888poker is a massive site. It has the second most traffic globally of all poker sites. Longevity is a good indicator of quality. It has been serving customers since 2002, but how does it compare to its competition? This review focuses on deposit bonuses, rakeback, difficulty of players, and software.
888poker has the best no-deposit required bonus in the business
888poker’s claim to fame is the 88 dollar no-deposit bonus, which works in the form of tournament tickets and cash deposited to your account as soon as you verify your email. You start out with $8 worth of tickets and cash, and are able to unlock the remaining $80 through their bonus point system. We have a full explanation of how the bonus works. The site is known for soft opponents. With the best no-deposit online poker bonus available, new players are always signing up to take full advantage of it. Honestly, who doesn’t like free poker money?
Rakeback and loyalty program
For no-limit hold’em, the most popular form of the game, the rake scheme is worse than other sites. For example in the 1¢/2¢ game, rake starts at 6.25%, capped at $1 for heads up play and capped at $4 for games played with three or more players. Let’s compare this to PokerStars. For their 1¢/2¢ game, rake is only 3.5% and is capped at $0.30, no matter how many players. 888poker’s higher stake tables are better than their microstakes tables, with their 5¢/10¢-$1-$2 having only 5% rake capped at $1 for heads up, and $4 for 3+ players. That is only a little worse in percentage terms than PokerStars, which has rake between 4.50% and 5.0% for the same stakes but with much smaller rake caps. This means that on 888, you are going to pay much more rake on big pots that you play. Let’s do an example. You are involved in a pot at a 6 person which goes to showdown at the $0.25/$0.50 NLH game worth $100. On 888, you would pay 5% of the pot up to a maximum of $4, and your rake would be $4 in this scenario. On PokerStars, in the same circumstance you would pay half the rake. And, if you were playing a table with only 4 people, you would then only have to pay $1 in rake. While it might not seem like a huge difference, once you start playing seriously it is not only other players that you have to beat, but the rake.
What does this mean for you? It means you are going to pay more rake over the long term, and you need to be winning more consistently than other sites. Luckily, the high rake is one of the reasons that professional players tend to stay away from the lower stakes of 888. That means the soft competition should allow you to beat the rake at the microstakes once you have a good grasp of poker strategy and game selection. Our guide to beating the micros is a good place to start for new players.
Is rakeback comparable with other sites?
In order to reward players loyalty, different sites offer rakeback programs. 888 offers rakeback through a loyalty club, where players earn points as they pay rake. The current year has unfortunately seen a trend towards higher rake and lower rakeback rewards across major poker sites. Recent changes to rakeback have had professional players angry with cuts all across the board, with a maximum rakeback of 10% achievable.
The new program that the casino offer is their “Poker Club”. By playing real money games, you earn “Gold Tokens” which can be redeemed for prizes. You can also earn gold coins by completing challenges that the poker site offers. The new loyalty program also features access to freeroll tournaments. It is a step towards catering towards recreational players rather than grinders.
Poker Games offered and traffic
Traffic suffers during non-peak hours, and something you cannot find any action at stakes higher than 30NL or 50NL. What they lack in volume, it absolutely makes up for in quality. The regs are worse, the fish are spewier, and it takes much less time to beat the games than it does to learn how to play vs the caliber of players you are going to be up against in the low stakes of PokerStars.
They offer Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi-Lo and 7 Card Stud games. All the major poker games you could want are available, but play at peak hours to make sure you practice proper game selection. Obviously, there will be more players at Texas holdem tables than other tables. That is a common theme with all of the best online poker sites.
They also offers tournaments. While these do not have the massive prize pools you would find on PokerStars, they range from micro stakes to some higher stakes tournaments with entry fees of over $200.
We cannot stress the difference between the type of games you will play on 888 compared to PokerStars. The competition is simply weaker, and especially for those who are just beginning to learn poker strategy and how to play poker and win money, it is a perfect place to start.
If you are a true beginner, 888poker does offer play money tables for you to play poker online free and learn the rules of poker.
Unfortunately, the site does not have the best poker software of all competitors. If you are used to playing on a site like PokerStars, you may be disappointed. The software is dated, and frustrating connectivity issues persist. Note taking is difficult and it takes time for the cards to be dealt when compared with other online poker sites. Players have complained about being sat out of games while they are still trying to play, and actions not registering with the system. However, complaints are often from players who have gone from PokerStars to 888 after getting used to PokerStars responsive, up to date layout and software. Once you get used to playing on the site, the issues tend to resolve themselves, and the major issues with the software could potentially be explained by simple unfamiliarity with the system.
Do you need to be worried about the software? Not necessarily. Most complaints come from players who are multi-tabling sometimes six or more tables at a time. For them, little irregularities in software can cause them to fold hands as they have to be concentrate on multiple tables at a time. If you are a new player who is likely to play only one table at a time, or a maximum of two, generally the quirks that the software brings are very manageable. It is very much worth it to play on 888poker because of the quality of games that are offered.
Software works on all major platforms, and poker tools such as Hold’em Manager and Pokertracker 4 are compatible with the site.
Deposit and Withdrawals
The casino has a long list of accepted payment methods. You can deposit with VISA, MC, Debit, EPS, iDebit, Neteller, wire transfers and more depending on your location.
In order to withdraw money, you may have to verify your identity. The first withdrawal request general requires a copy of current photographic id, such as a passport or drivers license. 888 does not give detailed information on the conversion rate applied to withdrawal requests, however does claim that they are comparable with daily commercial rates offered by banks. Generally, banks have poor conversion rates compared to currency exchange companies. There are many different methods for withdrawing, including a bank draft.
Security and Support
888poker uses payment software which is certified by TRUSTe, a leading global Data Privacy Management company. On their site, they explain that “888.com utilizes the most advanced security and encryption technologies available, to ensure that your transaction and all of your financial information are completely secure.”
We may have sounded hyper-critical of 888 in this review. However, it is important to understand that 888’s shortcomings are overcome by the fact that stronger players will gravitate towards sites that cater towards their needs in terms of rakeback and reliable software for multitabling. This directly causes the quality of games to be much better at 888poker, meaning that they are more likely to be filled with recreational players and softer opponents. The no-deposit bonus offered by the site is simply unmatched by other sites that invariably require new players to go through the deposit process in order to qualify for their bonus. If you want to hear more information of how thousands of players are finding their experience with the casino, the twoplustwo poker forums thread is a great place to look. You have beginners to professional players commenting on the quality of service, games, and software.
If you are starting your journey, have learned the rules of poker, played some home games and had fun, 888 could be the online poker site for you. It features easier opponents to start out against and is one of the best online poker sites for beginners. If you want to learn how to play online poker for money, you need to be able to beat the players on microstakes games before you can seriously consider moving forward.