The Hive Poker Network
The Hive Poker Network is an Italian-friendly poker network, where players from all over the world can play poker in a new innovative poker platform. The network does not accept players from the US, but has still managed to climb to the 12th place over the biggest poker sites and networks in the world, according to Pokerscout.
The Hive didn't start out as a poker network, but was instead a stand-alone platform for Planetwin365, one of the biggest Italian-faced .com bookmakers. The people from Planetwin365 started their operations back in 2007, where some employees of another big Italian-faced bookmaker called Goldbet decided to part ways and create their own sportsbook.
Planetwin365 was not well known outside of Italy, Romania and countries in that area until around 2012, where the site began hosting yearly tournaments in the Portomaso Casino in Malta. At the same time they re-branded themselves to not only being a site for Italians, but instead taking in players from all over the world.
With the new strategy in place, the poker product began a massive growth and by 2013 they began becoming a serious competitor to many EU sites, having around 1,200 up to 1,800 players online in prime time. At the time, Planetwin365 incorporated a few new partners and officially became a network, despite not having a network name yet.
By 2014, Planetwin365 officially created a network for their poker software, creating the network we know today as “The Hive”. Along with the new name came a new software provided by casino experts B3W, which continued in the same path as the old software, having both a “simple” client, ideal for multi-tabling players as well as a avatar version of their client for those who would like a special experience similar to the one of Full Tilt Poker and PKR.
With the launch of The Hive, Planetwin365 decided to integrate a handful of new partners. Amongst their new partners were all skins under the Instadeal network, who had been collaborating with Planetwin365 for years, as well as all poker skins under B3W who decided to close down their own poker network and go with The Hive only.
Around 10 new partners were integrated and the platform experienced yet another boost, now reaching numbers of up to 3,000 players online in prime time. The live tournaments also continued to be a success, now being hosted several times a year around Europe and attracting between 500 to 1,000 players.
All of these changes along the way has led to The Hive being one of the biggest poker networks in the world, having a solid reputation. Their player base is well known for having lots of recreational players, which is something that is lacking for many sites today, Furthermore the site have avoided running into problems with cash outs and security, as many other Italian-faced networks has experienced over time.
The Hive Software
The Hive's poker platform is provided by Malta-based casino and poker software providers B3W, which is well known in the industry for having created several popular casino games over the years, as well as having had their own poker network once.
The software is exclusive to The Hive and is not being used by any other company in the industry. The software has been created with an eye on both the recreational players as well as the regulars, with the option to choose the simple version so you can easily multi-table as well as an avatar mode where the users all choose a unique avatar with a funny design, creating an experience that you won't see many other places.
The software is being updated on a regular basis to ensure that all smaller bugs is being fixed, as well as to integrate new features for users. The software is available both for Mac and Windows users, but doesn't have a browser version yet. Furthermore it is also possible to play their fast-fold poker through a mobile device, which is being provided by Instadeal. Currently it is possible to play on iOS and Android, with no need to download any application.
The interface is very user-friendly and makes it easy for everyone to start playing once the software has been installed. You can easily choose the game that you want to play and create filters to find exactly the variant, stakes and table size that you want to play.
Furthermore the software offers all the features that one could need while playing, including four-colour deck, notes system and much more. For players who likes to play multiple tables it is also possible to tile and cascade tables, to make it fit your screen the way that you prefer.
The Hive Games
The Hive offers many different variants of poker games, stakes and limits, ensuring that you'll always find a game that you prefer. Since it has a focus in the Italian market, you'll also find some special games which are targeted mainly towards italians. In The Hive you'll find:
32 Card Draw
The different games can be found in different variants such as Pot Limit, No Limit and Fixed Limit, all depending on the game and the stakes that you want to play. Most of the variants are also available in tournament and sit n go formats, so there's something for all types of players.
The Hive offers a great tournament schedule for their players, not as high-valued as other international sites, but still full of great value. The network guarantees around €2 million in prizes every single month, which includes Sunday specials, daily guaranteed tournaments, satellites to live events and regular tournaments running around the clock.
Furthermore they provide plenty of freerolls for the players who likes to play them, having both ordinary freerolls every day as well as special deposit and VIP freerolls for players. Many of the tournaments also run with overlay, which means that the guaranteed prize pool is not reached with buy-in and thus the poker network has to cover the rest of the amount out of their own pockets.
What makes The Hive unique compared to many other poker sites and networks is the fact that they host their very own live poker tournaments several times a year, primarily in Malta, but also other places in Europe. You can qualify for these tournaments cheaply through the online satellites that The Hive offers, which includes buy-in and sometimes also accommodation and travelling money.
The Hive constantly makes changes to their tournament schedule, to ensure that the value continue to be as high as possible, as well as ensuring that the schedule suits the players they have in their site.
The Hive Network charges a decently high rake for a regular .com network, but for an Italian-faced network the rake is quite low in comparison. The rake is 5% in cash games and 5-10% for tournaments and sit n go's, having different rake caps depending on game, stakes and so on.
For cash games the rake caps starts at €0.50 and goes up to €5, depending on the stakes and variant that you decide to play. For heads-up the rake is capped at €3 at the highest stakes, which is in the high end for any network out there. You can find out the exact rake policy that The Hive has contacting your network site and asking them.
The Hive offers a wide variety of different promotions, which caters to different types of players. The network commonly share all promotions between the skins, but sometimes some skins do create unique promotions which is only for them, although it is quite rare.
All players on the network will receive 25% rakeback through monthly bonuses, which is in the lower end of the rakeback/vip level you could expect from a site. You will receive extra bonuses on occasions though, which can boost the rakeback levels up to around 50%. Following your process is quite simple as you earn points, which is equal to x amount of rake, so you can always keep track of your rake and your bonuses.
Other promotions includes rake races, leaderboards, lucky hand chases, raked hand promotion, first deposit freeroll, high hand jackpots and sit n go leaderboards. The network constantly adds new promotions and changes the ones from previous months, to ensure that the value is always high.
Security and Fairness
To ensure that all games are fair and completely random, The Hive uses a Random Number Generator (RNG) for all their games. The RNG creates a random shuffle for each hand of poker being played and is triggered by user actions to continue the shuffle. This means that no one can know which cards are coming and thus cheat in any sort of way.
The Hive's RNG has been checked by iTech Labs, who has done multiple checks and found that it is working as it should. They found no strange patterns, repeats or anything similar that could be taken advantage of by the site or by any players.