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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Cake Poker Review

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The Cake Poker Network has grown rapidly this year. Currently the network is around the 15th largest. Cake Poker accepts US players and its peak hours occur during the US evening hours. Cake's rapid rise is due in large part to some juicy sign-up bonuses, including Pokerworks' own, which is a 100% of your deposit up to $500 bonus. The real key, however, is the player loyalty program and some unique features of the Cake software.

The sign-up bonus is similar to the bonus that Pokerworks offers to Full Tilt Poker . You must clear 16.67 points for each dollar in bonus and the bonus is released in $10 increments. You earn one point for each dollar in rake or portion thereof for pots in which you were dealt a hand. Thus if you fold in early position and the other players play a pot that is raked 50 cents, you earn half a point. You can easily track your progress on the bonus in the account details page at Cake.

Cake allows players to select from a relatively wide array of avatars, which can be changed at any time. In addition, you can change your screen name once a week. What is the point of this? It makes it very difficult for tracking programs to track a particular player. The program may get several thousand hands associated with a name, and then the next week, that name vanishes from the tables. Of course, the player is still at the table, just under a different screen name. You can, however, make notes on each player and those notes transfer to any changed screen name. In this way, you can take notes on players, but you cannot use a program to pick up their playing tendencies for you. Now, I like and use poker tracker, but there is something nice about knowing I can simply erase my identity any time I want and effectively start over each week. Note taking, is obviously important in general, but more so at Cake because of this identity changing feature. A tracking program usually gives a player an advantage, so Cake appears to have neutralized this advantage. This feature has attracted newer players to the site, and keeps them there. If you happen to not be a new player, this is also good news for you.

Players are rewarded for their play at Cake with frequent reload bonuses, so once you have cleared the Pokerworks sign-up bonus, you will soon have an opportunity to redeposit and work on another bonus. Cake also has a player points program. Points are earned via playing raked hands. These points are then combined and exchanged for "gold chips." The gold chips can then be used to enter tournaments or to purchase items in the Cake store. The store boasts the usual items: T-shirts, iPods, poker books, etc.

Players are also randomly awarded "gold cards" while playing at the table. These gold cards can be collected in an effort to win a $52,000 jackpot. If you collect all 52 cards, you will win at least a share of the jackpot. If no one has 52 of these cards, you can win if you have the highest number of cards. You can also enter a daily jackpot of varying amounts in exchange for one or more of your gold cards. Like gold chips, gold cards can also be used to enter tournaments. Finally, a running tally of weekly gold cards earned is kept and the top 100 earners compete in a tournament where first place is a WPT tournament package. In addition to the tournament entry, if you finish in the top five of the weekly race, you also get instant cash prizes.

In addition to the player loyalty programs and bonus, Cake attracts new players with a sleek, attractive interface that is easy to navigate. Multiple filters allow players to quickly find the game and level they wish to play, whether this is cash games or tournaments. Like most sites, Cake has waiting lists for tables, so if you find a table you want to play at that is full you can simply sign up to the waiting list and be automatically notified when a seat opens up. You can play as many tables as you like at Cake, but the tables are not resizable, so you will need an appropriate monitor(s) to multi-table. The one software problem at Cake is intermittent disconnections. I have been disconnected a few times while playing thus far, but I have certainly played at more frustrating sites.

The game selection at Cake is not extensive, but there are some non-hold'em games. Cake also offers Omaha, Omaha hi/lo, stud, and stud hi/lo. Finding an active table for the non hold'em games however is challenging unless playing during peak hours. Tournaments of various game types also run throughout the day. Many tournaments have guaranteed prize pools, so often there are some nice overlays, particularly in non-peak hours. I would characterize the hold'em players as soft both for cash games and tournaments, but there are softer sites out there. Nevertheless, the bonus and other loyalty programs make it well worth playing here.

While playing at the tables you can use Cake's note-taking feature to keep track of your opponents. Cake offers a note pad in which to type notes as well as a color-coded identification system. These identifiers are not particularly helpful by their names (hot, good, fair, crazy, tight, easy money), but you can substitute whatever system you like for better identification and quick recognition of the type of player you are up against.

It is relatively easy for US players to deposit and withdraw from the site. Deposits can be made by credit card or by ePassporte. Withdrawals can be made by check or by ePassporte. Non-US players have more options. Deposits can be made by Neteller, ePassporte, Moneybookers, or credit card. Withdrawals can be made through the same eWallets or by check. Deposits are usually instantaneous, while withdrawals can take an average of one day to clear via the eWallets, longer, of course, for checks. There is relatively little financial worry with Cake's size and security. Any problems or questions are dealt with promptly by email support.

Overall, I enjoy playing on the site. My experience has been trouble free and I plan to continue playing. I would tell you my screen name, but it'll be different by the time this is published.

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