How to Choose the Right Online Poker Room For You
Today's poker players are spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a poker room to play at thanks to there being dozens of major sites offering online poker services to them. Sometimes, too much choice can make the selection process stressful, so here at PokerNews we've created a ranking system for what we believe are the best online poker rooms in business today.
PokerNews' Online Poker Room Rankings
The team at PokerNews are not only experts in all areas of poker, we also love this fantastic game and are avid online poker players ourselves. This means that we are committed to providing an accurate ranking system that helps you, our loyal readers, to choose a poker room that is going to provide you with endless entertainment and a first class experience every time you sit down to play poker.
When one of our team is tasked with writing a review of an online poker room, they go to great lengths to ensure the review is accurate, fair and a true representation of what you will experience if you choose to give your business to that particular poker room.
To do this, the reviewer looks at several key areas – detailed below – and puts the software through its paces so you know what to expect when you come to create your account at the site in question. In short, we do all of the groundwork and research so you do not have to.
Which Are The Best Online Poker Rooms?
One of the most common questions asked by poker players is which are the best online poker rooms. The answer to this question, like most poker-related enquiries, is it depends.
As the saying goes “one man's meat is another man's poison,” meaning that what one person finds ideal for an online poker room may not be what someone else is looking for. Cash game players have different needs than multi-table tournament specialists, while low-stakes grinders look at a site differently to high-volume high-stakes players.
Thankfully, regardless of what games you play and what stakes you currently compete it, PokerNews' online poker room rankings and reviews give you an insight into what to expect from each poker room listed; both the positive and negative qualities are there for all to see.
How Does PokerNews Rank Online Poker Sites?
Our team members examine each of the online poker rooms in great detail before publishing their findings on the PokerNews site. As you will see from the reviews, we give a brief description of the poker room, list several pros and cons and reveal who the poker room's owner is, where its headquarters are, who provides the online poker room with its software and, if known, where the game servers are located.
From there, we take a look at bonuses and loyalty schemes offered by each poker room, examine where most of the site's traffic is concentrated, detail any notable software features that allow the site to stand out from other poker rooms, list the deposit and withdrawal methods, before highlighting the all-important customer support channels.
If a site has plentiful traffic across all games and formats they will rank higher than online poker rooms that are less busy. Likewise, should a poker room offer generous sign-up bonuses or run regular value-packed promotions it will rank higher than one where these offers are scant.
By looking at these key areas, you know what to expect (and what not to expect) before you sign up to a poker room, which means you can concentrate solely on playing poker and enjoying yourself.
What Should I Look For In An Online Poker Room?
It is all well and good having the PokerNews reviews at hand, but what should you be looking for other than glowing references from our team of experts? Here are some key areas that you should be looking for in an online poker room.
Bonuses and Loyalty Scheme
Every online poker room offers new customers a bonus when they sign up for an account with them. The size of the bonus and the conditions of its release vary wildly from each poker room, but most require you to make an initial deposit and will gift you a bonus based on the size of that deposit.
An increasing number of online poker rooms offer a no-deposit bonus so you can test the software for yourself without the need to risk any of your own bonus. The main downside to these types of bonuses is they are always much smaller than a typical welcome, sign-up or first deposit bonus.
Once you have signed up to a poker room, it will want to retain your business and one way to do this is via a loyalty of VIP scheme. Again, like bonuses, these scheme vary from site-to-site so finding one that suits how much poker you play is key. Some VIP schemes look amazing at first glance, often offering huge prizes for reaching the top levels, but if the stakes and volume that you play makes reaching those dizzy heights impossible they may as well be offering you the moon.
For a poker room to even be considered for review at PokerNews we ensure that it has receive official certification from an authorised online gaming regulatory body in regards to its random number generator and in its encryption methods.
Thankfully, these days, the best online poker sites are bound by strict terms of its license and security is taken very seriously.
Traffic and Games Offered
If you prefer to play mid-stakes pot limit Omaha high/low there is no point signing up with a poker room that does not spread these games. Short-handed no limit Hold'em cash games are by far the most popular format offered by online poker rooms today, yet some sites enjoy plenty of traffic in other games while some offer specialist games rarely found in the online poker world.
Software Features and Functionality
Even if a poker room ticks all of the above boxes, you may not want to play there if its software is not up to scratch. Software of the major online poker rooms has massively improved in recent years and even some of the smaller poker rooms have excellent software.
Look at the features offered by a poker room such as auto top-up, preferred seating, automatic rebuys and anything that you prefer to have available to you and see if is available on your chosen site. Chances are, if it is listed among our best online poker rooms, the features you require will be present.