What to look for in an online poker site

By Sarah Thomas
November 22, 2023

While many poker players still prefer a traditional brick-and-mortar casino or poker room, the game is increasingly being played online, in all its many variants. This has been more prevalent since 2020, when the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic meant that even events such as the iconic World Series of Poker (WSOP) was played online.

Keen poker players are finding that there’s an ever-expanding choice when it comes to playing the game online, but what exactly should potential customers be looking out for when they assess online poker sites? And what should they avoid? There’s a lot to consider, so check out our handy guide to finding the best online poker site for you.

online poker lobby

Online Poker Security

You’ll want to make sure that you’re signing up with a reputable site, with adequate data security and trusted payment methods. Trustworthy sites will use encryption to keep your data safe, and will usually employ extra security measures such as two-factor authentication, especially if they offer a poker mobile app.

While you may have concerns if your chosen poker site asks for a copy of your ID and proof of address, this is generally a sign that the site is in fact a reputable one. Checking that you are who you say you are helps online gambling venues to protect themselves and their customers against fraud, money laundering and identity theft, as well as ensuring that everyone who signs up for the site is of legal gambling age and living in a jurisdiction where gambling is legal and regulated.

Online Poker Payment Methods

Sites with a good choice of payment methods are generally considered the best places to play poker online. However, the most important thing, of course, is that your preferred payment method is available, and that using it will be as quick and convenient as possible for you. Make sure that you check on payment processing times when using your chosen payment method, and check that there are no extra deposit or withdrawal fees that you don’t want to pay.

Many online gamblers prefer to use secure third-party payment processors such as Skrill or PayPal rather than direct bank transfers or card payments. Mobile gamblers may prefer to have pay-by-phone options. It’s a case of making sure that the options available suit you and fit with the way that you’ll be wanting to make your payments and withdrawals.

Online Poker Bonuses

Many poker players are keen to find an online casino that offers a sign-up bonus and other ongoing bonuses to encourage loyalty to the site. The bonuses you find will depend on where you live, among many other things. You’re more likely to find an online poker bonus in Canada or the US than you are in Europe, due to stricter gambling laws, especially in EU countries.

The biggest bonuses may be found in offshore, unregulated online casinos, but as we’ve already mentioned, you’ll want to avoid those if you want to keep your funds and data as secure as possible.

Mobile Features

Online gamblers are increasingly turning to mobile gambling, as this allows them to play poker from wherever they are, on the go, whenever they have time in their schedule. If you are one of these types of gamblers, then you’ll want to make sure that the online poker site you choose works well on your mobile. You’ll need to check out the mobile app (if there is one and if that’s how you plan to access poker games) and see if all of the same features and games are available on it as on the main site.

If you’re not going to be using an app, then make sure that the site runs well on your mobile device, using the browser and operating system you’re most comfortable with. Remember that mobile gambling doesn’t necessarily mean ‘gamble from anywhere’. Many apps and sites are designed to only work while you’re in the jurisdiction you registered in, to make sure that gambling laws and regulations are being complied with. Apps and sites may simply stop working when you go into a different state, province, territory or country.

Online Poker Variants Available

As keen poker players know, there are quite a few different poker variants and not every online poker site will offer all of them. Whether you want to play Texas hold ’em, five-card draw, seven-card stud or Omaha, you’ll have to check that the online venue has those variants available. Remember, if you’re a new poker player, you may be happy with just one or two options right now, but you might want to branch out and try new variants in the future. You can always check out a podcast to find out more about different variants and aspects of poker. Whether you want to play Texas hold ’em, five-card draw, seven-card stud or Omaha, you’ll have to check that the online venue has those variants available. Remember, if you’re a new poker player, you may be happy with just one or two options right now, but you might want to branch out and try new variants in the future.

Online Poker Site Features

If you’re going to be spending time in an online poker room, you’ll want to make sure that you’re happy with all the features that the site offers. There are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself before committing to registering at an online poker site:

  • What’s the UX (user experience) like?
  • Is the site clear and easy to navigate?
  • Does it load quickly, without any lagging or glitching?
  • Does it operate well on all the devices (and operating systems) you’ll be playing on?
  • Are you happy with the games, bonuses, bonus terms, payment methods, and deposit and withdrawal times and restrictions?
  • Have you read the site’s terms and conditions and any bonus terms and conditions that may apply to you?

Make sure that you’re completely happy with the answers to the above questions before you sign up.

Finding the perfect online poker site for you will involve a bit of research, and this can be time consuming. However, in the end, it’s worth it to ensure that you’re really comfortable with the online venue you’ll be spending your time – and money – at.



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Sarah Thomas poker author
Written By.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas is a content writer for entertainment websites. In her free time she enjoys playing all sorts of games, both live and online.

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