UltimatePoker.com Wins the Race to Launch Regulated Online Poker in Nevada
Players from anywhere can register with UltimatePoker, but they must be in Nevada before they are allowed to play. The site is spreading No Limit Hold’em and Limit Hold’em ring games with blinds from .01/.02 to $5/10. Pot Limit Omaha and Pot Limit Hold’em are expected to be launched soon.
The tournament schedule includes a $10K guaranteed Sunday major with a $100 buy-in, and daily $50 events with a $1K guarantee. The Sunday event features 15-minute blind levels and 10K starting stacks so should have plenty of room for expert play.
Players in the state can deposit in cash at Station casinos and the site accepts Mastercard and bank transfers to fund accounts.
Rake levels have been set at competitively low levels, given that they have the market to themselves for the moment. Standard ring game rake is 4.5% with the rake taken on a pure percentage basis. This is the preferred method used at PokerStars, in contrast to most sites’ tiered system of rake levels.
This low level of rake will set the bar for other operators looking to enter the market, and has the appearance of a determined land grab to exploit their first mover advantage. Pundits have commented that the Nevada market, with its population of less than three million, is not big enough to support more than a handful of operators. UltimatePoker is setting out its claim to lead that market.
The brand ambassador for UltimatePoker is all-time tournament money list leader Antonio Esfandiari: “This day has been a long time coming. Online poker in the United States is finally here and totally legit.”
UltimatePoker CEO Tom Breitling followed the Rounders dream and moved to Las Vegas in 1993 with just $100 in his pocket.
UltimatePoker’s software client is proprietary and has been supplied by Fertitta Interactive, controlled by billionaire brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. It was developed by CyberArts, which was bought by Fertitta in the expectation that regulated poker would be authorized in the US after Black Friday.
The Fertitta brothers own the Golden Nugget as well as the Station-brand casinos and are part owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). In expanding the “Ultimate” brand, players can expect tickets to UFC events to be featured in future promotions.
The website has been occasionally slowed down by an overwhelming number of page views today, but there appear to be no problems with the poker client itself.