We only publish Reviews and Recommendations on online poker rooms that PASS our test criteria.
To date we have FAILED or REJECTED 93% of all sites we test and based on legal advice have elected not to publish negative reports or "blacklists".
We use all tests performed to collate and maintain a set of industry benchmark data for online poker rooms.
The PokerLabRat.com team team comprises of:
- US, UK, European and Southern Hemisphere members
- Casual players and professional gamblers
A formal poker room test scorecard is completed by each tester for each poker
room tested. To ensure objectivity the scorecard is based on the following
criteria and scored out of 100.
Poker Room Security and Reputation
1. Evidence that Rake and Random Number Generators, etc are independently audited by game type against industry norms.
2. Size of company and extent of business operation (eg start-up vs subsidiary of major gambing player) and length of time in operation
3. "Noise factor" from forums and the media. If there is bad press - how did the poker room respond?
4. Professional integrity and business structure - how easy is it to find
ownership details, financial and audit information and full contact details?
Poker Room Systems & Software
1. Download and installation speed and ease (if applicable)
2. Instant poker - is it really "instant" ?
3. Operating system compatibility Mac, Windows, Various Mobile operating systems supported, Any other software required? (eg latest Java DL)
4. Number of clicks to start to play - untrained user and pro.
5. System failure/recovery simulation
6. Load testing - peak and off peak multigame play. Lags, drops and gameskips.
Poker Graphics, Speed and Game Play
1. Realism (overall look and feel) - either trying to emulate a bricks and mortar poker room or specialising in an "online" experience.
2. Number of hands per hour compared across all sites reviewed - peak, non peak. Texas Hold'em and Omaha only.
3. Number, type and quality of Player options available - card size, chat size & options, tailored rooms (desert island!?), customisable avatars (if applicable), choose your seat, tagging competitors, note taking, play stats & analysis, rabbit hunt, find a player, multi-play, concurrent side games (eg BlackJack), host own tournaments, etc.
Pay In / Cash Out
1. SSL or similar site security in place around financial transactions
2. All popular payment options available, debit, credit, web wallets... (Regional favourites if poker room is targeted at a specific market, eg UK-centric).
3. Fees & withdrawal limits compared across casinos & other online gambling sites
4. Delays in payout due to non-bank related processes
5. Account holder Identification processes and constraints around cash-out, if any (achieving a balance between anti fraud and blatant "use of funds" practices)
6. Currencies accepted and reputable exchange rate processes.
7. Legislative or jurisdictional limitations are stated clearly on site before a user downloads software and/or registers
Help, Customer Support
1. Number of support channels offered (toll free phone, non-toll free telephone, fax, email, live chat, skype, a call me back service, etc.)
2. Quality FAQ sets, game tips and getting started help is on site (or in the DL software lobby) and easy to find.
3. Multi-language support is offered and delivers. (Site and/or phone support in languages other than English where that poker room targets global players).
4. Friendly, professional responses (set questions are asked of each poker site tested, some basic and others more advanced and specific to gameplay).
5. Response time. Immediate and/or minutes not hours or days depending on what was promised via the poker room web site (and type of question).
Join Bonuses and Player Promotions
1. "Up to" values offered and how clearly the Terms and Conditions explain the bonus qualification and eligibility requirements. (Assume no lawyers required)
2. Achieveability (play-through and other deposit requirements) for both casual and professional players.
3. Player loyalty incentives, e.g. reload bonuses, points, "community"
4. Variety, luck and fun-factor - bonuses are an integrated part of the poker
room's operation. For example related to new game launches, special event promotions & potentially reward any registered player not just the pros.
Poker Room Traffic
Each game type available at each poker room is assessed separately for the following attributes and then compared across the range of LabRat-tested poker rooms for an industry benchmark. This is however a "snap shot" in time.
1. Peak and Off-peak assessment
2. Limit, no-limit, high and low stakes tables.
3. Blind sizes relative to table stakes.
4. Tournament traffic, satellites and free rolls.
5. Overall wait times for entry to a game.
Each test team member played Texas Hold'em for at least 5 hours at each poker room during peak and then off-peak times during the test period. Tables were chosen at random from the poker room lobby - both low stakes and high. The tester's perception of table competition was scored on a scale of 1-4 (Loose, Medium, Tight, Professional) and then overall results were compiled and compared across all poker sites tested.
Tournaments, Satellites, Freerolls
The number and frequency of tournaments, freerolls and the various satellite entry options were analysed off each Poker Room game schedule. A score was allocated based on the number, size and value of the tournaments on offer when compared to all other poker sites assessed. Note: The comparative cost of entry to potential pay out based on tournament sizes varies considerably between poker networks and individual poker rooms.
Poker Room Test
Player reviews of poker sites. Check out detailed independent poker room reviews at PokerLabRat.com. Make informed decisions on where to play poker online
Poker Site Review Method. How the PokerLabRat.com team assesses and rates online poker rooms.