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888 Poker Review

888poker2NO-DEPOSIT $8 INSTANT BONUS: Our new players now receive an instant no-deposit bonus of $8 simply for registering as a new player. In order to be eligible for the no-deposit bonus new players must visit 888 Poker through our links, create a new account, and confirm their e-mail address. This is also eligible for depositing players and will be added onto your deposit bonus.

NO-DOWNLOAD INSTANT PLAY OPTION: An extremely feature is the Flash-based no-download poker room client. This instant play option can be accessed within any web browser that support Flash making it 100% compatible with any Windows, Mac, or Linux machine. Besides giving those with an alternative OS another option the instant play client is handy for use on download-restricted public computers or any guest computer where installing new software is impractical.

After visiting the poker room from any of our links you’ll see a large “Instant Play” icon found under the “Free Download” icon. Clicking on this will immediately open the 888 Poker in-browser client in a new window. As Flash is integrated with virtually every browser the software loads within a few seconds. Every real-money cash game and tournament available on the standalone client is also available via instant play.

Overall:  4.5/5

888 Poker is the poker room of parent casino 888, an extremely popular and successful gaming platform. The first major reason I recommend this site is the collection of absolutely awful players you’ll face here. In terms of their Fish Rating, it’s probably safe to say that this poker room serves up the loosest poker games online. If you’re patient enough to wait for quality starting hands and play them aggressively you can do extremely well here at both fixed-limit and especially the no-limit cash games.

The second big positive is the $8 instant cash no-deposit bonus, which is exclusive for our players and is extremely appreciated in an industry where players can rarely cash out a full play-through deposit bonus. While the no-deposit part of the bonus may seem modest at $8 it’s currently the largest such offer online. In addition, 888 Poker also gives our depositing players a 100% bonus with an increased $500 cap for our players.

While this site has always been excellent for finding loose tables, at its inception the poker room seemed more like an afterthought to the 888 casino. Fortunately, it has become a very solid international competitor in recent months with massive improvements to the software, tournament schedule, and promotional system. Due to the enormous amount of loose action, an instant good-faith bonus, one of the better software packages online, and very efficient customer service, 888 Poker has always been of my top-rated poker rooms.  

Bonus (100% up to $500 + $8 instantly) and Promotions:   5/5           

In terms of their bonus offerings, 888 Poker offers a special deal to players coming from our site. Firstly, all players visiting from our site will receive an instant $8 no-deposit bonus as soon as they register their account. In addition, our new players receive a 100% bonus on the first deposit, increased to $500. This is earned over the first 90 days of player and is released in $10 increments. Please note that players must visit the poker room through a link from our site to be eligible for the no-deposit cash and increased deposit bonus.

888 Poker is unique in the fact that they credit our new players with $8 immediately to use for cash games or tournaments. This is given prior to players even making their first deposit. This stands out to me as extremely generous in the current online poker landscape. Most poker rooms are designed to attract new players with large bonus numbers that never release due to extremely complicated requirements. The bonus structure allows players to try out the software and sample the real-money tables without the need for a deposit. I give this site a top score for respecting their customers and giving them cash upfront without bizarre and difficult to understand requirements.

Finally, our 888 Poker players making a first deposit gain entry into one $1,000 private Depositor Freeroll, which takes place every Saturday. Free entries into 7 once-daily $500 tournaments and a $100,000 qualifier have also been added to the new player package. Other notable promotions include regular promotions into European live tourneys and a recently improved Frequent Player Point system. FPPs are earned through tournament or ring game play and can be redeemed for cash or special tournament entries. Overall, 888 Poker runs a high number of special promotions and I definitely appreciate one of the few instant cash bonuses left in online poker.   

Fish:   5/5

888 Poker experiences a lot of crossover traffic from their casino curious about poker. Thus, the players seem to be extremely inexperienced and like to gamble at seemingly every opportunity. What do you expect from a bunch of blackjack players? An important factor is the large number of high-balance casino regulars that jump right into the larger games. When I get a good run of cards this site provides me with excellent average hourly win rates.

The percentage of players seeing the flop consistently runs into the 40-50% range even at the higher buy-in tables, which is insanely high. What this equates to is almost guaranteed action when you hit a monster flop or hold a big pocket pair. If you have a lock hand, consider slowplaying it to give your loose-aggressive (i.e. maniacal) opponents a chance to take control.

Try to extract maximum value from aggressive players by taking your time when you call bets. Of course, you’re going to be outdrawn if you don’t make your opponents pay for their draws but I find that tightening up and raising my premium hands even more than normal allows me filter out some of the garbage hands that can cause me trouble on the flop. Playing at 888 Poker means you’ll run into big pots and ridiculously loose games at your choice of limits. These ring games have to be the double salmon burger of online poker. Sink your teeth in and enjoy.

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Tournaments:   4.5/5

888 Poker runs $10,000 guaranteed tournaments 5 times a day and I like that the buy-in is quite low at $15. On Mondays, they also host a $25,000 guaranteed event. Finally, their largest offering takes place every Sunday and is a deep stack event with a guaranteed $100,000 prize pool. Adding value to this is the fact that every participant also gets to enter a $10,000 freeroll the following Sunday, which is really worth showing up for. The overall tournament traffic is very good with little wait-time for Sit and Gos up to the $20 level and most guaranteed tournaments drawing several hundred players during peak European hours.

Besides freerolls, 888 Poker offers a decent amount of low buy-in events for smaller players. These tournaments usually attract only a few hundred players so you get a high equity on a small buy-in. WSOP qualifiers run annually with satellites starting at $2. I think that their $27 satellites are the best value because 20% (or 1 in 5) gets a seat at the weekly direct-entry tournament whereas most satellite tournaments only payout the top 10%.

888 Poker has also started offering speed Sit and Go tournaments in either heads-up or 5-seat formats. The blinds raise every hand and action time is limited to only 10 seconds so these definitely aren’t for the patient-minded. In general, the awful players here spill over into tournaments and you can often do well just by allowing your opponents to make mistakes. Another great Sit and Go format hosted here is the Double or Nothing in which half of the tables doubles their money and the rest get nothing. It can be played with either 8 or 10 players.

Software:   4.5/5

The software has recently been overhauled at 888 Poker and both significantly improves on previous shortcomings and adds a few unique design features. It’s interesting to note that they now have, in my opinion, one of the most attractive software designs in the industry after debuting a decade ago with one of the most inefficient packages online. In terms of functionality, the lobby is better designed with a ring game filter and a minimalistic Beginners’ lobby for quickly finding low-stakes games.

The most noticeable improvement is in the table graphics, which now has an attractive sleek design with each player able to choose their own personal avatar. The table layout is also now fully customizable with numerous themes ranging from aquariums to classic casino carpeting with wood-grain tables. This is a welcome feature that is common with some of the other top packages online.

888 Poker also features a new novelty feature that I would have never imagined at an online poker room: a selection of actual 3D tables. Of course, classic red-and-blue anaglyph glasses are required and the faux-3D effect can only be tolerated in short sessions but it’s still a fun little feature to change things up once in a while and 888 Poker is certainly the first online poker room to offer it.

Overall, the new features are welcome and help to bring the site up to speed graphically with newer poker rooms. Largely because of the reputation of the previous archaic software, many players have overlooked 888 Poker, which is a factor in keeping the games so loose. The poker room is largely populated with mainly amateur players or casino crossovers who are, on the whole, dreadful poker players.

Another positive at is the Flash-based instant-play option, which allows players to access the poker room from any Flash-enabled browser. This option makes 888 Poker one of the few Mac and Linux-compatible online poker rooms. Game speed is pretty consistent and hovers around a comfortable 60 hands per hour.

Payouts:   4/5

I find customer service to be very strong at 888 Poker. They confirm your payouts via e-mail and I usually have future payouts within 48-72 hours. The 888 organization is very financially stable and consistently handles all requests. In terms of deposits, they do offer more than the average amount of methods.

Customer Service:   5/5

While I haven’t needed to use support all that often they have been very helpful when I needed them. E-mails to their support team are actually personally replied to within 15-30 minutes and sometimes I’ve received a response sooner. I also respect online poker rooms that provide a telephone number for support. 888 Poker does and they were very helpful the one time I called them about retrieving my password. 

Player Traffic

888 Poker is usually busy at all hours due to their large European player base so finding your desired game shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll typically find several full and shorthanded no-limit and fixed limit tables filled at all limits. Tournament traffic is also high with several hundred players entering most multi-table events. This is one of the veteran online poker rooms and they’ve had several years to build a solid player base.

Best Features

Loosest tables with some of the worst players online. This means that you’ll usually be paid off more with your strong hands and can expect larger pots at lower limits.

Immediate no-deposit $8 cash deposit bonus. This is one of the few sites left to actually hand you cash upfront without any requirements.

No-download Java software version. If you’re on the run at a friend’s house, you can still get in a few hands.

High traffic means that you’ll usually find a game going on at all limits regardless of the time of day.

Game Selection: Hold’em, Omaha, Stud

Limits: Limit: 2c/4c up to $75/$150    No-Limit: 1c/2c up to $10/$20

Deposit Methods: NETeller, checking accounts, Instadebit, ACTeCASH, Laser, Solo, MoneyBookers, PaySafeCard, Ukash, major credit cards, cashier’s checks, and wire transfers. This is probably one of the largest cashiers in online poker. If you don’t have a NETeller account, the checking account option is another easy option. You can deposit directly from your checking account using your account details so it’s fairly quick and painless.

Minimum Deposit: $20

Tips: Since the action is so wild on 888 Poker you don’t want to get involved in a lot of pots with mediocre starting hands. Exceptions are when you’re getting great pot odds or think that you can outplay your opponents on the flop. I play pretty tight here and play aggressive when I do choose to play a hand. Don’t let these players in for a cheap flop when you have a strong hand or they will often draw out on you. I will often bet even more than my standard raise to thin the field. You might consider raising 5 to 6 times the big blind with a premium pocket pair from early position.

Most of the time you’ll still get plenty of action despite your larger-than-average raise. If the flop comes with 2 suited or connected cards I will routinely bet out, especially with multiple opponents. Make these loose players pay to draw out on you. You’re going to get your premium hands cracked once in a while as with any site so keep your cool and take a break or quit altogether if you need to after an awful beat. It’ll save you money in the long run if you have a tendency to go on tilt. 

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