What Makes a Great Online Poker Site?

A man plays poker on his computer connected to an internet gaming site. Karen Bleier/ AFP

It can be difficult to choose an online poker site at a time when so many operators are competing for your business. We have broken down some of the key attributes you should look for when searching for your perfect online poker site: 

Poker Game Variety 

You should be able to enter a broad array of tournaments and cash games on a 24/7 basis. Tournaments should include a healthy mix of MTT, SNG, and freeroll tournaments, plus progressive KO tournaments, shootouts, satellites, and series. There should be deep stacks, turbos, and hyper-turbo tournaments, while the best poker sites also offer a range of freezeout, rebuy, and re-entry tournaments. 

Traffic and Liquidity 

It is no good signing up for a poker site that receives poor traffic, as you will struggle to find players to compete against. The best poker sites have a high volume of traffic and excellent liquidity, with new games starting every minute. You should find a wide range of skill levels among the customer base, giving you plenty of fish to feed on. 

Range of Buy-Ins 

The leading poker sites welcome casual players with low buy-ins, but they also cater to high rollers with buy-ins of $400 or more. They should offer convenient deposits via a range of different methods – including credit cards, online bank transfers, e-checks, and e-wallets such as PayPal – and quick, secure, reliable payouts, with no banking fees. The deposit and withdrawal limits should also be broad. 

Competitive Rake and Fees 

You should hunt out a poker site with low tournament fees, pot rakes, and time collections. There are several high-quality poker sites competing for your business, so it makes sense to choose the operators that provide the most attractive terms. Remember that the VIP program or loyalty program will reduce the rake and the fees by paying you back a percentage in the form of reward points, which can be used for future tournament entries. 

Guaranteed Prize Pools 

The leading online poker sites guarantee that the prize pool will hit a certain total. If the tournament does not attract enough players, the site makes up the difference with an overlay. You deserve to be rewarded for success when playing online poker, so it is important to look out for guaranteed prizes. 

Strong User Experience 

You should land in a simple, user-friendly lobby that provides you with lots of filters. This helps you quickly find the types of games and tournaments you are likely to be interested in. The interface should be clean and uncluttered, the software should be reliable, and the navigation should be simple. The best sites also have poker training tools for beginners and a variety of freerolls to help you hone your skills. 

Appealing Bonuses 

The online poker industry is very competitive, so the best sites offer attractive welcome bonuses in a bid to stand out. You should receive free tournament entries, deposit matches, and other promotions, while also benefiting from an ongoing loyalty program. 

Solid Security 

The best online poker sites use the latest Transport Layer Security encryption software to keep your personal and financial details protected at all times. They have dedicated security teams to fend off threats too. They are licensed, legal, regulated operators, and they take responsible gambling seriously

Attentive Customer Service 

You should ideally benefit from 24/7 customer service via a range of channels, such as live chat, phone, and email. The waiting times should be minimal, and the agents should be friendly, knowledgeable, polite, and happy to help with any questions you might have.