Deep Variety vs. Broad Variety Poker Sites
Broadly speaking, there are two types of poker sites: deep variety poker sites and broad variety poker sites. A deep variety poker site specializes in one or two games, but offers tons of different variants of those games. Deep variety poker rooms don’t try to be the best at every form of poker out there – they try to be the best at a select few. Broad variety poker sites are the exact opposite. These sites offer tons of game types, but don’t try to specialize in any. You can play pretty much any form of poker you want at a broad variety poker site, but none will be especially well-executed.
So which type of site offers the best poker game variety? The answer is it depends. Both site types cater to a different player demographic. So you’ll need to think about what you want in a poker room, and then make a decision accordingly. Here’s a rundown of the different features of both types of poker site.
- Markets aggressively to a specific kind of player, which tends to fill the tables with like-minded grinders.
- Markets ‘soft’ features like fun, glamor, and playing experience. This tends to disperse traffic across many different game types.
- You’ll always find a game running in the site’s specialty. For example, the Holdem tables are full 24/7 at BetOnline Poker.
- Some games have low traffic, which makes the action less lucrative. For example Bovada Poker offers lots of draw poker games, but there are usually only a few players sitting in.
- Deep variety sites make an effort to innovate in terms of game-specific features. 888 Poker recently introduced video-cam Holdem tables, for example.
- Broad variety sites tend to take a ‘jack of all trades’ attitude. This means more effort goes into developing overall site features than game-specific features.
Sites with a Good Selection of Cash Game Variants
Some poker sites spread more cash game types than others. If you know that you’ll be playing cash games more often than tournaments, you should choose a poker site with the best cash game variety. The most common poker variants spread at cash game sites are Holdem and Omaha. If a site doesn’t offer both of these two variants in cash game form, run far away. Chances are you won’t find great cash game variety there.
Cash game poker sites with the best game variety also spread rarer forms of poker. 7-Card Stud and Draw are two to look for. The cream of the crop poker sites will spread different variations of each game. For example, Razz for Stud and Badugi for Draw. If you find a site that spreads games like these, it’s a safe bet that the cash game variety there is pretty darn good.
Which Sites Have Solid Tournament Variants?
Some poker sites are tournament-centric, and skimp out on cash game offerings. If you’re a mass-field tournament player, this is good for you. The sites with the least poker tournament variety will stick to a bare-bones schedule, mostly consisting of Holdem matches. This type of tournament schedule is hardly satisfying to the tournament aficionado.
Sites with the best poker tournaments take care to sprinkle lots of different game variants, game structures, and buy-in types into their tourney schedules. For example Party Poker spreads games in Holdem, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, and even 7-Card Stud regularly. These tournaments come in many unique forms: 6max, rebuy, turbo, bounty, and many more.
Is Variety Necessarily a Good Thing?
No, and this is something to watch out for. Just because a site has a great poker game variety doesn’t mean the site is worth playing at. Many poker sites build a wide spectrum of games into their software, but fail to fill up the tables. So you’ll be able to sit in at a wide variety of games, but you’ll rarely find other players willing to sit in as well.
Various sites on the Action Poker Network, for example, spread lots of cool games: Chinese Poker and Pan among them. However if you look at the traffic stats, the tables never see any action.
In sum, don’t use poker game variety as a be-all and end-all judgment criteria for poker sites. Do your research before signing up in order to make sure you’re seeing the bigger picture.