- What’s The Softest Poker Site?
- Softest Poker Sites List – All-In-One Gambling Sites
- Softest Poker Sites List – Giant Brands
- Softest Poker Sites List – Niche
- How To Asses Many Fishes & Fewer Sharks – Key Criteria
- How To Identify Fish Poker Table
- Softest Online Poker Sites List – Wrap Up
What’s The Softest Poker Site?
The Softest Poker Site is the online poker room where you find a lot of unskilled casual players a.k.a. “Fish”, thus you have better opportunities to win.
To be more specific, the bigger the ratio of recreational players to reg, the easier the poker site is.
We’ve searched sites/tables filled by many inexperienced or low-skilled casual players, and the best poker website is the Shark Free site providing an anonymous table like Ignition;
We use the following key criteria to select the soft poker sites (click each subject to see the details);
We divide the Soft Poker Sites into the 3 categories;
- All-In-One Gambling Sites – Select the juicy poker sites of major traffic from big casinos or Sports betting on the same site. Yes, spillover. They are amateurs and gamblers, which means they play for entertainment rather than profits, so you will find a lot of fish.
- Giant Poker Brands – Select the most popular poker site brands based on worldwide traffic. Surely, there are many reg grinders but they attract many new beginners, so massive inflow of unskilled players, thus the key point is how to identify the easy table.
- Niche Poker Sites – Not widely popular poker brand but invite new users with certain unique selling points such as Cryptocurrency accepted, etc. there must be a lot of casual/recreational players.
All the poker sites we list here are not only the softest but also the safest & not-rigged online poker sites.
So, if you’re a beginner or casual player, these sites are the best & safest poker rooms to play comfortably, on the other hand, if you’re a grinder, you may want to sneak in to make a steady income while the rules don’t favor you.
Softest Poker Sites List – All-In-One Gambling Sites
BetOnline Poker – For Almost All Players in the World
- BetOnline was founded in ‘91 & licensed in Panama, fast-growing in the US with the business principle of “1st priority Service over Sales”. It belongs to the Chico Poker Group.
- All-in-one betting site offering both sportsbook & casino.
- BetOnline Poker has softer games than many other poker sites, high traffic without being a pro-infested site. Looks predominantly populated by players from their other gaming platforms namely sportsbook & casino and the cash tables are fairly loose.
- The Voluntarily Put In Pot (VPIP) rate often exceeds 35% – 40%
- Overlay seems to be fairy common
- It allows HUD but overall every table is very soft, which means you take advantage of using HUD.
- Hybrid (Fiat & Cryptocurrencies) – 7 Cryptocurrencies, Credit/Debit Cards, Wire Transfer, Money Order, P to P, & Cashier’s Cheques are accepted
- Restricted Countries: Australia, UK, France & Panama
Ignition Casino Poker – For American & Australian Players
- Ignition Casino Poker was founded in 2016, belongs to Lynton Ltd, regulated in Costa Rica.
- Same as Bodog & Bovada, Ignition belongs to Paiwangluo Poker Network and Ignition Poker room is famous for the softest games.
- Offer Poker, Casino & Bingo (Sportsbook is provided by Bovada, and the same poker rooms are shared between Ignition & Bovada)
- Banning HUD (heads-up display) & provide an Anonymous table (called Shark-Free zone).
- The preflop rate is said to be pretty high, even for the higher stakes
- No Rakeback offer is available (not favor for pros).
- No download is required
- Hybrid (Fiat & Cryptocurrencies) – Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zelle, Mastercard, American Express & Visa are accepted
- Accepting countries: Only USA & Australian players are accepted.
Tiger Gaming – For Many Countries but Not the USA
- Tiger Gaming was established in ‘99, owned by Action Commerce LTD, Licensed in Curacao, a part of Chico Network as the fastest growing & one of the leading poker networks in the world.
- Tiger Gaming is an All-in-one site including Sportsbook & Casino.
- Tiger Gaming Poker along with Bodog is the No.1 poker room & casino in Canada.
- The poker room is famous for where the fish come to swim and definitely not the grinder’s place because much of the site’s traffic comes from Casino & Sportsbook.
- Offer cash games with very low stakes from 1c/2c up to $5/$10 (not for pros).
- Tiger Gaming, BetOnline & Sports Betting are sister sites and these 3 share the same Poker player pool and all of them provide you with a poker odds calculator for free (newbie friendly).
- Restricted Countries: Australia, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, South Africa, and the USA (so, from Australia & USA, use Ignition Casino Poker, see later)
Bovada – Only For Americans
- Bovada was owned by Mohawk Morris Gaming Group (MMGG) that rebranded Bodog to Bovada in the US Operation in 2011, licensed in Costa Rica and has become one of the most respected online betting brands in the US and now belongs to Paiwangluo Poker Network that also operates Bodog & Ignition
- All-in-one service including Casino & Sportsbook including Racebook.
- Probably the most popular online betting site & the highest poker traffic in the USA.
- Bovada Poker bans HUD (heads-up display) & provides an Anonymous table (Only ongoing session stats can be seen, the flop rate often shows 40%+), so the games are easier, looser & wilder.
- Hybrid (Fiat & Cryptocurrencies) – Bitcoin, Credit Cards & Western Union/MoneyGram are accepted
- Restricted Countries: Available ONLY for the USA but don’t accept players from the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Nevada
Bodog – For Canadian Players
- Bodog was established by Calvin Edward Ayre in 1994 who has licensed brand to various companies including Mohawk Morris Gaming Group (terminated in 2011) that operates Bovada (exclusive for US citizens), regulated in Costa Rica, and now belongs to Paiwangluo Poker Network
- All-in-one betting sites including Sportsbook & Casino, and probably the most popular betting site in Canada
- Bodog Poker set a 4-table maximum rule, terrible for multi-tabling pros. So together with Banning HUD (heads-up display) & Anonymous table, Bodog remains largely untouched by grinders to this day, No Rakeback Offer, this means also bad for regs.
- Hybrid (Fiat & Cryptocurrencies) – Bitcoin/BitcoinCash, Credit/Debit Cards, Wire Transfer, & EWallets (InstaDebit/iDebit) are accepted.
Softest Poker Sites List – Giant Brands
888Poker – For UK & European Players
- 888Poker was founded in 2002, licensed in Gibraltar Gambling Authority & UK Gambling Commission, and owned by 888 Holdings.
- 888Poker is one of the highest traffic single brands in the world and yet maintains the status of very soft rooms with an above-average flop rate (VPIP seems to be higher than PartyPoker & PokerStars by 5-10%)
- NDB (No Deposit Bonus), many low-stake games & excellent educational info (888poker eMagazine) fits beginners to intermediaries who want to improve skills.
- HUD is partially restricted, which means you can yet use it widely, suits for some sharks
- Restricted Countries: Israel, Turkey & the USA (except DE, NJ, & NV)
- Restricted Countries: France, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, UAE & USA (except NJ, NV & DE).
PartyPoker – For UK & European Players
- PartyPoker was founded in 2001, licensed in Gibraltar Gambling Authority & UK Gambling Commission, and now owned by GVC Holdings.
- PartyPoker gained the highest poker brand recognition next to PokerStars, which of course attracted many grinders but they have been heavily focusing on recreational players lately.
- Anonymous cash tables discourage pros but tournaments are not anonymous yet, so players’ pools are naturally segregated.
- Rakeback is 25-40%, not bad for reg.
- Restricted Countries: Many in particular Middle East & African nations, click & if you can access to the site, you may be able to be accepted.
Softest Poker Sites List – Niche
Nitrogen Sports – For All Players in the World
- Nitrogen Sports was founded in 2012 & Licensed in San Jose Costa Rica and drove high traffic being ranked at around 5-7th in the USA, not belonging to any syndicated poker network but completely independent.
- No personal information including e-mail is needed to register, the only requirement is Setting User Name & PW, and accept only Bitcoin (a similar site is Blockchain Poker).
- All-in-one betting service including sports (competitive service recommended by best sports system) & casino (all games are “provably fair”).
- Banned HUD & user name can be changed, low traffic with fewer sharks, no cutthroat competition.
- Low rake of 1 – 4%
- Restricted Countries: None
SwC Poker – For All Players in the World
- SWC Poker was originally branded as Seals With Clubs in 2012, one of the first BTC poker sites, and renamed SwC Poker in 2015.
- Accept: The only Bitcoin
- Only e-mail, nickname & PW is required to open an account (entirely anonymous account).
- Very low traffic with very soft competition (similar site is Fair Poker providing 40% Rakeback every day)
- Low rake: 1.5 – 2.5% (probably the lowest in the industry)
- Restricted Country: No.
How To Asses Many Fishes & Fewer Sharks – Key Criteria
As explained, the term “fish” refers to easy opponents in Poker, which means the players who are not very skilled and can be outplayed, while “shark” (or grinder) refers to the skilled & experienced tough players who eat fish.
Allow me to reiterate that poker is a game of skill, thus it’s critically important to avoid Shark (we call it ‘Table Selection’ rather than so-called ‘bum-hunting‘ meaning to refuse to play good players, which sounds a bit negative but effectively smart) but competes with fishes.
The below shows the key factors to assess the softness level of each poker site;
Type Of Poker Site – All-in-one Betting Site
There are 2 types of betting sites regarding the range of offering services, which are;
- All-in-one betting sites, including a sportsbook, casino and poker room, all playable with a single account
- Poker only sites
All-in-one sites like BetOnline; tend to have the easiest online poker games.
The reason why a poker room with a casino and/or sportsbook is Softer is that there’s often a lot of people who crossover. You’ll find considerable spillover from the casino tables at the poker tables.
Someone will win a lot of money in the casino or sportsbook and then feel like gambling on poker. But these guys are usually amateurs. They are gamblers, which means they play for entertainment more than profit, and poker games are all the same gamble to them.
In other words, they are Fishes who don’t study & learn poker. Sharing a table with one of these players can be a very rewarding experience.
Shark Unfriendly Rules & Banning HUD
One of the easiest factors to find fewer shark poker sites is the poker site’s unique rules. If the site sets the rules prohibiting players from multi-table to say more than 4-6 tables, it’s clear that such sites have fewer pros.
Another rule is allowing not to use screen names but anonymous as the Ignition example shown before. Anonymous tables discourage advanced players and help casual players feel more comfortable.
You may have heard HUD (Heads-Up Display). HUDs collect data on everyone you play against and then put it into numbers displayed right next to your opponent’s seat at the table as below example; HUDs allow sharks to identify fishes. Blocking the tracking software like HUD shows also the sites’ efforts to create a warm, friendly, and welcoming environment for recreational players by discouraging pros from targeting and taking advantage of weaker players.
In other words, for the players who want to win online poker consistently, HUD is a powerful tool, and the below are the most reputable HUDs;
Since: 2012 (by PokerTracker Software)
License: Lifetime up to 3 PCs
Feature: Light Software / Compatibility with Windows & MAC
Support Sites: Major Poker Sites
Note: With in-depth analysis of wide data collection coupled with real-time adjustment function during in-play & Free New Features for Heavy Serious Grinders, PT4 is next to none (Active forum is available).
Since: 2007 (one of the HUD pioneers)
License: Lifetime up to 3 PCs
Feature: Easy to install / Multi-language support
Support Sites: 12 Major Poker Sites + Free Hand Grabber
Note: With all the features of Full stats (customizable to make the feed less cumbersome), In-depth analysis (adjustable based on skill level) & Post Game Analysis (focusing on your core skills by finding your leaks) make HM3 the best HUD for Beginner/Casual Players (Active forum is available).
Be noted that these are the tracking software not only for HUD but also to analyze your poker hands namely finding your leaks & studying opponents to spot their weaknesses.
For full details, go to Best Hud for Poker – Head-Up Display Software.
Poker Site Traffic
As you imagine, poker sites with the highest traffic have many fishes because the beginners feel safe in a big poker room. However, at the same time, there are many best players.
The sharks tend to play lots of games. Playing 5, 10, even 20+ tables at once (a.k.a. multi-tabling) and 50, 100 or 200+ games per day is normal for a full-time professional. Only the highest traffic poker sites offering lots of game selection & high stakes games can accommodate such professional activities. Thus the poker sites with the highest traffic have many pro-infested tables.
So, generally, you will find most of the players in fewer traffic sites much softer, and looks like it’s much easier to play with the fishes than locating the table full of fishes in high traffic sites.
However, we still prefer to choose poker sites with enough level of traffics to continue sound business while providing attractive promotional offers.
The below table from Poker Scout shows the world top 15 high traffic poker sites;
The No.1 Poker Brand is PokerStars. Although they started removing automated actions and seating scripts, they still technically allow poker HUDs in some form, so it’s probably one of the hardest poker sites.
So, unless you have high confidence in Poker skills, there are chances you could be eaten by heavy grinders, that’s the reason we haven’t listed PokerStars in this list.
Winning Poker is a Winning Poker Network (WPN) that includes Americas Cardroom (ACR) & Black Chip Poker (BCP). Both poker sites allow HUDs and shark-infested sites, therefore we excluded them from this list.
Chico Poker Network & Pai Wang Luo Network covers the many softest sites we list here.
For Crypto Exclusive poker sites, traffic is much lower than the above popular sites. However, there’s enough to play poker at the most popular limits. You’ll have no problem getting a game anywhere between the equivalent of $2NL to $300NL.
VPIP (Voluntarily Put $ In Pot)
VPIP or Voluntarily Put $ In Pot is the stat showing the percentage of each player’s calls or raises before the flop. The calculation formula is;
VPIP (%) = # of times a player put money (call or raise) in pot / # of hands
Say if you play only with Aces or Kings, your VPIP is 1%, on the other hand, if you play with every single hand, your VPIP becomes 100%, so, the VPIP stat shows how many hands you like to play with. The more hands you play with, the higher your VPIP will be.
You can find VPIP numbers in HUD like Poker Tracker. and it is used to analyze your & your opponents’ playing style and can be used to identify fish. The rough range is;
- <10%: Extremely Tight – Play too few hands and must miss out on many opportunities to play many more hands in +EV situations.
- 11% – 20%: Tight – Play only good hands in solid positions, which means their starting hand selection is strong.
- 21% – 30%: Loose – Play also speculative hands with good post-flop skills and may be able to play as profitably as the tight players.
- 31% – 40%: Very Loose – Play almost always too many hands, so unless being exceptionally good at post-flop (very rare), often ending up -EV.
- 40%<: Casual Players, yes Fish – Play gamble, prefer entertaining to making money, simply, not possible to win constantly playing so many hands.
Overlay in poker means the gap between a poker tournament’s guaranteed prize pool and the actual prize pool contributed by participating players.
For instance, if a tournament has a guaranteed prize pool of $1,000, a buy-in of $10 and 90 players enter, the players will generate only $900 to the prize pool. The rest of the prize pool (in this case $100) is made up by the tournament host and —would be the overlay for the tournament.
In other words, the tournament begins as if 10 people had already been knocked out. As you imagine this will surely increase anyone’s ROI, so it’s a soft game.
If the overlay is common in a particular poker site, it indicates less traffic & many soft games.
How To Identify Fish Poker Table
Lastly, let me list a few world largest poker sites. As said, these are the great white’s habitation but also the oceans with countless fishes swimming around.
Needless to say, the trick to making money from the fish at these sites is sticking with the tables where you’re the predator.
Therefore, you need to turn on your following “Fish Radar”l to locate goldfishes & spot fish / shark at early stage;
- Low cash games – limit hold’em tables at $4/$8 stakes or lower
- Low cash games – no-limit hold’em tables often at $1/$2 stakes
- Low buy-in Sit ‘N Go
- Low buy-in tournaments, usually $10 or lower
- Cash game tables near the start of a major tournament (tournament early losers try to win money back in a cash game)
- Players who post in chats are probably fishes (grinders rarely pay attention to it)
- Players who use poker slung in nickname using may have good basic knowledge
- Players who rarely raises but occasionally does are most likely to be unskilled
- Players who use auto-rebuy to normalize their stack size have often enough experience.
Once you realize that any of the other players at the table are highly skilled, move on to another table and take advantage of the guppies there.
Softest Online Poker Sites List – Wrap Up
Is Poker gambling? In other words, is it a game of skill or chance/luck? “The Conversation” based on PLOS One research said;
Drawing on a database of 456m player-hand observations from a year’s worth of online games, we first investigated how consistent player performance was. This revealed substantial evidence of the role of skill in successful play.
For instance, players who ranked in the best-performing 10% in the first six months of the year were more than twice as likely as others to do similarly well in the next six months.
And, players who finished in the best-performing 1% in the first half of the year were 12 times more likely than others to repeat the feat in the second half.
Meanwhile, players who fared badly from the start continued to lose and hardly ever metamorphosed into top performers.Hard Evidence: is poker a game of chance or skill?
So, it’s not gambling but a largely skill-oriented game, which is one of the biggest reasons why we provide our readers with poker-winning tactics, see Texas Holdem Strategies For Beginners – 15 Minutes Crash Course (this guide will take you to the level to beat most of the recreational players)
and this Poker Fish List is very important information for both casual players & grinders.
In online poker, it’s said well over 90% of the players are recreational losing players (goldfishes) who just sit down to have fun, and they are at an edge disadvantage vs the few sharks.
In other words, you don’t have to be a professional player like Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, or Fedor Holzhave but ill have good opportunities to make decent incomes both short & long-term by developing poker skills & tactics to a certain level & finding appropriate poker Poker Soft sites to beat such bad players hard.
Joshua Walker (bio)
Editor – Global Extra Money (GEM)