Throughout the rest of the world, the online poker market is dominated by operators who have been established the longest (888Poker), who have the biggest network of affiliates (iPoker) or who have the biggest marketing budgets (PokerStars); but in the US – where most of the online poker market is fragmented due to uncoordinated regulation – there is still the opportunity for new poker sites to emerge successfully.
Many new poker sites fly under the radar because they are launched with limited budgets or ill-conceived marketing plans, while others offer ambitious innovations which fail to capture the imagination and are largely ignored. However, there are a few new poker websites which successfully make the transition into the “mainstream”, and provide online poker players in the US with a solid and secure poker experience.
New Poker Sites Often Offer Value
The benefit of playing on new US poker sites is often that the site will be anxious to attract a player database as quickly as possible, and will offer added-value to players in terms of opening bonus offers or enhanced rewards. Many of these larger-than-average bonuses attract new players to the game, so new online poker sites can also be happy hunting grounds for experienced players taking advantage of a fresh food chain.
There is also a potential downside to new sites – and that is that the integrity of the sites is yet to be proven. Whereas with established sites, you usually know how long a cashout will take to be processed when you request it – and be fairly certain that it will arrive within a certain time frame – how can you be assured that the site has not been too generous with its opening offers and has any money left to pay you with?
Our Guide to New US Poker Sites
Our guide to new poker sites aims to illustrate what you should look for before registering an account with a new US poker site to ensure your security and the security of your bankroll. We also provide tips about clearing requirements for bonuses offered and tell-tale signs that the promotions on offer are not as good as they appear to be.
Our advice is based on our own personal experiences of playing at new poker sites. We have found that there are two golden rules for taking the most advantage of new sites:
- Always read the terms and conditions before registering an account
- If an offer looks too good to be true, it usually is!
Why Bother Reading Terms and Conditions?
As condescending as may be for us to advise readers of this, if you fail to read the terms and conditions for using an online poker site you have no complaints if the site fails to deliver what you expect it to. Many times we have heard stories of players being unable to cash out because they have not turned over their initial deposits x amount of times or because the site had a higher than average minimum cashout limit.
Players have found that they had only half as much time as they thought they had to clear a first deposit bonus or that it was released in chunks at certain milestones rather than being released incrementally. Players have had the number of tables they are allowed to play at restricted because of their slow betting action or not been allowed to enter a promotion because they had not achieved the eligibility requirements.
The terms and conditions of an online poker site are there to protect both the player and the company who is providing the games. Yes, they are boring. Yes, they are complicated. But, if you read and understand the terms and conditions of a new poker site you at least have a level playing field to start your experience at such a poker room. Obviously, if you don´t understand the terms and conditions, don´t register for an account!
Outstanding Offers – They Stand Out
Players should be more than usually suspicious of an offer from a new online poker site that looks too good to be true. Huge poker bonuses are often the headline promotions that attract players to new poker websites, but here are some considerations you should take into account before committing your entire bankroll in pursuit of a ludicrously outstanding offer:
What is the Level of Traffic at the Site?
If it is a brand new site, there is probably not a lot of traffic. You need a reasonable amount of traffic to have the competition to play against, in order to earn the player points to clear the first deposit bonus. With no players to play against, there is no chance of earning players points and no chance of clearing the attractive bonus. If a site is that good, it will offer reload bonuses and other promotions in the future. So keep your initial investment to a minimum and come back for more later on.
101% Rakeback – I´ll Have Some of That
Think about it for a minute. If a rakeback offer comes along that is way above the industry average, ask yourself how a company can afford to be so generous. Sure, it could be loss-leading to generate some business at the tables, but once it has committed to paying players more than they contribute in rake, how is it going to recover that money? Only by cutting corners in other areas of their service – that´s how.
Leopards Don´t Change Their Spots
The hardest thing for players to be aware of in advance is how secure their playing experience will be; however there are a couple of tell-tale signs that a new online poker site may be unsafe. Try to find out who is behind the site. Do not fall into the trap of believing poker professions who have been paid to promote it. Use Google to find out if they have a history of providing players with a secure poker environment. If he or she has a good reputation, it is more likely that your money is safe and the site will quickly be filled with satisfied players from their previous project. Avoid if the feedback is bad.
You can also check to see that there is adequate customer support with a telephone or live chat facility (avoid sites that only offer customer service by email – PokerStars obviously being the exception) and make sure that any financial transactions are conducted over a secure server. You can also use poker forums to see if any players have had good or bad experiences with the site.
Be Sure to Visit Frequently – We Will!
There is no doubt that there are advantages to registering an account with a new poker site. As new online poker sites start up, we will be updating the information on this page to let you know of safe destinations where you can make the most of these advantages. You should also be sure to follow our poker news pages where the latest promotions and offers usually appear first.