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Ultimate Poker Becomes First US Website to Take Real Money Bets

After two years of silence, the United States online poker market officially made its debut in Nevada today. Ultimate Poker has become the first United States facing website to offer real money online gambling.

The online gaming division of the Las Vegas based Station Casino has officially opened its site to the public. Poker players around the world are able to create an account and deposit money from any location. However, the player must be physically present in state in order to place a real money wager.  

Poker players are able to make transactions (withdrawal and deposit) at any of the 16 Station Casinos or through electronic methods such as wire transfers, paper checks, or credit cards.

Ultimate Poker plans to run a series of daily $50 buy-in tournaments with a $1,000 guarantee as well as a $100 Sunday tournament with a $10,000 guarantee. The site will also host free roll tournaments as promotions. Currently, the site offers a daily $100 free roll as well as a $10,000 free roll as an opening promotion. In addition to these guaranteed money free rolls, a 1 million boarding pass points free roll will also occur within the week for members who create an account.

Ultimate Poker has also launched a cash game offering that is currently limited to No Limit and Fixed Limit Hold ‘em. No Limit Hold’em games are spread from $2NL ($0.01/$0.02) to $1000NL ($5/$10) while the Limit Hold’em games are currently spread from 5c/10c to $10/$20. The poker site hopes to launch other games such as Omaha and Stud in the future, but hasn’t released any specific plans regarding these variants.

The company also has plans for some interesting takes on poker tables including a 5 big blind game. The plans for this type of table have been mentioned on the website, but it has yet to be implemented in its initial launch. The 5bb game is very similar to the all-in or fold cash games that are popular on 888poker. Major sites like Poker Stars have capped games, but offer a greater buy-in.

Ultimate Poker has also released its rake structure that was a highly anticipated and controversial issue in the online poker forums. Although many thought the high licensing fees and taxes would lead to unbeatable rake levels, the Station Casino owned site has constructed a relatively reasonable rake structure that will implement a 4.5% rake across all No Limit Hold’Em games. The rake is capped at certain amounts for the micro stakes and is determined by the stakes and the number of players at the table. A list of the rake schedule has been posted below.

The online poker site has yet to release a rewards or rakeback program that is generally associated with all poker sites across the world. Currently, the Station Casino has a loyalty program called the Boarding Pass and it will most likely transfer to the online website. However, the company has not released an official loyalty program, although one is expected in the near future.

Ultimate Poker is currently being powered by a CyberArts software client and it features a relatively solid poker client. The interactive division initially started developing and testing after it obtained a license from the Commission in October 2012. The company has also struck a deal with CAMS to provide geolocation, player age verification, and payment processing services.

The company has also launched its marketing campaign with Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari as the main poker ambassador. Furthermore, the site has linked itself to the popular MMA league, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and has placed a picture of MMA legend Chuck Lidell on its site. Currently, Fertitta, the parent company of the Station Casinos, owns the UFC league and plans to promote alongside its first interactive gaming product. Players are able to win VIP tickets and other great prizes to UFC fights, although specific promotions have yet to be released.

Ultimate poker also signed an affiliate marketing deal with Income Access who may be linked to potential rewards or rakeback deals.

The debut of Ultimate Poker marks the start of a new era of online gambling in the United States and it is the first site to legally launch since the UIGEA laws of 2006. The success of this site may be an indicator of the United States market and more real money gambling sites are expected to debut over the next few months.

Rake Structure

No Limit Rake: 4.5%

Stakes

% Rake

2 Player Cap

3-4 Player Cap

5+ Player Cap

$0.01/$0.02

4.50%

$0.30

$0.30

$0.30

$0.05/$0.10

4.50%

$0.50

$1.00

$1.50

$0.10/$0.25

4.50%

$0.50

$1.00

$2.00

$0.25/$0.50

4.50%

$0.50

$1.50

$3.00

$0.50/$1 to $3/$6

4.50%

$0.50

$1.50

$3.00

$5/$10

4.50%

$0.50

$1.50

$3.00

5BB Games

2.00%

$0.25

$0.50

$3.00

Fixed Limit Rake: 4%

Stakes

2 Player Cap

3-4 Player Cap

5+ Player Cap

$0.05/$0.10

$0.04

$0.04

$0.05

$0.10./$0.20

$0.10

$0.10

$0.10

$0.25/$0.50

$0.15

$0.15

$0.15

$0.50/$1

$0.40

$0.40

$0.40

$1/$2

$0.50

$0.70

$0.80

$2/$4

$0.50

$0.70

$1.20

$5/$10

$0.50

$2.00

$3.00

$10/$20

$0.50

$2.00

$3.00

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