Most Popular Poker Sites

Which poker sites are the most popular poker rooms online?

Unfortunately for some, popularity doesn't stop mattering in high school.  In the online poker industry, for example, popularity is directly correlated to profitability.  That's why so many online poker rooms are willing to spend so many millions of dollars to convince players that their room is the most used, the most envied, the most celebrated - in short, the most popular.  In our exploration of popular poker rooms online, we're going to more closely examine the issue of online poker room popularity - specifically, why it should matter to you - and then drill down the list of today's most popular online poker rooms. 

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Why Play at the Most Popular Room?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that all online poker rooms offer more or less the same experience.  Quite the opposite is true; while perhaps a bit unfair, popular poker rooms are simply more likely (and more able) to offer players unique incentives and features that less-popular rooms can't match.  Some examples:

Popular Rooms Offer the Most Innovations:  The majority of innovations brought about by online poker - fast-fold, multi-tabling, unique tournament formats - have either been developed or championed by one of the big three poker rooms.  Big rooms simply have a better budget, more incentive and a superior launch platform for innovation than their smaller counterparts.

Popular Rooms Provide Superior Game Variety: By and large, game variety is just a math problem.  The more players you have, the broader variety of games you can support.  While there's a bit more to it than that in practice, the core fact of the matter is that popular rooms end up being the only rooms that can realistically support a full spectrum of games and limits - a fact that only serves to increase the room's popularity.

Popular Rooms Generate the Biggest and Most Consistent Promotions:  Another simple math problem here - who can roll out more big-ticket promotions?  Is it the popular room with millions in rake flowing in per month, or the smaller poker sites with only thousands?  While smaller rooms might feature a big promotion every now and again, it's the popular rooms that put up big-number promotions week in and week out.

Popular Rooms Generally Have the Weakest Competition: This is more of a rule of thumb than an absolute lock, but the logic behind the assertion is pretty compelling.  It's not easy to attract casual (read: weak) players; it costs a lot of money to cast a promotional net wide enough to catch players from a mainstream audience.  Small rooms may get a bit of random walk-in traffic from weak players, but popular rooms have a steady flow of less-experienced players constantly coming through the virtual doors.  Unfortunately, popular rooms are also popular among skilled players, so the advantage is compromised somewhat, but for those willing to do the work to weed out weak players, popular rooms will usually prove to be the most fertile ground.

Most Popular Online Poker Rooms: Overall

PokerStars is far and away the largest online poker room, which to us is effectively the same as saying it's the most popular online poker room.  With over six times the player base of the next-largest poker room, the advantages detailed above are in full effect for PokerStars.  The room hosts more games at more limits at more times than any other real-money poker room on  the planet.  As suggested by our earlier analysis, these advantages constitute a bit of a virtuous cycle for PokerStars - the room basically becomes more and more popular simply because the room is already popular.

While PokerStars does dominate the market, there is another online poker room that bears mention in this list: bet365 Poker.  As a member of the iPoker Network, bet365 is part of the second largest poker room online.  Where bet365 shines, however, is in the full suite of wagering products it offers players, including casino, bingo and what is reported to be the most popular In-Play sports markets of any company, anywhere.  That combination of popularity across a variety of wagering products provides bet365 with an edge that some players might find very compelling indeed.

Top Room by Popularity for US Online Poker Players

Interestingly enough, no one poker room dominates the market for US players.  As opposed to the global market, where PokerStars outstrips the next five rooms combined, the online poker sites serving the US market exist in a fairly tight traffic spectrum.

At the time of this article, the title of most popular poker room for American online poker players is virtually a coin flip between Lock Poker (Revolution Gaming Network) and Carbon Poker (Merge Poker Network).  Both rooms boast very similar levels of traffic for cash games and tournaments, with overall traffic levels that have been nearly identical over the last few months.  It should further be noted that the traffic gap between these rooms and other rooms serving the US market such as Bovada and BetOnline Poker is relatively minor, noticeable mostly at the higher stakes and in the tournament lobby.

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