General: What can I say about Party Poker that hasn't already been said? To some it is the Mecca of online poker. To others it is the popular girl that became homecoming queen even though she wasn't the prettiest, smartest or best in any other way. For me it falls somewhere in between and any negatives are ultimately outweighed by the sheer number of people that play there.
Yes, it is a fact that Party Poker is by far the most popular online poker room on the internet. Somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 people are playing at any point during peak hours. This is by far the best quality Party Poker possesses, as even Party Poker's detractors would readily admit, many of those people are horrible at poker. If you're playing solely for the fun of playing, you should shop around and find the room that suits your tastes best. If you're playing to make money, there aren't many options better than Party Poker.
Games: Hold'Em, Omaha , 7 Card Stud, Omaha High/Low, 7 Card Stud High/Low
With ring games ranging from $0.50/$1.00 limit tables all the way up to high stakes no limit tables; you can find whatever stakes you're looking for at any time of the day. Of course, there are also loads of tournaments available.
Every Saturday there is a big $200k tournament. Every Sunday there is a bigger $250k guaranteed tournament, and there are countless other tournaments daily with up to a million dollars in guaranteed prize money. As an example of a cheaper tournament, as I write this there is a $5+$1 no limit hold'em tournament taking place. 1147 people signed up, so the winner will take home $5740. Along with numerous daily satellite tournaments to give you a chance to earn your way into the $200k or million dollar guaranteed tournaments a bit more cheaply, there are occasionally satellite tournaments available that allow you to win travel expenses and entry into really huge real life tournaments. For example right now $300 + $28 is the cost for a tournament where 1 in 42 entrants will win a trip to the Crown Casino in Melbourne to play in the Aussie Million tournament.
Lately, my favorite has been sit-n-go tournaments. Sit-n-go's are smaller tournaments, 1-3 tables (10-30 players), that basically allow you to play no limit at a single table cheaply. They get rid of some of the problems encountered when playing against lousy players at a limit table (primarily that you can't raise enough to get anyone to fold, so everyone hangs around and your good hand gets beat on the river over and over) and also eliminate both the amount of time and amount of players you need to knock out to win a full-on multi-table tournament. SNG's are also available at any time of the day.
As far as the Freerolls, unfortunately there isn't as much to report. There usually is a $5000 freeroll every couple weeks strictly for new players, as well as daily lucky dollar ($1+0) tournaments for new players. Aside from that there is an unannounced freeroll here and there once or twice a month.
Software/Servers: The best thing I can say for the Party Poker software is that it doesn't try to do too much. The graphics and sounds are both essentially standard and even could pass as understated compared to some of the louder, flashier (and often annoying) counterparts. The downside to the simple set-up is that there are no stats available to help analyze your play. I've heard people complain about buttons disappearing and various other software glitches, but nothing like this has ever happened in my experience.
I've always been generally impressed with Party Poker's servers as well. I've never been lagged at all, and the one time I can remember having any trouble at all was when my modem got physically unplugged in the middle of a tournament. I was shocked when, after plugging it back in, I was connected to my table and playing again within about 5 seconds. I didn't even miss a hand.
Bonus: Right now if you sign up for a new Party Poker through SweetFreeRolls.com, you will automatically be entered into a Party Poker Million qualifying tournament (a $32 value) upon making your first deposit. Just click any of the Party Poker links or banners on my site and download the software and you'll be good to go. There are periodically re-deposit bonuses as well, usually at 35% or 50%. On top of that you can get $50 for referring a friend.
Party Poker tip: (This is pretty much general poker knowledge so I'm not trying to take credit for coming up with this concept, but it applies all the time at Party Poker.) Try to remember that when you're playing really horrible players, they aren't thinking about what cards you have, only the cards in their hand. You can't bluff the worst players. They are too dumb to trick. The psychology of the game is just lost on them. So if they have pocket jacks and an ace comes on the flop and you raise big to make them think you have a pair of aces, they will probably call your bet, because all they know is that pocket jacks are pretty good. You can't bluff an idiot. Just beat him the old fashioned way.
Conclusion: There is plenty to like about Party Poker. With the incredible amount of traffic in both tournaments and ring games, there is a lot of loose competition to be had. Party Poker also consistently offers the biggest tournaments. (Aside from what I've already mentioned, they have the Party Poker Million tournament every year, which reportedly will have over $6 million in prize money this year.) The main negative aspect of Party Poker is bigger rakes and tournament fees than most other sites. The software is pretty average and doesn't end up being much of a positive or negative. The bottom line is that, thanks to their advertising campaigns and word of mouth, this is The poker place for lot of people. Thankfully many of those people suck at cards.
8.25 out of 10
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