The Ultimate Reviews and Ratings of Online Poker Sites of 2024

Online poker is an often-misunderstood branch of the online gaming world. The titles that permeate this space are not just traditional poker games with conventional payout hierarchies; they are also innovative and rich variants that leave you speechless. When you combine this with our superb recommended online poker sites, which boast the best features and mechanics in the business, you get an unbeatable combination. Check out our reviews, rankings, and overview of online poker to learn more.

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Overview

Poker has always been a revered game of skill and luck. While you need Lady Luck’s patronage to land amazing cards, you need skills to trick your opponents into over or underestimating the strength of your hand. This cunning game of deception has, therefore, been presented in countless movies and pop culture hits. However, few people know poker’s history, rules, hand rankings, game options, and jargon. Sure, everyone knows how to raise and call, but that only gets you so far. Join us on this deep dive into the exciting world of online poker and take your gaming to the next level.

The Origins of Online Poker

The story of online poker began in the early 1990s when the online gaming industry was still in its infancy. The first online poker game appeared in 1994 in the form of text-based IRC poker. While this was a far cry from the high-quality graphics and enormous poker payouts that we know today, it took the industry by storm the same way modern releases do.

1998 saw the launch of the first-ever online poker room, called Planet Poker, by Randy Blumer. Their limited features and small player base were nonetheless an outstanding achievement for the relatively small internet gaming community of that time. Poker Planet was accompanied by sites such as Paradise Poker, PartyPoker, PokerStars, and UltimateBet.

Online poker experienced a renaissance as technology improved and more people started partaking in online gambling. A clear sign of the changing tide was Chris Moneymaker, who managed to win the 2003 World Series of Poker (WSOP), after qualifying via an online satellite. His victory convinced countless punters to partake in online poker.

2006 saw a massive change in the gambling industry. UIGEA caused an enormous stir and forced major poker sites to temporarily leave the U.S. marketplace. However, this shift did not hamper the industry’s growth. Games and prizes became increasingly exciting as new developers and players joined the fold.

The 2010s were not without their drama. The FBI seized domains of Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and PokerStars in 2011. 2012 saw the emergence of state-regulated online poker gaming in Nevada. And 2014 saw the takeover of PokerStars, one of the biggest poker providers in existence, to the tune of $4.9 billion.

Each poker developer wanted to be unique, so they chose to develop platform-specific online poker games that you could play either from your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. The idea of live dealer online poker games eventually became popular, which led to countless exciting live online poker titles. Recent years have seen a massive shift towards mobile poker betting, with the world of VR gaming slowly encroaching on the industry. We expect this theatre to produce countless memorable titles over the coming years.

A Breakdown of Online Poker Hands

The most famous hand in poker history is the dead man’s hand, whose macabre nature has pulled in countless punters. Its origins can be traced back to the Wild West era in the United States, where a gambler and lawman by the name of Wild Bill Hickock was shot and killed by an outlaw named Jack McCall. Bill was holding two aces, two eights, and an unseen card.

While this hand is often perceived as bad luck, being familiar with the composition of online poker hands is a priceless skill that every punter should pick up. Note that online and conventional poker hands are the same except for niche titles. Check out the following online poker hands breakdown, in descending order of hand strength, to learn more:

  • Royal Flush - The best possible hand comprised of A, K, Q, J, and 10 of the same suit.
  • Straight Flush - Any select of five consecutive cards of the same suit, such as 8, 7, 6, 5, and 4 of hearts.
  • Four of a Kind - A hand comprised of four hands of the same rank, such as four kings.
  • Full House - Three cards of one rank and two of another, such as three jacks and two 8s.
  • Flush - Five cards of the same suit regardless of order, such as five spades.
  • Straight - Five consecutive cards of different suits, such as 9 of clubs, 8 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, 6 of spades, and 5 of clubs.0
  • Three of a Kind - Three cards belonging to the same rank, such as three aces.
  • Two Pair - Two sets of two cards belonging to the same rank, such as two 10s and two 7s.
  • One Pair - Two cards of the same rank, such as two queens.
  • High Card - This hand can be comprised of whichever cards in whichever order or suit. Its strength is determined by the highest card in the hand. Note that it is also the weakest hand around.

Online Poker in Action

We want you to have the best baseline possible, which is why the following breakdown of poker gameplay is so important. Note that poker differs from title to title, with nuance changes to the rules, so make sure to research your chosen title. However, online poker generally looks like this:

  1. Preflop
    1. Each punter is given two private (hole) cards
    2. The player left of the dealer (the small blind), and his neighbor (the big blind) place bets that start the pot.
    3. Subsequent punters can fold, call, or raise.
    4. Bets occur clockwise around the table until they reach the starting player
  2. Flop
    1. Three community cards hit the table face-up.
    2. Another betting round occurs.
    3. Punters can now check, bet, call, raise, or fold.
  3. Turn
    1. A fourth community card in the face-up position is added to the table.
    2. Another betting round commences with all the bells and whistles of the previous one.
  4. River
    1. The fifth and final community card is dealt face-up.
    2. The last betting round takes place, again boasting the same mechanics.
  5. Showdown
    1. If more than one player remains after the final betting round, this showdown phase occurs.
    2. Punters reveal their hole cards, and the strength of their hands, in conjunction with the community cards, is revealed.
    3. The player with the best hand wins. If a tie occurs, the pot is split, or another card is dealt. The latter depends on the game variant in question.

Partaking in Online Poker

Online poker is the ultimate solution to your poker-playing desires. Not only can you play anywhere and at any time, but you can also partake in a plethora of poker variants at countless sites that offer the best bonuses and promotions around. Moreover, there are online tournaments, and competitions fit for every wallet. The following sections will give you tips and tricks on participating in online poker at various skill levels.

Online Poker for Beginners

Beginners often fall into the trap of overextending themselves. They usually jump into games such as Texas Hold 'em and 5-Card Stud without first learning the basics. We recommend that you learn basic poker rules and strategies before you even make your first real money deposit. Moreover, most sites offer some form of free or demo mode, which you can utilize to hone your skills and strategies.

Once you acquire some practical knowledge and figure out which online poker game tickles your fancy, consider claiming a bonus. While bonuses come with incredible bankroll increases, they are also weighed down by wagering requirements and withdrawal limitations. Make sure to set a budget ahead of time and stick to it at all times. What is more, start with low-stakes games that help you ease into the action. Check out our recommended online poker sites to find the perfect candidates for your next low-stakes game.

Online Poker for Pros

Veteran poker players are rarely content with low-stakes games, especially when they could be competing for enormous prizes. However, high-stakes games require large deposits, which might not be ideal. We, therefore, recommend jumping into tournaments and maximizing bonuses.

Other handy tools are tracking software and analysis tools. These would confuse a beginner who is already overwhelmed by poker’s gameplay. If you do not feel like using software, simply open multiple games at once and up the ante in terms of quantity.

We cannot forget about high roller or VIP gameplay, which is accessible via loyalty programs. These offer unique perks, treatment, rewards, and even exclusive titles. Note that achieving such a status can be a very costly affair.

Unique Online Poker Approaches

Most punters partake in “unique” online poker by playing unknown or niche titles that have exciting twists. Others jump into online poker tournaments and compete for large prizes. However, true poker connoisseurs do it a bit differently.

One of the most unique ways to play online poker is by playing it in live dealer poker games, whose immersion and authenticity are unparallel. You will encounter real cards, real tables, and professional dealers. Moreover, some games, both live and generic, have progressive jackpots and fancy rewards such as holidays, cards, and even real estate.

If none of the above sounds appealing, why not play with your friends? You can join poker teams and compete in team-based tournaments or cash games that make chasing the pot a group activity.

Online Poker Your Way

You should always strive to find an online poker site that aligns with your needs and wants, not the other way around. Customize your poker experience by using mobile poker apps or by partaking in unique tournaments in the Sit & Go genre. Jump from platform to platform and shop for amazing promotions and bonuses. Heck, take advantage of free tournaments or free-to-play games. Everything is possible, especially at our recommended online poker sites.

Poker Positions

There are certain advantages to being placed at various positions at the table. There are three crucial table positions in poker, each with its pros and cons. Check out the following breakdown and see how you can utilize them to benefit yourself:

  • Early Positions (EP) - Affectionally referred to as “under the guns” because of the small blind (SB) and big blind (BB). These are forced to pay fees before a round even begins, which helps to set the tone of rounds. However, they can easily be squeezed by later-position players and take more significant risks when playing weaker hands. We recommend that you avoid calling or raising unless you have strong pairs or high cards.
  • Middle Positions (MP) - These seats have more information, which often results in better decision-making. Moreover, they can apply pressure to players in early positions by raising or re-raising with strong hands. However, they need to fear the aggression of late-position players. We recommend that you apply pressure whilst being careful not to offend your fellow punters.
  • Late Positions (LP) - This is by far the best position to hold, with the cutoff, button, and hijack seats. Note that the latter is excluded in short-handed games of up to 6 players. While these are the most informed players with the biggest impact on early positions, they need to be careful when dealing with blinds and antes. We recommend that you take an aggressive stance while observing your fellow punters. Squeezing the life out of early positions is also great, but it can quickly become predictable.

Poker Strategies

Poker is based on skill and strategies, which evolve as you gain experience. We recommend that you pick a strategy or two, test them out, and see how they perform. Check out the following popular strategies and see if any catch your eye:

  • Positional Play - Positions are absolutely vital in poker. Punters in later positions are more informed about their opponents’ actions, which allows them to make better decisions.
  • Bluffing - Poker is synonymous with the art of bluffing, which can help lead punters astray. Skilled players will be able to make weak hands look strong with bluffing, which forces beginners to fold.
  • Reading Opponents - Seeing whether your opponent is bluffing or being exceptionally anxious can help you decide whether to raise, call, check, or fold.
  • Counting Cards - Contrary to popular belief, counting cards is completely legal. Moreover, some punters will be incredibly impressed by this skill. While keeping track of exposed and remaining cards is great, playing a poker variant with multiple card decks might hamper your activities.
  • Multi-Table Poker - Veterans love kicking things into higher gear with strategies such as multi-table poker, which sees you participating in multiple poker tables at once.
  • Hand Reading - Being able to deduce an opponent's hand based on their actions is an incredibly power skill and a superb strategy.
  • Table Image - Presenting yourself as an aggressive or passive player can have advantages. Make sure that you present a powerful image that deceives your opponents.
  • GTO (Game Theory Optimal) - The essence of GTO is taking different actions that make it difficult for opponents to exploit your play. In other words, become unpredictable.
  • Jargon Mastery - One of the more elegant strategies is becoming so familiar with the jargon and slang of online poker that you uncover information that your fellow punters are passing amongst themselves. Information is priceless, which is why we recommend that you memorize slang and jargon with our free glossary.

Kicking Things Off

Starting an online poker game is drastically different from playing poker at a brick-and-mortar venue. Not only are there countless game variants to choose from, but there are also dozens of pitfalls between opening an account and wagering. Check out the following steps and secure an optimal poker gaming adventure:

1 Prick a Reputable Venue

The most common mistake that online punters make is trusting shady sites. Make sure that your chosen online poker site is licensed, regulated, trustworthy, and popular. We recommend sticking to our online poker room recommendations.

2 Verify Your Identity

Anonymity is incredibly important, but it can cause you headaches if you are not careful. Punters that forward false identification during the registration process might have huge issues when withdrawing. Moreover, you can have unwanted issues with your local financial institution.

3 Set a Budget

Do not deposit before figuring out how much a round will cost and how many rounds you intend on playing. Additionally, consider the wagering requirements and eligible games of bonuses and promotions ahead of time.

4 Snag a Bonus

Bonuses can help you play your favorite online poker titles longer. Moreover, they can come with free spins and other treats that turn a mediocre gaming session into an unforgettable gem. Make sure to explore your bonus’s terms and conditions before accepting it.

5 Pick a Poker Game and Table

The best online poker operators feature countless amazing poker games, each boasting several tables and gimmicks. Make sure that you pick a poker game that speaks to you and a poker table that aligns with your skill level.

6 Always Cash Out

While keeping winnings or leftover funds in your account might seem like a good idea, it is actually counterproductive. We recommend that you always withdraw funds, which allows you to claim various reload bonuses and other promotions with future deposits.

How We Find The Best Casinos

Expert Reviews

Our experts review and rank hundreds of online casinos and gambling sites, taking each site through our extensive review process covering over 12 key factors.

Ongoing Validation

We regularly verify our reviews and gambling sites database to have up to date and valid information. Ongoing updates include bonus offers, changes in terms, licensing and more.

Player's feedback

We add a critical validation layer to our online casino and gambling sites' reviews and ranking by continuously processing players' complaints and feedback.

How We Rate

How Our Experts Rate Online Casinos and Gambling Sites: Reviewing casinos is what we do best, and we always make sure that we cover the vital information and essential factors. When considering which online casino to choose, we’ll provide you with the most up to date information on a casino’s security measures, payouts, player feedback about the casino, and much more. Take a look at the graph below for more info.

Aspects taken into account when rating is calculated

Our expert reviews will lend a helping hand to finding the best and most rewarding online casinos. By noting a casino’s game library, banking options, customer support, and all of the most important factors to consider when choosing a casino, our expert reviewers put the power in your hands.
Find out more about how we rate

Tips

Take your poker knowledge to the next level by studying the tips and tricks recommended by industry experts and poker veterans. Said tips and tricks include:

The Makings of Elite Online Poker

We have touched on what our experts look for in the best online poker sites. However, we believe that it is paramount that you internalize our criteria. These will help you distinguish the best from the rest.

Reliability and Reputation

Having a website crash whilst you are in an exciting round of poker is horrible. However, having an online poker operator refusing to payout winnings is even worse. Make sure that you join reliable and reputable online poker sites with a long history of success.

Bonuses, Promotions, and Freebies

The best online poker sites will go above and beyond to offer fantastic bonuses, promotions, and freebies. These should exceed welcome, deposit, no-deposit, reload, cashback, loyalty, and free-play bonuses. Expect to find special promotions and free tournament entries. Note that we have entire guides covering bonuses and promotions in-depth.

Games and Tournaments

The bare minimum are the most popular casino poker titles, such as Texas Hold 'em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, High / Low Chicago, and Follow the Queen. These should be accompanied by other stud, draw, and community games and various tournaments. The latter should include freeroll, Sit & Go (SNG), multi-table (MTT), shootout, rebuy, satellite, bounty, deep stack, Turbo, knockout, and heads-up tournaments.

Compatibility and Accessibility

There is no excuse for an online poker site to not be accessible on multiple devices. You should be able to play online poker from your chosen Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux device. While some platforms have dedicated mobile applications, others simply optimize their browser experience.

Banking Methods and Payouts

The best poker sites in the business feature traditional and modern banking methods. These range from credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, bank transfers, prepaid cards, cheques, and phone fees to crypto transfers. Check out our dedicated guide for deposits and withdrawals to learn more.

Community Care

Community care is more than just posting a few ads on social media and liking memes. It extends to providing a clean and intuitive UI, creating a friendly and inclusive atmosphere, allowing punters to connect and socialize, and hosting community events.

Customer Care

Expect the best online poker sites to have superb customer support that is available 24/7 and in multiple languages. Moreover, expect multiple contact channels such as live chat, email, phone support, and even an AI chatbot.

Poker Game Variants

The world of online poker is filled with outstanding titles that cannot wait to entertain. We recommend that you check out the following breakdown and find one or two that appeal to you:

Stud Games

These games rotate around a combination of face-up and face-down cards, which can form hands. Bets are made between rounds of card dealing. Prime examples of such titles include 7-Card Stud and High/Low Chicago.

Draw Games

These titles start things off by dealing a hand of face-down cards to punters and allowing them to exchange some or all of their cards for new ones. The goal is to form the best possible hand possible. A prime example of this genre is the 5-Card Draw.

Community Card Games

These games give players a set of private or hole cards and access to shared community cards that are placed face-up. Combining hole and community cards helps form the best possible hand. Prime examples of this genre are Texas Hold 'em and Omaha.

Texas Hold 'em

One of the most popular poker games that has each player receive two private or hole cards. There are also 5 face-up community cards, which, combined with the hole cards, form hands.

Omaha

This title is very similar to Texas Hold 'em. The main difference is that each player is given four-hole cards instead of two. The goal is to combine two hole cards and three community ones into a winning hand.

7-Card Stud

Players are given seven cards, three being face-down and four being face-up. Bets take place after a card is dealt, with the underlying goal being to form the best possible seven-card hand.

5-Card Draw

This classic draw poker game deals five private cards to players. These then have the option to exchange some or all of them for new ones with the goal of improving their hand.

High / Low Chicago

These are variants of the 7-Card Stud, with the pot being split between the highest hand and the player with the lowest spade. Note that the actual win conditions vary from title to title.

Follow the Queen

Another quirky take on the 7-Card Stud, in which queen cards become wild cards. This then leads to a plethora of exciting gameplay scenarios and mechanics.

FAQ

Online poker hosted by reputable, licensed, and audited operators is far from rigged. Conventional online poker games have cards chosen by random number generators, while live dealer games have professional hosts. We recommend that you stick to our online poker site recommendations, as these have been vetted.

Royal decks are comprised of 48 cards in total. Note that these 48 cards come from two decks, whose cards range from 9 to Ace.

There is an almost endless supply of online poker variants, with more emerging on a weekly basis. Some of the most popular ones are Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, Razz, and Five-Card Draw.

This depends greatly on what you are after. Our experts look for several key traits, such as security, reliability, customer support, game selection, available bonuses, reputation, customer feedback, banking options, and more. We recommend that you check out our recommendations and join one of the best online poker sites around.

Yes, there definitely are! These range from generic welcome, deposit, no-deposit, reload, and loyalty bonuses to specialized tournament promotions and game launch bonuses.

Yes, you definitely can. Most online poker sites are mobile-friendly, with some even having dedicated applications for smartphones and tablets.

It is not uncommon for online poker sites to offer private tables, home games, or team events that you can partake in with your friends. You can even participate in team-based tournaments.

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