History Originally launched under the Pacific Poker banner, back in 2002, 888 Poker is one of the oldest brands in online gambling. Registered in Gibraltar, 888 saw huge growth through the poker boom years and took the decision to list the company on the London Stock Exchange in 2007. The 2006 UIGEA law led to a decision which saw USA based players no longer able to play on the platform. Now more than ten years later 888 finally has its feet firmly back in the States, albeit with segregated player pools. New state legislation in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey has opened up possibilities for even more expansion across the country in coming years. By 2013 888 Poker had recovered to take second place in the traffic rankings. After winning three Poker Operator of the Year awards they started to sign numerous endorsement deals with high profile players and sports stars. World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe McKeehen won his title wearing the 888 patch, while the likes of George St Pierre and Luis Suarez have also joined the fray. Though, Suarez did have his contract terminated after two months for his biting incident in the FIFA World Cup, so probably the less said about him the better… In 2017 888 Poker is still the second largest online poker room, and a recognised blue chip company which can be trusted to keep your deposits safe. Also, the random number generator has been certified for fairness, so there are no worries about rigged games.
Depositing and Withdrawing 888 offers a dazzling 40+ methods of transferring funds to and from the website. Not all of these are available in each country, but there is almost certainly a convenient way for you in there somewhere. Not all methods allow both a deposit and a withdrawal, so be careful to be sure you check which is which before attempting any transfers. If all else fails you do have the old-fashioned option of receiving a cheque in the post, though I’m not so sure in 2017 many of you will be going down this road. One gripe about withdrawing with 888 Poker is the unfavourable exchange rate normally offered for those using a non-US dollar account. If at all possible, managing all of your transfers in US dollars will save you a little money in the long run. For customers who take long periods away from playing, you should be aware that 888 Poker will after six months without logging in begin taking 10% of your funds each month as an admin fee. So don’t forget to either log in or just empty your account before taking a break.
Software The software is among the very best available. It is stable and easy to use, with no lag if your PC is kept in good shape. All the usual customisations are available, from auto-top up to your favourite seat position. If you’d prefer not to put up with any trolling in the chat box you can even switch it off completely. Both Windows machines and Macs are compatible with the client, but for the more modern customer you can now play on all manner of mobile devices. iPad, iPhone, Android; the majority of the PC/Mac gaming experience can now be accessed on the move. All database packages are authorised, such as Hold’em Manager 2 and Pokertracker 4. Even the popular Notecaddy is still allowed. While there is no definitive list of banned secondary software, it is made clear that seating scripts are not to be used.
Games As you might expect, all the familiar games are found on 888 Poker. Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi Lo, and 7 Card Stud. Traffic can be a little slow away from the NL and PLO tables, but at peak times there will be some action available. SNAP Poker is 888’s “fast-fold” variant, but no HUD is allowed. The tournament schedule gives plenty of choice, but don’t expect to be as busy as you would over at Pokerstars. The variety is good though, with buy-ins available for all bankroll sizes, across a wide range of different formats. There are even live webcam games for those of you who want that feel of being able to see your opponent. Overall the games are viewed as some of the softest tables you can find anywhere online. With up to 4000 players logged in at peak times, you will be able to find as much action as you want throughout the day. Cash tables up to $3/$6 run around the clock, but there are no longer any heads-up games on the site except for Sit and Goes. High stakes tables do run, but can be a bit hit and miss depending on the time of day. Tournaments with guarantees up to $100,000 can be found on a daily basis, or if Sit and Go is your favourite format, you can play for as little as a few cents up to $1000.
Bonuses For first time players a 100% deposit bonus up to $400 is offered. This is released in increments of $10 as you earn points by playing real money games. On top there are also a selection of tournament tickets granted, which by making a new deposit each week you will continue to receive. The icing on the cake though, has to be the free $88 you will receive just by signing up and logging in! Of course there are a few conditions; to start with you are given $2 in cash and $6 worth of tournament tickets. Then each $8 from there on is released as you accumulate bonus points over the next 90 days in the same way. So only $22 actual cash, but it is free after all.
Customer Service There are a few different options for contacting support; email, live chat, or via telephone. While a reputation for poor customer service built up over the years, things have much improved recently. It’s not the fastest service you will experience, but it is much better than most other companies out there. As with all leading poker providers, you can expect to have any issues sorted out eventually.
Final Thoughts As the second biggest poker provider online, 888 Poker is clearly not a fly by night operation like the industry has seen in the past. You can expect your money to be safe here, and have no doubts about the integrity of the games you will play. The best part has to be how soft the games are. While there are obviously going to be some very good players through all stake levels, there are tons of players who win big on the 888 Casino site and decide to take a shot at poker without much previous experience. This makes for some very juicy tables throughout the site. For beginners, it’s also a perfect place to start your poker career. The software is easy to work with, and the bonuses will help your bankroll while you find your feet in the games. Overall, 888 Poker is one of the best choices online today. If they iron out the complaints with slow customer service and unfavourable exchange rates, we can expect them to continue eating into Pokerstars’ market share over the next couple of years. Like what you just read? Read more about our 888 VIP deal by clicking here: 888 VIP DEAL