Party Poker has “gone social” in recent years and introduced features into its software that make playing online poker fun and a little more competitive (in a nice way) if you have a circle of friends on the site. My Party Poker review elaborates on some of the changes the site has made but, if you cannot wait to get social, click “PLAY NOW” to visit the Party Poker website and download the much-improved version of the software.
Before 2006, Party Poker was the biggest online poker website in the world and was the site on which many players had their first online poker accounts. The events of UIGEA forced Party Poker´s withdrawal from the US, and although they are now back in the regulated market of New Jersey, their online presence now does not compare to the behemoth they were eight years ago.
Up until recently, my personal experience of Party Poker was pretty limited. I played on the site post 2006, but preferred the other options that were available to me at the time. However, in September 2013, Party Poker completely re-vamped their poker website, made it more user-friendly and more socially orientated. If you have not played on the site since the changes were made – or are a new player looking to gain some experience of online poker at a welcoming site – then my review of Party Poker should be of interest to you.
Loui Levino´s Exclusive Party Poker Bonus
I am going to begin my Party Poker review with details of my exclusive Party Poker bonus. This bonus is ten times larger than the poker bonus offered by Party Poker directly (max $50.00), so if you do decide to join the action at Party Poker it will be to your advantage to use the Party Poker bonus code “POKERWEB” when first creating your account to get a 100% match Party Poker bonus on first deposits up to $500.00!
The bonus is released in units of 10% of your outstanding bonus as you collect Party Points by playing in cash games or in Party Poker tournaments. 2 Party Points are awarded for each $1.00 contributed to the rake or paid to enter Sit n Go and multitable tournaments, and you will need to collect 8 Party Points for each $1.00 of the Party Poker bonus that is cleared. So, if you go for the maximum Loui Levino $500.00 Party Poker bonus, you will receive $50.00 each time you have amassed 400 Party Points.
Summary: It wouldn´t be much of a party at Party Poker without my exclusive bonus offer and you only get 60 days in which to clear the Party Poker Bonus – which is a bit of an ask with quite tough clearing requirements – Rating 6/10.
Changes to the Range of Games on Party Poker
Party Poker´s new poker website came with a policy that the site was going to appeal to the recreational player and it reduced its range of cash games to just the popular formats of Hold´em, Omaha and Stud. Among the other changes that were implemented were a decreased upper limit on games of NL Hold´em to $5.00/$10.00, “anonymous” heads-up tables and a wider selection of stakes on its “Fast-Forward” speed poker game.
There were also significant improvements to the Sit n Go program with a WPT “Steps” series that has the lowest entry level at 10 Party Points – and which rewards players who reach the highest level with a WPT National Package – and a good selection of Sit n Go qualifiers into Party Poker´s most valuable feature tournaments.
Summary: I liked many of the improvements Party Poker made during its upgrade. The range isn´t outstanding but there is a nice mix of 6-Max and full ring games, and anonymous tables are an option rather than a necessity. Rating 8/10
Good Value Poker Tournaments at Party Poker
There are a lot of multitable tournaments on Party Poker with low-mid stake buy-ins can often fail to reach their guarantees and offer extra value when you cash in them. I particularly like the micro buy-in qualifiers which guarantee seats to valuable target events because these give players with a limited bankroll a chance to compete in Party Poker´s “Majors” for a fraction of the buy-in, and these are also often under-subscribed (making it easier to qualify for the target event).
The “Majors” themselves consist of 17 different tournaments played on a Sunday with a total value of $450,000. The highlight is the $200,000 guaranteed Main Event, but this has a buy-in of $200.00 (or less if you have qualified via a micro buy-in qualifier) and I personally prefer the two $5,000 guaranteed Omaha tournaments which each have a buy-in of just $20.00.
Summary: The Sunday Majors and other guaranteed tournaments can represent excellent value – more so if you have qualified for them through a cheap satellite like the 50-Seat Main Event Frenzy on Saturday evenings. Rating 8/10
Party Poker has a Stack of Fun Rewards
Party Poker allows you to convert the points you have earned to clear the Party Poker bonus into tournament entries or goods from their online shop. As you earn points, you status level increases, and the higher your level, the better rate of exchange you receive. It is not difficult to reach the highest level of status each month (just 1,000 Party Points) when some of the goods you can get become significantly cheaper and if you achieve 9,000 points in a quarter, you will be invited to become a Palladium member with exclusive bonuses only available to you (equivalent to around 30% rakeback).
Lower points´ earners and casual players can also get bonuses for reaching “milestones” and completing “achievements”. These “casual player awards” are promoted as being “social” bonuses, but they can contribute a significant amount to your bankroll over a period of time, and the tournament entries you can win just for completing an achievement could result in a substantial increase to your cashflow!
Summary: I wasn´t too sure about these “social” bonuses when I first started playing again at Party Poker, but they did grab me after a while and I think they add a fair bit of fun (and competitiveness) to your poker experience. Rating 8/10
I Love the Party Poker Promotions
In addition to range of fun rewards that are permanently ongoing at Party Poker, the site also has a host of temporary promotions. Quite often these will revolve around a major sporting or seasonal event and have a good distribution of prizes so that everybody can get a little extra for free. Some, such as the cash game and Sit n Go “missions”, depend or your individual skill/luck, and are not influenced by the performance of others in a leader-board style event.
Party Poker´s promotions also tend to include bankroll building bonuses which the value of your prize depends on how much time you spend at the tables within a certain period, and you could also be tempted by Party Poker´s casino promotions in which you can win extra points towards clearing the Party Poker bonus.
Summary: I love the Party Poker promotions because you do not have to spend hours grinding away at the tables to pick up a bonus, a cash award or extra points towards clearing the Party Poker bonus. Rating 8/10
The Standard of Play on Party Poker is Generally Weak, but Beware …
As I mentioned above, Party Poker has traditionally been the poker website at which players first cut their teeth playing online poker and it developed the reputation of being fishy – a site where there would be plenty of new players making novice mistakes and casual players who played online poker as a form of recreation, and who didn´t mind too much if they lost $25.00 over the course of an evening.
Inasmuch as that synopsis still holds true, there are a few canny professionals still hovering around the site, who will be on the lookout for any player showing the slightest tendency of weakness. This is more likely to occur in the evenings and at weekends when the more valuable tournaments are in play, and the experienced players have a couple of cash tables open at the same time; but it is something you should be aware of at all times.
Summary: It takes a little bit of time to become accustomed to the looser standard of play at Party Poker. Try not to pick up players´ bad habits and be prepared for the occasional bad beat. Rating 9/10
The Volume of Traffic is Not Bad
Having also said in my introduction that Party Poker is no longer the behemoth it once was, it still attracts a decent level of traffic around the clock. During peak hours you will find up to 3,000 cash game players on the site and, because of Party Poker´s international presence, players from different countries keep the traffic ticking over throughout the night.
Most of the tournaments that have overlays or extra value in the form of guaranteed seats take place during the European morning and early afternoon, and – if you fancy playing in a live event – there are some cracking qualifiers for WPT events in the early evening. If I had any gripes about the volume of traffic, it would be at the “fastforward” tables, where you could be waiting a longer-than-usual amount of time for a table to fill when you are playing three or four tables.
Summary: Cannot complain about the volume of traffic – indeed it ideal for a new player because there will be enough options to collect the points you need for your Party Poker bonus while you will meet the same players often enough to maintain player notes on them. Rating: 9/10
Party Poker Technical Stuff
When Party Poker re-vamped their product in 2013, they also made a lot of improvements to the software. What was once a bumpy journey through a steep learning curve is now a smoothly operating system, which is compatible with most mobile and static operating systems, and which is integrated with social media so that you can announce your achievements to the world!
Party Poker can be downloaded onto any modern computer running Windows or Mac, can be played in any up-to-date web browser (provided you have Java V7.45 or later) and is compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices (Party Poker is compatible with iOS mobile devices only in selected countries).
To get the full benefits of playing on Party Poker, it is best played on a desktop computer (for example there are no tournaments available on the Party Poker mobile app). So, to start the download, visit the Party Poker website from any of my links on this page and click on the orange “play now” button. (If you don´t see a page offering you the $500.00 Party Poker bonus, you have gone wrong somewhere).
Party Poker will automatically discover what operating system you are using and start downloading the appropriate file to play Party Poker on Windows or Party Poker on a Mac. When the download file is saved into your download folder (a matter of seconds), double-click on it to begin the installation.
Please read the Terms and Conditions of playing on Party Poker, because there is a lot of them and they include such things as “Inactive Account Fees) and limits on how much you can win in a single bet f you play at the casino or take advantage of the site´s sports betting product.
Once you accept the Terms and Conditions, the software installs automatically, after which the client appears on your desktop with a dialogue box requesting that you sign in or “create an account”.
Summary: There is pages of technical support on Party Poker´s website in case you get into any difficulty installing the poker client, but I have never had any problem completing the Party Poker download within a couple of minutes. Rating 10/10
Setting Up an Account with Party Poker
Once the Party Poker download is completed, click on “create an account”. A new dialogue box will appear before you, which will ask you to insert a username (this will be your screen name when you are playing at the tables), an email address and a password. Enter the Party Poker bonus code “POKERWEB” to qualify for the enhanced Party Poker bonus and the captcha code at the foot of the dialogue box to prove you are a human.
The second page is a little longer and will ask for your name, address, telephone number, the currency in which you wish to play (this will also be the currency in which you clear your Party Poker bonus and, to save foreign exchange costs, should be the currency of the source that you will use to fund your account) as well as asking you to answer a security question to identify you if you should ever need to contact Party Poker´s Customer Support.
Click on “Done” and you will be able to access the Party Poker software, log-in, make your first deposit and start earning the points to clear your Party Poker bonus.
Summary: Creating an account on Party Poker is very easy and secure. Just be sure to enter the same address as appears on any documents you will later need to validate your ID. Rating 10/10
How to Make Your First Deposit on Party Poker
Party Poker offers a massive range of deposit options which include Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, and Entropay (these can all be used to set up a Quick Deposit facility which means you don´t have to leave the tables to top up your account balance). You can also use Skrill and PayPal eWallets to fund your Party Poker account, or bank transfer/Western Union if you are prepared to wait a few days before playing poker for real money.
The minimum deposit is $10.00 (or currency equivalent) and it might also be worth your while to have a look at the withdrawal options before depositing to make sure that you can withdraw your winnings into the same source as you used to fund your account without paying a whopping fee (Party Poker takes 5 days on average to process a withdrawal to a credit card and charges you $2.00, while withdrawals to eWallets take three days and cost 3% of the withdraw value).
Summary: Despite the wide range of banking options, it is absolutely disgraceful that it takes a company the size of Party Poker five days to process a credit card withdrawal and then charge you for the privilege. Rating 5/10
Party Poker Security is Top Notch
As the company policy is to attract recreational players, Party Poker does everything it can to re-assure players that their money is safe with them. Party Poker dedicates several pages on its website to explaining the security measure it has in place to safeguard the fairness of its games and protect players against fraud.
Since 2005, the company has been a research partner with the Cambridge Health Alliance (a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate) to study gaming behaviour on the Internet and is committed to player protection and self-help. Betting actions are monitored – not only to prevent collusion and cheating at the tables – but also to identify unusual betting patterns which could be perceived as the early stages of a gambling problem.
Summary: Party Poker take problem gambling very seriously and you might find your account temporarily suspended if you go on tilt too often. Rating 10/10
Playing Poker on the Party Poker Mobile App
Party Poker lets you play online poker from practically any device almost anywhere in the world. Party Poker´s mobile apps can be downloaded from the poker website or from the Google Play store if you have an Android device. Having played on an Android, I can tell you that the action is almost as good as on the desktop with a few limitations, but you can deposit and withdraw on Party Poker´s mobile apps – something which not all poker apps allow you to do.
If you want to play on an iPhone, iPad or iPod, you can only do so if you live in one of the following countries – Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russian, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK. I have not tried the Party Poker mobile app for iOS devices yet, but colleagues tell me it is pretty good.
Summary: A few limitations about what features you can access and what games you can play, but other than that a quite good app for playing poker on a mobile. Rating 8/10
Party Poker has a Few Problems with its Customer Services
Party Poker offers customer support in multiple languages and has a very extensive help section on its website. Unfortunately, live chat is only available to players who have funded their account – so that is not an option if you get stuck either downloading the software or making a deposit (although you will normally get a pop-up during the deposit process asking if you need any help).
Phone support is available, but was out-sourced to a call centre in Asia recently, and although the guys out there have a decent command of English, their poker knowledge is not what you would expect from one of the world´s top poker sites. Email support is … … well, forget it.
Summary: Fortunately, I am an experienced poker player who rarely has the need for Customer Support help, but if Party Poker is trying to attract new, recreational poker players, they should be putting in more effort than this. Rating 5/10
What Else Does Party Poker do?
Party Poker has its own Bingo and Casino sites which are both accessible from the poker client. The bingo operation offers 30-ball, 75-ball and 90-ball bingo with progressive jackpots available if you complete a Full House within a certain number of balls; while the Casino offers a good choice of slots, blackjack and casino cards games.
Sports betting on 35 sports is provided by Party Poker´s partners Bwin – who also provide a video stream for many of the events they advertise odds – and there is a separate Party Poker games download on which you can play backgammon one-on-one, as a Sit n Go or in tournament mode. You can use your poker bankroll to fund betting activities on any other of Party Poker´s options – there is no need to set up different accounts.
This is the End of My Party Poker Review
Although I never used to play very much on Party Poker in the past, I can see many of the improvements they have made to create a more friendly poker environment. These improvements are still ongoing, so it is likely that you will see changes to this Party Poker review in the future. Hopefully Party Poker removes its fees for making withdrawals and sorts out its Customer Services because those flaws have prevented me from giving Party Poker a decent rating. If you are willing to overlook these relatively small issues, then Party Poker is an ideal site for new players to get a feel for online poker from one of the largest – and most socially aware – poker websites in the world. Overall Rating 8.0/10
Make it a mission to achieve a profitable poker experience at Party Poker.