Real Gaming has been by far the weakest of the three regulated online poker sites in po, attracting virtually no traffic while WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker dominated the market. But with the shutdown of Ultimate Gaming, that may leave a vacuum that someone could take advantage of, and Real Gaming is hoping that this could be their opportunity to finally gain some traction.
Real Gaming, operated by South Point Casino, has announced a new promotion that is aimed squarely at former players at Ultimate Poker. The “Ultimate Match” promotion is designed to give out matching bonuses for players’ previous Ultimate Poker balances, up to a maximum of $3,000. Players can either provide a screenshot of their balance or a copy of their withdrawal check in order to receive the bonus.
According to Real Gaming co-founder Lawrence Vaughn, the move is designed to show the company’s commitment to sticking it out in the Nevada market.
“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,” Vaughn wrote in a statement.
Still, the effort to attract former Ultimate Poker players might be seen as a last ditch effort for Real Gaming to build a sustainable player base in Nevada. In the days when Ultimate was still up and running, numbers at PokerScout.com suggested that Real Gaming’s site was peaking with just a couple of players at their cash game tables and with average traffic often being recorded as non-existent.
There is evidence that the withdrawal of Ultimate may have helped the situation somewhat, though perhaps not as much as Real Gaming was hoping for. At the time of this writing, PokerScout has Real Gaming’s peak traffic at seven cash game players, and their average traffic at one player. That’s technically an infinite increase over zero players, and probably represents an active game or two during peak hours balancing out no traffic during other times of the day, but it’s not the kind of a player base that can sustain a site.
And while Real Gaming may be able to grab a few players with their promotion, they’re going to have a tough time competing with the elephant in the room: WSOP.com. The Caesars-backed site now has virtually all of the traffic in Nevada, and seems like it will have an easier time picking up players than South Point’s site.
According to Caesars Interactive spokesperson Seth Palansky, the World Series of Poker-branded site won’t be targeting any promotions specifically at former Ultimate Poker players. But he still expects that most of the players lost from Ultimate will find their way over to WSOP.com, and it’s easy to see why.
The WSOP brand was already a more recognizable name to players, which will make it much more obvious choice for most poker fans in the state. More importantly, WSOP.com site has a relatively strong player base, which means that there are always games running and tournaments with reasonable fields, something Real Gaming can’t necessarily offer at the moment.
WSOP.com in Nevada has averaged approximately 150 players at any time over the past week, compared to less than 100 while Ultimate Poker was still in operation.