Last Updated on: 20/10/2023
Verified by Lee James Gwilliam
This complete guide to real money poker sites in the UK will provide all the key information you need to start playing poker online. We list the best poker sites right now, explain how to spot trustworthy casino sites that host poker, compare online play to live poker rooms, and reveal the best strategies specific to online poker to boost your winnings.
You probably have a few questions about online poker in the UK that you want answering. Here’s a list of the nine most important things you need to know.
There are many factors that go into deciding which poker sites are worth playing at, as you’ll see below. But before we get to the nitty gritty of what makes a great poker casino, here’s a quick list of the six best online poker sites right now.
Choosing the best online poker site in the UK can seem overwhelming at first. With so many options to pick from, how do you know which poker sites are right for you? Here we walk you through the key factors you need to consider when wading through the top UK poker sites for real money play.
There’s no such thing as a standard game of poker. Just like at the best blackjack casino sites, there are so many variants available, as well as variants of variants, that it can be hard to keep up. Here are the most popular versions you’ll find at the top poker casinos in the UK.
The most popular poker game worldwide, bar none. In Texas Hold'em you have to make the best 5-card hand from two hole cards and five community cards. Its straightforward rules and exciting rounds of betting make it appealing to both beginners and pros alike. Famed for the World Series of Poker Main Event, Texas Hold'em offers endless gameplay varieties through cash games, Sit & Gos, and large tournaments. Its dominance both online and in real life has cemented it as the no. 1 poker game.
Similar to Texas Hold'em but with key differences, Omaha is an appealing alternative. You get four hole cards instead of two, from which you use two along with three of five community cards to make your hand. Its pot-limit betting structure facilitates big pots and allows skillful players to leverage strong starting hands. Omaha's extra hole cards create more possibilities, and this added complexity is why some people prefer it to Hold'em.
Seven Card Stud enjoyed immense popularity before the unstoppable rise of Hold'em. You get two down cards and one up card to start, then three more up cards and a final down card. Of course, this inability to see all the cards increases the potential for deception. Games use structured limit betting, meaning you can only bet fixed amounts. Success in this game comes down to your ability to master hand strengths from partial information and remember exposed cards. As such, if you’re new to poker in general, you may find the learning curve is steeper than for Hold'em.
A variant focused on making the lowest hand, Razz uses Seven Card Stud rules but flips the hand ranking on its head. As such, the best hand is 5-high with different suits. Razz forces creative hand reading skills since opponents want to make weak-looking hands. Its slow structured betting gives it a relaxed pace that’s attractive to old-school poker purists. Patience and avoiding costly draws are the key to success in Razz tournaments and cash games.
HORSE is truly a poker tour de force. It mixes up gameplay by cycling between Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Stud, and Stud Hi-Lo. Playing five games one after another tests your versatility and adaptability, which are vital attributes in poker. HORSE emerged as mixed poker grew popular at the World Series of Poker. Competing at HORSE tables or tournaments requires mastering all game formats, including their varying rules and strategies. This diversity makes HORSE a favourite among well-rounded players looking to avoid repetitiveness.
Casino Hold'em plays out like a simplified Texas Hold'em, except you bet against the house dealer, not other players. Two hole cards are combined with five community cards (a three-card flop, plus a turn and river) to make the best hand versus the dealer. Optional side bets and flexible betting rules make it an easy introduction to poker card hands. This version of Hold’em is popular among casual players at online casinos.
You’ve probably seen video poker machines in pubs and clubs. They function much like real money slots, but use the poker hand rankings. Popular variants include Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild and Joker Poker, where strategically holding and discarding cards boosts payouts. Approachable for beginners, video poker also rewards mastery through optimal play strategies. Plus its solo pace may appeal to you if bluffing and deception aren’t your thing.
Live dealer poker games are where real cards are dealt by a human dealer, with each player tuning in via webcam. Of course, this is closer to what you would experience at a real casino, not least because you can chat with both the dealer and your opponents. Casino Hold'em and other simple variants work best for live play. The game speed can be slower, but you might think it’s worth it to enjoy an authentic poker atmosphere.
Whichever variant you choose, start playing with low stakes to get used to the rules and fast pace online.
The top UK poker sites will offer special perks and programmes to attract new players and reward regulars. Here's an overview of the main features and promotions that will allow you to play for longer.
Freeroll poker tournaments give you the chance to win real money or prizes even though entry is free. They are often promotional events to attract beginners or reward loyal players. Freerolls help you build up your skills as you can play without pressure or the fear of losing your own money. On the other hand, the player fields can be really large, which often means smaller prizes, and some come with strict eligibility requirements like new players only.
This is where you receive back a portion of the rake – which is essentially the poker site’s cut for hosting the game (read more about the rake and how it affects your strategy below). There are three types of rakeback that you might come across:
It therefore pays (literally) to do your research and find a poker site with the most generous rakeback for your preferred poker variant.
Loyalty schemes give you points for playing real money games that are redeemed for poker bonuses, merchandise, tournament entries, or free spins on some of the best UK slots. Generous programmes will allow you to accumulate points quickly and offer great prizes in return, whereas at other schemes it may take an age to turn your points into something you may actually want.
Always check that online poker contributes at least 10–15% to wagering requirements before accepting any offer. If not, poker games won’t help you unlock your winnings from the bonus funds.
Welcome offers like a deposit match or a no deposit welcome bonus can boost your bankroll. They typically require you to make an initial deposit at the poker site, which will then match what you put in up to a certain amount. Sometimes you don’t have to deposit any money at all and you’ll be given real cash to bet with.
But be warned: even the best welcome bonus casino will attach T&Cs that limit how much you can win, or require you to wager the bonus multiple times before you can claim a win, or (at broader online casinos) restrict poker from the bonus in part or altogether. So read the terms carefully before you sign up to anything.
Here are some of the best casino welcome bonuses available right now:
A cashback scheme is where the poker casino will give you back a percentage of your losses. How much can you expect back? Well, it varies from site to site, but around 10% is common. What you can do with this cash also depends on the casino – some will give it to you as bonus gambling money, similar to store credit in a shop, while other sites will let you withdraw it into your bank account to spend on whatever you like.
While poker variants have the same rules regardless of where you play, playing online is a very different beast to being in the same room as your opponents. Just like if you wanted to play online roulette, the digital format offers distinct opportunities and conventions that can influence your strategy and affect your experience. Understanding these key differences allows you to optimise your approach and win rate. Here is an in-depth comparison of real life poker versus online poker.
Of course, online poker at an operator like Party Casino is much more convenient than offline. You can play from the comfort of your own home at any time, so there’s need to travel to a poker room or wait for a seat. The variety of games and tournament formats is much wider than at most live cardrooms, including games with micro stakes that may well appeal to you if you’re a beginner. And as we saw above, many poker sites provide generous welcome bonuses and rewards unavailable at in-person casinos.
Added to that is the fact that player pools are significantly larger online, with poker sites attracting thousands of players from around the world together across cash games and tournaments. This means you'll always find full tables and huge tournament prize pools at all stake levels. And the pace of the online game is much faster – you get to play roughly twice the number of hands per hour due to faster automated dealing. Auto check/fold also makes multi-tabling easier by reducing required actions.
However, some people prefer the tangible cards, chips, and social dynamics of playing poker in person. Plus when you play online you can’t register people’s physical tells, which weakens your ability to analyse opponents – but conversely, it hides your giveaways too! Finally, for some people the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of the casino or cardroom is a major part of the live poker experience, and even live dealer poker struggles to recreate that.
Here’s a simple comparison of the differences between online and live poker:
So, we know what the main practical differences are between online and live poker, but what about gameplay and strategy? Specifically, how can you adapt your game online to take advantage of the different opportunities the format offers?
Our poker experts have put together this list of tips to help you succeed online.
When playing online poker, you'll come across mentions of a ‘rake’ taken from pots by the poker site. But what is it? Here's a basic explanation of the rake and how it impacts your earnings.
Simply put, the rake is a fee the poker site charges for providing the game. It's their revenue stream, which they need to cover costs and make profits. This rake is taken from the pot after each hand.
There are a few different rake models:
So how does this affect your strategy? Well, higher rakes result in lower long-term earnings. As a result, it may be better to play a tighter (more conservative) game when rakes are high, which means avoid paying to see a lot of flops by folding more. In general, your definition of a hand that is worth calling or raising may become narrower.
The rake also impacts the optimal stack-to-pot ratio (the ratio between the size of your remaining chip stack and the size of the pot in a given hand). For example, let's say you’re in a poker game that has a rake of 5% up to a max of £5 per pot. In a £100 pot, the rake would be the full £5. So if you had a £1,000 stack, betting £100 into that pot has a 10:1 stack-to-pot ratio, so the % rake impact is minimal.
However, if the game had a 10% rake up to £10, that same £100 pot now has a £10 rake taken. That means for you to have the same 10:1 stack-to-pot ratio, you’d need a stack of £2,000 in order to bet £100 into the pot.
In this example, the higher rake game required double the effective stack to maintain the same ratio. Keeping a larger effective stack minimises the rake's impact on winnings from any given pot. The high rake impacts stack strategy, forcing deeper buys.
When playing online poker for real money, safety should be one of your highest priorities. Don’t settle for anything less than legit UK poker sites with stringent security measures in place. Here's what to look for when figuring out the trustworthiness of top UK poker sites.
The best possible advice here is to only play at UK poker sites licensed by the UKGC. For sites to get this licence, they have to meet strict standards around safety, transparency, and responsible gambling. The UKGC also handles complaints against dodgy operators… whereas if you use an unlicensed poker site, you have nowhere to go if you suffer poor treatment. For the record, all online casinos recommended by Casinos.com, including each online poker site listed on this page, are fully licensed and regulated.
The best poker sites in the UK use advanced encryption to protect your personal and financial data. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology scrambles information during data transfers. This means that your passwords, banking details, and gameplay actions are all fully encrypted and kept out of the reach of hackers.
Reputable online poker sites also undergo regular auditing by eCOGRA and other third parties. This verifies their random number generators produce fair game outcomes. eCOGRA also checks payout percentages and enforces responsible gambling. So if you see their logo, you know the site is regularly checked for fairness.
You can double check if an operator is licensed by searching the UKGC database here. While you’re at it, you may also want to verify if they have certifications for responsible gambling standards, such as those promoted by GamCare.
And while we’re on the subject of responsible gambling, you may want to consider joining GAMSTOP. This handy tool allows you to self-exclude from all licensed UK gambling sites including poker sites. A casino that takes this issue seriously will promote GAMSTOP on its site, so it’s worth looking out for a link to the service.
On the other side of the coin, playing at unlicensed poker sites is extremely risky. They offer no protections or recourse for you if things go wrong. We encourage you to always verify UKGC licensing and look for certificates from eCOGRA and others. This guarantees you are gambling at legal, highly secure poker sites in the UK – like the ones on this page.
Just as the best baccarat casinos online regularly host tournaments for players, poker sites in the UK offer plenty of opportunities to pit your wits against others for huge prizes.
Online poker tournaments have lower buy-ins than most live tournaments, making them accessible to all bankrolls. Here's an overview of the major online game and tournament formats at the top online poker casinos.
The simplest form of poker game out there. You don’t need to buy into a tournament, or wait for a table to fill up – just join a table with some chips and start playing. And whenever you want to leave, you can. Other players don’t appreciate it when someone rocks up at a table, wins a couple of big hands, then makes a quick exit, but the beauty of the cash game is that you’re free to come and go as you wish.
The most popular online poker tournament format. These massive tournaments field hundreds or thousands of players competing for top prizes. Blinds increase over time to eliminate players until one winner remains.
These games begin as soon as six to ten players register at a table. The prize pool distribution is predetermined based on the field size. At Sit & Gos, you aren’t allowed to cash out or rebuy – everyone keeps going until they’re out, and the last person standing (or sitting, more likely) takes the top prize.
These provide entry into major live tournament events or online equivalents. Buy-ins are lower but prizes consist of seats to bigger tournaments. Satellites funnel large fields from small entries to big target events.
The best UK poker sites host major tournament series like Spring Championships and Summer Series. These high profile events have huge guaranteed prize pools up to $30 million for the largest series.
Top sites also run marquee tournaments with big buy-ins and even bigger prizes. Satellites give you a shot at reaching these events on without having to stump up the (often considerable) buy-in. While massive player fields make it difficult to win outright, coming in the top 5–10% can result in five or six-figure paydays at some poker sites.
These don't cost anything to enter but give you a shot at real money prizes or seats to bigger events. New players can find freerolls under the 'Promotions' tab at most poker sites. Some require loyalty points or a deposit to enter. But remember to read the eligibility requirements carefully before registering. While freerolls won't make you rich, they help grow your bankroll and skills risk-free. Take advantage of them when starting on your online poker journey.
Reputable UK poker sites offer a variety of secure payment methods to make it easy for you to deposit and withdraw cash. Here are the most common options and their pros and cons.
Debit Cards. Poker sites always accept Visa and Mastercard debit cards from the major UK banks. Deposits are instant, while withdrawals take 1–3 days but go directly to your bank account. Debit cards are simple and convenient for British players. Remember that credit cards are not permitted at UK online casinos, so if you want to pay by plastic consider the top Visa Electron casinos.
E-Wallets. PayPal, Neteller, and Skrill are popular e-wallet options that you’ll find at most poker sites. Both deposits and withdrawals are processed quickly – within 24 hours in most cases. This is a very convenient method once you’ve signed up with a provider, not least because you can easily attach your e-wallet account to other online casinos or simply use it as a way of storing cash. One big downside though is that online poker sites often exclude e-wallets from taking part in bonuses, so read the T&Cs carefully if you’re thinking of playing at online casinos that accept PayPal, for instance.
Prepaid Cards. Prepaid cards purchased from high street shops are both secure and private, since you’re able to make anonymous deposits. Bear in mind that there may be limits in place depending on the provider – for example, if £100 is the largest amount you can buy, you’ll have to get multiple cards if you want to deposit more. Withdrawals can be directed to your bank account or your card balance, usually after you’ve registered for a full account with your provider.
Bank Transfer. Direct bank transfers from your account to the poker site allow you to make large deposits and withdrawals securely and without fees. On the other hand, they’re the slowest possible method, taking 3–5 days to process in both directions, and can be awkward to set up.
OK, so now you know what your options are when it comes to paying money into a poker site and then taking it out again, but how can you trust the operator to look after your cash? What systems and protocols are in place to keep your money hidden from hackers and fraudsters?
The first thing that reputable UK poker sites like Bet365 casino do is use state-of-the-art technological systems to protect your money. This means using 128-bit or higher SSL encryption as well as firewalls to secure financial transactions and player funds. Not only that, but your account balance is kept in protected accounts, separate from company funds. Independent auditors also regularly verify that your account balance matches whatever you deposited.
And how do you know which UK poker sites have these procedures in place? Well, as we’ve mentioned a couple of times, that’s one of the great benefits of joining a UKGC-licensed poker site, since having appropriate security measures in place is a strict requirement for obtaining and keeping the licence. Every poker site listed on this page holds a UKGC licence, so you can rest assured that your money will be safe if you sign up with one of them.
If you want to sign up for a poker site bonus, first check which payment methods are eligible and which aren't. If not, you risk forfeiting your bonus funds.
Gambling on your mobile is now standard. So much so, in fact, that every top UK poker site has a highly responsive mobile casino site that you can access from any smartphone or tablet and enjoy the same experience as if you were on desktop.
Swipe controls and features like auto-check/fold make it extremely simple to play mobile poker. You'll also find full game lobbies, account management features, access to bonuses, and the ability to join tournaments. Multi-tabling is often supported through split-screen views, and resizing and portrait/landscape orientation all help to optimise mobile play. All you need is a stable internet connection.
But some leading poker sites have gone a step further and developed top online casino apps for iOS and Android devices that you can download. So that begs the question: if you want to play poker on mobile, should you download an app or not?
The short answer is… it depends on the operator and your preferences. In general, apps often provide a slightly smoother, richer experience. They’re designed to take full advantage of your device’s capabilities, which means they are designed specifically for smaller screens and mobile UX. In some cases, certain features that are unavailable or slightly difficult to use on a mobile browser are there in all their glory on the app. Against this, you’ll need to download and install the app, which takes up memory space on your device.
To make sure playing online poker is as fun as can be, it’s vital that poker sites use modern and robust software for managing games, security, and overall user experience. Here's an overview of the key software providers and features powering the top UK poker sites.
Many poker sites use third-party software from specialist companies. This allows them to provide best-in-class experience to their customers, while giving you access to larger player networks and big prizes. Two of the biggest ones are:
On the other hand, some poker sites use their own software to stand out from the competition by putting on a unique experience.
Modern poker software typically uses innovative features to enhance gameplay. Here are some common features you can expect to find.
Of course, poker software also includes highly sophisticated security technology to prevent fraud and guarantee fairness through RNG technology, which ensures that card dealing is totally randomised.
We focus on several important criteria when assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the various poker sites in the UK. These are the main areas we look for:
The best online poker sites in the UK excel in all of these categories. They offer a strong all-round user experience via the website or the mobile app. Plus of course they’re all licensed, regulated operators with flawless security records and a proven ability to pay out in full and on time.
The poker sites on this page offer a variety of games to suit all styles and bankrolls. You should be able to play the games you enjoy, at buy-in rates you feel comfortable with, against players of the correct skill level, at any time of day.
If you're new to the poker, one of the first things you'll notice is how much jargon everyone uses. Don't worry, it's not very complicated, although it does take a little getting used to. Here are some of the most important terms explained.
James worked in non-league football as a press officer before copy-editing local and national newspapers from around Britain. He then stepped into the online casino world in Malta as a copywriter, and since then, he’s continued his iGaming journey as a freelance writer, and is delighted to be helping make Casinos.com content the best it can be.
There are many different kinds of poker sites that vary by the game variants offered, software, tournaments and more. Read our reviews and find the poker site that is best for you based on your preferences, or sign up for several sites until you find your favourite one.
The amount of players on different poker sites changes between days, hours and regions. PokerStars, IDNPoker, PartyPoker and 888 are known to have a lot of players. If you sign up for any of the sites we recommend on Casinos.com though you will never be stuck for a game of online poker, with thousands of players playing.
There are many professional poker players that have started their career by playing online, but it tends to take years of practice. You can develop your poker skills to a professional level, however, keep in mind there is always an element of luck – so always gamble responsibly.
Winning in poker takes practice, skill, strategy and of course luck. To play online poker for real money, simply sign up to one of our recommended poker rooms and make use of available resources, bonuses and freerolls to practise. Then gradually advance through cash games and tournaments that suit your level of skill.
Yes you can. Many online poker sites offer freerolls that let you play without spending money. Note however that due to United Kingdom Gambling Commission regulations, you're required to sign up before you can play for free, and in certain cases you will only have a certain amount of "play" money to use.
The top UK sites invest millions of pounds in updating and innovating their software each and every year. This includes constant upgrades to both desktop and mobile versions, providing UK poker players with the latest technologies and a world-class poker experience.
Yes. In addition to the UK government's regulation and licensing, all the sites we recommend on Casinos.com are subject to our independent reviews of their service, safety and trustworthiness. We rigorously test all the poker sites of which we publish a review, to find out if they are safe, and we cover casino safety on these pages.