Archive for the ‘Online Poker’ Category

Dan Bilzerian, BlitzPoker Take Over Indian Online Poker Site

Friday, August 21st, 2020

BlitzPoker, which features Dan Bilzerian as its front man, has announced plans to acquire an Indian poker site. It will absorb India’s FTR Poker and officially enter one of the world’s largest online poker markets.

Parent company i3 Interactive made an announcement in early August about plans to take over an Indian internet poker room. However, they didn’t give any specific details at the time.

Now, it’s confirmed that FTR Poker is the indented target. The deal isn’t finalized yet, but FTR’s website has already switched over to the BlitzPoker brand.

BlitzPoker India Will Become Part of Spartan Network

The Spartan Poker Network (run by Quadrific Media Pvt.) purchased FTR Poker in 2018. The deal helped Spartan become India’s fourth-biggest poker entity.

Now, i3 Interactive is looking to take over the entire operation and make a big splash in India. An i3 press release reads:

“Following the Proposed Acquisition, BlitzPoker will run on one of the largest networks in India, a network with over a million registrations and over 75,000 active users.”

According to PokerScout, the Spartan Network draws an average of 265 cash-game players every hour. This mark puts Spartan and BlitzPoker India in a decent position to compete with other poker operators in the country.

What Will Dan Bilzerian Do for BlitzPoker India?

Dan Bilzerian is a stakeholder in BlitzPoker and has helped the brand quickly gain market share. The Instagram celebrity and high-stakes player is easily one of the most-famous personalities in the poker world.

Given that Bilzerian is American, it might seem like his fame wouldn’t translate as well to India. But of his 30 million Instagram followers, 7 million come from India.

BlitzPoker is hoping to become India’s top online poker site within the next couple of years. Having Bilzerian as the face of the company could very well help i3 Interactive accomplish this goal.

GGPoker Accused of Banning Players Just for Winning

Friday, August 14th, 2020

GGPoker has dealt with heavy accusations from the poker community lately. Some claim that GG bans players just for winning big.

This controversy arose when Tobias “dudd1” Duthweiler came out with a story on how he was banned and his winnings confiscated. GGPoker closed Duthweiler’s account, took his winnings, and returned his original bankroll.

Previously, Duthweiler was banned on a GG skin called Natural8 for suspected bum hunting. He claims to have no idea that Natural8 was owned by GGPoker when he began playing on the latter.

Fedor Holz Defends GGPoker

Famed German poker player Fedor Holz wasn’t on his countryman’s side. Instead, the GG ambassador believes that the site was justified in banning Duthweiler.

He points to how “dudd1” had already been banned on Natural8 and warned about playing with any GG network site again. Duthweiler violated these terms when he appeared on GGPoker and started bum hunting again.

“VeniVidi1993,” a notable online PLO grinder, backs up Duthweiler in this saga. He alleges that GGPoker banned him and confiscated his winnings for bum hunting too—something that he denies doing.

GGPoker Sticks to Its Terms and Conditions

GGPoker adamantly claims that they don’t ban players just for winning. Instead, they claim to only take action against those who violate their terms and conditions.

“GGPoker has not and does not ban players for winning,” reads a company statement. “We have only banned players who have violated our Terms of Service agreement by cheating, bum-hunting, colluding, or acting in a way we deem to be predatory. GGPoker maintains a healthy poker ecosystem and works to provide a safe and fair playing environment for all players.”

As you may know, bum hunting refers to when players refuse to compete against those deemed to be of equal of greater skill. They only seek fish in hopes of earning more profits.

Bum hunting has remained controversial in online poker for over a decade. Sites like GGPoker must make a judgment call when deciding to ban somebody for bum hunting.

UK Online Poker Revenue Falls Following COVID-19 Pump

Friday, August 14th, 2020

The online poker industry received a big boost from the coronavirus. With workplaces shut down and many people staying indoors, people have chosen to play more online poker.

However, this initial boost appears to be waning. The UK, for example, is seeing a large drop in revenue following the COVID-19 inspired boom.

Statistics from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) show that internet poker revenue is slowly decreasing each month.

The fall from April 2020 to June 2020 is especially telling. Operators pulled in £20,068,939 in April rake compared to just £11,675,197 in June. This downward movement represents a 41.8% drop.

UK Economy Starting to Open Back Up

Internet poker had little competition throughout the United Kingdom from March 2020 to May 2020. Not only were land-based casinos shut down, but so too were many other types of businesses.

This situation has changed recently, though. Many industries are reopening as lock-down restrictions ease across the country.

People now have more entertainment options and can even visit brick-and-mortar casinos again. Brits also have the ability to wager on sports too now that leagues are running again.

Of course, British online poker enthusiasts are still logging on and playing hands. But they’re not spending as many hours on the virtual felt as in previous months.

Will UK Online Poker Levels Remain Elevated?

Few expected the COVID-level of poker play to continue in the UK. It’s apparent that, following easing on lock-down restrictions, not as many people will be playing in the coming years.

The real question, though, is whether the levels of internet poker play will remain elevated to some degree. Will the influx of people who logged on from March to May 2020 help the industry?

Chances are, online poker has received a permanent boost. Some people have rekindled their poker passion during the COVID era and will keep playing off and on again in the future.

Fedor Holz Defends GGPoker Over Confiscated Funds Controversy

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

GGPoker is currently dealing with controversy after confiscating in winnings from Tobias Duthweiler. The latter claims that he unfairly had $130,000 in winnings taken for violating the site’s terms and conditions.

Fedor Holz, an ambassador for GG, is caught in the middle of this controversy. He has defended his sponsor in light of the accusations.

The German poker player notes that Duthweiler was warned to stay away from the GG Network after being banned once. However, he returned and continued playing years later.

Background on the Controversy

Duthweiler recently hopped on the TwoPlusTwo forums to explain his side of the story. According to Duthweiler, he originally played on Natural8—a GG Network skin—when he was banned for bum hunting in 2016.

GG returned his funds and closed his account. They also issued a stern warning to avoid playing on their network again.

More recently, he began playing at GGPoker and turned a $50,000 deposit into $180,000 ($130k in winnings). GGPoker eventually identified him as a banned player when he went to cash out.

They then confiscated his winnings and warned him about playing on their network again. GG distributed Duthweiler’s winnings among the players he beat.

Maintaining a Healthy Poker Ecology

Some people in the poker community claim that GGPoker is banning winners from competing on their network. However, the poker site defends itself against these accusations by pointing out how they only take action against bum hunters and cheaters.

Again, Holz backs GGpoker’s approach to the matter. He believes that Duthweiler should’ve stayed away from the GG Network after getting banned the first time. Apparently, he doesn’t buy Duthweiler’s story that he didn’t realize GGPoker and Natural8 were part of the same group.

In the end, though, Duthweiler did receive his initial $50,000 deposit. Furthermore, GGPoker redistributed the winnings rather than keeping them.

TonyBet Poker Closes Under Unknown Circumstances

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Founded by famed poker player Tony G, TonyBet Poker closed this week. This site operated for seven years before shutting down.

No reason has been given for the abrupt closure. The TonyBet online casino and sportsbook are still running strong, though.

TonyBet Poker Players Unable to Log In

Players first began complaining that they couldn’t log into the poker site on July 20. Eventually, any attempts to visit TonyBet Poker redirected players to the sportsbook or casino.

The site heavily relied on the name recognition of founder Tony G. A brash table talker who routinely appeared on poker TV shows, Tony G was one of the world’s most-famous players in his heyday.

The businessman eventually began focusing more on his business pursuits and future political career. He successfully guided PokerNews to become the game’s number-one media outlet before selling it to Amaya Gaming (now Stars Group).

Yet Another Closed Poker Site

TonyBet Poker shutting down falls in line with a recent trend. Notable rooms and networks have disappeared within the past few years. For example, the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) and its main skin, 32Red, closed within the last few months of 2019.

Online poker isn’t as big as it once was. Therefore, smaller networks and independent sites, such as TonyBet, have had more trouble surviving.

TonyBet only ranked 55th in traffic according to PokerScout. It appeared to be nothing more than a side offering to draw potential sports gamblers and casino players towards its end.

Pioneer of Chinese Poker

TonyBet doesn’t have a lot of memorable highlights. However, it did launch Chinese poker at a time when players were first learning the game.

Chinese poker only enjoyed a brief fling in the poker community. But TonyBet’s adoption of this game showed their willingness to take risks. This poker site also became one of the first to accept Bitcoin deposits in 2016.

GGPoker Crashes While Hosting WSOP Online Bracelet Series

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

WSOP.com recently handed the baton to GGPoker for hosting the 2020 WSOP Online Bracelet Series. GGPoker had a rough start, though, when their software crashed.

The site discovered a critical bug that forced them to shut things down. Meanwhile, Events #32 and #33 have been postponed until further notice.

What Happened with the Bug?

GGPoker tweeted about what happened regarding the software bug. However, their explanation didn’t exactly clear the air:

“The bug was caused by an overwhelming number of players joining The Opener and other side events. The tournament servers were unable to resume due to high loads. We will increase more capacity (we just doubled it) to make sure future events run smoothly.”

The bug affected the $1,111 COVID Relief Charity and $100 Opener tournaments. While these tourneys aren’t exactly the Main Event, many still expected them to run smoothly.

Should Players Accept GGPoker’s Excuse?

Unsurprisingly, some players weren’t happy with the poker room’s explanation for the shutdown. After all, most major online poker sites fully understand what type of server capacity they need to run tournaments. One person tweeted:

“You didn’t prep for this we are in 2020 you know? For someone who hosts the WSOP that’s pretty laughable, the fact your given out a $100 tournament money in your words as a ‘Reward’ is also laughable. I wouldn’t want to touch your site after this.”

Did GGPoker Get Hacked?

Several Twitter users questioned if GG was merely trying to cover up for a hack. Again, it seems strange that they wouldn’t have enough server capacity when running WSOP tournaments.

This explanation borders on conspiracy theory given that there’s no way to truly tell if a hack occurred. However, it would explain why they had so much trouble on their first day of hosting the WSOP Online Bracelet Series.

Main Event Champ Joe McKeehen Wins 2020 WSOP Online Event #14

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Five years ago, Joe McKeehen won the 2015 WSOP Main Event. His winning ways continue as he just took down Event #14 of the 2020 WSOP Online Bracelet series.

McKeehen, who now has three gold bracelets, emerged victorious in a $3,200 NL Hold’em High Roller event. He collected a $352,985 payout for the win.

Details on McKeehen’s Online Bracelet Win

Event #14 drew 368 players and 486 entries when accounting for rebuys. The field included a number of legends, such as Phil Hellmuth (“Lumestackin”), Chance Kornuth (“bingshui”), Chris Ferguson, and Daniel Negreanu.

McKeehen wasn’t intimidated, though, and played well from start to finish in the series’ largest buy-in tournament. He eventually faced off against Frank “thewholefunk” Funaro heads-up for the title. Funaro settled for second place and his biggest-ever cash at $219,089.

Here are some of the big names that cashed in Event #14:

  1. Joe McKeehen (“fanofdapoker”) – $352,985
  2. Ryan Depaulo (“joeyisamush”) – $11,459
  3. Loren Klein (“BabyJesus”) – $11,459
  4. Ryan Laplante (“protential”) – $8,293
  5. Maria Konnikova (“bluerat”) – $6,031

McKeehen’s Strong Poker Career Continues

Some WSOP Main Event champs don’t go on to do great things after their crowning achievement. However, Joe McKeehen has definitely proven to have staying power.

He first gained poker stardom after winning the 2015 WSOP ME along with $7,683,346. Rather than resting on his laurels, McKeehen continued grinding and racking up live tournament cashes.

He added a second gold bracelet by winning the 2017 WSOP $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship along with $311,817. As covered before, McKeehen added his third bracelet after taking down Event #14 this summer.

In all, he has $16,652,259 in live tournament cashes. Over half of this money has come away from the Main Event win. It looks like McKeehen is poised to continue playing well into the future.

Poker Boom Stars Doing Well in 2020 WSOP Online

Friday, July 17th, 2020

Many stars from the poker boom era (2003 – 2006) either stick to live poker rooms or are out of the game altogether. However, some prominent names from the boom are making their presence felt in the 2020 WSOP Online Bracelet Series.

For example, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow has already cashed four times in the series. The Mouth also lived up to his name by blasting another player for slow rolling him in a tourney. He even threatened physical violence against Mega “wolverine17” Milburn for the slow roll.

Alan “GladiusIII” Goehring is another old-school pro who’s playing well. He won the Event #8: $500 NL Hold’em Freezeout along with $119,000.

Goehring is best known for his strong performances on the World Poker Tour and WSOP well over a decade ago. He took second to Noel Furlong in the 1999 WSOP Main Event and won the first WPT World Championship (2003) along with $1.04 million.

Other Boom Favorites Who Are Doing Well

Playing under “Lumestackin,” Phil Hellmuth is actively seeking to extend his record of 15 gold bracelets. He’s cashed three times so far, including a near-final table appearance in the $400 NL Hold’em Kickoff event.

Layne Flack is another player who’s re-emerging during the Online Bracelet Series. He’s cashed a couple of times, including a 12th place finish ($5,786) in the $800 NL Hold’em Knockout Deepstack.

Daniel Negreanu is yet one more legend who’s making his presence felt. He’s entering as many events as possible with $1 million worth of bracelet bets on the line.

What’s Behind the Resurgence of Old School Pros?

The WSOP brings out many pros from the past and present. Even though this year’s series is starting online due to COVID-19, the legends are still competing for gold bracelets and glory.

Goehring has already scored one victory for players who starred during the boom days. Negreanu is definitely hoping to become the next due to all of the side bets he has on winning bracelet #7.

Dan Bilzerian Claims Dan “Jungleman” Cates Cheated Bill Perkins in Poker

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

A few days ago, recreational poker player Bill Perkins claimed that he was the victim of a cheating scandal. He notes that multiple “poker heroes” took advantage of him.

Unfortunately, Perkins has yet to provide the full details of this incident. However, fellow recreational player Dan Bilzerian offered his account on the matter.

Bilzerian claims that Dan “Jungleman” Cates was part of the cheating. He says Cates “ghosted” Perkins in a high-stakes game.

Ghosting refers to when one player coaches another during an online poker game. Meanwhile, the opponent doesn’t realize that they’re competing against somebody who’s receiving coaching.

Cates Admits to Ghosting Perkins

Jungleman has admitted to and apologized for ghosting Perkins in a game. However, he claims that he wasn’t the only one involved in the cheating incident. Cates’ story aligns with the one that Perkins teased recently. The latter notes that he was victimized by multiple players.

The only detail Perkins gave at the time was that Jason Koon is the lone player involved who didn’t cheat him. Now, he’s opening up more on the matter.

Perkins claims that he was supposed to be playing against recreational players through a poker app. However, the so-called recreational accounts were headed by professionals.

Cates has been called out by Bilzerian and multiple other players over the incident. He now admits to playing under and coaching an unknown player/account named “Sina Taleb.”

“I thought since many on the site were using pros to play for them (which was clear by the uniquely high level of play) at the time,” Jungleman stated. “It felt acceptable for me to be playing.”

Cates adds that he didn’t mean to play many hands against Perkins. “I’m very sorry for that,” he notes.

Who Else Cheated Perkins?

Perhaps Bill Perkins is still gathering evidence on the cheating scandal. In any case, he hasn’t offered much information yet.

Cates is the only known ghosting pro so far. However, others will likely be revealed within the coming days or weeks.

New Jersey Online Poker Sets Monthly Revenue Record Amid COVID-19

Friday, May 15th, 2020

New Jersey online poker has lagged behind the rest of the state’s gaming market in terms of revenue. However, it recently got a big boost when NJ live poker rooms closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Garden State’s three online poker operators earned $5,148,373 in total revenue in April. The $5.15 million is much higher than any previous month in the state’s six-plus years of offering online poker.

New Jersey also had a good month in March. NJ online poker sites set a then-record with $3,629,112 in rake. Prior to this, the record was $3.4 million in profits set back in January 2014.

How Do New Jersey Poker Sites Normally Perform?

Again, New Jersey hasn’t performed too well with internet poker compared to other types of gambling. Its sites normally rake between $1.5 million and $2 million each month.

The state’s online casino and sports betting revenue is much higher. But a major change has happened with the coronavirus still present and posing a threat.

Lawmakers forced casinos to close their live poker rooms. Now, internet poker is the only legal game in town.

Aside from the closures, many people are simply more motivated to play poker online. Even when poker rooms reopen, players may be tempted to continue playing through apps due to fears over COVID-19.

Will NJ Online Poker Continue Growing?

New Jersey online poker rooms are no doubt benefiting from the closures of live rooms. However, this period of growth won’t last forever.

Land-based rooms will be reopening in the near future. At this point, many residents and visitors will go back to hitting Atlantic City.

However, more people have joined NJ poker sites within the past few months. This increased number of players ensures that, at the very least, New Jersey online poker will remain fairly popular.