Sports Interaction Poker

Rating: 9
Sports Interaction Poker
  
The Home of Online Poker

SportsInteraction (or SIA) is the top Canadian-focused poker site on the iPoker network. It has been in operation for nearly two decades and holds claim to being the first sports betting site to receive a North American licence.

Though it is massive in Canada, SIA is extremely popular worldwide with active players in a large number of countries.

  • Quick, efficient support.
  • SIA is very secure and provides rapid deposits and withdrawals.
  • Quick to clear a first deposit bonus with no time limit.
  • In business for more than 15 years and with a blemish-free record.

 

About Sports Interaction

SIA was established in 1997 and was the first sportsbook to be fully licensed and regulated in North America. Its 24-hour support centre is located in Montreal, Canada and is regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. SIA sponsors a lot of local events in the US and Canada and, as well as being tagged in related forums, you’ll regularly see its name at roller derbies and American football matches.

An Uninspiring Design

SIA Poker is part of iPoker, the third-largest online poker network.

As far as individuality goes, SIA hasn’t yet stamped its identity on its poker skin. It has done very little to alter the basic set-up and, with its grey colour scheme with no added frills, the green table and grey backgrounds, SIA’s iPoker skin is far from unique. In the dog-eat-dog world of online poker, companies really need to do everything in their power to make their brand stand out and I’m constantly surprised at the number of companies that fail to do this.

Does Size Really Matter?

SIA Poker offers you a 100% bonus, up to a maximum of US$600, when you sign up using its promo code SIGNUP100. For every US$1 paid in contributed rake or tournament reg fees, you’ll receive 20 poker points. Once you earn 1,000 points, you’ll receive US$10 from your first deposit bonus. That works out at roughly US$500 in tournaments with US$50 reg paid. For clearing a first deposit bonus, this is one of the better rates available on the iPoker network.

If, when depositing, you use SIA’s RELOAD50 code, you will be rewarded with a 50% reload bonus, up to a maximum of US$300, from Friday to Sunday. But, be sure to check with SIA support before you make a deposit, as SIA’s website only states: ‘this weekend’; there are no dates attached.

As soon as you play one hand of poker, whether it is cash or tournament, you’ll receive a free US$5 bet to use at SIA’s sportsbook. You’ll need to contact support to claim this however, and it is subject to a 4x rollover before you make a withdrawal.

Overall the bonuses on offer are better than most and, given this is one of the main things that attracts me to a new skin; it’s a real feather in SIA’s cap.

An Easy-to-Scale VIP Ladder

For every US$1 in tournament fees or contributing rake you pay in cash games, 20 poker points will be awarded. Once you reach 10,000 points, you can cash them in for US$10.

There are three levels to SIA’s VIP programme: bronze, silver and gold. All players start out at Bronze but as soon as a player reaches a monthly average of 3,500 points (that’s US$175 rake) they’ll be moved up to Silver. To get to Gold however, you’ll need to average 7,500 points (US$300 rake, based on your earnings whilst at Silver). Your monthly average is calculated by adding the points you earned the previous month to 30% of the points earned the month before and 20% of the points earned the month before that. For example, if you earned 5,000 points in November, 4,000 in December and 4,500 in January, then your monthly average going into February would be (5,000 x 20%)+(4,000 x 30%)+(4,500 x 100%). This totals 6,700 points and you would be sitting comfortably at Silver.

Points become easier to accrue as you move up through the VIP levels. You start with 20 points per US$1 raked at Bronze, but move up to 25 points per US$1 raked once at Silver and 30 points per $1 raked at Gold. Even at Gold, you’ll still need to rake US$333 to earn the 10,000 points needed to accrue US$10. It’s then a wait until you collect another 10,000 points, or US$10.

Skin Exclusive Games

SIA’s website states that Silver and Gold players are eligible to receive special promotions and play in special tournaments. I couldn’t see any SIA Poker-specific games in the lobby or on the website but live chat support was able to help. It said the games just appear from time to time and each one is different. From what I see, there are no games that are exclusive to SIA players at the moment.
Depositing and Withdrawing Details

To deposit money with SIA Poker you can use credit/debit cards, Skrill, Neteller, bank transfers, Ukash, Diners Club and Laser Card. The minimum deposit, for all methods, is €14 to €16. All of these methods are free and the money is instantly credited to your account.

If you deposit funds using a particular method, say a credit card, you will only be able to withdraw money accrued by using the same method, i.e. a credit card. Furthermore, you will need to supply SIA’s security department with proof of address and a valid photo ID. So get this done before you play to avoid a possible delay if you happen to hit it big and want to withdraw.

Excellent Reputation for Security

SIA is the first company in 10 years or so that I’ve registered with that has, on my registration, immediately emailed me asking for proof of address and identity. This just assures me that each account set up with SIA is fully checked and verified.

SIA is also VeriSign-secured so all customer transactions with the site are encrypted to the highest security standards. SIA has annual assessments to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which helps prevent credit card fraud and controls how customer data is used and stored. All the forum feedback I’ve read is positive and nothing is as trustworthy as the feedback of other genuine poker players. SIA passes the test with flying colours.

Support – A First-class Experience

I’ve found SportsInteraction Poker’s support to be as good as that of any iPoker Skin that I’ve encountered. There’s a live chat option via the client and the website, email contact and telephone support. All options are available 24 hours a day and any time I’ve used the email or live chat function, I’ve never had to wait more than 30 seconds for a chat response, or 10 minutes for an email. And on each occasion staff seem knowledgeable about the questions I asked and about the poker aspect of the site.

However, one little thing that is a bit over the top is the questionnaire the SIA live chat team ask you to fill out once your chat is finished. One of the questions: ‘Would you nominate this employee for Employee of the Month?’ can only be answered by either yes or no – and you can’t even skip it or answer: ‘maybe’.

In fairness, this could spur on the live chat team to be the best they can. In an industry where player satisfaction is of paramount importance, I can’t really fault SIA for this.

Verdict

As quick as any online support team I’ve used, and with all questions answered promptly, SIA’s player support ranks high when put alongside that of its competitors. And if you have a poker query, or there’s an issue, the fact that there’s someone from SIA on hand to talk to you 24/7 is pretty reassuring.

SIA’s website welcomes players from around the world, including from Europe, the UK and Ireland. And although its first deposit bonus is only US$600, there is no time limit to clear it. SIA Poker should definitely be a port of call on any serious poker player’s iPoker journey.

That said, after clearing the first bonus, and as SIA’s loyalty programme lags behind that of the other skins on the network, there’s not a huge amount to keep you hanging around. If there was more regular skin-specific games, or if the games for Silver and Gold players appeared more frequently, then maybe I could justify playing here full-time. Until then, I can’t see myself hanging around once the deposit bonus, and a possible reload bonus, is cleared.

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