Bovada Poker Review
Bovada Poker isn't a brand new poker room, although at first the name was not familiar to me. Bovada is the new poker site offered by Bodog that caters to US players. It is one of the best options for American real money online poker. Bodog has a long reputation- and has been around since 2004- and online poker players can enjoy their great reputation with this new poker skin. Although Bovada is offered by Bodog, it's not simply just a US clone of the Bodog site. I found Bovada to be a great new poker room with top of the line software, with plenty of features and promotions to make them a great choice all of their own merit.
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Software and Security
The sleek and minimalistic look of the Bovada software immediately caught my eye. Some players may not appreciate the trim, bare look of this type of poker room, but this well designed software did not appear to be lacking any of the best features. It is well organized, so while it looks very pared down, players still can enjoy a number of personalization settings including avatars, downloadable hand histories, multi-table views, and more. In fact, players can also take advantage of a number of sorting options in the game lobby as well as anonymous tables and an exclusive “rabbit cam”.
When it comes to security, Bovada Poker offers all the industry standard safety and security measures. This includes keeping all user data encrypted, as well as regular audits of their games and random number generator. Bodog has a long history of secure and safe play, so it was relaxing to enjoy their play without worrying if my personal information was secure, or if the games are fair.
Games and Tournaments
Bovada offers a wide range of poker games- unlike some smaller rooms which only offer Texas Hold Em. I found plenty of tables with all the most popular options: Texas Hold Em, Omaha, 7 Card Stud and 5 Card Stud. There were plenty of stake levels and table types with Hi-Lo variants, No Limit and Pot Limit tables as well.
When it comes to tournaments, I was impressed by the wide variety of tournaments offered. Buy ins ranged from $1 up to a few hundred dollars- and the prize pools varied just as much. There was a great selection. Plenty of multi-table tournaments, sit and gos, freerolls, shootout, knockout, heads up, and more. Bovada Poker offers a weekly guaranteed tournament with a $100,000 prize pool. There are also regular satellites into multi table tournaments as well as even bigger events like the WSOP. I was very impressed to see two $7,500 freerolls that players can qualify for. Entry can be purchased with Player Points as well!
Bovada's promotions page was packed with offers. Bovada is continually offering entry into exotic poker trips to locations such as Macau, Punta Cana, New Orleans, and more. There are also exciting promotions and giveaways regularly. There are huge jackpots in new player qualifiers, monthly freerolls, and guaranteed tournaments daily. There's also a Royal Flush and a Bad Beat bonus that players can qualify for through play. Players should keep an eye on their email for new events- as Bovada's very generous and exciting events.
I was not impressed with their lack of a real VIP structure. Players can earn “poker points”, however. These points are earned by playing cash poker games. Points are earned 3 points for every $1 on tournament fees. Players also earn points for raked hands. As long as players contribute more than $.05 to the pot, they can earn anywhere from .1 up to 1 poker point. These points can be used for tournament entries, or even just converted outright to cash.
The one thing Bovada doesn't excel at is their deposit methods. They don't offer a wide selection of deposit or withdrawal bonuses, but the ones they do offer they excel at. I'm sure this also has to do how few deposit options accept US players. Players can deposit via Credit Card, Money Transfer, and Rapid Transfer. The minimum deposit for both Money Transfer and Rapid Transfer is $100, however. To request withdrawals players only have two options: Rapid Transfer for withdrawals between $100-$800 or Check, but that is in increments of $3,000 only.
One thing I did find frustrating was Bovada's credit card verification process. While you don't really need it when you deposit, this form is required before you withdraw. It's generally a good idea to get identity verification paperwork out of the way as quickly as possible anyway. This helps avoid any future delays or frustrations.
Bovada has some detailed information and organized FAQ sections on their web page. For answers to the most common questions, I didn't have trouble finding what I was looking for. The Help section is divided into all the different sections of their site, For questions that other players may have outside of these areas, or more personalized information regarding your account, Bovada offers telephone and email support.
The telephone support has a few different numbers for players to choose from, and they're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I found the support staff to be friendly and knowledgeable. The email response time is listed as within 4 hours, but I received a much more prompt reply, and my issue was quickly sorted out. In the end, I found Bovada poker a very enjoyable place to play poker, even despite a few minor annoyances.