How to Find the Best Online Poker Sites

Online Poker is one of the most popular games around. It’s easy to play, rewarding for actual skill (unlike slots or the lottery) and you can do it on your laptop, desktop computer, phone or tablet. Online poker also allows you to win real money, albeit in small amounts at first. But as you gain experience you can move up to higher stakes. The game’s popularity took off after a Tennessee accountant named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003, catapulting online poker into the mainstream.

When you’re ready to begin playing poker online, it’s important to choose a site that is safe and secure. You should check the site’s licensing and that it is independently regulated. In addition, you should make sure that the site offers a variety of banking options for deposits and withdrawals. Ideally, you should be able to use your preferred payment method for both.

Another factor to consider is the site’s table software. The best poker sites have well-designed, easily navigable tables that are aesthetically pleasing. They should also have large, clearly labeled betting buttons and an uncluttered interface. Some sites offer flashy animations and 3D graphics, but beware: these can distract you from the game itself.

Lastly, look for a site with plenty of traffic. Higher traffic means more opportunities to play against softer opponents, making the game easier for beginners and more fun for experienced players. You’ll also find more frequent tournaments with big guarantees.

Aside from the aforementioned factors, a few other things to keep in mind are the number of available games and the type of player base. Some sites focus on high-stakes games and attract serious, well-rounded players. Others cater to recreational players and feature a loose, casual atmosphere.

Most major poker sites offer a VIP program that rewards loyal players with free tournament entries, merchandise, cash back and other prizes. The VIP programs work in tiers, with each tier offering progressively better benefits. Try to understand the tiers and rewards offered by each site before deciding which is the right fit for you.

Bovada is an American-owned and operated poker site that has jumped through the regulatory hoops required to get games up and running in Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia. Its game selection is limited, but it offers a nice range of ring games and some tournaments. The site’s banking options are also strong, with Bitcoin, e-wallets, Visa and MasterCard, Litecoin, Neosurf and Flexepin accepted for both deposits and withdrawals. Payouts are fast, with the site typically sending checks by courier within an hour. The site does tack on hefty fees for card users, however.