Online Poker Reviews

Safe and Secure

Safest Poker Sites reviews all of the major poker rooms and many smaller ones.  We go beyond most poker review sites that only tell you how wonderful each site is.  We include balanced information about the good and the bad.

All of the poker sites we cover are listed below.  We start with the US poker sites because many players in that country need a safe place to deposit.  The next section includes all of the relevant sites available to players outside the United States.  These online poker rooms accept players from Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia and parts of Asia.

USA Poker RoomsEurope Poker Rooms

Best U.S. Online Poker Rooms

Given their self-regulated status, choosing a reputable U.S. online poker room is extremely important. In determining top poker rooms, we want to see a poker room that has delivered consistency through the years – whether it be a track record of treating players fairly, fast payment processing or healthy traffic that can sustain a poker room. The poker rooms below are your currently your best choices as a U.S. player.

Top Pick
SportsBetting.ag
SportsBetting.ag
A+
Sportsbetting Poker is our top pick for U.S. players and is on the Chico Poker Network. This top poker site offers new players a 100% up to $2,500 first deposit bonus. SportsBetting.ag offers quick and safe payout options, including popular cryptos like Bitcoin and Litecoin.
4.2/5.0
100% up to $2,500

Top USA
Bovada
Bovada
A
Poker is back at Bovada! Bovada Poker has the backing of the large PaiWangLuo network and has thousands of players playing every day. Enjoy playing real money poker games, as well as guaranteed cash tournaments. They offer new players a $500 Welcome Bonus, and plenty of perks with their Poker Points.
4.5/5.0
100% up to $500

Fast Payouts
BetOnline
BetOnline
A+
The BetOnline poker site offers a generous 100% up to $2,500 first deposit bonus.  That is the largest available to Americans.  The cash games are loose and there are more than 40 daily multi-table tournaments.  Players will enjoy fast payouts from BetOnline, including one free each month.
4.6/5.0
100% up to $2,500

Popular
Ignition Casino
Ignition Casino
A+
Ignition Casino is a skin of the Bovada poker site.  It is a U.S. home for the PaiWangLuo Network.  Ignition Casino offers anonymous tables and other features that attract recreational players.  This makes the games as juicy.  New players receive a 100% up to $1000 first deposit bonus.  Bitcoin withdrawals are always free.
4.4/5.0
100% up to $1,000

Other US Online Poker Rooms

True Poker
True Poker is a skin of the Winning Poker Network. It shares ownership with Americas Cardroom.  The two sites are identical in every way except the color scheme.  New players receive a 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus.  Players that accept the Americas Cardroom bonus may also claim the one at True Poker.

Americas Cardroom
Americas Cardroom is the flagship of the Winning Poker Network.  The site dealt its first hand of online poker in 2001.  It has paid players quickly ever since.  Americas Cardroom offers the Elite Rewards VIP program.  New players receive a 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus.

Intertops
Intertops is probably the safest poker site for US players.  Its traffic is lower than most others but its lightning fast cashouts more than make up for it.  Most low and mid limit players will find ample action.  New players receive a 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus.  Depositors may choose between the VIP program and 36% rakeback.  Simply contact support when signing up and alert them to which offer you would like to claim.

Juicy Stakes
Juicy Stakes is a sister site to Intertops.  It is on the Horizon Poker Network.  We recommend Intertops over Juicy Stakes due to the banking options.  New players receive a 200% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus.

Poker Host
PokerHost, a longstanding poker room that has frequently changed networks, has made a home on the reliable Winning Poker Network. PokerHost features a separate cashier and promotions unique to the site.

SWC Poker
SWC Poker is a Bitcoin-only site. It is the new version of SealWithClubs, one of the first Bitcoin poker sites. SealsWithClubs opened in 2012 and ceased operations in 2015. SWC Poker took over SealsWithClubs’ player pool and deposits about a month after the closure. All responsibilities were covered by SWC Poker.

Carbon Poker
Carbon Poker is the flagship of the Merge Gaming Network. In recent years, traffic has dropped significantly, but Carbon Poker payment processing has improved. We do not recommend Carbon Poker.
Sportsbook.ag
Most well-known for its sportsbook, Sportsbook.ag also provides customers with access to a poker room on the Merge Network. Although Merge Gaming’s best days appear behind it, the poker room remains an option for those looking for something different. We do not recommend Sportsbetting.ag.

US Regulated Poker Sites

Borgata Poker
Sharing the same player pool as Party Poker NJ, Borgata Poker is also a top New Jersey regulated online poker room. Plagued by poor support and average software, Borgata Poker has seen traffic growth stall but remains one of the safest rooms in the world due to its regulated status.

WSOP.com
WSOP.com is not just one of the most recognizable brand names in the world, but they are also the sole online poker room in Nevada and one of the largest regulated brands in New Jersey. If you are in New Jersey or Nevada, chances are you are playing on WSOP.com.

Best European Online Poker Rooms

European online poker players have many more options than Americans.  These sites are more competitive with better bonus and VIP terms.  The games are typically looser than many US sites.  Most of the European poker sites listed below also accept players from Canada, Australia, Mexico and some Asian countries.

Top Pick
Betway Poker
Betway Poker
A
Betway is primarily a sportsbook and has a good reputation. The Betway poker site is on the Microgaming Poker Network, which also powers the casino games. Betway does not accept US players, but most other countries are accepted.
4.5/5.0
200% up to $750

Popular
888 Poker
888 Poker
A-
888 is the second largest poker site in the world.  It has some of the loosest games in the industry.  That is because 888 caters to recreational players and tries to discourage action from professional players.  888 is active in social media.  This also helps draw new players to the poker site.  New players receive a 100% up to $400 first deposit bonus.
4.5/5.0
100% up to $400

Other International Online Poker Rooms

Betfair
Betfair is a member of the iPoker Network.  The company is primarily a betting exchange.  Poker is an afterthought.  We feel there are better choices than Betfair on the iPoker Network due to player complaints related to getting stiffed on promotions.

Betfred
Betfred is a popular choice on the iPoker Network.  It offers a lucrative VIP program and a 250% up to €1,250 first deposit bonus.

Betsafe
Betsafe Poker is a member of the Microgaming Poker Network.  The poker site has a history of offering great promotions to players that include rake races, reload bonuses and leaderboards.

Bwin
Bwin is a member of the Party Poker Network.  The platform caters to recreational players.  The VIP program consists of badges and missions, not the typical rake levels.

Everest Poker
Once one of the largest standalone sites, Everest Poker is now a large skin on the iPoker Network.  The first deposit bonus is a paltry €40.  It also includes €10 in tournament tokens and tickets to a €2,000 new player freeroll.

Ladbrokes
Ladbrokes was once a part of a ring-fenced Microgaming platform with Unibet.  The two sites now share a standalone platform that is almost entirely recreational players.  This makes Unibet and Ladbrokes a great choice for players.

Party Poker
Party Poker was once the largest poker site in the world.  That is not the case any longer, however, it is still a top choice for players.  Party Poker merged with Bwin to expand its player base.  This also improved its game quality.  New players receive a $20 welcome bonus on a first deposit.

PokerStars
PokerStars was once a darling of online poker players.  While it is still the largest poker site in the world, its reputation is irreversibly damaged.  The site made it a business practice to renege on promised VIP offers and promotions after it was acquired by Amaya Gaming.

Sky Poker
Sky Poker is aimed at British players.  The site is mostly micro limits with No Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha.

Unibet Poker
Unibet operates a network where Ladbrokes is the only other skin.  Both are former Microgaming licensees.  The new Unibet poker site offers some of the best games on the internet.  This is because of the large numbers of sports bettors Unibet and Ladbrokes attract.

William Hill
William Hill is a large bricks-and-mortar betting shop that branched out to the internet.  It started on the Cryptologic Network.  It calls iPoker home these days.

Bet365 Poker
Read the Bet365 Poker review.

About Safest Poker Sites Ratings

Our poker sites are ranked by our resident pros. Our expertise dates back more than 15 years in the industry. We know the ins and outs of every online poker room and network and are happy to share it with you.

Room Rating example

Online Room Ratings

The overall online poker ratings take several aspects of a site’s business into consideration. These include the number of deposit and withdrawal options, the fees involved with those transactions, tournament guarantees each week, cash game selection and volume, the speed and quality of player support, number of promotions and value of the first deposit bonus.

Payment Grade example

Payment Grade

We rank every US site’s ability to process withdrawal requests to players. We publish this information around the 15th every month. The grades that you see reflect the speed of withdrawals, the number of options available and fees involved with each transaction.

Safety Scores example

SPS Safety Score

We rank four major aspects of an online poker room to come up with the ratings. They are the frequency and severity of past scandals, previous cashout problems, stability of the site and the customer service and platform of the site. We averaged the rankings given by our resident experts to come up with the rating.

How to Choose the Best Poker Site

Safest Poker Sites is managed by poker players. All of our content is updated frequently as poker sites change bonuses, VIP programs and promotions on a regular basis.

Our reviews are full of information about the best deposit bonuses and loyalty programs. We suggest new players find the best bonus for their bankroll. This will often be the one with the fastest clearing requirements. This means the fewest number of hands and least amount of rake to clear a bonus.

The best poker site is not always the largest one.  There are plenty of reasons not to choose PokerStars.  These include promotions, quality of games, availability of games based on your schedule, deposit bonuses and support quality.  It is also important to check out a poker site’s history.  We’ve done that for you and include past scandals in our reviews, as well as promotional information and game options.

Crown

Best Loyalty Programs

Some sites offer rakeback while others have an internal VIP program.  Rakeback is a flat percentage of rake paid returned to the player.  VIP programs tend to include cash back and freeroll tickets.  The best loyalty programs tend to be on the Microgaming and iPoker Networks.  Our favorites are Americas Cardroom, Intertops, Betsafe, and Bet365.

Dice

Loose Games

It does not matter how great the promotions at a poker site are if the games are full of tight players.  We advise going with online poker rooms that are tied to sportsbooks and large networks.  Our favorites include BetOnline, Ignition Poker, Bet365 and Unibet.

Spotlight

Promotions

Rakeback and VIP programs are not the only forms of promotions offered by sites.  All offer first deposit bonuses.  This is where a deposit is matched.  The player must pay a certain amount of rake to release the bonus.  Some sites offer reload bonuses.  These are identical to first deposit bonuses.  They are just given to existing players.  There are often freerolls players may enter without investing any money.  Other promotions include tournament leaderboards and rake races.

Concerns with Today’s Unregulated Poker Sites

There should always be concern about the safety of funds at online poker sites. With that said, the sites available these days are far safer than their predecessors.  

Online poker has come a long way since Planet Poker dealt the first real money hand in January 1998. The industry has moved from being run by poker players with little business experience to ones managed by publicly traded and expert gaming companies.

The online poker industry suffered from substantial growing pains in its early years. The issues ranged from a cracked random number generator and server crashes at Planet Poker to employees stealing from players at the tables at Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet and Pit Bull Poker.  

UIGEA created hardship within online poker industry

The U.S. online poker market suffered adversities that did not affect most of the world. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed in October 2006. This forced all publicly traded poker sites out of the U.S. market. The remaining sites were mostly the lower tier in terms of quality and reputation. PokerStars was a notable exception to that. Bodog was another.

The first rogue act by a poker site related to UIGEA was committed by Jet Set Poker. It closed several hours before President George W. Bush was expected to sign the UIGEA into law. Jet Set Poker closed with five minutes of notice. It ran off with all deposits.  

All of the insider cheating scandals mentioned were exposed after the UIGEA was enacted, although some of the thefts took place before it became law. It still shows the types of companies that remained in the market.  

Full Tilt Poker was thought to be one of the good guys. The Black Friday indicted included Full Tilt, as well as PokerStars and Absolute Poker. It turned out that Full Tilt Poker was a “Ponzi scheme”. That was the phrase Preet Bharara of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York used at the time. Full Tilt was running e-check schemes where it would give players funds based on deposits from bank accounts. The company was unable to access the U.S. banking system to get these funds. More than $100 million was missing when the site failed in June 2011.

The online poker industry changed drastically after Black Friday.  Most poker sites still operating in the U.S. were subsidiaries of sportsbooks. This included Intertops, Winning Poker, Sportsbook.ag, Bodog, BetOnline and eventually Carbon Poker.  

Blue Monday was an indictment unsealed in by the U.S. Attorney in Maryland against the Winning Poker Network and related sportsbooks. The same office later indicted Bodog and its founder, Calvin Ayre, among others. Ayre found himself on the ICE 10 Most Wanted list for a brief time. His case ended in 2017 when he settled with the US Justice Department in exchange for a fine.

None of these sites missed a beat after running into legal trouble. Bodog already moved its U.S. players to Bovada at the time. The Blue Monday sites moved to domains registered outside the U.S.  

Lock Poker was the only scam site still left in the U.S. market after Blue Monday. It eventually ran off with about $15 million in funds under the power of Jen Larson. Equity Poker launched after Blue Monday. It failed and never paid players.

Why today’s online poker sites are safer

Respectable sportsbooks operate the three largest U.S.-facing online poker sites. Each has a stellar reputation. All are properly bankrolled and managed.  

The experience of these operators contributes to the success of these sites. Bovada/Ignition Casino and Winning Poker have ties to companies that have been in the online gaming business since the 90’s without any scandals. BetOnline had some growing pains in its early days but has since shown it deserves its hard-earned reputation.  

What to look for in a safe poker site

Safest Poker Sites publishes a monthly payment processing report. It is a great resource for showing which sites are able to pay players in a timely manner and which ones cannot. A Google search involving the poker room and words like cashouts, scam or fraud are other great indicators. Do not believe every complaint but if a thread in a poker forum has dozens of replies with players reporting the same experience it should be a red flag.

Contacting support before depositing is another great step. Ask questions support employees should know the answer to and see if they are knowledgeable. A quality site will properly train employees. A fly-by-night one will not. Email response times can be another way to see if a site takes customers seriously.