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Party Poker

Party Poker is perhaps the best-known online poker room today. World Poker Tour host and venerable player Mike Sexton is an official spokesman for Party Poker, and it's easy to see why. Party Poker boasts the largest selection of tables, limits, and tournaments out there. Started in 2001, Party Poker offers live, toll-free telephone support 24/7, reliable security encryption technology, and is licensed and regulated by US Accounting Firms. Party Poker is indisputably the largest and most trafficked poker room online, with over 65,000 active players.

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One of the biggest appeals of Party Poker is the breadth of promotions they offer. They start out with an attractive welcome bonus of up to $100, but that's just the beginning. Party Poker then offers loyal players a $50 refer-a-friend bonus, and a constantly-improving player points program. Their Player's Club offers a bounty of bonuses to those who accumulate Party Points, including cash, merchandise, entry into special tournaments, and easier access to more Player Points. At any given point in time, new promotions replace old ones. There's currently a Lucky Hand Promotion for the players lucky enough to be dealt one of every 200,000 hands.

Party Poker hosts monthly freeroll tournaments where it'll cost you nothing to compete for a share of $5,000. They also host frequent satellite tournaments where you can win entry into World Poker Tour events. Not the least of these events is the annual Party Poker Million Cruise where, for a $32 buy-in, you could win tickets for two on a Caribbean cruise and a share of a $7.5 million prize pool.

And they don't stop there. Party Poker offers guaranteed million dollar and quarter-million dollar tournaments. You can win tickets to London, England and a seat in the Party Poker $1,000,000 World Open. At any of the sit-and-go tournaments you can progress through their ongoing Step Challenge and walk away with $4,500 extra (for single-table tournaments) or $9,000 (for multi-table tournaments). They've got high stakes tournaments for every day of the week: the Super Weekday, the Friday Special, and the 200K Guaranteed Saturday. (I haven't found Sunday's big game yet, but I'll bet it's there). There's also a speed tournament where the blinds go up every 3 minutes.

Leader Board
In their continuing effort to reward excellence, Party Poker now has a Leader's Board proudly displaying the names of those who accumulate the most player points in a given time period. Those so honored get a personal webpage on the Party Poker website and an opportunity to battle the other leaders in a winner-take-all tournament worth $1,000 per seat, plus a $5,000 freeroll tournament.

Party Poker shares software and a database with Empire Poker, making them essentially two entrances into the same poker room. Therefore you can compete with players from both sites while still taking advantage of the promotions, special features, and games unique to each individual site.

The Downside
Complaints I've uncovered about Party Poker include the following: too high a rake on low-limit games, no pot-limit versions of 7 Card Stud games or Omaha Hi, no draw poker, no heads-up (1-on-1) matches, no table statistics (such as flop-percentages), slow to answer support emails, and average, though practical, graphics and sound. Nonetheless players report that the games at Party Poker are easy to beat, and the software is quick.

On a Positive Note
The benefits to Party Poker far outweigh the drawbacks. I leave you with one more unbelievable incentive that as far as I know only Party Poker offers: a progressive jackpot. Over 100 tables are eligible for the Bad Beat Jackpot. At these tables, every time a rake is taken, part of it is added to the Bad Beat Jackpot. When a player with 4-of-a-kind, 8's or better LOSES the hand, the jackpot is distributed between the loser, the winner, and the other players in that hand. Not a bad beat at all. I defy you to find a sweeter consolation prize anywhere else than this one at Party Poker.

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Read our review of Party Poker

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