Even with the changes in the online poker industry in Australia over the last couple of years, there are still several options when it comes to where to choose to play. It can sometimes feel as though every poker site is the same. However, when you start to break down each site individually, there are indeed many subtle differences that can have an impact on your overall experience. We are going to have a look at what makes a great Australian Poker site and give you some recommendations of where you should play.
Before we get started on the definition of a great poker site, let’s first take a step back and discuss online poker as a whole. The game is so much fun to play that it was no surprise that online poker grew as quickly as it did in the 2000s. After Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP, the industry really took off, as more amateurs started a journey to become the next world champion.
Now, while poker is incredibly inclusive and a ton of fun, we have to stress that the game is also difficult to play and earn a profit. When you take the game online, you are also seeing far more hands per hour compared to playing in a land-based environment. This means that you are going to be putting more money at risk per hour. Also, when you are playing online, you are not likely going to know the skill level of the person you are playing against. As a result, you need to be armed with as much information as possible to make you the best player you can be – that way it doesn’t matter who is sitting at your table!
We have put together several playing strategy pages for you to give you the basics of types of play from beginner to advanced poker players. We suggest that you give these a read before you log in to any poker site, as even the best players need to keep learning in order to stay alive.
What makes a great poker site for Australians?
Ok, enough with the disclaimer, let’s get on to the good stuff! Our review team has spent hours looking at each poker site that is open to Australians, weighing different factors against each other to come up with the best places to recommend to our readers. We wanted to give you a peek behind the site to tell you a bit about what we think the main factors are that go into a great poker site.
First and foremost, a poker site needs to offer the games and stakes that appeal to all types of players. Starting with cash games, we look to see what types of cash tables are available at each site. While the penny tables may not make the site a lot of money on each hand, they are the breeding ground for players who move up in levels, so they need to be available for starters. Larger stakes games don’t happen as much online anymore for many reasons, but some sites still spread pretty big games for those of you who are interested in them. From a tournament perspective, the same concept rings true – sites should offer small and large buy-in events, and we give bonus marks to sites that offer satellites or step programs for larger tournaments.
Finally, there should be a selection of cash games and tournaments that aren’t No Limit Hold’em events. There are a lot of other fun variants of poker out there, and we tend to gravitate towards sites that offer Omaha and Stud even though these games aren’t nearly as popular with the average poker player.
Time Zone adjustment
Of course, Australians live far away from the rest of the poker playing world, so time zones can become an issue. Most sites plan their bigger events to count on the prime time hours of North America and Europe, which can be the middle of the night in many cases for Australians. We look for sites that not only cater to those markets but also have a decent selection of events that would happen in the Australian evening. These events may not have guarantees as large as some of the other events, but they also will have smaller fields to navigate which can mean the difference between having to play 15 hours to win a tournament or just a few.
Bonuses and Promotions
The online gambling industry was built on the back of bonuses. With no land-based facility to draw players, online poker sites need to aggressively market to players to entice them to deposit and stay loyal to their site. When we review sites, we first start by looking to see what kinds of deposit bonuses are offered and how easy it is to earn the bonus after you select it. We also look for sites that allow you to earn loyalty points, and what value those points have in real goods (we especially like sites that let you buy into tournaments with your points). Finally, we look for sites that have regular Freeroll events both for the entire site and those that are restricted to the most active players. All of these promotions add up to extra cash in your account, which can make the difference in the long run.
You have the opportunity when playing online poker to make the tables as personalized to your tastes as possible. We look for the sites that allow for the most customization at the table 4-color decks of cards, turning chat off or on, and table skins and themes are all part of the player experience. The more you can make the table look the way you want it, the less distracted you will be when playing the hands.