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Poker Stars is a fantastic online poker website. To start with, the Poker Stars online poker free play section allows you to participate in all of their available online poker games using virtual money - you simply download their software in order to participate. They offer 24/7 customer support should any problems or questions come up during installation or play.
The Poker Stars poker room offers 11 of the most popular poker games: Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha High-Low, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud High-Low, 2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 Single Draw, Badugi, Razz, 8-Game Mix and Horse. Clicking on any game gives you a detailed description of the rules. For new players, the Poker Basics section is highly recommended.
The Poker Stars website is very crisp and easy to navigate. They offer excellent training and tips for both the new and experienced player. The Home Games feature allows you to set up and manage your own poker club where just you and your friends are invited to play. The downloads are free, safe and easy to install. There is also a link to a Poker Stars blog site where you can share and exchange information and read the latest professional poker tournament news.
Poker Stars is one of the best online poker sites we found, especially for beginning and intermediate players. They earn our highest rating.
Everest Poker is a relatively new entity on the online poker-playing scene. Based on the island of Malta, it is reportedly one of the fastest growing sites in Europe. The site appears to be still in its growth stages as it offers only a few of the most popular poker games. Currently, the only games that are available are Texas Hold'em and Omaha but reportedly there are plans to add 7-Card Stud very soon.
Everest offers a free play option for U.S. residents restricted by law from betting online. This option allows you to play any of the available games for as long as you'd like for absolutely no charge. Everest is actually one of the few sites that has profited from U.S. online gaming restrictions given its international focus and attracts new players from all corners of the globe. The recent addition of high-stakes play has also attracted a new audience playing the $25/$50 blind Hold'em games.
The site offers a good set of tutorials and a rules and strategy section that is helpful to players of all levels of experience and abilities. The site is very attractive and is laid out rather simply; making it easy to navigate and find information you are looking for. Their customer support options are not quite as extensive as other sites reviewed. The best way appears to contact them through e-mail. They offer a live chat feature but it is only available from 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time. Only VIP Club members can contact them by phone.
For its ease of use, especially in the free play section, Everest earns a higher rating. We would have liked to have seem more game options to compete with those providers higher ranked.
888 Poker has been around since 2002 making it one of the older, more established online gaming sites. Formerly known as Pacific Poker they changed their name several years back to be more inline with their parent company, online gaming giant, 888 Holdings, Inc.
Since the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006, 888 Poker has completely lost its U.S. player base. However, it remains very popular in Europe with over 2,000 game cash players and 8,000 tournament players online during peak hours.
The website is loaded with colorful, crisp graphics and offers players a wide variety of poker games as well as casino and sports betting. However, you cannot participate in any of these activities if you are a U.S. resident. Residents of Canada and most other countries will find the site and activities plentiful once the free download is complete. The site offers all of the major poker games, including Texas Hold'em, Omaha and Seven Card Stud and other variations of those same games. The site features personal avatars, including some from Marvel Comics.
They offer excellent customer support via either live chat, e-mail or 24/7 telephone. They also have a presence on Facebook in which by participating you can earn bonus points.
The site features information on rules and strategies for all of the various games available. This includes advice from their experts as well as access to a blog site where you can exchange, ask and share information with a community of poker players.
Unfortunately, there were no options to play any games with play money that U.S. residents could participate in. For that reason we must give it a much lower rating. However, if you live in another country, give it a good look.
At one time, Party Poker was the largest online poker playing site in the world. Started in 2001 by an investment group which included a former adult film star, it quickly grew taking advantage of the surge in internet capabilities, faster web browser platforms and communication and the spike in the gambling industry. However, they departed the U.S. market in 2006 while maintaining a large market share in Asia and Europe.
Due to current laws, U.S. residents can only play games utilizing "play money". You must download software and set up an account even though you cannot open a deposit account. We found the download fast and simple but the account setup was somewhat frustrating because pop-ups kept coming up warning that U.S. players could not make a deposit but still must set up an account. It asked for a country code but gave no clue of what numeric code that might be.
Once logged in, the site is a bit too full of text and information. The free play poker games offered are: Limit Hold'em; No Limit Hold'em; Pot Limit Hold'em; Limit Double Hold'em, No Limit Double Hold'em; Omaha, Pot Limit Omaha and 7 Card Stud.
The overall appearance of their web site is nice with easy to navigate topic headings and graphics. They offer a good variety of informational topics for the beginner, intermediate and master player regarding how to play the various games, strategies and tips to improve your play.
Through no fault of its own, many of the better games and features are not available to non money players in the U.S. The play money options are lacking and for that reason so is their overall rating here.
Full Tilt Poker offers a variety of the most common poker games online. Since online gambling is currently illegal in the U.S., only permanent residents of other countries can play their online poker games using actual money.
However, residents of the United States can still take advantage of some of the free online games utilizing "play money". The site offers a free download of software in which to participate in these games.
Full Tilt offers eight varieties of online poker games: Texas Hold'em; Omaha Hi; Omaha Hi Lo; Razz; Stud Hi; Stud Hi/Lo; Draw Poker; and a Mixed Games option which allows to you play a variety of games without ever having to change tables.
Their site is pretty basic without too much information available. They tout their team of professional poker players as advisors but there does not seem to be an abundance of advice or information for either the experienced or novice player readily available on their site, although there are a basic rules and a small tips section available.
We were less impressed with Full Tilt and their offerings. If you are looking to play poker online Full Tilt Poker is probably not worth your time.
There's little doubt that Online Poker has exploded in popularity across the U.S., and the world. This was especially true when online gambling was legal in the U.S.; however, due to recent legislation, residents of the United States are barred from participating in online poker games using actual currency.
Still, there are several websites that allow people from the U.S. and any other country to play online poker without wagering any real cash. Playing online poker against real people can be a lot more fun than playing against a computer. Watching and learning how a human plays their poker hand is something that just can't be duplicated.
Also, for those U.S. residents that like to visit legal casinos and poker rooms, you can work on your poker game from home and improve your skills without wagering real money against people who are more experienced.
Whatever your reasons, the good news is you have a variety of good online poker games to choose from. However, before hopping online to play your next game of Texas Hold'em, you should consider a number of factors that make some online poker websites good, and other online poker websites great:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online poker sites available today. We hope this information helps you find and win your next online poker game!
Why Online Poker Is So Popular
The online poker industry is booming, with some online poker sites claiming to have as many as 20,000 to 60,000 visitors daily. With numbers like that, it would seem that everyone is getting in on the action, placing their bets and letting the chips fall where they may.
But why the sudden surge in popularity of online poker versus live poker at a casino? There are many reasons as to why more people are playing the game online instead of in person.
First and foremost, poker is no longer seen as just another gambler's game. Since the early 2000s, poker has come to be viewed as a sport in the United States, making it attractive to a whole new audience.
At any given time, sports channels may be carrying live, high-stakes poker games instead of soccer, football or baseball. Cable channels like BRAVO, ESPN and Fox Sports Net have all dedicated programming to poker since 2003, helping to bring greater exposure to the game.
In 2011, poker joined games such as chess and bridge as official games of skill by the International Mind Sports Association. The International Mind Sports Association is formally recognized by the International Olympic Committee, making poker an official game of skill for the Olympics.
Thanks to this kind of repeated media exposure, poker has taken on a new life and gained the interest of those who may not have previously considered playing a round themselves.
This increased exposure also has led to poker - more specifically the Texas Hold 'Em format - to be used by numerous charities and organizations looking to host public fundraisers. By doing so, it helped to further mainstream a game that previously had been reserved strictly for casinos and back rooms, and maybe the occasional poker night among buddies.
As poker became more popular, people sought out ways to play the game and have a little fun. Those who do not live close to a casino - or who have reservations about visiting one - found themselves with another option for playing the game: online poker sites.
Players from the United States and Europe are able to engage in a variety of poker-style games on these websites. Popular online poker websites include Sportsbook, BetOnline and LockPoker. Not all online poker websites are open to players in the United States, so before paying any money to join a website or play a game on one, make sure the site is allowed to host players from the United States.
It is important to note that some of these websites allow players to use real money to place bets during poker games. It is therefore very important to select a website that is backed by a financially-secure company. Players who are betting with real money need assurance they will be paid if they win. Be sure to check the financial security and stability - as well as the payout rules - for any site prior to engaging in one of their poker games.
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