HighStakers.com's Absolute Poker Review
Absolute Poker has been at least an "honorable mention" level poker room for the several years it's been online, but its recent makeover has finally helped the well-respected site to meet its full potential. Anyone that's up on their online poker history knows that Absolute contributed its own dark chapter on cheating a few years ago, but the site's revamped auditing and security measures ought to reassure even the most paranoid of players.
Absolute Poker's Look
The original Absolute Poker site seemed to pander almost painfully to American and UK players, what with its glaring red, white and blue color scheme. The site's new look is built around that classic palette, but this time around it's considerably more sophisticated thanks to a significantly cleaner lobby and stripped down tables that are so smoky smooth they're almost sexy.
If we have a complaint worth repeating about Absolute Poker's look, its about the website itself which does little to inspire picky players to venture into the actual poker room. Trust us when we say that the garishly bright pages of the site, which are short on graphics and surprisingly rife with typos, are not any indication of what you'll find at Absolute's tables. In fact, if you don't love the automatic table setting as much as we did, then you have virtually unlimited alternatives. That's because the site not only offers nearly a dozen preloaded skins, players can also create or download their own.
Absolute Poker's Software
Absolute Poker's quality turnaround is due largely to the Cereus Network software platform that powers the new and improved poker room. The expanded skins option mentioned above are just one tiny perk of the new package. Players with a short attention span will immediately notice how light and speedy the software is at every stage. The lobby is comfortably usable and the tables resize admirably. Absolute also earns brownie points for offering both a flash version and an AP Mac version of their poker room.
The excellence of Absolute Poker's newest software update extends to the site's banking options and security. They really outdo themselves, currently offering almost two dozen deposit options. Furthermore, they're really proving to be on their game about security, now offering the two-part login feature via the same security tokens favored by larger sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt.
Absolute Poker's Games
Absolute Poker's game selection is surprisingly not as expansive as its sister site, UB.com's. Here's hoping that as a member of the same Network it'll be branching out soon. Still, players looking for a little variety won't be disappointed. Absolute Poker offers the following poker variations in both ring game and tournament formats: Texas Hold'em, 7-Deuce Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo, Razz, HORSE, and the recently added Straddles.
Absolute Poker's tournament selection is considerably better with so many SNGs and MTTs that they're listed separately. Where this poker room really shines is in its extra tournament options. By that we mean that Absolute regulars can buy in three different ways: with cash, with tournament points and with FAME points. All of their tournaments also offer late registration, and players can either grind their way up to the top satellites from the bottom (via $.50 steps buy-ins or special freerolls), or can buy in directly on the final day.
Absolute Poker's Players
Absolute Poker's numbers are well above average, but the site doesn't attract the same overwhelmingly large mob that frequently floods the guaranteeds at larger poker rooms. With around 20,000 players during peak hours, you'll never have trouble finding action at the more common tables, though the less popular game rooms (like Stud) turn into ghost towns when the traffic is down. The overall skill level here is still surprisingly low. Add that to the smaller tournament fields and it translates to some pretty good odds in the big guaranteeds. You also don't have to worry about predators trying to double up on you in Absolute's ring games since the room imposes buy-in minimums at all its tables.
Absolute Poker's Promotions
Absolute Poker may be on the same network as UB, but a quick comparison of the two's promotional programs is all it takes to see that they're both doing their own thing. That's not to say that Absolute Poker's promos aren't still generous - they are - simply that they're more varied than what you'll find at their sister site.
Absolute Poker's promos lead off with a sizable 150% first deposit bonus good for up to $500. Returning members are also well-rewarded by the site so long as they play well with Absolute's FAME program. Regardless of what level you attain, you're guaranteed to get at least a 15% reload every month, with more esteemed FAME members getting 100% monthly reload bonuses. The Absolute Poker promo package is good otherwise but fairly predictable, offering up the usual referral and bad beat bonuses, steps and SNGs, occasional satellites and the classic leaderboard competitions.
What Absolute Poker Is Known For
Absolute Poker's user-friendly lobby and games, information-heavy website and wide open banking options make it a mecca for first-timers. By extension, the poker room is also attracting a much tougher crowd thanks in part to its larger than average population of fish. While it's not a standout in many ways, it's also not an under-achiever, making it an ideal site for players that prefer understated quality to unnecessary quantity.
Absolute Poker Summary
Absolute Poker still has room for improvement, but overall it's a solid site that offers players of every level a fair chance at some very desirable payouts. If you're a beginner looking for a poker room that's fish-friendly, or alternately if you're an amateur that's looking for a small pond to dominate, then Absolute Poker is ideally suited for both purposes.