- Our Rating: 7.8 (Very Good)
- Operator: 888
- Licensee: Ceasars Interactive
- Rake: 5.56%
- Bonus: $20 + 100% Up To $1,500
Founded in 1997, 888 is a powerhouse in both the online gaming and online poker industries. The Gibraltar-based company launched its original poker site in 2002 under the name Pacific Poker (now 888poker), and currently boasts the second biggest Internet poker network in the world. American players were free to play on Pacific Poker until 2006, when 888 pulled out of the US market due to the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
Once online gambling was legalized in New Jersey, however, 888 was quick to partner with Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) to open up a legal, intrastate poker site in the Garden State.
The site, available at us.888poker.com, debuted in 2013 and is powered by 888’s proprietary software platform called Dragonfish.
In addition to operating its own poker room, the company provides the software used by its NJ sister site, WSOP, with which it shares player pools. The partnership with WSOP is limited though, as it only merges pools for lower stakes cash games, tournaments and Sit n Gos.
888 has laid the groundwork to dominate the US online poker market as a whole through its All American Poker Network and Multi-State Poker Network. That software infrastructure will give casinos across the country the ability to link up and create one unified poker room, in the event the industry is legalized in more states. Additionally, 888 supplies the software used by the WSOP.com poker site in Nevada, along with online casino software used in Delaware. In 2014, the governors of Nevada and Delaware signed an agreement which allows for the sharing of player pools between those states.
Here we’ll take a look at 888’s New Jersey online poker offering to see how it stacks up against the competition!
888poker Bonus Offer
Create an 888poker account using the links on this page and get $20 absolutely free. When you make your first real-money deposit, you’ll receive an additional bonus of 100% of the deposit amount, up to $1,500.
888poker NJ Bonus Code & Details
|Online Casino||888 Poker|
|No Deposit Bonus||$20 Free|
|Deposit Bonus||100% up to $1,500|
|Atlantic City Partner||Caesars Interactive Entertainment|
How It Works
When you register a new account at 888poker you’ll receive $20 free – $4 cash and $6 in tournament entry tickets, as well as an additional $10 for play at 888 Casino. 888’s deposit bonus is released in increments, with $10 released each time you collect 100 Bonus Points.
If you have played on 888 in recent memory, you have already seen all that the software has to offer. It hasn’t had any significant updates in years, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
888’s software is known for being stable, and save for the occasional hiccup (e.g. inserting players into the small blind in tournaments when arriving at a table), it functions rather smoothly.
The Lobby has “Quick Seat” and “My Favorites” tabs which are used to thrust you into the action in just a few seconds. At the table, the visuals and sounds are slightly above mediocre, but still a step up from party/Borgata’s archaic offering. All the usual customizable options you’d expect from an online poker giant are there for you as well.
3D and Webcam-Connected Tables
One interesting feature found only on 888 is the option to make your cards and table turn “3D”, so long as you wear appropriate 3D glasses.
Another innovative feature is the ability to look your opponents in the eyes on webcam-connected tables. This could be a lot of fun, especially when playing against your friends/rivals at private tables. The fact that only 888 and Pokerstars offer these invite-only private games is mind-boggling. The most enjoyment at the tables often comes in competing against your buddies.
Other features unique to 888 include the ability to “throw” certain items (eggs, tomatoes, trophies, etc.) at other players, and the option to set special background colors for tournament final tables. The former is a minor addition, devised to add a little humor to the grind. The latter is more useful as it helps players to quickly distinguish which tables need their primary focus.
888 NJ offers your standard assortment of No Limit, Fixed Limit, and Pot Limit games. But while Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud variants are all available, only the Hold’em tables see regular traffic.
888 is known to be beginner friendly and caters to the micro/low stakes player. Nightly tournaments include the $30 rebuy $10k, the $10 rebuy $5k, and the $100 buy-in High Roller $2,500.
During the day the entry fees are modestly priced, with satellite tournaments starting at one cent and all other entries but one coming in at $15 and under.
888’s vividly colored virtual lobby displays the plethora of options available throughout daytime hours, with each color representing a separate variation of poker waiting to be played. Turbo, deep stacks, step satellites, and freeroll options all make 888 the champion of the budget friendly player.
While the site has no trouble attracting lower stakes users, however, lack of mid and high-stakes traffic has made it difficult for 888 to put together a signature tournament series.
In an effort to bring bigger players to the table, 888 offers $100,000 in guaranteed tournaments every weekend.
Recently, some of the nightly $10k and $5k guarantees have had slight overlays, and when they have indeed covered, it has only been by a slight margin.
Case in point, the site’s weekly flagship tournament, the Sunday Ultimate Warrior $50,000 Guarantee, was recently almost $20,000 short of covering. Obviously, something has to give, as 888 can’t sustain those numbers for too many consecutive Sundays.
The micro and low-stakes action is hot and heavy at 888 cash-game tables. The site consistently boasts the highest number of players at the $.25/$.50 stake and lower, while PokerStars and party/Borgata receive the lion share of the higher limit traffic.
Overall, 888’s traffic is comparable to PokerStars, with both sites averaging 110 players each over a seven-day period. party/Borgata, in comparison, averages around 75.
888, like all online poker rooms, makes the majority of its profit by taking rake from real-money pots at cash-game tables. For every 18 cents put into the pot, one cent is set aside for rake. This comes out to a rate of 5.56%, which is the same as party/Borgata, but slightly higher than the 5% charged at PokerStars. The rake cap, or limit on the amount of rake taken out of each pot, is for the most part better than party/Borgata (especially at higher limit games) and practically identical to that of Pokerstars.
Loyalty Program and Promos
The promotions found at 888 are meager in comparison to its New Jersey competitors. The site offers average rakeback and modest freeroll tournaments in its 888rewards program with eligibility determined by status.
Before we get into those freerolls, let’s first make sense of the Status Points and rakeback offered. You begin your 888poker journey at the Bronze level, and as you play and generate more rake, you automatically climb the status tiers. But while the next step on the ladder, the Iron tier, is just a short 50 points away, reaching the top levels requires some serious dedication.
- Bronze: 5% rakeback
- Iron: 50 points ($25 in rake monthly) – 8% rakeback
- Bronze: 200 points ($100 in rake monthly) – 10% rakeback
- Silver: 3,000 points ($1,500 in rake monthly) – 15% rakeback
- Gold: 6,000 points ($3,000 in rake monthly) – 20% rakeback
- Platinum: 20,000 points ($10,000 in rake monthly) – 35% rakeback
Comparing the 888rewards Platinum level with its competitors, we can quickly see that the 888 program was not designed with the high-volume grinder in mind.
- 888rewards Platinum: $10k in monthly rake – 35% rakeback for a month
- PokerStars Supernova: $757 in monthly rake – 27%-30% rakeback for a year
- Borgata’s Black Label Elite: $2,500 in monthly rake – 20% rakeback on tournament tickets (less rakeback for cash), quarterly
Here’s a look at the 888 freeroll awards:
- Iron: $375 weekly freeroll
- Bronze: $1,000 weekly freeroll
- Silver+: $3,000 monthly freeroll
A nice gesture (especially for lower status value hunters), but probably not motivating anyone to put in extra volume.
- PayNearMe: Allows you to deposit at a local 7-Eleven convenience store (max $500)
- Online Banking Transfer (max $1,500)
- Visa/MasterCard (max $7,500)
- PayPal (max $8,000)
- ACH Transfer (max $30,000)
- NETELLER (max $90,000)
- Cashier at Caesars Casino (max $100,000)
A welcome addition to the above list, not found elsewhere in New Jersey, is the return of PayPal to the US poker landscape. A longtime favorite payment processor of online poker players, the familiarity of having PayPal as an option may help soothe some players’ apprehension about depositing through bank transfers.
Withdrawals are quick and painless as you can using an ACH transfer, PayPal, or NETELLER if you had previously used them to make your deposit. You can also cash out at the Cashier’s Cage at Caesars Casino, or by requesting a check. Support is usually quick to help with any cashier issues which may arise.
The bar is set low in New Jersey in terms of poker customer support, and 888 does nothing to distinguish itself in either direction. I went to download the online help app from their site and my anti-virus warned me of a potential virus (which it doesn’t do very often). To be sure, I don’t believe 888 is sending out infected downloads, but the warning could scare away potential new players.
Live chat is handy but only available from 4:00 PM until midnight. Email support is slow at times but helpful, with phone support being your best bet. All of my dealings with support have been friendly enough.
- Beginner friendly promotions
- Softest competition
- Consistent low-stakes action
- Competitive rake and rakeback (for lower stakes players especially)
- PayPal option
- Unique and innovative features which up the entertainment value (3D, webcam games)
- Tournament traffic is unsustainable
- High-volume cash grinders aren’t rewarded with any promotions of value
- No SnG leaderboard
- No major updates to software in years