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Games: Poker and Blackjack
888.com is now one of the leading global online gaming enterprises, and its poker branch has grown from relative obscurity to become a chief player in the million-dollar industry that is online poker. For Australian Internet poker players, this is the best option.
888 Poker has centred a large part of its growth here, catering specifically to the Aussie market, and committed to providing players with exclusive promotions, and entry in to a titanic range of tournaments, including Satellites for the Aussie Millions and the World Series of Poker (WSOP). It offers diverse titles such as Texas hold’em, Omaha and seven-card-stud, where we can interact with other players, and most importantly, is supportive of AUD funds. 888 was crowned the 2011 Poker Operator of the Year at the eGaming Review Operator Awards.
We have two options to choose from as to how to play poker at 888, as we do with the large chunk of online casinos; either use the downloadable trademarked software, or the corresponding instant play version, which has some minor limitations, but one main plus which the downloaded client can’t offer: to play via any Web browser and on any operating system.
The current 888 Poker software has been lauded for its attractiveness and highly customisable graphics and design, where you can choose to have a clean interface, or enjoy a rich visual layout instead.
The lobby of both the downloaded client and the browser-based version allows you to easily find the cash or tournament games you are searching for, and includes a ‘Beginners’ tab for newcomers to jump on a table suited to their bankroll within seconds.
As shown in these two screenshots, the lobby and game-play of the full 888 Poker suite (top) is slightly more detailed than the browser version (bottom), and does offer additional options such as playing private games with friends, 3D poker, and 888’s interactive feature, the PokerCam.
Ultimately, choosing the style of play comes down to personal preference. If you prefer dedicated software on your desktop, then you’ll get the added benefit of a few more features unavailable via instant play. But if you rather save space and prefer not to install external software, playing via the Net is best.
888’s PokerCam (only available in downloaded version) is as close to a live game as you will get in today’s technologically driven era (and things only stand to improve), and many would agree this style of play outshines traditional poker, with such benefits like convenience, accessibility, scope of games and betting limits, bonuses, and now of course, face-to-face interaction.
PokerCam games allow players to view other players via webcam in a very similar fashion to how Skype video calls operate. Tables are offered where a working camera is required to join, so others can see you, and you can see others. The high quality live streaming not only gives us the opportunity to view other people’s reactions and possibly gain information about their style of play, but also to initiate conversations and establish relationships, and make the game itself a much more enjoyable and social affair.
As with most online features which deal with person-to-person interaction, there will always be those who use these tools in uncooperative, anti-social and sometimes even unethical manners. Webcam games are monitored, but incidents do go unnoticed. Report abusive behaviour to email@example.com. Find out more about PokerCam here.
In the downloaded client, players have the ability to host and join their own private cash games or tournaments with friends, with the ability to take full advantage of the PokerCam feature as well, to see and hear each other. It’s poker night with the boys, from the comfort of your own home. As host, you can decide on the starting time and stakes, and whether you wish to play with a webcam or not.
Tap this link from your mobile or tablet device, or tap any of the appropriate app buttons at the top of this review page, and your operating system will be automatically recognised by 888. You’ll be directed to begin the easy installation process of the clean and professional exclusive app for smartphones and tablets. AG’s dedicated page reviews the benefits of 888 mobile poker play.
Note: As iOS does not support non-market applications, Apple users are taken to play at 888 directly through a Web app which acts identically to the non-market application, but instead is processed via your browser (most likely Safari) using browser formatting such as HTML5, rather than utilising dedicated app software. This does save space on your device.
A quick round-up of the poker banking methods available to Aussies:
Moving cash to and from your accounts is not difficult; banking options are aplenty at 888. Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards are accepted, and are fast and simple options. You can also complete direct wire/bank transfers with your BSB and Account numbers, use POLi for deposits (not withdrawals), or e-Wallets such as Skill (formerly Moneybookers) and Neteller (PayPal is currently unavailable to Australians).
Prepaid cards/vouchers such as CashUp and UKash are also supported deposit options, and these can be purchased offline with cash, at your local newsagencies. They will include a unique code which you can enter once you are in the cashier section of 888, and have selected the appropriate method.
Players are also able to request a cheque by post for withdrawals, and can complete financial transactions over the phone, too. The minimum withdrawal amount is $10.
888 Poker offers each of the most popular poker games in Australia:
All of these titles are available in both cash games and in tournament play, and each is offered in the following betting formats: no limit, fixed limit and pot limit. Blinds for cash games can be as small as $0.01/$0.02 and as large as $500/$1000, with more than a dozen in between.
There are a number of diverse tournaments suited for all players and bankrolls, so it’s no wonder why playing online is becoming (if it hasn’t already) significantly more advantageous than doing so offline.
Satellites: 888 runs constant Satellites for entry in to some of the world’s most prestigious live events such as our very own Aussie Millions, the WSOP, the APT (Asian Poker Tour) and the IPT (Irish Poker Tour). With low-limit buy-ins to these qualifiers (as small as $1, and sometimes even free), and much higher limits too for those with larger bankrolls, this is a fantastic way to test your skills and grab the chance to win through to some major tournaments.
Knockout/Bounty Tournaments: Eliminate opponents and receive a payout each time you do so, with the opportunity for winners to receive huge cash prizes.
Free-rolls: Free entry tournaments for real money rewards along with entry into the bigger and esteemed events.
Players can further narrow down their searches by selecting specific tabs under the ‘All Games’ tab such as live events, challenges, restricted, rewards, teams and special tournaments.
Team tournaments are those in which you can support your favourite football club as part of the poker action, and even if you don’t win overall but your team does, you will still claim some winnings. These competitions are exclusive to 888.
Each of the above tourneys can be classified as multi-table tournaments (MTTs) and the schedule categorises each by the date and time in which they commence, how much the buy-ins and fees are, how many people are registered to play, and the type (i.e. webcam, turbo, deep-stack, short-handed, double or nothing, etc). One of the flagship events at 888 Poker is the $100,000 Sunday Challenge, which features a $90 buy-in and has a $100,000 guaranteed prize-pool.
Sit & Go’s: SNG tourneys can be played with two (heads-up), six or nine players for set buy-ins, have a clear start as soon as enough players have joined the table, a clear finish (when one player remains), and run much more quickly than MTTs which can have thousands of players competing against each other and run for hours upon hours. The option for turbo and super turbo games is also available, and blinds/stakes gradually increase in set stages.
Each type requires different strategies; know when to hold’em and fold’em, and you could find yourself basking in the glory.
888 has several enticing incentives for Australian members, and also owns one of the most comprehensive rewards programs on the Net.
The $88 No Deposit Bonus – Upon sign-up, members are instantly credited with $10 after confirming their email address. To gain the other no deposit $78 we are entitled to is a little trickier, and the bonus could be construed as somewhat deceptive. AG is here to clear things up. Players are awarded 10 x $8 gifts ($2 cash and $6 in tourney tickets) for every 250 Status Points they earn. How do you earn 888 Status Points? Earn two points for every $1 you contribute in rake in cash games, and two points for every $1 you pay in tournament entry fees. You can also earn an extra point for every $16 wagered playing 888 blackjack. It would be difficult to rack up enough points for even one $8 gift without ever using any of your own cash, but it could technically be done. Really, the most beneficial way to take advantage of all promotions, including the one below, is to make an initial deposit.
A 100% matching bonus of up to $888 – Make you first deposit into your account and get it matched at up to AUD $888. Making an initial deposit also lends itself to other promotions which include the following:
A minimum $10 deposit hands you entry into a total of nine free-rolls tourneys: seven $500 free-rolls, a $1,000 comp, and finally a $100,000 First Depositors’ Challenge, all exclusive to new customers.
Points are a big part of 888’s rewards and promotions system. As detailed above, when playing cash games and paying rake, or playing tournaments and paying entry fees, you earn Status Points.
Status Points: Earning these points allows you to climb the levels of the rewards program. Every member automatically begins at the Blue level, and can move through to the Iron (10 points), Chrome (20), Copper (50), Bronze (100), Silver (500), Gold (1,500) and Platinum (4,500) levels when they reach those respective points. These levels are based on monthly totals, and you retain your status for the rest of the month in which you moved up, and the following month. The two final levels, VIP (60,000) and VIP Diamond (300,000) are annually-based, and remain valid for 12 months. But what does this get you?
Rewards Points: As you earn Status Points, you also earn Rewards Points at the same rate while at the Bronze level or lower. When you progress to the Silver level, you begin earning two Rewards Points for every Status Point, and the rate continues to increase to as much as 18x should you reach the VIP Diamond level. What can Rewards Points be used for? We can use these points to buy into tournaments and purchase merchandise from the 888 online shop (offering a range of products such as electronics, home and outdoor goods, sporting equipment, and more).
And the best part; we can convert Rewards Points in to cash which is placed directly in our account with no strings attached. Minimum conversion is $10 ($0.01 per point; so 1,000 points are required for the min conversion).
Other prizes and competitions include: Luxury vacation packages through daily, weekly and monthly comps, and Aussies can enjoy weekly tournaments with over $750,000 worth in prize money.
Australian 888 Poker members can access traditional multihand European blackjack with their one account. Your real cash funds will be available for you to use to play 21, while you can also trial the game in practice mode. Note: We cannot use 888’s sport betting site, as governmental restrictions are in place which prevent us from doing so.
Live chat is available between the hours of 13:00 – 16:00, and 18:00 – 20:00 (GMT). Alternatively, you can call the Australian toll-free phone number (1-800-153-466), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, navigate to the Help page where a number of FAQs are addressed, or continue to the Contact Us page and submit an inquiry via the online form.