Version 2 of Ultimate Poker Software Represents Dramatic Upgrade
Nevada’s first regulated online poker room has released the first upgrade to their online poker software platform, and the early reviews suggest that the new version – while stopping short of everything asked for – is likely to be a big hit with American online poker players.
Installing the upgraded software
If you’re a new player, you don’t have to do anything except download the software from the Ultimate Poker website as you normally would.
Players will be required to apply the upgrade the next time they open the Ultimate Poker software. If you don’t perform the upgrade, you won’t be able to access the games at Ultimate Poker.
When upgrading, note that you’ll basically be required to reinstall the Ultimate Poker software. Just follow the prompts you get after running Ultimate Poker and remember to install the program the prompts ask you to download.
Industry-standard features now available at Ultimate Poker
Ultimate Poker was originally released in a very bare-bones format in order to expedite the regulatory process. In essence, Ultimate Poker thought it better to get to market first, even if that meant getting to market with a product that appeared somewhat primitive when compared to other online poker sites such as PokerStars or Bovada.
As a result, Version 2.0 is packed with new features that might not sound very “new” – but they definitely represent significant upgrades from the first version of the Ultimate Poker software. For example, players can now resize tables. Cards and action buttons have also been resized to make them more visible and accessible at a variety of screen and table sizes.
Additional upgrades include measures designed to prevent ratholing, adjustments to the way the program claims the “focus” of your computer and an overhaul of the graphics in the lobby.
Tournament (U$) currency added with upgrade
One of the changes that will be especially of interest to tournament players – both MTT and SNG – is the introduction of U$, the new tournament currency at Ultimate Poker. U$ will function much like T$ do at PokerStars, operating as a parallel currency that can only be used to buy into tournaments.
The obvious appeal of the system is that Ultimate Poker can now run more promotions specifically directed at tournament players, and can likely expand the size of their satellite offerings as a result of the introduction of U$.
At this point, it does not appear that players are able to sell or otherwise transfer U$, but that type of functionality may well accompany future releases.
Version 2.0 introduces Ultimate Poker’s VIP Program
Perhaps the single most significant change with Version 2.0 of Ultimate Poker is the introduction of “Color Up,” the VIP scheme at Ultimate Poker. The program has been discussed by Ultimate Poker reps for weeks, but it wasn’t until the introduction of the software upgrade at Ultimate Poker that the system actually went live.
Color Up is covered in-depth at the Ultimate Poker website. The basics: Color Up is a fairly standard VIP program that in many ways resembles the VIP system at a Full Tilt Poker or PartyPoker. Players move up through tiers the more points they earn, and points are earned based on amount raked.
The better your tier, the more rewards you can expect to earn. Current rewards include freeroll entries and cash bonuses running up into the thousands of dollars
Regulatory hurdles drove delays in release of new version
The initial schedule for the release of Version 2.0, at least based on public comments from Ultimate Poker reps, was much earlier in the summer. In fact, Ultimate was publicly predicting the new version would be live in late July.
So why the extra time if Ultimate felt the upgrade was ready to go? Because unlike other jurisdictions, Nevada holds very tight control over what licensees can and cannot do in terms of software upgrades. Even the slightest alteration could potentially require regulatory approval, so a major overhaul is definitely going to be subject to strict scrutiny.
While this may feel inconvenient to players, the upside is that such a system makes a repeat of an Ultimate Bet-type cheating scandal far more remote. And U.S. online poker players might want to adjust their expectations to match Nevada’s relatively slow upgrade pace, as it’s quite likely that regulators in markets for legal U.S. online poker such as New Jersey and Delaware will pursue a fairly similar (albeit not quite to sluggish) approach.
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