888 Poker was one of the “founding fathers” of real money online poker; starting life as Pacific Poker in 2002 before evolving into its current format within a couple of years. The company operates out of Gibraltar – where it is registered and regulated – and provides online poker for real money all over the world, with the exception of the United States, Israel and Turkey.
Since its launch – and despite the site´s withdrawal from the US in 2006 – 888 Poker has remained in the top 5 poker sites in the world in terms of player volume and has developed a reputation for leading the way in technical innovations (such as their PokerCam tables) and offering players a wide range of non-poker related promotions in which prizes such as holidays and a share in a racehorse have been offered.
888 Poker´s Choice of Games
For such an innovative site, the choice of real money poker games offered by 888 Poker is a bit disappointing. The “standards” of Texas Hold´em, Omaha and 7 Card Stud are well provided for, but no other formats of poker. It is true that PokerCam tables add a new dimension to NL Texas Hold´em and that there is usually a good volume of traffic and the Omaha and Stud games, but you might expect more from an online poker site with such a substantial database.
There is however a good selection of Sit n Go and multi-table tournaments available on 888 Poker, and the site has been one of just a few to refrain from tinkering with “Double or Nothing” Sit n Go tournaments. The weekly feature tournament is the $100,000 guaranteed “Sunday Challenge” which has the smallest buy-in of any of the leading web sites for a feature tournament – $82.00 + 8.00. Good value satellites to the “Sunday Challenge” are also available.
The Level of Traffic on 888 Poker
The level of traffic on 888 Poker is one of the most consistent among the leading online poker sites and, whereas some sites experience huge peaks and troughs throughout the day, 888 Poker has a strong following in Asia and Australia which keeps the action ticking over at the tables around the clock.
However, 888 Poker is pretty shrewd when it comes to offering guaranteed tournaments, and rarely is there any override available for players seeking a little value from under-subscribed events. Even the daily freerolls are re-buy and add-on events (so not the Depositors Freeroll or VIP Freeroll); although it would be fair to say that 888 Poker does provide a little extra elsewhere.
The Standard of Play on 888 Poker
The standard of play on 888 Poker is fairly good, and new real money poker players are advised not to get in too deep at the tables until they are familiar with the level of play they will need to attain before 888 Poker becomes a profitable experience. Despite the relatively high standard of play, 888 Poker is a very friendly site to play at, and you should enjoy playing at 888 Poker.
Having said that, players do drift onto 888 Poker from the company´s casino and sports betting sites, and the observant player should be able to spot an unfamiliar face and take advantage of their inexperience – confirming what we have been saying all throughout this web site, that knowing your opponent and using information gathered from your betting position is far more important than what cards you are dealt!
The 888 Poker Bonus
There are two 888 Poker bonuses – the “free poker money” which the site offers for new players to register an account and experience playing at 888 Poker and the “Double your First Deposit” bonus which applies when new players first fund their 888 Poker account. The amount of the “free poker money” bonus varies according to your country of residence but the regular 100% match 888 Poker bonus is limited to deposits up to $400.00 (except when special promotions are offered).
We have provided a comprehensive example of what you have to do in order to clear the 888 Poker bonus on our poker bonus page and it would be fair to say that clearing the bonus requires a significant effort. Nonetheless, the 888 Poker bonus is released into your account in increments of $10.00, so if you do not manage to clear the full amount within the 90 days allowed, you will still be adding some free poker money to your account.
How to Download the 888 Poker Software
888 Poker offers two software alternatives for poker players. You can either download the full software package if you have a Windows PC or use the “Instant Play” flash facility through a web browser. The gaming experience is the same whichever you choose and Mac players who cannot download the 888 Poker software are not missing out on anything by using the flash version through their web browser.
To access the 888 Poker download, click on any of our links to take you to the 888 Poker web site. Click on the “Download Now” button and the .exe file will automatically save to your download folder. Double click the installation file, read and accept the End User License Agreement and select what shortcuts you would like to include in the installation process. Click “install” and the software will install itself onto your computer. The client should launch as soon as the 888 Poker download is complete.
Setting Up an 888 Poker Account
The second page of the account set-up asks you to choose a user name (this will be your screen name), a password and a security question in case you ever forget your password. Finally (on page 3) you are asked to provide your post code, address and a contact telephone number. Click on finish and you are ready to play with the free poker money provided by 888 Poker or make your first deposit to take advantage of the 888 Poker bonus.
Funding an 888 Poker Account
Although the preferable option would be to run up the free poker money provided by 888 Poker into a bankroll, there are benefits to making a deposit when you register your account – not least the 888 Poker new player bonus. 888 Poker offers a staggering fifteen deposit options in their cashier and, if you are not happy entering your card details online, you can even call up their customer support and fund your 888 Poker account over the phone.
888 Poker are equally as flexible with the variety of withdrawal options, although you will have to verify your account (photo ID and proof of address) before making a withdrawal. Usually, withdrawals are processed within 48 hours of a request being made and are sent back to the source from which they came (i.e. withdrawals are paid back to your Visa card if that is what you used to deposit).
888 Poker Loyalty Program
The 888 Poker loyalty program is a little confusing to get to grips with, but fairly worthwhile once you master it.
The points that you collect to redeem your 888 Poker bonus are called “Bonus Points” all the time they relate to clearing the bonus, and “Status Points” whenever referring to the 888 Poker loyalty program. They are effectively one and the same, although Status Points have no redeemable value are only used to calculate your VIP Status.
A second (third?) points system – Rewards Points – is used to enable players to earn cash rewards, entries into poker tournaments and goodies from the 888 Poker online store (actually quite a decent collection). Reward Points are awarded in multipliers of the Bonus/Status Points you receive for playing at cash game tables or entering poker tournaments depending on the Status Level you achieve (for example a Gold-rate 888 Poker player would receive 4.5x the number of Status Points they collected in Reward Points) and they can add up to be worth a few quid.
A Gold-rated player, who has collected 1,500 Status Points within a month, will be eligible to enter VIP freerolls with a total value of $47,000 and have 6,750 Reward Points which he or she can convert into $60.00 cash – every month.
Extra Features available on 888 Poker
888 Poker is a very community-orientated site at which to play poker for real money and has an active forum, articles written exclusively for 888 Poker players by their team pros and a decent news section. Passwords for 888 Poker exclusive freerolls are communicated via Twitter and Facebook, where there are plenty of other poker-related discussions going on.
A live chat facility (as well as a freephone telephone service) is available if you encounter any difficulties depositing into your account or withdrawing from it and, for general enquiries, 888 Poker has a very extensive “help” section on their web site which is backed up by a fast-response email service (very fast – we have used it a couple of times).
888 Poker is Most Suitable for:-
- New players or those with limited experience
- Observant players – for whom 888 Poker can be very lucrative
- Players who like a change from the “norm”
- Socially-minded players
Avoid 888 Poker if:-
- You want a big bonus just for registering
- You want to play anything other than Hold´em, Omaha or Stud
- You hope to find easy tables
- You are looking for under-subscribed poker tournaments
888 Poker Q&A
- Can I play 888 Poker even though I live in Spain?
- Sure, although you will have to play on 888Poker.es and, due to the Spanish government´s ridiculous money-grabbing policies, pay a higher percentage of rake in cash games.
- Does 888 Poker host satellites to its “Sunday Challenge”?
- Satellites run all week and start from just $4.40. The site also hosts online poker satellites to a number of live events including its own SuperStack Series and the WSOP.
- What is it like playing against Australians?
- Harder than you might imagine. The country might be backwards in some respects (!), but Australian poker players are a tough lot to beat.
- What is the best level for a new player to go in at?
- It will probably depend on the size of your bankroll, but we suggest you follow the “median” strategy illustrated in our guide to managing your poker bankroll. It might be a bit boring at first, but the camaraderie at the tables makes up for it.
- What is to stop players registering an account with 888 Poker and withdrawing the free poker money straight away?
- Remember those “Terms and Conditions” we said you should read? There is quite a steep turnover requirement before you can take out any bonus funds offered by 888 Poker.
- What are the system requirements for the 888 Poker software?
888 Poker Download for Windows for MacIntosh System Requirements Minimum Recommended Minimum Recommended Operating System Windows 95 Windows 7 n/a n/a Processor 100MHz Pentium 333MHz Pentium n/a n/a Memory 96MB RAM 256MB RAM n/a n/a Disc Space 20MB 60MB n/a n/a Screen Resolution 800×600 1024×768 n/a n/a
888 Poker also has a mobile phone app for playing poker on an Android, an iPad or an iPhone. Only Texas Hold´em cash games and Sit n Go tournaments are available at the moment and, to get the 888 Poker mobile phone app, follow the link on this page to 888 Poker and then go to “Poker Promotions” (heaven knows why they put it there, but that´s where it is)
- Do I have to give my telephone number during the registration process? I don´t want a lot of sales calls.
- It is usually a good idea to give your telephone number to a poker site because if there is any unusual activity on your account 888 Poker have a quick means of getting in touch with you. In all the years we have played on 888 Poker (five years now), we have never received one unsolicited call.
- Does 888 Poker accept PayPal for deposits?
- PayPal deposits are usually credited to your account immediately and withdrawals are back in your account within three working days (often quicker).
- The 888 Poker loyalty program does not look all that good if all you get is $60.00 a month?
- We picked a status level that most players can achieve in a month as an example, rather than picking the highest VIP Diamond Status Level (in which players would be picking up thousands of dollars in cash exchanges each month).
- I am not very community minded, but I like the idea of playing on 888 Poker. Can I turn the chat off?