The Best Poker Sites

For Australian Poker Players in 2018


One thing is certain in the poker industry and that is uncertainty… and I’m not talking about the card variance. Online gambling regulations have drastically shifted in almost all nations, with country law makers taking extreme positions to the left or right.

If you were playing poker back in 2011, undoubtedly you can remember Friday the 15th April, doomsday for online poker players, aptly named “Black Friday”. Popular poker domains such as Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, were raided by the FBI. Players logging into their account for their morning poker session instead were unable to connect and when going to the company website read a notice saying “This domain name has been seized by the FBI.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation overnight had frozen assets in the largest US poker rooms and player funds were no longer accessible.

Poker companies were forced to make radical business structural changes or close their doors to entire markets to protect their assets. Players were furious, some were scared – almost their entire wealth was sitting on an account likely never to be accessible to them again. Other players decided it was time to move and relocated to another country that was friendlier to the online poker player. Poker havens sprung up in Canada, South America and Asia with entire communities supporting each other to rebuild their bankrolls and their affluent lifestyles.

Australia poker-stars-no-real-money
Poker Stars no longer offering real money poker games to Australian players

Fast forward to 2018 and Australian poker players are being faced with similar issues. Legislation has clamped down on online poker site operators and restricted fund transfers for online gambling activity. Australian poker players were forced to withdraw their funds as major poker sites began restricting play and the suspension of new account creation from Australian IP addresses.

This legislation isn’t without controversy however, as sports betting sites continue to enjoy free reign in the online gambling sphere and the Australian country ranks number 1 as the most gambler prone of any citizen in any nation. Which begs the question, why such limitations on poker players when other gambling industries seem to have such lucrative edges? Fingers point to Tabcorp and the billionaire James Packer who control large percentages of the Australian gambling market. With such a large piece of the billion dollar gambling pie, it seems unlikely they would want competition in the form of foreign poker sites entering the market.

Another argument against the legislation changes include the fact that the Australian online gambling still accounts for a relatively small percentage of overall gambling for the average Australian citizen with the real gambling spend for Australians coming not from internet but the widespread distribution of “pokie” machines (about 50%) played by the locals and then brick and mortar casinos (about 20%) that host Chinese- and other Asian gamblers.

But there are people willing to take a stand. The Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) and Senator David Leyonhjelm are fighting for the rights of poker players, calling for fair laws and acknowledgement of the skill inherent in a poker game – allowing professional players to have their career recognised legally.

Australian poker player site list

With all this in mind lets take a look at where you can continue to enjoy your favourite games. Here is our recommended Australian poker player site list for those poker players living in the Australasia region.

J88 Poker

Poker Australian sites
J88 Poker lobby

Having just started in October 2017, J88 Poker is a relatively new site that is quickly gaining popularity amongst professional players. The simple and sleek interface makes it easy to get comfortable with the game play right away and although we primarily play Texas Hold’em  and Pot Limit Omaha, we like that they also offer Badugi and Open Face Chinese.

J88 Poker is extending their reach into the Asian poker market with promotions running in live tournaments and the creation of the TeamPro ambassadors with professional players from China, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. Further sponsorship to some well-known Taiwanese players is underway and they have a big presence in the AAPT poker tour. This is important to keep a steady influx of new players onto the site.

Some drawbacks of the poker site are the slightly limited playing device options, however there are plans underway. They are rolling out their poker clients on new operating systems the most recent edition being the iOS version when playing on mobile devices. Their software is however still developing and they are looking to add new gameplay features every few months.

J88 Poker crystal packages
J88 Poker crystal packages

J88 Poker does not use a traditional currency and instead opts for a playing currency called “Crystals”. Depending on the package you buy, $1 gets you between 70 to 94 crystals. We found this sneaky deal where you can get 100 crystals for $1 – find this promotion here. (Make sure you speak to the accredited Loyalty Rakeback representative).

They have also opened their doors to Western players evident from their website and poker lobby and promotions displayed in English and Chinese.

J88 Poker cash games

6-seated and 9-seated ring games are the cash game standard. 4 to 6 tables of $100NL-$200NL are running daily.  You wont have as many options if looking for higher stakes games, but the few that do run seem to go on late into the evening.

J88 Poker table
J88 Poker table

J88 tournaments

For the tournament players you won’t have as many options to choose from – the tournament schedule doesn’t run all day, with most of the main higher buy-in tournaments starting in the evening (CST time zone). China Standard Time is roughly 6 hours ahead, meaning players in Europe and Africa would start their tournament sessions after lunch-time.

Since this site is one of the newest sites on our list we do expect traffic to grow and with that, likely an expanded tournament schedule will come next. We like to be first and while the games are “friendlier” to our bankrolls, we are not complaining.

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Pokamaax lobby
Pokamaax lobby

Pokamaax is a new site which offers games in No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha and Open-Face Chinese Pineapple, OPC Pineapple. These poker variants can be played either in a cash game, tournament or on their “Instant Play” Adobe Flash Player app format. They have a generous $500 deposit bonus and a Crown Points rakeback system. Our poker scouts have observed soft $50 No Limit Hold’em and Omaha games running daily. Occasionally there will be $200 No Limit Hold’em or Pot Limit Omaha game with plenty of action.

If you looking to add a soft poker room with perhaps 2 to 3 tables of between $10NL and $200NL this might be for you. Omaha games also run at the same stakes.

Pokamaax have partnered up with well-known affiliates and are promoting themselves at live poker events such as the Asian Poker Tour.

ZERO fee Pokamaax tournaments

For the tournament players, all tournaments on Pokamaax have ZERO fee… that’s right! Pokamaax offers rake-free tournaments.

Pokamaax offers the most numerous and diverse deposit methods available. Neteller, PayPal, Skrill and Bank transfer. Even Bitcoin transactions are possible.

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PPPoker is an Asian mobile-friendly platform. Currently, they have 4x separate rooms to choose from all ranging from low stakes to high stakes (blinds of $10/20+).

On PPPoker PLO is slightly more popular than NL. This does mean that players looking to mass multi-table soft No-Limit Hold’em games will be a bit disappointed. Instead, look to add PPPoker as a supplement to your other regular games or when wanting to play poker in a more relaxed environment. We liked playing on PPPoker when wanting a casual and softer poker game while watching a sports game on tv or chilling with friends.

There are some barriers to entry in the Asian gambling industry and this room bypasses many of the Asian country laws by only being a poker software app and not an operator itself. Therefore, one will need an agent to transfer and deposit funds.

Speak to an accredited Loyalty Rakeback representative to help you get setup. Also feel free to ask about us about specific game types and we can recommend the best room for your needs.

For those wishing to add extra tables, this poker site offers multi-table capabilities. Ask customer support on how to get you set up.

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