HighStakers.com UB.com's Review
The original UltimateBet poker room went online in 2001, partnered with Absolute Poker in 2003, suffered reputation-wise after an inside cheating scandal in 2007, and then was relaunched and rebranded as UB.com, a member of the Cereus Poker Network, in 2010. Whispers of scandal will probably always haunt UB.com, but when all's said and done it's still one of the best poker rooms out there.
UB.com offers a modernized take on the original UltimateBet's sleek black and gold color scheme. In the end, the site has gravitated away from its original, more casino-inspired look and toward the sleek and streamlined design favored by successful competitors like Full Tilt. The once overly colorful tables have now been stripped down to the necessary basics, but they're still a good deal more detailed than average. If you're a player that likes graphic bells and whistles, then UB's new style probably won't impress you, but grinders and multi-tablers will see the logic in the site's bright but simple tables which are easy to see at every size.
A lot of UB.com's visual extras are play-oriented. Take the color-coded deck, chairs and lobby, for example. It may look a little goofy to those unacquainted with the concept, but multi-taskers will appreciate how fast they can interpret everything from the tournament schedule to the current hand.
As a member of the new Cereus Network, UB.com has received a number of noteworthy upgrades, most importantly in the software department. The site has always been popular but never really led the pack, and at the very least its new platform has brought it up to speed (both figuratively and literally). The download's a little more sizable than what's on offer at other comparable sites, but it loads surprisingly fast and is speedy from there on out. Mac users will also be pleased to hear that UB recently introduced a Mac-friendly version of their newest package.
While UB doesn't really offer any amazing innovations by way of special features, they do have all the must-haves like both automatic and manual table resizing, player notes, a rabbit cam, and unlimited multi-tabling. To make the latter even easier, they also bring tables to the top when the action hits your seat. What's missing? Table views; with only two, players that like to have options may have a hard time getting comfortable here.
One area where the new UB.com really excels is in game selection. In addition to hundreds of active Texas Hold'em tables at every stakes level, the site also hosts Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud, Stud Hi/Lo, Razz, Triple Draw, HA, SHOE, HORSE and Crazy Pineapple tables, plus UB's signature 7 Deuce Hold'em tables which offer a jackpot to players that win a hand with a 7-2.
UB's tournament schedule isn't as impressive or expansive as the ring game section of the lobby, but with thousands of daily SNGs, MTTs, bounties, freerolls and satellites it's got something for everyone. Players can start at the bottom of the steps ladder for little more than pennies, can buy into cash-heavy guaranteeds for $1 and up, and can participate in direct entry satellites with buy-ins of as much as $1000 or more.
UB.com's traffic is comparatively light for a poker room of its size and reputation, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. On good weekends you can expect upwards of 25,000 cash players with around 10,000 during regular hours. That's enough to offer consistent action at the most popular games and stakes levels without flooding the tournaments.
Because UB.com doesn't court the pros like sites like PokerStars do, the sharks that frequent this site are considerably less formidable, leaving plenty of room for ambitious amateurs to profit at even at the higher stakes tables.
Another of UB.com's strong points is its promotions. Its current sign-up bonus is practically unheard of for a larger poker room, so if you like what you're reading about the site then now's the time to give it a try. New UB members will receive a 111% match on their first deposit good for up to $1100 in bonus credits. They'll also receive an exclusive entry into the site's much-coveted $1000 New Depositors Freeroll. Just bear in mind that the bonus isn't automatic, so players that forget to enter the applicable code will be out of luck.
UB's loyalty program, RAI$E, is also one of the best in the industry offering players of every level a number of different ways to earn cash, free play and prizes. RAI$E members of the highest level can earn a whopping 31% return on money played at UB's tables plus up to 5% interest on a standing account balance. The program is free, and with the lowest cash-out level being 20 points to $1, it's also easily one of the most generous rewards programs.
The sign-up bonus and RAI$E alone would be enough to earn high praise from tough critics, but when you also add in UB's large freeroll schedule, their significant number of satellites, the added jackpots, special bounties, double point events and their frequent reload bonuses, then it's easy to see why value-oriented players prefer the new UB.com.
What UB Is Known For
UB's profit potential both at the ring games and in its larger tournaments makes it an appealing room for amateurs that aspire to more. Likewise its many generous promotions show true appreciation for members of every skill and budget level. Subtle endorsements by some of the games most well-respected players (namely Phil Hellmuth) have also helped to restore the 10-year old site's well-deserved credibility.
UB.com seems painfully aware of its imperfect past, but its new operators are working hard to overcome a bad reputation that this excellent site no longer deserves. It won't be long before more players follow the money back to UB, so get in now while the competition is soft and the promos are huge.