You'll have to search high and low for a game that's had more written about it than poker, and for good reason.
Described as 'a game that takes a few minutes to learn but a lifetime to master' you'll find no shortage of online poker sites where you can play for free or for real money.
None of them though operate on the same model as Global Poker.
If you're into social casino games - and want to give poker a try - then this new site is for you.
It's different from the usual sites, in that although there is no real money wagering involved, there are options to win cash in Sweeps Cash contests.
Sweeps Cash is a term you'll definitely have heard of if you already play casino games at Chumba Casino, and you may already have been lucky enough to win.
Chumba is the hugely popular casino games site which gives you a wide range of gambling type free-to-play or sweepstakes games.
They'll even give you free money to start off with.
Now they're bringing Global Poker to the table, and with Chumba already experiencing a high level of success, it seems a fair bet that the new poker games will do too.
They have plenty of competition, not least from numerous other websites offering various types of real money games. And if the Power Up poker games currently under development make it into the real world, they'll surely be taking a lot of interest.
But by targeting their current Chumba Casino players Global seem assured of a wide Customer base, so here we're going to review exactly how Global Poker sweepstake-style gaming works....
What Is Global Poker?
Global Poker is operated by Virtual Gaming Worlds, a firm based in Perth, Australia. They're responsible for bringing the wildly popular Chumba Casino to over a million players, and they've now developed a new online poker gaming platform known as Global Poker.
Players will have the chance to win real cash prizes by playing poker games through the proprietary sweepstakes model that's already been perfected at Chumba.
How To Play
If you're keen to know how Global Poker works and what it takes to get your teeth into some poker games, there are essentially two ways to play, or more precisely two different types of currency you can use.
First off you can play for fun using virtual gold coins. You'll get 10,000 of these added to your account when you register.
That'll give you plenty to practice with, but the real fun starts when you're playing for real money. This is done by playing the Sweeps Cash games. New account holders get $2 to start off.
Win some $s in Sweeps Cash contests and you can withdraw the winnings through PayPal in the United States.
Extra gold coin packages can be bought for anywhere between $5 and $300 via the link in your account. Various promotions and giveaway offers give ways to get extra gold coins.
Once you have registered an account you'll find the route to the games themselves easy to follow, but remember that strategy plays a large part in your success rate at poker so you'll need to study to become good at it. Even if you're not sure though, it's all free, so there's nothing to stop you diving in and learning with no risk. For beginners, there's even a page dedicated to how to play poker.
Get Global Poker Sweepstakes Cash
You can get extra Sweepstakes/Prize Cash in four different ways:
When you sign up - you'll get $2 free
When you buy extra gold coins - for however many gold coins you buy, the value of Sweepscash is shown in the deposit window and automatically deposited in your Global Poker account.
By entering Sweeps giveaway competitions - you'll find various competitions listed on the Global PokerFacebook Page, plus there are plenty of contests emailed out to subscribers in email newsletters. These giveaways may require answering various game related questions to be eligible for entry. It can take up to 5 business days to be credited with winnngs.
By sending a mail request - This is open to both US, Canadian, and UK players. This is a bit of hassle of course, but you can make multiple mailed requests each month, 5 in fact. Address for mailed requests is:
VIRTUAL GAMING WORLDS, GLOBAL POKER SWEEPSTAKES DEPARTMENT, 548 MARKET ST #73140, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94104
You'll need to add your full name and return address to the front of the envelope with the words "Global Poker Sweepstakes Credits" followed by the current month and year (example: Sweepstakes Credits: December 2016).
For each request submitted you can get $6 (600 Sweepstakes/Prize Promotion Cash), which is credited to your account as $1USD (100 Sweepstakes/Prize Promotion Cash) per day over 6 consecutive days. You can send in up to 5 separate requests per month and end up with $30 worth each month.
It's easy to deposit money - Payment methods and currencies available include Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, INTERAC Online, InstaDebit, Ukash.
All cash prizes are paid out via PayPal (US/Canada Players Only).
Play Sweepscash Poker
Once you've got enough Sweepstakes cash in your account, you're all set to play poker games inside the app for the chance to win cash prizes.
Don't forget that you'll need to use the Sweepscash in your account to do this. When you play with Gold Coins, you'll be playing free games where you can't actually win real cash prizes.
Games and tournaments run with varying prize levels and buy-ins. They're detailed next to the game itself. You can play small cash games against other players if you don't fancy tournaments.
Any Sweepstakes/Prize Promotion Cash must be played a minimum of 20 times in any combination of Sweepstakes/Prize Promotion Cash games to be eligible to receive a real cash prize.
As you'd expect, there are plenty of tournaments to play. With freerolls being the most popular.
Freerolls are totally free to enter tournaments, and the tournament schedule is a busy one with regular $1000 prize contests on offer.
In the schedule you will find the occasional higher value prize tournament that works on a buy-in principle. That is, you'll need to pay with Sweeps Cash in order to play. One example is a $1500 prize contest that costs $2 to enter.
How Much Can You Win?
It's early days for Global Poker so it's difficult to tell how much you could win. Certainly if you're consistently stronger than your opponents then you're going to win regularly, and there are already some indications that some sharks are targeting Global games to make some easy money in cash ring games or sit n gos.
Some figures we do know is the value of tournament prizes. They range from $500 to $1500. Plus there's a maximum win amount in any one hand of $5000, and a maximum payout limit of $10000.
Any cash you do win is added to your account and you'll get paid out on request in USD to Paypal. There's a minimum cashout request of $100 (the equivalent of 10,000 Chumba Sweepstakes/Prize Promotion Cash credits), and you'll need to provide proof of identity when making any cashout request. Make sure you comply with this as most of the complaints you'll read about will be from players trying to cash out without providing valid ID.
There may be some other hoops to jump through as well before you can get any cash owed, with small print citing ''A potential prize winner may be required to sign and return to Sponsor/Promoter, an affidavit/declaration of eligibility, and liability/publicity release (except where prohibited) in order to claim his/her prize if applicable. In addition, in the case of a Canadian eligible winner, he/she will be required to correctly answer a mathematical skill-testing question without mechanical or other aid to be administered at a pre-arranged mutually convenient time''
Other small print on the website suggests you shouldn't have to wait much more than 72 hours for a cashout request to be activated.
Remember that if you reside in the US players you'll be liable to taxation if you go over the allowed winnings amount in any tax year.
Reading reviews posted by real players is a useful way to get a feeling for the reliability and trustworthiness of any product. Reviews of Global Poker will be no different. They'll tell you what's in it for you.
It'll be a while before there are enough reviews posted to help us out with this, but for now there are some obvious benefits.....
There are four main aspects of playing at Global that set it apart right from the start:
1) It’s free.
2) It’s fun.
3) It can be played worldwide.
4) You can win real cash prizes (although only if you are a US or Canada resident).
Global Poker's How To Play Poker Guide
If you're a regular player you'll already know the rules of the game, and you may already have a good handle on the main strategies that'll help you do well.
For a beginner though, there's a lot to learn. Fortunately you can make a start on the 'How To Play Poker' page.
Promotions - Bonuses
Every poker room you come across will offer promotions to attract new players. In most online poker rooms which offer real money games these often appear in the form of sign up bonuses. Generally you'll be depositing a cash amount and getting the equivalent or percentage of your deposit added on for 'free'. Of course it's not really free money since you'll be depositing your own to obtain it. Not only that, you'll need to play through it many times to be able to withdraw anything.
Sites like Global Poker are different. The main promotions you'll see are for free gold coins. You'll automatically get a free $2 Sweeps Cash in your account on sign up, but there are regular promotions which give you the chance to buy varying amounts of gold coins at discounted prices.
Aside from that welcome offer, there are other promotions throughout the year. You'll find these at times of special events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and so on.
If you're ready to get started on the Global Poker adventure just visit the home page and register. It'll take less than a minute to complete the registration process, and will not cost a penny.
Just enter your name, email, and accept a couple of conditions (confirming that you're over 18 and live in a region which allows you to receive cash prizes).
Who Can Play
Although Global Poker is really focused on US or Canadian players, residents of many other countries can register and play. If you want to win cash playing the Sweepstake cash games you will need to be a US or Canada resident though.
Is Global Poker Legit?
With its association with Chumba Casino, you can be sure that Global Poker is a legitimate operation. It runs on the same model that Chumba has been delivering for a few years now.
But online poker is not legal in the US outside of only three states right?
Well, that's true of course. But the way that Chumba - and now Global Poker - work is that the offer of free cash under a 'no purchase necessary' clause places the games into a non-gambling category. In other words, outside of US gambling laws.
Global recognize the importance of good Customer Support, and you can expect any queries you raise to be handled 365 days a year and most likely on the same day.
Support@globalpoker.com and email@example.com are the two key email addresses you'll want to remember.
With a new operation it's unlikely we'll see many complaints for some time. They will come of course - there's always someone that's unhappy - but hopefully they'll be low in number when compared to the actual number of users of the site.
Bear in mind that many complaints you'll read about will be from players who have either not followed the registration rules properly, or are trying to withdraw cash without having provided an ID. These are common complaints seen at Chumba Casino.
Poker is a big game that requires an excellent grasp of strategy in order to play successfully. If you don't practice and study you may as well stick to playing luck-based casino card games like 3 card poker.
Global Poker is no different. You may well win some big amounts on the free play Gold Coin games (which are not for real cash), and occasionally you'll win big on the Sweepstakes real cash games. But overall you're likely to lose in the long run unless you can match the knowledgeable players who practice hard.
Aside from that there are very few obvious negatives. I'm not too keen on the fact that Sweeps Cash awards expire after 60 days, and any prizes you do win with Sweeps Cash will not become payable until you've wagered your initial amount 20 times. This last named is a standard type clause for any types of casino bonus awards and actually is quite a low amount. It should easily be achievable.
So what's not to like?
Free poker with an operator with a long history of delivering games at Chumba Casino, free money to play with, and the option to either play for cash prizes or for fun.
It all sounds good and there really is nothing to stop you diving in and enjoying the games.