- Household name in gambling
- Top-notch bonus program
- Betting affiliation = soft competition
- Software compatible with all platforms
- Membership in Microgaming network
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Founded in 1886, Ladbrokes is a household name in Europe when it comes to gambling and especially sports betting. Ladbrokes didn’t move into the world of online poker until 2005, so its sports betting and casino games are still way more popular. The biggest market for Ladbrokes is the UK, especially Irish and British gamblers. Though Ladbrokes got into the online poker game a little late, nearly missing the online poker boom, they still operate a relevant and high-traffic poker room.
Part of the reason for their large number of poker players is the decision to move from a really weak network to the huge and popular Microgaming Network. The additional traffic, plus casino gamblers and sports bettors stumbling into cash games to kill time, means that Ladbrokes is finally coming into its own as a provider of awesome poker.
The best thing about Ladbrokes’ software is that it is compatible with just about every platform you can imagine: a traditional downloadable version, a Flash-based interface that is both Mac- and PC-compatible, and a more modern 3D animated gaming platform to compete with the state of the art graphics found elsewhere. Bear in mind that their Instant Play version offers fewer options than their download version, which doesn't support Mac.
Microgaming Network sites are known for having good enough graphics with user-friendly lobbies and tables. In fact, Ladbrokes offers tons of table options thanks to their affiliation with Microgaming: you can look at hand history, keep notes, track statistics, and even play poker in your web browser as opposed to through the downloadable client.
Since Ladbrokes is the world’s largest sportsbook, there are some fish that swim in from over in the casino and bookmaker’s. The switch to the Microgaming Network increased the competition level, but there are still plenty of poker amateurs killing time while football scores come in.
If the Microgaming Network were open to US players, no doubt Ladbrokes Poker would be one of the top poker rooms in the world. Unfortunately, until the US sorts out their poker legislation, no US bets are accepted at Ladbrokes. Even without Americans and their poker cash, Ladbrokes’ peak traffic is good for around 4,000 cash game players. That means ring games are easy to find at most levels, but especially at lower stakes holdem and Omaha.
Ladbrokes Poker runs what they call their VIP Loyalty Bonus, rewarding up to 30% in equivalent rakeback as part of their Poker Player Club. All registered players are automatically enrolled in this club, that hands out bonuses up to 30% and access to monthly freeroll tourneys. Your VIP Level determines your bonus and you get this bonus paid out once a month.
Ladbrokes’ Achilles heel is promotions. A switch to a welcome match bonus based on player points means smaller bonuses for most players, especially beginners who won’t be able to earn a ton of player points in their first few months of membership. Ladbrokes’ million dollar rake race challenge and a handful of random bonuses and new promotions are alright, but their competition is much more bonus and promotion friendly.
The best promotions at Ladbrokes are the live tournament and prize packages, such as all-expense paid trips to Las Vegas, Ireland and other parts of the UK, and the €3 MILLION in guaranteed prizes every month. If Ladbrokes offered more promotions, no doubt they’d be one of the best-reviewed poker rooms in the world.