Is PokerBROS Legit or a Scam?
What Is PokerBROS?
PokerBROS functions as one of several mobile poker apps available for Apple iOS and Android devices. Downloading the PokerBROS app opens up access to thousands of online “poker clubs,” each operated individually around the world.
Virtually anybody can start their own poker club, or join an existing club at PokerBROS. PokerBROS functions as a social poker app on the surface, with no way to directly deposit or withdraw money from the app.
The “owner” behind each club at PokerBROS can facilitate deposits and cashouts, however, and many of the clubs on the app very much function as real money poker rooms. PokerBROS exploded in popularity in the late 2010s, and even more players flocked to the mobile poker clubs during the COVID-19 era.
Soft games at even the highest stakes await at the PokerBROS clubs. Ease-of-access to the clubs draw many recreational players to the app, resulting in much juicier games compared to a standard online poker site.
How Does Real Money Poker Work at PokerBROS?
Just about anyone can start a club at PokerBROS. While the clubs might appear to offer play money games, the owners behind each club often take deposits from participating players, in exchange for virtual chips.
Some club owners might not even require an up-front deposit, instead allowing you to play on credit. Agents and players settle up sometime after the game, using PayPal, cryptocurrency, or other third-party payment processors.
Club owners recruit players on their own, or use “agents” to bring in players. The owner sets the rake on the club’s game, and profits off the club by collecting that rake. Agents get a cut of the rake produced by each player they recruit into a club.
The integrity of payments on PokerBROS relies heavily on the owner operating a club. Once you’ve sent money to an owner/agent, you’re relying on them to pay out when you’re ready to cash in your chips.
The Pros and Cons of Playing at PokerBROS
The games at PokerBROS present some of the juiciest opportunities to make money from online poker. The barrier to entry into a PokerBROS club is far lower than a regulated poker site, and you’ll find significantly more recreational players at PokerBROS.
As a result, the games at PokerBROS play much more like live cash games than a normal online game. For example, a winning player at live $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em might find the $0.25/$0.50 games at PokerStars impossible to beat.
Many of the $1/$2 games at PokerBROS, however, play very much like a live game at those stakes. You can achieve win rates at PokerBROS that just aren’t sustainable at a normal online poker site.
If you know a trustworthy agent or club owner, your money is probably in good hands at a PokerBROS club. Your choice of a club is key, however, and joining a random PokerBROS club without vetting the agent/owner can end in disaster.
Without a way to directly deposit or withdraw from PokerBROS clubs, playing for real money on the app can present a dicey proposition. If you win money from opponents playing on credit, those players could choose not to settle up with the agent, and you could be out of luck in that scenario. Good agents may choose to still pay you, but you may also get stiffed out of your winnings.
If a club owner decides to pack up the money and disappear, you have no legal recourse to recoup your money. All transactions to and from PokerBROS essentially function as under-the-table cash exchanges, and your money in is the hands of the club owner once you’ve made a deposit.
PokerBROS is essentially a “play money” poker app that club owners use to operate real-money poker games. Playing for real money at PokerBROS isn’t technically legal, although the business model is currently thriving.
Winning players are sometimes banned from PokerBROS clubs, and payouts can sometimes take a long time to complete.
It’s a common view among experienced poker players that you’re more likely to encounter collusion, botting, and potentially other forms of cheating in an app-based poker club compared to a typical poker site (like PokerStars or PartyPoker). That said, PokerBROS does have a 14-person game integrity team and has implemented anti-botting measures in the past.
The PokerBROS system doesn’t always end well for players. The key is to only play at a PokerBROS club if you know and trust the agent or club owner.
Joey Ingram on Underground Online Poker Clubs
Joey Ingram dropped a 30-minute breakdown about the world of underground online poker clubs on his YouTube channel in 2019. A longtime poker pro and one of the most important investigative reporters in the game, Ingram lays out the good and the bad about online poker clubs in this video.
Ingram doesn’t specifically mention PokerBROS in this piece, instead referring to the online poker club industry as a whole. The poker influencer goes into detail about his own experience playing at poker clubs at the 7:30 mark of the video:
“I’ve personally had good experiences on a couple of sites that I’ve played,” Ingram says. “But I vastly trust my agents. And that’s just how it works sometimes; you put your trust in there and you gamble it up and it turns out well for you.”
“But I’ve also had situations in the past where I did not have as much knowledge, and I’ve got scammed and lost a bunch of money. Because I put my faith in an agent who was recommended by someone else, and the site went down. and my money’s gone.”
Ingram goes on to warn about the differences in the security between well-known online poker sites and underground poker clubs.
“There really isn’t much security to really police the games, in terms of being colluded against,” Ingram says. “In terms of if somebody is, God forbid, super using on the site, or hacking the software.”
“Is there security in place to prevent it? Not that I’m aware of. These sites aren’t regulated, these sites aren’t audited.”
Should You Play at PokerBROS?
PokerBROS clubs offer the opportunity to achieve live win-rates in an online setting. You’ll play more hands per hour on PokerBROS, and the soft competition at many of the clubs presents the chance to win a lot of money.
PokerBROS isn’t a regulated online poker site, however. The security protocols you would find at PokerStars, or even an offshore poker site, aren’t in place at PokerBROS.
Ingram probably says it best in the video above; if you can get in with an agent that you trust, PokerBROS can offer highly profitable games. Sending your money to a club agent is always a gamble, however, so be sure you understand what’s going on at a PokerBROS club before you make a deposit.