In general, the biggest online poker sites are the safest choice. However, the best online poker site for you may depend on several factors. Check out our fully-comprehensive online poker room reviews on this page for full details and find the perfect poker room for you.

The Best Online Poker Sites

The Best Online Poker Sites: Closer Look

Bovada Logo with red background

Bovada

Bovada Poker launched in 2004 and, after several rebrands, has established itself as one of the premier US-facing poker sites. Bovada offers its players a wide range of games and is known for having some of the softest games around. That’s largely thanks to its rec-friendly policies, as the site owners aim to keep the game fun and enjoyable for players of all skill levels.

  • Accepts US Players
  • Offers Large Guarantee MTTs
  • The First Site To Offer Anonymous Tables
Bovada Poker Review
gg 1500

GG Poker

Online poker can become a grind if you’re not careful, but GG Poker is making poker fun again. Built by a team of professionals who wanted to make a lasting impact on the direction of online poker, GG Poker is an exemplary model for how a site should be run. Everything is geared toward the player, from massive guarantee MTTs to features that help you improve your game. You can even have a dancing Daniel Negreanu on your table; who wouldn’t want that?

  • Created And Run By Experienced Poker Professionals
  • Offers A Built-In HUD

 

GG Poker Review
Bodog

Bodog

If you’re looking for a site with a storied history in the industry, Bodog has you covered. With nearly 30 years in the game, Bodog knows how to run a poker site. They have a great selection of games, lots of traffic, and an easy-to-use UI. They even offer cryptocurrency as a payment option!

  • Accepts Cryptocurrency
  • Large Sign-Up Bonus
  • Fantastic Customer Service
Bodog Poker Review
888 poker

888 Poker

Originally known as Pacific Poker when it launched way back in 1997, 888 Poker is now one of the most established poker networks in the world. As one of the official sponsors of the WSOP, 888 Poker offers players the chance to win their way into some of the world’s biggest tournaments. They also offer a wide range of tournaments and cash games to play, so you’ll always be able to find a game.

  • Offers Freeroll Tournaments With $20,000 In Prizes
  • Excellent Customer Support
  • Exclusive VIP Program

 

888 Poker Review
BetOnline

BetOnline

Considered one of the best poker sites in the US, BetOnline has used its 30+ years of experience to create a site everyone wants to play on. BetOnline has some of the highest traffic for a US-facing site and offers a wide variety of cash games and tournaments. In addition, it’s a site well known for its bonuses, with a lucrative sign-up offer and plenty of promotions for existing players.

  • Accepts Cryptocurrency
  • Accepts US Players
  • Fantastic Welcome Bonus

 

BetOnline Poker Review

The Best Online Poker Sites Checklist

With so many online poker sites to choose from, it’s hard to know which is best; they offer different bonuses, games, and site layouts. It can be confusing even for people who have been playing for years!
Don’t feel like spending hours searching for and comparing online poker sites? No sweat; we’ve done the homework for you. The list below breaks down what we look for when ranking online poker sites and what you, as a consumer, should be looking for to get the best playing experience.
When choosing an online poker site, there are many things to consider. So here’s a rundown of what we look at when comparing poker sites to make sure you’re able to find the best ones on the market:

Young man playing poker online, closeup

  1. Bonus Options

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    Welcome bonuses play a crucial role in how online poker sites attract new users. There are various welcome bonuses; some will match your deposit up to a specific limit, some will give you a bonus without needing to deposit, and others will tailor your bonus based on what kind of games you play. If you want to make your money go as far as possible, look for the site with the most generous bonus options.

  2. Game Variety 

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    Gone are the days when players would only play Texas Hold ’em and nothing else. As games become more and more solved, players look for alternative games where the edge over their competition is more significant. In addition, different variants offer extra excitement and challenges. As a result, some sites provide a large number of mixed games, including 6+, Omaha, Stud, and Draw games. If you’re a Texas Hold ’em purist, this won’t be a factor, but if you enjoy mixed games, this is something to look out for when choosing a site.

  3. Deposit + Withdrawal Options

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    Poker sites have been steadily increasing their deposit and withdrawal options to make it easy for players to move money. Initially, most sites only offered deposits via credit cards and bank transfers; however, today’s landscape looks slightly different. Poker sites now offer various e-wallets such as Paypal, Skrill, Neteller, and MuchBetter, plus Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency options. You may prefer to use these alternative payment methods for privacy reasons or bank issues.

    Can I Deposit with Bitcoin?

    There’s a strong correlation between “poker player” and “crypto enthusiast.” Hence, it’s no wonder that cryptocurrency has become a popular deposit option for online players. Several big-name sites offer cryptocurrency options, including Bovada, Ignition, and Bodog. In addition, many others are starting to implement it as a choice for players.

    One of the great things about depositing with Bitcoin is the quick withdrawal times. Gone are the days of waiting five business days for your bank transfer; now, you can get your money within a couple of hours! However, double-check that your information is correct before finalizing any transactions–if something goes wrong with your crypto withdrawal, you’re on your own.

  4. Tournament Offerings

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    Tournaments are arguably the biggest draw for online poker sites. They’re often people’s first introduction to poker and are the most alluring to players of all skill levels, as you can turn a minimal investment into a huge payday. A site with many tournaments and huge guaranteed prize pools will attract lots of players. This is good no matter what games you play, as the more traffic there is on the site, the better the games get.

  5. Payout Speed

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    Once we’ve emptied the pockets of our opponents, we don’t want to wait around for weeks while the poker site approves our withdrawal–we want our money now! Remember, different withdrawal methods have different waiting times; for example, a bank withdrawal will always be slower than a cryptocurrency withdrawal. Be sure to read our reviews pages–some sites take longer than others to approve and process your withdrawals.

  6. Customer Support

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    If you ever have an issue with an online poker site, it’s comforting to know that there is a dedicated support team to help fix your problems. In our reviews, we take special care to look for sites with reliable customer support. A poker site without a customer support team is a giant red flag. At best, it means they don’t care about their customers; at worst, they know there will be issues, and they’re trying to hide them!

  7. Mobile Capabilities

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    Not everyone has the time to sit at a computer and play poker for several hours every night; some of us want to play quick games on the go. Currently, only some sites have a dedicated mobile app for players, so we highlighted those that do. But, of course, even without a mobile app, most respected sites have mobile-optimized websites that allow you to play from your phone as smoothly as you would from a computer.

  8. Safety and Security 

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    Security is the top priority for playing online poker, and you should never deposit money on a site you don’t trust. That is why we look at the licenses of all our recommended sites to ensure they’re being held to a high standard of security and safety regarding game fairness and player funds. With so many illegal offshore sites popping up, it’s critical to know which sites you can trust and which you can’t.

How to Choose an Online Poker Site

We’ve covered what we as a site look for when recommending an online poker room, but what should you as a player be looking for?

Poker Room Reputation

Reputation is everything when it comes to gambling. If you’re playing on a site with a bad reputation or a lot of negative reviews, there’s likely a good reason. Sometimes, the site can be sketchy regarding withdrawals (see: they’ll steal your money!); others have poor action, clunky UI, or a small player base. 

Bonuses

If you’re looking to make your money go further, compare sites to see which offer the highest welcome and reload bonuses. Whether you want your initial deposit matched or a free bonus without having to deposit any money, there’s a site for you. Some poker sites will even let you pick bonuses depending on what kind of games you play. For example, you can get sit-and-go tickets if that’s your game or free buy-ins to cash games if that’s more your speed.

Poker Software

Having software that’s easy to use sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s often one of the most overlooked aspects of poker sites. Why? Truly great user interfaces go unnoticed; everything works perfectly, so they never attract (negative) attention. If you’re a seasoned player who’s tried a slew of different online poker rooms, you’ll know how much more pleasant it is to play on a site that looks good over one that doesn’t. However, things like this are a personal preference, so check out the sites for yourself before you commit to one.

Why Care About the Best Online Poker Software?

You may think that poker software isn’t that important to the overall experience and that only the quality of the games matter. However, trying to grind long sessions on unintuitive software that’s constantly crashing affects your win rate more than you think. The more time you spend focusing on the software, the less time is spent focusing on what you should do during gameplay. Poker is a game that requires immense concentration to play well; if you’re constantly battling the software and your opponents, it will have a bigg qer effect than you think.

User Experience

Having software that’s easy to use sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s often one of the most overlooked aspects of poker sites. Truly great user interfaces go unnoticed; everything works perfectly, so they never attract (negative ) attention. If you’re a seasoned player who’s tried a slew of different online poker rooms, you’ll know how much more pleasant it is to play on a site that looks good over one that doesn’t. However, things like this are a personal preference, so check out the sites for yourself before you commit to one.

Safety and Security 

Knowing that the real money you deposit will be safe and that the games you play are fair should be the #1 priority when choosing an online poker site. If this need isn’t met or can’t be, you shouldn’t play on it, no matter what other positives the site may have. Luckily, there are ways to tell how secure a site is. All legitimate poker sites will have a gaming license from a recognized and reputable gambling commission. Sites with these licenses are held to high standards for security. In addition, they are subject to third-party audits to ensure their games are fair.

Regulation

As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to know whether a site is secure is to check its gaming license. Most countries require a gaming license for a poker site to legally offer real-money games to its residents. So, for example, in the UK, if a poker site isn’t licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, it cannot offer real money games to UK players. This is fine for countries where these institutions are set up, but what about countries like the US, where only a handful of states offer regulated online poker?

Most offshore sites will still hold a gaming license, even if it’s just for the country they reside in. For example, Curacao is a popular location for offshore poker sites, so you’ll see a lot of sites that hold a license from this region. However, not all licenses are created equal, and some are tougher to acquire than others. This is why it’s essential to check whether or not your poker site has a license and where that license comes from.

Poker Traffic

Even if a site has fantastic bonuses and a fantastic-looking user interface, it’s all for naught if nobody plays. A poker site’s traffic is its lifeblood; without active players, the site will quickly die off. Therefore, you’ll want to look for whether or not there are plenty of users playing your specific game type when you most frequently play. For example, suppose you’re a Texas Hold ’em cash game player. In that case, you don’t care if the Omaha 8 or Better tournaments have enough players to run. 

How Does Traffic Affect Poker Rooms?

If a poker site has thousands of players playing there, other players will notice that and think, “this must be a great place to play; I’ll play there too.” On the flip side, if a site is struggling to attract users, potential new players will look at that and think, “Well, there must be a reason no one plays here.” After all, would you play on a poker site where you struggle to find a game every time you log on? No! You want a site that will give you the games you want whenever you want them, which is why traffic is such an essential metric for poker sites.

Consider Opponent Skill

Another thing to consider when looking at poker traffic is the average skill level of the players you’ll be playing against. Unless the only reason you play poker is to play against the best possible players for fun, you’ll likely want to play on the site with the softest games.

The more players there are on a site, the more recreational players there are likely to be; remember, there will also be more sharks swimming in the waters. So sometimes, the best way to find a soft game is to look for smaller player pools with a higher percentage of recreational players.

A good example is sites where poker isn’t the main focus, such as sports betting sites. People go to these sites mainly to bet on sports, with poker more of an afterthought. As such, these games are likely to be softer.

Close up cropped photo of girl hands using her laptop for taking part in online poker tournament.

Top Poker Sites for Beginners

If you’re entirely new to online poker and want to know where to begin, this is the section for you (experienced players can skip this section). First, we’ll go through everything you should be looking for from a poker site to ensure that your experience is as good as possible.

  • Lots of Texas Hold ’em Games: If you’re new to poker, the best poker game to start with is Texas Hold ’em. For starters, it’s by far the most popular poker game in the world, so you’ll always be able to find a game, even at the lowest stakes. And second, we’ve got plenty of fantastic resources to teach you how to play. You’ll want to look for a site that offers many Texas Hold ’em games, all stake levels and formats, cash games, tournaments, and Sit & Gos. This way, you get a taste of all aspects of the game in one place, so you can best decide what game type you like.
  • Plenty of Bonuses and Promotions: When you’re starting a new game, you don’t want to put a lot of money into it without learning the ropes first. The bonuses and promotions a poker site offers can be a lifesaver in these situations, as they help you maximize the amount of play you get from a small deposit. This allows you to try all the different poker games you want and only risk a fraction of your own money. And, after all, who doesn’t like getting something for nothing?
  • Soft Games: As you’re new to the game, you want to avoid playing in tough lineups against the sharks of the online world. Instead, you want to play with people at your own skill level. You want to get at least some mileage from your first deposit, and if you’re playing on a site that’s chock full of regulars, it won’t take long until your bankroll hits $0. This is why you want to play on the sites that offer the softest games, as these give you the best chance of extending the life of your first deposit. Don’t worry; almost everyone loses their first deposit; our goal is to make yours last as long as possible.
  • A Range of Low-Stakes Tournaments: Poker tournaments are one of the best ways for beginner players to grow their bankroll, as they offer huge returns from a minimal investment. On larger sites, it’s common for players to win 100x or even 200x their buy-in if they take down a big tournament. There’s a hell of a lot of variance in tournaments, so even if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing yet, one “sun run” could give you a great return on your investment.
  • Lots of Cheap Satellites to Bigger Events: Just as having plenty of low-stakes tournaments gives new players a chance to quickly run up their bankroll, having lots of cheap satellites to bigger events also gives you a chance to win potentially life-changing money. Thousands of players have won their way into $1000+ tournaments by playing small-stakes satellites online and won vast amounts of money. The most notable example, of course, is Chris Moneymaker, who qualified for the WSOP Main Event via a $30 satellite and ended up winning the whole thing for $2.5 million! If you want to become the next Moneymaker, pick a site with plenty of satellites.
  • Strict Software Restriction Policies: Being a new player, you’re already at a disadvantage, as you don’t know the game as well as most of the players on the site. However, you may not know that, on most sites, you’re at an even more significant disadvantage than you’d think. This is because poker software, such as HUDs, tracks player data in real-time, which can then be used to inform the player’s decisions using it. Luckily, some sites ban using HUDs to level the playing field. If you want to ensure you’ve got the best chance possible to win, look for one of these sites.

 

Top Poker Sites for Experienced Players

If you skipped the above section because you’re an experienced vet, this is the part you need to pay attention to. A surprising number of players will play on the first site they come across without thinking about what’s best for them. If this sounds like you, check out our list below for everything you should consider when looking for a new poker site.

  • Lucrative Rakeback Programs: If you’re a player who likes to get a lot of volume in, one of the most important things to look for is a lucrative rakeback program. Some sites are shying away from offering rakeback, citing fears of multi-table grinders creating a harmful ecosystem. However, other sites still value the service that multi-tablers bring to the scene and reward these players with a lucrative rakeback program. Rakeback programs can increase your winnings by hundreds of dollars a week, so if you don’t want to miss out on all this free money, start looking for a site that offers RB.
  • A Wide Variety of Poker Games: There’s more to poker than just Texas Hold ’em. Sometimes you just need a break from the monotony of playing the same game for hours on end. Sometimes you find a game you fall in love with and want to play for the rest of your life. Playing on poker sites that offer a wide range of games gives you this opportunity and doesn’t pigeonhole you into being a Hold ’em player.
  • High Traffic on Alternate Poker Variants: If you’ve found love with a different poker variant, you’ll want to play on a site with plenty of traffic for that game. Some poker sites are geared towards beginners and focus only on Texas Hold ’em games; others understand that real players want some variety. It’s no good playing on a site that doesn’t offer the games you want when you want them, so look for the sites that do.
  • Exportable Hand Histories/HUD Support: It’s almost guaranteed that any serious poker player uses a HUD these days. They’re incredibly valuable pieces of tech that help you exploit the regulars you face every day and the fish that have come to donate. Arguably, a good number of players would only be profitable with a HUD, such is their importance. However, some sites are clamping down on HUD usage in an attempt to level the playing field between the haves and the have-nots. If you rely on a HUD when they play, you need to look for sites with HUD support and exportable hand histories so you can continue to use it.
  • High-Stakes Games & Large Prize-Pool Tournaments: Once you become an experienced poker player, you want to make it worthwhile, so you need to play on sites that offer higher-stakes games and big tournament prizes. You’ll find that the sites with the highest traffic tend to have the most high-stakes games running. They also have more players to enter their tournaments, meaning more significant guarantees and prize pools, giving you a chance to win big.

Online Poker Site Tips

If you’re in the market for a new online poker operator, follow our helpful tips to ensure you can find the right site.

Know What You’re Looking For

Some players are looking to make money; some are looking to gamble; others are simply looking for a fun game to play to kill some time. All these player types will have different needs from a poker site. Before you compare different poker rooms, have a clear idea of why you want to play poker, as that will make it easier to choose what’s best for you.

Try the Sites for Free

Many poker sites offer play money games where you can experience the look and feel of the site without depositing any real money. Play money games allow you to get comfortable with the site, test out the software, and see if it’s somewhere you’d enjoy playing.

Read Reviews from Other Players

Looking at the experiences other players have had with the site is invaluable. They’ll give you an honest assessment of what the operator is like to play on. Obviously, a poker site will never have its negative points up on its website for everyone to see. However, getting an honest, first-hand assessment from players who have actually played on the site will help you decide whether it is worth checking out.

Online Poker FAQs