You don’t have to be a black chip player to play at Black Chip Poker. Low and mid-stakes poker players and high rollers are all welcome, and if you live in the United States, no problem.
Black Chip Poker was founded in 2008. While the site does not bring anywhere near as much traffic as the two leading poker sites, PokerStars and Full Tilt, since switching in December, 2012 from the Merge Network to the Winning Poker Network, it has grown noticeably in popularity. During peak periods, as many as 5,000 players might be logged on simultaneously.
It is no secret that online casinos usually give out big Welcome Bonuses to their new slot players when they first sign up and make a deposit. However, online poker players have been traditionally largely ignored. If that has been your experience, you have a very pleasant surprise waiting for you at Black Chip Poker. You not only receive a very generous 100% match of your first deposit, up to $1,000; you also get to play in up to four new depositor freerolls. Make sure to use the exclusive bonus code from CardsChat.com – CC2000. Then, your only tough decisions will be what to play when because this is a poker room where the action and excitement never stop. Cash games, freerolls, sit and go and guaranteed tournaments are all taking place continuously 24/7, with enough variety to suit a very wide range of players. In fact, if you want to play multiple games simultaneously, this is the site to do it. The software allows you to play up to 40 tables at a time!
Another way in which Black Chip Poker sets itself apart from the competition is the unique format of some of its tournaments. Most poker tournaments have a predetermined number of payout spots depending on the total number of entrants and continue until everyone but the last person standing is eliminated. Black Chip Poker not only offers this type of tournament, but also time based tournaments (where the tournament stops and payouts are determined after a designated amount of time and hand-based tournaments (which end after a designated number of hands). Other exciting promotions like the Black Chip Poker rake race (a leaderboard competition) and satellites to try to win a seat to a world class event add to the fun.
At Black Chip Poker, you don’t have to be a high roller to feel like one because every time you contribute to the rake in a cash game or buy in to a tournament your earned points accumulate. You can take your benefits either in the form of Black Chip Poker rakeback payouts or special rewards based on your standing in the 6-tiered Elite Benefits Loyalty Program. You can use your rewards to buy into more tournaments or towards purchases in the Black Chip Poker store.
Last but not least, if you are an all round gambler who likes wagering on other games in addition to poker, you will appreciate the fact that Black Chip Poker is not just a poker site. Whenever you feel like taking a break from poker to dabble in other casino games or sports betting, you don’t have to log out and change to another site. You can enjoy convenient one stop online gambling anytime because you can access those other options directly from the Black Chip Poker lobby.
U.S. Players Welcome
There’s no shortage of poker sites available on the Internet. But if you live in the United States, and particularly if you are not a resident of Nevada, Delaware, or New Jersey, currently the only three states where state-run online poker rooms are legal, finding a site that it is not only reputable but where you can play legally can be a major challenge. Simply picking a site you know nothing about and hoping it is okay can be very risky. Fortunately, our expert reviewers at Cardschat.com have already done the preliminary work for you of analyzing many different poker sites and determining which ones are worthy of your play. Black Chip Poker meets our criteria as a legitimate, well-run site. And you know it caters to American players because USD is the only accepted currency and English is the only supported language.
Like any other site, Black Chip Poker is clearly not perfect in every area. Also, if you are just learning the game, even though there are plenty of low stakes tables, it might not be the ideal site for you because Black Chip Poker attracts a lot more skilled regulars than it does so-called “fish.” If you are a low stakes grinder looking for easy pickings, you might be disappointed, too, because you will probably run into a lot more tight aggressive players like yourself. On the other hand, having opponents who are at least as good as yourself is a great way to fine tune your skills and step up your own level of play.
Where this site really excels is in its tremendous variety of guaranteed tournaments. You can log on any hour of the day or night and get in on the action. That is more than can be said not only for many online poker sites, but also for many brick and mortar poker rooms. In summary, if you would like to enjoy the unparalleled convenience of playing online poker, but haven’t done so in a while for lack of a place to play, Black Chip Poker might be a very good bet.
Security and Fair Play
Black Chip Poker takes its responsibility to provide a secure online playing environment very seriously. As stated on the website, all personal information and financial transactions are fully protected. In addition, members of the site’s security team oversee and review activities 24/7 to make certain that all aspects of the operation are being conducted properly. The site has no tolerance for player collusion.
These assertions are backed up by the fact that Black Chip Poker has been successfully operating online since 2008. Still, it would be helpful for the site to provide more specific information about its license and who the outside monitors are.
Black Chip Poker switched from the Merge Network to the Winning Poker Network in December, 2012. The decision to change networks was presumably based in part on the desire to improve the quality of customer service and offer faster withdrawals and in part to be able to offer a wider range of games and tournaments. Based on significantly increased customer traffic, it appears that the decision was the right one. Using the exclusive bonus code on Cardschat.com you will get a $1000 sign-up bonus.
The new software allows players to customize tables and take advantage of a variety of other special features such as reviewing personal hand histories and taking notes on other players. The use of third party software such as Hold ‘em Manager, for example, is also allowed. There are no avatars and the emphasis is on providing a site that is serviceable rather than sophisticated. One nice addition is that players can review cash games and tournament schedules in separate windows simultaneously. Having all of this information visible at the same time can help with the tough decision of what game or combination of games to play at a particular time. Multi-tabling, up to 40 tables at once, is an option for anyone who wants it. The following are some of the other special features of the Black Chip Poker software.
- Preferred seat choices
- Auto buying
This feature allows bettors to set up their buy-in criteria for ring games in advance so whenever they want to play, they can buy in automatically which saves them the time and trouble of using the buy-in window every time.
- Cap Tables
Action for all players is capped at 30 blinds, thereby providing a level playing field for both big stack players and small stack players.
- Time Bank
Players can draw on their time bank if they need more time to act on a difficult hand.
- Late Registration
Given the combination of your own busy day and this site’s very packed tournament schedule, the late registration option is a most welcome addition.
The software is easy to use, and downloading it onto your computer, which is also quick and easy, should take a couple of minutes at most. Downloading is currently the only means of access, though. Unlike many other varieties of online gambling software, there is no instant play flash version, and the software has not been adapted for mobile device use either.
Another limitation is that the Black Chip Poker software cannot be used on Mac computers. When Black Chip Poker belonged to the Merge Gaming Network, both PC and Mac players could use the site. However, with the switch to the Winning Poker Network, Black Chip Poker Mac compatibility ended.
Poker is a game with a large element of luck as well as skill, and you can’t always count on that luck going your way right out of the starting gate. That is why a Welcome Bonus can be a big help in conserving your bankroll early on if the cards are not cooperating and conversely, too, when you are on a roll, giving you the ammunition to take full advantage of it. Black Chip Poker’s Welcome Bonus is one of the most generous you will find anywhere online.
As soon as you register and make your first deposit, you receive a 100% match bonus up to $1,000, just by using the Black Chip Poker bonus code & the minimum deposit is only $50. The bonus is then released in increments of $1 for every 27.5 reward points earned playing poker. Both cash games and tournaments count. You receive 5.5 award points for each $1 contributed to the rake in cash games or each $1 paid in tournament fees. Players have 60 days from the time of sign up to meet the play requirements. Meanwhile, any time you wish, you can check where you stand (amount released, amount pending, and time left) in the Bonus section of the Rewards tab.
In addition, as a new player, throughout the first month, you receive a free entry in up to four weekly $250 New Depositor Freerolls taking place every Saturday. You don’t even need to enter a Black Chip Poker bonus code more than once to get it. Your best bet is to sign up with the site Sunday through Thursday, so you get to play in all four freerolls. If you sign up Friday or Saturday, your first freeroll is not until the following week.
IMPORTANT: When you set up your account, in order to ensure you receive both the generous Welcome Bonus up to $1,000 and your new depositor freeroll tickets, be sure to enter the 2016 Black Chip Bonus Code, CC2000.
Deposits and Withdrawals
At the beginning of this Black Chip Poker Review, we list various methods of deposit that can be used for funding your account; most methods can also be used for Black Chip Poker withdrawal requests. In addition, there may be other methods you can use, depending on your country. Unfortunately, U.S. players typically find that most online poker rooms open to them only offer them only a few of these options, and Black Chip Poker is no exception. Check with the site directly to help you select the best banking method for you.
The good news is that since the switch to the Winning Poker Network, Black Chip Poker cashouts have become a lot faster. Processing time is now on a par with what you will find at Bovada, which accepts American players and has a reputation for fast cashouts. While a check might still take a couple of weeks before you receive it, Western Union and Moneygram withdrawals are processed in 1-4 days.
When making Black Chip Poker withdrawal requests, keep in mind that there are minimum and maximum amounts for both deposits and withdrawals which vary for the different methods. There are also banking fees. While the site will cover the fees for Western Union and Moneygram deposits over $300, Black Chip Poker withdrawal fees are not covered.
Contrary to what you might think from the name of this site, Black Chip Poker, there are plenty of low stakes games being offered. Also, the upper limit is more what would be considered mid-stakes poker than high stakes poker. Stakes typically range from .01/.01 up to $30/60, sometimes higher in peak hours. Your choice of games includes No Limit, Pot Limit and Fixed Limit Hold ‘Em; Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo; 7 Card Stud and 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo. Hold-em, especially $2/4 no limit, is the most popular, followed by Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo. The stud games rarely run except during peak hours..
Poker tournaments, largely because they offer so much bang for the buck, have become very popular with players at all levels. For a relatively small investment and often no more than a few hours of your time, you have a chance to win a lot of money. If you love the thrill and excitement of tournament play, you are in luck because at Black Chip Poker, there are both sit and go and multi-table guaranteed tournaments for every taste and bankroll round the clock every day of the week. Buy-ins range from as little as .06 to as high as $530, but you might still gain entry into a higher price tournament paying only a small fraction of the regular fee by qualifying via satellite. In fact, for some tournaments, you can even win your way in via a freeroll. In addition, all players have ample opportunities to accumulate points from ongoing cash game and tournament play and use them towards buying in to future tournaments.
The following are some of the many popular tournament formats you will find at Black Chip Poker.
Freerolls on Demand: These freeroll tournaments run continuously 24/7 with no pre-set starting time. Each tournament starts as soon as 270 players have registered. Then as soon as registration closes for one tournament, it starts for the next one. Each time you place in the top 10, you earn points towards the leaderboard. The top 10 on the leaderboard earn more tournament entries.
Sit and Go Satellites: Instead of cash prizes, winning players receive a seat in a larger multi-table tournament.
Double or Nothing SNGs: These mini Sit and Go tournaments take much less time than usual. As soon as half of the field is eliminated, all players in the remaining half double their money.
Turbo 10 Guaranteed: No less than 10 guaranteed turbo tournaments take place every day with buy-ins ranging from $2+0.20 to $40 +4.
Big 10 Guaranteed: 10 regular multi-table guaranteed tournaments also run daily with buy-ins ranging from $3 + .30 ($5 + .50 on weekends) to $100 + 9.
Sunday Night $50,000 Guaranteed Tournament: This tournament, with a $215 buy-in (but you can also qualify by satellite), includes $10,000 in starting chips and 15 minute blind levels and is one of the most popular of the Black Chip Poker tournaments.
Bounty Tournaments: Part of the cost to play in the tournament is the bounty on your head if you are eliminated. But every time you eliminate another player, you win that person’s bounty. Even if you don’t finish in the money otherwise, if you win multiple bounties, you can still come out ahead.
Time-Based Tournaments: These tournaments have a set start and end time, at which point prizes are paid out to the players with the most chips.
Hand-Based Tournaments: The tournament ends and payouts are made after the preset number of hands has been dealt.
Final Table Experience: Nine players start with $1,000,000 in chips at the final table. The top 3 positions are paid.
Player recognition at Black Chip Poker doesn’t end with the Welcome Bonus. You continue to receive award points for all real money play thereafter in both cash games and tournaments.
You also have a choice of receiving a percentage of your play returned to you every week in the form of rakeback which you can use towards tournament buy-ins (see website for details) or participating in the site’s 6-tiered Elite Benefits Program. Starting with Player and going all the way up to Icon, each successive level, besides being more prestigious, brings bigger rewards. Points can be redeemed either for purchases at the online store or for tournament tickets. The website is rather vague about the program otherwise. Presumably, once you sign up, additional information is available about both the play requirements and benefits associated with each level. Also, the website could do a better job clarifying what criteria should be used for deciding whether to take the rakeback or the Elite Benefits and also whether switching from one program to the other at a later date is feasible.
As if all the regular activity on this site isn’t enough, there are always special promotions going on to add to the excitement. Some of them are only seasonal or short-term, so you need to keep checking the website for updates. Here is a sample of some of the Exciting Extras being offered right now.
Reload Bonuses: Try to time your deposits for the beginning and middle of each month because those are the two times when your redeposit will be matched 100% up to $200. The reload bonus money is released in $5 increments for each 120 award points you subsequently earn. You have 30 days to meet the play requirements in full.
“The Beast”: a Twice Monthly Progressive Rake Race: All players are automatically entered in this weekly leaderboard competition based on individual contributions to the rake. Every table counts, with rake race winners receiving cash prizes or tournament tickets.
Sit n Crush Progressive Rake Race: This leaderboard competition is comparable to The Beast but based on sit and go play. Winners receive cash prizes or tickets to satellites for live poker events.
High Five October Tournament SeriesThis 5-day tournament running in October includes 25 events and a guaranteed $420,000 in prize pools, with buy-ins ranging from $1+0.10 to $500+0.50. The highlight will be the $200 + $15 $150,000 guaranteed Main Event.
Black Chip Poker offers all players 24/7 Customer Support to address any questions or concerns. The service can be accessed via live chat, phone, or email.