LiveAce is an innovative online poker site that is currently operating in 32 states across the United States of America, making it one of the first group of online poker companies to offer legal online poker games since Black Friday produced a plethora of ‘Closed’ signs back in 2011.
Ultimate Poker paved the way for the return of real money online poker games when it opened for business in the state of Nevada earlier this year, so how has LiveAce managed to find a loophole to operate in 32 states?
Here is the LiveAce CEO Adam D. Stein-Sapir to let us in on his little secrets.
Why is LiveAce able to offer an online poker product across 32 states?
LiveAce is a U.S.-based company offering legal online poker games. Our contests are free and do not involve gambling in any way. There is no purchase necessary to win. To participate, you must meet the minimum age requirement and reside in an eligible state.
Why is it not legal in 18 states?
The current sweepstakes laws of those states do not permit LiveAce to offer the game to its citizens.
So if you are not gambling what makes LiveAce different than all other forms of play money sites?
We differ from our play money competitors because of our cash auction system, where players must specify how many Live Chips they want to bid and how many dollars they want to bid for. Players can never bid for more than the dollar amount of the current auction, and can never bid more than the number of Live Chips in their account.
For example, you might bid 1,000 Live Chips for $500. Depending on other bidders in the auction, you may win up to $500. However, you will never pay more than 1,000 Live Chips.
Are there any plans to include auctions for special prizes or are you going to remain with the cash philosophy?
Yes additional auction types may be offered in the future.
How has the launch been so far?
The launch has been very well received by players nationwide with 6-8 tables of No Limit, PLO and oftentimes Limit running 24/7; so there’s always a game. We’ve had several well-respected pros gravitate to the site as well. Eric Crain, Aaron Steury and Ryan Laplante have all publicly tweeted about the site. This doesn’t include other pros that have joined, but haven’t tweeted yet.
What is your goal for player numbers and where are we now?
We’d very much like to increase the amount and frequency of the auctions as well as improve the gameplay. The extents to which we’re able to accomplish these goals depend on the success we have in increasing the membership base. Based on the excellent traction so far we are confident we’ll be able to achieve these goals.
How does LiveAce earn a profit? Do you have a rake system?
No, real money online poker sites generate income by taking a percentage of the pot from every hand, also known as rake. LiveAce does not charge a rake in any of our games. LiveAce generates income from membership subscriptions, chip purchases and advertising, and therefore doesn’t need to charge a rake.
LiveAce is a tournament free environment. Why did you take this decision?
Tournament sites have their place but most players don’t like being told when to show up and don’t like playing all night to win a prize they might not be able to use. In order to win anything of real value in most tournaments you need to do more than finish in the top 10% – you need to win the whole thing which can mean beating over 1,000 other players – which, even if you’re an excellent player isn’t likely to happen very often. Ring games afford players a significant amount of autonomy to play on their schedule and still win cash.
Can players buy and sell chips from each other or does the auction just involve the selling player and LiveAce as the buyer?
The latter – players are not permitted to transfer chips amongst each other. When a player wins cash in an auction, those Live Chips are removed from their account (and from circulation). If a player is not a successful bidder in an auction the chips are returned to his/her account.
What legal homework did you go through to ensure you comply with state laws?
Our attorney thoroughly reviewed the sweepstakes laws of all 50 states to determine where we could offer the game legally and lawfully.
What are the cash processing options?
Dwolla, paper check and we plan to offer credit cards soon. Players may also use cash in their own secure Cash Account to purchase chip packages.
What have you been learning from the bidding process in the early stages?
We provide historical data on our auctions to all members. We’re seeing that upwards of 50% of players who submit a bid on any given day are able to convert their Live Chips to cash. Over the course of several days, and with a high enough bid rate, you can see that any player is virtually certain to win cash. We are very encouraged by this, especially when compared to tournament sites where only a very small percentage of players ever win anything of value.
Is there any skill in the bidding process?
We believe the auctions represent an exciting game within a game – and like any game some type of thought is involved. For example, if you were to bid 5 Live Chips for an entire $1,000 auction its extraordinarily unlikely that you would win.
As a new site, with a new way of operating, what feedback system do you have for players?
We have a sponsored thread on TwoPlusTwo forums in Internet Poker (Zoo). Our rep LiveAce Lori is very involved and interacts with the community on a daily basis. Players may also use the Contact Us page and we make every effort to respond to questions with one to two days.
Google Play have just revised their rulings regarding apps that benefit financially. They have said they will no longer accept “content or services that facilitate online gambling, including but not limited to, online casinos, sports betting and lotteries, or games of skill”. How does this affect your mobile offerings?
We don’t offer an app at this time – our game is HTML 5 and delivered right to a user’s browser with no software to download.
As with most emerging poker brands you have chosen an ambassador for your site, tell us a little bit about that?
Andy Frankenberger is a two-time WSOP bracelet holder, WPT Champion and former WPT Player of the Year. He burst onto the poker scene out of nowhere to become one of the most elite poker names in the world. We are confident that LiveAce will take the same trajectory, so we saw it as a natural fit.