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Bodog Life.com Card Games
Bodog was originally a sports betting venue featuring horse betting as well as Vegas-style sports book -- operating since the middle 1990s with a few casino games thrown in along the way. They added poker in 2004 – a move that proved ridiculously successful – and Bodog has seen what amounts to a tradition of growth in both membership and popularity.
Bodog is the poker home of 2006 WSOP Main Event champion Jamie Gold, and brags like this have become important in the world of online poker, where other sites can invoke traditions like Poker Stars "three in a row" run on the WSOP.
Bodog Life Poker Tournaments & Poker Games
If you're a gambler, your account at Bodog will be quite valuable -- it can be used at any of the Bodog sites or platforms. This allows a player to bet on horses or an NBA game at the same time they play a session of poker. This sounds like exciting news, like maybe Bodog is on to something, like maybe this is the premier poker site in the world – but in the world of the aforementioned Poker Stars (among other contenders) the sheer number of tournaments presented at Bodog is not remarkable.
The flagship tournament here could be the weekly Sunday tourney - every week on Sunday they host a $100,000 guaranteed tournament featuring qualifying ability or buy-in direct. The pot isn't as masculine as that offered elsewhere on the web, but regulars swear by the site's bonus system and other perks and they keep coming back.
They host other tournaments on the half-hour every day with buy-ins you'd expect for the payouts offered: for example I played a $30 buy-in today with a $5,000 guarantee. They also host qualifiers for land-based events, some of which are WSOP events. The word on these tournaments is that Bodog might be the easiest play-in to the WSOP, with one member commenting that the last three of these qualifiers he played in featured less than 40 players apiece.
And this brings up an interesting question about the gameplay at Bodog. Reading through user reviews, you come across more than one reference to the "soft play" found there – some users list specific times that tournaments are most likely to be full of beginners (or relatively empty) making for easy winnings.
With so much popularity and name-buzz, how does Bodog account for this apparent low volume play? I found nothing from the company addressing the issue, no surprise, and have to assume an answer for myself. Perhaps their reputation as a sports book facility means that fewer of their members are true poker players. Isn't it also possible that the scales are tipping in favor of their competition?
The games played here lean towards the standard material offered elsewhere. The popular cash games are $10, $25, $50, and $100 maximum tables. Each limit game usually seats about 10 full tables of players. I have found that if you can't find any games open for play, it is easy to sit down and start your own game. Bodog Life also offers a few higher stakes games -- $1000 and $2000 max tables with around 3 full tables of each limit. These games do not feature the apparently "soft" play found elsewhere at the site – then again, what thousand dollar limit games DO feature soft play?
Bodog offers Texas Hold-em in many of its variations -- no limit, pot limit and fixed limit. They have Omaha with the option to play Hi or Hi/Lo, also three Stud games that were all but empty on my last visit. There are usually a couple tables of Omaha to look through, but this game is not as popular as Hold-em and it shows here.
As already mentioned, Bodog is better-known as a sport books facility than it is a poker room – their internet presence in terms of the casino and betting areas of the site is enormous. The poker traffic at Bodog doesn't reflect the numbers you would expect. At any given time, there are about 2,500 players playing ring games plus maybe 6,000 taking their chance in the real money tournament section. Some think their company's sponsored players' success in the WSOP will increase traffic, while I wonder if there's something inherently different about Bodog that sends players elsewhere. Regardless, I must report that there is no trouble with slowdown here – there simply aren't enough players to clog up the works.
This also leads inevitably to the fact that the competition at Bodog is relatively easy, according to member reviews and comments. In fact, one member reported that " . . . most of the players lack [the] basic concepts of the game".
Bodog Life Software
Bodog has launched new and improved software in the last two years. It runs extremely quickly, but the same can be said about most of Bodog's competition.
Bodog is nothing if not stylish and style-conscious (just look at their advertising!) – accordingly, they offer something of a fresh take on poker software . Their lobby and poker tables are different from other poker room offerings -- you know; the standard green and gold. The poker table is made up of an avatar of one's choice and a smart red background , both of which are features the user can alter. The action moves fast, the player name highlights just flying by, even in comparison to its relatively fast competition at, say Full Tilt.
They also have a tabbed window interface which is also unique -- but this option is remarkable in that players can choose if they would like to use it or not – in other words, it is possible to instead view the traditional window layout. If you use the tabbed option and want to look at the lobby, the site offers a minimized view of your table in the left corner of the lobby screen -- you can play while browsing the lobby.
The software features the standard options: 4-color deck, pre-selected actions, an area for note-taking, and in-game color options. You can upload a picture for an avatar, but the image is too small to be worth much effort. One unique feature of Bodog's game software has to do with your hole cards. Even after you fold your hand your cards are still displayed – transparent and of a different color than the rest of the deck. This feature maddeningly allows you to see the potentially winning hand you dumped down the drain. This is useful for learning game strategy but truly perturbing for those of us still honing our skills and tossing out winners from time to time.
Bodog offers a comprehensive FAQ on the website (bodoglife.net) along with e-mail support 24/7 who responded in just minutes to my first query. They have a toll free phone number for any other customer service or technical issues that may arise. The website brags of "award-winning customer service", and admittedly the staff I spoke to on the phone as well as via email was friendly and well-informed -- and they got my problem fixed for me before I had time to fret over it.
In summary, BodogLife.net features a well-known poker room with some room to grow.The software is successful, the site is attractive if not flashy . . . but something is missing. Ask the tens of thousands of members online at other sites.
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