Reviews and Comparisons of the Best Online Poker Sites 2018
Instead of there being one ‘Best Poker Site’, you’ll find there are options for just about every type of player. If you read an article which suggests otherwise online, well, the author probably has an interest in sending you somewhere.
This page flips things around. First of all, there are some (broad) categories for players. After that I discuss the different online poker rooms in relation to the specific needs of each player type. Even within a category there will sometimes be competing factors.
There is a reason for labelling this page by month. The world of online poker is changing rapidly in 2018, and the best place to play one month might not be very good at all a few months later.
Best Online Poker Sites in December 2018 – Types of Player Covered Below
US Based Players: You’ll need to play at offshore rooms (outside of NJ, NV and DE at least). There are some solid options out there, though with some big differences. This category is covered first below.
Grinders / Semi-Pros: It is still possible to play 8+ tables at once and make a living (or supplement your income), though the options here are more limited than a few years ago. This section focuses on getting the balance between rewards, volume of games and soft opponents.
Recreational Players: Here I have looked at the best rooms for people with some poker experience (either live or online) who play for recreation and hope to make some cash while they are at it. 8+ tables is not so important, though a good choice, profitable games and chances to qualify for bigger buy-in events can be more significant.
Complete Beginners: If you are brand new to online poker then you want a room that protects you from grinders with software tools which are designed to spot and then exploit your newness. Fortunately, there are online poker sites which are ideal for learning the game, and have some decent rewards to claim while you are doing so.
US Friendly Online Poker Sites 2018 – The Offshore Action
This topic is covered in depth in my US Friendly Poker Sites page – this page contains an overall recommendation + any month-on-month news that US based poker fans could find to their advantage.
The best poker room as of December 2018 depends on whether you prefer tournaments or cash games. Here is the low-down:
#1 US Choice – BetOnline Poker: This is primarily a big sports betting brand, and has been in operation from Panama for more than 10 years. Sports Betting is the reason that the poker games are so good, with 100’s of casual players finding the poker room via the sportsbook (or casino) and heading there to splash the cash around. At the moment, the tournament section is not as good as the cash game side. Without the volume of players needed for bigger events, these are smaller fields (though if you buy-in for $11 and under, there is plenty of action).
To top off the easy games, BetOnline are very generous with their bonuses and player promotions. You can check out the latest deals at www.betonline.ag.
#2 US Choice – America’s Cardroom Poker: ACR are known for their leader board contests, which encourage players to sit playing multiple tables at once. This tends to make the cash games and sit n goes fill up with nits. On the other hand, the tournament selection is the best available to US players. There is a regular ‘Online Super Series’ event, $1 million guaranteed prize pool feature games and a ton of regular lower to mid-stakes action.
If you prefer the tournament format, then America’s Cardroom is a clear number 1. Check out the latest event news and player offers at www.americascardroom.eu now!
Best Online Poker Site for Grinders / Semi-Pros 2018
Stepping out of the US, there are some huge sites which still allow you to play 8+ tables and have enough volume to support professional players.
What you will find is that many of the larger sites are refocusing on more recreational type players. Some (Party Poker) have banned HUD tools and others (iPoker) are preventing their skins from offering competitive rewards for grinders. Unfortunately, one site which was a solid option is about to close down when Full Tilt Poker merge with their parent site PokerStars.
There is a clear top choice for grinders in 2018 – in the form of PokerStars.
No other site has the sheer volume of cash games, tournament and sit n goes that ‘Stars does – enough for you to multi-table all day long (at the lower buy-ins at least). On the other side of the same coin is that most grinders know that this is the only real alternative. This tends to make the games tougher than at other sites. Even if you can beat those other grinders, they are not likely to be spewing cash in the same way as brand new players or more recreational types.
If you are a high-roller, then there really are no more choices – whether it comes to cash games or tournaments.
You can enjoy up to 3 ‘first’ deposit welcome bonuses with the following combination of codes at registration:
When you sign-up: Choose ‘Affiliate Marketing Code’ and use PSP3108
When you deposit: Use STARS600 for your first 3 deposits (within 90 days)
Even with a high number of grinders, PokerStars is a must-see for anyone that takes their poker seriously. Check it out at www.pokerstars.com now!
Best Online Poker Site for Recreational Type Players in 2018
This covers the majority – people who enjoy a game of poker, though do not focus their entire lives on the sport!
There are the most rooms in this category, especially now that a lot of sites have realized that grinders are suffocating the games and are not good for the overall poker economy (despite their lame protests that they ‘provide volume’!). I recommend 2 sites for recreational players, both of which have enough volume to offer a wide choice of games and big bonuses – yet are not suffocated by 1000’s of ‘regs’.
Recreational Choice #1 – Titan Poker: This site is part of the giant iPoker Network, which is a shared back end aggregating the players from many big sportsbook brands. Titan operate in Euros, and have a huge tournament schedule as well as long list of cash games. With new players coming over from the sportsbooks all the time, the games are often crazy! I recommend that you take a look (maybe side-by-side with other big sites) to see just how much softer the games are here. Sure, there are some pros, though this is very much the minority. Check out the iPOPs tournament series, lottery + jackpot sit n goes and the ‘speed holdem’ tables while you are there.
Note: High Tech Gambling readers can still claim my special of $20 extra free cash on top of the regular 200% welcome bonus + tokens package. Register with bonus code PBCLUB and the cash will be paid to your player account within 48 hours (usually sooner).
See www.titanpoker.com for the latest events and player promos!
Recreational Choice #2 – 888 Poker: This site refocused on amateur type players before the other brands caught up, and have grown rapidly as a result. More recently, 888 updated their rewards program with an excellent tiered scheme with a lot of big money tournament buy-ins and bonuses as rewards. There is a ton of choice for all the regular formats (no lottery sit n goes as yet, though MTTs, cash games and regular sit n goes are all busy). You’ll find very few grinders here and new promotions are springing up every week.
Topping things off, new players can claim up to $88 in tokens (no deposit or credit card information needed) just by registering an account. See www.888.com for more details.
Best Poker Site for New Players in 2018
For many years there have been pros and semi-pros actively seeking out brand new players using special tools and 3rd party services – and relieving them of their bankrolls before they get a chance to learn the ropes of the game.
Poker rooms took a while to figure that this was a problem, though fortunately many of them now protect their new players for a month or so, giving them time to learn some strategy and become aware of the pitfalls. These ‘new to the game’ rooms are not completely fool-proof, though they can be fun (and even profitable) places to play – with many other new players. Party Poker were the first to introduce this, and their focus is very much on the newer / more fun-focused type of player. My recommendation is for a different site:
New Players Poker Room 2018 – 888 Poker: Challenges, qualifiers to live events (World Series anyone?), super soft games, zoom poker, $5000 and $10000 tournament entries every week as part of their loyalty scheme and brand new promotions every single week… to say there are plenty of good reasons to recommend 888 Poker for new players would be an understatement!
What is more, you can get up to $88 in tokens / cash game buy-ins (at the real money tables), with no credit card info or deposit needed.
Check out the super-soft new to the game area and claim your free bonus play at www.888.com now!
Detailed Poker Site Reviews
Here at High Tech Gambling you’ll find a lot of reviews and comparisons on poker rooms big and small. Here is a list of the current reviews:
- 888 Poker Review
- Americas Cardroom (US Friendly Poker Room)
- BetOnline Poker Review (US Friendly Poker Room)
- BetSafe Poker Review
- Full Tilt Poker Review
- InterTops Poker Review (US Friendly Poker Room)
- PartyPoker Review
- PokerStars Review
- Unibet Poker Review
- Titan Poker Review
- Ignition Poker Review
Best Poker Site – Summing it up!
I hope that the message is loud and clear – there is no single ‘best poker site’, the key is to choose the site which is best suited to what you are trying to achieve and where you are located.
Here is a quick summary with links to the rooms:
#1 – US Based Players: Check out the easy games at the long-running www.betonline.ag
#2 – Grinders / High Volume Pros: PokerStars still have the biggest game selection (though not recommended for the inexperienced!). www.pokerstars.com
#3 – Recreational Players / Amateurs with some knowledge: The big choice and easy games on the iPoker Network hit the sweet spot. Titan Poker is my rec ($20 extra free with bonus code PBCLUB). www.titanpoker.com
#4 – Brand New Players: Again, Titan Poker has the easy games, missions and tournament events that will keep you profitable while you learn. www.titanpoker.com