Nevada Poker Week in Review: UP Improves, WSOP Traffic Moves

Posted on July 21, 2014

It was a big week for poker in Nevada.

The World Series of Poker wrapped up with the playdown to the November Nine, Ultimate Poker made another deal, and WSOP.com is left with how to retain players while many of them leave the state.

Much of the online poker news in Nevada revolves around waiting to see what happens.

While the Gaming Control Board recently authorized a shared player pool between 888 and WSOP, the former has yet to announce a launch date for its site. And the good that may come from the long-awaited materialization of the Nevada and New Jersey liquidity partnership still has no firm date. Meanwhile, the Nevada Gaming Commission must approve the 888 / WSOP deal, which will happen in the next week.

Another wait-and-see aspect of the online poker world in Nevada is how the burgeoning industry will move forward after the WSOP. Much of the recent boost in revenue numbers will be seen in the June revenue numbers, which have yet to be released. And now that the live WSOP events have wrapped up, sites like WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker have to figure out how to keep their momentum alive after many players have left town.

With Ultimate Gaming having made some recent upgrades and solidified a partnership with another Las Vegas casino, UP has potential. But taking customers from WSOP, which built a very solid reputation during the live summer series, will be a task unto itself.

Time will tell, as they say.

Ultimate Poker Partners with El Cortez

The latest news from Ultimate Poker includes one of the oldest casinos in Las Vegas. The online poker site announced a deal with El Cortez, a legendary downtown casino that has a small but loyal fan base.

El Cortez has already begun marketing Ultimate Poker to its patrons, and online poker players can use the casino for in-person deposits and withdrawals. The deal is similar to the one recently announced between UP and Peppermill Casinos in Northern Nevada.

The broadening of UP’s marketing abilities cannot be a bad thing for the struggling company, but it remains to be seen if Peppermill and El Cortez can really add enough players and revenue to make much of a difference.

Ultimate Poker lost a good deal of business recently to WSOP in Nevada, especially during the live series since May. And UP continues to struggle with online payment processing issues via credit cards.

The site did launch a few July promotions, though, including the “Big 10” eight-day low buy-in tournament series. Players can compete for $10 for guarantees of $1K or $2K in Hold’em or Omaha. There are also $2 satellites running for those tournaments.

WSOP Tries to Keep Winning Ways

WSOP.com is coming down this week from a massive summer. The site hit an all-time traffic high during the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, surpassing every other regulated online poker site in the United States, even longtime market leader PartyPoker in New Jersey.

But many of those players are now leaving Las Vegas, and traffic will likely take a dive.

The WSOP is trying to capitalize on the ESPN television broadcasts of the summer tournaments, which have already started airing. The “Watch the Show, Play for Dough” is attempting to partner those watching the WSOP on television in Nevada with some online tournaments. Three tournaments over the first three Tuesdays of ESPN broadcasts are guaranteeing $2,500 prize pools each.

The next few weeks of traffic will show exactly how much of a dip the traffic will take and if they can maintain Nevada dominance over Ultimate Poker.

WSOP Sets November Nine

The live World Series of Poker finally wrapped in Las Vegas earlier this week with the end of the Main Event. That tournament played down to the November Nine late on the night of July 14, and those players are now on hiatus until November, at which time they will play for the $10 million first place prize.

WSOP.com proclaimed from the very beginning that it would not sponsor players. That is unfortunate due to the fact that two players in the November Nine would be good choices. William Tonking is a regular player on WSOP.com in New Jersey, where he resides, and Dan Sindelar lives in Las Vegas as a professional poker player.

Even so, the cast of characters in the November Nine is quite interesting, with a range of players from recreational to seasoned pro. While they are all younger than 32 years old, they represent a broad spectrum of players from the world of poker, as well as hail from six countries.

Mark Newhouse is the biggest story of the event thus far, though, as he made the November Nine two years in a row. It is a great feat considering the field sizes in 2013 and 2014. Though he finished ninth last year, he vowed to do better this year and has a much more substantial stack of chips with which to do so.

The final table chip counts for the Main Event, as well as the countries they represent, will make for an exciting November Nine for fans of the game:

  • Jorryt van Hoof (Netherlands) 38,375,000
  • Felix Stephensen (Norway) 32,775,000
  • Mark Newhouse (USA) 26,000,000
  • Andoni Larrabe (Spain) 22,550,000
  • Dan Sindelar (USA) 21,200,000
  • William Pappaconstantinou (USA) 17,500,000
  • William Tonking (USA) 15,050,000
  • Martin Jacobson (Sweden) 14,900,000
  • Bruno Politano (Brazil) 12,125,000

Even that final table is on hold for several months. The wait-and-see aspect of poker in Nevada may be getting out of hand.

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