Small poker sites offer advantages over their larger brethren. For a lot of poker players, these advantages are enough to draw them in. While PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com dominate the industry, there’s a lot of action taking place off the radar at the smaller rooms.
The problem is, how do you vet some of these rooms? Everyone knows Poker Stars and Full Tilt are reputable. They’ve climbed to the top based on their respective reputations. But what about the smaller sites? Can you trust them?
On this page, we’ll give you a list of our 5 favorite small poker rooms. These are sites we’ve put through our normal review process and watched them rise to the top. Before we get to this list, however, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should consider playing at these sites.
3 Reasons To Play At Small Poker Sites
The larger sites offer an enormous level of table traffic. Because of this traffic, they can organize massive tournaments. If either of those features are important to you, small poker rooms may be a less-than-ideal fit. On the other hand, consider the following…
#1 – Bigger Bonuses
Because they lack the name recognition of the bigger rooms, smaller poker sites are forced to work harder to attract players. It’s a matter of survival. One of the tools at their disposal is the sign-up bonus. A lot of smaller sites offer a bigger deposit match, or will match your deposit up to a higher dollar value.
#2 – Smaller Tournaments
Are you sick of competing against 3,000 other players for a piece of a tournament prize pool? If so, you’ll enjoy playing SNGs and MTTs at the smaller rooms. There are fewer players, which means less competition. Even though the prize pools are generally smaller, there are fewer opponents to take down on your way to the final table.
#3 – More Aggressive VIP Program
The VIP programs at the small poker sites tend to be more generous than those at the larger rooms. This is another example of their having to work harder in order to compete. These VIP programs often make it easier to clear your sign-up bonuses more quickly.
Top Small Poker Sites
We have spent years reviewing both large and small poker rooms. In that time, we’ve seen some of the smaller sites start from ground level and grow to usurp the positions of the larger rooms. Here are a few that are likely to give the bigger rooms a run for their money.
- Carbon Poker – Formerly known as Poker.com, Carbon Poker offers easy-to-use software, a large list of tournaments – including bounties, shootouts, and daily freerolls – and a generous sign-up bonus. You’ll also find a lot of games that are neglected by the bigger sites, such as Razz and Triple Draw. Claim a 200% match up to $2,000 by using bonus code “kickass”. Play Carbon Poker here!
- Bodog Poker – Bodog has consistently been a thorn in the side of the larger rooms. They lack the table traffic of the biggest sites, but enjoy a more recognizable brand than most small poker rooms. They also provide intuitive software, responsive customer support, and a surprising number of guaranteed tournament overlays. Bodog will give you a 110% match up $1,100 if you use bonus code “130347”. What’s more, you’ll receive 10% of the match instantly. Check out Bodog.com!
- Cake Poker – CakePoker.com may be one of the best known small poker rooms that nobody talks about. They’ve been in the online poker industry for several years and have quietly gained a following among fans. You’ll find straightforward poker software, an exciting list of tournaments – including guaranteed events, bounties, turbos, and freerolls – and a respectable level of table traffic. Use bonus code “KAP500″ to claim a 100% match up to $500. Play Cake Poker now!
If you’ve been playing at the largest rooms and want to experience a smaller playing environment, visit the small poker sites listed above. While they may not provide the waves of table traffic offered by the biggest rooms, they compete in areas that are just as enticing.
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