Party Poker is the world's fourth biggest poker site, with up to 20,000 players online during the busiest hours. In 2011 Party Poker merged with the betting giant Bwin, to improve the overall liquidity and created the world's largest publicly traded gaming company. The company can be found on the London Stock Exchange under the name of BPTY.L.
Party Poker was opened in 2001 by Partygaming PLC. Partygaming PLC was founded in 1997 by Ruth Parasol and was an online casino company before the launch of Party Poker. In 2000 Party Poker hired Anurag Dikshit to code their poker software. Anurag accepted and received a payment in form of shares in the company.
When Party Poker launched in 2001 they accepted players from all countries in the world, also American players. Party Poker quickly realized that the American market was a goldmine and began to sponsor the World Poker Tour (WPT) when the poker boom hit. The WPT only took place in America but was televised in the whole world and gave Party Poker a good reputation in America as well as in the rest of the world. The original Party Poker software could handle up to 20,000 players playing simultaneously, but due to the instant success of Party Poker they had to create a new software that could handle up to 70,000 players.
Party Poker quickly became the world's biggest poker site with an estimated 41% of all poker traffic in the world and kept growing. Because of the massive success, the four primary shareholders of Partygaming decided to take the company to the stock market on the London Stock Exchange. The four shareholders (Ruth Parasol, Russ De Leon, Anurag Dikshit and Vikrant Bhargava) sold 23% of their shares in the company on the stock exchange. Partygaming's value went from £4.64 billion to well over £12 billion and they quickly became the world's biggest publicly traded gaming company.
It seemed like the success of Party Poker had no end, but in 2006 everything changed.
In 2006 the American Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which meant that gambling sites no longer were allowed to accept players from USA.
The news of the passing of the UIGEA bill hit Party Poker extremely hard, as their main player base was from the US. Party Poker decided to follow the UIGEA and immediately banned American players from playing.
Party Poker lost around 50% of their total traffic from one day to another and also took a huge hit on the stock exchange. A few days after the UIGEA bill was passed, Partygaming's stocks lost 60% of its value over night and the company was moved from the FTSE100 to the FTSE250 index not long after.
Party Poker was hit hard by the new American bill and saw all their American players move to sites like Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker, who continued to accept American players after the UIGEA was passed.
In December 2008 Anurag Dikshit contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make a settlement for breaking the UIGEA bill. Anurag contacted the DOJ on his own behalf and not for Party Poker, who's Board of Directors he left 2 years prior. Anurag admitted to having acted wrongly and targeted American players from the beginning of Party Poker. Anurag made a $300 million settlement with the DOJ and had all charges removed from him.
In April 2009 Partygaming decided to sign a non-prosecution deal with the DOJ. The DOJ demanded Party Poker to pay them $105 million over a 4 year period to remove all charges. Party Poker accepted and like Pokerstars, applied for legal gambling licenses when they are released in USA.
Party Poker has learned from the mistakes of the past and now obtains licenses for closed markets. Party Poker has bought license for the ring fenced Italian and Spanish markets, where players can only play against other players from the same country.
Party Poker also obtained licenses for markets like Denmark where the games are not ring fenced, but just shared with the regular network.
Party Poker Software
Party Poker's software is provided by their own development team from Party.bwin Digital Entertainment. Party.bwin Digital Entertainment has kept the original style of the software throughout the years, but has made several improvements to the overall experience and added new features.
In September 2013 Party Poker launched their brand new and improved poker software, with a new table design, 1 click lobby and many other features. The new software is part of Party Poker's plan to rebrand itself as a social poker site and improve the poker product.
The new features in the software includes a brand new racetrack table theme, new lobby design with 1 click to access the games, new logo, achievements and a profile page for players to add friends and read more about the player they are checking.
Party Poker offers a downloadable client for both Pc and Mac, that works on any newer device without any problems. They also have a browser version of the software, so players can play without having to download the software. This feature is brilliant if you want to play on a computer that is not your own.
Party Poker also offers players to play directly from their iPhone or Android phone. The mobile app can be downloaded in the App Store or Android Market and allows players to play anywhere they go as long as they have an active internet connection.
Party Poker Games
Party Poker is known to have great games running at all hours of the day, due to their big amount of players online.
Variants of Poker
Party Poker only offers two different games to be played on their site:
- Texas Hold'em
The selection of games is very small compared to other big sites.
Fast Forward Poker
Fast Forward Poker is Party Poker's version of the popular fast-fold game. Fast Forward Poker was introduced in August 2012 and is available on the $0.02/$0.04 to $0.25/$0.50 stakes. Fast Forward Poker is a poker format where players will be moved to a new table and dealt a new hand instantly after folding their previous hand. The speed of the game intrigues players and made the format popular among many poker players.
Party Poker has a great tournament schedule for all types of players. Having tournaments from $0 up to $215 in buy-in, all players can afford to play tournaments in Party Poker.
Party Poker's tournament schedule culminates on Sundays with a massive guaranteed prize pool program. Their main event guarantees $200,000 for a buy-in of $215 and the total guaranteed prize pool on Sundays hit $400,000.
Party Poker has always been a big promoter of live events, having sponsored the World Poker Tour (WPT) since the opening of the site. In 2009 Party Poker bought the WPT series, making them owner and organizers of all future WPT events. With the purchase of WPT, Party Poker moved the series from being based mainly in USA to having multiple events in Europe, including Malta, Denmark, Czech Republic, France and United Kingdom. WPT is more popular than ever and attracts a great attendance every time. Besides having the WPT main events, Party Poker also created WPT Local which is local WPT events with a small buy-in, but with the feeling of a WPT main event.
Party Poker is known for having high rake on the smaller stakes and a low rake on the higher stake tables. They use the weighted contributed rake allocation system to calculate VIP points. Party Poker used to use the dealt rake system, which gives all players that have been dealt a hand a part of the rake even if they fold their hands before rake is taken. The change caused problems with the many regular players of Party Poker, who were very unsatisfied with the change.
The rake for cash games in Party Poker is between 1 - 10% depending on the stakes played and 0 - 25% for tournaments. You can find their complete rake scheme on their website.
Party Poker offers all players to take part in their own customized VIP system when they join the site. The VIP system is based on levels, depending on the amount of VIP points earned within a specific period. The VIP system allows players to purchase cash bonuses that they can exchange for cash. The maximum level of rakeback players can receive on Party Poker is around 30%, after Party Poker removed the top tier level "Elite Palladium". The Elite Palladium level allowed players to receive up to 50% rakeback, but was removed to optimize the poker ecology on Party Poker. The removal of Elite Palladium was not popular among players but was needed for Party Poker to continue to offer good games to their players.
Besides the VIP system, Party Poker offers a deposit bonus to all new depositing players and the opportunity to take part in the "Achievements Daily Giveaway". The achievement daily giveaway is given to players hitting specific achievements, providing them with an entry to a daily cash giveaway.
Security and Fairness
To ensure fair gaming, Party Poker uses a Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG is used to decide the outcome of what hands are dealt to players, as well as to decide which community cards will be shown. Party Poker's RNG is tested and certified by iTech Labs, a leading RNG testing company. ITech Labs have tested the raw 32-bit numbers and found that RNG algorithms are acceptable. You can see the full details on Party Poker's website.