Compare Table Features at Poker Sites
Whether you like to multitable with 10 tables open at once, or find it annoying to play without an option for a preferred seat, it can be time consuming downloading multiple poker rooms to find the right one for you. We hope this comparison table will take some of the drudgery out of your research into finding your perfect online poker room. Don't worry if you're not sure what some of the features mean, there's a full description of each option under the table.
Afterall, who wants to be wading through poker review sites when you could be doing something far more interesting - playing poker!
Compare Table Features
|Local Time Display - = No local time display - always GMT / BST. = No local time display - always ET.|
|= Numerical value displayed for pot only (not bets). = Fold / check only.|
Local Time Display
Most Europeans who play a lot of online poker can tell you without even thinking what time it is in New York, but converting ET into your own time zone can be irritating at best and disasterous at worst. More than once I've turned up to a MTT too late to register or an hour into the tourney (maybe a satellite I won a seat for a few days before) only to find my chips have been blinded away and I've barely got enough left to play with. Some sites display the time in tournament lobbies only in GMT or ET, but some will adjust the lobbies to reflect your own local time. If the displayed time is important to you, this column will help you find the right room.
View Mucked Hand
You know the story, you muck A-7, and low and behold what is the flop? A-A-7, but is your mind playing tricks on you, was it A-7 you had, or was that the hand before? Curiosity can throw you off your best game, so being able to see the hand you've just mucked can leave your brain to get on with watching your opponents. More often than not, being able to see your mucked hand will assure you that folding that dubious hand was the right thing to do. Remember your sub-conscience is working all the time you are playing, the more hands you play the more knowledge you have to 'know' the correct next move. Seeing your mucked hand graphically displayed is just another aid to your sub-conscious, making you a better player in the long run.
View Made Hand
How many of us have missed a straight on the river in a home game? Even the top pro's miss a hand or two every now and again (well, maybe not Phil Ivey). This can be even more likely when we're playing more than one table or we're distracted by the TV, telephone or whatever. Having your made hand displayed is your last defence against mucking that winning hand. Especially important when you're still learning or playing lots of tables, the made hand facility, for me, is a must. However, some experienced players find that they prefer a site without this option as it makes it more likely that the other more inexperienced players will make a mistake - not a bad tactic.
View Bet / Pot Size
Amazingly to me, some poker rooms don't display graphically the amount your opponents have just bet. You have to run your mouse over the chip stack to see the actual bet size. Some don't even display the pot size. Unless you know the particular rooms chip colours well, it slows down the game and gives you less time to plan your next move if you can't see the bet or pot size as the action moves around the table. If this facility is important to you, choose a site which gives you all the info you need right there on the table.
Relatively new as an option are 'decision hotkeys'. Keys are assigned predetermined or user determined actions. For example F1 = Fold, F2 = call. These hotkeys can take a bit of getting used to, but are great if you are doing something else whilst playing, and haven't got your hand sat there on the mouse ready for action. Some love 'em, some ignore 'em, it's your choice whether you use them - as long as the room has that facility that is.
Being able to choose your move before the action gets around to you saves time and if you're a multitabler gives you a chance to look at the table with a more interesting hand developing. Most sites now have this facility, but some only have fold / check as an option. Not a problem if you're only playing one table or prefer to make your choice when the action comes around to you, but it can slow the tables down.
If you haven't got a choice of auto-muck, you will be prompted whether you want to show your cards each and every time the hand goes to the river and when everyone has folded to you letting you win the pot. Most players never show their hands, win or lose, so having auto-muck on saves a lot of time and also stops you showing your hand (and that crazy bluff) by accident. Some beginners worry that a winning hand will be mucked, don't worry - the software will only muck a hand if it is not required that it is shown, for example everyone else has folded or someone else has shown a hand that has beaten yours.
Four colour deck
Four colour decks (or 4 color decks over the other side of the pond) are a relatively recent introduction to poker, but I for one, don't wish to play without one. Flushes are much easier to see and therefore mistakes less likely to be made, and that's good enough for me. Most rooms now offer them as an option, and those that don't soon will.
Being able to choose your preferred seat can really help if you're playing more than one table. They can even help you if you're playing mixed game types, such as a cash game and a tournament at the same time. I like to sit top right for a cash game and bottom left for a tournament, I employ different strategies and tactics for each type of game so being able to choose my seat can help avoid mistakes. Some beginners ask if you're already sat at a table will changing your seat change who you are sitting next to? The answer is no, as the whole table will rotate for your eyes only, to the rest of the table everything is unchanged.
Max. Tables open
I personally can't keep tabs on more than 4 tables at once and still have an vague idea of what each player is doing. However I've witnessed students playing 20 tables at the same time - ninja! If you want to multitable more than the average this column will be a godsend to you. A word of advice to beginners trying to play multiple Sit n Go's at the same time, stagger the start time of each one, so that you don't end up playing heads-up on 3 tables at once. Not very enjoyable and a sure recipe for not playing at your best.
Being able to resize your table is another added benefit for multitablers or if you just need to watch something else on the screen at the same time as playing. Some rooms allow you to reduce or enlarge the table to the exact size that suits your screensize best just by dragging the window to the size you want. Others have facilities such as mini-views or 4-table views which can be selected from your table options. More info can be found in our reviews.
Can't stand that Vegas skyline any longer, blue make you sleepy or red make you go on tilt? For those more aesthetically sensitive of us, being able to change the background of your table is essential.
Love 'em or loath 'em, avatars enable you to personalise the way others see you at the table. I have been known to change my avatar mid tourney - it's surprising how many people think it's a new person at the table and in an instant your appalling bluff, tight image or maniac status is lost. Beware though that most sites allow you to disable avatars so not everyone at the table will be fooled. This column doesn't relate to avatars such as those on Party Poker which are assigned to you, but to Avatars that can be chosen through a gallery on the site.
Some sites allow you to upload your own image as your own personal Avatar. Some players put a lot of thought into their Avatars and they can be hilarious. There are even websites where they will make you your own professional avatar for PokerStars - the premier personal avatar site.
I love reading player profiles during a card-dead run. It's a shame all sites don't offer them as they can be a great resource for finding out more about your opponents. I've found many a small unique poker website or great poker book through reading other players' recommendations.
You may wonder why I've included this column in the table at all - all the rooms offer a facility where you can make notes on your opponents. At some point this column will have ratings on each room and the notes system they employ. It's just not there yet...ahem.
We hope you find these tables as useful as we have! If there's anything you think we need to add, or you'd
like something else to be compared in this way, let us know - email us.
We'd love to hear from you!