Is Lock Poker the new Pokerstars for US Players?

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It’s now been three weekends since Pokerstars shut it’s doors to players from the US and the question on everyone’s minds is what online poker site will become the new Pokerstars. The answer seems to be poker sites on the Merge Poker Network.

Merge Poker has increased it’s cash game traffic by 70% since Black Friday and ranks #10 for cash game traffic in the world and #1 in the US.

Leading the way for the Merge Network is Lock Poker because of their huge first deposit bonus and their monthly promotions. Lock Poker is also 100% Mac compatible and has a sleek black look.

Lock Poker is not the only Merge Poker skin making a splash.  Another skin, Hero Poker, (No longer Accepting US players) has signed former Pokerstars Pro Gavin Griffin as well as a few other poker pros. P5’s and Holdem Poker Chat members received a special invite from them this past weekend to play in an exclusive 15k freeroll. The CEO for Hero Poker explained why he set up the unpromoted freeroll by saying “I set this up for traumatized US players”.

The Merge network is one of the last major poker networks available to US players and there have been hundreds of thousands of new sign-ups on those sites within the past three weeks.

Other skins that we like on the network are Carbon Poker, RPM Poker and Feltstars. There are many poker sites on the Merge Poker Network but we do not recommend most of them.

You may be asking yourself, How do I decide which Merge Poker Site should I play on? Our recommendation is that you try out several of them and see which one you like the best. Download them and sit at a play money game or play in a freeroll while you get accustomed to the software. If you like the overall feel of the site then make a deposit. If you don’t like it, move on to another one and try that one out. According to out sources Merge is working hard on a major software upgrade that we’re told “Will have all the features that Pokerstars has” That upgrade is expected sometime next month.

Update: Lock Poker along with all other Merge skins have halted NEW US player accounts.

Best USA Online Poker Sites – Pokerstars and Full TIlt Poker Alternatives

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With the departure of Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker from the US online poker landscape you may be left wondering where everyone is playing these days. A handful of poker sites have begun to stand out and make a name for themselves. We’ll break down a few today and let you know why they’re on the rise and what the best alternatives are for former Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker players.

The Merge Poker Network is growing the fastest but you may be surprised to know that it is not their flagship site Carbon Poker that is leading the way. The rising star for the Merge network is Lock Poker due to unique promotions, an ultra sleek design and a 200% up to $1200 deposit bonus. Another Merge skin that is growing rapidly is RPM Poker. If we were to list the top Merge skins in order it would be Lock Poker, Carbon Poker and RPM Poker. Keep in mind that while all three share most of their tournaments and all the cash game tables. Each also runs their own unique promotions. These poker sites are all 100% Mac compatible.

Also on the rise is Bodog Poker. This is no surprise as Bodog is an established site with a great reputation for customer service and successful deposit methods. They not only offer a Poker room but also a full casino and sportsbook. The 110% up to $1100 deposit bonus on Bodog is great as well. If you’re primarily a cash game players, there are two things to keep in mind if you decide to play at Bodog Poker. First, their Mac version is not a full version of the software. Second, Bodog limits the amount of tables you can play.

If you’re looking for a no download instant play poker site then there is only one we can recommend and that is Luvin Poker on the Everleaf Network. Everleaf is a small network that is also growing rapidly as of late and may by the end of the year be a real contender. While there are several sites on the network we at Holdem Poker Chat only endorse Luvin Poker because we love their customer support and they offer players a nice 100% up to $1000 deposit bonus.

Last week we came across a real gem of a poker site on the Cake Poker network. Sports Interaction Poker is a cake poker skin that accepts eChecks as a deposit method. As far as we can tell they are the only online poker site serving the US that has this as a deposit option. If you’re a former Pokerstars or Full Tilt Poker players, I’m sure this is great news for you. Our top poker sites on the Cake poker network are Intertops Poker and Cake Poker.

You can find more information on all these poker sites and full reviews by visiting our USA Poker Sites page.

We’ll continue to monitor which online poker sites continue to serve the US and adjust our rankings accordingly. For now we feel that the poker sites listed above are the safest and most promising for all US poker players.

US Poker Sites for Mac

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Over the years there have been many technological advances that make it possible for all players, no matter their operating system, to enjoy the action and thrill that only online poker can provide. Many Mac users in the USA may feel like they were left out in the cold after losing four US online poker sites that had exceptional Mac friendly software.  There are plenty of more online poker sites that cater to Mac users, which make it easy for them to sit at a table and rake in the cash, with or without a download.

Mac poker sites are available in download or instant play form, and in most cases, players will find the instant play option works best. The graphics are crisp and clear, the table action is smooth and the no download option gives players faster access to the room wherever there is an internet connection available. There are many reputable US accepted Mac compatible poker sites, players just need to find the one that works best for them. Merge is known for having features like the Rabbit Cam, Run it Twice and personal customizable features for players to make the skin their own. Merge Gaming Network poker sites include Carbon Poker, Lock Poker and RPM Poker.

The Everleaf Network which powers such rooms as Luvin Poker is another fantastic way for Mac users to get on the virtual felt action. Their poker room offers awesome promotions, comparable table variety to the poker giants online, and their tournament action runs all day and night. Their traffic numbers are growing daily, and with many players joining their room the games will keep players coming back for more.

Bodog Poker also offers a Mac friendly poker room, and is one of the leading names in online gaming. Mac users can enjoy all the poker action they crave at the tables using their instant play platform. Their game variety keeps Mac users satisfied and the game play and features offered make it easy to play for hours. Bodog offers great VIP rewards, awesome guarantees and large freerolls often.

Click Here for a complete list of Mac Poker Sites

There aren’t as many choices for Mac users as there are for players using a more standard operating system, but more poker rooms are starting to cater to Mac users more than ever before. It’s only a matter of time and all reputable poker rooms will offer the Mac option for their players, which one can only expect will help their traffic. If you are using a Mac operating system and you are ready to get started today, visit one of the Mac friendly poker room listed here and get what you want out of online poker.

USA Poker Sites for April 2011

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With recent developments for United States players we have decided to summarize the current choices for US poker online.  This is not meant to be a listing of every site that allows players from the Land of the Free, rather it is a compilation of the sites that Holdem Poker Chat has confidence in and that we feel comfortable recommending to you, the players.




Sportsbook PokerSportsBook Poker

Sportsbook Poker is a financially stable company.  They run the rapidly expanding Merge Gaming software.  As the name implies, you will run into poker players who are really just sports gamblers without a good grasp on poker fundamentals.  Soft play and easy marks are what you can expect with Sportsbook Poker.  The initial signup bonus is a liberal 100% up to $1,000.  No special code is needed to receive this bonus.


Luvin Poker

Luvin Poker is the only room on the growing Everleaf Network that Holdem Poker Chat recommends.   Ladies, if you are tired of the male dominated world of poker, Luvin Poker’s player base is 40% female.    They also offer a huge 200% bonus up to $1,000.  you must enter the code HPCMAX for this bonus.


Lock Poker

Lock Poker is on the Merge Network.  They have recently signed some poker pros to represent them at live events.  Lock Poker has some of the most rewarding monthly promotions.  Cash game players will especially like their rake races and challenges.  Lock Poker offers an initial deposit 200% bonus up to $1,200.  No bonus code is needed to get this deal.


Bodog Poker

Bodog Poker is one of the oldest and most respected names in online wagering.  Their core sportsbook business insures a steady flow of less than savvy players to the poker tables.  In the new order, Bodog offers some of the highest prize pool tournaments available to US players.  The initial deposit bonus of 110% up to $1,100 is nothing to sneeze at.  No bonus code is needed to get this great bonus.


Carbon PokerCarbon Poker

Carbon Poker is the flagship of the Merge Network.  They have perhaps the widest selection of tournaments available on a daily basis.  there is usually always a tournament starting in a few minutes.  There are a few high buyin events, but with the new influx of players expect more mid and high level buyin events to appear.  their $109 buyin $50k guaranteed tournament runs every Sunday.  Initial deposit bonus at carbon poker is 200% up to $500.  you must use the code HPC500 to receive this bonus.

Carbon Poker now allows Australian Players

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Carbon PokerCarbon Poker, the flagship of the Merge Gaming Network now allows Austalian players on their servers. The Merge Network was based in Australia to some extent previously and certain rules locally (that I am not entirely familiar with) forbade them from accepting customers from Down Under.

No lengthy explanation was readily available from Carbon Poker, but this is what they had to say on Facebook: “Happy to announce that we are now accepting all our Australian friends as real money players with CarbonPoker. Exciting news to help grow Carbon!” So if you are Australian, welcome to the Merge Network and see you at the tables.

Carbon Poker Mega Million for August

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Aussie MillionsCarbon Poker brings back their Mega Million promotion for August 2010. Part rake race, part rake chase the Mega Million sports cash payouts for attaining certain point levels. The twist is that there are a limited number of cash payouts at each level. So there is a race element as well as a leveling up component. This promotion will primarily attract the cash game player or maybe high volume SNG players.

Carbon Poker appears to be making a big push. They really want your business. In subsequent days we will be unveiling at least two more promotions from Carbon Poker. Couple that with their new Celebrity spokesperson Shannon Elizabeth, and they bear watching. The guaranteed tournament schedule is also much improved and our next promo from them will be a tournament promotion.

Mega Million: $1,000,000 in Cash Prizes
Back by popular demand is CarbonPoker’s biggest ever cash giveaway! During August, you have a shot to race your way to over $25,000 cash. With more than 12,500 individual prizes and a total prizepool of $1,000,000 in real cash, there is no better place to win free cash.

Carbon will automatically track your VIP Points that you earn between August 1 – 31. Each point you earn moves you up through 15 levels of cash prizes. As you go from level to level, you win more and more cash.

This is a race, after all, so there are limited prizes at each level. Speed your way through all 15 tiers to win over $25,000 in real cash. Prizes will be paid in real time, so as soon as you win it, you get it!

The MEGA Million Details:

Win over $25,000 Cash
Over $1,000,000 in Cash Prizes to be Won!
Over 12,500 Cash Prizes to be awarded!
Prizes paid in real-time
* Each individual VIP point earned will only count towards one prize level at a time

Terms & Conditions
As a member of CarbonPoker, herein “the Promotion”, you are bound by the following Terms and Conditions:

The ‘Mega Million’ promotion will run from Sunday 1 until Tuesday 31 August (inclusive), 2010. On Wednesday 1 September at 00:00 Server Time the Mega Million VIP points counter will cease recording VIP Points and any earned after this time will NOT count towards prize requirements.

To be eligible to receive any cash payouts the player MUST click the “ACTIVATE MEGA MILLION” button on the promotion page in their player admin.

All Mega Million cash prizes will be paid in full directly to a player’s poker account, without any further play through requirements. Any cash prizes will be available for withdrawal after 7 days of being issued to your account, but can be played with at the tables immediately.

A player can win ALL 15 cash prizes during the promotion period, but must meet each level’s individual prize requirements.
Please allow up to 30 minutes from when an individual prize level is completed, until payment is received.

Any form of cheating or collusion will not be tolerated.

The maximum number of cash prizes to be awarded at each level are limited and will only be awarded to the fastest eligible players to reach each level. In the case of multiple players reaching the same level and prize limits being exceeded, then the prize will be awarded to the fastest player to obtain that level (within the prize limits).

CarbonPoker reserves the right to alter, modify or terminate the Promotion and/or these Terms at any time, without giving you any prior notice (written or verbal) where it is reasonable to do so or for reasons beyond the Promoter’s control. The Promoter does not accept any responsibility or liability for any late or undelivered entries or registrations, notifications or communications or for any form of technical failure, error, malfunction or difficultly or for any other event beyond its reasonable control that may cause the operation of the Promotion to be disrupted, unavailable or incorrect.

In order to be eligible a player must setup a real money account, which includes their full contact details, so that we can pay any winnings to their account should the win.

Offer only open to players that are of the legal age of majority as determined by the laws of the country where you live. Employees and immediate family members of employees of CarbonPoker, its associated companies, affiliates, advertising and promotional agencies are not eligible to take part in the Promotion. Entry to the Promotion is limited to those people who are resident in countries where their registration and use of the Cardroom is permitted by the law of their country.

The company reserves the right to ask for proof of age from any customer and customer accounts may be suspended until satisfactory proof of age is provided.

By downloading the software and registering an account, a customer is deemed to have fully accepted and understood all rules, terms and conditions published by this website.

All players must meet CarbonPoker’s Terms & Conditions, and CarbonPoker reserves the right to modify these rules at any time, and for any reason, at its sole discretion.

In case of any disputes regarding any terms or conditions of this promotion, the decision of CarbonPoker’s management is final.

Carbon Poker Snakes and Ladders

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Carbon Poker introduces Snakes and ladders. A cute name for sit and go steps. The rationalization of the name is that you either climb the ladder or you snake down to a lower position. As far as I can tell, these tournaments are exclusive to Carbon Poker on the network. Carbon appears ready to make noise of its own with the signing of Shannon Elizabeth to play poker for them.

‘Snakes and Ladders’ are a special type of tiered sit’n’go where players can win up to $2,000 cash for as little as $1.10 or 110 VIP points.

There are 7 levels to the ‘Snakes and Ladders’ sng’s and even if you don’t advance to the next level in a particular Step sng, you can still win a chance to play the same level again, or one below. You also have the choice to buy-in directly at any of the 7 levels, or jump off the ladder and into Carbon’s satellite tournaments using the Step 3 coupon.

To register for Steps tournaments, click on the tabs: Tournaments » Sng » Satellites.

Here is an easy to follow image that gives you a much better idea of how to climb the ladders and where you might snake down to.