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The 25 Different Online Poker Platforms
If you count them by URL, there are hundreds of different online poker rooms to choose from. However, strictly speaking there are only maybe 50 unique platforms, out of which fewer still actually have high traffic volumes. The remainder are "skins" of existing platforms, many of which share the same software and player base.
Some rooms are stand-alone (like Pacific Poker, PokerStars, Paradise Poker etc.) whereas other large brands share a network (e.g. the Cryptologic network, which serves InterPoker, Sun Poker and others). Large networks with small individual rooms comprise the bulk of online poker venues.
The various poker room platforms share many similarities in terms of game functionality and general set-up. Still, there are important differences for you as a player. Because of the differences in games offered, bonuses and promotions, most players will clearly benefit from anteing up at at least a handful of online poker rooms.
The key differences between poker rooms are:
- Players' skill levels: There are actually big differences in the skill level of players between rooms, making it far easier to break even or win money at some rooms. For current ratings check out our top list with easy-to-win rooms.
- Game volume: The volume of certain types of games varies dramatically. Some examples: share of games in short-handed version (5- or 6-player tables), share of games in mid or high limits (e.g. $10-$20 Limit and higher or $2-$5 No-Limit and higher), relative proportion of tournaments and number of non-Texas Hold'em games offered (like Omaha, 7-Card Stud, 5-Card Stud, Draw poker, Triple Draw, etc).
- Promotion value: The value of promotions - sign-up and reload bonuses, loyalty/points programs, freerolls and other freebies - offered to players is something to keep an eye on as well; there can be dramatic contrasts from one room to the next.
- Software: The technology behind poker rooms is yet another deciding factor. Some rooms have vastly superior graphics, playability and stability.