Best Online Poker Sites
** UPDATE: I’ve released a new version here: Best Online Poker Sites of 2016 – The Ultimate Guide **
Why Listen to Me about the Best Poker Sites?
Notice I don’t have ads for the online poker sites plastered all over my site. I’m not an affiliate business. This is a poker strategy blog.
I’ve helped hundreds of players figure out how to choose the safest, most profitable poker sites to play on.
VIP Deals vs Rakeback
Maybe you’ve heard about rakeback? This is where a site will give you back some of the money they take from each pot (i.e. the “rake”). They usually will deposit a lump sum into your account once a week or once a month depending on the site. The percentage they give back can vary from nothing up to about 60% depending on the site and how much you play.
The sites that don’t directly pay any rakeback, still offer you incentives through a VIP program. The more you play, the higher your VIP tier. And the higher the tier the more reward points you get. Most sites will let you then turn these reward points into cash. So it is essentially the same as rakeback, but just setup a little differently. The VIP system is more popular with the poker sites these days.
Don’t Play on Stars
I know it’s tempting (for folks outside the U.S. at least). They have great software and lots of games to choose from, but they also have the TOUGHEST COMPETITION. Sometimes I hear: “but I want to play the best players so I get better faster.” Bad idea. There are fish even in the nose bleed games. Your fastest way to the top is to get really good at finding and beating the fish. You will make more money faster and be able to move up in stakes. THEN you get to practice also playing better regs.
Fishy Sites vs Reg Friendly Sites
Interestingly, most sites these days either tend to cater more to fish or more to regs. The fishy sites are usually anonymous. This means you can’t use poker software like a HUD or database while playing. This makes the fish more comfortable when they know they aren’t being tracked by the “sharks”. Often these sites will also offer casino games and sports-betting. And the rakeback is usually minimal if it exists at all.
The reg sites on the other hand will offer great rakeback or VIP deals and let you use a HUD. But then the problem is that these poker sites are full of regs and the games are MUCH more difficult.
Remember your ultimate goal is to maximize your hourly rate. There are few different approaches to this.
What Kind of Player are YOU?
- Rakeback Pro – if you’re really good at numbers and statistics and maybe have a short attention span (e.g. ADHD) then this is your best bet. You can work your way up to 12 tables at once, play at the reg friendly sites, break-even at the tables, but make LOTS of money in rakeback.
- Shark – you do it the old fashioned way. You forget about stats and rakeback. You sit at a few tables full of fish, and you play far better poker than they do. And you make a HIGH WINRATE at every table you play. You prefer quality over quantity.
- Grinder – you can choose the “happy medium”. There are some sites that do allow HUDs and have good VIP deals, but also have a good amount of fish.
Below I’ve created a chart that describes the best poker sites depending on your preferred approach. You can click on the image to download the software and try it out. I’ve indicated whether or not they allow U.S. players.
If you have any questions about these sites or deals, please do not hesitate to ask me.