Comprehensive Review of All Top Online Poker Sites
Online poker is one of the most entertaining ways to spend time on the internet with the potential to make some real-world dollars. Different online poker rooms have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to research the best online poker sites by reading as many online poker reviews as possible.
We’ve done our best to create a curated list of the best online poker sites in the world with a detailed look at features such as software, promotions and even average skill level.
Here’s a look at the best online poker sites for US residents. Keep in mind, PokerStars isn’t on this list because it doesn’t accept players in all states.
Best Online Poker Site Reviews 2019
What to Look for in an Online Poker Site
There are somewhere between 50-60 different online poker sites currently in operation so it can be somewhat overwhelming to try and decide where to play.
Prospective poker players should think about what they want from their playing experience before they throw down their deposit.
Some of the most important factors to consider are as follows:
- Safety & security
- Quality of opponent
- Volume of players
- Game variety
We’ll go into more detail on all seven of the aforementioned items below.
Safety and Security
The #1 most important factor for most poker players is trust.
If they can’t trust an online poker site to hold their funds safely or offer a platform that operates reliably then they’re probably not going to bother putting money on the site.
Fortunately, online poker sites have come a long ways on this front. Nearly every online poker site uses a third-party audited random number generated. This segregates player funds so there’s never a situation where a player can’t withdraw their money.
It’s going to be difficult to have a good time playing poker on a site where the software is sub-optimal. Bad poker software can mean slow games, unintuitive design, glitches and uninspired aesthetics. Most poker players would rank software as one of the most important attributes for a poker site.
Software is another element that has been drastically improved since the early days of online poker. Just as phone apps and web apps are significantly better these days so goes online poker software.
One thing to be aware of is that online poker sites tend to have stand-alone software or software that is built into web browsers. Standalone is generally better but there are merits to both.
Quality of Opponent
Poker is a unique game in the regard that most players want to be playing against the worst players available.
That’s because, quite simply: “Worse players = more money”
This isn’t like a video game where you might enjoy competing against the best players possible. In online poker you can earn significantly more money if you’re playing against worse players. Who doesn’t like earning more money?
There are some exceptions and some poker players just want to learn the game and get better. In those cases it can actually be helpful to compete against elite players.
The vast majority of players prefer playing against weak opponents (sometimes called fish). Some online poker sites are inherently “fishier” than others. It’s an important consideration when picking an online poker site.
Volume of Players
If you’re going to play poker you’re going to need people to play against.
This is especially important for Sit & Go’s and multi-table tournaments where the number of players correlate to the size of the eventual prize pool.
It’s not quite as important for cash game players so long as there are a few games running at their stakes of choice.
So you don’t need to play on the biggest poker site in the world but player traffic is still an important factor to consider.
The vast majority of poker players are all about Texas No-Limit Hold’em.
It’s the world’s most popular poker game and is what’s played in the WSOP Main Event and every WPT Main Event.
It’s not the only game in town, however. You might remember the old-school 5-Card Draw or Seven-Card Stud. It’s possible to find those games online.
Even more popular than Stud or Draw is Pot-Limit Omaha, which is essentially four-card Hold’em and a fantastic game in its own right.
Some of the other lesser-known games include Razz, 2-7, Omaha Hi-Lo and Badugi. Some sites even have their own proprietary games. It’s something to consider when signing up for a new site.
Player acquisition and retention are the two most important metrics for online poker sites.
That’s why online poker sites try to incentivize players with sign-up bonuses (for new players) and rewards programs (for loyal players).
Some sites are willing to give out huge cash bonuses as they attempt to aggressively acquire new players. It’s always worth considering the size of the sign-up bonus and the value of a rewards program when picking an online poker site.
Because there’s actual money on the line you definitely want your online poker site to have a good support team that can help you with any problems that might arise.
Most online poker sites offer a number of support options including live chat, email and phone. There are many players that definitely prefer getting to talk to a real person of an issue pops up.
Some of the support teams are significantly better so it’s another factor that’s worth considering when picking an online poker site.
More Questions About Online Poker Sites
What are the benefits of online poker compared to a home game with my friends?
By all means play home games with your friends! It’s one of the most enjoyable ways to play poker.
There are some advantages to online poker, however. When you play online poker you don’t have to worry about slowing the game down because everything is automated (including the dealing) and your blinds will be posted for you.
Because you play more hands you’ll tend to learn the poker hand rankings faster and understand the game a bit better.
If you’re looking to improve your game, online is probably the best way to play because you can play a huge number of hands against skilled players.
Plus the huge perk of online poker is that it’s available 24/7 every single day of the year!
How do I get money on online poker sites?
There’s a little bit of nuance to getting money onto online poker sites but it’s not that difficult.
Here are some of the popular methods for depositing:
- Credit card
- Wire transfer
- Online wallet
Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are becoming one of the most popular ways to make a deposit thanks to their anonymous nature and the speed that Bitcoin can be processed. If you’ve already got some Bitcoin sitting around then it’s a remarkably simple way to get money onto an online poker site.
Credit cards are another popular method but sometimes it takes several tries to actually get the transaction to go through.
Wire transfer is the old reliable but it also takes the longest amount of time for deposits and withdrawals.
Finally some sites allow online wallets like Neteller and PayPal, which can be a great way to get money online.
How much should I deposit?
This is up to the individual player but you don’t have to deposit that much if you exercise proper bankroll management.
Most players like to deposit anywhere from $50 up to $300 but there are some players who simply get bored by small money poker and will choose to make a big deposit.
Anyone who’s ever played live poker will realize that online poker is quite a bargain compared to brick & mortar casinos.
The smallest game in most real-world casinos is generally $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em ($100 buy-in), which is a sharp contrast to online poker where the stakes scale all the way down to $.01/$.02 ($1 buy-in).
Can I play PokerStars for real money in the USA?
Unfortunately, PokerStars is limited to New Jersey in the USA. There’s a chance more states will allow the online poker giant but for now most people are going to have to look at other options.
For many online poker players PokerStars was their first love so not having access to it can be a bitter pill to swallow
Fortunately there are some other great options for online poker in the USA and it’s worth trying them out if you’re looking to get your poker fix. If you don’t like the poker site you’re currently playing there are always alternatives.