The recent trend for online sportsbooks is to open their own poker rooms, as there is an obvious overlap between interest in sports betting and poker. Most sportsbook operators have forged partnerships with existing poker networks, and their poker rooms are skins for networks such as Prima Poker, Tribeca, or Cryptologic. It is certainly far more difficult to start a poker room from scratch, using your own software, and relying on your marketing department to drive enough players to establish critical mass. Well, more difficult for everyone except Bodog.com, a company that is synonymous with brilliant online marketing campaigns, and one operator that has decided to tackle online poker heads-up, so to speak, by starting Bodog Poker.
Bodog Poker only launched in September of 2004, and yet their player volume levels are already competitive. As far as I am concerned this is the most critical aspect of a new online poker room: Do they have games at every stakes level at all times of the day? The convenience and speed of online poker is a huge selling point, and if the poker room fails to deliver instant gratification it will inevitably fail. Bodog Poker still needs to grow in terms of high-limit cash games, but their guaranteed tournaments do cater effectively at every level, professional poker players included. There are numerous other positives about this poker room, which I intend to discuss, but the bottom line is that of the many new potential poker destinations on the Internet, that seem to spring up on a weekly basis, Bodog Poker appears the most likely to survive and ultimately succeed.
Bodog Poker made the giant leap, and took the substantial risk of developing proprietary software. The results are impressive. The network is stable, and the software is smooth and logically designed. The look and feel is uncluttered, allowing you to find the right game quickly. The real-time statistics that are available can make a big difference to the serious poker player, and access to the site’s history feature is also most helpful. The software reminds me of Paradise Poker, a benchmark name in the world of online poker, and along with Full Tilt Poker I would have to rate Bodog Poker as the best second-generation poker room from a software point of view.
Bodog Poker is on the way to solving the biggest problem that faces new rooms – building up player volume. At its peak the site is currently attracting 1500 cash game players and nearly 3400 tournament players. For an independent poker room that has been around for eighteen months these are truly very encouraging numbers. Bodog Poker does not accept players from Canada, because Bodog.com operates and trades in Canada, but they’re pulling in a lot of USA-based players at a rapid rate. As I mentioned earlier, there is a paucity of high-stakes games as of now, but this should change as the traffic continues to grow.
As with all the new poker rooms, that know what they’re doing when it comes to treating their players properly, Bodog Poker has a fair rake policy. They have a no-flop no-drop rule in effect and the rake is capped for any cash game at $3. If your online poker room is charging you anything more than this per hand you need to consider making a change. The rake catches up with all but the best poker players, and new poker rooms like Bodog Poker give you a fighting chance to stay ahead of the game.
If I were to use a rating system for these reviews then Bodog Poker undoubtedly would score 10/10 in this department. Their customer service is legendary, and no one has a better understanding of how to keep an online client happy than this team. Their promotions and competitions are the best in the industry, and if you ever have a problem they are helpful and knowledgeable. In addition, if you want to bet on sports or gamble away your winnings at the Bodog Casino you can do it with one seamless account. The integration is excellent.
Bodog Poker is going to do exceptionally well, and you should seriously consider playing there. The games are pretty soft, especially if you are a novice or intermediate player. They offer unlimited 10% bonuses on all deposits, have a very good loyalty rewards program in place, and there are always interesting competitions and prizes on offer.
The only con is that their traffic does not compare to the biggest poker rooms, so if you’re looking for high-stakes games or action in a poker game other than hold’em you might have to wait around for a while. Bodog Poker compensates their players in other ways, however. Every Sunday they hold a $100,000 guaranteed tournament, which puts a lot of bigger poker networks to shame, and they feature the opportunity to play heads-up against their celebrity pro endorsers, Josh Arieh and David Williams, on a weekly basis. Finally, because they do keep their existing clients happy their retention rate is excellent, and they are so adept at Internet marketing that they will definitely attract a lot more players in the future. So, all in all the future looks very bright for Bodog Poker.