Noble Poker

General: Noble Poker is an endless contradiction for me. I like the graphics, but I hate the sound effects. I love the tournaments, but I don't like the ring games. Also I hate the servers. They have gotten a lot better, but they are still troublesome at times.

For whatever reason this is still a place I like to play, and I'm not the only one as they have built a relatively small but rabidly dedicated following in their first few months. There are things to like here in quick freerolls, no tournament fees on the tournaments and lots of guaranteed money in the tournaments. There are some flaws, though, including a significant one in the slow servers.

Games: Hold'Em, Omaha and Omaha High/Low

While still not over-crowded, the tables here are much more populated than they once were. It's easily a notch or two above the barren emptiness of some of the smallest sites out there. The tables range from $0.50/$1.00 up to $20/$40, but there is usually a lot more going on at the lower limit tables and not so much at the higher stakes.

The tournaments are awesome, though. They have continued to grow and grow, adding lots of guaranteed money to many of their tournaments along the way. The cheapest tourneys are $1 + $0.10 with $200 guaranteed prize money and the biggest are $300 + $15 behemoths with WSOP related prizes. I'll always be a sucker for cheap tournaments with big pay outs.

The daily freerolls ( 2 am, 5 am, 11 am and 4:30 pm Eastern) here are also pretty nice. They are limited to 500 people, so you basically have to be waiting to register as they fill up fast. With such a small number of people playing, though, the tournament goes really quickly and I like that. A guy can only take so many 4 or 5 hour Poker Stars freerolls before he wants to commit some kind of grisly murder suicide. The Noble Poker quickie freerolls have potentially saved lives.

Software/Servers: As I stated above, I like the graphics. There is a lot of animation going on, and simply more detail and movement than most of the other poker software I've seen. The characters look more realistic, especially the guy that looks like Dick Cheney. Jesus! That guy looks like just like Dick Cheney!

On the downside, however, the sound effects are unbearable. Grisly murder suicide unbearable? Yessir. Thankfully it's pretty easy to turn them off. Basically the characters talk and announce all their moves and the dealer talks and announces every card. It is an unthinkable cacophony of old men in Hawaiian shirts raising, cowboys folding, Frenchmen with berets calling and the dealer rattling off jack of diamonds, 7 of clubs, ace of spades flop so fast as to make ones head spin into a crazed rage of grisly mu...ok nevermind. (I learned at the Western Michigan University school of journalism that three "grisly murder suicide" jokes is one too many.)

The horrible sounds however, sound like Beethoven and Bach dueling on angel's harps when compared with the magnitude of atrocity the shitty servers have somehow stumbled upon. Holocaust atrocity? Well, not quite. I should point out, first of all, that I've never had problems getting into and playing a pay tournament. I can't say for certain whether or not that is merely coincidence as the freerolls, on the other hand, have pretty consistently been a problem in the past. A few months ago it took up to 45 minutes to log on to a freeroll. The crazy part about this was that it essentially resulted in a handful of people collecting blinds while the majority of the people were trying and failing to get on and play.

The situation has improved a great deal, as most people (possibly all) are now able to log in and play from the start, and the servers seem faster and more responsive in general. I have still been disconnected and have had to restart the program a time or two rather recently in the middle of a freeroll.

Bonus: They now offer an awesome 100% bonus on first deposits up to $800! That's a mighty big bonus. Their refer-a-friend plan is a little different as it pays you $25 and enters you and your friend into a monthly $500 buddy freeroll with other friends and referrers.

Conclusion: Noble Poker is relatively new and has several positives going for it in cheap tournaments with big payouts, good graphics and daily freerolls. If they can completely fix the problems with their servers, this will be among the best places to play. With the recent improvements, these guys have put themselves near the top of the second tier. With the massive 100% bonus, this could be a great place to earn.

6.5 out of 10

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