Tuesday, April 30, 2013

U.S. Online Poker 2.0: Ultimate Poker Deals First Hand

You’ve no doubt heard the news already -- real money online poker is being played within the United States at this very moment, with the Ultimate Poker site in Nevada suddenly springing to life this morning to deal its first hand. The site went live just about an hour ago at 9 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, noon here on the east coast.

Like you, I awoke to the news that UP was going to be going live today. Kind of surprised, actually, that there wasn’t a lengthy roll out or even any real advance notice beforehand, although I guess we all knew the launch was going to be soon. I went ahead and registered with the site, even though I’m in North Carolina and cannot play as yet. I will be in Nevada this summer, however, for the World Series of Poker, and so might well get on there to play a bit while I am there.

That said, there are other issues presently in the way of my playing on Ultimate Poker besides not being physically located within Nevada.

My cell phone carrier is Verizon, and apparently that’s going to exclude me right now as well. In order to play on Ultimate Poker, one must have a cell phone in order to use the site’s “location services” function. In order to determine that a player is in Nevada, the player has to respond to a text message sent to his or her cell phone, which theoretically confirms for Ultimate Poker that the player is within Nevada’s borders. (Easy to imagine folks scheming to work around this method of confirmation.) Anyhow, apparently Verizon customers are out of luck with regard to this system, and so cannot presently get verified to play.

Another hiccup for me is the fact that there really isn’t a good option for Mac users to play at present. There is a workaround, apparently, but it’s more than I want to deal with, especially as I’m not even in NV.

Hopefully both of those issues get resolved before mid-June when I get to Nevada with my Verizon phone and Mac laptop. Not going to get too worked up over the various snags as yet, though, as I think it is only fair to let the site get up and operational before any judgments can be meaningful.

I watched the first hand being dealt on Ultimate Poker a while ago. A $4.55+$0.45 turbo sit-n-go appeared in the lobby at the top of the hour, and after about nine minutes or so the nine spots were taken and the single-table tourney got underway. Check out the Hand ID# in the top left corner:

The player chazman then knocked out prognostic on the very first hand of the SNG after the latter flopped top pair then chazman turned a spade flush and they got it all in on fourth street with prognostic drawing dead. In the end, chazman finished third for $8.45, jharrington took second for $12.50, and a player simply named Ken won the sucker for $20.

Shortly after that SNG began the lobby began to fill with many other sit-n-go options with buy-ins ranging from $0.25 up to $100. Cash tables appeared in the lobby as well, with limit hold’em games ranging from $0.05/$0.10 up to $10/$20, and NL games from $0.01/$0.02 to $3/$6. All games are hold’em right now, as well.

Not too much is happening as yet, though. At the moment it looks like only seven players are sitting at the cash tables. Meanwhile there haven’t been enough players to get a second full-ring SNG going, although two have started a $5 heads-up one.

Of course, as I mentioned, it was only hours ago that most even heard the news that Ultimate Poker was going live, and given the hoops those who are in Nevada presently need to go through before being able to deposit and play, I wouldn’t expect the site to get too much traffic during these first few hours or days.

It could be that part of the thinking behind surprise-springing the launch in this way was to prevent having too much business right off the bat, thereby enabling those running the show to ease into things a little more carefully. A better explanation, though, is that Ultimate Poker simply wanted to be the first to deal real money hands, period, as the benefits of being the only option in what is necessarily a small marketplace are obviously huge.

Will be curious to see how things progress from here. Am really, really hopeful it all goes relatively smoothly as it is obviously important for the reintroduction of online poker in the U.S. to play out minus the scandals and other problems that became such a conspicuous part of our previous experience with online poker here in the states.

In other words, I sincerely hope the rush to be first doesn’t mean any unforeseen (or yet-to-be-dealt-with) issues arise to create problems going forward for U.S. Online Poker 2.0.

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Blogger dD said...

read about this and seen several references to cell phones ....
what if you actually access the net over cable ??
you do still have cable/landlines over there, don't you ??

5/01/2013 7:38 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Hey, dD. Yes, we have cable/landlines/etc., but the verification via cell phone is actually distinct from how you access the internet.

5/03/2013 9:40 AM  

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