Real Gaming Courting Displaced Ultimate Poker Players

Posted on November 21, 2014

The closure of Ultimate Poker has left a number of online poker players in limbo, and while many feel WSOP.com will be the biggest beneficiary and attract most of these wayward players, as Yoda said, “there is another.”

That other is Real Gaming, the online poker room of South Point Poker which has been unable to gain a foothold in the Nevada market since it launched in February. Shoddy software (which has been improved and upgraded since the site first launched) is mainly to blame.

It appears Real Gaming is looking to change its fortunes as it is making what it feels is a serious overture to Ultimate Poker’s former players (Ultimate had peak traffic in the hundreds, it wasn’t a ghost town), by offering to match their previous Ultimate Poker account balances up to $3,000, in what the site is calling “Ultimate Match” promotion.

Per their press release:

Real Gaming is extending a special invitation to new players with the “Ultimate Match” promotion, which will match balances up to $3,000 for players who held an account with Ultimate Poker.  New Real Gaming account holders must simply provide their old balance by presenting an Ultimate Poker account screen shot or a copy of a withdrawal check, and Real Gaming will match the same dollar amount once deposited, up to $3,000.”

“While online poker is still new in regulated environments and faces some challenges, we remain dedicated to delivering innovative products and are confident in the success of online poker in the Nevada market,” said Lawrence Vaughan, co-founder of Real Gaming. “We welcome Ultimate Poker’s players and invite all to experience the latest gaming technologies and user-friendly mobile platform at Real Gaming that sets us apart from our competitors.”

The fine print

Unfortunately, the match bonus is not as good as it sounds upon first reading, and it’s doubtful it will have much of an impact on where Ultimate Poker players eventually end up.

Like any deposit bonus there is a play-through requirement to the Ultimate Match bonus, and while this one does clear at a better rate than most, it’s far from an earth-shattering offer.

Here is how it works: For every $50 in rake contributed you will receive $10 in bonus money. This works out to a 20% rakeback rate, which doesn’t seem to be enough incentive to lure very many players to Real Gaming (an inferior site to WSOP.com both in terms of software and player pool), and it appears Real Gaming realizes this as they are highlighting the mundane fact that you have a full year to clear the bonus money.

It’s too bad, because this seems like a missed opportunity.

As Robert DellaFave recently detailed, the current bonus method used by online poker sites needs a major overhaul.

Real Gaming’s Ultimate Match bonus is simply more of the same. It’s simply the same old bag of traditional M&M’s with a couple extra M&M’s in it, when what was needed a new bag full of delicious Peanut M&M’s.

For example, Real Gaming could have attracted quite a few Ultimate Poker players if they had just tweaked the promotion slightly. What I would have done is offer an instant match up to $1,000 on all players coming from Ultimate Poker OR WSOP.com.

You could then set strict play through requirements to cash out these funds.

What they are offering is just a single step up from the normal online poker site offers. If they wanted to really make a splash they should have gone for the fences.

For complete rules, see Real Gaming’s site.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including OnlinePokerReport.com, PlayNJ.com, USPoker.com, and USA Today.

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