How to Find the Best Online Poker Sites

online poker

For years poker played mainly in smoky bars and casinos but in the early 2000s the internet helped online poker take off. Licensed sites now process thousands of secure transactions each day.

Poker is a game of skill over the long haul and top pros spend just as much time studying the game as they do playing it. A great place to start is by signing up for training sites.


Online poker was once illegal in the United States, but the industry kept growing. Congress tried to tame the wild beast with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), but it didn’t work. The only thing it accomplished was to force many offshore operators out of the US market.

In 2003, the game’s popularity spiked after a Tennessee accountant named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event. He used an online satellite to qualify for the tournament, which aired on ESPN, and millions of Americans wanted to follow his example.

It took a long time for the first states to legalize and regulate online poker. It was only in 2013 that New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada began offering regulated games. West Virginia and Michigan passed laws but virtual hands have yet to be dealt in those states. The resurgence of online poker offers hope that more states will legalize the games. However, this will require legislation on a state-by-state basis.


The rules of online poker vary slightly from those of live poker. Players must protect their cards at all times and may not reveal them to any other player. A player’s turn ends when no other players have acted on their hand. Exceptions to this rule are made when other players act out of turn. In these cases, the player must call the stated action.

Unlike live poker, online poker does not require reading physical “tells.” However, it is important to pay attention to how other players bet when playing for real money. This will help you size up opponents and make more profitable decisions.

It is also advisable to play suited connectors in late position. These hands will often be called by weaker opponents and are useful for mixing up your ranges. Lastly, it’s crucial to always be on your best behavior online. If you are rude or unruly, you may be asked to leave the table.

Payment options

For online poker players, the best deposit options are credit cards and prepaid debit cards. These cards are secure, convenient, and allow you to control how much you spend. They also enable you to withdraw your winnings instantly. Some sites also accept direct bank transfers and e-wallets like Neteller, Skrill, and Paysafecard.

For US and Canadian players, Visa and MasterCard credit card deposits often get through first time. If your own card declines, try a prepaid debit card instead. These are very convenient and can be funded in any increment above the poker site’s minimum deposit amount.

Other popular deposit methods include eChecks, which transfer money directly from a player’s personal bank account to the poker site. These are typically pricier than other deposit methods but are quick and convenient. Direct bank wires are another option, although these can take a couple of weeks to clear. Lastly, some sites accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. These are not regulated by any government and can be used to make anonymous payments.

Sites to play

Choosing the right poker site depends on your goals for playing. If you want to play for fun, look for a site with free games and a large player base. If you want to play for real money, make sure the site offers secure deposits and fast payouts. You can also find bonuses, such as rakebacks, to help you break even or make a profit.

Online poker sites allow players to play from any device. The software usually takes a couple of minutes to download and is virus-free. Once the software is installed, you can choose a screen name and create an account. You can deposit funds using credit cards, prepaid cards, third-party eWallets or wire transfers.

Almost all poker sites offer sign-up bonuses to new players. These typically match your first deposit, up to a specified amount. The bonus is released over time, based on the number of qualifying hands you play. This is in addition to the normal rake collected from each hand played at an online poker table.