How to Get the Most from New Online Poker Rooms
Even the giants of today’s online poker world were new at one point. These days, new poker sites are coming online all the time. Sometimes these are new ‘skins’, joining established poker networks that pool together players. Other new rooms are stand-alone – building a player base from scratch. There are even novel sites, for example those which work only with cryptocurrencies.
This page gives you everything you need to get the most from the newest online poker sites. This includes the risks and rewards, as well as they key questions to ask before you deposit real money. Here is what you will find below:
There are many great reasons to get into a poker room while it is new. Two stick out for me. These are to take advantage of the (often big) marketing budgets new sites have – and to enjoy easy poker games before too many pro-grinders get established.
Marketing Budgets:This applies more to sites which are building a player base from scratch than to new network ‘skins’. To become a player in the industry, a new site will need to attract enough people into the games to keep things busy.
They do this by offering big incentives – especially early on. These can take the form of a big welcome bonus, free tournaments and rewards for playing higher volume. After a few months, this initial cash injection might start to run dry. If you want to take advantage of the best offers, it can pay to get in early.
Lack of Pros:People who make a living (or good income) from online poker need to see a large volume of games. While a site is new, there will rarely be enough action to keep the multi-tabling pros interested. With more amateurs / recreational players at each table than on the bigger poker sites – the games will often be noticeably softer.
Again, this will not last too long. Soon enough those pros will be attracted to the soft games. As the volume of players at a new site increases, some will become established. If you get in early with a new poker room, you will find the games a lot more profitable!
It is not all positives when it comes to getting into a new poker brand early. This section covers some of the main drawbacks. These include a lack of choice in the table and tournament selection, plus a lack of track-history of honouring payments and bonuses.
Smaller Choice of Games:When a poker room first starts out, there may only be a few cash game tables at the buy-in levels you are interested in playing at. This can be a problem if they are full. You might need to wait for a seat – or for a new table to fill up.
This lack of players is especially marked in the poker tournament area. To run a successful tournament schedule, a large number of players are needed. This means lower guaranteed prize pools, and far smaller fields than at established sites. There is an upside here. If the new site has tournaments with guarantees, there may be ‘overlays’ if not enough players are available to join.
Lack of Payment History:Building a trusted brand takes time. Newer sites will not yet have had a chance to build trust with the player community. This often takes several years of fast cash-outs and honouring bonus payments.
There are some things you can do to make up for this lack of reputation. Checking the ownership of a site (and any scandals in the owner’s past) is a great starting point. You can also look for their licensing information – and make sure that their deal is independently tested.
Safety of your deposit and security are the first things you should check before joining a new poker site. You’ll also want to make sure that the games you want, and ongoing rewards match your expectations. I recommend taking a few minutes to check the following before your sign-up:
If you are depositing at a site which has not yet had the time to build a trusted reputation – extra safety measures are welcome.
The exact deposit methods available will depend on whether this poker site welcomes US players or not.
Credit Cards:This is the simplest deposit option, though also requires a level of trust which newer sites have not yet had a chance to build. Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Maestro cards are all welcomed by online poker rooms. If you prefer not to give you card info to an untested site, there are plenty of alternatives. These include prepaid Visa cards, the type you can buy from gas stations and convenience stores.
Bitcoin:This (along with other cryptocurrencies) is a popular method of depositing and withdrawing from offshore US sites. The big advantage is that it is completely secure, and you will never need to share any card or banking information with the new poker site. Setting up a wallet and buying some Bitcoin is very simple these days. Most rooms that use this method have guides to take you through the steps.
Money Transfer:Services like Western Union and MoneyGram can be used to (indirectly) send money to poker rooms. You’ll be sending the cash to an individual, named by the site. This will be reconciled with your poker account. Among established sites, this is an established deposit method. It can sometimes be used for withdrawals too.
Electronic Wallets:Outside of the US, I recommend picking an ‘eWallet’ service to use for any gambling site deposit. These include Neteller and Skrill. PayPal is the best-known example, though you will not find it used at newer sites. The advantage here is that you can hold cash in an online wallet and use it for all deposits. This effectively separates your bank and the site – giving you extra security.
There are many local deposit options in different countries which provide a mix of voucher systems, 3rdparty gateways between your bank and the sites or virtual credit cards.
There are some real benefits in seeking out new poker rooms. These go beyond the big bonuses and sign-on incentives offered in a big to attract players. The real benefit comes from the lack of pros (thanks to lower volume of games) at the start. This keeps the games easy to beat, giving you a great chance to build up a poker bankroll.
Caution is required – as by its very nature a new site has not yet had the time to build the trust that established sites have. There are many things you can look for, which together show that the new site is more likely to be reputable. These include licensing, tested deals and a look at whether the owners have been involved in past scandals.