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online poker room evaluation criteria

online poker room evaluation criteria


Online Poker Room Evaluation Criteria

Online Poker Rooms are sprouting on the Internet like poppies in spring. Like anything else in life, there are good poker rooms and there are bad ones. These are some of the issues that need consideration when selecting an online poker room.

Player Security

Of utmost importance when playing poker online is to ensure that the poker room you are playing at will keep you credit information private and secure.  You also must ensure that your personal identification and contact details will not be sold.  Moreover you need to ensure that the online software used by the poker is secure. By this we mean that the software cannot be manipulated and players can't take advantage of weaknesses in the software as there are checks and balances in place by the operator to ensure this does not happen; etc.). The servers on which the software sits needs to be secure. Poker rooms should provide details about the encryption system in use. Make sure that the poker room is transparent with this information. For example, do they explain how card are shuffled  and their random number generator? Good rooms will maximise the level of unpredictability in the cards being played. Investigate the other measures they have put in place to eliminate, for example, game rigging, player collusion, hacking. Make sure you familiarise yourself with a poker room's privacy policy.

Availability of Games

It's very important to familiarise yourself with how busy a poker room is. Will you be able to play any poker game you choose to play,  around the clock? In other words do they offer a diversity of games and sufficient players to keep the tables occupied?  Obviously the bigger the pool, the more activity you will see in game-play and cash winnings. It's advisable to visit the poker rooms at various times of the day to assess what the action is in the variety of games on offer.

Usability and Software

Once you have satisfied yourself that the poker room keeps your cash and personal details safe, you need to satisfy yourself that the game-play and visual effects are appealing. Investigate the variety of poker games offered and pay attention to how successfully a site is in creating a great poker environment to play in. Ask yourself - how easy are the games to play, are the graphics and sounds funky and interesting, can I play even if my computer set-up does not support the very latest graphics, and is all the information needed to play accessible and easy to understand? Some sites definitely have more attractive and captivating game-play than others. Speak to other players and elicit their opinions and help.

Player Support

So the site is secure and fair and you love the game-play and get lots of action but you experience a problem. For example your computer crashes, or the poker rooms server goes down, or your request to cash out has not been processed.  Check the site to see how easy is it to find and use the contact details on the site to get someone help you. Ensure that they offer a 24-7 support service?  Obviously toll-free numbers (although not necessarily for non-U.S players) are best. But look for how fast they are to respond. If You get a speedy resolution to your problem and it is dealt with in a fair and professional way then this is a site to play at. Check how well they respond to e-mail queries to.

Response Times

Some poker rooms are more reliable then others. Try to establish how much "downtime" the poker room has, as anything that interrupts game-play can be very irritating and may cause major problems. Downtime can be caused by problems with the servers that host the software.  Try to establish if there are delays in transferring information.  Communicate with other players, and read gaming portals such as this one for up to date information and reviews of poker rooms.

Paying Winnings

This is a very important issue and should be thoroughly researched before playing at a poker room.  Try to establish how much money players have won at their poker games. Find out what the procedure and timing is for paying out winnings. Establish if they will pay your winnings into your credit card? Find out what charges are applied to what method of payment. It is important to establish how long it takes before you will receive your winnings. Once you understand these procedures and turnaround times you can determine whether they are acceptable to you. Look for sites that offer features such as e-mail confirmation of the requested transaction verifying all the details of the request, such as dates, and amounts.

Free Games

It is great to be able to check-out all the aforementioned features of a poker room such as game-play, look and feel, payout percentages, activity, etc.without having to use your own money.  Use the free play amounts on offer but try go for sites that don't require you to give masses of personal information before qualifying for the free play amounts on offer.


If you are quite experienced at playing poker on line, then look out for sites that offer tournaments. There has been a lot of online poker rooms that have added this as a feature or in beta stages of testing. There will definitely be more variety and increased cash prizes on offer in the future.

Comps and Promos

Every poker room wants to attract and retain the most amount of players. Poker rooms are getting more and more creative in the type of player incentives they offer. Try and establish what it is they reward. Do they, for example, reward frequent visitors? What about high hand or bad beat jackpots? tournaments? random cash giveaways?

Rake Structure

Rake structures must be fair. This is a topic on its own, as poker rooms calculate rake very differently. However, it is easy to see if a poker room overcharges on rake. By the same token, tournaments fees also need to be in a general ballpark.

Special Features

In the quest to attract and retain the most and best players poker rooms have launched all types of features. Some sites, for example, will allow you to select a character image which becomes identified with your nick. Others sites will monitor your game-play and track your statistics for you. Certain sites do not levy a charge for certain types of cash-outs. Some sites track the top players. If you are a regular player you may be given the opportunity to beta-test new games or poker tournaments in they have in development. Some poker rooms offer good poker resources by way of celebrity columns, advice, links, etc. Look for poker rooms that offer both access to quality information that's useful when playing poker as well as convenience.

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