With the plethora of online poker informational sites on the internet these days, you’ll never have to look far for recommended online poker rooms. With the enormous amount of real money poker rooms vying for your business, where do you start as a new player? Instead of following the site with the most advertising dollars, choose a poker room based on your priorities. Are you mostly a middle stakes cash game player looking for a big bonus and lots of players or is the poker software and support more important to you? Before you make the plunge and deposit into a new poker room (which is no easy task these days) keep in mind what will make for a positive experience for you personally.

Every online poker site worth its weight in chips offers a bonus on your first deposit. Most often, the bonus is some percentage of your total deposit usually ranging from 10-100% and having a maximum bonus cap. However, bonus numbers can be misleading. While a poker site may give a 100% bonus, the playing requirements to ever see that bonus are so steep that it is probably useless for all but the highest stakes players. Other sites may offer a lower total bonus amount but have realistic playing requirements. A select few may even give you the cash upfront in your player account. Before deciding on the poker site with the biggest bonus numbers, look closely at the terms and make sure that you’ll actually be seeing that bonus money. Choose a bonus that works within your playing habits.

Another consideration should be finding poker software that fits your individual needs. If you’re playing online poker simply as an enjoyable hobby, perhaps you should look for pleasant graphics and an overall relaxed feel. If you’re a serious multi-table player looking to maximize your hourly rate, game speed and simplicity will be more important to you. Even seemingly small features like a “Bet Pot” button or the ability to move your avatar around the table can become an incredibly convenient necessity over time. Experiment with the poker room’s software and make sure that you’re comfortable with its features.

Like any other sport or competitive game, you play poker to win. As skill and experience certainly prevails over luck in the long run, learned poker players want to find loose games filled with poor players. Certain poker rooms seem to attract more inexperienced players than others and a quality poker room review should give you an idea of the overall player strength. Even without a review, check the poker software for average pot and flop percentage information. Flop percentages over 40% and average pots 20+ times the big blind usually indicates a looser game. Make sure that you won’t be diving into a shark tank by checking out the competition before you play.

Finally, an extremely important consideration in the current online gaming market is the ease of deposits and withdrawals. With limited payment options remaining for US players, it is essential to choose a poker room that can accommodate your banking methods. The easiest remaining deposit methods include the ePassporte e-wallet, cash transfer, and other proprietary e-wallets. Also, ensure that the poker room has easy withdrawal methods such as payment back to your e-wallet or express paper check service.

With poker’s popularity reaching all-time highs, there certainly is no shortage of online poker sites reserving your seat at the tables. Before making your decision of where to play, do a little more research about the site’s promotions, bonus terms, software, and banking methods. Before depositing, take a little extra time to ensure that your priorities are met by a potential poker site. Make the poker room earn your loyalty.

By Joshua Heilpern
The author has written for several top online poker portals and has reviewed over 40 online poker rooms. He also owns US Online Poker and Online Poker Rooms, both recognized sources for helping online poker players choose a poker room and succeed once they get there.