How to Find the Best Texas Hold'em Poker Sites
Well, that depends on what you're looking for.
In most reviews online, you'll find tons of in-depth information on a variety of topics - traffic, game selection, software, etc. But most players don't have the time or patience to go through all of the info before deciding where to play.
If you're one of those players, we're going to help you out. Instead of the classic poker site review, we're going to look at some typical poker-player archetypes and match them up with the best Texas Hold'em poker site for their needs.
Simply figure out which player type you fit best and you'll know where to play.
The Sunday Tournament Player
This is a guy who plays one or maybe a couple of big multi-table events per week - preferably on Sundays obviously.
He likes big starting fields and a lot of money in the prize pools. Of course, he knows winning a huge tournament is a long shot, but if he does, he'll get a substantial payout for his effort.
Chasing bonuses is not a top priority for this player, since meeting the bonus requirements takes an eternity when playing one or two tourneys per week. Instead, his value comes from tournaments with guaranteed prize pools and satellites to big live events.
The Sunday Tournament Player should have poker accounts at a few different sites so he can choose from a lot of high-value tournaments, but he of course has to have an account at PokerStars.
PokerStars is, by far, the heavyweight champion of multi-table tournaments - and especially on Sundays. If he adds UB.com/Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker to his poker portfolio, he'll be more than satisfied (European players should also consider Titan Poker.)
The Bonus-Hunting Bankroll Builder
This is a player who hasn't played poker for that long but puts a lot of hours into the game. He doesn't have a huge bankroll but takes the game seriously and wants to become a long-term winning player.
In contrast to the Sunday Tournament Player, this player type wants to be rewarded with a large poker bonus when he signs up at a Hold'em poker site. In fact, he might need this bonus to even stay alive at first.
The Bonus-Hunting Bankroll Builder should therefore choose a site with a large, easy-to-clear poker bonus, and those are rarely found at the giant poker sites such as Full Tilt and Poker Stars.
Instead he should choose one of the smaller sites, such as Sportsbook Poker, UB.com/Absolute Poker or Bodog Poker.
Furthermore, since these sites attract a lot of new players, the low- to mid-limit games are fairly soft. So even if you're new to the game, a straightforward, ABC poker strategy is often more than enough to get an edge on your opponents.
The Notorious Sit-and-Go Grinder
This player type starts a new sit-and-go every five minutes he sits by the computer. He wants to stack table after table on top of each other or tile them so they fill up the whole screen, and then make a decision every two seconds.
The key for the Sit-and-Go Grinder is obviously decent traffic in the S'n'G section. If he plays higher than, say, $5 buy-in tournaments, the smaller sites won't offer enough action.
Just like the Sunday Tournament Player, this player type should consider the two major poker sites, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. During peak hours, Bodog and UB.com/Absolute Poker are also decent choices and, if a good bonus is important, these are probably the best rooms.
Unfortunately for US players, the old Sit-and-Go Mecca, Party Poker, is no longer available to them. Europeans, however, can go there and exploit the soft games and great sit-and-go traffic.
The High-Stakes Player (and/or Railbird)
If you want to have hundreds of dollars on the table with just the blinds posted - or maybe just sit and be a railbird for these games - Full Tilt Poker is the obvious choice.
The majority of high-stakes cash-game pros play on Full Tilt, and if you want to test your skills against the best players in the world, that's where you'll have to go.
For 99.9999% of players out there, though, that's not a particularly wise choice - at least not from a monetary perspective.
If you'd like to play against the pros you've seen on televised tournament final tables, you're better off at PokerStars, where for instance Daniel Negreanu plays regularly. If you'd like to make the poker brat, Phil Hellmuth, shut up, you'll find him on UB.com.
The key to finding the best online Texas Hold em poker sites is to:
1. Think about what you look for in a poker site, what types of games best suit your needs and style and what's going to benefit your bankroll the most.
2. Choose a site to play at.
Not the other way around.
Keep that in mind and you'll maximize your bonus value, always have games to choose from in your preferred poker variation and enjoy your online poker experience to the fullest.