Available to U.S. Players
PLAYER ALERT: Unfortunately,
I am no longer willing to link to Lock Poker due to severe payout
delays, anti-player policies, and significant questions as their
ability to continue to operate. This review will remain active
for archival purposes and contains the latest information and
promotions for the poker room prior to its delisting. All links to
will now redirect to our recommended alternative
Please view our full
BetOnline review for more information on why we recommend
it to new players. In short,
they accepts all US players, offers
block-free credit card deposits, and includes 2 instant deposit
While we hesitate to remove one of the few
available poker rooms for US players Lock Poker has earned their
delisting with payout times exceeding 6 weeks for non-US players,
paper check payouts exceeding 3 months for US players, repeated lies
by management, segregation of winning players, and increasing
evidence that the poker room isn't liquid enough to cover its
Hopefully, players can take solace in the number of online
alternatives that offer a better home.
Lock Poker cashier doesn't appear very robust on the surface but it
is actually one of its greatest assets for US players.
Lock Poker even made the decision to separate its cashier from the
rest of its new Revolution Gaming Network partners just to maintain
exclusivity and keep the volume of processing down. The key to the
cashier is not in variety, which only features two methods of
deposit, but rather in its acceptance rate, which is one of the
highest in the industry.
Players will likely want to start by
attempting a credit card deposit and
Lock Poker does accept all three major types. They are able to
process almost every card block-free but should you run into an
issue you might opt for a debit card, which usually reports higher
Lock Poker also doesn't charge credit card fees, which is appreciated
as many US poker room have resorted to this in order to recoup their
own processing fees. Maximum deposit limits can be increased and
cashout delays decreased by completing their ID verification. The
minimum deposit is $50, which is fairly low and welcome for
If credit cards aren't an option for you
the backup method at
Lock Poker is one of the two major cash transfer services. Cash
transfer locations are plentiful in virtually every city in the
country with stations in grocery and convenience stores. There are
moderate fees involved with this method and I recommend asking the
poker room to possibly reimburse you for it via extra money added
onto your deposit.
Should you experience issues with either
of these methods
Lock Poker does have a special telephone number published in the
cashier that may be able to push through otherwise-blocked
transactions. It's curious that US poker rooms often encourage
telephone support to assist you in depositing but only offer email
or chat for support issues, although I suppose that is the nature of
most understaffed businesses in every industry these days.
In the new online poker landscape the US market has shrunk to a
fraction of its former glory. Perhaps inconceivable at one point but
has become one of the lone US poker
powerhouses, offering a stable cashier, an enormous deposit
bonus, above-average software, and loose tables.
is now one of the clear
leaders in the US market both in terms of player experience and
overall player traffic. Even though
Lock is one of the newer poker rooms in a fractured
market it's quickly become one of my
top overall choices.
In a surprising move
purchased the pre-existing Cake network in mid-2012 and is
rebranding it as the Revolution Gaming Network. I was initially
skeptical of this move as they were already part of a strong Merge
product, however I've since come around to the idea that the move
actually improves the
product. They are now completely autonomous and can create their own
policies, promotions, and cashier as the network overseer rather
than as a Merge-dependent skin. Such a significant investment also
seems to show that
is committed to growing and cultivating a long-term presence in the
US market. Certainly no other US poker room has made as big of a
splash in recent years as
has by taking over an entire network.
network maintains just about every positive aspect of Merge with
loose tables, attractive unique software, and the same independent
cashier. They've also improved the bonus specifically for our
players both with one of the largest percentages online at 200% on
top of a 36% rebate of all contributed rake. The other big draw to
Lock Poker is that its network has historically had some of
the loosest cash games in the US market. With the influx of new
players to the game dying down and existing players becoming more
educated the infamous wild games found everywhere online have mostly
fizzled out. Fortunately,
Lock Poker has consistently offered games with seemingly
inexperienced players and high flop percentages.
Lock Poker has a unique business model in that they seem to
be catering to experienced regulars and grinders by offering
built-in support for external tracking tools, a cash reward system,
and promotions geared towards more knowledgeable players. Typically
that hasn't worked for other rooms but I'm confident that it will
here. It's refreshing to have a US poker room that
seems to be self-aware of its place in the market and the state of
This poker room may be young but it has all the parts in place to
make a serious run at the US market.
up to $4,000 + 36% cash back) and Promotions:
The promotional strategy at
Lock Poker seems to be to overwhelm players with numerous
substantial offers and see what sticks.
Lock Poker seems to want to both draw players to the new
Revolution platform and dominate its market in general. Fortunately
for players, this means perhaps the best group of promotions in the
US market, if not in all of online poker. The three pillars of the
promotional system at
Lock Poker are the enormous deposit bonus, the built in
rakeback, and the seasonal specials like the Rake Chase and
Lock Lotto. Beginning with the bonus, our new lock poker players now
receive a 200% first deposit bonus, valid up to $4,000.
Compared to the previous offer the 200%
package is double the percentage and almost triple the dollar
maximum. That easily makes this the largest bonus currently
available online, harkening back to the heyday of huge bonus offers.
Please note that visitors are required to visit
Lock Poker via one of our links in order to qualify for the
maximum bonus. The play-through requirements are based on VIP
points, which are the basis of almost all
Lock Poker promotions. The bonus is released in $5 increments
for every 84 VIP Points earned. This puts
Lock Poker at least in the middle of the pack for bonus
release rate and I would estimate about $1-2 of bonus earned per
hour per full 9-seated $.50/1 cash game. A nice feature of the
software is the ability to see your VIP Point progress down to the
fraction in any table window.
The second unique standout feature at
Lock Poker is the built-in rakeback they've introduced at an
extremely generous 36% rate. I am typically not a fan of rakeback
(refunding a part of a player's contributed rake) because it is
often done via shady backdoor methods that ensure no one is on a
level playing field. By offering rakeback publicly to every player
at a high rate
Lock Poker has turned a questionable backdoor activity into a
great promotional tool that is both fair to everyone and will add a
surprisingly high amount of money back into the accounts of regular
Finally, the rotating promotions of the Rake Chase and Lock
Lotto give substantial prizes and create an extra incentive to
become a regular player. Even though they aren't run every month
they have proven popular enough for
Lock Poker to continue to bring them back with larger prize
pools. The Rake Chase offer is simple enough: get instant cash prizes for
earning VIP Points. The prizes start at $1.50 for earning 70 Points
and goes all the way up to $7,500 for earning a massive 56,000
Points, which is out of reach for everyone save high-level grinders.
The Lock Lotto is essentially a daily raffle with entries earned by
reaching a VIP Point threshold. The prizes range from iPads and
tournament entries to WSOP seats and motorcycles. Both of these
promotions are worthwhile as they require no convoluted playing
tasks and simply give you the chance at something extra for your
Lock Poker playtime.
Separate Sit and Go and multitable
tournament leaderboards also give cash prizes to the top performers
each month. Bad beat jackpots and a flat bonus for showing down a
royal flush round out the promotions.
Lock Poker earns a top category score for overshadowing every
other US poker room both in terms of bonus amount and a number of
substantial promotions. It remains to be seen if
Lock Poker can continue to afford to offer rakeback on top of
gaudy bonuses but for now players should take advantage of a poker
room trying to make a name for itself.
While I always stress that players
should follow their own personal priorities when choosing a new
poker room I imagine that beatable games are up near the top of just
about everyone's list.
Lock Poker largely bucks the alarming trend of tough tight
games that were the rule on the former big US players like Tilt and
Stars. The flop percentage is a good indicator of the looseness of
play at a particular cash table.
Lock Poker features higher numbers than its US competitors
with 9-handed cash games sometimes exceeding 30% and average pots of
20x the big blind or more. That may not have earned a top Fish
Rating 5 years ago but in the current environment that's an
The two main factors that I feel make
Lock Poker tables so loose are the software design and the
snub given by many "serious" players. The software is designed with a
less-rigid community feel as indicated by the animated chat
emoticons. With numerous raise increment buttons staring at players
it's also easy to get aggressive on a whim.
Lock Poker and its network have also been largely ignored by
the tight grinders that refuse to play on smaller networks they
aren't comfortable with. The result can be a gold mine for
experienced players willing to try something different in
Lock Poker. Players are more willing to see more flops and
pay dearly for draws. Over the long-haul that equals much more
profit than the tight-fisted games common at the larger networks.
Lock Poker tournament schedule is probably about average in
size compared to other remaining US poker rooms and should be satisfactory to
tournament players. During peak hours there are about 6-8 events
per hour with the best values being guarantees from $500-5,000.
The buy-in range typically runs under $30 for most events with $5
being the most popular levels.
Lock Poker usually draws about 200-300 players for the more
popular events during the early evening. Aside from the obvious
dominance of no-limit Hold'em events they also run about a dozen
Omaha tournaments daily with guarantees up to $1,000.
Lock Poker tries to offer a few high buy-in events for $50 or
the day but they usually only attract less than 100 players. I have
never been a fan of rebuy/add-on tournaments but about half of the
events here feature that structure to help meet the guaranteed prize
Lock Poker also implements a couple of newer tournament modes
that are starting to gain traction and more poker rooms. One of my
favorites is the Bounty style, which awards a portion of each
player's buy-in to the player that eventually knocks him out.
Besides adding a bit of extra fun to break up the long hours of
tournaments it allows players to either win money or at least a bit
of a rebate on their buy-in simply by knocking out a couple of
Sit and Go events are quick to fill up at the sub-$10 level
with the occasional heads-up sit and go active up to the $50 level.
Unfortunately for fans of the classic sit and go structure
Lock Poker players seem to favor Double Up events (where half
the entrants double their buy-in) by about a 10:1 margin.
The big tournament day at
Lock Poker is Sunday with the highlight of the schedule being
a $100,000 guarantee for a reasonable $100 buy-in. While that may
pale to the $1,000,000+ events offered by the former US monoliths
this is now one of the largest Sunday tournaments in the market.
With about 1,100-1,200 players typically entering it still feels
like enough of a spectacle without requiring an absurd time or
financial commitment. Other Sunday highlights include guarantees up
to $65,000 but with substantial buy-ins up to $500. During WSOP
Lock Poker runs step tournaments culminating in a direct $200
buy-in supersatellite. The
Lock Poker tournament schedule could and should improve with
traffic growth but is certainly adequate with a fairly busy schedule
and a wide range of buy-ins.
Lock Poker shunting Merge and their excellent software to
spearhead their own network the playability of the games was a
concern to me. Fortunately on that front,
Lock Poker moved to perhaps the second-best US software
package with their repurposing of the Cake software. The Cake 2.0
software update quietly made this package one of the most
user-friendly and attractive online with several advanced features
and excellent game speed. The minimalist racetrack table graphics
and slate colors are easy on the eyes with large bold card styles.
Each player is able to choose from about a hundred different avatar
icons and the active player is made clear with a color-coded timer.
There are numerous customizations that
can be remembered by the
Lock Poker software such as default table sizes and your
preferred buy-in amount. The hand history both saves hands to your
hard drive as well as displays them online in a sharp graphical
format with chat excerpts included. In terms game speed, perhaps the
most important feature full 9-handed cash games run extremely quick
at 65-70 hands per hour. The visual timer counting down likely helps
this and cuts down on the slow posturing that has become so popular.
Besides the usual "Bet Pot" button the
"Half Pot" and "2/3 Pot" buttons at
Lock Poker are appreciated. Finally, if you want to take a
nostalgia trip back to popular software design circa 1996 you can
switch to "Classic" table mode, complete with digitized photographic
Lock Poker software package isn't especially groundbreaking
or flashy but it is incredibly efficient and aesthetically
attractive. It is definitely one of the better software offerings in
the US market..
One of the key aspects that has been
Lock Poker is in the payout process, which now should be
considered a key draw for US players. Of course, non-US players can
cash out with the likes of NETeller and Moneybookers for up to
$10,000 per transaction without issue. Non-US withdrawals now take
about 10-14 days to ultimately hit your e-wallet account. For US players, however,
Lock Poker payouts have historically been noteworthy. Check delivery
times had been under two weeks with a $3,000 limit but have since
increased to about 6-8 weeks.
All of them are sent
via courier, which is appreciated for speed and tracking. Up to 8
can be requested per month from
Lock Poker and there is no fee for the first request
per month. These are some of the best terms online right now and the
previously-low processing times were been considered a small miracle in a
market that is tenuous at best. The current US check delivery times
of 6-8 weeks are average at best. Overall, I still value the fact
that they are all eventually sent via courier whether or not the
understaffed e-mail support team replies to status requests or not. Cash transfer is also an option if
you need a payout faster of up to $2,000.
Lock Poker may have a frustrating system for US checks in its
current state with longer "processing" times and slow support
replies but it's still dependable overall for eventually receiving
every payout requested.
Lock Poker offers both of the basic constants in customer
service: e-mail and live chat. Unless I'm pressed for time I'll
always opt for live chat because of its immediacy. When I have used
the chat function successfully the representatives all seemed to be
English speakers and were knowledgeable about the poker room.
Lock Poker seems to be swamped with new players these days
due to recent shutdowns so their live chat is sometimes unavailable.
E-mail replies typically arrive within 4-12 hours or so. I haven't
had any pressing issues thus far so as long as the live chat is
available it's a strong support system.
The Revolution Gaming Network (formerly
Cake) had been quietly
plugging away with low player numbers for years until recent events
forced the dominant forces from the US market.
Lock Poker was one of the poker rooms that reaped the
benefits by continuing to allow US players. They now draw several
thousand during the peak US evening hours and a few hundred players for
regular daily guaranteed tournaments.
Lock Poker now has at least 10-15 active cash tables at each
limit up to the $1/2 no-limit level with a handful of tables above
that to the $5/10 level. Player traffic is now quite comfortable and
this is currently one of the largest open US networks.
Accepts US players. With the market getting smaller and smaller
every day this is a huge draw for
Extremely large bonus. While a fair amount of play is required to
earn full bonuses on larger deposits the 200% up to $4,000 offer is
one of the largest online.
Loose tables. It's refreshing to find a population of players that
doesn't treat every dollar like it's their last. Expect flop
percentages of 30-40% at 9-seated tables.
Strong software. The
Lock Poker color scheme is easy on the eyes and it's
rewarding to find all the little extra features like numerous layout
options and a graphical hand history.
Game Selection: Hold'em,
Limits: Limit: 2c/4c up to
$500/1,000 No-Limit: 2c/4c up to $500/1,000
players), Moneybookers (non-US), major credit cards, and cash
Tips: I feel that
the days in which you could count on pocket Aces and Kings to do
your heavy lifting and consistently win you large pots are over. At
looser sites like
Lock Poker these premium hands are consistently on the short
end of massive pots. Of course, these are still premium hands that
are a joy to play when played well. Unfortunately, players are
holding onto the days when they could commit their entire stack
post-flop on premium pocket pairs and expect to run into opponents
blindly throwing away money with a medium pair or complete trash.
Even the seemingly inexperienced players at
Lock Poker can smell an opponent with Aces and react
accordingly, which means you have to get used to giving up Aces and
Kings when there's a good chance your opponent out-flopped you. That
sounds easy in principle but so many otherwise strong players cannot
release them when the time calls for it.
Obviously, it's always right to commit
everything pre-flop with pocket Aces. You'll always have the best
hand at that point and it's never wrong to put in your money when
you have the best hand. Post-flop, if you're playing aggressively
but continue to get raised and re-raised there has to be a reason
for it. With a flop full of undercards it's certainly possible that
you're facing an outright bluff or a smaller pair with the quality
of players at
Lock Poker. However, it's much more likely that your opponent
took a chance with your pre-flop raise on a small pocket pair and
hit his set. Don't fall victim to over-committing to premium pocket
pairs post-flop. It's painful but necessary to throw away those rare
treasures when your opponent is giving you clear signals that you're