Party Poker Review
Party Poker debuted in 2001 and was once the most popular virtual poker room on the planet. While their overall numbers have diminished over the years, they remain a top-5 option for anyone looking to play cards online. Their services are available in 14 languages, and French and Italian players can even compete on their own dedicated networks.
In 2006, Party Poker decided to prohibit players from the United States following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This proved to be a smart decision, as many of their competitors who remained found themselves facing jail time, legal troubles with the Department of Justice, and seizure of domain names. While this move may have cost them some customers and their #1 ranking, it proved to be the best decision in the long run.
Players from the United States looking for real-money games will need to go elsewhere, as Party Poker only allows them to log on for free play. The exception is the state of New Jersey, where Party Poker has signed a licensing agreement to legally offer their services to anyone within the borders of the state. Other states may eventually take the same course of action, and the site has publically stated that they’re looking to get back into the American market (just in a legal fashion).
Trusting Party Poker
Party Poker is one of a handful of poker sites that are legally present in the United States, and they’ve operated throughout the world for years without any major scandals or incidents. They maintain a zero tolerance policy for fraud and collusion, and account data is protected by a combination of superior encryption and security controls.
The site is owned by Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, which is the world’s largest publicly traded online gaming company. Their stock is available on the London Stock Exchange, which means they have to constantly answer to serious-minded Brits and other foreign investors who won’t tolerate even the appearance of unethical activity.
For these reasons and many more, you can trust Party Poker to provide a safe and quality experience.
Player Comments about Party Poker
If you’re not willing to take my word about the fairness and dependability of Party Poker, what about people who’ve actually played at the site over the years? The following comments have been painstakingly culled from across the Internet, and they’re all comments from present or past players regarding their experiences at the site:
- I like the playability and feel of the poker tables. Also easy to win if you play tight.
- Never had a problem with payout delays. Always feel secure when depositing my money. Lots of nice flourishes that the competition lacks.
- No scandals, no nonsense, and no Howard Lederer. Play with confidence and always receive withdrawal requests is a reasonable amount of time. Party Poker is a site that can be consistently trusted.
- Whole schools of fish for us sharks to gobble up. Strong selection of tourneys and game options. Lots of payouts and withdrawal options. Highest marks.
- Nice software and real poker. A very safe place to play.
- Love the bounty tournaments and getting paid for ruining someone else’s day. Rake and blind structure is also better than most.
- Thanks for a great experience, Party Poker. Most French poker sites are a disappointment, but that’s not the case here. Merci.
- Good software. Attracts a lot of fish, so it’s worth a try. Unlike Winamax and Everest, the software is good and stable, and you can multi-table with no problem. Decent promotions.
- Never has a problem with software or security, and that’s kept me coming back time after time.
- Smartly got out of the U.S. market before Black Friday and has flourished because of it. Offers everything you would want from a poker room, plus they do all the little things right.
Poker Games Offered
While Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game at the moment, the site also has a number of other enduring classics to challenge your skills. Whether you’re looking for an old favorite or a new gaming option, the following are available throughout the day:
- Limit Texas Hold’em
- Pot-limit Texas Hold’em
- Pot-limit Omaha
- Pot-limit Omaha HI-Lo
- 7 Card Stud
- 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo
In addition to the poker games listed above, you can also try your luck at blackjack and roulette. This can often serve as a welcome change of pace, allowing you to step away after a tough loss and focus on something other than poker for a few minutes.
Types of Poker Tournaments Offered
Party Poker tournaments come in all shapes and sizes, and both veterans and rookies should be able to find an appealing option. A solid selling point is their payout structure, which allows players who don’t finish first to still walk away with money. In fact, most tournaments pay out prizes to the final 15%.
Here are the current options you can choose from:
- Sit & Go – This is a mini tournament that usually sits all participating players at the same table. These games start as soon as the table is filled, and the gameplay is faster than a standard tourney. Held throughout the day, these are perfect for poker enthusiasts with limited time.
- Multi-Table – If you’re looking for the classic poker tournament format, then you’ve reached your destination. Anywhere from dozens to thousands of players begin at multiple tables, and participants are eliminated as the game progresses. It all comes down to a single table, with the last remaining person taking home the largest percentage of the prize pool.
- Shootouts – A multi-table tournament where participants play until only three players remain at a table. At this point, new tables are filled to capacity and play resumes. This continues until only one table remains, and more players finish in the money than the usual tournament format.
- Rebuys – Players are allowed to purchase more chips or even buy back into the game if they’re eliminated. This format results in some massive payouts as additional money is added to the overall pool.
- Heads Up – A unique format where you face opponents one by one instead of at the same time.
- Bounty Tournaments – Each time you eliminate a player from this style of tournament, you’ll receive a cash bonus. This is in addition to the normal prize money paid out for a top finish.
All these tournaments include features to enhance the overall flow of the game. For example, a five-minute break occurs at 55 minutes past the hour, which is a welcome occurrence for those with growling stomachs or weak bladders. My personal favorite is the make a deal option, allowing players who reach the final table to negotiate an immediate settlement instead of fighting it out to the end.
If the tournament structure isn’t to your liking, you can also choose the cash game option. Just sit at a table and play for as long as you want. The games are played with real money instead of tournament chips, and you’re likely to find some WSOP veterans lurking behind some of those colorful player icons.
Making Friends at Party Poker
The site emphasizes social interaction and friendship among players, even though everyone is trying to destroy each other once the cards are dealt. You can add players to your friends list, engage them in real-time chat, and even check out their hand histories and overall success. The site even makes friend recommendations based on games and other players you have in common.
This feature is helpful for a couple of reasons. For those who genuinely want to meet new people, it provides a welcome opportunity. It’s also useful for sharks who want to single out whales and fishes and play them at every possible turn.
Badges of Honor
While the main goal of playing poker is to make as much money as possible, having fun is also an important part of the equation. This can be accomplished simply by playing in various sorts of tournaments and contests, but it’s also enhanced by little things. This is where the badges of honor come into play, as these icons are rewarded for various accomplishments and displayed on the player’s account.
These badges come in three categories: collectables, milestones, and highlights. Collectables come from getting certain poker hands and card combinations, while milestones mark events such as playing your first hand at Party Poker. Finally there are highlights, which are rewarded when you win against all odds or get defeated after an especially bad beat.
Sure, this is ultimately a trivial category, but it does add an extra sense of fun and color to the proceedings. Each player is able to carry around their badges like military medals, and these icons allow you to bond with others who have similar or hard-to-find items.
Party Poker provides a solid gaming experience for both novices and pros. Their attention to detail and overall trustworthiness are more than enough to recommend the site, but their selection of tournaments and generous payout structures also set them apart from the crowd. If you’re searching for a new gaming destination, put this site at the top of your list.