Carbon v Lock Poker
We're taking a few of the Online Poker rooms that welcome US players and putting them in a head to head situation. It's often hard to differentiate between two rooms as each and every player may require or enjoy a particular feature of one room, or it could be that the room offers a deposit method that suits them. Comparing one on one however is a good exercise in that it pinpoints specific differences between the rooms and may help in the decision making process when you are choosing a new place to play. Here we take a look at two of the giants of online poker in the US, Lock Poker and Carbon Poker.
Why these two? We have chosen Lock and Carbon as they are on different networks, simple. It is of little use comparing skins on the same network as the offering will be too similar. So in a sense this can be taken as a comparison of Merge (Carbon) and Revolution Network (Lock). Since the giants of online poker Full Tilt and PokerStars pulled out of the US market there has been tough competition to become the biggest, most popular and most recognized US brand serving that market and these two are both in with a shout of that. We'll start by saying that both are excellent options and this article is to point out features and differences that may swing you one way or the other.
The Welcome Packages and Promotions
All online poker rooms, no matter which market they serve will offer a welcome bonus of some sort and this often comes with a freeroll to get you going. There are however differences in each bonus and this isn't always to do with the amount of the bonus, and sometimes bigger isn't always better, and play through's need to be taken into consideration. The Lock welcome bonus is an impressive 200% up to $4,000 and is paid out in $5.00 increments each time you earn 84 VIP points. Points are earned at $1.00 rake equals 1 point. The Carbon bonus is 200% up to $5,000 with a minimum deposit of $10.00 and max $2,500. The bonus is released at $5.00 each time you earn 750 VIP points which are earned at 150 points for each $1.00 raked. Carbon also throws in a new depositors free roll too which means that the second Sunday after the month of your deposit you get a set in a $10,000 free roll, which we think is a nice added extra. So, which welcome package would swing you either way? There is little to choose really as they both offer the same 200% with the Carbon maximum being slightly higher. The play through rate is slightly better on Carbon and your bonus will be released a little sooner. One last point on welcome bonuses is that you should always read the terms and conditions on them and make sure that cash outs etc are not restricted due to accepting a bonus.
Tournaments and Cash Games
Because of the fact that both Lock and Carbon sit on a network then you'll find that cash game liquidity is not a big problem. Where you will find a difference in the two however is where that liquidity sits. Both rooms offer a decent variety of games and at lower stakes you'll usually get the action you are looking for. The difference lies at the higher end of the scale. You will find that Lock has better liquidity at higher stakes games and the Team Pros are often to be found playing at these tables. So as far as cash games go then bigger players will get more game options and smaller players will find what they are after at both rooms. The advantage for smaller players at Carbon is that they have a handy odds calculator available and this can prove very useful for the newer player. They both offer a $100K guaranteed tournament on Sundays and Carbon offer plenty of satellites and even free seats throughout the week and you can of course buy in for $215 or use your VIP points. The Lock big one will cost you $162 and of course you may satellite in for a lot less. A nice feature of the Lock tournament is that they will often throw out bounties on the Lock Pros and that's usually somewhere around the $500 mark. One thing when looking at the bigger tournaments is the possibility of an overlay. This rarely happens at Carbon but can happen at times on Lock and if you are a serious tournament player then it's worth looking out for. Apart from the big tourneys both rooms offer a good mix of round the clock action including sit n go's, freerolls, MTT's and micro buy ins.
Banking and Support
Although both offering good round the clock support we have noticed one big difference in support and this is from a channel that is rarely used by the recreational player but should be thought of more often. Sure, they both have email support and you'll get your reply in a good time frame, but players with bigger issues often hit the forums and post up their complaint or question. In this area Lock prove to be very interactive and regularly keep players updated via the forums, I suppose there is nothing quite like resolving an issue publicly! Banking is good on both and you'll get the US standard cash out methods with cashiers check being the norm. The preferred method of deposit is Visa.
Lock and Carbon Summary
As mentioned in the intro this is not a competition and we are simply comparing. Lock and Carbon are very similar in a lot of ways although there are differences that you may take into consideration. For higher stakes cash games then Lock is the better option and the $100K tourney buy in is lower as they hope to attract more players by being on the Revolution Network. The Carbon tournament schedule probably offers a little more variety and more tourneys at the lower end too. The Carbon deposit bonus has the $10,000 freeroll thrown in and for some players that will be a big pull, plus that odds calculator comes in very handy for the less experienced player. Lock has a good set of Pros on board and offers some bounty tournaments, so if you fancy taking on the best then maybe Lock is for you. As we mentioned at the beginning it's all about personal choice and what suits you. So there you have it Lock v Carbon...over to you.