On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, it is evident that Nevada's attempt at implementing online poker was a failure.

I was part of the online poker industry when the United States saw the opening hand of legal gameplay on April 30, 2013. Little did I know at the time that it would turn out to be a complete waste of my time. The individuals entrusted with the responsibility of bringing this endeavor to fruition ended up frittering away the golden chance that was presented to them.

Ultimate Poker achieved a groundbreaking milestone in the state of Nevada.

Back in the day, when I was working for this company, we stumbled upon a little secret. You see, we got word that Ultimate Poker, the very first legal online poker site in the United States, was gearing up for its grand launch. It was quite a revelation, especially considering it was initially limited to Nevada before making its way to the vibrant state of New Jersey. What made it even more intriguing was the fact that there hadn't been any public declaration or fanfare preceding its opening day. It was like a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by the poker enthusiasts out there.

I visited a 24-hour pub with my laptop to prepare the content for the upcoming release of our online poker websites. I pulled an all-nighter.

Even in the early days of online poker, the software offered by Ultimate Poker was considered subpar, ranking among the lowest quality options available. It was so outdated that it wouldn't have looked out of place in the late 1990s when online poker was just starting to gain traction. Despite this glaring flaw, Ultimate Poker managed to attract a team of skilled and respected poker ambassadors to represent their brand. Unfortunately, no matter how talented these ambassadors were, they could only do so much to compensate for the company's lackluster product.

WSOP.com emerged as the runner-up in the race for the second licensed poker platform.

In September 2013, WSOP.com made its debut in Nevada. Despite its software being less than stellar, it still managed to outshine Ultimate Poker's lackluster platform. Within no time, WSOP.com emerged as the frontrunner in the online poker market in Nevada.

In 2014, Nevada witnessed the debut of Real Gaming, a new player in the online gambling industry. However, their software, despite being anticipated, fell short of expectations. It was even deemed worse than the platform offered by Ultimate Poker, a competitor in the market. One might argue that Real Gaming's software should have never been released from the confines of the testing lab. Unfortunately for both Ultimate Poker and Real Gaming, their ventures ended abruptly, unable to sustain themselves in the competitive landscape. Consequently, WSOP.com emerged as the sole dominator, enjoying a monopoly in Nevada ever since.

Back in November 2013, something groundbreaking happened in the world of online poker. Both Delaware and New Jersey took a bold step and legalized this popular card game within their borders. It was a major milestone for the industry, as players from these states could finally enjoy the thrill of online poker legally. At the time, however, there was one significant limitation: each state had its own separate player pool. This meant that players from Delaware could only compete against each other, while the same applied to players from New Jersey. The idea of playing poker against opponents from different states was still just a distant dream. Despite this limitation, the launch of legal online poker in New Jersey created quite a buzz. Four poker sites sprouted up in the state, offering players a chance to test their skills and luck on the virtual felt. One of these sites was operated by 888, the prestigious brand behind WSOP.com. Interestingly, 888 enjoyed a monopoly in Delaware, being the sole operator in the state. It was an exciting time for online poker enthusiasts, and while interstate online poker was yet to become a reality, the seeds of possibility had been planted.

There were significant problems with almost every website I encountered. The quality of the software was abysmal. The support staff seemed completely unaware of how to assist users. Furthermore, the individuals in charge of managing two particular sites appeared to have no clue about their own operations. These experiences left me with a distinct impression that online poker would never succeed with all these obstacles in its path. As it turned out, my intuition was correct.

Since 2013, the legalization of online poker has expanded to four additional states, namely Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; however, sites were never launched in Connecticut or West Virginia.

When WSOP.com and 888 decided to merge their player pools in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey, many hoped that this move would breathe new life into the game. However, it turned out to be a disappointment as the impact on the industry was minimal. Similarly, PokerStars attempted to network Michigan and New Jersey, expecting positive results, but once again, the anticipated growth did not materialize. It seems that these efforts to expand the reach of online poker have not yielded the desired outcome, leaving the industry searching for alternative strategies to revitalize its player base.

What went wrong?

When WSOP.com first launched, I eagerly joined in on the action. However, I soon encountered a major setback: poor site management. It was the biggest mistake they made, and it became abundantly clear as I continued to play. Simple support issues kept popping up, and despite my efforts to address them, they were never resolved. It was frustrating to say the least. Even reaching out to the management proved fruitless, as they were unable to provide any assistance or solutions. This lack of attention to customer support greatly hindered my overall experience on the site.

In my personal observation, I cannot help but notice the glaring incompetence or sheer laziness displayed by the individuals Caesars employed to oversee their poker platform. It is evident that the site manager, who should have faced swift termination, lacked the necessary skills or dedication to fulfill their responsibilities. After incompetently steering the site into a state of deterioration over a period of six years, this manager finally departed in 2019. However, disappointingly, WSOP (World Series of Poker) has made no effort to rectify the situation or enhance the platform since then. Astonishingly, the same subpar software continues to be utilized even after nearly a decade has passed.

In my view, the lack of interest in improving the product at WSOP is quite evident. The current manager, unfortunately, seems to prefer hiding rather than tackling the simplest public grievances head-on. Moreover, their social media platforms fail to provide any assistance or support to dissatisfied players. As far as I know, during her entire four-year tenure, the manager has only spoken out publicly to advocate against Nevada's proposal to establish a database for identifying online poker cheaters from WSOP.com.

The Nevada monopoly appears to satisfy them, which is reflected in its influence on other markets.

The activities on WSOP.com are not effectively coordinated.

Earlier this year, I was contacted by a representative from WSOP.com who wanted to purchase advertising space on Bet-NV.com and Atlantic City Advantage. It was quite surprising, considering that we rank really well in search engine results for their site. However, I had my reservations about promoting a platform that I had been banned from for the most absurd reasons. So, despite their offer, I declined to advertise WSOP.com on our websites.

I pleaded with them to restore my account, suggesting that we move forward from the previous administration's mistakes. Unfortunately, the website refused my appeal, stating that my account had been suspended due to responsible gaming protocols.

In reality, the site manager at the time couldn't handle the smallest bit of criticism. They couldn't bear the fact that I made their bad management decisions public, particularly those concerning my account. As a result, I found myself banned from the site. This ban came about after the site attempted to force me to play for a longer duration than I desired, contradicting their own claim.

I reached out to the current site manager in an attempt to address the issue, but unfortunately, my efforts went unanswered. Hoping to shed light on the matter, I then requested a media contact that could provide additional information for this article. Disappointingly, my request for a response to this inquiry was also met with silence.

It's quite perplexing to me why the site would request my assistance in promoting them, yet simultaneously deny me access to play or even provide an explanation for their actions. It truly goes against all reason and common sense. In fact, it only serves to confirm the chaotic state in which the site currently finds itself. I firmly believe that I am more than capable of presenting a compelling argument that warrants the revocation of their gaming license due to their numerous infractions and transgressions.

What actions can be taken to address the situation?

I penned an op-ed for the Nevada Independent, proposing several solutions to address the prevailing attitude of WSOP.com, which seems to have no inclination to conduct itself in a reputable manner. To my dismay, my suggestions were seemingly disregarded, and no progress was made. At this juncture, the prospect of rescuing legal online poker appears incredibly bleak.

After publicly discussing similar failures in Nevada, I realized that if Caesars truly valued online poker, they would have taken action years ago and replaced their software provider with a more reputable one. It's not a coincidence that this provider has been hit with significant regulatory fines for their irresponsible gambling practices in other nations. The fact that I was banned from the site further solidifies my suspicion that Caesars is trying to cover up their own shortcomings. It's clear that they have no intention of prioritizing player safety and fair gameplay.

It seems like the best move to expand the industry is the opening of BetMGM Poker in Nevada. The site has recently renewed its online poker license, indicating its desire to establish a presence in Nevada in the future. However, it has not yet connected its Michigan and New Jersey sites, despite the possibility of doing so today.

Nevada will never have a credible poker platform as long as WSOP.com maintains a monopolistic hold, maintains its partnership with a company that was blacklisted by the most prominent online casino regulatory body as far back as 2006, and fails to rectify its ineffective management.

It feels like the only chance for my 10-year-old dream to come true today is if BetMGM, Partypoker, or another site decides to enter Nevada. When I think about how online poker hasn't made much progress in the country while sports betting has taken off, it makes me doubt that my dream will ever become a reality.

The existence of Bet-NV.com is likely dependent on the failure of online poker.

In March 2018, I decided to move on from my previous online poker position. It was time for a change, and I was ready for a new challenge. Little did I know that this decision would lead me down an unexpected path. A month later, I took a leap of faith and published my very first blog post on Bet-NV.com. The excitement and anticipation of sharing my thoughts and experiences with others was exhilarating. Fast forward five years, and I am now the proud owner of not just one, but five successful websites. Bet-NV.com has become a trusted authority on all things Las Vegas, while the others each have their own unique niche. It has been a journey filled with hard work, dedication, and countless hours of research. But seeing the growth of our websites and the positive feedback from our readers makes it all worthwhile. My wife and I have poured our hearts and souls into these projects, and it's gratifying to see them flourish. From that initial blog post to the thriving websites we have today, it's been a remarkable ride. We couldn't be more grateful for the opportunities that have come our way and the community that has supported us along the way. The future is bright, and we're excited to continue sharing our passion and knowledge with others.

It's highly unlikely that such a situation occurs without the major failure of online poker. In some respects, it turned out to be a fortunate event.

These days, you won't catch me playing poker in Las Vegas. Video poker is my game of choice now, but I only indulge in it once or twice a month. The truth is, I find it way more enjoyable than online poker ever was.