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SportsBetting Poker Review

poker555US CREDIT/DEBIT/GIFT CARDS ACCEPTED AT NEAR-100% RATE: As SportsBetting Poker shares a similar cashier with network partner BetOnline it has a tremendous advantage over the rest of the US market in terms of payment processing. The advertising of credit card deposits is only half the battle as most US poker rooms feature this deposit method but fail to successfully charge domestic cards. SportsBetting Poker and its network have the highest credit card deposit rates in the industry, processing them at a near-100% rate. Any US credit, debit, or even some prepaid gift cards can be used for deposit at SportsBetting Poker and shouldn’t experience a block.

 FREE TOURNAMENT DOLLARS AND UP TO 25% INSTANT CASH: Our new players instantly receive free “Promo Bucks” on every deposit, which can then be used as a buy-in right away for any real-money tournament. On the same deposit players also receive a 15% free play sports bonus if depositing by credit card and a 25% bonus if using a different deposit method. While this bonus must be used in the sports section it serves as an immediate risk-free way to sample the other gaming sections with a chance at building into a bankroll able to be cashed out or transferred to poker.

 NEW 200% BONUS: New players now receive a 200% play-based bonus on any first deposit using any method. The bonus is valid up to $2,500 and you have 120 days to earn it, which is a departure from the typical 30-60 days found elsewhere. This fills a big void as this poker room previously had no poker-based bonus and they’ve answered with one of the larger total offers online.

usdeposits  As alluded to above SportsBetting Poker currently has one of the most robust and successful cashiers for US deposits. With its knowledge of the gaming market going back to the mid-1990s and recent purchase by the BetOnline group this site has seamless deposits that bypass the typical blocks by originating banks. Even major credit cards are accepted at close to a 100% rate with customer service, either by e-mail or telephone, able to manually help transactions go through, if necessary.No third-party signups or e-wallets are required with deposits able to be made using the web or software cashier and available for play within a few minutes. All credit, debit, and prepaid cards should be accepted without issue and no fees are charged.

In the rare case that a card cannot be processed they have instituted a proprietary voucher system as a backup funding method. Players can purchase voucher codes using an existing credit card on a third-party website, which can then be entered directly in the poker room cashier. This method does take a bit more time and requires a bit more information but it still can all be done online with relatively little hassle. Again, no fees are charged for this method.

Players can also use the tried-and-true cash transfer method, which can now be done online with both providers using either a debit/credit card or checking account. There are also thousands of physical kiosk locations around the country that offer cash transfer, usually within grocery stores or pharmacies, which may also be an option for receiving cashouts. Finally, as a last resort SportsBetting Poker does accept wire transfers that would be initiated by your bank or even physical methods such as mailing in a cashier’s check or money order to the poker room. With all of these alternative methods be sure to ask the poker room support for the transfer information or mailing address.

Overall:  4.5/5

With the relaunch of SportsBetting Poker, one of the longest-tenured gaming brands, comes promise for another strong option to fit the needs of the current US landscape. Since I first launched Beat The Fish in 2005 to share my online poker experiences in review form with other players the overarching theme has always been to give players as much information as possible so they can make their own decisions about who gets their online poker business. Players shouldn’t simply go by my rankings but use my personal experience and research to decide who best satisfies their priorities.

Part of my job in reviewing poker rooms is identifying the pulse of the poker industry, especially in such a fluid US market, and identifying who succeeds based on the current climate. In the mid-2000s every table was full of newbies fresh off the WSOP rush and the biggest concern about deposit methods was remembering your password to your chosen e-wallet. Fast-forward to today and back to SportsBetting Poker, which seems to be one of the best at accommodating to the new reality that is playing online poker in the US. Less concerned with the flashy bonuses of yesteryear and more concerned with ultra-converting deposits, keeping the fish at the tables, and reasonable upfront offers this poker room is highly relevant and highly rated in every facet short of multi-table tournaments.

SportsBetting Poker is now being run by the same management as BetOnline and is also on the same poker network. This is a major positive for poker players as it allows access to the excellent cashier and financial stability of the parent network while also having access to built-in poker traffic and the same loose cash games. As mentioned above in the US deposits section this network offers the highest credit card acceptance rates in the US market at nearly 100%. No third-party e-wallets are required and no fees are taken.

Simply allowing players to deposit what and when they want to goes a long way to restoring some of the joy that has been taken out of the game thanks to tight games and tighter cashiers that had become staples of US online poker in recent years. The cash games here are also a step back into the highly profitable heyday with flop percentages exceeding 40% and numerous seats occupied by inexperienced players visiting from the sports section. Loose games have become so endangered that this may be the largest endorsement of all. Flanked by an excellent payout system and simple, if minimal, bonus system SportsBetting Poker is certainly one of the top choices remaining in the US market.

Bonus (200% up to $2,500 and 15/25% Instant Cash) and Promotions:   3.5/5

For the first year or so after the launch of this poker room I was puzzled as to why they refused to offer any sort of poker-based bonus. It’s bold to try to attract players purely from what’s under the hood (and offer non-poker bonuses to get players to play in their other gaming sections) but why not be competitive with literally every other poker room flashing neon lights with big numbers in front of prospective players?

It seems that they’ve finally listened to player requests and now offer an impressive 200% play-based poker bonus, which is valid up to $2,500. Those are certainly eye-popping numbers and are actually the highest in the entire US market. Of course, with any bonus these days it is only as good as your playing time/level. I would estimate that average players at the $1 NL level will earn about $2 per hour per table of bonus, which is quite good compared to other sites.

The terms of release are some of the strangest I’ve seen with bonus money transferred to your real money balance when you hit 10, 20, 50, 50, and 70% completion instead of the usual $5 or $10 increments. This is a crafty beneficial term in the poker room’s favor as there is a greater chance that players won’t hit those larger thresholds. However, I do give them credit for upping the time allowed to earn the bonus to 120 days, 2-4x better than the tradition term.

The other two main poker-only promotions are the instant Promo Bucks given for our new players on all new deposits and the POP Points system. Promo Bucks are given at the rate of 200 for each $50 deposited, which is the equivalent of $2. They can then be used to enter most real-money tournaments as a normal buy-in or for designated tournaments that use Promo Bucks as the buy-in with the ability to earn more by cashing in the tournaments.

The 2 other poker-specific promotions at SportsBetting Poker are the POP Point system and the hourly freerolls. The former is a typical point award system found at just about every other online poker room. POP Points are awarded based on contributed gameplay in cash games or by paying tournament fees for any event. Points can only currently be used to enter daily freerolls with real-money prizes but should expand to more uses in the future. The hourly freerolls usually offer prizes up to $100 but also draw up to 1,000 players each. These will most likely only be frequented by those on severely limited bankrolls, trying out the software, or to pass the time while waiting for new cash games hands.

There are also 2 newer worthwhile promotions in the four of a kind bonus and the bad beat rebate. At minimum, every player should be aware of how to qualify for them as the redemption rules are unnecessarily convoluted. At less than $100 neither are massive payouts but what I particularly like is how common they will come up through normal gameplay. The four of a kind offer isn’t usually on a schedule but the software tells you when it is active. Any four of a kind using both hole cards then gets you $40.

The bad beat rebate is every Friday with the reward (up to $50 for $10 NL) based on the game limits. The qualifying losing hand is incredibly low at a Jack-high flush or better. This could easily happen multiple times in one session. Just be sure to take note of the hand number and as many details as you can since an email to support requesting the prize is required within an hour. It would be nice to see these run daily but it’s a nice extra bonus for a common occurrence.

The best promotional offer may actually be the instant sports bonus, which is 15% for credit card deposits and 25% for other methods. Following your deposit SportsBetting Poker places the bonus amount immediately into your free bet section in the sports cashier. The intent of the bonus seems to be to get every player to check out the sports section of the site, especially poker-only players who never would have otherwise.

With the free bets only initially usable here and given the risk-free nature it’s certainly worth the entertainment of trying and build it into more. If you’re successful enough you’ll eventually clear the rollover requirements and can then either transfer all of your winnings to poker or withdraw it. For casino players a 100% slots bonus is also given and can be cashed out if rolled over 50x from slots play.

Fish:   5/5 

One of the few positive side effects of the former poker-only giants leaving the US market is the traction that has been gained by one-stop-shop gaming sites like SportsBetting Poker and what it means profitable cash games. In my decade of online poker experience I’ve simply never found a poker/sports/casino site that is tighter than any poker-only site. Poker players need only to look at the typical software numbers to see the advantage. Traffic numbers are split about 60/40 between 6-seated cash and 10-seated cash games. The latter features flop percentages of an outlandish 35-50% and average pots of at least 20x the big blind. Compare that to the dry-as-a-desert 7% or 8% seen at Full Tilt or Stars before they left the US market.

The players here are simply some of the worst online and I have no doubt about its top Fish Rating. With little to no advertising for any poker room on this network the poker room was largely made to serve the existing clientele of sports and casino players. That group is inherently less experienced with advanced poker play and seems to view poker as an instant way to blow off steam or as a fun way to bluff and bully other players until they win big or go broke.

More conservative poker players might feel like they’re walking into an alien minefield but there’s no question that this type of game is infinitely more profitable than the raise-and-fold borefests that had begun to strangle the US market. SportsBetting Poker features one of the few remaining collections of wild US games, which is one of the best reasons to play there.

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Tournaments:   3.5/5

The tournament schedule at SportsBetting Poker is probably its weakest aspect, which is why I would suggest this poker room more for those who value easy deposit and loose cash games over large tournaments. During peak times there are multiple events every hour, although most have guarantees under $1,000 and include rebuys and add-ons. About $100 worth of freerolls also happen every hour, which is more plentiful than most poker rooms for those looking to sample the software or to use as second-window entertainment to keep you occupied. Aside from the freerolls, which can draw up to 1,000 players each, the best daily events draw about 100-200 players.

Some of the best values on the daily schedule include a $1,000 guarantee with a $1 buy-in every night at 6PM EST, another $1,000 guarantee for $3, and a $500 guarantee for 50 cents. There are also micro-tournaments with buy-ins under $1 and those with Promo Bucks prize pools that fill out the schedule. Unfortunately, a tournament here eessentially means it’s a rebuy/add-on event in order to satisfy their gamble-hungry player base that busts out often and to increase the prize pools. While I don’t prefer rebuy tournaments the players are usually so poor in these tournaments that simply waiting out the crowd and occasionally doubling up with strong hands serves the same purpose of spending more money on more chips.

SportsBetting Poker forgoes the Sunday standard of other online poker rooms for its big weekly guarantee and holds its $20,000 event every Saturday at 7 PM EST. The buy-in is $60 and, of course, rebuys and add-ons are allowed through the first break. The prize pool may seem paltry compared to the glory days of $1,000,000 guarantees but this is simply the new reality for the US market with lower-trafficked sites. The buy-in is reasonable for smaller bankrolls and those with other commitments will appreciate the much lower time commitment involved with a tournament that only involves 150 players or so.

The Sit and Go events are surprisingly active and will likely appeal more than the multi-table tournaments to most players. Waiting time is low for tiny nickel buy-ins all the way up to $33 turbo tables. They do host double-up Sit and Go events, which has become the most popular form of Sit and Go in online poker. Look for “1-Up” events in the Sit and Go tab.

Potential overlays are another positive aspect of tournaments at this and other smaller poker rooms that should be touched on. Guaranteed prize pools ensure a minimum prize pool regardless of the number of paid entrants. For example, if only 600 players pay $1 to enter a $1,000 guaranteed event the poker room has to chip in the other $400. This frequently happens at SportsBetting Poker, allowing you to essentially start a tournament where a number of eliminated players have already paid their way.

Software:   4/5

The SportsBetting Poker software package is one of the more well-designed online, succeeding at the essentials if not featuring a wealth of advanced features. The lobby has a simple filtration system for game type and limit, which is always appreciated. As has been standard for the last decade this software package shows the average pot and flop numbers, which is always helpful in determining more active loose cash games.

Oddly, the average hands per hour is not shown, although game speed averages a quick 60 hands per hour on 10-seated full tables so there is nothing to hide. Two positives that SportsBetting employs to keep the games running smoothly are a colored timer that ticks away for each active player and the lack of an obnoxious time bank that is mostly used for posturing and pettiness at other poker rooms that support it.

The graphical table layout is a gray-and-blue racetrack style that looks highly derivative of the old Full Tilt software, which won’t garner any complaints from me. I always felt that was one if, if not the, best software packages online so why not mimic at least the visual style of one of the best now-defunct poker rooms? One of the notable features is the choice to go with 10-seated full tables, which I feel always makes more sense than going 9-seated online where there is no obligation for a dealer space.

None of the software features will be particular impressive to anyone that has played online poker in the past 10 years but it hosts the games consistently with enough graphical appeal and barebones features not to feel outdated. Detailed hand histories are available, although are in text form. Player notes and a buddy list are supported to notify you when specific users are also online.

There is currently no player customization such as individual avatars or icons aside from your chosen screen name. The table resizing option is one of the better online. Along with being able to freely size any window the tile feature is one of the best I have seen, automatically making every table fit together for your screen resolution but only shrinking or enlarging each table as much as it has to.

US Payouts:   5/5 

As good as the deposit methods are at SportsBetting Poker they are only as strong as the payouts. Fortunately, this is one of the largest cashiers left in the US and the ability to receive payouts within a week is a coup in this market. Several of the small poker-only operations have been struggling to meet processing demand. The result is extreme delays for players to receive just one method, usually paper checks. This site gives direct bank wires, paper checks, and cash transfers as options.

What’s especially notable is that by only doubling the modest standard check fee to $50 you can upgrade to courier delivery within a week. For withdrawals over $500 bank wire is an excellent option as your payout is sent within a week directly to your bank account without the hassle of check depositing. The fees for wires are much lower than other poker rooms, ranging from $45-75 for the largest wires of $15,000.

Customer Service:   5/5

SportsBetting Poker seems determined not to lose a player due to lack of support. With many US poker rooms blaming their suddenly-overwhelming popularity as the cause of support delays (cue the eye roll) SportsBetting simply lets you call them on the phone if you don’t want to wait for an e-mail reply. It seems like a basic concept but telephone support is actually quite rare for online poker rooms these days.

The phone support reps aren’t outsourced and thus have a better understanding of the poker room, the cashier, and other functions that players will know about. E-mail support replies are currently taking about 24 hours, which is above-average in the current market. Naturally, customer service is excellent for depositing players, with the support team excelling at finding a deposit alternative for just about anyone having issues with credit cards.

Player Traffic

One of the more impressive features is the decent level of traffic, which is always tough to come by for new independent poker networks. While no US network currently has an overwhelming amount of traffic this poker room is certainly in the top 3. Player numbers have also steadily grown since launch, largely a feature of the easy deposits and US players looking for new homes after being shunted by the former market leaders.

The total player count is usually over 3,000, although much of that is due to freeroll players. The cash games at SportsBetting Poker are some of the busiest in the US market with active tables up to the $5/10 NL level at peak hours and at least 4-5 active tables per limit. The top tournaments usually draw between 100-200 players.

Best Features

Incredibly easy US deposits. Almost two decades in the online gaming business has taught management how to process credit cards at nearly a 100% rate without fees.

Lots of cashout options. Non-US players have no issue using Moneybookers or Neteller for cashouts but US players also have much more options than other sites with bank wires, checks, and cash transfer all available.

Some of the loosest tables online. The flop percentages, which are a good indicator of how much action is involved at a given table, often exceed 35-40% for 10-seated tables.

Instant sports bonus. Up to 25% is given to our new SportsBetting Poker instantly for use in the sports section. Even though it isn’t usable right away for poker it is, at minimum, risk-free entertainment.

Game Selection: Hold’em, Omaha

Limits: Limit: 1c/2c up to $5/10    No-Limit: 1c/2c up to $5/10

Deposit Methods: Major credit cards, prepaid gift cards, cash transfer, cashier’s check, wire transfer, money order, Moneybookers (non-US), and Neteller (non-US). See the “Easy US Deposits” section at the top of the page for more information.

Minimum Deposit: $50

Tips: As I’ve discussed throughout this review much of the loose action at SportsBetting Poker can be tied to its established player base of sports and casino players just discovering the new poker room. Most of the casual interest in poker is also in the quick action of tournaments, likely with edited TV coverage being their only foundation of game strategy. Sports and casino players used to immediate feedback or not forced to directly act to decide the outcome of a bet tend to play poker more for a quick thrill and big bets and bluffs rather than the disciplined grinding winning poker often calls for. The rebuy/add-on format that SportsBetting uses almost exclusively feeds that mentality, always offering more chips despite playing poorly enough to keep going broke.

Patient tournament players and those who want to save the rebuy fees can capitalize on the rush that seems to dominate the early stages. Facing players that will likely go all-in on speculative hands you should simply wait for strong made hands, essentially just pocket Kings or Aces, if you’re going to be involved early at all. You simply aren’t going to be able to get away with seeing a cheap flop for these wild low buy-in tournaments so trap overaggressive players pre-flop with those Kings or Aces.

Every hand’s winning percentage decreases with more opponents so isolate with your premium hands pre-flop (likely resulting in a favorable all-in situation against many of these chronic re-buyers) to avoid bad beats later. The same strategy of isolation and playing the opposite style of the rest of the table, which is almost always playing tight at a loose table at this poker room, can be used in the similarly-wild cash tables.

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