William Hill Poker Review
If you live in the United Kingdom, then there is no doubt you are familiar with the name William Hill, even if you've never played a game of online poker in your life! William Hill is one of the largest bookmakers in the United Kingdom, with a market worth topping a staggering £4 billion! William Hill opened his first betting shop in 1934, despite the fact that at the time, gambling was illegal in Britain. Once gambling had been legalised Hill's business grew and grew until he sold it to Sears Holding in 1971 for a tasty profit.
William Hill were quick to seize upon the online gambling market that expanded in the 2000s, but their enterprises did not get off to the best of starts, and it wasn't until they went into partnership with the famous gambling software company Playtech that they began to make huge strides in the online gaming world. Their poker room is now regarded as one of the best that any UK-based company can offer.
If you head on over to the William Hill poker site you'll be a little bedazzled by all the options, but thankfully to get you started there's a big green button in the center of your screen marked "Play Poker" or "Free Download". If you click it the download will start automatically. In case you get stuck, live chat is available. This first download is not the client program, but a downloader. Run it, select your installation language, click that you accept the T&Cs, then the client program will download.
There is no "in browser" option, so it's a Windows download only. I managed to get the client working in Linux under Wine - although the registration process froze, so I registered via the William Hill website. Mac users may have luck in getting the client to run via Parallels. I later found that the software doesn't run well at all under Wine, so this is Windows-only.
Once you get the client program, open it up - it'll do a few checks and maybe download a few bits, so just let it do its stuff. Click on the orange "Create Account" button to obtain your William Hill account. Fill in your details, and away you go. Once you sign in for the first time you can choose your display name and location, if you want to share details of where you are.
First Deposit Bonus
William Hill have one of the more generous First Deposit Bonuses going. They will double your first deposit deposit up to a maximum of £1,200/€1,500/$2,000. If you make your first deposit in GBP£, then if you deposit £600, you'll receive the maximum £1,200 bonus.
As ever, this bonus money is not simply handed to you - it has to be earned. The bonus is released in chunks of £3/€3.50/$5 for every 425 William Hill Points (or 400 if you chose € as your currency) that you manage to earn through playing on the site. You earn William Hill Points (WHPs) by playing in real money games at William Hill poker. For every £1 of rake you generate or tournament fees you pay, you receive 41 WHPs (or 34 WHPs for every €1 generated, or 25 for every $1 generated). You have ninety days from the point you register at William Hill poker to clear as much of your bonus as you can.
If you've played at an online poker room before, you'll sense something familiar about the poker software. That's because it's the typical poker room software created by the Israeli software company Playtech, who specialize in gambling apps. The William Hill version of the poker client is simply the same as the poker client used at other sites such as Titan Poker and other poker rooms on the iPoker network. When you play at William Hill, you're joining thousands of other players all across the iPoker network playing in different poker rooms (at the last count, 31). This makes certain there are always plenty of players available, as well as lots of ring games, SnGs and MTTs.
The Playtech poker client has been designed to be one of the best, and is very simple to navigate so you can quickly find the precise game you are looking for.
- Cash Tables
- Speed Poker
- Sit and Go Tournaments
- Scheduled Tournaments, single and multi-table
- Speed Texas Hold'em
- Texas Hold'em
- Omaha Hi-Lo
- 5-Card Stud
- 7-Card Stud
- 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo
- No Limit
- Pot Limit
- €0.02/€0.04 to €50/€100.
Sit and Go Tournaments
- Heads-up through to Multi-tables. Buy-ins: Freerolls through to $5,000.
- Freerolls through to $1,000
- No combined tournaments (i.e. HORSE, etc)
You can also obtain access to William Hill's casino games via the client, including slots, blackjack and roulette.
At the Table
As the poker client has such a familiar feel about it, it came as no surprise when the table client looked extremely familiar as well. Again, this is the typical layout of an iPoker table, as designed by Playtech. The player avatars come from the same range, but if you already have an account at an iPoker network site, your avatar will not automatically update.
I skimmed through the tables and found a freeroll SnG. All the freerolls were for eight players, which is quite an odd number, as most poker tables are 2, 6, 9 or 10. I registered, but there did not seem to be that many people around willing to play - freerolls are only available for newly-registered players, though. It took twelve minutes before the table finally filled up.
The defaults were the annoying commentary again, but that was easy to switch off. The controls were good and the gameplay was nice and smooth. Playtech have had years to perfect their table software, and although it does seem a little basic compared to other poker sites, and the "cartoonish" appearance may put off serious players, the whole experience is perfectly satisfying.
Languages and Players
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
There is a huge list of countries that William Hill will not accept players from, including the United States and most of Africa, Asia and South America.
Promotions & VIP Status
As part of the iPoker network, and of course by having one of the biggest high street bookmakers behind it, William Hill poker can certainly afford to splash out a little and be generous when it comes to their promotions and VIP scheme. Checking the William Hill Poker site reveals no less than eleven on-going promotions, including special tournaments, as well as the bonuses offered to new players.
William Hill also operates a Players Club, which is their version of a Poker VIP club, and is open to all members. As stated previously, you accrue WHPs whilst at William Hill, and you are awarded a new "club status" level when you have accrued enough. There are ten levels in total, and you reach the highest level when you've amassed 1,000,000 points. At each level you can convert your WHPs into Club Points (the higher your level, the more better the rate you receive) and then you can spend them in the William Hill Poker store, or exchange them for real cash.
Currently you cannot use William Hill Poker software on any mobile device.
Help and Support
There is online support at William Hill, and when I used the online help to make a few enquries, I must say it was the most "helpful" help I've so far experienced! All my questions were answered quickly, and at no time was I pressured to make a deposit at William Hill, as you usually are via other online chat windows. Very impressive! The William Hill main site also has a very extensive range of FAQs.
- Fast Bank Transfer
- Bank Transfer
Pros and Cons
✔ - Part of the iPoker Network, so lots of players, tables and games always available
✔ - Good support via online chat especially, and good FAQs
✔ - Excellent gaming window with many customizable features
✔ - Freerolls are always available - beginners only
✘ - Gaming software is a bit cartoonish - may put off more serious players
✘ - Nothing for Mac, Linux, iOS or Android users
When you hear that William Hill is part of the iPoker network, and that its poker software is created by Playtech, then you will be immediately assured of a decent, entertaining, safe and secure poker experience. The software is neat and intuitive, and you're always likely to find precisely the kind of game you want within a few mouse clicks. I was especially impressed by the help options and response I received.
On the downside, familiarity does breed a little contempt, so if you head to the William Hill site and download the software expecting something new - especially if you are already a member of an iPoker network poker site, you are going to be disappointed. It's also a disappointment that there are no versions of William Hill poker for Mac, Linux, iOS or Android.