In business since 1997, 888 Holdings certainly knows what it takes to succeed in the world of online gambling in general and online poker in particular. Regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and the Government of Gibraltar, 888 Poker is currently the largest online poker site on the planet, second only to PokerStars.
Featuring great software, very good player traffic, a nice welcome bonus, and good game selection, 888 Poker has everything a poker player could need. Cash tables are their forte, of course, but their tournament numbers are quite decent as well, and the fact that you can play from a range of mobile devices and your desktop browser really add extra points for 888.
888 Poker Software
Although it had its faults in the past, 888 Poker software has really come a long way, offering truly enjoyable playing environment. The best part is that the software is available as a downloadable standalone program, Instant Play software via the 888 Poker main site, and there are also apps for Android and iOS devices.
The Desktop Version for Windows and Mac
The desktop software provides for an easy navigation between various sections of the lobby, like various types of cash games, sit & go’s, and multi table tournaments. You can also easily access SNAP cash tables (888 Poker’s variation of Zoom, i.e. quick fold poker) and BLAST, which is the equivalent of PokerStars Spin & Go’s or iPoker’s Twisters.
There are many options you can adjust to improve your playing experience, including:
- Table layouts (themes)
- Cards appearance (four color deck)
- Animations (turn on and off, add extra animations)
- Auto rebuys
The software is generally very smooth and stable, so you shouldn’t experience any issues while playing. Just make sure you have a good computer at hand or, if not, turn off animations and sounds to make the games run smoother.
Instant Play Software
One of the things 888 Poker can be most proud off is their Instant Play solution, allowing players access to the tables without ever downloading and installing the software. There are very few sites out there that offer something like this, and none have done it as well as 888.
One slight drawback is that as of right now, the 888 Poker Instant Play doesn’t work on the latest Chrome browser. This is a bug that will probably be fixed soon, but in the meantime you can use any other available browser, like Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer (if you really must).
888 Poker Instant Play Works Almost as well as Installed Software
What’s truly impressive about 888’s Instant Play is the fact it works almost as well as the downloadable version. Most sites offering browser play are glitchy, take forever to open tables, and don’t run smooth at all. With 888, you almost won’t notice a difference, save for the fact BLAST lobby hasn’t been added yet. This is just a matter of time, as BLAST is a relatively new addition to 888 Poker offering, and it won’t be long before it appears in the Instant Play lobby.
This solution really hits the nail on the head, as it goes along with the latest general trends. People want their fun, and they want it now, without having to wait even a few minutes. With 888 Poker Instant Play, players can simply log in and start enjoying games, make deposits, and withdraw money, just as if they were playing on the full version.
Available for Android and iOS phones and tablets, 888 Poker mobile app features a sleek look and a lot of interesting functionalities to make your playing time more enjoyable. One downside is that you can only play a single table at the time, which can be a bit boring, especially for more experienced players. That said, a table of SNAP poker should be able to hold most anyone’s attention.
888 Poker Welcome Bonus
New players at 888 Poker are eligible for a $88 no deposit bonus. Although this is a very nice offer, it isn’t as good as it sounds, to be completely honest. You will not receive $88 in cash to play with as soon as you sign up. Rather, you will get just $1 as a free cash and 14x $0.50 tournament tickets. You can use the $1 and any winnings from the tournaments as you like, but the remainder of the promised no deposit is issued as a $80 bonus.
Every time you reach 250 888 Bonus Points, you will receive further $8 of bonus money ($1 in cash and $7 in $0.50 tournament tickets). So, to receive the full $88, you will have to log in a lot of hours at the tables, without going bust. It is both doable and entertaining if you are looking to challenge yourself, but we don’t want you to be disappointed about not receiving the full amount.
888 Poker Deposit Bonus
Of course, for serious players who are passed the no deposit stage, there is also a more traditional 100% bonus up to $400. The minimum required deposit is $10 and the bonus will be released in $10 increments, every time you reach 100 888 Bonus Points.
Game Selection and Player Traffic
Right now, 888 Poker is the second largest online poker site in the world, with a seven day average of 2,000 active cash players, peaking at over 3,000 active players. Naturally, most players are concentrated on No Limit Hold’em tables, with stakes running as high as $3/$6 quite regularly. Those looking for higher stakes action will also find a few tables between $5/$10 and $25/$50 running as well.
If PLO is your cup of tea, 888 Poker may be a bit of a letdown, but you will still find a few tables of $1/$2 running quite regularly. 888 isn’t PokerStars in terms of player traffic, of course, but you will also find that competition is much softer as well.
In terms of tournaments, 888 Poker does offer a decent schedule for a tournament grinder. The biggest weekly tournament is the $215 Mega Deep event, featuring $120,000 guarantee. Aside from that, there is a whole range of tournaments featuring buy ins between $215 and $0.50, so someone looking for tournament action could certainly fill up a solid schedule playing at 888.
The Final Word on 888 Poker
888 Poker, as the second biggest online poker site in the world, features high-quality software, very good cash game traffic, and a solid tournament schedule.
Considering the longevity of the company behind the site and their impeccable reputation, 888 represents a great choice for casual and professional players alike, especially if you are looking for softer competition.
Of course, the site is not bustling with action like PokerStars, but numbers are still very decent and you will have no problems finding games at all hours of the day and night. As long as you are not hang up on huge tournament fields (1,000+ players), you will find everything you need at 888 Poker.