Online poker offers a wide range of options. This article will help a novice poker player to make a smooth transition into the world of online multiplayer. Each of our Top 3 offers something different, in addition to being leaders. These unique characteristics will be highlighted in the article. Like any industry, the situation is constantly changing and relative standings can change. This is why I review poker sites in 2011 only. I will revisit my findings next year.
How to Get on The List
How should we select the Top 3? These are the factors that distinguish leaders from the rest:
- Game Selection – Cash poker games and free multiplayer poker games are available. Training and becoming familiar with the software requires that you play free games. Texas Holdem is the king of poker. Razz, a less well-known poker game, can be added to the appeal of any poker site.
- Table Selection Full Multiplayer 9-handed tables, as well as heads-up and short-handed tables
- Availability Solid Client software available for Windows and Mac, with regular updates. Bonus points if the site offers a browser-based, no-download online poker game. Although it might seem odd at first, no download poker client shines when you’re on vacation, using a mobile device to access the site or are otherwise “on-the-go”.
- Playability This is crucial if you play a lot of online poker. We rate software responsiveness. How responsive it is and whether it crashes often. Visual layout and how cluttered the screen looks. Controls are easily located. These “soft” factors should not be underestimated. Playability, taken together, is the best indicator of software quality. You can make your poker session a nightmare or let it take you completely into the poker action.
- Social features The ability to chat with other players and invite them to join you at a particular table or game. People who play online poker are often doing it for the fun of winning. You will make friends and get to know other players if you play often.
- Tournaments – Offering Tournaments are available in a variety formats, including single table (Sitn-Go), and multi-table (MTT).
- For the record, I don’t believe that beginners should participate in tournaments. Online poker tournaments require a different strategy than regular ring games. Tournaments are usually played with antes and often short-stacked. A tournament can often look like a loose, even reckless game to an untrained eye.
- Traffic: Enough player numbers. This refers to players currently logged in to the site. If you enjoy trying new games and getting bored easily, high traffic sites can be great. Traffic is irrelevant if you don’t want to play poker online with the exact same people you played yesterday. High traffic sites tend to have large promotional budgets. Their rake structure may be less favorable to recoup marketing expenses.
Rational Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. is the European company that runs this poker site. It has seen a tremendous growth over the past 5 years, and now pulls in as many visitors as all 3 of its biggest competitors. The site has a lot of players so game and table selection is very good.
Their Customer Service is not something I have personally experienced. Despite this, I have not heard of any complaints about PokerStars. This is in contrast to other sites that generate constant outcry from disgruntled and abused players.
Their software client was recently updated to enhance online multiplayer poker. They clearly copied FullTilt’s poker client in their last software update. The lobby is easy to navigate and allows you to quickly find the games you want in just a few mouse clicks. The screen clutter was also reduced. The current version of the software runs well and is stable. They do not provide a free poker client. PokerStars has the largest number of players available to play at free multiplayer poker tables throughout the day.
PokerStar is known for hosting the largest online poker tournaments. PokerStar cleverly uses offline poker events such as WSOP to entice players to join by offering them the chance to “qualify for” WSOP or other high-profile live events. PokerStar is a highly skilled promoter and turned free online multiplayer poker tournaments (called “freerolls”) into marketing gold.
One of the most popular online poker sites. Party Gaming is the company behind PartyPoker, which is the largest publicly traded online gambling company on London’s stock exchange. It was the world’s largest online poker site until 2006. It has lost its competitive edge due to a lack of focus and antigambling regulations in the US. Party Gaming has a number of gambling websites that it aggressively promotes. Its online multiplayer poker room attracts traffic from other properties that are mostly European-based.
Although software client is not as fun as other sites reviewed here, it’s still playable. PartyPoker’s colour theme. Once upon a time, every gambling site or casino on the Internet had to be green. Most sites have developed their own color palettes since then. PartyPoker, one of the surviving sites, still presents a seascape of green both on its website and in its software client. They update the site’s main page every year to reduce the amount of green, but it remains a dominant color.
Their Mac poker client is quite good and they recently announced Mac support. Although the graphics seem a little cartoonish, that is just my personal preference. You can also access the browser-based, no-download poker client. Ironically, the first thing you will see when you launch this no-download poker client is a progress bar.
There are many free multiplayer poker games available, including Limit Holdem (No Limit Holdem), Omaha (No Limit Holdem), and Omaha (No Limit Holdem). There are plenty of cash games and tournaments.
PartyPoker’s soft and loose poker games are a distinctive feature. This is because it’s more relaxed and looser than other poker sites. This could be due to the constant influx of gambling addicts from other properties. Like all fish, sharks can also be found where there is fish. The site offers good educational material for beginners, both written and visual.
FullTiltPoker is unlikely to be a major player in online poker. 2011 will likely be the last year. Pocket Kings, the company behind this site, is currently in serious financial and legal difficulties. FullTilt’s mention is both honorable and well-deserved. FullTilt was number two in traffic when they lost their gambling licence.
Their software client is the best in business. They have achieved a balance between a feature-rich but playable User experience and a simple, uncluttered user experience. Many other online multiplayer poker sites were inspired by the site and client design, including some of our Top 3. FullTilt has come up with many innovations over the years, including Rush Poker. This system instantly transfers you to another table when you lose a hand. It reduces downtime and allows you to play more hands per hour. This was a very innovative move, regardless of your Rush Poker experience. They have the largest selection of poker, including rare games like HORSE which are usually only available to professionals.
FullTilt chose a marketing angle to promote their site. They gathered the best professional sponsored players and then turned their celebrity into a strong marketing tool. FullTilt is actually partially owned by some the most prominent poker players today. They also offered the possibility to play live with professional poker players. FullTilt’s smart promotions and good software have attracted many online multiplayer poker players. FullTilt’s competition is among the best of our Top 3. You have the option to play some poker.