Chico Poker Network
The Chico Poker Network is a smaller network that first got their start as Action Poker in 1999. They changed hands a couple of times since their initial launch, first to Playsafe Holdings AS in 2006 and again in December 2011, when the network was sold to Julian International Holdings Ltd. It was at that time that the network was rebranded to Chico Poker.
The network consists of multiple brands and products. The flagship site is BetOnline, a multi-faceted brand that has a casino and sportsbook in addition to poker. They’re going to be the reference for our software review of the network below.
All of the skins on the Chico Poker Network have both native PC and Mac software downloads. However, the download and install process was not as smooth as the other networks. I had to uninstall and reinstall the software for the site to work (and open). My guess is that it depends on the link you use to get the download from. The one at the top of the site is bad, while the others should be ok.
Unfortunately, none of the skins on the network have mobile poker apps. BetOnline does have a mobile friendly sports section, but that’s the extent of it.
Available Games & Stakes at Chico Poker Sites
The games that BetOnline offers is holdem and omaha. Unlike other networks they don’t have draw, stud or mixed poker games. On one hand this can be viewed as a downside, because there are lots of players that enjoy these games. This could be traffic that BetOnline (and the Chico Poker Network) is not receiving. On the other hand, having fewer choices means all the customers are funneled to those games, and therefore are keeping the games as full as possible.
The stakes are the lowest you’ll find online. For cash games the minimum is .01/.02 and the max is 5/10 for holdem. The max is 1.50/3 for omaha. MTTs are the most shocking though, with a max of $50. The black sheep would be the SNGs – the maximum is $500.
Chico’s tournament variations include 6-max, satellites, heads-up, turbos and qualifiers.
All in all, you’ll find fewer games, variations and stakes at Chico poker sites. Considering they have less traffic than their competitors it doesn’t make sense to offer them. On the other hand, if they did maybe they’d have more customers.
On a brighter note, BetOnline and other multi-product Chico sites have a sportsbook, horse betting and casino section in addition to poker. So if you’re looking for a change of pace you can always use the same account and play something else.
Lobby & Table Software Features
There’s nothing interesting about the lobby. There, I said it. There’s a couple of buttons, and the filter is limited to a handful of tabs for the micro, medium/high and all stakes sections.
The same is true for their tables. The feature that stood out the most is their 3 backgrounds, but that’s nothing to write home about either. You can choose from a football stadium, beach or city backdrop, all of which are poorly done and are more a distraction than a compliment. The worse part is that there is no option for a plain background.
The bright side is that you do have standard options, such as the 4-color deck, a handful of languages to choose from, the option to turn on/off features and the noise. You’re also able to take notes and tag other players as ‘buddies’ so that you can find them in the future.
Based on Poker Tracker’s and Holdem Manager’s websites, it doesn’t look like either programs are supported at Chico Poker Sites. That includes BetOnline, which is a disappointment given that they’re the most trafficked poker site on the network for US players.
What I Like
What I like most about Chico sites is the simplicity. Whether that’s by design or not, I don’t know. But fewer options means fuller tables versus lots of tables that are half full. I also like having access to the sportsbetting section and blackjack tables. There’s always something else you can do if you’re waiting for tables to fill.
What I Don’t Like
There are several things I didn’t care for doing my review.
One, their backgrounds. I prefer plain backgrounds over graphic intense (and distracting) backgrounds.
Two, smoother software. The download process was buggy for me. I had to uninstall and reinstall just to get the software to work. The software was slow too, namely on the tables while the cards were being dealt.
A better lobby filter would be great too, which could include game variations, stakes and a free money poker tab, which is hard to find. These aspects of Chico’s poker sites are not on par with other networks, and would be a simple enough improvement to make to get them to that level.