Online poker has experienced a major spike in popularity in 2020. With more people spending more time stuck at home than ever before, pursuits like online poker are providing welcome escapism for millions.
Even those who’ve never dabbled in online gaming before are finding themselves compelled to sign up, dive in and check out what’s on offer.
As you’ll know if you’re a fan of online poker, there’s no shortage of service providers on the web. Particularly when considering overseas operators as well as those in the UK, there are literally thousands of poker rooms up for grabs. All claiming to be the best in the business, but which are genuinely worthy of your time and money?
Detailed below, you’ll find the 10 most important checks to carry out, when shopping around for the best poker room on the web:
Check #1 – A Competitive Welcome Bonus Package
Welcome bonus packages differ significantly from one poker site to the next. What’s important to remember is that not all poker bonuses are quite as they appear to be. As a general rule of thumb, anything that seems too good to be true most likely is. Look for a solid welcome bonus package that’s realistic, believable and isn’t restricted by a long list of complex terms and conditions.
Check #2 – Enough Player Traffic
Player traffic should also be taken into account, which will have a marked impact on your enjoyment. Unless a poker room has a constant flow of traffic at all peak hours of day and night, the rest is largely irrelevant. Peaks and troughs in traffic are to be expected, but it’s essential to ensure that the poker site you choose has plenty of players doing their thing at the same time you want to play. If not, you’ll struggle to find a table to join.
Check #3 – Plenty of Filters
This is more a case of convenience than anything else, but filters should be provided to make it as easy as possible for you to find your ideal table or tournament. Filters should cover things like the type of poker you prefer to play, your preferred stakes and so on. You can usually tell a lot about a poker room simply by assessing the quality and simplicity of its lobby.
Check #4 – Excellent Overall Performance
It’s also worth assessing the wider performance of the poker site in general, before getting started. If there are any indications of potential slowdowns, crashes or service interruptions, take your money elsewhere. The last thing you want is to find yourself holding the hand of a lifetime, only to be denied a huge win by a software discrepancy.
Check #5 – Regular Tournaments
Tournaments can take the enjoyment of online poker to an entirely different level. Irrespective of experience and risk appetite, there should be budgets available to suit your bankroll and your preferences. Freeroll tournaments can also be seriously enjoyable, and cost nothing to enter but can still have (modest) cash prizes to play for.
Check #6 – Safe and Secure Banking
Safe and secure banking means a poker room that makes every reasonable effort to protect its customers and their private information. It also means clear and transparent banking policies, including no fees or commissions on withdrawals, low minimum deposit requirements and high monthly withdrawal limit. This is one of many reasons why checking the terms and conditions in full is essential, prior to signing up and depositing funds in your account.
Check #7 – Quality Customer Support
You have to assume that sooner or later, it may be necessary to contact the poker room’s customer service team for help and support. Customer support standards vary massively from one poker site to the next – some are making it virtually impossible to reach out to a representative. If in doubt, be sure to put the site’s customer support team to the test ahead of time. Far better than waiting until you need them, only to discover they’re far from communicative.
Check #8 – Additional Perks for VIPs
This applies exclusively to VIPs, but high-rollers should always demand additional perks and privileges. It’s the same with online casino gaming in general – the more you spend, the more you should get in return. Massive sums of cash pass for some of the world’s biggest online poker sites every hour of every day. For anyone who takes their poker seriously, shopping around for a poker site that values and incentivises VIPs is a must.
Check #9 – Useful Resources and Training Tools
Another hallmark of a quality online poker site is the provision of plenty of additional resources and training tools, aimed at new and experienced poker players alike. This could include blog posts, tutorials, news updates, advice on problematic gambling – anything provided for the purpose of entertaining and educating customers. This is also a good way of determining how passionate and knowledgeable about poker the service provider in question really is.
Check #10 – An Established Track Record
Last but not least, there’s no quicker or easier way of establishing the worth (or otherwise) of a poker site than by consulting real-life customer reviews and recommendations. Where a poker room has an established track record that speaks volumes for its credibility, you’re in safe hands. If things seem to be erring in a slightly more critical or dubious direction, you may be better investing your time and money elsewhere.
If in Doubt, Try it Out…
The vast majority of decent online poker sites on the web these days allow you to play for free, in order to get a feel for how the whole thing works. This can be a great way of ensuring you’ve made the right choice, prior to depositing funds in your account.
Take a seat at a few free tables, get a feel for the software in general and ensure you’re happy with the way things work – then start thinking about putting real money on the line.