Nevada Online Poker Review: The Study You Need To Read, Bovada Better Look Out, and More

Written By Steve Ruddock on April 18, 2014
nevada online poker legal regulated news update traffic results

The big news in Nevada online poker this week has sprouted from of all places a rumor, but it’s a big enough deal that it has commandeered a lot of the headlines, and it commandeered a few of the stories in this week’s Nevada Online Poker Review.

So what is the rumor? You’ll find out as your reading this week’s column of course!

In addition to the rumors we’ll also talk about an interesting column that appeared on the Center for Public Integrity website; the upcoming one year anniversary of online poker n Nevada; some more anti-online gambling rhetoric from a Las Vegas Sands executive; and the latest tournament and traffic trends in the state.

Center for Public Integrity takes on iGaming

The Center for Public Integrity unveiled an incredibly in-depth look at the current fight for online gambling, taking an unbiased look at both sides in the fight, including where their funding comes from and how they are spending their lobbying money.

Anyone who follows iGaming should read this article and take careful note of its contents.

Perhaps one of the more interesting slants of the story is the continued funding of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) by the Rational Group, the parent company of PokerStars, as well as Rational’s individual lobbying efforts at the state and federal level, something I was unaware of.

Another piece of the puzzle that few people have a strong handle on is the role Joe Brennan Jr’s iMEGA played in the legislation that was eventually passed in New Jersey.

Anniversary of Nevada online poker approaching

In just two weeks time the Nevada online poker industry will celebrate its one year anniversary.

How has the first year gone for Nevada online poker rooms? The industry hasn’t been what I would call a success, but it’s far from being a failure.

So far online poker in Nevada has been the very definition of mediocre in my opinion.

The market peaked relatively quickly, but has failed to continue to mature as most people had hoped; actually the current market, with three poker rooms, is smaller than when Ultimate Poker was the sole proprietor.

The good news is, we have an impending interstate online poker agreement between Nevada and Delaware that is expected to launch this summer, and now rumors are swirling that New Jersey may be thinking about joining the Delaware/Nevada partnership.

All things considered, Nevada has performed admirably considering they were hamstrung by being first state with legalized online poker (the guinea pig) and considering the sparse population they had to work with the expectations were never all that high to begin with.

Sands COO says iGaming all about taxes for Feds

Recently, Las Vegas Sands President and COO Michael Leven called the current efforts to legalize online gambling in the US a cash grab, saying the federal government was simply looking for something else to tax, and said of the entire conversation, “It’s all about finding more money,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Leven made the remarks at the Nevada Republican Party’s VIP Breakfast at South point — which ironically is one of three online poker providers in Nevada, with their Real Gaming product.

Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada Sunday $15K Guaranteed

This week’s running of the $15k guaranteed at attracted 93 players. With a buy-in of $215 ($200+$15) the prize-pool easily eclipsed the guarantee, topping out at $18,600.

Here is a look at the final table payouts:

  1. ucheckicheck – $5,301.00
  2. FromBehind – $3,069.00
  3. papaya – $1,860.00
  4. ValueTown – $1,488.00
  5. BeTheLight – $1,283.40
  6. naifliest – $1,097.40
  7. chairman99 – $911.40
  8. bewater – $634.40
  9. kingpin1 – $502.20

WSOP Main Event Satellite

Just a week after meeting its guarantee for the first time, the $215 buy-in WSOP Main Event qualifier handed out one of its biggest overlays.

Only 34 players registered for the tournament, which meant an overlay of $3,200 for the registered players. The winner of the tournament was a player with a terrific screen-name, “Don_Key” who will now find him or herself in the World Series of Poker Main Event with a chance at the $10 million first-place prize.

  1. Don_Key — Seat to the 2014 WSOP Main Event

The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker

Ultimate Poker wasn’t as fortunate as as they handed out an $1,810 overlay after just 90 players registered for their $10k Guarantee, featuring a buy-in of $100 ($91+$9).

Here is a look at the final table payouts:

  1. GrnSmoothie – $2,900
  2. oceansso7 – $2,000
  3. Kado10 – $1,500
  4. DrMcBoy – $1,000
  5. VegasPlayer – $800
  6. JP – $600
  7. mrslick – $500
  8. luckisreal – $400
  9. swordfish515 – $300

Traffic trends in Nevada

After some gains the Nevada online poker market has suffered a significant setback, as traffic numbers dipped roughly 13% this past week according to’s data. saw average traffic drop from an average of 110 cash-game players to just 95, while Ultimate Poker suffered a similar decline, dropping from an average of 75 cash-game players to just 65 this week.

What about South Point’s Real Gaming online poker site? The site is still struggling to gain any type of foothold in the market, and it’s tables remain virtually empty most of the day.

Of course, there is still hope that the World Series of Poker, which kicks-off next month, will see a surge in players, and that the upcoming pooling of players with Delaware will also help out on the traffic front — with the above mentioned potential for a partnership with New Jersey that has been discussed being a Holy Grail of sorts.

The word on the street

New Jersey may finally be interested in joining forces

You’ve already seen several mentions of this in this column, but just to emphasize how big a deal this would actually be, if this comes about average cash-game traffic would suddenly start approaching four-figures from all of the licensed sites combined.

Basically, the only unlicensed online poker site that could compete would be Bovada.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve is a well-recognized voice in the regulated U.S. online gambling industry. He writes for a number of online and print publications including, USA Today, and others, with a focus on the legal market.

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