Posts Tagged ‘introduces’

PokerStars Introduces Split Hold’em

 PokerStars Introduces Split Hold’em

PokerStars, not known for being shy about introducing new games, has given players yet another novel offering. So if you sit down at a Split Hold’em cash game table, don’t freak out thinking there is a glitch. What you are seeing is completely normal.

Split Hold’em plays just like regular Texas Hold’em except for one very key difference: two sets of community cards are dealt simultaneously. That means there are two flops, two turns, and two rivers. Each player is dealt just one pair of hole cards, though. Betting is just like it is in any Hold’em game, but players must keep track of what’s going on with two sets of board cards.

If a hand goes all the way to a showdown in Split Hold’em, players must make the best hand with both sets of community cards to scoop the entire pot. Think of it like needing to win the high and low hands in an Omaha Hi/Lo game, except here, you need both high hands. If one player has the best hand using the top set of community cards and another has the best hand using the bottom set of community cards, those two players split the pot.

As is the case in standard Hold’em (or really any other poker game), a player can win the entire pot by forcing his or her opponents out of the hand.

It will be interesting to see how the strategies work in Split Hold’em. Do players loosen up their starting hand standards because they have an extra chance to win the hand? Do players stay in hands longer because they have more opportunities to win a piece of the pot (I would guess the answer to this is yes)? Is it a fool’s errand to play for a split pot or is trying to grab a little bit of dead money wise decision?

I would think it will definitely be much hard to read one’s opponents, you won’t easily know which board they are playing or if they have something legit for both. Turn and river percentages will also change, as more information will be known. I might have a hear flush draw with the top board, but if there is a hear on the bottom board, I now know my draw chances have taken a hit.

Split Hold’em will also utilize the Seat Me system, which PokerStars says is the first time this will be implemented for its “global liquidity player pool,” meaning the .COM site. Seat Me is an automated seating system, getting rid of the ability for players to choose their table and seat. Instead, players will just choose to play Split Hold’em and the stakes for which they want to play and the software will find them a seat. The main goal of this is to reduce bumhunting and stymie seating scripts that allow players to hunt down weaker players and sit with them. If someone wants to play Split Hold’em, they will have to actually play, not keep jumping tables to find their preferred target.

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NJ State Sen. Ray Lesniak Introduces Bill to Expand Online Gambling Internationally

 NJ State Sen. Ray Lesniak Introduces Bill to Expand Online Gambling Internationally

One of online poker’s most fervent supporters in the political world, New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak, has one more trick up his sleeve before he retires. Late last week, Lesniak introduced a bill that would effectively allow New Jersey to enter into agreements with other countries in order to share player liquidity.

The bill, S3536, amends the portion of New Jersey law that legalizes online gambling. Most of the bill is what already exists, detailing the history of gambling in the state, the benefits of gambling (as well as regulation) for the state, and the legalization of internet gaming.

One of the key points of New Jersey’s online gambling law is that the gaming servers must be located in Atlantic City:

….all hardware, software, and other equipment that is involved with Internet gaming will be located in casino facilities in Atlantic City or in other facilities in Atlantic City owned or leased by a casino licensee and thereby considered to be part of a casino hotel facility that are secure, inaccessible to the public, and specifically designed to house that equipment, and where the equipment will be under the complete control of a casino licensee or its Internet gaming affiliate.

But then comes Senator Lesniak’s amendment. He starts by explaining that online gambling has been of great financial benefit to the state and that the market for internet gaming internationally is growing quickly:

In the coming years, the global online gambling market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate, and the largest share of online gambling revenue comes from Europe totaling nearly $ 15 billion a year and growing at a faster rate than the rest of the world; and

Since its inception under P.L.2013, c.27 (C.5:12-95.17 et al.), Internet gaming has resulted in economic benefits to Atlantic City and to this State, and is estimated to have produced, within the first three years of implementation, approximately $ 998 million in economic output, over 3,000 jobs, $ 219 million in employee wages, and $ 124 million in tax revenues, of which $ 84 million derive from Internet gaming revenue alone. The provisions in this act, P.L. c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), permitting Internet gaming equipment to be located outside of the territorial boundaries of Atlantic City if necessary to facilitate the conduct of international wagering, would increase the economic benefit of Internet gaming to Atlantic City and to this State.

And then, right near the end of the bill, comes the kicker, “The division may permit Internet gaming equipment to be located outside of the territorial boundaries of Atlantic City if the division deems it necessary to facilitate the conduct of international wagering permitted under this section.”

Thus, if this bill passed, poker players located in New Jersey would presumably eventually have the ability to play on sites not based in New Jersey. One would assume the New Jersey regulators would have to approve of individual operators and come to agreements with regulators in other countries. When this happens and the player pools of international sites merge with those of New Jersey, player traffic would jump, hopefully attracting more and more players and, in turn, generate more tax dollars for the state.

The current New Jersey legislative session ends January 9, 2018, so Lesniak has a month if he wants to see the bill passed while he is still a Senator.

The post NJ State Sen. Ray Lesniak Introduces Bill to Expand Online Gambling Internationally appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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PokerStars Introduces Usain Bolt Edition Zoom Poker Tables

 PokerStars Introduces Usain Bolt Edition Zoom Poker Tables

As PokerStars’ push to attract and retain recreational players forges ahead, it has launched a new promotion, featuring, for the first time, a celebrity-branded poker table. Just days after retiring from his legendary sprinting career, Usain Bolt has lent his name to the – appropriately – Zoom Poker tables with the “PokerStars Zoom Usain Bolt Edition.”

The new Usain Bolt tables are the same as any other Zoom Poker table, but with the addition of Bolt’s name and likeness. PokerStars has also added the cute feature of turning the table’s traditional padded rail into a race track.

For those of you who are new to Zoom Poker, the rules of the game itself are the same as always. The mechanics, though, are different. Rather than sitting down with a set group of players at a single table, players select the game type and stakes and are then placed into a much larger player pool. Players are seated and contest a hand, but when a player folds, he or she is immediately whisked away to another table with a new group of players to begin the next hand.

The benefit of this for the player is that the action is constant; there is no more twiddling thumbs while waiting for a hand to finish. The downside is that it is much harder to get reads on opponents, as the opponents keep changing every hand. It is also, naturally, easier to bust more quickly, as the hands are completed more quickly (at the same time, one can win faster).

With these Usain Bolt tables, PokerStars is offering Zoom Challenges every day and every week from now through September 24th. There are daily challenges, allowing players to win up to $ 5,000, and those players who complete the required number of challenges (per the player’s Challenge window) will see their reward tripled for the weekly challenge.

It appears that the challenges vary based on the player. For example, some people on Monday have been given the challenge to win 9 cash game hands (interestingly, they don’t have to be Zoom Poker hands) in 15 minutes with minimum stakes of $ 0.01/$ 0.02 (so really any stakes), while some just need to win 6 hands. In the examples I have seen, players have up to 20 chances to complete the challenge before a new one is issued.

If everyone’s possible rewards are the same, they are paltry, but still more than zero. There is a 68.499 percent chance to win 50 whole cents for hitting the daily challenge, a 30 percent chance to win $ 1, a 1 percent chance to win $ 2, a 0.5 percent chance to win $ 10, and a 0.001 percent chance to win $ 5,000.

As challenges vary person to person, it is possible that the prizes do, too, but my guess is that they are the same across the board, as PokerStars has explicitly stated that the top prize is $ 5,000. And again, the weekly prizes triple if a player completes enough daily challenges.

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Poker Central Introduces Poker Masters Tournament Series

 Poker Central Introduces Poker Masters Tournament Series

The ARIA Resort & Casino has seemingly become the place to go in Las Vegas for a big tournament series if one can’t or does not want to play in the World Series of Poker at the Rio. And in a bit of unheralded news from a couple weeks ago – perhaps overshadowed by the WSOP and Poker Central’s need to promote its new subscription streaming service, PokerGO – Poker Central has announced that it will launch a new high stakes tournament series at the ARIA in September. The Poker Masters will run for a week, from September 13th through September 20th.

Unlike many week-long poker festivals that try to fit in as many tournaments as possible, the Poker Masters will consist of just five events, but that is because of the hefty price tag on each: four $ 50,000 buy-in events and one $ 100,000 buy-in event.

The $ 50,000 tournaments will all permit one re-entry per player and, as an incentive to get players to commit to playing, Poker Central and ARIA will not charge a rake to anyone who registers “on time.” Late entries and re-entries will be subject to a rake.

And then, anyone who plays in all four $ 50,000 tournaments will be able to enter the $ 100,000 “Main Event” rake free.

“Poker Masters is a testament to PokerGO’s commitment to deliver the highest quality live poker programming,” said Joe Kakaty, president of Poker Central, in a press release. “We look forward to continually expanding our live event offering throughout the year to provide our subscribers the opportunity to watch the best content the game has to offer.”

The Poker Masters tournament series will implement a 30-second shot clock “per hand” (though one would assume this means “per action”) and every player will have three 60-second time banks per day. This is similar to Action Clock that the World Poker Tour just announced, though the WPT structures its time banks a bit differently.

In a nod to the annual Masters golf championship in Augusta, Georgia, the Poker Masters (the name can’t be a coincidence) will also be awarded one player the Poker Masters Purple Jacket, designed by Waraire Boswell.

The player who earns the most money across all five events (no goofy points system here, just pure money) will receive the Purple Jacket.

“We have hosted a number of successful high-stakes tournaments at ARIA and are looking forward to our upcoming Poker Masters event this fall,” said Sean McCormack, director of poker operations for ARIA Resort & Casino. “Poker Central has been a great partner over the years while leading the industry in the production of poker events worldwide.”

The first $ 50,000 event will begin on September 13th, with the other three $ 50,000 events beginning on each successive day. The $ 50,000 tournament will be two-day affairs. The $ 100,000 event will begin on September 18th and last three days. There are no limits on how many people can enter.

The Poker Masters will be streamed on PokerGo every day of the festival, except for September 17th. As this is a Sunday, it may just be that Poker Central decided not to spend money trying to go up against the NFL.

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Michigan State Senator Introduces Online Poker Bill

 Michigan State Senator Introduces Online Poker Bill

As my colleague Earl Burton wrote a couple days ago, there has been an uptick in online poker regulation activity in a number of states in the last few months. One state mentioned in his piece was Michigan, whose online gaming effort he said “hasn’t moved beyond talking.” But last week, a Michigan legislator did finally take the formal step and introduced a bill that would legalize and regulate online poker.

It was State Senator Michael Kowall, a Republican representing District 15, who introduced Senate Bill 0203 on March 1st, a bill which would create the “Lawful Internet Gaming Act.” The bill would authorize the new division of internet gaming to grant licenses to the state’s casinos. Of course, the casinos would have to apply for said licenses and would have to pay $ 100,000 to do so. The licenses would have a duration of five years and would come with a fee of $ 200,000 for the first year and $ 100,000 per year after that.

Online gaming vendors – for instance, companies that might provide poker software or computer equipment for the poker operators – can also apply for separate licenses. The price tags on those licenses would be significantly less than for the operators themselves: $ 5,000 for the application fee, $ 2,500 per year, and $ 5,000 for the first year.

The state would tax gross gaming revenue at 10 percent.

The beginning of bill explains that legalizing and regulating online poker makes sense for Michigan for reasons most of us have been preaching all along. The internet is woven into our lives just like telephones and televisions and people like to play poker online. These people should have the chance to play behind the consumer protections of regulations:

The legislature finds that the internet has become an integral part of everyday life for a significant number of residents of this state, not only in regard to their professional lives, but also in regard to personal business and communication. Internet wagering on games of chance and games of skill is a core form of entertainment for millions of individuals worldwide. In multiple jurisdictions across the world, internet gaming is legal, regulated, and taxed, generating billions of dollars in revenue for governments.

In order to protect residents of this state who wager on games of chance or skill through the internet and to capture revenues and create jobs generated from internet gaming, it is in the best interest of this state and its citizens to regulate this activity by authorizing and establishing a secure, responsible, fair, and legal system of internet gaming that complies with the United States Department of Justice’s September 2011 opinion concerning 18 USC 1084.

The regulations actually set out in the bill are fairly run-of-the-mill. Players must be 21-years old and located in the state of Michigan, players must be permitted to self-exclude, and online gaming operators must have procedures and technologies in place to be sure that only people permitted to play can actually logon and play, as well as being able to detect and prevent cheating.

While the bill does specifically mention online poker, it also says that it is not strictly limited to online poker and that other games can be offered.

Interstate compacts in which multiple states’ player pools are combined are also permitted.

Even if the bill somehow charges through the Michigan state legislature and becomes law quickly, it still could be a long time before any online poker rooms launch in the state. The division of internet gaming would be given a year to get all the rules set (could be less time, of course) and then nobody would be allowed to offer games for 150 days after the rules are formally laid out.

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