We’re happy to report that online poker is alive and well. While US players have largely disappeared from the scene, in the UK, Europe and elsewhere it is bigger than ever before.
If you are new to online poker, we will guide you through what it entails, how to pick a great site to play at, and where to get the best poker bonuses online in this guide. If you have been playing for a while, feel free to skip ahead to the bonuses or poker sites sections, depending on what you are looking for.
Welcome to the world of online poker – a 24/7, 365 days a year contest of epic proportions!
Best Online Poker Sites & Rooms in 2018
The following are the best online poker sites. You will find poker bonuses at each one, and each site has been fully reviewed by our professional team. You are free to sign up at multiple sites to take advantage of the various bonuses on offer.
Online Poker – Two Kinds
There are actually two distinct kinds of online poker, and deciding which you want to play is the first step to making a good decision about where to do so.
Poker at Online Casinos
Every online casino under the sun will offer various poker variants to choose from. Texas hold ‘em, casino hold ‘em, red dog, three card poker, and various other games will be on offer at top casinos online.
You can choose any one of these games and play instantly. In most cases, the variety of digital poker games will be greatest, but you will also be able to play a few versions against live dealers.
This is a great way to play poker online. Especially if you are new to poker and don’t feel ready to play in live poker tournaments against other players from around the world, these casino poker games are an ideal way to get your toes wet and begin learning poker.
Poker Tournaments and Live Poker Games
These are entirely different from the online casino poker games. Here you will download a poker client and play head-to-head against other players from around the world.
This will almost certainly mean playing the most popular poker game of them all – Texas hold ‘em. Games will start regularly and most online poker sites will cater to players on all budgets, with buy-ins starting from a few pennies to hundreds of dollars or more.
When you get involved in this poker scene, you will often have the chance to play in huge, global tournaments. Prizes can be hundreds of thousands, holidays, cars, and more.
The Benefits of Playing Online Poker
Whatever way you choose to play, there are some great reasons to do so. Be careful, though, because playing online poker is so much fun you may find you can never go back once you get into it!
Reason 1 – Practice
If you usually play real life poker games against your friends or in a competitive sense, playing online gives you a great chance to practice.
It’s no secret that poker is a game of skill. You can largely control the outcome. Learning the rules, mastering the game, and discovering things like ‘tells’ and ‘bluffs’, which largely come with the intuition you develop with experience, all make a difference to how good you are.
Since you can play for mere pennies online, and can even use poker software to help you learn, playing online poker is the ideal way to become a poker master.
You can then take those skills into the real world and kick some ass.
Reason 2 – Bonuses
Experienced players will already know that poker bonuses can be huge. You can claim thousands in free poker chips when you register at a poker site.
Poker bonuses are usually much larger than casino and sportsbook bonuses. A typical offer would be 200% up to ￡1,000. You can also claim free poker tournament tickets at some sites. We will cover more on the different poker bonuses below.
Bonuses are probably the best reason to play online. You certainly won’t walk into a real world poker game and be given free chips. These bonuses can add up to heaps of free play, giving you a risk-free way to win.
You can also game the system by signing up at multiple poker sites and claiming lots of bonuses. New ones are popping up all the time, so you will likely never run out of new poker bonuses to claim.
Reason 3 – Excitement & Fun
When you eventually do decide to start competing in poker tournaments, you will experience some serious thrills. Lots of players find a level of action online they just wouldn’t have access to locally.
You can literally play against people from all around the world, with huge pots available if you make it through to the finals. In many cases there are also prizes for multiple finishing positions, which could be anything from an iPad to a car, depending on how big the competition you are playing in is.
Some players have gone on to forge real-world careers in professional poker, emerging from the online scene. In fact, winning online poker tournaments can get you invited to play in real-world ones.
Poker can open doors, literally. Even if you don’t aspire to reach those lofty heights it will be a lot of fun regardless.
The Poker Bonuses Available Online
There are a couple of different poker bonuses available at online poker sites. Depending on which site you choose you may be eligible for one or all of these. Knowing the different types will help you decide how good the offer actually is.
Free Poker Chips
This will typically be a token amount of ￡20 or so. You can use this chip in any way you want.
This is a nice deal to claim, since it usually means no deposit is required. The poker room wants to let you try what’s on offer risk-free. We advise you to claim these deals and the good news is UK and European players are almost always eligible, even when others are not.
Poker Welcome Bonuses
These are usually much bigger amounts, and will usually mean thousands in free cash to play poker with.
At the lowest end, this should be 100% up to ￡500 at least. At the highest end, it could be 200% up to ￡1,500. We have encountered both ends of the spectrum in our years of reviewing poker sites.
The way these bonuses work is that the cash is released in stages. For example, you will play with ￡1 and ￡1 of the bonus will be released.
Free Poker Tournament Tickets
Most great poker sites will also offer you at least one free tournament ticket. Some will offer them on an ongoing basis. These tournaments are what are known as ‘freeroll’ and you can play for free weekly at the top poker sites online.
You don’t need us to tell you it’s always a good idea to take advantage of these. You might just win, absolutely risk-free, with one of these tickets.
Play Poker Free with Casino Bonuses
The other way to enjoy some free poker is by taking advantage of casino welcome bonuses. These are deposit bonuses and usually come in the form of a 100% deposit match or a no deposit bonus.
You can then use this cash to play digital poker games, or live dealer poker games, in the casino. One drawback of doing things this way can be certain games will be limited, and you might not be able to play poker at all using this free casino cash. Always read the terms and conditions to be sure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where can I claim poker bonuses online?
A. Basically every poker site on the web offers them, but the best ones are found in the top list at the bottom of this page. This list has been vetted by our expert review team and was chosen from among hundreds of potential sites.
Q. Do I need a bonus code or other coupon to claim poker bonuses?
A. Not from this side, no. All you need to do is click the links below and register and sign up. If you need to enter any form of coupon code, it will be made clear when you click through and see the offer. 99 out of 100 times all you need to do is click through, register, make a deposit and accept the offer.
Q. Do online poker sites have any restrictions such as age or country?
A. Yes, all legal and legitimate sites will have some restrictions. First, you will have to be 18 to play. Second, there will be a list of restricted countries at almost every site. If you are restricted on one site, it doesn’t mean you will be on another. Players from the USA will have a particularly hard time playing poker online thanks to the UIGEA (2006). Don’t blame the poker sites, blame your government!
Q. Do you have any poker tips for a beginner who wants to start playing online?
A. Patience is our number one tip. Poker is a game of skill, not luck, and if you play for long enough you can really make money. We suggest you start by learning and memorizing the poker hands and perhaps using some poker software to help you play, at least to begin. In due course you will remember the probabilities and won’t need it anymore, but it can be a great way to get started.