Global Poker operates using a “sweepstakes” system in which players effectively buy play money and have the equivalent of real money added to their accounts. The system is easy to understand once you get used to it, but I have concerns about playing at this site with regards to some of the terms and conditions and other things I found – specifically issues with payment options, limits on withdrawals, and data security. You can read more about these concerns in my Global Poker review.
Introduction to Global Poker
Global Poker is a “sweepstakes” poker site in which players “win” real money prizes by purchasing virtual play money currency. The model is smart inasmuch as it enables Global Poker to circumnavigate most U.S. and Canadian online gambling laws, but it can confuse players more familiar with the deposit-and-play model. So, let’s start my Global Poker review by explaining how the system works.
When you register an account with Global Poker, you are given 5,000 Gold Chips. These are effectively play money chips you can use to enter play money games and check out the software. They have no real money value.
The only way to get chips with any real money value is to buy more Gold Chips; because, when you make a purchase, you “win” bonus $weeps Cash – the currency used to play in $weeps Cash games and tournaments.
$weeps Cash equates 1:1 with the U.S. dollar, and any $weeps Cash you win at the tables can be withdrawn for a real dollar amount (subject to eligibility and other terms I’ll get onto later in my Global Poker review).
In many respects, the Global Poker system is identical to the deposit-and-play model. You effectively purchase poker chips which can be used to play online poker games. When you are ready to cash out, you go through procedures similar to those you would on any real money poker site. It’s not that difficult to understand once you have experienced the process. It’s just very convoluted.
Getting Started with Global Poker
Global Poker has a web-based platform, so is accessible from any PC or mobile device using any operating system. The account creation process is really simple – just requiring you to enter an email address, a password, username, and address, and acknowledging you have read the terms and conditions. Alternatively (and rather worryingly) you can login via a Facebook account.
One important tick box to note on the registration form is the eligibility criteria for cashing out. It states that if you live outside the U.S. or Canada – or in Quebec – you will not be able to cash out any $weeps Cash you win at the tables. In the terms and conditions it also states you will ineligible to request a withdrawal if you live in Washington. Some players have already been caught out by this.
Once you have created your account, you will receive an email welcoming you to Global Poker and asking you to verify your email address by clicking on a link. Please note this is not the same as verifying your identity when you request a withdrawal, and you will still have to submit documents proving your ID and address. Once your email address is verified, you can start playing at Global Poker.
The Global Poker Software
When you first login to your account, you are greeted with the play money options (note the 5K Gold Coins balance in the image below). There´s never much action going on at the play money tables, but if the opportunity exists, it is worth joining a table to get used to the software before purchasing more Gold Chips in order to get your hands on some $weeps Cash.
To be honest, the software is pretty good. The site is easy to navigate, the action is smooth, and there is a comprehensive player admin panel from which you can customize settings, see your transaction history, monitor your progress in leaderboard competitions, and purchase exclusive avatars with Gold Coins (you might as well, you’re going to have millions of them if you play real money poker at this site).
Once you have got accustomed to the software, you can switch over to the $weeps Cash (real money) games by clicking on the “Switch Currency” button. The lobbies here are identical to the play money lobbies, but with a lot more going on. I’ve noticed the games are softer than you find on other USA-friendly poker sites, plus there are more hands per hour played due to players having less time to act.
The Choice of Games at Global Poker
Global Poker offers cash games of No Limit and Fixed Limit Texas Hold´em, Pot Limit Omaha, and No Limit Crazy Pineapple at stakes from $0.02/$0.04 to $5.00/$10.00. You can also play Sit & Go games with buy-ins from $0.55 to $218.00, or multi-table tournaments with buy-ins starting at $0.11. Global Poker also hosts Jackpot Sit & Go games in which you can win up to 2,000 times your buy-in.
With regards to the level of action at the cash tables, I´ve already mentioned that there´s quite a lot going on and that the standard of play is comparatively soft. Typically the site will have between 300 and 1,000 cash game players depending on the time of day, and you often have the option of observing a table before joining it to see how soft the action is. (Note the relative stack sizes in the image below).
With regards to Sit & Go games, these tend to fill up quite quickly at the low to mid stakes, but lack the same volume of traffic at higher levels. The multi-table tournament schedule is unambitious considering how many players the site attracts, with the most valuable weekly tournament having a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000 for a buy-in of $218.00.
Purchasing Gold Chips to “Win” $weeps Cash
Before you start playing at the real money tables, you have to load your account with $weeps Cash. You do this by visiting the cashier and purchasing Gold Chips.
According to Global Poker´s terms, you can use funds from an online wallet, credit card, or bank account to purchase Gold Chips; but, when I tried to buy some for the purpose of my Global Poker review, the only option available was Skrill.
I tried several times to add a credit card to my account as was suggested in the cashier section; but, despite having multiple cards at my disposal, every attempt failed.
I have contacted customer support by email, but have not yet had a response.
It might also be the case that Visa and MasterCard have blocked payments to Global Poker and that the site’s payment processor no longer supports instant bank transfers. This would not be the first time there have been payment problems at Global Poker. Up until recently, the site was accepting PayPal payments, but this was discontinued suddenly for no apparent reason. I´ll let you know when I find out!
There is no live chat or telephone number for players to use if they experience problems purchasing Gold Chips.
It’s my guess you might have to verify your account before being able to use a purchase method other than Skrill to buy Gold Chips.
Cashing Out $weeps Cash
This is where the issues start multiplying. To recap, you can’t cash out $weeps Cash if you live outside the U.S. or Canada, or in Quebec or Washington. You also won’t be able to cash out if you have not yet verified your ID or rolled over your “deposit” up to twenty times – which are fairly standard requirements for an online poker site, but not that well-advertised on Global Poker.
However, once you have given Global Poker your personal details to verify your ID, the site retains the right to share them with whichever third parties they wish. I felt uncomfortable about being able to login via my Facebook account, but when you read who the site might share your Personally Identifiable Information with (including its partners in Korea), it starts ringing alarm bells.
To get back to cashing out $weeps Cash, there are limits to how much you can withdraw each day; and, if you live in Florida or New York, a $5,000 limit on how much you can win.
Furthermore, if your account is inactive for ninety days or Global Poker decides to deactivate your account for any reason, you forfeit your $weeps Cash balance. There is basically no player protection against fraud.
No Decent Promotions
If you are familiar with my poker site reviews, you will know that I usually start each review with details of the welcome package, but not my Global Poker review. Why? Because there isn´t one. The only “welcome” you will receive is an invitation to a new player´s freeroll tournament once you have made your first $weeps Cash purchase. No bonus. No free poker money. Nada.
The only other promotion hosted by the site is pretty weak as well. It consists of entry into a paid-for tournament (i.e. the tournament has a buy-in) only once you have played 25 hands of play money poker with Gold Coins. Admittedly the tournaments have a decent prize pool for the buy-ins and a lower number of entries, but it´s hardly a promotion to set the world alight.
No Loyalty Program
The lack of a loyalty program is very unusual. Traditionally, online poker sites retain their players through cashback programs or other reward systems that encourage players to return to the site time and time again. Not in the case of Global Poker, who have chosen not to reward its loyal players with any form of incentive. It makes you wonder how the site has any players at all.
Pros/Cons – (This is Going to be One-Sided)
- Soft standard of play.
- Decent software.
- Privacy concerns – particularly if you login using a Facebook account.
- A very poor range of promotions. Even bad sites have good promotions.
- Concerns about payment options make me suspicious about longevity.
- No player protection against fraud or financial loss if site closes.
- Very limited customer support – No phone or live chat contact available.
- Cash out limitations mean it’s not worth having a big win.
- No promotions worth participating in and no loyalty program.
Global Poker Review Conclusion: Avoid
First of all, I hope I´m wrong for the sake of players currently using this site, but I can´t see Global Poker being around for very long. Because the site is populated by players with a low level of skill, I can see a handful of decent players coming onto the site and winning all the money. With no loyalty scheme to incentivize losing players to buy more Gold Chips, the site will become a desert.
This potential scenario is subject to the handful of decent players having no concerns about their online privacy, or the fact that when they win all the money, they will be able to get their hands on it. I think I´ve raised enough issues in this Global Poker review to dissuade readers from playing on this site; but, if you choose to try it out anyway, please, please, please, don´t login via your Facebook account.