The time has come for Nevada online poker players to celebrate six months of regulated action. The traffic has continued to grow and the competition between Ultimate Poker and WSOP is heating up.
Ultimate Poker had a monopoly for the first 4.5 months of Nevada’s online poker industry. The first regulated poker site in the U.S. has come a long way since its launch.
The biggest problem with the site launch was the limited number of cell phone providers that had signed on to help ensure players were located in Nevada. Verizon was the most noticeable omission, but there were others. The providers missing at the start slowly signed on in the weeks after the launch.
The original Ultimate Poker was unmemorable to say the least. It served its purpose though. It got U.S. players back in the game. The first software package did not have any VIP program and had numerous bugs. Many of these were fixed when the second generation platform was released in August. Features added with this update included a wait for big blind box, resizable tables and better signals to alert a player that it is his turn. Late entry and $U (tournament dollars) improved multi table tournaments. The Color Up VIP program was also introduced. These are all common on modern online poker platforms.
The next major Ultimate Poker improvement came just this month. Pot Limit Omaha, Pot Limit Omaha High/Low and Fixed Limit Omaha High/Low were introduced. These games have been a hit with players.
According to PokerScout, traffic was in a slow decline from its summer peak until recently. The number of players seated at Omaha games could be attributed as a reason for the traffic rebound.
WSOP has made improvements since it went live in September. Like Ultimate Poker, it launched without securing all major cell carriers for location services. Sprint was the main company missing. It was added in the past few weeks.
WSOP expanded cash game limits in most games since its launch. Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha High/Low and Stud High/Low now go up to $10/$20. More limits have been added to other games as well.
Some changes have been made to WSOP sit and gos, including the addition of heads up games. There have been some tweaks to the tournament schedule. The flagship tournament series that has been advertised since May, known as the Online Championships, is currently running. WSOP added $500k to the prize pools offered during the series.
The traffic at WSOP has grown steadily since the site went live 6 weeks ago. The graph at PokerScout is evidence of this.
The past six months have shown that Nevada is capable of supporting two online poker rooms. Each offers different features that appeal to different players. The gap in traffic between the two sites continues to close. It is also becoming clear that more players are entering the market.