bwin Poker Review
bwin Poker, founded in 1997, is the poker room of the Austrian online bookmaker bwin. bwin Poker is one of Europe’s oldest online poker rooms and, with the acquisition of the Ongame network in 2005, has also became a part of Europe’s largest poker network.
bwin Poker has always had a great reputation regarding software and design but their software update launched in the middle of 2009 has propelled their software into one of the top positions in the industry. Improvements in their software include resizable tables, a downloadable Mac compatible client and a “no download” version of their software. bwin Poker offers excellent statistical analysis of their player’s game and an open database of hands played at the site, which is an invaluable tool for learning and improvement. bwin Poker once focused their energy on developing six person tables but that has since changed and now a variety of different well attended table types can be found. With all of the growth that bwin Poker has experienced over the past couple of years came a wide variety of promotions, excellent guaranteed tournaments and plenty of satellites to all of the big live events.
bwin Poker offers a very large variety of different poker games and, with upwards of 30,000 players online at peak hours, there is plenty of action at all hours of the day. With a good deal of traffic originating from their online casino, sports book and game room; bwin Poker is truly an excellent destination for the beginner who is looking to pick up the game.
The level of play at the lower limits on bwin Poker is fairly poor and can prove to be quite profitable especially as regards Limit and No Limit Texas Hold’em. The excellent promotions and bonuses have made the Ongame network a popular destination for some of the more talented European players making the middle and high-stakes levels pretty tough. That having been said, $5/$10 No Limit Texas Hold’em tables can be found at times with a viewed flop percentage as high as 40%.
bwin Poker hosts a healthy variety of different games including:
• Texas Hold’em
• Omaha Hi/Lo
• 7 Card Stud
• 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
• 5 Card Draw
Texas Hold’em and Omaha are offered on bwin Poker with a maximum of 10 or 5 seats with heads-up tables also available. Stud games are offered with tables of 8, 6 and 2 seats and Draw tables are offered with 5 seats.
bwin Poker offers their players a massive selection of different tournaments running throughout the day. The level of play in the tournaments is quite high and you will find some very tough competition in the major satellites and tournaments during the later stages of play.
bwin Poker has a healthy amount of both Sit & Go and Multi Table tournaments. Buy-ins for their Sit & Go’s range from $1 all the way up to $500 with plenty of activity in their $100 buy-in games. The Sit & Go’s at bwin Poker accommodate 2 players for heads up play, up to as many as 50 players for some of their No Limit Sit & Go’s.
bwin Poker hosts weekly $25,000, $40,000, $50,000 and $70,000 multi-table guaranteed tournaments which attract a great many players to their tables as do the myriad qualifiers to the big live events such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour.
Another major attraction to bwin Poker is the three freeroll qualifiers that they run daily for their end of the month $100,000 freeroll, which awards the top 400 finishers. In addition, bwin Poker hosts a variety of freeroll tournaments as part of promotions and as invitational tournaments.
For The Beginner
The bwin Poker School and soft competition in the lower limits makes bwin Poker an excellent place for the beginning player. The bwin Poker School is not a poker school in the orthodox sense. There are no online lessons, no podcasts and no video library. What they do offer is an exceptionally well done interactive online tutorial and a small yet adequate selection of well written articles.
The interactive online tutorial is short and sweet, taking the participant through two full hands of Texas Hold’em with three other computer generated players. The participant is prompted for decisions at various points during the tutorial and the tutorial provides the appropriate commentary for each decision made. Once completed, the tutorial can be repeated and different decisions may be made generating new commentary from the tutorial.
The library of articles available on bwin Poker is very much like their interactive online tutorial in the sense that it is short and sweet. The library includes articles regarding the rules governing the various games offered on bwin Poker, as well as a couple of articles that discuss betting limits and poker strategy. Not a whole lot going on at bwin Poker regarding literature, but then again, there is no shortage of articles to be found online.
It goes without saying that there are plenty of “play money” games and freeroll tournaments to keep the beginner busy. The lower limit games are also great for beginners on bwin Poker as the level of play tends to be quite low. But beware; the level of play at the middle level and above is about as high as you will find anywhere online so tread lightly.
Software Graphics and Features
bwin Poker’s offers great software with good graphics, smooth play and ease of use. Their lobby window is very well organized and easy to navigate. In addition, the player’s balance and latency is always displayed at the bottom of the lobby window. The tables are just as well done and it is readily apparent which players are in the hand, how much money they have, how much money they have bet, etc.
bwin Poker supports 12 table simultaneous play and the clutter free software makes the multi table play quite comfortable. bwin Poker has also introduced an excellent Mac client which has all of the same features as their Windows version, a “no-download” version which offers the client through a java browser application and of course their poker client for mobile phones.
Some features unique to bwin Poker include all in hand statistics, action hot keys and their Session Browser which allows the player to see everything that happened in their last session.
• Clean graphics
• Smooth play
• Multiple Avatar options
• 4 card colors
• Supports 12 table simultaneous play
• All-in statistics
• Action hot keys
• Session Browser
• “No download” version
• Real money mobile poker
• Player notes
• Last Hand feature
bwin Poker has a very good sign-up bonus for new players meeting their first deposit with a 100% sign-up bonus up to $500. The bonus is released as bwin Status Points are accumulated.
bwin Poker offers their players an excellent loyalty program made up of Status Points and Market Points. For every dollar raked in ring games and paid in tournament fees, players earn 100 Status Points and 100 Market Points. Status Points are used to determine a player’s b’inside status level. The higher the status level, the greater the player’s benefits and privileges (Market Points are also worth more at the b’inside market when as the player achieves higher status). Status points are valid for 3 months and players’ status levels are recalculated every 3 months. Market points are valid for 12 months and can be exchanged for:
• An assortment of cool gear from the b’inside Market including clothing, hats, electronics, books and much more.
• Tournament entries and raffles.
• Cash bonuses.
In addition to Status Points and Market Points, bwin Poker offers a whole host of promotions including:
• Grand Series of Poker IV- A 17-day poker marathon with 17 events and a total guaranteed prize pool of $3 million.
• Winter SNG Decathlon- Take part in 10 Winter Decathlon Sit & Go tournaments and claim your share of the $50,000 prize pool. First place walks away with $8,000 Irish Open 2010 prize package.
• Contender Tournaments- Promotion exclusive to UK players. Tournament entry is determined by Market Points accumulated monthly, the more points accumulated, the higher the guaranteed prize pool of the tournament.
• League of Champions- Promotion exclusive to UK players. Win 3 levels of freeroll tournaments and claim a VIP Hospitality Package worth $3,000 to the Real Madrid or AC Milan Champions League game.
Customer service at bwin Poker is quite good. They offer telephone support from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM Monday through Sunday. In addition to telephone support, bwin Poker also offers email support and a very thorough system of FAQs.