A Review of Carbon Poker - There's a Massive $5,000 up for grabs!
With the slight relaxation on the ban on poker players based in the USA being allowed to play online poker, a handful of sites have now sprung up designed specifically for USA-based players. One of the very latest of these is Carbon Poker (although the site claims it has been running since 2006) - but is there anything that makes Carbon Poker stand out from the other developing poker rooms for USA-based pokers? Well, I can tell you there are two things for starters - one, Carbon Poker is one of the few poker rooms that you can play on your smartphone or tablet and two, when you sign up with Carbon Poker you'll receive an extra-special free gift, a Poker Odds calculator! Read on to find out if I think Carbon Poker cuts the poker mustard!
Your first steps as ever with any poker casino is to download and install the poker client. Despite the bonus of there being a mobile client, the download at Carbon Poker seems to be for Windows only. I tried to run it under Wine in Linux, but although the program installed successfully, it crashed as soon as it launched. Mac have their own version of the software to install - check the banner line right at the top of the Carbon Poker web-site for the Apple symbol. Click on this to download a dmg file which you can then install.
The download and installation process is really speedy, making Carbon Poker one of the lightest poker clients I've so far come across - until I opened it up for the first time and t immediately downloaded a 32Mb update! Once the update completes you're ready to progress to the next stage.
This next stage of course involves setting up your account with Carbon Poker. Once the software has completed updating the splash screen will appear. If you click on the "Create Account" button your default browser will open and a registration page will appear. Fill out the required details to register your Carbon Poker account then click on the "Start Now" button. Oddly, when you do this, the installation program will start to download again, so cancel the download. You will also be taken through to the Deposit screen, but you are not required to make a deposit at this stage. Just close your browser and log in back at the poker client.
Note that the free odds calculator requires a separate installation. If you head to the Carbon Poker site, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Poker Odds Calculator" under the "Popular Pages" list. You can download and install this small program. Please note, it will only work with the Carbon Poker client - you can't use it with any poker room.
First Deposit Bonus
The First Deposit Bonus at Carbon Poker is probably the largest that I have ever come across - it's 200 percent all the way up to an incredible $5,000 - that's right, $5,000! To gain this gargantuan bonus you'd have to make a $2,500 deposit into your account. Your bonus cash is then released to you in increments of $10 for every 1,500 VIP points you accumulate.
You acquire VIP points as you would expect - by playing in real money games. You obtain 10 VIP points for each $1 of rake you contribute. You can keep track of your VIP points via the poker client. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to work out that in order to release the entire $5,000 bonus you need to obtain 750,000 VIP points, contributing a hefty $75,000 in rake! You have ninety days in which to clear as much of the bonus as you can, and you can only withdraw from the bonus once - as soon as you withdraw any remaining bonus is forfeited.
The Carbon Poker poker room client is certainly big, but big does not always mean beautiful. There's certainly more that poker when it comes to Carbon Poker - you can also use the client to play casino games such as Blackjack and Roulette, and you can also bet on loads of the latest sports events, all from the same piece of software.
Well, I'm here to look at the poker side of things which is what I am going to do. I like the way the menus are arranged within the client - you just need to click on your type of game (ring game or SnG for example), your chosen variant, your limit (fixed or no limit) and your stake value. The program will then filter out all the current tables that fall outside your sphere of interest - all very happy and nippy! There seemed plenty of tables available, and lots of interesting tournaments, including freerolls and satellites to some pretty major events.
- 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
As usual, it's Play Money for me first at any casino. Unfortunately there were no SnGs or MTTs for Play Money - it was ring games only. If you've read one of my reviews before you know I do not recommended playing ring games for Play Money as it is not "proper" poker at all. If you migrate from Play Money tables to Real Money tables at ring games you'll soon get battered! I had no other option than to play for Play Money in a ring game at Carbon Poker, so that's what I did. Note that to Odds Calculator will only attach to real money tables.
The table software was fine, at a push, although chat bubble and smilies kept appearing which was really distracting. You could turn them off, but you had to do that individually for each player. The amination was pretty slick though, and although there did not seem to be an option to configure the playing controls, there were more than enough options there for you to make the bet you wanted, so that got a big thumbs up from me. The only configuration option I could find was to arrange my favorite seat - bottom right hand corner, as usual!
Languages and Players
Promotions & VIP Status
As well as that massive welcome bonus and free odds calculator, Carbon Poker runs plenty of promotions. There were daily freerolls, and a $10,000 freeroll that would see the lucky winner enjoy an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas! There were also plenty of little oddities, such as a Bad Beat jackpot bonus.
As explained in the First Deposit Bonus section above, you earn VIP points at Carbon Poker at the rate of 10 VIPs for every $1 of rake generated. There is no VIP scheme as such at Carbon Poker, but you can exchange these VIP points for buy-ins to freerolls and other Carbon Poker tournaments.
There is a browser-only version for mobile at Carbon Poker which runs with both iOS and Android, but it only works in Google Chrome. Only Hold'em ring games and SnGs are available via the mobile client.
Help and Support
Although Carbon Poker says that help is available 24/7, there is no dedicated help client. There are a number of FAQs on the website, and if you select "Help" within the client you are taken to the website where you can fill in a contact form. If you go back to the site and look around you will find that online chat is available, but for the Carlton gaming site as a whole, not just poker.
- Diners Club
- Visa Elecron
- Visa Delta/Debit
- Direct Bank Transfer
Pros and Cons
✔ - Open to players in the United States
✔ - Version for Mac
✔ - Excellent welcome bonus - $5,000 maximum 100 percent First Deposit
✔ - Free software - "Poker Odds Calculator"
✔ - Version for mobile, but Hold'em ring games and SnGs only
✘ - Lack of configuration options in the table software
✘ - Help and support should be a little easier to obtain
So, what has Carbon Poker got going for it? Firstly, there is that extremely generous Welcome Bonus set at $5,000, although you are going to have to play an awful lot of poker if you want to cash in on as much of it as you can. Secondly, there is the free Odds Calculator which - whilst it is not guaranteed to make you any money as all the decisions remain in your hands - will come as a real boost to newbies as they get accustomed to learning how to play poker in a profitable fashion. Thirdly - there's a mobile client! Although it only has Hold'em ring games and SnGs, a mobile poker client is a real rarity!
And finally - Carbon Poker accepts USA-based players! So, my advice to you if you're an online poker player based in the USA, get on down to Carbon Poker. I guarantee you will not be disappointed by what you find!