Online poker players in the US can finally play poker in a safe, licensed, and regulated environment two years after the federal government crackdown on major poker rooms Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker. The first licensed online poker room in the US, Ultimate Poker, was finally launched in Nevada a few days back.
The Nevada online poker market, though licensed and regulated, might not be liquid enough to attract high-stakes poker players who left the country after the events of Black Friday, but it is definitely a positive move. Ultimate Poker, an online poker brand belonging to Ultimate Gaming, dealt its first real money poker hand on April 30, Tuesday, at 9:00 a.m.
Ultimate Poker got a Nevada poker license in October and then created proprietary poker gaming software for its online poker product. This software got the regulators’ approval last month. Antonio Esfandiari, the poker player who has more live poker tournament winnings to his credit than any other player in poker history, is the first poker pro on Ultimate Poker.
Ultimate Poker has been launched at a time when the 44th World Series of Poker (WSOP) is just a few days away. Poker players from all over the world will be travelling to Las Vegas in large numbers to take part in one of the most lucrative poker tournaments in the world, and when they have some free time, they can play high-stakes online poker on Ultimate Poker.
Ultimate Poker accepts only players who are based in Nevada because the state has only legalized intrastate online poker. The online poker room can find out its members’ location by using the GPS tracking software on their mobile phones and getting the information required to determine if they are playing within the borders of the state. Verizon, the prominent mobile phone company, has not yet gotten associated with Ultimate Poker, but Ultimate Poker Product Manager Chris Danek said that the company will resolve this issue within a short time.
Delaware, though the first state to legalize intrastate online gambling, has not yet launched any online gambling product. New Jersey recently legalized online gambling and is now creating a regulatory framework for the same. It looks like it is just a matter of time before online poker returns to a fully regulated US poker market.
Meanwhile, recreational as well as professional players are free to play poker for real money in Las Vegas.