly evolving, having made a successful transition from land-based casinos to mobile phones and laptops while the latest technological advancements will allow VR poker games probably in the near future.
Poker as a game of emotional involvement and excitement for both amateurs and pros is thriving. Playing at top online poker sites means not only enjoying loads of bonuses but also exploring an impressive selection of game variations, taking part in exciting tournaments with big guarantees, and experiencing other gaming perks.
Playing poker online also means breaking down those commonly daunting social obstacles and barriers as well as enjoying the most convenient sessions at all times. Before you hop on your online gaming journey and begin your quest for pro-ness, make sure you check our top online poker sites listed here to get an idea where to begin.