Can anyone recommend a reputable online poker site? If yes, why do you believe they are trustworthy?
Are you in the U.S.? if you aren't in one of the few states that have legal online poker, your options are rather limited. I am not personally recommending any here, but I can tell you (from talk I hear at live cardrooms) that a lot of US players play on Ignition Poker and America's Cardroom.
I know from a combination of personal experience and personal contacts that America's Cardroom does payout withdrawals according to their posted policies. That is not to say that there aren't potential difficulties getting money in and out in areas where online poker isn't strictly legal. But any such experiences I know of have been the fault of the political/banking situation, not ACR.
3) Americas Cardroom
All reputable with fast payouts
Is that ignitioncasino.eu? I went to ignitioncasino.com, and there was a lot of promo and info but zero in the way of login or signup.
Reading about Ignition on 2+2 makes me very leary of trying their site.
That's kind of a drag, because the whole "you can access ALL of the info/cards from your hands 24 hrs. later (incl. opponents)" thing seems pretty cool, especially if you have the discipline to be a note-taker. And they have a limit cash game, which would really lend itself to this kind of analysis.
So let's say, hypothetically of course, that I was going to take a crack at America's Cardroom where, apparently, Illinois residents CAN play poker online.
Anyone playing that'd care to comment on the atmosphere, payouts, the software, fishiness etc?
What software tools would y'all suggest me getting to facilitate my future adventures? I'd be thinking of playing tournaments at first.
ACR has decent traffic, which is important if you are playing online. You don't want to get into a situation where you have to wait a long time for a SnG to kick off or have tournaments cancelling all the time. Of course, nobody has the kind of traffic that the major sites had back in the day. But I am most always able to find something I want to play on ACR in a reasonable amount of time, whether it be cash, SnGs or MTTs. Just note that I play mostly at the micro stakes for cash and in the low stakes for tournaments and SnGs.
They have a lot of guaranteed tournaments throughout the day and night, with some very big ones on the weekends. For example, they have a $1,000,000 pool coming up on the Sunday before Labor Day. And there are a number of satellite opportunities, so you can get in for less than the $500+$40 buy-in. I have found on weekend nights that the tournaments often exceed the guarantees, sometimes by quite a bit.
If I could change anything, it might be to have more freezout tournaments. They often have long late registration periods where players can rebuy. And I think that sometimes encourages some overly loose play.
Competition ranges from very good to very bad. And like anything else, you love playing against the idiots, right up until they crack your good hand with some kind of screwed up draw-out on a hand they should never have played in the first place. It is a real mixed bag. If you play the same games all the time, you will get to know some of the regulars, and that helps some. I try to take a lot of notes.
I like their regular software. They also have "Jackpot" games and something called "Sit-n-Go 2.0." Both of those use a different interface, which I don't like nearly as well. But while the regular software does not work on a lot of devices, it does allow me to make some adjustments on my large computer screen to help with my visual impairment. There have only been a couple of system issues in the last two years that I have been playing, and in every case, they were speedy with a refund of anything that was lost in the crash.
As I said earlier, they seem to have good integrity about the financial setup. But there may be issues to work through with certain banks/cards/etc. If BitCoin is an option, it seems to be a good one, and the cheapest one.
I'd be happy to be more specific if you need more details on something in particular.
Thanks for the lengthy, detailed and speedy reply, I appreciate it a great deal. I owe you one....
I looked at the site and saw only 1 issue for me personally. No mobile/tablet support. Not a deal killer but a consideration. I have both desktop and laptops available, just not what I'm used to using these days. I get to choose a new screen name which will be fun too. No reason to use any previous one methinks.
No bitcoin for me too volatile but I think I can get money on there so I'm going to set it up soon. I have to think about what level to play at and whether to stick to tournaments where I feel comfortable these days. I skipped playing on Bovada, despite really wanting to, because of what seemed like many complaints about their slow payouts. I never was dependent on my online poker winnings for anything important but I want my $$$ when I want it.
Any comments on a suggested HUD or other software utility tools would be appreciated. I'm not really aware of what is available these days ( a different learning curve to deal with ).
I may report back on my experiences down the road. Stay tuned.
How about shorting BTCS or GBTC (exchange traded, roughly track Bitcoin value) as a hedge against your Bitcoin-denominated poker bank?
The ideal would be if you could buy some kind of Forex USD-Bitcoin long on the USD side. Then, you might actually be hoping that Bitcoin value takes a nosedive -- it'd be a win/win if you were a little ahead of the curve cashing out, too...
The FOMC meeting is this week, but assuming the boat doesn't get rocked in some big, unforeseen way, I'm going to at least start some kind of Bitcoin wallet and then go from there. There are ATM's that will convert cash deposits and put them in your Bitcoin wallet. Sounds like a good way to start a "401-(G)" ("G" stands for "Gambling," of course!).
After doing some further research/reading about America's Cardroom on 2+2 I've reluctantly concluded that they may have too many issues for me join in.
Reading that I HAVE to use Internet Explorer amazed me ( not sure if this true I'm going to call customer service and see how they answer my questions ). Probably/possibly having to use bitcoin and make 2 deposits seemed odd, to say nothing of cashing out!. Reading many, many posts on 2+2 about software issues/timeouts going unresolved with no refunds being forthcoming was off putting as well. Lagging when playing cash is a nightmare.
Seems like I may just have to wait for the great state of Illinois to legalize things after all. SAD!
Just a couple of things to close the loop on this, although it sounds like you may be leaning in another direction anyway.
I don't use a HUD when I play. I have a visual impairment, and I do well just to get the blown up table graphics on my large monitor. I also don't multi-table, for the same reason. So I can't offer any advice in that area.
For the BitCoin discussion, I don't know how others do it, but ACR converts between BitCoin and US Dollars at transaction time. So whatever money you have in your poker account is in US Dollars, not BitCoin. Your deposit is the Dollar value of your coins at the time of the deposit, and your withdrawal is the BTC value of your Dollars at the time of the withdrawal. The only volatility you deal with is volatility before you deposit or after you withdraw, when your coins are in your wallet. While the money is in your poker account, it is in Dollars. It is tracked in Dollars. Your wagers and tournament buy-ins/payouts are all in Dollars. Your account does not fluctuate based on the BitCoin market.
You are correct that there is, to my knowledge, no device support for ACR. In addition, my wife had some difficulty with the software on a MAC. It worked for a while, but was then killed by an "upgrade." She hasn't tried it again in a long time. So I don't know what the current situation is relative to MAC support. I do also know that there was another casino, perhaps BetCoin or something like that, that uses the same player pool as ACR, with the same look and feel to their interface. However, their interface is mobile friendly. I have not had any personal dealings with them, and don't know anyone who has. So I wouldn't advise on that either way.
I am a little confused about the IE requirement you mentioned. Other than downloading and installing the software, I am not sure what there is a browser requirement for. Everything happens on the client software, not a web browser. And I have also downloaded and installed the software on half a dozen computers using Firefox or Chrome without any issues.
I haven't personally experienced any lag or technical issues, other than on two occasions over the past two years. Once, pretty much every game on the site froze all at once. They explained that as a server farm issue with their ISP. I can't speak for anyone but me, but my money was refunded, within a couple of hours, for the tournament game I was playing at the time. A similar thing happened another time, and that was explained as a DDOS attack. Monies were refunded, according to a posted policy that they go by in such cases. (You basically get your equity in the prize pool if you are still in the tournament at the time it is suspended. Perhaps that is a problem for the person sitting in first. But for me, I ended up netting about twice my buy-in.) They said they were taking the appropriate technical steps to address the issue, and it has been many months since the last time it happened.
Any site is going to be subject to any sort of network issue or latency that sits between the servers and the player. For example, my brother, who lives in another state, was having all sorts of lag issues one evening. He called me up, and the exact same games he was in were playing fine from my machine. He later found out that his ISP was having local service issues that night. So that is something you'd need to always be aware of, even in jurisdictions where the games are legal. But he very well might have assumed it was an ACR issue, had he not called me while the issue was happening.
Whatever I have said about ACR here has been based on my own experience, along with that of people I know personally. The negative things you mention have not been my experience. However, I am in no position to question the experience of others either. My view has always been that it is inherently risky to play any online site unless and until the legal situation becomes less murky. So I never deposit money that I would be upset about losing, whether I lose it playing poker, or because of site/legal issues. I also would not let my account grow too large for my comfort without making a withdrawal. That is also a driver in my decision to mostly play low or micro stakes. And that would be my only advice to anyone looking to play online poker in a state where the legality is not crystal clear. Regardless of the site, manage your money in such a way that you aren't taking an inordinate risk of losing access to any sum of money that you feel is significant.
And just one last disclaimer. I am not trying to talk anybody into playing or not playing on any particular site, or at all. I am just trying to put out accurate information, based on my own experience. What readers do with it is entirely up to them. At the end of the day, I have no horse in the race.
Thanks again for taking the time to share your first hand experiences. I realize that the posters on 2+2 are FAR more likely to post about their nightmares than their great experiences but there were some horrifying ones detailed on there.
Once upon a time I played a lot of online poker with some success. Won some tournaments, trips and had a lot of fun. Black Friday effectively ended that! My poker bankroll took a pretty good hit but other then mourning the camaraderie I'd enjoyed life went on..... til now. Now I've returned to poker and immersed myself enough to feel confident in investing again. At this point in my life I can't imagine any monetarily life changing effect no matter what happened.
Given your good experiences I'm thinking about taking steps to play again: first chatting with ACR support on the phone to clarify some things (is i
Internet Explorer even part of Windows 10 for example.), getting a new laptop and a BIG monitor, opening a segregated checking account with a credit card and lining things up to take a shot or 2. I'd really like to play some weekend tournaments sitting in MY comfortable Aeron chair.
I really appreciate your replies.
Good luck if you do play. Let me know how it goes. Maybe I'll see you at the tables. I have the same username on ACR.
I've been playing around a bit on clubwpt, which is obviously on a different level in a lot of areas. Let's just say that aggressive plays kinda don't work when there's always SOMEBODY who's gonna call you down...and I do just fine, but I feel like I have to switch into a gear that wouldn't exist for me in a "normal" game. Especially early on when the blinds are low, I feel like it's just "limp in and play Bingo!" And, I mean, you can try that aggressive play with AQs or whatever, but if two or three people go along because, you know, it's not "fun" unless somebody's all in...
I don't want to disparage the WPT thing at all. I watch the shows like a lot of us do, and I think the "mass market poker" happening on their site and with their brand is really light years beyond what could have been imagined -- I mean, I think they strike a good balance as far as respecting the game, and it's the gateway for a lot of folks as far as going from observer to casual player to intermediate/higher levels. If WPT essentially represents the "public face of poker," then I am definitely cool with that, although Mike Sexton will be missed (he is leaving and associating with PartyPoker starting very soon).
And once the tournaments get going, it's usually a little better. But those first couple of rounds...
I haven't played online since Black Friday, but I will tell you that you will find the same kind of play in a number of places. When I first started playing, I did so in a bar poker league (World Tavern Poker), and since there was no money involved, it was bingo all the way down. Also, one of our local card rooms (New Hampshire allows "charity poker" which means no casinos, but a number of card rooms with low buy in games and a high rake) hosts a regular $50 tournament which brings in a huge crowd of folks who play as if it were free. I have to totally adjust my game when I play in this tournament, because I can raise 8x and still get 6 callers and no one is ever giving up a draw EVER. One the one hand it can be frustrating, on the other, if you know how to adjust it can be very profitable.
It's interesting that the adjustment is kind of a bit of "going along to get along." Most adjustments involve going against the table dynamic: they're loose, you tighten up; they're passive, you use aggressive plays, etc. But if the whole table is playing what Blackrain79 calls "Semi-Loose Passive," then your only viable option is to beat them at their own game, essentially, by being a bit tighter and exploiting bet sizing, or waiting for THEM to make big mistakes.
And position is valuable for postflop betting (knowing where you're at in a hand), but "position plays" are way less valuable. If I were inclined (playing WPT), I would watch the betting patterns more and see if there are a couple of players in the mix who can "find a fold," and then I would try some position plays, etc., if I get isolated with them. But table changes happen so often, and there isn't enough at stake to really bother taking notes every time (also there are a HECK of a lot of players!).
This is why I feel that full ring NLHE isn't essentially "solvable," from a game theory perspective. Apparently, there is a solution to heads-up limit hold 'em, but it involves a defensive strategy (with offensive elements) -- in other words, the strategy may not exploit the opponent as quickly as one designed to exploit that particular opponent, but it prevents the player from being exploited by the opponent.
Game theory-wise, imagine a soccer player getting one of those kicks you get in a shootout. The goalie has to "guess" which way the attacker is going -- if he guesses correctly, he's got a great chance of blocking the attempt. If he guesses incorrectly, the attempt will be much likely to be a score.
So the first adjustment for the shooter is to randomize direction (L/R) -- if there are any patterns whatsoever, they are potentially exploitable (Harrington's comment on this principle as it applies to poker play is that he uses the second hand on his watch as a randomizer, for bluff plays for instance).
But then if the soccer player has a "favored" side (maybe he's right-dominant and is stronger shooting to the left), then there is an advantage to shooting towards that side. But, from a game theory perspective, if the player goes 100% for the favored side, he is way off "optimal" play. So there exists, depending on percentages involved, an optimal frequency of L vs. R attempts, with a bias toward the favored side.
I brought some of this up in the bot discussion -- we agree that the bots on this site are beatable. But I was curious about this, so I'll bring it up in the context of this discussion: if a player sat down for one complete round and played the bot's decisions (i.e.: if the table was unaware that they were playing a bot AND they didn't have nearly enough hands to pick up patterns), how would the bot-directed human do against different levels of human competition over the long haul? Is its weakness the relative predictability, or possibly its failure to adjust to offensive play of humans? And am I biased one way or another through the experience of playing lots of poker vs. 8 bots (as opposed to 1 bot vs. 8 humans)?
I mean, how many "decision buckets" are there, and considering there is, many times, more than one decision in a given situation that can be considered "good poker play" (i.e.: maybe in one situation a good case can be made for reraising OR folding, but not for calling), is it possible to cover enough of these "decision buckets" that the only remaining exploitability resides in deciphering patterns that play out over multiple hands?
I play a decent amount of World Tavern Poker (83 games in the season that just ended), and my experience with the quality of the games varies wildly by venue. There are newbies and calling stations all over, of course. But some of the places I play feature significantly more aggressive play than others. Sometimes that is driven by maniacs, and sometimes by good TAG players. It is a very mixed bag, but I have found that my "home" bar, which features a very aggressive game, usually does better in the regional events than the bars that have a more passive style.
The other thing that is maddening about WTP, with at least some carryover into the original topic of this thread, online play, is the "turbo" structure. The WTP games, and wuite a few online tournaments as well, have relative shallow stacks and fast blinds with big jumps. This really limits the number of hands you can play effectively before the whole affair turns into a shove-fest where luck reigns. But when I feel I can make an adjustment to account for the way things are going at a particular table, I tend to default back to the old adage about playing opposite of the flow. Sometimes you don't have time within the structure to play really TAG. But that usually gives me my best shot when I am in those games where every hand is three-bet pre-flop and goes to the flop four-handed.
My primary game has recently changed from a 20 minute blind 15,000 chip structure to a 30 minute blind 30,000 chip structure (I've changed games, that is), and it's a world of difference. I feel like I am playing a whole new game. I knew the 20 minute structure became bingo poker long before the end, but I didn't fully realize how much that was affecting the early play in turn. (Also the buy in of $50 in the shorter game vs. $90 in the longer clearly affects the pool of players). Don't know if I'll ever sit down at another turbo again.
The flip side is that the longer game takes a good 10 hours to make it to the money. So I definitely need to work on my stamina and attention in order to continue to get results.
hnallen68, as I am sure you know, there is definitely a world of difference when you play longer and deeper, even without considering the stakes. Playing more hands just favors the better players. A longer game creates more of an opportunity for positive EV play to balance out variance. The faster games create an opportunity for marginal players to get lucky on one or two big hands and make a deep run.
Your new game sounds good to me. I wish there was something like that that I could play regularly. But the combination of having to travel two hours to a casino, and the time it takes to play that game, would make it difficult for me.
NYTider, I knew that theoretically and intellectually, but experiencing it is a whole other matter. It has been a revelation.
Any more comments on Bovada?
Sorry. I don't know/remember anything about Bovada. I haven't really played anything but ACR in a long, long time. My wife and I did try to play in New Jersey one Saturday evening a while back. But even though we were physically in NJ at the time, we had issues with getting money deposited. We may try again at some point. But for now, I am waiting on NY to pass their online poker bill and plugging along with ACR.
Bovada = Ignition now!
Ignition acquired Bovada's poker biz in September 2016
Gotcha. I have heard good things about Ignition, but haven't tried it out.
I'm not in Nevada, but how is WSOP online?
On a related topic, are there hand histories/replays available of the online WSOP (bracelet tournament)?
I've played BetOnline since Black Friday and have no complaints. Their site has come a long way as for as graphics and now they even have a bad bead jackpot that I've seen over $500k at times. As for a cashing out, I've tried to do a wire transfer, but my bank wouldn't allow it. BO timely replaced the funds in my account. They're offering a Visa prepaid card now for withdrawals and I've heard from other players that they had no issues. They offer stud, PLO, O8, 6max and FR NHLE, SNGs, MTTs, etc. Traffic ranges from 1,500-2,200 on the slower nights (mon, tue), and 2,200-4,300 wed-sun nights. HUDs do work on this site (Hold'em Indicator). They were based in Panama at one time, but I'm not sure now. The few times I've called them I've always been pleased with their customer service and they seem very security conscious.
I know BetOnline is big on sports betting -- I've seen it in action on an iPhone on NFL sundays, and it's almost too easy to bet on everything -- SU/ATS, teasers, totals, props...I bet they're getting plenty of action on the Mayweather fight coming up, too. I mean, you can pretty much click in right up to when the National Anthem is starting and bet on a game. I just wish the minimums were lower -- I would pretty much bet all 15 or so games at a couple of bucks apiece, but I'm not really up for risking $25+ x 15 just so they can pick up the vig. And I'm too into advantage play (or not enough of a degen)...I'm just not one of those people who needs to risk money to enjoy myself or be interested in a game, or the roll of the dice, or whatever. I'm not scared of a good gamble, but I don't want to pretend that I can outthink the Vegas linesmakers, especially when they're starting out ahead by 5% or more (I know, the catch is that they "are obliged to provide a line for every game," but you can pick the ones to bet on. If you had a full time staff researching the NFL, likely with at least some quasi-insider knowledge, I think you'd do OK, too!).
It'd be cool if they would just do one bet for the whole Sunday -- maybe pick every game ATS at -105 on how your collection of picks does (push if you tie, or W/L based on if you get more games right than wrong).
How did you fund your account? How many tables are you (personally) able to play at once?
I too am interested in how one gets money into the site, seems like that is as difficult as getting money out.
How does one deal with the signup bonuses?
Ignition's play through requirements have 25x multipliers, and the table games only count for 5-20%.
And then, they tie up your entire stake until you playthrough. That means you can't even withdraw poker winnings.
If blackjack is counted at 10%, does that mean someone who signed up for $X and got a welcome bonus of $2X would have to play for $500X to claim any money (or forfeit the bonus)?
Is there a strategy that allows the bonus to be +EV with minimal variance, or at least minimizes the -EV?
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