Bovada Poker Review
- Country Availability: United States (except Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware – plus Maryland and New York)
- Deposit Methods: Credit cards, Visa, Mastercard gift cards, crypto (Bitcoin), voucher
- Device Compatibility: Windows/Mac
- Bonus Size: 100% match up to $500
- Min/Max Deposit: Credit Card $20-$1,500, Bitcoin $10-$5,000
- Payout Speed: Typically 24-48 hours, Check 10-15 business days
- Available Games: Texas Hold’em (No Limit), Omaha (Hi/Lo), Zone, Tournaments
Welcome to our Bovada poker review, highlighting the biggest United States online poker room. When it comes to U.S.-friendly online poker sites, Bovada is the biggest by a wide margin. This site also has a long history. Originally, this site went under the name Bodog Poker. The U.S.-facing part of that brand was spun off in 2011 following Black Friday and renamed Bovada Poker. When you join the games, you will be playing against people from several brands on a shared poker network. These include Ignition Poker and the Canadian Bodog.eu.
There are some great reasons to play at Bovada.lv. Not only will you find the biggest choice of poker tables of any United States site, there are policies in place to keep the games ‘recreational.’ With the games at many other sites suffering from too many pro grinders, you will notice the difference.
Here are the key reasons to check out Bovada Poker:
|More cash games, tournaments available||United States-only players|
|Great site for first-time players, beginners||Lack of high-limit games|
|Generous welcome bonus||Anonymous poker tables, players|
|Only US fast-fold poker game|
|Instant-play mobile gaming|
This Bovada Poker review covers the cash games, tournaments, variants and satellite qualifiers. First below, you’ll find information on the bonuses and promotions offered at this huge brand. Towards the end of the page, deposit methods and game fairness are also discussed.
Bovada Poker Review: Welcome Bonus and Promotions
While it is not the biggest bonus you’ll find, the first deposit offer at Bovada is the easiest to clear. This is a 100% welcome match up to $500. It works in increments, passing money from your bonus account to your real money account in stages. The first installment requires only 15 points. You will collect these by playing the real money cash games or tournaments.
Here is how the bonus clears:
- After 15 Points: $5
- After 85 Points: $20
- After 185 Points: $25
- After 500 Points: $50
- After 1,500 Points: $150
- After 5,000 Points: $250
You will have 30 days to earn as many points as possible. Note that if you cash out before your point collection is completed, you can’t reach any more milestones.
Ongoing Bonus Deals / Loyalty
There is a tiered loyalty program at Bovada Poker. The same points you earn to clear your bonus are used for this. As you reach milestones, you will move up a level – getting progressively better points earn rates. You can swap your points for tournament entries or bonuses.
You will also find plenty of promotions on offer. These change all the time, and include satellite qualifiers, freerolls and reload bonuses. Players will also be offered deals for the other parts of the brand – with sports betting and casino games offers available.
This is a 100% welcome match up to $500. It works in increments, passing money from your bonus account to your real money account in stages.
Bovada Poker Review: Game Variations
This U.S. poker room has the biggest list of tables online. The vast majority of the games are No Limit Hold’em, with 6-max poker tables the most popular. You will find full-ring and heads-up games on offer too. While many smaller sites are only busy at the micro limits, you will find action up to $5 / $10 blinds ($1,000 buy-in) regularly at Bovada. Pot Limit Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo are also spread.
Zone Poker is an entertaining variation for cash game players. This is a ‘Fast-Fold’ format. You choose a buy-in and then play new opponents each hand. The second you fold, you’ll be combined with new players and start the next hand. This is at least 3x faster than a regular cash game – and entertaining too. You can play more than one table for even more action.
Zone Poker and regular cash games are both available on mobile phones. The format of Zone Poker in particular makes it perfect for a quick session on your phone.
If you enjoy lower to middle buy-in online poker tournaments, then the selection at Bovada is huge. While this site does not have many ‘high-roller’ events (outside of the Black Diamond Open), their lower-stakes games are busy throughout the week.
Other than the occasional PLO tournament, NL Hold’em is where all the action is. Turbo (fast blind) tournaments are popular here. You will also find re-buy events and satellite qualifiers. You can win tickets into bigger buy-in games, and even win packages to live tournament events.
The biggest event of the week is the $75k Guaranteed, held each Sunday. When the Black Diamond Open events run, you will find tournaments with guarantees many times this size.
Sit-N-Go’s are also available, with nine-handed single-table tournaments at $22 and under where you will find most of the action.
Recreational Player Model
When Bovada first introduced their ‘Recreational Player Model’ a few years ago, some eyebrows were raised in the poker community. These policies ensure that recreational and amateur players get a fair shot in the games. Poker tracking tools and data services which identify fish are often used by online pros – and give newer players little chance of growing a bankroll before their inexperience is taken advantage of.
Bovada has banned these tools. To make it impossible to track players beyond a single session, you are seated at anonymous tables. You’ll play as a seat number (or tournament entry number). You can start fresh each time you sit in a new game.
The restriction on multi-tabling also helps recreational poker players. Pros at other sites tend to sit in 10-plus games, playing a tight, difficult-to-exploit strategy. This kills the action.
The recreational player model has been a huge success. Bovada is many times bigger than their closest rivals, and their games are amateur-player friendly.
Bovada Poker Review: Depositing and Withdrawing
This site did not grow to be the biggest of the offshore operators without some easy payment options:
- Bitcoin: Bovada was one of the first poker sites to offer Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. You will not play in Bitcoin, as your balance is transferred to dollars to use in the games. Setting up a Bitcoin wallet is very easy these days. Taking the time to do this will make depositing and withdrawing from any gambling brand quick and easy.
- Visa / Mastercard: Your credit card can be used for deposits, though keep in mind that your bank may sometimes decline the transaction. Your card must be able to make payments outside of the U.S. for this to work.
- Prepaid Visa Cards: You can buy these at convenience stores for a small fee on top of the loaded amount. These work well, though I do recommend you speak to the Bovada support staff and find out which brands to buy before you head out and purchase one.
- Money Transfer: You can pop to your local Western Union or MoneyGram branch office and wire money. This will involve contacting Bovada first; you’ll need to send this money to an individual. This is a reliable deposit option, though it is more expensive – especially for smaller deposits.
Unless you are using Bitcoin, your withdrawals will arrive via a paper check. U.S. banks will accept these – though keep in mind that if you need the money quickly, this is a slower option. Money transfer and bank wires may also be possible, though you’ll usually have to pay the fees for this.
Bovada Poker Review: Software and Mobile
There are two choices when it comes to accessing the tables – a downloadable client or instant (in-browser) play.
Bovada Download: You will find Windows and Mac versions of the client. This is quick to download, and gives you access to all the games and tournaments. The design is a smart black and red. While the graphics and design are not eye-catching, this site is easy to use. I like the way that a spotlight appears on your seat when it is your turn to act. You can play up to four cash games or Sit-N-Go tournaments at once. For regular tournaments, you can play up to 16 poker tables.
Bovada Mobile / Instant Play: This makes games available on mobile devices, as well as on a browser on your desktop. The number of games is restricted, featuring only cash games and Zone Poker. You can access the same account both ways (though you can only log in at one at a time). This means cash game players can enjoy the occasional session on the go – and save your bigger sessions for when you are using your laptop or desktop.
Security and Game Fairness at Bovada Poker
With their long history and solid service, Bovada is one of the best-trusted poker sites around. They are located in Antigua. Until 2016, Bovada was licensed by the Kahnawake Gambling Commission. They voluntarily relinquished that license.
Games are tested by iTech Labs, who have certified the deal as random. This site also uses the latest SSL encryption, and has a comprehensive responsible gaming policy.
Add to this the 24-7 support and dedicated phone line – and lack of any scandals or payment issues over their long history – and you have a trusted poker brand.
Bovada Customer Support
If you have any questions about Bovada’s poker platform, the site offers several customer support options. There is a community section that allows poker players to share information, feedback and help answer questions. There is an email option that typically garners a response in 72 hours. Bovada also provides a customer support phone number and on-again, off-again LIVE chat options.
Why is Bovada the Biggest Poker Room for US and LATM Market?
In terms of the poker action available, no other U.S. / LATM brand comes close. Bovada uses its recreational player model to keep the games soft. This has caused thousands of amateur and recreational poker players to call this poker room home.
You’ll find innovations in terms of games (Zone Poker) and accessibility (mobile play) that no other U.S. poker room offers.
To top it all, the bonuses are easy to get. These start with a 100% match and continue with the loyalty scheme and plenty of promotions.