The Nevada gold rush, which has seen several Las Vegas casinos capitalising on the state’s move towards legalising online poker, seems to have left the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and its partner, Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), behind – for now.
The two big names in gaming are teaming up for the launch of WSOP.com, which hopes to rival UltimatePoker.com and its backers – Vegas’s own Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. But while Ultimate Poker has stream-rolled ahead with its site, offering online poker to Nevada natives,
WSOP.com has been mired in technical glitches which has delayed the launch of the site at least until later in the summer. WSOP.com was meant to allow real money poker on Saturday, but its complex technology is still being approved by the Nevada Gaming Board after a technical glitch in May allowed players to play cash-money poker well before the site had received approval.
July would have been perfect timing for the launch of WSOP.com as the 2013 tournament has just gotten underway. In preparation for the event, the website owners announced a slew of enticing features for prospective poker players. To commemorate the launch, WSOP established special sign up locations at the Lambada Room in the Rio All-Suite Casino & Hotel during the WSOP tournament which runs through the summer. Players who sign up for a free WSOP.com player account are offered the opportunity to win a portion of $700,000 of free money that Caesars has lined up to pad the pockets of what it hopes to be its player base of the future.
Other exclusive opportunities include a ’36-Seat Giveaway’, WSOP.com Hot Seat, the Online Nine and the WSOP.com Online Championships. Players who are aged 21 and over, who open a WSOP.com account, will, according to the site’s owners, be entered into a special draw where players will be selected at random to win a seat into the next day’s WSOP gold bracelet event. One of the events included in the promotion is the $111,111 One Drop High Roller No-Limit Hold’em event that is expected to draw a $10,000,000 prize pool. A total of $182,333 in WSOP entry fees will be given away, including a seat in the WSOP Main Event.
In the ‘Hot Seat’ promotion players who agree to wear a WSOP patch while playing will also be enrolled in a random draw to receive $500 bonus that will be placed into the WSOP.com account once the site goes live.
And to cap things off, WSOP.com has announced plans to run a WSOP Online Championships when the site does eventually go live. All players who sign up for a WSOP.com online account while at the WSOP tournament are automatically entered into a $100k Freeroll planned for October. The tournament will be Event #1 of the WSOP Online Championships and the winner of this event will not only win the largest slice of that prize pool, but will also become the first member of the “Online Nine”, who will compete for an additional $100,000 as part of the festivities surrounding the WSOP Main Event Final Table in November.
For eight consecutive nights, players will compete in WSOP Online events until the final nine secure their places.
A website allowing players to sign-up to all those enticing offers is already up and CIE’s chief executive Mitch Garber says his company remains committed to launching an online poker site licensed and regulated in Nevada under the WSOP brand in partnership with 888 Holdings soon.
Garber, the 48-year-old former boss of Party Gaming, has told news sources that he hopes CIE will dominate the Nevada online poker scene once launched, and that he would support interstate gambling deals with other states that could boost player liquidity.
However, Ultimate Poker continues to steal a march on WSOP.com on that front too, as the Stations Casino subsidiary has already announced plans to bring online poker to New Jersey – the second state in the US to legalise online gaming.
Ultimate Poker has signed a deal with the company that operates the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City to bring pay-to-play regulated internet poker to the state. The websites will operate under the Ultimate Gaming brand but will have marketing agreements with the Trump Taj Mahal, a 2,010-room hotel-casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
But Garber hopes that Caesar’s position as the world’s biggest land-based gaming brand will help attract players to its online operations in a way that its rivals simply can’t match. This includes offering seats in major live tournaments and hotel accommodation or free meals and entertainment at Caesars Entertainment land casino resorts.