Although the poker boom is already over, online poker remains one of the most lucrative and entertaining forms of online gambling to date. The gaming halls have moved to servers, and they have expanded with no geographical boundaries (well, some legal ones still remain), so today almost everyone can have access to a game of Sit-n-go Hold’em by using a smartphone, a tablet or a desktop or portable PC. Not all poker rooms have their own custom software, though. With a few exceptions – like Unibet’s poker room, for example, that uses proprietary software – most poker rooms run on software provided by online poker networks. Here is a short list of the biggest ones of the world where you can play and win at online poker non stop.
1. iPoker and iPoker 2
iPoker is the largest online poker network maintained by online gambling expert Playtech. It gathers some of the best names in online poker under its virtual roof – Ladbrokes, Coral, Bet365, TitanPoker, Betfair, Betclic and many others. It constantly has thousands of people connected – tens of thousands during peak hours – and it runs one of the best online poker tournaments in the poker world.
iPoker has split in two recently, and the split gave birth to iPoker 2, the tier-two network for the biggest poker rooms out there.
PartyPoker was once the largest poker room on the planet, but the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006 has knocked it out of the US, which almost caused it to go bankrupt. After its merger with Bwin it has managed to stay one of the largest poker networks of the industry. Today it goes downhill, though – players are complaining about glitches, bad customer service and similar things. The company behind PartyPoker – the Bwin.party Digital Entertainment – is going to be bought this year, so maybe its services will improve.
3. Microgaming Poker Network
Microgaming is one of the biggest online casino software developers of the world, and it also runs a fairly successful poker network. The MPN has a decent attendance of mostly casual poker players and some really attractive GTD tournaments, which makes it an attractive destination for many.
+1 – PokerStars
PokerStars is not a poker network, but an online poker hall – and the largest one there is. When it comes to its number of players, PokerStars – together with Full Tilt – is the largest in the world, exceeding all poker networks put together. PokerStars and all of its operations was acquired last year by Canadian online gambling firm Amaya Gaming, which has in the past acquired the OnGame poker network as well. PokerStars has recently ventured into the world of casino gaming as well – let’s see what this decision’s effect will be on its poker standings.
I found something pretty cool recently. There is an English company call Switch Poker that created a mobile poker app for the iPhone. This is one of those things that would blow up if poker was ever legalized in the United States. Needless to say, the iPhone poker apps are only going to be available for poker players outside of the USA.
Imagine being able to play a quick raked game while you are away from your computer. That is what Switch Poker is currently offering. You can currently play at a 6-player mobile table. The stakes vary from 0.05/0.10c up to 1.0/2.0 Euros. The rake that Switch Poker charges is 5% of the pot.
Since this poker app is in its infancy, there isn’t much in the way of options. The only poker game they offer is Texas Holdem in the 6-player ring games. However, they always has to be a first and the kinks and bugs need to be worked out.
Switch Poker does have plans to expand and offer a range of games like Omaha poker, pot-limit holdem, sit n gos and multi-table tournaments as well as larger tables for ring games.
The idea of mobile poker is what gets me excited. I can’t tell you how many times I have been somewhere and have wanted to play a quick game of poker while I’m killing time. Currently, I just have to go to one of the thousands of non-gambling apps and games from my iPhone.
If you had the option between playing the same brain-numbing games on your mobile or playing a game of skill like poker, which would you choose. It’s only going to be a matter of time before poker becomes more popular on devices such as the iPad and the other knockoff tablets.
But what happens if I go out of range for my cell phone? Probably the same thing when you computer freezes or you get disconnected from the internet. You will be folded out/sit out until you get back online. If you are in a ring game, you probably will have a set number of hands before you are logged out of the table.
I have seen a couple of other mobile poker sites come and go in the past year or two. The biggest problem is that the mobile poker game just isn’t popular enough yet. It has to be a casual poker player or a pro poker player away from their computer. Most players who take poker seriously will want to play at multiple tables at the same time and want every poker option available.
The big kick-start to mobile poker will be the legalization of online poker in the United States. The majority of the iPhone, Android and other smartphone users are from the United States. Since they can’t play games for money over the phone, there is not a whole lot of money left to make major developments in mobile poker for providing that convenience for the pro poker players in Europe.
3D poker software is quite unique when compared to the poker software you might be used to seeing when playing at a poker site like PokerStars or Full Tilt. The poker rooms that use 3D poker software care a little more with the in-game aesthetics then the big poker rooms are.
How is playing 3D poker different?
Online poker players will of course want to have the best time playing possible. The more realistic the online poker environment is, the more the players will look forward to participating in the games.
3D poker rooms are different, in a very good way. The 3D poker rooms allow players to enjoy amazing graphics which will leave them feeling as if they are enjoying a game face to face with the other players. One of the best 3d poker rooms to play at is called PKR Poker.
When players enjoy online poker at a poker site that offers a 3D environment; they will be able to truly experience something unique and impressive.
One of the things that is different about the 3D poker games is players will be able to enjoy a much different table view than they would be able to in an ordinary online poker room.
Players who have chosen to play at a 3D poker site will be able to enjoy poker tables with three dimensional views. This is much more realistic than the overhead views ordinary poker rooms have to offer their players. There is definitely a better look and feel to the 3D poker rooms.
Another great thing about playing at a 3D poker room is the players are able to do more with regards to how they customize the game. They will be able to change a lot of things about their avatars so they can personalize them. They can change their avatars clothing, expressions, and other things.
This provides players with even more excitement and will have them looking forward to logging in and playing even more. There are definitely some much appreciated differences to the 3D poker rooms that have them gaining a lot of attention from players and becoming very popular choices.
Where can you play?
Anyone looking to enjoy the 3D poker rooms will be glad to know that there are some great online poker sites that offer the 3D poker games to online poker players.
One of the best online poker rooms to go to for the 3D games is PKR Poker, a much respected online poker site with a lot to offer.
PKR offers online poker players fast moving games which don’t suffer from a bunch of errors like some of the games on other poker sites. Players who choose PKR will also be able to take advantage of some great bonuses and other promotions. They offer new players a first deposit match bonus that is worth up to $800!
Poker Wize is another good choice for players looking to enjoy some of the best 3D poker games out there. This very popular 3D poker room offers its players those enjoyable and exciting 3D games as well.
The games here are great for those less experienced players and there are always a lot of players logged in. This provides players with a lot of great games while they take in the 3D environment.
On top of the amazing 3D graphics, this poker site also offers very fast and smooth running games so players will really be able to enjoy them.
The online poker room, Bodog, has announced that they are now accepting Canadian customers. While the site, which was founded in 1994, has been largely popular and one of the largest online poker website, the site did not accept Canadian players because of businesses in Canada that would not be protected from governmental intrusions. The Canadian government has recently changed this stance, allowing Canadians at a new site bodog.ca.
This site will be incorporated with Bodog Europe and will allow Canadians to play in online poker tournaments. Bodog Europe is headed up by Keith O’Donnell. He said, “Canadian players will be able to access a Canada-specific product suite from www.bodog.ca starting in the Fall of this year. I aggressively renegotiated the Bodog Europe brand license agreement to acquire the rights to the Canadian market earlier this year and I would expect the Canadian market – extremely technologically literate, sports lovers, and a very significant poker base – to be a huge success story in 2009 and 2010.”
Canadian Bodog players will also be able to place bets on the website’s sports book and casino, which feautres a myriad of games to choose from. As a promotion, Bodog is doubling Poker Points for players who earn at least 2,000 points in the month of September. Afterwards, Bodog will deposit the bonus points into the player’s account.
This comes during a busy month for Bodog. They have already launched a new online poker network – Bodognetwork.com. Also, they are celebrating their 15th anniversary with a $15,000 Freeroll tournament.
– Update, Monday, September 21
Bodog’s 15 Days of Poker begins today, which is capped off with a $15,000 Freeroll tournament on October 15, 2009.
One of the other things that is offered at Bodog is a full online casino. You can visit them at casino.bodog.eu. You really will find that this is one of the best blackjack casinos for canadians.
Bodog’s casino has over 80 games total. A lot of these games are the myriad of different slot machines, but they also offer almost any table game and video poker machine that you can think of as well.
Pacific Poker is the poker portal of one of the most well known online gaming companies in the world – 888 Holdings. If you are at all interesting in online gambling, you will have heard the name; this is an extremely large, well respected company that trades on the stock exchange.
What that means for you as a player is that playing at Pacific Poker is going to be a safe, enjoyable, and thoroughly professional experience. One hears things from time to time about the alleged shadiness of certain sites – this is not one of them. All of the above help Pacific Poker to be one of the best online poker sites.
Let’s take a closer look.
Installing the Software
Upon visiting the Pacific Poker website, you’ll be greeted with a little popup offering you the chance to download their software. It’s around 300k in size, it really doesn’t take that long at all. Once you launch it, it fetches the rest of data it needs off the Pacific Poker servers. From start to finish, the procedure took about 6 minutes.
Of course, the installed app is for Windows based computers only. If you’re on a Mac – or simply away from your regular computer – there is an “instant play” version of the poker client that will run in any flash enabled browser. This means you can effectively play anywhere, any time, provided you have access to the Internet – which offers great flexibility.
From my experience, I’d say that Pacific Poker is built for speed. The graphics aren’t as lush as, perhaps, some of the 3D poker clients available out there today, but then you didn’t come here to look at pretty pictures. You came here to play. And what Pacific Poker offers is relentless action.
To take the client for a spin, played a few heads-up games with some willing participants. Games begin as soon as the requisite number of players have signed on for poker tournaments or sit-and-gos, and I didn’t have to wait more than 30 seconds for the action to kick off.
This site is fast. If anything, I found myself kind of wishing that I had more time to act. Granted, the length of decision time you have varies from game to game, but you need to be clear headed if you’re going to play online texas holdem.
Pacific Poker offers 5 basic types of poker play: Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Stud, and 7 Stud Hi/Lo. This selection covers most of the popular combative styles of multi-player poker available today. They also have a lot of poker tips.
Within each section you’ll find Ring Games, Sit and Goes, Tournaments and Jackpot games. With Texas Hold’em, there’s also a Quick Seat feature that I really like – you just punch in the type of game you’re looking for and it registers you for the next game of that type. It gets you where you want to be quickly.
888 Holdings is a huge company, and do business with just about everybody. Consequently the list of deposit and withdrawal options is just about the most comprehensive I have seen anywhere. Credit cards, debit cards, 15 different kinds of bank transfer, 11 different e-Wallets (miraculously, including PayPal) … there’s definitely at least one here that you can use.