Bovada Poker Network

Bovada Poker is part of the brand operating out of Antigua and licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The Bovada software is proprietary and offers a unique and customized software, available exclusively for The Bovada Network consists of an online casino, online poker room and US accepted betting site. The poker room can attract as many as 5000 players during peak hours with high volumes of players seen during weekends when they host their weekly $100,000 guaranteed tournament. Bovada is known not only for their easy to clear bonuses, but they have the largest overlays available for online players. Below you will find additional information about the Bovada brand, including the poker room software and online casino.

Bovada isn’t a network per se. They’re not like the Revolution or Merge Gaming Networks, networks that lease their software to multiple partners. No – Bovada is a standalone site with multiple products that include poker, sports betting and casino games.

It works for them though. They don’t have to worry about their brand being tarnished by some random company only looking to steal from players.

Instead they can focus on being a top site for US players. And they are, offering US players a safe, licensed and regulated platform to play from, and one that has the most traffic of any US facing site. The best part is that, thanks to their anonymous software, their waters are nearly shark free, creating a save haven for recreational players to enjoy a hand of poker.

Background: Who is the Bovada Network?

Bovada is the US extension of the Bodog brand, founded by Calvin Ayre in the early 90s. He came up with the idea while reading how companies were offering betting services over the phone. Apparently the clouds parted, angels sung and then Bodog was born.

…. or something like that.

Bodog (the gaming business) was eventually sold to the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group following the passing of the UIGEA in 2006. However, in 2011 the deal ended and the customers from the MMGG were transferred to

So now the brands are split. Bovada accepts US players while the Bodog brand accepts Canadian and European players. That said, not all US layers are accepted. About 2/3 of the way through 2012 Bovada made the decision to stop accepting players from Washington State. Their reasoning was that they were having difficulties processing payments. While unfortunate, it’s refreshing to see a company admit they’re having issues and solve it the right way, whereas shady companies would’ve continued taking deposits. So big props to Bovada.

Software: What to Expect From Bovada’s Poker Site

Bovada’s poker software is available on both PC and Macs. They don’t have a mobile poker client at the moment, although they do for their casino and sportsbook.

Right now their most talked about – and controversial – feature is their anonymous tables. Instead of being identified and tracked by a screen name, players are given numbers when they sit down. The numbers are only good for the time someone is sitting down, which means your notes are only good for that session, too. Bovada doesn’t allow datamining or hand/player tracking either.

This feature is controversial because Bovada is clearly trying to prevent grinders or pros from taking an edge over the recreational players, if not trying to discourage them from playing on the site at all. In doing so they’re trying to improve the poker economy and keep players depositing and playing.

In addition to their anonymous tables, Bovada recently launched their own fast-fold game titled Zone Poker. This is similar to Zoom or Rush Poker where if you don’t like your hand, you press fold and you’re instantly whisked away to another (waiting) table and are dealt a new hand. This variation of poker gives you the opportunity to play 3-4x as many hands compared to a standard game.

The last thing worth noting is that Bovada limits you to 4 tables.

Other than those things, you’ll find that what Bovada offers is standard. Things like note taking, table resizing, lobby filters and so on. The key differences come down to the type of player they’re trying to attract – in this case it’s recreational players that want to play lots of hands of poker.

Competition: How Does Bovada Gaming Compare?

Here is how the Bovada Network stacks up against other networks.

  • Games – Bovada fewer games than Merge, but is on par with some of the sites on the Revolution Gaming Network (since so many are on different software platforms it’s harder to compare). Stakes are up to $60 for cash games and $100 for tournaments. The competition is much softer here, too, because of the anonymous tables.
  • Software – They’re known for anonymous tables, fast-fold (Zone) poker, and not tracking hands/players. Only Revolution comes close here, segregating the good from recreational players.
  • Traffic – According to Poker Scout they have the most traffic of all US accepting sites, with an average of 1300 players and peak of 2638. They’re 9th in the world.
  • Promotions – They’re currently offering up to $1,000 for their bonus offer. This is hard to compare because the sites on the other networks are able to make their own deals. Based on what I’ve seen Bovada would be average in their deposit bonus, and since they don’t have a VIP program they clearly have room for improvement.

Compared to their competition, they are average in most areas. They excel in terms of competition and are clearly the best poker site for beginners.

Black and White: What is Best & Worst Thing About Bovada?

The worst thing about Bovada is their lack of a VIP program. I realize that their players aren’t going to be grinding day in and day out to earn points, cash back and prizes. But VIP programs are great incentives to keep players depositing and playing. And who doesn’t love to earn the occasional tournament seat, a book or deck of branded cards?

The best thing is their traffic. With the US market being so small due to the larger sites exiting in 2011, there are so many sites that don’t have the traffic necessary for their games to run. But Bovada hosts the most players in the US – if they can’t make it work, no one can.