UltimateBet.com recently came to my attention through a recommendation from Phil Hellmuth as part of our Poker Week special. Although they're not open for real money play yet, I'd have to say that after many hours of play testing I'm putting UltimateBet on the "Ones To Watch" list. I'm not overstating the case in saying that is exceptionaly good online Poker and a very impressive debut for UltimateBet. Frankly, I'm hooked!
In a nutshell, UltimateBet.com is a virtual, multi-player Poker Room in the same the way your typical casino software is a virtual Hotel-Casino. In this Poker Room you can play any game you like, as long as it's Texas Hold'Em. If you can live with that, the choices are Practice or "Real", $5-10 or $10-20 games.
Practice games at UltimateBet are a little different than the usual "Free" games at an online casino. The practice games have three robot players --called DumBots-- that play around the clock, game after game, night and day. The idea is that you --and other players-- can join in and play against the robots to sharpen your playing skills. As you can imagine from the name, the 'Bots are not exactly top calibre players, but they are patient and you can win a lot of chips off them.
At this point "Real Play" at UltimateBet means you are playing against other people, but don't worry, the competition can get pretty stiff. Although the site hasn't attracted a huge number of players yet, I'm betting that that's going to change real soon.
I spoke with Melissa Gaddis, the Public Relations Manager at ieLogic, the UltimateBet software developers to find out what's in the works for the site.
Max: Obviously Texas Hold'Em is the current focus at UltimateBet. Are there plans to add other Poker games in the future?
Melissa: In the short-term, UltimateBet will add Omaha, Stud games and Manila. Eventually, we will have draw games and any number of poker variances popular around the world.
Max - Phil Hellmuth and other bright lights of the Poker community are featured at UltimateBet. How will this benefit the UB player?
Melissa: UltimateBet is lucky to have so many world poker champions choose to be a part of our project. Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Russ Hamilton, Mansour Matloubi, Jack McClelland, Jim Albrecht and others have helped us develop a site that is true to the game. They provide us with content to help educate our members and visitors about the many facets of poker.
Additionally, members at UltimateBet can frequently sit down and play with these professionals who are more than willing to provide advice when asked. And it's a thrill for the members to beat the pros once in awhile, too!
Max: Clearly UB plans to allow players to play for real money. Any idea when this will become available?
Melissa: Real money tables will start tomorrow [May 10th, 2001] at 12:00 p.m. EST.
Real money accounts can now be established.
Max: I've noticed that there's a "Jackpots Coming Soon" bulletin on the site. Can you fill us in on what's planned here?
Melissa: The cardroom management at UltimateBet is interested in experimenting in a variety of jackpots once the site goes live for real money play. For instance, we may have a high hand jackpot where the player with the highest hand during a given time period wins the money.
Another idea is to have a bad beat jackpot, where the member with the highest hand beat in a showdown wins the pot. We will try a variety of jackpots and are more than willing to consider other options from our members.
Max: Any plans for tournament play? If so, when will it be available?
Melissa: Absolutely! Once we are live for real money, tournaments will frequently occur at UltimateBet. We are interested in establishing satellites for brick-and-mortar tournaments as well.
Max: It really is a very promising launch. Anything further to add?
Melissa: We are obviously very excited about the product we have created. We believe that it will become the premier place to play poker online. More importantly, though, is our commitment to create a poker community. We want our site to tie the online- and land-based poker communities together, we want to provide people with educational materials about poker, and we are dedicated to bringing the game poker into a more mainstream arena.