Update: Ultimate Poker is no longer providing an online poker service. We recommend BetOnline Poker.
Ultimate Poker has the honor of being the first online poker room to have dealt a real money poker hand in the regulated US market. That day was April 30th 2013 and it means that this new room will always have a little part of poker history attached to it. The debate will rage about the 'fact' that it was the first to deal a legal hand as many offshore online poker rooms are fully regulated, just not in the United States, however thousands of US players use and enjoy these rooms each and every day. Let's not detract from the review and firstly we need to look at who is in fact eligible to play at Ultimate Poker. There are extremely strict rules and regulations as to who can sign up and play real money poker. You must be over 21 years of age and be able to provide social security numbers and a copy of a government issued form of ID to prove it. Players must also be physically located within the state borders of Nevada in order to play a hand, as well as submit a phone number so that geo location software can make sure that you are in fact within state borders. A message is sent to the phone and in order to play real money poker you must reply to the message. You may open an account, and indeed fund it, however you may not use it until you are in the Silver State. Should you meet those criteria then read on.
The Sign Up Bonus and Promotions
Sadly as yet there is no welcome bonus available to new depositors at Ultimate Poker. There is however a $10,000 freeroll for new players which offers a deep payout structure. It's a new venture with a potentially very small player base for the immediate future so in these early stages there will not be the huge promotions, freerolls, guaranteed tournaments and giveaways that the established offshore poker rooms can provide their players with, however there is hope for the future.
Tournaments and Cash Games
Similarly to promotions, both cash games and tournaments are lacking in any sort of resemblance to the offshore poker rooms that have both plenty of active players and therefore liquidity. The only cash games to be found are Texas Holdem at limits from $0.01/$0.02 up to a maximum of $10/$20 limit. The tournament offering is a simple one with a $10,000 Guaranteed on a Sunday evening, a nightly $1,000 GTD and a daily $100 freeroll.
There's a customer support team on hand around the clock and a basic FAQ section which may help new users along with information regarding the company on the simple and straight forward website. In summary Ultimate Poker will need time and plenty of it. The room is bound by such strict regulation that it's hard for it to make any headway as far as attracting players is concerned is this will undoubtedly restrict it's growth. Until there are changes in law that mean other states come online and interstate compacts are made then Ultimate Poker simply will not grow into the room it could be. It appears that for all intents and purposes that being the first to deal a regulated US hand came well before the product that was being offered and we'll have to wait and see if things improve. US players do have plenty of other less restrictive options and the online poker rooms such as Bovada, BetOnline Poker and Americas Cardroom are, at the moment the better options.