The Quick Summary
Bodog exploded onto the poker scene in 2004, bringing its combination of gaming knowledge (their sports book and casino have been in action for some time) and the affluent lifestyle of owner Calvin Ayre. They have sent players to many of the top international tournaments and 2006 World Series champion Jamie Gold once called Bodog his online home.
Bodog, with its stand alone software, is one of the few poker rooms that still allow American players to access the site, yet their appeal isn’t limited to just the United States. It is not uncommon for players from Europe and Asia to be in the mix as, since early in 2008, Bodog has placed a premium on expanding their presence in those areas of the world.
Popularity – 7 of 10 – Average
Bodog has been hovering around their apex for players during the last six months. They will peak at around 1500 players in the early evening in the United States and will drop down to only a few hundred in the early morning hours. The additional attention to the foreign markets should see an increase in these numbers.
Security – 8 of 10 – Good
Bodog has a solid system across the board. Transactions run smoothly on the deposit, albeit there have been issues with cashing checks; problems with the site are quickly addressed by the appropriate personnel.
Player Competition – 9.5 of 10 – Excellent
Perhaps because of their sports book, Bodog attracts a looser than normal player to their poker site. This can be a blessing and a curse to more solid players, who will be able to make money as long as they can avoid the bad beats along the way. Bodog also offers several disciplines of poker (Omaha, Seven Card, Razz, etc.) in both Limit and No Limit ring games, but there is little high stakes action. This is the only markdown for this particular area.
Tournament action is plentiful as well. Bodog hosts a weekly $100,000 tournament as well as their own Bodog Poker Open. Guaranteed tournaments sometimes will have an overlay to them. The size of tournaments also tends to be in the smaller hundreds instead of the 500-1000 players you may see on other sites.
Site Software – 7.5 of 10 – Good
Bodog’s visual look isn’t gaudy, but it gets the job done. The lack of a “player” at the table (just a box with the critical information is present) may be something that takes newcomers some time getting used to but isn’t a major problem. The lobby can be tiered to get the information that a player may want and filtering is easily done.
Customer Service – 7.5 of 10 – Good
There are no-charge 888 or 866 numbers to receive immediate attention from Bodog as well as an e-mail function embedded in the site’s home page. If choosing the e-mail option, it can take up to a day for you to receive a response. If choosing the phone route, you may have to be patient as call volume can sometimes require a good waiting period.
Company Ethics – 7.5 of 10 – Good
Because they also run a sports book, casino and horse betting systems, you have to wonder where poker comes in the mix. There is also an emphasis on more of the “lifestyle” of a Bodog player rather than a solid poker player’s approach to the game.
Site Promotions – 8 of 10 – Very Good
Bodog offers their weekly $100K tournament as well as the chance to take on one of their stable of pros (poker pros Jean Robert Bellande, Justin Bonomo, Evelyn Ng and David Williams) in heads up action. They also offer seats to major poker tournaments around the globe and also their own online poker series in the Bodog Poker Open.
First timer deposits are eligible for a 110% matching amount, with the appropriate time played to earn points to release it. There are also occasionally reload bonuses announced.
Overall – 7.8 out of 10 – Good
While Bodog does look more at the lifestyle of a poker player, they can’t be overlooked for their potential. Loose players can translate into a growing bankroll and smaller tournaments can be profitable as well. What may improve Bodog in the future is their continued focus on the European and Asian markets to provide around the clock action. As it is now, however, the early morning hours in the States draw Bodog down.