Online Poker Guide

Online poker was the best thing to ever happen to the poker industry. Although poker has always had a place in the world, it wasn't until the internet came along that the game reached mainstream appeal. Before, poker was relegated to something you played every once in a while with your friends or on the occasional trip to the casino.

Millions of regular people play poker today and much of that can be attributed to the convenience of playing online. No longer is it necessary to drive to the nearest casino and hope that a game might be running. No longer is it necessary to save up a bunch of extra cash just to join a game. Now, you can hop on any time you want and play for any stakes you like.

There's a lot to discuss with poker, and that's where this guide comes into play. Our purpose with this guide is to help you find a place to play poker, tell you what to expect and give you tips for playing well.

Let's get started.

Online Poker Sites

The most important step in getting started with online poker is finding a place to play. Your poker site ultimately determines what type of experience you have. Great poker sites give you safe games, fast withdrawals, quality software and busy tables. Poor poker sites suffer from a wide range of problems and are best avoided.

The trouble with finding great poker sites is that every poker site on the internet promises to give you the best experience. What we did with this guide was use our own experiences combined with the reviews of real players to make a list of the best all-around places to play poker.

Here's what we found:

( 4.8 / 5.0 )

The BetOnline poker room has been said to be one of the best around. They are open to US players and offer a 25% bonus of up to $900 to new depositors.

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( 4.6 / 5.0 )

The poker room at does an excellent job of providing busy tables that ensures that you will almost always have a game to get in on.

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( 4.3 / 5.0 )

Bovada still has a little ways to go when it come to their poker room but they continue to improve and they also offer a 100% welcome bonus of up to $1,000 to get you started.

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This list was not made at random. All of us here at have been playing online poker for years. We know from firsthand experience that these are great places to play. We've also had the unfortunate experience of playing at sub-par sites and can confirm that there's a world of difference between the above poker sites and their below average competitors.

One of the big things when dealing with today's poker sites is getting your money out in a timely fashion. The fractured laws around the world make it challenging for sites to send money to their winning players located in a multitude of different countries. Some sites excel despite the difficulties while other sites are known for delaying cashouts for months.

We have a few resources that we check regularly to make sure our top poker sites are paying out withdrawals within an acceptable timeframe. If things ever change on that front, we'll let you know and update this page.

How to Get Started

The biggest part of getting started is picking a site and joining up. Once you're settled on a poker site, the rest kind of falls into place. Visit the website, hit the big "join now" button and download the software. After that, you can log in any time to play poker or just watch the games in progress.

All poker sites give you the option to play with fake money or to make a deposit and join the real tables. If you need any brushing up on the rules or would like to get a feel for how the games run online, the play money tables are a great place to start. It costs nothing to play at the free tables and it gives you an accurate representation of what it's like to play at that site.

When you're ready to make the move to real money, you can log in to your account and visit the cashier. You can make a deposit inside there and it should credit to your account instantly. From that point on, you can join any table or tournament on the site that fits your bankroll.

One of the nice things about playing online is that you can start out at the micro-stakes if you wish. It is not uncommon to find $0.01/$0.02 tables with a $2.00 buyin. At the big sites, you can move up all the way to tables with ten thousand dollar buyins. Poker sites are great about catering to players of all skill and comfort levels.

Types of Games

One of the big differences between playing online and playing at a traditional casino is that poker sites offer many more game types. If you visit a major poker site, you'll find hundreds of tables set up under a multitude of rules and game-types. Holdem, Stud, Omaha and others are usually available around the clock.

Poker sites also host a mixture of cash games and tournaments for each poker variant. Our advice to you is to choose a form of poker and study that one first. Get a little experience with that one and then you can add new games to your lineup over time.

You'll be best served if you start out learning how to play Texas Holdem. Texas Holdem is the most popular poker variant and you'll find the most tables in that game-type. There are other options as well, but Texas Holdem is the one in which you'll find the most active tables and the greatest variety of stakes.

But of course, the choice is yours. Check out our page about poker games to learn more about Texas Holdem and all the others.