“Poker takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master”, said Mike Sexton, Poker Hall of Fame member, who currently has $6.7 million in live tournament winnings to his name. He wasn't far off the mark, either! In this article, we will list the best UK online poker sites and provide a complete online guide, so that you will have everything you need to know to start playing online poker today.
- Poker Guide – How to Play Online Poker
- The Best Online Poker Sites UK Ranked
- Best Poker Sites UK – Ranked
- Best Online Poker Sites UK Reviewed
- What is iPoker?
- Different Online Poker Types
- Blinds, Stakes, Bets
- Online Poker Sites UK Tips
- Poker Tax and Legality in the UK
- Online Poker UK FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
Poker Guide – How to Play Online Poker
Poker is one of the world’s most famous card games. Decidedly complex in nature, success is earned through skill rather than luck. Each week of the year, million-dollar poker tournaments run with thousands of players in attendance, professionals and amateurs alike. Some of these are designed for high rollers, while others are for low-stakes players. You can tell the different tournaments apart by their buy-ins and prize pool. The highlight of live poker’s year is the World Series of Poker (WSOP), that takes place every May in Las Vegas and runs until July.
2001’s famous online poker boom saw an amateur player (and full-time accountant) from Atlanta named Chris Moneymaker (what a name!) qualify for the WSOP Main Event through an $86 online satellite, before going on to win the whole event for $2.5 million. This brought about an explosion of online payers who thought they could pull off a similar feat.
This internet revolution meant that poker players now had the chance to join games from the comfort of their own home. Throughout the last 20 years, the industry has evolved so much that it is now responsible for at least 10% of the income of major gambling networks – a percentage that’s still increasing.
Playing online poker is as simple as joining a poker room, making a deposit, receiving your cards, and fighting for the pots.
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
18+ - Offer for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org #ad
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org #ad
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
New Paddy Power Poker customers only. Deposit & Spend €20 to receive €40 in bonuses + entry to a €1,000 freeroll tournament. The bonus is released once €20 is spent on MTT Tournaments, Twisters or SitNGos only. T&Cs apply
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
New customer offer. Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards or Apple Pay will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org #ad
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. See full terms below. Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org #ad
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
18+ New UK+ ROI Customers only. Deposit & Bet min £5 as first bet at minimum odds 1/2 to qualify for 1x £20 Free Bet. Certain deposit methods and bet types excluded. Free bet valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions apply. Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org #ad
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first 5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x 5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org #ad
Best Poker Sites UK – Ranked
#1 – partypoker
#2 – PokerStars
#3 – bet365
#4 – 888poker
#5 – Unibet
#6 – Paddy Power
#7 – Betfair
#8 – William Hill
#9 – Coral
#10 – Ladbrokes
Best Online Poker Sites UK Reviewed
Online Poker UK Site #1 – Party Poker
partypoker is one of the oldest poker sites around and is the fifth most popular site in terms of traffic. The site re-entered the UK poker market with a UKGC licence, and has since become one of the most popular platforms of its kind. With one of the best cashback promotions around for any online poker site, offering a guaranteed 40 – 60% cashback, the site is best for recreational players, though there are plenty of pros who love it as well. In addition, new players will get £40 free play in tournament tickets after making a £10 deposit.
Online Poker UK Site #2 – PokerStars
Online traffic stats declare Pokerstars to be the number one poker site in the UK and the world. They have the biggest offer of poker games and tournaments available to UK players, with 26 types of tournaments. Their most prominent tournament is the Sunday Million, with a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million.
New players can enjoy two major welcome offers:
- Play for free and win up to £10,000
New players will get 10 spin and go tickets, each of which has a chance to win the top prize of £10,000 (existing players will get 3 tickets). No deposit needed! Use Promo Code 10KSPIN to claim the bonus.
- £20 Free Play for first deposit
New players who have never made a deposit can get a £20 welcome offer. Deposit £10 and you will get £20 in tournament tickets as a bonus. Use Promo Code TWENTY to claim the bonus.
Online Poker UK Site #3 – bet365 Poker
bet365 is, of course, one of the top UK betting sites. Besides sports and casino, they also offer a great poker client, together with their own unique poker setting where you can play against other players on tables. The bookie's decidedly smaller tournaments, offering prizes up to £1,000, make it a great site for beginners. New players can get a €365 welcome bonus, as well as a spin on the Welcome Prize Wheel.
bet365 Premium League
Besides all these promotions, bet365 also has a fun promo that combines football with poker. The bet365 Premium League lets you predict football outcomes for a chance to win up to £/€1,000 in cash.
- Available on bet365 Poker – Opt in, make Premier League predictions and complete your mission. Prizes are awarded for correct predictions, up to €1,000 cash. Opt-in required. Predict the results of Premier League games and complete missions to get a freeroll ticket each week. Correct predictions award prize wheel spins and leaderboard points. Players in the top position will receive a share of up to €500 cash. Time limits, mission restrictions and T&Cs apply.
Online Poker UK Site #4 – 888poker
888 is famous for its sports and casino sites, but the company also has its own unique poker site. 888poker is a global brand, offering its services to players all over the world. The site boasts modern safety features, intuitive software, and a wealth of tournament options.
The free to play mode, along with the tutorials available, also makes 888poker a great site for newbies. On the flip side, it's also frequented by famous players such as Dominik Nitsche, Chris Moorman, Vivian Saliba, Martin Jacobson, and Kara Scott – which says a lot about its reputation and performance!
New players can get a £20 no deposit bonus, as well as a 100% bonus up to £100 (promo code: WELCOME100) for their first deposit.
Online Poker UK Site #5 – Unibet Poker
Unibet is one of the largest online bookies in the world. While the company originated in Sweden, it has become of the most popular betting destinations in Europe – including the UK – and beyond. Part of its success is owed to the quality and diversity of betting options available; besides sports, casino and bingo, Unibet players can also play poker on one of the biggest networks in the world. Unibet offers its own poker client, though you can also play on the website with no download needed.
Aside from all the above, Unibet also offers some of the best promos on any UK poker site. New depositing players will get:
- £20 welcome bonus (four €5 Unibet UK Tour qualifier tickets + one €8 NL4 Cash game ticket)
- Free Entry to 4 x weekly €500 Welcome Freerolls
- £500 progressive bonus
What is iPoker?
While the sites we mentioned above each have their own, unique poker network, certain platforms work together. This gives players access to a much larger network, allowing them to play against players registered on various other poker sites in the UK or around the world. One of the biggest and best networks is undoubtedly iPoker, the network used by major UK sites like Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill, Coral and Ladbrokes.
When you play poker on one of these sites, you are playing against the same players, games and tournaments as the players on all the rest of them. The bigger the network, the bigger the prizes, the more promotions, and the more players.
The iPoker network is great for both new and experienced players, offering low- and micro-stakes Texas Hold’em and Omaha games. With cash games 24/7, Turbo Sit & Go’s, and daily multi-table tournaments, iPoker has some of the best poker offerings.
Best iPoker Sites
Even though iPoker sites use the same software, each site has its own welcome offer and conditions.
Online Poker UK Site #6 – Paddy Power Poker
Besides some of the most diverse betting options, Paddy Power also has an excellent poker offer through iPoker. Deposit & Spend €20 to receive €40 in bonuses + entry to a €1,000 freeroll tournament. The bonus is released once €20 is spent on MTT Tournaments, Twisters or SitNGos only.
Online Poker UK Site #7 – Betfair Poker
Betfair is famous for exchange betting, where bettors can choose their own odds and back or lay bets against other punters. However, their poker offering, which also uses iPoker software, has been getting more attention in recent years. For new players, Betfair poker offers a 200% match bonus up to £200 + two €250 freeroll tickets.
Online Poker UK Site #8 – William Hill Poker
William Hill is no unfamiliar name to seasoned casino and sports bettors, and they have an excellent offer for poker as well. New players on their poker page will get up to £100 deposit bonus, plus 6 free twister entries.
Online Poker UK Site #9 – Coral Poker
Coral is most famous for football betting, though the site has a great poker client as well. Besides an excellent offer of Sit & Go’s, tournaments and freerolls, Coral Poker also offers $30 in free tickets for new depositing players, an excellent cashback up to 40% and a $1,200 daily freeroll.
Online Poker UK Site #10 – Ladbrokes Poker
Ladbrokes is one of the top UK bookies, offering their own downloadable poker client. Similar to Coral, new players at Ladbrokes can enjoy $30 in free tickets, along with a daily $1,200 freeroll for all players.
Different Online Poker Types
Online poker UK sites offer a wide array of games from which to choose. While beginners usually play freeroll tournaments or low buy-in games, high rollers or pro players are more likely to choose Sit & Go’s with high limits, even though everyone wants a chance to win a million-dollar tournament.
In Texas Hold'em, you are dealt two-hole or pocket cards, and there are 4 rounds of betting that each precedes a card reveal. Firstly, players make their blind bets before any community cards have been revealed. This is referred to as ‘pre-flop'. When all bets are in, the first three community cards are revealed, which is known as ‘the flop'. By now, players will have 5 cards to pick from and a better understanding of their likelihood of winning the hand. Another round of betting ensues before we reach the Turn, where the fourth card is added to the middle, before betting once more prior to the River, the final card reveal. The aim of the game is to make the best five-card combination using any of your 2-hole cards and any of the 5 communities. Or, if your best possible hand is really weak, make it look like you have a strong hand by bluffing.
In Omaha Hi-Lo, each player is dealt four-hole cards, while five community cards are dealt face-up on the table. Like Hold’em, players use exactly two cards from their pocket cards to combine with community cards to form a winning hand. Unlike Hold’em, they have four-hole cards to choose from, and MUST use exactly half of them. The pot is then divided between the best hand for high and the best hand for low.
Sit and Go’s
Sit and Go’s are popular modern online games that appear in Hold’em and Omaha editions. Usually played six-handed, they start as soon as all players have bought in. They are single table mini-tournaments whose prize pool is determined by the size of the buy-in.
Jackpot Sit And Go’s
Jackpot Sit and Go’s are exactly the same as above except that, before play can start, a spinner decides the prize pool, which can be as much as 10-100 times the buy-in. Note that all poker rooms offer their own take on this, the most common among bookmakers being iPoker’s Twist. In some rooms, players can buy-in for £100 and play for £1,000,000 if the spinner hits the jackpot.
All-in Flip Tournaments
With all-in tourneys, the luck element is re-introduced to poker. The game’s mechanic is such that players are dealt their cards before the computer chucks all player chips into the middle. This keeps on repeating until a winner is found. In some cases, such as in the jackpot sit-and-go game Blast from 888poker, players have to play under a timed countdown before the game switches to all-in play.
Knock Out Bounty Games
You will find some Multi Table Tournaments (MTT) and sit-and-go tournaments at poker rooms, where the prize money is divided between adding to the prize pool and putting money on another player – or you yourself. This effectively means that you or they have a bounty on your head, and whoever knocks you out can claim that bounty as an added income from the game.
Blinds, Stakes, Bets
In the games lobby, you'll see the different formats we outlined above, such as Texas Hold'em and Omaha HiLo. Then you have your limits, such no limit or pot limit. These can be seen in the way your game is listed in the lobby; for example, NLHE means that the game will be No Limit Hold’em, while PLO denotes Pot Limit Omaha. Then, you'll have table stakes, for instance $0,25/$0,50, which is NL50.
This is related to the maximum bet you can place during a hand. If the table is No-Limit, you can, if you so wish, go all-in and put all your chips into the centre of the table any time. However, when playing Pot Limit, players can bet up to the total amount already put in the pot.
The small blinds and big blinds are enforced bets at the start of the hand before players know the first three community cards (pre-flop). Which player makes the big blind and which player makes the small blind is dependent on where they are sitting in relation to that hand’s dealer. Blinds represent the minimum bets at the table, and in some games are related to the maximum buy-in you can make. For example, an NL$1/$2 table refers to a No-Limit game with a minimum bet of $2.
What is interesting about poker is that not always the player with the best hand wins. There is always the possibility to bluff, leading your opponents to believe you have the best hand. Bluffing is usually transmitted by your actions and behaviour.
Poker Hand Strengths
|Royal Flush||The strongest hand in poker, consisting of Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all from the same suit.|
|Straight Flush||The straight flush is composed of five consecutive cards of the same suit.|
|Four of a kind||Four of a kind is made up of four cards of the same rank such as tens.|
|Full House||A full house is a combination of two other hands, three of a kind and a pair.|
|Flush||Five cards of the same suit make a flush.|
|Straight||Five consecutive cards are called a straight.|
|Three of a kind||A three of a kind includes three cards of the same rank.|
|Two-pair||Two pair hands are composed of two separate pairs.|
|Pair||A pair is simply two cards of the same rank.|
|High card||If you don't even have a pair, then all you have is a high card, the highest solitary card in your hand.|
Online Poker Sites UK Tips
There are many online resources out there allowing you to study and deepen your understanding of poker, including strategies and even advanced mathematics!
Below, we've included a few excellent tips of our own that should have you winning hands and sharpening your game in a matter of days.
1. Take Advantage of Freerolls, Deposit Bonuses and Other Promos
One way to learn how to play poker online is by taking advantage of the many welcome offers at various UK poker sites. Most have a great no deposit offer, along with a deposit bonus for your first deposit. This bonus often comes in the form of free tickets to major tournaments, so this is a good way to gain experience and get in with the chance of winning major prizes.
2. Know When to Fold and Do Not Chase Losses
Knowing when to fold is the most important part of poker strategy; it will limit your losses and give you more chances at winning games. On the other hand, trying desperately to win back lost cash is the best way to go full tilt and lose everything.
3. Know When to Withdraw
You have not made any profit as long as your winnings are still on your poker account. As long as money is there, you will get tempted to play it. At a certain point, you will need to withdraw. Set a point in time during a game when you will do so, and stick to it.
4. Set Up Your Work/Play/Grind Station
Playing online poker doesn’t necessarily require a powerful PC – at least, not at first. Once you begin to play multiple tables or install third-party software, you might want to look into upgrading to a gamer’s PC with plenty of RAM and up-to-date graphics cards. The size of your monitor isn’t too important, so don’t get bogged down looking for a huge screen, especially as a good grinding station will require more than one. Instead, pay more attention to screen resolution and whether or not it is HD.
Keyboards are not as critical as other items in your set-up, but remember that MTTs can go on for hours, so comfort is key. This means having a reasonably spacious desk and a comfortable, supportive chair. Other than that, make sure your WiFi is stable, and that you have back-up connection just in case it falters or is interrupted.
5. Shut Out All Distractions
Once you have set up your perfect grinding station, make sure it is free from distractions and is as quiet as possible. Music is fine; many live poker players take to the tables wearing earphones to shut out diversions, such as other players fiddling with their chips, trash talking or other background noises. At home, music could shut out personal sounds coming from the TV, kids, pets or other members of your family.
6. Eat, Drink and Sleep
Many people regard poker as a mind sport; not unlike chess which also requires careful planning and strategising. It is therefore worth giving some thought to your diet, as it will play a big role in any success you might go on to enjoy. Food, nourishment and nutrition are all important factors if you are to last long in a lengthy poker tournament. Preferably, start the day with a breakfast rich in both protein and carbohydrates, and stick to foods with a low glycaemic index such as eggs, beans, grain, whole rice, and of course vegetables, seafood and lean meat. It also goes without saying that you should always stay hydrated, and the best way to do this is by sticking to good old fresh water.
Poker Tax and Legality in the UK
The current laws regulating poker tax date to the end of 2014, which is when the UK government implemented various changes in taxation for online gambling operators.
To eliminate all doubt, online poker is still 100% legal and 100% tax-free (for players) in the UK.
UK Gambling Taxation Laws
Since December 2014, all operators wishing to offer games of chance in the UK must have a licence from the UK Gambling Commission. Additionally, they must pay a 15% tax on all their income from UK players. This 15% Point of Consumption (POC) tax applies to all UK poker sites.
Tax Is Paid by Operators, Not Players
The POC tax applies only to online poker operators in the UK; individual players are exempt.
Previously, betting shops in the UK used to charge 9% on a player’s winnings, withholding a percentage in order to pay the tax they owed. Luckily, this system was eliminated in 2001, when Gordon Brown's government introduced changes in legislature.
Now, whether you play poker, bet on sports or play casino games, online or at land-based bookies or casinos, you can claim your winnings tax-free.
Online Poker UK FAQs
In terms of best poker sites for UK players, we recommend Pokerstars and partypoker.
Yes, 100%. As long as you play at a licensed UK poker site, you can enjoy playing legally and tax-free!
Pokerstars is definitely one of the best UK poker sites. The site is number one in terms of traffic, and they offer access to some of the biggest tournaments and freerolls. They also have an excellent welcome offer.
While there been complaints of online poker sites being rigged, these claims are usually the result of frustrated players who cannot deal with losing. Poker sites make money from rake. That means they will make a profit no matter which player at the table wins the hand. As long as you play at a licensed UK poker site, you can rest assured that the games are 100% real and fair.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
While this site focuses primarily on sports, most sports punters will have at least noticed the poker options on various bookies’ websites. If you already have a sports account, you could consider the poker options available at your chosen bookmaker, though the above table shows the sites with the best options and promos for the game.
Poker is a game that does take time and effort to master. Still, it can be a fun and profitable hobby, if you practise enough!