Best Texas Hold'em Poker Sites
Over the past two decades, we've seen Texas hold'em explode in popularity among gamblers and gamers of all ages from all over the world. Most of this explosion can be attributed to the growth of online poker and its ability to enable anyone with a computer and an internet connection to get in on the action.
Thanks to there being no need to pay for dealers for additional tables, online poker also allows players to play for much lower stakes and for much less money than they would have to in a brick-and-mortar setting. No matter how new you are to the game, you can get realistic practice with real money, without putting your whole bankroll on the line.
If you're here looking for the best Texas hold'em poker sites available anywhere on the net, you're in luck. Below you'll find a list of the top rated and most trusted sites available that are sure to give you the experience and opportunities you're looking for.
|Rank||US Poker Site||Sign Up Bonus||Get Started|
|#1||BetOnline Poker||200% up to $2,000|
|#2||SB Poker||200% up to $2,500|
Why These Sites Are the Best
If you make a habit out of blindly trusting every recommendation you read on the internet, you're going to have an awful time. You always need to ask whether you can trust the recommendations and information you're getting or if there is an ulterior motive you need to be aware of. Sadly, in the online review world, many review sites are paid for more favorable reviews or higher placement in recommendations. Effectively, you're just looking at an advertisement, and not an honest and accurate review.
That's not how we operate here.
We continuously monitor and update the list as poker sites better their product or lose some steam and fall from the list. We never have and never will allow a site to pay us for a better review or for higher placement on our recommendation lists. The only way for a Texas hold'em poker site to increase their stock with us and how we view them is by putting out a better product for you, their customers.
It's as simple as that. You can take our reviews to the bank knowing that you're getting an honest and accurate view of how things are with each of these sites. We take our review process seriously because we know you take your money seriously. In order for us to succeed, you need to have the best online gaming experience possible, and that starts with playing at a site that carries its own weight. With so many options to choose from in the poker world today, there is no room for mediocrity.
Criteria for Selecting a Texas Hold'em Betting Site
We didn't just pull these recommended sites out of thin air. Our experts use a long list of criteria to identify the winners and the losers within the industry. As is the case with any industry, there are some great companies and some serious bad apples within the online poker industry. This is why we take our review process so seriously.
For those of you that are curious what we like to look at, we've included a list of the most important criteria below. While these are not all of the factors that we look at, these are the big ones that we feel are the most important and play the biggest role in our decisions.
If you happen to be living life on the edge and trying a site that we haven't recommended here, you can use these criteria to try your best to form an opinion on whether or not the site is worth your time and should be trusted. While we know you're all smart s, some of this information is more challenging to find, and you may struggle to get an honest under the hood look. This is why we strongly recommend you take advantage of our expert recommendations. If you're a free spirit and need to be out on the range by yourself, we hope this list helps protect you.
Trust and Reliability
The number one factor in deciding the value of an online poker site is the trust and reliability of the company running the show. If the owners and the management of the site can't be fully trusted, you're putting yourself and your money in danger.
While we're willing to accept less than perfect marks on some of the factors on this list, with trust and reliability, we are not. An online poker site needs to be able to be trusted 100% with no red flags or warning signs, or it's a no-go from our team.
In order to calculate trust and reliability, we look a lot of places. We look at the management and ownership of the company and what their track record within and outside of the industry is. We utilize several different means of gauging the company's current industry reputation and look into any complaints that have been filed against them in the past.
On top of this, we look through their public company records, licensing regulations, terms of service, and anything else we can get our hands on to make sure that everything they are doing is on the up and up.
Again, if there is even the hint of something not right, the poker site will not be receiving a recommendation from us.
Speed of Payouts
How much fun is winning on the felt if you don't actually get your winnings? The correct answer is 0% fun. In the early days of online poker, there were issues with the processing of money. It would take a while for you to get your money and that left a pretty sour taste in a lot of player's mouths. As more and more transfer options became available and the online poker world grew, these problems started to diminish.
Nowadays, there are plenty of great mainstream mediums for you to get your money fast from online poker sites. That being said, these options only work if the site you're requesting your winnings from has its processes set up properly.
One of the most important factors we look at when selecting our favorite online poker sites is how quickly they process and pay cashout requests. If you're going to be an old man or woman by the time they get you the money, we're not going to recommend them. You shouldn't ever have to worry about the speed at which you receive your cashouts. This is why payout speed is high on our list of important factors when choosing the top online poker sites.
Volume of Action
You can't win any money playing Texas hold'em if you don't have anyone to play against. It's important that an online poker site have enough active players to run games regularly. This goes for cash games, sit and gos, and for tournaments. If a site is too brand new or not doing a good enough job recruiting players, it's most likely not going to be a site that you want to waste your time on. Nobody wants to sit around at empty tables waiting hours for action.
Does this mean that we only select the sites with the most players? Not necessarily. For some people, the goliath poker sites with hundreds of thousands of players are great. For others, though, they like the smaller sites because they attract more fish and have tournaments that don't take nineteen years to complete. This all comes down to personal choice. For that reason, you're going to see us recommend sites that are large and sites that are smaller. You'll never see us recommend a Texas hold'em site that is too small that there's no action whatsoever.
Types and Stakes of Action
This criterion is a continuation of the one that we just covered. If you're looking to play $1/$2 Texas hold'em, but every single player on a particular site only plays up to the .05/.10 level, you're not going to be a happy camper. Not only do poker sites need to have a decent volume of players, but these players need to be spread out amongst the different buy-in and stake levels.
There doesn't need to be an even distribution or anything like that as we know that the higher stakes will inevitably have fewer players. We don't even need there to be any players at the super-high, nosebleed levels. What we're looking for is a site that offers as much as possible to different levels of players. If they only have enough players to sustain one or two buy-in levels, we're not going to be big fans. But, if they have games running all across the buy-in spectrum, we're going to be pretty pleased.
If you're someone who is looking to potentially make a living or at least some significant extra cash playing Texas hold'em, you aren't going to be too pleased if the largest tournament a site offers is a $50 guaranteed, $1 buy-in.
Again, we aren't saying that we need $10k, $1 million guaranteed tournaments, but we would like to see some tournaments where you can buy more than a McDonald's extra value meal with first place money. Variety and consistency are the names of the game here. If an online Texas hold'em poker site can offer plenty of options more than just a few specific times a week, we'll be happy. If they can offer a lot of different options all the time, well, now we're talking quality.
When it comes to the user interface of an online poker site, we get picky. When you're spending hours at a time doing something, it better be set up well and organized in a way that makes your life easier. The games need to be organized well, and the different stake levels should be easy to find. When you're playing, it shouldn't be a challenge to figure out how to raise, call, or fold. Cruddy user interfaces are not only annoying and not fun to use, but they can also set you up to make mistakes which can be very costly.
Outside of trust and reliability and speed of payouts, the user interface is the most critical factor for us. The only exception to this is if there is an online poker site that is so full of fish and bad players that we'd be willing to accept a less than favorable user interface. Still, in those rare occasions, the interface has to be good enough to prevent any mistakes. The only things we'd skimp on for a fish-happy environment are graphics and overall feel. The core functionality of the site still needs to be top-notch, or it's a no from us.
The very last thing that we look at when determining the quality of a Texas hold'em site is what sort of bonus promotions they have for players. This includes deposit bonuses, forms of rakeback, guaranteed tournaments, VIP player programs, and anything else creative they have to try and win your business. This is certainly the least important factor on this list, but one that we still want to take a look at, especially if we have a close decision between two sites.
One thing we do want to point out is that you're careful not to make this your number one determining factor. Just because an online poker site offers you a bunch of freebies does not mean that it's a quality site. On the flip side, just because an online poker site does not offer you a ton of freebies does not mean that it's NOT a quality site. Some sites are so established and so packed full of fish that we would be willing to pay them some bonus money just for the chance to play there.
Bonuses are great and should definitely be looked at, but they most certainly should not be your top criterion.
Tips for Selecting a New Texas Hold'em Poker Site
Once you think you've found an online poker site that peaks your interest, it's time to get started! Should you close your eyes and run into the fire blindly? Of course, you shouldn't! While we don't want to hold up your poker fix any longer, we do want to give you a few quick tips that can make your experience at the new site that much better.
If you skip these tips, your world is not going to catch on fire. You will, however, possibly set yourself up for some disappointment, and we'd really like to help avoid that if at all possible. Unless you're a glutton for punishment, take these tips we've provided for you to heart.
We get it. You're big time, and you don't have time to play around with the kiddie games. We're NOT telling you that you have to start at the play money tables and work yourself up to real money. What we are telling you is that you can use the play money tables to learn the user interface. Each online poker site has different controls and different ways that you raise, fold, and call.
Imagine if you're in a big pot and you accidentally fold when you mean to call because you don't fully understand how to use the buttons. This is why we are recommending you start at the play money tables. Spend five minutes clicking around and getting comfortable with the buttons. Once you confidently know how to do everything, then you can move over to the real money tables without fear of making a silly and costly mistake.
Since you aren't physically in a casino or card room, the poker sites are going to need to verify that you are who you say you are. This is not for tax purposes or reporting. This is to protect you so that when you go to withdraw, they know that they are sending the money to you and only you. The way they do this is by having you fill out a few forms the first time you go to make a withdrawal.
People tend to get annoyed by this because when they make their first withdrawal, they want their money quickly. Here's a great tip. As soon as you create an account with an online poker site, request any documentation they will need to process withdrawals. You can fill this all out on day one and then when you go to make your first withdrawal, you won't have to wait at all. Waiting a few extra days when you aren't withdrawing any money is no big deal, but it can be a real headache when you want your money.
Do yourself a favor and take care of this as soon as you join a new site. You will thank us later.
While we said that the promotions aren't high on our list when selecting an online Texas hold'em site, that does not mean you shouldn't take full advantage of the ones offered to you. In a highly competitive market, online poker sites are constantly throwing free money and free things at players to try and steal them away from other sites and to make sure that they stay.
Here are a few tips for promotions that will make your life a lot smoother and help to put more money in your pocket. First, always pay attention to the promotions page of the website. You should also join any mailing lists that the site has. This is how you will find out about new promotions. Promotions with online poker sites are not always the same. They change, and new ones are added all the time. You need to be aware of this as much as possible.
This means that you have to check a box in your member area that says you want to get some of that free money. If you don't do this, you can fulfill all the requirements for the promotion, and you'll get absolutely nothing.
Furthermore, you need to make sure you read the terms associated with each promotion you are interested in. In order to protect the site from people trying to game the system, each promotion is going to have some specific rules and parameters that you're going to have to follow. If you don't follow these rules to a T, you will not receive your free money. These things are a lot easier to fix before the promotion runs. If you were unclear about something and did it incorrectly, you won't be able to convince the poker site to give you the promotional bonuses.
It doesn't take much extra time or effort. Read the promotional rules, and rake in that sweet, sweet free cash and bonuses.
The last bit of advice we can give you that will help you to succeed at a new online poker site is to ask questions if you're confused about something. Not sure how to use the software? Ask for help. Don't understand a particular promotion? Ask for help. Not sure how to deposit money? Ask for help.
The online poker sites that we've recommended have fantastic customer service departments. They have FAQs with the most common questions you might have, well written out terms of service for their site and for promotions, and they also have staff members ready to answer any other questions you might have. If you are unsure about anything, just ask. Finding out how things work before there is a potential problem will make your online poker experience that much more fruitful and enjoyable.
You're just about all set to get started playing Texas hold'em online. Before we send you on your way to crush on the felt, we wanted to give you a few last minute words of wisdom and encouragement to keep you on the right path to success. Remember, Texas hold'em is a game that takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. Make sure that you take your time and understand that you are not going to be the best overnight. This means that you shouldn't immediately jump into the biggest games. Stick within your bankroll and allow yourself the proper time to learn without losing all of your money.
With patient hard work, focused study, dedicated practice, and solid bankroll management, you have no reason that you can't become a very successful Texas hold'em player.