Online gaming operator, 888poker has finally begun the phased global rollout of its next-generation poker platform, Poker 8.

Online gaming operator, 888poker has finally begun the phased global rollout of its next-generation poker platform, Poker 8.

The new platform is a significant improvement to its almost decade old software as it provides its players with a better overall experience including new graphics, animations, sound effects, and various improvements to site functionality.

The room announced that it would be overhauling its poker product in October last year. The new product was supposed to commence its phased rollout at the end of 2018, however, its deployment was held back for unknown reasons.

“We’re thrilled with the initial roll-out of our Poker 8 platform which includes a number of exciting and innovative new features to make the 888poker experience even more enjoyable,” said Guy Cohen, 888 Holdings’ Senior Vice President of B2C, in a press release announcing the software release.

The company has deployed its first batch of upgrades, which includes major improvements to the table graphics, new sound effects, and improvement in functionality. While there have been no changes to the poker lobby, as soon as a player joins a table, the differences can be easily felt.

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There are dozens of new table themes available with different themes for different formats. Dozens of new avatars have been added, community cards are now tilted by default, animations are much smoother, and the old sounds have been replaced with the new ones.

A new hand replayer has been added on the top right-hand corner of the table. Players can preview the previous hand without needing to open the replayer by hovering their cursor over the replay icon. Additionally, the new software now displays all-in equity when two players are all-in.

Overall, the table looks much cleaner now, as the side “widgets” bar has been removed including the built-in casino side-games widgets. 888poker has done away with the large chat window, instead, it is not available in a pop-out box. Players can still color code and make notes on their opponents, although, players upgrading from the old client will lose their existing notes.

However, since its launch, many users on social media and poker forums have reported negative reviews as they faced several issues. Some lost all the notes and tags, while some faced installation and upgrading issues. Others have reported visual bugs, and some have been angered with the removal of certain features such as customizing the seat position.

The company has stated that Poker 8 will receive additional upgrades including a revamped lobby as well as upgrades to mobile platforms and other parts of the desktop client in the coming months. 888 will also be deploying the new platform across its European segregated markets and the New Jersey market.

According to the company, the changes have been carried out following extensive research and feedback from players. The company has said that it will continue to listen to player feedback to make further tweaks to the software further down the road.

“Over the coming months, all players will benefit from additional upgrades and improvements to our next generation poker platform and we’ll be taking on board customer feedback about the new features,” Cohen added.

“Once the roll-out is complete, we believe our best-in-class platform will offer the most entertaining and engaging experience on the market.”

888Holdings, the parent company of 888poker, recently reported figures which showed that the poker room suffered its worst decline in online poker revenue in the company’s 13-year history. Revenue from online poker declined by 37% year-over-year from $77.9 million to $49 million.

However, the company is not giving up. The room has been taking several initiatives right from the start of the year in an effort to rebuild its online poker brand. First, it introduced Sunday Sale tournaments in which some of the Sunday major tournaments saw their buy-ins cut in half but retained the same guarantees. This was followed by another innovative promotion called “RakeLESS Sunday” where seven of the Sunday majors had their rake removed.

And very recently, 888 introduced an innovative concept called “Rake or Break” tournaments where each of these tournaments has a target prize pool. If they fail to reach their target prize pool, every player who played the tournament will have their rake refunded.

Fortunately for players, the first-ever Rake or Break tournament with a buy-in of $320 fell short of its $100,000 target prize pool, ultimately turning the tournament into a rake-free event. Every player who paid the rake was refunded $20.

888 has also scheduled to run its flagship online tournament series, XL Blizzard, next month. The series guarantees $1.7 million across 34 tournaments including a $500,000 guaranteed Main Event featuring a buy-in of $250.