English Harbour Casino Review EnglishHarbour.com

Okay, so I've had English Harbour Casino downloaded on my computer, with an icon shortcut buried on my desktop for some time now. I first heard about this online casino years ago. They have actually been around for many years. Turns out they were one of the first casinos to go online back in 1997.

I heard good things about English Harbour and so decided to download the software. The only thing was that I got too busy checking out other casinos and never got around to actually playing there. Having recently found the icon on my desktop (it looks like a little coin with a palm tree on it) I decided to give their website a visit.

The first thing I noticed was that English Harbour had their site redesigned, giving it a sleeker look. Not bad. Much better than what I remember before.  I started digging around and found out they are licensed in Antigua and Barbuda and are a member of the Interactive Gaming Council - two highly respectable accreditations. I also found out they are managed by the EnglishHarbourCasinos.com group (English Harbour Gaming Ventures), which also manages Super Slots, Caribbean Gold, Millionaire Casino and Silver Dollar Casino. I have also played at Super Slots and Millionaire Casino, hoping they would offer different gaming options. Although Super Slots has a larger selection of slots, English Harbour and Millionaire were pretty much the same experience. My overall experience at all three was great, so I'm not complaining. Thumbs up to English Harbour Gaming Ventures.

Software and Games

I've seen worse. And I don't mean that as if this software was lackluster. But I don't think its the best either. English Harbour is powered by Vegas Technology, which is a safe bet when it comes to fairness certified casino software. Although the graphics are not as sharp as some other software platforms I've played, they are just as functional, if not more functional. In other words, they get the job done. It's probably just the look of the casino lobby that bugs me because the games themselves are as good as they come. I have to admit that the background noise, which is basically people talking, cards being shuffled, and an occasional laugh set to lounge music can get really mind numbing over time, so you may want to either turn the background noise off or put the volume level to low via the "Options" controls. Other than that, a selection of 60+ games was available. For my purposes, that was more than enough. These are the games in a nutshell: Eighteen table games total, Four blackjacks, two roulettes (European and American), progressive Blackjack and Caribbean Stud, five progressive slots, fourteen bonus slots, seven video pokers and plenty of standard, five-reel and seven-reel slot machines.

Tournaments

This is probably one of the most impressive features at English Harbour Gaming Ventures. The tournament structure is one of the most impressive I've seen, and looks more like a schedule for poker tournaments than it does for casino games. Yet that's precisely what it is. Like a progressive jackpot, these tournaments are networked amongst all of EHGV's online casinos. This explains why they get so large.

At the time of writing this review (October, 2008), English Harbour was hosting 48 tournaments (27 of which were freerolls offering a total of $32,000 in awards). The monthly tournament awards totaled $93,000. A freeroll requires no entry fee, nor any money to play. However, rebuy's are offered (that's where they get their money). Keep in mind, these tournaments often last several days and have thousands of other players competing. Last time I was logged in, the ongoing tournament spanned six days, had nearly 24,000 people competing, and gave out a top award of $1,000 and multiple other awards to over 400 participants. Keep in mind that the winnings from most free rolls are given in the form of a bonus. That means you will still need to meet the play-through. Luckily, it's only 20x, which isn't bad at all compared to some other bonuses.

Bonuses

So I am very familiar with the bonus scheme of Vegas Technology software, and have to say that their bonuses are essentially slots only bonuses. There are so many game restrictions on the play-through that you might as well stay clear of getting a bonus if you know you won't be playing any slots. Most of us, however, love to play slots, and so the bonuses at English Harbour are definitely worth taking. Me personally - I like to mix things up and play a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I'm glad I read the terms and conditions of the bonus in its entirety, because down near the end there was an explicit warning that advised players to not bet at any of the excluded games while the play-through was still being met. By doing so, you give the casino cause to remove any and all winnings. Even if you don't attempt to withdraw before meeting the play-through (which warrants a bonus forfeiture), your winnings are put at risk if you decide to play ineligible games before the bonus play-through is made. Get ready, here they are: Blackjack, Progressive Blackjack, Video Poker, Hold 'Em, Craps, Tri-Card poker, Roulette, Baccarat, Pai-Gow, War, All Star Horse Racing, Red Dog, Extreme Lotto and Ultimate Hi-Lo. I opted out of taking the bonus, even though I know I could have gotten my slots fix with it.

If you are in need of a slots fix, or just love playing slots and nothing more, I highly recommend the welcome and reload bonuses at English Harbour. The welcome bonus is the largest of all English Harbour Gaming Venture online casinos - 150% up to $450 free. The minimum deposit is only $30 and the play-through is a reasonable 20x the amount of the deposit and bonus combined. Reload bonuses are available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday amounting to 25/50/100% up to $250 free, correspondingly. Also, the English Harbour website promises its pit bosses are on the lookout to slip players coupons and bonuses via email notification. I didn't get one personally (probably because I didn't stick around long enough), but I did get a message from the casino server while logged in the "play for fun" mode that I received a $5 no-deposit bonus. Nice touch.

One thing you should keep in mind is that once you accept a bonus from any of English Harbour's family of online casinos, you are ineligible to accept that bonus at other casinos. The same goes true for participating in freeroll tournaments, which hand out winnings in the form of bonuses.

Conclusion

Two thumbs up for English Harbour Casino. The only thing that may fall short in my opinion, which I admit is completely objective and relative, were the graphics. Other than that, I was impressed with the overall selection of games, especially the new selection of bonus slots. Even the Perfect Pair blackjack game was intriguing enough to get my attention, although your better off just sticking with Vegas Strip Blackjack. English Harbour certainly has one of the best repeated bonus offerings on the Web. If your looking for good slots, tournaments and bonuses, this casino is for you.

 

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