888 Poker is a major player in the world of online gambling, and they’ve been providing customers with a quality experience for well over a decade. For those who’ve never used their services, I hope this 888 Poker review can help shed some light on what they have to offer.
Based on the island nation of Gibraltar and publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange since 2007, 888Poker is one of the premier names in virtual gaming. I’ve been enjoying their services since 2010, so I feel like I’m qualified to provide a thorough and unbiased opinion on their strengths and weaknesses.
Keep in mind, however, that everyone’s experience is going to be different. I’ve talked with hundreds of 888 players over the years, and their opinions on the site ranged from admiration to hatred. The only way to make an accurate judgement is to actually sign up and play. Anything else is just speculation.
888Poker was created in 2002, giving players the opportunity to compete for real money in games such as Omaha, Seven-card Stud, and Texas Hold’em. Founded by majority owner Avi Shaked, the organization also includes co-owners Ron Ben-Yitzhak and Shay Ben-Yitzhak.
Despite continual growth since their debut, the company was forced to withdraw from the U.S. market after the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Less than a decade later, however, they would return to markets in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey thanks to more gambling-friendly legislation at the state level.
By 2013, 888Poker was the second most popular poker room on the Internet. This has allowed them to sign a number of endorsement deals with athletes and poker pros, including JC Tran, Joe McKeehen, George St. Pierre, and Luis Suarez. In an odd turn of events, Suarez had his contract terminated less than two months after signing due to a controversial biting incident during the FIFA World Cup.
If you’re looking for stable poker software that offers a quality experience, 888 Poker is a good place to start. I’ve never encountered any lag time during games, and tracking software such as Holdem Manager is also supported.
There are plenty of settings to choose from to customize your experience, and recommended features include a hand replayer, favorite seat, chat restrictions, and the option of topping off a stack during both pot limit and no limit games.
888Poker software is available for both Mac and PC users. If you’re part of the growing movement of players who prefer a mobile gaming experience, you should be delighted to know that the 888Poker mobile app is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and anything powered by Android. The mobile app doesn’t offer as many features as some of the competition, but it still allows for multi-table tournaments, cash games, and sit & go events.
According to their website, 888Poker has 10 million registered members, which makes it the fastest growing brand in the industry. According to one website that keeps track of such things, the site averages about 2,000 players at any given time. During peak hours, however, that number rises to more than 3,000.
If you’re familiar with PokerStars, you’ll notice that the above numbers are well short of the industry leader. That doesn’t diminish what this site has to offer, however, and a pool of a few thousand players is still more than sufficient for anyone.
This is an area where 888 Poker excels, as they offer a dizzying array of options when it comes to funding your account or requesting a withdrawal.
If you’re looking for an option that allows both deposits and withdrawals, there are currently 15 different selections to choose from. These range from globally accepted options like VISA and MasterCard to more localized possibilities such as eps and Moneta.
There are another 24 options that can be used for deposits but not withdrawals. Once again, these include methods accepted around the world, like Diners Club credit cards, as well as regional options such as Giropay and SEB Pank.
The final option is to receive a cheque in the mail. If you choose this old school method of payment, expect it to arrive via a courier service such as UPS or FedEx.
The only negative aspect involves the exchange rate, as 888 Poker has long been accused of manipulating this to their benefit. For example, a player who deposits money may receive one type of exchange rate that gives them a few extra dollars. When it’s time to withdraw, however, a different exchange rate is used to cut down on the player’s overall winnings.
888 Poker currently offers two bonuses for players who fund an account, and both kick in when you make your first deposit. One of these promotions offers a pair of tickets to their twice-weekly $1,000 Depositors Free Tournament, allowing you to play for a share of $2,000 without having to risk a single cent. By making an additional deposit each week, you’ll continue to receive these complimentary tickets.
There’s also a welcome package for first-time players. This includes a 100% matching bonus up to $400, seven tickets to $500 First Depositors’ Free Tournaments, and a single ticket to the First Depositors’ Challenge Tournament (held every Friday).
The bonus money is released in $10 increments each time you collect 100 status points by playing in real money games. I’d prefer the amount to be higher, but you can thank the practice of bonus whoring for the casino’s rather cautious approach.
If you’d like to receive free money without risking anything, there’s also an $88 reward just for signing up. All you have to do is download the software and register, and the money is deposited straight into your account. The $88 is subject, of course, to wagering requirements, just like any other casino.
While these bonuses are better than nothing, they’re not exactly blazing a bold new path through the gambling frontier. And no matter how much “free” money they promise, keep in mind that you’ll always wind up risking more before you’re able to collect it.
The selection of games at 888 Poker is a mixture of the traditional and the cutting edge. First up are the normal options, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi Lo, and 7 Card Stud. If you’re looking for something different, you can also try your luck at live webcam games or the ultra-fast SNAP (which assigns you to a new table each time you fold).
As for tournament types, 888 has the following: Sit & Go, Multi-table, Heads Up, Free Tournaments, Deep Stacks, and Satellites. Their tournament schedule is excellent, offering a wide variety of games for players of all bankroll sizes. For example, new players may want to try The Goldfish and its $1 buy-in, while high rollers can take on The Whale, with its $600 buy-in and $150,000 guaranteed prize.
The customer service department at 888 Poker can be reached via online form, email, live chat, or telephone. The live chat function is mainly available for deposit issues, so don’t expect the person on the other end to be helpful with much else. The online form and email are traditional options, but I’ve found the average wait time to be longer than with other leading poker sites.
That leaves the telephone option, but it remains a mixed bag. I’ve called several times over the years to speak directly with a customer service representative, and my experiences have ranged from pleasant to satisfactory to awful. Some employees are more motivated or better trained than others, and it’s just a matter of luck as to which one you end up with.
I would chalk this up to the usual variation you experience when dealing with strangers, but 888 Poker has managed to acquire a reputation for poor customer service over the years. While it’s not the worst that I’ve encountered, it certainly leaves room for improvement.
If you’re an experienced poker player who loves to feast on rookies, then 888Poker is the place to be. Their player pool is filled with fish throughout the day, and these range from dedicated novices to hopeless idiots. It’s also a fine place for beginners to earn their stripes, just as long as you can avoid bleeding too much in the shark-infested waters.