Nevada Online Poker Review March 5, 2014

There was a lot of wheeling and dealing going on in Nevada this week as Caesars Entertainment did a little restructuring of some assets (and by little I mean four casinos), while the latest revenue reports from the state show a fairly significant dip in January revenue compared to last year, but it’s not as bad as it first appears. In this week’s Nevada Online Poker Review we’ll get you up to speed on both of these stories and a whole lot more, including the latest results from the Sunday Majors at Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com, as well as the latest online traffic trends in the state. Caesars sells 3 LV properties, 4 overall The Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a very interesting story this week, detailing the sale of four Caesars Entertainment properties to a subsidiary company of the gaming giant, Caesars Growth Partners. What makes this story so intriguing (restructuring and cash shuffling aside) is the potential impact it will have on Caesars Growth Partners, which prior to taking on the four brick & mortar casino properties was mainly invested in Caesars’ online operations. With the addition of four B&M properties to their balance sheet it will be interesting to see if investors are still as bullish about CGP as they have been in the past. Make sure you check back later this week as we’ll have an in-depth look at this story later up in the next couple of days. Nevada casino revenue down Nevada’s gaming revenue was down nearly 3% in January (compared to last January’s numbers) but according to analysts who took a closer look at the figures the decline isn’t as big of a cause of concern as it first appeared. According to the analysts, a significant amount of the decline came from players running above EV on the tables. “It was a strong month,” Mike Lawton, a senior control board analyst was quoted as saying. “Volumes were up both for slots and tables, but we were impacted by hold issues, mainly table games and baccarat.” Still, the decline was felt across Las Vegas as revenue dipped on the Strip as well as in Downtown Vegas, while halfway around the globe Macau had a record-setting month according to PokerNews.com, which has many wondering if Vegas can once again rise as the gambling capital of the world. All that being said, everyone is now eagerly awaiting the next revenue numbers which are expected to include online poker revenue numbers for the first time—Regulators wanted three online poker rooms up and running in the state before revealing any data, and a couple weeks ago, with the launch of South Point’s Real Gaming website, the criteria was met. Ultimate Poker launches Big 25 promotion From March 2nd through the 9th players at Ultimate Poker in Nevada can take part in the site’s Big 25 promotion. UP will host 10 separate $25 buy-in R&A tournaments over the course of the promotional period, each with a $2,500 guaranteed prize pool. In addition to the tournament prize-pool there will also be a separate leader-board where the Top 10 finishers throughout the entire promotion will split up $2,500 in cold hard cash. You can find out more about this promotion by visiting www.UltimatePoker.com. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed The $15k Guaranteed at WSOP.com made a nice comeback after a disappointing turnout last week (just 82 entries) as 106 players registered for the $200+$15 tournament, generating a prize-pool of over $21,000. Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:
Piejay $5,936.00
alicia_keys $3,434.40
iLvpoon $1,971.60
BossMabel420 $1,547.60
DrMcBoy $1,335.60
norcal83 $1,123.60
ATLien $890.40
Rick2007 $593.60
mnbass1 $445.20 The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Ultimate Poker’s $100 buy-in ($91+$9) $10k Sunday Guaranteed went the opposite way of WSOP.com’s as traffic dipped this week to 96 players, compared to last week’s 115 runners. WSOP.com’s 24 player increase seems to have come almost entirely at the expense of UP, whose attendance declined by 19 players this week. Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:
Stink Palm $2,900
elvislover67 $2,000
DeadSpread $1,500
luckisreal $1,000
ShakaBraddah $800
donthavename $600
kemo650 $500
TCAPPS $400
Rick2007 $300 Traffic trends in Nevada The needle barely moved this past week, as both WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker ended the week right where they started, with an average of 120 and 70 cash-game players respectively, according to www.pokerscout.com. There is some hope on the horizon for a traffic uptick however, as the World Series of Poker (which starts at the end of May) will bring an influx of potential online poker customers to the state, and by the end of the year Nevada and Delaware’s interstate compact might be up and running. The word on the street Caesars cutting back on live poker A very interesting article appeared at USPoker.com on Tuesday as John Mehaffey took an in-depth look at the brick & mortar poker industry in Las Vegas, and specifically, Caesars downsizing of their live poker offerings. John drew several conclusions from the data, and offered up several interesting fixes for Caesars, including the creation of WSOP branded poker room – something Caesars recently unveiled at Bally’s in New Jersey. You can check out John’s other suggestions as well as his breakdown of the live poker industry in the city at USPoker.com.

Senators Reid and Heller On Banning Internet Gambling

Recently the junior senator from Nevada, Dean Heller, made some very interesting and contentious comments to the Las Vegas Review-Journal with regard to online gambling. Echoing many of Sheldon Adelson’s and the Coalition to Stop Intern Gambling’s talking points (and referencing Adelson by name) Heller told the LVRJ that a bill banning all forms of online gambling with the exception of online poker would be introduced into the Senate in the near future. Heller also spoke for his fellow Nevadan who also happens to be the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, telling the LVRJ that, “There is no daylight between where Senator Reid and myself are on this particular issue.” If this is indeed the case it is a very worrisome statement for online gambling advocates. But are these two really on the same page when it comes to online gambling? The answer could be yes and no, as I’ll explain below. What you would like vs. what you will do There is a big difference between what you would personally do and what you think should be done in general, and this is especially true in politics where you see people who are pro-life in their personal lives voting pro-choice, and this may be along the lines of what Harry Reid is playing at here. Reid might completely agree with the premise of the bill, that online gambling sans poker should be banned, but he may not think this is the right move for Nevada or for the country. Furthermore, it could all be phooey; little more than politicking 101. To me, this entire “Wire Act Fix” proposal is little more than effort to appease Sheldon Adelson while at the same time appeasing the already launched online poker industry in Nevada. And the best outcome for all involved is for nothing to happen on the federal level, which is why the proposed bill is designed the way it is (more on this at the end of this article). If you want to know what will likely happen with this legislation you can read my thoughts in this column, but if you just want the cliffs version: The bill will be stymied at every step during the legislative process to keep it from coming to the floor for a vote. Amendments in committee; amendments on the floor; filibustered for cloture; filibustered for a vote. Assuming the bill even gets introduced it will face so many roadblocks and the 100 US Senators will make it unrecognizable and unpassable simply to avoid taking a vote on something that puts them between State’s Rights advocates and Christian Conservatives. I’ve used this analogy in the past and it still fits quite perfectly: Federal online gambling legislation is like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. The 2012 Reid / Heller Bill is a good indicator of the muddy process This is precisely what happened to a similar bill back in 2012, where it didn’t even clear the first hurdle. In 2012 Harry Reid was very vocal about his desire to pass an online poker bill, and became a public cheerleader of the proposed bill that never came to be. Reid initially laid the failure at the feet of Senator Heller, saying he was unable to muster any Republican support, later changing his tune to the more diplomatic, “we have simply run out of time in this legislative calendar.” Now this time around it’s Heller who is the public face of the potential bill (which would certainly resemble the previous incarnation from 2012) while Reid stays on the sidelines without making a peep, letting Heller speak for him—a complete reversal of 2012. One of two things may be going on here.
Harry Reid may have told Heller if he wants to introduce the bill he will have to do the cheerleading this time around, as the failure in 2012 was attached almost exclusively to Reid. UNLIKELY.
The two of them may be putting on a nice dog and pony show for Sheldon Adelson in order to court his favor for upcoming election campaigns—or at the very least to not draw his ire—and at the same time keep the other Nevada casinos happy with their online poker carve out. HIGHLY LIKELY. If the answer is #2, then yes, both senators are on the same page, but the bill still has virtually no chance of making it to the senate floor for a vote… And even if it does it then has to go through the House of Representatives, where any changes made (assuming it then passes) would send it back to the Senate, and so on and so forth. Basically, it’s an ugly process, and when you have a contentious bill that delves into debates over state’s rights vs. the morals of gambling, with the added headache of a carve-out for a particular type of gambling; it’s a vote very few lawmakers are going to want to take. Interestingly, it looks as if it will be South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who will introduce the “Wire Act Fix” bill but without the online poker carve-out! Obviously Reid and Heller will quickly try to amend this and you’ll have your first battle lines drawn, and you can expect many more before an online gambling (pro or con) ever gets a vote in the Senate.

Nevada Online Poker Review February 27, 2014

Nevada’s online poker industry has experienced quite the week on the legislative front. First with Senator Dean Heller implying that a federal ban on online gambling (with a carve out for online poker) could be introduced soon, and then the far more real situation that took place on Tuesday when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed a historic agreement that will see the two states form an interstate online gambling compact. In this week’s Nevada Online Poker Review we’ll get you up to speed on both of these stories and a whole lot more Nevada partners with Delaware in online gambling This is a huge story, not because it will change the online gambling landscape in the United States (chances are there will be little change when Nevada and Delaware pool their players) but because the agreement signed by Delaware and Nevada on Tuesday opens up a whole new realm of possibilities in the US. You see, not only did Delaware and Nevada form an interstate online gambling partnership, but they also left the door wide open for other states to follow. While joining the interstate group that currently contains Nevada and Delaware may not attract the New Jersey’s and California’s of the world, smaller states now have a greater incentive to pass online gambling bill as the fear of ample player liquidity can be taken off the table. Here is an excellent breakdown of the agreement from Chris Grove at OnlinePokerReport.com. Dean Heller’s online gambling ban; will it happen? Last week Nevada Senator Dean Heller announced that there could be a renewed effort to pass a federal ban on certain forms of online gambling, with the obvious exception of online poker which is legal in Heller’s home state. If you missed this story you can find the details here, but in this section I’m going to explain the main reason this bill is destined to go nowhere, and what will likely happen to the bill in the halls of the US Senate. It puts most republicans between a rock and a hard place Two of the Republican Party’s core principles are state’s rights and social conservatism, and these two issues are on opposing sides of the proposed legislation. For Republican voters [read as: Primary Voters] voting for this bill will be seen as voting for a massive expansion of online gambling—thanks to the bills carve out for poker and potentially other forms of gambling—while at the same time trampling on state’s rights. Voting against this bill allows representatives and senators to appease the state’s rights crowd, but it can also be seen as rubber stamping an even larger expansion of online gambling. Basically, Republicans are damned if they do and damned if they don’t with this bill, and asking senators and members of the House of Representatives to deal with the fallout of pissed off social conservatives and/or state’s rights advocates over this fairly innocuous issue is a tough sell. What will likely happen? I wouldn’t be surprised if the bill does get introduced and as per senate rules, sent off to committee. However, I would be surprised, but not completely shocked if some form of this bill passed through a committee. I would be picking my jaw up off the floor if this bill was ever voted on in the senate. Remember, the committee chair decides what they take up, and the democrats are in control of the committees, so it’s not out of the question that this bill just sits in purgatory for the entire session. Furthermore, if the bill does get to the floor it will need to get through the numerous amendments different senators would want to attach to it (which could send it straight back to committee) and it would need to achieve cloture before a vote on the bill could even be held. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada After remarking on two major stories above we’re going to make this section short and sweet this week. WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed The $15k Guaranteed at WSOP.com had 82 entrants this past week, creating a prize-pool of $16,400. It looks like Tom McEvoy (unconfirmed) and Christina Lindley (confirmed) made the final table finishing 5th and 6th respectively. Here is a look at how the final table participants fared:
boomerfancy $4,674.00
Juantoo3fore $2,706.00
redmike99 $1,640.00
mnbass1 $1,312.00
Mcevoy $1,131.60
lindleyloo $967.60
newhippy $803.60
Forthekids $557.60
butters $442.80 The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Ultimate Poker’s $100 buy-in ($91+$9) $10k Sunday Guaranteed pulled in 115 players this past week, once again, just enough to reach the guarantee, this time with $465 to spare.
AC Slater $2,658.78
Ted Sticle $1,862.08
SinCityLover $1,270.05
CROOK $946.70
telemere $732.69
LoungeMode $568.68
unlvrebel74 $464.01
BigHarryLV $359.34
Slowbedon $252.67 Traffic trends in Nevada It was another fairly static week for Nevada’s online poker traffic according to www.pokerscout.com. WSOP.com once again maintained average traffic numbers of 110-120 cash-game players; Ultimate Poker ticked down ever so slightly from 75 to 70 average cash game players; and the recently launched Real Gaming is still operating a graveyard. The word on the street Pro-Online Gambling advocates getting more vocal While Sheldon Adelson and company continue to setup their soapbox wherever they are allowed, and scream about the evils of online gambling, the other side seems to have gone to the garage and dusted off their soapbox as well, considering a number of pro-online gambling editorials have been popping up lately, like this one from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Nevada Online Poker Plagued by Geo-Location Issues

A recent service outage in Nevada caused many online poker players to be booted from both WSOP.com and UltimatePoker.com online poker sites, due to geo-location service providers’ inability to verify player locations. Unfortunately, this was not the first geo-location issue in Nevada, and it’s unlikely to be the last. Fortunately, geo-location issues have been relatively minor in Nevada (yet very annoying for players having to deal with them). The online poker sites and the geo-location service providers have been working hard to correct any complications as they arise. But what they do indicate is that there is the potential for larger issues to arise in the future. First day jitters Even before Ultimate Poker dealt their first hand in Nevada, poker players, industry insiders, and regulators were anxious to see how geo-location verification would work in the state. The potential issue became a reality on Ultimate Poker’s first day of operation, when geo-location verification was unable to track Verizon and several other cell phone providers, essentially barring what should be authorized online poker players from participating in games at the site. Ever since these first-day jitters, geo-location verification has continued to be a thorn in the side of the Nevada online poker industry, evidenced by the recent service outage, and issues have taken days to weeks to correct. Verizon customers had to wait nearly two weeks before the geo-location service providers employed by Ultimate Poker were able to track their location, and there have still been sporadic complaints from players claiming they are inside Nevada’s borders but cannot be verified. AT&T’s service outage More recently, network maintenance by AT&T caused a disruption for both Nevada online poker rooms, eliminating their capability to track players via geo-location technology. The outages first occurred on October 21, when many Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com players found themselves unable to log into the software, or even worse, booted from the software mid-hand or mid-tournament. A thread immediately popped-up on the 2+2 online poker forum as players helplessly watched as they were forced to “sit-out” and their stacks blinded off. The service disruption was so severe that WSOP.com was forced to cancel several tournaments and traffic at both sites plummeted. During the outage, the sites were caught as off-guard as the players, and representatives from both Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com quickly showed up at the 2+2 poker forums and explained what occurred to the community: Both sites have promised to address this issue to prevent a similar situation down the road. Workarounds As frustrating as these geo-location issues can be, there is a very valid reason these safeguards are in place; namely to prevent unauthorized users from playing on an online poker site by using a VPN. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows a person to effectively hide their location by appearing to be in a location they are not, by connecting to a proxy server. VPN’s have been used for quite some time, ever since online markets have become segregated, and are mainly used to circumvent online poker security, although some overly secretive types use them simply to hide their information. VPN’s became a hot topic in the aftermath of Black Friday when US poker players no longer had access to sites like PokerStars. You can learn more about VPN’s and how they are used by disreputable online poker players at BillRini.com. Sites have become much better at detecting VPN’s, but they are still in use, and geo-location verification is one of the most effective ways to detect the use of a VPN.

Why Choose Regulated Poker Over Unregulated Poker

Faster withdrawal times, improved oversight and transparency, and the knowledge that your money is safe and secure are just a few of improvements regulated online poker will offer US players. In this column I’ll make the case why US players should start jumping on the regulated online poker bandwagon and swearing off unregulated online poker rooms. If you’re on the fence or having a hard time quitting your current unregulated online poker room then I suggest you keep reading. Reason #1 — Oversight With the onset of legalized, regulated online poker, US online poker players have their state regulatory bodies to lean on and hold accountable, who in turn have to answer to elected officials in the state. These added layers of oversight are the reason live casinos are so trusted when it comes to the safety of your money and the fairness of the games being offered in the United States, and now these same protections will extend to online casinos and poker rooms. If you play at a licensed, regulated online poker site, never again will you have to worry whether or not the people protecting your money is little more than a “fly-by-night” offshore regulatory body that has setup shop in some far-flung locale: Regulatory bodies that rely on the same companies they are overseeing for their very existence –with some, like Kahnawake’s Joe Norton, possessing ownership interests in the very poker rooms they are suppose to regulate! Reason #2 — Transparency In addition to having more reputable and legitimate oversight, regulated online poker rooms are far more transparent, allowing patrons to see everything from their licensing details to the company’s management structure, to the breakdown of their rake structure –which is now required by law. Now that online poker rooms are subjected to legitimate licensing requirements that require transparency, the potential for a shady individual to hide within a company’s infrastructure (or hide their involvement through a shell company) is a thing of the past. There will be no more “October Surprises” for online poker players. This transparency also prevents companies from using player funds to pay for other operational expenses, as safeguards are now in place that require frequent audits and stipulate the manner in which a company holds player funds. Reason #3 — Improved Payment Processing One of the most immediate and noticeable improvements that will come about from a regulated online poker market will be the speed with which withdrawals are processed, and the safety of the funds you have in your online account. Online poker players in the US will no longer have to wait weeks to months for a check to arrive, and will no longer have to fret that the check might be printed on rubber paper. From now on, when you deposit at an online poker room, your money will not immediately lose value (players at some current unregulated sites sell their account balances for mere pennies on the dollar) and it will no longer be tied-up for months on end. In addition to the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have access to your money, players will also have far more deposit and withdrawal options to choose from, with payment processors and credit cards no longer restricted from handling online poker transactions –provided they are themselves licensed. Reason #4 — Look at the track record If I still haven’t convinced you why you should choose regulated online poker sites over unregulated online poker rooms, look no further than the track-record of unregulated Internet poker sites over the years:
PokerSpot – PokerSpot was the first online poker site to leave the poker community high and dry in 2002, when the Dutch Boyd led poker room went belly up owing some $400,000 to their players – money that still has not been paid back to this day.
Ultimate Bet – Over the course of several years, Ultimate Bet insiders stole tens-of-millions of dollars from players through a cheating program, and when the DOJ indicted the owners of the site on April 15, 2011, UB continued to accept deposits and later went belly-up owing the community somewhere in the realm of seven figures.
Absolute Poker – Like their sister site Ultimate Bet (the two companies merged in 2010), AP was another site involved in an insider cheating scandal, and left players out in the cold, owing millions, when they were finally shut-down.
Full Tilt Poker – US Full Tilt Poker players are still waiting for about $150 million of their money; money they have not had access to since April 15, 2011.
Lock Poker – How bad is the situation at Lock Poker? Lock Poker’s withdrawal times are so slow, and the company’s ability to pay is in such question that $100 of Lock Poker money is worth somewhere between $10 and $25 on the open market. And this doesn’t even cover the countless examples of online poker rooms seizing legitimate accounts, slowpaying their players, or turning a blind eye to cheating. It’s time to toss away the security blanket and demand what’s better Change is hard, and it can be unpleasant at first, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary, and when it comes to online poker in the US, changing from an unregulated to a regulated market is absolutely necessary. Fortunately, that change is starting to occur across the United States, with licensed Nevada online poker rooms up and running, and Delaware and New Jersey on the precipice of joining the list of states with regulated online poker. But even in locales that have licensed online poker rooms, many online poker players are still playing at, or considering playing at, unregulated online poker sites. As I outlined above this is a major mistake. It might be the appeal of larger player pools, or the bonuses and promotions being offered that lure you in, but just remember: There is a reason the site is offering you a deal that seems too good to be true, and more importantly, there is a reason the site has not applied for a license or has been turned down. Sure, some unregulated online poker sites have done right by you over the years, and some unregulated online poker rooms have very good track records and decent reputations. But keep two things in mind: 1. These sites are already breaking at least one law by operating in the US, so what other laws are they willing to break? 2. Unlicensed sites are graded on a very steep curve, and if the curve includes sites like Ultimate Bet, Lock Poker, and PokerSpot, it’s not hard to come out looking like a well-oiled machine. These unlicensed sites are hoping you turn a blind eye to their failings, and choose familiarity and the status quo over progress. The valedictorian of summer school Even if an unregulated site has a solid reputation even these supposed well-oiled machines have their problems. In the current unregulated market they don’t even appear to be problems, but in a regulated market, lengthy withdrawal times, unnecessary fees, and lackluster security against collusion and poker bots would never be tolerated. They are for lack of a better term, the valedictorian of summer school. Since their offshore licensing bodies don’t demand tight security measures and don’t have the capability of diligent oversight, these problems are currently just accepted as part of the process by online poker players; in a regulated market they are being stamped out. In poker forum parlance: Regulated Poker > Unregulated Poker.

South Point launches Real Gaming: Becomes Third Online Poker Site in Nevada

As was first reported by USPoker.com’s John Mehaffey the online poker market in Nevada just got a bit more crowded as South Point Casino has launched their Real Gaming platform in the state. After a number of setbacks and delays that included a rebranding (more on those below) Real Gaming is now up and running, but developing their software and gaining the approval of regulators could very well have been the easy part of their journey. Now South Point will have to compete with two already entrenched poker rooms, with a brand new, untested product. An already saturated market Real Gaming will join Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com in a market that has average cash-game traffic of less than 200 players, something that Chris Grove of OnlinePokerReport.com sees as a potential problem. Although there are only two other sites in the market, Real Gaming is coming in late to the show and with an unusual poker client (more on this in a second) they may have trouble siphoning players away from their competitors. No download necessary South Point’s Real Gaming online poker site is the first HTML5 online poker product in the country, which means it is a Flash based product that doesn’t require a download; the poker room simply opens in a new browser window. The simplicity may be appealing to casual players, but it will likely be off-putting to serious players, who prefer the added features of a fully downloadable client, especially the capability of playing multiple tables. Without first attracting some high-volume players it may be difficult to lure in their target audience (casual players) as they prefer sites with solid player pools, even if the games are a bit tougher. Unique geolocation verification Real Gaming is also unique in another way as well. Player verification at the site is carried out via an app download. Here is how it works [from the RealGaming.com website]:
Make sure you have the Real Gaming App installed on your iPhone or Android phone. Download at realgaming.com/locate
Login to RealGaming.com and select a game to play in the Lobby.
Click the “SMS” button and you will be sent a Text Message. (You must already have Verified your account.)
Click the link in the Text Message to launch the “Real Gaming” location app on your phone. Once the app says “Get My Token,” push that and then enter the token you receive from the app into the game. Real Gaming’s geolocation method should improve success rates, but like their software, this is an untested method that could prove to be a major advancement or a major disappointment. Nevada revenue numbers should be available soon With the launch of Real Gaming we will also start seeing revenue numbers from Nevada’s online poker market—which has me and my fellow iGaming nerds aficionados doing cartwheels. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has been holding off on releasing any data regarding the iGaming industry until three sites were up and running. According to Chris Grove the NGCB has confirmed online poker revenue numbers will be included in the February report, which will be released in March, and we’ll get our first look at the revenue numbers from this nearly year-old industry. Timeline of South Point’s online poker client
South Point was the first company to get the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s stamp of approval on their Internet poker license way back in August of 2012.
Following their licensure, South Point proclaimed that they would be the first online poker site in the state, and had designs on a 2012 launch, which was later pushed back to early 2013, and obviously neither timeframe was kept.
In October of 2011 South Point launched an in-house free-play online poker room created by Zen Entertainment, and dubbed South Point Poker. This room was later slightly upgraded in 2013 as the company started to prepare for a real-money launch in Nevada. However, players gave the free-play room abysmal reviews and South Point went back to the drawing board. Real Gaming’s current real-money online poker site was developed in-house, and not by Zen Entertainment.
In July of 2013 South Point ditched it’s eponymously named online poker site in favor of the more ambiguous, Real Gaming brand.
On February 19th, 2014 Real Gaming launched in Nevada and will now go through the rigorous trial period demanded by the NGC.

Nevada Online Poker Review February 18, 2014

Another interesting week of online poker in Nevada is now behind us and we’ve got a number of stories to get you caught up on. We’ll start off this week’s column with our usual look at the big stories coming out of the two Nevada online poker sites, Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com, before moving on to the latest tournament results and traffic numbers in Nevada, and finally finishing up with an interesting story that could get a whole lot more interesting if the SCOTUS decides to hear a certain poker-related case. Get ready for the scoop on all these stories and more in this week’s Nevada Online Poker Review. The WSOP.com Scoop: Satellites to WSOPC Caesars Palace WSOP.com is running tons of satellites to the World Series of poker this year, but as the World Series of Poker is still a ways off (it will be here sooner than you think though) WSOP.com is also offering their players satellites to an event a little closer on the calendar, the WSOP Circuit Series stop at Caesars Palace which begins on February 28th. Beginning on February 19th and running through the 26th, WSOP.com will host a nightly satellite to the $1,650 Main Event at the WSOPC Caesars Palace. The satellites will be $16.50 buy-ins with rebuys and add-ons available. At least one seat will be awarded each night. You can find the complete satellite schedule by visiting www.WSOP.com. The Ultimate Poker Scoop: Two Street Holdem on hold After we spent last week’s Ultimate Poker Scoop teasing the imminent launch of Two Street Holdem, Ultimate Poker threw a monkey wrench in the engine and put a damper on things when they announced the launch of their new game would be put on hold to work out a few more details. The delay was relayed to the poker community by Chris Danek, who also happens to be the game’s creator. According to Danek’s Twitter account, UP is still trying to work out the best blind/ante structure for the game as well as iron some of the interface issues the game creates—being a two street game and using the four-street software of Holdem games. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed The WSOP.com Sunday Guaranteed in Nevada blew through its guarantee this week, as 89 players put up the $215 buy-in ($200+$15), creating a prize-pool of $17,800. Here is a look at how the final table participants fared:
MrBeaumont – $5,073.00
deigo – $2,937.00
Leona – $1,780.00
BShriever5 – $1,424.00
Roldy – $1,228.20
MrMcSpewins – $1050.20
Turbozzz – $872.20
SuGaRaY71 – $605.20
Karla10 – $480.60 The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Ultimate Poker’s $100 buy-in ($91+$9) $10k Sunday Guaranteed pulled in 119 players, just inching past the guarantee, as the prize-pool’s final tally was $10,829.
dubasdb – $2,782.54
RunninGoodMC – $1,949.44
allprowi – $1,324.65
FeelsGoodMan – $983.10
PokerPro – $758.17
BullDog59 – $583.24
DeepInYa – $474.93
FLUFFYBUNNY – $366.62
jnasty1979 – $256.31 Traffic trends in Nevada Cash-game traffic in Nevada barely moved week-over-week according to www.pokerscout.com. WSOP.com is maintaining average traffic numbers of 110-120 cash-game players. Ultimate Poker seems to be using the cruise control button as well, as average traffic at the site remains at 75 cash-game players. The word on the street DiCristina case is up to the Supreme Court This Friday the United States Supreme Court will decide if they will hear the DiCristina v. United States case, which was pivotal in getting poker recognized as a game of skill—a ruling that was unfortunately later reversed. Here is a look at what will be up for discussion from the SCOTUS blog—yeah, the Supreme Court has a blog; who knew: The DiCristina case stems from a private poker game in New York where Lawrence DiCristina was charged with running an illegal gambling operation. DiCristina successfully argued that poker was a game of skill, but that decision was later overturned, and now the case is making its final stop at the Supreme Court. If the court chooses not to hear the case the current ruling will remain.

2014 WSOP Schedule: Online Satellites Featured Prominently

The highly anticipated 2014 World Series of Poker tournament schedule was revealed on Tuesday and this year’s schedule not only featured a number of interesting changes but it also contained something we have never seen before; direct links to online satellites at WSOP.com. As a poker lifer, it’s incredibly exciting to see online and live poker come together in this way, and I was thrilled to find that every event with an online satellite at WSOP.com is clearly marked on the schedule. It would seem that we are truly entering a new age of poker. The 2014 WSOP schedule Before I get into the crux of this column (online satellites at WSOP.com), let’s take a look at some of the key aspects of the schedule itself.
There will be 65 bracelet events at the 2014 World Series of Poker
The $1,500 Millionaire Maker is back with its $1 million guarantee for first place
There will be 10 “Championship” events (not including the Main Event) with $10,000 buy-ins
The $1,000,000 buy-in Big One for One Drop is back after a scheduled one year hiatus
The $1,111 Little One for One Drop will return for the second straight year
The Main Event will feature a $10,000,000 Guarantee for first place
Several scheduling tweaks have been made including expanded late registration Check out the Complete 2014 WSOP Schedule with Online Satellites Read the Official 2014 WSOP Schedule Press Release Why links to online satellites are a game changer Even during the Poker Boom, when the WSOP and online poker had a very strong relationship, the official online schedule of events at the WSOP website never featured links directing players to online satellite tournaments for specific tournaments. But now, thanks to legislation in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey we have entered unchartered waters in what is possible between live and online poker, and getting a glimpse at the mutually beneficial relationship the two industries can form, and how a company like Caesars can play one off the other. It should be pointed out that these online satellites are currently only available in Nevada and New Jersey, but think about the future potential for a moment? Imagine a scenario where there is legal online poker in the United States (ok, quit smiling and daydreaming and get back to reading), where the WSOP.com online poker room is available to every aspiring poker player. In this scenario, qualifying for the WSOP Main Event (or some other event on the schedule that tickles your fancy) is now incredibly simple, but more importantly, so is finding where you can qualify: It’s right there on the WSOP schedule! What to expect this year Even though it’s just Nevada and New Jersey offering satellites to the 2014 WSOP, I for one do not think that the number of qualifiers from the WSOP.com website will be negligible. Not only will the two sites combine to send 100-150 players to the WSOP based on their current satellite schedules (which will likely pickup as the WSOP nears) but think about the around the clock satellites WSOP.com can offer in Nevada during the World Series of Poker tournament series? Think about all of those poker players from around the globe in Nevada for weeks on end leading up to the Main Event; all wanting to play in the Main Event, but maybe not in the live satellites for whatever reason –price or simply because they are online players. Well now, there is the WSOP.com online poker room, with around the clock direct entry satellites. You can deposit by going to the casino cage and if you win an entry you can buy-in directly from your WSOP.com account instantaneously, with no hassle and no fuss –it couldn’t be simpler. When all is said and done I wouldn’t be surprised if several hundred participants in the WSOP Main Event won their seat via a WSOP.com online satellite. Maybe somebody named Carol Tournament winner can take home the title and kick start another Golden Age of poker bringing thousands of women into the game? A guy is allowed to dream right?

Nevada Online Poker Review February 10, 2014

There is a lot to cover in this week’s look around the licensed Nevada online poker market, from WSOP.com’s online satellite schedule to the World Series of Poker, to a new poker variant that will soon be available on Ultimate Poker. We’ll detail both of these stories plus take a look at the results from the Sunday Majors in Nevada, breakdown the latest traffic numbers in the state, and fill you in on the latest gossip on who might be joining UP and WSOP.com in 2014. The WSOP.com Scoop: World Series of Poker satellites now running Nevada online poker players can now find a robust World Series of Poker Main Event satellite schedule at WSOP.com, which I guess is not all that surprising when you think about it. Every Saturday WSOP.com will be hosting a $215 buy-in satellite where at least one Main Event seat will be up for grabs, and on July 5th the site will host what it is calling the WSOP 25 Seat Main Event Scramble, where at least 25 seats to the Main Event will be given away. You can find more details about WSOP.com’s satellites to the WSOP Main Event as well as information on how you can qualify for these satellites for as little as $1 here. The best guesses at this point have WSOP.com in Nevada sending at least 50 players to the WSOP Main Event via online satellites, and if WSOP.com in New Jersey can do the same (they will probably send close to double the number Nevada does considering the larger player pool) there will be at least 100 US poker players in the Main Event courtesy of legal online poker in the United States. The Ultimate Poker Scoop: Two Street Holdem In the coming days Ultimate Poker will unveil its latest innovation, a new poker format called Two Street Holdem. Two Street Holdem is expected to debut in test/beta form on February 14th (Valentine’s Day) from 7 PM to 11 PM, and on February 15th and 16th from 1 PM to 5 PM. A special invite only testing period is set to take place on February 10th. www.USPoker.com’s John Mehaffey will be in attendance and you can expect a write-up sometime on the 11th at the site. As the name implies, the game will feature only two betting rounds, one preflop, followed by a second and final betting round after all five community cards are dealt. The game should create some very loose pre-flop play for two reasons:
Two Street Holdem will feature larger blinds and antes
With 72% of your cards revealed on the flop only the very worst hands become unplayable The game’s creator, Chris Danek gives a complete rundown of it in this blog post at Ultimate Poker. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed WSOP.com’s biggest tournament of the week, the $215 buy-in, $15k Guaranteed easily eclipsed its guarantee, with the final prize-pool topping off at over $20,000 thanks to the 103 entries. Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:
Butters – $5,768.00
ValueTown – $3,337.80
BeTheLight – $1,915.80
Kudos88 – $1,503.80
Legume – $1,297.80
R8RH8R – $1,091.80
mnbass1 – $865.20
GrnSmoothie – $576.80
Mikelos – $432.60 A pair of $10K Guarantee tournaments at Ultimate Poker Meanwhile, at Ultimate Poker, the site hosted a pair of $10k guaranteed tournaments with a $100 buy-in and rebuys and add-ons available. Both tournaments just squeaked past their guarantees, but it was the second of the two that would be the more interesting due to the big names at the final table. The final table of the tournament featured Dan O’Brien, former November Niner Phil “USCphildo” Collins, and WSOP bracelet winner Brent “bhanks11” Hanks. Here is how they fared at the final table:
juantoo3fore – $2,539.24
Rprops – $1,751.20
Dan OBrien – $1,313.40
AB26 – $875.60
USCphildo – $700.48
maddogjim – $525.36
M. Kampmann – $437.80
CtrlAltDel – $350.24
BHanks11 – $262.68 Traffic trends in Nevada Total traffic in Nevada was fairly static this week, with Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com combining for an average of roughly 200 cash-game players according to www.pokerscout.com. After a slight uptick Ultimate Poker Nevada is once again losing ground to WSOP.com which now controls about 60% of the traffic in Nevada. Peak traffic is also stagnant at both sites (which can be seen as good or bad), with WSOP.com peaking somewhere between 240 and 270 players and Ultimate Poker in the 140 to 190 player range. The word on the street The poker world is still waiting for more online poker rooms to join the fray in Nevada, not because the online poker industry can support three rooms (it really can’t based on the traffic numbers I listed above) but to bring some fresh blood into what is becoming a stale environment, with New Jersey stealing the lion’s share of the iGaming headlines. But just who these new players in the market will be is still up in the air. Some companies that have indicated they’d like to launch in 2014 include the Siena Casino and Z4, which hopes to launch their HDPoker Room in 2014; South Point Poker, which at one time had designs on being the first online poker room in the state; and 888, which would become the first site on the All American Poker Network in Nevada.

Approved Online Poker Service Provider Licenses in Nevada

There are three classifications of Service Provider license in Nevada; with applicants falling into one of the following three categories (I have simplified the definitions from the Nevada regulations): * Class 1 – Software providers and/or anyone who administrators or controls wagers for an online gaming site * Class 2 – Payment Processors, geo-location, player verification, and other categories not covered under Class 1 or Class 3 licenses * Class 3 – Marketing Affiliates Class 1 Service Providers International Game technologies (IGT) * Issued a manufacturer and service provider license on June 21, 2012 * Website: www.igt.com IGT is a publicly traded slot and game manufacturer company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (IGT). IGT purchased the Entraction Poker Network in 2011, rebranding the popular online poker network to the IGT Poker Network. Bally Technologies * Issued a manufacturer and service provider license on June 21, 2012 * Website: www.ballytech.com One of the oldest gaming companies in the US, Bally Technologies began life as a pinball manufacturer before turning its eyes towards gaming products, and later Internet gaming products. Bally Tech is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (BYI). SHFL Entertainment (Shuffle Master) * Issued a service provider license on July 26, 2012 * Website: www.shufflemaster.com Shuffle master was founded in 1983 when truck-driver turned entrepreneur John Breeding developed an automatic card shuffling machine. With a virtual monopoly on card shufflers, over the years Shuffle Master has branched out into all areas of gaming products and games. Shuffle Master went public in 1992 and trades on the Nasdaq (SHFL). WMS Industries * Issued a service provider license on September 20, 2012 * Website: www.WMS.com WMS Industries is a slot machine manufacturer located in Illinois. WMS Industries dates back to 1943. In 2013, WMS Industries was purchased by Scientific Games. Z4 Gaming * Issued a software provider and manufacturer license on November 15, 2012 * Website: www.z4.com Founded in 2012, Z4 is a bit of a mystery in Nevada, and all we have to go on is the short mission statement found on their website which states the company is an online and interactive gaming company founded by Eric Colvin, the owner and operator of the Siena Hotel Spa Casino, which should be noted has applied for and received an operator license in Nevada. Lottomatica Group (BOSS Media) * Issued a service provider license on January 24, 2013 * Website: www.gtech.com Lottomatica is an Italian lottery and gaming provider, with numerous holdings across the globe ranging from lottery companies, to BOSS media (The International Poker Network), to US gaming manufacturer GTech. All five of the following Lottomatica subsidiaries have applied for Nevada licenses: Spielo International USA, Spielo International Canada, Spielo International Austria, Boss Media, and St. Minver. 888 Holdings PLC (888 US Limited) * Issued a manufacturer, distributor, and service provider license on March 21, 2013 * Website: www.888holdingsplc.com Gibraltar based 888 is one of the biggest online gaming brands in the world, and is a familiar name to online poker players. The company has partnered with Caesars Entertainment and several other casinos in Nevada and New Jersey, and is also part of the partnership (Scientific games and 888) that will supply Delaware with their online gambling platform. 888 Holdings is a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange (888). Aristocrat Technology (Aristocrat Leisure Limited) * Issued a manufacturer, distributor, and service provider license on May 23, 2013 * Website: www.aristocrat.com.au The parent company of Aristocrat Technology is an Australian slot machine manufacturer, Aristocrat Leisure Limited, which trades on the Australian Stock Exchange (ALL). The company is looking to parlay their gaming experience into the burgeoning US online market. Class 2 Service Providers Neteffect Networks – Information Technologies * Issued a service provider license on July 26, 2012 * Website: www.neteffect-it.com Neteffect is an IT company already working with Nevada land-based casinos. The company was founded in 2002 and handles a multitude of IT support issues. Global Cash Access Holdings – Payment processing * Issued a service provider license on August 23, 2012 * Website: www.GCAinc.com Global Cash Access Holdings is an ATM and credit provider (what the company terms as “Integrated Casino Cash Solutions”) with a long history of operating in Nevada casinos. GCAH wants to expand their offerings to include payment processing and payment solutions for online poker providers. Central Account Management Systems (CAMS) – Geo-location services, player verification and payment processing * Issued a service provider license on November 15, 2012 * Website: www.centralams.com CAMS operates under the massive global Verifi id verification and payment processing umbrella. CAMS will offer geo-location and player verification support for online providers, as well as having the potential to provide payment systems. CAMS has been handling the Know Your Customer checks for Ultimate Poker in Nevada, and has signed agreements with other potential online gaming providers in Nevada and New Jersey. Xerox Business Solutions –Information Technology * Issued a service provider license on January 1, 2013 * Website: www.xerox.com Best known for their line of printers and copiers, Xerox has been licensed to provide IT support for online poker site in Nevada. Link Technologies – Information Technology * Issued a service provider license on January 24, 2013 * Website: www.linktechconsulting.com Link Technologies is an online security company. Link Tech was founded in 2000 and has provided support and security services to companies and government agencies. Ditronics Financial Services – Payment Processing * Issued a service provider license on January 24, 2013 * Website: www.ditronics.com Ditronics is a payment processor and cash access company servicing the gaming industry. Certegy Check Services – Geo-location services, KYC checks and payment processing * Issued a service provider license on January 24, 2013 * Website: www.askcertegy.com Certegy was founded in 2001 as an offshoot of Equifax, which focused on check verification and credit cards. Certegy will provide payment processing solutions and geo-location capabilities for online poker rooms in Nevada. XYVerify – Geo-location and player verification * Issued a service provider license on March 21, 2013 * Website: www.xyverify.com XYVerify is a geo-location company that will allow poker rooms to verify player locations and transactions. XYVerify is also licensed in New Jersey. Player Verify – Data collection, Verification * Issued a service provider license on March 21, 2013 * Website: www.playerverify.com Player Verify stores and organizes customer documents for online gaming sites, including player information and payment methods. Aristotle International – Geo-location and verification services * Issued a service provider license on May 16, 2013 * Website: www.integrity.aristotle.com Aristotle is a geo-location, age and ID verification company that operates under the Integrity umbrella. GambleID – Geo-location and verification services * Issued a service provider license on May 23, 2013 * Website: www.gambleid.com GambleID will provide payment, id, and location verification for online gaming sites. SecureTrading – Geo-location and verification services * Issued a service provider license on June 10, 2013 * Website: www.securetrading.com Secure Trading will offer player verification and geo-location services for Nevada online poker rooms, as well as payment processing options. GeoComply – Geo-location and verification services * Issued a service provider license on June 20, 2013 * Website: www.geocomply.com GeoComply is another player verification and geo-location company that has been approved in Nevada. Class 3 Service Providers: Marketing Affiliates PokerTrip Enterprises Inc * Issued an affiliate marketing license on September 20, 2012 * Websites: www.allvegaspoker.com and www.pokeratlas.com An affiliate marketing company that runs two prominent websites: AllVegasPoker.com and PokerAtlas.com. PokerTrip is owned by Jon Friedberg. PokerTrip was the first online gaming affiliate licensed in Nevada, or anywhere in the United States. Churchill Downs/Bluff Interactive * Issued an affiliate marketing license on July 11, 2013 * Website: www.bluff.com Churchill Downs purchased Bluff Media in 2012 and is now in charge of the popular poker news portal. Along with PokerTrip, BLUFF Interactive will act as an affiliate for Nevada online poker rooms.