Bovada Poker Review
The Bovada Poker room launched in 2004 as Bodog, just as the poker boom was starting. The site was a big success but had to rebrand to Bovada after the events of Black Friday in 2011 to ensure that the main brand had no association with American gambling. After struggling in the aftermath of Black Friday, Bovada was sold to Ignition in 2016 and was relaunched as what we know now in 2017.
Bovada runs on the Bodog network and the site itself is based out of Costa Rica. It uses its own proprietary software which is well known for its sleek black and red design. It’s also well known for its rec-friendly policies and soft games.
If you’re looking for a site with plenty of fish, this is the one for you.
Pros and Cons
When choosing a poker site, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons to see if the site is right for you. We’ve outlined what we feel are the most important points to consider when looking at Bovada Poker:
- US Players Accepted – Yes, Bovada does allow American players to play on their site! The options for people playing from the states have been extremely limited since Black Friday but Bovada is here to offer real money games to American players.
- Mac/Mobile Compatible – Bovada poker is not just for players on a Windows laptop/PC, it offers full functionality to players playing from an Apple Mac or from a mobile device. Its mobile option is one of its highlights, as it’s developed a mobile-optimized website so you can play from your phone without having to download an app.
- Large Guarantee MTTs – Tournaments are one of the most popular poker formats out there, with the chance to win big from a small initial investment. Bovada Poker offers some of the largest guarantee MTTs available for Americans, making it a favorite amongst tournament players.
- High Traffic – Bovada Poker is the second biggest American-facing online poker room, with more than 3,000 players playing during its peak hours. It has a number of cash game variants running from the micro stakes to $5/$10 levels, as well as a large number of tournaments running daily.
- Soft Games – One of the things Bovada is best known for in the poker community is the softness of its games. Due to pro-preventing measures such as limiting the max number of tables, removing HUDs, and anonymous tables, the games are mostly filled with recreational players.
- Maximum of 4 Tables Played at Once – One of the measures Bovada has taken to limit the number of professional players that play on the site is to limit the maximum number of tables you can play at once to 4 tables.
- Limited Options for Mixed Games – While the traffic for their main games (Hold’em and Omaha) is high, the options for mixed games such as Stud and 2-7 Lowball are limited compared to other sites.
- Little High Stakes Action – Cash games above the $10/$20 level rarely run for No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha, whereas games above $40/$80 for Limit Hold’em are also a rare sight to see.
Poker Game Selection
Bovada Poker offers three variants of poker for its cash games and tournaments – Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Omaha Hi-Lo. While this may seem limited compared to some of the other sites out there, Bovada more than makes up for it in other areas. The quality of the games is one of the best out there, with most players agreeing that Bovada has some of the softest poker games of any of the legitimate poker rooms. The site was one of the first and is still one of the only poker rooms to offer fully anonymous tables, so there’s no danger of being exploited by players who have built up a significant hand sample on you.
Let’s look at the different formats of poker that are offered on Bovada to see what makes them special:
As mentioned, the game variants that Bovada offers for cash games are Hold’em, Omaha, and Omaha Hi-Lo, with those games being offered as No-Limit Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and Limit Omaha Hi-Lo. The games have three different table sizes, with heads-up, 6max, and 9-handed games available. The games run in size from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/20 for the big-bet games such as NLHE and PLO, whereas the fixed limit games will go as high as $40/$80. Larger games can be opened on request but action rarely runs higher than these limits.
Instead of having a traditional poker lobby where a player can choose from a list of tables with open seats, Bovada has a “quick seat” feature, where a player can choose the kind of table they would like to play at based on stake level and table size, and they will be automatically seated at a table that meets those requirements. This is an effort to eliminate “bum hunting” practices, where professional players will only play at a table where they can see a weaker player is playing.
Bovada also has its own version of fast-fold poker, called Zone. Instead of playing at a single table, you play in a pool of players that are constantly moving tables. When you join, you are randomly seated with 5/8 other players, and you are dealt a hand. Once you have folded or the hand reaches showdown (whichever comes first), you are moved from that table to another completely random table with different players. This format allows you to play upwards of 200 hands an hour, compared to around 50-80 that you would play at a regular table.
Sit and Gos
There are a variety of different sit-and-go formats on offer at Bovada, including Turbo, Heads-Up, Regular, 6 player, 18 player, Double-Ups, and Triple-Ups. Whilst these are mostly comprised of No-Limit Hold’em games, there are Omaha options but they don’t run as often. the buy-in level for sit and goes varies from as low as $1 all the way up to $200 for the highest buy-ins!
The site also offers a special type of sit-and-go called a Jackpot sit-and-go. These are made up of three players and the prize pool is not fixed, rather determined by a multiplier. This multiplier can range from 2x to 1200x your buy-in. The buy-in levels for the Jackpot sit and gos are $2, $7, $15, $30, and $60 – meaning that you can win a potential $72,000 if you hit the biggest multiplier!
One of Bovada’s strongest assets is its extensive tournament schedule; with over $2m offered in guaranteed prizes every week. The majority of tournaments exceed this guarantee, meaning it’s likely closer to $2.2m in prizes each week! The jewel in its crown is the weekly Sunday tournament that has a guaranteed prize pool of $150,000 and has a buy-in of $162. This is by far one of the most popular poker tournaments on the site and it has a guaranteed first-place payout of at least $20,000!
There are a range of tournaments to play on Bovada depending on your buy-in level, with entry fees ranging from $1 for the lowest to over $400 for the highest buy-ins. Each tournament has its own guarantee, with some of the most popular tournaments being repeated at different times of the day, so you can enjoy them no matter your time zone – however, the size of the guarantee may vary depending on what time you play. These tournaments include the Lucky Sevens tournament – $22 buy-in with a $7,777 guarantee, the Crazy Eights tournament – $16.50 buy-in with an $8,888 guarantee, and a $22 6 handed tournament.
Along with these repeating tournaments, there are also staples of the Bovada tournament schedule. These are limited to once a day/week and always have fantastic guarantees for their buy-in. Tournaments that fall under this bracket are the $55 Turbo tournament (up to $30,000 guaranteed), the $82 Knockout tournament (up to $10,000 guaranteed), and the $325 High Roller tournament (up to $75,000 guaranteed). You can easily find these tournaments in the schedule as they are highlighted in different colors.
Players have the option to try and earn a seat into these prestigious tournaments by participating in the many satellites that Bovada Poker offers. Buy-ins for these satellites can range from $1 up to $82 for the high roller tournaments.
Bovada also runs a tournament series every year from the middle of October to the middle of November called The Golden Spade Poker Open. The series offers 150 events for players of all buy-in ranges and offers a total of $10m guaranteed in prizes across the whole month. The buy-ins range from $5.05 to $1055, with satellites also available for the larger events. The series offers two chances at the main event depending on your buy-in level – a $109 “mini” main event with a $150,000 guarantee, and a $450 main event with a $400,000 guarantee. This series was extremely popular last year and is sure to make its way onto the calendar again.
Bonus and Promotions
Everyone loves getting something for nothing, and poker sites have realized that a way they can attract players is by offering increasingly generous bonuses and promotions. Bovada is no exception as it offers its players a welcome bonus as well as in-game promotions to keep players at the tables.
Bovada is currently offering a 100% matched deposit bonus, up to the value of $500. This bonus is issued based on the amount of rewards points you earn within the first 30 days of your deposit – so if you’re looking to take advantage of this offer make sure you do it when you have time to play, otherwise you’ll be missing out.
Bad Beat Bonus
One of the worst parts of poker is making a big hand but getting it cracked by an even better hand. Luckily, Bovada is here to make you feel better about it; if you lose with aces full of kings or better in a cash game, you can win 100x the big blind (up to a value of $1000). However, this bonus is not automatically deposited into your account, you have to contact support in order for them to process it.
Bovada is willing to give you a bonus of 200% of your friend’s initial deposit (up to the value of $100) – with an additional $75 bonus if they deposit using cryptocurrency. The great thing about this promotion is that there is no limit to the number of people you can refer. Sometimes it pays to be popular!
Royal Flush Bonus
If you’re lucky enough to make a royal flush whilst at the cash tables, Bovada will give you a bonus of 50x the big blind (up to a value of $200). You need to use both hole cards to be able to qualify for this promotion and you do need to contact support in order to claim it.
One recent addition Bovada has made is casino bonuses for points earned at the poker table. Once you’ve accrued enough points, you can buy casino bonuses to play risk-free at your favorite table games.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Bovada has brought deposit and withdrawal options into the 21st century with the inclusion of a range of cryptocurrency options. They offer players the choice to make their transactions using Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Litecoin, and Ethereum. As well as these cryptocurrency options, the site has the standard options of credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and player transfers.
Deposits to the site are processed almost immediately, so there isn’t long to wait between depositing and playing! However, it’s a different story when it comes to withdrawing. Depending on your withdrawal method, it could be as fast as 2 hours, or as slow as 2 weeks! We’ve created a couple of helpful tables to show you your deposit and withdrawal options, as well as any minimum/maximum limits that are enforced:
|Deposit Method||Min Deposit||Max Deposit|
|BTC, BCH, BSV, LTC||$10||$5000|
|Direct Bank Transfer||$50||$450|
When depositing, you should be mindful of any fees you may incur. The first deposit with one of Bovada’s accepted credit cards is free but subsequent deposits will incur a fee of 15.9%. Your bank may charge an International Service fee of up to 3% on any transaction made with an international merchant. There are no fees charged by Bovada for cryptocurrency deposits.
|Method||Min Withdrawal||Max WIthdrawal||Frequency||Time|
|BTC, BCH, LTC||$10||No Limit*||1 every 3 days||1-24 hours|
|ETH||$50||No Limit*||1 every 3 days||1-24 hours|
|Check||$100||$3000||1 every 7 days||10-15 days|
|Voucher||$10||$3000||No Limit||24-48 hours|
|MatchPay||$20||$1000||Twice a day||24-48 hours|
*Issued in increments of $9500 until you are fully paid out.
Depending on the method you use to withdraw you may incur withdrawal fees. Bovada will cover the fee for your first non-Bitcoin withdrawal every 90 days. Every additional withdrawal in that 90 day period will incur a $100 processing fee. There are no fees charged for cryptocurrency or voucher withdrawals.
Whilst most online poker rooms have been expanded into the mobile gaming market by creating an app, Bovada has gone down a different route. Instead of an app that needs to be downloaded, taking up space on your phone, Bovada has created a mobile-optimized website that can be easily run from your phone.
It’s really simple to use, just go to the website from your device, select the “Poker” tab, sign in with your login details, and you’re ready to start playing! Like the desktop site, the mobile site is very sleek in its appearance with a gorgeous black and red design. Once you’ve signed in, the site itself is really easy to navigate. When you’re sitting at the table all the important buttons are clearly labeled and there are no issues of important information being too small to see.
The site works with a wide range of mobile devices so no matter whether you’re an android or an apple fan, you’ll be able to play. For those who are new to poker, there’s also the inclusion of play money tables so you can get used to navigating your way around the app before you play with real money. Unfortunately, only cash games are available through the mobile site though they hope to have tournaments and sit and gos available in the future. Unlike some other sites, the full range of offers and promotions are available to players who use the mobile app to sign up.
Customer Service Options
Bovada has a reputation for stellar customer support and in my experience, they have always been super helpful with any queries/questions about the games they offer. They have three methods for you to contact them; email, live chat, and phone. Often getting hold of agents by phone or by live chat is the quickest, usually getting a response within 10-15 minutes but the times can vary depending on the volume of calls coming in. If your query isn’t urgent, I’d recommend sending the team an email so you’re not sat in a queue waiting to speak to someone.
Phone: Speak directly with a customer service representative by dialing 1-888-263-0000.
Live Chat: Chat with a customer service representative using the “Chat Now” dialogue box on the right-hand side of the page.
What Makes this Poker Site Unique
We’ve talked a lot about how great Bovada is, but there are a lot of great poker sites out there, why should you choose Bovada over any of those? One of the unique selling points of Bovada Poker compared to its competitors is its anonymous tables. Bovada was one of the first sites to implement it across all their games and it has done wonders for the quality of their games.
One of the major reasons Bovada has such good games is because of the measures it’s implemented to limit the number of professional players on the site – most notably its anonymous tables. Not being able to track a player from session to session puts the professional at a disadvantage as one of the edges they have over recreational players is they know how to exploit known information better than their opponents. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve been targeted by recreational players, or are tired of the same nits hogging all the tables, this is the perfect site for you.
Another feature Bovada has that relates to this is its Quick Seat feature. Rather than a regular poker lobby where you can look at the tables before you take a seat, Bovada has you set the parameters for the game you’d like to join (table size, stakes, stack size, etc.) and will seat you at a table that corresponds with those restrictions.
Our Final Thoughts
We’ve come to the end of our Bovada review and we’ve covered a lot! This site has so many fantastic features; from its sleek, easy-to-use software, to its anonymous tables and rec-friendly atmosphere, as well as its beautifully designed mobile-optimized website.
With a range of deposit and withdrawal options as well as outstanding 24/7 customer support, it’s easy to see why Bovada is a favorite amongst veteran and beginner poker players. There are always plenty of games to play on Bovada, and with a generous welcome offer and new promotions all the time, Bovada Poker is certainly high on our list of recommendations.
Bovada Poker FAQs
There is a mac client for Bovada as well as a Windows one.
Bovada has a mobile-optimized website that allows players to play from their mobile devices. However, there is only the option to play cash games as tournament functionality has not yet been added.
A HUD will be able to track your opponents in your current session but it will not be able to differentiate between different players as they leave/join the table. For example, if a nit is playing in seat 1 for 200 hands and then a maniac takes their seat after they leave, the stats will not automatically reset so you could be working with faulty information.
Bovada does accept players from the US, however, there are some states that are banned from playing on Bovada due to certain state laws.
Bovada does not currently offer rakeback to its players.
There are three different ways you can contact Bovada customer support. By calling 1-888-263-0000, filling out a form on their website, or starting a live chat with a customer support representative.
Bovada does currently offer a welcome bonus to new players. The offer is a matched deposit bonus up to the value of $500.
You can withdraw from Bovada using several methods. Cryptocurrency options such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are the most popular options as they’re processed quickly and have no withdrawal fees. There is also the option to withdraw using a cheque but that incurs a $100 processing fee after the first time.
The states that are currently banned from Bovada are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland.
Bovada tables are anonymous because the owners were becoming unhappy with the direction of online poker. They thought that anonymous tables would help preserve the ecosystem of poker players on their site by keeping professional players from hunting the recreational players, thus they implemented anonymous tables.