Thursday, September 23, 2004

Where I play...

Pope asked a question in comments about Royal Vegas and how the games were there, and it got me thinking about where I've played and why I play where I play.

There's a lot of options on the internet. For B&M casinos the reason you play someplace is generally more nebulous. I like the waitresses, the dealers are more professional, the room is non-smoking, etc. All casino poker rooms are essentially the same. The bad beat jackpot might be slightly different, and the management has some effect on the experience, but one is basically as good as the other.

Online, however, there is a world of difference. I would have to say the three priorities for me picking a site online are 1)Comps, 2)Interface, 3)Competition.

I'm pretty much a full-fledged bonus whore. I have received over $600 in bonus cash and merchandise from Poker Source Online (http://www.pokersourceonline.com) not including the bonuses I have recieved from poker rooms themselves. That probably adds another $300.

I have played at Party Poker, Intertops Poker, Aztec Riches, Royal Vegas and The Gaming Club. I also have some experience with Poker Stars and Paradise Poker.

Party and Intertops are essentially the same place for ring games and SnGs, with different multi-table tournaments. Intertops has 4 or 5 freerolls a week, while Party has practically none. I play in the Intertops freerolls and have made more than $500 from them altogether. Three wins and tons of money finishes. The sweet thing about the intertops freerolls is there is rarely more than 300 people in the completely free ones, and the ones with raked hand requirements generally have around 100 people in them. Compared to the 6000 player freerolls at PokerStars, I'll take it. The interface is exactly the same as Party Poker, and everyone knows Party. And the competition is the fishiest fish in fishdom. Everyone knows that too.

Royal Vegas, Aztec Riches and The Gaming Club are all Prima Poker rooms, and they share the ring games, SnGs and the Multi-tables. They even share some of the freerolls. Prima seems to put a priority on NL and PL games, and they never seem to spread too many limit tables. As most people I know prefer to play in the 2/4-5/10 limit games, they aren't going to like Prima that much. I'm a pot-limt/no-limit player so it spreads perfectly for me. The raked hand freeroll is ESPECIALLY juicy there. I have won more than $300 from them and I have played in aprox. 10 of them. The completely free freeroll always has 3000+ players and is a waste of time in my opinion. It can barely be called poker for the first two hours.

Prima rooms also have the best selection of multi-table tournaments, with a cheap (>$10) rebuy or freezeout tournament starting basically every half hour, along with a slightly higer (maybe $30-$100) tournaments starting every hour. There are around a tenth of the players at Prima that there are at Party, but that's still a lot, usually around 4,000. It's still pretty soft, but you will find the occasional power player there. You will also run into those people that are there to lose money as fast as they can. I seem to run into more at RV than at Party, as unlikely as that seems.

The Royal Vegas interface is the best of the three, Aztec is the worst. At RV the buttons appear in the middle of the table when it is your turn to play, and they are big. At TGC and AR they only appear in the bottom right of the screen and they are always smalle. I have hit the wrong button before at TGC and it is very frustrating. I have misread the chips on the table at RV before too, they don't put the dollar amount next to the chips like Party does. I called a $2 bet that I thought was a $1 bet once. Not a huge deal, as it is unlikely to happen with larger dollar amounts. I still prefer the way Party conveys the info about how much a person has bet and how much they have in their stack.

I play the majority of my hands at Royal Vegas because I am in a rake rebate program there with Poker Source Online. 20% of my share of the rake gets refunded to me in points I can use to get prizes from PSO.

I have only played multi-table freerolls in place of a friend at PokerStars and Paradise Poker. Paradise seems to spread the greatest variety of games, including Crazy Pineapple. PokerStars supposedly has the highest quality of competition, although Ultimate Bet might disagree with that supposition. I don't really care about whether a place has high quality players, just as long as they have enough low quality competition for me to beat and stay away from the sharks.

1 comment:

pope rek said...

Great post man. I just downloaded The Gaming Club today and will probably download Royal Vegas as well. Figure I'll take advantage of the PSO FPP at RV and pickup the table top from GC. Gaming Club looked interesting, was a lot of NL games, which I was happy to see. Well hopefully will see you in the PSO freeroll this weekend, take care.