The two main AdSense alternatives are AdBrite and Bidvertiser. Both offer PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising and both allow poker related sites. They even have a special category for poker sites so advertisers can easily target them.
I gave both AdBrite and Bidvertiser a short run on this blog. Traffic to my site is pretty good for it's age and size but I'm not getting thousands of visitors per day so it's just a limited sample but enough to come to some better conclusions than I did in my last post.
For each ad network I used a large rectangular ad slot that I inserted above the fold. I chose the large rectangle because it is one of the better performing ad formats. I let each ad run until it had a few thousand impressions.
AdBrite was the winner by far. Bidvertiser ads failed to make even a penny in my limited trial. For roughly the same number of impressions, AdBrite ads started getting more clicks. In addition, some of the ads appear to be pay per impression as well as per click. It's not much but it added a few cents here and there. This is exactly how my Google AdSense ads perform on other sites.
The cost per click wasn't great but it was decent. I've never run Google AdSense on a poker site so I don't have anything to compare it to.
One of the nice things about AdBrite is advertisers can specifically target your site to run a CPM campaign. They pay a certain amount for a fixed number of ad views. I didn't spend any time promoting advertising on my blog and didn't run the ads long enough to get any direct advertisers. If your site gets thousands of views each day though, this feature is great to have. When no advertisers have targeted your site you'll display network ads.
The quality of the ads from AdBrite was much higher which I believe contributed to their better performance. Unfortunately AdBrite ads are not contextual like AdSense ads are so they weren't always relevant to the content of my site. That didn't stop them from attracting clicks however.
In addition to banner and text ads, AdBrite also has full page ads as well as inline text link ads.
The full page ads are interstitial ads that a visitor has to view before proceeding to your site. I chose not to try these because I found them to be too obtrusive.
These are supposed to perform well but I didn't run them for very long. I feel they negatively affect user experience.
While I obviously want to try and make money off my blog I don't want it to seem that advertising is the only reason my blog exists. Most people understand that it takes time, effort and sometimes money to publish content on the web and they can tolerate a few ads as long as they are relevant and don't overwhelm the content.