Bookmaker opened its doors in 1985 as a small-scale sportsbook. It has grown exponentially since then, and is now one of the most recognizable names in online gambling. Bookmaker’s main business is sports betting, horse betting, and casino games; but its poker room is slowly gaining a reputation as a donk-fest filled with terrible players.
Bookmaker Poker shares a player pool with all sites on the Yatahay network. This network is renowned for attracting fish, and my playing experience at Bookmaker certainly aligned with this reputation. While there aren’t many players in terms of volume, the fish-to-regular ratio is sky-high. It’s literally hard to lose against the players at this site.
The main reason to play at Bookmaker Poker is certainly the easy competition, but there are other attractions as well. A nice sign-up bonus, for example, and consistently undersubscribed guaranteed tournaments (translation: overlays for you!) Add to these things a top-notch support staff and a reputation for flawless security, and you’ve got a pretty good place to play.
If you’re into fishing, Bookmaker Poker is an oasis. You’ve really got to sign up to see what I mean.
Bookmaker Poker Bonus Offers and Promotions
As a new player at Bookmaker Poker, you’re eligible for a 100% bonus on your first deposit up to $500. So if you deposit $500, you’re looking at an extra $500 just for playing.
The bonus is pretty easy to clear. You just need to play 10 times the amount of your deposit worth of ‘qualified’ raked hands. A raked hand counts as qualified if it’s raked over $1. So if you deposit $100, you’ll need to play 1000 hands raked $1+ to claim your bonus. Note that fractional credits are honoured; so if you play a hand that rakes $0.50, you earn 1/2 a qualified raked hand credit.
You’re also given entry into a series of Newbie Freeroll tournaments as a new Bookmaker Poker player. You’ll generally be competing against approximately 50 players in a newbie freeroll, and you’ll be vying for your share of around $40 per tournament. You certainly won’t get rich playing these, but they are a nice welcome to the site.
Bookmaker Poker also maintains a VIP program in which you earn Player Points for playing raked hands. You earn PPs at a rate of 1 per $1 raked pot you’re involved in. Like the ‘qualified raked hands’ involved in Bookmaker’s bonus, you will be awarded fractional PPs for pots that produce less than $1 in rake.
If you earn enough Player Points over a four-month period, you become eligible to trade in points for cash or tournament tickets. The trade-in rate is $1 per 100PPs–so trading in 10,000 PPs would earn you $100, trading in 100,000 PPs would earn you $1,000, and so on.
Since Bookmaker deals mainly in sports betting and casino games, it makes sense that it would try and entice poker players over to the dark side. Tuesdays and Fridays are known as ‘Sports Freeplay’ days in the poker room, and if you’re into sports betting, the promotion is a pretty good deal. You can enter one of the Sports Freeplay tournaments for just 10 Player Points, and depending on how you place, win up to $750 in sports Freeplays. Not bad.
Overall, Bookmaker Poker offers some great value-added bonuses that you’ll want to take advantage of. I always love it when a poker room wants to give me free cash, and Bookmaker Poker’s bonus is at least on par with the industry standard. You might as well sign up and grind out the $500, if nothing else.
Bookmaker.com Poker Cash Games – Traffic and Competition
Bookmaker sees a considerable amount of action at the No Limit and Fixed Limit Holdem tables. It’s one of the few smaller sites I’ve come across that runs active games all the way from the micro-stakes to the nosebleeds. Limits span from $0.02/0.04 on the bottom end and $5/10 at the top; whether you’re in it to hack around or gamble, you can get your fix here.
Oddly, most of the cash game action at bookmaker revolves around the full-ring tables. This usually indicates that the games are full of inexperienced players who are used to live casino games. I wouldn’t be surprised if the players at Bookmaker are casino regulars, considering their penchant for indiscriminate gambling–these games are crazy soft.
You’ll find most of your opponents at Bookmaker to be passive, call-loving fish. A preflop raise? What’s that? Nobody here seems to know. Folding after the flop? Huh? Nobody does that here.
I consistently sat at tables where I’d get 4 to 5 callers–at a full-ring table–to my late position preflop raises. That’s insane, and doesn’t happen very often on the internet. I can only conclude that Bookmaker Poker is a veritable gold rush for those who know how to play.
If you’re into obscure games, you won’t find any here. Omaha Hi and Omaha 8 are spread, but there’s minimal action. Tons of empty tables from the lowest to the highest stakes. Bookmaker is certainly a Holdem-based poker room.
Bookmaker.com Poker Tournaments – Traffic and Competition
You’ll find the standard tournament fare running regularly at Bookmaker. Lots of Sit-n-Go games for the grinders, along with some Multi-Table Tournaments for those so inclined.
The Sit-n-Go action is largely centred around the $3+.30 Turbo NLHE games. These are very popular and turn over at a rate of about one per two minutes. The games are very soft; from what I can tell none of the players here have heard of push-fold, never mind ICM. If you know even basic tournament strategy, you will have no problems crushing these games.
If you’re into high-stakes action, there are SnGs spread up to $100+7 heads-up. These don’t run too often, but it’s nice to know you’ve got the option of sitting in and waiting for a challenger.
As far as Multi-Table Tournaments go, the offerings at Bookmaker are rather sparse. Since the room’s player pool isn’t huge, it would be a bit redundant to offer lots of tournaments for which nobody registers.
There are a few guaranteed tournaments that see some action, particularly the Sunday $7,500. The last time I played this game approximately 100 players registered, which fell way short of the guarantee. The overlay ended up being around $1,500, which from what I gather is common for this tournament.
Bookmaker Poker – Software and Support
It’s funny to think that at one point, the Yatahay software–which Bookmaker runs–was seriously cutting-edge. Very few poker rooms, if any, had 3D graphics when Yatahay released their client. While the 3D offerings from Bookmaker are fun, and useful if you’re looking for a break from the norm, the software certainly seems a bit outdated.
The lobby is decently laid out, and the workflow makes sense. You’ve got access to different game-sorting tools, allowing you to display games by stake, structure, poker variant, limit structure, and table size. If you’re a tourney grinder, you can set the filter to display only the structure you want to play–e.g. turbo, 6-max–which is helpful for finding a quick seat.
The toolbar menus are well laid-out and keep all the essential account functions easily accessible. You’re two clicks away from account settings, the deposit menu, the withdrawal menu, and so on, which is always nice.
As far as the poker tables go, you’ve got two main layout choices: standard 2D, and animated 3D. The former is what you’d expect from a normal online poker table–player avatars (pictures) beside each player’s name, cheesy-looking chipstacks displaying bet amounts, and a standard card stock. The latter view, on the other hand, is a whole other ballgame.
If you activate Bookmaker’s 3D view, your tables will look like a mix of The Sims and a bad horror film from the 30s. Poorly rendered pseudo-human avatars move their arms to push in chips, to look at cards, and to make betting actions. I won’t lie, 3D mode is a lot of fun–but only for a while. I’m more of a grinder, so I care more about functionality than effects. But if you’re the type who finds stuff like Second Life or World of Warcraft endlessly entertaining, you might like 3D mode a lot more than I do.
I don’t know if it’s because of the 3D feature or just inefficient coding, but the Bookmaker client can be a bit laggy at times. I’ve experienced sticky buttons here and there, and there can be a bit of a delay between the moment of action and the client’s carrying out said action. It’s not too bad, but there are certainly better poker rooms out there in terms of software.
Support at Bookmaker.com is what you’d expect from a solid, well-established company: helpful and efficient. You can contact a support specialist via email, phone (toll-free from the US or CAN!), or live chat. Bookmaker has a reputation for running a safe and cheat-free operation; I certainly trust that my money’s safe on this site.
Bookmaker Poker – Deposit and Withdrawal Options
If you’re ready to get some cash onto Bookmaker Poker, you’ve got plenty of options. Players from the United States are welcome, and there are options for players from pretty much any country.
VISA, Ukash, MoneyBookers, Click2Pay, EcoCard, Click and Buy, iPoint, InstaDebit, Bank Wire, Bank Draft, or Person-to-Person Transaction.
Neteller, Person-to-Person Transaction, Bank Draft, eCheck, MoneyBookers, EcoCard, Bank Wire, or Click2Pay.
Bookmaker Poker – Fish, Fish, and More Fish
In summary, if you play at Bookmaker, you’re playing to fish. The players here are terrible, and the games quite easy to beat. What Bookmaker’s software lacks in terms of elegance its games make up for in terms of sheer ridiculousness.
So sign up for your $500 first-deposit bonus and get grinding. Bookmaker Poker is one of the few rooms left on the net where you’ll get players calling 5xBB preflop with J-3 offsuit.