Anyone who has played poker could tell you what a wild roller coaster ride of a game it always is. The course of history for Internet poker in Nevada has fittingly, been no different. It has been long and complex. The very first site to start dealing real money online poker was called Planet Poker, officially kicking off its action on New Year’s Day in 1998.
The competition only rose from there. As more and more sites began to develop, software was becoming more and more advanced. As the popularity grew, the amount of revenue it generated broke into the millions, and then the billions.
The Beginning of the End
April 15, 2011 is infamously known as Black Friday throughout the Internet poker world. However, the days preceding Black Friday started years earlier. During October of 2006, President George Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Its purpose was to outlaw businesses from transferring funds to and from all gambling sites. Nothing about it specifically mentioned poker. With all of the finalizing and formulating and this and that and all of the other millions of complicated things it takes to pass a law, compliance for this was not to be mandated until June of 2010.
The most majorly known sites like Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet, Absolute Poker, and PokerStars ignored the UIGEA and continued to allow Americans to deposit and play. This didn’t go on for very long, as less than a year from when compliance was mandated, Black Friday dropped its bomb on Internet poker.
The United States Department of Justice released a long indictment against the main executives of the aforementioned poker sites for violating the UIGEA. Later that day, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker had already shut out everyone from playing in the USA, while everything proceeded is normal for the rest of the world. Absolute and UltimateBet did not respond immediately, but finally did so on April 21, ensuring their top priority was refunding players all of their money. Still, no one has seen a penny. PokerStars paid out almost immediately. Within a few months, it was revealed that Full Tilt Poker was a global Ponzi scheme. Owing about $390 million to its American players, it only had $60 million available. The whole thing was a disaster. It was nearly 3 years of back and forth negotiating before any money started being returned. It has been estimated that about 94% of what was owed has been paid out.
Tremendous efforts have been made to bring back the legality of online poker to the United States. In the big picture of it all, very little has been accomplished. However, Nevadans have been back in action for a few years now. On December 22, 2011, just a few months removed from Black Friday, the Nevada Gaming Commission set forward the process of trying to bring Internet poker back to the Silver State. After all of that reached a resolution, the first Internet poker site to return to Nevada was on April 30, 2013, a site called Ultimate Poker. The Station Casinos were the ones operating the site, and promoted it greatly inside their properties. Players had the luxury of depositing or withdrawing from their accounts right at the casino cages. This was certainly a nice reprieve. When the UIGEA was passed, even though it was still doable, getting money in and out of your poker accounts was not so easy. This was just part of why Internet poker games also continued to progressively get harder and harder to beat. The majority of the players willing to jump through all of the hoops were the serious players.
Ultimate Poker took off right away. Hundreds of players were on it from the first day. The only people allowed to play were those inside of Nevada. It did not matter if you were a resident of Nevada. In order to ensure that no one just outside the borders of Nevada could play, if you were within a mile of the border, your action was rejected.
On September 17, 2013, WSOP.com was launched, and within a number of weeks had already taken over as the top site. It had been heavily promoted during that previous summer’s World Series of Poker, which helped take players away from Ultimate Poker. The software was way better, and there were many more games available. Texas Hold’em has been the most popular game for years, and that was all you could play at Ultimate Poker. WSOP had 7 card stud, 7 card stud 8/B, Omaha, and Omaha 8/B. It was a far more complete site. Ultimate Poker could not hang. November 17, 2014 was the last day of Ultimate Poker’s short lived existence.
A third Internet poker site entered the mix on February 19, 2014. The site was called Real Gaming, and run by the local South Point casino. Player could deposit and withdraw right at the cage. The only game offered was also Texas Hold’em, and you could only play cash games or single table tournaments. It never stood much of a chance. The graphics and software were weak. Hardly anyone played on the site at a given time; maybe a few dozen people. Stories circulated regarding collusion. Of course, collusion is always going to be a threat when playing online, but for a lesser known low key site that barely has anyone on it to begin with, it already looks the part for potential cheaters to set up shop. The site is believed to have folded sometime during the summer of 2016.
So WSOP.com it is if you are wanting to play Internet poker in Nevada. The VIP program is called The Action Club. Players may earn anywhere from 8-35% rakeback based on how much monthly rake they pay each month. As a new player, you will receive a 100% initial deposit bonus as great as $400. Also, after you make your first deposit of $10, you get tickets for 7 $100 freeroll tournaments. These expire after 7 days.
On July 2, 2015, WSOP.com hosted its first ever bracelet event during that summer’s WSOP. The buy-in was $1,000. They played down to 2 players on the first day, and those 2 met each other to finish the event at the Rio on July 4. This event was repeated during the 2016 WSOP, and will presumably continue in the years to come. During the spring and summer, there are numerous satellite events offered to players to try and get into various WSOP tournaments. Some of these events you may enter for only $1. Others are total freerolls.
The No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha cash games start for as small as 1 cent/2 cent and they progress from there by multiples of 2. The PLO tops off at $25/$50 and NLH goes up to $200/$400. The 7 Card Stud hi and 8/B fixed limit games begin at 5 cent/10 cent and get up to $10/$20.
The fixed limit Hold’em cash games start at 5 cent/10 cent and go up to $150/$300. There are no limit games for Omaha Hi. The limits for Omaha 8/B start at 5 cent/10 cent and go up to $50/$100.
The single table Sit-n-Go tournaments start at $1 and go up to $200. You can play a 1 on 1 heads up tournament, 6 handed, or 9 handed. They are also offered as turbo, or super turbo tournaments if you are looking for a fast and furious outcome. All other tournaments also range from the $1 to $200 entry, with the occasional special tournament that requires $500 for entry. $500 events are usually reserved for things like wanting to qualify for the $10,000 main event tournament.
Or if you are just looking to play some poker for fun and don’t have any interest in winning or losing any money, playmoney cash games and tournaments are offered for all of the said poker games.