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Club WPT Review


Online Poker in the States has become a swirling maelstrom of legal questions, with some of the biggest sites in the world targeted by the federal government. Even for players around the world, depositing money onto a client that provides for U.S. customers might not seem like the smartest move. Enter ClubWPT, a different kind of online poker site that side steps any legal quandaries to provide the game we know and love with the backing of the famous World Poker Tour. The site operates under a sweepstake system, distinguishing it from the hordes of online poker sites who have worked on the edge of legality for so many years.

ClubWPT differs substantially from the usual online gambling sites in that you are not permitted to make any deposits and you can’t get a Club WPT Poker bonus because none are offered. Players don’t have accounts they fund with their credit card, instead you pay a monthly fee to access the software. For around $20 a month, you get a stack of Tournament Points, which can be used to buy into different cash events. These play something like exclusive freerolls, with money-added prizes varying in size depending on the number of TPs used to enter the event.

Every player starts each day with 500 TPs. If you balance ever drops below this figure, it is automatically topped up overnight. You can of course generate more TPs by cashing in tournaments, enabling you to enter more high-value events. The prize pools on these tournaments aren’t spectacular, but a solid player could easily make a tidy profit on their $20/month investment. The largest prize pool currently available is $10,000, which pays out $1000 and a whole stack of TPs to the first place finisher.

Sadly there are no cash games on ClubWPT. The software has a whole suite of play money games which include cash tables, but that’s your lot. Players who haven’t signed up for a Premium account can still download and play these pretend games. There’s also the chance for guests to earn a little cash in the $10 Opens. Every day a couple of these freerolls are run to give players a taste of what to expect from the full ClubWPT experience.

That said, full members get more than just a few tournaments. Signing up will grant you access to a selection of pro tips, Las Vegas guides, and the chance to watch ad-free seasons of the World Poker Tour. The site operates very much more like a private members club than the open gambling halls represented by the established online operators.

Club WPT claim that with them you’ll, “never lose a dime playing online poker.” That is almost true, although you are technically paying them $20 a month for the privilege of not losing any dimes. Still, there’s a small profit to be made by the savvy tournament player at ClubWPT and there’s no need to worry about your money being grabbed by an over zealous federal prosecutor.

Software Interface/Usability

The ClubWPT client is decked out, as you would expect, in the deep blues of the World Poker Tour. It looks quite snazzy, but at its core is pretty similar to the online poker clients you will be familiar with. And when it gets down to actually playing, it’s the same experience you will have had a thousand times before. Accessing their download is the only way to get involved, with a total lack of an instant play client. That leaves Mac users out in the cold.

Those who can get in will see a standard layout, with big buttons to switch between Tournaments, SnGs, and what they call ‘Games’. The last option is actually their suite of play money cash tables. Slightly confusingly, there’s also another button to switch to Play Money games, which turns the tournaments section into another free-for-all zone.

Within each buttoned area is a selection of tabs to help you refine your table choice. Alongside the table list are a bunch of buttons to sections such as My Account, and Support. It’s a very simple set up, but given that ClubWPT offer less choice than your average site, its Spartan nature is a perfect fit.

Once you get playing, you’ll find that the table are passable, if not great. There’s no trouble seeing any of the cards or bets, which is the most important thing, but the buttons for choosing your action are a little cluttered. There’s a textual hand history viewer available on demand from each table and every window can be resized manually or converted into a mini-view.

The ClubWPT client has excellent Options. The preferences window for their client is stocked full of things to alter, from table colors to opening an Extended Chat pane.

Poker Room Action

The greatest thing about ClubWPT is not that it’s open to U.S. players. That’s definitely excellent, but more enticing is the fact that there are no pressing legal concerns for any of its customers. Americans can play for money at the site without worrying that it’ll be stolen away at a later date. With US online poker in dire straits, ClubWPT ought to see a greater influx of these players in the coming months.

The only kind of action at ClubWPT is tournament action. There are no money cash games, so it might not be the place to be if you’re a ring game grinder. The site operates on its own network, which is no surprise given its unique set up. There’s very little chance of it extending its player base to include other sites or of it moving to an existing network.

The most popular events are the $10 Opens, which are the only money events that non-premium members can play in. These are low prize pool freerolls and won’t do much to attract the savvy player, as the fields are huge with a relatively low pay off. In general the number of entrants for ClubWPT events is lower than the numbers you’d expect in a freeroll, but higher than buy-in events with equivalent prize pools on bigger sites.

Ease of Game, Ease of Making Money, Fish Rating

ClubWPT has the potential to be one of the fishiest tournament sites on the internet. Not only are they the last refuge for law-conscious American players, their setup is also extremely unattractive to grinders. You could not make enough money on ClubWPT to earn a living. The availability of games is severely throttled and there are no cash tables to speak of.

What that leaves you with is the recreational player who’s looking to blow off some steam with a quick tournament and maybe make a few dollars in the process. If you’re serious about making money online, then ClubWPT should not be your first point of call, but it could prove to be a decent source of additional income if you pick your spots correctly. You’ll need to keep an eye on which tournaments offer the most value for money and make sure that you’re playing enough to justify the monthly fee.

If you’re one of those recreational American players, sign up, have some fun, and don’t worry about it. You’ll be among friends.

Bonus Referral Codes and Promotions

At this point we’d usually be all over a first deposit bonus, but ClubWPT do things a little differently. They don’t have any deposits at all, as the only way to play for cash is to sign up for the monthly subscription fee. This is the key fact that separates them from the other legally dubious online poker options available to U.S. players.

Just because they don’t have any free cash bonuses doesn’t mean they don’t have promotions worth talking about. MTTs may be their stock in trade, but ClubWPT are throwing in a few more prizes to make the experience more interesting.

There’s a huge grab bag of swag available in many of the scheduled tournaments. As loot is won and the promotions pass by, more and more merchandise becomes available. You can win personalized poker tables, sunglasses and even an odds calculator. The extra rewards don’t end with physical items, perhaps the most valuable offering is the chance to win tickets to WPT Boot Camp training sessions.

These offers are on top of all the rewards you get for becoming a ClubWPT member. In addition to gaining access to all the tournaments, paid up subscribers can read issues of the WPT Magazine in full online and access exclusive articles and interviews from the pros who play World Poker Tour events.

Speaking of live tournaments, there are regular satellites which award entry into WPT Main Events around the world. Giving you a chance to make a TV final table and win millions of dollars.

Back in the online world, the ClubWPT Leaderboard promotion will reward the most consistent players with extra cash. After the leaderboard totals have been collected, the top 1200 players are invited to an exclusive tournament with a $1000 prize pool. Events of this stature usually attract players in the region of 4,000-5,000 so getting in with just 1,199 other players is a significant leg up.

The biggest prize pool of any ClubWPT events is the monthly $10k. This costs a whole day’s worth of the TPs to enter, although successful players will have a stash that well exceeds 500.

Customer and Technical Support

The helpdesk at ClubWPT is something of a mixed bag. Members, as you would expect, get a slightly better service than the proles. Those paying their monthly fee get access to live chat on top of the regular support options.

The only other way to directly contact the support team is via an email form. If you prefer talking to support folks person to person, you’ll have to settle for live chat as there is no helpdesk phone number available.

That said, there’s a decent chance your questions will be answered by their self-service support FAQ. The team have cobbled together a massive bank of answers to a whole range of problems that should solve all but the most complicated mysteries.

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