What makes a poker site good?

Beriac

Beriac

Guest
For about the first year that I played online poker, I mostly kept it to 4 sites that sort of represented my poker progression: Party where I first started, then Titan where I found CC, then Stars and Full Tilt when I wanted to try more diverse games. I liked all 4 sites for different reasons, but never really thought about why.

Then when my nuptial-induced poker hiatus ended just recently, I had the urge to see what else was out there. So I tried UB, royal vegas, Paradise, Absolute, and Poker.com just for kicks (while trying to be faithful to the CC links!).

I think all of the sites that I've tried have their merits, but I realize that Stars and Full Tilt, where I play most of my poker, are a cut above in my books. A few of the things I have learned to appreciate:

(1) Graphical interface. Sure, technical items like the rake, bonus offers, matter, but you know what? I play poker for fun too. I wouldn't want to play a DOS-based text-only game of online poker, and I find I don't want to play with 80's-style Atari-level graphics either. If nothing else, I appreciate the smooth graphical interface of my favourite sites.

(2) Player traffic. I guess I was spoiled, as the smallest site I'd ever played was Titan and I was used to playing on the giants, and so I'd taken it for granted that a site should offer every stake level possible and that each of these should be active almost all the time.

(3) Variety of games. I really like being able to periodically switch back and forth between games (Texas Holdem, Omaha, Stud), game type (ring, SNG, MTT), and so on, and having a site that offers as many different kinds of games as possible is also key for me.

Stuff I realize I'm really not so concerned about:

- Bonuses. It's true, they can help, but when you think about it they amount to a limited-time, limited-$ rakeback %, which is nice - don't get me wrong, but not so much that I'd let it influence where and how I play (much).

- freerolls. Maybe it's just me, but I find that playing too many of these (a) makes me want to rip my hair out and (b) doesn't do much for my poker game.

Anyway, the conclusion I guess is that I'm pretty happy at Stars and Full Tilt, but I'm curious as to what's most important to you guys in your chosen poker site?
 
Welly

Welly

Guest
The only thing in addition to those you mention is tournament format. I am really not a fan of quick blinds & short starting stacks.

Unfortunately, increasingly, sites are heading in that direction (for obvious commercial reasons). The rise of volume of turbos/speeds/10min blinds is frankly slightly disgraceful, but they have however become a norm to which anyone new to online poker will seemingly quite happily accept.

Titan, unfortunately were more guilty than most. Also Stars volume of turbo WCOOP qualifiers was bordering on embarrassing. It belittles the game of poker, but nevertheless is something we must accept.
 
roundcat

roundcat

Creature of leisure
I'd add to those:

- Reputation. I want to know my money is safe and I won't have any problems withdrawing. Maybe that's just a given, but there are lots of sites where I wouldn't deposit.

- Reliability. Some sites have more technical glitches, hangs and crashes than others.

- Customer service. When I have a problem, I really appreciate receiving a timely and relevant answer/solution rather than either receiving a canned email or having my question fall into a giant void.

Assuming acceptable levels of all of the above, my next concerns are the aesthetics and feel of the site, game selection, traffic, etc. I'm a rather visually-oriented person so the way a site looks does matter a lot. Of course, I also tend to play where I've been doing the best.
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
The only thing in addition to those you mention is tournament format. I am really not a fan of quick blinds & short starting stacks.

Unfortunately, increasingly, sites are heading in that direction (for obvious commercial reasons). The rise of volume of turbos/speeds/10min blinds is frankly slightly disgraceful, but they have however become a norm to which anyone new to online poker will seemingly quite happily accept.

Titan, unfortunately were more guilty than most. Also Stars volume of turbo WCOOP qualifiers was bordering on embarrassing. It belittles the game of poker, but nevertheless is something we must accept.

I hear ya Welly.

I will admit that periodically I find a turbo fun, but more in the way I might find the occasional game of casino craps fun -- it's gambling.

In a way, though, I don't mind one bit if the poker sites want to add lots of turbos, provided they don't eliminate quality tournaments with good stack/blind structures, as I feel it might encourage looser, more aggressive play among newcomers as well as veteran turbo-addicts, which would allow people to continue to profit from being tight/aggressive in their play.

You're right that Titan is especially bad. I didn't even realize how bad it was until I tried other sites, so your point about new players accepting it as normal is well taken.
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
I'd add to those:

- Reputation. I want to know my money is safe and I won't have any problems withdrawing. Maybe that's just a given, but there are lots of sites where I wouldn't deposit.

- Reliability. Some sites have more technical glitches, hangs and crashes than others.

- Customer service. When I have a problem, I really appreciate receiving a timely and relevant answer/solution rather than either receiving a canned email or having my question fall into a giant void.

I agree with you about reputation, Roundcat, but I guess I never really think about it since most of the sites that meet my other criteria are giant publicly-listed companies, but we've definitely heard the stories here about shifty sites going bust and their clients' money going with them. Same for technical glitches, in my experience.

I've never personally been too fussed about customer service. I don't usually have to deal with them. Maybe that's short-sighted.
 
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Welly

Welly

Guest
I guess there is another thing which you really notice at smaller sites... Cashing out becomes a chore.

One of the things I have always liked about party poker is the shear ease of cashouts. Type in amount, click a button, and it is in my bricks and mortar bank account the next day.

Even Stars is a little annoying with the cc/neteller/check choices.
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
Yeah, cashouts at some sites take absolutely forever compared to others. I think they just delay it to give you a chance to cancel your withdrawal (you lose part or all of your bankroll in the meantime, think of something else to do with it, etc).
 
wsorbust

wsorbust

Cardschat Elite
I guess you might have shed a few tears about this then, eh?
Honestly, no, not really. She's nearly 40... and her chest looks mest up now. Probably why the site folded. lol

Pamelapoker.com is the latest casualty of the Internet gambling bill which was passed just before the Senate recessed for this year’s elections.
Latest casualty of the Internet gambling bill? lol suuuuree.

I love this comment from her ...
I have nothing to do with it anymore. Too many shady areas. I really don’t want to encourage people to gamble.
Lol right. I don't know what she mean's. Just b/c no one came to her site and gambled away their money doesn't mean she has the right to be a bimbo and backhand the industry she tried to profit off of.

Anyway...lol that kind of went off topic I guess.
 
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J

jasedwads

Guest
A good website for me is poker stars and william hill.

What makes them good?

Poker stars has some great tourneys on there, my money maker has got to be the 18 or 27 ppl sng's. You get great value for such a small stake. The transactions have got to be good, and they are, both william hill and poker stars are very quick and the deposits are quick too.

Another site I have been playing on recently in CDpoker. They are dishing out a lot of bonuses, and they have by far the best customer service. I think maybe b cuz they are still a small company, but you can email one of their team, and u get a reply the same day, and you get to be on first name terms with some of them lol.

I have been struggling with William hill recently, I have been having ome bad connections and its cost me some imporrtant hands when i get disconnected. :mad:

I am still looking for the perfect poker site, and i believe soon, i will find it. For now, I will stay with PS and WH.:)
 
G

Guin36

Guest
What makes a site great is the fish that prowl around trying to give you money.

My friends on the Tribecca network (playing through the Booyah skin) love to call me down with 2nd pair. They bet so small only on the turn and let me catch two pair with 83o from the bb. So they bet $4 into a $6 pot and I raise it to $30.... board was AQ853 rainbow. Love that call with Q9o bud... now if a site could guarantee that guys like that will keep playing at NL100 then I would never stop playing there!
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
I'm of two minds on this.

On the one hand, having lots of "fish" playing at a given site clearly increases the profitability of playing there.

On the other hand, playing against quality opponents enables you to take your game up a level, be more successful at bigger and better games, and perhaps enjoy yourself more in the long run.

Example: I find when playing small-stakes tourneys at sites like Titan, my success tends to depend on what hole cards I risk my whole stack on. People are going all-in or close to it very frequently, so deciding if I want to make my stand with TT+ or only with QQ+, and whether my TPTK will stand up on the flop is really what determines my success. Contrast that to a bigger buy-in tourney on let's say Stars, and I'm able to play a lot more "small ball" competing for pots with players who are awake at the wheel and having to outsmart them (at least sometimes) rather than outdrawing them.
 
F

FireDrop

Guest
The Best sites and easy to use is the Microgaming Site! others like poker.com are pretty cool too!
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
The Best sites and easy to use is the Microgaming Site! others like poker.com are pretty cool too!

Thanks so much for answering my question about what features you find most important in your chosen poker site. :rolleyes:
 
BKrywko1

BKrywko1

Rock Star
Many of these have already been mentioned, but this is what I look for in a "good" poker site:

1) Game and tournament variety - and not just differing levels of NLHE. If you don't offer Stud or Omaha games, I'm not going to be a player at your site - someone should tell the smaller sites that there is more to poker than just being able to play Hold Em.

2) Occasional reload bonuses - if you're not playing off of some type of bonus at any time, you're giving away too much money unnecessarily. Living in Michigan, my bonus options have decreased by a prohibitive margin (along with my playing options), but any chance I get to get a rake rebate (which is what a bonus is) as opposed to getting nothing back, I'm taking it.

3) # of players - if you only have 500 players on your site, and 90% of them are playing in a freeroll with a $25 prize pool, I'm not wasting my wife at your site. You don't to be the biggest site in the world, but seeing what I have listed as #1 doesn't apply to most smaller sites, it doesn't hurt to be a decent sized network.

4) Cashout speed - 24 hours or less is great, and I'll take 48 hours, as well. If I have to wait 4 days for a cashout, consider me a non-player at your site in the future, as well.

5) Customer service - Seems like a lot of sites have gotten much better in this regard (especially the smaller sites), but bodog and Stars will always have my business because they're CS is outstanding (Absolute isn't bad, either).

6) Software - should be self-explanatory.
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
Which big sites do you find have the best re-load bonuses in your books, BKrywko1?
 
BKrywko1

BKrywko1

Rock Star
Back before they shitcanned U.S. players, I used to hit the Crypto's (Will Hill, Poker Plex, and Sun Poker) for their monthly bonuses, plus throw in Party & Empire's monthly $100 bonus each, and we're talking an easy $400-500 per month in bonuses I'm losing out on. So...I've had to adapt my playing habits, raising the stakes I'm playing, which makes clearing some of the bonuses I'm listing clear that much faster.

Right now, Absolute has the never-ending reload bonuses - but if you don't play 1/2 or higher, these bonuses will take forever to clear...if you have rakeback, this is a very profitable site to play at.

Stars is pretty easy to clear, but their reloads are too infrequent - they've relaxed the requirements for FPP (especially at 1/2), however.

Bodog's 10% reloads are pretty solid bonuses, but be careful because they don't really like bonus whores there - cash out, wait a few days, then redeposit, and you'll be fine. I'll also play Full Tilt on their next reload when they have it since I now have rakeback.

Other than that, most sites don't have any action to speak of in Omaha/8 and Stud/8 to make me want to play there - and unless I get a good clearing rate towards a bonus playing MTTs or SnGs, I'll continue to pass on playing most sites.
 
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