FAQ and Overview of the US Friendly Chico Poker Network
The Chico Poker Network is one of the best kept secrets in online poker. This network welcomes both US players and those worldwide, and is dominated by one site – BetOnline Poker.
That secret is that the dominant site is one of the biggest sports betting brands serving the US (from their base in Panama). This means that the single biggest source of new players arriving at the Chico Network poker tables are sports fans who found the room via the sports betting brand. This is type of recreational player did not arrive to ‘grind’ 8 tables at once. They are playing 1 or 2 games, and enjoying some old fashioned recreational poker…
Once you see the games on the Chico Poker network you will be able to see the difference.
How this guide works: This guide to the Chico Poker Network is split into different sections. First below you will find an overview of the cash games and tournaments which run there. After that the bonuses and promotions (including satellite qualifiers to live games) are covered. Finally, a little history for this network and the current ‘skins’ which you can play at are covered.
This network is unusual in that one big brand make up the majority of the players. BetOnline also offer the best bonuses and promos, covering all the gaming verticals and not just poker. I strongly recommend sticking with BetOnline – rather than risking a ‘no brand’ smaller skin. With more than 10 years in the business BoL know how to look after their players!
Chico Poker Network – Cash Games Overview
Table sizes are 2. 4, 6 and 10 players and the action is focused on the micro and lower stakes with a decent choice of games up to $200 buy-ins. There are some bigger games under the ‘Medium / High Stakes’ view, though your best bet for these is the weekday evenings or at weekends.
I recommend you check the lobby stats for the percentage of players seeing the flop. Compared to other sites this is high (the games are loose) and with the sportsbetting traffic there are always one or two ‘extra wild’ tables with a lot of loose / passive play.
As with many smaller poker networks, the only real alternative to NL Holdem is the occasional Omaha games. PLO is focused on the lower buy-ins, though like the NLHE, the games can be very loose and soft!
Chico Poker Network – Tournaments Overview
For me the Chico Network is lagging their rivals (Ignition / America’s Cardroom) when it comes to poker tournaments. The biggest games only have a $50,000 guarantee. These are ‘specials’ when a promo boosts their usual Sunday major up from its usual $25,000. Like the cash games the tournaments are very soft, though with small fields and the majority of the buy-ins under $20 this is not too surprising.
There is a chicken and egg situation here which I hope to see resolved soon. While the schedule is less than stellar, not too many players are attracted to this section of the site. Without those players the options for improving things are limited!
On the positive side, there are MTT and SNG leaderboard contests each week – and anyone with some tournament strategy knowledge will have a big advantage in games this soft!
Chico Poker Network – Bonuses and Promotions
The flagship site on the Chico Network – BetOnline – has a lot of experience when it comes to looking after their loyal players. In the past the best rewards have been aimed at sports betting fans (for example a perpetual 25% bonus on all deposits), though the poker room now enjoys some good rewards too.
Things start well with a 200% to $1000 max matched first deposit bonus. This clears in handy $10 increments as you play. You’ll also get tournament tokens into the weekly depositors freeroll. There are ongoing promos (bad beat, leader boards) and a lot of one-off and specials. These often tie in with the big sports event, with Chico sites creating challenges loosely themed on topics like the Superbowl.
In addition to regular poker reloads, you’ll be given the opportunity to take offers from other sections of BetOnlne’s site. Examples include free play in their live casino or a money back on losing mobile bets deal. As long as you understand the risks and any play-through requirements, these offers can be +ev.
Chico Poker Network – Deposit Options (from the US)
BetOnline and the Chico Poker Network were one of the first sites to welcome Bitcoin poker deposits. This is very easy to set up, and when you have a wallet it is no more difficult to use than any 3rd party processor (for example PayPal).
Most people choose to deposit with a credit card from the US. Both Visa and MasterCard are welcomed. As long as your card is capable of making international purchases, then it should go through. If your credit card is declined, then you can always buy a prepaid visa or use person-to-person transfers (Western Union) instead.
Withdrawals from the US are processed by paper check. This is a super-reliable system, and banks will process checks with no problems.
History and Skins of the Chico Poker Network
The Chico Network goes all the way back to 1999. It has changed name since then (this was originally called the Action Poker Network). There were some payment issues with Chico, though these were in 2010 / 2011 and have since been resolved. Chico (and BetOnline in particular) now have a great reputation for fast payouts.
While Chico is ‘top heavy’ (BetOnline seriously dominate), there are several more site which share this network. Sportsbetting Poker are the only other US friendly Chico skin. You can also enjoy the same games via the (non-US) Tiger Gaming. There are a number of smaller skins involved too, again these are not US friendly.
BetOnline have an interesting history of their own. This site is one of the biggest offshore sports books welcoming US bettors. They started off as a phone-service – from their offshore base in Panama. Around 3 years ago, BetOnline embarked on a rapid transformation. They went from being a sports book to being a huge online gambling portal, offering casino, poker and betting type games.
One thing I would like to see is some updates to the Chico Poker software. While this is stable and functional, it lacks the modern touches – especially compared to the large international sites. One thing you can say positively about this, you’ll have few (graphic) distractions from taking the money from all those novice opponents.
Summing Up / Next Steps
By now you have read (well, at least skimmed!) my opinion on the Chico Poker Network. The next step is to see those games for yourself. There are generous bonuses and soft tables (you'll see what I mean about all the sports betting fans discovering the games) waiting for you.
One site dominates the Chico Poker Network - BetOnline, and this is where I recommend you start, not only will you get generous poker bonuses, incentives to check out the other parts of their site will quickly follow.
Check out www.betonline.ag for yourself now - and start enjoying those soft Chico Network games!
More Articles Covering US Friendly Online Poker:
- US Friendly Poker Sites Main Page (this is where you'll find links to all the US pages + latest news)
- BetOnline Poker Review (detailed review of the main site featured here)