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Poker site reviews -- compare & contrast

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Poker site reviews -- compare & contrast

Old 11-01-04, 02:00 PM
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Poker site reviews -- compare & contrast

Comment on the quality of play, the software, customer service, etc. of the various poker sites here.

I've only played on two sites, so I'll review Pacific:

Pacific Poker
Moved over to Pacific two weeks ago to take advantage of the $60 free cash offered from Online Poker Guide (see the "Good way to start a bankroll" thread for more info). I've only played in ring games on the .10/.20 level in both Omaha Hi and Hold 'Em.

Bonuses require 20x wager to cash out. That is, if you get $25 in bonus money, you need to wager $500 total to cash it out.

The play here is very easy to figure out on the low levels. You get *tons* of flush and straight chasers, and they make it completely obvious 90% of the time when they make their flush and/or straight. Most of the players abide by the "any two cards" philosophy and rarely fold preflop. People will call 4x BB preflop raises with any two suited cards. 93s? Call it!

This is a great scenario for those who are patient enough to play Level I-II hands. I can't count the number of times I've outkicked someone because they were stupid enough to play K6o while I was holding AK. You also see a lot of players betting at mid-level pairs after the flop. Flop could come K83 and you'll see people raising while only having 87o in their hand. You've got your king and you're golden.

Every once in a while you'll have a bad beat by some idiot who stayed in with garbage but that's okay. You'll whoop ass in the long run. Every night lately I find myself up anywhere from $5-10. After two weeks, I've deposited $70 and sit at $135 now. $30 of that is bonus money.

Customer service seems to be okay. Emails were answered within 3 hours asking about cashout status.

Software sucks. Fucks up AOL instant messenger. Poor programming overall. During All-in situations, cards are dealt entirely too fast and it's hard to tell what the hell happened. Instead of one-by-one they come as a big group and then the chips slide to whomever wins. One thing I like, though, is that the timer for each player to do something is pretty short. 20-30 seconds. Nice, because some sites are over a minute.

No no-limit ring games exist. Micro limits go down to .05/.10. Omaha hi, hi-lo, 7 stud, etc. are available. Sit-n-gos go down to $2+.25 buy-ins. Some 5-player sit-n-gos exist too.

Skill level of players: C- (remember, this is good if you're looking to make money)
Software: C
Customer Service: A
Bonus playthrough: B
Game availability: B
Overall: B-
Old 11-01-04, 02:16 PM
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My biggest beefs with this site is the 3rd grade interface. It's like some guy hired a kid to program it for his college class. Also, the AOL IM thing is a pain in the ass too. Often it won't allow you to open up an IM box while your playing. I guess in a way maybe it's a preventative measure for collusion, but sucks ass when you are talking to someone that is not even playing.

Overall, I give it a C-, since the only redeeming factor are the idiots that play there and the speed.
Old 11-01-04, 03:09 PM
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I hate all of the things you hate. I've taken to it just for the SNG though, I've been successful there with SNG. I guess I could pickup and leave but if it ain't broke don't fix it. Right now I'm playing more $5 SNG and doing pretty well.
Old 11-01-04, 10:17 PM
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Oh, other reasons to hate Pacific Poker:

you can't change your password.
you can't transfer money from one player to another.
Old 11-03-04, 10:09 AM
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As long as trashing Pacific is on the agenda – what can be said of a site that is so primitive you can’t change your password?

On the other hand, fishing’s good. And, from the few sites I’ve tried, it seems that the SW reacts faster than most.


Poker Stars
I’ve only been playing on PS for a coupla weeks, inspired to dip into my non-existent “discretionary funds” so I could make an appearance and embarrass the crap outta myself for tonight’s debacle. Oh, and I wanted to try Poker Tracker, and this is one of the few sites it works well with.

Software: C+ nothing special here. The ability to call “time” is different, and gives one the ability to do a little Hollywood.

Customer service: got no clue. Hand histories requests are automatic, and I haven’t had a need so far.

Level of play is an issue: B+ The competition is pretty tight, based on mostly SnGs. This is good and bad. Not as many morons, but harder to get ahead. Aggressive play seems to work, but watch out for the one guy who is waiting to take advantage of that and take you down. Players on United Poker Forum have commented on tough play.

Chat on this site is minimal, from what I’ve seen.


Ultimate Bet
This is the best site out there. Period. Why aren’t you playing there?

Software: A- The biggest thing that sets UB apart from the rest is the speed of play, which, IMO, is the fastest out there. Another thing that should deserve respect may seem simple, but just how serious should you consider a site that allows you to fold pre-flop? Most do. UB doesn’t even give you the option to be stoopid in that respect. Also, you can’t muck a hand if you’re first to act unless you’re headsup.

The tables have the ability to be reduced in size to about 1/3 height, putting the players in a row instead of a circle. This lets you multi-table players “stack” the tables at least 3 high. The backside to this is the speed of play often makes this difficult, and I’m not opposed to calling attention so somebody playing 3 tables who is constantly delaying the game.

When you’re seated, the table adjusts to put you at the 6 o’clock position, which I really like.

It seems easier to find the table/game type on UB than others.

Customer service: C- They’re OK. A year or so ago, they seemed to be too responsive to suggestions and were making SW updates a coupla times a week. I can’t tell you how many times I’d email them and tell them, paraphrasing GP, “It ain’t broke. Quit fucking fixing it!!”

They’ve recently added $1 SnG tables. Of course they decided to test the new tables during what you and I would consider normal play time, totally fucking up the server’s ability to react or some such felgercarb. The result was, for a period of about 2 weeks you’d be lucky to get a SnG, regardless of your connection speed.

The competition: C- Fairly obvious play. A LOT of plumbers (trying to make turds flush). But also, slowplay seems to be the order of the day. Folks will raise with anything, or not raise with something. And there are a lot of impatient players, which I think adds to the fishing potential. There seems to be more action here than on other sites.

Chat on this site is high, often with observers showing up to have extended conversations with their friends. You can turn off observer (and individual player) chat, but there’s still an annoying “boop” each time a comment is posted.

Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke are often found playing on UB.

Their 4/8 table has $1/$2 pre-flop blinds, and is usually quite tight. And I understand they’re adding (or have added) a “progressive” game with 1/2/4/8 rounds.

After playing a dozen or so SnGs on PS, I notice quite a difference and am happy to go back to UB.


I also played on Party Poker for a short time many months ago. Nothing special other than the fact that the table list changes so damn_fast and often that it makes selecting a table a matter of mouse dexterity.
Old 11-03-04, 11:00 AM
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Wow. $1 sit n gos. That's pretty cool. Maybe I'll have to check i tout.
Old 11-03-04, 11:20 AM
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My Ranking of the sites I'm on in terms of bad players.

1. Party
2. Pacific
3. Prima (Gaming Club or Royal Vegas)
4. Absolute
5. Ultimate

Ranking in terms of actual site, best to worst

1. Ultimate
2. Party
3. Prima
4. Absolute
5. Pacific

Ranking in terms of bonuses, best to worst

1. Absolute
2. Prima
3. Pacific
4. Party
5. Ultimate
Old 11-03-04, 11:52 AM
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The thing I hate about PartyPoker is how fast the blinds go up in SnGs. It turns it into more of a crapshoot when you get down to the last 4 or 5.
Old 11-03-04, 12:36 PM
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I haven’t found the blinds structure too much of a problem on UB. It seems a little tighter on PS, but I can't honestly say I've paid that much attention.

The big difference I see between B&M and internet is the number of chips you get is proportional to the buy-in and, at least at the Bike, the structure usually remains the same. So, for a $25 buy-in you get $200 in chips with the first round going 5/10. This is especially noticeable in limit games. And the rounds for a $25 game are 15 minutes, longer for larger buy-ins.
Old 11-04-04, 12:25 PM
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you should play pokerstars a bit more before giving the software a C+. i wasn't impressed at first, but after playing there for a month or so and getting used to it, it is my favorite software by far. i played UB for a while and really didn't like it, although i couldn't tell you why.

as far as pokerstars customer service, i would give it an A++.
Old 11-05-04, 08:41 AM
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Could you be more -- specific? I gave it a C+ because I found it only average.
Old 11-05-04, 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by Wizdar
I haven’t found the blinds structure too much of a problem on UB. It seems a little tighter on PS, but I can't honestly say I've paid that much attention.
Yeah. I like the UB and PS blind structures too. It is only Party that I don't like.
Old 11-05-04, 01:10 PM
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Of course, the big question is how many chips do you start with? UB = 1000, PS = 1500. Another factor: how often do the blinds go up?

Imagine starting with only 200...
Old 11-05-04, 01:47 PM
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Pacific Poker SnGs start with 800 chips.
Old 11-05-04, 03:11 PM
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Originally posted by Wizdar
Another factor: how often do the blinds go up?
That is the only factor that I'm interested in. On Party, you go from like 50/100 blinds to 300/600 blinds (with 8,000 or 10,000 total chips in play depending on the buyin) in like 10-15 minutes. There are a few levels in between, obviously, but the progession is much too fast.
Old 11-05-04, 03:52 PM
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i THINK that on party, the higher buy in tourneys 30 or 50+ maybe? give you 1500 chips to start.
Old 11-05-04, 03:54 PM
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as far as specifics about PS software...

i dunno. nothing really specific... i just like the feel of it. i played UB for a few weeks and didn't like the feel of it. i never had any big problems with it though.

i have never had any problems w/the PS software. it is fast. the waiting lists work well (unlike party), the multi table tourneys work well, the chat and notes are good... just solid all around i think.
Old 11-05-04, 09:40 PM
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Originally posted by moorehed
i dunno.
Works for me.
Old 11-06-04, 12:38 PM
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I'm done with Pacific. The only reason I was on there was because I put in $20 to get the money from PayPal. I turned my $20 into as high as $117 at one point. Then I went on a losing skid and finally cashed out at $70. That was pure SNG too. I need to retool my game and keep reading my book. Pacific was also horrible last week, getting d/c a lot. I hate their interface. Back to Poker Stars.
Old 11-06-04, 01:43 PM
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I used Pacific's "Contact us" link to ask them to send my password.

They sent me an email suggesting I should use their "Contact us" link...

Fuckin morons.
Old 11-06-04, 02:07 PM
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I called asking for help with the cashing out since it's weird, and I got someone in India. He was decent, with a thick accent. I think all of these outfits are outsourced to India tho. Party Poker is the worst.
Old 11-12-04, 08:58 AM
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Full Tilt Poker
I was checking out Howard Lederer, and ran across this site. Folks involved include Howard, Chris Ferguson, Phils Ivey and Gordon, among others.

Now, I despise cute, and this site has cute all over it. Nevermind being able to select from several table backgrounds. Players can choose from 30+ avatars to represent them, and they each have 4 different emotional states that you can change during play. (Yeah, just one more thing to delay the game.)



There are a couple of features that I like. “Auto center” rotates the table to place your avatar at the bottom center seat. And it takes this one step further. You can also choose where you want your avatar placed and the table will rotate to accommodate. In other words, if you want to sit at the 10:00 position, you can do that. What value that may be, I have no idea.

They have a “find a player” feature that is part of the program. It looks like you can build a list and then find players on the list, if they’re around.

They have tables as low as a nickel, and spread fixed, pot limit, and NL games. They also have Omaha and stud, and H/L of each.

The biggest problem I see with this site is its relative obscurity, making for a limited mix of players and a limited selection of tables.

Couldn’t tell you much about the players, since I’ve only done play money so far.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about deposit bonuses, but as I posted in another thread, they have a 100% bonus thru the end of November.
Old 11-12-04, 09:39 AM
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Thx for posting this. I was going to check out the site for the bonus, but I'm not sure I will now.
Old 11-12-04, 10:32 AM
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Well, I’m going to try it, I think. Don’t know why, with my loathing of all things “cute.” Maybe because I’m not playing with a full deck, as a few of you may have noticed.

I’m looking for a place where there are fewer morans who can’t find the FOLD button. Getting a little bit tired of gambling. We’ll see how that works.
Old 11-12-04, 10:48 AM
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Originally posted by Wizdar
Well, I’m going to try it, I think. Don’t know why, with my loathing of all things “cute.” Maybe because I’m not playing with a full deck, as a few of you may have noticed.

I’m looking for a place where there are fewer morans who can’t find the FOLD button. Getting a little bit tired of gambling. We’ll see how that works.
Yes, we've noticed that you aren't playing with a full deck as evidenced by your fixation on me.

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