Then There Were Three: South Point Soft-Launches Real Money Online Poker in Nevada Then There Were Three: South Point Soft-Launches Real Money Online Poker in Nevada

South Point Poker has become the third operator to launch real money poker in the state of Nevada, with the quiet soft-launch of its Real Gaming website this week.

The poker room is a new proprietary platform built in-house. The site is entirely web-based, allowing for cross-browser, mobile and tablet play. Features like a built-in message area, a profile section and a “who’s online” box make the site feel more like a simple social web app than a real money poker client.

The lobby is very simple. Only hold’em games are offered, with stakes from 1c/2c up to $5/$10. Turbo 6-max and heads up SNGs are spread. A tournament tab suggests multi-table tournaments are supported, but none yet are listed during this live test period. No tables were running at the time or writing, and there are no play money tables spread.

Players are required to go through a manual registration process before they can view the lobby, by including verification details like address, social security number and driver’s license. Only US citizens can currently go through the procedure. These details are manually verified by support staff.

To play, players need to also complete a location check: Unlike other sites in the US regulated markets, which all use wifi triangulation and other signals to detect if a player is within state boundaries—Real Gaming uses a special smartphone app, available on iPhone and Android. Players need to download this app and run it when they wish to sit at a real money table.

South Point was the first casino to receive an interactive gaming license to offer online poker in the state, and originally was expected to be the first regulated online poker room to launch in the US, slated originally for the end of 2012.

For unknown reasons, the launch continually slipped, and it was Ultimate Gaming that was the first to launch in the Nevada market on April 30, 2013.

Undeterred, South Point announced the real gaming brand in July and was expected to be the next in line to launch. Pre-registration opened a month later.

But it was not South Point, but Caesars, under its WSOP brand, that would be second to market, launching in September 2013.

So Real Gaming enters third to a small online poker market. The traffic across the two existing sites has steadied at just under 200 concurrent cash game players—a thin player pool that struggles to support two poker sites, let alone three. It will be interesting to see if South Point plans a large marketing drive for the site as it prepares for an official launch, and whether it can chip away its own niche.