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Dealing cards online since 1999, Ultimate Bet is one of the first sites offering online poker gaming. In 2008, Ultimate Bet merged with its sister site, Absolute Poker, forming the Cereus Network, the sixth most trafficked online poker network in the world and the third most trafficked network of those accepting US customers. Ultimate Bet has recently completed its rebranding and now goes under its old moniker UB. The name change isn’t the only difference you’ll see, both their web site and software have a sleek new look; certainly the most eye-pleasing web sites and software in the online poker industry.
Can you think of an instance where you might take great joy and satisfaction in being called an “idiot?” One of the most renowned and most universally feared poker players, Phil “The Brat” Hellmuth, calls UB.com home and if he calls you an “idiot,” more likely than not you have just made a good deal of money. Using Ultimate Bet’s “Ultimate Buddy” feature, you can actively seek out Phil, Annie Duke, Adam “Roothlus” Levy or any one of Team UB members that you will find playing regularly on Ultimate Bet and, if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll have the distinct pleasure of being called an “idiot.”
A few years ago, Ultimate Bet as well as its sister company, Absolute Poker, fell victim to a cheating scandal which shook the online poker world to its core. A small group of Ultimate Bet employees colluded in inserting code into Ultimate Bet’s software that enabled them and their collaborators to see players’ hole cards. Between 2005 and 2007, they managed to cheat Ultimate Bet customers out of millions of dollars. In the end, it was a number of mathematically savvy online players that discovered the plot and the code in question was removed in February 2008. While Ultimate Bet did the commendable thing and made restitution to the victims, they never took legal action against the perpetrators, instead, allowed them to get away with their crime in exchange for information as to how the crime was committed. Ultimate Bet did however publish a list of the guilty parties names and you may occasionally see them shamelessly playing in televised tournaments. Ultimate Bet has since changed ownership and management and they have gone to great lengths to make their online poker rooms among the safest in the industry.
Being that Ultimate Bet is among the first online poker rooms, coupled with the fact that they offer services to the American market, you would expect that they would have a far larger market share then they do. This can be attributed to residual damage as a result of the cheating scandal to which they were a victim. This is truly unfortunate, not only because they did the truly honorable thing and reimbursed their customers that suffered, but because every aspect of their software is truly topnotch. That having been said, with over 30,000 players online at peak hours, the action on Ultimate Bet is still great.
In terms of games, Ultimate Bet offers the standard fare, nothing too exotic. They used to offer unique games such as Pineapple and Royal Hold’em but they have since been dropped due to a lack of interest. Nowadays, Ultimate Bet offers the following games:
• Texas Hold’em
• Omaha Hi/Lo
• 7 Card Stud
• 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
• Elimination BlackJack (EBJ)
The games at Ultimate Bet are quite strong relative to other sites. While many of the hardcore players left when the cheating controversy blew up, a number have returned expecting that the only people that would play at Ultimate Bet are new players who haven’t heard of the controversy; i.e., fresh meat.
While the Hold’em, Omaha and Stud games will almost always have decent action; Razz, H.O.R.S.E. and H.O.S.E. will sometimes be somewhat weak outside of peak hours and it can sometimes be tough to find the right game
Ultimate Bet has expanded their “gaming portfolio” offering Blackjack as well as a variety of casino games.
Since the formation of the Cereus Network, the Ultimate Bet site supports a fairly extensive line-up of tournaments. Numerous Sit & Go tournaments are on tap at Ultimate Bet and include limit and no limit Texas Hold’em, limit Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo games. Players may choose to play in single, multiple or heads-up table modes, as well as a variety of turbo and ultra turbo tournaments. In addition, Ultimate Bet hosts Bounty Tournaments where players are given cash bonuses for taking down members of Team UB. The bounties are of a pre-determined amount and the value of each bounty and the pros with bounties on their head vary from tournament to tournament.
Ultimate Bet poker players have a variety of buy-in amounts to choose from ranging from $0.50 to above $1,000 and games run on a fairly regular basis throughout the day. That being said, the vast majority of the tournaments are no limit Texas Hold’em.
Of course, you can find free roll tournaments running regularly on Ultimate Bet offering real cash prizes as well as entry into a variety of live tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and the like.
For the Beginner
Ultimate Bet does not have a Poker Academy. In fact, it offers neither video tutorials nor video podcasts. What you can find are the written rules governing the various games offered on their site as well as a very short library of strategy articles supplied by two members of Team UB, Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth. In short, Ultimate Bet is fairly weak as regards instruction for….well, let’s just say that they’re just weak on instruction.
While being weak in the area of instruction, Ultimate Bet does offer a whole host of free rolls, “play money” games as well as micro-stake games for the beginner to get their feet wet. A good tip for the beginner: generally people will be a little bit wild in the micro-stake games so if you play tight, you will usually do just fine.
Games at the mid-stake level and above are populated by very solid players. This is something that the beginner must keep in mind when considering moving up in play; that is of course unless dejection is your bag. I mean, if your idea of fun is losing your house, your family and performing fellatio for pocket change in highway park-and-rides then by all means...
Software Graphics and Features
The software at Ultimate Bet is rock solid. The graphics are clean, the color and feel are excellent and the software is constantly improved, based on feedback from their customers. The software is designed in a very simple and logical fashion enabling the new player to quickly master the interface, allowing for almost immediate play.
In addition, the security offered on Ultimate Bet is top of the line; utilizing the most advanced encryption methods, advanced algorithms used to detect fraudulent behavior and its random number generators are regularly checked by independent auditors.
Some of the limitless features include:
• Beautifully designed graphics
• Two table views
• Personalized avatars
• Multiple room themes and adjustable sound affects
• Supports all of the latest gaming tools
• Statistical analysis
• Supports 20 table simultaneous play
• Cashier and bonus updated in real time
• Excellent lobby filtering
• Pot and bet totals listed at top of screen
• Hand history and visual display of previous hands
The sign-up bonus for new player on Ultimate Bet is truly superior. Ultimate Bet will meet the initial deposit of first-time players with a 111% sign-up bonus up to $1,100 in bonus dollars. Poker bonus dollars are converted based on the player’s RAI$E level and the type of play in accordance to the table below:
• Member – 20 Status Points = 1 Bonus Dollar
• Player – 20 Status Points = 1 Bonus Dollar
• Contender – 20 Status Points = 1 Bonus Dollar
• Legend – 18 Status Points = 1 Bonus Dollar
• Icon – 17 Status Points = 1 Bonus Dollar
Ultimate Bet Poker Bonus Dollars are released in increments of $5.
For more information regarding bonus dollars and RAI$E, please see the Promotions section below.
Ultimate Bet offers a Rewards Program that awards players with additional benefits in accordance to the Status Points that they have earned. Status points are earned in accordance to the number of raked hands played in staked games. The higher the stake game, the more Status Points are earned per raked hand.
There are five different status levels at Ultimate Bet: Member, Player, Contender, Legend & Icon. To be considered a “Legend” you would need to earn 500 Status Points for the month and you would then earn Bonus Dollars at 3x the rate. There are also a wide variety of excellent perks offered in a progressive rate in accordance to the Status level of the player; including cash, prizes and cool gear from the Ultimate Bet online store.
In addition to a generous loyalty program, Ultimate Bet offers a variety of different ongoing promotions including:
• UBOC4- Online Poker series featuring the top pros offering $4 million in prize money and other prizes.
• Power Hour- Earn double Ultimate Points every day between 1AM-4 AM and 1PM-4 PM (1-5PM on Sundays).
• Leaderboards- Rewards the best performing tournament players across all buy-in levels with over $1 million in prizes.
• Seven Deuce- In Seven Deuce games, as side pot is created in addition to the prop bet. Earn the side pot when you win a hand with 7-2 hole cards.
• Bad Beat Jackpot- Lose a hand with quad Eights or better and take home a hefty cut of the Bad Beat Jackpot.
• Refer a Friend- Refer a friend and earn up to 75 bonus dollars.
Ultimate Bet offers neither telephone nor online chat support. They do offer email support and their support staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. In addition, their system of FAQs is fairly thorough and well organized.