Bovada is US-friendly all-in-one gambling site that includes an online casino, sportsbook, racebook and poker room. It’s one of the few remaining sites of this type still open to US players that I recommend. Bovada along with 5Dimes are pretty much the only sportsbook/casinos that I still truly enjoy using.
Bovada.lv was established in 2011 after its parent company Bodog left the US market. Apparently, Bodog wanted to continue serving Canada and other parts of the world but didn’t feel comfortable risking legal action in other lucrative markets due to its US-friendly stance. Bodog spun off Bovada as a separate entity to serve US players exclusively.
So far, we’ve seen good things from Bovada. It doesn’t always have the greatest lines and I have a couple of minor complaints about the poker room, but it’s a solid all-around choice. You could do much worse in today’s gambling environment.
The Bovada website is divided into distinct areas for each form of gambling offered. There’s one area for sports betting, another for casino games and so on. Each of these areas has its own welcome bonus for new players. Let’s take a look at each.
The sportsbook has a 50% free bet bonus open to all new customers. Upon making your first deposit, you’ll get a free bet equal to 50% the size of your deposit. This is good for up to $250. For example, a $100 first deposit will give you an extra $50 that you can use at the sportsbook.
No bonus code is necessary to get this bonus; just make a deposit and it will be added to your account within 30 minutes. You’ll be asked to place a total sum of wagers equal to 3 times the bonus + deposit amount before you can withdraw any winnings achieved with the bonus cash.
There are two different bonuses offered at the casino and you’re welcome to take advantage of one or both. One is a $500 bonus that you can use on all slot machines at the casino. It’s set up as a 100% deposit match worth up to $500. You can claim it up to four times for a total of $2,000.
The other bonus can be used to play all other games at the casino. This one gives you a 100% match on each deposit for up to $250. This one can also be claimed up to four times for a total of $1,000. What’s nice about these bonuses is they aren’t restricted to your first deposit only – you can get a bonus on up to eight different deposits.
- Slots bonus code: SLOTS500
- Other games bonus code: GAMES250
Make a deposit to play poker and you’ll get a 100% bonus worth up to $1,000. Bovada will match it dollar for dollar and issue the cash to you as you play in real money games. All you have to do is make a deposit and start playing poker.
Whenever you play in a tournament or cash game at Bovada.lv, you automatically earn “poker points” as a part of the VIP program. The act of earning these points also releases your bonus. You earn 3 points for every dollar paid in tournament fees. In cash games, you earn points for participating in raked hands.
Here’s a quick look at how the bonus is released:
The racebook shares the 50% welcome bonus with the sportsbook. Just make a deposit and you’ll get the bonus cash. If you don’t use it at the sportsbook, you can use it to bet on horses. The racebook also gives away weekly rebates worth up to 5% of your total action, win or lose.
Bovada Poker is a medium-sized poker room with clean software and a pretty decent selection of games at all stakes. Cash games at Bovada run all the way from $0.02/$0.05 up to $30/$60. The fixed limit games are pretty barren at all levels but the no-limit games are occupied all the way up to the highest stakes offered.
- Fixed Limit Stakes: $0.05/$0.10 up to $30/$60
- No Limit Stakes: $0.02/$0.05 ($5 buyin) up to $10/$20 ($2,000 buyin)
Bovada is probably the best US-friendly poker site for tournaments right now. Here you’ll find sit-n-gos and multi-table tournaments at all levels. They have a “Big Deal” guarantee every weekend that never has less than a $100,000 prize pool. Bovada also hosts satellite tournaments that award free seats and travel to major events in Las Vegas. Win one of those and you’ll be playing on the big stage on the Strip in Vegas.
Zone Poker: Zone Poker is a fast-moving type of cash game in which all the players at each level are pooled together. Any time you fold a hand, you are instantly moved to a new table just as a new hand is being dealt. The players are all constantly shuffled around in this manner so that nobody has to sit around and wait after folding. You don’t get nearly as efficient of reads on your opponents but you get to see a whole lot more action. This is the best way to clear any bonuses, by the way.
Here’s what I don’t like about the poker room: All player names have been removed from the tables. Instead of seeing player names like you do at other poker sites, every person at each table is given a seat number and nothing more. It’s impossible to know who you’re playing against each time. It could be one of the local pros or some newbie on his first ever poker game.
The idea behind anonymous tables is to give new players a chance and to discourage the pros from using poker tracking software. Sounds good in theory, but it severely limits our ability to look for suspicious behavior from our opponents. You can read more about my concerns in my full poker review here.
Sports betting is a breeze at Bovada.lv. This is one of the easiest-to-use betting sites on the internet. As far as user experience goes, Bovada gets an A+. Bovada also does well in how deeply it digs into American sports. You can choose any upcoming football, baseball, basketball or hockey game and find dozens of wagers options, alternative point spreads and a whole lineup of props.
Where the sportsbook falters is its tendency to cater to casual bettors at the expense of sharps. If you become a consistent big winner, Bovada will lower your betting limits. They won’t kick you offsite completely, but they will make it impossible to win too much money. Unfortunately, this is common in the industry.
Bovada is after the casual gamblers who might place a few bets on tonight’s game without too much thought. The lines are pretty decent in most cases. Sometimes you get better odds at other sportsbooks, sometimes Bovada has the best odds. I’d recommend keeping one account at Bovada and one at 5Dimes.eu so you can compare the odds before placing any bet.
Aside from its tendency to limit sharps, everything else is great. The book frequently hosts sport-specific promotions, gives out free wagers and is always coming up with new types of bets. Best of all, they offer in-play betting that allows you to place wagers during certain games.
Mobile sportsbook: Point your smartphone or tablet to www.bovada.lv and the website will automatically give you the mobile version. From there, you can place bets, make deposits and request cashouts. Here’s a look at what the mobile book looks like on my iPhone:
Have you ever visited one of those sportsbooks that claims to have a casino only to discover the “casino” consists of a few blackjack games offered off to the side somewhere? I know I have and it’s annoying. The casino at Bovada is not like that at all. This one has over 150 games and they are all high quality, legit gambling games.
You’ll find slot machines, table games and a whole variety of games just like you would at any other site dedicated purely to casino games. There are even a few 3D slots that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
There’s also a mobile casino that includes a smaller selection of slots and table games. Just point your mobile device to Bovada.lv and you can get started there. The casino alone makes Bovada worth a look if you have any interest in Vegas-style gambling.
Bovada’s racebook covers 75 major tracks across the Western Hemisphere, mostly North American tracks. All the major types of bets are accepted and paid out daily at dozens of tracks for hundreds of races. You can place all the usual win/place/show bets as well as the exotics, daily doubles and more.
I won’t pretend to be a horse racing expert, so I’ll leave this one pretty short. From what I’ve heard, the racebook has soft lines and is competitive with every other horse racing site in terms of bonuses and promotions.
Withdrawing from Bovada.lv
US-based gamblers should always look into a site’s history of withdrawals and withdrawal times. The USA is a difficult market for gambling sites thanks to its vague and haphazard banking laws. Some sites have struggled greatly with cashouts while others have thrived. Bovada falls in the latter category.
While other places have had monumental problems paying their winners, Bovada has steadily paid out players month after month, year after year. There was one time in 2012 in which Bovada sent out a batch of checks that bounced after a payment processor closed, but Bovada contacted those customers and issued new checks that cleared without any problems.
Payout times at Bovada are also doing well. I follow the 2+2 payouts thread and am seeing an average cashout time of about a week from first request to money-in-hand. Your results may vary depending on your state of residence and bank of choice, but things are looking very good at Bovada overall. I don’t know of any other gambling sites in the US that are processing withdrawals this quickly on such a large scale.
Bovada obviously has a strong banking system in place as it is very easy to get your account funded. You can deposit with a credit card, debit card and cash transfer (think WU and MG). Deposits are processed instantly. Credit cards do come with a 4.9% fee, but that is waived on your first deposit.
Deposit limits are as follows.
- Credit or debit card: up to $1,000 per day
- WU cash transfer: up to $5,000 per day
- MG cash transfer: up to $900 per day
Bovada has grown on me over the years. A lot of people in the sports betting and poker forums complain that Bovada isn’t a “serious” sportsbook or poker site because of its tendency to cater to recreational players, but I think that’s a little petty considering the current state of online gambling in the United States.
The gripes people do have are relatively minor in my opinion. The site is running full steam these days with easy deposits, fast withdrawals and a well-done interface for sports betting, gambling and poker. You’ll get a fair game, competent customer service and never worry about getting paid. I have yet to encounter a real money gambling site that does every little thing perfect, but Bovada comes damn close.
Bovada Poker opened for business in late 2011 but the people behind the poker site are not new to poker. Up until 2011, Bodog Poker left the US market to focus its marketing efforts on the rest of the world. They spun-off Bovada Poker to focus exclusively on the US market.
The company has a strong reputation among players and now ranks as one of the largest US-friendly poker sites in the industry. This review will explain what you can expect at Bovada and give you a general overview of what it’s like to play here.
The first thing you’ll see when you visit the Bovada Poker website is a $1,000 welcome bonus offer. This bonus is given to new players as a 100% bonus added to the first deposit. In other words, a $500 deposit will get you a $500 bonus.
You will be asked to clear this bonus by playing in real money ring games and tournaments. As you play in those games, you earn 3 poker points for every dollar paid in rake. For every 5 poker points that you earn, $1 of the bonus is considered cleared. The bonus is then released to your real money account in $10 increments.
All players get 60 days to clear as much of the bonus as possible. If you don’t clear the entire bonus within that time, you’ll still get to keep whatever you’ve managed to release by that point. No bonus code is needed to get this bonus.
Hundreds of sit-n-go and scheduled tournaments are hosted each day at Bovada. Player traffic has been improving recently and the number of active tournaments has grown significantly over the past several months.
As far as scheduled tournaments go, Bovada focuses exclusively on Holdem and Omaha. During the occasional Bovada Anonymous Poker Series, you will see other game types from time to time. Freeroll tournaments are hosted every day as well as paid tournaments with buyins that range from a few cents to upwards of $500.
Sundays are the biggest days of the week for scheduled tournaments at Bovada. Every Sunday, Bovada hosts guaranteed prize pool tournaments with a minimum of $250,000 up for grabs. The day is topped off with a weekly $100,000 guarantee ($162 buyin) at 4PM ET.
Sit-n-go tournaments range from $1 to $100 and include a variety of game types such as Holdem, Omaha, 7 Card Stud, Omaha H/L and 7 Card Stud H/L. The SNGs are also offered in a variety of structures such as traditional single-table tournaments, multi-table tournaments, heads-up tournaments and multi-table tournaments with up to 45 players.
During World Series season, Bovada hosts all kinds of satellites and promotions that will send you to the World Series of Poker Main Event. Win one of these tourneys and you’ll get an all expenses paid trip to the Main Event in Las Vegas to compete for the largest prize pool in all of poker.
Cash games are hosted around the clock with stakes that range from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/$20 NL and $30/$60 fixed-limit. The game types include Texas Holdem, Omaha, 7 Card Stud, Omaha H/L and Stud H/L.
I notice that the cash games here have a pretty high players-to-the-flop percentage. This indicates that the cash games here are looser than the industry average. It’s always a good thing to see loose online ring games.
Update: Bovada Poker has a new cash game variant called “Zone Poker.” In Zone Poker, you and all the other players are put in one big pool. You play at a standard table but any time you fold, you are instantly moved to another table where a hand is just about to begin. Basically, this eliminates the waiting period between hands. Zone Poker moves very quickly and keeps boredom to a minimum. You have to try it to really understand it, but it’s an awesome feature.
Bovada Poker Software
The first thing you’ll notice when you join a table at Bovada Poker is that there are no player names. Each player at the table is designated by the seat number only. The purpose of this is to prevent other players from keeping notes and using poker tracking software to keep detailed hand histories of their opponents. Every time you take a seat at a Bovada Poker table, you are starting with a clean slate.
There are pros and cons to the anonymous tables at Bovada. On the good side, it promotes a more genuine poker experience. Your opponents will never have thousands of hands worth of history attached to your name. On the downside, this makes it more difficult to detect long-term trends of collusion and chip dumping.
One other thing that you may or may not like is that players are limited to joining a maximum of 4 cash game tables at a time. On the positive side, this reduces the time it takes for 12-tablers to make their decisions at a multitude of tables. On the downside, high volume players are limited to just 4 tables. But when it comes to tournaments, you can still play at up to 20 tables at a time.
Other features include customizable table themes, a rabbit cam that lets you see what the next card would have been after everyone folds, single session player notes, fully downloadable hand histories and a Mac-compatible download client.
Bovada has a separate download for Mac computers. If you run a Mac, you will not have to play at some instant-play in-browser game. You get your own Mac software. The Mac download is about 70 MB in size and requires 1 GB of ram, an 800 MHz processor and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or greater.
Mac players still play with everyone else. You’re not limited to playing with just other Mac players. Every customer, regardless of operating system, plays at the same tables and tournaments.
Bovada took over as the biggest US-friendly poker room in early 2013. Since then, traffic has grown slowly but surely. It appears that Bovada Poker has broken through that critical ceiling of needing traffic to attract traffic.
Cash games get significant traffic at all levels. Even during non-peak hours, I’m able to find games at all stakes, up-to and including $10/$20 no limit and $30/$60 fixed limit. The traffic will probably never match the glory days of 2006-era poker, but you shouldn’t have any problems finding people to play with.
The same thing also goes for tournaments. I’m able to find players at all levels of play in both SNGs and scheduled tournaments.
Safety and Security
Bovada and its parent company Bodog have maintained a consistent track record for safe games. This poker site has never suffered from any scandals such as those that we saw back in 2009 at Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet.
The only thing that unnerves me a little is the anonymous table format that Bovada uses. It is impossible to track players over the long term, which makes it difficult for players to self-regulate the industry. For example, the Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet scandal was broken by players who noticed impossibly high win-rates for a few other players over the course of several months.
Anonymous tables forces us to rely on the integrity of Bovada. So far, Bovada has maintained that integrity. It is a matter of trust right now. But so far, everything appears to be on the up-and-up at Bovada.
Bovada Poker offers a number of deposit options for both US and international players. For USA customers, the following deposit methods are available:
- Minimum deposit: $20
- Max: $500
- Max per day: $1,000
- Max per week: $2,000
- Max per month: $5,000
- Fee: 4.9%
- Minimum deposit: $100
- Max: $5,000
- Fee: Free for deposits over $300
- Minimum deposit: $100
- Max: $900
- Fee: Free for deposits over $300
With a history that dates back to 1994, Bovada Sportsbook is one of the oldest names in the sports betting world. They have served several million customers over nearly two decades and can be considered one of the most trusted online sportsbooks on the internet. A wide variety of betting options and a top notch reputation make it easy for us to recommend Bovada to our visitors.
Bovada Sportsbook offers bets on all the major sports of the world. This includes everything from football to cricket, plus lesser-known sports such as darts and snooker. Bovada offers new betting lines every day and is often the home of the best odds for bettors.
- Positive reputation dating back to 1994
- Unlimited welcome bonus
- Competitive betting lines
- USA players welcome
- Low match rate on the bonus
- Needs more deposit options
- Could use more international betting options
Bovada Sportsbook Bonus
All new customers who sign up for an account at Bovada Sportsbook automatically get a 10% bonus on their first deposit there. This bonus has no maximum amount and requires no bonus code to get it. Just sign up for an account and make a deposit and this bonus is yours.
If Bovada asks for your “referral number” at any point, use the number 2567675. This is our own special code that makes sure you receive your bonus. You’ll get the bonus even if you don’t use our special referral number, but some new customers like to use this number to make extra sure they get the bonus.
This bonus has a 1x rollover requirement before you can withdraw the cash. What that means is you will be asked to wager a total sum of money equal to your deposit + the bonus amount before you can withdraw the money. So if you deposit $100 and get a $10 bonus, you will need to place a total sum of $110 in wagers before the money can be withdrawn.
Sports Betting at Bovada
Bovada Sportsbook offers betting on both professional and college sports leagues around the world. The full betting lineup is comprehensive, to say the least. Within each sport, bettors can place a variety of wagers such as moneylines, point spreads, totals, futures, props, teasers and parlays.
Sports fans can place wagers that range in size from $1 to $5000. Bets can be placed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The list of available sports includes football, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis, boxing, cricket, darts, golf, horse racing, mixed martial arts, motor sports, rugby league, rugby union, snooker, entertainment and television, plus more.
Customers can view and place wagers on all sports right at the Bovada website. No downloads are necessary. All you have to do is create an account and choose your bets. The betting interface is designed to show you exactly how much money you stand to win before you actually place your bets.
Live Betting at Bovada
Live betting is a form of betting in which you can place short-term bets during the course of a sports event. If you think your team is going to score the next point, you can place a wager and watch the results unfold in real time. This is an exciting form of betting and Bovada offers it for many live sports events.
Watching a game on TV while you’ve got money on the line is one thing, but live betting takes the excitement to a whole new level. With an account at Bovada, you can watch the game on TV and log in at Bovada to watch new live bets roll in every minute. The number of live bets that are available for each matchup are genuinely astounding. Bovada must dedicate an entire team of staff members to each live betting event.
Bovada Sportsbook Deposits and Withdrawals
Bovada has a wide variety of deposit options that players can use to fund their accounts. Among the most popular deposit options are credit cards, wire transfers, virtual pin and e-wallets. The e-wallet deposit options include eWalletXpress, Neteller, Click2Pay and Moneybookers. Customers can also deposit via MyPayLinQ and Paysafecard.
If you have any problems depositing, you can call Bovada’s customer service to have your account funded. The people at Bovada understand that depositing can be troublesome, so they are trained to help you get started with minimal fuss.
Withdrawals are processed quickly at Bovada. This company has a reputation for fast and hassle free payouts. If you have a good day or week of betting, you’ll have your money in your hands in no time.
Bovada Customer Service
The customer service team at Bovada has received positive reviews for years now. Customers can reach support at Bovada via phone, e-mail and live chat 24 hours a day. The customer service reps are quick to respond and usually answer questions the first time around.