High traffic poker sites cannot be beaten when it comes to options. You can play in anything from the lowest of low stakes games to the nosebleed high stakes games and find active tables day or night. Whether you’re a classic Texas Holdem player or like to mix it up with the most obscure forms of poker, high-traffic sites have what you need.
With bigger tournaments, more money to win, and more ring games to choose from, popular poker sites do an excellent job providing something for everyone. Low traffic sites do have their charm, but it is my opinion that every serious poker player should keep an account open with at least one of the following poker sites.
As you can see here, PokerStars is the undisputed leader in terms of traffic. No other poker site even comes close at this point. If all you want is the absolute largest, most trafficked poker site in the world, PokerStars should be your first stop. If you’ve already tried PokerStars and didn’t find it to be your cup of tea, 888Poker is on the next tier down also boasts very healthy traffic numbers.
I have ranked the online poker rooms on this page according to their average traffic numbers and the “24-hour peak,” which is the largest number of ring game players that have been online at once over the past 24 hours. These numbers all come from the ever-useful PokerScout.com.
Why You Should Play on a High Traffic Poker Site
Large poker sites offer several distinct advantages over their smaller, lesser-trafficked competitors.
- Table Selection
- Bigger and Better Tournaments
- High Stakes Action
- Obscure Forms of Poker
With more players online at any given time, you have the advantage of table selection. If you find yourself at a tight table full of skilled players, you’re just a few clicks away from a new, looser table. Being selective in which tables you play at is the simplest thing you can do to increase your win rate.
It’s always faster to find the tables you want at the busiest poker sites. If you have a specific game in mind, there’s no wait for tables to fill and games to run. It can sometimes be a long wait to get a good game going at a smaller site. Sometimes, the game you want never even gets going at a small site.
Multi-tabling is also more feasible at the most popular sites. Do you need to have 4+ tables running at a time to stay interested in the game? Well, a high-traffic site is what you need. You won’t have any problems finding multiple tables at any stakes when you play at a big-name provider.
Bigger and Better Tournaments
High traffic poker sites are home to the biggest tournaments where even a small buy-in can return thousands of dollars in winnings. Large poker sites are home to six and seven-figure guaranteed tournaments that don’t cost an arm and a leg. If you want to play for big money, you need to visit a big poker site.
Popular poker sites are also home to the best satellites that send you to major live events worldwide. Big sites like PokerStars have the resources and traffic numbers to support cheap satellites that send you to major tournaments like the World Series of Poker, WPT events, and EPT events. The biggest poker sites are home to the best satellites.
The same concept also applies to sit-n-go tournaments. Bigger sites have such a huge selection of SNGs that a new game is starting all the time. You’ll find low-level SNGs, high stakes SNGs, and even multi-table SNGs that start as soon as 18, 45, 90, or 180 players take a seat. Rarely is there a significant delay as you wait for a tournament to fill.
High Stakes Action
The biggest cash games happen at the biggest poker sites. Whether you like to railbird the big games or want to give it a shot for yourself, high traffic poker rooms have the player base to support the biggest games on the internet. It’s nothing for a major site to spread no-limit tables with stakes as high as €50/€100 with a €10,000 buy-in and even $500/$1,000 games with $100,000 buy-ins.
A few low-traffic sites also host high-stakes tables, but it’s rare to find active tables at those levels. Only the busiest poker rooms actually have active tables at all stakes. The biggest players congregate at the biggest poker sites.
Obscure Forms of Poker
By “obscure forms of poker,” I mean pretty much anything other than Texas Holdem. Games like Pot Limit Omaha, 7-Card Stud, Razz, and HORSE are generally pretty dead at smaller sites. You need to visit a busy poker room to find action in the more obscure formats.
It’s a simple matter of numbers; any game other than Texas Holdem has way fewer players. Smaller poker sites have enough trouble keeping the regular Texas Holdem games running at all levels. Bigger sites have so many more players that even when just a small percentage of those people are into other games, there are enough people to keep these less-popular games running.
High traffic poker sites are the least likely to have cash flow issues and shut down overnight at a site like PokerStars, where there are almost always at least 20,000 people online at any given time rakes in the money day after day. The financial stability afforded by high traffic numbers keeps the biggest sites in business year after year.
It’s not as much a sure thing at smaller poker sites where you’re lucky to find 200 active ring game players at any given time. There’s not as much money coming in, and things can get tight if that poker site has any unexpected cash flow issues. The biggest poker sites are almost always the safest sites.
The One Big Disadvantage
There is one major, undeniable disadvantage to playing at a high-traffic poker site: competition. The best players in the world are drawn to the biggest poker sites because they need those high-stakes games and the ability to multi-table all day long. Thus, you’re more likely to run into skilled players at the largest sites.
The good news is that you can usually avoid the best players by practicing table selection with so many people online. However, you need to keep your eyes open and be willing to change tables if you find yourself seated at a table with too many sharks. In general, smaller sites have a smaller percentage of skilled players.
In my opinion, this disadvantage is minor. As long as you’re paying attention and have the presence of mind to leave a table when it takes a turn for the worse, you won’t have too many problems with the sharks. You need to stay aware and keep an eye on the competition.