Best Cash Game / Ring Game Poker Sites

Which poker sites offer the best ring games?

Looking to learn more about ring games and online poker?  This page aims to satisfy that need with a few straight-to-the point paragraphs that will explain the basics of ring games, talk about what makes a poker site a quality destination for ring game players and finally rank the best online poker rooms for ring games by a variety of factors.

What Are Ring Games?  Why Are They Called Ring Games?

Saying "ring game" is just another way of saying "cash game" - the two are synonymous.  The exact origins of the term are unclear, but there are a couple of possible explanations for why cash games also came to be called ring games.  The one we like best: Live poker rooms hosting a tournament needed a way to distinguish between cash tables and tournament tables.  During tournaments, cash tables are generally pushed to the outer edges of a room and tournament tables take up the center.   In this way, cash game tables literally form a ring around the tournament tables, an arrangement that perhaps at some point led players and staff to refer to them as "ring games."

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What Makes an Online Poker Site Better For Ring Games?

There are a number of factors that contribute to one poker room being a superior host for ring games.  Players looking for ring games online will want to research things like overall traffic (more is better), range of stakes available, rake structure, game variety and game softness - and that's just to name a few.  Many of these individual components are covered elsewhere on our site or can be easily surveyed by downloading the software for a poker room.  In most cases, you won't even need to make an account to garner the information you need to make an informed decision.

To get your process started, we've identified the top rooms for ring game play by a handful of criteria below.

Best Ring Games by Overall Volume: PokerStars

Traffic is perhaps the most critical component of a solid room for ring game play, and if PokerStars has any one quality no other room can match, that quality would be traffic.  The room outstrips the competition by such a massive chasm that it's hard to understand how another poker site could ever possibly hope to unseat Stars. 

That traffic advantage translates to the largest variety of ring games in terms of both stakes and games, which is going to be the overriding consideration for most players.  PokerStars also has a well-earned reputation for reasonable rake, stable software and reasonably soft games at the lower limits - a package of features that should make the room very appealing to anyone looking to play ring games online.

Best Ring Games by Softness: bet365 Poker

While bet365 Poker can't match PokerStars when it comes to traffic, the room does have something to offer ring game players that PokerStars lacks:  Soft games.  Admittedly, the ring games at bet365 span a smaller range of game types and stakes than PokerStars, but the games that you do find are generally going to feature weaker competition. 

This phenomenon is partially due to the core business of bet365 - sports betting and casino games - a business that draws a steady stream of casual bettors to the poker room.  Another factor: bet365 has so-called "premium tables" for ring games that are only available to players on bet365 (and not the iPoker Network at large).  Put it all together and you get a room that offers fewer ring games, but more opportunities for profit at the games that are available.

Best Ring Games for Low Stakes Players: 888 Poker

Low stakes online poker players tend to want a bit more entertainment for their poker dollar than those playing for a living.  888 Poker understands this desire, and accommodates it to a fuller degree than any other online poker room in the market.  Whether it's webcam tables, private games and leagues or the variety of mini-games and bonuses sprinkled throughout the low-stakes ring games in their lobby, 888 Poker has a strong track record of providing features and promotions designed to specifically cater to low-stakes run game players, a record that earns them the top spot in this category.

Top Ring Game Room for American Players: Carbon Poker

US players will find roughly the same level of micro-stakes to low-stakes ring game action at just about all rooms that still take American players.  When you start to move out of those stakes, you're left with essentially two choices: Carbon Poker (Merge Network) or Lock Poker (Revolution Network).  The two rooms have been engaged in an ongoing battle for traffic, and on any given day one might surge ahead of the other. 

Barring a significant change in that dynamic, we give the top honors here to Carbon Poker.  Recent software upgrades have improved the gameplay experience for ring game players, and Carbon seems slightly more focused on capturing ring game traffic, while Lock appears to have trained their focus a bit more on tournament players.

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