Posts Tagged ‘poker sites’

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.

US Online Poker Pros in Canada

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Ever since Black Friday (April 15th), major US online poker pros have been pondering a move to Canada since they can no longer play at some of the biggest poker sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt (although nobody can play at FT anymore). And some pros are starting to act on these thoughts, including Cole South and Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond.

South was the first of the US online poker pros to make the jump to Canada in late May. He was involved in a session with the mysterious “Esvedra” who’s been rumored to be Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberte. During the session, Cole South won over $200k, which is pretty good for somebody who’s struggled over the past couple of years after dropping $6 million.

Moving past South, Phil Galfond is the latest person to make the jump to Canada since he’s been seen on PokerStars. Interestingly enough, Galfond didn’t play as high of stakes as he normally does; instead, he was found on the $25/$50 NLHE and PLO tables. Unfortunately, the return to online poker hasn’t been totally successful for Galfond since he’s lost $20k, but he didn’t seem too shaken up after tweeting, “After 3 months off of online poker, I’d forgotten about downswings. Oh well. Still happy to be playing. I love the game.”

One last person worth discussing in regards to the US online poker pros moving north includes Dan “Jungleman12” Cates. However, there’s a twist in Cates’ story since he was prevented from actually getting into Canada. The reason why is because he didn’t have a VISA, which is a must for self-employed foreigners in Canada. At this point, Cates is still waiting in Seattle until he can get into Canada.


2011 WSOP Attendance Fears

Monday, July 11th, 2011

One of the main concerns going into the 2011 WSOP was that attendance figures would be way down. And these concerns were certainly valid following Black Friday (April 15th), where PokerStars, UB Poker, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker were temporarily shut down. On top of this, all four poker rooms were forced to stop taking US players, which cut down on their ability to offer as many WSOP prize packages.

One last thing worth mentioning is that many players who would’ve been at the WSOP couldn’t play because the bulk of their money was frozen on one or more of the largest poker sites. In short, there was a lot of stuff working against strong attendance figures in 2011.

But as logical as it seemed, the 2011 WSOP attendance figures have defied all logic since they smashed the previous records. Over 66,000 players entered tournaments this year, and a collective $121 million prize pool was offered throughout 58 tournaments.

So what’s the driving force behind the record numbers? Well it’s hard to pinpoint a single thing, but one aspect that certainly helped increase WSOP participation is that many of the online poker pros have been forced to turn to live poker. After all, their livelihood was taken, so they’ve jumped in WSOP tournaments as a means of filling this void.

Moving to a secondary reason, this year may have been more attractive to pros than any other because of the decreased number of amateur prize package winners populating the fields; this in theory would lead to smaller tournaments and a better chance of winning. Of course, the fields turned out to be saturated anyways because of how many people entered the events.

Whatever the case may be, it’s nice to see that the 2011 WSOP has remained popular – even after the events of Black Friday.

WSOP Attendance Record in 2011?

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

2011 was supposed to be the year where WSOP attendance fell dramatically from its record in 2010. After all, the events of Black Friday ensured that many Americans wouldn’t be able to compete for WSOP prize packages through sites like PokerStars, UB Poker, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt. However, a total anomaly has happened this year since WSOP attendance is not only doing well, but it’s on pace to set records!

After 29 events, WSOP attendance is 10% higher than it was in 2010, and there are no signs of this growth slowing down. About the only thing that could possibly hinder the attendance from reaching record figures is that less amateurs will have won $10k Main Event prize packages through online sites. However, it’s pure speculation at this point, much like the speculation that attendance figures would be way down.

So just how is the world’s largest poker event even more popular this year? Well one possible reason could be the fact that many US online pros are unable to play at the biggest poker sites, so they’re concentrating their efforts on the 2011 WSOP. This theory is highlighted by a large number of noted online pros, such as Tom Dwan, David Sands and Richard Lyndacker, who are entering as many events as they can this year. In the past, many of these players took a casual approach to the WSOP since they mainly relied on internet games.

Of course, there is also a large international presence at the WSOP, which includes three players from the UK who have won bracelets. Going further with this, Ukraine-born players such as Eugene Katchalov (lives in US) and Oleksii Kovalchuk have also won bracelets.

Whatever the main factor is behind this WSOP attendance surge, it will be fun to see if the record is broken once again in 2011.

Victory Poker Closed – Failed to Diversify

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Few poker sites in recent years have made the splash that Victory Poker has in its short existence. Victory aggressively marketed their room, they had a solid rakeback deal, and they signed an impressive roster of pro players that included Andrew Robl and Antonio Esfandiari. Not coincidentally, these two pros gained Victory even more exposure when they appeared on High Stakes Poker wearing the Victory Poker patches. But even with everything that Victory did right, they failed in one key aspect – diversification.

The site was too centered on the American market, and once the events of Black Friday hit, their player base died fast. Plus their impending move from the Cake network to the CEREUS network was cut short by Black Friday.

And while it’s possible that Victory could have survived longer, CEO Dan Fleyshman had enough and was burnt out. Fleyshman dropped the bombshell on the poker world through his Facebook page by writing “The brand will continue doing strategy, news (and) videos as an affiliate site. I will be focusing much more on my upcoming charity, consulting other companies and helping with Victory marketing.”

As far as I can remember, this is the first time that a major poker room like Victory has made the decision to transform into a poker affiliate site. And while it’s not exactly a success transforming into an affiliate, it will be interesting to see how the room does in this capacity.

In regards to the Victory Poker pros, there is no word on what will happen to Esfandiari or Robl; I’m sure that they’ll find a sponsor somewhere though. And if you’re wondering about the Victory players, all accounts, Gold Chips, and other bonuses will be transferred to Cake Poker in June.