Nevada became the first US state to legalize and regulate online poker, dealing its first hand of the virtual game on April 30, 2013. The first operator in the Silver State was Ultimate Poker, owned by Station Casinos. WSOP.com was next to launch and dealt its first hand on September 17, 2013. Real Gaming, an online poker room backed by South Point Casino, later became the third virtual poker room in the state.
Today, only WSOP.com operates with any sort of success, as the site is by far the market leader. Ultimate Poker folded in November 2014, about a year and a half after opening, and Real Gaming suffers from no liquidity to produce games.
WSOP.com is operated by Caesars Interactive Entertainment and benefits greatly from a couple of key aspects. For one, WSOP.com is a World Series of Poker-branded online poker room. The WSOP is arguably the biggest poker brand in the world, giving strong recognition to WSOP.com which is promoted heavily during the live WSOP festival that takes place in Las Vegas every summer. Backed by Caesars and branded WSOP, WSOP.com has the ability to host WSOP gold bracelet tournaments and WSOP Circuit events on its platform. Second, WSOP.com has a three-state player pool across Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. It is currently the only legally regulated online poker site in the US to operate with a multi-state player pool.
Ultimate Poker First To Launch
Ultimate Poker became the first legal and regulated online poker room to deal real-money games in Nevada when it opened its virtual doors on April 30, 2013. The site was operated as a subsidiary of Station Casinos and was deemed the exclusive online gaming partner of the popular Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Well-known poker professional Antonio Esfandiari was Ultimate Poker’s first brand ambassador. Other brand ambassadors to sign with Ultimate Poker later included Jason Somerville, Dan O’Brien, Jeremy Ausmus, and Danielle Andersen.
After its launch, Ultimate Poker became the first regulated online poker site in the US to host a real-money gaming multi-table tournament. That first-ever regulated, real-money tournament was a $100 buy-in event with a $10,000 guaranteed prize pool. The tournament reached its cap of 200 players and awarded a $4,173 top prize to the winner, ‘d4heals.’
WSOP.com Launches, Quickly Becomes Market Leader
Although WSOP.com launched in Nevada five months after Ultimate Poker did, the site quickly eclipsed Ultimate Poker in traffic. Brand power likely played a big role in WSOP.com early success in surpassing Ultimate Poker as the market leader, and many players in the state viewed WSOP.com’s software as the superior of the two and the reason they elected to play more on WSOP.com than on Ultimate Poker.
Another reason for WSOP.com’s rise and Ultimate Poker’s decline was that WSOP.com offered more games. Ultimate Poker focused entirely on Texas hold’em poker, but WSOP.com had additional variants such as Omaha and seven-card stud. Although games outside of Texas hold’em are very much less popular, additional offerings attracted more players to the site on WSOP.com.
Ultimate Poker Shuts Down Less Than Two Years After Launch
Less than two years after its launch, Ultimate Poker ceased operations in the State of Nevada, shutting down in November of 2014.
Although Ultimate Poker ultimately didn’t work out, the site helped pave the way for regulated online poker in the US as we know it today. The site was the first to launch in Nevada, providing online poker players in a post-Black Friday world the first opportunity to play online poker in a legal and regulated environment.
Nevada Joins with New Jersey and Delaware for Shared Player Pool
In February 2014, Nevada and Delaware signed an agreement to share player pools across the two states, thus becoming the first multi-state player pool in the new regulated US market. With Delaware’s online poker traffic being extremely small, the maneuver had more of a historical significance than impact on the games. Players in Delaware benefitted more than those in Nevada, as Nevada’s player pool had dwarfed Delaware’s at the time.
Although signed in February 2014, the agreement didn’t go live until more than a year later in March 2015.
Fast forward a couple of years to April 2018. New Jersey, the other US state with regulated online poker, had signed an agreement to join in on the player pooling. After launching shared liquidity on May 1, 2018, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are currently sharing a player pool across all three states via WSOP.com’s multi-state platform.
Current Places To Play Online Poker in Nevada
Currently, WSOP.com is the only true offering of online poker in the State of Nevada. Although Real Gaming is still operational, it doesn’t have any traffic worthwhile. Much like the World Series of Poker rules the Nevada live poker scene during June and July, WSOP.com rules Nevada’s online poker market as the only true option for real-money online poker in the state.
WSOP.com is the leading online poker site in the USA, with the largest liquidity and the most traffic. The site features an interstate player pool across Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, allowing players from all three states to compete against one another on the virtual felt in a truly multi-state online gaming environment. The site is run by Caesars Interactive Entertainment, with software powered by 888poker.
WSOP.com is available for both desktop and mobile. PC and Mac users can play on WSOP.com via the desktop client, and mobile users can experience gameplay for both iOS and Android.
Cash games, tournaments, and sit-n-gos are available from WSOP.com, and game variants include no-limit and limit Texas hold’em, pot-limit Omaha, pot-limit Omaha hi-lo, limit Omaha hi-lo, seven-card stud, and seven-card stud hi-lo. Although there are a few options, the site’s games largely consist of no-limit Texas hold’em.
Sign up for a new WSOP.com account in the USA today and receive a 100% match bonus on your deposit, up to $600.
World Series of Poker and WSOP Circuit Events On WSOP.com
Drawing off its World Series of Poker branding, WSOP.com hosts gold bracelet tournaments and WSOP Circuit events on its online platform.
The venture first began in 2015, when WSOP.com held the first online gold bracelet tournament during the 2015 WSOP. That first event had a buy-in of $1,000 and attracted a field of 905 entries to generate a prize pool of $859,750. Anthony Spinella topped the field to win the $197,743 first-place prize and gold bracelet. In 2016, WSOP.com’s online gold bracelet event grew to attract 1,247 entries and generate a $1.184 million prize pool. Clayton Maquire won the event for $210,279 and a gold bracelet.
In 2017, WSOP.com’s online gold bracelet offering increased to three events, with buy-ins of $333, $1,000, and $3,333. Those tournaments attracted 2,509 entries, 1,312 entries, and 424 entries, respectively, and generated combined prize pools of more than $3.3 million. In 2018, four online gold bracelet events were offered, including the first online pot-limit Omaha gold bracelet.
At the beginning of 2018, WSOP.com hosted one event from the WSOP Circuit Rio Las Vegas tournament series, akin to how WSOP.com had hosted online bracelet events during the big summer series. This tournament was a $365 buy-in event that attracted 420 entries and generated a $137,760. Interestingly enough, the winner was Spinella, who had now won the first-ever gold ring online event after winning the first-ever gold bracelet online event.
After the success of its online gold bracelet events in their fourth year and the gold ring event it held in February 2018, WSOP.com hosted its first-ever WSOP.com Online Circuit series in September 2018. The full series of tournaments featured 13 gold ring events and more than $700,000 in combined prize pool guarantees. The $525 Main Event attracted 682 entries for a $341,000 prize pool. Shawn Daniels won the title for $83,545.