Despite suffering significant overlays in the last series, Party Poker is going head-to-head-to-head against PokerStars and 888Poker once more in September.
There is no one answer to the question “What makes a good poker site?” Different online poker rooms offer different benefits to each style of player and their specific motives for playing online poker. Some players will never look beyond the headline first deposit bonus. Others may want to consider the ongoing rewards program and the standard of competition.
Playing online poker is not always about profitability. Some players just want to enjoy a game of cards in a safe online environment at which there is social engagement. It is a bonus if they win something at the end of the evening. Consequently, what we have done is play at all poker sites listed below and rated them according to our player experience.
What Did We Look For when Choosing the Best Poker Sites?
- Value – Where we could find the best bonuses, promotions and player benefits
- Software – It had to be reliable, easy-to-use and fair, and compatible with mobiles
- Security – Of utmost importance when you hand you money over to an online operator
How to Play Online Poker
Online poker is played in many different ways. Most people will be familiar with No Limit Texas Hold´em Poker, as that is the game most commonly played in casinos and in home games around the world. But what if you do not have the discipline to play “Fold´em” and want more action at the online tables?
Our online poker game guide explains how to play different formats of online poker and provides tips about how to get the most from each game. Playing poker is not just about the cards you are dealt. It is also about the players you are up against and your position in the betting action.
Read more in our Guide to Online Poker Games
How to Create an Online Poker Account
If you are about to create an online poker account for the first time, the process is usually very straightforward. There is one important point you should be aware of. Always enter your name, address and any other personal information in the format that appears on documents you may need to verify your identity.
It is not always necessary to verify your identity when you create your poker account. You will need to do it however before you are allowed to withdraw your winnings. Providing an online poker site with copies of your credit card/passport/utility bill also adds a level of security if ever a transaction has to be confirmed.
How to Make a Real Money Deposit
Poker sites make it as easy as possible to make a real money deposit and they offer multiple deposit options. Depending on your country of residence you will usually have a choice of plastic, e-Wallets and bank transfers. Are you not sure which to use? We have compiled a guide to deposit options that cover the most popular funding methods.
Check whether the poker site will allow you to receive your winnings back to the same funding source before you make a real money deposit. You should look out for minimum and maximum limits for deposits and withdrawals. Ensure that you are funding your account with the same currency as will be used on the site. You don´t want your winnings swallowed up by foreign exchange charges and currency fluctuations!
Read more in our Deposit Options Section
How to Clear a Poker Bonus
Poker bonuses are all cleared in the same way. “Player Points” are allocated to players depending on how much rake is deducted from the pot in a cash game and how much they have put into the pot. Points can be allocated for paying an entry fee for a real money Sit & Go game or online poker tournament. Once a pre-determined number of points is reached an amount from the outstanding bonus is released into your real money account. The number of points required and the value of the increment varies from site to site.
One thing that is standard on every poker site is that some players will play beyond an appropriate stake level to try and clear their bonuses quicker. This is the fast-track way to losing all your money. Without wishing to sound like your mother, learn a little bit about bankroll management before you start playing online poker for real money. The best tip is to never put more into a poker site than you can comfortably afford to lose.
The Benefits of Reward Programs
Rewards programs are provided to incentivise players to remain loyal to the site. Effectively they work in a similar way to the first deposit bonus. The Points that are collected for contributing to the rake or for paying an entry fee can be exchanged for cash or tournament entry tickets. Some sites have online gift shops where you can exchange your points for poker merchandise or you can enter selected events with your points instead of cash.
Most reward programs have an ascending scale for awarding reward points. Players who put in a higher volume at the tables receive an enhanced level of rewards. It is worth looking into what has to be achieved to reach a higher level. Point´s multipliers at higher levels can have a substantial impact on the viability of playing at a specific site. Just as with clearing the first deposit bonus, chasing a higher status level is no excuse for playing beyond your bankroll and losing all your money!
Taking Advantage of Poker Promotions
All poker sites have some form of promotion schedule in addition to the first deposit bonuses and a player rewards program. These promotions can significantly enhance the online poker experience when done well, and when players are encouraged to complete challenges or reach certain milestones in order to pick up extra cash benefits.
Many of the best poker sites on PokerSite.co have online casinos and sportsbooks. A lot of promotions can result in you winning free spins on slots or free bets on sports action. More adventurous poker players can take advantage of qualifying for live poker events with VIP packages thrown in. It is a good idea to follow your preferred poker site on social media. Many of the promotions offered by the site will be Facebook or Twitter exclusive.
Don´t be Limited to One Poker Site
The final piece of advice we can provide for new players is that you don´t have to select only one poker site to play at. You are not allowed to play at different sites on the same network simultaneously because that will result in a ban. But you can register an account with as many poker sites as you wish to take advantage of first deposit bonuses, player rewards programs and poker promotions.
Just remember to play responsibly and get the maximum enjoyment (and profit) from your online poker experience.
Keep Up to Date with the Latest Poker Promotions News
Keeping up to date with the latest poker promotions news is the best way to make sure you get maximum benefit from the promotions offered by online poker sites. It will often be to your advantage to participate in poker promotions from the first day they are running – especially when they are rake based or have a selection of milestones you have to complete.
Following the success of last year´s Olympic-themed Summer ChampionChips tournament series, 888Poker is re-running the promotion next week.
Party Poker has released details of a new opt-in cashback rewards program that returns up to 40% of the rake and fees paid by players each week.
Getting advanced notice of an online poker series can also be helpful. Not only will it help you to plan your schedule in advance, but often major online poker series are accompanied by a satellite schedule to help you qualify for the primary events in the series. Typically the earlier the satellite, the fewer players compete in it – maximising your chances for qualification.