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Best Real Money Poker Sites in 2018

The truth is that real-money poker sites can be found with a simple web search, but players shouldn't just settle for the first ones they find. There are some qualities to look for in the process of choosing a poker site on which to deposit money and play internet poker.

  • Responsive customer service:  There should be several ways to contact the site’s support, and representatives should be friendly, fast, and helpful.
  • Good range of limits:  Cash games should be available in very low limits as well as through the mid-range and high-level limits. Tournament selection should include everything from freerolls to events with guaranteed prize pools.
  • Good game variations:  All poker sites will offer some limit and no-limit hold’em, but there should also be Omaha, stud, and some mixed games to give players some variety.
  • Fast payment processing:  Reviews from other players should reflect that the site is responsive to customer needs with immediate deposits and fast withdrawals.
  • Proper licensing:  The site should be registered and licensed with a regulator in Malta, Curacao, Alderney, Isle of Man, or a number of other regulators in various countries. The license should also be up-to-date and show the company in good standing.

Some of these qualities are easier to prove than others, but players need look no further than the recommendations we provide. The sites listed here are ranked among the best real-money sites available for poker that meet the criteria for trusted, safe, and secure games.

5 Of The Best Online Poker Sites for Real Money

Rank help Poker Room help Mobhelp Mac help Bonus help Match help Code help Room Review help
1Pacific Poker Bovada Poker      mac-icon $600 100% N/A Bovada Poker
2Pacific Poker Ignition Poker      mac-icon $2000 100% N/A Ignition Poker
3Pacific Poker Intertops Poker      mac-icon $600 100% N/A Intertops Poker
4BetOnline Poker BetOnline Poker      mac-icon $2500 100% N/A BetOnline Poker
5Bet365 Poker Sportsbetting Poker      mac-icon $2500 100% N/A Sportsbetting Poker

Best Qualities of Top Real-Money Poker Sites

There are many options when it comes to choosing an online poker site for real money, but the most basic choice to make is whether or not to play for cash.

To be honest, play-money online poker is the most popular of the two. More people compete on social media poker games online and free-play sites than any other type of poker. But real money poker is quite popular as well, as it encompasses everything from penny poker to high-stakes real money poker online. And more people log on to play it every day.

Popularity Roller Coaster

Online poker was first introduced in the late 1990s with Planet Poker, and card game fans flocked to it. The demand for better and bigger sites prompted developers to consistently improve the options, and by the early 2000s, sites like PartyPoker and PokerStars were giving players more options than ever before to play real money poker online.

Live poker had been popular for centuries, but tournaments like the World Series of Poker began to garner more attention with its broadcast on television in the late 20th century. This brought more players to tournaments, and in 2003, when Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event for $2.5 million, the game’s popularity skyrocketed. Not only was Moneymaker the everyman, an accountant from the Midwest United States without much experience in the game, he also won his seat to the WSOP via an online satellite for less than $100. The notion that anyone could play online, win a seat into a big tournament, and win lifechanging money appealed to millions of people around the world.

The poker boom ensued, and millions of players signed up for online poker real money accounts on PokerStars and other sites. Competing online became a challenge in itself, and the number of players online everyday grew exponentially from 2003 to 2008.

When the United States and other nations began to question the legality of online poker in 2006, some sites departed jurisdictions in which they were under scrutiny. And when Black Friday happened in 2011 – when the US government indicted executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker and seized the site domains – real cash poker sites departed more markets.

Not nearly as many players could compete in poker sites with real money as in previous years. Players in the US were not allowed to play on any sites, players in European countries like Italy and Spain were relegated to sites closed off to dot-com access, and many sites eventually closed as a result.

Even so, real-money online poker sustained itself as operators obtained licenses in various markets and players moved to nations that did allow online poker. The game began to rebound. And all the while, poker online survived and, in some areas, still thrived.

Advantages of Playing Internet Poker with Real Money

Professional poker players can testify that many of them became skilled players quickly because of the ability to play with real cash online at any time of the day or night, multiple tables at once, and play many more hands than they could have ever played in live games or tournaments. The ability to play online is as much a benefit to experience as it is for comfort and convenience.

Free-play sites have their benefits for new players, but once the strategies are in place and skills have been tested, the real money poker tables await. It allows players of all skill levels to put their abilities to work for money, no matter at what stakes. Most start at very low stakes and work their way up as their bankrolls grow. And the ability to risk money instead of play chips makes it worth all of the time and effort.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of playing on poker websites with real money

  • Serious play:  Many people on play-money sites make looser plays than they would with real money on the line. Playing on a site that requires real money prompts people to play a more serious strategy.
  • Bankroll building:  No matter at what level real-money play begins, a player begins building a real-money bankroll. This truly gauges the ability to play in more diverse scenarios. As the bankroll grows, players can play for higher stakes, compete in bigger tournaments, and really consider the possibility of going semi-pro or full-time pro as a career. Even if that is not the goal, the money grows into amounts that can be withdrawn and make a difference in everyday life.
  • Reputation:  Poker players love accolades. By playing at higher stakes, competing in tournaments, and cashing/winning those events, they can start building a reputation as a skilled online player.
  • Satellites:  Most players cannot afford to travel the world to play tournaments in places like Monte Carlo or Barcelona, London or Macau. But online poker satellites on real-money sites allow for that possibility. A small investment can turn into a prize package that sends players to casinos from the Bahamas to Las Vegas.
  • Practice:  Even for the most casual players, the experience garnered when playing with real money online can be priceless. Developing strategies and working with pot odds, for example, can be done online, and those skills can then translate into better results at a home game or a local casino.
  • Camaraderie:  Many people in the poker world have made lifelong friends after meeting at the online tables. Poker is a solitary game in some respects, but through chat boxes and online forums, many players find like-minded people with whom to talk strategy and develop friendships.

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