Posted on 12th July 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

All poker players that are also a reality show lovers have really something to look forward to this summer since Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Khloé Kardashian and Kendall Jenner will each host their own table at the first annual “If Only” Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament.

This inspiring and noble fundraiser is taking place on Sunday, 29 July at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

Doors open at 12 p.m. with the games beginning at 1 p.m. The event will be hosted by Shelli and Irving Azoff, Madison Square Garden and City of Hope, and will feature celebrity appearances of the members of the famous family. Since the event and the stars’ preparation will be filmed for the fall episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, poker players can also hope for some face to face time with their favorite celebrities.

Non-player tickets cost $250 and higher while player tickets begin at $1,000 and go up to $50,000. The amounts will cover food, amenities and some pretty amazing prizes.

Featured food and beverage offerings include Boo’s Philly Cheesesteaks, Hansen’s Cakes, Tyler Texas, Cookie Good, Carney’s Cake, Justin Wines, champagne from the Bubble Tap Trailer and tequila from Casamigos. Visitors can also enjoy foot spa treatment from the Barefoot Trailer and hair and make-up glam experiences by Mane Addicts in the Forum’s backstage and much more.

Tournament players can look forward to some interesting prizes. The winner will be awarded with front row tickets for the Eagles’ performance at the Forum in September and a backstage VIP meet and greet while the second place wins front row tickets for Fleetwood Mack in December and a backstage meeting with Stevie Nicks. Other prizes include everything between iHeartRadio Festival tickets, customized Callaway golf clubs and a Lorraine Schwartz Diamond Against Evil Eve bracelet.

As huge long-term supporters of a non-profit clinical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases City of Hope, all members of Kardashian-Jenner clan jumped to the opportunity to help raise more money for this noble cause. They will use their popularity and millions of followers on social media to advocate for this worthy cause.

The Azoffs are bringing together celebrity friends and entertainment industry impresarios to benefit City of Hope. Long-time City of Hope campaigner Tyler Barth was instrumental in bringing all parties together for this once in a lifetime event. Online registration for the charity poker tournament is open at the Forum.

Posted on 4th July 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

After a public nomination process and the voting by the PHOF Governing Council, the WSOP announced ten candidates for the Poker Hall of Fame’s 2018 class.

Since its establishment in 1979, all poker players strive to be among the finalists. Two new names will be added to the current 54-member Hall of Famers on 13 July. The two most deserving poker players will be determined by the 28 living members of this prestigious list together with the 18-member panel consisting of media members.

They will all send their official ballots to the WSOP Governing Council until 8 July and the newest members to the Poker Hall of Fame will be announced as part of the WSOP Main Event final table festivities on 13 July.

Two new candidates, David Oppenheim and John Henningan, joined the eight players who have been finalists in previous years. Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Mori Eskandani, Bruno Fitoussi, Mike Matusow, Chris Moneymaker, Matt Savage, and Huck Seed have already been nominated before and they all hope for better luck this year.

To get inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, players must be at least 40-years-old, to have played high-stakes poker against acknowledged top competition and stood the test of time.

The other criteria they have to fulfil is they have played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers. Non-players can also find their way to the list of top ten but only if they are deemed to have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game like Matt Savage, WTP Executive Tournament Director.

Being one of the most recognizable faces in poker, Savage has done huge work in the promotion and standardization of the game. Savage has been lobbying very openly to convince voters he is a deserving candidate since he created tournament rules that casinos around the world implemented in the gameplay. Many doubt the voters will vote in the favor of an industry employee rather than in the favor of a player but we’ll have to wait and see.

No doubt the voters will have a very difficult job to elect only two out of ten really impressive candidates. We can’t wait for the results.

Posted on 27th June 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Delaware Lottery announced the figures for the online poker revenue in May and they show the first rise since July last year. The addition of New Jersey to the existing interstate online poker network of Delaware and Nevada was a real boost to Delaware revenue.

Nevada and Delaware have been sharing poker liquidity across 888’s interstate network since March 2015 and New Jersey joined on 1 May 2018 following the signing of Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) announced that WSOP.com will begin sharing liquidity as well as 888Poker.com in the tree states and create a new large-scale multi-state offering that will “propel the industry forward”.

Nevada and Delaware have together a population of 4 million people which makes it hard to achieve a critical mass large enough to support online poker but with additional 9 million people in New Jersey, the situation changes a lot. The full potential of the shared pool is yet to be discovered in the future. Pennsylvania is expected to join MSIGA in early 2019 and the addition of 13 million people will once again double the size of the regulated US online poker player pool.

The increased poker liquidity from New Jersey had a huge impact on Delaware’s online poker industry since the country reached the $20,000 mark the first time since July 2017. In total, three Delaware casinos reported $24,300 in rake and tournament fees in May, with Delaware Park collecting a whopping $14,600 which represents 60% of the market.

The $24,300 is the highest amount since January 2017 when they reported $25,000 and although May 2018 saw online poker revenue rise 15% year-over-year, Delaware online poke is still well below the level it was at in the period 2014 to 2016. At the time the monthly revenue was between $60,000 and $50,000 which means revenues had been declining nearly 30% on average over the last 18 months.

New Jersey joining the shared pool promises to really be a game changer for Delaware. Three Delaware casinos, Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs reported really impressive number of new registrations1,394. If May numbers are any indication, interstate online poker is growing the Delaware online poker market and this is just the beginning.

Posted on 20th June 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

PokerStars has announced a brand new addition to the European Poker Tour on a lower prize-point so players of all bankrolls can compete between 21 and 29 September in Sochi, Russia.

EPT Open Sochi confirmed dates for the Main Event and High Roller but the full schedule will be announced later. EPT Open Sochi Main Event will take place from 25 to 29 September with a buy-in of $2,125 (RUB 132,000). The guaranteed prize pool is nearly $1 million (RUB 60,000,000) and the lucky winner will walk away with a Platinum Pass for the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship (PSPC) that takes place in early 2019.

Satellites to the EPT Open Sochi are available online with a variety of different buy-ins that start from $22. Main Event packages worth $3,100 that include accommodation and Main Event buy-in, are also in the offer via satellites.

Platinum Pass is worth a whopping $30,000 and includes $25,000 entry for the PSPC event, six nights at Atlantis Resort, Nassau in the Bahamas as well as $2,000 in food and beverage allowances. This one will be one of the five Platinum Passes that PokerStars promised to reward to EPT Open Sochi participants. PokerStars will award more than 300 Platinum Passes throughout 2018 via PokerStars specific tournament, random prize draws or fun free-to-play competitions.  PokerStars expects the 2019 PSPC event to be the biggest high roller poker tournament to date.

Players of the EPT Open Sochi will also have the chance to meet Team PokerStars pros, PokerStars Ambassadors, receive free merchandise and enjoy the luxury of Sochi Casino & Resort. If you need the reason to stay in Russia a little bit longer, Sochi Autodrom kicks off after the EPT Open so you can enjoy one of the most popular forms of motor racing.

This will be the second time EPT visits Sochi this year since the regular stop took place between 20 and 29 March. The winner of the Main Event was ArseniiKarmatckii winning a hefty prize of $478,451 (RUB 27,300,000).

PokerStars Ambassador, Mikhail Shalamov, sees EPT Open Sochi as a great opportunity to gather all kinds of players from around the world.

“It’s great to see the EPT returning to Sochi but with a slight twist as the EPT Open Sochi. The smaller Main Event buy-in this time around will make it a brilliant opportunity for players of all bankrolls to play on home soil and give Russian players the opportunity to take to the felt against some of the best players from around the world. At the EPT event earlier this year there were more than 1,300 players from 61 different countries!”

Posted on 13th June 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

The Spanish Regulator, Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) released the region’s online gambling statistics last week showing improvements with overall revenue growth and with its online poker for the first quarter of this year. The main reason for the growing player pot is the pool Spain shares with other European countries.

Let us remind you that France, Spain, Italy and Portugal agreed in January to team up and share their poker player pools.

France and Spain were the first to join forces and launched cross-border player liquidity pooling between PokerStars’ French and Spanish-licensed sites. France saw the immediate gross gaming revenue of 8%. Recently, Portugal joined the party and boosted the European network for 27% just in the first week. Italy is expected to join in the following months.

The figures released by DGOJ show total online revenue of €163.3m, up a healthy 28% from the same period last year but a 5.7% decline from last quarter 2017’s total. The biggest piece of the profits made sports betting, just slightly over a half, generating €81.7 million. This amount represents a 15.9% year-on-year increase. In-play betting accounted for 62.5% of sports revenue and 67% of betting handle, while pre-game fixed-odds betting claimed 34.9% of revenue and 30.2% of handle.

Online casino revenues led the region with €56.6 million in revenues which is a 51% increase while online slots were 52.7% of that total. Online poker had bad figures for quite some time but has now made a huge comeback with revenues of €21.5 million. Cash games revenue is €8.4 million which makes 30% of total amount and tournaments earned €13 million which is a 50.2% of total. If we compare the total online poker revenue for the first quarter 2018 with the last quarter of 2017, there is a 5% growth.

Online bingo rose almost 30% amounting €3.5 million for revenues. Active users for first quarter climbed 25% to 800,000 while player deposits amounted €562 million, a 58.7% increase.

For now, PokerStars holds the monopoly, but soon other operators including PartyPoker, 888casino and Winimax will get their regulations and licenses in order and jump into this shared liquidity pool.

Posted on 6th June 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

The online poker site, Global Poker, is really listening to its customers and have just announced a new partnership with Worldpay, a global leader in omni-commerce payments.

Taking into account the feedback from their customers about more ways when it comes to payment options at their disposal, Global Poker partnered with the leader in the global payment space to enable better choices in payment solutions. Global Poker had three recent successful tournament series, The Eagle Cup, Grizzly Games and Rattlesnake Open, after which they concluded that an increase in payment options would be extremely beneficial to its growing player base.  Founder and CEO of Global Poker’s parent company VGW, Laurence Escalante said they are happy to serve their customers and offer more payment methods at their disposal.

“One thing our customers have made clear to us is they like choices and when it comes to payment methods, more the choices, more it is convenient for people.”

So far, players needed to buy gold coins through PayPal for getting bonus Sweeps Cash and then cash them out for real money prizes so this partnership is a huge step forward. From now on, players will be able to use many other payment and cashout methods that weren’t possible. The company believes Worldpay will satisfy everyone’s needs and offer a range of payments to the customers which will include credit card payments and e-wallet as well as mobile options.

Therefore, players will be enabled to play and pay in whatever way they desire. The exact date hasn’t yet been announced but players will have access to the added payment options in the very near future.

“Worldpay’s extensive network and vast expertise allow us to give our players this choice.” Escalante added. “This means our customers can interact with us in whatever way is most convenient to them.”

Worldpay is the world’s largest payment platform being listed on the London Stock Exchange earlier this year. They process more than 40 billion transactions annually, utilizing more than 300 different payment types.

Posted on 30th May 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

The world’s most prestigious poker tournament series is coming to Twitch.tv for the very first time thanks to the partnership deal between this Amazon’s video game live stream service and Poker Central, the ultimate destination for fans of poker tournaments, cash games and lifestyle away from the tables.

PokerGO has announced a few days ago that they are doing more than just the full feature broadcast on their own dedicated streaming platform and thatTwitch.tv will bring live coverage of over 31 tournaments and 25 final tables from 2 June throughout 14 July. The action will be embedded in PokerNews’ live reporting pages and on twitch.tv/pokercentral. Play-by-play will be offered by David Tuchman with additional support by Jeff Platt, a PokerNews podcast host and former pro player.

WSOP is the world’s longest-running and largest poker event in the world and have earned three billion dollars in prize money featuring a slate of tournaments in every major poker variation. A gold bracelet is awarded to the winner of each individual event, a prize recognizes as the most prestigious in the entire sport.

Sam Simmons, PokerCentral’s VP of Content, said, “Year after year, our goal is to provide the highest quality poker content to as large an audience possible. To that end, we’re proud to work with our long-time partners at Twitch to produce and distribute additional coverage of the WSOP – the preeminent tournament series in all of poker.”

The company’s head of poker partnerships, Fahran Ahmen, explained that with broadcasting poker events since 2014, Twitch has seen its subscriber base continue to grow each year hoping to interact with the best players and best events in poker.

“Since poker has continued to grow significantly as a content category on Twitch and the World Series of Poker represents one of top levels of competition the sport has to offer, it’s exciting to bring it to our passionate poker fanbase.”

Posted on 23rd May 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

New York is one of several states trying to fill its coffers with the revenue from online poker and sports betting, but the gambling expansion is still uncertain.

Local legislators have recently discussed two proposals for legalizing an online poker market. The project introduced last year by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Senator John Bonacic, failed to make it to the Assembly floor but there is still hope.

Officials introduced two proposals last year, AB-5250 and SB-3898, to legalize online gaming operations addressing poker rooms in the State of New York. Although the first one didn’t even make it to the voting, legislators are hoping the second one, SB-3898 will be approved next month. New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow believes that all it takes is to get it to the floor. He can’t guarantee the passage but getting it to the floor is enough and he will fight for it.

The main problem seems to be that many members of the Assembly think poker is gambling rather than the game of skill. He will push forward to legalize online poker but there are no guarantees. He even joked that every member of the committee has “an Uncle Louie that lost his paycheck” and that’s why they are not open-minded to online poker. With 150 lawmakers in the Assembly, this is going to be a tough try.

It wouldn’t be the first time the proposed poker bills passed the Senate and then stalled in the Assembly. Should the bill passes, New York would become the fourth state with legal online gambling after Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. Pennsylvania is still working on fully regulating and legalizing the industry.

Pretlow hopes to see sports betting at the state’s casinos by the end of June, after the Gaming Commission establishes its rules and govern sports betting under the existing legal framework.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA, the constitutional amendment from 2013 allows the existing land-based casinos to offer sports betting.  There are four such venues in New York with Resorts World Catskills being the largest. Pretlow and State Senator Jon Bonacic have introduced more sports betting bills into the state legislature hoping to set up a taxation scheme and other regulations.

Sports betting may be the boost that online poker needs.

Posted on 16th May 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

One of the world’s most popular online gaming companies, 888 has announced the successful launch of their unique interstate poker network.  This launch means that now players from all three U.S. regulated states can enjoy cash games and tournaments and compete with each other for the first time.

Nevada and Delaware have been sharing poker player liquidity across 888’s interstate network since March 2015 and on 1 May 2018, New Jersey joined the network following the signing of Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. This interstate network across three U.S. countries allows pooling of players on a single platform which will lead to more customers enjoying poker formats and tournaments when they want. Caesars with WSOP, The Delaware Lottery and the All American Poker Network are 888’s partners in the U.S. and their users can now compete against each other.

This is a huge step forward for Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey whose regulators supported 888 and their passion for poker. 888 hopes to see more states come on board in the future after creating a solid framework for expansion.

“The launch of the 888-powered interstate poker network is another significant milestone for the US igaming market. Poker players across all three regulated states can compete with each other through the 888 unique, proprietary platform,” 888 chief executive Itai Frieberger commented the launch.

WSOP.com is thankful for the effort 888 put in making this milestone possible. They reached this huge achievement together with the New Jersey Division of Gaming and Delaware state Lottery because they share the same vision. The fight was long, since the model was established in 2014, but it was worth it. The collaborative effort of three states and 888 made this process expeditious and successful for all parties involved.

“The Delaware Lottery is very pleased to be able to offer Delaware’s online poker players this exciting opportunity to enhance their gaming experience.” said Vernon Kirk, director of the Delaware Lottery. “The Multistate Internet Gaming Agreement has proved to be a great vehicle for allowing its member states to take advantage of such cooperative efforts.”

Posted on 8th May 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Chinese Ministry of Culture has announced a ban on all social poker apps starting from 1 June and although the implementation of a ban is suggested to have little impact on the market, poker rooms are beginning to close already and tournaments are being cancelled.

Some companies removed their free-to-play poker games from the Chinese market and the content related to the game will no longer be allowed on WeChat or Weibo.

Both sites are two of the most popular social media networks in China, and they are not allowed anything that is perceived as promoting the game. This is a direct strike on Asian poker community because if you cannot promote the event, Chinese players won’t know they are on and they won’t go, simple as that. Huge part of poker marketing efforts has relied on Chinese social media platforms which would no longer be an option.

The ban has had a serious effect on Macau poker landscape as well. This includes the closure of two poker rooms City of Dreams and Galaxy Macau and also the postponement of the International Poker Tour Macau (IPT) that should be hosted from 16 to 20 May by Alisports. The organizer announced the postponement after “careful consideration” because Chinese players were to qualify for the tournament via the Alibaba poker app which is no longer possible.

The closing of City Of Dreams marks the end of the contract between the room and PokerStars since 2013 and it is also the end of PokerStars Asia events but it remains unclear whether those events will find home elsewhere on the continent.

It may not be all bad news, however. The Stars Group explained they are carefully monitoring regulatory changes and they do not fear of the impact on their events. They feel the ban will provide a safe and secure environment for players as well as a robust taxation regime. The Asian Poker Tour is going strong at the Macau Billionaire Club and casinos like Wynn and Venetian are still running cash games.

It will take tame to see the real impact of the social poker ban on Macau’s community market but the government is primarily implementing the ban to stop underground real money poker games in China that used social media apps to organize them.

So there is something positive in the whole matter.

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