Bet365 Poker Review - Grab €5, Absolutely FREE!
If you're thinking of starting your own online gambling company, but think it'd be something that's impossible to achieve, then you can take heart in the example set by Bet365, who were founded in 2000 by a single person whose business premises were a portakabin! Denise Coates wrote a sports-betting platform and hired a team of trading experts - and now Bet365 is one of the most massive online sports-betting and casino websites around. To be fair, it did help that Denise was able to borrow £15M from RBS against the chain of betting shops that her family owned. The new venture was so successful that Bet365 sold its betting shop empire to Coral in 2005 for £40M. Bet365 now has an annual operating profit well over £100M a year. I'm guessing it no longer operates out of a portakabin!
Bet365 offer excellent online facilities for sports-betting, casino games, bingo and of course, poker. The trade magazine eGaming Review voted Bet365 the number one internet gaming company in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Your first step to becoming a Bet365 poker player is to download the client and register as a player. If you head to the Bet365 site you'll immediately be told of the latest new player bonus you're eligible for (which, when I wrote this, was €5 free and a €1,000 bonus) and an invitation to download the software. You can either click on the "Join Now" button to register your account, or the "Download" button to download the software. If you register, you are required to fill out quite a few extra details that you don't usually need to when registering an account, such as your previous address if you've lived at your current address less than two years, and a security number and question. I found it reassuring that Bet365 required an extra level of security as opposed to most other online poker rooms.
What I didn't like, however, was the fact that as soon as I finished the registration process I was taken to a deposit screen, as though this was part of the registration process. I always like to explore a site before making a deposit, so I wasn't impressed by this at all. I quit the deposit process - when I returned to the site it seemed my account had been created, and I was logged in. I couldn't find an "in browser" play option - Bet365 doesn't offer one as it turned out, this is another Playtech casino that's windows-only. If you've downloaded a Playtech poker-playing client before, you'll be familiar with the installation process.
First Deposit Bonus
Bet365 is one of the few online poker rooms to offer a no-deposit bonus, namely €5. According to the introductory email I received the €5 was supposed to be available as soon as I created a nickname, but that didn't happen. I used the online chat function to enquire, and was told that it can take up to 48 hours for the free €5 to appear in my account, although usually it happens quicker than that. I was a little disappointed as the Bet365 web-site said "Simply open an account and create a Nickname to receive this cash. A deposit/transfer isn't necessary; just start playing poker with your free €5" which to me creates the impression that the €5 is awarded immediately. Oh well, it's hard to complain if you're receiving free money!
The welcome bonus at Bet365 is 200 percent up to a maximum of €1,000, therefore the maximum you can deposit for the full bonus is €500. This bonus is released in increments of €10 for every 1,000 Merit Points you obtain - and you have sixty days from the moment you make your first deposit to claim as much of the bonus as you can - after than any remaining bonus funds are lost. You earn Merit Points at Bet365 by generating rake or paying tournament fees at a rate of 15 points for every €/£/$1. So, to release €10 you need to generate €/£/$67, and to release the full bonus, a mighty €/£/$6,700.
The Bet365 poker client will immediately be familiar to anyone who has played in any one of the 31 current casinos under the iPoker umbrella. This is just the same software, but with Bet365 branding. If you play at an iPoker casino, you'll be joining your fellow iPoker players from other iPoker sites such as William Hill, Labrokes and PaddyPower. The upshot of this of course is that there are far more players at an iPoker group poker site than a site that has its own software and closed membership - meaning you will never be short of opponents, and there are always plenty of different tables available.
The client is definitely one of the best and is extremely easy to navigate around. I always like the "quick seat" feature of a Playtech/iPoker client, as you can simply select your game mode (ring games or SnGs for example), poker variant, limit type, currency and table size, and the software will go off and find a table for you. This is an excellent feature if you just want a quick game rather than browsing through all the different games, tables, tournaments and limit sizes that are available.
- Cash Tables
- Sprint (Speed) Poker
- Sit and Go Tournaments
- Scheduled Tournaments, single and multi-table
- Sprint Texas Hold'em
- Texas Hold'em
- Sprint Omaha
- Omaha Hi-Lo
- 5-Card Stud
- 7-Card Stud
- 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo
- No Limit
- Pot Limit
- €0.02/€0.04 to €20/€40.
Sit and Go Tournaments
- Heads-up through to Multi-tables. Buy-ins: €10 through to €5,000.
- €20 through to $375
- No combined tournaments (i.e. HORSE, etc)
You can also obtain access to Bet365's casino games via the client, including slots, blackjack and roulette.
At the Table
The free €5 did eventually arrive in my account, although it did take 24 hours to arrive. As I was flush with cash, I decided to head to the SnG tables to see if I could turn my free money into something a little tastier. I prefer to play 6max tables as there is usually more action, but they all seemed empty - at least the ones in my price range were. I found a 9max table and registered. There were already four players registered, and it only took another ten minutes until the table was full, and the tournament began.
Of course, if you've played at an iPoker/Playtech poker room before, then you know what to expect. Visually, I'm not too keen on the standard appearance of the table, and the animations are a little basic, but then as I sit down at a poker table to (hopefully) win money, I'm not that bothered, What I am bothered about is the functionality of laying bets as simply as possible - and that's what I consider to be the Playtech poker client's main strength. There's usually a button to press to cover most of the common betting scenarios, so very little effort is required on my part aside from working out my pots odds.
Languages and Players
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Chinese (Traditional)
There is a huge list of countries that Bet365 will not accept players from, including the United States and most of Africa, Asia and South America.
Promotions & VIP Status
Aside from the €5 free and the €1,000 First Deposit Bonus for new players, there is also a special freeroll tournament that new players can enter once they've deposited €100. This tournament takes place once a week on Wednesday evenings. That about the only poker bonus I could find at Bet365 - although promotions are available by playing at the Bet365 casino.
As mentioned previously, you earn Merit Points whilst playing at Bet365 poker, at the rate of 15 points for every €/£/$1 of rake generated or tournament fees paid. These points contribute towards your VIP status at Bet365 as well. There are four levels - Bronze (1 MP required), Silver (1,000 MPs), Gold (10,000 MPs) and Platinum (25,000 MPs). Depending on your level you can exchange points for Cash Rewards, Loyalty Rewards and Tournement Tokens. For example, if you amass 100,000 MPs you can claim $1,350 in bonus cash.
Surprisingly for an iPoker site, Bet365 does have a mobile option - for both iOS and Android.
Help and Support
Help is available one of two ways - online support and the site's extensive list of FAQs. I used the online support chat applet and I did find it very helpful. When I logged on I was second in the queue and it only took twelve seconds for a helpful assistant to appear. My questions were answered quickly and precisely, and I was only able to ask questions about my account if I could give the four-digit passcode I'd set when I had registered. I was never asked to make a deposit, as with some casinos, which is something which always pleases me. A very satisfactory performance!
- Skrill 1-Tap
- Wire Transfer
- Fast Bank Transfer
Pros and Cons
✔ - Part of the iPoker Network so lots of players, tables and games always available
✔ - Excellent support online chat especially, and decent FAQs
✔ - The standards you'd expect of a Playtech poker client and game applet
✔ - Mobile options! iOS and Android!
✘ - No freerolls
✘ - The free €5 is not credited to your account as soon as you sign up
✘ - Software is download only, and only for Windows
There are over thirty casinos in the iPoker network, including some major names, so the question that has to be asked is why choose Bet365 over many of the other casinos that fall under the iPoker banner. The answer is - well, if you're looking for a unique playing experience, you are not going to get one. If you've played at a iPoker/Playtech casino before, then there is nothing that is going to surprise or delight you here, expect perhaps that there seem to be very few tournaments and games for high-rollers at Bet365.
If I was going to recommend Bet365 poker - and I'm certainly not going to criticise it as I am a fan of the extensive iPoker network and Playtech software - then it would be for the free €5 and the potential excellent €1,000 bonus, and for the fact that you can play at Bet365 poker on your mobile device. Online poker does not seem to be seizing the bull by the horns when it comes to mobile poker, so it's always good to find a company that allows you to play any time, anywhere (where you can connect to the internet!).