Posts Tagged ‘PokerStars’

Europeans expected to continue thriving at WSOP

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The 2014 WSOP Main Event featured some interesting history on the European side. First off, Martin Jacobson became the first Swedish player to win the tournament, collecting a $10 million payout in the process. And with Jacobson, Norway’s Felix Stephensen (2nd) and Netherlands’ Jorryt van Hoof (3rd) taking the top three spots, this is the first time in WSOP history that Europeans have gone 1-2-3. But is this just a rarity, or something that we can expect to see more of?

There were pretty good odds that a European champion would emerge because van Hoof and Stephensen came on to the final table with the first and second-most chips respectively. However, for the Europeans to sweep the top three spots – with four Americans on the final table – is a new landmark in the game. And according to Aaron Todd of CasinoCityTimes, we can likely expect more of this moving forward.

Todd’s argument stems from the fact that much of Europe has easier access to online poker. After all, multiple nations throughout the continent have taken steps to regulate the online game. Meanwhile, the United States has seen less and less regulation, thanks to the 2006 UIGEA and Black Friday (2011). The latter was especially a big blow because it took away Americans’ access to the biggest sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt.

Taking everything into account, it would seem like Europe has a big edge moving forward in the WSOP. “Maybe Europeans have a small advantage because online poker is still widely available,” van Hoof explained. “I guess that makes us able to practice more, so I hope America gets (online) poker back soon, so they’ll get to practice more as well.”

“I don’t want to be mean to all the Americans,” said Stephensen. “But I definitely feel like Europeans are stronger right now. You get in a lot of volume, and when you play online, it’s usually against tougher opponents than you play against (in live games). I think that has a big impact on why it’s evolving this way.”

If one isn’t convinced online poker availability could be increasing the Europeans’ presence at the Main Event final table, then consider the following stats that Todd provided:

In the last four years, 33.3 percent of the final table players have been European, 55.5 percent have been American and 8.3 percent have come from outside of America and Europe. In the previous eight years, 73.6 percent of the final table players have been American, 16.7 percent were European and 9.7 percent were from other areas.

PokerStars Return to US draws Closer

Friday, September 12th, 2014

What once seemed like it was years away appears to be drawing very close as PokerStars is poised to enter the United States again. The world’s largest online poker site has been out of America ever since Black Friday. However, according to New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak, PokerStars should be in the US within the next few weeks.

Lesniak has been a catalyst behind New Jersey’s online gaming efforts all along, and he sees Stars as a major boon to the state’s operation. Furthermore, the senator envisions the Garden State as an international hub for internet gaming, with PokerStars playing a key role in all of this.

Assuming what he says is true, Stars could help out the ailing Atlantic City, which has already lost four casinos this year alone. Here’s a look at what Lesniak told PokerNews:

It’s going to be soon and it’s going to be huge. PokerStars is going to make a huge investment in Atlantic City, not just in Internet gaming but in their brand and in bringing attractions to Atlantic City.

Of course, one huge reason why Stars is suddenly being welcomed by the New Jersey government is because they were sold to Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion. Amaya brings a clean reputation to the matter since they had nothing to do with PokerStars’ pre-Black Friday operations in America.

The Garden State could definitely use a shot in the arm since their iGaming operation has only netted a disappointing $83 million through August. If they are to turn up the pace and generate more money, their iGaming will need better products, advertising and promotions.

Lucky for them, PokerStars figures to bring all of this to New Jersey. Additionally, Stars should cause other iGaming operations to step up or risk becoming obsolete. But first thing’s first, the Division of Gaming still needs to announce PokerStars’ acceptance into New Jersey.

Will Amaya Gaming finally get PokerStars in the US?

Friday, June 13th, 2014

The big poker news today – and it’s colossal – is that Amaya Gaming has made a deal with the Rational Group to buy PokerStars, Full Tilt and live tournament tour assets for $4.9 billion. For years people have speculated about the worth of PokerStars and now they know.

One of the key points of this deal is that Isai Scheinberg and his son, Mark, relinquish their shares in the company and ride off into the sunset with billions. The reason why this part of the deal is so big is because it means that PokerStars might finally be able to enter the elusive United States market.

The legal US online poker market is fully underway, with Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada all featuring regulated gaming sites. And so far, PokerStars’ attempts to enter these states have went like this:

Delaware – Stars was denied because Delaware is mainly looking for companies that offer both casino and poker games.

New Jersey – Review of PokerStars’ application has been suspended for two years in the Garden State.

Nevada – Nevada evoked the “bad actor” clause to prevent Stars from entering their market for at least 10 years.

The key point behind PokerStars’ bad actor status in Nevada is that they violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Moreover, the Scheinberg’s retained ownership of the Rational Group after they’d violated the UIGEA.

But now we have Amaya running the show at PokerStars. The Canadian supplier of gambling equipment has no ties to Black Friday, meaning it’s hard to use the bad actor excuse to keep them out.

Of course, despite what state gaming regulatory bodies may say, this is all about anti-competitiveness and helping in-state casinos get off to a strong start. So no matter how illogical it seems, certain US states may still try to call upon PokerStars’ past to keep them out, even though an entirely different company is now in charge.

As for Amaya, it’s likely that they were willing to spend $4.9 billion on Rational’s assets because they know there’s even more potential for Stars IF they can get into the US.

PokerStars’ US Fast-Fold Patent gives them a Tremendous Advantage

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

PokerStars has struck out three times in their efforts to enter the US online poker market. Nevada flat-out denied them, New Jersey said wait two more years, and Delaware didn’t want an operation without an online casino. But while Stars has watched fellow competitors like 888 and partypoker enter the US market, they still hold the trump card.

The Rational Group, PokerStars’ parent company, managed to gain a patent on fast-fold poker, which bodes well for their Zoom Poker product. Patent Number 8,727,850, listed as “Computer gaming device and method for computer gaming,” gives Stars exclusive rights to offer fast-fold variants. This means that 888, which offers Snap Poker, and partypoker, which offers FastForward, both need to worry about their fast-fold variants from a legal standpoint.

Apparently, all it took for PokerStars to gain the patent after hundreds of rejections was a meeting with a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examiner. The examiner explained that Stars should change the phrase “folding out of turn” to refer to “when gameplay is at a position of another one of the first plurality of players.”

Thanks to this simple change, PokerStars now owns a key chip with regard to success in the Untied States. Many poker networks around the world are using fast-fold versions to attract more recreational players. After all, fast-fold poker moves players to a new table with fresh cards when they fold – thus allowing for more hands and less waiting.

With the US market still in its infancy, Stars figures to gain a big upperhand once a state does accept their gaming application. The world’s largest poker site definitely has a good opportunity to enter California. Many believe that the Golden State will legalize poker within the next year. And with Stars heavily lobbying politicians in a state with no major casinos – unlike Nevada and Atlantic City – they’re less likely to get shut out of California.

So whenever PokerStars does get accepted into the US, they’ll definitely have one big advantage over everybody else – as if they didn’t already with their massive size and resources.

David “Doc” Sands retires from Poker

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

David “Doc” Sands has become the latest famed poker pro to retire from the game. But unlike other players, Sands isn’t retiring because he’s burnt out or doing badly on the tables. Instead, he’ll be working for a hedge fund, as he told Doyle Brunson via twitter. Here’s a quick look at their twitter exchange:

(Brunson) There is a rumor going around that you are retiring from poker. Surely it’s not true?

(Sands) I am, to an extent. I took a job at hedge fund – learning how to place some bigger bets 😉

Sands has been playing poker since the mid-2000s. He first gained fame after racking up some impressive online poker scores, even achieving the number one ranking on PocketFives for a while. He’s earned over $3 million in online tournament cashes, with most of this money coming at Full Tilt and PokerStars.

Both he and his then-girlfriend (now wife), Erika Moutinho, achieved some mainstream fame after they made deep runs in the 2011 WSOP Main Event. This was obviously a true love connection because Sands busted out in 30th ($242,636), with Moutinho shortly following him in 29th place (same payout).

After this breakthrough in the live circuit, Sands went on to take second in the 2011 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond $100k High Roller ($664,027), second in the 2012 L.A. Poker Classic Main Event ($806,370), second in the 2013 PCA $100k High Roller ($1,259,320), and first in the 2013 WPT Championship $100k Super High Roller ($1,023,750). Thanks to all of these huge scores, he has $5,738,008 in live tournament winnings.

Given the success that Sands has maintained in recent years, it’s interesting timing that he would choose now to step away from the game. But on the other hand, maybe Doc is looking at investing as a way to turn his poker profits into even more winnings. Whatever the case may be, we wish him luck in the future.

Is PokerStars moving to Zoom-Only?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

It’s been a few weeks since PokerStars made the controversial decision to switch all of their regular high stakes games (50/100 NLHE, PLO and up) to Zoom Poker format. And Stars recently struck again by changing their $25/$50 PLO games to Zoom on February 1st.

Given these huge changes, a poster on TwoPlusTwo raised a good question about if PokerStars is set on transitioning all of their cash game formats to Zoom. Here’s a look at the OP:

First it was 50/100 NLHE/PLO, now 25/50 PLO, eventually they will do this at 10/20 and maybe 5/10. I think lower limits won’t be changed, but who knows..

As Stars Head of Poker Communications Lee Jones said back in December, the idea behind switching games to Zoom format is to eliminate what’s become a predatory environment. Rather than top-ranked players consistently clashing in high stakes games, online poker has become a place where pros are far more worried about seeking out fish. As another TwoPlusTwo poster put it:

yea they do this to prevent the current predator system which leads to auto-sitting when a fish sits and auto-leaving when the fish leaves. it’s bumhunting to the extreme and it has to be dealt with

Going back to the OP, will Stars eventually become a place where the only cash action is Zoom? This is an experiment right now, so the answer to this question depends on if players are largely happy with the changes, and if Stars is happy with their profits. The world’s largest online poker site can more than live with a few disgruntled regs as long as they’re continually attracting fresh recreational players and making money.

Until PokerStars can move into the United States and other unfriendly, but lucrative markets, it seems that they’ve hit a ceiling. So look for them to keep testing Zoom in other stakes to try and get something going in the profits department. And even if they lose regs over this move, a good portion of these players will go to the Rational Group’s (PokerStars) other site, Full Tilt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiUw3iXIXWk

PokerStars causes Controversy by using Same EPT Barcelona Hotel

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Several members of the high stakes poker community were spooked at EPT Barcelona last year when criminals busted into their hotel rooms and installed malware on their computers. Jens Kyllonen was especially shook by the matter after his hotel room was broken into multiple times. The perpetrator(s) installed a virus on his laptop in an effort to track any sensitive information that he entered on the computer.

Given all of this, it’s a little surprising that PokerStars has chosen the same hotel to direct players to during the 2014 EPT Barcelona. One of the biggest problems regarding last year’s “sharking” attacks was that the Hotel Arts Barcelona security was horrid. The hallway security cameras weren’t working properly, and those at the front desk weren’t very helpful either.

Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications, said that PokerStars has used Arts Hotel for several years. He added that, despite the sharking attacks in 2013, most players seemed more than happy with the services provided by the hotel.

Of course, players are by no means bound to stay at the Hotel Arts. And you can guarantee that Kyllonen is one player who’ll be looking for somewhere else to stay. While gone from his room, he came back and discovered that his computer had been stolen. Upon returning with security, he discovered the laptop back in its original spot.

After having an independent company look at his laptop, Kyllonen found out that somebody had installed malware so they could have remote access to his screen. Luckily, the Finnish online poker pro was smart enough not to use his computer after the bizarre and puzzling incident. We can only hope that nothing similar happens during the 2014 EPT Barcelona event.

Next Stop for PokerStars: The State of New York

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Not long ago, the Rational Group was dealt another crushing defeat in America, when New Jersey decided to suspend review of their online gaming application for two more years. The stated reason why is that they don’t like Isai Scheinberg’s involvement with Rational, or his unresolved case with the US Department of Justice. The real reason why is because Atlantic City casinos don’t want to compete against Rational’s crown jewel, PokerStars, in the online poker market.

So is Rational sitting around crying with their head in their hands? No, they’re already hot on the trail of getting licensed in another American state: New York.

Now, if you know your legal internet gaming in the United States, you realize that only Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada offer regulated online markets. But after a state vote created a seven-casino project, PokerStars feels that Governor Andrew Cuomo and the entire state of New York have gambling fever.

They’ve since sent lobbyists to the Empire State in hopes of working on Cuomo and other New York politicians. According to Casino.org, these lobbying efforts have already produced results. Here is a look at one key excerpt that Casino.org wrote about the matter:

It looks like at least Cuomo’s legal team is on Rational’s side; New York law firm Cozen O’Connor‘s rep Stuart Shorenstein had the ear of Bennet Liebman, who is acting as the Governor’s chief advisor on all things gambling these days. According to Shorenstein, it’s now “a good time for an open architecture”; in other words, since you’re opening all these brick-and-mortar casinos, why not add the Internet to the pot? According to a Cuomo spokesman, the governor has taken no official stance on this proposition at this time.

Seeing as how New York’s state government hasn’t even opened serious discussion on the matter of online gaming, there’s no telling when or if it will become a reality. Even still, it’s obvious that PokerStars is on the forefront of the internet gaming movement in New York.

Rafael Nadal wins EPT Prague Celebrity Tournament

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Rafael Nadal might want to consider playing more live poker tournaments in the future. After all, the world’s number one tennis player won the EPT Prague celebrity event, which is just his first ever live tourney. Rafa now gets to donate €50,000 to the charity of his choice.

Despite that fact that Nadal only had five other players to contend with in this tournament, it was a tough path to victory. First off, he had to deal with 6-time WSOP champion Daniel Negreanu, who is one of the best poker players of all-time.

Rafa needed some luck to get by KidPoker, though, as he doubled up through Negreanu twice. The first time, Nadal had Q3 vs. Negreanu’s A9, but managed to win the pot anyways. The second time he paired one of his overcards with Q9 to beat KidPoker’s pocket 3’s.

Another tough player was Dutch field hockey legend Fatima Moreira de Melo, whom Nadal met heads-up. Fatima is actually a very experienced player since she has $336,575 in live tournament winnings. But she still couldn’t stop Nadal en route to his victory.

Afterward, the 13-time Grand Slam winner said that he was really nervous playing in his first live tournament. But he also added that he wanted to do well and remain competitive. Nadal actually went beyond just being competitive by winning the EPT Prague celebrity event.

Other players who competed in this tournament include Italian skier Alberto Tomba, Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko, and retired Brazilian football legend Ronaldo. Here’s a look at how everybody fared in the tourney and how much money they won for charity:

1st. Rafael Nadal – €50,000
2nd. Fatima Moreira de Melo – €25,000
3rd. Andriy Shevchenko – €10,000
4th. Daniel Negreanu – €5,000
5th. Ronaldo – €5,000
6th. Alberto Tomba – €5,000

Chris Moneymaker talks Possible Full Tilt Sale, Improving his Game

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Unlike some WSOP Main Event champions, Chris Moneymaker has really withstood the test of time. Once a little-known account from Tennessee, the 2003 Main Event champ has carved out a very nice poker career for himself.

Moneymaker recently sat down with PokerListings to discuss how he’s managed to stay in the game so long, as well as the possibility that Full Tilt Poker could be sold soon.

In regard to the latter, Moneymaker was asked if he thought Full Tilt was struggling. He certainly doesn’t believe this is the case after citing the poker room’s sheer size. But he did say, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Full Tilt is sold off eventually.”

As for the potential buyer, the poker pro believes that a major land-based casino could make the investment. “No, it would rather be a brick-and-mortar casino like Caesars.” He continued by saying, “Any big, affluent casino that can afford to pay $950 million or whatever it’ll cost. Personally, I think that buying Full Tilt was an ingenious move. PokerStars gets lucky in spots, but they also make pretty good decisions.”

Like we mentioned before, Moneymaker has been steadily improving his poker skills over the years. He’s recently received a boost after hiring fellow pro Calvin Anderson to coach him. “Yes, I’m actually speaking to him more than ever. Only the other night we had a five-hour conversation,” he said. “I’m very happy with my game at the moment, all I need is some results coming in. I didn’t get very lucky in coin flip or similar situations lately.”

Moneymaker also offered some advice for aspiring poker players. He said, “If you’re a recreational player, you’re probably better off with a training site that shows video and teaches strategy. But if you want to take it to a professional level, investing money to improve your game is definitely worth it. I know players who haven’t improved in 15 years and the reason is that they’ve never really tried.”

Even 10 years after winning a WSOP Main Event, Chris Moneymaker is still working hard and getting better. This being said, we can expect the famed pro to stick around for many years in the future.