Best Poker Sites

Welcome to the World of Online Poker.

Online Poker SitesThe online poker boom has cooled off after being affected by the UIGEA and Black Friday, but even if the growth rate of ”America’s favorite pastime” has slowed down, there are still hundreds of thousands of people playing poker online every day.

Our mission is to show you the most legitimate poker websites to play at. Additionally, we’ll guide you through different deposit and withdrawal methods (yes, we also tackle Bitcoin), as well as rate subscription poker training websites.

In a nutshell, we want to guide you through the world of online poker safely. Most informational sites have other intentions; for example, you’ll find plenty of websites giving the sites the review 10/10 ratings, which basically means perfect. If a website ranks several poker rooms with a perfect ten, you have a good reason not to trust that website’s recommendations.

Visit Site

Rating 3.5/5


up to $1,600

  • Reclaimable welcome bonus
  • Significant jackpots
  • Long-standing industry brand
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Rating 4/5


up to $200

  • Reliable game play
  • Excellent reputation
  • Solid software partners
Visit Site

Rating 4/5


up to $300

  • Clever alternate reality theme
  • Solid live chat customer service
  • Low bonus rollover requirements
Visit Site

Rating 4/5


up to C$500

  • Game selection if first-rate
  • Bitcoin gambling supported
  • Heaven for slots players

Choosing a Reliable Casino

Like any other business, some online casinos are more trustworthy than others. There are several ways to go about conducting such research, and the following are the ones that have worked best for me.

Licensed Jurisdiction – Any reputable casino is going to be licensed and operated from a certain jurisdiction, and these certifications are normally displayed at the bottom of their homepage. Basically, the casino pays an annual fee to the jurisdiction for a license, and the host country verifies that all their business is conducted fairly.

Online Poker Promotions

The sites we’ve recommended above have some of the best promotional offers year-round. Additionally, they run sizeable tournaments with big guarantees. Basically, you can always expect to be playing for big money if you’re a fan of online poker tournaments. Poker sites offer many types of promotions. But there are a few common incentives you’ll find from nearly every site online. If you’re an experienced online gambler, chances are you’ll already be familiar with some of these.

Welcome (Deposit) Bonuses – These are offers marketed to new customers. The idea is simple – when you make a deposit, the poker room will match a percentage of your deposit up to so many dollars.

Reload Bonuses – These are identical to welcome bonuses, except they’re for existing customers. Sometimes these are marketed as a ‘reward’ for being a customer, while other times it’s to encourage dormant customers to come back and start playing again. Reload bonuses vary in size, but are often smaller than welcome bonuses.

Free Cash – These are small cash deals some rooms offer to new players. Usually, no deposit is required, though some rooms will ask you to deposit and play if you want to play and cash out the money or any monies won.

VIP Programs – Loyalty programs are hands down the best deals offered by poker rooms – if the room has developed a good program. As you play, most rooms will give you ‘player points.’ These will accumulate in your player account and serve many different purposes. Some of the best loyalty programs will offer cash back or cash bonuses in exchange for points, as well as exclusive freerolls, tournaments, discounted or waived banking fees, points multipliers, and a heck of a lot more.

Fast Payouts

The whole point of playing real money poker online is to make money. Most people that pick up the game do so because they want to beat their opponents and stroll out the virtual door with their cash in hand. When you pull this off, you don’t want to have issues getting delayed strolling out that door because an online poker site has slow payouts.

The poker sites we’ve recommended have some of the best track records for quick and accurate payouts to players. When you win, you want to take that money home. If an online poker site can’t make this happen quickly, they’re pretty worthless in our book.


Before you select a new casino and start depositing money, take a few minutes and read up on how their withdrawal policies work. This information might seem useless when you’re starting out, but customers are bound to need these details eventually.

Here are the areas to pay particular attention to:

  • Available Withdrawal Methods – While casinos often provide a dozen or more methods for depositing money, the withdrawal options are usually much smaller. In some cases, the customer may be required to use the same transaction method for both deposits and withdrawals, which is good to know about ahead of time.
  • Fees – When you make a withdrawal, are there any associated fees? Casinos usually don’t charge one, but the company performing the transaction often does.
  • Payment Time – Once you’ve requested a withdrawal, how long does it take before you receive the money? This can be a major point of contention, especially since some casinos engage in what’s become known as “slow pay.” This is the practice of drawing payments out as long as possible, usually in the hope that the player will give up and either cancel their request or gamble it away before the transaction is made.

A Great Poker User Interface

The game of poker has a special way of tilting you without the help from outside sources. When you get rivered, or your opponent hits that miracle card, it can be upsetting. What can make those bad beats even worse is playing on a site that has a terrible user interface. If the site lags, has glitches, or is just uneasy on the eyes, it’s going to make your time playing there terrible.

Not only that, but a tilting interface can make you play worse and lose money. And if the buttons are glitchy and don’t work correctly, you can end up making a play that you didn’t mean to by way of mis-click. For this reason, we find it extremely important to use an online poker site that has a great and well-thought-out user interface. Not just for our sanity, but for our bankroll and win rate as well.

The real money poker sites we’ve recommended have some of the slickest and cleanest user interfaces in the industry. The graphics are great, the animations are smooth, and it’s pretty dang easy to bet what you mean to bet when you mean to bet it.

Player vs. Player Poker Games

Player vs. player poker games is most likely what you came here in search of. These are the games where you compete against other players from all over the world in cash games, tournaments, or sit and gos. While Texas Hold’em is the most popular variation of online poker, there are other games that can be played as well.

Playing Texas Holdem for Real Money

The objective of Texas Holdem is to create the best possible 5-card poker hand using a combination of your two hole cards and five community cards. The last player remaining in a hand wins all the money in the pot.

The game is played by a group of individuals seated around a table, and the current dealer is indicated by possession of the dealer button (which passes clockwise following each hand). To the immediate left of the dealer is the player responsible for posting the small blind. The player to their left is charged with posting the big blind before the start of a new hand, and it’s usually worth double the value of the small blind. These blinds are always required at the start of a hand, and some games may also stipulate that the other participants chip in an ante bet.

After the initial wagers have been made, the dealer gives each player two face-down cards (known as “hole cards”). From this point on, each dealer action is followed by a round of betting on behalf of the players.

The dealer next places three community cards face-up in the center of the table (known as “the flop”). After another round of betting, a fourth card is added (“the turn”). Finally, a fifth card is added (“the river”) after the players have once again had a chance to make their wagers.

During any betting round, the player can choose to continue or fold. In the case of the latter, the player forfeits all money that they’ve committed to the current hand.

There are cases when a player may win simply because everyone else has folded. In most scenarios, however, a hand comes down to two or more players (known as the “showdown”). These opponents engage in one last round of betting, at which point any of them may still choose to drop out by folding. If at least two participants remain, the players reveal their hole cards to determine which one has the superior five-card hand.

The winner collects the pot, as the hand is now complete. The dealer button rotates clockwise to the next player, which also changes the position of the small and big blinds. At this point, another hand begins. In tournament play, this usually continues until all players but one have been eliminated due to chip loss.

Real Money Omaha

Real money Omaha, which is also referred to as “Omaha Hold’em,” is similar in many respects to the more popular game of Texas Hold’em. It made its debut at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, and the last several decades have seen it slowly gain popularity and become a fixture in both real and virtual establishments.

The key difference between Omaha and Texas Hold’em comes in the makeup of the player’s final hand. Texas Hold’em allows the five-card hand to be made up of any combination of community and hole cards, while Omaha requires exactly two hole cards and three community cards. Otherwise, the rules are almost identical.

Each round of Omaha starts with the two players to the left of the dealer making forced bets. The person to the dealer’s immediate left is the small blind, while the person to their left is the big blind. The small blind is usually worth half as much as the big blind.

Once the blinds have been satisfied, the dealer gives each player four face-down hole cards. A round of betting occurs, with players having the option of folding, calling, or raising.

Next comes three rounds known as the “Flop,” “Turn,” and “River.” Three community cards are dealt face-up during the Flop, while an additional card is dealt on the subsequent rounds. Between each of these, players have another opportunity to call, raise, or fold.

If there are two or more players remaining following the final betting round after the River, then they reveal their strongest five-card hand in order to determine the winner. The pot is awarded to the player with the best hand, and the button moves clockwise for the next hand of Omaha.

Omaha Poker Variations

While a number of Omaha variants exist, most online casinos prefer to stick to the most common version (discussed above) in order to maintain some level of continuity. While the basic rules are the same from one site to the next, you can find a few different options with various pay structures. These include the following:

  • Fixed Limit Omaha – A betting limit is applied to each round and overall game.
  • No Limit Omaha – The player has no restrictions on the size of their wager.
  • Pot Limit Omaha – The most popular form of the game, this version limits a player’s wager to the amount of money currently in the pot.
  • Omaha Hi/Lo – Instead of the highest hand taking the entire pot, the chips are split between the highest and lowest poker hands.

Casino-Style Poker Games

While the majority of this guide is directed at player vs. player poker games where the house just takes a rake for coordinating the action, we didn’t want to ignore the casino-style poker games that are offered. These are games where you don’t compete against other players but are pitted against the house. Players who are looking for entertainment and a relaxing version of poker are typically big fans of these types of games.

Real Money Three Card Poker

Real money Three Card Poker delivers all the excitement of regular stud poker, but it presents the game in a simpler and faster format. It was created by Derek Webb in 1994, and it later debuted at Mississippi’s Grand Casino Gulfport.

According to the game’s entry on Wikipedia, “It is the most profitable proprietary table game ever when measured by wins generated for the casinos or by revenue generated for the rights owner.” That’s a bold claim, and one that makes you wonder why casinos both online and land-based aren’t lining up to feature it.

How to Play Three Card Poker

The game of Three Card Poker has a trio of betting options: Ante, Play, and Pair Plus. The Ante and Play options are determined by the player’s cards being pitted against that of the dealer. The Pair Plus, meanwhile, is resolved by looking at the overall strength of the player’s hand after the deal.

To begin the game, the player must decide whether to bet on Ante, Pair Plus, or both. The Pair Plus wager is always optional, while the Ante wager is sometimes mandatory. When in doubt, always check the casino rules to be sure.

After the initial wagers have been placed, the player and the dealer receive three cards apiece (with the dealer’s cards dealt face down). The player must then decide if the resulting hand is strong enough to continue.

If the player made the Ante bet, they now have the option to either fold or continue. If the player folds, then they forfeit the Ante bet. If they want to continue, they must make a Play wager that’s equal to the value of the Ante.

The dealer examines their hand and determines whether or not to play. In order to play, the dealer must have a queen high or better in their three-card hand. If the dealer isn’t able to continue, then the Ante wager pays even money and there’s no action on the Play bet.

If the dealer does continue, their three cards are compared with the player to determine who has the stronger hand.  In the case of a player loss, the bettor forfeits their Ante and Play wagers. A winning player’s hand gets an even money payout on both bets. If the result is a tie, then there’s no action on either wager.

After the hands are resolved, any player who made the Pair Plus wager also checks to see if they receive a payout. In order to do so, the player must have a pair or better. The player can still lose the other wagers and receive a Pair Plus payout.

The hand values in Three Card Poker are as follows (in descending order):

  • Straight Flush – Three cards of the same suit that are also in order (for example, the 3, 4, and 5 of hearts).
  • Three of a Kind – Three cards that have the same rank.
  • Straight – Three cards in order (4, 5, and 6, for example).
  • Flush – Three cards of the same suit.
  • Pair – Two cards that have the same rank.
  • High Card – Determined by the highest card in the player’s hand. There’s a 69.59% chance of getting a queen high or better.

The following pay table is common for all Ante wagers, although it varies at some gaming establishments:

  • Straight – Pays even money (1 to 1)
  • Three of a Kind – Pays 4 to 1
  • Straight Flush – Pays 5 to 1

If the player chooses to make the optional Pair Plus wager, they’ll receive a payout for various hand values. The below list includes one of the most common pay table, although these may differ from one casino to the next.

  • Pair – Pays 1 to 1
  • Flush – Pays 4 to 1
  • Straight – Pays 6 to 1
  • Three of a Kind – Pays 30 to 1
  • Straight Flush – Pays 40 to 1

House Edges for Three Card Poker

This game has a couple of different forms of house edge, as the player has multiple wagers to choose from. The pay table at casinos can vary, however, so make sure to pay attention before risking your money.

The Ante and Play bets have the same edge, as the latter doesn’t exist without the former. The most common include the following (although others do exist):

  • 61% House Edge – Pays 1 to 1 for a straight, 3 to 1 for three of a kind, and 5 to 1 for a straight flush.
  • 37% House Edge – Pays 1 to 1 for a straight, 4 to 1 for three of a kind, and 5 to 1 for a straight flush.
  • 28% House Edge – Pays 1 to 1 for a straight, 2 to 1 for three of a kind, and 3 to 1 for a straight flush.

Here are the house edges for three of the most common versions for the Pair Plus wager:

  • 32% House Edge – Pays 40 to 1 on a straight flush, 30 to 1 for three of a kind, 6 to 1 for a straight, 4 to 1 for a flush, and even money for a pair.
  • 70% House Edge – Pays 35 to 1 on a straight flush, 33 to 1 for three of a kind, 6 to 1 for a straight, 4 to 1 for a flush, and even money for a pair.
  • 28% House Edge – Pays 40 to 1 on a straight flush, 30 to 1 for three of a kind, 6 to 1 for a straight, 3 to 1 for a flush, and even money for a pair.

Real Money Pai Gow Poker

Real money Pai Gow poker first appeared in 1985, and it’s slowly grown in popularity ever since. While it doesn’t appear poised to enter the upper echelon of casino games anytime soon, it maintains a decent following both online and at land-based casinos. The invention of the game is attributed to Sam Torosian, the owner of the Bell Card Club in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, both his attorney and a noted poker author told him the game couldn’t be patented, which likely cost poor Sam a fortune in licensing fees.

By the end of the 1980s, the game had spread to the Las Vegas Strip. Less than two decades later, it was firmly entrenched as a standard option in the table games section of most Internet casinos.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow poker is hardly a household name, and many online gamblers pass right by it on the way to more popular games such as blackjack or roulette. If you’re uncertain how the game works, this section should clear up any questions you might have.

After the player makes their initial wager, they’ll receive seven cards. The game is played with a 52-card deck, as well as a joker card. The objective of the game is to create a two-card hand and a five-card hand, both of which are superior to that held by the dealer. If the player manages to accomplish this, then they receive a payout at even money (minus a 5% commission at most casinos). Winning one hand but losing the other results in a push. Losing both hands results in the player forfeiting their money for that hand.

As you can see, the basic rules of the game are pretty simple. There are, however, a few more details to keep in mind:

  • Standard poker ranking rules apply, although there are a couple of exceptions. The Ace-2-3-4-5 straight is the second-highest straight in the game. A pair of aces is the best two-card hand.
  • The 5-card hand must rank higher than the 2-card hand.
  • A joker is only wild when it completes a flush or straight. Otherwise, it counts as an ace.
  • Any tie results in a win by the dealer.
  • In some online versions of the game, the player has the option of splitting the first two cards dealt into a pair of hands.

Pai Gow Poker House Edge

The house edge describes the mathematical advantage that a specific casino game holds over the player in the long run. For example, let’s say a player chooses a game with a 2% house edge. According to this number, the individual should expect to win back $98 for every $100 risked over the long term. This gives the casino a $2 advantage, which is where they make their profit. Of course, short term variation can be much different, which is why the house edge is usually calculated over thousands of hands or spins.

The overall house edge for Pai Gow poker is 1.46%. In case you’re wondering, that percentage is superior to each of the following games: single zero roulette (2.70%), Three Card Poker (3.37%), Pai Gow (1.50%), and Red Dog (2.80%).

Real Money Online Poker Tournaments

The popularity of poker and online poker is greatly in part thanks to tournaments. The rush and excitement of this format of the game have drawn in tons of new players. Whether it’s the fact that you have capped losses, the excitement of the changing conditions, or the TV coverage that major events get, it’s clear that tournament poker is here to stay.

Multi-Table Tournaments

A multi-table tournament is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a tournament with more than 9 or 10 players that involves more than one table. Multi-table tournaments can be as few 15-20 players or really as big as humanly possible. The WSOP Main Event every year is a multi-table tournament that has over 8,000 people every year.

These are the tournaments that require the longest time commitment, but they also will offer the biggest payouts relative to the buy-in. Keep in mind that a lot of the other tournament types we have listed here can be multi-table tournaments as well. This distinction really only has to do with the number of entrants and nothing else. Heads up tournaments are the only tournaments on this list that cannot be multi-table tournaments.

Freezeout Tournaments

A freezeout tournament is a poker tournament where players are given a fixed amount of chips and are not able to rebuy or re-enter the tournament. Once they lose all of their chips, they are out of the tournament. This is the most popular and common type of poker tournament both live and online. The only thing getting close to overtaking this is the re-entry tournament, which is basically like a freezeout tournament that allows a busted-out player to come back in as a brand-new player. But, by definition, a re-entry tournament is not a freezeout. You can utilize the same strategies for both, though. We’ll talk about that further down the list.

Satellite Tournaments

A satellite poker tournament is one where you play for the chance to win your seat in a larger tournament. For example, let’s say you want to play in a $500 tournament, but you don’t want to pony up $500. An online poker room might run a satellite tournament where the buy-in is $50. They will pool that money and award as many seats to the $500 as they can. So, if 30 people play in that $50 satellite, the prize pool is $1500. They will award the top 3 winners of that tournament with a seat in the $500.

Basically, you can get into a much larger tournament for a smaller dollar amount. You just have to beat out the other people that have the same idea. Any additional prize pool money left over in these tournaments that does not equal a full seat is usually paid out in cash to the next place or places after the seat winners.

Rebuy and Re-Entry Tournaments

Most of the other poker tournament types can also be a rebuy or re-entry tournament. It is important that you know the difference between the two because contrary to a lot of people’s beliefs, they are not the same. A rebuy tournament is one where, for a fixed period of time at the beginning of the tournament, you are able to purchase more chips as soon as you run out of chips or go below a certain threshold. At the end of that rebuy period, you also have the ability to add on chips, which is where anyone regardless of stack size can purchase more chips for a fixed dollar amount (usually the buy-in, but sometimes smaller).

For example, if you start the tournament with 5,000 chips, and the rules say you can rebuy when you are at 5,000 chips or less, you can rebuy once right away or at any point during the rebuy period when you are below 5,000 chips. You’ll have to pay the entry fee again, but you will be given an additional 5,000 chips. The big takeaway here is that during this period, you are not moved from your seat or treated like a new player. You’ll stay in the exact same seat and are just given more chips. Once the rebuy and add-on periods are complete, the tournament operates as a normal freezeout.

The perks of this tournament style are that the prize pool usually gets huge and you have the ability to gamble a little bit early if you want to try and amass a big chip stack. You don’t have to, but the option is there, and this certainly has an effect on strategy.

Re-entry tournaments, on the other hand, are tournaments where, during a designated period at the beginning of the tournament, if you lose 100% of your chips, you have the option to buy back in as a completely new player. You will give up your seat and be treated as a brand-new player who just arrived to the tournament. Occasionally, re-entry tournaments will also have an add-on period, but not always. These tournaments operate like freezeouts except people might be more inclined to gamble on shorter stacks during the re-entry period.

Bounty Tournaments

A bounty tournament is a poker tournament where there is additional prize money placed on the heads of certain players. If it is a standard bounty tournament, this money is pulled from the prize pool and placed on the heads of every player in the tournament. If you knock a player out of the tournament, you get their bounty. For example, if a tournament has a $60 + $30 + $10 buy-in, $60 would go towards the main prize pool, $30 would be on each player’s head as a bounty, and $10 would go to the house for the rake. If you knock out a player, you get $30. Knock out 10 players, and you’ve already collected $300 in addition to probably being in a good spot to win some of the prize money as well.

The second format of bounty tournaments that we see online a lot is promotional bounty tournaments. These are tournaments where the full buy-in goes towards the prize pool (minus the rake), but the poker site adds free money to put bounties on certain players or their pros playing in the tournament. This is just free money that you have the chance to win if you bust out one of those players.

Sit and Go Tournaments

A sit and go tournament is a poker tournament that does not have a set start time. Most freezeouts have scheduled start times, and they start no matter how many players are entered (as long as they meet the minimum required, which is usually just a few). A sit and go, on the other hand, starts as soon as a fixed number of entrants is reached.

If it is a single-table sit and go tournament, as soon as 9 people are registered, the tournament will start. This is the most popular format of sit and go. The second most popular would be heads-up sit and go tournaments, which start as soon as two players are registered. Additionally, though, sit and go tournaments can have any number of players. It can be 18, 45, 90, 180…it can be any amount. Usually, though, you will find them in multiples of 9 or 10, as they like to start them with full tables.

Shootout Tournaments

A shootout tournament is a bracket-style tournament where you have to win a single table or heads-up sit and go to move on to the next round. For example, let’s say you are going to play in an 81-person shootout tournament. The tournament would start with 9 different tables of 9 people. Each table would play down to a single winner, leaving 9 players left in the tournament. There is no combining of tables or anything during the first round. Each table plays separately until they have a single winner. Those 9 winners then come together and play in another single-table sit and go to decide the final winner of the tournament.

Turbo Tournaments

If you’re in a hurry but still want to get your online poker tournament rush in, you’re going to love turbo tournaments. Any one of the other tournaments on this list could also be a turbo tournament. A turbo is a poker tournament where the blinds go quickly, and usually, the starting chip stacks are smaller than usual. Basically, it’s a normal poker tournament that finishes in a shorter period of time.

Heads Up, 4-Max, 6-Max, and 8-Max Tournaments

This distinction only has to do with how many people are seated at each table throughout the tournament. If it’s a heads-up tournament, it’s going to be a shootout tournament. The 4-, 6-, and 8-max tournaments could be any of the other options on this list. The difference between all of these formats mainly has to do with strategy.

Real Money Mobile Poker

The ability to play poker from the comfort of your own home is already awesome enough. But the ability to get the exact same action from literally anywhere you are with a smart device and an internet or phone connection is even more awesome. The most important thing we look at is how easy the controls are to manipulate. Are you able to quickly raise, call, or fold when you want to? Are the buttons spaced out and designed well enough to prevent misclicks? Does the interface do a good job of making it feel like you’re actually playing poker?

It’s not an easy task to pull this off, but the real money mobile poker sites we’ve recommended above do it masterfully.

Basics of Online Poker

Hundreds of sites operate within the online poker industry, but what you may not know is that many of them share networks with each other, thus creating bigger player pools, which in turn create more games and higher prize pools.

”Player liquidity” is an important puzzle to solve for internet poker websites since you always need more than one person to get a game running, and lots of players if you want lots of games running. Unlike games like blackjack, slot machines, and video poker, which are played against the house, poker relies on a high volume of participants to keep things going.

Player liquidity is exactly why it’s difficult to succeed by starting an online poker site today. Giant companies like PokerStars and Party Poker have already established themselves within the internet poker market and are attracting huge amounts of players – all the other issues aside, how is a start-up poker room going to convince people to sign-up when you can go to one of the giants and find plenty of games running 24/7 and participate in tournaments with prize pools worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars?

Even if a start-up operation was able to attract thousands of real-money customers to their site – which is a major feat by itself – they would only have simultaneous customers online in the tens or (at most) low hundreds at peak hours (such is the nature of the business); PokerStars, on the other hand, has around 19,000 simultaneous cash-game players online on average, and the figure goes way up during peak hours. Again, why would you play at one of the start-up sites? Player traffic, which leads to more games (by both quantity and variety) and bigger prizes, is a big customer benefit.

How PokerStars Became #1

Being extremely successful usually comes down to two things: doing the right things and having the right dosage of luck. For PokerStars, it so happened that Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker main event – along with its $x prize – after qualifying for the tournament through a $22 satellite tournament at PokerStars.

The moment Moneymaker won the WSOP is often considered the start of the online poker boom, and the numbers certainly indicate that being true: estimated online poker revenue grew from $365 million in 2003 to $2.4 billion in 2006.

The result? PokerStars was mentioned in almost every article about Moneymaker’s unbelievable winning effort. Moneymaker also won PokerStars-branded clothing automatically because he qualified through one of their satellite tournaments – which would be shown on television to millions of people – so it was great press for PokerStars in many ways.

The second big, future-defining moment for PokerStars came in 2006 when President George W. Bush made the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act a law. Plenty of internet poker rooms either folded or simply prohibited U.S. customers, including the biggest poker room at the time, Party Poker.

PokerStars, however, did no such thing. They were the second most popular online poker room in the world, and after Party Poker exited the U.S. market, PokerStars became #1. They took the U.S. market by storm with plenty of marketing and great promotions, not to mention high-quality software.

Without the UIGEA, who knows what would have happened? Party Poker was comfortably in the lead player traffic-wise, and it’s difficult to overtake a dominant leader in the online poker industry. In fact, ever since Party Poker left the U.S. online poker market, PokerStars has been the dominant leader, and the rest of the sites are far away. The point being: player liquidity matters perhaps more than any factor. (The people at Party Poker were no strangers to marketing either, sponsoring events like the World Poker Tour and organizing the infamous Party Poker Million cruise.)

We’ve come a long way since the ’90s when you could still request a CD-ROM to be delivered home in order to install gambling software. Well, not that long, since fundamentally online poker software is still the same, although more secure, user-friendly and capable than before. The biggest change during the past few years has been mobile; more and more gambling sites have to make the adjustment to mobile games as screen sizes get bigger and mobile phones more efficient. The change has been more drastic in the sports betting and casino markets, but online poker is making its way to mobile as well.

Our site is called Legit Gambling Sites and the name does a fine job explaining our main purpose, which is to showcase all the legitimate online gambling operations so that you could safely gamble on the internet. We’ve been victims of online gambling fraud, so believe me: there are plenty of real-money poker websites looking to take your money and disappear with it.

As highlighted on the home page, Lock Poker is a current (2015) example of a scam operation. According to estimates, it has scammed its customers for at least $15 million, and the real figure may be significantly larger than that. To make matters worse, its customers have virtually no way of receiving any compensation since there’s nobody who can force the owners to do anything about it. (The site was licensed in the jurisdiction of Curacao, which, by the way, took a long time to freeze Lock Poker’s license even though player withdrawal times were delayed for several months.)


Poker is different from other casino games in one significant way: it’s played against other players, so the house takes its (small) cut out of each pot instead of trying to win your money. While casinos prefer that you lose your money (they want you to be entertained and come back but eventually lose), poker sites would rather see you keep on playing as long as possible, since they make money based on how many hands you play, not how much your lose or win.

Therefore online poker promotions are different from casino and betting promotions: while neither wants to give you free money, poker sites want to see you play, so clearing their bonus offers is often realistic (although the success rate depends on your skills and how you match against your opponents). Casinos, on the other hand, would love to see you deposit and lose; the deposit bonus offer may look attractive, but is all but impossible to clear all too often (there are exceptions, which we highlight in our legit online casino reviews).

Bottom-line: you won’t be able to clear poker or casino bonuses if you lose your money, but whether you lose at poker depends on your skills, while skill only plays a minor factor at casino games (unless you play blackjack).

So how does a poker deposit bonus work? It’s all about rake. The more you play, the closer you get to clearing the bonus. If you play well (in other words, clearly better than your opponents), you’ll find it easy to clear a deposit bonus; if you’re a losing player, however, it will be difficult to clear one.

Most poker bonus offers require you to collect a certain amount of player points in exchange for a certain amount of bonus money. The maximum amount of bonus money you’re allowed to clear depends on the size of your deposit and the maximum deposit limit that qualifies for the bonus.

You accumulate player points based on how much rake you pay (for example, you might accumulate one player point for every $1 paid in rake). The term ”player point,” however, makes it sound less like you’re asked to contribute a certain amount of money in order to receive the bonus. However, anyone can do the math since bonus terms and such are easy to find on just about any online poker room’s website.

Bigger internet poker rooms like PokerStars also have VIP programs that make it possible to exchange player points for tournament tickets, merchandise and even money.

Jim Beviglia
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About Jim Beviglia
Jim Beviglia has been a gambling writer at since 2018. During that time, he’s written just about every type of article related to gambling, including reviews of betting sites, guides to popular casino games, betting tips on both casino and sports betting, sports and casino blog posts, and game picks. In addition to online gambling, one of Jim’s other major interests is music. He has been doing freelance work for various music sites and magazines for two decades. Among his outlets past and present are American Songwriter, VinylMePlease, Treble, and The Bluegrass Situation. Jim has also written five books on music that were published by Rowman & Littlefield.