Everywhere you look in the poker side of the web it seems you can find poker room reviews. But the problem with most of them is the reviews are no more than thinly disguised advertisements for the rooms being reviewed.
Advertisements are fine, but when I find a page that claims to be a review I want to get a real review. It can be positive overall, but if the room has a negative or two I want to know about it. One excellent example for a complete review can be found at https://www.beatthefish.com/poker-reviews/betonline/
I might still play there even if a room does have a few bad things, because no poker room is perfect. But if a web site recommends a room to me and doesn’t tell me about anything I might not like, the odds of me trusting that web site again are almost nonexistent.
Here’s an overview of the main sections every poker room review should include.
Most poker players want to know how big the bonus is that they can get for signing up for a new room.
But they also need to know how to clear the bonus and everything about the terms and conditions.
Be aware that bonuses aren’t awarded right off the bat
Most poker bonuses are cleared in pieces, for example $10 at a time, and are released after playing a set number of raked hands or earning a certain number of player points. Players need a clear understanding of what’s required before making a deposit.
With all of the banking restrictions and varied laws around the world, it can be difficult to know where it’s safe and legal to play online poker. By keeping a current list of restricted countries for each poker room review, it’s a service to readers.
A potential player shouldn’t need to waste a half hour going over a review just to find out she can’t play at the room anyway.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
This might seem like a common sense section, but many reviews seem to ignore this important information. And if they include details they talk about deposits and don’t mention withdrawals.
Most poker rooms have numerous ways to make deposits, but players want to feel safe in the knowledge they can take their money out when they need to as well.
Poker Site Software
Many of the big poker rooms have proprietary software, which means they’re the only one using their particular system, but some rooms are skins and / or operate on a network with other poker rooms.
Nothing is necessarily good or bad or better about either of these situations, but it’s good to know before you start playing.
This is also a good place to include an estimate of player traffic numbers for the room and / or network.
Customer Service Contact Information
This may seem a bit strange because most poker rooms publish how to get in touch with support, but it’s good to know what kinds of support they offer when reading a review.
Do they offer phone support, live chat, e-mail, 24 – 7 service, or instant messenger?
In addition, sometimes it’s easier to find information on a review web site than in the software of a poker room.
Level of Competition
Most things included in a poker review are fairly straightforward. But the overall level of competition is subjective, such as the overall tendencies of the player base, reporting on flop percentages, the likelihood to call bluffs, etc.
It also requires that the reviewer has played quite a bit at the room, which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be a prerequisite for publishing a poker review.
Has the reviewer actually played at the poker room?
While it may seem like a reviewer would be required to play at a poker room before completing a review, the truth is many fine reviews are written by people who don’t play at the room in question. But this doesn’t mean they can’t do a good job.
Because of this, the level of competition is the only area on this page where it’s acceptable for the reviewer to state that they don’t know.
I do want to know the level of competition in comparison to other poker rooms, but I’d prefer a reviewer admit they don’t know instead of making something up.
In addition, a soft room in my opinion may seem more competitive to you and the opposite may also be true.
An Overall Poker Site Rating
You’ve probably seen reviews with and without ratings and at the end of the day it’s not the end of the world if a review doesn’t have a rating.
But I like ones with ratings so I can compare them to the other reviews on the same site. If I’m in a hurry I might simply pick the room with the best rating that accepts players where I live.
Even when you have time to read each of the reviews in more depth an overall rating can help you make a decision between two or more rooms that seem close in overall quality.
Conclusion on Poker Reviews
Years ago a decent poker room review may have been 400 to 500 words. Now the best online reviews may be 1,000 to 2,000 words or more.
As players have multiple choices of poker rooms and review sites, the ones that stand out are the ones that do the best job for the consumer. Look for poker room reviews that include the details listed above and you’ll always have a solid amount of information before you decide where to play.