Taken 2 December 2016 09:52.
Holdem table post flop.
Table options and game selection.
PKR are a unique site that looks more like a video game than a standard poker room. With a stunning 3D appearance, realistic avatars and smooth graphics it is unlike anything else. However, it's not just a one-trick place, as there are an excellent selection of tables, decent bonuses, a loyalty programme and for a standalone site that is not part of a network, there are always plenty of players online.
With some 5 million registered users, PKR has grown rapidly since it was launched in 2006 by Jez San, who became the first person to be awarded an OBE for services to the computer industry. After several years developing 3D computer technology, the idea for a 3D poker site came to him while he was playing the game with some friends and he gathered an experienced team of online and land-based casino operators to get a quality site up and running. Most of the original team are still involved with PKR and this stability has helped to make the site a reliable, trustworthy place to play, with quite simply the best graphics of any online poker site.
Tables here include Texas Holdem in Limit and No Limit versions, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo and Heads Up Poker. It's not a huge selection, but the vast majority of online poker players only play these types of the game, so very few people will be missing out.
Lots of tournaments can be found running at any time and the number of innovative formats add variety to playing here. These include 'Double Thru', where once half of the contestants are out, the remaining players double their buy-in, 'Break Thru', where individuals who outlast 75% of the field treble their money, and Double or Triple Chance tournaments where competitors get reserve stacks of chips which they can call on at any time. Terminator Tournaments are all about eliminating the competition and claiming the bounty placed on each player, while there are also Daily Freerolls where real money can be won with no need to buy in. With plenty of satellites to big money events, Sit N' Gos and Ring games at all price ranges, there's plenty of variety here. One point worth noting is that PKR attracts a lot of inexperienced users so the competition is pretty soft, even at the higher limits.
However, it's the incredible graphics that attract most to PKR and they really need to be seen to be believed. Anyone who has experience of playing Playstation or XBox will appreciate the quality of the visuals. Avatars are fully customisable, from the colour of hair to the clothes they are wearing, with facial details adjustable to a fine degree. PKR Face enables 3D rendering of real user faces, while there are even seasonal costumes to wear at certain times of the year like Halloween and Christmas, although some of the more advanced features need to be purchased from the PKR store. Using Emote Control, players can express emotions through body language or eye contact. This adds a whole new dimension to the tables, making them fully interactive experiences that are as close as possible to playing a real game without needing to leave home.
Users can play up to nine tables at once, arranged in tiles, layers or however the player chooses, and 'camera angles' can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. First-person views from the player's own avatar are possible and there is even an option to make the experience look like a TV show, with their avatar in the starring role.
One potential downside to all of this is the size of the software package to download, which should be fine on newer computers, but old systems may struggle to keep up with the 512 mb of storage needed. This becomes particularly important when using the PKR mobile site, so there are two options for iPhone, iPad and Android users. A full 3D version and a lighter, 2D option are both available, as well as 3D Roulette and Blackjack tables.
Bonuses tend to be fairly competitive, although not massive. While the details may change from time to time, generally a new player welcome bonus equal to the size of the first deposit will be offered, with larger deposits qualifying for higher percentage payment. A small no-deposit bonus is often available and other benefits like entry to freeroll tournaments, free loyalty points and gifts from the PKR shop are usually to be found when registering as a new customer. Welcome bonuses are credited to the players account in stages once enough PKR loyalty points have been earned through rake or tournament entry fees.
Club PKR is their loyalty scheme, which gives points depending on amount of play. One important difference to many similar schemes is the 'Always up, never down' policy, where users who have reached a certain level of the club will never drop down a level if they don't play for a length of time. Levels are a fairly standard Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with better points conversion rates at each one, plus entry to exclusive freerolls, VIP access to special events and surprise gifts. Points can be exchanged for:
Really high rollers can even purchase an Aston Martin from here. Other promotions tend to be in the form of guaranteed jackpot tournaments, seasonal games, special events for users of the PKR online forum and tournament entry for followers of PKR on Twitter.
The most widely used credit and debit cards are all welcomed at PKR, as are several e-wallets, lots of prepaid cards or vouchers and wire transfers. Most of these are focussed on the UK and Irish markets but people from many countries around the world play here, although due to US laws, residents of the USA cannot access the games at all. Withdrawal requests are processed within a couple of days and will be returned to the original card or e-wallet. Cheques are also available on request.
There is a virtual customer support desk which is really just an FAQ section, so if the answer to a query cannot be found there, customers can email PKR directly. There is no phone support or live chat options.
PKR are truly different, so if the full 3D experience is what potential players are looking for, then there is nowhere else that offers anything similar. The full appearance of the site can only be appreciated by playing there, but away from this obvious appeal, it is a solid site where a good range of games, varied tournament structures, solid bonuses and promotions and good banking facilities are all provided. Customer support is somewhat of a letdown and anyone running an old computer may find PKR's software too much for their system, but overall, this is a one-of-a-kind site.
|Totally unique graphics.|
|Good selection of games and tournaments.|
|Limited customer support options.|
|Software takes up more computer resources than most.|
|License Number: 39279|
|Registration Number: 1035|
Appointed in January 2006, Malcolm Graham is the current chief executive officer of PKR. He played a big part in the initial launch of PKR and was key in securing a gaming license.
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