It used to be a whole lot easier to find a good poker room. Nowadays, the main criteria for about half of the online poker population when trying to find a poker room to play at is whether players from their country are accepted, and the rest are looking for a good poker bonus offer.
This really is a deplorable state of affairs and hopefully this will be sorted out properly and fairly in the near future.
In the meantime, players from countries like the United States will still have to choose from among those few rooms that will allow them to play.
It is not just US players that are limited in this way, as some European countries are limiting where their citizens can play online now too.
Given that situation, the criteria for finding the right room for you should still be applied to those rooms that will accept players from your country, assuming that there are more than one such rooms.
So, what is the ideal online poker room?
Regardless of your playing style, whatever room you choose should have a wide variety of payment methods available. Note that while you can deposit using a lot of different methods, you won’t be able to withdraw your winning to some of them. So for example, if you deposit using your Visa card, you most likely will not be able to withdraw any winnings to it. Be sure that you have another payment method available and that it supports withdrawals.
The next thing to look for is licensing information. While the existance of an online gambling license is not any kind of gaurantee of the security of the site, the lack of any such license is a big warning sign.
One time the size of the poker room would have been used as an indicator of the reliability of that particular room, but that is no longer the case, as was demonstrated when the top four sites were taken down by the US government, and players at three of those still have not seen any of their money.
Even so, the very small rooms might be best avoided at least for now. While we await some sort of legislation regarding online poker, many rooms are having difficulty processing payments so smaller rooms will have more problems than ones with larger player numbers.
Even though you may not be an ‘advantage player’ looking for a deposit bonus, the bonus offer should still be evaluated as it can be indicative of a good poker room. Sites offering really large deposit bonuses probably should be avoided.
There is a wide range of bonus amounts on offer, but in general the minimum amount is about $400 to $500 with the max amount being between $1000 and $2000. Most good sites fit into the mid range and so unless there is a special promotion, look again at any really outrageous deposit bonus amount.
Experienced poker players will know to look for the type of poker software being used by the site, but newer players may have experience of only one type, if even that. There is no really great poker software, as most rooms offer the same functions as all the others. The software will really come down to a matter of personal preference.Again with poker game varieties, most rooms will offer the most popular games, and that is where most of the players will go. If you have a specific, less well-known poker game variety that you like to play or a specific poker game format you will simply have to trawl through the various poker rooms until you find one that offers it, and hope that it has some decent player numbers.
Once you have made a short list of two or three poker rooms that seem to fit with what you are looking for, you should do some searches online for information about them. Note though that a lot of rooms will have posts somewhere on the internet from players saying that they have been scammed by that particular room, or that the software is rigged.
Unfortunately you cannot put much value in those type of complaints. Instead you should look to the bigger poker forums for player reviews of your chosen rooms.
Online searches for information on online poker rooms will always bring up affiliate sites which will tell you that the room is great – most online poker rooms are rated as great somewhere online. Again, you can’t really put too much reliability on those types of reviews, as the affiliate is paid to send players to those particular rooms.
Of course, any negative reviews on affiliate sites should be taken note of.
You can always ask your poker playing friends about your chosen rooms, and it should be easier to judge the reliability of their advice.
If you want to go the extra mile in poker room selection, you could always email the support desk of the rooms on your short list with some question. No response or a slow response should be a warning about what you will have to face if you do eventually have a problem that needs support asistance.
Finally, look at the deposit and withdrawal limits that are offered by the poker rooms. Low limits are good indicators that the room is beginner friendly, whereas higher limits can mean that the rooms are focussed more on the high roller player.