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How to Read an Online Poker Review: Part 2 of 2

In part 1 of this 2 part series, we began to lay out for you exactly what online poker reviewers look for when evaluating an online poker room, using the poker review template from our own poker portal at

In part 1, we explained in depth the following sections: Software and Graphics, Game Variation and Limits, and Traffic. In this concluding article, we will delve into what information is contained in the rest of the sections of a typical online poker review.


Here in an online poker review, you’ll find a gauge of the level of skill predominant at the various games (Texas Hold’em, etc.), types (Ring Games, etc.), betting structures (Limit, etc.), and stakes ($100/$200, etc.).

The term fish refers to players that aren’t very good. The ceme online call a lot of bad bets and can be intimidated easily. A good player can beat fish consistently with little difficulty.

The term shark refers to expert players that devour the fish. (For another appropriate animal reference, consider a fox in the henhouse.)


This part of an online poker review will tell you the signup bonus you’ll get (usually a percentage match against your first deposit), as well as any other bonuses available at the online poker room.

Some common bonuses are as follows:

Bad Beat Bonus: If you lose a hand holding higher than a certain amount (usually 4 Queens), you win the largest portion of a bonus that is shared amongst all the players that posted blinds in that round

Magic Hand Bonus: Every round (or hand) in an online poker room is given a number (which is how you can later refer back to earlier games); in a Magic Hand Bonus, the online poker room chooses a number (say, every one millionth hand) and gives every player who posted blinds in that hand a share of the bonus, the largest portion going to the winner of the hand

High Hand Bonus: Given to any player that gets the highest hand (above a minimum high hand, eg. 4 Kings) in a set period of time, without folding

Progressive bonuses (or Progressive Jackpots): These start at a certain amount (eg. $500) and each day that goes by without a winner claiming the bonus, a certain amount (eg. $50) is added, until someone wins the accumulated amount and the jackpot is then reset to its starting level.


Here is where the online poker review will tell you what the commission is that the online poker room takes for each hand. The average rake is 5% of the pot, up to but not exceeding $3. Many online poker rooms take smaller cuts from smaller pots or lower stakes games.

Some have a wonderful No Flop/No Drop policy, stating that if nobody stays in to see the flop, no rake is taken.

Customer Service

This section of the online poker review tells you the ways to reach customer support (toll-free phone, email, live chat), the hours (preferably 24/7), and most importantly, the quality, courteousness, and responsiveness.


Similar to bonuses, but meriting their own section of the online poker review, promotions are special, time-sensitive events, generally with extraordinary prizes that include hefty jackpots, vacations, automobiles, and free seats in World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker events.


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