Real Money Poker
The term 'real money' is used in online poker to refer to actual poker play for money as opposed to practice games for play chips, or 'play money'.
Online poker rooms offer both real money and play money tables, the latter a way for new players to get their feet wet with zero risk. Once they've learnt the ropes players can start their real money online poker journey at microstakes, beginners tables, freeroll touraments or micro MTTs.
Real money online poker cash game stakes range from 1 cent 2 cent upwards, under approximate micro, mid, high etc. definitions:
- Microstakes $0.01/$0.02 - $0.05/$0.10
- Small Stakes $0.10/$0.25 - $1/$2
- Midstakes $2/4 - $3/6
- High Stakes $5/10 - $25/50
- Nosebleeds $50/100 - $2000/$4000
Tournaments range from 10 cent rebuys up to $5k Heads Up Sit & Gos, or $25k buy-in high roller events e.g. during PokerStars' SCOOP.
Even lower are freerolls or FPP buy-in events, which while having no fee to enter still pay out real money prizes. Many sites such as Yachting Poker follow in the footsteps of PokerStars by offering FPP to tournament ticket conversion.
Find the most extensive multi-table tournament schedule open to US players at Bovada Poker.
Notably some sites such as PartyPoker made the controversial decision to cap stakes at $3/6 and $5/$10 respectively. The entire iPoker network removed $ currency tables, and €10/€20+.
Not spreading any high stakes real money poker is often cited as an anti-bumhunting measure and a means to improve player ecology - the logic being 'fish' may lose money too fast at nosebleeds.
Below are PokerBonus' top 5 real money poker site recommendations.
As noted, Full Tilt has the widest range of real money poker stakes and the most exciting nosebleed action.
It also offers beginners only action - on New to the Game tables - for your first 2000 hands.
Stakes $0.01/$0.02 - $2000/$4000
For player traffic, PokerStars is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Its wide range of stake levels are populated by tens of thousands of grinders around the clock.
Stakes $0.01/$0.02 - $1000/$2000
PokerStars has the most flexible real money deposit bonus offer allowing for three deposits to earn up to $600.
#3 Bovada Poker
All of Bovada's real money poker tables are anonymous - no screennames are displayed. Many recreational prefer this as it renders HUD software such as Holdem Manager or PokerTracker obsolete. As such the games are loose. US players are also accepted, making Bovada one of the best real money poker sites for Americans.
Stakes $0.01/$0.02 - $30/$60
#4 Paddy Power Poker
On the iPoker network, Paddy Power has mainly Euro traffic and only spreads EUR and GBP currency tables. While higher rake, these can attract recreationals. Beginners tables are also offered up to €0.10/€0.20.
Stakes €0.02/€0.04 - €5/€10 (same in £)
Yachting Poker makes the cut for offering 10% extra weekly rakeback - on top of up to 25% VIP rewards - for cash game players grinding €0.10/€0.25 NL or higher. 25NL and 50NL are some of the most common stakes, so this is a welcome bonus for many players. It also offers €10/€20 limits unlike iPoker.
Stakes €0.01/€0.02 - €10/€20
Honorable Mention - Winning Poker Network
Americas Cardroom, Black Chip and True Poker on the Winning Network accept US players, offer up to $25/$50 stakes including CAP and Jackpot tables, and offer the highest rakeback of any US facing poker sites.
Find more real money beginner-only action on PartyPoker's welcome lounge tables.