In general, the biggest online poker sites are the safest choice. However, the best online poker site for you may depend on a number of factors.  check our fully-comprehensive online poker room reviews on this page for full details. Here are our favorites;

The Best Online Poker Sites

The Best Online Poker Sites Checklist

Don’t feel like spending hours searching for and comparing online poker sites? With so many online poker sites to choose from, it’s hard to know which is best! They all offer different bonuses, different games, and different site layouts; it’s confusing even for people who have been playing for years.

Don’t worry; we’ve done the homework for you. In the list below, we break 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. 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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    Considered by some people to be the most important aspect of choosing an online poker site, welcome bonuses are how online poker rooms entice players to choose them over their competitors. There are various welcome bonuses out there; some will match your deposit up to a specific limit, some will give you a bonus without needing to deposit, and some will tailor your bonus depending on what kind of games you play. If you want to make your money go as far as possible, then 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. The reasoning is twofold: As the game becomes more and more solved, players are looking for alternative games to play where the edges between players are more significant, and there aren’t as many learning resources. Second, different varients’ added excitement and challenge have players looking to other tables. As a result, some sites offer 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 one 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 onto the site. While most sites initially only offered deposits via credit cards and bank transfers, poker sites now offer a range of different e-wallets such as Paypal, Skrill, Neteller, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency options. Some players prefer to pay using these alternate methods for privacy reasons or bank issues; if this describes you, look for the sites that offer the payment methods you feel comfortable using.

    Can I Deposit with Bitcoin?

    Depositing with cryptocurrency is becoming a more popular option amongst poker players, as the correlation between “poker player” and “crypto enthusiast” is high. A number of sites offer cryptocurrency options; Bovada, Ignition, Bodog, and 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. No more waiting around for five business days for your bank transfer to come in; you can get your money within a couple of hours! However, a downside is that if something goes wrong with your transaction, there’s no one that can help you fix it. You need to be precise when copying your wallet address, and one mistake could cost you hundreds of dollars.

  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 they’re 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 big guarantees on those tournaments is sure to bring in 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 be waiting around for two weeks while poker sites approve our withdrawal–we want our money now! While different withdrawal methods have different waiting times–for example, a bank withdrawal will always be slower than a cryptocurrency withdrawal–some sites will 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’s a team of people that can help us with our query. That’s why we look for sites with dedicated customer support teams that will assist with any questions you may have. 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 a couple of hours every night; some of us need to play on the go. While more and more sites are introducing them, not every site has a dedicated mobile app for players, so it’s important to highlight those that do. However, if you need to play on the go but don’t want a poker app taking up space on your phone, some 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 number one priority for playing online poker, and you should never deposit money on a site that you do not 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 when it comes to 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 ones 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, and that goes for poker rooms as well as players. If you’re playing on a site that has a bad reputation or a lot of negative reviews, there’s very likely a good reason. Most of the time, that reason is that the site will  Not only is it likely that you’ll end up having your money stolen from one of these sites, they’re also really bad for action as no one wants to play on a site that will steal from them!

Bonuses

If you’re looking to make your money go further, be sure to compare sites to see which ones offer the highest welcome and reload bonuses. Whether you want your initial deposit matched or are looking to get a free bonus without having to deposit any money, there’s a site out there 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 be sure to 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 in the hand. Poker is a game that requires immense concentration to play well, so if you’re constantly battling the software as well as your opponents, it’s going to have a bigger 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. 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 be sure to 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’re playing are fair should be the top priority when choosing an online poker site. If this need isn’t–or can’t be–met, 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 and are subject to third-party audits to ensure that their games are provably fair.

Regulation

As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to know whether a site is secure or not 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. 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?

The majority of offshore sites will still hold some form of 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 were created equal, and some are a lot tougher to acquire than others. This is why it’s important to not only, check whether or not your poker site has a license, but where that license comes from.

Poker Traffic

Even if a site has amazing bonuses with a fantastic-looking user interface, it’s all for naught if nobody plays on the site. 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 players playing your specific game type when you most frequently play. For example, if you’re a Texas Hold ’em cash game player, you shouldn’t care about whether the Omaha 8 or Better tournaments get enough players to run; just focus on the stats for your game.

How Does Traffic Affect Poker Rooms?

Much in the way that money makes more money in business, traffic brings traffic to online 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.”

Similarly, if a site is struggling to attract players, potential new players will look at that and think there must be a reason no one plays there. After all, would you play on a poker site where you struggle to get 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 important 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, but there will also be more sharks swimming in the waters. 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 of this is sites where poker isn’t the main focus, such as sports betting sites. The main reason people go to these sites is to sports bet and only play poker for fun, which means that when the games do run, they’ll likely 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 completely new to the world of online poker and want to know where to begin, this is the section for you (experienced players can skip this section). We’ll go through all the things 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. Not only do we have plenty of fantastic resources on our site that teach you how to play the game, but it’s by far the most popular poker game in the world, so you’ll always find a game – even at the lowest stake levels. You’ll want to look for a site that offers lots of different Texas Hold’em games, all different stake levels and all different 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 the best.
  • Plenty of Bonuses and Promotions: When you’re just starting out in a new game, you probably don’t want to be putting a lot of money into it without learning the ropes first. The bonuses and promotions that 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 that 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 don’t want to be playing in all the toughest lineups against the sharks of the online world; you want to be playing with all the other people who don’t know what they’re doing. 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; everyone loses their first deposit; we just want 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. At the bigger sites, it’s common for players to win 100x or even 200x their buy-in if they manage to take one down, so having a large number of these games available is a huge positive for new players. Plus, 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 the chance to quickly run up their bankroll, having lots of cheap satellites to bigger events gives you the chance to win potentially life-changing money, but only if you run well enough! Thousands of players have won their way into $1000+ tournaments by playing small-stakes satellites online and gone on to win huge amounts of money. The most notable example is the legendary Chris Moneymaker, who qualified for the WSOP Main Event in a $30 satellite and ended up winning the whole thing for $2.5 million! If you want the chance to become the next Moneymaker, make sure you 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, what you may not know is that on most sites, you’re at an even bigger disadvantage than you’d think. This is because of poker software, such as HUDs, that track player data in real time, which can then be used to inform the decisions of the player who is using it. Not everyone is aware of this software, particularly new players, and anyone who isn’t using it is at a disadvantage. Luckily, there are sites that ban the use of HUDs to level the playing field, so if you want to make sure 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, then 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 even thinking about what’s best for them! If this sounds like you, check out our list below for all the things 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 programs, as they feel it invites too many multi-table grinders, which, they feel, creates a bad ecosystem. However, some sites out there still value the service that multi-tablers bring to the poker ecosystem, and they reward these players with a lucrative rakeback program. Programs like these 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 like this.
  • A Wide Variety of Poker Games: Once you reach a certain stage in your poker career, you start to get bored of Texas Hold’em and start to look at what other poker games are available to play. Sometimes it’s just a break from the monotony of playing the same game for hours on end, and sometimes you find a game that 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 for the rest of your life.
  • High Traffic on Alternate Poker Variants: If you’re someone who’s found love with a different poker variant, you’ll want to play on a site that has plenty of traffic for that game. While some poker sites are geared towards beginners and focus their attention on the Texas Hold’em games, some understand that real poker players want to play many different variants. 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 a guarantee that any serious poker player uses a HUD these days. They’re incredibly valuable pieces of tech that help you exploit both the regulars you face every day and the fish that have come to donate. Arguably, a good number of players wouldn’t be profitable without 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’ve had enough of playing for a few cents, and you want to start playing for some real money. You want to make it worth your while to play, 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 get the most high-stakes games running, as they simply have enough players who can handle playing at stakes that big enough. They also have more players to enter their tournaments, meaning guarantees and prize pools go up, giving you the chance to win big.

Top 5 Online Poker Sites

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. They have a range of games available to their players and are known for having some of the softest games around. That’s in large part thanks to its rec-friendly policies, as the owners of the site 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
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 Negraneu on your table; who wouldn’t want that?

  • Created And Run By Experienced Poker Professionals
  • Offers A Built-In HUD
  • The First Site To Offer Anonymous Tables
Bodog

Bodog

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

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

888 Poker

Once known as Pacific Poker when it started back in 1997, what has now become 888 Poker is one of the most established networks worldwide. One of the official sponsors of the WSOP, you can win your way into some of the world’s biggest tournaments by playing on the site. 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
BetOnline

BetOnline

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

  • Accepts Cryptocurrency
  • Accepts US Players
  • Fantastic Welcome Bonus

Online Poker Site Tips

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

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 of these player types will have different needs from a poker site, so before you start comparing 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 get to experience the look and feel of the site without depositing any real money. Play money games allow you to get to grips with the site and see if it’s somewhere you’d enjoy playing and whether or not the software is easy to use.

Read Reviews from Other Players

Looking at the experiences other players have had with the site is invaluable as they’ll give you an honest assessment of what the site is like to play on. A poker site will never have its negative points up on its website for everyone to see, so being made aware of what they are by players who have experienced them first-hand allows you to decide whether the site is worth playing.

Online Poker FAQs