Nevada is one of three states to offer legal us poker sites. While in Nevada, you can legally play online poker at WSOP.com which is regulated by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
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This historical ruling effectively gave the thumbs up to legislators who wished to enact licensing and regulatory procedures for online poker.
Nevada’s regulations paved the way for future legislation, covering finer points such as:
Because these safeguards were absent from the U.S. industry previously, fraud, cheating and misrepresentation of funds were commonplace — that would no longer be the case in the regulated era.
More than one year would pass before Nevada lawmakers looked at online poker. On February 21, 2013, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 114 into law. The bill legalized online poker within Nevada’s borders in the absence of federal intervention, and also cleared a path for interstate liquidity compacts.
Two months later, on April 30, Ultimate Poker made history as the first regulated online poker site to accept real-money players. Ultimate Poker was a majority-owned subsidiary of Stations Casinos, a company most well-known for operating a host of locals casinos in the Las Vegas area.
The new site also served as the official and exclusive online gambling partner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Both Stations and the UFC heavily marketed its new home-grown online poker site to the masses, as least in its early days.
In the three years plus that Nevada has offered legal online poker, the industry has undergone a litany of changes. The first, and perhaps the most noteworthy, occurred in September 2013, when WSOP.com entered the market.
WSOP.com, officially went live on September 19, 2013. It wouldn’t be long before it became the go-to site for online poker players situated in Nevada.
The backing of arguably the biggest name in land-based casino gaming in Caesars, combined with the brand recognition of the World Series of Poker, and a client powered by online gaming behemoth 888, proved to be a potent combination.
If that weren’t already enough, WSOP.com would soon strengthen its position in the US by launching as part of the first wave of regulated online poker sites in New Jersey.
According to Poker Industry Pro (paywall) via online traffic tracking site PokerScout.com, it only took six weeks for WSOP NV to erase the gap between itself and Ultimate Poker. In early November 2013, a new market share king was crowned.
Ultimate didn’t exactly help its own cause. The software was riddled with technical failings, and lacked many of the features players had become accustomed to in the pre-Black Friday days. It also offered fewer cash game variants and smaller tournament guarantees than its rival.
A stellar customer service offering and a timely sponsorship deal with then rising star Jason Somerville helped to slow the bleeding, but that hardly proved enough to prevent WSOP NV from extending its lead throughout late 2013 and into 2014.
In June 2014, WSOP NV experienced its best month ever, thanks largely to the presence of the live Series in Las Vegas and the site’s own cross-promotional efforts. Every summer since, the site has bucked the seasonal downtrend that plagues the online poker industry during the warmer months.
WSOP NV has taken advantage of its ties to the live World Series of Poker in Las Vegas to great effect.
Beginning in 2014, the site began offering numerous entry paths to live events via satellite, capped off by a 25 Seat Scramble that awarded, at minimum, 25 seats into the WSOP Main Event.
The site also began hosting big summer series’ of its own, in an attempt to capitalize upon the increased poker tourism. The strategy proved a wise one, as both cash game liquidity and revenue reached their high points during the summer months.
In 2015, tested the waters ever further, when it held the first online bracelet event. “Online” is a bit of misnomer, as the online portion of the tournament paused when the final table was set, with the final six combatants facing each other in a live setting at the Rio.
In either case, the formula worked: as the first bracelet event drew 905 players, and the second in 2016, 927 players and 1,247 total entries. That proved enough to create the largest prize pool in WSOP NV history: $1,184,650.
For 2017, WSOP NV has expanded its online bracelet format to three events, as follows:
Unlike in years past, the 2017 events will take place entirely online. This also marks the first time that a guarantee has been affixed to one of the tournaments — a rarity for WSOP events.
For predictions on how each of these events will perform, see here.
A third online poker site, the South Point-backed Real Gaming, launched in February 2014. The move struck as somewhat odd, as the Nevada market was hardly capable of sustaining two online poker operators, let alone a third and unproven entry.
Not surprisingly, Real Gaming struggled right from the start, and although the site is still operational today, it’s traffic remains negligible.
On an interesting side, there was once the possibility of up to six online poker rooms in the Nevada market. The notion that new operators could thrive in a market barely capable of sustaining two active sites was far-fetched.
It appears that the potential operators realized this, and (wisely) abandoned their plans.
In November 2014, some 19 months after becoming the first U.S. regulated sites, Ultimate Poker decided to pull out of the Nevada market.
The move came as little surprise, as two months earlier Ultimate ceased operations in New Jersey, where it was a perennial basement dweller behind more recognizable brands.
The operator cited the challenging operating environment as the reason behind its departure.
At the time, cash game liquidity was split approximately 60-40 between WSOP NV and Ultimate Poker. In the wake of UP’s departure, WSOP NV launched a marketing campaign centered on attracting former Ultimate players.
WSOP’s aggressive stance combined with its newly-minted monopoly position in the Nevada market led to traffic rising 60 percent from mid-November to mid-December 2014.
On February 25, 2014, Nevada and Delaware entered into the U.S regulated market’s first interstate liquidity pact. The agreement, signed by Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell, was originally supposed to go live in the summer of 2014.
But so-called “technical glitches” resulted in numerous delays, and it wasn’t until March 2015 that the agreement went live.
As per the agreement, operators had to have been licensed in both states. Luckily, 888 operates all three skins on the Delaware poker network, and provides the WSOP.com platform in New Jersey and Nevada.
For Nevada, the pact represented little more than a symbolic victory, as Delaware’s player pool was but a tiny fraction of its own. It is unlikely that NV players even noticed the addition of the Delaware pool.
On the flip side, the pact was a boon for Delaware players, who suddenly saw traffic increase by a multiple of twenty. The NV-DE pact was also significant in that it set the groundwork for future pacts, of which there have been talks, but no action.
WSOP NV made history in July 2015 when it hosted the first online bracelet event. The $1,000 entry tournament saw players battle down to six players online. Then, the final six combatants convened at the Rio for the live final table.
The event was an unprecedented success, generating the largest prize pool by far in U.S. regulated online poker history ($859,750). That mark stood for exactly one year, when it was outdone by the second running of the event.
The Nevada market, which is now nearly synonymous with WSOP.com, is in a much better place than it was at launch:
Still, there is plenty of room for improvement:
A compact with any one of these states would grow average traffic by a multiple of three, if not more. At that point, new playing options, such as fast-fold and mixed games, would become viable.
It would also open the door for players to compete for the online bracelet across state lines — to date, a World Series of Poker bracelet event has never been held, either in full or in part, outside of Las Vegas.
Another possibility is that PokerStars enters the Nevada market. The world’s market share leader is currently serving a five year “bad actor” ban in Nevada, which is set to expire in February 2018.
And while the operator will likely have no desire to enter Nevada if the state doesn’t already share liquidity with a more populated jurisdiction(s), the entry of PokerStars and its superior platform would force WSOP NV to up the ante, much as it has in the New Jersey market.
In this scenario, it’s the players that will benefit most.
Admittedly, the signup process at legal, regulated online poker sites in Nevada is a bit more tedious than players who frequent offshore sites will be used to.
That said, the financial and personal safeguards employed by regulated sites more than makes up any momentary inconvenience.
To signup for real-money play on WSOP.com in Nevada, players must:
Do note, that WSOP NV registrants are not required to have a residency address in Nevada, nor are they required to signup from the Silver State. However, in order to play for real-money, players must be physically located within the state’s confines.
A combination of checks are instituted to verify if a player is located in Nevada at the time of login:
Geo-location technology is vastly improved since first adapted by Nevada’s regulated sites, especially with regards to mobile. Now, players connected to the Internet via wireless or 4G LTE should have little trouble logging on and staying connected to the WSOP.com software.
Technically, two — although the only viable option for players is WSOP.com. The other regulated site, Real Gaming, is lucky to get one full table off at peak hours.
WSOP NV accepts the following deposit methods:
There are fewer withdrawal methods, but still enough options to satisfy the majority of players:
Considering that most of Nevada’s online poker players are located in and around the Las Vegas area, the cash at the casino cage option is more viable than it is in NJ, where the main population centers are located a two hour drive away from Atlantic City.
Yes, although they will not be able to wager funds unless they are physically located in the state of Nevada. Withdrawals can also be processed from out-of-state.
At present, WSOP NV shares its player pool with three networked 888-branded sites operating in Delaware. The interstate compact went live in March 2015, but barely had an impact on Nevada market traffic.
Cash games run the gamut from traditional No-Limit Hold’em games to Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo, with stakes ranging from $0.01/$0.02 to $5/$10 and above.
The site also offers six and nine man sit & goes (although no lottery sngs), guaranteed tournaments, satellites into live World Series of Poker events and other events, and daily freerolls.
During regular weeks, tournament prize pools cap out at around $30,000, but WSOP NV has hosted its fair share of special events where the prize pool was over $100,000.
In a very limited capacity, yes.
In July 2016, MGM Resorts International launched an app, approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, that allows resort visitors to participate in scheduled online slot tournaments. Players can also participate from InteractivePro Tables installed at MGM’s nine Las Vegas locations.
Users must be hooked into MGM’s wireless portal in order to take part in its tournaments.
It is believed that the MGM app is a stepping stone toward a more comprehensive online casino roll-out in Nevada, similar to the one operating in New Jersey. In May, the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee met to discuss the idea, and plans to examine online gambling products more closely in the near future.
MGM is also looking to expand its platform.
At this juncture, expansion into a full online casino offering seems likely.