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Real Gaming Offering Deposit Match to Ultimate Poker Refugees

The demise of Ultimate Poker a couple weeks ago was not a particular bright day for the regulated online poker industry in the United States. In fact, it was quite sad; the first legal poker room to launch in the U.S. couldn’t hack it. Not that being the first made Ultimate Poker special beyond just being the first, but it is not exactly encouraging when the flag bearer can’t make it up the hill.

That said, Ultimate Poker’s demise will likely benefit its competitors. Competitors plural, you ask? Yes, in fact, there is another online poker room in Nevada besides Let us not forget Real Gaming, the South Point Casino’s internet offering, which came out of its soft launch period about a month ago. It has barely even registered in the collective consciousness of the poker community, but it is trying to build a name for itself. One way it is attempting to pull in customers: pick apart Ultimate Poker’s carcass.

Real Gaming launched the “Ultimate Match” promotion, offering to match balances that former Ultimate Poker players had on the deceased site up to $3,000.

“We welcome Ultimate Poker’s players and invite all to experience the latest gaming technologies and user-friendly mobile platform at Real Gaming that sets us apart from our competitors,” said South Point Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Vaughan in a press release.

“While online poker is still new in regulated environments and faces some challenges, we remain dedicated to delivering innovative products and are confident in the success of online poker in the Nevada market,” he added.

Of course, it is not as simple as just getting a big chunk of change from Real Gaming. According to the terms of the promotion, players must e-mail a picture of their Ultimate Poker cash out check or a screenshot of their Ultimate Poker balance to Real Gaming to prove the dollar amount they hand. Within 24 hours of sending that e-mail, players must make a deposit into their Real Gaming account. The minimum deposit for the promotion is $20.

After that, Real Gaming still is not about to hand over the entire, 100 percent match. Instead, it will be released as a cash bonus in $10 increments for every $50 contributed in rake (so, effectively 20 percent rakeback). The maximum match bonus is $3,000; anyone who deposits more than that will still get a bonus, it just be capped at $3,000.

South Point Casino

South Point Casino

The promotion ends December 31st, 2015, at which point any unearned bonus will disappear. So, while it isn’t the greatest bonus in the world in terms of playthrough requirements (the 100 percent match is fantastic, though), Real Gaming is giving players well over a year to earn it.

Then again, all that time will not matter if players can’t find a game. According to, Real Gaming is at nearly the absolute bottom of the poker room traffic rankings, averaging just one (ONE!) cash game player over the past seven days with a peak of seven, not even enough to fill a full ring table. There may be more tournament players, but their population is likely tiny, as well. Now, the Ultimate Match promotion aims to change all that, but unless most of Ultimate Poker’s players move to Real Gaming, it is unlikely to generate big waves. Certainly, players can play at multiple rooms, so they do not have to choose between and Real Gaming, but they had that option before Ultimate Poker’s fall, too. In the meantime, according to PokerScout, enjoyed a 36 percent boost in cash game traffic last week, a sign that it probably picked up a lot of Ultimate Poker’s cast-offs.

Real Gaming could have been the Ultimate Poker of Nevada, though hopefully without the early death. South Point was the first operator to be granted an online gaming license in the United States, way back in August 2012. It fully intended and expected to be the first to launch a real money online poker site, as well. The company developed its own software, though, and there were delays in the independent testing process.

In October 2012, Vaughan told, “We feel we could launch today. But you’ve got to go through the independent testing labs, you have to satisfy the State Gaming Control Board and because we are the first, we’re going to be under the microscope. They’re going to prod us every which way, and that’s good. We don’t want to come out and fall flat on our face and be an embarrassment for Nevada.”

Little was heard from South Point after that, but finally, finally, it had a soft launch of its real money online poker room, dubbed Real Gaming, in February of this year. It was way behind the curve, though, and with the soft launch came no fanfare or marketing, so its voice has still barely been heard.


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