Poker has been enjoyed in casinos and poker rooms around the world for well over 100 years, and now it’s just as popular online. Whether you’re looking to play Texas Hold’em or seven-card stud, and whether you want to play poker for free or win real money, there are plenty of top gambling sites to choose from. Our expert review team has scoured the internet to find the best places to play poker online, creating a handpicked list of their favourites. All you need to do is compare poker sites, pick out your favourite and start playing!
Top Poker Sites Explained
What Makes a Top Poker Site?
There’s a lot we consider when picking the poker sites we review here at Compare.bet, from the quality of welcome bonus on offer, all the way to whether a site is licensed to operate in the UK. Let’s have a quick look at our criteria.
Beginners v Advanced
Games That Suit Your Playing Style
Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced pro, you’ll want to make sure that the range of games available at your chosen poker site suits you. Beginners will likely be just testing the waters – the best option is a poker site with a good range of Texas Hold’em games with low buy-ins. Poker veterans, on the other hand, will likely want to up the ante and play higher stakes games with bigger rewards. We’ve detailed the factors to keep an eye out for below, for each type of player.
- Variety of Texas Hold’em games — Texas Hold’em is the simplest and most widely understood form of poker, so it’s the perfect variation for beginners to get to grips with first.
- Soft fields — Soft fields are games with beginner level players who play either too loose or too tight, making them easier to read.
- Low buy-ins — Poker tournaments with huge buy-ins can really put off those who are just looking to perfect their poker skills, which is why low buy-in games are the ideal low-risk alternative.
- Low stakes tournaments — If you’re still fairly new to online poker, you won’t want to bet too much money, in case you make a mistake. That’s why low stake tournaments are the perfect place to start.
- Terms and Conditions that ban the use of poker software and HUDs — Heads Up Displays (HUDs) are great if you want to keep track of in-game statistics, but they can also be used by other players to evaluate the quality of their opponents. As such, beginners will want to avoid games where their inexperience can be exploited by the more experienced player pool.
- High stakes games with guaranteed prizes — Those playing at a higher level will want to test their skills against the best, so games with higher stakes and guaranteed prizes are the perfect reward for those who have confidence in their ability.
- Generous cashback programme — Opt-in cashback programmes give you a set amount of bonus funds each week, which is perfect for those who are regularly at the poker table.
- Wide variety of games — More experienced poker players will more than likely be confident in a range of game variations other than Texas Hold’em. As such, a site with a broad collection of game types, including Omaha, Draw Poker and Stud Poker, is the ideal location for them to make the most of their superior knowledge.
Boost Your Poker Bankroll
The quality of a poker site’s welcome bonus can make all the difference when you’re choosing where to sign up. Here are some of the incentives you’re most likely to come across.
This kind of bonus can give your bankroll a serious boost, with the poker site matching a percentage of your first deposit up to a certain limit. For example, there might be a matched deposit bonus of “100% up to £200”. In this case, if you were to sign up and transfer over £50, you’d be given another £50 in bonus funds to bet with.
No Deposit Bonus
You don’t always have to spend money to earn an opening gift. Some sites will actually grant you bonus credits simply for signing up. While it probably won’t be as much as you’d receive with a matched deposit, it’s still a nice gesture to make you feel welcome.
No Wagering Bonus
Bonuses usually come with wagering requirements, meaning you’ll have to bet the bonus amount a minimum number of times before being eligible to draw out any winnings. But some generous sites will actually let you cash out immediately, without having to meet those requirements.
Love to hit the slots as well as the felt? Many operators enhance the whole casino experience by bundling free spins in with the sign-up bonus. So, when you fancy a break from poker, you’ll be able to head over to the slots page and set the reels spinning at no cost to you.
Terms and Conditions
Always remember that bonuses will almost always have some strings attached. As we touched on above, there may be wagering requirements. For example, 25x wagering will mean you’ll have to bet your bonus funds 25 times before you can take out anything you win using that bonus.
You may also have to use your bonus, or meet the wagering requirements, by a fairly tight time limit. There will also probably be a maximum cap on how much you can win by betting the bonus. If you are aware of all these factors, then you can enjoy the welcome bonus without being caught out later.
Rewards for Existing Players
The best online poker rooms will keep their members happy with a range of ongoing promotions. Here are some to look forward to.
Loyalty schemes are common at poker rooms these days, letting players rack up points over time. These in turn can earn different kinds of prizes, from cash gifts to tournament tickets. Accumulating points will also rise you up through the ranks of the loyalty scheme, opening up even bigger benefits.
One of the ways poker sites make a profit is by taking a commission from prize pots, known as the rake. But there is a plus side to this for poker players, in the form of cashback or rakeback promotions. These let you get a percentage of this rake refunded to you, if you play enough games and earn enough points.
As they’re always trying to out-manoeuvre each other, poker sites will offer ever more inventive and exciting promotions. So keep your eyes peeled for the latest incentives, which can involve entry to lucrative tournaments, merchandise and even free holidays.
How to Sign Up
Your Guide to Signing Up to a Top Poker Site
Compare Poker SitesThe sheer variety of poker sites on the market can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. Our expert team has found the best online poker sites available, so you can simply use our list to compare providers, pick your favourite, sign up and start playing.
Sign UpFound a poker site that suits your playing preferences? Now it’s time to create an account. Follow our link to head straight to the registration page, where you’ll be asked to provide some personal information, such as your name, age and email address. It should only take a few minutes to sign up.
Deposit and Claim Your BonusUnless you’ve been lucky enough to nab a no deposit bonus, you’ll need to deposit some funds into your online account before you can start playing. While the majority of casinos will credit your welcome bonus as soon as you deposit money, some might require you to manually activate it.
Play Demo GamesIf you’re new to online poker, you might want to play demo games to familiarise yourself with the rules and betting rounds before you risk any of your own money. These demo games are also great if you just want to play poker for fun, or to try out new variations of the game.
Play Real Money GamesGot to grips with free poker games? There’s no requirement to play for real money, but if you’re looking to land a reward for your poker play, it’s time to move onto real money games. You needn’t worry about spending more than you can afford to lose, however, as the best online poker rooms implement measures to stop players gambling more than they can afford to lose.
Using e-wallets like PayPal, Neteller and Skrill will allow you to withdraw your funds far quicker than with debit cards, but there will be a bit of a wait when you transfer those funds to your bank account
What Poker Games are Available to You?
When you head to your chosen casino’s poker section, you’ll probably find an endless selection of online poker varieties and formats. This might be a little confusing at first, but it’s simple – there are variations of the game tailored to different player preferences, ability levels and bankrolls. You’ll usually be able to choose from tables with different minimum and maximum stakes, number of players, and prize pools.
A good range of games important for a top poker site because it will attract a greater range of players with varying experience levels. Players at a beginner level will come for the more well known variations of the game, like Texas Hold’em, while the higher level players will look for a broader game selection to test their skills on. As such, you’re more likely to be able to find your own skill level when you play at a poker site with a good range of games.
This is perhaps the most popular poker variation, especially for poker tournaments. Texas hold’em is a community game, and can be played with 2-10 players. The player with the best five-card hand at the end of the game wins.
Omaha is similar to Texas hold’em, but players can only use three community cards on the table to make their hand. A variation of Omaha is Omaha Hi-Lo, with the key difference to the main format being that the pot is shared between the player with the winning best hand and the player with the best qualifying low hand.
Stud poker — available as five, six and seven stud— sees players dealt a combination of face-up and face-down cards in multiple betting rounds. The number of cards will depend on the number variation you’re playing. Players bet after each round and should aim to finish with the best five-card hand.
The Best Poker Software Houses
The top UK poker sites wouldn’t be able to provide you the best poker rooms if it wasn’t for the work of some of the most exciting software houses in the business. Let’s have a look at some of the best poker software developers around and what sets each apart from the rest.
Evolution Gaming has made a name for itself as the industry leading software house for live casino games and it’s no different for the live poker game it has available. The software provider offers a diverse range of poker variations, including Casino Hold’em, Jumbo 7 Jackpot Side Bet, 2 Hand Casino Hold’em, Side Bet City, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Progressive Jackpot Caribbean Stud Poker, Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker and First Jackpot Side Bet. Made in collaboration with Scientific Games and Games Marketing, Evolution Gaming provides the best sites with exclusive titles to make poker rooms that are truly world beating.
Playtech have a huge range of experience that stretches to its first-class poker offering. The software provider has raised the bar for online poker, utilising the iPoker network to utilise its Omni-channel poker offering. As such, the poker game types available for players are some of the most diverse on the market, including the likes of Six Plus Hold’em, Cash, Twister and Wild Twister, as well as a variety of traditional tournaments and Sit and Go variations. The use of the iPoker network means that players can access their favourite games on a host of different devices, while operators can customise individual poker rooms to support different languages and currencies.
Microgaming is one of, if not the biggest, names in casino software gaming, having made a name for itself around the world for its incredible slots library. But in 2020, the software house closed its Microgaming Poker Network, thus taking its excellent collection of poker games off the market. In November 2020, however, it was announced that Microgaming would be re-launching its poker suite, beginning with the immersive Hold’em Poker, followed closely by Lucky Showdown. A phased release of Hold’em Poker will begin on 1st December 2020, with the game globally launching on 9th December 2020.
Top Live Poker Sites
Poker was designed to be played live and thankfully the thrill of playing in real-time is now available across a number of top live poker sites. But why should you play live poker and what are the key features you should look out for? Well read on to find out.
Why Play Live Poker?
Playing live poker, even in random number generator (RNG) variants of the game, provides a truly immersive experience, making it the nearest you can get to playing the game in a real land-based casino from the comfort of your own home. Software developers will provide you with a range of different features to enhance your experience, from slick animations to webcam streams of real-life croupiers, which will be sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
A big draw to playing live poker if you’re a more experienced player is that it provides you with the opportunity to compete against others in some of the best live poker games available. It’s always best to make sure that the other players in a live poker room are of a similar level to you before you join, however, as you wouldn’t want to get into a game only to find that you’re in over your head.
Live Poker Tips
Live poker can be a lot of fun and can really enhance your playing experience. But there are a couple of tips we would recommend you follow in order for you to get the best out of your time at a live poker site.
Top New Poker Sites
When you’re looking for the right poker site for, having a look at what the newer sites have to offer is something we at Compare.bet would definitely recommend. The best new poker sites out there have a lot to offer compared to more established sites like William Hill and Poker, but there are also some drawbacks, so have a look at our list below to see what you can expect.
You will often find the most player-friendly bonuses at new poker sites, with a lot of the offers available to you coming with minimal wagering requirements. This means you don’t have to spend anywhere near as much to get your hands on your bonus winnings, compared to a bonus from a more experienced brand. While the wagering requirements may be lower, however, you may still find that there are other more stringent terms and conditions that you need to adhere to first.
New sites are one of the best places to find some of the most exciting new features that can really enhance your internet poker experience. Immersive graphics, first-class customer service and enticing website themes are just some of the exciting features you can expect that will take your online poker experience to the next level.
You can also expect to come across some of the most exciting promotions and VIP programmes at the newest poker sites on the scene. Wager free bonus funds and personalised bonuses are just a few of the loyalty promotions you can expect to find, while other new poker sites will go a step further by offering you regular cashback offers which are ideal for the more experienced poker player.
Variety of Poker Formats
New poker sites may have a lot to offer in terms of exciting features and bonuses, but due to an understandable lack of time in the industry, there may be a limited range of games to choose from. As a new site grows, this should change, but when a company is just starting out, the smaller number of games can hold it back in online poker reviews.
One other issue you may come across at a new poker site is that the payment methods available to you may be limited. Payment options like debit cards are almost universally accepted at all poker sites, but e-wallets may be restricted which is bad news for players who are looking for fast payouts when they play.
These limitations don’t apply to all new launches – some larger gambling sites launch sister companies that can take advantage of pre-existing relationships with e-wallet companies and software houses, meaning they have a wide range of games and payment options like PayPal ready to go from day one.
Playing on the Go
For many players, the most important thing for them when it comes to picking the top poker site for them is mobile compatibility. Playing online poker using your phone has a whole range of benefits, allowing you to play wherever you are in the world all from the convenience of your own mobile device. The best mobile poker sites will offer a native poker app that can be downloaded straight to your phone. Native apps are far quicker than mobile optimised websites, which is ideal for those playing fast-paced live poker games. What’s more, push notifications will keep you updated about the latest bonuses and game updates to get excited about.
Some software houses go a step further by using specific services or networks to enhance the mobile poker experience. Playtech, for example, utilises the iPoker network, a Poker client that allows all Playtech poker games to be accessed and played with as seamlessly as the desktop counterpart.
Try out your skills at our collection of top mobile poker apps.
The number of ways you can deposit and withdraw your funds from the UK’s top poker sites are now incredibly varied. Each different method suits a different set of preferences, so have a look at our list below of the best options available to you right now.
Casinos that are licensed to operate in the UK have to look after the wellbeing of their members by providing responsible gambling tools. So, as a poker player you’ll be able to protect yourself from problematic habits using:
- Loss limits, which restrict you from playing after you’ve lost a certain amount in a set timeframe
- Deposit limits, which restrict how much you can deposit in a day, week or month
- Reality checks, which are timed alerts reminding you of how long you’ve been playing
- Time outs, which let you block yourself from accessing the site for a set timeframe
- Self-exclusions, which will prevent you from playing at all for a minimum of six months
Your Questions Answered
Do I have to download software to play live poker games?
Live dealer poker games can be accessed through your web browser without the need to download anything.
What’s the best way to find the right poker site for me?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with choices when considering which poker site to join. But this is where Compare.bet comes in. Our team has done the hard work for you, compiling all the crucial facts about each site in our in-depth, objective reviews. This means you can browse our recommendations and make an informed choice in no time.
Who are the best software developers for live poker games?
Evolution is the developer that’s probably most synonymous with live casino experiences – including live poker. It has a range of exciting poker variants covered in its portfolio, and always offers a sleek, seamless experience.
How do I know I’m playing at the best poker site?
The Compare.bet team works hard to review all aspects of a poker site before recommending them to you. We’ll consider a variety of factors, including game variations, bonuses and interface, and only list poker providers that come out on top. It’s up to you to compare sites and decide which most suits your playing preferences, but you’re certainly picking from the cream of the crop.
Can I watch an online poker game without playing?
Sure! Many top poker sites allow players to learn a little more about poker variations by watching example games. You can also play free demo games if you need extra help deciding which is for you.
How can I improve my online poker skills?
Poker is a combination of chance and strategy, so while skill will only get you so far, there are definitely some steps you can take to improve yours. Use free demo games to help you learn what to look out for in a poker hand, and when you should fold or risk placing a higher bet. Beware of any poker strategy tips you read online- you can’t guarantee that every tipster wants to help you.
Is it safe to play online poker?
Yes, providing you’re playing with a trustworthy, licensed poker site. All Compare.bet partner sites are fully regulated by governing bodies, such as the UKGC, so you can rest assured that you’re only playing at the best poker rooms on the market when you choose a site from our list. These sites will implement measures to prevent players betting more than they should to chasing their losses.
Can I play online poker on my mobile device?
Of course! The majority of online poker sites have either mobile apps or mobile-friendly versions of their websites so you can play online poker wherever you are. All you’ll need is an internet connection to access the same poker games available to desktop and mac users, on the go!