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5 Traits of a Quality Poker Site for Beginners

by Jon Sofen

Like any other industry, there are good, bad, and really bad online poker sites. For those of you that are new to online poker – or online gambling in general – there are certain qualities you should look for in a poker site. When I first started playing poker online, I really didn’t know what to look for. I pretty much just took a chance on a couple of sites and hoped for the best. Don’t do that!

Instead, get to know the poker sites before you join. Understand what they’re all about. Are they good for beginners? Is the action loose? Do they have a good reputation? There are hundreds of places to play poker online. So it can be difficult for beginners to make a decision. I’m going to help. Without telling you which specific site to choose – you can check out our online poker reviews for that – I’m going to show you exactly what you should require in an online poker site. Anything less just isn’t worth your time.

Has an impeccable reputation

Don’t waste your time playing at a poker site that has a horrible reputation. Every poker site will have its haters. There will never be a poker site – or anything great, for that matter – that doesn’t have haters. However, when 90% of the customers speak negatively about a poker site, you know it’s not a good place to play poker. Look for a poker site that has more positive publicity than negative publicity.

Plenty of beginners and donkeys

I’d hate for you to get your butt handed to you at the poker table. When you’re just starting out, it’s best to avoid poker sites that are packed with pros. Stick to poker sites that are known to have a lot of fish (bad players) and other beginners. You won’t feel overwhelmed and you’ll have a much better chance of winning. After you gain some experience and improve your game, you can try out some other sites. I just think it’s best for the newbies to not get ahead of themselves. An inexperienced poker player jumping right into games packed with pros is sort of like a Major League Baseball team calling up a draft pick before getting some seasoning in the minors.

Pays players quickly

Let’s say your employer decided they weren’t going to give you a paycheck on time. Your employer says, “Mike, sorry to tell you this, but we are going to hold onto your check for a few weeks.” What would your response be? If it were me, I would probably cuss him out, but that’s just me. Perhaps, you’re mellower. Regardless, you wouldn’t be happy, and you shouldn’t be happy if you don’t receive your poker winnings quickly either. If thousands of players are posting on the 2+2 forums about how the poker site you’re interested in is always slow paying its players, find somewhere else to play.

Offers some decent freerolls

I don’t suggest trying to build a bankroll exclusively through freerolls, but I do think freerolls are beneficial to beginners. First off, a freeroll is a great opportunity to learn how to play poker without risking any money. Also, freerolls can help you increase your bankroll. There are many poker sites that offer daily freerolls where you can win a few bucks, sometimes more. The decent freerolls often have hundreds of players, but most of those players bust out early.

Loose low-limit action

Most beginners start out at the low and micro stakes limits. Unless you’re stupid rich, you’ll likely begin at the $2-5 NLH level or lower (90% begin at $1-$2 NLH level or lower). So it’s very important that the poker site you choose not only has plenty of low and micro stakes games, but lots of loose action. You’ll make some good money playing in these loose games simply by being patient.

A few other characteristics I look for but aren’t extremely important include nice graphics, a mobile betting app, and accepts bank wire transfers. Choose your poker site(s) wisely. If you follow the above advice, you’ll have a pleasant experience.

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