Club based poker apps
More and more poker players, both professionals and amateurs, are contacting us about the "poker platforms 2.0" — PPpoker, Upoker, X-Poker, PokerBros, Pokerrrr 2 (perhaps by the time you read this guide, new ones have already appeared).
We have dissected for newcomers the principles of their operation, the reasons for their appearance, and the pros and cons of this new scheme. First of all, we decided to write this post to study this phenomenon of modern gambling, sharing our perspective as affiliates and players and creating a kind of "survival guide" for grinders, agents, and hosts.
How does this work?
Let's start with a Wikipedia-style definition.
Club-based poker apps are platforms for playing with virtual chips with the possibility of creating private clubs to play with friends.
Please note: there is not a word about playing for real money. Such platforms with clubs, unexpectedly for their own developers, began to be used by players and game hosts as private venues to hold poker games for cash.
The first platform of its kind was PokerStars, which introduced its Home Games in 2013 as a feature for bloggers (and other influencers) and their community to hold private tournaments for fans, like the ones all sites regularly host.
Back in 2015, when WPD was just a new project, online poker had already suffered the effects of Black Friday, regulations in France, Spain and Italy, among others. Since then, entrepreneurs have worked hard to offer grinders any option to play online. Before the arrival of club-based poker apps, the solution was to buy any poker platform without a license, but this model was quite expensive and a bit popular only in Israel and the Middle-Eastern countries.
Now, poker apps have "conquered" the world. There are worldwide unions similar to poker networks. Players from many countries have returned to the tables, including but not limited to United States, China, Brazil, Spain, etc.
How and why poker apps succeed?
As we hinted earlier, online gambling is not allowed in every country in the modern world. In some, there is no regulation (gray zone); in others, there are restrictions or a complete prohibition.
But this, as you probably already know, never gamblers, including poker fans. They gathered (and continue to gather) in basements, private clubs (hello, Molly Bloom), risking their safety, privacy, and the integrity of the game.
Upoker (along with other club apps) saw this problem and offered a solution to move those underground games online. How?
The application itself is a shell. Outwardly, it looks like another social poker app with play money. Anyone can download the PPPoker app from Google Play or the App Store and start challenging other players in 5 minutes.
There is no secret in the features of the apps neither —it is possible to create your own private club (with access strictly by invitation), set the real value of virtual chips. In other words, you have everything you need to host a real money game.
At the same time, unlike PokerStars Home Games, club owners are given advanced tools for managing players, agents, and financial reports, making it easier to work with customers and affiliates.
Big agents, local opinion leaders, and poker bloggers started opening their own clubs. However, the formula of their secret had another ingredient:
Games at PokerBros are played anonymously (no need to confirm your identity to play) with no country restrictions, and to make deposits and withdrawals, players exchange money with agents, who can be located anywhere. The world of Bitcoin reached the world of poker, you could say.
To summarize. The poker apps only responded to a popular claim for online games. The secret of their success lies in their worldwide availability.
How do deposits and withdrawals work?
Deposits and withdrawals are processed via e-wallets like Skrill or Neteller, or the ultimate solution for online poker emerged in recent years: cryptocurrencies.
Recall that there is no direct cashier, so you won't find any button to deposit. You first send money to a middleman, and he manually loads chips into your account. What about withdrawals? Think that you want to exchange your chips at your local casino: you go to the cashier, return the chips, and you get your money. The same principle applies here. Usually, agents charge a small administrative fee for withdrawals.
Nevertheless, there is a catch. How can you be sure that the person you are sending money to won't scam you?
Who are agents
We already know what an agent does, but who are the people behind this? Anyone can be an agent. Well, anyone a club owner trusts to promote his business. However, the process for selecting promoters is not as rigorous as it should be, and sometimes random people without any background get credentials to load chips to players.
Hence, you need to be very careful when choosing your agent. Our recommendation is to choose big affiliates with a decent background in the poker industry. Worldpokerdeals guarantees your bankroll backed by almost a decade of experience.
Clubs and unions
A club is a small and independent poker room working under the PPPoker platform. Each site features:
- A name.
- A currency.
- A unique MTT grid.
- Stand-alone cash tables.
- A working group composed of agents, promoters, and investors.
But, just like regular poker sites like GGPoker and Natural8, which combine efforts under the GGNetwork brand, PokerBros clubs can also unite their games under unions or alliances, which in real life are exactly like poker networks.
Our reviews have spotted massive traffic across all poker apps clubs and unions that can be a clash with the largest poker networks like IDNPoker or iPoker.
When you play in a regular poker room like PokerStars, you feel "safe." This is because such a company is recognized worldwide. It belongs to a large gambling holding (Flutter). They have built a solid reputation over the years. Yes, they killed the rakeback, but they can be trusted 100%.
Honestly speaking, the same doesn't not (and won't) apply for poker apps. You will not be backed in any way from the site if an untrustworthy agent scams you. Even the most prominent unions are black boxes, and besides your middleman, you won't know any of the team behind the games.
We are not trying to scare you, of course, but you need to consider the risks before grinding here. However, not everything is bad if you follow a few simple rules:
- Play only with trusted agents. We could not emphasize more on this
- Distrust suspicious promotions like free chips to play or unrealistic welcome bonuses
- Never accept or ask for credit
- Take your time to check the game before depositing
- Report anything shady to your affiliate
We also highlight some critical important of poker apps to improve their reliability:
- Hiring recognized players as ambassadors.
- Setting security teams like Game Integrity Bros.
- Regularly updating their app.
- Working hand in hand with agents to clean the games.
If you have read this far, you probably are not concerned about the legal status of poker apps. As we have explained above, such sites feature no gambling license and are not related to real money games taking place on their platforms.
Agents have used a "smart solution" to offer online poker games worldwide: "hiding" their operation under play money apps. We are not experts, but it's not difficult to guess that this is not only illegal but also almost impossible to stop. Even if a major site is shut down, agents can easily move all their operations to other games, including players' money.
However, a new generation of legal poker apps has emerged within the last year: KKPoker and Pokio. The first one was developed by the PPPoker team and is a very decent site to play cash games, MTTs, and spins, while the second one has attracted poker stars like Viktor "Isildur1" Bloom.
Let's sum up:
Regular poker apps like Upoker are not licensed. You must trust your agent to play for real money. If you really care about licenses, take a closer look at KKPoker.
Pros and cons of this format
- Access to games from restricted countries (USA, China, Spain, etc.).
- High rakeback and legit games (RNG certificates and game integrity teams).
- Soft games with amateurs at every table.
- Many options to play (1 club or union = 1 world).
- No license.
- Hundreds of scammers disguised as agents.
- Each club has a different rate.
Club-based poker apps aren't for everyone. Amateurs love the model because it's very similar to playing in local venues, but for pros, the hassle of dealing with agents and inconvenient platforms isn't always worth it. We highly recommend anyone looking for soft action to check our deal on PPPoker and other apps.
Tips for those looking to start playing club based poker apps
Well, after reading our analysis, you will want to give the poker apps a try. What should you do? Let's summarize 101-style:
- Find a trusted agent. Do your due diligence and read forums, ask your colleagues, surf the Internet
- Confirm that such an agent works with compatible payment methods. Waste no time if not.
- Confirm a working schedule (availability for transactions)
- Request for test accounts to check the action before depositing
- Confirm all the details: Currency, Action, Rakeback, Terms & conditions, Money guarantee, Fees
- Don't hesitate to ask anything that makes you feel comfortable before starting playing: why should I trust you? What happens if the club crashes? What do you do to keep the games clean?
From our point of view as affiliates, we can study the overall market and conclude some facts:
PPPoker remains the leader, but it has lost momentum in Asia and the USA. Their focus is now Latin America, Europe and Australia
PokerBros is now the USA's biggest poker app. The site has worked hard to establish its brand in that country
Upoker has managed to conquer the Asian market and nowadays is the best app to play against Israeli, Indian and Chinese fans.
X-Poker is slowly starting to build a reputation across LatAm and Europe.
Before poker apps emerged, many people said that "poker will die in two years." With the new boom in LatAm and China, we can predict that the poker market will be more alive than ever in two years.
Do you need help choosing the best poker app to play? Trust this to our team of 10 professional poker affiliates. Our round-table service is ideal for this as we give customized advice for grinders.
Contact us, and we will help you with your choice, we will give you the best rakeback deals, and a goodies package that includes free software and much more.