Poker sites for beginners
For those who haven’t played much (or not at all) web poker before, choosing the right poker room can be a daunting task. Finding the best online poker sites for beginners takes time and research - You may not even know some of the perks available to you!
Don’t worry though, we've done the homework for you. What kind of research could you ask for? Read on to find out what makes a great beginner poker site.
What should you look for to find the best online poker sites for beginners?
An ideal poker room for regular and newbies who are concerned about the future of the industry should not meet one, but several criteria In our experience, we distinguish up to 6 parameters: reliability, traffic, stakes, bonuses, banking options and software. All of this should be considered when choosing a suitable poker room for beginners.
The exception would be a training poker room, where the main criteria is no-compromise game. In this case, you should definitely choose a site without deposit bonuses.
Reliability and trustworthiness
Before doing anything else, you need to make sure that the site you choose is regulated and licensed by a trusted authority. All the best poker sites are licensed by bodies such as the Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) or the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). Alderney, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, and Curacao are also acceptable alternatives.
Games and traffic
The best poker sites for new players are those that have a lot of traffic at lower stakes – no one wants to wait hours for a cash table to fill up or a “Sit and Go” to start. It’s not just the amount of traffic, too – some sites are filled with sharks, waiting for inexperienced players to join their game so that they can take advantage of them. Ideally, you want to find and join one of the many newbie poker sites where the games are reasonably soft.
If you are new to poker then you may want to spend some time playing free chips before moving on to the real money tables. Not all sites offer free money play, but they all have freeroll tournaments that are a good alternative. They are the same as a regular tournament, except that it costs nothing to join the game, and you can even win real money at these events too!
Bonuses and promotions
You should be looking for a site that offers a generous welcome bonus to new players, but be sure to take a look at the terms and conditions before beginning to play. These types of bonuses are often paid out in chunks according to how much you play, but the playthrough requirements for larger bonuses are occasionally completely unrealistic.
If you are thinking a little further ahead, choosing poker sites with a great rakeback deal will be essential for you if you start playing frequently. Many online poker rooms are willing to split a little of their profits with their most valued players, but you will often have to sign up with a particular code to be eligible for such a deal.
Software and HUD Support
The software is not the most important criterion. In recent years, everyone has put their software “in order”. Therefore, modern rooms can boast not only friendly PC clients but also quite good applications for smartphones.
HUD Software such as PokerTracker, Holdem Manager, or a newcomer on the scene Hand2Note can help you out here by collating stats on the players that you encounter. This has become somewhat controversial in recent years, with some rooms such as Unibet Poker and partypoker banning them completely. In many people’s eyes, this is a good thing, especially for those who are new to the game.
The reason for this is that tracking software grants a huge advantage to those who use it. When you become a more experienced player and are looking at moving onto the larger sites where HUDs are permitted, you may want to take a look at one of these programs to ensure you are on an even footing with everyone else at the table.
The bottom Line
Issues such as rakeback and HUD support are certain things to consider in the future, but for now, here are the three things which are more important than anything else to newcomers to playing poker online:
- Excellent customer support – it is not unreasonable to assume that a poker room will have a live chat facility available around the clock.. Should you need to e-mail the website, how long do they take to reply? Anything more than 24 hours is unacceptable. The very best sites will even have a phone number you can call for help, too.
- Easy deposits and fast withdrawals – if you can’t deposit for whatever reason then you won’t be able to play at all. Deposit issues are rare, however – it is withdrawing funds that seem to cause trouble at times. When you win you want to be able to access your cash quickly, and a delay of anything more than three days is very poor in today’s market.
With so many things to consider, it can be very difficult to make the right decision. We have scoured the internet’s huge catalog of online poker sites to see which best meets our requirements. Read all about them below.
The best poker sites & networks for beginners
Remember, we searched for the best websites with top-tier licenses, plenty of “soft” action at the lower stakes, excellent promotions, convenient deposit and withdrawal options, along high-quality software. In short – everything the newcomer requires. Here’s what we found:
A relative newcomer to the world of online poker, but quickly growing into one of the world’s largest online poker rooms. GGpoker is renowned for hosting some of the softest cash games in the world, making it the ideal starter room for new players. It is perhaps best known for its overly generous loyalty points system, however, which ensures that both winners and losers receive fantastic rewards.
You can’t lose with GGPoker’s new player bonus either. Two options are available:
- there’s a 100% match up to $600 which is ideal for those who play a lot;
- or $100 in free tickets for a $20 deposit.
In contrast to GGPoker, 888poker has been offering their poker room ever since the internet first became widespread two decades ago. Despite this, their user base has remained almost entirely composed of beginners, casual players, and trainees.
Trainees? Because of the soft level of play often found here, this site is often used as part of online poker courses. It’s easy to see why hardcore grinders haven’t warmed to 888 – there are virtually no promotions available for anyone except new players, and there is no rakeback either. There are two new player sign-up bonuses to choose from at 888Poker. The first is a fairly standard 100% match up to $888, which releases in $10 increments as you play.
This is an $88 free bonus that begins by adding $1 in cash and two tournament tickets to your account, but for every 250 bonus points, you earn you’ll receive a further $1 and 14 x 50c tournament tickets. Depending on how lucky (or skilled!) you are, it’s possible to build up a bankroll at 888 without depositing a single penny!
888 hosts a huge number of freeroll tournaments too, with more being unlocked as you earn bonus points.
The Unibet poker rake is extremely low at the micro stakes, also completely incompatible with HUD software making it a great choice for the poker freshman.
The new player bonus at Unibet varies from country to country, but it works in a unique way that is very beneficial to the player. Your bonus amount will be set at $200/$500/$600/$700, and you will have a limited time (usually between one and three months) to earn as much of it as you can – no need to deposit a matching amount!
The custom downloadable poker client allows Unibet to offer a variety of challenges, missions, and rake races, features that are rarely found anywhere else. These challenges and missions can be very profitable and are bound to appeal to those who enjoy collecting achievements whilst playing video games.
From beginner to professional
We can’t promise to make you a professional, but these tips for newbies should be a good start! Here are our top five tips for new players to get you off to a great start:
- Get yourself verified the minute you sign up with a new poker room – keep a copy of your driving license/passport, a recent utility bill, all in a folder, preferably on a USB drive or SD Card ready to use when you need them.
Some poker rooms force you to supply these documents before letting you play nowadays, which is definitely a good thing! You don’t want to encounter a problem when you try and make a withdrawal that delays – or God, forbid – prevents you from being able to access your winnings.
- There are many sites on the web dedicated to reviews of poker rooms, I won’t mention the name of the biggest one here because the truth is it's completely useless – people only tend to go and write reviews after they have suffered a particularly bad beat. If the site you want to play on holds reputable licenses then you can be sure you will get a fair game there, no matter how many terrible reviews say otherwise.
- Beware of bad bonuses – some unscrupulous sites offer bonuses that sound completely unbelievable, and that’s because they are – for example, a 100% match bonus up to $2,000 might sound like an amazing deal, but you can bet the wagering requirements or some other condition buried in their FAQ section will make it completely impossible for you to ever actually receive that $2,000.
- Pay special attention to the withdrawal methods available at your chosen poker room. Some sites are perfectly happy to accept deposits from a multitude of different payment methods, yet do not have the facility available to make withdrawals back to many of those same payment methods!
Need some help? Write to us!
If you are having problems with a specific poker site, are having trouble finding the best poker site freerolls, aren’t sure how to set up a game with friends, or want some advice regarding moving up from the microstakes – we can help you with all these issues and more, just feel free to send us a message!