Party Poker is known for being one of the largest poker rooms online and having some of the weakest competition out there. This site has rebuilt its player base and has become the largest non-US poker room online. What international players can appreciate is the ability to find no-limit ring games and guaranteed tournaments consistently busy at all levels. I mostly play during the wee hours of the night and there are always several active tables at most limits with a seat open.
Party Poker constantly offers promotions to new players in terms of beginner’s tables and freerolls while still catering to bigger players with big tournament satellites and guaranteed tournaments. The software has also been recently upgraded with features that make more sense in the current industry. The cashier is also massive and offers essentially every country-specific deposit option available. Overall, this is a solid choice and a well-rounded poker site for international players.
Bonus (100% up to $500) and Promotions: 4/5
If you go directly through Party Poker to create your account you won’t find a deposit bonus for new players. If you go through our site, you’ll be eligible for a new increased 100% bonus, good up to $500. Please note that you’ll need to visit the poker room through our site to receive this 100% signup bonus. The Party Poker deposit bonus is fairly easily cashed out, which I appreciate.
Party Poker also seems to go above and beyond to try to offer new depositors special promotions. Beginner players receive access to a number of restricted tables and tournaments for 60 days after their first deposit. Examples of this include special micro-limit tables down to 2c/4c, sit and go tourneys with $1 buy-ins, and freerolls as large as $1,500. The largest freeroll is weekly while there are 3 daily $100 freerolls. The smaller freerolls offer very little value for the time spent on them but top finishers do earn a place in larger $2,500 events. While these new player perks are probably of little value to seasoned players it gives beginners a safer and lower-risk playing area in order to get comfortable with the site.
The Points system at Party Poker has also been greatly improved with recent software updates. You can now directly convert Points into cash, albeit at a very low rate. Players will need to earn at least 1,500 Points to earn $50 in cash. While that will take quite a bit of time to build up regular players can occasionally add to their bankroll just by building up playing time. Interestingly, Party Poker also gives you twice as much cash if you choose to credit it as bonus money. They would obviously rather make players have to commit even more hours to see the actual usable money so low-to-middle stakes players should probably just take the immediate cash.
Party Poker has a reputation for hosting some of the worst players online. While I don’t completely disagree, I don’t want you to expect a cakewalk when you sit down at these tables. Yes, the players are largely inexperienced who have been sucked in by a Party Poker TV commercial. However, you can’t put every player at your table in this category so I suggest that you observe the table for a couple of rounds before you assume anything. That being said, these player’s aren’t very good on the whole.
Many of your opponents will overvalue the bluff, and I find a much higher bluffing rate than at other sites. Also, many other opponents overvalue the continuation bet. They might have had a decent hand before the flop, but they don’t understand that they need to connect it with the board in order to keep betting on the flop and beyond. On the whole, tight-aggressive and experienced players will almost always have the advantage at Party Poker tables.
The large number of traffic means that Party Poker is able to host some excellent guaranteed tournaments. The largest weekly event is the $300,000 guarantee on Sundays with a $215 buy-in. Satellites run around the clock so players should have a number of opportunities to satellite in for less. The first Sunday of the month also features a massive $1,000,000 event replacing the $300k. The buy-in is also larger at $600.
The number of other guaranteed tournaments at Party Poker is also respectable at about 15-20 scheduled every day. Most have a buy-in of under $35 and guarantee a $5000 prize pool or greater. Several hundred players typically will enter other smaller buy-in events making for a sizeable prize pool. Party Poker claims to offer $30,000 worth of freerolls to new depositors although that is somewhat misleading. While the $1,500 weekly freeroll is worth showing up for only players finishing in top places for the crowded $100 freerolls get to enter the larger $2,500 and $10,000 freerolls.
Omaha and Stud players will appreciate that Party Poker hosts a few tournaments that draw considerable traffic to these alternative game styles. Limit hold’em players even have their pick of quite of few fixed events. In fact, since disallowing US players in 2006 these events have only increased in size due to their popularity in Europe. Finally, there are also a number of small $150 daily freerolls for players from specific countries. Overall, the tournament traffic is certainly above average with a decent number of guaranteed events around the clock.
The software appearance is fairly generic, but offers really all that you need. The graphics are fine without being overly detailed and the game speed is pretty quick. They’ve just launched a major update that has made some important improvements in terms of both functionality and graphics. If you’re playing with a decent resolution display you can resize, tile, or cascade windows to make multi-table play easier. The table graphics have also been improved to a more seamless look, ditching the old humanoid stick figures in favor of an isometric table and small player images.
The visuals for the Party Poker lobby and cashier have also been somewhat streamlined. The tables now have actual names, the no-limit cash games are listed by blind levels, the hands/hour stat is visible from the lobby, and you can add certain games to a Favorites list. Some extra features include a Blackjack feature that will pop up in its own window. If you get bored at your poker table, you can use the same account money at Blackjack. Their new goal seems to be to link your single Party Poker cash account with their casino front. Personally, I’ll stick to the skill games, however some players might enjoy this extra feature.
Also, players now have the ability to make side wagers on the color of the following hand’s flop. All 3 cards have to be one color, and the odds of hitting this are extremely thin. I highly recommend staying away from this feature unless you’re really bored and want to throw your money away. Overall, this is playable software without a lot of frills.
Another positive about playing with such a huge company is the financial stability. They’re only worth 153 bazillion dollars and answer to public stockholders so they aren’t going to have a problem about cashing out your $100. Their cashout page is very extensive and you generally receive your money within 12 hours to NETeller. You can also now link your checking account right to your Party Poker account, which skips the tedious step of going through a third-party e-wallet.
Customer Service: 5/5
Party Poker provides telephone numbers for countries around the world. I always appreciate telephone support if I’m really impatient and just need to talk with someone about the issue. They also offer direct e-mail support, which is answered quickly.
On a personal note, I was recently particularly impressed with their e-mail support team. I saw an advertisement after cashing out to join the Poker Players Alliance, which is a coalition of players who advocate lessening legislative restrictions against poker in the U.S. According to the blip, I would receive an extra $25 in my account in addition to my membership at a price of $20. However, I didn’t receive the $25 after waiting several hours.
I e-mailed their customer support team and learned that the offer was expired (even though it was still posted on their cashier). Okay, no big deal. It sounded like a good cause, anyway. Then, the customer representative went on to tell me that they were giving me $50 instead as I had played a large amount of raked hands at the site. Wow. Customer support making things right in the 21st century? I was floored.
Party Poker lost an enormous amount of traffic following their decision to disallow US players yet they have rebounded to become a top international contender. This is one of their biggest advantages as players have numerous ring game and tournament choices. For Hold’em, you can find several tables filled up at each limit, and they even have some busy Omaha and Stud tables for mixed-game players. Tournament traffic is also massive for both multi-table and single-table events.
Tons of traffic. This site holds an enormous share of the online poker market so you’ll never have to worry about empty tables or cancelled tournaments.
Strong player promotions. They do hold a good number of promotions for both new players and loyal returning players.
Good deposit bonuses. I give them credit for offering an easy-to-earn deposit bonuses for new players with our bonus code.
Big tournaments. They offer a lot of tournaments for serious players with the $300,000 guarantee being the top draw.
Game Selection: Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha H/L, 7 card stud, 7 card stud H/L
Limits: Limit: 50c/$1 up to $100/$200 No-Limit: 10c/25c up to $10/$20
Party Poker has added even smaller limits for new depositors such as 2c/4c. You’re able to play at these tables for the first 60 days after your initial deposit.
Deposit Methods: NETeller, PaySafeCard, WebMoney, Visa, Electron, Mastercard, Laser, Click2Pay, Ukash, Citadel, Moneybookers, eWire, UseMyBank, checking accounts, wire transfer.
Minimum Deposit: $50
Tips: As I mentioned in the Fish section, I usually find a lot more blind aggression on Party Poker than on other sites. Many of your opponents will raise a lot more hands than you would, and will continue to bet out regardless of if they hit their drawing hands. For a timid player, this can be a difficult situation. To improve your table image and winning percentage, I recommend that you call more often with more hands at an aggressive table.
For example, let’s say that I play 5-6 suited from the button to mix it up, and 4 of us see a flop of 3-6-7. The first player bets about the size of the pot, and everyone else folds. About half of the time, I will probably fold as well. However, look at all the outs you have in this hand. You could hit the 4 for a straight, and even if you put him on pocket Aces (which isn’t all that likely), another 5 or 6 will win you the pot. Since these players like to bluff, you might even have the best hand already. If you get checked to on the turn, consider tossing in a pot-sized bet yourself. Much of the time, you’ll win it right there or improve on the river if you get called.
Don’t always assume a big hand from a big bet on Party Poker, and consider staying with a hand with a lot of potential outs. At time same time, don’t become a calling station and leak a good size of your stack with mediocre cards. Pick and choose your battles, but play aggressively when you do stay in.