Posts Tagged ‘Party Poker’

Party Poker gets rid of Withdrawal Fees – Players Cheer

Monday, August 10th, 2015

party-poker-withdrawal-feesFor years Party Poker has charged a 3% fee to players who withdraw money from the site. Obviously this was never a popular practice, and Party has finally decided to get rid of withdrawal fees. This means that players can use popular cashout methods like Visa, MasterCard and PayPal without incurring any extra fees.

Golan Shaked, Party’s Director of Games, is currently running a “Poker for the People” campaign in order to improve the site. And one of the biggest criticisms he found regarding the poker room was the withdrawal fees.

“We want to be the online poker site that champions what players want and we’re up for the challenge of making our players’ experience the best it can be,” Shaked said. “We are now looking at ways to eliminate withdrawal fees from the small number of payment processors who currently charge a premium for their services.”

Many online poker rooms are currently in a state of transition while hoping to better cater to recreational players. Party Poker is included in this group since they want to do whatever’s necessary to attract and retain more players. Scrapping withdrawal charges is a great start towards appeasing the mainstream crowd. This is especially the case when considering that many other sites don’t charge players a processing fee to cash out money.

Party is hoping that by making more recreational-friendly changes, they can begin ascending the traffic ladder again. According to PokerScout.com, they currently rank 8th in the world with an average of 800 hourly cash game players. They’ve been surpassed by sites like 888, Bodog and the iPoker network in recent years; but perhaps by continuing to listen to their players, Party can regain some of their lost market share.

Daniel Negreanu reveals why he chose PokerStars over FTP, UB and Party

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

It seems like Daniel Negreanu has been the face of PokerStars forever. So it’s hard to remember him representing a different online poker site at any point in time. However, going back to 2004, Kid Poker was actually involved in his own poker room called FullContactPoker.

Some players today may recognize this site because it’s where Negreanu writes all of his blog posts from. But back then, it was a full-fledged internet poker room that mainly attracted Americans.

Negreanu helped FullContactPoker quickly experience success by undertaking a massive promotional effort. This included doing up to 50 radio interviews a day across the United States and Canada, plus getting the word out through other channels. His poker site showed such promise that one company even wanted to buy him out for $170 million.

However, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) came about at the end of 2006, thus throwing the US-friendly poker market into disarray. This forced Negreanu to quickly find something else to do with FullContactPoker. So he ended up signing a deal with PokerStars and moving his player base there.

While this and the $170 million deal are interesting enough, the selection process used by Negreanu to pick PokerStars is a story in itself. Here’s a look at what he told iGaming.org about why he ended up choosing Stars:

Signing with PokerStars was as simple as this, there were several sites interested in having my services including UltimateBet, Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker. For me it came down to integrity and which site I trusted the most, had the best software and the best vision for the future. It wasn’t about the highest bidder for me; it was about who’s the biggest, who’s the best, and who’s going to be the biggest in the future.”

I believed in PokerStars from the start, as the company was built by a group of IBM professionals. They weren’t some random poker-playing dudes who wanted to be businessmen. Full Tilt was off the mark; I wasn’t going to sign with them, because I didn’t trust the infrastructure even back then. If I was going to attach my name to something, game security, integrity, and longevity were most important.

Given that Party Poker’s player base has dropped considerably, Full Tilt had to close before being bought by Stars, and UB Poker went completely under never to resurface again, PokerStars definitely proved to be the right choice. Furthermore, it appears as if Negreanu is about as good at reading business deals as he is with poker opponents.

76ers, Devils Exec doesn’t see Online Poker hurting Sports

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

One of the biggest online poker sponsorship deals in history was signed last week. The New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers came to an agreement with bwin.party, which will see both teams advertise the New Jersey-based Party Poker.

The NBA and NHL don’t have a problem with these deals because they have nothing to do with sports betting. Even still, some American sports purists worry that aligning with an online gaming company will give basketball and hockey a bad reputation. But Scott O’Neil, who’s the chief executive of both the 76ers and Devils, isn’t worried about the deals hampering his teams.

“This doesn’t seem like we’re breaking any taboos,” he said. “I think for us the most important thing is being with a partner that can really engage our fans in a smart way, and someone who understands for those of our fans who do play poker and those that are inclined for gaming whether they come to concerts here or a Sixers’ game or a Devils’ game they will be treated like a royal flush, if you will.”

While sports teams signing online sponsorship deals with gaming companies may be new to the US, it is not, however, anything new for bwin.party. The internet gaming giant has already inked deals with legendary football (soccer) teams like Manchester United and Real Madrid. And so far, these partnerships have went very well.

Even still, bwin.party CEO Norbert Teufelberger realizes that the issue may be a little more sensitive with American sports fans. “We have learned over the many years, with Real Madrid and Manchester and Bayern, and especially here in this country where it’s such a controversial topic, that we’re not just selling toothpaste,” Teufelberger said. “We’re selling a product that can be viewed as very problematic. It has to be engaging, it has to be entertaining, but it shouldn’t be addictive.”

As many online gamblers around the world know, gaming addiction is greatly exaggerated when concerning the masses. Studies have shown that only around 1% of those who gamble are considered “problem gamblers.” So perhaps sports teams aligning with online poker sites will help bring some of the facts to surface.

New Jersey Online Poker brings Pro Sports into the Mix

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Aside from a few scandals (see 1919 Chicago White Sox), there has always been a clear separation between American professional sports teams and gambling. Sure people love to gamble on sports in the United States. But as for a pro sports team aligning itself with a gambling entity, well, that’s usually been a clear no-no over legality/fear issues.

However, the unthinkable has happened after the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils signed a deal with bwin.party digital entertainment. Not surprisingly, these are the first two US sports teams to ink such a deal with an online gambling company.

As many poker players know, bwin.party runs the Party Poker site in the legalized and regulated New Jersey online gaming market. Seeing as how the New Jersey-based Party Poker has nothing to do with sports betting, neither the NBA nor NHL have a problem with this deal. So for the first time ever, we may see US professional sports teams promoting gambling sponsors on their uniforms and/or team merchandise.

As for the New Jersey online poker operation, business has been pretty good so far. Nearly 150,000 accounts have already been created, which is quite impressive when you consider that the Garden State has a population of roughly 8.6 million people.

Most Wall Street analysts believe that New Jersey internet poker will generate between $200 million and $300 million in its first year. This is far below the over-inflated predictions made by Governor Chris Christie, who said that he expected $1 billion in revenue by the summer. But it’s definitely a nice piece of the internet poker pie.

Given that New Jersey now has professional sports teams that’ll be advertising for them, their number of players only figures to boost revenue figures even more.

Full Tilt Poker gets Player Segregation Right

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

One of the bigger poker stories from last week involved Full Tilt Poker rolling out their ‘New to the Game’ tables. The games are meant to help new and/or recreational players get used to real money poker without being throwing into shark-infested waters (a.k.a. player segregation).

New to the Game tables are open to any real money player, they’re offered in low stakes NL Hold’em and Omaha ring games/tournaments, and players can try these tables for 2,000 cash game hands or 75 tourneys. Additionally, New to the Game tables run at a slower pace and players can only try two tables at a time.

The key in all of this is that players can only participate in 2,000 ring game hands or 75 tournaments. And this is where Full Tilt gets the idea of player segregation right, versus other rooms like Party Poker and Lock Poker.

Both Party and Lock run similar player segregation models where they prevent winning grinders from competing against losing players. In Party’s case, they didn’t even warn players about segregation; they just hid the losing players from winners and certain people happened to notice. In either case, there is no limit on how long the players are divided up, which really punishes winners.

Full Tilt, on the other hand, puts a restriction on how long players can try the New to the Game tables. Once the 2k cash game hands or 75 tourneys are up, people are forced to “graduate” to the regular games. What’s more is that everybody has a chance to try these tables, rather than being restricted to losing players.

Segregation is still in the early stages in the online poker world. So it’ll be interesting to see if more sites take a similar approach to the matter as FTP.

Backlash over Online Poker Player Pool Segregation

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

The idea of catering to recreational players is nothing new in the online poker world. Bodog started this trend last year when they unveiled their “Recreational Player Model,” which prevents grinders from using data mining software on opponents. Months later, the Everleaf Gaming network took things a step further by preventing players who made over €750 a week from facing losing players.

As if this wasn’t going far enough, it was recently discovered that Party Poker have been segregating their players based on win rate – without officially telling anybody. So winning players have been unable to see losing players in the lobby, meaning they can only play against other regs and winners.

This latest move has really set the online poker community off with many pros voicing their complaints. A big thread recently opened up at TwoPlusTwo where various members have argued both sides of player segregation.

Two of the main arguments against player segregation are that it specifically targets winning players and seeks to create a break-even environment. The latter is key because players who compete against those with similar win rates will generally trade money back and forth while paying lots of rake in the process. The end result is that online poker sites are the only true winners from this scenario.

The big arguments for segregating grinders are that more recreational players will be encouraged to stick around after depositing, and bumhunters won’t be able to target weaker opponents all of the time.

As you can see, there are good points both for and against player segregation. But in my opinion, there may be no real winner after segregation has taken its course. Going further, it seems as if Party Poker and Everleaf are merely grasping at straws as online poker slowly loses more players each month.

It’s hard to say what the solution to a declining worldwide online poker player pool is – short of another Chris Moneymaker-type or federal legalization in the United States. So for the time being, it looks like we’ll have to let online poker segregation run its course and see what happens.

Why is Zoom Poker so Tough?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

If you’ve ever played Zoom Poker at Stars – or any of the other fast poker variants like Speed Poker (Titan), Fast Forward (Party Poker) or Fast Poker (Unibet) – you have probably noticed that these games are tough to beat. In fact, most people find that they’re far less profitable playing quicker poker variations than they are in regular cash games. This being said, it’s worth diving a little deeper into why Zoom Poker is tougher than normal cash play.

Tight is Right

Fast poker variants are much tighter than what many people are used to. One of the big reasons why is because players don’t have much information on opponents since they’re constantly being whisked away to new tables. So players tend to rely heavily on their cards/table position, rather than reads on opponents.

Because of the tighter play, high unsuited connectors like AK and KQ lose some value since you’ll be running up against big pocket pairs quite frequently. So anybody who’s keen on playing drawing hands will need to scale this back some in Zoom.

More Blinds

Another tough part about fast poker games is that you’ll be dealing with the blinds far more often. Action happens quicker in Zoom Poker, so the orbits come around more frequently.

Now this might not be such a big deal if you’re a skilled player who commonly makes profits. However, if you’re somebody who’s still learning the intricacies of poker, the increased blinds rate just compounds problems. Taking this into account, we highly suggest that you do your training elsewhere and save fast poker games for more experienced grinders.

Bigger Swings

One more point worth mentioning about the difficulty of Zoom Poker is that big swings occur more often. Again, these games move faster and so your up and downswings are amplified. Of course, anybody who’s used to multi-tabling will probably feel more comfortable with the wild swings.

All in all, fast cash game variants can be fun to play since you’re always getting action and never sitting around. But do be aware that Zoom and similar games seem quite tough in the beginning.

Russia cracking down on Online Poker

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Like many other countries throughout the world, Russia had never officially cracked down on online poker and made the activity illegal. However, all of this has changed recently with the Russian Supreme Court putting more responsibility on ISP’s to block poker sites.

In the past, ISP’s merely had to block the 1,500 sites that were on the Justice Ministry blacklist. And most of the websites on this list were of the extreme political nature. But a new emphasis has been put on banning gambling portals and keeping Russians from cyber betting.

Any ISP that fails to comply with the new online poker restrictions could risk losing their license. Barker & McKenzie lawyer Anton Maltsev explained this matter by saying:

Although internet service providers used to be able to wait until a site appeared on an official blacklist, the ruling implies that they risk going out of business simply by not blocking illegal content – (the ruling implies) that compliance with content restrictions could be a licensing requirement.

The recent actions taken by the Russian government could definitely cause a big hit on the online poker industry. Currently, many of the world’s biggest poker sites like PokerStars and Party Poker have access to the country’s 142 million residents. But all that’s set to change with the pressure being put on ISP’s.

With Russia now becoming the latest nation to place major restrictions on online poker, this is just one more player pool that’s cut off from the rest of the world. Many countries are choosing to regulate their gaming market, which at least gives their residents an option. However, Russia has obviously taken a much different approach. And what’s bad for this country’s residents is that they don’t even have a regulated market to fall back on.

This being said, internet poker is becoming more of a localized game with markets such as Belgium, France, Italy and Spain regulating their action. But this cuts down on some of the high stakes play and game selection since players don’t have access to other player pools.

PokerStars looking to monopolize Speed Poker

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Over the past few months, the speed poker genre has really heated up with a number of sites launching their own fast variant. In fact, this trend inspired us to write tips about playing faster poker games a few weeks ago.

Getting to the point, it now looks as if PokerStars is fighting to make sure they’re the only site where you can enjoy speed poker. This version of the game – which sees players whisked away to another table when their action in a hand is completed – was first introduced by Full Tilt when they rolled out Rush Poker. However, their demise from April to June of 2011 left the door wide open for other competitors to copy Rush.

PokerStars was actually the first room to mimic the idea after rolling out Zoom Poker. This highly-successful speed poker variant eventually drew the ire of former Full Tilt management, which attempted to patent their invention despite an inability to run games (license was taken away). Stars of course argued that fast poker wasn’t something which could actually be patented.

It’s funny how things come around because now it’s Stars which is trying to patent the genre since they purchased Full Tilt from the US DOJ. More specifically, they want Relax Gaming (Fast Poker), Microgaming (Blaze Poker), Party Poker (FastForward) and Titan Poker (Speed Hold’em) to cease their speed operations.

Of course, this all seems a bit hypocritical since it wasn’t too long ago when Stars was stealing the concept. Instadeal Network CEO Per Hildebrand spoke about this when he said, “The funny part is that their lawyers once must have concluded that the product is not patent-able. They launched Zoom and now want to argue it is.”

Obviously Hildebrand has a point here since he and other companies are merely doing exactly what PokerStars did. Of course, these things still have a funny way of playing out in court.

High Stakes Poker Gone – Any Poker Shows Left?

Friday, December 9th, 2011

As you may already know, GSN announced that they won’t be bringing High Stakes Poker back for an eighth season. This ends the run of one of the most successful poker TV shows in history, and leaves us wondering if there’s anything left in the way of poker-related programming.

After all, this is the same year that also saw the highly-popular Poker After Dark fall by the wayside too. Both Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker lasted seven seasons, and paved the way for other successful TV shows in the same genre.

Of course, there is ESPN’s coverage of the WSOP, which will probably always be on TV – at least for the foreseeable future; however, the WSOP isn’t a weekly program like HSP or Poker After Dark. Furthermore, there really aren’t any reoccurring poker TV shows on right now because several other ones have also been cancelled.

For instance, PokerStars Big Game was another 2011 casualty because PokerStars was busy pulling out of the US market and paying off the US Department of Justice after Black Friday. Speaking of Black Friday, it seems that this horrid day continues to have reverberations throughout the poker community – even eight months after the fact.

Following Black Friday, online poker is still in a recovery stage, and it will take something big to happen for anything to change quickly; that includes the world of poker TV shows. PokerStars would be the only sponsor capable of backing a major poker show any time soon, but they probably aren’t interested in jumping back into this world just yet. Both Party Poker and the iPoker network aren’t nearly big enough to fill the role that Full Tilt Poker did in the TV world (they single-handedly backed HSP at one point).

Long story short, it may be a while before we see any good poker TV shows that don’t include WSOP coverage.