|This is a unique setup, unlike any of the other real money and social poker games we’ve discussed yet. Poker Host is a website that allows you to run your own online poker room, of sorts. You choose what types of games to host, in ring game or tournament fashion, structuring every bit of it from blinds to bankrolls. All that’s left to do is invite the people you want to play with, and you’re off to the races.
As simple and appealing as that sounds, there are a few details you need to know, first.
Number one, do not confuse PokerHost.co with the .com version. That second one is an unregulated real-money poker site based out of Curaçao and accepting USA players. That’s 3 red flags right there, all pointing to irresponsible ownership, if not illegal management. Moving on…
You don’t need to download anything to play poker here. If you were hoping for a poker app, sorry – there isn’t one. Built in HTML5, it’s already compatible with all system browsers. PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, they’re all compatible.
Anyone can sign up an account. All you need is a name, email, and basic location. You can be as specific or vague as you want, entering your city, province, or country. If you plan to be invited by a Host, simply wait for your invite to come. Thumb twiddling is not discouraged. If you’re going to be the one doing the inviting, you must apply to become a Host. To do so, you can shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking to become a host, or call 715-966-0758 (based out of Wisconsin, USA – not toll-free). They’ll get your account set up and provide you with basic instructions.
Poker Host is not free for everyone. Invited players join for free, but hosts have to pay a small monthly fee for their hosting abilities. Let’s review…
- Host Account – Monthly Fee ($1-$20)
- Invited Player Account – Free
There are three levels of paid membership for hosts. Their titles and features are as follows.
- Basic Tournament Host: Set up private, password-protected single or multi-table tournaments; no rebuys or add-ons, no “Cashier” options, no ring games. Fee – $1 to $20 per month, depending on players / usage.
- “Cashier” Basic: Set up private, password-protected ring games and single or multi-table tournaments with rebuys and addons; full “Cashier” options. Fee – $10 to $20 per month, pending usage.
- “Cashier” Plus: Set up private, password-protected ring games and single or multi-table tournaments with rebuys and addons; full “Cashier” options. Unlimited players, tables, tournaments, and usage. Fee – $20 per month, based on usage.
A Cashier has complete control over every player’s bankroll. The cashier can giveth, and the cashier can taketh away, increasing or decreasing each player’s chips as needed. If this sounds like an omnipotent power, it is, so if you’re part of a home poker group looking to take your games online, make sure you choose the most honest and reliable person among you to play host.
Another impressive feature of this site is the extensive game variety. Ring games can be hosted in Texas Holdem, Omaha, and Omaha Hi-Lo in FL, NL, and PL formats. 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, and Razz are also available in FL only. This is where a cashier’s ability to adjust chip stacks comes into play. Instead of setting a buy-in fee, everyone’s chips can be leveled before each game to put everyone on equal ground.
All in all, this is a good place to set up private multiplayer poker games, but unlike some of the other ones on the list, it’s not free (for the host), and it’s not a highly trafficked website. At time of writing, there were only three players logged in – one being me – and no one actually playing. Since all games are private table affairs, that should matter, but it doesn’t bode well for popularity rankings.