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Ultimate Guide to the best Online Poker Sites 2016

Best Online Poker Sites of 2016 – The Ultimate Guide

Whether you are a new player trying to choose among the best online poker sites available or a seasoned regular considering a move, this comprehensive guide will help you make the best decision in 2016.

Quick Links

Best Sites for: Beginners, Bankroll Building, Spin and Go
Helpful Info: Is it safe?, Loyalty Programs, How Rake Works
Detailed Breakdowns: PokerStars, Full Tilt, Party Poker, iPoker, 888 Poker, Bovada (U.S and Canada only)

The Best Poker Sites at a Glance

Best-Poker-Sites-Compared 2016

Best-Poker-Sites-Compared 2016

How to Choose the Best Online Poker Sites

Which site is best for you completely depends on your situation. Is this your first time playing online? Are you looking to build a bankroll from scratch? Or are you a grinder with an established roll looking to maximize your hourly rate?

Beginners or New to Online Poker

Recommended Site: Party Poker

If you’ve yet to make your first deposit and are still a bit nervous about doing so, realize that almost all of the sites offer play money tables. This is a great way to get a feel for the number of games running, the variety of games spread, and the software itself. Essentially you can test-drive the poker site before committing any real money.

Also, you might consider starting with Party Poker specifically. Not only do they have play money tables, but they also have a great free poker school on the site to help you learn the fundamentals of good poker strategy.

And once you’re ready to play for real money, Party Poker has “Casual Tables”. Players can only sit at one of these tables at a time, so it discourages the pros who like to multi-table. You’re more likely to be up against people playing for fun.

Bankroll Building

Start with: 888 Poker

When you’re ready to get a little more serious, you need to start thinking about bankroll management. In the early stages, when your roll is small, you should be more focused on the first-time deposit bonuses that the sites offer.

Bonus Hunting

There is a simple strategy you can follow at the beginning called “bonus hunting” to build your roll. It goes like this:

  1. Make your first deposit with Site X
  2. Play the hands required to earn the bonus
  3. Withdraw from Site X
  4. Deposit to Site Y, and repeat

It’s better to start out with a softer site for your first deposit to lessen the likelihood of busting your bankroll. Also, you want to save the sites with the biggest bonuses until last because you’ll want to make a bigger deposit to maximize the money matched by the site.

While you’re in bonus hunting mode, you don’t need to worry about things like VIP tiers, because you’re going to move on before those things really kick in. You can always come back to the site once you’ve exhausted all of the sign-up bonuses elsewhere.

Suggested Routes

These are our suggestions based on the details of the bonus offered, the hands required to complete them, and how soft the games are overall.

U.S. Sites
Bovada -> BetOnline Poker -> Black Chip Poker -> Carbon Poker

International Sites
888poker -> PartyPoker -> Bwin -> Titan (iPoker) -> Full Tilt -> PokerStars

Note that you can do both PartyPoker and Bwin. While they are on the same “network” (i.e. they share player pools) they are technically two different sites. This is also true for iPoker which offers MANY “skins” or sites from which to choose.

Note it’s strongly suggested to start with 888, because 1) the games are very soft and 2) they automatically give you $88 to start.

 

Spin and Go

One of the most popular games in poker right now is the lottery-style tournament where you can win up to a million dollars with extremely low buy-ins. On PokerStars, this style is called Spin and Go, but most of the major sites now offer their own version.

Of the major sites, PokerStars, Full Tilt and iPoker all offer a lottery sit and go of this style. These games can be fun especially with so much upside potential, but given the short stacks and quickly rising blinds the skill advantage to be gained is small.

Helpful Information

Before we dive into the details of each site, let’s cover some common questions and concerns.

Is it safe to play online?

Assuming you’re going with one of the major sites (any of the ones we mention), playing poker online is absolutely safe. Many of these sites are traded publicly (e.g. on the London Stock Exchange).

Also, the sites go to great lengths to ensure the game is as fair as possible. They typically hire independent third party firms to audit of their virtual card shuffling to objectively verify that the dealt cards are truly random.

In addition, the big sites both employ internal security teams and implement software fail-safes that detect any attempts at collusion, cheating or use of “bots”. For example, the sites will not let two players on the same IP network play at the same table. They may also investigate any players that tend to play at the same table far more than average.

And for the bot detection, they will look for decisions that are faster than humanly possible. When they suspect a given player might be a bot, they will send CAPTCHA images to that player’s computer to test that it is indeed a human playing.

 

The Loyalty Rewards and VIP Programs

Just like the airlines and credit cards, the poker sites try to keep you loyal and playing at their site.

All of the top poker sites (except Bovada) will give you cashback as you play. The more you play, the higher your rate of return. You will also throw in other perks like free tournament tickets. PokerStars offers the best loyalty program out there, but this also attracts more pros than any of the other sites.

 

How Rake Works

All of the sites take a fee from every hand played of cash poker, usually around 5% of the pot. This fee or “rake” also has a cap. Once it reaches that amount, no more money is raked from the hand regardless of how much bigger the pot gets.

The average amount of money raked relative to the size of the pot tends to be much larger for the lower stakes. In other words, it can be quite “expensive” at the smallest stakes. At the highest stakes, the rake becomes insignificant. Note that at all stakes the numbers are still lower than what you typically find at a live casino.

Also, most of the sites adhere to a “no flop, no drop” policy, whereby they only take their fee if the hand goes to the flop.

For tournaments the sites add a small fee to your buy-in.

Detailed Poker Site Breakdowns


The following sections cover each of the top poker sites in more detail. You can click the “visit site” links to download the software and try it out.

Pokerstars

Bottom Line

  • The biggest site, the best software, the toughest competition.
  • 2016 Loyalty changes could hurt pros but help casual players.

Loyalty Rewards and Free Tournaments

PokerStars historically has offered the best rewards program of any of the online poker sites. Their Super Nova Elite program entices droves of players to grind out 60 hour weeks, playing a dozen tables, with the hopes of guaranteeing a six figure salary.

Stars will match your first deposit up to $600.

Here’s a summary of the potential returns or maximum “rakeback” you can get based on the tier you reach:

  • Bronze ~ 9% return
  • Chrome ~ 15% return
  • Silver ~ 19% return
  • Gold ~ 23% return
  • Platinum ~ 25% return
  • Supernova ~ 28% return
  • Supernova Elite ~ 45% return

Besides converting these returns to cash, you also have the option of converting your points into tournament buy-ins with prizes pools upwards of $2,000. (That or you could top-up your schwag.)

In addition, PokerStars runs daily freerolls. Winners then move on to compete in a free weekly tournament with a $1,000 prize pool.

Softness

On one hand, the strong rewards program entices the strongest players to play, but because it is by far the world’s most well known poker brand it also attracts a large number of recreational players. With so many games running at one time, we strongly suggest that you exercise good table selection if you choose to play here.

Biggest Tournaments

Yes. They have the biggest tournaments. Sensing a theme here?

Biggest Daily Tournaments

  • $80k prize pool with a $109 buy-in
  • $75k prize pool with a $55 buy-in (some are $162)

Biggest Weekly Tournaments (always on Sunday)

  • $1 Million prize pool with a $215 buy-in
  • $400k for $215
  • $275K for $11

You can win seats to all of these tournaments by playing in low buy-in satellites that run throughout the week.

Software and Special Features

The PokerStars software is the most stable in the industry. It offers most features and customization. While the sheer amount of configuration possible may at first seem daunting, it is all laid out intuitively. The more time you spend with it, the more you can tune the software to perfectly match your preferences.

While they did not pioneer the variants, the Zoom (fast-fold style) games and Spin-and-Go (lottery style) tournaments are extremely popular. Who isn’t enticed by a free shot (aka earned ticket) at winning a new car?!

You can play up to 24 normal tables at once. That might yield around 1500 hands per hour.

Or you could play up to 8 tables of zoom (max 4 per stake) which would get you approximately 1400 hands per hour.

Some notable features include:

  • Easy Seat (launch multi tabling session with one click)
  • Run it twice (all-in situations are run twice, reduces variance)
  • Boom! hand replayer (share hands easily online)
  • Hotkeys: customizable keyboard shortcuts including pre-flop and post-flop bet sizes

The software is compatible with most 3rd party tools and databases. However that doesn’t mean they all are necessarily allowed! Always be sure to check each site’s prohibited software list if you have any doubt.

Traffic and Peak Hours

Stars boasts the largest player pool of any site, by a wide margin. The site averages over 15,000 players on any given day, hitting peak traffic of over 25,000. To put this in perspective, this is more than double the traffic of the next 5 sites combined.

With the largest percentage of players based in Europe, the site peaks around 8 PM GMT.

Rake

As noted in the “Best Poker Sites at a glance” comparison above, PokerStars offers the lowest rake.

The rake as a percentage of the flop is as follows:

  • 3.5% for $2NL
  • 4.15% for $5NL
  • 4.5% for $10NL and above

Regarding the rake cap (i.e. maximum charge), it is markedly low for heads-up games: caps at $.50 for games up to $25/50. The caps for games with 5+ players are: 2nl: 30c, 5nl: $1.00, 10-16nl: $1.50, 25nl: $2.00, 50nl: $2.50, 100-600nl: $2.80, 1k-5knl: $3.

Here are some examples of pot sizes where any additional $ is rake-free (5 players+):

  • 5nl: 482bb ($1 cap reached @ 4.15% rake)
  • 25nl: 178bb ($2 cap is reached @ 4.5% rake)
  • 50nl: 111bb ($2.50 cap reached @ 4.5% rake)
  • 100nl: 62bb ($2.80 cap reached @ 4.5% rake)

For rake details on tournaments or other game variants, visit the stars rake page.

Payouts and Customer Service

Deposits and withdrawals as you might expect are very fast and reliable. They accept: Instant eChecks, Skrill, Neteller, Instadebit, Visa, EntroPay, Mastercard, Paysafecard, Wire cashouts, Check, and direct bank transfer. Individual countries may face restrictions on certain payment methods. This is true for all of the poker sites.

They boast the highest level of integrity and security for player funds. It is worth noting that they lack live chat or phone support like the other sites do. Everything is handled by e-mail.

Famous Players


If you’re into railing some big timers or the chance of rubbing virtual shoulders with some super-stars, this is the place to play. At any given time you might catch any of the following folks online: Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Ronaldo, Fatima Moreira De Melo, Marcus Hellner, and many more.

Full Tilt Poker

Bottom Line

  • Solid software and “fun” game interface
  • Large variety of game types
  • Traffic is lower and dropping
  • Owned by Amaya (parent company of PokerStars)

Loyalty Rewards and Free Tournaments

bonuses: $600 sign-up (100% match)

The rewards program at Full Tilt, while simpler, is a “shadow of its former self”.

The “Edge” Loyalty Program

  • Edge ~ 10% return
  • Edge Plus ~ 15% return
  • Edge Prime ~ 20% return
  • FullTilt Points add another ~ 4% return

The only saving grace is that you can further boost these numbers by 200% by playing in games that are experiencing low traffic. Or you can boost them by 50% – 150% by finishing on top of the Monthly Edge Leaderboard.

As for free tournaments, there are two $250 Sunday freerolls that you can win seats to via weekly freerolls (top 200 finishers). There is also a daily $25 mobile-only freeroll at 12p ET.

Softness

Sitting at a random table you are likely to find an easier game than you would at Stars. However, if your table happens to fill with sharks, your other options will be limited due to the lower traffic.

Biggest Tournaments

The two big daily tournaments are a $7,500 prize pool ($100 buy-in) and a $6k ($25 buy-in).

The big Sunday tournaments are a $60k for $250 entrance and a $40k that costs $100.

Software and Special Features

If there’s one category where Full Tilt truly gains an edge over the pack, it’s their appealing graphics. Many players still claim the Full Tilt software to be their favorite because of the interface, which has a cartoon-ish or video game feel. Also, the layout of the lobby is clean and intuitive.

Full Tilt pioneered the fast-fold game which they call Rush poker. Many of these games only run at certain times of day, but when they do, the Rush games are certainly softer than the Zoom games on PokerStars. You can play 4 tables at once of Rush and may get 800 hands per hour.

For regular tables you can play up to 16 tables at once for, and players frequently average over 1,100 hands per hour at full capacity.

Their Spin and Go equivalent are called Jackpot Sit-and-Gos. You can win up to a $20k prize with a $10 buy-in.

Full Tilt offers the widest variety of interesting game variants such as Badugi, Courchevel, Irish Poker, and Razz.

Both major database programs, Holdem Manager (HEM2) and Poker Tracker (PT4), work with Full Tilt. Other useful 3rd party tools include: Holdem Indicator, StarsHelper, and TableScan Turbo.

Rake

Rake percentages are notably higher for lower stakes. They are 2nl: 6.25%, 5nl: 5.88%, 10nl: 5.56%, and 25nl-500nl: 5%. All stakes from 2nl-500nl have a $0.50 cap for HU, $1 cap for 3 players, $2 cap for 4 players and $3 cap for 5-9 players. $1k nl tables have a $4 cap and higher games have a $5 cap for 5-9 players.

Traffic and Peak Hours

Traffic overall is lower than the other sites, and peaks are similar to those of party and iPoker.

Payouts and Customer Service

Since Full Tilt shares ownership with PokerStars, the payouts and customer service are the same: fast and reliable. In fact, you can instantly transfer funds between Stars and Full Tilt.

Again the accepted forms of payment include: Instant eChecks, Skrill, Neteller, Instadebit, Visa, EntroPay, Mastercard, Paysafecard, Wire cashouts, Check, or direct bank transfer.


Party Poker

Bottom Line
  • Good mix of soft games and generous rewards program
  • Hidden player names in lobby hinders table selection
  • High stakes action up to $25/50

Loyalty Rewards and Free Tournaments

Party Poker will match 100% of your first deposit up to $500.

They offer a competitive points-based loyalty program that offers increasing rewards the more you play. These are the tiers (includes freerolls):

  • Bronze 7.3% return
  • Silver 10% return
  • Gold 21% return
  • Palladium 30.5% return (22.2% instant cash conversion in the store)

As you advance to each new tier you earn free tournament tickets worth increasingly more (from $22 up to $530). Also, every week there are free $100 and $200 prize tournaments available to all players.

Softness

Party has a nice ratio of recreational players to regulars, especially below 50NL. “Casual Tables” are extremely soft but you are limited to one table maximum.

Biggest Tournaments

Party Poker poker offers a daily $50k guaranteed tournament with a $109 entrance fee. Their big Sunday main event promises a $150k prize pool also at a cost of $109.

Software and Special Features

The software is friendly towards multi-tablers allowing up to 12 tables at a time for an estimated volume of around 900 hands per hour. In addition, there is a “stacking” view feature.

Party Poker’s fast-fold variant is called Fast Forward, and limits you to a max of 4 tables of it at once (estimated volume = 800 hands/hour).

HUD’s are allowed and the site fully integrates with the HEM2 and PT4. Other Software features include auto top-up, resizable tables, preferred seating, changeable avatars, time-bank, tiling, cascading, and hot hand alert.

For grinders looking to expand this feature set, there is a great third-party tool available called Party Caption.

For beginners, the site offers a Free Poker School. All games are available to try out using play money including Fast-Forward, cash games and a variety of tournaments.

Rake

The rake on Party Poker is straightforward:

  • 5% up to $3 (5-10 players)
  • max $2 for 3-4 players
  • max $1 for HU
  • max $1 for 2NL to 10NL

Traffic and Peak Hours

Party ranks fourth highest overall for player liquidity. Traffic is excellent across all levels, but it is dominated by the european market and thus has a large drop off past around 1 am GMT except on weekends.

Payouts and Customer Service

The payouts on Party Poker are very fast and secure. They accept: Visa, Mastercard, WebMoney, Maestro, EFT, Neteller, Click2Pay, Skrill, bank wire, citadel, or checks (mail/courier).

They provide 24/7 support by telephone, email, and online chat.


It’s important to clarify that iPoker is not just one site, but a network of sites. To play there, you must choose one of the many “skins”. They all share the same player pool, but the software you download (and who initially takes your deposit) will differ depending on the skin you choose.

If you’re interested in playing on iPoker and looking for a recommendation, try either Titan Poker or BetFair. Both have have a solid reputation and great customer service. Also note, some skins only work in some countries.

Bottom Line

  • Massive sign up bonus up to 200% match up to $2,000
  • €5,000,000 in monthly tournaments
  • Weakest software of the top sites.

Loyalty Rewards and Free Tournaments

Using Titan’s VIP Club as an example, here are the details:

  • Bronze – up to 15.7% cashback
  • Copper – up to 29.9% cashback
  • Silver – up to 32.4% cashback
  • Gold – up to 37.4% cashback

There are earned freerolls: $10k monthly for the VIP club as well as a $2500 depositor’s freeroll. In addition, six times a day they run a free $25 “booster” tourney.

If you happen to lose with quad K’s (or better), there’s a $250 Bad Beat Bonus to take the edge off.

Softness

Until recently, iPoker held a reputation as being “full of sharks”, due to disproportionately large rakeback returns. However, because of a new Robinhood-like reward system that takes from the pro and gives to the casual player, that is starting to change.

The network has pioneered and implemented a Source Based Rake (SBR) system that favors recreational players. Cashback % for high winning regulars is reduced. SBR keeps track of money lost and effectively pays back dividends over time to the players who lost it initially.

If this initiative succeeds, iPoker may become one of the best online poker sites for catching fish.

Biggest Tournaments

As mentioned above, they offer over €5,000,000 in monthly tournament prizes.

Biggest Daily Tournaments

  • Sunday €75k (buy-in €75)
  • Tuesday €25k (buy-in €75)
  • Monday / Friday €15k (buy-in €150 / €50)
  • Wed / Thu / Sat €10k (buy-in €50 / €30 / €50)

Software and Special Features

Players often complain about the software but many still tolerate it for the other perks of playing on iPoker. One nice feature is that it is available in 15 languages. You can also play up to 16 regular tables at once (approximately 1100 hands/hour if you’re so inclined).

The fast-fold variant is called “Speed Hold’Em”. And they also spread a lottery-style Sit-and-Go called “Twister Poker”. One dollar can win you up to $1k, and $10 can win you up to $10k.

Regarding game availability, it is good for hold’em and Omaha, but other games are lacking. There are no fullring NL games above 25NL. And the highest short-handed games you’ll find are 1k NL.

HUDs via HEM2 and PT4 work fine. And you can use TableNinja on some skins with limited features.

Rake

The rake charged is 5% for all levels (up to €3) except 2nl – 10nl where it is 6.7%. Realize that since most stakes are only in Euros this means approximately a 10% increase in rake paid when comparing to mostly USD games.

Traffic and Peak Hours

They have the third highest player counts in the industry, but since the player base is so heavily European, there is a sharp drop-off in action once people in that time zone go to bed.

Payouts and Customer Service

Payouts are fast (usually with 48 hours) and reliable. Available methods are Visa, Mastercard, Neteller, ClickandBuy, Skrill, InstaDebit, Click2Pay, EcoCard, Paysafe, ukash, Bank transfer, iDeal, Przlewy24, POLI, WebMoney, myCitadel, UseMyBank, EntroPay, wire transfer, and checks.

Customer Service is 24/7 via e-mail, phone, and online chat. They are known for their friendliness.


888 Poker

Bottom Line

  • Games are extremely soft
  • 2nd highest traffic after Stars
  • Higher overall rake than the other sites

Loyalty Rewards and Free Tournaments

There are 8 normal tiers that range from Blue to Platinum, with cashback percentages going from 2.5% to 15%. Even at the 2nd tier (which only requires a minimal amount of hands played) you can get access to $21K worth of prize pool tournaments for free.

There are 2 top tiers: VIP (20% cashback) and VIP Diamond (27% cashback). These tiers gain you free entry into tournaments totalling $70k in prize pools each month. One advantage this program has over PokerStars’ is that it’s based on a rolling 12 month period instead of the calendar year.

Also, 888poker offers “fasttrack” tournaments where winners get bumped to the next tier higher (up to Platinum).

Softness

While other sites are starting to cater more to recreational players, 888poker has always done so. This combined with a popular online sportsbook and casino ensures the games are far softer than most of the other sites.

Biggest Tournaments

Given the higher traffic, the site is able to offer some large respectable tournaments. These are the big ones:

  • monthly $200k for $600 (on the last sunday)
  • Sundays $120k prize for $215 entry, $20k for $12
  • Tuesday $85k for $600
  • Daily $15k for $55

Software and Special Features

While it may not be as configurable as PokerStars, the user interface is almost on par with Full Tilt, featuring attractive graphics.

HUDs and databases work with all tables, except the SNAP (zoom style) games. This can make them more attractive to new players where they can feel more comfortable that they’re not getting tracked by sharks.

888poker also features unique PokerCam face-to-face tables where players must use their webcams to play.

There is also a thriving sportsbook and online casino.

Rake

While the rake at the lowest stakes is similar to other sites, at the higher stakes it is higher than other sites.

For Pot Limit and No Limit tables the rake is as follows:

  • 1¢/2¢ is 6.25%
  • 3¢/6¢ is 5.9%
  • 5¢/10¢ through $25/50 is 5%

For 2 player tables the Rake is capped at $1. For 3 or more players, it maxes out at $4. Here are full details on the 888poker rake.

Traffic and Peak Hours

888poker boasts the second highest traffic of any of the sites. While still a ways behind PokerStars, 888 has been steadily climbing over the years and is starting to widen their lead on the other sites.

Peak hours match those of the European based markets: around 4pm ET or 9pm GMT.

Payouts and Customer Service

As with all of these top poker sites, payouts tend to be prompt and reliable. Excepted transaction methods are Skrill, Visa, Mastercard, Firepay, Neteller, WireTransfer, Switch, Check, Ukash, Paysafe, Solo, echeck, clickandbuy, paypal, entropay, and iDeal.

Customer service is responsive. They offer 24/7 support via phone, email or online chat through the cashier software.


Bovada / Bodog

Bottom Line
  • Only available to US players (and Canada via Bodog)
  • Softest competition available for online poker
  • Large $1000 sign-up bonus
  • Best site for recreational players due to anonymous tables, maximum 4 table limit and few advanced features
  • No rakeback, other than converting points to tournament tickets (up to 4% value)

Loyalty Rewards and Free Tournaments

Their welcome bonus is $1,000 for signing up, matched at 100%.

Here are the details on their Loyalty program:

  • Red Room (invite only)
  • No direct cashback rewards
  • Bad Beat bonus: 100x big blind if losing with aces full of kings or better (up to $1000)
  • Royal Flush bonus (50x big blind up to $200)

There is a free Weekly $5000 tournament with 1000 point buy-in, or satellites for as little as 25 points.

Softness

No other site can touch how soft the games are on Bovada (aka Bodog). At best, online poker sites like 888 may come close. You may have noticed by now a correlation between level of rewards program (which tends to attract the sharks) and softness of the games.

Since Bovada effectively has no rewards and a protective environment toward casual players (i.e. all anonymous tables), the average skill level across all games is far lower than anywhere else.

Biggest Tournaments

Bovada offers a few larger tournaments with again quite soft fields.

  • Daily $30k ($55) and $15k ($55)
  • Sunday $100k ($162)

Software and Special Features

The site features great graphics and a hyper-simple game interface but with minimal customization. Like most of the sites, it is easy to play on a mobile device.

The zoom equivalent is Zone poker. Given it is anonymous, this is as close as you can get to playing every hand in a “vacuum” since you face new opponents every hand.

It is possible to using databases like HEM2 and PT4 to store your hands for personal review. You can get a HUD to work on the regular tables (not the Zone), but your information will only reflect the statistics for that session.

Interestingly, if you request it, you can actually see what your opponent had (after a 24 hour period). There are other fun features like rabbit cam (shows what the next card would-have-been), fun animations (flames! enough said), and all-in percentage. There is a time-bank but no auto-top-up.

Bovada also features a sports book and casino.

Rake

The rake is a flat 5%, but the cap varies as follows:

  • $3 for 6+ players ($2 for 25NL and under)
  • $2 for 4-5 players
  • $1 for 3 players
  • $0.50 for Heads-up

Traffic and Peak Hours

Being entirely based in North America, the traffic tracks to that time zone. The site peaks around midnight Eastern Time, but this can significantly vary, especially during major sporting events.

Bovada has far more traffic than any other U.S. friendly site.

Payouts and Customer Service

Payouts are very fast and secure. They are MUCH better than any other U.S. site. You get one free monthly withdrawal by: Check, Bank Wire, or Money/Rapid transfer.

There is a Deposit fee of 4.9% on credit cards.

Bovada/Bodog offers 24/7 phone, email and chat support.

Overall Outlook for 2016

Internationally, many players default to PokerStars because it is the largest by far and offers the greatest number of games from which to choose, but at the start of 2016, PokerStars made some major changes to their VIP program. This upset many high volume grinders as significantly threatens their bottom line, but the change stands to benefit recreational and low stakes players.

In fact we are seeing this shift towards creating an environment more attractive to recreational players across the entire industry. Many online poker sites now take the stance that the winning pros create a drain on the poker eco-system, whereas the recreational players are net contributors. Beyond the VIP changes, sites are also offering features such as anonymous tables and lottery-style games like Spin and Go with the hope of boosting their new player acquisition.

In the United States, options are more limited. While New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada have explicitly legalized online poker, the rest of the country is left with only a few options: Bovada (aka Bodog) offering the highest amount of traffic and softest games. And in-line with the industry trend, all games on Bovada are anonymous. This style of table disrupts the tracking software used by the pros, which tends to make recreational players feel more at ease.

Also of note, in December 2015, New Jersey regulators approved PokerStars to resume operation in their state. The site is expected to resume operation in New Jersey in early 2016. This can only be viewed as positive, encouraging change for the U.S. poker scene given the solid reputation and powerful marketing clout behind the site.

Congratulations!

You read the entire Ultimate Guide to the Best Online Poker Sites. We put a lot of time and effort into providing you with as much detailed, UNBIASED information as we possibly could. We would very much appreciate any further suggestions or corrections for the next version of this guide. Let us know what other sites you would like us to include. You can use the comments below.

And please share this guide with anyone you think might find it useful

3 Comments
  • Ken
    February 9, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    What’s the reason you didn’t mention Americas Card Room. I’m not a fan as the card room itself has cheated me.

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