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Global Poker Review - Read This Before You Deposit Real Money!

Global Poker Logo

Global Poker Brags

✓ USA acceptedUSA Tiny Flag
✓ $2 free no deposit bonus





Global Poker Beats

x Confusing business model
x Possibility of future legal trouble
x Only one payment channel
x Software is basic and contains few frills
x No HUD compatibility
x Pays only USA and CA players
x High cash game rake

 

In February 2017, a new poker room hit the U.S. online scene. Global Poker is a division of VGW Holdings, which also runs Chumba Casino. Global allows you to deposit via PayPal and withdraw your winnings back to your PayPal account. This is very convenient for users, at least in the short term, but there are potential problems lurking in the future that novices might be unaware of. We've prepared this review so that, if you should elect to play at Global, you'll be going in with your eyes fully open and won't be blindsided by anything unexpected. We do recommend that poker players stay away, however, especially newcomers to the game. You can find a list of reputable internet poker rooms that accept Americans and allow real money play in our U.S.A. online poker guide.

 

Global Poker Business Model

Most online poker operations have certain similarities in the way they're set up. Users deposit money, play with it at the tables, and then cash out any winnings they're fortunate enough to collect. We feel that this way of doing things goes without saying, and so we don't mention much about it in most of our poker site reviews: It's just a given. Not so in the case of Global Poker.

You see, PayPal does not allow U.S. residents to use its services for internet gambling, so Global has come up with workarounds that it contends makes its games fall outside the category of gambling. You can deposit real money and cash it out like normal at Global, but what happens in between is unique to this poker room.

Unlawful internet gambling notice
Restricted transactions as defined in Federal Reserve Regulation GG are prohibited from being processed through your PayPal account or your relationship with PayPal.  Restricted transactions generally include, but are not limited to, transactions in which credit, electronic fund transfers, checks, or drafts are knowingly accepted by gambling businesses in connection with unlawful Internet gambling [1]

When you fund your Global account, you're really buying practice chips, called “Gold Coins.” These are just like the chips found at Zynga Poker or the play money section of PokerStars. There are play money games running around the clock at Global, both cash games and tournaments, and leaderboards even reward those who display the most acumen in these not-for-real tables.

Additionally, you also get “$weeps Cash” when you buy Gold Coins. There are separate games that demand $weeps Cash buyins, and they're shown in different lobbies than the Gold Coin tables. You can cash out $weeps Cash at a 1:1 exchange rate for U.S. dollars. It's also possible to complete a process of mailing in forms to get a small sum of $weeps Cash for free each month. Global contends that this arrangement makes its poker games a type of sweepstakes, not gambling.

Global states that its lawyers have carefully constructed these plans to ensure that they're in compliance with all relevant statutes. The firm asserts that PayPal has looked over its operations and approves of them. We don't know, however, how closely PayPal has examined what's going on. It may be that PayPal personnel just took a cursory glance at Global before giving it a tentative nod. Perhaps when they find out what's really taking place, i.e., barely disguised real money gaming, PayPal will have a change of heart, leaving the status of players' funds in considerable doubt.

How "barely disguised" is this real money poker? Some further insight was to be found when Jonas Odman, General Manager of Global Poker, gave a talk on February 9th, 2018 at an industry conference in London. When asked what percentage of the site's volume was Gold Coins versus $weeps Cash, he visibly stuttered and then stated "approximately twenty percent." Yes, you read that correctly; only 20% of Global Poker's volume is their proposed purpose, and the remaining 80% of their action is essentially real money gambling hiding in plain sight!

It's important to note that whenever PayPal detects that something is amiss, it typically cracks down not just on the offenders themselves but also individuals who have engaged in transactions with those parties in the past. If you make a deposit at Global Poker and then it transpires that PayPal takes action against the company, you could be caught up in the dispute too. Your money might be frozen for a long time or even removed from your PayPal account entirely.

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Another element to consider is that the money you deposit is used to purchase Gold Chips. The $weeps Cash is just an added bonus granted to you when you buy Gold Chips; it's not considered something of value in its own right. This means that in the event that Global Poker gets shut down, you won't be entitled to a refund of your $weeps balance. It also means that Global's parent company, VGW Holdings, is under no obligation to keep player funds segregated or to maintain enough cash reserves to pay them out.

Global Poker Signup Offers

Global doesn't exactly provide a wealth of benefits to new customers. With every registration, the user gets $2 in $weeps and 10,000 Gold Coins. This at least gives newcomers the chance to check out the poker action in both currencies on the house albeit for very small stakes. There's no deposit bonus of any kind.

Global Poker Software and Games

The software used at Global Poker was developed by Cubeia, a Swedish enterprise that focuses on building applications for the online gambling industry. This platform was designed to be fully mobile-compatible, and it uses only HTML5 and Javascript, meaning there's no bulky download to install. This means that it works on virtually every computing device, but there are certain shortcomings. Waiting lists are absent, so if you want to sit at a full table, you'll have to open it up and hope that another player departs soon. There are only a handful of lobby settings, like four color deck and mute sound, as opposed to the dozens of configurable options at mainstream online poker sites. It's not possible to download hand history files. Instead, you can view a listing of the hands you've played within your browser and then select them one at a time to replay. Needless to say, HUD trackers don't work at all on Global Poker.

Global Poker Cash Games

The $weeps ring games run from the equivalent of $0.02/$0.04 up through $10/$20 in NL Texas Hold'em. There are six-max and nine-player tables, but heads-up games are absent. PL Omaha is available at the same blind levels although the action is a bit less bustling than it is in NLHE. Limit Hold'em was added to Global in August 2017, but there's hardly ever anyone playing it.

Cash Game Table at Global Poker
$0.50/$1.00 No Limit Texas Hold'em Ring Game at Global Poker

Global Poker Ring Game Rake

The rake in Global Poker ring games is 5% across the board. The maximum possible rake taken varies from $1 to $5.50 depending on the format of the game, the stakes, and the number of players in the hand. Taking 5% for the house is pretty standard across the internet poker industry although there are a few rooms that rake less. The $5.50 cap at the highest stakes is, however, a bit more than at most competing sites, which cap the rake at $3 or $4.

Especially worrisome are the rake amounts for heads-up, three-handed, and four-max play. It's typical for a card room, whether brick and mortar or online, to give users a significant discount on the rake charged when playing shorthanded. This is done because the edges are smaller, the action is faster, and much more rake is charged per player, per hand, and per hour. However in Global Poker's case, these rake caps tend to be only slightly lower when the tables are short than when they're full.

Versus their competition, GP gets a thumbs down in this category. You can learn more about online poker rake and the lowest-raking sites in our comprehensive comparison of the rake charged by leading internet poker organizations.

Rake Charts for Global Poker
Rake Charts for Global Poker Big-Bet and Fixed-Limit Cash Games

Global Poker Sit & Gos

Global's $weeps SNG lobby starts at the low $0.50 + $0.05 level and climbs up to $100 + $10. There are regular-speed, turbo, and hyper-turbo contests, but unfortunately, both regular and turbo games charge a full 10% fee. Hyper turbo players do get a small rake break down to 7%, but this is still higher than at competing sites. For a rundown of sites for sit-and-goes that don't charge such exorbitant fees, look at our list of best SNG sites for Americans.

Global Poker Tournaments

The daily tourney roster at Global has events priced from $2.20 through $55. There are guarantees on many of these MTTs, but they're pretty small. For instance, the $50 + $5 daily tournament guarantees only $2,500, which corresponds to a field of just 50 entrants. On the weekends, the MTT lineup grows and distributes greater amounts of money. However, some of the most interesting events on the schedule aren't open to all – hopeful participants must complete challenges (see below) to gain the opportunity to join these tournaments. The $33 Weekend Gold Coin Challenge $10,000 Guaranteed (2R1A) is one such event. Before being able to pay their $33 and enter, players must see 200 flops in Gold Coin cash games previously during the week.

MTT Lobby at Global Poker

Global Poker Promotions

The majority of the promos at Global Poker come through the challenges system. By completing certain tasks, players can earn rewards. Most of these perks are entry into tournaments whether freerolls or contests that require that a further buyin be paid. The challenges typically reset every day or week, so you have to keep playing to re-earn the same rewards each time you wish to partake in them.

From time to time there are tourney series with added leaderboard prizes, special deals awarding free $weeps, and social media promotions. These promos are short-lived, however, and during most of the year, you'll find only scant opportunities for complimentary rewards at Global Poker.

Global Poker Cashier

Gold Coins Available for Purchase in the Global Cashier

All transactions, deposits and withdrawals, are handled exclusively through PayPal at Global Poker. Besides the reasons we enumerated before as to why PayPal might not be the best processor to use, there's also the further demerit of trusting in a single third party for payouts. Even without considering the more worrisome aspects of Global's sweepstakes vision, relying upon one and only one partner for cashouts is courting trouble. Payment firms come and go all the time, and even those that endure often change their rules and restrictions from time to time. The addition of multiple payout channels, perhaps including Bitcoin, would help to insulate Global Poker and its customers from any falling out with PayPal. As it stands now, you're at the mercy of PayPal's decisions regarding your money. We covered the case of Stefan Christopher, a high-stakes pro who has had his money tied up for more than six months because of PayPal's actions. Be aware that if you elect to play at Global, you could be subject to similar misfortunes.

As we mentioned before, $weeps is basically the equivalent of U.S. dollars while Gold Coins represent play money. Global's cashier interface offers several packages of Gold Coins that one can buy at tiers from $10 to $5,000. For example, for $10, you'll get 50,000 Gold Coins. With your purchase, you'll also receive an amount of $weeps equal to the sum you pay. However, there is one exception to this; the $750 level is a Gold Coin-only package. Whoever selects this option will receive 3,750,000 Gold Coins and 0 $weeps. The inclusion of a non-$weeps Cash selection is likely an attempt to satisfy whoever is watching that the play money games are a viable product even without any $weeps being involved. We feel sorry for whoever inadvertently clicks on the $750 package without carefully reading the description of it and gets only play chips. If management truly felt that it was important to allow people to purchase Gold Coins only, then they could have priced such an option more reasonably, say, at $20 or $50.

The minimum withdrawal amount is $50, and there is no stated maximum, but we have heard from credible sources that payouts of $50,000 at a time are not unknown. Before a cashout will be sent to them, players must enter in their personal info and submit corroborating documents. At most internet poker sites, this is a mere formality, but at Global, it can lead to trouble. Many people have had to send in their paperwork multiple times, often without Global Poker even acknowledging receipt of it. On the upside, once all this identity verification is finally completed, users report getting paid within hours or a couple of days.

There's something else that's extremely relevant to the topic of Global Poker cashouts, and this is that only people in the United States and Canada can request them. Those from other countries can play at the site, and even make deposits, but they are currently unable to claim any of their winnings. This dubious policy can lead to unhappy situations, like one that was posted on Twoplustwo wherein someone from the United Kingdom deposited a four-figure sum only to find out later on that he could not ever withdraw any of his winnings nor receive a refund of his deposit. Global would probably contend that it allows players from most of the world to purchase Gold Coins for the purpose of enjoying the play money games, but this is a deceptive line of reasoning, and there are probably a quite a few people from outside North America who are fooled in this manner.

Global Poker Customer Support

Users can contact support through email 24 hours a day. There's also an active Global Poker Facebook profile that responds to messages. Global sponsors its own forum at Twoplustwo, but it's not as good as it could be. Sometimes days or weeks go by before the forum reps address player concerns. There is no telephone number that players can call to speak directly with customer service personnel.

Conclusion

Global Poker aspires to provide fully legal online poker to the United States by adhering to a sweepstakes model, but many entities have endeavored to do so in the past, and their efforts have come to naught. Global may be in violation of PayPal rules, which could get it into unenviable predicaments going forward. Its customers would likely see their funds confiscated or at least put on hold for a long time if this occurs. There are too many red flags with the Global Poker brand for us to recommend it to any of our readers at this time.

Global Poker FAQ

If you still have any questions about Global Poker and the way it's set up, then look below in our FAQ because we've collected a wealth of information on this topic.

Who owns Global Poker? - Global Poker is a division of VGW Holdings, which was founded in 2010. Before going live with Global Poker, VGW opened the Chumba Casino, which operates according to a similar sweepstakes model and is still going strong today.

Where are they located?  - VGW is an Australian company. There are VGW personnel in many places around the globe, but there are large concentrations of them in Sydney, Perth, and Manila.

When was Global Poker started? - Global Poker opened its doors in February 2017.

Can I use tracking and heads-up display software at Global? - Many players at various poker sites enjoy the use of PokerTracker 4, Holdem Manager 2, Holdem Indicator, and other hand tracking and HUD packages. However, these programs don't work at Global Poker, so there's no easy way to maintain a database of your hands or get stats on your opponents.

How can I reach customer service? - You can get assistance with your queries by sending an email to support[at]globalpoker.com. There's also a dedicated support forum for Global Poker over at Twoplustwo, but it may take a while to receive a response from company representatives if you choose to make a post about your issue.

What is the Global Poker sign-up bonus? - Apart from a free 2 in no deposit $weeps Cash and some complimentary Gold Coins, there's no welcome bonus at Global. You'll have to earn your cash directly at the tables by defeating your opponents because the rewards provided by Global are very paltry.

How long does it take to cash out? - There are sometimes delays of up to 5 days in the process of verifying your personal information by submitting the appropriate documents. Once this chore is completed (it only needs to be done once), withdrawals take between a couple of hours and a couple of days. You can stay on top of Global's cashout speeds by checking our online poker payout report, which is updated monthly.

Is there a Global Poker affiliate program? - Global Poker does have an affiliate program, but it's only open to larger sites rather than being available to smaller affiliates like most poker rooms are. More worrisome, perhaps, is the fact that Global doesn't do traditional deals for ongoing revenue share. This means that affiliates don't have any incentive to follow up with Global and make sure its players are being properly taken care of after they're signed up.

How do I get free $weeps Cash? - If you're interested in obtaining free $weeps Cash, then there's a procedure you can follow to get $6 worth at a time by sending in envelopes as long as you reside in the United States or Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec). In order to claim this free $weeps, you must have previously created a Global Poker account. You have to use hand-written, stamped #10 envelopes. Put your full name and return address on the front of an envelope along with the words “Global Poker Sweepstakes Credits:” followed by the month and year. Then send the envelope to:

VIRTUAL GAMING WORLDS,
GLOBAL POKER SWEEPSTAKES DEPARTMENT,
548 MARKET ST #73140,
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94104

Your account will be credited with $6 in $weeps within 5 days. In order to cash out any winnings from these $weeps, you have to complete a minimum playthrough of 20x.

Why does Global Poker use this weird hybrid Gold Coins and $weeps system? - Global Poker claims that this rather unusual way of denominating its games makes it legal as a form of sweepstakes rather than gambling. We have our doubts about this, which you can read about above in our review.