888 Poker Review
Launched in 2002 under the name Pacific Poker, 888 Poker is one of the oldest and most popular online poker rooms in the world. In fact, they are firmly in 2nd place in size and popularity behind the monster known as Pokerstars. This is interesting because their recent cashgame traffic is only 10% of Pokerstars' traffic. Luckily for 888, they only rely on poker for 18% of their total earnings, so this gap is not a very large concern for them.
888 is part of a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange called 888 Holding Public Limited. They are also independently audited by eCogra, assuring us that the random number generator will work like it is supposed to. The U.S government was apparently so impressed with their site that they allowed them to join in the regulated markets of Delaware and New Jersey! These are all plusses in the reliability column, as a company with this much spotlight on it likely has far too much to lose to start doing illegal or immoral activities.
As per usual, we have no affiliation with this poker room and the following review will be a 100% honest assessment of what we really think. We will not hesitate to point out negative aspects of the site if we come across them.
While lacking in some of the classic poker games, they make up for it with unique and innovative spin-offs of the games they do offer. We give them a lot of credit for this creativity, but we cannot give them a full 5 stars due to the lack of common classic games like Razz, 5 Card Draw, Badugi and HORSE.
They seem to have a large number of banking options and we have no complaints here other than the inflated exchange rate that people seem to be very angry about all across the internet. The simple way around this is to just deposit using US dollars every time, and let our bank do the exchanging of currency. All of the withdrawal methods are expected to be completed in under 10 business days, which is great to see.
It seems like they tried to make good bonuses, but they really did not succeed. There is not even a VIP tier promotion like most gambling sites have to get more action from the regulars. Just a simple deposit bonus and a nearly impossible no-deposit bonus is not acceptable for the 2nd largest poker site in the world.
What is even going on here? The lack of an easily accessible email or phone number was enough of a red flag before we found out that there is also no Live Chat feature unless we make an account! It seems like they are just being lazy on this front by trying to funnel everyone into a support center on their website that is not very easy to find. They should redo this whole part of their site if they want to keep up with other sites in the industry.
It was tough to have a complaint in this category, as the software is sleek and up-to-date. The gameplay is smooth and the graphics were not bad at all. It was also extremely easy to find what we were looking for as every game is clearly marked in the lobby.
888 has done a great job in getting where they are today, but it is crazy how much room they still have to improve. Their strange customer support layout and lack of quality poker promotions are the most concerning flaws they have. Hopefully they can change some of those problems around and eventually move up one more spot to the #1 site in the world.
The games offered at 888 are not really on par with its competitors when it comes to classic poker games. They do, however, offer some unique variations of these games that can be a breath of fresh air to anyone who is growing tired of the classic games. Below is a list of the poker games 888 has available.
- No Limit Texas Hold'Em
- Omaha Hi/Lo
- 7 Card Stud
- 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
- Push-or-Fold FLOPOMANIA
- Multi-Table Tournaments
No Limit Hold'Em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud HI/Lo are all classic poker games that are very old and offered on nearly every poker site. The rules for each can easily be found by a google search or on 888's website.
This is a variation of No Limit Hold'Em that allows the player to fold his hand quickly and move to another table to start a new hand without waiting at all. This fun and fast-paced format was invented just a few years ago and has spread like wildfire throughout the industry.
Players have to use a webcam in order to sit at these special poker tables. We love to see this type of innovation as it may increase the popularity of online poker eventually and also minimizes the chances of robots playing in the games. We have not seen this option on many other poker sites, especially not on any of the most popular ones.
This is one of the most interesting Sit & Go format ideas that we have seen. To start off, a random jackpot is attached to every Sit & Go and rewarded to 1st place, which is a format that is taking the poker world by storm in the last 3 or 4 years. The unique part about 888's version is that there is a clock that is counting down to 0 in the corner of each table called the Blast Timer. The larger the jackpot, the more time the Blast Timer begins with. Once this clock reaches 0, every player is forced to go all-in blind for the rest of the tournament until a winner is decided. This caters to the recreational players a little bit and cuts down on the edge that robots and pros will have in a normal turbo Sit & Go format.
Here is another very intriguing format that we have never seen before on any other poker site. They have completely eliminated the preflop betting round! Once players ante up and receive their cards, the flop is dealt and the action begins. This is perfect if we are looking for some fast fun action without waiting around 10 minutes in between each flop. Again, this caters to the recreational players since the robots and professional players of the internet poker world usually have a significant edge with their preflop betting strategies.
Push or Fold FLOPOMANIA
This is simply a variation of FLOPOMANIA in which the game becomes even more simplified. The betting amount is pre-set to all-in, so players only have the option of going all-in or folding once the flop is dealt. Also, just like in the original FLOPOMANIA, there is no preflop betting round either. They are successfully turning the beautiful game of poker into a slot machine at this point, and it is probably not a good idea to try and play this format for a steady income. If this is the type of game you are looking to play, we recommend first checking out our 888 casino review and then heading over to the casino.
The multi-table tournaments on 888 are one of their best features. They actually gave all of the tournaments a specific name rather than referring to them by their prize pool, which we think is awesome. Some examples of this creativity include The Cyclone, The Gold Fish, and the Typhoon. They also offer a very wide range of buy-ins and prize pools, so that there is something for everyone to play. In addition, there are a variety of formats available such as knockout tournaments, turbo tournaments, and 6 handed tournaments. These multi-table tournaments are the best way to win a lot of money in under 12 hours without risking much, and there is one to play at literally any time of day.
As a whole, the promotions for 888 poker are pretty weak. We will look at each of them in depth and see what they have to offer.
The first and most advertised promotion is the $88 free bonus which claims there is no deposit needed. As we expected, there are some serious conditions that need to be met for this to happen. They do give us 2$ in cash and 6$ in tournament credits right off the bat without playing anything, so that is definitely a plus for beginning players.
After the original 8$ bonus for signing up, we can receive 8$ for every 250 poker points we clear. This means that we will need to clear 2500 points in total to receive the total 88$ bonus. This is very tough to do and is not that great of a promotion unless we plan on depositing more money to finish off the free 88$ bonus if the first 8$ bullet happens to fail.
Once we do decide to make our first deposit, 888 has a special promotion waiting for us. They are offering a 100% deposit bonus up to $400 which means if we deposit $400 we will receive $400 in bonus money. This bonus money can be cleared through frequent play and is cleared in 10$ increments. They also decided to throw in 10 different tournament tickets on top of the deal. Let's take a look at them below, even though they are not very impressive.
- 7 tickets to the daily $500 Guaranteed First Depositors' tournament which is every day at 19:30 GMT.
- 2 tickets to the $1,000 Guaranteed Depositors Free Tournament, which is for all depositors on the site and happens every Saturday at 08:30 GMT and 17:03 GMT.
- The final ticket is to the weekly First Depositors' Challenge tournament which takes place on Fridays at 19:00 GMT and the top 10 players win a seat into their $109 buy-in Sunday Challenge tournament.
The final promotion listed on their site is known as the Monday Twins. The twins are two multi-table tournaments that both start every Monday at 18:35 GMT and have the same buy-in of $22. If we make the money in both of the twins on the same day, 888 will reward us with two bonus entry tickets for free worth $44 total. If we make the final table in both of the twins in the same day, we will receive seats to all four of the Sunday Challenge tournaments in the following month, which is worth $436. If we win one twin and make the final table of the other, we get $1,000 cash. If we win one twin and come in 2nd place in the other, we win $2,500 cash. Lastly, if we win both twins in the same day, we accumulate an extra $10,000 cash. This is a pretty fun addition to the site, and frankly we would like to see the Twins Challenge happen every day of the week.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
There are quite a lot of deposit options available on 888, but some of them are only available in certain countries. Another dilemma is that some of these deposit options cannot be used for withdrawals. First, let's take a look at the deposit methods which DO allow us to withdraw our money when we are ready.
- Visa card
- Local debit cards
- Apple Pay
- EntroPay Virtual Visa
- Wire Transfer
- Kiwi Virtual Visa
The following list of banking methods are those which DO NOT allow us to withdraw our money through them when we are finished playing. If you decide to deposit using one of these methods, be sure to have a different way of withdrawing the money ready to go.
- Bank Transfer
- Diners Credit Card
- Todito Cash
- Paysafe Card
- Przelewy 24
- Transferencia Bancaria
- Instant Banking by Citadel
- Visa QIWI Wallet
- AstroPay Card
- Yandex Money
The identification requirements for withdrawing money is decided by the amount which we are cashing out. If we are withdrawing less than $5,000 per month, they will likely only ask for a photo ID. Any more than $5,000 a month and they will start asking for a combination of documents including bank statements, credit card copies or proof of address. The maximum withdrawal amount per month is $50,000 and if someone goes over that amount they just pay them out the following month.
One negative issue we noticed is that there is an exchange rate for depositing or withdrawing money in any currency other than U.S. dollars. This exchange rate is generally worse than what a bank would charge us, so we recommend always converting money to U.S. dollars before depositing.
Customer Service Options
In order to contact 888, we must first click on the Online Help link at the bottom of their homepage. After that, we scrolled down past the FAQ and clicked on the Contact Us button. This brings us to a page called the 888 Support Center where they ask us to explain our problem, and they then email a response when they are ready.
There is no phone number or support email listed on their website, as we assume they want everyone to find the 888 Support Center and fill out the form. However, if snail mail is your cup of tea, they give an actual street address, which is 601-701 Europort, Gibraltar.
Another aspect that stands out in a negative light is that there is no Live Chat feature unless we make an account first and download the software. Almost all sites have this feature for everyone, so we are very curious as to the reason for this glaring hole in their customer support. What makes this especially strange is that despite not wanting to live chat with potential customers, they managed to create an Instagram page, a Twitter page, a Facebook page, and a Youtube channel! Maybe we can get ahold of them on Facebook messenger instead?
To wrap it up, we really enjoyed our experience at 888 poker despite their minor problems and we highly recommend this site to anyone that is a beginner or novice. If you are a full-fledged poker professional, you might be better off joining a site that has a rewarding VIP structure and high quality promotions aimed towards regulars. Hopefully 888 will take note of their weaknesses and keep trying to move up one spot to the #1 poker site in the world, despite their poker room accounting for only 18% of their parent company's revenue.