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Those in Nevada will have a second choice for online poker come September 19th at 9:19 am PST.
That’s the official launch date for real-money online poker at WSOP.com, according to company officials on a conference call today.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first formal launch date that WSOP officials have announced.
But informal rumblings regarding a real-money launch began in the early spring of 2013. First it was widely believed that the online launch would coincide with the start of the WSOP. Then WSOP officials publicly – but vaguely – suggested that the online room would be live in time for satellites to the Main Event.
Both dates came and went without a launch, as did the remainder of July and all of August.
No specific reason for the delays has ever been articulated by Caesars or Nevada regulators. But the general understanding among industry observers is that the bottleneck existed at the software testing level.
Nevada’s other regulated online poker room – Ultimate Poker – has also been making headlines lately, but for less-than-positive reasons.
Players have been heavily critical of the company’s latest software update, which both failed to deliver what some players view as essential features and resulted in numerous technical setbacks that materially – albeit temporarily – impacted the playability of the site.
Ultimate saw a traffic increase post-update despite those issues. But there’s little doubt that Caesars could see an opportunity in the part of Ultimate’s player base that expressed dissatisfaction with not only the most recent update, but the relatively sluggish pace of improvement of the Ultimate Poker software to date.