Winamax Poker is an online poker website based in Paris, France. It is operated by the company Table 14. While, the company launched in 1999, it has gone through a number of changes regarding the types of games offered. Table 14 received approval for poker operations from the French gambling regulator in 2010. Its target customers are amateur players and hobbyists from European countries.
Winamax sponsors a team of professional poker players who play major international tournaments. This team includes of Bruno "Kool Shen" Lopes, Davidi "Kitbul" Kitai , Michel "MIK.22" Abecassis , Patrick "P14B" Bruel , Sylvain "Loosli" Loosli , and Gaëlle "O RLY" Baumann.
Who can create an Account?
Registering an account with Winamax is as straight forward as PokerStars. No major difficulties. Similar to PokerStars, you must be at least 18 years of age to play on Winamax.
To play real money games, while PokerStars is available internationally, despite some countries being restricted, Winamax is only available to citizens of the European Union, or countries belonging to the European Economic Area. To verify your account you will need to provide scans of all required documents, including government issued photo I.D., which can include a national identity card, your passport or a driving licence. The document must be within the dates of validity and Winamax says that the scan must be a “high quality” copy, but does not list specifics. Prior to 2018, a player needed to register a European bank account in order to play real money games but they now will also accept an account with e-wallet company Skrill.
Winamax is less straight forward than PokerStars because with Winamax, after you submit your verification documents, Winamax sends you a validation code by postal letter (AKA Snail Mail) which you must enter on your Winamax account in order to complete the validation process.
Sign up bonuses will only become available on Winamax once you have verified your account with the proper verification documents, and are dependent on you making a deposit of real money into your account, similar to how PokerStars offers bonuses if you deposit at least $20. However, on Winamax, unlike PokerStars, the bonuses are equal to the amount your deposit.
Sign-up bonuses that Winamax offers include:
Winamax will match the amount of your first deposit, under to €500. However, there is a catch. The bonus match amount will be credited to your account in five equal amounts, and you must collect “miles” in order to claim the five amounts. You air miles by player poker or making sports bets on Winamax. For every € of bonus, it is necessary to earn 30 miles.
In tournaments like multi-table and Sit & Go, players earn 4 miles per € of rake they contribute. In cash games, players earn 3 miles per euro of rake they contribute.
A sports betting credit equal to the amount of your first deposit, up to €100. The credit will apply to the first sports bet you make, if you lose the bet. So if you your first deposit is €50, you can bet up to that amount on a sports bet, and if you lose you will receive the money back.
On PokerStars, a player gets 5 “points” (PokerStars’ version of “miles”) for every $1 of rake you contribute. Given that a U.S. dollar is worth about 88% of a €, then the 4 miles per € in Winamax tournament play is the most equivalent to PokerStars, while 3 miles per € is slightly worse
In addition, on PokerStars, 180 points can be redeemed for $10 USD. With $10 USD worth about €8.80, and Winamax requiring 30 miles per €1 redeemed, then 30 x 8.8 = 264. So you need to accumulate 264 miles on Winamax to redeem the same amount as you can redeem on PokerStars for just 180 points.
Players have 90 days to collect all five instalments of a potential bonus on Winamax
Winamax offers 12 daily Freeroll tournaments, with €10,000 available to be won. That is less than what PokerStars offers, but there are typically also lots of private freeroll tournaments happening on PokerStars at any time.
Real money cash game rake fees on Winamax are 6,5%. CAP on the limits to 0,10/0,20€ is 1,5€ and depends on the players number in the pot.
Compared to PokerStars somewhat lackluster VIP rewards program, that allows players to win chests with prizes and tickets to tournaments in them, Winamax has more enticing offers.
On Winamax, there are monthly and yearly VIP statuses with rewards attached. Statuses depend on how many miles you have accumulated over the specific period in question.
There are six monthly statuses and six yearly statuses that can be achieved. Rewards include monthly freerolls, cash bonuses and mile multipliers which “power up” the rate at which you can accumulate miles.
There are many details regarding the prizes for each of the statuses, so consult the Winamax website for details on them all.
Types of Games
Winamax offers a wide selection of poker games, and is comparable to PokerStars, but obviously PokerStars is a leader in that regard. Most players focus playing on No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha. While PokerStars might seem large enough to generate enough players for other kinds of games, in reality neither Winamax nor PokerStars have very many players outside of these two main game types. The cash game Hold’em action, for example, on Winamax is essentially on par with what you’d find on partypoker or 888.
Winamax offers games like Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, Limit 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo, Limit Razz, Limit 2-7 Triple Draw and 8-Game Mixed Poker but there are simply not enough interested players to make it work, even during peak traffic hours.
Winamax, unlike PokerStars, offers the chance to bet on sports, from a range of European football leagues, to rugby, golf, tennis, and North American sports like Ice Hockey and Basketball.
The software is almost as good as PokerStars. Some people say Winamax software is second in quality only to PokerStars.
Deposit and Withdrawal
PokerStars has better withdrawal options, including withdrawal by eCheck to a bank account, withdrawal to an online wallet like NETELLER, Skrill and PayPal. With Winamax a player can only withdraw to a verified bank account. For deposit you can use a bank account, online wallet or Visa and Mastercard, similar to PokerStars.
You cannot withdraw from a Winamax account before you have properly verified your account.
In terms of Alexa traffic measurement, www.winamax.fr has a better global rank than pokerstars.com with 20,555 compared to pokerstars’ 24,165. The number of users using the Winamax at any given time is a lot less than PokerStars, which can have anywhere between 60,000 and 120,000 people on it, while Winamax ranges from 3000 to 15,000 peak on the weekends.
Cash Game Overview
No Limit Hold’em
Texas Hold’em is only available in no-limit format on Winamax. Micro stake blinds begin at €0.01/€0.02 and increase up to €25/€50. The most popular tables on Winamax are 9-player-max and 5-player-max micro games. That being said, it is easy for €1/€2 players to have a wide selection tables except during the slowest times of the day. For players looking for action exceeding €1/€2 will likely want to log in during peak hours only.
Pot Limit Omaha
There are three pot-limit types available on Winamax, PLO, PL Omaha 5, and PL Omaha Hi/Lo. Stakes go anywhere from €0.01/€0.02 to €10/€20. There aren’t as many players doing the Omaha tables as there are on the Hold’em tables, there is typically a decent selection of these types of games.
It should go without saying, however, that in terms of game selection, PokerStars has Winamax beat by a wide margin.
Winamax hosts many MTTs per week. They offer €10,000,000 in prizes every month.
Similarly to PokerStars’ “Spin & Go” tournaments, Winamax offers its own version of fast-paced low player number games that can allow you to win up to €1,000,000 if you buy in with €100, or up to €10, 000 if you buy in with €1. They are called “Expresso” tournaments. Just like in PokerStars’ Spin & Go when you buy into an Expresso tournament, and there are buy-ins are €1, €2, €5, €10, €25, €50 and €100, you will begin a tournament where the prize would be anywhere between 2 times and 10,000 times the buy in, but when it comes to getting prizes that are 10,000 times the buy in the odds go down to 1 in 1,000,000, and when it is 2 times the buy in the odds go down to 741,550 in 1,000,000
And while PokerStars offers six big prize tournaments on Sundays, Winamx offers just one with a prize of just €50,000 compared to the millions of dollars that PokerStars gives away every Sunday.
Once a week on Winamax, at “The Main Event,” they offer a prize of €100,000. Once a month the “Grand Tournament” offers a prize up €80,000.
Who Plays on Winamax?
While PokerStars features a lot of Russian, Ukrainian, Brazilian, Canadian and English players, Winamax, players on Winamax are limited to European citizens and it is mostly people from France playing on there.
The general consensus among online poker players is that the competition on Winamax is very weak, so there may be good opportunity to make good winnings if you can register for real money play.
PokerStars is regarded as having rather poor customer service, and given the smaller player base on Winamax, one might expect the customer service to be better. However, it is much the same, with just an unreliable email address to contact and no phone number.
While many people speculate about bots on PokerStars, there are a lot more tangible examples for Winamax. Or, at least, there are more examples of upset customers!
At the end of 2018, six Winamax players sued Winamax in French court, accusing them of being negligent and not doing enough to prevent bot activity on their website. An investigation at the time had found 2 players using bots on the site.
Winamax is a reasonably large poker site that is on par in terms of traffic of big named sites 888 and Party Poker. The software is easy to use and what makes this site unique is that French players can play on this site and not be excluded from the rest of the world. This website is a little bit strict regarding signing up and playing. You must be in a country from Europe, and you have to send in a photo ID or passport and proof of address to play. You cannot play on this site if you are not a member of a country in Europe.
There is little reason for a player to use Winamax unless they are a French citizen, or other European players, and it is probably a more attractive place to play poker than on the French version of PokerStars, pokerstars.fr. Unfortunately for people living in France, they are forced to player on the pokerstars.fr webpage only and therefore cannot get access to the wider PokerStars player pool. That is likely why Winamax is the dominant online poker website in France. Moreover, a larger site like PokerStars has more resources with which to fight back against bot users, track them down and boot them off the platform.
Winamax’s player base is also much smaller, and this will give you headaches sometimes when you are trying to find an open table to play at. Plus, for beginning players you want lots of small stakes tables to grind at, which Winamax struggles to offer.
However, a few advantages that Winamax has are a better freeroll offering, and weaker competition. So, for any PokerStars players living in the European Union, it may be worth it for them to check out Winamax to see if they can take advantage of weaker competition than what is generally found on the main PokerStars website.