Bovada Poker Review
Enjoy Anonymous Poker Games at the Biggest US Online Poker Room
When it comes to US friendly online poker sites, Bovada are the biggest by a wide margin. This site also has a long history. Originally, this site went under the name Bodog Poker. The US-facing part of that brand was spun-off in 2011 – and renamed Bovada Poker. When you join the games, you will be playing against people from several brands on a shared 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 tables of any US 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 Choice: No other LATM / US poker site comes close in terms of the number of cash games and tournaments running.
- Recreational Player Model: This includes anonymous play, restrictions on tracking tools and a limit on multi-tabling.
- Easy Welcome Bonus: You only need to collect 15 player points to get the first part of your welcome bonus into your real money account.
- Zone Poker: Bovada are the only US site to offer a fast-fold poker game.
- Mobile Access: You can access this site in instant-play mode via your mobile phone or tablet.
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 Welcome Bonus Offer
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 instalment 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 offers available.
How the Recreational Player Model Works
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 player little chance of growing a bankroll before their inexperience is taken advantage of.
Bovada have banned these tools. To make it impossible to track players beyond a single session, the games are anonymous. 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 players. Pros at other sites tend to sit in 10+ games, playing a tight, difficult to exploit strategy. This kills the action.
The recreational player model has been a huge success. Bovada are many times bigger than their closest rivals, and their games are amateur-player friendly.
Bovada Poker Software
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 4 cash games or Sit N Go tournaments at once. For regular tournaments, you can play up to 16 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 can only log-in at one at a time). This means you can enjoy the occasional cash game while on the go – and save your bigger sessions for when you are using your laptop or desktop.
Poker Tournament Action at Bovada
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 Holdem is where all the action is. Turbo (fast blind) tournaments are popular here. You will also find rebuy-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 tournament with guarantees many times this size.
Sit N Goes are also available, with 9 handed single table tournaments at $22 and under where you will find most of the action.
Cash Game Action at Bovada Poker
This US poker room has the biggest list of tables online. The vast majority of the games are No Limit Holdem, with 6-max 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 ($1000 buy-in) regularly at Bovada. Pot Limit Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo are also spread.
Zone Poker is an entertaining cash game variation. 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.
Depositing and Withdrawing from Bovada Poker
This site did not grow to be the biggest of the offshore operators without some easy payment options:
- Bitcoin: Bovada were 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 US for this to work.
- Prepaid Visa Cards: You can by 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 is more expensive – especially for smaller deposits.
Unless you are using Bitcoin, your withdrawals will arrive via a paper check. US 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.
Security and Game Fairness at Bovada Poker
With their long history and solid service – Bovada are one of the best trusted poker sites around. They are located in Antigua. Until 2016, Bovada were 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.
Why is Bovada the Biggest Poker Room for US and LATM Market?
In terms of the poker action available, no other US / LATM brand comes close. Bovada use their recreational player model to keep the games soft. This has caused thousands of amateur and recreational players to call this poker room home.
You’ll find innovations in terms of games (Zone Poker) and accessibility (mobile play) that no other US 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.
Check out the biggest US poker room for yourself soon at www.bovada.lv