Best Online Poker Sites For Beginners 2020

As a new player, you may be wondering where to find the best online poker sites for beginners, and more importantly where you should deposit your hard-earned cash.

There are lots of different online poker sites to choose from and below are my recommendations based on what you’re looking for in a site.

Use the filters provided to see which sites I recommend for:

 

Table Of Contents

888 Poker 

888 Poker is our #1 recommended poker site for beginner poker players, as well as casual poker players. This excellent poker site attracts a lot of recreational players, so the poker games at 888 are typically much easier than on other online poker sites. This is because their no-deposit bonus brings casual players, while their lack of quality promotions for high volume players discourages hardcore grinders from joining the site (which is why we recommend more serious players play elsewhere). The site also offers plenty of freeroll tournaments, giving you the opportunity to build a poker bankroll from scratch! 

Ideal For: Casual Players, Freerolls, Beginners

Thanks to their $88 no deposit bonus (see “Loyalty Rewards” below), and abundance of high-value freerolls, 888 Poker is the ideal poker site for casual players. It’s also perfect for beginner poker players as the site offers tables specifically for new players, letting you enjoy a game against players of similar skill level. 

Sign-Up Bonus: 100% up to $400, or $88 FREE

The traditional sign-up bonus with 888 Poker is a 100% matching bonus up to $400. For example, if you deposit $50, you will be able to earn an additional $50 from the site for free! Bonuses are earned by playing real money cash games or tournaments. This bonus offer only applies to your first deposit, so it’s better to make a single large deposit than several smaller ones.

If you’re a beginner or casual player, you are best off with the $88 FREE Bonus package.

With this promotion, you do not need to deposit anything to start playing poker with 888 Poker! After creating an account, you have 14 days to claim this reward. You will receive an immediate $1 bonus credited to your account as well as two 50¢ tournament tickets per day for 7 days. Every time you earn 250 Bonus Points (from playing real money cash games and tournaments), you will unlock another $1 in cash and 14 x 50¢ tournament tickets. In other words, you can use your initial $8 in free cash and tournament tickets to unlock more free cash and tournament tickets up to $88 in total!

Loyalty Rewards Program: 888Poker Club

Unfortunately, 888 Poker has one of the weakest loyalty rewards programs of any of the online poker sites we have reviewed. As you play real money cash games and tournaments, you will gain status levels. As you gain status levels, you will gain access to higher-value freerolls. For casual players, the value of these freerolls compared to the points requirements to unlock them offers incredible value. However, for more serious players, the equivalent rakeback offered by these freerolls is far less than you would receive from on almost any other site in our list.

Network Traffic: B-

888 Poker is currently the 10th largest poker site and has plenty of traffic. There are usually 5-10 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from 1¢/2¢ up to $1/$2, and 2-3 tables all the way up to $10/$20!

Site Quality & Trust

888 Holdings has been offering online poker since 1997 (originally as Pacific Poker). The 888 Poker brand has been around since 2002. The site is user-friendly with all of the features you would expect from a top online poker provider.

To sign up to 888 and take advantage of their signup offers, head over to 888poker.com.

GG Poker

GG Poker is our #1 recommended poker site for serious poker players (and it’s pretty darn great for casual and beginner players also)! A relative newcomer in the online poker scene compared to the other sites in this list, GG Poker has grown immensely and is now one of the biggest online poker sites in the world (and continues to grow). GG Poker is best known for its incredibly soft cash games but also has an outstanding loyalty rewards program. Serious players simply won’t find a better combination of soft games and high rewards! Casual players will appreciate their loyalty rewards program that rewards beginners even more than it rewards the pros!

Ideal For: Everyone

GG Poker’s loyalty rewards are a bit complicated (see below for more details). However, the basic idea is that players who lose get bigger rewards than players who win. This is similar to the infamous Stars Rewards (more on that in our PokerStars review), except that the rewards for winning players are still very good, and the rewards for losing players are outstanding! As a result, GG Poker has a system that encourages weaker players to keep coming back, while also providing solid rewards to the winners. It’s an online poker pro’s dream!

Sign-Up Bonus: 100% up to $600, or $100 FREE

GG Poker offers a fairly standard 100% sign-up bonus up to a maximum of $600. For every $20 you generate in rake and fees, you receive $5 of the bonus, for a respectable 25% rakeback. You also have 90 days to earn the bonus, which makes this an above-average sign-up bonus.

Casual players are better off taking advantage of GG Poker’s $100 in Free Rewards package. Simply deposit a minimum of $20 and you will receive a total of 60 Spin & Gold tickets across 6 days with a total value of $40. You can also earn up to $45 in cash by playing a minimum number of All-in or Fold cash game hands each day, and if you complete all 6 All-in or Fold daily challenges you will receive a $15 tournament ticket as well!

To take advantage of either of these offers, click here

Loyalty Rewards Program: Fish Buffet

Play any real money poker or casino games and you will earn Fish Buffet Points (FP). Earn enough FPs during a specific time period and you will earn higher ranks, which award higher cashback. The time period is different for each rank (i.e. you need to earn 750 points in 7 days to earn the Plankton rank, but have 60 days to earn 275,000 points for each Whale rank). Each time you increase your rank, you get to spin a wheel to determine your prize. Earn enough FPs in a year and you can switch to a fixed rakeback percentage.

Average rakeback varies from 15% for Plankton to 60% for Shark for the GG network.

Players earn FPs at a different rate based on their player profile. There are multiple factors that go into your profile, but in general, winning players earn fewer FPs per $1 of rake, and losing players earn more. However, unlike the much-hated Stars Rewards program, winning players on GG Poker can still earn decent rakeback rewards. Low rake, decent rakeback rewards, plus soft cash games are why GG Poker is our top-rated online poker site for serious players!

In addition to their excellent loyalty rewards program, GG Poker is constantly running multiple promotions that they change every month, from big hand jackpots to daily leaderboards. The site gives away over $100,000 every day across 5 different leaderboards, which is just another reason they are our top pick for serious online poker players!

Network Traffic: A-

GG Poker is currently the 3rd largest online poker site and is steadily growing. Although based in Asia, they have successfully tapped into the western market as well. Signing Daniel Negreanu as their ambassador, and hosting the WSOP online has no doubt contributed to their continued growth, but they were already steadily growing beforehand. There are usually more than 20 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from 1¢/2¢ up to $1/$2, and 8-15 tables for $2/$5 and $5/$10!

Site Quality & Trust

GG Poker is a relative newcomer to the online poker scene, having been established in 2014. Their primary focus has been in Asia, but they have recently focused on growing their market in Europe and the Americas as well. Despite not having the history of many other sites in this list, they were trusted enough to host the 2020 WSOP, which was held online due to Covid-19. If the WSOP trusts the site enough to represent their brand, then that’s good enough for me! The site quality is great and offers all of the features you’d expect from an online poker site with this much traffic. 

Click here to take advantage of  GG Poker’s 100% match up to $600 deposit bonus or simply $100 in rewards. 

Americas Cardroom 

Americas Cardroom is another great option for serious online poker players, especially any who reside in the USA. . This site charges some of the lowest rake available online, offers incredible rake races for cash games and Sit & Go’s, and has an outstanding loyalty rewards program that doesn’t penalize winning players!

Ideal For: Serious Players, Rakeback, Rake Races

Americas Cardroom offers one of the best rake races available online. Combined with the excellent Elite Benefits rewards program, you can actually earn more than 100% rakeback with this site! Americas Cardroom is 1 of 3 sites in this list that accept US players. Of these 3 sites, Americas Cardroom charge the lowest rake and have the best rewards by a considerable margin!

Sign-Up Bonus: 100% up to $1,000, plus $50 FREE

Americas Cardroom offers one of the better sign-up bonuses in this list. Not only does it have a higher total bonus (great for serious players), but it also includes $50 in free cash! While most sites give the option of a cash bonus OR a matching bonus, Americas Cardroom gives you both in the same offer!

Loyalty Rewards Program: Elite Benefits

One of the best things about Americas Cardroom’s Elite Benefits program is its simplicity. Earn 5.5 Rank Points (RPs) for every $1 you generate in rake and tournament fees. Earn enough Rank Points, and you will gain ranks (Lieutenant to 5-Star General). You earn a number of Combat Points per Rank Point based on your rank. For example, a Lieutenant earns 1 CP per RP, while a 5-Star General earns 5 CPs per RP. Combat Points are then exchanged for cash.

Additionally, as you hit annual Rank Point milestones, you earn cash achievement rewards, from $10 at 750 RPs to a whopping $2,600 at 770,000 RPs. These achievement bonuses are in addition to the cash you can earn by spending your Combat Points. When you combine your Combat Points and Achievement Bonuses, you can earn as much as 70% rakeback with Americas Cardroom! It’s more complicated to explain than to participate. As a player, all you need to do is play and you’ll earn points you can convert to cash, and will earn additional cash as you hit various annual milestones.

And that’s before we count the rewards you can earn from their amazing weekly rake races. The Beast is the site’s weekly cash game rake race. You earn points based on how much rake you generated that week. Sit & Go players participate in the weekly Sit & Crush leaderboard. Unlike most tournament leaderboards, Sit & Crush rankings are based purely on fees paid, and not on where you finish in each tournament. The prize pools for each Leaderboard are based on the amount of rake/fees collected that week, but here’s the great part: Americas Cardroom don’t charge any more rake or fees to pay for these promotions! And they’ve already got some of the lowest rake and fees online!

If you’re a high-volume online poker player, you can actually earn more than 100% rakeback with Americas Cardroom!

Network Traffic: B-

The Winning Poker Network is the 9th largest online poker network. Although this network is made up of many different sites, including True Poker, Black Chip Poker, and others, all sites are owned and operated by the same company. There are usually 10-20 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from 1¢/2¢ up to ¢10/¢25, 4-6 tables of ¢25/¢50 up to $1/$2, and 1-3 tables all the way up to $25/$50!

Site Quality & Trust

The Winning Poker Network has been around since 2001. They have gotten a lot of flak in the past few years for claims of rampant bots on the site. However, in 2019, they made several security updates to fix this issue and refunded affected players hundreds of thousands of dollars. They then took more flak when they switched servers (in an effort to provide even more security and improved performance), and the server switch resulted in far more disconnections than it should have. That issue has long since been resolved. The site has great customer service, and they always try to resolve each issue as fairly as possible.

Click here to go to ACR’s website and see their latest offers. 

Party Poker 

Party Poker has been around for a long time, and are a well-respected brand. Their promotions make them a decent option for both casual and serious players, but they are significantly worse than the other options listed above.

Ideal For: Serious Players, especially long session grinders

PartyPoker’s daily leaderboards make the site ideal for online poker players who enjoy long sessions. For example, a player who plays 2 hours every day would have little chance of ranking on a weekly leaderboard, and no chance of ranking on a daily one. However, a player who plays a single 12-hour session once per week would have a great chance of ranking on a daily leaderboard, despite playing fewer hours per week than the previous player. 

Sign-Up Bonus: $30 FREE

Make an initial deposit of $20 or more and you will receive $30 in free tickets:

  • Day 1: 1 x $5 SPINS ticket + 1 x $3.30 MTT ticket
  • Day 2: 2 x $1 SPINS tickets + 3 x $2.20 MTT tickets
  • Day 4: 2 x $2.20 MTT tickets
  • Day 6: 2 x $3 SPINS tickets + 1 x $3.30 MTT ticket

This is one of the best sign-up bonuses for beginner and casual players as it gives you $30 worth of tournament tickets absolutely free, with no conditions attached! More serious players would obviously be better off with a matching bonus, like that offered by Americas Cardroom or GG Poker.

Loyalty Rewards Program: PartyPoker Cashback & Daily Leaderboards

If you like simple rewards programs, then you’ll love the PartyPoker Cashback program. Earn enough points each week and you’ll receive 20-40% rakeback deposited directly into your Party Poker account every Monday!

The problem with the PartyPoker Cashback program is that you need to earn 25 points each week to qualify. Since you earn 1 point for each $1 of rake, that means you need to generate $25 in rake and/or tournament fees each week to qualify for 20% cashback. That’s a decent amount of rake for casual players. If you’re playing 6-handed 5¢/10¢, you’d need to play about 45 hours each week to generate that much rake (or 2 tables for 22.5 hours, 3 tables for 15 hours, etc.).

Cashback

Weekly Rake

20%

$25

25%

$150

30%

$600

40%

$1,200

PartyPoker also offers a variety of leaderboards for cash games and Sit & Go’s (including a leaderboard for Daily Spins, their version of Spin & Go). One of the great things about their leaderboards is that there are 16 different ones just for cash games (8 for Hold’em and 8 for PLO), with daily prizes of $36,000! This is great because normally a 1¢/2¢ player would never be able to compete for points against a $1/$2 player, so instead, they have different leaderboards (but of course, the prizes are much higher for the $1/$2 leaderboard since these games generate much more rake).

Party Poker’s Cashback rewards are very clearly aimed at serious online poker players but pale in comparison to the rewards offered by Americas Cardroom.

The Sit & Go Leaderboards offer daily prizes of $17,500 and are divided into 3 categories (based on buy-ins):

  • Micro (1¢ – $2)
  • Low ($2.11 – $16.10)
  • Mid ($16.11+)

You earn Sit & Go leaderboard points for fees paid, not for finishing in the money. Thus, you get more rewards for playing more, not for winning more.

For more casual players, PartyPoker offers quite a few freerolls.

Network Traffic: B+

Up until 2006, PartyPoker was the world’s biggest online poker site as they were the first to promote their site on television. In 2011, PartyPoker merged with BWIN and the resulting network is currently the 4th largest online poker network. There are usually 10-20 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from 1¢/2¢ up to 25¢/50¢, 8-15 tables of 50¢/$1 up to $1/$2, and 2-5 tables all the way up to $50/$100!

Site Quality & Trust

PartyGaming has been around since 1997, and PartyPoker was launched in 2001. The site has incredible brand recognition and loyalty. In 2019, the site realized it had a problem with bots and essentially went to war! They began suspending accounts (and seizing and refunding their ill-gotten funds) and refining their bot-detection algorithms.

To sign up to ParyPoker.com, click this link

Bovada 

Bovada is the US-facing poker site that is owned and operated by Bodog. So, while US-based players cannot play poker with Bodog, they can play on the same network with Bovada!  

Ideal For: Casual Players, Beginners, US Players

Americas Cardroom is a better option for US-based players in almost every way: more traffic, less rake, and better rewards. However, if you do not like Americas Cardroom for whatever reason, then your next best option is probably Bovada. Bovada is also a great option if you also enjoy betting on sports.

Bovada is a great option for beginner players who want to be as anonymous as possible.

If you’re new to online poker, then chances are you won’t be particularly good (even if you’re a regular winner in your local game). Online poker professionals will quickly identify weaknesses in your game that they can exploit, and on most online poker sites these pros can search the tables for players they’ve previously identified as weak…but not on Bovada. On Bovada, you don’t have the option of picking which table you will join; you can only pick the game, the table size, and the stakes!

Sign-Up Bonus: 100% up to $500

Use Bovada bonus code “PWB500” to receive a 100% matching bonus up to $500. The bonus is earned at a whopping 50% rakeback, which is the best you will find on this list…but you only have 30 days to earn it. This sign-up bonus is so good that it’s worth joining Bovada even if you only play for 30 days!

Loyalty Rewards Program: None

It’s honestly shocking for an online poker site to not have a loyalty rewards program, especially since Bovada charges above-average rake!

Network Traffic: B

Bovada is a member of the Pai Wang Luo network, which is estimated to be the 8th largest online poker network. However, Pai Wang Luo do not publish their traffic numbers, so this is just an estimate. Even logging into the site doesn’t show how many tables are active. However, this is designed to protect players from being targeted by professionals.

Site Quality & Trust

Bovada was created in 2011 a couple of months after the infamous Black Friday in an effort to protect the Bodog brand, but still allow the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group (MMGG) to continue offering online poker, casino, and sportsbetting to the US market. The site is a skin of Bodog and offers all the same functionality. This is one of the few networks that hides its tables so that online poker pros cannot go searching for specific players to play against. 

Click here to head over to Bovada’s website. 

 

PokerStars 

PokerStars are the biggest online poker site in the world (and have been for over a decade). They offer the best software and probably the best security of any online poker site. However, they have been implementing unpopular changes to the site for many years now, from constant rake increases to dramatically slashing rewards. As a result, their once unassailable position as the world’s biggest online poker site is under threat from several competitors!

Ideal For: Casual Players, Beginners

The Stars Rewards program rewards losing players more than winners (making the site very beginner-friendly) and their software sets the industry standard for ease of use and security. The fact that they treat their customers like living, breathing ATMs won’t become apparent until after you’ve played there for a couple of years. By then you will have a better idea of what you are looking for in a site and can find one that better fits your needs. The only problem with getting comfortable with PokerStars first is that every other site’s software will be disappointing by comparison.   

If you’ve never played online poker before, then you really can’t go wrong with PokerStars

Sign-Up Bonus: 100% up to $600, or $30 FREE

Nothing describes the conundrum that is PokerStars more than their sign-up bonus. Most of the promotions offered by PokerStars look great but are actually garbage. By contrast, the sign-up bonuses look really bad, but are actually really good!

Casual players should use PokerStars bonus code “THIRTY” when creating an account. Make a deposit of $20 or more and you will receive 25 Spin & Go tickets worth a total of $20, plus $10 in cash bonuses. This is a very good bonus offer for casual players, rivalling the similar offer from PartyPoker.

More serious players should use PokerStars bonus code “STARS600”. This is a 100% matching bonus up to $600. While this may not seem like much, you actually have a far better chance of earning the full bonus than from most other bonus offers. First, you can make up to 3 qualifying deposits over a 60-day period. You then have a whopping 4 months to earn the bonus (that’s 6 months in total!). The sign-up bonus is earned at a respectable 28% rakeback…which is the last bit of respectable rakeback you will see from PokerStars if you are a winning (or even break-even) player!

Loyalty Rewards Program: Stars Rewards

In 2019, PokerStars decided that they no longer wanted to reward winning poker players, regardless of how much rake they generate. At the time, high volume players were earning as much as 65% rakeback from the old Supernova program. With Stars Rewards, winning poker players are earning just 2.4% rakeback!

Stars Rewards is overly complicated (probably in an effort to disguise how bad it is). As you generate rake, you will earn progress points towards unlocking a chest. Each chest contains a random prize (except the lowest Blue chests, which always contain 60¢). Earn 10 chests over a 28-day period and you will be moved to the next highest level of chests, but that doesn’t mean your rakeback will be any better!

The most confusing part of the Stars Rewards program is the player profiling aspect of it. Even though every player earns 1 progress point for every 1¢ paid in rake, the more you win on the site, the more expensive each chest becomes. So, a blue chest might cost you 350 points (17.1% rakeback), or it might cost 2,500 points (2.4% rakeback). The worst part is that even losing players will regularly bounce between these amounts (and several other costs in between).

Massive differences in chest costs for the same player is probably intentional to trick you into thinking you’re getting more rakeback than you are. For example, let’s assume you get 9 Blue chests at 350 points each (17.1%), and 1 Blue chest at 2,500 points (2.4%). You might think that since 90% of your chests are at 17.1% rakeback, that you must be earning close to this amount. Afterall, (9 x 17.1% + 1 x 2.4%)/10 = 15.6% rakeback…but that’s not how rakeback is calculated. You’re earning $6 in rewards (10 x 60¢), but need to pay $56.50 in rake to earn those rewards (9 x $3.50 + 1 x $25). That’s just 10.6% rakeback ($6 / $56.50), considerably worse than you might have assumed.

If you’re a winning poker player, then PokerStars is a terrible site for rewards!

PokerStars used to offer an abundance of incredibly low-value freerolls. These days, they offer a much smaller number of freerolls, but they’re still incredibly low value. If you’re looking for freerolls, join 888 Poker or BWIN instead.

Network Traffic: A+

Although the gap is narrowing, PokerStars are still the largest online poker site in the world. There are usually 50-100 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from 1¢/2¢ up to 10¢/25¢, 15-40 tables of 25¢/50¢ up to $1/$2, and 2-10 tables all the way up to $5/$10!

Site Quality & Trust

PokerStars was founded in 2001, and although they were indicted by the US Department of Justice for charges as serious as bank fraud and money laundering, and a CEO was charged with insider trading in a completely separate incident, the site is actually one of the most secure and trustworthy!

BetOnline

BetOnline is the third online poker site on this list that accepts players based in the USA. However, BetOnline charges more rake than the other two sites, and do not offer any loyalty rewards.

Ideal For: US Players who don’t like Americas Cardroom or Bovada

Americas Cardroom is a better option than BetOnline for US-based players in almost every way: more traffic, less rake, and better rewards. If you do not like Americas Cardroom for whatever reason, then your next best option is probably Bovada, and then BetOnline. Like Bovada, BetOnline also offer sportsbetting (as you would expect with a name like BetOnline). 

Sign-Up Bonus: 100% up to $1,000

Use BetOnline bonus code “NEWBOL” to receive a 100% matching bonus up to $1,000. While the maximum bonus amount is double that offered by Bovada, you need to generate $50 in rake to earn $10 of the bonus, which is just 20% rakeback (less than half what you get from Bovada). Not only that, but you only have 30 days to earn the full bonus. Unless you plan to generate more than $2,500 in rake within your first 30 days, you will earn more from the Bovada sign-up bonus.

However, if you’re a high-volume, US-based online poker player, it’s probably worth joining BetOnline just to earn the sign-up bonus. After that, you’re better off playing on Americas Cardroom or Bovada.

Loyalty Rewards Program: None

It’s very strange that the only two online poker sites we have reviewed that do not offer any sort of loyalty rewards are also two of the three that accept US players.

BetOnline will sometimes offer rake races, but not consistently. They also have a Bad Beat Jackpot, but it’s incredibly hard to qualify: you need to lose with quad deuces or better!

Network Traffic: B-

BetOnline is a member of the Chico Poker network, which is the 13th largest online poker network. There are usually 7-12 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from 5¢/10¢ up to $1/$2 and 3-4 tables all the way up to $5/$10!

Site Quality & Trust

BetOnline was created in 2004 and have been offering online poker since 2011. Since that time, the site has only had 2 major controversies, both of which it resolved professionally (although perhaps not as quickly as they could have).

The first was a live blackjack dealer who accidentally dealt the 2nd card from the deck (only happened once, and it was for $100). Hard to imagine that the site trained a dealer to memorize the entire deck so they could rip off a customer for $100 precisely once, especially since the hand is on video and easily reviewed. This was clearly an accident by the dealer. This happened just as BetOnline were about to change their live dealer provider anyway, and the accuser was a convicted felon who tried to blow the situation out of proportion to promote his own website. 

The second BetOnline scandal is both more recent (May 2020) and related to poker. A player qualified for the bad beat jackpot and was then disconnected, which resulted in him and everyone at the table missing out on their share of the $349,046 jackpot! The player was disconnected on the turn, immediately after making a royal flush (a 1-outer against their opponent’s flopped quad kings). Originally, BetOnline rejected the appeal since the error occurred on the client’s end, but after pressure from the poker community changed their stance and paid out the full jackpot amount. 

Click here see BetOnline’s latest offers. 

Bodog

The only real reason to join Bodog is for bonus whoring since the site has a good sign-up bonus offer, but little else that should appeal to either casual or serious players.

Ideal For: Sign-Up Bonuses

Almost every site listed above offers lower rake and/or better rewards (and most also have more traffic as well). The only advantage Bodog has over other sites on this list is their sign-up bonus.

Sign-Up Bonus: 100% up to $1,000

Make a deposit up to $1,000 and Bodog will match it with an equal-sized bonus. You then have 30 days to earn the bonus, which is paid in $5 increments for every 150 reward points you earn. You earn 15 reward points for every $1 you contribute in rake or tournament fees, for an impressive 50% rakeback, which this is the best sign-up bonus that we have reviewed in this list.

Bodog offers the best sign-up bonus of any site on our list!

Loyalty Rewards Program: None

Although they do not have a traditional loyalty rewards program, Bodog does have a Bad Beat Bonus and a Royal Flush Bonus, but these are negligible.

Network Traffic: B

Bodog is a member of the Pai Wang Luo network, which is estimated to be the 8th largest online poker network. Since Pai Wang Luo do not publish their traffic numbers, this is just an estimate. Even logging into the site doesn’t show how many tables are active. However, this is by design in order to protect players from being targeted by professionals.

Site Quality & Trust

Bodog was founded in 1994 and started offering online poker in 2004. The Bodog brand has incredible worldwide recognition but also has an incredibly checkered past having run afoul of the US Department of Justice on multiple occasions.

Ownership of Bodog is also very unclear throughout its history. During a patent dispute in 2007 (which Bodog lost), it was announced that the brand was actually owned by Mohawk Morris Gaming Group (MMGG), not Calvin Ayre. In 2017, the Bodog brand was purchased by PaiWangLuo, a Hong Kong investment group. Nothing odd there…except that a search for PaiWangLuo doesn’t yield a website!

Even though all of this seems very shady, the only major controversies the Bodog has been involved with are questionable court cases with the US government. There haven’t been any major incidents regarding cheating, not paying players or anything of that nature. So, although the companies behind Bodog (and its associated brands) have a poor brand reputation, the Bodog brand’s reputation is excellent!

If you would like to sign up to Bodog, you can do so from here. This poker site is also available in Latin America from the following link

BWIN

BWIN is a giant in the sportsbetting world, and became a bigger player in the online poker world after merging with PartyPoker. Although both sites are owned and operated by the same company (GVC Holdings), each site offers slightly different promotions.

Ideal For: Long Session Grinders

BWIN’s daily leaderboards make the site ideal for online poker players who enjoy long sessions. For example, a player who plays 2 hours every day would have little chance of ranking on a weekly leaderboard, and no chance of ranking on a daily one. However, a player who plays a single 12-hour session once per week would have a great chance of ranking on a daily leaderboard, despite playing fewer hours per week than the previous player. 

Sign-Up Bonus: None

BWIN’s daily leaderboards makes this site ideal for online poker players who enjoy long sessions.

BWIN will occasionally offer sign-up bonuses, but they’re typically not great (usually a 100% matching bonus up to $100).

Loyalty Rewards Program: Rakeback & Daily Leaderboards

The main portion of the BWIN rewards program is weekly rakeback. This system is almost identical to the one offered by PartyPoker, except there are an additional 2 levels, making it friendlier to casual players. Here is a breakdown:

  • For every $1 you generate in rake or tournament fees, you earn 1 reward point.
  • Earn 10 reward points in a week to receive $1 (10% rakeback).
  • For every 25 points, you receive $5 (20% rakeback), up to 100 points.
  • At 150 points, you receive $37.50 (25% rakeback), plus an additional $12.50 for every additional 50 points.
  • At 600 points earned in a week, you receive $180 (30% rakeback), plus another $30 for every 100 points.
  • Starting at 1,200 points per week, you will earn $480 (40% rakeback), plus an additional $80 for every 200 points.  

BWIN also offer a variety of leaderboards for cash games and Sit & Go’s (including a leaderboard for Daily Spins, their version of Spin & Go). One of the great things about their leaderboards is that there are 16 different ones just for cash games (8 for Hold’em and 8 for PLO), with daily prizes of $36,000! This is great because normally a 1¢/2¢ player would never be able to compete for points against a $1/$2 player, so instead, they have different leaderboards (but of course, the prizes are much higher for the $1/$2 leaderboard since these games generate much more rake).

The Sit & Go Leaderboards offer daily prizes of $17,500 and are divided into 3 categories (based on buy-ins):

  • Micro (1¢ – $2)
  • Low ($2.11 – $16.10)
  • Mid ($16.11+)

You earn Sit & Go leaderboard points for fees paid, not for finishing in the money. Thus, you get more rewards for playing more, not for winning more.

BWIN also offer plenty of high-value freerolls, which provides low volume players ample opportunity to build a bankroll risk-free!

Network Traffic: B+

In 2011, BWIN merged with PartyPoker and the resulting network is currently the 4th largest online poker network. There are usually 10-20 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from 1¢/2¢ up to 25¢/50¢, 8-15 tables of 50¢/$1 up to $1/$2, and 2-5 tables all the way up to $50/$100!

Site Quality & Trust

BWIN was founded in 1997 (as betandwin), and is a huge brand in the sportsbetting market. Considering the age of the brand, there are remarkably few complaints and controversies.

Click here to go to BWIN and signup. 

iPoker (Not Recommended)

iPoker was once the biggest of the traditional poker networks (that is, a group of independently operated “skins” with different promotions, but with a shared player pool playing against one another). Many iPoker sites offered incredible rakeback (as much as 70%), but iPoker cancelled all rakeback deals in 2015, and the network’s traffic has been steadily dropping ever since.

Currently, the iPoker network charges some of the highest rake and tournament fees online, and none of the sites offers promotions that even remotely come close to make it worth playing there. For example, William Hill does not even offer a sign-up bonus!

If you really want to learn more about the iPoker network, I suggest you check out either the iPoker network review by TopPokerValue, or their William Hill poker review. They do an in-depth analysis of the network and site, but the short version is this: don’t play there; play on one of the sites we’ve recommended above instead!

Full Tilt (Not Recommended)

Full Tilt was founded in 2004 and was once one of the “Big 3” online poker sites (along with Absolute Poker and PokerStars). They were a revolutionary site with lots of innovative ideas. They were the first to create Rush Poker, a concept now present on most online sites. However, Black Friday changed everything. Absolute Poker was already reeling from their 2nd scandal of cheating their players, and Full Tilt had been paying out bonuses with player’s deposits, and thus could not afford to pay the fines (prosecutor Preet Bharara called the site “a massive Ponzi scheme against its own players”). Absolute Poker went out of business and Full Tilt was acquired by PokerStars as part of their settlement with the US Department of Justice.

Since acquiring Full Tilt, PokerStars has basically just turned the site into a PokerStars skin. The player pools were merged, and every Full Tilt promotion was replaced by those offered by PokerStars. There is no longer any reason to download the Full Tilt client (except maybe nostalgia for a once-great poker site). If you want to play poker on Full Tilt, then just download PokerStars instead (because they’re now the exact same). 

Get The Most Out Of Your Money While Playing Online Poker

Before playing at real money poker sites, there are a couple of guidelines you should read:

  1. Make sure you deposit on a site which gives provides you with a worthwhile first deposit bonus (a bonus given by poker rooms which typically double the amount you deposit). Nearly all websites give great first deposit bonuses as we have discussed but some have better deals than others;  make sure you pay attention to this when signing up as it can add a significant amount to your bankroll.
  2.  Following from above, deposit as much as you can to take advantage of your first deposit bonus to make the most of it. 
  1. Play in a poker room with good security and ratings. All of the big poker rooms are well regulated. So as a first choice play on one of the well-known poker sites and stay away from the lesser-known sites unless you have a very good reason. The sites we have covered above have good security and ratings, however, be careful if 
  1. Play at a poker room which will have sufficient traffic at the hours you are planning to play. This will be the case for nearly all poker rooms but double-check to make sure especially if you aren’t playing on one of the major sites. The level of sufficient traffic will obviously depend on how many tables you intend to play! 
  1. Ensure that you have your photo ID (drivers license or passport) and a recent letter to your home address as proof of your identity. Send it in early and get your account verified. Nobody wants to have to wait for their money when they have just had a big payday!

Special thanks

I want to give a huge thank you to the team at TopPokerValue.com, who provided updated writeups on each of the sites in this list. If you want to take a deep dive into each site’s various promotions, then I highly recommend you check out their online poker site reviews. TopPokerValue also provides detailed poker site rankings that were invaluable in helping us decide which sites to promote, and which sort of players to recommend them to.

However, if you prefer a more condensed summary then just stick with the ones written above! Ironically, our list is actually more complete because although the TopPokerValue team have completed their analysis on all of these sites, they haven’t finished publishing and ranking them yet!  

Useful Resources For Online Poker Sites

So if you are interested in other poker networks, we suggest checking out TopPokerValue’s review of True Poker (USA players friendly) on the Winning Poker Network.

For recent insight into the top poker sites, check out Beat the fish’s poker site reviews.

We hope that this best online poker sites guide has helped you choose a suitable poker room; however, we realise that not everyone is suited to the online poker rooms listed above or maybe or you want to play online poker in the US

Good luck at the tables!