Finding the best poker site isn’t the easiest task. Few of them exist, sadly, despite there being 100’s of them online. It’s all relative at the end of the day anyway. If a poker site offers only Holdem and Omaha, and I LOVE holdem, then that’s a great site for me.
However, if your favorite game is stud, it’s not going to be a good site for you, is it? The best poker site for you will a site that offers stud variations — 7-Card Stud, 5-Card Stud, Razz and so on.
And for those people we have toplist pages that provide our opinion on what the best sites are for specific games, stakes or needs, such as deposit options or American players. I recommend checking those out if you’re looking for something more specific.
For everyone else, however, that don’t care where they play, so long as it’s safe, fair and fun, then what we have on this page are the best (general) poker sites. These sites will give you the best experience if you like a little bit of everything. Below that we explain what goes into our decision when choosing these sites.
5 Things the Best Poker Sites Have
1. Lots of Traffic
Traffic is very important to a poker site. In fact, nothing else really matters if a site doesn’t have an adequate number of players. The poker site can have every game you like to play, tons of bonuses and freerolls, but if they only have 500 players on their site at any given time, how easy do you think it will be to take advantage of, or participate in, all of these perks?
The amount of traffic a site has affects the site (company), too, which in turn will affect you. If they don’t have a lot of players, that means they make less money. Less money means fewer (free money) bonuses, money-added freerolls, fewer and smaller guaranteed tournaments and weaker VIP programs. Don’t forget that less money means a higher risk of a poker site going broke, packing up and leaving. Quite possibly without paying their players, too.
2. Games and Stakes
The best poker sites will have a variety of games and stakes. More importantly, they’ll have the games and stakes you like to play.
From personal experience I can tell you that you’ll probably want to have an account at (at least) two poker sites. I’ve found that even the largest poker sites (PokerStars) don’t have everything.
Anyway, the point is that the site you sign-up to should have games you like to play and/or like to learn. They should have traffic to them, run when you’re able to play and stakes you can afford. If you don’t have a specific game in mind, then the larger the variety (with traffic), the better.
We try our best to relay this information in our reviews. However, we can’t possibly cover every single game, stake and variation. So you may need to check for yourself. Just create an account and take a look.
3. Banking Options
The best poker sites will have several deposit options for you to choose from.
The reason why having more than one option is important is because complications do happen. Especially for US players. If you’re an American and try to use your credit/debit card, it’s a real possibility that your card will be declined. So you’ll want to find a site with something else, like an e-wallet or money transfer service. Anything that Americans have access to.
Another thing to be on the lookout for are fees. Most poker sites will not charge you anything for making a deposit, but it will be hit and miss on what sites will charge you for withdrawals. The best poker sites will have fewer, smaller or no fee (options).
4. Reasonable Terms and Conditions for Bonus Offers
Every poker site will offer a sign-up bonus. At least, every site we recommend. That’s just a standard practice nowadays.
However, not every bonus is worth chasing. Especially with the terms and conditions that some of these poker sites come up with.
The best poker sites will have reasonable terms for their bonuses. In other words, they will require fewer hands or dollars (in rake) to be played to clear the bonus (so you can keep it). So what is reasonable? That’s hard to say, since the stakes you play, your bankroll, games available, free time, etc all come into consideration. But I wouldn’t pay more than $20-$30 for every $5 of your bonus.
The best poker sites will offer other promotions in addition to their deposit bonus. Things like reload bonuses, VIP programs, guaranteed tournaments and so on.
The best promotions, in my opinion, are VIP programs and guaranteed tournaments. When done well, VIP programs can offset a lot of your losses, especially if you’re a regular grinder. The best VIP programs will offer cash back, one-on-one service, exclusive freerolls and more. Basically, more ways to earn more money.
Guaranteed tournaments are great for all players. It gives you the opportunity to win a lot of money from a small investment. Most, if not all poker sites provide step or satellite tournaments into these tournaments, too. So for many tournaments you can buy in for as little as $1, but with the opportunity to take down a $xx,xxx or $xxx,xxx score.