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.

Posted on 2nd May 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

The Microgaming Poker Netwok (MPN) will host its 2018 Universal Championship of Poker (UCOP) series starting from 6 May. The series offers an action-packed schedule with more than 60 events with €500,000 guaranteed. UCOP: Full Throttle is back in full throttle and is scheduled to end on 20 May.

The highlights of the series will be the main event with €40,000 guaranteed and a €320 high roller with €30,000 guaranteed. There are also four PLO events on the schedule with plenty of No Limit Hold’em bounty, re-buy and freezeout events.

The tournament will once again be open to Georgian players, with websites including 32Red and Adjarabet. They are just the two among Microgaming poker rooms where players can enter the tournament. Satellites for UCOP: Full Throttle are running from as little as €0.55.  Adjarabet players have the chance to participate for the second time in the series since they joined MPN last September. Head of Products at Microgaming, Alex Scott is happy that Adjarabet players will take part in the event.

“Our unique Universal Championship of Poker continues to deliver thrills both on and off the felt, and with the addition af Adjarabet players to the mix once again, this edition of UCOP promises to be the most exciting yet.”

UCOP is back not only with €500,000 guaranteed but with the motorsport lovers’ fantasy prize.

A leaderboard will run across all events with €5,000 in cash prize and one amazing motorsport prize. The player in Pole Position on the leaderboard will win a trip to the UK for two, to get tucked in some serious racing competition.

This exclusive motorsport prize includes standard return flights from Europe to London with private airport transfers, two nights with breakfast at the 4-star Verve Hotel in Bedford and a half-day Motorsport Adventure for two.

The adventure includes a first-hand experience of racing at Palmer Jaguar JP-LM, Racing in a Formula 3000 single seater, Pursuit Race in an iconic machine Caterham Seven afterwards and finally an off-road adventure in a Land Rover Defender. Alex Scott stated that he himself feels jealous at the winner of this awesome prize who will jet off to London and enjoy this bucket-list experience.

Posted on 25th April 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

United States poker players really have something to be looking forward to this spring since New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware will start sharing their liquidity pools on 1 May.

Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) announced that both WSOP.com and 888Poker.com will begin sharing liquidity between online poker players in the three states according to a new model formulated from a liquidity sharing agreement between the states. New Jersey joined Nevada and Delaware, which have been sharing poker liquidity since 2015, in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association (MSIGA) in October 2017.

Back then, no time limits were given as to when the shared liquidity program was going to launch.

The two sites are currently awaiting regulatory approval from the three states but the software has been submitted for testing. Poker players from New Jersey won’t be required to change anything but players from Nevada and Delaware will have to download new software and open fresh accounts. Both sites believe that this move will create a new “large-scale multi-state offering that will propel the industry forward”.

New Jersey’s online gambling market is some way ahead of Delaware and Nevada and is believed to boost their performance. New Jersey’s official figures show online poker revenue has constantly grew since 2013 with the online casino vertical hit the record growth in March of $23.6 million.

This move could really pave the way for more online poker traffic, result in bigger prize pools and increase overall competition. The launch came in just in time for 2018 WSOP that is scheduled to start at the end of May. The influx of poker players to Las Vegas, Nevada from 29 May to 17 July could just be the boost for tri-state liquidity program to kick off big style.

The three states are the only states in which online gambling is legal in the US. Pennsylvania is the only other state to have approved intrastate online gambling and once the legislation permits interstate liquidity sharing and final regulations come in the future, it would be a significant boost for the shared liquidity pool.

Posted on 18th April 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Since PokerStars renewed its commitment to promote poker around the world, poker players will once again enjoy at European Poker Tour at some of the most luxurious locations including Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Prague.

The EPT is back, more glamorous and action-packed than ever, in all its glory.

European Poker Tour 2018 returns to Monte Carlo after a two-year-break, for the first time since 24 April 2016 and judging by the schedule it would be nothing less than amazing.

There are more than 60 tournaments scheduled for EPT Monte Carlo’s return that will appeal to all levels of players. Those key dates standing out of crowd are definitely EPT National with Single Re-Entry per Flight from 25 to 28 April with a buy-in of €1,100. EPT Super High Roller with Single Re-Entry and €100,000 buy-in is starting on 26 April.

EPT National High Roller with €2,200 buy-in and Single Re-Entry is on 27 and 28 April. From 26 until 29 April players can enjoy playing EPT Cup for €330 buy-in and Single Re-Entry per Fright. EPT High Roller is from 2 to 4 May with a €25,000 buy-in and Single Re-Entry and last but not least is EPT Main Event for €5,300 buy-in and Single Re-Entry.

PokerStars made some changes thanks to the feedback from the players and all No Limit tournaments will feature the exciting big blind ante format and increase the speed of the play, and for the first time ever, the use of shot clocks will be expanded from Day 2 onwards.

Five PokerStars Players Championship packages (PSPC), each worth $30,000 will be given to lucky players. The package consists of six-night accommodation at Atlantis Resort, $2,000 in food and beverage allowances and $25,000 entry to the PSPC event at the Bahamas 2019.

The EPT Monte Carlo was the tour’s Grand Final previously, from season 1 to season 12. The last winner was Jan Bendik who won €961,800. EPT Monte Carlo has seen their winners walk with more than two million. In season 4, Glen Chorny took €2,020,000 home and Pieter de Korver in Season 5 won €2,300,000.

Posted on 11th April 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

After a hugely successful debut last years at the new home for WSOP Europe, the highly-anticipated poker event will return to King’s Casino Rozvadov, Czech Republic this fall.

The inaugural WSOPE was a huge success and since King’s Casino is firmly established as one of the most popular poker venues in Europe, the WSOPE decided to make commitment to Rozvadov annually.

The venue offers first class poker and now, with renovations being completed, it offers more than 200 poker tables, with cash games and tournaments running 24/7. Being placed right in the Central Europe, between Prague and Munich, King’s Casino Rozvadov is a perfect choice for the event due to an easy travel destination.

The WSOPE 2018 will take place from 11 October to 2 November and offer 10 bracelet events.

The exact schedule is yet to be released and we don’t know yet which event has been cut from the tournaments. The Main Event will be filmed for TV while other events will have live reporting and live stream coverage.

The WSOPE 2018 will be the last event this year where players can earn their points for the race for the WSOP Player of the Year.

Last year, the total of 7,689 players competed in the 11-event series and made the WSOPE 2017 the richest poker tournament ever held in Europe. WSOPE 2017 consisted of 11 bracelet events and had awarded more than €25 million in prize money. One of the talks of the event was the comeback of Chris Ferguson who won the seventh event and won his sixth bracelet and €39,289. That win secured him 2017 WSOP Player of the Year honors.

Dominik Nitsche won the €111,111 High Roller for One Drop for more than €3.25 million and his fourth bracelet while Marti de Torres won the Main Event for €1,056,148. The controversy about Tsoukernik who refused to pay money he had borrowed at the table from Aria Casino and Matt Kirk resulted in a legal battle that ended up in court. But this bad press hadn’t marred the last year’s event triumph though.

Since its inception, WSOPE was held at London from 2007 to 2010, in France 2011 t0 2013 and Germany in 2015. Choosing the same location for the 2018 WSOPE as last year, is building on last year’s success.

Posted on 5th April 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

The Microgaming Poker Network, commonly referred as MPN, has partnered with another operator to expand its online poker network in the evolving market in India.

Poker Lion, an online poker site operated by Kolkata-based developer Ability Gaming, has joined Microgaming’s Indian Network.

The site offers a vie array of poker variants available for play on both desktop and mobile in all major Indian languages. The online poker room is looking to build its player base and has a nice welcome bonus, recharge bonus and royal bonus to get players to sign in.

A number of exciting tournaments, online poker games and a progressive jackpot can make Indian players very rich. Poker Lion joined Mercury Poker, Poker Nation, Khelplay and Pokeryaar on the network.

PokerLion wants to find its own way in the competitive Indian online poker market but it currently focuses on reaching broad demographics of poker players. The site states that the brand is designed to create a fun, trustworthy and engaging place to play and a place where players’ happiness is a top priority.

PokerLion joined MPN with strong plans for growth and a commitment to entertain. They are passionate about developing and promoting poker in India and happy to join the network, one among the most powerful and successful in the business.

“At PokerLion, we are committed to creating the best possible experience for our players, and we are thrilled to debut our new website for our Indian poker enthusiasts, clients and partners.” Navneet Makharia, Manager Director at Ability Games added.

Although the PokerLion site went live on MPN on 8 March, the company launched the brand a few weeks earlier in Mumbai, at the Club Sirkus, Hotel Sahara Star.

They also introduced Team Goa Lions consisting from players from Australia, Texas and the UK. They will take place in national and international poker tournaments in order to promote the game of poker at the PokerLion brand.

Posted on 28th March 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Online players are bracing themselves for one of the largest online tournaments of the year as PokerStars is set to host a whopping $10 million guaranteed tournament the second time this year as a part of their twelfth anniversary of the Sunday Million.

The Sunday Million has become the signature event for this site since PokerStars was the first to host a $1 million guaranteed tournament every Sunday for a buy-in of only $215. The tenth anniversary attracted 55,059 players with a massive prize pool of $11,011,800 and the eleventh anniversary attracted 55,835 players and a prize pool reached $11,167,000.

PokerStars celebrated its 12th anniversary of the Sunday Million in February by increasing the guarantee to an amazing $10 million.

Although the event attracted 43,975 entrants, it failed to meet its guarantee. PokerStars needed 50,000 players to pay the buy-in of $215 to fulfil the guarantee so PokerStars executives had to make up for a $1.2 million shortfall. The winner from Brazil, “Hulk9950” claimed the top prize of only $960,000.

So PokerStars decided to try it out one more time and announced another tournament for 22 April.  The online poker room will host Sunday Million Take 2 with a $10 million guaranteed prize pool with $1 million and a PSPC Platinum Pass for the winner.

Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset strongly believes that loyal players will recognize their devotion and huge prizes at such low buy-in of $215 and if they fail to reach a guarantee or two, it’s worth the risk. They will have more satellites, more incentives and better scheduling the second time. In addition to this tournament, PokerStars introduced Spin & Go’s tournaments packed with $1 million top prize and $5 buy-ins running from now until 22 April.

A $30,000 Platinum Pass for the 2019 PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Championship will be awarded to one lucky player. During the late registration, a selection of players will be picked at random and entered into a winner takes all freeroll. The Premium Pass will be won via an impromptu Sit & Go showdown.

One of the reasons PokerStars failed to hit $10 million guarantee on Sunday Million could be the fact they hosted Sunday Storm at the same time. The seventh anniversary $1 million Guaranteed Sunday Storm had an $11 buy-in and attracted 142,000 entrants so this time, the timing is better and we hope they’ll once again prove the world they are still number one.

Posted on 21st March 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

The global landscape for online gambling is constantly changing. Online poker is no exception and Russia can be the next possible hurdle for one of the gambling giants, PokerStars.

The Stars Group INC. that is located in Toronto runs the world’s largest online poker site PokerStars. Their earnings guidance for 2018 assumes that new Russia rules will have a negative effect on their business if they block payments to some offshore gambling services.

Their online poker and casino products are available in Russia even though gambling is restricted by law. This market is a “grey zone” since it is not clear whether websites established outside Russia offering online gaming are considered taking illegal activity “in Russia” or not.

The new law is expected to stop country’s banks to conduct business with blacklisted offshore payments processors and gambling companies according to Stars Group documents. The company is preparing for every type of scenario that may happen in the market.

According to the CEO Rafi Ashkenazi, the company has a strategy to mitigate the potential impact. They have been working on preparing plan A, plan B and even plan C for anything that may happen when the new law comes to life on 25 May.

In late November, Russian president signed a bill into law that doubles the gambling tax rates local governments are allowed to levy. There is more to come since the Finance Minister announced to boost gambling taxes tenfold by 2020. Should this happen, the entire business will be killed.

Unlike in other jurisdictions, Russia doesn’t levy tax on a percentage of gaming revenue but charges a fee on each gaming table and machine in operation.

The company reported 16% revenue increase in the last quarter and they are closely following the situation. The exiting Russian market exit would be a huge blow for the company since they have already left the Australian online poker market after the law change last year.

In the meantime, Stars Group has worked hard to reduce its reliance on poker and to invest in other segments like sports-betting.

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