Friday, September 20, 2013

Two Players at the Online Table ( Takes a Seat)

There were eyes on yesterday with the official launch of the site for real money games. Not as much fanfare, it seemed, than was the case back in the spring when Ultimate Poker beat everyone to the table to deal the first hand of online poker 2.0, but still a notable moment.

Just peeking over at PokerScout, they’re reporting a 24-hour peak of 113 real money ring game players during the first day of operation at, with 46 on there on a Friday afternoon.

Will be curious to see where that graph settles once it rises over the near term, and how it will compare to the numbers over at Ultimate Poker. Over on UP it appears there are generally around 200 players at any given time, an average the site reached early on and at which it has remained for several months.

Unlike over at Ultimate Poker where it’s possible to rail all the games from outside of Nevada, there’s no looking in over at the real money games at (as far as I can tell). I have an account on the site and the play money client downloaded on my desktop, but that appears to be separate from the new real money games. I believe the software is similar, though, with hold’em, Omaha, and stud games available at a variety of stakes.

Over on Two Plus Two, a News, Views, and Gossip thread begun yesterday devoted to the launch is getting scant attention, with only three dozen posts thus far and a few thousand views although it is gamely keeping a spot on the front page.

As the player pool grows and the promotions get going in earnest, the site will gain more attention. There's already some WSOPE satellite stuff on there as well as some freerolls and guaranteed tourneys, and there will be this Online Championships starting in October that should get a lot of press -- nine tourneys comprising a first tourney series on the site. The press release that accompanied yesterday’s launch also outlines other marketing strategies in place including Total Rewards tie-ins and lots of television and other forms of advertising planned.

I’m curious about the site and kind of vaguely hopeful about it, and indeed I have more hope for growing into something relatively significant with its ready-made brand than I’ve had for start-from-scratch Ultimate Poker. Can’t help but think the latter’s prospects have dimmed just a tad with another player finally having taken a seat at the U.S. online poker table.

That said, the broader effect at the moment -- and for the near future -- is not unlike a new live poker room opening up in Vegas, one that those of us living elsewhere might perhaps visit one day, but which otherwise doesn’t mean a heck of a lot to us just yet.

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