Summary (Rated 8 out of 10)
If the personality of each online poker site could be represented by a different poker pro then 888Poker’s would undoubtedly be along the lines of an Amarillo Slim or Doyle Brunson. A stalwart of the industry surpassed in many ways by younger competitors yet still very much capable of enduring success. Shaky software, haphazard game set-up, and decidedly unspectacular looks make 888Poker unlikely to be at the front of the race for new recruits in the continuing poker boom, although it does have one major attraction that makes it a room well worth visiting: soft targets and plenty of them.
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Game Selection (Rated 9 out of 10)
Game selection at 888Poker is reasonably good, although not as thorough in covering all angles as some other sites. Tournament play is largely geared towards the lower buy-in range, particularly away from the sit-and-go tables, with plenty of free-roll and low-roll dailies. These are often satellites to a range of random tournaments and whilst not offering many WSOP opportunities they do provide a lot of sub-satellites, thereby again catering to the smaller bank-roll.
Sit and go games tend to allow slightly more for the more high-roll player with buy-ins ranging up to $750, though the further up the range it goes the more sporadic the frequency of games become. There are also a large number of ‘fast’ games available, which, when considering the often ponderous blind structures of regular games, are a very useful addition, as are the ‘bad beat’ and royal flush jackpots.
One major area of weakness for 888Poker is the lack of non- hold’em games available. Tournament play is entirely restricted to NL, fixed limit, and pot limit hold’em, with alternative cash games not faring much better. Omaha and seven card stud, along with their HI/LO variants, are the only available cash games away from hold’em, with even these games providing little in the way of high-limit tables.
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Quality of Players (Rated 8 out of 10)
One aspect of play on 888Poker which will always be attractive and is surely a major reason for its continuing popularity is its lack of quality opponents. Of course, any player aiming to use online poker as a way of improving and honing their poker skills will not be drawn to the site for this reason, whilst players who hope to reap big rewards for big investments will also be somewhat bypassed due to the lack of high-roll tables. For solid players though, looking to make a little extra coin at some cheap tables, look no further.
The various weaknesses of the site, particularly the restrictions on non-hold’em games, generally keeps the more serious player away, while the advantages for low-limit players invites many a novice. That is not to say, though, that these players restrict themselves to the cheapest of games, rather they are spread anywhere up to $30 buy-ins and often beyond. In almost every game you will find players behaving strangely, calling down to the river with Ace-high, or raising $20 into $400 pots, and once the paid places come into range even the shortest stack will suddenly become ridiculously tight until blinded out. Inevitably though, there will be other good players with precisely the same idea in mind as you, so at least some degree of caution is advised.
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Software (Rated 8 out of 10)
It is the software of 888Poker which perhaps greatest exemplifies its elderly status. In general the site is very playable, with no huge flaws and a standard setup process, but it lacks the smoothness and attention to detail present in many newer-generation poker rooms. Little things, for instance an awkward raising mechanism or insufficient alerts when time is running out, lead to a generally less-smooth experience. Some mild jerkiness during play and, at times, poorly judged blind structures further add to this sense, though there are no real problems with clarity of table action.
Most of the other standard bits and pieces are present and correct, such as good online support and user-friendly cashier options, though again there lacks anything beyond the standard, like a hand history capability for instance. One plus point is that ease of movement and navigation around the main interface is quite good, as well as having brief explanations of what each section contains as a useful tool for first time users.
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Graphics (Rated 8 out of 10)
The graphics at 888Poker are pretty much in line with the rest of the site, that is, basic and unspectacular yet ultimately very usable. And, of course, green. In-game graphics typify this, consisting of a standard poker table and some chairs, although there are options to alternate between patterns on both the back of the cards and the carpet! Eat your heart out Full Tilt. In this way 888Poker appeals to simpler tastes than many other sites and some players may even find the resulting lack of distraction appealing.
The main interface graphics are similarly basic which, while again being distinctly under-dramatic, do give it a feeling of being uncluttered. Headings and sub-headings are distinct and obvious and information can be organized at the users discretion, whether that be by tournament size, buy-in, or prize money. There is also the very handy extra option of hiding all games which are filled, running or completed.
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Profitability (Rated 9 out of 10)
888Poker is a site which, thanks to a number of factors, and to specific types of players, can be very profitable indeed.
This lower standard of player is, of course, central to 888Poker’s profitability. This is especially so when combined with the good payout structures and small size of many tournaments, particularly in the $8 to $30 range. With the lack of non-hold’em and high-roll tables though, profitability is largely restricted to good, low stakes hold’em players. Stud or Omaha specialists will doubtless have some success at those few cash tables offered in these games but with such little traffic will likely be drawn to another site.
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