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Fixed-Limit Cash Games Back on WSOP.com

WSOP.com is the online-poker market leader in the state of Nevada. In fact, it is currently enjoying a virtual monopoly in the Silver State, as its only competitor, South Point Casino’s Real Gaming, barely registers as a blip on the radar. Since February, though, WSOP.com has been a bit of an oddity in the internet poker world, as it has existed with no fixed-limit cash games whatsoever.

Players can now rejoice. Fixed-limit cash games are back on the World Series of Poker’s flagship site.

Though no-limit Hold’em is still the dominant poker variety and has been for more than a decade, the disappearance of fixed-limit games from WSOP.com was curious. There are still plenty of people who enjoy the games, so why not keep them running? The cost of adding extra tables, from what I understand, is minimal.

As it turns out, WSOP.com said that the fixed-limit games (and this counts Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud) had to be removed from the lobby because of technical problems. No further information was divulged; we do not know exactly what those technical issues were. Now, one would think that a technical glitch could be fixed relatively quickly. If not within a day, certainly within a week. It’s not like it affected the entire site – it was apparently something specific to fixed-limit games. But for whatever reason, it was not until this past weekend, after three months of downtime, that the fixed-limit games finally reappeared on WSOP.com.

Looking at the lobby right now, there is not a whole lot of action, but then again, it is only 7:00am in Nevada, so traffic is naturally slower. At the fixed-limit Hold’em tables, tables are open from stakes of $0.05/$0.10 up to $50/$100. Omaha Hi/Lo has the same bottom range, but only goes up to $15/$30 (there are no fixed-limit Omaha games). Stud and Stud Hi/Lo are entirely fixed-limit, as one might expect; stakes range from $0.05/$0.10 up to $10/$20.

wsop-playpokeronlineDespite the current, early morning lack of traffic, players have been joining fixed-limit tables in the days since the games returned to WSOP.com. Stud games seem to be the most popular so far, which is not particularly surprising. Those who played fixed-limit Hold’em and Omaha had the no-limit and pot-limit options during the fixed-limit hiatus, but Stud fans had nothing. Now that the games are back, so are the Stud players.

The three-month loss of fixed-limit games was quite concerning for players, as many were suddenly left without their favorite games and with zero explanation except for the technical glitch excuse. After a while, it seemed to many that WSOP.com was never going to revive the games. Some even thought that the elimination of fixed-limit games was an intentional move. In the meantime, some players reluctantly switched to other games while some left WSOP.com completely.

The big problem for the latter group is that there is really nowhere else to go in Nevada for online poker. According to PokerScout.com, WSOP.com Nevada currently has a seven-day average of 170 cash-game players. The only other option in the state is Real Gaming with – get this – two cash-game players. Two. Ultimate Poker, the first regulated online poker room in the United States, used to be an option, but it shut down in November.

Things have been better in New Jersey. The WSOP.com/888poker combined site also has a seven-day average of 170 cash-game players, but at least fixed-limit refugees (the games disappeared in New Jersey, as well) had somewhere else to go. New Jersey’s Party Borgata Network has 130 cash-game players, which is adequate even if it is not particularly impressive.

The fixed-limit games have not returned to WSOP.com New Jersey yet because the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement requires a 10-day notification period. The games should be back soon.

Interestingly, fixed-limit games were still available on the three Delaware poker sites. Now, as they are not WSOP-branded sites, this might not be that notable at first blush, but a couple things make the continued existence of fixed-limit games in Delaware at least somewhat interesting. First, the three Delaware sites all use 888’s poker client, which is the same software WSOP.com uses. If Delaware didn’t have technical problems, why did WSOP.com? Second, Delaware and Nevada merged their online poker player pools in March, which obviously means their software platforms are linked and can communicate with each other. Of course, just because they are linked doesn’t mean that technical glitches magically travel through a series of tubes to gum up the works on the other end, but still, it is odd that despite the two states’ poker systems being closely related, one has no trouble with fixed-limit games while the other does.

Or maybe it’s just that so few people play online in Delaware that nobody noticed there were no fixed-limit tables.

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