I’m a big fan of Poker. I freely admit that this is because of the “World Poker Tour”: I mean, I always like the idea of poker, but I wasn’t exposed to Texas Hold ’em until the WPT popped up. And it wasn’t until I looked into Hold ’em that I realized the joys of 7-card stud and Omaha.

So a few years back I caught the WPT and laughed at how absurd it was to televise something as boring as poker. I mean, watching a bunch of people on TV playing cards! How lame is that?

Within about 10 minutes I was hooked. Go figure. For some reason I really can’t explain, I find it as tense as a good football game. I’ll never be one of those idiots who call poker a real sport, but it’s certainly more of a spectator “sport” than I would ever have guessed.

So anyway, I play on “Ultimate Bet”: right now. (No, that link isn’t an affiliate link or anything) I generally am not very good, so when I feel like wasting money on poker it’s usually because I need something to occupy my time, and I blow my money on the penny tables so I can have fun for a while before going broke.

UltimateBet is one of the smaller poker sites, with less than 20k people on during peak hours (Compare to PokerStars or PartyPoker at 50k+), but their support staff is very good: * I once had a problem they couldn’t figure out (‘#’ couldn’t be part of a password, so my password kept getting randomly reset) and they gave me 500 “Ultimate Points”. These points are worth about $1 per 250, so it was nothing incredible, but it was definitely a nice gesture. * A few weeks ago I went to take advantage of their 100% deposit bonus, but my card was declined (some banks consider “gaming” purchases to be unacceptable). Within minutes, a rep called me and told me how to use “NETeller”: to do an instant payment. But what’s more, UltimateBet covered the normal fee (usually 8.9% I think) so I could get the money to them ASAP.

Obviously a big poker site can afford to do these sorts of things, but when I played on other big sites, I was never given any kind of personal service like that. PokerStars may or may not cover the NETeller fee, but they certainly never mentioned it to me when I first used them. PartyPoker definitely doesn’t care about customer satisfaction. After having some kind of account problem with them, they responded to my support request with a FAQ that had nothing to do with my issue! For a poker site with so many people and so little rewards, I was amazed. They didn’t offer any kind of compensation, but that wasn’t nearly as big a problem to me as their unwillingness to even address my issue.

So for budding poker players out there, you’ll find far more variety of players on PokerStars and PartyPoker. But UltimateBet is far more customer-oriented.

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