The Best High Stakes Poker Sites in 2021
High-stakes poker is exciting. From a viewer’s perspective – because a lot of people love to watch these games – you get to see people play for sums of money you’ll likely never accumulate in a lifetime. You can live vicariously through your favorite player.
Then you have the high-stakes players. For them, it might be exciting to play that high, but it’s also rewarding because most people don’t start out at those limits. They had to grind their way up.
However, no one would be able to grind their way to the highest limits unless they played at a safe poker site. The odds are better that they’d have their 5-7-figure bankroll stolen from them. No, to pull this off, they had to join a legitimate poker room such as one of the sites listed in the table below.
|Rank||Poker Site||Exclusive Bonus||Get Started|
|100% Up To $1,000||Visit Site||Visit Site|
|100% Up To $500||Visit Site||Visit Site|
|100% Up To $1,000||Visit Site||Visit Site|
|100% Up To $1,000||Visit Site||Visit Site|
If you want to play for high stakes, you’re going to have a bankroll north of $10,000 and will be playing for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every hand. For that reason, these are the sites you want to join.
And that’s because each site above has our Seal of Approval. This all but guarantees that the site is safe to join – that they’re licensed, regulated, and reputable. We’d be confident recommending these sites to our mothers.
We only give our seal and rank a site once we review them. This is an intense process that spans several hours, if not several days. We go through every poker site we recommend with a fine-tooth comb to see if they’re worth joining.
Here are some of the things we look for.
- Whether the site is licensed and regulated
- The poker games, variants, and stakes you can play
- If the site offers guaranteed tournaments
- The banking methods they accept and their limits and fees
- If they allow pros to play
- If you can use third-party software and tools
- The amount of traffic they have during peak hours
The most important thing we look for is whether the room is safe. That’s how we determine who gets our Seal of Approval and who will be ranked at the top of our poker pages, such as this one.
From there, we compare other factors, like the ones in the list above, and determine where they should rank relative to the other sites in the list.
As for high-stakes poker sites, we’ll rank sites based on how high you can play across all their games and variants and whether those games actually see action and are worth signing up for.
That’s how we choose the sites we recommend and how you can know that we’re not just recommending poker rooms at random. We put a lot of effort into each one so that you can feel confident that you’re joining a safe and enjoyable poker room with high-stakes action.
What Kind of High-Stakes Action Will You Find Online?
The highest poker games don’t appear to run as often as they used to. Several years ago, you’d see and hear about the high-stakes action running at the 200/400 and higher NLHE and PLO games.
Many well-known pros played these games.
- Daniel Negreanu
- Phil Ivey
- Tom Dwan
- Phil Galfond
- Viktor Blom
- Brian Hastings
- Patrik Antonius
- Daniel Cates
These guys would play for hundreds and even millions of dollars per session. It was common for a player to see swings in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, which is impossible for most people to even comprehend.
However, these games have slowed down over the past couple of years according to pros like Daniel Cates. He says it’s rare to see the 400/800 games run.
You could assume that one reason for this might be Black Friday. PokerStars was/is the largest poker site in the world, and many of the pros were US-based. That said, it’s reported that many US-based pros have managed to find a way to play regardless.
Another reason could be that many poker rooms have adjusted their rake and VIP programs. Cates says that the games are getting harder and that the increased rake is making it much harder to beat the games.
That said, this only applies to you if your plan is to play the highest stakes possible. Otherwise, the landscape isn’t as bleak as we’re making it sound.
How high of stakes CAN you play online?
You’re going to love the answer to this – it depends. It depends on the games you want to play, the format, the variants, the traffic a poker room has, and loads more.
But here are some generalities about the high-stakes action you’ll see online.
- Cash Games
- You’ll find fixed limit games as high as $1,000/$2,000 and pot limit and no limit games as high 200/400. Cates has said that games higher than that exist, but we don’t know where you’ll find them. PokerStars has the most traffic, and their no limit games peak at 200/400.
- You can usually find SNGs for $500 or $1,000 a game. You’ll find SNGs as high as $5,500 if you play heads up.
- You’ll have no problem finding tournaments as high as $500 or $1,000 on a weekly basis. Tournaments this large are often available on Saturdays and Sundays as part of the poker room’s special tournament schedule.
This is what’s standard. However, if you play heads up games (tourney or cash), or if you participate in the tournament series that many rooms run, like the SCOOP or WCOOP, you’ll find buy-ins as high as $5,000 or $10,000.
That said, what many people consider to be high stakes is the 50/100 level or higher for cash games. $500 or $1,000 is probably a good starting point for tournaments.
We point this out to show you that you don’t need to play for the highest stakes possible to be a “high-stakes” player.
It’s also a good idea not to think in extremes like that, either, as it can impact your choices for where to play. In other words, if you play or are willing to play at 50/100, then you might have a few extra choices for where to play than if you were to only play 200/400 or 400/800.
The best way to find high-stakes action other than joining every poker room yourself is to read our reviews. We create accounts at every poker room we review and report on the stakes they offer and whether those games actually run.
Finding the Best High-Stakes Poker Sites Online
There are a lot of variables that make up a high-quality high-stakes poker site. The following are the most important variables, as they will have the largest impact on whether games actually run and the money you can make.
Compare the Rake Between Rooms
One thing you want to consider and compare is each room’s rake. This is important because many rooms charge a percentage based on the limit and pot size. Your goal is to find the cheapest rake (the smallest percentage) possible.
It’s also important to ensure there’s a cap on how much the poker room can collect. You don’t want it to be open-ended when you can have hundreds or thousands of dollars in the pot.
It also wouldn’t hurt to find a room that has a “no flop, no drop” policy. This, of course, depends on how tight you and the table are playing.
Make Sure the Poker Room Has a VIP or Rake-Back Program
You want to make sure that the poker room has either a VIP program or a rake-back program.
A traditional VIP program will give you points for every dollar you pay in rake. Earn enough points, and you’ll move up in levels. Each level will have different perks you can claim or unlock.
With rake-back, you’ll have a deal with the room to receive a percentage of the rake you pay paid back to you. Rooms usually pay as much as 50% of the rake you pay back to you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Do They Offer Bonuses?
Even if you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars per hand – making a bonus seem pointless – it’s still free money.
Many rooms have bonuses worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. Claim them, and you’ll clear them quickly at the levels you’re playing.
It’s essentially free money, and you’re in the business of exploiting edges. It’s a no-brainer.
Do They Allow Pro/Winning Players?
Many rooms have adjusted their business model to focus more on recreational players. One of the biggest changes that these rooms have made to do that is add anonymous tables.
Anonymous tables are just like they sound – players aren’t identified by a screen name, but a number. You’re not able to take permanent notes, nor does the room allow you to use HUDS or data mining tools.
Anonymity helps weaker players by making it harder for better players to keep tabs on them or try to track them down. This helps recreational players feel safer or that the games are fairer.
The trouble is that most high-stakes players are professionals that want to earn money. This is much harder to do at sites where anonymity is used and software is not.
A few rooms will even tell you that they’re not interested in professional players – they’re interested in recreational players. You can either take this for the clue it is or deal with the room at a later date when they figure out who you are.
Double-Check the Poker Site’s Banking Options and Terms
If you’re going to play for hundreds or thousands of dollars per hand, you need to find a poker room with banking options and limits that can accommodate that.
You need to be able to deposit thousands of dollars at a time – preferably $5,000 or $10,000 or more per deposit. There should be a high or unlimited number of transactions that you can make each month, too.
Cash-outs are also important. You need to be able to move your bankroll off the site quickly in case you want to pay your bills, use your winnings to buy a Lambo, or move your bankroll to a different site that has better games running.
Limits will often come down to the banking options you use. However, it also comes down to the poker room and what they’re willing to accept and pay out.
A quick email or phone call can possibly make all the difference here. Just let them know what you’re wanting to do and see if they will accommodate you.
Does the Poker Site Have Enough Traffic?
This is without a doubt the most important variable. If there isn’t enough traffic for the games and stakes you want to play, then for one thing, you won’t be able to play or play often. It will also mean that most of the variables above are pointless to think about.
Honestly, your options are limited to PokerStars, as they have a monopoly on poker traffic. However, you might find some action at Party Poker and 888 too, especially if you play at the smaller higher limits.
Ultimately, though, all of these variables are important, as they will impact the stakes you can play, how often your games run, and how easy it is to move your money on and off the site.
You’ll also want to make sure you do the math on things like how often your games run, how many hands or games you can get in per hour, and how that will impact things like VIP rewards, rake-back, and bonuses.
Do all of this, and your chances of finding a solid high-stakes poker room will be that much better.
Banking Options High-Limit Players Should Consider Using
We talked about banking options in the previous section. This is an important variable to consider because you’re playing for lots of money. You need to be able to move large sums of money quickly without having to pay an arm and a leg in fees.
This is why we recommend that high-stakes players use Bitcoin whenever possible.
Bitcoin is an excellent option because you can often move $5,000 to $10,000 or more in a single transaction. We’ve even seen sites that let you move as much as $25,000 and $50,000.
This might not be enough to cover the bankroll you need. However, it’ll do for most players, especially if you’re able and willing to make multiple deposits.
Bitcoin is also a solid choice because it often has no fees for using it – at least from the poker room. You might have a small fee to pay when you’re sent your cash-out, but this is peanuts compared to the 5%-12% that many rooms charge for issuing a check or bank wire.
Bitcoin is also processed much faster, so you don’t have to listen to the poker room’s excuse of “your check is on its way” for the umpteenth time.
Finally, Americans struggle to fund their accounts. Their banks often decline their transactions and refuse to cash their checks. This can make it incredibly difficult to fund your poker account – especially for the sums of money you need to play for high limits.
Bitcoin solves this problem. There are no middlemen involved, so you don’t need to get permission from your bank as to where you can send your money. You can play poker whenever you want, wherever you want, just like an American should be able to do.
The bottom line – if you want hassle-free banking with high limits, low fees, and fast payment processing, we strongly encourage you to consider using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.
You can learn more by reading our guide to using Bitcoin for online poker by clicking the link below.
High-stakes poker isn’t as popular as it used to be. You won’t be able to log in every night to watch the pros battle it out for thousands of dollars per hand. These games just don’t run as often as they used to.
However, the lower-limit higher-stakes games still run. You can still find some cash game action if you join the right sites and know when the action typically starts.
There is plenty of high-stakes tournament action, too. Most poker rooms have a Saturday and/or Sunday schedule with tournaments that have buy-ins in the $200-$1,000 range. Play the larger series, and you’ll be able to buy in for thousands of dollars.
Ultimately, it might take a little bit of work on your part to find high-stakes action. You might even have to learn a new game or two in order to play. But these games exist if you know where and when to look.
Before you do that, though, we recommend you start by looking for a safe, trustworthy, and traffic-heavy site to join. The fastest way to find one is to scroll to the top of this page and choose a site from the table above.