Posts Tagged ‘Back’

Unibet Pares Back High Stakes Cash Games

 Unibet Pares Back High Stakes Cash Games

It has been a while since we have heard of an online poker room cutting back its high stakes cash game offerings, but here we are again. Unibet Poker has announced that it has removed its highest level of cash game, the €800 No-Limit and Pot-Limit tables. There was not a whole lot of action at these lofty heights, but Unibet feels that their elimination is the best move for the health of its poker economy. The games were added less than a year ago, in March 2017.

Unibet’s Head of Poker David Pomroy explained:

Our main priority has always been to safeguard the ecology of our site as everything we do is ultimately built on that foundation. The addition of NL800 and PL800 had contributed to short-handed games and slightly faster loss rates of recreational players at our higher stakes. Although the situation was by no means critical, we decided it was best to act on that trend sooner rather than later. We’ll be launching a new promotion next month which will be aimed at our recreational higher stakes players and will consider restoring NL800 and PL800 in the future once we feel a sufficient support structure is in place. This decision doesn’t change our long-term ambitions to continue growing the site but right now our focus is on ensuring that we continue to offer a non-predatory environment and the most enjoyable cash games online.

Analyzing that statement a bit (and without first-hand knowledge of what the Unibet lobby has looked like of late), it looks like what was happening was that deep pocketed casual players – and what in many cases may have been “fish” – were getting destroyed at the high stakes tables. There seemed to be a couple things at play contributing to that. One was that the €800 No-Limit and Pot-Limit tables were naturally not as popular as low stakes games and were thus less populated, creating short-handed tables. Second, those that did sit at the tables are generally going to be the most skilled players. Add those two things up and you get recreational players playing short-handed games – games in which blinds come around faster and which generally require more skill than full-ring – against tough players, resulting in rec players’ accounts getting drained quickly.

Online poker rooms love high stakes recreational players, as they are the ones that lose money and have to re-deposit, but they don’t want them losing quickly and not having fun. If that happens, the players are less likely to re-deposit and keep playing. Thus the need to protect them and, in Unibet’s case, remove the highest stakes cash game tables from the lobby.

The highest stakes No-Limit and Pot-Limit games on Unibet are now €400, the same level it was a few years ago.

The post Unibet Pares Back High Stakes Cash Games appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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PokerStars Goes “Back to the Future” In Making Changes to Live Tours

 PokerStars Goes “Back to the Future” In Making Changes to Live Tours

For those of us old enough to remember the original Dallas television show, we remember one season in particular. That season revolved around Pamela Ewing (played by actress Victoria Principal) after the death of her beloved husband Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy). In real life, Duffy had refused to sign a new contract with the show and was written out. But a year later, Duffy signed a contract and was ready to come back. The problem for writers of the show was how to do it.

In the end, they wrote the now-famous “shower scene” in which Pamela wakes up from an evening’s slumber and hears the shower running. She walks into the bathroom, up to the shower door and yanks it open. Turning around, Bobby is there and ALIVE, taking a shower like nothing has happened and saying, “Good morning!” The writers were telling the viewers that the entirety of the previous season had been a dream in Pamela’s mind.

PokerStars seems to be attempting to pull off this same trick with some recent announcements regarding their live tours.

It was revealed on Friday that, instead of continuing forward under the “PokerStars Championships” and “PokerStars Festivals” monikers, the live tours under the PokerStars banner would revert to their titles of the previous years. The 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure had already embraced that change (in 2017, it was known as the PokerStars Championship Bahamas), but now the rest of the PokerStars offerings are heading “back to the future.” Effective immediately, the European Poker Tour (EPT) is back in operation, as are the smaller regional tours such as the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT).

In making these moves, the honchos at PokerStars and The Stars Group are basically Pamela Ewing looking into that shower and saying, “We made a mistake.” To rebrand their efforts and separate them from the heyday of the Scheinberg Family’s ownership, Amaya Gaming (now known as The Stars Group) thought that naming the tours after their flagship brand was the way to go. They quickly found out, through abysmal attendance at many of their PokerStars Championship and Festival events, that they were damaging their brand rather than enhancing it.

What is perhaps more significant with the lack of success of the PokerStars Championships was player perception. Many top pros, dissatisfied with the way that the then-Amaya Gaming was treating the customers (players), decided to vote with their wallets and not take part in their tournaments. The Stars Group is looking to change that as well with the announcement of a new tournament along with the reversion back to the EPT fold.

While announcing the return of the EPT and its kin, PokerStars also announced a brand-new tournament in which it will not only offer $ 9 million of its own money but also hope to bridge the span between the online and live poker worlds. The Players’ No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC, for PokerStars Players’ Championship) will be a $ 25,000 buy in tournament that will be held the week prior to the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The Stars Group is holding nothing back in trying to reclaim those players that had previously walked away.

Over the span of 2018, 300 “Platinum Passes” will be handed out to players. These free tickets include the $ 25,000 buy in to the tournament, six nights accommodations at the Atlantis Resort Nassau (the longtime host of the PCA), $ 2000 for travel expenses and other goodies. The “Platinum Passes” will be earned by the players, though, in winning major tournaments online at PokerStars.

For those that don’t win a package, they will be able to participate also by simply ponying up the $ 25K buy in, for which they won’t have to pay the juice. Besides giving away 300 seats into the tournament, PokerStars is going to seed the tournament further with another $ 1 million in cash. The tournament, before a single participant has been determined, is worth $ 8.5 million ($ 7.5 million in seats given away plus $ 1 million from PokerStars directly); you can guarantee that the top poker professionals are going to want to get into this event despite its hefty price tag.

Will the changes help the PokerStars brand? Some would say that, by admitting they made a mistake with some of their past acts, that PokerStars is on the way to improvement. It will be something that will take some time, however, as they reset their product, wake up from their Pamela Ewing “dream” and try to take on new challengers that have raised their heads.

The post PokerStars Goes “Back to the Future” In Making Changes to Live Tours appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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A Look Back at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Ticket Scalping Mess

 A Look Back at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Ticket Scalping Mess

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Fallsview Poker Classic $ 5,000 Main Event kicks off Wednesday and will culminate on Friday with the crowning of a champion. Chances are, everything should go smoothly, but two years ago, Fallsview was the scene of stupendously poor planning resulting in ripped off and dissatisfied players. Let’s reminisce, shall we?

In 2015, Fallsview had but three tournaments, just as it does this year: a $ 1,100 event, a $ 2,500 event, and the $ 5,000 Main Event. Players could buy-in to the tournaments directly or win a seat via live satellite. The problem that emerged was not with the Main Event, but rather with the $ 1,100 preliminary tournament.

The way tournament organizers setup the event led to a massively broken economy when we really should never have to talk about the “economy” of a tournament in the first place. There were three factors that came together to create the fiasco:

1)    A maximum capacity of 500 players for each of the two starting flights.
2)    No alternate list.
3)    Entry cards were transferable.

The first and third points are probably self-explanatory, but if you are unfamiliar with an alternate list, it is essentially a waiting list to get into the tournament. Alternates have to wait to receive chips and seat until someone is eliminated. It’s basically like waiting for a seat at a full restaurant; you get your name on the list and once your name is at the top and someone leaves, you are shown to your seat. In poker, it is a way give people a chance to play when there is not enough space in the poker room to accommodate the demand.

The problem that resulted was rampant ticket scalping, especially shortly before the start of the second flight. With the three above factors in place, people who weren’t even poker players bought entries for the tournament knowing that it would end up sold out. Then, when players wanted to register, only to find out there were no seats available, the scalpers swooped in and charged massive premiums.

At the time, talked to poker player DJ MacKinnon who said, “The tournament area is next to the food court and Fallsview permits the scalpers to hound people coming off the escalator to ask if anyone wants to buy or sell tickets. The morning of (Day 1b) the cafeteria was crowded with a bunch of people near the tournament area trying to sell tickets. I know of two tickets that sold for $ 1,800 and $ 1,600 respectively.”

Scott Davies had just made two final tables at the Aussie Millions and therefore was unable to register in advance. On Two Plus Two, he called the situation “so gross.”

He then summed it up well:

Pretty awful that the casino creates perfect conditions for the scalpers. They cap the number of entries, let people buy multiple fully-transferable tickets, and then don’t take any alternates the day of the event. So it essentially cuts off the supply at the same moment demand peaks creating a black market. It literally brings out all of the bottom of the barrel scum of the earth to the poker area. These guys show up the day of the event with heaps of tickets and no intention of ever playing the event. I can’t believe the casino allows these guys to do business in their casino, they are as obvious as ticket scalpers at a sporting event/concert, and just as sleazy.

It was a situation that did not need to happen.

Fortunately, things were fixed last year as well as this year. This year, tickets were non-transferable and only one purchase was allowed per person, so there was absolutely no incentive for scalpers to buy any. Now, a better solution would have been to allow resales but control them, perhaps by linking a ticket to a loyalty card, so that transfers can only be made at face value or lower. That way, satellite winners or those who perhaps couldn’t play at the last minute could still sell their tickets. At least the scalping problem has gone away.

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California Online Poker Bill Back for Another Go

 California Online Poker Bill Back for Another Go

They are back at it again in California. For about the billionth time this century, an online poker bill has been introduced into the state legislature and if we have learned anything, there will be a lot of pouting on both sides leading ultimately to nothing. The bill, Assembly Bill 1677 (AB 1677), also called the Internet Consumer Protection Act, was introduced by Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer late last week and will now begin all sorts of stupidity ending with us all saying, “Why can’t they just get it done already?

The bill would set the licensing fee for a cardroom or tribe to operate an online poker room at $ 12.5 million. The license would be good for seven years. The tax rate on gross gaming revenue is progressive; that is, the rate increases the more an operator makes. If an operators gross gaming revenue is less than or equal to $ 150 million, it will be taxed at 8.847 percent. From there up to $ 250 million, the rate is 10 percent. Below $ 350 million, the tax rate is 12.5 percent, and above $ 350 million, the rate is 15 percent.

Arguably the main reason nothing has ever gotten done in regards to online poker in California is because a hardline group of Native American tribes have essentially been adamant that they get everything they want, unwilling to compromise on most points. The composition of this group has varied, but the core members have been the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Barona Band of Mission Indians, the Lytton Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, the Table Mountain Rancheria of California, the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, and the Yoche Dehe Wintun Nation.

These groups want as few entities as possible to be able to operator an online poker room. Thus, AB 1677 presents a compromise, not allowing California racetracks to obtain licenses. In exchange for being excluded, the racetracks would share in 95 percent of the first $ 60 million collected by the state (so $ 57 million). Additionally, racetracks could serve as service providers (for instance, the provider of the poker software) and partner with an operator, but at least half of the partnership’s revenue would have to go to the racetrack.

The hardline tribes have long fought against allowing PokerStars to have any chance to be included in the California online poker industry. As such, they have always wanted a “bad actor” clause in any legislation, barring operators who offered games to Americans after the passage of the UIGEA in late 2006. This bill does not have a bad actor clause, rather leaving it up to state regulators to determine whether or not a license applicant it qualified for a license.

Because of its position as the most populous state in the country – by far – California is the white whale of the online poker industry. If the game were legalized and regulated in the state, any operator who gained a license could make a pretty penny. On top of that, the other states that have legalized online poker – currently Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware – would line up to for interstate compacts with California to boost their player pools.

Good luck at anything ever happening, though.

Poker News Daily

America’s Poker Tour Bringing “Excitement” Back to Tournament Poker

 America’s Poker Tour Bringing “Excitement” Back to Tournament Poker

While it may not be as prevalent as it was even just a few years ago, tournament poker is still a powerful draw for many in the poker community. The number of casinos and card rooms offering tournaments remains high across the country, in many cases driven by several poker tours that have a set schedule of events over the span of a calendar year. Come November, a new entry into the poker tournament landscape will hold its inaugural event in a highly popular casino.

America’s Poker Tour, the brainchild of former Heartland Poker Tour veterans Fred Bevill (who announced the syndicated shows of HPT alongside Chris Hanson) and Derek Melicher (a former executive with HPT), will take off on November 3 at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, IN, technically the suburbs of Chicago. Starting on November 3, satellites starting as low as $ 90 will kick off to funnel players towards their $ 1100 Main Event, which will begin on November 10. It is arguable that America’s Poker Tour, which will tape their shows for syndicated broadcast, is offering the best chance for players to get “into the action” for the lowest price in the poker tournament business.

The Main Event isn’t the only action going on with America’s Poker Tour. As a part of their schedule at Majestic Star, there will be a $ 50,000 guaranteed No Limit Hold’em tournament to kick off the festivities that features a buy in of $ 150 and multiple Day 1 starts. A $ 150 Pot Limit Omaha event, two more individual $ 150 No Limit Hold’em tournaments and a $ 150 Seniors Event will also be conducted.

It sounds like an audacious task for an organization’s first event and Melicher admits it is taking up quite a bit of time. “We’ve been crazy busy, as I am sure you can imagine,” Melicher admitted when he sat down to speak with Poker News Daily. But we were able to get some insights on what to expect from the new poker tour when it hits the felt come November.

Poker News Daily:  How will America’s Poker Tour separate themselves from the glut of tours that are out there?

Derek Melicher:  We’re using the tagline, “By Players, For Players” as we want to get back to why people start playing poker from the beginning…EXCITEMENT! We want this to be an exciting, energetic, fun event where everyone is having a good time and there’s that sense of community that I think sometimes get lost. You’re going to see that in the televised show as well. This isn’t the normal poker show where you see hand after hand until a winner is determined. The adrenaline, intensity, and excitement that occurs at each tour stop is going to be showcased.

PND:  What was the catalyst for creating the APT?

DM:  Fred Bevill and I had both worked for Heartland Poker Tour for a number of years. Fred in a producer/host role and myself in an executive/management role. We wish the best for HPT but we plan on doing things a bit differently. Hopefully the players and also the partnering casinos will recognize that and we can build something special here.

It’s a lower buy-in than a WPT or HPT. We are at $ 1100 for the Main Event while HPT is mostly at $ 1650 so we are the lowest buy-in amount that offers players a shot at television exposure. We also have satellites where players can win their Main Event seat for $ 90 or $ 250. This makes it affordable for the every-day weekend warrior player and also builds the prize pool to a level that pros will see value.

PND:  Three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Dutch Boyd has committed to the first stop in Chicago. What has been the general response from other pros and who else might we see in the Windy City?

DM:  Besides Dutch Boyd, I have also received commitments from former World Champion Joe Cada, Jeff Madsen, Will Failla, Eddy Sabat, Stan Jablonski, and Bernard Lee. We will also have a special guest appearance from Amanda Leatherman, who will be doing some sideline reporting.

PND:  How about the future stops for APT?

DM:  I have a lot of interest for 2017. We’re still working out dates with potential partners, but I’m expecting anywhere from 8-14 tour stops in 2017 and 12-16 events in 2018. The events will be spread throughout the U. S. including Florida, California, Chicago, and places in-between. Overall, we’re really excited and we plan to bring that excitement to each event!

We thank Derek for taking the time in an obviously hectic schedule to offer us a look at the start of America’s Poker Tour. For more information, be sure to visit the APT website, where you will also find a schedule of events for their inaugural stop in November at Majestic Star Casino.

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