Online Casinos, Gambling, Poker and Sports Betting Magazine

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PowerBet

Lots of online casinos have the same look and feel these days, so it’s nice to try something different once in a while. Powerbet (www.powerbet.com) fits into that “different” category, and it offers a few pleasant surprises along the way.

Powerbet has a generous bonus on right now for new players – $15 free, no purchase required, and up to a $100 match bonus on your first deposit. The $15 is deposited within one day of registering, but you’ll need to wager all of that first deposit before the bonus is credited to your account.

Deposit options include Visa, MasterCard, FirePay, NETeller, PayPal, Central Coin, or wire transfer; free bank checks are added to that list for withdrawals. U.S. and Canadian players have to fax a copy of their driver’s license and credit card for withdrawals over $500, however, and international players must send the info for all withdrawals.

Casino software is by Realtime Gaming and there are 32 games to choose from: Blackjack, 15 video poker games, five slots, Caribbean Stud Poker, Let ‘em Ride, Tri-Card Poker, roulette, craps, baccarat, War, Red Dog, Pai Gow Poker, and Keno. All of the usual suspects plus a few extras, in other words. Betting limits start at 5¢ for slots and $5 for most table games, and go up to $200 for Poker, $500 for Blackjack, and $1,000 for craps.

The initial download package is reasonable at 11.1 MB, but you’re only getting Blackjack with that. Individual games take about 30 to 40 seconds to download with a high-speed Internet connection, which adds up to more than 12 minutes for the full casino suite.

The first thing you’ll notice after launching the casino is that the games play quickly and run very smoothly. The tables look crisp, card positioning is good, and the graphics are clear as well. That said, there are a few things in particular that stand out. The first is the better-than-average game rules. Blackjack is a good example, with players allowed to double after splitting and the dealer hitting on soft 17. European roulette also favors players.

Several of the games have some real depth to them, and things that should look three-dimensional in fact do. For instance, the “metal” surface around the reels on the slot machines is reflective; the roulette wheel and ball actually appear to be spinning; and the shoe looks like it belongs on the table. You can’t say that about every casino on the Net.

One particularly impressive feature shows up in both the roulette and craps games: Different bets, the wager, and payouts are highlighted as you mouse over the table. This comes in handy when you’re not sure if the odds on that $50 bet are 35:1 or 17:1.

Playing at Powerbet was a savory experience for the most part, and I came out about even in the end, but there were a few things missing. The first was the dealer’s voice and background casino noise; both make the experience more realistic. Another thing was a “Re-bet” button. Players have to repeatedly click the chips in some games to bet again, even if they’re wagering the same amount. This isn’t a major shortcoming, but it is noticeable.

The only thing I really didn’t like was the Help page link opening in a new web browser window. This may reduce the download size, but it’s a little disconcerting to have a window pop up while you’re wagering real money.

Powerbet isn’t necessarily better than the big kids on the casino block, but that’s all right. The little details at this casino, combined with the quick play and good games rules, make the experience different enough to be well worth trying your luck.
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