Summary (Rated 8 out of 10)
With 60,000+ players online at any given time, Party Poker is most certainly the biggest online poker site around! With hundreds of tables to select from, and every game from 7-card stud to Pot Limit Omaha, there's never a dull moment at Party Poker.
Players earn Party Points the fastest via Sit N' Go Tournaments - at a rate of 2 Points / $1 in tournament fees.
Game Selection (Rated 10 out of 10)
When pondering how Party Poker came to be the industry’s biggest hitter, one need look no further than its game selection. With almost every game size, type, and stake available, and usually several of each, this is Party’s biggest strength and the benchmark for all other sites. Cash games offered are all hold’em games, limit and pot limit Omaha, and 7-card stud, with each of these ranging in stakes from as low as 10c/25c to $100/$200. The extremes of micro-limit and high-limit, as well as Hi/Lo games, are the only minor oversights here but they do have a set of beginner tables for new users and some interesting jackpot tables, such as ‘bad beats’.
Tournaments play is also impressive, with plenty of pretty much everything. Single and multi-table sit-and-go’s are offered in an incremental range of buy-ins, though it has to be said, not quite as graduated as it could be and offers few tournaments below the $6 buy-in mark. This slight criticism is overcome though by the unending array of qualifiers and satellites, or ‘steps’ as they are called, to every imaginable game including loads to the WSOP itself. This is also true of their daily, scheduled tournaments, which are particularly useful for the regular freerollers out there as there are dozens of every kind every day. Promotional games, speed games and re-buy games also give a bit of extra variety.
Quality of Players (Rated 7 out of 10)
As you would imagine with a site which draws numbers bigger than the population of some small countries everyday, the quality of player at Party Poker is all over the map. The best and most experienced as well as weakest and most inexperienced flock here in droves making playing standards highly variable from table to table. One way in which Party Poker tries to moderate this is through their ‘beginner’ tables which are exclusive to new accounts for a specified period of time. This is a good place for novices to get their feet wet but also invites good players to come on board and fatten up their bank-roll before playing on the rest of the site.
As the stakes go up the quality of player also, understandably, goes with it but perhaps not with such predictable order as in other poker rooms. The massively high traffic and profile of Party Poker brings with it all kinds of beginners including those with a bankroll, so that, where another site’s high stakes tables may be a no-go area for some, here they may be the most profitable of all. The general hold’em-heavy orientation of the site may too keep player quality down slightly, as the all-round and therefore usually very good player will sometimes look elsewhere.
Software (Rated 8 out of 10)
The software at Party Poker is solid in most aspects, as would be expected of a room this size, though it’s not quite the best out there. Download, installation and setup are good and movement around the site is as responsive as is needed, though again not as quick as some. The main strength of Party’s software is the excellent service it brings to its many customers. The main interface provides a multitude of user options with outstanding internet support a particular asset.
In-game play is reasonable with actions quite responsive and chip dispersal prompt. Cards are also dealt and folded quickly making for some speedy game play and there are none of the annoying and at times distressing pauses as players wait to discover if they have won a particular hand. There is a lack of some of the basic pre-select action buttons, such as the call prompt, making things like multi-tabling somewhat difficult. Party Poker has introduced some very interesting innovations though, such as a table resizing capability and a table-tiling option where several tables can be viewed on screen at once, certainly addressing the multi-tabling problem effectively.
Graphics (Rated 7 out of 10)
It is surprising that, for a site which is so popular and of such high general quality, the graphics of Party Poker are so unspectacular. The main user interface is primarily geared toward organization and practicality, in which it achieves a high standard, rather than appearance. Color, atmosphere, and creative theme are sacrificed for usability and to some extent it is worth it, with the most simple and well-organized game selection lay-out of any site. Lobby information about tournaments, prizes, and players is also excellent.
If lobby and interface graphics are decidedly underwhelming then table graphics are flat-out dull. A small number of avatars is about the height of creativeness for this site, though these are not even selected by each player individually and are debatable in the quality of their animation. Table, card and chip graphics are about as simple as they come but, it must be added, are also very user-friendly and practical.
Profitability (Rated 8 out of 10)
Despite the lack of a great bonus or any particularly lucrative playing options, Party Poker’s unique image and status maintain the site as a very profitable proposition. Its sheer size and advertising power means that it is a place where players looking for a first online poker site are more likely than not going opt for, yet, it does not have the range of micro-limit table at which these players would normally be found. This results in some loose and juicy pickings at the no limit hold’em cash tables particularly.
There isn’t the same variety of jackpot games as at, for instance, any of the iPoker rooms such as Noble Poker or Titan Poker, but there are options for players wanting to make a lot from a little. One of these is the ‘steps’ games in which you can qualify for $50 sit-and-go through a $10 sit-and-go. Most profit from Party Poker though is derived from playing on a site swimming with beginners, yet with few safe havens in which they can hide.