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
- GG Poker
- Americas Cardroom
- Pokerstars Europe
- iPoker (Not Recommended)
- Full Tilt (Not Recommended)
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.
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 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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
If you live in France, Portugal, or Spain, then you cannot play online poker with PokerStars.com, but you can play with PokerStars Europe. Even though you must download a software client for your specific country, all 3 countries play on the same network.
Ideal For: Europeans who like high rake and low rewards
Since PokerStars Europe has to pay taxes in each of these countries, and the company isn’t about to eat those costs themselves, the rake on PokerStars.EU sites is brutally high (as much as 50% higher at lower stakes than on PokerStars.com). Sadly, if you live in one of these 3 countries, your options for online poker are limited.
Sign-Up Bonus: 100% up to €500 (FR), €10-50 FREE + €50 Bonus (ES), or €20 FREE (PT)
PokerStars France players can choose between two sign-up bonuses. Casual players should use bonus code “15KDO” and make a deposit of €10 or more to receive 5 x €1 Spin & Go tickets, plus €10 in cash bonuses. Higher volume players should use promo code “BONUS500” to get a 100% matching bonus up to €500. You have 90 days to earn this bonus, which is earned at a rate of just 19% rakeback.
Players in Spain can receive €10 in tournament tickets without making a cash deposit. Make a deposit of €20 or more with the bonus code “WELCOME” and you will get an additional €40 in tournament tickets and a €50 sign-up bonus. For every €1 paid in rake, you will receive 5 redemption points and will receive €5 of the sign-up bonus for every 75 redemption points earned. This is a respectable 33% rakeback, but you only have 30 days to earn the full €50 bonus.
Join PokerStars.PT with bonus code “PORTUGAL20” and make a deposit of €10 or more to receive €5 in cash bonuses each week for four weeks, for a total of €20 free cash. To qualify for each weekly €5 cash bonus, you must play real money cash games that week.
Loyalty Rewards Program: Stars Rewards
Same garbage rewards program as PokerStars.com, except that you will earn the chests faster since you’re paying more rake!
Network Traffic: B
Despite only having traffic from 3 countries (and charging ridiculous amounts of rake), PokerStars Europe is the 7th largest online poker network! There are usually 20-40 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from €0.01/€0.02 up to €0.10/€0.25 and 7-20 tables up to €1/€2.
Site Quality & Trust
PokerStars.EU launched in 2012 and uses the same high-quality software as PokerStars.com.
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.
Unibet is kind of a like a trendy coffee shop. They’re not as popular as the bigger sites on this list, but they really know how to take care of their customers and really live up to their tagline, “by players, for players”!
Unibet offers incredibly low rake (especially at smaller stakes) and great promotions! However, be aware that the promotions change based on where you live. Unibet may offer different promotions for Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, France, UK, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Australia, Canada, and the rest of the world.
Ideal For: Anyone who plays fewer than 15 tables at a time
Sign-Up Bonus: Varies depending on where you live
Unibet offers at least 3 different sign-up bonuses that I’m aware of, with each depending on where you live. Each of these sign-up bonuses offers incredible rakeback to casual players, while still offering good rakeback to higher volume players.
Register with Unibet.CO.UK and you will receive up to €600 as your sign-up bonus. Unlike traditional sign-up bonuses, this isn’t a matching bonus that pays out at a fixed rate. Instead, you earn high rakeback that decreases as you earn more of the bonus. The bonus increments are €1 at €2 rake (50% rakeback), €4 after €10 more rake (42% rakeback across the 2 bonuses), €15 at €50 (32%), €40 at €150 (28%), €140 at €550 (26%), and €400 at €1,638 (25%). This bonus is in addition to 4 x €5 tournament tickets and an €8 cash game ticket.
Canadian players receive up to €700 as your sign-up bonus. This works exactly the same as the UK bonus, except with the following increments: €1 at €2 rake (50% rakeback), €4 after €10 more rake (42% rakeback across the 2 bonuses), €15 at €50 (32%), €40 at €150 (28%), €140 at €550 (26%), €200 at €800 (26%), and €300 at €1,438 (23%). This bonus is in addition to 5 x €2 tournament tickets and a €12 cash game ticket.
Players from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, France, UK, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, and Australia may earn different sign-up bonuses (and different promotions), and some of these countries (like Australia for example) probably cannot play poker online with Unibet.
Players from countries not listed above receive only a €200 poker sign-up bonus with Unibet, paid out at €1 at €2 rake (50% rakeback), €4 after €10 more rake (42% rakeback across the 2 bonuses), €15 at €50 (32%), €40 at €150 (28%), and €140 at €550 (26%). These players also receive 3 x €4 tournament tickets and an €8 cash game ticket.
Loyalty Rewards Program: Challenges, Missions, and Rake Races
Unibet do not have a traditional loyalty rewards program but instead offer a wide variety of rake races for higher volume players, and a series of quarterly challenges and monthly missions. Casual players who make an effort to complete the challenges and missions can earn ridiculously high rakeback (often exceeding 100%). Challenges and missions are also a great way for beginner players to learn some of the different online poker games available.
The site also offers a decent number of freerolls. However, if freerolls are your main draw, then you are far better off with 888 Poker. The freerolls on Unibet are just a nice bonus to an already impressive list of poker promotions.
Network Traffic: C+
The biggest downside to playing poker with Unibet is their relatively low traffic (they are the 15th largest poker network). However, part of this is because they do not offer full table cash games. As long as you’re happy playing 6-handed, and aren’t looking to grind 20+ tables at a time, Unibet is likely to have more than enough traffic to satisfy your needs! There are usually 10-20 tables of 6-handed No Limit Texas Hold’em for all stakes from €0.02/€0.04 up to €0.50/€1 and 2-5 tables all the way up to €2/€4!
Site Quality & Trust
Unibet has an incredibly strong brand, and are one of the most trusted online gaming companies. They are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and have been around since 1997. They put a lot of effort into making their site friendly for beginner players, which is why they do not allow heads-up displays to be used on the site and have so many promotions targeted at newer players.
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.
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!
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:
- 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.
- Following from above, deposit as much as you can to take advantage of your first deposit bonus to make the most of it.
- 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
- 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!
- 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!
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
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!