Virgin Games Poker is one of the longest running online poker sites and is a safe and trusted room to play at. It's a site that will mainly appeal to casino game and slots players who occasionally like to dabble in a hand or two of No Limit Texas Holdem poker.
Virgin Games Poker at a Glance
The new player offer is a choice of 30 free spins on the Double Bubble slots game OR 50 free bingo tickets. Unfortunately, this welcome bonus offer for Virgin Games does not offer any direct benefit at the poker tables, however any winnings derived from the free spins/bingo tickets can then be used to enter poker games. There are other regular promotions for poker players, but these are not part of the Virgin Games account opening offer.
All new players are eligible for this welcome bonus, which requires opt-in upon sign up and the choice to receive either slots or bingo tickets. Players are required to make a minimum deposit of at least £10 and then wager a total of £10 on any game in order to claim the bonus.
As most of the action on Virgin Games is online slots, the majority of the regular offers and rewards are related to online slots play, whether you are primarily a fruit machine player or not. If you are a poker player who enjoys slots, this could be a very welcome bonus, as you have the opportunity to spin and (maybe) win for free every day, while playing Virgin Games Poker.
Nevertheless, there are some poker specific offers for Virgin Games players to take advantage of on a regular basis. These can be found in the main poker lobby in the Community Events section and include:
Daily Chip and a Chair Freeroll: This is a daily freeroll with a £20 prize pool, in which players get just one playing chip and can fold or go all-in. It takes place at 6.30pm every day and in order to be eligible to enter, you must have played at least £1 of tournament poker on the previous day.
Weekly Community Vault Freeroll: This freeroll starts at 9pm on Tuesdays, with a £200 prize pool. Tickets are required to enter and these are awarded randomly to players when they enter a Wild Seat Poker tournament.
Monthly Inner Vault Freeroll: This freeroll takes place at 4pm on the last Tuesday of each month and has a £400 prize pool. In order to play, players must “find an Inner Vault key,” which is basically a ticket that is awarded randomly to players entering Wild Seat Poker tournaments with a buy-in of £10 or more. There is also an additional way to gain entry to this tournament, using any extra Community Vault tickets collected, via a 2-step single table qualification path that awards an inner key to the winner.
Virgin Games has been around for a long time, opening for business in 2004 and has offered poker for most of its existence. The poker product has changed during this time, originally using Boss Media software, but switching to the current Gamesys product in 2014.
Virgin Games Poker is a scaled back poker product with just a few of the most popular game formats. You won’t find multi-million online festival series, Pot Limit Omaha, high stakes cash game action or round the clock multi-table-tournament (MTT) schedules, but you will find a unique fast paced jackpot Texas Hold’em poker game called Wild Seat Poker. You will also find low buy-in MTTs from 9.30am to 1am and recently introduced (July 2023) poker cash game tables.
Although limited to just a few formats at mostly low stakes, the overall skill level on the site is very low. Tracking software does not work on Virgin Games Poker and there is very little likelihood of being sharked upon by pro poker players. The games are therefore very soft and it's not hard for relatively experienced recreational poker players to grind out small wins on Virgin Games tables.
Originally a part of Richard Branson’s Virgin universe, but now owned by Gamesys (Ballys), Virgin Games is a trusted operator. If you win, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will be paid out.
Until very recently, just two game formats were available on Virgin Games Poker: scheduled multi-table tournaments (MTTs) and Wild Seat Poker. You won’t find regular Sit N Go tables or satellites to Live Events on Virgin Games and the only game format is No Limit Texas Hold’em.
However, in July 2023, Virgin Games added Cash Games + to the product offering. Cash Games + tables are low stakes cash games with fixed buy-ins and can be played around the clock. This is a positive move for the poker room and could be a sign of more new products to come in the future.
With only a few game types available, navigating to them is pretty straightforward, as all games are listed on a single page and can be joined easily in just a few clicks. It's all easy start access!
New for 2023, Cash Games + is the latest format to be added to Virgin Games Poker. Although it may be expanded in the future, the initial offering for Cash Game+ is three buy-in sizes: £5, £10, and £20. They also sometimes offer special promotional buy-in sizes for limited time periods, such as £2 tables.
The gameplay is the same as regular No Limit Texas Holdem cash games, but unlike many other online poker sites, there is only one buy-in amount per table and players are not permitted to sit down with a short-stack. However, these fixed buy-in poker tables are already quite short-stacked from the start, as you sit with just 25 big blinds on the £5 tables and 50 for the £10 buy-in games. Players are permitted to optionally top-up after each hand, so you can maintain your stack at the table buy-in for the start of each hand, if you so choose. All cash games are 6-max tables.
Virgin Games Cash Games + (NL Texas Holdem)
Small Blind/Big Blind
Rake (all cash games)
5% of pot
No Flop No Drop
2-4 players: 5bb rake cap
5-9 players: 10bb rake cap
Multi-table poker tournaments at Virgin Games Poker take place between 9.30am - 1.00am (UK time). The offering is quite sparse with just one or two tournaments starting per hour, plus a few satellites into some of them. Most offer quite short late registration periods and have relatively low guarantees, requiring just 20-30 entrants to avoid an overlay. Unusually, registration for most tournaments opens just 10 minutes before play commences. For freerolls and promotional ticket events, you may have to employ a fastest finger first strategy to ensure you get a seat.
All multi-table tournaments are regular vanilla No Limit Texas Holdem, with no bounties or other format variations. Most tournaments have a turbo-esque structure, with levels just three minutes long or less (some have 140 second length levels). Buy-ins are low, the majority between £2-£10, with the biggest daily tournament The Phoenix having a £20 buy-in and a £400 prize pool guarantee. On Sundays the biggest MTT costs £30 to play while every second Friday there is a £50 showpiece event.
The two showpiece events are the Monthly Biggie and the Deep Zone, which alternate, with one taking place every two weeks. These are both £50 buy-in tournaments with £1,000 prize pools guaranteed. The Monthly Biggie has five-minute blind levels throughout, while the Deep Zone has 1 hour of frozen blind levels before they start increasing, again at 5-minute intervals. On rare promotional occasions, the guarantees of these monthly events are increased to as much as £5,000. Once in a while there might even be a £100 buy-in tournament.
Some of the regular buy-in poker tournaments have satellites, enabling players to enter for less than the usual buy-in. This is one area that Virgin Games Poker has executed particularly well, with satellites offering a quite attractive 1 in 5 (1 in 4 in some cases) chance of winning a seat. Most other online poker sites’ satellites operate on 1 in 10 (or more) chance of winning a seat. On Virgin Games Poker it's not pie in the sky, you feel like you actually have a chance to win a seat via a satellite.
While most online poker sites have a three-player jackpot Sit n Go product, Virgin Games has their own unique take on this hugely popular format, called Wild Seat Poker. The key differences between this and the usual jackpot Sit N Go offerings are:
The key differentiator of not announcing the prize prior to the game starting means that players don’t need to adjust their game according to the size of the prize pool, as they do in jackpot Sit N Go tournaments on most other poker sites. Players always need to bring their A-game as they could be playing for £2 or £10,000, but don’t know which it is until after the final card is dealt.
Wild Seat Poker is usually available at five different buy-in levels, with a £2 Blitz version (low starting chips) and a 50p Flip version (all-in every hand) available from 6pm-midnight every Monday.
Mondays Only 6pm-Midnight
While Virgin Games doesn’t have any famous poker players or sports stars as brand ambassadors, they do have community chat hosts, who send network messages out to help to get the bigger buy-in games started and interact with the community via the chat lobby. It's kind of like having an ever-present support staff person to ensure the smooth running of the room. The chat lobby window is available across all poker games and chat hosts run quizzes & promotions with tournament tickets as prize giveaways. They moderate chat between players and sometimes participate in poker games as well.
With only a few game formats, the poker lobby of Virgin Games is laid out in a simple and clean way, making it very easy to find the game you wish to play.
Wild Seat Poker games are listed first, with a tile for each buy-in level and a prominent green “Play Now” button which takes you directly to the game itself.
Tournaments, cash games and community events (freerolls) are also listed on the main poker page, but clicking on these tiles takes you to a lobby with all the relevant info about the game. It is from these game lobbies that you register for a tournament or join a cash game table.
Other gameplay features include:
Virgin Games is a low traffic poker room, with not more than a few hundred players online at any given time. Most scheduled tournaments have participation levels ranging from 20-50 players, with few (other than freerolls) getting into treble figures.
There is enough traffic that the lower buy-in Wild Seat Poker games start quickly, but the bigger ones can take a while to fill up; and this is where the community hosts help, sending messages across the network to help fill the final few seats of the bigger buy-in games.
Cash game tables are a relatively new product, when first launched, at peak times you could expect there to be 20-30 players in the £5 pool and about half this number in the £10 pool. With only a soft launch so far, these numbers are likely to increase significantly once their availability has been marketed and publicised.
Cash game rake is 5% of the pot and operates on a “no flop, no drop” basis, meaning that zero rake is deducted from the pot if the hand is concluded before the flop. Rake is also capped at a maximum amount per pot, which is equivalent to 5 big blinds (if the number of players dealt into the hand is between 2-4) or 10 big blinds (when there are 5 or more players dealt into the hand).
Tournament fees are included in the price to enter a tournament, at a rate of 10% of the total buy-in. e.g., a £20 buy-in MTT is £18 into the prize pool and £2 as the fee. Please note that by using this pricing method, the fees work out to be just over 11% of the buy-in. The same rate is charged at all buy-in levels.
Wild Seat Poker, which has variable prize pools, operates on a 10% fee basis. For every £1 spent on buy-ins, 90p will be returned in prizes, over the long run.
For more info on how rake and how it is calculated, please read our in-depth rake explanation article.
Unlike some online poker sites, which almost require a tutorial to be able to navigate and find everything that you need, the layout of Virgin Games Poker is simple and easy to use. The design is based on the same sort of display format that many online slots websites utilise, with games organised in rows of tiles with simple one or two-click access to get to your chosen table. For tournaments and cash games, clicking on the tile takes you to a specific lobby with info about the game. It is from here that you click on the register or play now button.
While cash games and tournament tables have a classic, black-coloured theme, Wild Seat Poker tables are a lot funkier, with a purple appearance that can best be described as a 1970s psychedelic disco, more Saturday Night Fever than WSOP.
Both Android and iOS apps (for iPhone and iPad) are available to download in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. As per the website, the games on the app are only accessible if logged in from the UK or Republic of Ireland.
Visually there isn't much difference between using Virgin Games Poker on an app or via the website. All the same games and features are available, the lobby layouts look very similar, and the navigation is the same, replacing mouse clicks with finger taps.
The key difference is that on the app you can only play one table at a time, whereas a maximum of two tables can be played simultaneously on the web version, using a split screen display.
As of August 2023, only a few payment methods are available at Virgin Games Poker. These are:
Maestro cards are no longer accepted, nor is PayPal for new customers.
The minimum deposit is £10 across all deposit methods and the max is £10,000 for debit cards and £5,000 using Apple Pay. Depositing is instantaneous, as you would expect, while withdrawals take 1-3 days and must be made back to the same card used to make the most recent deposit. However, Apple Pay does not support withdrawals, so players using this method need to request payment directly to their bank.
Compared with most other sites, this range of payment methods is quite restrictive, but should still be OK for many UK and ROI players, as these are the most common cards issued by British and Irish banks. Although withdrawals can take up to 3 days, according to their FAQ section, 95% of withdrawals are processed within 12 hours.
The signup process at Virgin Games Poker is straightforward and easy.
1. Visit the site and click on the ‘join now’ button.
2. Enter your details which include your name, title, email address, date of birth and gender.
3. Create a username and password.
4. Enter your address, phone number, and choose how you would like to receive promotional marketing messages.
5. You will then be asked to provide a photo ID to verify your identity.
You must confirm your identity before you can start playing at Virgin Games Poker. This is to ensure that no underage gambling is taking place. This is for the protection of the players.
V Points: V Points are the loyalty mechanism used on Virgin Games. You collect V points when you win, not simply for turnover. V Points are awarded at a rate of 1 for every £20 won playing poker, slots and most other games (except Bingo, where 1 V Point is awarded for every £5 won). You can also collect additional points via special V Point promotions. Another way to collect is via Reward Promotions, which take place from time to time, awarding V Points as prizes.
V Points can be exchanged for cash that can be used on the site, at a redemption rate of 1 V Point = £0.01, or to put it more simply, a penny a point. V Points are collected automatically when you win, there is no need to opt in.
It's not the most generous of loyalty programs, in fact it's a pretty paltry return, when compared to the kind of rakeback you can get on other sites. However, it’s not really a site for grinders, so it's probably an unfair comparison to make. Suffice to say, most players on Virgin Games Poker are probably not very price sensitive when it comes to loyalty rewards.
Regular players on the site may also benefit from birthday rewards and other random rewards, but these are not guaranteed and are awarded on a discretionary basis. If you play enough and you’re a genuine player (not just a bonus hunter), you are very likely to receive these.
Virgin Games Poker does excel when it comes to customer support. There are a number of different ways to get in touch with support staff on Virgin Games. Live chat, email and a rare free telephone helpline are all methods that can be used. However, there is an extensive FAQ section which answers all the most common questions that are likely to crop up. Customer support is available 24/7.
Additionally, Virgin Games have Community Chat Hosts in chat lobbies, who may be able to help answer non-account-specific questions.
As a long established, fully licensed and regulated operator, Virgin Games Poker takes responsible gaming seriously. They have a number of responsible gaming features to help players stay in control.
Deposit Limits: Players can set daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limits, with a daily (24h) limit automatically applied to all new accounts. If players choose to decrease their deposit limits, these are affected immediately but requests to increase are subject to a delay.
Time Spent Playing Reminder: Every hour a pop-up message appears to tell you how long you have been playing. This can also be set to every 30 minutes, if required.
Cooling Off: Players can take a break for anything from 1 day to 6 weeks, during which time they will not be able to play on the site.
Self Exclusion: Players may also self-exclude for longer periods of time, ranging from 1 year to 5 years.
Further Help: Virgin Games also has a page in their FAQ section with details of various organisations that can help people with loss of control and gambling addiction.
While not the biggest or busiest online poker room, Virgin Games Poker caters well to slots and bingo players who fancy a break from their usual gaming fare. It does not have the full range of products that you might find in more specialised online poker rooms, but it does have some rather unique versions of this popular peer-to-peer game, which should mostly appeal to recreational players.
Virgin Games is a customer focused site with excellent support, including an all-but extinct (in the rest of the industry) freephone helpline, as well as online chat and email support. There is a community feel that is very similar to those usually found on bingo sites, with chat hosts who are there to entertain as well as to moderate the room.
In July 2023 Virgin Games Poker added cash games, signalling that there could be further developments to come, as this is the first major addition to the software since its launch almost a decade ago. If the product range expands further, it could become a popular site with regular players as well. Worth giving a try if you fancy something a little less serious than you would find elsewhere.
No, Paypal was previously accepted as a payment method, but is no longer available for new account holders.
No, there are only regular format, non-bounty tournaments available at present (2023)
No, you must be physically present in the UK or ROI in order to access and play on Virgin Games Poker.
Yes, Texas Hold’em cash games were launched in July 2023.
No, the only game format currently available on Virgin Games Poker is No Limit Texas Holdem.
Details of all current promotions on Virgin Games Poker can be found in the section of the site/app called The Vault. Freerolls can be found in the tournament poker section of the lobby.
Wild Seat Poker is a poker game with a variable prize, which remains a mystery until the tournament has concluded. £100,000 is the biggest prize, available for the £10 entry tier. Other tiers have a top prize of between 1,000 - 10,000 x the buy-in.