Cake Poker Review

Cake Poker

Poker is often seen as the thinking man's way to gamble and indeed, versus the random nature of slot machines or similar, poker is certainly a more skill-based way to have a bet. Here at Online-Casinos.com we like a bit of poker action and having heard a buzz about Cake Poker decided to see if this poker room lived up to the high expectations we at Online-Casinos.com hold.

Cake Poker advertises with the slogan 'get a piece of the action' and a quick visit to the Cake Poker site shows the 'cake' concept runs throughout the site. Thankfully though the theme isn't too overbearing and I was impressed with the layout of the site – smooth navigation and a plethora of information sections certainly earn points in my eyes. All too often casinos simply stick download links all over the site with very little information about what a player can expect if they sign up as a member.

The line 'why settle for crumbs' particularly caught my eye and a quick look at the promotions section of the site again demonstrated that Cake offer a little more than the usual. As well as the usual sign-up bonuses this poker site also offers a clever awards scheme. Basically as a player joins in with hands, gold chips and cards are randomly awarded or earned on the back of playing a certain number of hands. Gold chips can be used to enter tournaments and the gold cards open up a world of rewards and prizes to the player. The gold card concept is particularly fun as each card that can be collected is represented as a playing card. Some cards are easier to get than others with the ultra-rare cards only showing up once in many thousands of hands. This is similar to sport-collector cards you can get where certain ones are almost impossible to attain – but then again that's half the fun of collecting them!

To play at Cake Poker a player must firstly install the required software – there is no web-browser version of Cake Poker. This installation comes in the form of an 11mb file and although this is on the weighty side, most players should still find the installation doesn't take too long. Of course, the download and set-up procedure only needs to be undertaken once. The account creation process is also pretty straight-forward – a web form is fired up from within the software and is used to capture a new player's details. Incidentally, although I didn't try it out, Cake Poker also offer a download version of their software for mobile phone use meaning you don't even have to be at a computer to play your favourite game!

At Cake all play takes place using the US Dollar ($) and so upon entering the lobby all tables are shown using this currency. It is this lobby that provides the gateway to the various games available as well as common functions such as the cashier, help and software options. In need of money to play with it was the Cashier I visited first. As this was my first visit I had to furnish the software with more personal details – the earlier sign-up form only records a bare minimum of detail. However, this again was straightforward and within minutes I was able to purchase $100 from my NeTeller account. Cake also accept deposits from credit and debit cards as well as other e-wallets such as Money Bookers and Eco Card. As a first-time player I was awarded a 110% match on my deposit although this does have to be earned before it is added to a player's account.

In terms of the games available at Cake, the usual selection of Ring (cash) and Tournament games are available. However, I was impressed with the betting ranges on offer – Hold 'Em games, for example, start at just $0.02 / $0.04 and go all the way through to $500 / $1000! However, it has to be said the higher-limit tables were not readily populated and generally players looking for action on a table higher than $5 / $10 NL might be disappointed. The same is true of the non-Hold 'Em tables. Although Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7-Card Stud and 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo games are available these really do attract just a handful of players. It's certainly true that Texas Hold 'Em is the focus for this card room.

Nevertheless that didn't really disappoint me as Texas Hold 'Em is definitely the most popular form of poker. As such I settled down to start my play at a $1/$2 No-Limit table. Incidentally my table offered 9 playing seats although 6-seater tables are available as well as a handful of head-to-head games. These 2-seater tables are great to play at if you like fast action – you are guaranteed to be a part of every hand dealt!

In terms of the game presentation Cake have done a decent job. Each player is represented at the table with an avatar and although a player cannot upload their own avatar, a range of playing characters can be selected from within the options screen. Generally though each game looks very similar with a large table showing the action. A player's cards are easily identifiable and the user control interface is very easy to understand. A handy slider bar is available when playing no-limit games and generally the push button design makes it easy for a player to communicate their playing decision. Sound effects also enhance the game play, although as with any decent poker room, players can actually configure the background graphics and sound effects and thus set-up the poker room exactly as they want it.

Sadly my first playing experience at Cake Poker got off to a terrible start. I was dealt a 10 and 3 of Hearts and although not great, it was only going to cost me $2 to play the hand. Unfortunately the flop came down with 2 more hearts and I started getting carried away thinking I was going to get the flush. At this point I was also holding low pair and so decided to try and bluff my way to the pot by betting $10. This was met with an all-in call and feeling brave I decided to go for it. My opponent turned over a high pocket pair and I was actually quite confident I could improve my hand to win. This never happened though and so on my first hand I lost $50 of my deposit!

Deciding that perhaps I'd chosen a table where bets were too big I next moved on to a $0.25/$0.50 table. One thing that I certainly liked was that a decent game seemed to be available on many of the lower-limit tables. In my mind there is nothing worse than sitting at a table waiting for an opponent to join! Sadly my luck didn't really seem to be with me here and although I had a decent amount of play I failed to improve my bankroll situation.

The next stop for me was to have a look at the tournament section of the poker room. A good number of scheduled tournaments take place including a decent number of free rolls. I was also impressed to see a good number of tournaments offering prizes of land-based tournament seats. It must be pretty amazing to earn seats at events like the WSOP for winning a tournament online costing just a few dollars to enter! A good range of Sit-and-Go tournaments are also available, although as with cash games these are heavily Hold 'Em focussed.

Sadly I couldn't win at the tournaments I entered either and after a bit of play at the Omaha cash tables my balance was at zero. I'd performed pretty badly on this occasion but it's good to know withdrawals are processed smoothly at Cake Poker. Cash withdrawals are processed within 24-28 hours of request although credit card depositors should note fax-back documentation may be required to proceed with a first cash in.

In terms of Cake support this is an area I think could be slightly improved. No instant support options are available (such as live chat or telephone) – rather simply an email address is provided for players wanting assistance. Thankfully Cake redeemed themselves with an almost instant reply to my test email. Although I think instant support is something Cake could consider, the timely response still indicates a good level of customer support is offered.

In conclusion I was reasonably impressed with Cake Poker. I liked the promotions side of things and the general look and feel of the software is perhaps a slight cut above the competition. However, it is apparent that Cake attracts a largely Hold 'Em-focussed following interested in playing at only low to mid level tables. Those looking for high-limit action or to play games other than Texas Hold 'Em may be disappointed. Nevertheless, there's still a good game to be had at Cake and a number of tournaments and cash games take place around the clock. Banking functions seem to work well and support is very responsive, although a 'live' support offering would be good. All in all I can see that Cake will be attractive for a large number of poker players and certainly I can see why this poker room should get a lot of good press. I suppose I'm really saying give it a go – there's a lot of positives with this one and just maybe this will end up being your poker room of choice!

Click Pictures to Enlarge

The Cake Poker lobby provides access to a range of cash and tournament games

Cake Poker Lobby

I start out my play at a pretty full $2/$1 No Limit Hold'em game

No Limit Holdem

Given I am one from a flush I try and bully the table in to conceding the pot

Going For The Flush

I am questioning why I stayed in this pot since I don't even have a pair!

Me Without a Pair!

Unfortunately I go on tilt and start making some really bad betting decisions!

Going On Tilt

The $5/$10 tables are usually pretty popular and fun to watch with such large amounts of money moving around!

$5/$10 Tables

I sit down at one of the micro-limit Omaha Hi/Lo games

Omaha Hi/Lo

A standard form is used to capture a new player's personal details

Signing Up

A range of scheduled multi-table and single-table Sit 'n' Go games are available at Cake

Cake Poker Tournaments

Cake Poker Strong Points:
  • Excellent and innovative ongoing rewards programme
  • Nice 110% sign-up match bonus
  • Ultra-responsive email support
  • Good game presentation with attractive graphics and sound effects
  • Good number of cash games and tournaments available any time night or day
Things Cake Poker Could Improve:
  • Games are largely Texas Hold 'Em focussed although Omaha / Stud tables are available
  • No live support is available, although email support is very responsive
  • Many of the high-limit tables are unpopulated for large parts of the day
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