Chico Poker Network: US Friendly Poker Network With Soft Games
The Chico Poker Network is the third-largest network that welcomes US players. Some big-name skins on this network include BetOnline Poker and SportsBetting Poker. What differentiates these sites from the larger US sites is the softness of their games. With a big focus on sports betting, Chico skins have a more recreational feel than many other sites.
While there have been some historical issues with prompt payments, this network changed management in 2013. Now owned by Julian International Ltd and licensed in Panama, depositing and withdrawing has become a lot easier. You’ll find more than 700 cash game players at peak times, and many more than this enjoying tournaments.
Here is how this detailed guide to the Chico Poker Network is laid out:
-Network and Software Overview
-Individual Sites or ‘Skins’ on Chico
-Poker Games and Variations
-History of the Chico Poker Network
-Wrap Up: Reasons to Choose Chico
Chico Network and Software
This network is comprised of two huge sites that welcome US players – BetOnline and SportsBetting Poker – plus several smaller international poker rooms.
When you first log on, you’ll find a huge choice of gambling options. These include sports betting, casino games and slots, financial betting and even esports. This is a positive for poker players. Many opponents you’ll find at the tables joined to place sports bets, making the games more recreational overall than on other networks.
Poker is available via a downloadable software package. The software is functional and easy to use, though it does not have the modern feel of the big international sites. It is available via instant play (browser based), though to enjoy the full range of games, you’ll need to download the software.
Cash game tables are the main draw. No-Limit Hold’em dominates the options. Games start at 5c/10c blinds and go up to $10/$20. You’ll find some variations including Boost poker (a fast-fold game), Windfall Poker (a jackpot Sit N Go game), tournaments and sit n goes. There is a smaller number of Pot Limit Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo available too. Chico recently restricted the number of tables you can play simultaneously. This maximum of eight tables was designed to prevent grinders from slowing down the games with mass multi-tabling.
Chico are owned by Julian International ltd. The main skins are based and licensed in Panama. Smaller skins, including Tiger Gaming, are separately licensed in Curacao. All games are tested for fairness by the independent auditor Gaming Laboratories International.
Payment Options on the Chico Network
US players have a choice of payment options to fund accounts on Chico Network sites.
Visa and MasterCard credit cards are the most popular for deposits. Alternatives include money transfer (using services such as MoneyGram), or bank wires. Cryptocurrency can be used for both deposits and withdrawals. You can deposit with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash or Ethereum.
International players have more options, including Neteller and EcoCard.
The most common withdrawal method for US players is a paper check. BetOnline and SportsBetting Poker give players credit towards the processing cost – which will cover one check withdrawal a month for active players. Cryptocurrency withdrawals are fast and free.
What Sites are on the Chico Poker Network?
The BetOnline brand has a long history. This site started out accepting telephone bets, before moving online in 2003. This is the largest skin on the Chico Network, driving a large percentage of the traffic. What I like about BetOnline is the frequent updates to the ‘promotions’ tab. Poker players will enjoy offers from the many different gambling verticals – as well as regular poker offers.
New players at BetOnline can take advantage of a big $1,000 matched welcome bonus. There is also a bad-beat jackpot, high-hand bonus and regular tournament offers waiting for you.
You will notice that the setup of this skin matches BetOnline. The reason is that they are owned and operated by the same company. This site has a distinctive blue branding, and it gives you access to the same cash games and tournaments as BetOnline.
New players at SportsBetting Poker are also treated well. You can take advantage of a 100% matched bonus – max $1,000. Promotional offers include poker-specific deals, as well as offers from the other gambling areas.
The only other notable skin on this network is the Curacao-licensed Tiger Gaming. Poker is identical across the skins. The main difference is the other gambling options, which the smaller poker rooms do not offer.
What Games and Poker Variations are Available on the Chico Network?
Compared to other networks, Chico is cash-game focused. As with many mid-sized poker rooms, there are not enough players to fully develop the tournament schedule, though, this is improving. You’ll find examples of the recent poker variations here too.
No Limit Hold’em games can be found in three different sizes. There are a lot of 6-max games, along with full-ring (nine players) and heads-up. While the standard of play is noticeably recreational, there are high-stakes games (up to $10/$20 blinds with a $2000 buy-in) for experienced players. During the evenings PLO and PLO8 also have a choice of games running.
BetOnline recently introduced a fast-fold poker variant known as Boost Poker. This uses the ‘pools’ system, where you go to a new hand the moment you fold. At the time of writing, the pools are small, with only the smallest stakes attracting more than 30 players.
If you enjoy lower buy-in tournaments with smaller fields, BetOnline have you covered. The biggest regular game is the Sunday $50k guaranteed, which becomes a $100k guaranteed once a month. Most games are in the $3-11 buy-in range. You’ll find the usual variations of turbo speed games and rebuys.
Sit N Goes
Compared to the other poker networks, Sit N Goes are not popular here. There are some variations, including Windfall Poker, a three-handed game with random jackpots.
History of the Chico Poker Network
This network started off as the ‘Action Poker Network’. Unfortunately, the events of Black Friday (April 2011) caused some major problems. Payment processing suffered, and the Action Poker Network were slow to honour withdrawals for their players.
In 2013, this network was taken over by Julian International Ltd, and rebranded as the Chico Poker Network. With BetOnline and SportsBetting Poker joining the pool, player numbers increased dramatically. All players were eventually paid out, and payments are now in line with the other US sites.
Wrap Up: Why Choose the Chico Poker Network?
The main reason to choose Chico is for the soft/recreational cash games. The dominance of sports bettors on this network keeps these tables full of amateurs, making them noticeably softer than poker-only networks. Tournaments are also soft, though the smaller number of players online means that only small buy-in games are currently available.
While there were some payment issues in the past, the new owners have straightened things out. The major skins are on par with even the largest sites for withdrawal processing speed.
Promotions across gambling verticals help Chico to stand out. There are plenty of poker-only deals, including a bad-beat jackpot which can hit seven figures. With a $1,000 welcome bonus for all new players, you’ll get off to a solid start.