Ultimate Poker Review

by James Carter on February 19th, 2015.

Ultimate Poker is the first legal and regulated online poker room in the United States and it operates in Nevada and New Jersey. It was launched on April 30th, 2013 and had the first mover advantage since the second regulated room (WSOP.com) launched months later.

Ultimate Poker Review

The software needs improvements

Ultimate Poker's software feels clunky and resembles first generation online poker room platforms from last decade. Tables open and close slowly and the lobby lags more often than it should.

But the lack of wait lists is what I dislike the most - there are only a few games running during most hours and if most of the games are full, I have to camp out watching the tables like a vulture (and I assume I'm not the only one).

And I can't take notes on my opponents. There is no way to save text or coloring to show player habits or identify them as a shark or fish.

Perhaps the most annoying issue is that my computer (with 8GB memory) can't handle the Ultimate Poker software and eventually crashes. Additionally, once I re-open the software and log-in, I have to manually find the tables (they don't open automatically).

A positive feature is the chance to pick-up the money at a casino gage. I live right by Red Rock and can pick up cash on the same day I requested it. Plus, the cage is open 24 hours a day.

Verification issues

The biggest issue that Ultimate Poker faced at its launch was related to its location verification system (Nevada law requires that a player must be physically located in the state to sit at a real money table).

There is a two-step process to verify a player's location:

  1. Confirm a computer's location through its IP address.
  2. Confirm the player's location through cell phone triangulation.

The cell phone is pinged by multiple cell phone towers to determine whether it is in Nevada. The cellular GPS device then provides an estimated location of the player.

They've had a few problems with the system:

  1. Verizon is the largest cell service provider in Nevada, yet Ultimate Poker never signed an agreement with them to provide geolocation services and had issues with other providers as well.
  2. Anyone located within one mile of the state line cannot play due to the margin of error of the technology. This excludes players in South Lake Tahoe, Mesquite, Laughlin, Primm, Jackpot and West Wendover.
  3. Many internet connections have IP addresses in other states (especially ones used by hotels and cell phone providers).

These problems haven't been worked out yet.

Welcome bonus

Ultimate Poker offers new players a $50 bonus on all first deposits of $50 or more. The bonus clears when 1,500 Experience Points (XPs) are earned within 90 days. The bonus is released in one lump sum. There is no partial credit if 1,500 XPs are not earned in 90 days.

The bonus is equivalent to 33% rakeback.

You earn XPs while playing cash games, sit and gos and tournaments. In cash games, you must win the pot to receive XPs. This rake method is called winner-takes-all.

One XP is credited for every $.10 in rake taken from the pot. Sit and go and multi table tournament players earn 1 XP for every $.10 in fees paid. For example, a $10+$1 sit and go would give each player 10 XPs.

Depositing money to Ultimate Poker

You can make a deposit in five ways:

  1. Cashier cage
  2. Mastercard
  3. Electronic checks
  4. Check-by-mail
  5. Bank wire

The most popular way to deposit is to visit a Station Casinos cashier cage, which are located inside Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Wild Wild West, Palace Station, Santa Fe Station, Texas Station, Boulder Station, Fiesta and Wildfire casinos.

All deposit methods have a $10 minimum except for bank wire which has a $500 minimum. Ultimate Poker does not charge any deposit fees, although some methods will incur fees charged by the depositor's bank.

You can deposit (and create an account) even if you're located outside of Nevada but only play from the inside.

Withdrawing money from Ultimate Poker

You can withdraw your account balance for free in two ways:

  1. Pick-up cash at any Station Casinos' cashier.
  2. Order a check-by-mail.

Cashier withdrawals are processed in 24 hours and checks are delivered in 3-5 days on average.

What games are available?

You can only play Texas Hold'em at Ultimate Poker (no Omaha, Stud or mixed games). Most games are No Limit Texas Hold'em and their action starts at $.01/$.02 and runs up to $10/$20, although there's little action above $1/$2 blinds.

They have one or two Limit Hold'em games running during peak hours, usually in the micro limits.

How many players are there?

Ultimate Poker's cash game traffic peaks at about 300 players daily. It averages about 140 players at any given time. There are cash games running 24 hours a day.

Due to the low traffic, Ultimate Poker has experimented with 7-seat sit and gos which have been a success (top-3 players are paid). Some micro sit and gos are steps to higher buy-in tournaments.

Ultimate Poker offers several daily tournaments with guaranteed prizepools. There is a nightly $2,500 guaranteed with a $100 buy-in and a $1,000 guaranteed with a $50 buy-in. A $750 guaranteed tournament with a $10 buy-in and a $500 guaranteed with a $40 buy-in are also offered. Sundays offer a $1,000 Sunday Kickoff with a $1,000 guaranteed prize pool, which has a $10 buy-in. The main event every Sunday is the $10,000 guaranteed with a $100 buy-in.

Color Up VIP program

Ultimate Poker offers 10 VIP tiers. There are 8 monthly tiers and two annuals ones. Players earn Ultimate Points (UP) immediately. There is no monthly minimum for earning VIP points. Players at the Green Chip tier and higher are invited to a weekly $250 freeroll. Black Chip tiered players and higher receive tickets to a $1,000 freeroll. These are held at 12:30pm on Sundays.

Each Ultimate Poker VIP tier has a UP multiplier:

Tier XP Meter Multiplier Term
White 0 1 Month
Red 20 2 Month
Green 100 4 Month
Black 500 6 Month
Purple 1,000 8 Month
Yellow 2,500 10 Month
Orange 5,000 12 Month
Cranberry 10,000 15 Month
Gold 100,000 18 Year
Platinum 1,000,000 30 Year

Players may exchange UPs for cash or merchandise in the Ultimate Poker VIP store. There are milestones that award cash prizes:

XP Meter Cash U-Points
25,000 $25 1,000
50,000 $25 1,000
75,000 $25 1,000
100,000 $100 1,000
200,000 $450 100,000
300,000 $500 100,000
400,000 $800 100,000
500,000 $1,000 100,000
600,000 $1,200 100,000
700,000 $1,500 100,000
800,000 $2,000 100,000
1,000,000 $10,000 1,000,000