Online poker is great for those of us who don’t always have the time for a live game, or when we want the anonymity, table selection, and speed of a virtual game. Ever since online poker boomed in the 1990s, our choices have grown from a few dozen to several hundred–as of 2010, there were 545 active sites, according to PokerScout.com. Here’s a look at some of the highest-rated online casino websites:
Party Poker: With some 10,000 players logged on at peak hours, Party Poker is no doubt one of the biggest online poker sites–and for good reason. It’s particularly famous for its scheduled tournaments, especially the monthly $1 million tournament with buy-in costs around $600. Its sheer size also allows it to offer interesting promotions year-round, although some of them are decidedly too complicated to interest new members.
888 Poker: If you’re just starting out, you’ll like the relatively lenient competition at 888 Poker. With practice you can earn a fair bit of profit, although the rake structure, far from being the best on the Web, can eat away at your earnings if you’re not careful. That being said, the site has a lot more to offer, from a generous first-time deposit bonus to an attractive bad beat jackpot. The software’s also come a long way–they’ve gotten rid of the initial bugs and now offer 3D icons, webcam support, and multi-language translation.
Poker770: Part of the huge iPoker network, Poker770 is the go-to place for promotions. Not all of them are worth your time, but once in a while you’ll come across something interesting. The general skill level is average, with the small- to medium-stake games offering pretty soft competition. Larger games present more of a challenge for those who like a little more risk. Their tournaments can sometimes send you off to live events such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP), so it’s great for serious players as well.
Betfair Poker: UK-based website Betfair Poker runs on the Ongame Network, after separating from Cryptologic and a brief stint as a standalone site. The change means that players have a lot more choice and flexibility. If you’ve played on Ongame before, you may have come across a few bad players, but the overall skill level is average. Small-stakes tournaments seem to be its strong suit; like Poker770, the competition isn’t very tough and the guaranteed prize pool of $10,000 allows you to build a decent bankroll.
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