32Red Poker Review
32Red Poker is part of the 32Red plc, a British company which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and licensed by the Government of Gibraltar. It is an extremely popular poker room and, as part of the Microgaming Poker network, enjoys plenty of traffic. It is also the online poker site of choice for the famous Hendon Mob of professional poker players from the UK - namely Barny Boatman, Ram Vaswani, Ross Boatman and Joe Beevers.
32Red Poker allows you to play via your web browser or a downloadable software application. Since the latter is likely to be the choice of all but the least serious players, that's what we focused on for the purposes of this review. The software is just over 5Mb is size and takes just a couple of heartbeats to download and install. You are then required to enter some personal information in order to start playing at the tables. The whole process took just a minute or two and went without a hitch.
The variety of games on offer here is surprising, even for us. You have Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha H/L, 5 Stud and 7 Stud. You can play for play money to get use to the place, then choose to play cash games, sit and go tournaments, multi table tournaments, satellites, free rolls, heads-up, progressive bad beat tables or TV tables.
Playing at the TV tables means that the game may be broadcast on a TV show (Poker Night Live - Sky Channel 843), though obviously with a delayed feed so that viewers at home won't know what cards you are holding.
Progressive bad beat tables take an extra rake from each hand to fund a progressive bad beat pot. Whether a bad beat crops up often enough to warrant paying an extra rake is for you to decide, but for us it introduces a kind of "slot machine" mentality which we don't particularly like in our poker. Of course, if you feel differently then those are the tables to take a look at.
No matter what kind of game you play, you can expect a nice environment. Play take place around an oval table (red, of course) with names attached to surrounding seats. The visuals are clean and simple with the emphasis on the game rather than on the kind of avatars you might find at other sites. Cards and chips are nicely represented, and a range of simple sound effects serve to enhance the experience without becoming annoying. The play interface is simple to use, with clearly labelled action buttons. Players have a finite amount of time to act, and the amount of time left for the current turn is represented by a blue bar beneath the player's name.
Because 32Red Poker also offer an online casino, it comes as no surprise that there is some crossover between the poker and the sister casino site. This is most obvious from the "Click to play blackjack" link which appears underneath the dealer's chip tray on each table. We would have preferred this "subtle" advertising to have been kept off the poker table itself, but that's a small criticism and it really doesn't take any effort to ignore the invitation.
Apart from that minor quibble, there is nothing at all to complain about here. The choice of games is wide, the traffic is high and the poker experience is excellent. Add to the mix some valuable promotions for new accounts (check the home page for details) and you can't go wrong.
This 32Red review was updated in September 2013.
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