Poker Networks for US Players
I like to think of poker networks like cars. It doesn’t matter the make or model, they all serve the same purpose; to get you from A to B. However, each vehicle has features that distinguish it from it’s competitors. Maybe they go faster, crawl rocks, haul debris or two trailers. In doing so they appeal to a specific person.
Poker networks are like this too. Some networks are great for grinding hands for a living, while others are better for recreational play. Then you have the networks that are have only the basic features, while others have the latest features and tools like hand tracking and odds calculators built in. Like cars, there’s a network for each player type.
Despite being smaller, this concept still applies to the US market. There are 5+ networks that continue to accept Americans, and each one has their own distinctive features that will appeal to some players while repelling others. We reviewed each network and recorded our findings here. Our goal was to help you get to the site that best suits your type in the straightest line possible.
Poker Network Reviews
Ignition – What we like about the poker room at IginitionCasino.eu is their high quality graphics combined with standard table features. But two features aren’t so standard. One, players are labeled with numbers instead of screen names to keep each player anonymous. This is Ignition’s attempt at maintaining a level playing field. You’ll have to read the review for the second feature. Here’s a hint though – it helps you keep track of the action.
Chico Poker Network – Chico is a smaller network with weaker software compared to other networks. They don’t have Mac or mobile compatible software, and the software they do have is buggy and outdated.
Winning Poker – The Winning Poker Network is a smaller network as well, that’s just a small step above Chico. They don’t have Mac or mobile software either, but the software they do have functions and looks better than Chico’s. They have a better selection of games, variations and stakes, too.
Separating Grinders From Recreational Players
One thing you’ll notice from networks nowadays is player segregation. Networks are concerned that there are too many grinders and that the better players will drive away the recreational players, and in doing so upset the player ‘ecosystem.’
To solve that what networks are doing is segregating players. Sites live Bovada have gone as far as to use numbers instead of screen names to label players, as well as prohibit tracking programs and limit the number of tables a player can have open at the same time. All steps to discourage grinders from playing.
On one hand, it’s easy to see how this can work. If recreational players feel as if they have the same opportunities as the other players to win money, without having to be skilled, they’re more likely to not only deposit, but continue to deposit even if they bust their initial bankroll.
On the other hand, grinders make their money playing weaker players. It doesn’t make sense to sit at tables with players that have an equal edge as you. All you do is pass chips back and forth while paying rake. Only the poker room wins in that scenario.
My opinion is that there isn’t much of an opportunity to grind a full time living online for US players anymore anyway, at least for the time being. So I wouldn’t let this stop you from choosing any one of the networks above, unless you prefer to use Holdem Manager or Poker Tracker. Other than that player segregation probably won’t impact you.
Biggest Differences From One Network to Another
Other than player segregation, you’ll notice there are a couple of key differences from one network to the next.
Games and Stakes – One network, like Chico, will only offer holdem and omaha. However, Revolution will have holdem, omaha and stud, while Merge will offer all of those games plus 5-card draw, badugi, razz and horse. Stakes will be similar from one site to the next though.
What matters from that point forward is how much traffic the network (and each skin) receives. That will determine whether the (unique) games run or not.
Compatible Software – Even in this day and age where Mac users equal or outdo PC users, we have 2 networks that have yet to create a native Mac download. So if you want to play on one of those networks you’ll need to use an emulator or dual-boot setup.
No network has a mobile app either. Carbon Poker (on Merge) has one in the works, but it’s still in beta and not available to the public on their site. Other than that, mobile apps and games will only be available in the site’s additional sections (casino and sportsbetting).