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Sportsbook is a firmly established online casino and sports book in operation since 1997. Their online poker room is a new edition to their gaming portfolio, having opened in 2006 as part of the Cake Poker network. Sportsbook Poker is one of the few online poker rooms still accepting US players, with the exception of certain states. Their player volume is on the lower end of the scale but has been growing steadily.
Since its inception, Sportsbook has been one of the leading players in the online gaming industry and has been named twice the “Best US Sports Book” by the eGaming Review. A number of industry records have been set by Sportsbook - from largest turnover, to most active users. While they have only recently entered themselves into the mix of online poker rooms, their software is very stable and has excellent functionality.
The majority of the traffic on Sportsbook Poker derives from their online casino and sports book. This translates into a plethora of inexperienced poker players looking to gamble their money away on long shot hands. It is a luscious land with green fields, bountiful orchards and buxom virgins just waiting for a barbarian marauder to lay waste to its lands and desecrate its women. In other words, the action is good!
For a site with approximately 8,000 players at peak hours, Sportsbook Poker has a surprisingly good variety of games on tap:
• Texas Hold’em
• Omaha Hi/Lo
• 7 Card Stud
• 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
Most of the action at Sportsbook Poker is concentrated in the No-limit, low to medium stakes Texas Hold’em games; however, the action in the Omaha games are starting to pick up as well.
Sportsbook Poker has a very good selection of tournaments considering the size of their clientele. The selection of tournaments available include multi-table, Sit & Go, heads up, freeze outs and shoot outs. The tournament buy-ins at Sportsbook Poker start at $1 and go as high as a couple of hundred dollars and are busy and well structured. You will generally find between 500 and 600 players in their low stakes daily tournaments and about 200 for their high stakes tournaments. As regards their weekly tournaments, you will find up to 3,000 players in the low stakes games and over 1,000 players in their major Sunday tournaments.
Sportsbook Poker’s daily guaranteed tournaments range from $1,500, $1 buy-ins, to $20,000, with $100 buy-ins. Their weekly tournaments include a $50,000 guaranteed and a $100,000 guaranteed with a monthly $250,000 guaranteed event.
For those players interested in live tournaments, Sportsbook Poker runs a number of satellites to big live tournaments such as the Irish Open, Aussie Millions and, of course, the World Series of Poker.
Sportsbook Poker does not offer a large number of freerolls but what they lack in number, they make up in payout…big time. Each month they host a $100,000 guaranteed freeroll where the winner takes home an impressive $75,000.
For The Beginner
Sportsbook Poker offers a “How To Play” section for the beginner which can only be described as “The Good, The Mediocre and The Fugly.” Their online poker tutorial is really quite good, nothing bad to say about that one. They have a poker terminology glossary which is cutesy; one may describe it as mediocre. Their Poker Tips & Hints section has got to be one of the biggest heaping piles of steamy crap that I have had the displeasure of reading in the almost 4 decades that I have been walking on God’s green earth, truly embarrassing.
The online poker tutorial is a very slickly done interactive video presentation. The tutorial supplies the viewer with a surprisingly thorough introduction in Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo. Sportsbook Poker also provides a text based tutorial in the event that the video doesn’t load or you would rather just read text.
Carrie Stroup hosts Sportsbook’s video tutorial. Having been Ms. Teen USA and having represented the US at the Ms. World competition in 2001, she is more beautiful than words can even describe. Well, Sportsbook had her write their Poker Tips & Hints section and let me tell you…what a friggen train wreck! I hope to heaven that she is sleeping with the CEO because I cannot figure out any other reason that they would post those garbage articles. It’s not just the information presented in the articles that is useless; the articles themselves are very poorly written, with bad grammar and spelling. The worst part about the whole thing is that they have this beautiful spokes model write these articles and don’t even have the common courtesy to post a racy picture of her next to each article showing some boobage. Sportsbook has invested a lot of time and money putting together a very nice poker room; all the Poker Tips & Hints section provides is a big anticlimax on an otherwise quality service.
Good interactive video presentation and embarrassing Poker Tips & Hints section aside, the level of play at Sportsbook is quite low and, along with their offering of freerolls and “play money” games, provides the beginner an excellent environment to start out.
Software Graphics and Features
Sportsbook Poker’s software is really quite good. It’s smooth and stable and offers eye-friendly colors and very good functionality. Their lobby is very conveniently designed and fully filterable. Their game table includes built-in bonus and Gold Chip meters, so you can keep track of your bonus in real time. Probably their best features are their excellent in-game statistics and access to hand histories without leaving the table.
• Clean graphics
• Smooth play
• Bonus and Gold Chip meters
• Uploadable Avatars
• Supports 10 table simultaneous play
• Excellent in-game statistics
• Pre-determined buy-ins
• Player notes
• Access to hand histories from table
Sportsbook Poker offers a very nice sign-up bonus for their new players meeting their initial deposit with a 100% sign-up bonus up to $650! As with just about every other site reviewed at the Online Poker Index, Sportsbook Poker expects that you earn your bonus and pays out $0.06 of your bonus with each Frequent Player Point (FPP) that you earn. There is also a 90 day time limit on earning your bonus.
Sportsbook Poker has a good loyalty program based on Frequent Player Points. 1 FPP is earned for every dollar collected in rake (to a maximum of 3 FPP/hand) at ring games and 7 FPP’s are earned for every $1 paid in tournament entry fees. When playing at real-money games and tournaments, FPP’s are earned which fill in your “Gold Chip Meter.” Once your Gold Chip Meter is full, a gold chip is awarded which can be used to:
• Purchase an assortment of cool items from the Player Rewards Store including DVDs, books and a variety of other prizes.
• Entry to real-money tournaments
Gold Cards are also earned at real-money games once a certain amount of rake is collected. Once you have earned a Gold Card, it is displayed at the end of the hand at which it is earned and is randomly selected. If the Gold Card matches one of your hole cards then you have the opportunity to select one of four ways to cash it in: enter a daily lottery, weekly races, guaranteed cash prizes and the chance at a grand prize.
In addition to Gold Chips and Gold Cards, Sportsbook Poker offers a whole host of promotions including:
• 2010 Irish Open- Win a $7,500 prize package to the 2010 Irish Open.
• Aussie Millions Prize Packs- Play for your chance to win a $13,000 prize package to the 2010 Aussie Millions.
• $250,000 Guaranteed Monthly Tournament- Play for a piece of the $250,000 guaranteed monthly prize pool.
• $125,000 Guaranteed Monthly Tournament - Play for a piece of the $120,000 guaranteed weekly prize pool.
• Gold Card Daily Lottery- Check your collection of Gold Cards daily to see whether you are able to match the winning Gold Cards and win cash or seats to exclusive tournaments.
• New Depositor $500 Freeroll- Players making their first deposit automatically receive a ticket to the $500 Welcome Freeroll.
Sportsbook Poker has excellent customer support offering all of the possibilities: 24 hour toll free telephone support, email support, Live Chat support and a massive and well organized FAQ section.