Ultimate Poker, an online poker brand belonging to Fertitta, closed down on the noon of November 17, exactly 19 months after it was launched in Nevada.
Initially, it looked as if Ultimate Poker was on the way to success as it was the first licensed and regulated online poker room to be launched in the United States.
Two Plus Two, the popular online poker forum, has a thread that deals with Ultimate Poker. Right from the beginning, the site was plagued with software issues and whenever the operator fixed old bugs, new ones appeared, as a result of which gaming sessions were repeatedly interrupted. Ultimate Poker also disappointed players by never launching a mobile poker room or a Mac version of its software. When Real Gaming and WSOP.com were launched in Nevada’s newly regulated online poker market, Ultimate Poker couldn’t handle the competition.
According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which uses data from PokerScout.com, the online poker room “averaged just 60 players in one sitting much of the time over the past two weeks.”
Terrence Chan, Ultimate Poker’s former director for player operations, created a video in which Ultimate Poker’s software issues and faulty internal operations are revealed. Chan says that “there was a lot of application of the old-school brick-and-mortar model to this new internet business” and that everything about the online poker business was heavily influenced by Station Casinos and its executive officers, who employed the old-school style to run a brand new business.
Those associated with the mixed martial arts may understand the company’s culture as Chan describes it. He said: “There was a lot of leadership through fear and authority and ‘this is how it’s going to be.” … In the end, there was very little dissent.”
Chan opines that Ultimate Poker had the potential for success in spite of the tough competition and the strict regulations. The company failed because of its internal operating system, because of the unwillingness of Station Casino’s executive officers to allow “poker people” to run the business. The management also made errors such as spending huge sums of cash on consultants instead of recruiting talented people.
Tom Brietling, chairman of Ultimate Poker, says that Ultimate Poker had to be shut down because it just could not generate the expected revenue. He also said that state-level legalization of online poker has led to the creation of a “cost-prohibitive and challenging operating environment.”