There is a very large interest for online poker and consequently, there are a number of online operators that offer players to satisfy their need for poker on their website.
Every poker website claims to be the best, but we all know that it can’t be the case.
In addition to knowing how to play poker and being able to beat their opponents, poker fans must also know how to choose the best poker website, or at least one that is good enough and reliable enough.
There are several factors that should be taken in consideration when choosing an online poker site. Some of those factors are generally more important than others.
On the other hand, what is of great importance to someone, might be less crucial for somebody else. It is good for every player to set their own priorities and determine which poker website offers what they’re looking for.
The legal aspect is perhaps the most important or one. Or at least it is the first thing that should be taken into consideration. If a poker site doesn’t have a clear legal status, then you should definitely not trust it. Different countries have different regulatory bodies that are in charge of licensing and regulating poker websites. Even if your country doesn’t have that kind of an organization, a license issued by an authority of some other country should be sufficient evidence that the website is legitimate.
The reputation of the operator, either the company that owns the site or the one that operates it is another clear indicator of the reputation of the poker site itself. For example, if the site owner is a respectable company, with years of experience in the online entertainment business and if it also owns other successful and popular online gaming sites, like a casino or a bingo site, that is a strong sign that the poker site in question is safe, reliable and can be trusted.
Software and User-Friendliness
It goes without saying that everybody would prefer a site that functions smoothly over a one that crashes and freezes occasionally, or frequently. A user-friendly website is a one which is easy to navigate through and where you will be able to find exactly what you’re looking for right away. A website that is informative and presents all the relevant and important information in a clear and concise manner will surely make the whole gaming experience a lot more pleasant.
It also depends on what type of a player you are and what kind of games you prefer. For example, some poker rooms are better for tournaments, so if you’re more of a tournament player, you’ll definitely prefer such rooms. Furthermore, some sites only support certain types of OS.
Speaking of support and operating systems, mobile support should definitely be mentioned. We live at a time when almost everyone owns a smartphone or a tablet, or both and they are used a lot more often than before. Most online poker rooms provide mobile support and it is possible to log in and play on your smartphone or tablet. Just make sure that the type of smartphone and tablet that you own and its operating system are supported. Generally speaking, if you have an Android or iOS phone or tablet that are not too old, you’re good to go.
Traffic and Game Availability
Online poker rooms are different from other websites that offer online gaming for real money, among other things, because at poker rooms you play against other players. The quality of the gaming experience doesn’t depend solely on the website itself and the software quality, but also on the other players.
That is why the number of players that have active accounts at a poker site is another factor that is going to affect your decision. It’s not just the number of active accounts. It is also important how many players are at the website at any given moment. For example, if a poker site primarily targets players from one country or region, it is not very likely that there will be many people playing at the time when it is 4 am in that region. Even though some poker rooms typically peak during ‘European’ hours, whereas at others there’s more activity during ‘North American’ hours, there are such that are busy throughout most of the day.
Moreover, some games at a particular poker room may be offered 24/7, whereas other games open only few times are a day. If you’re looking forward to participating in a specific tournament you might have to wait for a while. It is important to note, as we mentioned above that some online poker operators are more focused on cash games, whereas others primarily offer tournaments.
It is also important what type of games get most players. Some sites might get most of their traffic by players who play low-wager games, whereas other sites are more commonly visited by high-rollers.
Game variety is another factor. If you prefer playing the more common, standard poker games like No Limit Texas Hold‘em, then this won’t be of great importance to you, because that game can be played practically at any site. But, if you’re looking for a less standard variation like Pot-Limit Omaha, or something even less known like Five-Card, then the factor ‘game variety’ will definitely be of great importance to you, as not all sites offer games that aren’t that popular with the majority of players.
Typically, more renowned, larger sites will feature more variants.
Not all players have the same skills and, naturally, it is better if you’re playing against players who are less or equally skilled as you, than if you’re playing against more skilled players. Some sites attract more professional players, whereas other are more popular with rookies.
Bear in mind that sites that are commonly visited by newbies might start attracting very skilled players, as soon as the latter realize that they can make nice profits. It is not very easy to determine and decide which sites attract more gullible and unskilled players and where the professionals are ‘hanging out’, but it can be done.
Poker Bots and How to Spot Them
Another issue that might arise when you’re playing poker in an online poker room are the so called poker bots. Even though sites generally try to eliminate them and prevent them from logging in and playing poker, not all of them are successful. Some might not even try that hard. If a site has a reputation of allowing bots, perhaps it is best to avoid it.
It is not always easy to determine whether a player at your table is a genuine player or a poker bot. Not responding to messages and communication is one of the signs that a player is a bot, but lack of communication alone isn’t sufficient to conclude whether the player in question is a bot. If a player always takes the same amount of time before deciding their next step, if their bet raises are always the same and standard, then it might be a bot.
Bonuses and Promotions
Due to the fact that there are many poker websites which compete to gain the trust of millions of players, sites employ various techniques in order to attract new players and keep the ones that are already registered. Offering bonuses and promotions is one of the most fruitful techniques.
Many sites organize free tournaments or hand out deposit cash bonuses. Getting a hefty bonus increases your winning chances, as you get an opportunity to earn without risking anything. Most poker sites offer a deposit match where you get a percentage (usually the full amount, 100%, but sometimes even up to 200%) of your deposit, as a bonus.
Many new online poker rooms often offer quite lucrative bonuses in order to promote themselves, and it is always wise to take advantage of such offers.
When it comes to funding your account and withdrawing, every player will be looking for a poker site that can guarantee fast, safe and preferably free transactions. The more payment methods a poker operator accepts the better.
However, if you have a particular preferred payment method and you intend to make payments only via that method, then you should be looking whether the operator in question accepts that payment method or not.
Most reliable websites employ the latest online security technologies which guarantee that third parties won’t have access to your financial details. Most poker sites don’t charge any extra fees on deposits and withdrawals, although there might be some that do.
If you’re looking for an online poker operator, then you will definitely consider most, if not all of the things we listed above. You can prioritize and choose what is most important for you. You may also consider some additional details, like customer support or available languages. We are here to help, but in the end, the choice is undoubtedly yours.