On April 30, 2013, Ultimate Poker was the first state-regulated online poker room to open in the United States, and it happened in Nevada. Backed by Station Casinos, a major brand in Las Vegas, this online poker room made the rounds in mainstream media initially. While things didn't end all that well for this particular brand, online poker is still alive in Nevada today, and there have been some pretty significant developments that have happened as a result of the action taken in this state to regulate the game. It's clear that Nevada is the leader and pioneer in offering legal online poker in the USA.
If you want to play with the state regulated site, WSOP is your choice. However the offshore sites might be a better option as they have more traffic, better bonuses and are just as safe and secure as any state site. And the offshore sites pay off just as fast and reliable as the state sanctioned sites.
|Site Name||Bonus Offer||Rating||States||USA|
|Betonline||200% Max $2500||50/50|
|Bovada||100% Max $1000||45/50|
|Sportsbetting||200% Max $2500||50/50|
|WSOP Poker||100% Max $400||3/50|
The brief history of online poker in Nevada centers largely around the rise and demise of the Ultimate Poker site. Because it was the first to market, it got quite a bit of attention with hundreds of players getting in on the action. They actually had a Sunday major with a maximum of 200 players with a $100 buy-in for a $20,000 prize pool, and it was the first regulated Sunday major tournament in the US. While things were great at first, it only lasted for a few months.
The reason for this is that WSOP.com launched in September 2013, and in less than two months, it had taken over Ultimate Poker as the most popular regulated online poker site in the state. There were a number of reasons for this, but it largely came down to a number of lessons that have been very instructional for other sites in other regulated states.
The first thing to realize is that poker is the only form of online gambling regulated in Nevada. This probably helps their numbers a bit since people who want to gamble online don't have any other regulated option. Second, Ultimate Poker's demise was largely because of a lack of solid software.
The WSOP software is based heavily on the 888 Poker software, and they've had years to perfect it. Ultimate Poker, on the other hand, was running a proprietary poker program that didn't offer nearly the selection of games or functionality as their main competitor. The lesson learned here is that working with companies that have been in the online poker industry for years (or even decades) is going to always be necessary. This is because companies that are just starting out making software cannot compete with the experience and skill of the companies that have been doing it for a long time.
Ultimate Poker shut down in November 2014 leaving WSOP.com and another company, Real Gaming, to be the only options. Real Gaming suffers from the same disadvantages as Ultimate Poker in that their software is extremely inferior, only allowing NLHE ring-games and single-table tournaments. As a result, they often only have one table going in the entire online poker room, and there's no way they're making a profit.
WSOP, however, controls virtually the entire market outside of the single table of holdouts at the Real Gaming poker room, and their usage of the 888 software has proved crucial in maintaining control of the market as a whole. It's a pretty big lesson that states who regulated the industry later on came to learn and make use of so that their regulated poker rooms didn't suffer the same fate as Ultimate Poker and Real Gaming.
Because it's so important to have as big of a pool of players at the tables as possible to maintain the poker ecology, Nevada signed a deal with Delaware that would allow them to share players in the first ever regulated interstate poker deal. While this deal helped Delaware a lot more than it helped Nevada, what's more important is that it laid the groundwork for a larger network of interstate poker sites in the future, and that is the one thing that will help US online poker as a whole more than anything else.
For now, we'll have to see which states come on board and decide to regulate the industry and join this interstate pact, but it was definitely the start of everything anyone could hope for when it comes to online poker in the United States.