My Bet365 Poker review illustrates why Bet365 has become one the biggest online gambling firms in the world. Good promotions, an excellent rewards scheme and robust player security are just some of the reasons I choose to play at Bet365 Poker. If you would rather just take advantage of the site´s offer of €5 free poker money to test the site out for yourself, click “PLAY NOW” to be taken directly to Bet365 Poker.
Free Poker Money and a 100% Bet365 Poker Bonus on First Deposits
One of the best reasons for trying out Bet365 Poker is that the company will offer you €5 to test your poker skills on their tables with no deposit required. In the event that you roll your free poker money up into a substantial bankroll, you can withdraw it at any time provided you have played a minimum of 50 raked hands. You can only take advantage of the offer once, but it is a good enough reason to give Bet365 Poker a go!
If you decide that you want to increase your bankroll after trying out the free money poker, there is a 100% “match” Bet365 Poker bonus available for your first deposit up to €100. The Bet365 Poker bonus is released in weighted stages, so you pick up parts of your bonus quite quickly. The bulk of the bonus is released in increments of €5.00 as you collect “Merit Points” for contributing to the rake in cash games or for paying an entry fee to play in Sit n Go or multitable tournaments.
Summary: The free €5.00 is a great incentive to try out the software and the standard of competition. Once you make your first deposit you get sixty days to clear the Bet365 Poker bonus – which, although not the most generous in the world, is achievable for most recreational players. It is worth signing up for an account just to see how far you can go on the free poker money. Rating 9/10
There is a Fair Range of Games on Bet365 Poker
The range of poker disciplines offered by Bet365 Poker is pretty decent, and cash tables offering games of Texas Hold´em, Omaha, 7 Card Stud, 5 Card Stud and Razz are all available. If you particularly enjoy playing Texas Hold´em, you will be spoilt for choice for the formats of the game that are available, including the site´s fast-fold poker variant – “Sprint Poker”.
Bet365 Poker also has dedicated “Beginners Tables” which protect you from the more experienced “sharks” for 90 days after first registering an account (a good place to use your €5.00 free poker money) and “Premium Tables”, which are exclusively for Bet365 Poker customers, and which sometimes offer added value in the form of a promotion or extra bonus.
Summary: Although Bet365 Poker may not offer the most outrageous disciplines of poker (who knows how to play Courchevel anyway?) there is a good enough choice to satisfy the demands of most poker players. I particularly like the idea of “Beginners Tables”, and think every poker website should provide this opportunity for new players. Rating 9/10
There is a Good Selection of Poker Tournaments on Bet365 Poker
If you prefer playing multitable poker tournaments to the swings of fortunes that can occur on the cash tables, you will not be disappointed with what is offered by Bet365 Poker. A new tournament starts every 5-10 minutes, plus there are plenty of value-added satellites to the site´s feature events at the weekend if you have got a limited bankroll.
The tournament lobby is conveniently divided into Freezeout tournaments, Re-buy tournaments, Knock-out tournaments, Satellites and Freerolls (of which there are many), and when you first register an account with Bet365 Poker, you will eligible to play in exclusive “Beginners tournaments” in which you can hone your tournament poker skills for real cash prizes for free!
Summary: I forgot to mention the options for Sit n Go games – of which there are dozens. The most popular are the “Double Up” 6-Max SNGs, which have a buy-in range from €0.10 to €500.00 and which are always filling up quickly. Rating 9/10
Bet365 Poker´s Rewards Scheme is a Good Way to Enhance Your Bankroll
Bet365 Poker looks to attract recreational players with many of their promotions, and their “VIP” rewards scheme allows you to save the Merit Points you earn while clearing your Bet365 Poker bonus and then exchange them for instant cash bonuses. The more “Merit Points” you earn each month, the higher your “VIP Status” becomes and the better rate of exchange you get for your “Merit Points”; so this is a good incentive to keep on playing at Bet365 Poker.
If, for example, you deposited €500.00 into your Bet365 Poker account to qualify for the maximum €1,000 Bet365 Poker bonus, you would probably head for the $0.10/$0.20 cash game tables and (if, like me, you are a fairly tight player) probably contribute about €6.00 an hour to the rake. Bet365 Poker “rewards” you with 15 Merit Points for each Euro contributed to the rake. So, after an hour, you will have earned 90 Merit Points (or 540 Merit Points if, like me, you can multitable six tables at a time – or 1,440 Merit Points if you multitable the maximum 16 tables that the software allows).
To be on track to clear the maximum Bet365 Poker bonus, you need to earn 50,000 Merit Points a month – that´s around 3 hours play each day multitabling six tables – and that would put you into the highest VIP level available – Platinum. If you maintain that level of play for six months, you would have earned 300,000 Merit Points, which can be exchanged for €6,000 in cash – plus you would qualify for two other loyalty bonuses with a combined value of €1,150 and don´t forget your initial €1,000 Bet365 Poker bonus – an effective rakeback rate of 40.75%!
Summary: Imagine that you funded a poker account – any poker account – with €500.00 and you did not win or lose a cent for the next six months, but just kept on playing. Then, six months later, you checked your balance and found €8,650 in there – how good is that?! Rating 10/10
Bet365 Poker Rolls Out Continuous Promotions
If the free poker money, initial Bet365 Poker bonus and VIP rewards scheme haven´t hooked you yet, maybe their ongoing roll-out of promotions will! Bet365 Poker is pretty good at providing original and innovative promotions that are easy to cash in and provide you with a decent chance of picking up a small bonus.
If you like taking advantage of poker website promotions, my advice is to get involved early and lock up as many Merit Points as you can during the early stages of a promotion – usually by playing on the “Premium” tables, although this may vary according to the nature of the promotion. It is also important that you remember to opt-in to each promotion, and you can do that through the poker client or via the Bet365 Poker website.
Irrespective of whether you are a new player or an experienced player, you might also want to take advantage of the Bet365 Poker university – a free feature of the site which rewards you with tournament entries and additional Merit Points as you graduate through the various stages of your poker education.
Summary: The thing I like about Bet365 Poker´s promotions are that they are uncomplicated, don´t require too much effort to get involved in and pay out fairly decent prizes. Most of them are designed for the maximum number of winners, so the prizes may not be life-changing, but at least you have a chance of winning something. Rating 8/10
The Standard of Play on Bet365 is a Mixed Bag
Because Bet365 Poker is part of a large network you will find players from other poker websites playing on the same table as you. There is no way of knowing which poker website they are playing on, but the general rule of thumb is that lower stakes tables attract the least skilled players from poker websites such as William Hill, Gala, Vernons (primarily bookmaking, bingo and soccer pools sites); while the on the higher stakes tables and in the more valuable tournaments you will find very good poker players from Dusk till Dawn, Genting Poker and Grosvenor Casinos.
My advice is to take notes on all the players you face at the tables, maybe do a little research on Sharkscope or on the Pocket Fives database when you feel you are at tables with a particular tough opponent, and make sure you stick to some form of bankroll management to avoid losing a stack of your poker money in one particularly bad session.
Summary: It is very easy to get carried away with a successful session or demoralised because you have run into an unbeatable opponent. The important thing is that you learn from your experience and improve your game. Rating 7/10
There is a Nice Balance in the Volume of Traffic
One of the advantages of playing on a poker website that is part of a much larger network is that it eliminates some of the peaks and troughs in traffic on the site, so there are always cash tables open and tournaments about to run whenever you want to play. This particularly important if you are fond of the less popular games (Stud, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz etc) where you might not find a table open on some quieter or independent poker websites.
Being a UK-based company, you might assume that the peak times for Bet365 Poker players are the European evenings (UK-based players actually have an advantage because of the time difference), but as Bet365 Poker is a global brand (as are many other skins on the network) there is a nice balance of traffic throughout the day and night.
Summary: If you are not limited to playing at the evenings or weekends, it is important that there is a constant footfall on the site. The quieter times – although not always so lucrative – give you the time to keep your player notes up to date. Rating: 8/10
Downloading the Bet365 Poker Software
Moving away from the pros and cons of playing on Bet365 Poker, I am going to share a few words about more technical stuff such as downloading the Bet365 Poker software, setting up an account with Bet365 and funding it – something which I feel is not covered enough in other Bet365 Poker reviews when you are a new player.
Bet365 Poker Compatibility
Bet365 Poker is only available to players with a Windows operating system. There is neither Bet365 Poker for a Mac or a Bet365 Poker mobile app – which I think is a shame because it limits the number of players on the site and restricts your freedom to play poker whenever you want.
The Bet365 Poker download is very straightforward, and will begin as soon as you visit the Bet365 Poker website from any of the links on this page. The “SetupPoker.exe” file will automatically save to your computer´s download folder and you need to double-click it to start the installation process.
The first page that opens asks you to read the “Terms of Service” (please read them rather than just checking the box) and, once you click “continue”, the installation process will complete the Bet3365 Poker download. At the end of the installation, just click “Done” and the poker client will open up on your desktop.
Summary: The Bet365 Poker download is quick and easy, even if you have a battered old laptop and a dial-up connection. But sadly there is no Bet365 Poker for a Mac or a mobile poker app (although there is one for Bet365´s sports betting activities) Rating 6/10
Setting Up a Poker Account with Bet365
It is possible to set up an account through the Bet365 Poker website or through the poker client – both routes land you on the same secure page, where you will be asked for your name, date of birth, address, and email address at the top of the page. At the bottom of the page you are used for a username (Bet365 will check it to make sure it is not already in use), a password between 6 and 14 characters (ideally not one you use for anything else) and a 4-digit PIN code which enhances your security in communications with Bet365´s Customer Services.
The “Know Your Customer” policy is a very important notice to read because it explains the processes you will have to undergo to prove your identity so that you can withdraw your winnings from Bet365 Poker. Because of the company´s high level of security, it is advised that you complete the address field on the sign-up form as it appears on any documents you are going to use to prove your identity and how it is recorded with the bank/credit card/eWallet you are going to use to fund your account.
Summary: The sign-up process and ID verification procedures can be a bit of a pain, but they are there for your protection (how much do I sound like your mother!). You cannot fault good security, and don´t forget that by completing this process Bet365 Poker are going to credit €5.00 to your account. Rating 10/10
How to Make Your First Deposit on Bet365
Once you have set up your account, Bet365 will send you a validation email which just checks you have entered the right email address in your details, and this will be followed by a Welcome email which explains about the €5.00 free poker money and that you have to play 50 raked hands before you can withdraw it.
If you want to make your first deposit straightaway to start clearing the Bet365 Poker deposit, visit the cashier´s page where a list of banking options are displayed. These will vary depending on your country of residence (there are 32 options if you live in Poland) but will usually include Visa, MasterCard, Skrill, and Neteller. Most forms of deposit and withdrawal have small minimum limits, and withdrawals are usually credited back to the method of deposit you use within one working day – if not faster.
Summary: All deposit and withdrawal transactions on Bet365 Poker are 100% secure and free of charge. If you experience any problems, a very knowledgeable Customer Services team are available 24/7 by phone, live chat or email. Rating 10/10
Bet365 Poker is Very Tight on Security
Bet365 Poker is not only tight on player security, but is also prepared to dis-encourage those who might be tempted to cheat at the tables by publishing strict sanctions for players caught colluding or otherwise trying to gain an unfair advantage (they are in the Terms and Conditions). Most players will not even be aware that their hands are being reviewed to check for unusual betting patterns, but it happens – so watch out bad guys!
Bet365 is also keen to promote the fact that poker is played fairly on its site, and it publishes the results of iPoker´s random number generator tests on its poker website for anybody who is interested to review. The company is also an independent member of the European Sports Security Association (ESSA), trains its staff to identify signs of problem gambling and has mechanisms in place to prevent underage gambling.
Summary: As mentioned above, it is unlikely that you will notice any of the security mechanisms put in place to keep Bet365 Poker a level playing table, but they are there so that players like me can have any enjoyable poker experience without the risk of being conned out of my money. Rating 10/10
Bet365 Poker´s Customer Support is Out of this World
I started my Bet365 Poker Review by saying that there are viable reasons for choosing Bet365 Poker above any of the other skins that are attached to the iPoker network and the company´s Customer Support is a prime example of where Bet365 stands head and shoulders above the opposition.
The ladies and gentlemen who provide the service really know what they are talking about and – more importantly – can communicate it in a way that people who are not the most technically advanced (me) can understand. I would like to point out that this not only applies to poker, but to any of the online services provided by Bet365.
Summary: Anybody can do 24/7 support by phone, live chat and email (my bank does it), but there are few institutions that can provide a customer service as good as can be found at Bet365. Rating 10/10
What Else do Bet365 do?
Bet365 did not start out life as one of the world´s leading poker websites, but as a company providing fixed odds betting opportunities from a shed in Stoke-on-Trent in the UK. These days you can switch your money between your poker wallet, your sports betting wallet and your casino wallet to engage in limitless gambling opportunities.
Possibly the most popular among the Bet365 sports betting features is the option to “cash-out” of a bet before the bet is complete. For example, if your team has a 1-0 advantage with five minutes to go, you can cash out a slightly lower amount of your winning bet straightaway rather than having to endure five minutes of agony, and possibly lose the lot if your team´s opponents score!
I mentioned about a sports betting mobile app earlier in my Bet365 Poker review, and although you cannot play poker on it, you can stream live sporting action, bet “in-play”, and take advantage of exclusive Bet365 mobile bonuses.
This is the End of My Bet365 Poker Review
Bet365 Poker have hit a load of high scores in my ratings, and I would like to point out that I was not paid for them – the majority are based on my own long-term relationship with Bet365. I must admit that I had to look up the account set-up stuff because it is a long while since I last did the Bet365 Poker download and did a little digging around to find out more about their security – like I said, you won´t know it is there protecting you until you do something wrong. Overall Rating 8.8/10
I hope to see you at the Bet365 Poker tables very soon!