Best Online Poker Sites – Top Picks For You
You need to consider many things when picking an online poker site to play, and we covered everything from game selection, software, and level of competition to bonuses and customer service below in this text.
So if you are wondering how to find the best poker site online, you will find all the answers in this article.
That said, let’s start with the list of the best online poker rooms that we identified based on those metrics.
100% up to $600
Best online tournaments
100% up to $600
Softest cash games
100% up to $888
Great freerool action
100% up to $600
Soft live satellites
100% up to $1200
Plenty of overlays
100% up to $600%
Best MTT series in the US
100% up to $1,000
Play for WSOP bracelets
BetMGM Poker US
100% up to $1,000
Live US tournament qualifiers
Borgata Poker US
100% up to $1,000
Softer tournament fields
GGPoker hasn’t been around for as long as some of the other largest poker sites, but since its launch in 2014, it has been the fastest-growing online real money poker site. Taking advantage of a vacuum that was created at one point, they came out as the operator that understood the players’ needs and offered the platform that quickly gained huge popularity.
The poker room offers great opportunities for those players looking for cash game action with solid traffic across the stakes.
The games aren’t as tough as what you might find on a site like PokerStars, especially at higher limits.
GGPoker has also developed an impressive platform that quickly captured the hearts of players worldwide, showing everyone that creating a good, stable, and visually appealing poker client wasn’t some unattainable goal.
By introducing interesting features, like the ability to run it twice and post straddles, the operator has created an environment that caters to professional and recreational players.
Of course, we must say that GGPoker is also a very decent option for tournament players as well. They are constantly running big series with huge guarantees and even hold a world record for the largest MTT ever.
Having partnered with the World Series of Poker, GGPoker has also become the only international poker site to give players chances to win real WSOP bracelets playing online, and that’s one thing that really helps them stand out from the rest.
GGPoker Key Facts
100% up to $600 or $100 in extra funds
Ring games, MTTs, SNG, Spin & Gold, AoF
NLHE, PLO, Short Deck
Android & iOS
Their newly launched “Poker8” software offers an amazing experience for desktop users and mobile players alike. Featuring convenient lobbies, multiple games, and a user-friendly interface, 888poker probably created the best mobile poker app there is.
Considering all of these factors, we believe that 888poker is one of the best real money online poker sites around.
Whether you are playing tournaments or cash games, you will find plenty of games up to mid-stakes and relatively weak competition.
They offer multiple daily and weekly tournaments along with their huge series, and you can always find cash game action up to NL200, no matter when you log in.
While the 888poker room is not the biggest online poker site regarding players' numbers, the soft competition surely makes it one of the best sites to play online poker for everyone playing up to the mid-stakes.
It is the winrate that matters the most, and if you can have a higher $/h playing fewer games, it is even better and less tasking at the end of the day.
On top of that, 888poker offers a great deal for new players, but we made it even sweeter and got a boosted offer for you. Instead of the standard bonus, you will get additional value if you decide to sign up through us. This is what you will get:
- $20 for free without any deposits
- 100% deposit bonus up to $1,000
This bonus alone will let you try 888poker software and experience the ins and outs for yourself. On top of that, when you decide to make your first deposit and play for real money, $888 is up for grabs!
888poker Key Facts
$20 free & 100% up to $888
Ring games, MTTs, SNG, BLAST, SNAP
NLHE, PLO, Seven Card Stud
Android & iOS
Soft tournament fields
When it comes to playing poker real money online, PokerStars needs no introduction. One of the longest-standing poker sites around, this operator has become synonymous with real money games on the internet.
Of course, the one aspect that makes PokerStars stand out from the rest is its MTT schedule.
This poker site represents the best MTTs choice for serious tournament grinders and casual players alike.
The PokerStars tournament offering features buy-ins ranging from just a few cents to hundreds and even thousands of dollars, with major series like WCOOP and SCOOP featuring massive guarantees.
Daily and weekly events like Sunday Million have become staples of the online poker world.
The main reason why the operator can offer such big tournaments is the great player traffic. PokerStars remains the largest online poker site in player numbers, translating into excellent cash game action across all stakes.
PokerStars is also the leader in terms of the available poker variants. Players looking to play lesser-known variations, such as Razz, Badugi, and mixed games, will find exactly what they’re looking for on the site.
All of this is rounded up with top-quality desktop software and mobile poker apps for Android and iOS devices, giving players full freedom to customize their gaming experience and enjoy their poker sessions at home and on the go without any problems
PokerStars Key Facts
100% up to $600
Ring games, MTTs, SNG, Spin & GO
NLHE, PLO, 2-7, Badugi, 7 Card Stud, Mixed Games
Android & iOS
Largest online MTTs & tournament series
WPT Global certainly doesn’t have as much history as other real money poker sites listed on this page, but don’t let that turn you off. The operator is tied to World Poker Tour, and the fact that WPT decided to put its name next to it speaks volumes.
WPT Global may be fresh, but they are very trustworthy and already made the list of the best online poker sites for real money.
WPT Global was developed primarily as a mobile app, and this is where you’ll get the best experience.
The desktop version of the software is available and does the job, but it can be a bit slow at times and don’t expect any fancy options like those available at PokerStars or GGPoker.
So, what is it that makes this room worth your while? The answer is VALUE!
First of all, the app is populated by many recreational players, many coming over from a different large Asian app that WPT Global merged with at the launch. The level of competition you’ll encounter across all stakes is probably the lowest you’ll find at any reputable and trustworthy online poker site.
Secondly, the operator is very generous regarding promotions and tournament guarantees. Many of the major events at WPT Global feature regular overlays, which translates to pure value for participating players.
WPT Global offers great value for the players, a very solid platform, and, most importantly, a safe environment backed by one of the biggest poker tours in the world.
WPT Global Key Facts
100% up to $1,200
Ring games, MTTs
NLHE, PLO, PLO5, Short Deck
Android & iOS
Best value for MTT players (frequent overlays)
While PartyPoker has had its ups and downs over the years, especially after it decided to leave the USA after UIEGA, it has always remained one of the leading online poker rooms.
PartyPoker offers a solid range of schedule MTTs, including great series with big price pools.
If you are looking for value, you will find it with their generous welcome package, offering something for recreational and serious players alike.
On top of that, the operator offers a rewarding VIP program designed to acknowledge the value the grinders bring to the tables. Additionally, for those players who want to taste the live-action, the room offers plenty of satellites for their sponsored live events.
The software may not be as advanced as that offered by other top poker sites, but players can still use numerous customization options to set things up the way they like them.
Player traffic on PartyPoker has always been decent, which remains true today. You will find fewer tables running on higher stakes, but there is usually enough action to keep you busy regardless of the time you log in.
Finally, this is one of those poker sites that have earned the players' trust over the years, so you can rest assured everything is above the board. This is just as important for some players as all these other factors put together. As far as safe and regulated real money poker sites are concerned, you can't go wrong with PartyPoker.
PartyPoker Key Facts
$30 free & 100% up to $600
Ring games, MTTs, SNG, SPINS
NLHE, PLO, Short Deck, Seven Card Stud
Android & iOS
Good VIP rewards program
The Best US Online Poker Sites 2023
Online poker in the US has been regulated for over a decade as the first licensed US poker sites went live back in 2013. However, this doesn’t mean that players across the country have access to regulated online poker.
Instead, gambling laws are within individual states’ responsibilities, and each state has the right to regulate online poker as they see fit.
As of 2023, eight states have passed laws that make online poker legal, but only five of those have live and functioning operators.
Five states with regulated US poker sites are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Three states that have passed the regulation but are still to issue any licenses for poker operators are West Virginia, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
As per relevant laws, each operator must acquire a separate license in each new state, which is why players in some states have more options, while in some, like Nevada, the number is much smaller. Here are major operators offering online poker in the United States
- Available in: NV, DE, NJ, PA, and MI
WSOP US is one of the largest and best-known names in US online poker. Backed by one of the most famous brands in all of poker, WSOP.com is a partnership between Caesars Entertainment, which acts as a land-based partner, and 888 Holdings, which takes care of the online side of the business.
As of 2023, WSOP.com is live in all five US states that have active online poker: NV, DE, NJ, MI, and PA. In Nevada and Delaware, WSOP US is the only operational site, while they have to share the market with the likes of PokerStars, BetMGM, and Borgata in New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
The main strength of WSOP US comes from its ability to host bracelet and ring-awarding events, allowing players to compete for these highly-desired pieces of poker jewelry from the comfort of their homes.
WSOP US Key Facts
100% up to $1,000 & up to $100 extra
Ring games, MTTs, SNG, Blast
NLHE, PLO, 7 Card Stud
Android & iOS
Bracelet-awarding online tournaments
- Available in: NJ, PA, MI
PokerStars is another major brand in the US online poker market. The operator was somewhat late to the party, launching its first US poker site in 2016 when its New Jersey license was finally issued. Since then, however, PokerStars has built a big presence in the country.
The operator was the first room to go live in Pennsylvania immediately after online poker was introduced and also the first to claim its stake in the Michigan poker market.
Right now, PokerStars US is the largest site in terms of player traffic across all markets. By combining its Michigan and New Jersey player pools, the room managed to significantly boost its numbers across platforms.
This is also the go-to US poker site for all fans of online tournaments, featuring a rich daily and weekly schedule and several major series around the year featuring the famous ‘COOP brand.
PokerStars US Key Facts
100% up to $600
Ring games, MTTs, SNG, Spin & GO
NLHE, PLO, 2-7, Badugi, 7 Card Stud, Mixed Games, Short Deck
Android & iOS
Best & biggest US online poker tournaments
BetMGM Poker US
- Available in: NJ, PA, MI
Third on the list of the best US online poker sites is BetMGM Poker, a room that has come about as a partnership between MGM and Entain (formerly GVC Holdings).
While primarily focused on sports betting, BetMGM decided to launch an online poker platform in the US to make its product more competitive and appealing to the players. It is currently available in three states: New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
The BetMGM Poker US platform offers both cash games and tournaments, although it doesn’t enjoy the same popularity as the other two brands. The player traffic is lower on average, but games also tend to be somewhat softer.
BetMGM Poker US Key Facts
100% up to $1,000 & up to $75 in MTT tickets
Ring games, MTTs, SNG, SPINS
NLHE, PLO, 7 Card Stud
Android & iOS
Qualifiers for live US poker tournaments
Borgata Poker US
- Available in: NJ, PA
Borgata Poker is another brand owned by MGM and Entain. The site uses the same software and features the same games available on BetMGM. It also combines its player pools with BetMGM Poker in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the two states it currently operates in.
In terms of games, Borgata Poker US features NLHE and PLO cash games and tournaments across a variety of stakes. In partnership with BetMGM, it also features frequent tournament series, but with smaller guarantees than what you’ll find at sites like PokerStars US and WSOP US.
Borgata Poker US Key Facts
100% up to $1,000 & up to $75 in MTT tickets
Ring games, MTTs, SNG, SPINS
NLHE, PLO, 7 Card Stud
Android & iOS
Softer online series
US Online Poker State-by-State
As mentioned, online poker in the US is regulated at the state level. So far, eight states have passed online poker regulation, and it all started back in 2013.
Delaware was the first state to regulate online poker in 2013. It is a member of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), which allows it to share its player pool with New Jersey, Nevada, and Michigan. There are three skins operating in the state, powered by state lottery-owned racinos, all powered by 888 and partnered up with WSOP.
The third state to pass an online poker regulation in 2013, New Jersey seized the opportunity presented by the new wave of regulation. In 2016, the state also joined the MSIGA to expand its poker market. As of 2023, there are four licensed sites operating in NJ: PokerStars, WSOP.com, BetMGM Poker, and Borgata Poker.
In 2021, Michigan regulated online poker as well, continuing the growth of US online poker. A couple of years later, in 2023, the state became the fourth member of the MSIGA as well, creating new and exciting opportunities for US poker sites. Right now, PokerStars, WSOP, and BetMGM offer real money games in the state.
It took several years before another state joined the regulation movement. In 2019, Pennsylvania passed its own poker law, and PokerStars was the first operator to seize the opportunity in what’s currently the largest single-state market in the US. After two years, WSOP PA, BetMGM PA, and Borgata Poker PA entered the market as well.
The state of Nevada regulated online poker shortly after Delaware, also in 2013. Nevada and Delaware were the original members of the MSIGA, laying the foundations for interstate online poker in the US. There is only one licensed site operating in the state, and that’s WSOP.com.
A few months after PA, West Virginia became the fifth US state to regulate online poker. However, as of 2023, there are no live poker sites operating in the state. A small market size is the main obstacle here, and the one that might be solved by the state joining the MSIGA.
Connecticut joined the wave of regulation in May 2021, becoming the seventh US state with online poker, at least in theory. The law provides for two poker licenses, but so far, no operators have shown interest, so residents of the state remain without any legal options.
⭐ Rhode Island
The small state of Rhode Island passed its own online poker bill in 2023, with the aim of it going into full force in March 2024. Looking at the situation in WV and CT, it’s unlikely any operators will be applying for licenses, though, at least not before the state joins the MSIGA, as its 1.1 million population doesn’t offer a big enough potential market.
Poker Bonuses – What To Expect From Top Online Poker Sites
One of the consequences of fierce competition among real money online poker sites is that each of them offers the best online poker bonuses to new players.
The operators simply cannot afford not to.
From the online poker players’ perspective, it is no longer a matter if you are getting a bonus; it is a matter of how big it is.
Top poker sites offer generous welcome bonuses for new players. If you’re looking for the best value, these are some of the options worth considering:
- PokerStars: Get $30 in free play on your first deposit OR a 100% boost up to $600
- 888poker: Special offer – get $20 in free play + 100% up to $888 on your first deposit
- GGPoker: Up to $100 worth of rewards OR 100% up to $600 on your first deposit
- WPT Global: A 100% boost up to $1200 on your first deposit
- PartyPoker: Get $30 in free play and $600 first deposit bonus
if you are looking for a specific type of poker bonus, this is what you can expect in all of our recommended best online poker sites in 2023!
⭐ First deposit poker bonus
You should explore what is offered by the best online poker sites and find a bonus that is suitable for you.
To get the best value, you have to rate a couple of different aspects of the welcome offer of each online poker room.
Some sites offer a 50% bonus, others 100%, and there are even places where you can get a 200% bonus on top of your first deposit. Obviously, the higher the percentage, the better.
However, it is not only about that. The maximum bonus you could get is also significant. Usually, the higher percentages are limited to a smaller number, such as $100 or $200.
That is perfectly fine if you have a small bankroll and plan to play low stakes.
If you want to play in higher games, it is usually better to find a bonus that can bring you up to $500 or even $1,000. Luckily, there are many opportunities for that.
Finally, you should always check the wagering requirements of each bonus.
It is by far the most important aspect you have to consider in real money poker sites. Depending on the conditions, an offer could be worth anywhere between 10% to 50% of your rake-back most of the time.
Some legal poker sites will give you 30 days to clear your bonus, and others up to 90 days. So while you want the most value, you need to make sure you will have enough time to clear it.
Carefully evaluate how much money you can get from each offer before making your final decision, and always take into consideration your specific situation:
- If you play higher-stakes games, you want to get the biggest possible bonus.
- If you play lower games, then your goal is to get the best clearing rate and biggest multiplier.
⭐ No Deposit Bonuses
No deposit bonuses are clearly the most coveted ones. As the name suggests, this is free money you get from the site just for signing up.
Lately, these offers have been quite scarce, but we secured a deal with 888poker to give our players $20 when they open an account through us, so if you don’t have a bankroll, this could be a great way to start one.
Usually, no deposit poker bonuses come as a mix of cash and tournament tickets that you can use to join the games. There are some cashout restrictions, but is nothing to worry about if you just want to play.
By the time you accumulate enough money to merit a cashout, you’ll have easily cleared all restrictions.
⭐ Free Play Bonuses
Free play offers usually come in the form of extra cash and tournament tickets you get as soon as you make the required deposit. For example, on PokerStars, players can pick an option to get $30 free when depositing $20 or more.
They work just like no deposit offers. The only difference is that you need to deposit before claiming the extra funds.
⭐ Biggest Online Poker Sites Rake Back Programs
The first deposit bonuses are usually the most valuable offers by each top online poker site. However, you should always be one step ahead and check what is available when you clear the welcome deal.
The poker scene is getting tougher each year, so it is essential to find the best poker sites online that allow you to earn extra value on a regular basis. The most popular way to do this is traditional rakeback.
The best real money online poker out there gives players a chance to get a percentage of their rake back.
In most cases, it can be anywhere between 10% and 50%.
You might be paid back a straight-up percentage of your overall contribution, it might be done via the points system where you can exchange points for cash or bonuses, or it could be something different entirely. For example, GGPoker has a unique rewards program called Fish Buffet and distributes rewards based on that.
How the rakeback works on a particular site isn’t that important. What’s important is finding a site that gives you a big cut of it back – the bigger, the better.
⭐ Online Poker Best Sites Loyalty and VIP Programs
If the poker room does not have a rakeback promotion or some kind of alternative, it surely does not belong in the list of the best sites for online poker. That said, do not worry if you can't find a direct rakeback deal.
It usually means they are not allowed to give cash directly in such a fashion, so they have another way to pay the players.
It is generally through VIP programs that reward loyalty points, which could be exchanged for money.
Make sure to calculate how much you can get.
You should not settle for less than 25-30% rewards unless the room has other exceptional advantages, such as poor players or huge traffic, to compensate for that.
Moreover, some of the best online poker real money sites are constantly launching limited-time promotions that can boost your bankroll even further.
It is a nice addition to the ongoing offers, so you should probably consider it when picking where to play poker.
⭐ Freeroll Tournaments
Back in the day, real money poker sites had heaps of great freerolls open to everyone. In 2023, you'll struggle to find freerolls worth playing if you just log into a random room.
However, many operators will give you access to exclusive depositor freeroll tournaments as a part of your welcome bonus, and these are actually worth playing.
Again, if you already have a big bankroll, these tournaments might not be worth your time. But if you only make the minimum deposit, the value for the money you get from playing in them is quite good.
Adding an extra $10 or $20 to a $10 deposit is a big deal, especially if you're adamant about building your poker bankroll from the ground up.
Online Poker Real Money Games – What To Expect?
Knowing what kind of poker games online for real money you are looking to play is very important since this is one of the things you need to consider when picking the room.
Some excel in tournaments or jackpot sit and goes, while others have much more action in cash games.
Therefore, it is essential to know what you are looking for before joining a site, and we will go over the main real money game types to make this easier for you.
⭐ Multi-table Tournaments (MTTs) – King Of Online Poker Games for Real Money
Multi-table tournaments are probably the most popular form of online poker games for real money, attracting amateurs and professional players alike. Featuring big fields and players of very different skill levels, MTTs provide an opportunity to turn a very small buy-in into a big payday.
All real money poker sites offer tournaments, with buy-ins ranging from just $1 (or less) to a few hundred or even a few thousand for special events.
Sites like PokerStars and GGPoker are the best picks for online poker tournaments real money players, as they offer regular series and major weekly events with big fields and massive guarantees.
On low to mid-stakes, games are beatable for decent ROIs, as there is a good mix of regs and recs, but the variance is quite big due to a sheer number of players.
Sites like 888poker offer good value for money as they still have solid guarantees but somewhat smaller fields and occasional overlays, especially at higher stakes ($50+ buy-ins). The situation is similar over at WPT Global as well.
Unibet probably isn’t your go-to site for MTTs as they cater to recreational players and don’t offer frequent big events. On the flip side, fields are much softer, and they do have occasional major online tournaments and satellites to their big live events, so it’s a good way to qualify for live tournaments at a big discount.
⭐ Cash Games – Play Poker for Real Money Online
Cash games represent another major subcategory of online poker games. They are not as popular as MTTs, but they certainly attract players in big numbers. You’ll find that all of the best real money poker sites feature a wide array of stakes, starting as low as $0.01/$0.02 and going up to $25/$50, with even higher games running on occasion.
Player traffic is very important if you are looking to play cash.
This is why big sites like PokerStars, GGPoker, and 888poker should be your go-to destinations if you want the ability to fire up multiple tables at the same time almost around the clock.
Smaller ones like WPT Global and Unibet don’t have that many players around, so you might struggle to find enough action as you move up the stakes.
The big ones also offer fast-fold cash games where you can fold your hand as soon as you’re dealt in and move on to the next one without waiting for others to act. These are:
- Zoom Poker at PokerStars
- SNAP at 888poker
- Rush & Cash at GGPoker
In terms of difficulty, PokerStars games are probably the toughest around, and as soon as you move out of the micros, you’ll have to face some tough opposition at the tables. GGPoker and 888poker still feature a solid mix of recreational and serious players, although you’ll have to be sharp on your table selection game.
⭐ Jackpot Sit & Goes – Play Poker Online For Real Money
In recent years, different types of jackpot sit and goes have gained a lot of popularity, and it seems it’s here to stay.
All major poker sites have their own variation of these with the potential for massive returns if you get extremely lucky:
- PokerStars: Spin & Go – win up to 12,000x your buy-in with occasional higher max multipliers for special events and celebrations.
- GGPoker: Spin & Gold – max multipliers up to 20,000x your buy-in and even higher for some buy-in levels.
- 888poker: BLAST – win up to 10,000x your buy-in
- Unibet Poker: Hexapro – max jackpot of 1,000 times the buy-in
Across all sites, these games have some things in common. They’re played in a three-handed format, and the winner usually takes all (except for the highest multipliers, where all players get rewarded). Blind levels are short, and the highest multipliers are extremely rare.
Despite the inherent variance of this format, many poker players have found a lot of success with it. While the skill element is somewhat reduced by randomness, as there is no way to know when a big one will go off, these games attract a lot of casual players hoping for a big score.
⭐ Sit & Goes – Dying Online Poker Real Money Game
At one point on the online poker timeline, sit and go tournaments were quite popular. From regular ones, over double-or-nothings, to hyper-turbos, sit and goes were the go-to option for many serious grinders.
Nowadays, however, these games are your least viable option.
Even on the biggest sites like PokerStars and GGPoker, you’ll struggle to find consistent volume. Players have simply moved on, and recs, who are at the heart of the poker economy, prefer formats like Spin & Go and Spin & Gold.
There is still some action at the heads-up tables, but the players you’ll come across are mostly in the “shark” category, so if you’re looking to make money, we’d advise sticking to other formats.
Payment Options – Best Online Poker Sites for Real Money
Real money online poker sites accept a wide range of payment options. The full list will depend on where you live and what methods are available in your jurisdiction, but you should have no problems depositing and withdrawing money.
Some of the most popular real money poker payment options include:
- Bank transfers
- Prepaid cards like Paysafecard
- Mobile payment systems
Many of these options are widely available. For example, almost all of the top poker sites accept major credit and debit cards like MasterCard and Visa. However, players on UK online poker sites can only use debit cards for deposits, while credit cards are not supported.
PayPal is another growingly popular option.
While still available only in a limited number of markets, more and more players can use PayPal for poker deposits and withdrawals. Where available, it is one of the fastest and safest methods for moving funds online.
Since many people already have PayPal accounts, connecting them to an online poker room is trivial. It’ll take a few minutes to make a deposit, and withdrawals are usually very quick and extremely reliable. It is getting very popular even in big markets, and players can access this option even on Canadian poker sites.
A growing number of sites are accepting cryptocurrency deposits as well. While this is still not widely accepted, some major operators have decided to take the plunge. If you’re looking for a big-name room accepting cryptos, GGPoker is your best bet.
Are Best Poker Online Sites Safe & Legal?
There are a few important aspects to look at when thinking about the safety and legality of international online poker operators. Since they cater to many players in different jurisdictions, the answer to this question is multifaceted.
Generally speaking, all top poker rooms are completely legal.
However, the legality of online poker is determined by the laws and regulations of the country or the area you live in. So, the only way to be 100% certain if playing poker online is legal in your part of the world is by familiarizing yourself with the local regulation.
While this may not be the answer you were looking for, it is the only honest one we can provide. The fact that an online poker room provides services in a certain country doesn’t necessarily mean that this is in line with local laws.
⭐ Safest Online Poker Sites
When it comes to safety, though, things are much clearer.
The first thing to look at is licensing. Reputable poker sites have international licenses from trustworthy independent authorities, such as the Malta Gaming Authority and, to some extent, Curacao or Kahnawake.
You will find that the MGA licenses all top-tier poker sites, and many of them have local licenses to operate in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, or even Canada.
These local licenses are often difficult to get and require rooms to adhere to very strict rules and standards. Thus, those that can satisfy these criteria enjoy a very good reputation and are considered the safest online poker sites.
That said, there is always a certain degree of risk connected to keeping your money online and some factors you can’t influence, but you can also do a lot to protect yourself.
The good news is that organizations like eCOGRA ensure the randomness of all games, so you should be happy to know that all top real money poker sites are audited by it.
Beyond this, reading detailed poker site reviews and finding comments from real players will help you gain useful information. How an operator treats its players regarding withdrawals, technical issues, and other aspects will help you decide if they are a safe pick.
Here are some of the biggest and safest online poker sites:
Advantages of Playing at Online Poker Real Money Sites
Let’s start at the top and talk briefly about why you want to play for real money in the first place. If you’re coming from free poker apps or friendly home games, you’ve probably realized that there is more to the game.
As much as you may love poker, the fact is that it’s just not the same game when there is nothing on the line.
And that’s the biggest advantage of playing online poker for real money.
⭐ Having fun and getting experience playing for real money
You’ll get to experience the game in a much more serious way and will be able to see if you’re able to rise to the challenge.
When there is no money on the line, every decision is trivial. Whether you make a big bluff or call an all-in, you're not risking anything at the end of the day.
So, the fundamental part of the game is lost in the process.
And the best thing is, you don’t need to have loads of cash to play real money poker online. Unlike live card rooms, poker sites host games where you can buy-in for as little as $1 and tournaments you can enter for just $0.10.
⭐ Learning the proper strategy at real money online poker sites
Even at these lowest stakes, the quality of play will be infinitely better than at free games. This will allow you to learn new things, work on your mistakes, and grow as a player.
This is just the beginning, though.
Online real money poker sites and apps open the world of possibility. Many now-famous players have started with a small deposit and built their bankrolls, progressing through the stakes.
If you have the patience and the dedication to the game, you can turn this hobby into a profitable endeavor with a small monetary investment.
You’ll still need to spend a lot of time learning, but there are plenty of free resources and poker training sites, so nothing can stop you if you decide to take it seriously.
Picking the Best Real Money Poker Site Online
Every player is different, so naturally, they need different things when playing poker online. If you’ve done any kind of research, you probably know there are dozens of online poker sites out there. On top of that, they all seem pretty similar if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.
So, before you even start thinking about your decision, figure out what it is that you’re looking for:
- What games do you want to play?
- How much money you’re willing to put on the line?
- Do you want to be able to play on your phone?
- Are you looking to play primarily for profit or fun?
I’ll now go through this checklist and address every item on it. Hopefully, it will provide you with some answers on your journey to find the best online poker real money site that meets your needs and expectations.
⭐ Your preferred format
Poker is a term that encompasses many different game variations, types, and subtypes. But, for this guide, we’ll keep it simple. If you’re just starting, you’re probably weighing your options between cash games and tournaments.
If tournaments are your game of choice, your best bet is to look for a big site with many players and large MTTs.
For example, PokerStars has long been the king of tournament action. If MTTs are what you're after, you can't go wrong here.
Of course, there is plenty of cash game action on PokerStars as well, but games are, on average, quite tough, even at the smallest of limits. So, if you want to have the best chance of building your bankroll from a small deposit, a room like 888poker might be a better pick.
There is still plenty of online Texas Hold’em real money action around the clock, but the competition won’t be as tough.
⭐ Level of competition at the best poker sites online
The level of competition you will face in a particular poker site online is a crucial factor to consider and might be the most important one.
The weaker your opponents, the easier it will be to win in the long term and vice versa.
While playing against solid regulars might help you improve faster, you always want some weaker players at your table. Actually, taking advantage of weak opposition remains the best way to make money while playing poker online, no matter which poker site you pick.
Usually, you will find much better games on smaller sites, so instead of going for well-established online poker rooms, you can try WPT Global or other sites that are relatively new.
⭐ The importance of player traffic for poker online best sites
A poker site can have the best software and the best promotions, but all of it won’t matter too much if it can’t offer good player traffic. Whether you’re a recreational player or a hardcore professional, you want access to games around the clock.
It is a bit pointless to have soft games if they are barely running.
If that is the case, you can't play enough poker hands, so this will surely not be a pleasant or profitable experience which is often a problem with new online poker sites.
Trusted online poker sites with good traffic can also offer better tournaments, as they know they can reach enough players to meet bigger guarantees. That’s why giants like PokerStars and GGPoker can consistently organize events and series with massive guarantees.
Operators with low player traffic are notorious for having almost no higher stakes games and their bigger buy-in tournaments canceled. Players are at the heart of any poker room, and decent traffic should be one of the main aspects to consider when deciding where to play.
Luckily, most of the best online poker sites display a count of online players when you log in, so it is not hard to figure this out by visiting their websites.
⭐ The variety of poker games on offer
Some players prefer to stick to one particular format, while others are willing to explore poker rules and find opportunities in different games. All in all, you certainly want an online poker room that offers various types of games.
For example, most sites offer No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha – these two variations are pretty much the staple of online poker these days, so you’ll find it across all sites. But your options will be more limited if you want to play games like Seven Card Stud, Razz, or mixed games.
Also, you want to see various tournaments, SNGs, and possibly modern formats such as Spin and Go, fast-fold poker, and others to thoroughly enjoy the games.
It will give you the chance to find your comfort zone while playing poker online and, at the same time, switch to different games once you get tired or bored with your main action.
All top online poker sites have a lot to offer in terms of game variety, and they all have some unique games, so it boils down to what exactly you’re looking for.
⭐ Your Initial Bankroll
The whole point of playing real money poker online is to be able to win some money. To do that, you’ll need to risk some money of your own.
How much cash you can set aside for your endeavors will play a big role in choosing the best poker site for you.
If you can only afford a small deposit, you’ll be better off signing up with a room that offers a generous free play bonus and plenty of freerolls, so check our list to find the best deals.
If you can make a more substantial deposit, you should focus on the site where you can get a big match bonus and a solid loyalty program. That way, you’ll be getting the best value for your money.
⭐ Playing Real Money Poker on Your Phone
In this day and age, we’re all very attached to our phones. Like it or not, it’s just how it is. But, if you also want to play poker on your mobile device, you’ll need to find a room that offers the best real money poker apps.
Surprisingly, not all poker sites do, so this is something you should research well.
Of course, big-name operators like 888, PokerStars, and GGPoker all have top-of-the-line apps for Android and iOS, so these are always a safe bet.
But if you want to play on a smaller site, you’ll need to read some reviews and perhaps even ask around on poker forums to find out how good their mobile solution is.
⭐ Fun vs. Profit
Nobody plays real money poker online with the idea of losing money, but having fun is just more important to some players.
Before you decide, you need to figure out what category you’re in.
It’s often easier to make money on a smaller site like Unibet Poker or WPT Global.
The games are way softer there, and you're still playing on a safe and reputable site.
The downside is that you won’t have as much variety. Cash game traffic might be low, there might be a limit to the number of tables you’re allowed to play, and tournament guarantees aren’t as generous. Some of these things can be quite frustrating at times.
If you just want to have fun, perhaps get better, and don’t mind breaking even or losing a bit for a while, you’ll be better served at a larger, better-known poker site.
On the other hand, profits will be better in smaller rooms, especially those offering sportsbooks and online casinos. You’ll often come across gamblers happy to give over their money in exchange for some excitement on the felt.
⭐ Fairness and reputation
Of course, you want a trusted company that will not endanger your money or personal information when playing online poker. Thus, if you have any doubts when joining a new poker site, especially if you are planning to play for real money, you should check a few things.
Firstly and most importantly, you should check if this online poker site has a gambling license. An excellent example of a trusted regulator is the gambling commissions of Malta and the United Kingdom, which regulate many of the best poker sites.
If you are not able to find any information or think that the site is not monitored, just run away.
There have been many incidents in the past, and you surely do not want to leave your money hanging.
If they have the license and look like a decent option, you can take a look at how they are handling information and transactions. It must be protected with SSL encryptions and other advanced technologies so that your data would be coded and unharmed in all cases.
This is how it looks on my site with chrome browser:
If you find “Not secure” next to the site name, it means they do not have an SSL certificate, and your data can be very easily stolen.
SSL is offered by most poker rooms out there, but you better check it beforehand and be sorry later.
⭐ Best sites to play online poker has great software
It goes without saying, but a reliable poker client is a must. Just like with any other poker software and tools, you want to be sure that you will be able to access it whenever you want without any struggles and that it will not break down during the play.
The ergonomics and convenience of the app are also important. Whether you play seriously or just for fun, the software quality will greatly impact your overall experience and, ultimately, your win rate.
Is there a time bank? Can you easily multi-table? Can you use custom bet sizing? And many more questions should be answered before making a final decision.
There are a few main aspects of a poker client we look at when rating sites, namely:
- Stability & reliability – are there frequent disconnects during gameplay or other technical errors that can influence your gaming experience and cost you money?
- User interface – How good is the overall software layout? Do lobbies have good filters to help you find what you’re looking for, and are tables visually appealing and designed so that you can perform actions without fear of misclicks? Can you multi-table, and what restrictions are there?
- Customization – What options are there to make the software better suited for you? From simple things like having a four-color deck over cool emojis to the ability to fine-tune your betting options.
The bottom line is good software is important, and a bad platform can completely ruin your experience and your desire to play on the site, even if they offer the softest games and the best guarantees.
⭐ Customer service at the top poker sites online
Unfortunately, all kinds of stuff happen, and sometimes you might end up looking for help. That is when you usually contact the support team of your chosen online poker games site and rely on their assistance.
Ideally, there will be a way to talk to them in real time, for example, via live chat or phone. An email is also okay if you get a response in a timely fashion, but it is crucial that your new online poker site would handle it fast.
There are some horror stories online about poker rooms that drag requests for months with generic answers. You do not want to end up in a similar situation, and if you do not find any negative reviews or posts in poker forums after googling it for a few minutes, in most cases, you are good to go.
This list will surely help you understand what you need to consider when picking the best online poker site for you.
That said, it takes a ton of time and research to identify all of those details. So if you want to enjoy the games without any struggles, you can take a look at one of the best poker sites we already selected for different games.
Best Poker Sites Online For You!
When you are trying to pick the best online poker site out there, your focal point should always be your own plan.
- Are you going to play tournaments or cash games?
- Do you prefer to play fewer tables but against weak competition?
- Or maybe you are planning to put a ton of volume and take advantage of lucrative rakeback deals?
There are more things to consider, thus, picking the best poker site personally for you is very important. That said, there are a couple of things you should always stick to.
Security, support, and payments are no joke.
If an online poker site does not have high standards when it comes to those three, you better stay away. You do not want to end up scammed and lose your bankroll.
Also, while playing in only one online poker room has its advantages, you shouldn’t rule out the option to try a few. It is especially useful if you are looking for more traffic and more opportunities.
At the end of the day, it all depends on your needs and preferences, but I am sure that this guide helped you to understand what to look for. If you are still not sure, take a look at our real money online poker sites recommendations at the top of this page, and you won't go wrong with any of these.
You can find detailed reviews, exclusive sign-up bonuses, and even private freerolls if you sign up for one of the best online poker sites with our links, so choose what works for you!
⭐ Key takeaways for picking online poker rooms
- Choose only from regulated and safe poker sites
- Look to find smaller rooms with weaker players
- Take advantage of first deposit bonuses
- Make sure to get a good rake-back deal
- Pick an option with various games in one place
- Do not forget customer service, software reliability, and payment methods