Aced Poker - Part of the Merge Gaming Network
With the slow relaxation on poker sites being able to open their doors to US-based players, a number of sites have sprung up over the past year or so who are keen to get as many US-based players through their doors and splashing out with their dollars as possible. If you're a US-based poker player, you're going to want to know that the site at which you're tapping in your credit cards details is not one that's going to be here on the internet one moment and then vanished into the mists of cyberspace the next - taking your funds with it. One key aspect of a site that's going to help reassure you that such a thing is not likely to happen is the site's longeivity - and that's one thing Aced Poker has in spades, if you pardon the pun. Aced Poker has been around 2007 and has been providing poker playing opportunities ever since - even somehow surviving "Black Friday" that took down the poker giants PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker. Aced Poker is now recognised as the number two poker site for US-based players, behind Bovada. Read on to see what I think of the Aced Poker poker room.
Aced Poker is actually part of the Australian-based Merge Gaming Network, and managed to keep its doors open to US-based poker players despite the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006. There are 28 sites in total on the Merge Gaming Network, including Carbon Poker and Odds Poker.
Naturally, Aced Poker comes with its own poker client that you have to download and install. There is no in-browser option at Aced Poker. The Windows version of the client is pretty hefty at just under 50Mb, so you're going to have to be patient and wait for it to download before you can install it. Two items of good news - firstly, Aced Poker does supply a version of the poker client for Mac, and secondly, you can sign up with Aced Poker at the web-site whilst you are waiting for the software to download. All you need to supply when signing up is your username, password, address, phone number and a valid email address.
Sadly, Aced Poker is not a place for people who only have Linux-based operating systems such as Ubuntu or Mint. You can install the software to run under Wine, but the software crashes as soon as it attempts to connect to the Merge Gaming Network.
Once you've downloaded the software just click on it to install it. You need to be careful that you select the correct language when you start the installation process as the only way you can change the language in future is by uninstalling and reinstalling the software.
Despite the fact the poker client was a 50Mb download, the first time you run the client you're likely to be faced with an update - this was another 30Mb download the first time I ran it. When the download has finally completed, you can sign in with the account you created earlier. Your first task will be to choose your poker nickname - this will be the nickname that will display at the tables. The client will then load and finally you are good to go!
First Deposit Bonus
Aced Poker are a site that offers a truly phenominal First Deposit Bonus. It's a 200 percent bonus which is fairly typical of poker rooms, but it's up to maximum of $5,000, which is pretty staggering. To earn the full potential bonus you'd need to deposit a total of $2,500.
Of course, Aced Poker simply will not hand you $5,000 and then watch you walk away with it - this bonus has to be earned. The bonus money is credited to your account in $10 increments, and each increment is earned each time you accumulate 1,500 Reward Points. Aced Poker are very up front about their Rewards Point scheme. You earn one Reward Point for every $0.10 of rake or fees you contribute at cash games, SnGs or MTTs. That means to earn 1,500 Reward Points you would need to generate $150 of rake, and to release the whole bonus you'd have to generate a staggering $75,000 in rake - and you'd have 90 days in which to do this. If you're dead set on claiming as much of your bonus as you can then I hope you've got the free time for some serious poker playing!
If you're already a member at a different Merge Gaming Network, such as Carbon Poker, then you're going to be familiar with the Aced Poker client, as it's the same piece of software but with Aced Poker branding. I happen to think it's one of the better poker clients around, as the menu system towards the top of the screen makes it very easy to navigate to the game that takes your fancy. There seems to be plenty of action (don't forget at Aced Poker you'll be playing against players from multiple poker rooms across the entirity of the Merge Gaming Network) and lots of playing opportunities from micro to high stakes. If you like to mix up your poker playing with other forms of casino entertainment then you are going to be very happy - just one button will take you across to the Aced Poker casino where you can play Blackjack, Craps and Routlette, as well as a number of potentially profitable online slots games.
- Cash Games
- Sit & Go Tournaments
- Scheduled Tournaments
- Texas Hold'em
- Omaha (Hi)
- Omaha Hi/Lo
- Stud Hi/Lo
- 5 Card Draw
- A-5 Lowball
- 2-7 Lowball
- No Limit
- Pot Limit
- Fixed Limit
- $0.02/$0.04 to $20/40.
Sit and Go Tournaments
- Heads-ups through to Multi-Table. Buy-ins: $1 + $0.10 to $200 + $15.
- Freerolls through to $500 + $30
- HORSE Tournaments
At the Table
Aced Poker will hand you $5,000 free to get you started - in Play Money, that is! There is not much going on at Aced Poker for Play Money fans - just ring games at Texas Hold'em (and if you've read my reviews before you know how I feel about Play Money ring games ... I just cannot see the point). The serious action at Aced Poker is obviously where it should be - at the money end of things! To test things out I found a 6max Play Money table and took my seat.
The Aced Poker table client has both positives and negatives. The Merge Gaming Network it seems likes to keep things fun and friendly, which might be off-putting to more serious players. The chat and emoticon options can be turned off, but only by going round the table player-by-player and switching them off individually. The positives? Well, the controls are very good, although there does not seem to be much in the way of customization available, and the animation is smooth. The two main things I liked about the table software was the speed at which the software operated (which was very slick) and the wide range of options available to pre-load your decision before it was your turn to act.
Languages and Players
Promotions & VIP Status
Aced Poker does not run a VIP scheme, which is a little suprising as I am sure the different sites across the Merge Gaming Network could get together and come up with something. You can earn Reward Points long after your initial ninety-day bonus - you can then spend them as tournament entry fees.
The site does hold a number of promotions. There are leaderboards for SnG fans, including a special one just for Heads Up players, a Bad Beat Jackpot bonus, and special Reward Points bonuses that can see players qualify for freeroll tournaments. There is a lot of emphasis on the casino, though - obviously Aced Poker would like nothing more than for you to try a few hands of Blackjack or a few spins of the Roulette wheel.
There is a browser-only version for mobile at Aced Poker which runs on both iOS and Android-based systems. Be aware it only works in Google Chrome, and only Hold'em ring games and SnGs are available via the mobile client.
Help and Support
There is no dedicated help applet at Aced Poker, and the main source of help is a series of FAQs. The site promises to respond to emails "lightning fast" - then promises to respond within 48 hours, which doesn't really match any definition of "lightning fast" I've come across before!
- Diners Club
- Visa Elecron
- Visa Delta/Debit
- Direct Bank Transfer
Pros and Cons
✔ - Open to players in the USA
✔ - Separate software version for Mac
✔ - $5,000 welcome bonus although wagering requirements are tough
✔ - Hold'em ring games and SnGs on mobile version
✘ - Would be nice to be able to configure the table software
✘ - Aced Poker should have the muscle for better help and support
Naturally, the number one aspect that the Aced Poker room has going for it is the fact that it accepts US-based players, and the added detail that it has risen to number two in the rankings for sites that allow poker-starved US-based players (just behind Bovada Poker) says a lot about the site's popularity. Perhaps it is that mammoth $5,000 bonus that reels 'em in - although I just wonder how many people have the poker stamina to beat out that full bonus.
That aside, Aced Poker is definitely a site worthy of your custom. There is plenty of variety, and I always give a thumbs-up to sites that hold HORSE tournaments, as they can be real fun to play in. I like a little casino side-action as well, so that's another plus from yours truly. All-in-all, I'd say Aced Poker is a poker room that should please even the most hardened poker pro - especially those who like to mix and match it up a little!