Selecting Best Online Poker Rooms in 2016
There once was a time when winning at online poker was quite doable. You could simply learn some basic concepts, log into basically any poker site out there and exploit the horrible mistakes made by the majority of your opponents to turn huge profits.
Watch the hilarious video below for an example of how soft online games used to be (and watch more tuff_fish videos if you find this as funny as I do).
This is why today more than ever it is important to play on the right sites and in the right games, where there is still some edge to be had. This article focuses on the various things you should keep an eye out for when looking to find the right site for yourself to win money at.
The Game Quality: Swimming With The Fishes
The first thing you will be looking at when choosing a site to play at is the quality of the games. You will naturally want to find a site that offers games of lower standard, with more fish and fewer regs at the tables. This is much easier said than done in today’s poker climate, but there are quite a few sites out there, especially the smaller ones that will have some very lucrative games.
Whether we are talking Cash Games or SNGs, you will probably want to steer clear of sites on the mega networks such as Microgaming and iPoker in regard to the quality of games. The reason is simple; the games are absolutely reg infested and every table will have a minimum of three regulars apart form you who use HUDs, understand the game at a high level and are likely using seating scripts and other software.
When talking game quality, the stand alone sites will usually have the weakest games with fewer regs and most fish and you will probably want to try to find the right games for yourself at such sites.
Multitabling: Finding Sufficient Traffic
Quite naturally, regs want to multitable and we fully understand this need. After all, there can hardly be a winning margin high enough in poker to justify playing just one or two tables and this is why all regs in cash games and SNGs seek to play many tables, often more than 10 and almost always at least 4.
Some of the smaller sites that offer low quality games will usually have much fewer tables across the stakes than your big networks. However, in my opinion, it is much better to spread your bankroll across several smaller sites and play in the good games than stick to one site whose games are completely dead hoping to grind out a bit of rakeback.
The big networks offer what a mass-tabler needs, enough tables for each stake to provide the player with the quantity of games he is looking for.
The Rake Structure and Rakeback
The next thing to keep an eye out for is the rake structure. Various online poker providers offer different rake structures and you will need to be careful not to have all of your winnings eaten away by the rake as this can easily happen.
Additionally, you will need to look at the whole picture. This means not looking only at the rake but also the rakeback, promotions, leaderboards and any other ways you may use to get some of your rake back.
For instance, it is much better to play at a site that charges 10% rake but gives you 70% back than a site that charges 5% but offers no returns. The rake and rakeback structure in combination with your expected winrate in a game will start shaping up into a reliable site selection formula.
The Online Poker Software
A fairly common complaint you will hear from poker players is that they have finally found the place that has a lot of fish at the tables, reasonable rake and rakeback plans and a sufficient number of tables, but the software is absolutely atrocious.
This can happen quite a bit with the smaller sites as they are usually either standalone applications developed by small teams or parts of small networks. These sites don’t have the big bucks to pay for the development of powerful software like PokerStars or 888 Poker may have.
These second rate apps can often be full of glitches, very slow and non-intuitive. The sheer amount of nerves you will lose trying to click the right button or see the numbers on the screen may just not be worth it.
Even more, do you really want to put your money into the hands of a site that can hardly afford to build a half decent app? The choice is yours and if you want to go all the way after those guppies, feel free, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Our Final Verdict
So what is the best place to grind the online games in 2016? Well, the question doesn’t really have one single answer. If you are a multitabling junkie who simply can’t stop clicking buttons and needs 20 tables running, you will probably be best of at a big network with a good rakeback plan. If on the other hand, you are someone who likes to actually analyze your opponents and try to exploit their slight mistakes one at a time, going for a smaller sites with more weak opponents will be your safest bet.
Always remember to research your poker providers before playing with them as the gambling industry is one full of deceitful people and companies. You want to keep safe, so I would say above all else, make sure your money is with a company that has a history of being legit and straight forward with their players.
(If you’re serious about improving your poker game, check out the Upswing Lab! Top poker pros Doug Polk and Ryan Fee collaborated to create this A to Z training course aimed at improving anyone’s game. Check out our testimonials page here!)