888Poker Review - $20 Free Package When You Join
888poker has risen in reputation over the past decade and is now sandwiched in between PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker as the second largest poker room available on the internet. 888poker is owned by 888 Holdings plc who also run casino, sportsbook and bingo sites, and are run by Cassava Enterprises, one of the biggest names there is in online gambling. 888poker has been running since 2002 and offers all the major variants of poker. 888poker is particularly noted for its support of mobile gaming applications.
If you're new to the 888poker site, you are treated to a display of 888poker's bonus offers, which include a token $2 no-deposit bonus and two tickets to "Snap poker" (888poker's version of speed poker) tournaments. To begin your regisration you need to download the client software open the browser-based option by clicking "Instant Play" right below the "Download Now" button (although you cannot play Snap Poker in the web-browser client). To begin your registration you need to click the "New player click here!" button once you have downloaded and installed the software, or once the browser-based option has loaded. All you need to fill in at this stage is your name, country, date of birth, gender, username, password and to set up a security question and answer. You will also be asked to provide your address and a phone number.
Once I'd completed the sign-up a chat window popped up telling me to check my email to claim my free no-deposit bonus, which I did. I found I had received $2 in cash, and $18 worth of tournament tickers - all for free!
First Deposit Bonus
As well as this $20 no-deposit welcome bonus, I was eligible for 888poker's 100 percent matched first deposit bonus, which would be granted after I had made my first deposit. This was up to a very generous limit of $400. Naturally there were some conditions to this bonus: when you are awarded the bonus it is then released to you in $10 increments for every 100 Bonus Points that you accumulate. You obtain bonus points by spending cash at 888poker. This was a little confusing, as the site's T&Cs mentioned Status Points and Reward Points, and it was not clear how you gained either of them. Eventually I found out that Status Points overtook Bonus Points once you have cleared your bonus, and two Status Points and two Bonus Points were awarded for every $1 of rake or tournament fees generated by your account. Status Points could be converted into Reward Points to use as the "in-house currency" at 888poker. I assume there is a limit to how long you have to claim as much of your bonus as you can, but I could not find it on the site despite a rigorous search.
I used the browser-based client for 888poker, and it was quick and responsive. You can filter out all the games except the ones for beginners, and the "Quick Seat" button would get you seated at a cash game with very little effort on your part. The main sections were for Hold'em, Omaha, Stud, Sit & Goes and Tournaments, with further filters for the available poker types, such as DoubleOrNothing, All-In, Fast Poker - and if Fast Poker was not enough for you - Super Turbo Poker. There was also games where you could play via your WebCam.
I found the client very easy to use, and could find any type of poker I wanted within a couple of easy clicks. There were also tabs for 888 Blackjack, Casino and Sports apps.
- Cash Tables
- Sit and Go Tournaments
- Scheduled Tournaments, single and multi-table
- Texas Hold'em
- Omaha Hi-Lo
- 7-Card Stud
- 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo
- No Limit
- Pot Limit
- Fixed Limit
- €$0.01/$0.02 to $50/$100.
Sit and Go Tournaments
- Heads-up through to Multi-tables. Buy-ins: $0.02 through to $2,000.
- Freerolls through to $1,050.
- No combined tournaments (i.e. HORSE, etc)
At the Table
I was keen to do something with my free $2, so I quickly set the filters and found a six-seater turbo SnG, which filled up really quickly. I found my way to the registration screen, registered and was soon playing.
The table display was a little basic, but I liked its functional nature. I liked the way I could spin the table so I could sit where I wanted (I always like to be at the bottom right-hand corner, but then that's just me!). I was given a slightly thuggish-looking avatar which I was able to change to something more pleasing. The playing controls were big and bright and were easy to use, and I could quickly set my desired wagers just how I wanted them. The animation was slick and smooth and there were plenty of customisation features all of which came together to create a very pleasant poker playing experience.
Languages and Players
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Chinese (Traditional)
888poker gives a list of countries where you can play for real money at the site. There is a special US-version of the site, but only for New Jersey players.
Promotions & VIP Status
As you would expect, 888poker provides a constant stream of promotions, including the free, no-deposit bonus, the free tournament entries and the 100 percent matched first deposit bonus for new players. At the time of writing the site was offering free entry into a Snap Poker tournament where the first prize was a ride in a Jet Fighter! There was also the chance to win a $14,000 package to the WSOP Las Vegas event.
All members are invited to join the 888poker VIP club, for which you will receive a 27 percent cashback bonus, access to some of the biggest poker events in the world, extra-special goodies in the 888poker rewards store and a host of extra goodies.
There are mobile versions of 888poker for both Android and iOS.
Help and Support
888poker has an extensive range of FAQs on its site which should answer any immediate query you may have. Making personal contact with the site is a little more difficult, as there is no online help, nor a contact form, and I could not easily find any contact details on the site, although I did eventually stumble upon a contact link by accident.
- Bank Transfer
- Chinese Debit Cards
- Laser Debit Cards
- Postepay & Kalibra
- Wire Trasfer
- Qiwi VISA Virtual
- Chinese Local Bank Transfer
There are also numerous ways of depositing money at 888poker from accounts that you cannot withdraw to. Check the site for details.
Pros and Cons
✔ - No need for a download - site runs perfectly well in a browser
✔ - Poker client is easy to use and easy to understand
✔ - Table set up is great, and is easy to reconfigure if needed
✔ - Plenty of great promotions and a very good VIP club
✘ - Only three types of poker catered for - Hold'em, Omaha and Stud
✘ - The "help" options could be more helpful!
888poker certainly means to do well in this business, and you can see why it is doing exactly that. There's a definite no-fuss approach which means players who arrive at the site with the intention of playing a few hands of Texas Hold'em poker can do so within a few seconds. It's also great that beginners are catered for, and are given the $20 no-deposit welcome package to set their poker career off with a bang.
The only downsides are the lack of variants (if you like playing Razz, for example, then you're going to have to go elsewhere) and the difficulty in finding direct help - but they are only minor quibbles. Personally, I like 888poker a lot - it's quick and free from distractions, which suits my poker playing down to a tee!