The much maligned Ultimate Poker site recovers from a three month low after their anticipated client software upgrade.
Several weeks ago, Ultimate Poker (UP) released a hotly anticipated upgrade to its client software. Designed to attract more players to the fledgling site, the update included an interface overhaul, a new player rewards program, an online store and several customizable options. Since the update was implemented cash game traffic has increased by over 30%, propelling UP out of a three month slump.
In reality, the changes made to UP did little to distinguish the site from other popular online poker providers. Instead, they merely brought it somewhat up to speed. Features like resizable tables, player avatars and preset betting buttons have been available on other US-facing sites for years, and have become an expected standard among serious online poker players. From their perspective, version one of Ultimate Poker’s software was simple unplayable.
Now onto the changes:
The newly implemented VIP program features eight monthly and two yearly tiers. All players start off as a White Chip and will increase their status by accumulating experience points. After a predetermined amount of experience is gained, the player will Color Up. Gold Plaque and Platinum Plaque tiers are yearly accomplishments reserved for only the most dedicated players on the site. Of note is that players must win the pot (cash games only) to receive VIP points. This system favors more active players, and severely penalizes those who either play tight, fold before the river or go to showdown with a second-best hand.
Also included in the update are features specifically related to tournament play, such as late registration. Again, nothing revolutionary.
When the software update first rolled out, it was plagued by bugs. In addition to tables disappearing seemingly at random, several tournaments were halted and at times the cashier was inaccessible. These issues have since been resolved.
Unfortunately, while the software update has certainly helped Ultimate Poker recover from a terrible August, the site is still not faring particularly well. On average, 200 simultaneous users are filling cash game seats, and tournament fields remain somewhat underwhelming. In addition, memory issues are still causing problems for some players, although not nearly as much as they once were.
Ultimate Gaming’s CMO Joe Versaci is confident that Ultimate Poker will continue to grow in popularity, and has gone on record stating that the most recent update is just the first in a long line of software enhancements.