LiveAce Launches Free-to-Play Poker Site in U.S.
A new, legal online poker site launched in the United States on Wednesday, though don’t get too excited, it’s not the first competitor to Ultimate Poker in Nevada. The site is called LiveAce.com, a free-to-play poker room for which players also have the option to pay for an upgraded monthly membership.
Essentially, LiveAce is a hybrid between a play money and subscription-based site. Unlike other subscription sites, a paid membership is not at all required. Customers can play for free just fine, while those who upgrade for $19.99 per month Club Live membership receive added benefits. Everyone receives a one-week free trial Club Live membership, meaning everyone will receive 1,600 chips in their accounts to start. Club Live members can also top-up to 400 chips once per day if necessary, while basic members (those who do not upgrade after the one-week trial) can top-up to 200. Each month, Club Live members receive an additional 1,600 chips, while basic members receive 200. Club Live members also get custom avatars, an odds calculator, and hand histories.
LiveAce only offers ring games – No-Limit and Fixed-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha – with no apparent plans to host tournaments. LiveAce gives its reasoning for the lack of tournaments on its website:
We believe that poker players prefer the autonomy and flexibility of ring games. Tournaments are extremely time consuming and often require players to arrive at a set time and play for many hours in a row. Tournaments also have very few winners. In addition, tournament strategy is completely different than ring game strategy, so you don’t get any practice benefits for the types of games which you typically play in casinos, card rooms and home games.
The way players can cashout on LiveAce is interesting. Each day, LiveAce holds an auction in which players can bid for cash using their chips. Only chips won at the tables, called “Live Chips” can be used to bid. Chips awarded upon signup, the monthly bonus, chips earned through referrals, and chips used to top-up are called “Regular Chips” and can only be used to buy-in to ring games (Live Chips can also be used for ring games, though the system will use Regular Chips first). Monday through Friday, the auctions are for $500 cash, while on Saturday and Sunday, the auctions are for $1,000.
In the auctions, players indicate how many Live Chips they wish to bid and for how much cash, up to the maximum amount of the current auction ($500 or $1,000, depending on the day). The system then calculates a bid rate, which is Live Chips per dollar, to determine the auction winners. The winners are the ones who have the highest bid rate. To make it easier to understand, let’s work with an example:
On Saturday the auction is for $1,000. Player A decides to bid for $500 using 10,000 Live Chips (20 chips/dollar bid rate), Player B bids for $400 using 6,000 Live Chips (15 chips/dollar), Player C bids for $300 using 3,000 Live Chips (10 chips/dollar), and Player D bids for $200 with 1,000 Live Chips (5 chips/dollar). Because he had the highest bid rate (20), Player A wins $500. Player B would get $400, as he had the second highest bid rate. Player C would win $100 because he had the third highest bid rate and there was just $100 left. Player D would win nothing – there was no money remaining in the auction once priority fell to him. What’s nice about this system, though, is that Player D does not lose any Live Chips – they go right back into his account (Player C presumably only loses a portion of his chips for his partial win, though this is not explicitly detailed on the site).
LiveAce is not available in all states. The list of eligible states can be seen at https://www.liveace.com/legal/.
Purchases and cashouts can be made via personal check or the electronic payment provider Dwolla.
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