bwin is a global online poker room which does not accept US players and offers new members a 100% up to $500 bonus.
Bwin Poker is part of the Ongame network, which has the fifth highest traffic volume online today, only slightly behind Party Poker. It shares its tables with other popular Ongame rooms including Poker Room, Red Kings, Betsson, Eurobet, Euro Poker, Mansion Poker, Poker Loco, Hollywood Poker, and several others. Because this room doesn’t allow US players there is much more traffic when Europeans are awake and available to play.
Microstakes players will be happy with the fact that bwin offers no limit games as low as $0.02/$0.04. The highest No-limit Hold’em game supported by the site is now $50/$100, which means that high rollers can find a fairly large game on bwin. If you don’t like Hold’em you can also choose from Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud, and 5 Card Draw. The number of tables for these games can be limited however, especially late at night. At 11 PM EST on a Saturday night, for example, we found a couple of low limit Omaha games, but no Omaha Hi/Lo tables running at all, only two 7 Card Stud tables, and one 5 Card Draw table.
If you’re a microstakes player and you enjoy No-limit Hold’em Sit & Go tournaments, you will have plenty of company at Bwin Poker. It gets slightly more difficult to find a game the higher you go, especially later at night. You shouldn’t expect to find many games above $50+$4 if you decide to play outside peak hours. Bwin has full table and short-handed Sit & Goes, as well as multi-table Sit & Goes (from two tables to five tables). There are also Sit & Go tables for games other than Hold’em, but they fill much more slowly (and not at all late at night).
There is a decent variety of scheduled multi-table tournaments available at bwin. One of their biggest tournaments is held every third Saturday and features a $220+$15 buy-in with $500,000 guaranteed. There are a variety of satellites available for this tournament (which guarantees $111,000 to first place). The structure is also fairly good, with a 3000 chip starting stack and 20 minute blinds. Other interesting tournaments include a $5000 guaranteed $2+$0.25 rebuy; a weekly ‘Big Deal’ tournament with a $150,000 guaranteed prize pool; tournaments featuring games other than Hold’em; and many other regular freeze-out type tournaments. Participation in multi-table tournaments range anywhere from 12 people to a few thousand people depending on the game and the buy-in. Occasionally tournaments will be canceled due to too few people registering (usually games other than Hold’em or satellites).
The interface at bwin Poker is basic, but fairly responsive and easy to work with. The lobby can show cash games or tournaments at the click of a button and there are also links to the cashier and support (which sometimes takes a while to load and does so in a separate browser window).
Bwin has done a couple of things to improve its poker interface and make it available to more players, though. First, Bwin players can play from their browser, instead of downloading a client. This is perfect for Mac users or players who don’t want to download software onto their computer. Second, Bwin now offers players the chance to play poker anywhere with the bwin Poker Pro app for mobile phones. Simply log in to the site, download the free app and you can play poker on one of the largest poker networks anywhere, anytime! The app is supported by many different phones. There is a separate page for iPhone users to download a separate app.
If you click on cash games in the lobby there is a tab corresponding to the type game you wish to play and all the available tables. The tables can be sorted by limit and number of players, as well as pot size, % of players per flop, and hands played per hour. If you highlight any given table all these stats appear in a little box on the right side of the lobby.
Clicking on tournaments in the lobby will show you something similar, with a Scheduled Tournaments tab, a Sit & Go tab, and a Private tab. Tournaments can be sorted by start time (which shows you how many minutes remaining for tournament starts within the hour), tournament type, game type, buy-in, status, and number of entrants. The box on the right hand side gives you details about prize pool and starting stacks when you highlight a given tournament. Double clicking on a tournament brings you to a somewhat shoddy tournament lobby which doesn’t open in a separate window. If you want to compare a couple of tournaments you need to click “tournament info” in order to open a separate window in your browser with full tourney information including prize payouts.
The actual tables run fairly smoothly without much confusion. There is no option to turn animations off but that’s not so bad because cards are dealt pretty quickly. The full tables seat ten players and the short-handed tables seat five. Each seat comes complete with an image of a person (always the same person in any given seat). If you feel that these images clutter the table you can turn them off (you do this in the lobby under ‘preferences’). With images turned off the tables are much simpler and look very clean. There is a small chat box on the bottom right side underneath the table and you can decide what you will see in the box with easy option clicks. The chat box can also be detached into a separate larger window if you prefer.
Poker Room Action
If you play at bwin Poker during peak European times, there is plenty of action in both tournaments and cash games. At a peak time of around 4 PM EST there are between 8,000 and 10,000 at the cash tables alone, making for juicy games and fairly good table selection. Playing at peak times is best if you are looking to play larger stakes or at games other than Hold’em. If you’re a small stakes player you will usually find a few tables to play at, no matter what time of day you login.
Ease of Game, Ease of Making Money, Fish Rating
The cash games at bwin Poker feature a mix of decent and bad players, and these are much softer than those at say Party Poker or Poker Stars. You can find some fairly high pot sizes if you scroll up and down the cash game lobby, especially during peak hours. Playing at bwin showed a fair amount of calling station type players that are not nearly as aggressive as those at Poker Stars (at a sample size of $50NL and $100NL). For example, it was rare to see a 3-bet when there was a raise preflop (which is not the case at Party Poker or Poker Stars).
While the pots can become quite big and the players per flop can be quite high for a given table, there are still some good players and multi-tablers. As long as you note these players however, you should be able to make money playing cash at bwin.
Tournaments at Bwin Poker have players who are much worse than those found at Poker Stars. There are some people who know what they’re doing and have probably read Harrington on Hold’em, but there are also a lot of players who have no clue. You will find that Bwin has a greater percentage of players that bust out after an hour of play than at Poker Stars (close to 65% in the tournaments we’ve participated in), despite similar structures and starting stacks.
Signup Bonus Codes and Promotions
By signing up at bwin Poker through FTR, you will be given a 100% first deposit bonus worth up to $500! This bonus isn’t available to the general public; you must use FTR’s special links to qualify. The Bwin Poker bonus clears in 10 equal increments, which are unlocked by earning 6 points per dollar of bonus. You’ll have 60 days to clear the bonus. Paying out in increments make this bonus great because players will not have to worry about losing the entire bonus if they don’t clear it in the allotted time. Overall it will take 3,000 bwin points to clear the entire $500, but you will be able to benefit whether you clear the entire $500 or not.
Also, from time to time Bwin Poker will offer various reload bonuses to its members, but this is random and you never know when you are going to get it offered. They use a special inside program where they will e-mail you if you have a potential bonus opportunity. But let’s get real, who wants to wait? You just want to be able to get your bonus when you sign up! However, if you do happen to get a bonus offer, here is the information on earning it:
Bwin Status Points are used to obtain its poker bonuses and are collected automatically when playing real money games. Bonuses are announced via email or the poker website on a regular basis and usually need a bonus code. Each bonus requires a certain number of Status Points, and once they are earned, the bonus is automatically credited to your account. Status Points are earned at a rate of 1 per €0.50 rake taken in a given cash game hand. For example, if your portion of the rake paid in a particular hand is €0.20, you will receive 0.4 poker points. For real money tournaments, you will receive 1 point per €0.50 paid in tournament fees. For example, playing a €20+€2 tournament will earn you 4 Status Points.
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Customer and Technical Support
Clicking the support button on the upper right side of the lobby at bwin Poker will open your web-browser and show you the options you have for contacting Bwin’s support.
There are two categories of support: Poker Support and Bwin Support. For bonus and game inquiries or technical poker issues you contact Poker Support. For issues regarding user ID, deposits, cashouts or other account inquiries you contact Bwin Support.
There’s an option on the support page to directly email them from their site. One slightly annoying thing is that once you press the ‘submit’ button there is no confirmation message that the email actually went through. Also, Poker Support operates from 10 AM to 8 PM, Monday through Friday, and 12 PM to 8 PM on Saturday and Sunday (time zone GMT+1) so there is no one to help you out if you like to play late.
If you’d rather call, each support group has a phone number that operates between 10 AM and 10 PM daily (GMT+1). For Poker Support call 00350 200 47 196 and for Bwin Support call 00350 200 777 61. You can also reach bwin by fax at 0043-1-205330-18000. There is unfortunately no live chat option (despite there being a general chat option in the main lobby).
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Ongame Poker Network
bwin is part of the Ongame network which also shares traffic with the following brands: