Imperial Casino Review

Sorry, No US Players
Imperial Casino:

The Grand Virtual Group is one of the oldest casino operators found on the net and has been running online casinos since around 1998; although that might not sound that long ago it is in terms of online casinos! During the past 10 years, they've built up a solid reputation amongst online players. And yet a good number of people have never heard of this group. The reason for this is that US players have never been accepted by Grand Virtual. However, non-US players may well be interested in the casinos operated by this group and so I decided to give Imperial Casino a once over.

Actually though, Imperial Casino is not new for me - indeed it's actually one of the very first casinos I played at over 8 years ago. Back then the casino didn't offer very much in terms of game selection and the graphics / sound effects were distinctly average! However, things have changed and Imperial now offers a wealth of games to keep the casino player gaming away.

Imperial doesn't operate via a no-download interface and as such a player firstly has to download the 300k installer. This installer then requests further files from the internet and sets the casino up ready-to-run from a player's computer. The whole process is pretty hassle free and an impressive feature is that the casino can be installed to operate using over 15 different languages. This highlights the European / Asian focus of this casino and will certainly appeal to those who do not have English as a first language.

Once installed a player can have a dabble using 'play' chips or can fully register so as to experience the full casino offering. Sign-up is easy and within a few minutes a player will have a fully-fledged account ready to play. As stated earlier, US players cannot sign-up here although bizarrely all play at Imperial takes place using the US Dollar. I suppose this is a currency that's very well known although still slightly odd since no players will use dollars as their native currency!

As stated earlier I used to have an account with Imperial but I actually lost the details for my account many years ago. After checking with support they were happy for me to create a new account and so that is what I did. Similarly, this meant when I made my first purchase I was entitled to the current Imperial sign-up bonus. This allows players a $1 for $1 match bonus worth up to $100. The nice thing at Imperial is that the bonus is added automatically but doesn't force a player to play it through. As such, should a player make a nice profit before completing wagering conditions they can still cash-in as long as they are willing to forfeit the bonus (and any monies won from bonus chips).

The Imperial Casino cashier allows players to deposit using a variety of popular methods including credit cards and e-wallets just as NeTeller. It was NeTeller I used to make a $100 purchase. This was instantly matched with the $100 bonus. One thing that impressed me with the Imperial Cashier is that a number of deposit options have a minimum purchase amount of just $5 - great for those on a tight budget!

When it comes to the games available at Imperial, these are relatively plentiful and are assessable via an in-lobby menu system. A preview function is also available and comes in handy in understanding a game's rules before deciding to play. Incidentally, Imperial only downloads and installs games when prompted by the user. As such, players don't need to waste internet time in downloading games they are never going to play!

Despite the casino offering a plentiful choice of games, I still decided to start with a little Blackjack play. Impressively a variety of BJ games are available ranging from standard 3-spot Blackjack to micro-limit games (bet in cents) to games following specific rules such as Atlantic City BJ. The 'double deck' game I chose to play allowed bets on up to three spots and bet limits allowed ranged from $2 to $150 per spot. This should satisfy the majority of players, and of course the micro-limit games are there for those who find even $2 too much.

In terms of game presentation I was immediately aware of how much this casino has progressed from when I used to play before. Now the games have decent quality graphics and although perhaps not the best on the net, these are still of a perfectly acceptable standard. The games also feature sound effects where appropriate to further enhance the playability. One thing I did think is that the graphics are all quite 'large'. By this, I mean that each game is shown from quite a close-up perspective. However, I think I actually like this approach - after all it ensures that a player won't confuse card suits or anything like that, something that's important in games such as Caribbean Stud Poker!

Speaking of this game, I also spent some money checking out Imperial's version of this game. One thing that impressed me here was that up to three hands can be played at once. This can really help a player in terms of knowing what cards are left in the deck and therefore assisting in deciding whether the dealer will qualify or not. Of course, it also means that a player can be left with three losers if the dealer has a good qualifying hand - something that happened to me on more than one occasion!

After checking out some of the other table games (including the excellent Casino Solitaire game), I next decided to see if my Video Poker skills were going to help me boost my bankroll which at this point was still hovering around the $200 mark (exactly what I started with including the bonus I was awarded).

Again, upon loading the Video Poker menu I was impressed with the development that's been carried out in this area. A good selection of games are now available and multi-hand fans really will be in their element - multi-hand games go all the way up to 500-hand versions! Imagine hitting a Royal Flush on a game like that! In terms of graphics, again the quality is good but not astounding. Similarly, I found some of the multi-hand games 'lagged' a little, I guess because of the amount of data needing to be communicated. Despite these slight shortcomings, Video Poker players should be able to entertain themselves for a while with Imperial's selection and I personally was able to boost my bank roll a little. I had the best luck playing the 500-hand Jacks or Better game and although highly volatile, a few winners on the initial deal meant I was able to do quite nicely. A couple of 5-of-a-Kind hands whilst playing Deuces Wild also helped!

At this point my bankroll was up to around the $230 mark and so I headed next to play some of Imperial's slot games to see if I could go out with a bang. As with the other parts of the casino, a good range of games is available giving players the opportunity to play classic-style three-reel games as well as multi-line video games packed with features and even the odd progressive jackpot here or there!

One game I really loved was the Eureka game. This Video Slot uses really bright graphics and its groovy theme is really quite original. A few decent winners such as my $40 hit also helped me in coming to like this one! The same is true for the Go for Gold slot where I managed to hit all this game's features within literally my first few spins. After completing my play on this one my bankroll was above the $300 mark!

The graphics used on the slot games at Imperial are much like those found elsewhere in the casino in the fact that they are good but not groundbreaking. My only criticism is that I think the casino has perhaps tried too hard to make their games different. For example, I didn't find one video slot where the symbols simply span in - rather they flash in or drop in or do 'crazy' things as they appear. I can see this might appeal to some although I think others could find this approach slightly frustrating! Nevertheless, the games are still fun and the massive jackpots available at Imperial should certainly attract one or two players!

At the end of my playing session I had a bankroll of $350 or so and as such headed to the cashier to make a withdrawal. As I had not wagered enough to keep the bonus I forfeited $100 but this still left me with $250 withdrawable. The cash-in request went through without problem and as always with Grand Virtual casinos, the monies were returned to my account within 24 hours. Grand Virtual may not be very communicative when handling finances, but I'd rather have less emails if casinos can guarantee to pay winnings within 24 hours of a cash out with no 'pending periods' like Imperial can!

The final thing to test was Imperial's support and sadly this is still an area that I think is lacking. Support is only available via email which in today's 'want it now' society is slightly short-sighted. Emails can take up to 24 hours to receive a response and although the support team is good, I do think telephone or live chat support would be a great addition to this casino.

In conclusion I enjoyed my play at Imperial and was certainly impressed with how much this casino has developed since I last played there. A good selection of games is available including many that simply cannot be found elsewhere - 500-hand Video Poker games and Solitaire are two that immediately spring to mind. The financial handling side of this casino is great and the low minimum deposits and rapid withdrawal processing policy should keep everyone happy. The only downside to playing here is that support is not the best is could be - players should understand that if they have problems they are not likely to get immediate assistance. Generally though, I've not really known players to have problems with Grand Virtual casinos and as such for those looking for somewhere different to play, I'd definitely say give Imperial a try. With the great $100 sign-up bonus and attached bonus policy, players really can give this casino a try without risking too much of their hard-earned cash!

Click Pictures to Enlarge

A nice couple of 5-of-a-Kind hands help me to my $36.50 win whilst playing 25-hand Deuces Wild Video Poker 25 Hand Deuces Wild

A pair of Jacks on the initial deal means every one of my 500 hands is a winner whilst playing Jacks or Better Video Poker 500 Hand Jacks or Better

Casino Intrigue is a video slot with a casino theme. Here my $5.50 spin returns a healthy $26 prize Casino Intrigue Slot

Castle Keno offers players a range of betting options including bet against which I am playing here. As such the 1-hit I have so far means I lose! Castle Keno

Caribbean Stud Poker can be played on up to three hands at once - here I have two decent hands with which to raise my bets Caribbean Stud Poker

Double Deck Blackjack proves to be lucky for me as all three of my hands turn in to winners Double Deck Blackjack

I up my bets at just the right time whilst playing the three-reel Dragon's Treasure game - here I have a $60 winning combination Dragons Treasure

A very nice $40 payout early on whilst playing the Eureka slot game helps boost my bankroll Eureka Slot

A player is firstly set up with a guest account which can be upgraded to cash play at any time Registering at Imperial

I love free-spin slots, particularly when you activate the feature within a handful of spins as I did whilst playing Go for Gold! Go For Gold

The casino lobby provides access to all the available games. Imperial also offers a hand preview function The Lobby at Imperial

I finish my play by activating the Space Ace bonus feature before heading off to the cashier to withdraw my $360 balanace! Space Ace Bonus Round

Imperial Casino Strong Points:
  • Good number of games with some unusual games such as Solitaire and 500-hand Video Poker available
  • Nice $100 sign-up bonus with a intuitive system that allows a player to withdraw their own funds even before wagering requirements are met
  • Good banking with most withdrawals processed within 1 business day
  • A positive history of operation with this Casino having first begun operating in the late 1990s
Things Imperial Casino Could Improve:
  • Customer support only available via email (or web form) and responses can take up to 24 hours to be received
  • The graphics used are not amazing in terms of quality but are certainly decent enough
  • Some of the slot games can be very 'busy' with regards to graphics and animation
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