5 Signs of a Good Online Poker Room
How do you pick a great online poker room? You evaluate elements like the poker stakes, traffic, games, rake and bonuses. If you can check each one off with a tick, you are onto a good thing. Here are 5 factors to consider before you sign up to play poker online.
Poker Stakes are Important… But Trust is Key
What do budding and experienced poker players want from an online site? Ask anyone and they will tell you it is a gaming platform they can trust. The question is – what defines ‘trust’?
In the world of cash gaming, trust can essentially be determined by three key factors:
- Longevity of operations
- Reputation amongst the online poker community
- A bona fide gaming licence from a reputable gaming commission
Any business that has been around for a while is well-established. It is stable, successful and has plenty of paying customers. Those principals apply equally to an online poker room just like ours.
A site with a snazzy skin or glitzy lobby may exude professionalism and success. Yet having said that, it is the years in operation that really count and can make all the difference in the end. We’ll use our very own Juicy Stakes Poker as a prime example!
Juicy Stakes Poker launched in 2009. That is more than a decade ago… and we are still going strong! What we’ve learned over the years is what we put into practice every day – and to you, as the player, this means a poker room backed by experience.
As for our reputation, it speaks for itself. During high traffic times, there are around 400 to 500 players enjoying our Sit ‘n Go (SNG) tournaments, MTTs and cash games – played at low, medium and high poker stakes. Ask around and you’ll learn that Juicy Stakes Poker is amongst the best!
How about our credentials and gaming license? Well, for one, we are part of the Horizon Poker Network. We are also fully licensed and regulated by the Curacao Gaming Commission. That means independent mediation and dispute resolution is readily available if needs be.
That takes care of the trust factor. Let’s move on to the individual gaming elements that separate a good online poker room from a mediocre one.
A Fair Spread of Poker Stakes
The best online poker rooms support a range of poker stakes. That ensures everyone can get a bit of action, notwithstanding the size of their bankroll. It also gives players more freedom to eke out their chip stacks as the gaming sessions unfold.
When there are tables with low, medium and high poker stakes available around the clock, the odds are there will be plenty of footfalls through the virtual doors. More traffic means more bums on seats and higher prize pots. It is a win-win situation for all.
When it comes to poker stakes, you can give Juicy Stakes Poker a tick. Available stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 to $10/$20 and more. In other words, we cater to everyone… with the exception of the high-high rollers who are only into Nosebleeds!
Regular Ring Games and Tournaments
What is the backbone of any online poker site? The games, of course. The more variety there is in terms of variants, betting structures, buy-ins, GTD prize pools and poker stakes, the better. Whether it is poker or any other activity, as per the English poet, William Cowper, variety really is the spice of life.
At Juicy Stakes, the focus is on No Limit Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha. Along with the cash games, there are plenty of tournaments on the go. Events range from daily freerolls to MTTs offering up to $10,000 guaranteed.
As for the rake, it falls firmly within the market average. MTTs have a fixed 10% commission. The rake for SNGs varies from 3% to 11% for the high- and low-cost games, respectively.
How about the ring games? What kind of comm is raked off the top? At Juicy Stakes, we use the dealt method to calculate the rake. It ranges from 5% to 6.67% across the available spread of poker stakes.
To top it all, we have a no flop no drop policy. If gameplay is done and dusted before the flop, we don’t take any rake at all! Along with a range of poker stakes, it is the GTD tournaments that get the traffic flowing in.
Now do you see why Juicy Stakes Poker is routinely the crème de la crème of virtual poker rooms!
Functional Software and Features
The fourth factor to consider is the gaming software. It is not so much the look of the lobby and online poker games that is important. It is the functionality and features that provide a good, bad or indifferent gaming experience.
What you do not want is a site that has been thrown together. Software that lags, crashes, and disconnects – and just when you have reached the river – is not maddening… it is downright criminal. The ideal is a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate site that supports a range of cool features.
At Juicy Stakes, we take the no-nonsense approach. We may not dazzle with design elements but all the features you require are ably supported. We do not limit the use of poker tracking software. In fact, there is direct support for Poker Tacker, Holdem Manager and Hand2Note Trackers.
Our software also supports HUD (head-up display). That is a nifty tool that tracks and displays your opponents’ poker stats in real-time. Now that is what a no-nonsense approach to the provision of poker is all about.
Generous Bonuses and Promotions
Another indication of a good online poker room is the scope and scale of the bonuses and promotions. Most sites offer similar types of bonuses. What is more telling is the value of the welcome bonus, rakeback deal and reload bonus.
Similarly, it is what you have to do to unlock the bonuses that counts. The trick is to read the bonus terms and conditions before registering an account. That way you will know whether you are really gaining or simply getting conned into playing ring games more frequently than you would like.
At Juicy Stakes, our standard promotions vary from a $1k first deposit bonus and 36% rakeback to a weekly $4,000 FPP race. There is also a VIP program that doles out all sorts of incentives and rewards, including Gold Chips that are convertible into cash!