Complete Online Poker Networks With Traffic Figures, Descriptions And Links To Detailed Reviews And Information
Update Jan 2013 – All the latest news with Full Tilt + Lock added, the disappearance of Everest into iPoker and the OnGame exodus of Bwin (gone to Party) and Betfair (dual network with iPoker – so no number change just yet)
This is a key page here at The Poker Bonus Network. All of the poker networks and major stand alone sites are listed here in approximate order of popularity, along with a quick description and links to more detailed information and reviews. I should note that this list does not include the country-specific .fr and .it sites – and I have left off Bodog for the time being while they settle into their new Bodog / Bovada split setup.
US Readers will find the biggest US network at number 8 in this list, this is the excellent Merge Poker Network who are fast closing in on 7k players at peak times.
1 – Pokerstars.com (Stand-alone)
Largest online poker site by a significant margin with more than 225,000 simultaneous players at peak times (and even more when they run special events such as world record attempts). Excellent software and big promotions including the weekly $1 Million Guaranteed ‘Sunday Million’, Online Poker’s World Championship and many more. New player bonus average at 100% up to $600 (Marketing Code = PSP3108) – PokerStars more than make up for this with a very generous reward system and plenty of big-money promotions.
Big news from PokerStars this year is their purchase of Full Tilt Poker, you can transfer money between player accounts at these sites if you would like to check out both!
While I love this site, you do need to be careful of the small army of ‘pro grinders’ who multi-table games from the lowest levels up. These players take money from the games, and often tighten them up too. There are plenty of recreational and novice players to play against – you just need to learn how to spot the regulars, and then avoid playing too many of them!
2 – Party Poker (Stand-alone)
Locked in a battle with iPoker for the number 2 spot, Party Poker had a recent boost with Bwin bringing their players over from OnGame to join with their business partner’s site. The combined pool of players now reaches 75000 at peak times.
There are 2 more sites to note on this network, the wholly owned ‘WPT Poker’ site and Empire Poker. This is one of the original poker sites and still attract a lot of players via their well known brand name. These players tend to be new to poker (or at least inexperienced), which gives rise to Party Poker’s reputation for hosting some of the easiest poker games to beat anywhere online. Start off bonus is average at 100% to $500 – though they will add lots of additional bonuses for their players and have a player generous rewards system too. One last thing since the last update, Party have brought in their own ‘fast fold’ poker game called ‘Fast Forward Poker’ which is already proving popular!
3 – The iPoker Network
Biggest true Poker Network (as in a home to several separately owned brands) and home to many big names including William Hill, PaddyPower, Titan Poker and more. This network pool together their players on PlayTech software, with a mixture of shared promotions and some individual site offers too.
iPoker regularly see peaks of 65000 of more simultaneous players. This network is famously ‘soft’ thanks to all of the sports betting traffic who cross over into the poker room with little or no poker strategy knowledge. The one let down is the software. Though it has improved of late it still contains a lot of boxes which you need to ‘ok’ and the tables jump around when moving seat in tournaments too – though on the plus side, they do now have synchronized breaks!
iPoker split their cash games and SNGs into two ‘tiers’ in late 2012. This was to prevent smaller sites stealing higher volume players from the big brands by offering them special ‘VIP deals’. The big betting brands now have their own tables with far more recreational-type players at them – I strongly recommend readers stick with the big sites (Titan, WillHill) for this reason!
Everest Poker, who used to be the number #4 site in their own right, joined iPoker at the end of 2012. News just in is that Betfair – the big sports betting exchange – are now offering iPoker tables alongside their OnGame ones, with a plan to move completely to iPoker by mid-year 2013.
Initial bonuses for new players are very high, with 200% up to $2000 available at my personal favorite site – Titan Poker + $20 extra free cash for PokerBonusNetwork Readers using bonus code PBKLUB, (I will ensure that the extra cash is paid direct to your player account within 48 hours, usually sooner!).
4 – Full Tilt Poker
Full Tilt have come back from the dead and hit the number #4 spot in my list. After an initial surge of interest, they seem to have settled at between 35,000 and 40,000 concurrent players… an amazing achievement without the US players who were a major part of their previous base.
Innovative games and cool software + the improvements that their new owners, PokerStars’ parent company, are sure to bring should see this site challenging for the higher spots on this list in 2013. Whether one company having so much of the market is a good thing is open to debate!
- Full Tilt Poker Review (this link goes to my SNG Planet Review)
5 – Boss Poker Network (Also Known As The ‘International Poker Network’)
Boss is a European institution, and with a large number of skins have managed to grow into the 6th largest online poker site with peaks of more than 15,000 simultaneous players. Boss network brands include Poker Heaven, Paradise Poker and Fortune Poker. Bonuses are big, with up to €1000 available to new players. In addition you can find a great tournament schedule (without the 1000+ player fields which put off many would be tournament fans at Pokerstars) and extras including live game satellites and jackpot SNGs.
This network move up into 5th as an estimate at the moment, while I wait and see exactly how big a loss in player numbers the recent Bwin / Betfair defections from this network are.
6 – 888 Poker Network
Whether this can be counted as a true network is a matter for debate after 888 bought ‘Lucky Ace Poker’ who shared the network and ’848 Poker’ are also owned by the same brand, who grew significantly – bucking the overall trend during the last year. Whatever the status this site benefits massively from being paired with the largest online casinos – 888.com. Cross-over traffic regularly ensures 12,000+ simultaneous players… and the general lack of poker strategy knowledge makes this a very profitable place to play for players with some poker experience. Regular bonuses (including extras) and cool promotions + gimmicks like webcam tables mean that this one is sure to keep growing.
One of my favorite sites, and the offer of $8 completely free to try out the games (available in most countries though not Eastern Europe / beyond at the moment) is a great way of having a look without committing your own cash. Check out the 888 Poker Website now for more info!
- 888.com Poker Review (note: This links goes to my SNG Planet 888 review)
7 – OnGame Poker Network
One of my personal favorites, OnGame are a premium network with smooth software and a community feel you just do not find elsewhere. Recently this network has seen one of their biggest members leave. Bwin have gone over to join Party Poker, leaving a dent in the player numbers which is yet to become apparent. Betfair are also on their way out… having just announced that they are joining the iPoker Network (dual networks for the moment).
I am going to estimate we get to 10k players when these things settle down, though you never know what this network have in plan to fight back – so I will be happy to be mistaken on this number.Big remaining brands include Betsson and my personal favorite – Red Kings Poker, who not only offer a choice of 6 different sign-up bonuses, but give you an extra $300 in bonus money the first time you are dealt the 2 red kings. OnGame have excellent software, and host some really cool tournaments – including the growing ‘Grand Series Of Poker’ + the occasional ‘Fishmarket’ a $11 event which all new depositors get a free entry too. You can check out the cool Red Kings Poker via this link.
8 – MicroGaming Network
As we get below 10k peaks and into the realm of mid-sized networks, Microgaming stand out. This is another network who benefit from having some big brand betting and casino sites in their ranks such as Unibet and Ladbrokes. You get some soft cash game action and a tournament selection with many smaller guaranteed buy-ins. This network is ideal for recreational players with plenty of ongoing promotions and offers to keep you topped up.
9 – Merge Poker Network (US Friendly)
Positive changes for US players in later 2012, with Lock Poker leaving Merge to breathe new life into the old Cake network and start a rivalry that benefits players in terms of bonuses and tournament guarantees.
Merge have held their place as the largest US friendly poker network, with simultaneous players now approaching 7500 at peak times. This has allowed a big expansion in the tournament schedule and a big choice of cash games. Big brands on this network include Carbon Poker (the biggest single site) and Aced Poker. Software is a stand out feature, with animations a great addition. Bonuses are generous too, with 200% to $500 to start + a welcome package which includes a state-of-the-art poker calculator / HUD tool and free pro poker training. US deposits are going very smoothly once again thanks to a recent shift to a new cashier, a great place to play!
10 – Lock Poker
Lock Poker have come from nowhere and are fighting hard to take the crown as the biggest US poker network in 2013! They bought the Cake Poker Network, and renamed this as the ‘Revolution Gaming Poker Network’. Next, Cake themselves stopped supporting US players – leaving Lock as by far the biggest site on this network.
This literally transformed a previously stagnating network into a serious destination for players. With peaks now approaching 6500 players and bonuses / guarantees in a tit-for-tat battle with rivals Merge! Other skins on this network include Juicy Stakes Poker, who took most of the Cake players on board.
Cool monotone software, HUGE promotions and a stable on pro names which keeps on growing. Lock is the place to head for US readers – you can claim a 200% welcome bonus (max $4k) to get you off to a great start with bonus code SNGPLANET. Check out Lock Poker now via this link.
You can read my Lock Review over at SNG Planet.
11 – PKR Poker
Another stand-alone site, this one is very different from your average poker sites – with the software giving an amazing interactive 3d gaming experience with personalized avatars. Pro grinders are simply not bothered with all these extras – which means the games are full of amateurs having fun. I recommend having a look at this poker site, it is not to everyone’s taste – but you can not help being impressed with how they put this product together.
- PKR Poker Review (We don’t have this one yet, it is on the ‘to-do’ list and coming soon!).
That’s it for this list – there are other networks and sites around including Bovada, Everleaf and the Winning Poker Network. I am keeping an eye on all the sites and will add the best of them (or just the most interesting!) as we go through 2013.
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