Paradise Poker site review: clean and plenty of action

Paradise Poker site review

is one of the venerable old men of online poker. It’s a fun and, god willing, profitable place to play for the non-American audiences. There have been a lot of changes since its early offerings, so read on, check it out, and see what you think.

Paradise Poker site review: Father Ashley's first impressions

Just sitting down to begin this Paradise Poker site review makes me nostalgic. Back in the beginning years of the online poker craze brought on by the new, sexy poker themed TV shows, there were only a few sites whose names were on everybody's lips. (In retrospect, I realize that I just called a sport that's dominated by fat, sedentary men to be sexy. I guess I'll just live with it.)

Among those chosen few, the big advertisements weren't about sign up bonuses and frequent player points; they were about large player bases. Until Paradise came along, and blew the rest of the competition out of the water with a three word phrase: Million Dollar Freeroll. Once those words were uttered, Paradise Poker had our attention.

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And since that tournament was played with (surprise, surprise) Texas Hold'em, it's no wonder why this site has traditionally been a holdem heavy environment. It attracts a decent number of players (between 3,300 and 3,500) during its peak hours (about 2pm PST) in the ring games alone, but the tournament enthusiasm hasn't waned in the years, as evident by the 13,000 or so tournament players that some observers report seeing during peak hours.

Strangely, some people say that Paradise is slow to open new tables as necessary, despite having to serve a developed player base.

As far as promotions are concerned, Paradise offers the standard match bonuses (100% up to 500 EU) and a Frequent Player Program through which you can earn points during tournament and cash game play. Players may redeem these points for tournament buy-ins and cash. Paradise Poker also offers some 3.4 million EU worth of guaranteed tournaments monthly.

Paradise Poker site review: Features

Paradise Poker has instituted a plethora of new features that it likes to flaunt. Of course they kept industry main-stays like the standard in-game player notes and extensive hand statistics to accompany some very reliable software — reliable, but not particularly fast — with regular updates.
They've also added resizable tables which are essential for multi-table (and multi-screen) action, a time bank to alleviate the pressure for the really tough decisions, and the most annoying and frivolous action in poker: a straddle bet.

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For those of you who don't ever play live poker and no not of what I write, a straddle bet is an extra blind, basically, that's double the size of the big blind in games that use blinds. Of course, you have to choose to straddle before cards are dealt. That raise is live, by the way, which means that a straddle bettor is actually the last one to act before a flop (as opposed to the big blind) and they can actually raise if there's not enough money in the pot already.
You know, I bitch about it, but this is actually a very profitable feature for the ultra-conservative player. If you would only play with premium hands anyway, this action lets other players make a mistake even before they're dealt cards. I think I just changed my own mind.
also offers a standard-plus game selection. There's the usual spread of Holdem, Omaha, and stud games as well as five card stud and the venerable old man of poker, five card draw. Tournaments also utilize the large range of games. You want to play an Americana tourney? Okay, buddy, you asked for it.
The site accepts VISA, Mastercard, bank draft, NETeller, FirePay and wire transfers  for deposits.

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Paradise Poker site review: Player Fishiness

So, it used to be that Paradise had a reputation for a tight player base. I'm willing to say that the aforementioned, title caps, Million Dollar Freeroll did something to help that. But let's be fair: it's been years between that big-deal tournament even ran, and since then Paradise has nixed the US players since the legislation limited the number of US-legal poker sites.

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There's speculation that non-US players contribute to a looser player base (by which they probably mean Scandinavian players), but I think that a good strategy to seek the fish is to play one of those non-standard games. I was surprised at how much I could improve my bankroll by playing five-card stud (which seems counter-intuitive to me because of the utter plainness of the game, but whatever).
I'm not saying you should also go for stud, just to take a look around at some of the non-Holdem games. Or maybe go for Omaha a little more.
Beyond the Scandinavian-biased speculations, I can definitely give you another reason to scour the tables: Paradise is also linked in to Paradise Casino, a larger network that offers casino games, sports betting, backgammon, and other gambling-related fun. Translation: the poker players may be looking for as much action as everyone else.

Paradise Poker site review: Conclusion

In the support category, offers pretty extensive and itemized FAQs to quell your most urgent needs. If you are after the human touch, the multi-lingual support staff are quick and complete in their responses. Paradise offers a support email address and online form, multiple toll-free lines divided by nationality, and live chat. Try it out, you won't be disappointed!

Paradise Poker site review: Father Ashley’s Rating!

Visual presentation: 86% - - Includes the necessities with a relaxing hue.
Audio: 71% - - Neither innovative nor lacking major points.
Software features: 81% - - Major updates from previous versions bring software up to speed.
Ease of use: 81% - - To the point, with a minor annoyance or advantage when your currency is converted.
Fishiness: 75% - - Great potential if you're willing to pick your spots and tables.
OVERALL SCORE:  85%
Paradise Poker site review: it's a great environment, whether you want to diversify your game or stick to your standard. Have a go at it and see what you think!

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