Top 10 Tips for Choosing an Online Poker Sites

Since there are a ton of online poker sites right now, it can be a little confusing when you think about which of these poker rooms might be worthwhile to join. Perhaps all of the various options, features, bonuses, and different collections of games have you a bit confused?

If so, you have come to the right place. Here at OnlinePokerSites.com we have included detailed reviews for a number of the top online poker sites currently in operation. But, this is not enough. You should know how to determine the best poker sites for you. Obviously, each person will have different criteria and ideas about what should be included, but we think you will agree that it will include some combination of the top tips and criteria listed below.

Take a look at these tips and come to your own conclusions. Your choice of site is going to be one the most important initial decisions you make on your poker journey. Of course, there is no rule saying you can't play at more than one, but always remember these factors and tips below so you know when you've found a good one.

1) Focus On Country & Location Restrictions First

It should be the most obvious thing in the world, but you would be surprised how many people get drawn into the bonuses, games, and even the type of player traffic/competition before they even bother to see which countries the poker site in question even accepts. After all, it makes no sense to continue looking if that website is not going to take players from your specific country, say the USA.

Now there is possibly one exception to this, however, it is kind of a grey area. If you really like a particular poker site that doesn't accept players in your country consider using an online tool which hides your IP address. This way, you could make the online poker site or software think you were in one country (that the site will accept) when in reality you are physically in another (that they wouldn't accept, like America).

When doing something like this there will probably be some complications. For example, you really need to think about how to get real money in and out. Using credit cards probably won't work because that information would reveal your actual location. Even a wire transfer service like Western Union will require the country be mentioned. An online e-wallet system like Skrill or Neteller might work. Just make sure it is accepted in both your real country and your 'hidden' location.

2) Welcome Bonuses & Promotions

After determining whether or not you will actually be accepted as a player at the online poker site in question, consider the bonuses and promotions being offered. Most online poker sites, especially newer ones in 2018, will be actively and aggressively seeking new players. In order to do this, their preferred method of marketing is by giving away initial deposit bonuses.

Before you run off and just jump on the largest, biggest sign-up bonus you can find, sit tight for a second. The size of the bonus is only one factor to consider. Also look at the percentage of your deposit. Obviously, a 200% deposit bonus (where they give you a bonus double the size of your initial deposit) is better than 100%. This also reduces the amount of actual real cash it takes to max out that bonus. If you are not prepared to deposit $750 into a poker room offering a 200% up to $1,500 bonus, then it might be best to look for something else.

You also want to evaluate other factors under these general criteria. For example, find out the rules for clearing that bonus, or actually turning into real cash that can be used in your player account. Some poker online sites do make you jump through a lot of hoops, but you are generally going to have play a lot of real money cash games. Then, think about whether you start getting this bonus money released in increments (usually of $5 to $15 each) or if they give you chunks at certain points. Which is better will depend on you—how you play and if you would rather get four or five chunks of cash or lots of little incremental releases.

Almost every poker room is going to offer some type of promotion. This could even be as simple as having a basic VIP or loyalty program. You can eventually accumulate points and convert them back into cash or other prizes. A few sites (but not many according to our research) might even offer a referral program, where you get a bonus for sending your friends to their site. In other (again, rare) cases, a poker room might offer you occasional reload bonuses, where you will get bonus real money for making a subsequent deposit, usually under the same general terms and conditions as the original bonus. Bear in mind there might be some extra initial qualifications, like maybe not having any outstanding bonus still in the clearing process.

3) Traffic & Level Of Competition

You need your chosen online poker sites to have a certain level of traffic. This is not to say you want it to have a gigantic amount of players coming and going, although more is usually better than less. Traffic should be at a level that you can reasonably expect to find a nice game when coming to your websites at the times you like to play. Also, check to see about the action generated at the particular games you enjoy and your desired stakes.

The level of competition is usually determined by the make-up of that player traffic. In other words, a site that generates a lot of its traffic from sports books and other online casinos is going to have a lot of very soft or weak competition. This is exactly what you want—traffic that really gives you a chance to find some games populated by a lot of online poker fish. You can tell this by looking through their statistics and then looking at some of the games and tables themselves.

4) Deposit & Payment Options Must Be Secure

Fortunately, most online poker sites in 2018 are indeed very secure. In fact, the best sites use 128-bit data encryption to ensure your information and all financial transactions are held safely and securely. This is the same type of security used by online banks and financial institutions. So as far as security and safety goes, you should be very well covered.

Pay attention also to the actual methods offered. If you are considering a site that is open to players from all over the world chances are they will be offering many different banking options. Your particular country might not have the possibility of using all the methods offered. In other words, you might be presented with options A thru H, but your country doesn't allow C, E, or F to be used. Think about which methods you want to use (both for making a deposit and for making withdrawals) and which will be the most convenient. Although credit and debit cards are nice, they might not always be reliable; with online poker sites, approval rates can be as low as 10 percent. Never plan on a credit or debit card being your only source of moving money around on a online poker site. Also take a look to see how long it actually takes your payouts to be processed and back in your hand or in your online e-wallet account. Timing can be everything in poker.

5) Types of Cash Games & Tournaments

What types of games do you like to play? It might surprise new (and even some experienced) poker players to learn that tournaments are easily the most popular form of poker on the internet. So look and see that your site has the types of games you want. Tournaments can be freerolls, where you don't need to pay anything to enter (or you can use player points), or real cash buy-in events. Pay attention to the format of the event and how they distribute the prize money. Many tournaments will have some level of guaranteed prize money, although it could be more if they have many people register and play in the event.

This brings up another point, the entry field. If your poker room is very popular, it is entirely possible to have 1,000 or even 2,000 people competing for even a very small guaranteed prize pool. Generally, the field will thin as the buy-in level goes up. Also, if you happen to find smaller online poker rooms that have decent sized guaranteed prizes, but not much in the way of traffic, you might have just found a gem where you can take down some pretty nice sized prizes.

A word about real cash ring games. Every online poker site will offer Texas Hold’em and probably at least one version of Omaha. Better sites will add a Hi Lo Omaha version and maybe some 7-Card Stud. The best online poker sites will include 5-Card Stud, maybe some Draw, and possibly a few Lowball poker and mixed games. The stakes that interest you the most should a decent level of play, from lower skilled players that you feel confident you can beat.

6) Honest Reviews & Site Evaluations

Let's face it, there are a lot of websites out there claiming to have poker reviews that are anything but. The real reason for this is because they have become affiliates of a few poker rooms and are hell bent on promoting those two or three sites over and over.

Instead, you need real reviews and honest information. They can certainly be found; we have a number on this site already and will always add more as our research team discovers poker sites worthy of being called the best.

With that in mind, how can you determine an honest review? For starters, it doesn't only talk about the positive, or give fakes negatives. A fake negative is when they say something like the site doesn't offer a very wide range of games, but those games they do have are very well attended with lots of traffic. That is a way of dodging a question. They should not hide that fact that no poker site is perfect and there will be some weaknesses in addition to the strengths.

7) Top Quality Poker Software & Ways To Play

You want the software of your chosen online poker room to be extremely easy-to-use and understand. Even better if it’s attractive and has nice graphics, although both of those are secondary points. It should just be easy to navigate with decent sized buttons to handle all of the important functions like bet, raise, fold, and call, etc... Having features like being able to play at multiple tables simultaneously is also useful. Being able to take notes on players (and have them automatically pop up when you play that opponent again) and having downloadable hand histories are some excellent options as well.

Also consider the ways to play. If you are locked into downloading and using the software client on your computer, then maybe you would also prefer having the options of playing instantly through your browser (perhaps on a computer at work or when visiting friends and relatives). Being able to download an app and then connect via your smart phone or other mobile device is a perfect way to have your poker online fix whenever and wherever you like.

8) Easy To Use Interface

This is probably not the top consideration, but how the lobby and interface works and looks can make a difference in your online poker site playing experience. Your online poker room should allow you to easily find those games and stakes that you are looking for, without having to hunt around or feel like you need to be a technical expert.

What you don't want is something that is simply annoying or distracting. After all, the interface and the lobby are where you will be looking at a lot. Having one that is easy to use and at least not harmful to the eyes is certainly going to make things better. As much as this online poker tip may not be integral to your online gambling experience, we suggest trying out a few sites so that you can figure out what kind of interface suits you best.

9) Excellent Customer Service

These days, most of the best online poker sites do have professional customer service. At bare minimum there should be an email message center and the support agents respond within a reasonable period of time. They must be friendly and knowledgeable about online (and perhaps offline) poker. Hopefully there are some online help pages as well, like FAQs and maybe game rules and terms and conditions.

The best online poker sites will have additional support options. A phone line can be a great help, especially if it is staffed around the clock...although there are not as many of these as you might imagine in the world of online poker. Having live, online chat is probably the top of the line in terms of service and support. This will allow all your questions to be answered very fast.

10) Poker Training Tools & Advice

Websites that include tips and advice for improving your game can be a nice additional factor. Even if the training and advice is not very helpful, this can be used to attract newer and less skilled players to the site, which is something you really want. If the training is actually helpful, you can probably rest secure in the knowledge that most people are not going to even look at it, much less put it into practice.

Advice and training offered can come in all types and forms. It could be articles or even a regular blog attached to the site. Maybe a resident pro player will make a video tip of the week or tip of the day. Another very often overlooked training tool or help is having beginner or new player only tables. The idea here being that you can slowly ease into things by playing with others at the same basic level. It’s sort of like swimming in the kiddie pool before going into the deep end. HAVE AN EXTRA ONE ON US!

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are really a lot of things to think about when choosing a poker site. The top 10 tips listed above should cover most of the important areas. But, you also need to think about which things are the most important to you. Maybe you just simply want to find fish to grow your bankroll. Then, you could be looking for a site with a mix of traffic that heavily attracted newer and unskilled players. Just adjust your actual sites so they line up with your specific priorities.

Now that you’ve read through our poker online top 10 tips, why not use them to look through our recommended online poker sites.