BetOnline Poker - U.S. Players Welcome!
Thanks to the advent of the internet, you can now play poker from virtually anywhere in the world. Just to prove that, in 2009 BetOnline attempted to be the first online gambling site to accept a bet from one of the most inhospitable places on planet Earth - on top of Mount Everest! The BetOnline group promised to donate $20,000 to popular charities if the climber they hired, Tim Ripple, managed to place a bet on their site whilst at the summit of the world's tallest mountain. Whilst they failed to achieve this, Reppel and his team still managed to place a wager at 26,000 feet above sea level, and the big-hearted BetOnline guys still paid out the $20,000 donation.
These days, there are far more difficult places than the top of Mount Everest to play online poker - like for example if you're inside the United States! Happily, the small quota of sites which allows US players is growing, and you can count BetOnline Poker among that number!
First the good news (other than the really good news that you can play at BetOnline Poker if you're based in the United States) - you don't have to have a Windows PC if you want to play at BetOnline. There's a Mac version, but nothing for Linux users, and another thing that's lacking is an in-browser version, but for online poker, such things tend to be few and far between.
You have to register an account at BetOnline before you can download the poker client to your PC or Mac. Just head to BetOnline's website and click on one of the "Join Now" buttons you'll see dotted around. Fill in your personal info, account details and contact information, then you're all set. Click the big red button on the right of the screen to complete your registration. You will receive an email telling you how to validate your account. You'll receive an odd username, but this can be changed. Once you verify your email, you'll be taken straight through to the deposit section, which I think personally is a little bit naughty, but there you go.
If you click back to the main site you will find you are logged in, and a button will have appeared at the top of the screen that says "Download" - click this to download and install the poker client. Now, this is where things got a little confusing. Whenever I ran the poker client, all that happened was Internet Explorer opened up, and I was taken to the BetOnline site. I eventually found a second download on the site, in the poker section, for a much larger program. I downloaded this and installed it. This was definitely the poker client, so I have no idea what was going on with the other download.
First Deposit Bonus
Like all good poker sites, BetOnline operates a First Deposit Bonus scheme. It's only available when you make your first deposit, and you have to email BetOnline with the bonus code "POKERNEW" in order to apply for it. It's a very generous 200 percent bonus, up to a hefty maximum of $2,500!
The Bonus is released in five different stages - you can read about them in BetOnline's T&Cs as they are far too wordy to repeat here. Basically, for each stage you have to generate a certain percentage of rake, which is done by earning POP points. I couldn't find anywhere on the site which explained how you earned POP points, and some of the later conditions of earning your bonus seemed very complicated. On the positive side, you do have 120 days in which to claim as much of it as you can.
The BetOnline Client is a little spartan, and it incorporates much more than Poker. You can also bet on sports events, horse races and play at the BetOnline casino. Looking around, I could only find Texas Hold'em No-Limit, Pot Limit or Fixed-Limit games, Omaha Hi and Hi-Lo, and nothing else. There were also few Sit'n'Go Tournaments and Scheduled tournaments. I couldn't find any other variants - No Draw, Stud or Razz games whatsover.
I switched over to Play Money so I could get a view of the table, and found there were a handful of Play Money opportunities. I found a ten-player Sit'n'Go, registered, and waited for the table to fill up.
- Cash Tables
- Sit and Go Tournaments
- Scheduled Tournaments, single and multi-table
- Texas Hold'em
- Omaha Hi-Lo
- No Limit
- Pot Limit
- $0.01/$0.02 to $5/$10.
Sit and Go Tournaments
- Freerolls to $500 + $25; Heads-up, 6max or 10max.
- Freerolls to $55+$5; WSoP Qualifiers.
- No combined tournaments (i.e. HORSE, etc)
At the Table
I had to wait half an hour for the 10 player table to fill up. I was not a fan of the table software, particularly the controls. Pre-flop, all you could really do was either call or double your bet if you wanted to place a wager. The slider is set to cents - so you end up either betting a weird amount ($60.42) or typing it in manually. Things improve post-flop as you can make bets such as half, three quarters or the full pot. I couldn't find any customization options other than changing the background.
The animation seemed a little bit jerky as well. I think a little bit of a re-think may be required by BetOnline when it comes to their table software. On the positive side, the game did run at a nice speed, which meant there was not much in the way of waiting around for deals, showdowns and mucks.
Languages and Players
- Chinese (Simplified)
Promotions & VIP Status
BetOnline does not seem to operate a VIP system. As I mentioned before, you can earn POP points, but I couldn't not find out any details on the site as to how you actually did, and what you did with them once you got them aside from releasing your bonus and spending them on tournament entries. As for promotions, BetOnline has plenty of nice tournaments that run on a regular basis, including some that sees qualification for top online and offline events, and plenty of nice freerolls for decent cash prizes. There's also a bonus you can claim if you manage to get a hand containing Four of a Kind, as long as you used both your hole cards in doing so.
No mobile options.
Help and Support
Support is only available via email or the site's T&Cs.
- Online Bank Transfer
- Credit/Debit Cards
- Western Union
- Wire Transfer
Pros and Cons
✔ - Open to USA Players
✔ - A nice and chunky $2,500 first deposit bonus
✔ - If you love to wager on more than poker, you'll love the poker client!
✔ - Some very nice tournaments available including profitable freerolls
✘ - Bonus conditions are a little tough to decipher
✘ - There is not a lot of help available if you need it
✘ - Confusing installation process
There is of course one main thing that BetOnline has going for it, and that's the fact the if you're a USA-based player, then you're welcome to enter through the BetOnline poker room doors. Once inside, despite the fact that table software is not the greatest, there's more than enough reasons for you to stay - the hefty first deposit bonus for starters, which will potentially boost your bankroll by $2,500. If you're looking for tournaments, BetOnline can certainly provide with lots of great freerolls that can see your bankroll swell even further if you finish in the money spots. You don't even have to climb Mount Everest to play!