by J. Phillip Vogel
It wasn’t too long ago that choosing an
online poker room was easy. The
reason was simply that they were few and far in-between. Things
certainly have changed. The sheer number of rooms today makes it
difficult to say which one is a good fit for you.
A quality online poker room will have very
specific features and player
incentives to assist in determining whether the room deserves
Those that have a number of banking options and show you how to play
the poker games are among the best.
As are the online poker rooms that offer tutorials on how to
Here are 10 tips or guidelines for selecting an online poker
1. Games, Games and even more games!
Despite the fact that the obvious game of choice at present is Texas
Hold ‘em, there may come a time when you may want to try to find a
poker room that has gone beyond the singular craze and offers you a
choice of other games that may not be so “trendy”.
Classic games such
as 5 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud, Triple Draw, Omaha, Crazy Pineapple, Omaha
8/B, 5 Card Draw and others.
Additionally, you will want to choose
from limit, no limit, ring, single table, heads-up (which is limited to
2 players) and multi-table tournaments. Along with buy
and no re-buy options as
2. Player Volume
Along with wanting a good selection of games and formats (single table,
multi-table, no limit, etc.) the site of choice must also have an ample
number of players who access the site at all hours of the day. The
online poker rooms that offer the best player incentives will have
plenty of players at all times.
The more players in a pool, the more action there is and winnings then
follow. The rooms
that are established may have as many as 50,000 players at any
given time! The seats at the tables in these rooms fill up fast.
3. Wide Range of Limits
All poker rooms will differ in the betting limits that are allowed.
It’s very important that you be able to play in a room that offers you
the widest range possible – perhaps $0.02/$0.04 to perhaps $100/$200.
This is important especially to new players because it offers the
ability to be able to adjust the game according to their bankroll and
What is considered to be an appropriate bankroll is a debatable
subject. As a general rule of thumb however, solid players say that 2-3
hundred times the value of the big blind is about the right amount to
This means that if you want to be able to comfortably play
at tables in the $2/$4 range you will have to have a bankroll that
falls into the range of $800-$1200.
As you play the game, you will make
adjustments to your table limits based on your success at a given level
and the bankroll that you have. If you are playing at a $1/$2 table and
you are losing, you may want to drop a level or even two to recoup some
of your losses and enter a game that better suits you.
Now you know why
it’s always good to be in a room that offers table limits in the widest
Free cash is helpful in making a big difference in your bankroll not to
mention the fact that it helps to add to the sustainability that the
The best online poker rooms will offer a combination of
incentives that will keep this bankroll healthy throughout game play.
Among these comps will be the standard new player bonus (the initial
deposit bonus), comp points (known as VIP Points or Frequent Player
Points), and monthly bonuses based on deposits. These deposit bonuses
are announced at the site.
As you research each poker site, be sure to make note of the comps
presently being offered and how often they are distributed.
want to carefully read the rules regarding the usage and availability
of the bonuses.
Some will require certain amounts of playtime before
you are able to cash out.
It is wise to create a checklist that you can
use to compare the different comp options between all of the sites as
to which are presently offering the most lucrative rewards.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Site X is
offering a 100% deposit bonus but after that, they offer no additional
comps or reload cash for players who return.
Site Y offers a 40%
deposit bonus and then a 20% deposit bonus on the reload every month.
Now let’s assume that you were going to deposit about $200 each month.
Which site offers the best program over the long term? See chart below:
It’s plain to see that those who
have chosen online
poker room Y are getting comps that are substantially better than those
offered by X, so while on the surface it would appear that X offers the
larger bonus, the reality is that Y is the better deal.
|| Initial Deposit
|| New Player
|| Total Starting
On the other
hand, if you aren’t planning on staying at the poker room for very long
and you are only looking to get a feel for the play, then the better
deal might be X in this case. It’s all relative to what your plans are.
5. Online Poker Room Banking Options
Just like their online casino counter-parts, a quality online poker
room will provide a number of different banking options that are
designed to suit a wide range of player choices.
If you are like many
others that don’t like waiting for your deposit to hit the poker room,
then you are going to want to make sure that they have at least one
option available that will put your deposit into your account
instantly. Most online poker rooms do offer this option.
Also, payouts should be of the 'instant
variety'. A good poker room should give confirmations via
e-mail or calls for transactions.
You will want to make sure that you are able to contact support
anytime, day or night, 24/7 because problems can and do happen whether
it’s the server crashing at a crucial point of the tournament or your
bankroll showing at less than the deposit that you made.
online poker rooms take care of this possibility by offering multiple
support options such as live chat, telephone support, email and other
Anything less than several phone numbers and email addresses
in this age of technology is less than acceptable.
7. Eye Pleasing Graphics
Is the poker room environment
appealing? Are the graphics
interesting and pleasing to the eye even after long hours of playing?
Even with the
technological advances, most online poker rooms
are not entirely accurate representations of the traditional poker
room, but there has been much improvement over the years.
For the most enjoyable game you will want to opt
to play at sites that have the best games with software that is as
realistic as possible. This essentially helps to recreate the poker
setting and lends an increased level of entertainment and comfort value
to the experience.
8. Safety and Privacy
Does the online poker room prioritize safety and privacy? Look
for the protection that is enforced by the online poker room and
servers are secure.
Check the kind of algorithm they use for card shuffling. The higher the
level of unpredictability in shuffling, the better the
Determine the security employed on issues of collusion,
hacker intrusion, game rigging and others.
Online Poker Room Features
When you are making your decision about which rooms to play at, make
sure that you consider any unique features that are offered by the
A good poker room should offer beginners
some free play action.
Also, new players might
like to have
access to a strategy library that will teach the nuances of
game. If it is your dream to eventually become a poker legend then you
will want to consider the availability of satellites to the major
land-based poker events like the World Poker Tour, or the granddaddy of
all poker tournaments, the World Series of Poker.
More Tips & Features
Does the online poker room offer tournaments, free rolls, special
promotions and/or pay out a determined amount of winnings/month?
How about rewarding frequent play or high hand payouts?
Other features may be tracking the best players, the best
statistics, offering columns to
good players, beta testing new games, etc.
additional features are sure to play a part in your
decision and designates specific poker rooms as serious contenders
for your business.
Lastly, all online poker
rooms offer a mix of features unique to that poker
room. It’s up to you to make note of which features are most important
to you when you are choosing your site(s).
So, you can now see that there are many different factors that are
involved in choosing an online poker room.
No one can legitimately
boast superiority in every category that is crucially indicative of an
excellent room; the best ones will offer a mixture of the best features
that will set them apart.
Poker Online follows Online Poker Room
Return to How to
Play Poker Program 1
with Online Gambling Guide
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