Tuesday May 7,2013 :  ULTIMATE POKER GROWING IN FIRST WEEK OF OPERATIONS IN NEVADA
 
Independent poker monitor reports that the first US online poker site is performing better than expected.
 
Following a week of excitement and mainstream media headlines, the first legalised online poker site to launch in the United States – Ultimate Poker – appears to be settling down and building good business.
 
The site, owned the Fertitta brothers of Station Casinos fame under their online gambling brand Ultimate Gaming, was given a 30-day permit to practically test the newly implemented online poker regulations in Nevada last week, and independent monitor Pokerscout reported on the first week of operations Monday.
 
Ultimate Poker has achieved full online licensing status from the Nevada regulators and was the first-to-market despite competition from many big land and online industry names.
 
Pokerscout concludes that the new site outperformed expectations, with traffic increasing every day, from 136 peak cash game players on launch day (last Tuesday) to 287 players on Sunday.
 
"The site dealt its 100,000th hand of poker on just its third day, and we estimate that well over 10,000 individual accounts have played for real money in the first week," Pokerscout reports.
 
Teething problems have included hassles with the registration process, including Verizon mobile phone customers being unable to register; difficulty downloading the software with Internet Explorer, and the lack of a mobile or Mac-friendly app. Ultimate is addressing these areas as a matter of urgency.
 
Poker offerings at Ultimate are divided into three different categories: Ring Games, Sit And Gos and Tournaments, and players can sort the available tables by stakes, table name, buy-in, number of players and more detailed information such as the average size of the pot, number of hands per hour and percentage of players who see the flop.
 
Managed by industry veterans Joe Versaci, Tobin Prior, Chris Derossi and Tom Breitling, the operation is powered by Cyberarts software, a long-established industry company that Ultimate acquired lock, stock and barrel in 2011.
 
“We feel our technology is a major advantage. Ultimate Poker’s proprietary software is completely owned and operated by parent company Ultimate Gaming, allowing for continuous investment and product development,” Ultimate chief exec Tobin Prior said recently.
 
Turning to the more general online poker sector over the past week, Pokerscout reports a welcome reversal – albeit a small one – of the declining traffic trend that has been evident over the past eight consecutive weeks.
 
Online poker traffic climbed 0.5 percent last week, with gainers outnumbered losers 6-4.
 
Overall, the market is down 18 percent from the same period in 2012.
 
Notable occurrences flagged by Pokerscout included Merge Gaming Network player counts tumbling after the network apparently split in two on May 1.
 
"Although network ring-fences are subject to change without notice, at the time of writing it appears that Carbon Poker and Aced are running on a completely separate network from PlayersOnly and Sportsbook," reports Pokerscout. "There is no overlap between the two segments in the cash game tables at any stakes.
 
"Carbon Poker and Aced appear to have kept at least two-thirds of the players. After the split, Carbon player counts dropped by not quite 20 percent. The decline may be purely a result of losing the other network segment from the player pool, although a simultaneous rake increase may also be impacting player counts."