Oh, the topsy-turvy world of US online poker. It was legal, and then it was illegal, and then it was legal again. Currently Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legislation allowing for legalized online gambling in their states. That is thanks to the Department of Justice in late 2011 deciding that online gambling should be regulated at the state level, not the federal level. It has since taken more than a year for all the bugs to be worked out, but at Noon EST on Tuesday, April 30, the first official hand of legalized US online poker will be dealt in Nevada.
In what can not be understated as an important move for the company, Ultimate Poker will be dealing legal US online poker for the first time in the Silver State, and the United States. Ultimate Poker Chairman Tom Breitling stated that his firm is “proud to be the first company to deliver legal and secure real-money online gamling to poker players.” Obviously, as the first company to hit the virtual felt since the DOJ 2011 ruling, this should have a significant financial impact on the company’s earnings as well.
Why has it taken so long? Breitling said that his company has worked closely with Nevada’s state gaming regulating body to ensure that online poker would go off without a hitch, and that the verification and policing processes were in place before the first hand was dealt. Ultimate Poker is a subsidiary of Station Casinos LLC, which happens to be the exclusive online gaming partner for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Recently Ultimate Poker signed online poker’s all-time tournament earnings leader, Antonio Esfandiari as a spokesperson and player.
Esfandiari even chimed in with his two cents, saying that he joined Ultimate Poker because he “knew the people behind this company” would launch poker in the right way. He also reminded possible US players that poker is now legitimate, and being delivered and regulated by a company with years of history offering online poker. The new regulations require that you be 21 years of age to play legal online poker in Nevada, and an extensive sign-up process is required. UltimatePoker.com version 1.0 will initially deliver Texas Hold ‘Em limit and ring games, with other games planned for the future.
The initial slate of Texas Hold ‘Em online poker contests will range from $0.01/$0.02 to $10/$20, and in a big victory for Nevada and US players, they can use their MasterCard to open an account with as little as a $10 deposit. There are also free play options, and players from around the world can register and open an account globally, but are only able to play when in Nevada. The initial offering will deliver a wide range of tournaments at different entry levels daily, specializing in six and nine-handed tables as well as heads-up winner take all contests.