Best Online Poker Rooms
In the online poker world, it's pretty clear to see that different people need different things. On one end of the spectrum, you have recreational players who are looking to get action against the softest players around and get the biggest edge they can that way.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have high-volume grinders who are okay with breaking even against the competition as long as they have good promotions to get paid with.
No matter where you fall on this spectrum, we can help you to find the best online poker sites for your game.
In the chart below, we have a summary of our ratings for the top poker rooms available online. We have rated these sites on a number of criteria which were also used to give them an overall rating. Below the chart is a summary of what's important to know about each individual criterion.
|Poker Room||Software||Traffic||Opponent Skill||Customer Service||Promotions||Rewards||Overall Rating|
|Full Tilt Poker||10||8||6||8||6||6||7.0|
|Black Chip Poker||9||8||9||10||8||8||9.0|
The Rating Criteria
This selection of criteria is considered to be the main set of things that players look for when seeking out the best online poker sites for real money. This is why we have chosen them for our rating process.
- Software - The higher the rating, the faster, better-looking and more intuitive the software is
- Traffic - The higher the rating, the more tables to choose from and games running at stake level
- Opponent Skill - A higher rating for this criterion means that the players you face will be weaker, and this means that you'll earn more money faster
- Customer Service - Nobody wants to deal with poor customer service
- Promotions - Whether it's deposit bonuses, freerolls or other special events, promotions can add some serious value to your experience and your bankroll
- Rewards - The more of your rake that you get back, the higher your chances of being an overall winning player because the poker room will be taking less money from your pots
Different players will care more about different sets of criteria, but we have still given an overall rating based on what we think will be important to most players a majority of the time. We think this is the key to having the best online poker site reviews.
The online poker industry leader, PokerStars offers great software and a huge number of players. However, they have disadvantages when it comes to the level of competition that you'll be facing with some of the toughest players online.
It's ideal for people who put in a high volume at cash games because of the way their VIP program is structured, and it's also good for people who put in a high volume of tournaments just because their schedule is so overwhelming.
PokerStars does not have a traditional rakeback program which is another weakness. You can get value from their VIP program, but getting much from it requires that you put in a lot of volume which most players aren't going to have time to do.
We give them a rating of 7.0 because they are solid overall, but the disadvantages are going to turn a lot of players off of them even though they are the most popular.
They have a combination of excellent software and a weak player pool, and while they don't have the traffic of a site like PokerStars, they still have plenty of people willing to play all around the clock at most stakes, including US players.
Bovada is essentially the best poker site that the average poker player could ask for. The reason they are so great is that they offer anonymous tables that don't allow people to track your play with database programs. This keeps a lot of the Internet sharks off of Bovada, and when you combine that with the players who come to the poker room from the sportsbook, it creates a highly-profitable situation.
While they do not offer rakeback, this site has great promotions, and their weak player pool more than makes up for the lost value - we give Bovada a rating of 8.5.
Find the most extensive multi-table tournament schedule open to US players at Bovada Poker.
We gave Carbon Poker a rating of 7.0 because they are an above-average site that is solid in most categories. They are widely considered to be the best room available on the Merge Network, which also happens to be one of the only networks still servicing US poker players.
In addition, they have great software with a good selection of games. If you're looking to play against weaker-than-average competition, then it wouldn't be a bad choice.
On the other hand, their promotions and rakeback leave a lot to be desired. They don't offer a regular rakeback setup, and their VIP system doesn't have the depth of something like PokerStars. However, their sign-up bonus is a pretty good value since it's worth 150 percent up to $750, so it would make sense to play through the bonus to get that addition to your bankroll.
Overall, this is a decent choice for low-volume players who don't care about big promotions in the long-run.
Their software is excellent, and their promotional structure is better for low-volume players than PokerStars.
However, the combination of tough competition and lower traffic makes this a sub-optimal choice for a lot of players.
This is still one of the best online poker rooms out there, and their welcome bonus is pretty impressive. Players can get 100 percent up to $600 on their first deposit, and that is going to be a significant chunk of change added to any bankroll. They are in a similar position as Carbon Poker where they have a good bonus, and everything else about them is pretty solid. We give them a rating of 7.0.
Play with other beginners for your first 2000 hands at Full Tilt Poker's New to the Game tables.
The largest online poker room in Ireland is a good choice for players all over the world. Paddy Power is also one of the best sites on the iPoker Network. You're going to find games that are easier to beat than average, and you'll also find a nice tournament schedule with a lot of overlays as well. Paddy Power is known to have a few atypical features:
- A complete poker school that will take you from beginner to intermediate
- Frequent cash bonus promotions unlike what you find at most sites
- A four-figure sign-up bonus worth 200 percent up to $2,000
The only relative disadvantage to playing at Paddy Power is that their rakeback is lacking. However, you can very easily make up for this with their weak player pool and frequent deposit bonuses. We give Paddy Power a rating of 8.0.
The flagship of the Winning Poker Network, Americas Cardroom has made a name for itself by offering good levels of rakeback and fairly weak player pools. If you aren't looking to play several tables at once, then it could very well be the best option out there for you. Their traffic is lacking to a degree, but there are always at least a few tables running, even at off-peak times.
The combination of 27 percent rakeback and a $1,000 welcome bonus means you're getting more promotional value here than almost anywhere else. US players are also welcomed.
Add that to the weak player pool and solid software, and you have a winning mix. We give ACR a rating of 8.0.
Also on the Winning Poker Network is Black Chip Poker. They are a lot like Americas Cardroom except the people who work there are different, and as a result they have a much larger focus on customer service. You still get 27% rakeback and a $1,000 bonus, but you'll also be able to get access to a massive rake race which gives you even more value.
Of what are considered to be the smaller poker rooms in terms of traffic, Black Chip Poker is definitely one of the best. They offer a major focus on quality instead of quantity, and that makes them stand out in a major way as one of our top-rated rooms with a 9.0 rating. It's clear that this site is among the best online poker rooms on the Internet.
Yet another site on the Winning Poker Network (all accepting US players), True Poker is all about trying to stay solid in every area. One of the issues with this strategy is that it has led them to a position of not really standing out for any one thing, and that has made them take a back seat to some of their other WPN cousins like Black Chip Poker.
Players who are familiar with PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker will like the different skin that True Poker uses, however, because it's so similar to the look and feel of the software of the larger sites.
Aside from that, there's not a lot to get too excited about here. They are on par with Americas Cardroom in terms of just about every metric available, but they do not have the absolutely outstanding customer service of Black Chip Poker. In any event, they are still a good choice. We give True Poker a rating of 8.5.
Yachting Poker, despite the funny name, runs on the Hive network. They have a somewhat atypical setup that will appeal to recreational players who aren't looking to play a ton of tables all at the same time. The level of competition is pretty weak, and you'll be able to make a lot of money from the weak players. Here's a quick list of what you need to know:
- Their welcome bonus gives you $200 up to $1,200.
- You'll get another $250 bonus if this is your first time on the Hive Network.
- They have a low minimum deposit of just $10 which is perfect for micro-stakes players.
Their promotional schedule is a little different than most, and a lot of it is based on their minimum 25% rakeback that all players earn. However, you can use their player points and other promotions to kick that rakeback percentage up to more than that if you play sufficient volume.
While they do not have a ton of traffic to make it easy to pull this off, it's still great to know that they will reward you more if you get in the hands required. We give Yachting Poker a rating of 7.5.
Earn an extra 10% weekly rakeback playing 25NL Cash Games or higher at Yachting Poker.
We have listed all of the best online poker sites for real money, and the whole point here is to make it easier on you when it comes to deciding where to play. Remember that not everybody cares about the same things when it comes to choosing an online poker room. This is why we have broken up the ratings for the rooms based on different criteria.
To decide which site you should play with, look at which criteria are the most important to you, and figure out which sites have the features you are looking for. The best online poker sites reviews are the ones that help you to make a decision, and that's exactly what we have tried to do with our compilation of information here.