Player Reaction to the Rebranding

Date: 2009-11-30
Author: Sean Gibson

Ultimate Bet is part of the CEREUS Network, which currently ranks as the seventh largest poker site/network in the world and third largest among those that accept players from the United States.  As part of a total marketing makeover, Ultimate Bet has re-branded itself as, complete with a new logo and tagline that states, “Raise. Stack. Own.” According to Tokwiro Chief Operating Officer Paul Leggett, the man in charge of the ownership group behind the site, “It’s a completely new direction for UB.  It’s software built with the serious poker player in mind.”

As part of the physical re-branding of the site, the latest software update features a lobby redesign.  There are new game filters in place that allow UB users to narrow down their choices to exactly the game they are looking for.  The tournament schedule has been overhauled to add over 30 new guaranteed events and $1 million (or more) in guarantees every month.  There’s a new tournament blind structure in place along with synchronized breaks.  Finally, a new Mac OS X version of the poker client has been released so players on both Macs and PCs can come together to play.

More features as part of the update include Omaha tables now having filters and the addition of a new color-coded icon system to all tournament and ring game entries in the lobby.  There are special designations given to for Turbo, Ultra Turbo, Rebuy, Deep Stack, Bounty, Six-Max, Four-Max, and Heads-Up formats.  In the cash game area, the color-codes apply to Turbo, Jackpot, 7-2, Deep Stack, 50-min Big Blind, and Ante tables.  At the bottom of the lobby is a legend so players can be reminded of what the new icons mean at any time.

The new lobby has a more of a yellow feel than the old black with player and table counts appearing underneath the logo.  The Mac OS X version is an 8.6 MB download, but only allows a maximum of four tables to be opened at a time.  In comparison, the PC edition allows more than three times that number.

Although many industry insiders are applauding the efforts of Tokwiro to re-brand its CEREUS Network entity, there are those in the online poker industry who refuse to forget the site’s past.  The TwoPlusTwo forums are the largest on the internet, with a reputation of being more of a hostile smack-talk battleground than public forum.  In one thread regarding opinions of the re-branding, every one of the 43 replies was either to the effect that they didn’t care about the update or that they are still unhappy about the Ultimate Bet scandal of years past.

In the medium-stakes UB regulars thread, many reported new crashes of the software within the first few days of its release.  Numerous reports starting on the 18th of November and continuing on for several days have stories of regulars upset that the software would freeze.  The players posting in the thread surmised that there was something involving the waitlist feature that was causing the software to crash.

The chatter on the forums at was especially quiet regarding the re-brand.  The sentiment of many regular online poker players today, especially those in the United States, is that a re-brand and new logo are really not of much significance.

Although CEREUS has one of the better rakeback deals in the business, its loyalty program is consistently rated well below the other options in the industry.  Even though has made tremendous strides in rebuilding their image, if they truly want to capture the “regulars” of the internet poker world, it seems they’ll need to do more than offering a new logo and bringing in features that are already available on other poker sites.

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