It is unfortunate that, within the poker community, the smallest online card rooms often get overlooked. Having spent the past few months documenting my own poker journey, however, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore them.
Years ago, when I started out on the online poker circuit, I was a fan of Blackbelt Poker, which - unfortunately - closed down at the back end of 2014. The poker superstar who founded the brand, Neil Channing, succeeded in creating a platform that brought players to the public eye by ranking up by 'belts'. Its goal was to find the poker superstars of tomorrow. Other smaller and even more obscure websites, such as The Poker Farm, also ran out of legs after impressive starts.
PKR Poker, which is - of course - still up and running, offered an entirely new perspective on online poker - with an entirely fresh 3D experience, the likes of which had not been seen before. While the site has often been slammed by the online community for the seemingly "gimmicky" feel, it still held a solid place as a credible poker room.
And it is perhaps these so-called gimmicks and bonuses that the smaller card rooms use to try and claw back some business from the obvious industry leaders. But that's not something we should necessarily be concerned about - why wouldn't we, as players, just gratefully accept such generosity. As technology continues to outdo itself, it is becoming increasingly easy for the small businessman to set up credible and well-designed casino games with Pay Per Head software, like Real Bookies. In fact, many BitCoin operations use extremely familiar-looking software.
I have previously written about the influence some of our poker legends have on the creation of fresh poker sites and it is rare of any of them to become a continued success. Even the late Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, whose own Devilfish Poker brand raised huge amounts of crowdfunding hype, failed to achieve longevity.
There are many reasons that players flood to the larger websites. For starters, the most important aspect for most is the volume of other players. The more people who play on a website, the more potential fish should also be there, right? Right. If you're a sit and go player, you'll undoubtedly need to wait less time for a game and, of course, tournaments are more likely to be better value for your money. So why on Earth would you want to move away?
In all honesty, it's a tough argument to put forward. But as continued tensions between players and the biggest online poker room, Pokerstars, it begs the question: is there a real need to commit to one single website - or, if not, to recreate the tyrant elsewhere.
It is increasingly obvious, however, that it is not the largest poker rooms that offer their clients the most. At least in the way of sign up bonuses, lower-volume rooms definitely offer more, with some offering up to 300% on your original investment. Often, playing on smaller card rooms is exactly the same as anywhere else - I just seem to be treated better.