The battle for supremacy in Nevada’s online poker market is underway as both Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com have announced online tournament championships and new promotional marketing efforts aimed at dominating the state’s small market.
WSOP is using the prestige of its brand name and 44 years of outstanding live tournament action and blending it with online action. As the world awaits the 2013 WSOP Main Event final table to be played out by the November Nine beginning on the 4th of that month, WSOP.com is hosting an Online Championship of nine tournaments that starts October 25 and ends November 2.
The winner of each of those nine tourneys will be invited back for a special online SitNGo $100k Champions Freeroll on November 4 held at the Rio All Suites Casino Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. Those nine winners will earn the status of the Online Nine and the final two players remaining will duke it out on November 5 in a live format at the Penn & Teller Theatre for the $50,000 first place prize.
That heads-up action is scheduled just before the second day of play gets under way for the final tablists of the 2013 WSOP Main Event. It’s a strategy of cross-marketing by Caesars that aims to draw attention to its online and live offerings by showcasing both the Online Nine and November Nine.
The WSOP.com Online Championships feature $500,000 added to the prize pool and have buy-ins as low as $25 + $2.50 up to the Main Event entry fee of $200 + $15. There is one freeroll among the nine events limited to ticketed players.
Not to be outdone, Ultimate Poker has announced the Ultimate Poker Championship 1 that consists of 11 events, with one tournament hosted each day from October 10-20 beginning at 18:00. A total of $250,000 is guaranteed in UPC1, with buy-ins ranging from $25 to $300. UPC1 also offers a leaderboard race that will find the winner gaining free entry to all the tournaments of UPC2.
UP is also sweetening the pot by offering a 100% deposit bonus up to $500. To take advantage of this promotion, players residing in or visiting Nevada must deposit anytime before UPC1 kicks off on October 10.
WSOP.com is also aiming for new depositors by offering tickets to seven $100 daily freerolls to any new player who deposits at least $10. Those freerolls run every day at 7:00 p.m.
Ultimate Poker got a 4 and 1/2 month head start on WSOP.com and has established a lead in the marketplace as a result. Current PokerScout rankings report UP with a seven-day average of 132 cash players, while WSOP.com has 71.
But WSOP is gaining ground. At the beginning of this week, UP had roughly 75% more traffic than WSOP.com. In just a few days, Caesars’ online product managed to narrow the gap to less than 50%.
While the launch of WSOP.com was advertised heavily during this past summer’s 44th annual WSOP competition at the Rio, the debut ran into unexpected software testing delays. After finally getting the greenlight to go live on September 19, WSOP is now charging strong and aiming to take a chunk of UP’s player base.
UP won’t go down without a fight, as is evidenced by its latest online tournament series and deposit bonus offer. Players in the Silver State should expect to see some pretty good action and favorable deals at both sites, as the turf war for the largest share of the online poker market in Nevada has begun.