top corner

Evaluating Player Competition

An important factor to consider when choosing a poker site is the level of competition at each site. It only makes sense to play at poker sites that are known for having the fishiest opposition. At soft poker sites, it’s easier for you to make money, move up in stakes, and grow your bankroll. Several poker sites in particular come to mind when discussing soft competition and easy-to-beat players:

  1. BetOnline Poker
  2. Bodog Poker
  3. Intertops Poker

These three poker sites have one thing in common: they are all a part of large, all-around gambling sites that allow people to play poker, bet on sports, and play casino games. The poker section of each gambling site is softer than usual because each poker room receives a lot of casual drop-in visitors from the other gambling areas.

For example, a person may sign up at with the intention of placing sports bets, catch a big win, and then decide to play with it at the poker tables. The same thing happens with casino players as well. In the end, you find more casual gamblers at the poker tables at these poker sites.

Bigger poker sites may have more fish in general, but these all-in-one poker sites have a higher concentration of fish. You don’t have as many tables to choose from at these poker sites, but you have much softer tables overall. Also, many of the big time multi-tablers avoid smaller poker sites because there aren’t as many tables to choose from. This results in an even greater concentration of fish.

Poker sites such as 888 Poker and PokerStars are quite a bit harder to beat because they are home to lots of multi-tablers who are there just to grind out a profit. The focus tends to be more on making the most money possible. At poker sites such as PlayersOnly and Bodog, there is more of a focus on having fun. You’ll find players of both types at all poker sites, but the smaller poker sites tend to be the softest.

Locating the Softest Tables

You can find the softest tables at a poker site by looking at the table statistics, evaluating the players by yourself, and by using the buddy list feature (if available). Let’s discuss each tactic one at a time:

Table Statistics

When you run your poker software and log in, you are greeted with a list of tables that are organized by game type and stakes. You will also notice that all poker sites display statistics next to each table. For example, you can see how many people see the flop on average, the average size of each pot, and how many hands are played per hour.

To find the softest tables, you want to look for the tables that have the highest numbers in all those categories. The more people that see the flop, the looser the table is. Larger pot sizes also mean that the players aren’t keeping a tight grip on their money. More hands per hour doesn’t necessarily indicate soft tables but it’s good to know because the more hands you play against soft players, the better.

Evaluating the Players at the Table

Table statistics don’t always tell the whole story so you will still want to keep your eyes open once you join the table. This method takes longer to work, but it’s the most accurate for finding the softest tables. Once you join a table, you should watch for how tight the players play, see how quickly they make decisions and check the hand histories to see what kind of hands they are playing.

If you find that the players at your table are pretty decent, you may want to find a different table. It’s not fun to switch tables once you’ve found a seat, but the skill of your opponents has a big impact on your long term win rate. The more effort you put into finding soft tables, the more money you will make.

Buddy Lists

The three poker sites listed at the top of this page also have a buddy list feature that you can use to hunt the fish. These buddy lists are designed so you can find your friends, but savvy players use buddy lists to hunt the fish. You can even use the buddy list to see which tables your “friends” are at.

Not all poker sites offer a buddy list, but the three listed here do. The buddy list at PlayersOnly Poker and Sportsbook Poker are called “contacts” but they serve the same purpose. Everyone has the option to disable the buddy list feature, but that option is turned off by default.

For more information, read our rankings of the softest poker sites.

bottom corner