Assessing poker sites is a hard and delicate procedure that implies a whole lot of responsibility. The responsibility in question is both towards our readers and the poker sites we are evaluating. In the end, the sole purpose of our website is bringing the most objective and unbiased judgment of any poker site we are evaluating, so you would easily be able to find the best poker sites in the UK.
Online gambling carries a lot of insecurities, namely when it comes to depositing and playing online with real money. It is imperative for players to feel safe when trusting their funds to an online business.
We don’t care about the fleeting trends, opinions of other reviewers or poker site operators.
We wish to achieve a complete trust among our fellow players and readers and to build a secure and friendly community that gathers all poker enthusiasts that are looking for a solid, safe, and professional Poker experience.
For that reason, we have developed a set of strict evaluation principles that we use whenever we test any poker site. The goal of these evaluations is to provide you, fellow players, with a list of poker sites that offer a safe and professional environment.
In order to give you an honest and impartial opinion on every poker site, there is a list of elements we test on each and every poker website. Each judgment we arrive on is based solely on the quality of these elements and how they fit together in a bigger picture.
License and Background
One of the main requirements we have when reviewing poker sites is the licensing info. Simply put, a poker site can’t enter our list without some form of license. Poker sites that operate in the UK are required to obtain the UK Gambling Commission license that guarantees the safety of player’s funds and personal data. However, the UKGC is not the only licensing authority, and many websites proudly bear licenses from other, equally valid authorities. These include:
- The Gibraltar Gambling Commission
- Malta Gaming Authority
- Alderney Gambling Control Commission
- Government of Curacao eGaming Division
- The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
Apart from licensing, it is also necessary to learn everything about their history and background. Are they a trusted, long-standing poker operator or a shady website that was brought up just a couple of months ago. Of course, not every website with an extensive background can offer a quality experience, and neither is every new website automatically suspicious, but you will agree that a notable name is always more comforting than an absolute rookie in the business.
User Experience, Player Count and Software Quality
Even if you take away the smoke, the atmosphere still makes up at least half of the poker experience. A website may boast lustrous bonuses and prestigious pro tournaments, but it can all be in vain if you just don’t feel comfortable playing on their lobby. In essence, it all depends on what you expect from your poker room. Would you prefer a client with faboulous animations and flashy images or do you care more about speed and fluidity of gameplay? While pros like a more hands-on approach, beginners would definitely appreciate clients that are a bit more easy to follow. Finally, the software has to be built well enough to host and connect hundreds, sometimes thousands of players across the globe while at the same time providing solid gameplay experience.
When it comes to the player base, we count the number of active players during the peak hours. You can find loads of poker sites online that boast a player base of thousands of users, but in the end, it all boils down to how many people actually play. Once again, personal preference counts the most, but more populated websites can give you better opportunities to test your skills with the pros.
Games and Tournaments Selection
Throughout its history, the game of poker has withstood a number of different changes and additions all engraved with a combined imagination of players and poker room operators worldwide. From Korean Badugi, across As-Nas and European Draw, all the way to Hold’Em and Omaha, poker has an amazing diversity to it. Therefore, when evaluating poker sites, we always note the number of different games and stake ranges.
Bear in mind that lots of pro players owe their success to poker sites and their satellite tournaments that serve as a recruitment ground for pro events. When reviewing a poker site, we take great care to analyze the entire tournament section including fees, number of players, and most importantly, whether there are satellite tournaments or not.
The game and tournament selection should have enough of variety to satiate anybody’s appetites, while at the same time keeping prizes at a high level.
Support Channels and Security
Gambling, especially its online variety, is an industry that is almost completely built on trust. After all, you are putting all your proverbial chips in the hands of an online operator. That is why we employ strict methodology when assessing the security and support elements of a poker site. First, we test the responsiveness and knowledge level of the websites customer support team. Ideally, every poker platform should have a live chat service or an email support team that responds within minutes notice. Next, we look for any info on how the website takes care of your personal data. All websites should employ at least some kind of encryption software in order to keep your bank account information safe from the prying eyes of hackers. Finally, there’s a very serious matter of the security of your deposited funds. A poker website must ensure the security of transactions and that you can access your funds at any given moment. Note that all UKGC compliant websites have to ensure customers’ funds’ segregation.
Payments and Rake
Online poker brings yet another great advantage to the table: the speed and tidiness of payments. Since the sharing of information on the Internet is practically instantaneous, we always make sure to check the depositing and withdrawing times on each poker site we test, and whether there are any transactional fees.
Another advantage is the rake structure. As you already know, rake is a commission fee from each played hand that goes to the poker room operator. Poker sites traditionally offer much lower rakes than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Furthermore, online poker rooms usually don’t rake your hand at all if all players fold immediately or if the hand doesn’t reach the flop for any reason.
VIP Levels, Bonuses and Rakeback
Each and every poker website has a little special something that makes it stand out from the crowd. Some of them will present you with a VIP tier challenge that rewards the most loyal players with dedicated in-site currency. Others will try and entice you with big Freeroll tournaments that carry hefty prizes for the most sturdy player.
What interests us the most when reviewing a poker site are the bonuses and rakeback system, that is, what I, as a player, can benefit from playing on this website. We all know that poker rooms are known for their intricate policies and terms and conditions of use. That’s why we put the entire bonus selection under a microscope and choose the ones that will give you the best chance of earning a little extra.
The rakeback system is a nifty strategy used by poker websites to either attract new customers or to keep the players that contribute the most to the pot. When reviewing a site we’re specifically interested in the percentage structure and how you, the player, would be rewarded from contributing to the website traffic.
The unique and thorough methodology we’ve presented you with was developed over the course of many years while playing on poker websites. With so many years of experience under our belt, we have pretty much learned what to look for and where to find it. Since we are players ourselves, we know what constitutes a fair offer. However, our job is not yet finished, and we invite you to join us on our quest for the best poker site in the UK.