Best Texas Holdem Poker Sites
The popularity of online poker has saturated the market with poker rooms that seem to pop up on a daily basis. Each site is seeking to garner your membership with various promotions and catchy slogans that will make you think they are the right choice for you.
There are hundreds if not thousands of online poker rooms that you can find, but choosing the right one is key. Having many options is always a good thing, but too many, and we can get a bit overwhelmed. While all poker rooms have the same concept of being able to play poker over the internet, not all are the same in regards to quality and what they have to offer. Here are two of my favorite texas holdem poker sites for 2013. You can read the full review by clicking on the site name:
If you’re like I am, you want to make your decision as painless and stress free as possible. After all, we got online to play poker, not weed through a bunch of poker sites for hours on end.
Good news for you is that I have spent over a decade playing online poker and know what to look for in a good poker site. I’ve spent those countless hours scouring the ends of the internet making sure the poker rooms I play at are the very best and now I’m here to share that information with you.
The site we choose will ultimately be holding our hard earned money. We want to be able to trust and feel secure knowing that our funds will always be safe. We also want to ensure the game play is fair and never manipulated.
You want to make sure the site you play on is licensed and regulated by a third party company or government that has a strong reputation in the gambling industry. These governing bodies make sure the sites they license are always operating in a legal and fair manner.
Most poker rooms will have a license from the government they reside in, but you always want to make sure. There have been rooms in the past without a license and were obviously not a safe place to play. To find out if a site is regulated and licensed, you can usually check the “About Us” tab on the home page of a site. If you cannot find this information or are unsure, contact support and find out before you start playing.
The way online poker rooms market themselves is by offering promotions. With so much competition and each site looking for your business, you will find some very generous promotions that can add some free cash to your bankroll.
A deposit bonus for new players will be the first type of promotion you come across. You want to find a room with a nice offer and one that is easy to clear. By clear I mean, what requirements must be met before having this money released into your account.
When a site offers you a deposit bonus, they will match a certain percentage of that deposit in the form of bonus money. However, you must meet playing requirements in order to obtain this “Free Cash”. Generally you will have to play a certain number of hands and pay a specific amount of rake to unlock the bonus. This is crucial information to know before jumping right in. You may see a site that is offering a huge bonus, but when you read the terms and conditions, it’s almost impossible to clear.
You don’t want to go by what the actual bonus is. Make sure to read the terms and conditions to find out exactly what is needed to receive the bonus. Some bonuses just aren’t worth going for due to very stringent requirements.
Finding the right mix of value and easy to meet requirements can be tricky, but if you make sure there are no outrageous terms that make you clear the bonus in a very short time or make you play a gazillion hands, you should be ok.
You also want to make sure that once you’re a member, you will still receive benefits from the site. Most poker rooms will have some type of VIP or Loyalty program that rewards players for continuing to play on their site. Check out what a site has to offer before making it home.
Some sites are just more of a hassle to play on due to their lack of suitable software. It’s important to find a room that has plenty of features that make playing, a pleasurable experience. There’s nothing more tilting than sub-par software, trust me on this one.
Some key features you want your poker room to have are:
- Multi tabling functions
- Game filters
- Note taking
- Hand histories
- Hot keys (keyboard shortcuts for easy in game play actions)
- Easy to use lobby
Other aspects to look for are the options you have to play. If you are using a Mac or Linux operating system, the software may not work for you. For users in this category, make sure the site offers a flash version or is compatible with your type of computer.
All poker rooms will offer Texas Hold Em as this is the most popular form of poker. But, if you enjoy other games such as Omaha or Stud, you need to make sure it’s offered. Having the option to play many forms of poker is a nice benefit. Some sites will have a wide selection with obscure games like; Badugi and Chinese Poker. On the flip side some sites will only have 1 or 2 variants that limit what you can play.
Another key to game selection is the tournament lineup. If MTTs are your cup of tea, then make sure they have a decent selection of tournaments and Sit n Go’s with a wide range of buy ins. Many rooms will have guaranteed prize pools that make playing worthwhile.
Player Traffic and Competition
The amount of players on a site can influence you’re playing experience. Sitting and waiting for games to start is not my idea of playing poker. You want a site with enough traffic to be able to pick and choose your tables. A few thousand players online at any given time is ample and should be the minimum amount of traffic you should be looking for. These stats can usually be found on the home page or just by checking the software lobby to see how many players are online.
When it comes to competition, this will be harder to judge. From my experience, poker rooms that also have a casino or sports book tend to have the weakest competition. The gamblers who win in the casino love to take their money over to the poker room and test their luck. This is always a good recipe for soft and profitable games.
Support and Banking
Having fast and reliable customer support goes a long way in a poker room. Make sure they have at least a live chat feature that puts you in contact with a support agent for fast service. Having a toll free number is a plus and should be on your list of key elements.
As far as banking goes, you need to make sure the room has plenty of options for deposits and withdrawals. Finding the best software and games means nothing if you can’t get money on and off site. A full list of banking options is available on most sites to make sure your method of choice is available.
Also check for fees and haw fast cash outs are processed. A good site will process all requests under a week with less than 2 days being optimal. The better rooms will have the option to use online wallets or have withdrawals credited right back to your credit card or bank account for quick and easy access to your winnings.
If you stick with these criteria, your choice of poker rooms should be a good one. Just remember that if you are ever in doubt about what a room offers, you can always contact support to find out. This is also a good way to see how good their support staff is.