Ask for a list of the most popular online poker rooms in the United Kingdom and I’ll give you a list of some of the most famous poker sites in the world. UK poker interests have a tremendous share of the gaming traffic worldwide, especially after US players were barred from gambling on most sites around the globe. I’ll cover several of the biggest online card rooms UK players can join and give a short description of each.
888 Poker Room
888 Poker is the sister site to the biggest online casino in the world: 888 Casino. You might know 888poker better under it original name, “Pacific Poker”. 888 Poker offers detailed hand history, hand analysis software for new players, a visible cashier, 3D graphics, and one of the best multi-table platforms. If you’re a Mac or Linux user, the new no-download client at 888poker gives you the full range of gaming options. Peak hours often include 8000 tournament players and 2000 ring game competitors.
Because the 888 Casino links from its homepage to 888 Poker, this website gets a lot of run-off from the casino side of the 888holdings empire. This means you’re getting a lot of craps and roulette specialists who may not be as good at Texas hold’em and Omaha. That means 888 Poker is likely to have an inflated percentages of soft poker players on their site.
Party Poker Room
Prior to the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) by the United State Congress in 2006, Party Poker was the largest publicly traded online gambling firm in the world. When the US Justice Department announced it might seek to (retroactively) prosecute foreign gambling firms for accepting US players later that week, Party Poker stocks fell 60%. PartyPoker, originally known as “bwin”, announced it would leave the US market only a week after the UIGEA passed. Party Poker has lost market shares since then, but is still the 2nd largest poker room on Earth.
That means Party Poker is still one of the largest online card rooms you’ll ever enter. Each month, Party Poker deals over 10 million hands of poker to players in over 185 countries worldwide–but not the United States. Go figure.
Ladbrokes Poker Room
Ladbrokes Poker also deals over 10,000,000 poker hands per month, but Ladbrokes’ path to worldwide poker room dominance is much different than the Party Poker poker site. While bwin poker was founded in 1997 specifically for the online poker industry, Ladbrokes has been in business since 1887. That’s right, Ladbrokes was founded the same year Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print. When online gambling got big, Ladbrokes Poker site was created. Like Party Poker, Ladbrokes is also publicly traded. Their brand name and the big cash behind their operation let Ladbrokes become one of the giant of United Kingdom online poker is short order.
Titan Poker Room
Titan Poker is a member of the widespread iPoker Network. Pool all the players from the iPoker Network and it forms the 5th largest poker playing community. With a player pool reaching 30,000 sometimes during peak hours, Titan Poker is going to offer you the choice of games and opponents you want. Titan Poker has grown in recent years and their own marketing department as late as February of 2012 gave credit to its $40,000 Guaranteed Super Tuesday promotion for increasing its player traffic. I’ll take TitanPoker’s word, since $40,000 guaranteed is one of the biggest Tuesday prize pools I know about.
Titan Poker is large and getting larger. When you hear about a promotion that’s drawing in new customers, you have to expect many in this player pool are going to be soft players. My recommendation is to give the Titan Poker Super Tuesday tournament a try or two and see if that assumption is correct.
Pokerstars is still one of the largest UK poker rooms, despite their various legal troubles. Pokerstars was the online poker room which helped start the poker boom of 2003-2006 by sending Chris Moneymaker (2003) and Greg Raymer (2004) to the World Series of Poker Main Event. Those were the best $20,000 of advertisement a poker website ever spent, since people in the United States, UK, and around the world began flocking to Internet poker sites hoping to be the next Chris Moneymaker or Fossilman. Pokerstars was the biggest winner in boom that followed, but they got a little too big for their own good.
Legal troubles with the U.S. Justice Department has caused problems for this poker site, headquartered on the Isle of Man, but it’s still one of the largest Internet poker rooms you’ll find. The Italian-language version of Pokerstars is the 4th largest poker room in the world, though UK players won’t face that competition. This brings me to an important note.
More Popular UK Poker Rooms
The list of big UK poker sites seems endless. William Hill Poker is one of the largest online card rooms, so don’t forget about that monster of the online poker industry. If you enjoy good poker rooms from outside the UK, but which take players from the United Kingdom, I might recommend Everest Poker and Poker770.
UK Government to Segregate Poker Players
As 2012 begins, I’ve begun to see more and more talk of the United Kingdom’s government creating new laws that will segregate their UK gambling communities from the rest of the world’s players. Pokerstars officials were reported saying their UK site might not have a viable players community if limited to just the British Isles. If that’s the case for a giant like Pokerstars, then it would be so much more true for other online card rooms.
In the stories, there’s talk that Bodog has already segregated its non-Asian players from its Asian player pool. The story is Bodog (and casinos actually located in the UK) have a pretty good idea how the UK lawmakers are leaning and are considering segregation in the United Kingdom. Presumably, this is seen by a foreign company like Bodog as a way to keep up advertisements in the UK.
If anything like poker player segregation happens, the numbers for the most popular online poker rooms in the United Kingdom could change dramatically. So if this law happens and someone reads this list in late 2012, 2013 or beyond, you might know why the numbers are so skewed. Of course, these stories might be legislative rumors without a great deal of legitimacy, so we’ll see.