In the world of online gaming, 888 Poker shines as one of the best examples of turning adversity into opportunity. In 2006, when legislation made it illegal for US internet players to bet overseas, 888 (originally called Pacific Poker) was no exception when it took a major hit to its customer base. That’s old news; however, it’s the climb back to the top that makes 888 Poker stand out above the rest.
Instead of tucking tail and running, 888 embraced the future by making innovative strides with 3D playing software, webcam playing abilities, and a streamlined lobby that takes just one click to get new players into the game. They’ve also got all the basics covered, such as first-rate security, gaming in multiple languages, as well as customer service support available in 11 different languages.
Granted, the sign-on bonuses aren’t the most extravagant going (matching up to $400 at the time of this review), but it’s the relative ease of accessing said-funds that adds to 888’s list of perks. And if you’re new to the game or just wanting to brush up on skills there’s a solid tutorial section and community board, too.
888’s marketing re-brand promises “We play different”. Sure it’s a slogan, but this site not only delivers, it keeps delivering. When forward-thinking guides a company, it shows that 888 isn’t content to merely get you through the door, they want you coming back. By creating a modern, fun and secure place to play, both fishes and sharks swim in to make an exciting pool that’s touted as the biggest gaming force to be reckoned with.
By “sweating the small stuff,” 888 has become an award-winning poker site that garnered a 122% traffic increase in 2011, alone. With an ever-expanding list of opponents and 888 Poker’s sister sites offering additional entertainments, it’s no wonder these guys are ranking in at the top.
As mentioned, you can expect to find a diverse pool of opponents at the tables, and a lot of loose play. The poker fare is standard, from Texas Hold’em to Omaha Hi/Lo, though how you choose to play is where things get interesting.
Ring games with real chips can be played, or you can get yourself into one of the many tournaments offered. With ring games you can sit in or bow out, as time allows. This is a great alternative for players on-the-go who are less able to commit to longer-term tournaments. Plus the progressive jackpots at ring games start at £5,000 and then go up from there, depending on the number of players on board. Not too shabby.
Players who enjoy working multiple tables will doubtless enjoy 888’s software feature that allows different game windows to be staggered for easy viewing. And though not a feature exclusive to 888, being able to make notes about competitors is a handy tool, particularly when playing multiple games.
This site is not lacking in tournaments, and that’s to be expected by the biggest house in town. The combination of young hungry newbies and the old-dogs can make for some very interesting play. As with any poker site, it’s up to you to be selective in finding the tables that specifically suit your desires.
On any given day there are a number of events going on. However, there are more than a few players who are sticking around in order to try to qualify for some of the biggies like Aussie Millions and the European Poker Tour.
It’s no secret that you might be able to find more lucrative sign-on bonuses elsewhere. However, 888 will match 100% (up to $400) of your initial deposit and give you 25% of that bonus right at the start! With so many other rooms making you jump through tons of hoops to get your cash, this sign-on bonus is a real treat by comparison.
There’s plenty more to celebrate, including a daily $10,000 freeroll and the Sunday $100,000 challenge. As with all poker sites, promotions are continually being rolled out and revamped so look to 888 for the latest deals going around.
888 Poker’s VIP programme is unique in that it has 10 different levels you can attain. From cash prizes to tournament entries, this site has developed numerous incentives to encourage you to keep your hand in the game.
Like most poker sites, players will rise in levels as they earn more and more VIP points. Points can be earned by monthly play and also by how much you play annually. What draws most into the programme is the lure of cashback (a percentage of your rake) and access to the VIP tournaments. These tournaments vary according to your own particular level reached and get run as often as daily! There’s more, including access to the VIP shop
As opposed to the standard “Here’s 50 bucks, and thanks,” 888’s “We play different” ethos rings true for their friend referral programme, too. First off, the site makes inviting friends beautifully simple by offering you contact choices between Email and Facebook. They even offer you a referral link that you can copy and paste in your various social media outlets.
If a friend signs on, both you and your friends are automatically entered to try for a $1,000 freeroll. You’ll also get $8 free and clear to take to your favourite game.
888 Poker’s innovative software and 3D graphics are top of the line and will hopefully start influencing some of the staid flat graphics many of the others still use. The one-click new player sign-on has been making the news and 888 boasts “nearly 100 new features and product enhancements” as well. The aforementioned multi-table cascading, opponent profiling and stats at a glance lets you up your game quickly. And you also have the opportunity to personal your game by changing deck size and colors, as well.
A first of its kind, 888 offers a webcam option for tournament play, so that you’re face-to-face with opponents, even across the country from one another. The software is available in numerous languages, making 888 a sensible choice for global games.
As a first-rate poker site you can also rest assured that all of the backstage issues are given the same attention that the Lobby is. Technical support is easy to find via Email, phone and live chat. Security and ethics are consistently rated as some of the best around. And regarding fairness of play, 888’s number generator is eCOGRA certified. Add the site’s complete lack of tolerance for cheaters is proven by the company’s top-notch security software.
As you can see, 888 Poker is doing it all right. This site weathered more than a few setbacks, yet continually strides toward a better tomorrow. It’s more than a little heartening to see a company combining innovation with ethical business practices and still having fun. But with change comes risk. 888 had a look at the odds and decided that reinvention could spell success. They were right. And such bold and effective changes promise even more good things in the future.