Best Online Poker Sites for 2022
The appeal of online poker in the US is ever-increasing. It seems as if new sites are popping up on a daily basis. As an individual player, it can be difficult to keep up. When confronted with so much choice, choosing the best poker sites can be challenging. This is why we have selected the top sites for your convenience, and reviewed them to give you a good idea of what you’re signing up for.
Aside from discovering the greatest sites, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about poker online, and how to maximize your chances of winning.
Where to find the best poker rooms
The Best Online Poker Sites
PokerStars is a trailblazer in recreating the finest virtual poker rooms. It’s easy to become immersed in this site’s poker offerings. The casino makes use of cutting-edge software to deliver premier poker games. In addition, the customer service team is on the scene at all times to resolve any issues, with live chats accessible through an easy-to-navigate user interface.
Unbelievably, the site’s traffic alone accounts for half of all poker activity online. This stands as testament to PokerStars’ popularity and success. Typically, there are more than 20,000 players online at any given moment. This means that finding competitors at any time of the day will not be a problem. This remains true no matter how obscure your poker variant of choice is.
PokerStars’ crowning jewel is their tournament, the Sunday Majors. It has a prize pool of $2,000,000. As you might have guessed, this enormous sum calls for a rather steep first-time deposit of $600. If you consider yourself a poker aficionado, consider taking the opportunity. There’s no other site that offers this kind of prize money.
Full Tilt Poker
The new Full Tilt Poker casino has risen like a phoenix from the ashes — after closure in 2011 following a series of scandals. Currently, the site can boast the second-largest audience base in online poker. On average, you can find more than 2,500 players in their real money poker rooms. During peak hours, that number can balloon to over 4,000 players. So, regardless whether you’re a high, medium, or low stakes player, there are enough rooms to satisfy your needs. This online casino has mastered the art of multi-tabling.
Additionally, this site features the most exotic internet poker variants out there. They also offer a note-worthy tournament called Sit & Go. Factor in the excellent customer support and one of the best user interfaces we’ve ever used, and this site is a solid choice if you’re looking for a permanent destination to play poker games online.
Alongside the greatest video slots and jackpot offerings, this site delivers various poker online rooms. The user interface is also easy to navigate, and the banking options are convenient. This means that players rarely have to set up any payment method from scratch.
Some of the variants you can play at this casino include Hold’em, Stud, and Omaha. Stakes start from as little as $0.01/$0.02, and increase to $500/$1,000. In terms of tournaments, however, the platform has limited variety compared to giants like PokerStars and Full Tilt. The site’s Sunday tournament only has a prize pool of $100,000.
Bovada is a major contender for players who want to play online poker for real money in the US. The site offers some of the top virtual poker rooms, including cash games and tournaments of Texas Hold’em, 7-card Stud, Omaha, Omaha Hi-lo, and 7-card Stud Hi-lo.
That said, US players in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware can’t play at Bovada. This is because those states have their own poker networks. However, players in other states can enjoy Bovada’s great poker experience, and the fastest withdrawal methods in the industry.
How Virtual Poker Rooms Work
There’s quite a lot to learn about virtual poker rooms. We’ve outlined some of the fundamental elements you should know if you’re new to the game.
The ‘rake’ is how online casinos make their money. It’s a commission fee. The fee is calculated as a percentage of the total prize pool, and naturally, it only applies to real money games. With tournaments, however, the rake is collected as an entrance fee.
For instance, a tournament buy-in listed as $150+$25 means that $150 goes to the prize pool. The internet poker room takes the remaining $25. Remember that the rake makes it harder for players to earn money or break even. So, more often than not, beating the rake is the only way to turn a profit.
Playing Online Poker for Free
Playing for free at a poker site allows you to test strategies and familiarize yourself with the platform. However, free play does have its limits. Besides the fact that you can’t win real money, there is a tangible lack of thrill. Some poker tournaments offer free entry to give players a chance to play real money online poker without risking their own bankroll on an initial deposit.
Fairness & Security
Fairness and security encompass the RNG (Random Number Generator), SSL encryption technology, as well as licensing. The RNG ensures the outcome of each poker round is completely unpredictable. All player information is protected by SSL encryption technology. Licensing indicates that the site is routinely regulated by a relevant gambling authority.
The available stake differ between casino sites. Stakes represent the amount of a player’s buy-in, or the amount a player is willing to use in a game. They’re generally divided into micro stakes, low stakes, medium stakes, and high stakes. Low and medium stakes range from NL20 to NL400. In this context, NL means no limit, with NL20 meaning the bet is equal to 20 times the credit used by the casino.
Not every casino offers micro stakes. Those that do sit in the range of $0.02 and $0.04. High stakes, on the other hand, start from $30/$60.
Variants of Poker Online
It’s nearly impossible to become bored when playing poker online. This is largely because of the number of variants that can be played. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most popular versions of poker online.
Up to 10 players can enjoy Texas Hold’em. In this well-known variant, each player starts the game with 2 face-down hole cards, while the community cards consists of 5 face-up cards. On the second betting round — known as ‘the flop’ — 3 out of those 5 community cards will be revealed.
The fourth and fifth community cards will be shown on the third and fourth rounds, called the ‘turn’ and ‘river’, respectively. The goal of this variant is to combine your cards with the board in order to make the highest 5-card combination possible. The player with the best hand wins the pot.
Omaha, or its Pot-limit version, is extremely common at poker sites. In this version, players start the round with 4 hole (face down) cards instead of the usual 2 used in Texas Hold’em. Expect Omaha to be played in a Hi-Lo variant, in which the pot is divided into two. The biggest and smallest portions of the pool go to the players with the strongest and weakest hands respectively.
In 5-card Omaha, players start the game with 5 hole cards rather than the typical 4. The rules post-flop are much the same as those of Texas Hold’em.
7-card stud, also known as Stud Hi, starts with each player receiving two face-down cards and 1 upwards facing card. A player places the ante — a mandatory bet — and then 4 betting rounds follow.
Razz encourages players to make the best 5-card low hand – using the 7 cards at their disposal. Aces are considered inferior, while flushes and straights do not affect the strength of a hand. Therefore, the most ideal combination in Razz is A-2-3-4-5.
This is the most rudimentary form of online poker. Players start the round with 5 hole cards and can replace any of their cards after each betting round. A final round takes place when players are done adjusting their hands. It’s followed by a showdown to determine which player has the strongest hand.
2-7 Triple Draw
This 5-card variant grants players only three chances to create the best winning hand possible. Take note that all flushes, straights and pairs count against your hand in this poker game.
2-7 Single Draw
The only difference between 2-7 Triple Draw and 2-7 Single Draw is that the latter only features a single draw round, instead of the usual three.
While Ace-5 Lowball is similar to Five Card Draw, the goal in this version is to make the lowest combination possible after three draws. Aces are low, and straights and flushes don’t count against the player. The greatest hand you can get is A-2-3-4-5.
Mixed games encompass a broad category of tournaments and tables. The fun part is that players get to toy with different poker variations, with the most popular mix being H.O.R.S.E. This stands for Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud Hi, and Stud Hi/Lo.
Badugi’s similarity to other Triple Draw games stops at the number of hole cards players receive at the start of the game. Instead of being dealt 5 hole cards, players receive 4 hole cards. The goal this time around is to make the lowest hand composed of all the suits. Here, flushes and pairs stand against your hand, while straights do not. As for the ace, it’s seen as a low card.
With Courcheval, players receive 5 hole cards, plus a community card called the ‘flopet’ before the flop. Also, on the flop, only 2 community cards are revealed. Aside from that, Courcheval follows the standard rules of Omaha.
Online Poker Networks
Poker networks are absolutely essential. This is because not all virtual poker platforms can single-handedly maintain the traffic necessary to populate most of their rooms. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are the only sites that can pull it off without any outside help.
This means that the best option for the smaller poker sites is to pool their resources together to create massive poker networks. This move helps make their poker rooms more competitive. Each poker site defines the most appropriate bonus for their rooms and players. We’ve compiled an informative list of some of the most popular online poker networks in the US
Unlike many other poker networks, Merge Gaming Network doesn’t have any qualms about accepting US-based players. The network comprises about 40 poker sites, including some big names like Carbon Poker, Aced Poker, and Poker Host.
The iPoker Network, powered by industry titan Playtech, is the third most popular network in 2022. iPoker hosts more than 4,000 real money players during its peak hours. It comprises 49 sites. Some of the best poker rooms encompassed by the network are Bet365, Titan Poker, and William Hill. Unfortunately, however, iPoker has a limited poker variant offering.
During peak hours, the Revolution Gaming Network has around 700 players playing real money online poker.Players can access over 80 poker sites, though the premier ones are Lock Poker Online and Juicy Stakes Poker. The only disadvantage to using this poker network is the lack of exotic poker rooms.
Additional Poker Online Features
There are certain features that make online poker stand out from other casino table games. Those features include:
- Stats and hand histories
- Customizable themes and avatars
- ‘Run it Twice’
- ‘Rabbit Hunt’
- ‘Show One Card’.
We’ll address each of them below.
Stats & Hand Histories
Stats and hand histories are essential for analyzing your gameplay, mistakes, and successes. The good thing is that most casino sites will allow you to see your stats and hand histories without you having to manually record anything. In the case of hand histories, all you have to do is access your history, and you can copy all the data for future perusals.
For stats, you’ll be given details such as the number of times you’ve been dealt in, the number of showdowns you’ve experienced, and how you played your hand from certain positions. You can even check your tournament history and inspect your results. Another option is to import all the information you need using third-party tools, and have those tools extract actionable game strategy-improving advice.
Unlike poker cardrooms at brick-and-mortar casinos, online poker allows players to play hundreds of hands every hour. This feature can be best-termed ‘multi-tabling’, and it’s available at all the top poker sites. Essentially, it allows you to play multiple internet poker games simultaneously. Most platforms will let you play on twelve or more tables at the same time.
You’ll need a lot of screen real estate to get the finest experience. Screen casting your device to your smart TV is advisable. Otherwise, you’ll have to use more than one display. As a side note, multi-tabling requires a lot of skill to manage several games simultaneously, so beginners aren’t advised to try this feature without getting some experience first.
Customizable Themes and Avatars
The other side of online poker is the eye-candy. Players can choose their avatars, pick a theme, and switch between 2 and 4-color card decks. PKR.com took customization to the next level by replacing 2D avatars and tables with a 3D environment.
Taking Notes on Other Players
The more advanced the poker room you’re playing in, the more critical it is to be able to take notes on the moves made by other players. Nowadays, it’s as simple as clicking on their avatars and leaving a note about their tactics for subsequent encounters.
During those future encounters, make sure whatever note you left isn’t too old. It’s normal for a player to change their tactics so as not to be predictable. In other words, the competition cares as much about improving their game as you do.
Run it Twice
The ‘Run it Twice’ feature isn’t available at all online poker sites, but it’s one of the best features available. It allows players to receive two outcomes for one hand, by dealing the community cards twice. Typically, the pot will be split into two if both players are head-to-head in an all-in situation and agree to use this option.
Each of the halves will be staked on using a separate set of community cards. This means that the player with the better odds decreases the risk of a bad beat. If you’re playing at Full Tilt Poker, you’ll be allowed to use this option pre-flop and post-flop.
Beginners are quick to choose the Rabbit Hunt as one of the greatest features online. This is why poker sites like Bodog make sure to include it. The Rabbit Hunt gives you a sneak peek at what the community card would have looked like if you hadn’t folded your hand.
However, the only scenario in which you can use the Rabbit Hunt is when your opponent wins the pot without reaching the showdown. Keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily give you an edge, and it might lead to further losses since you might be put on tilt (a state of emotional and mental confusion).
Show One Card
This feature can be a handy tool if timed correctly. You have two choices when you force your opponent to fold, or fold in a head-to-head situation. Either, you throw away your cards while keeping them face-down, or you can show them to your opponent. This feature allows you to display a single card without revealing the other one.
Playing Poker Online for Real Money in the US: The Legal Issues
Playing poker online for real money is possible in some regions. However, it’s still highly regulated by several governments. This is because, when compared to other casino games like video slots, poker online is uncharted territory. In the USA, the majority of states don’t have specific legislation that prohibits online poker. But there are, of course, exceptions. Find out more about this on our dedicated legal page.
Depositing and Withdrawing When You Play Poker Online
There’s no need to worry about depositing and withdrawing your money when you enjoy poker games at the top online casinos. There are a variety of payment methods available to US players, and finding your preferred platform shouldn’t be too difficult. Head over to our deposit page to find out more.
Poker Online Bonuses
Bonuses do two things: they attract new players, and keep their frequent players engaged. We’ve detailed the types of poker online bonuses you’ll find at the best online casinos.
Deposit bonuses are only available to new players. They offer players the chance to play with bonus money. Oftentimes, the exact amount is determined by your deposit amount. For instance, a 100% match-up bonus capped at $500 will give you $500 when you deposit $500. The amount remains $500 even if you deposit $750.
Deposit bonuses also come with terms and conditions. One of which is the wagering requirement, which dictates how many times you have to wager your bonus cash before you can withdraw your winnings.
For example, a 20x wagering condition attached to a $200 bonus cash reward will require you to make wagers totaling $4,000 before you can withdraw. Another bonus term to note is the eligibility period, which limits the amount of time you have to enjoy the bonus before it expires (usually 30 days).
No deposit bonuses can be hard to find, and even the premier poker sites don’t offer them regularly. Since you don’t need to deposit to claim this bonus, the bonus cash will be significantly smaller than the deposit bonus. Usually, they’re capped at $50, but then, not many players want to turn down free cash.
These poker bonuses also come with terms, and more often than not, they’re even more demanding than the ones you’ll find attached to deposit bonuses. The free cash is still an opportunity to win big, however, especially if the site allows players to use the money in virtual poker rooms.
Cheating in Poker Online
Some players exploit the loopholes of playing online to cheat during poker games. The most common practice is collusion, whereby players group together to gain an unfair advantage over other players at the table. However, the top poker sites crack down on this by alerting casino site staff and using an automated system.
The top sites record all hands played online, and try to look for incriminating patterns. After that, players caught in the act have their accounts locked and funds forfeited. Poker sites make money on every hand dealt, so their number one priority is to keep the games free of cheating. If a poker room gains a reputation for being forgiving towards cheaters, players are going to flee to other sites.
Using Tools to Improve Your Game
Many virtual poker tools allow players to expand their poker knowledge and improve their skills. Below, we’ll be going through some popular tools that US players find particularly helpful.
Virtual poker tracking software allows players to find leaks in their own hands and their rival’s hands, in order to gain an advantage the next time they meet. Popular options are Poker Tracker 4 Track, Hold’em Manager, Poker Copilot, and Hand2note.
To become familiar with tracking software, you can use Hand2Note, a free app to gain in-depth statistics. Using tracking software is common practice within the industry, since nobody wants to memorize any stats. Having software do the work is a good option for anybody serious about their internet poker career.
Player databases give you access to other online poker players, venues, festivals, events, results, and hands. Beginner and intermediate players can use popular options like Hendon Mob or SharkScope to gain insight and feedback from other players.
Best Training Sites to Learn Poker
One of the most useful training sites for rookies is Run it Once. With this service, you can gain helpful advice from professional poker players in the form of books, instructional videos, and live coaching. While free online platforms like GGPoker and Party-Poker offer a wealth of information, they’re nothing compared to paid sites like Run it Once, and Red Chip Poker, which offer the best tips.
As you now know, online poker is one of the most intriguing games out there. There is so much room to combine lucrative strategies and make big money plays. So, provided you’re willing to start slow and grow your skills, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to bolster your bankroll.