Sunday, 23 November 2014 13:14

PokerStars enters online sports-betting through Italy

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PokerStars Online Sportsbetting

This is huge news. PokerStars is finally taking the plunge into the online sports-betting market. And they intend to use Italy as its laboratory. The news was confirmed by the Amaya Gaming-owned company’s newly appointed country manager, Marco Trucco, who announced the impending launch of casino games and a sports-betting website in Italy.

Italy's news agency Agimeg quoted Marco Trucco, saying:

"PokerStars is a publicly-listed company, and we have already announced our plan to add new games in the countries where these are allowed, and Italy is one of these. We are working to bring online casino games and slots on PokerStars.it. This will allow all those who enjoy casino games to discover the world of PokerStars, which has been recognized for many years as providing the world’s highest level of customer service to players. We will then also add sports betting as soon as our new product will be ready. It will have nothing to envy to the ones used by today's top names in the industry."

The primary objective of PokerStars is to absorb new players and divert them to their online poker portal via casino games offering.

"We need to open the house of Stars even to those who are not yet poker enthusiasts. Poker will benefit from this," he added.

Trucco has replaced former country manager and current senior project manager for Southern Europe, Barbara Beltrami. He comes on board with great experience and was recruited by PokerStars.it. His resume includes stints at Everest Group, CasinoItalia and EuroBet.

"We want to turn online poker into the biggest mass-game of the 21st century. To achieve this goal we have to build that kind of experience that those who have never played online poker want to find at the tables. Up until 2004, Texas hold'em was a nice game played in some card rooms in California and in some casinos in Las Vegas. The game lived in a closed community," he went on to add.

Trucco firmly believes despite the huge revenues of PokerStars, there is greater to scope for them do drive more traffic and make more financial gains.

"Internet and PokerStars turned poker in a global phenomenon but, at least in Italy, this first phase of expansion has now ended,"he said.

Hence he believes games like Spin & Go sit-and-go’s are the future and are bound to attract new players going forward.

"These tournaments offer some of the best joys and pains of the game of poker in only five minutes," Trucco said about the Spin & Go tournaments. "It's something similar to watching a nice video on Youtube instead of going to the cinema, or to listen to a random song on Spotify rather than going to a concert. Those games are like pills for those moments when one wants to play poker but does not have the time to commit to a long game. They are the best example of how an innovation can help the game to be more accessible and fun also for those who have never played before."

The online gambling experts are watching this latest development with an eagle eye. PokerStars foray into the sports-betting market would be a game changer for the iGaming fraternity as a whole. After the acquisition by Amaya, PokerStars has continued to take several new decision and adopted new policies.

It remains to be seen how this will affect the company. Though the company announced impressive revenues figures last week, there is no denying Amaya and PokerStars are eyeing completed domination of the industry

Viktor Blom Unibet

After his ouster from Full Tilt Poker, high stake poker pro Viktor “Isildur1” Blom has only been spotted briefly on PokerStars. There have been plenty of rumors that the Swede may have gone broke. But in what seems to be some good news for him, Blom has got an offer for a Unibet promotional event. The company may even sponsor him in the near future.

This was confirmed by the Blom himself via this Twitter handle on November 14, when he tweeted:

“In Macau right now, but planning to play the @unibet cash game before @unibetopen at Aspers in London end of November. Looks fun!”

Hence this attempt by the Swede to try and draw everyone’s attention to the Unibet event has fuelled the rumors of his new sponsorship. 

Despite there being no official confirmation from Unibet, they did tag him in a tweet:

“Poker greats @ViktorBlom @CrocMonsieur and @SenseiChanning will play in our golden cash game at @Unibet Open London!”

Unibet has off late had a good run with increase in traffic. Their seven-day average was 450 cash game players as per pokerscout. Hence it would not come as a surprise if Unibet tried to sustain this momentum by the news of a big name signing like Blom.

From a bankroll of $2,000 in 2008, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, built it to a massive $1.4 million in September 2009 before making the move to Full Tilt Poker. He shot to fame in November when he made $6 million from some of the game’s best pros, including Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Brian Townsend, Cole South, and Patrik Antonius. His decline was equally rapid and fascinating.

Blom has probably had more frequent highs and lows in online poker than any other pro. This is what makes him so intriguing and the reason why everybody’s so excited to see what he does next.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 07:18

PokerStars powered Amaya Gaming's revenue, earnings soar

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Amaya Gaming revenues soar

Amaya Gaming has hailed their takeover of Rational Group after they posted a huge year-on-year increase in quarterly revenue powered by PokerStars.

It cost the Canada-based company a whopping US$4.9 billion (€3.6 billion) to acquire the Rational Group. Their revenues have now sky rocketed year-on-year from C$39 in 2013 to $239 in 2014.

Fully diluted adjusted net income moved up from C$7 million to C$70 million with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased from C$18 million to C$108 million. Cash flow from operations increased form C$3 million to C$139 million.

Amaya chairman and chief executive officer David Baazov, said.

“The acquisition of PokerStars has transformed Amaya and delivered immediate value to our shareholders while setting the stage for additional future growth. In these early days I could not be happier with the initial performance of the business and the professionalism and expertise of the PokerStars management team. They are implementing strategic plans that leverage exciting, innovative poker variants, new gaming verticals and the mobile platform to increase engagement and new consumer acquisition.”

Amaya also agreed to sign a deal to complete the sale of B2B poker and platform provider Ongame to NYX Gaming Group. This will pave way for the Canadian company’s C$10 million worth “strategic investment” in NYX Gaming.

There is no denying that Amaya Gaming is rapidly expanding its foothold in the iGaming industry with smart mergers and acquisitions. This could be the sign of bigger and better things to come for the biggest iGaming company in the world.

 

Sunday, 16 November 2014 07:07

Ultimate Gaming shuts shop in Nevada after 19 months

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Ultimate Gaming Nevada

Ultimate Gaming shut shop in Nevada due to lack of profitability. It was USA’s first legal online real money gaming site. It had been operational in the state only for 19 months.

The website was marketed by Station Casinos, that hold majority stake in Ultimate Gaming, through their Southern Nevada Casinos

This news came as a rude shock even to the employees of the company, who were informed about Ultimate Gaming shutting shop on Friday morning.

Ultimate Gaming employees were told of the shutdown Friday morning.

Tom Breitling, Ultimate Gaming Chairman said in a statement that Ultimate Gaming's online poker revenues fell short of their expectations in Nevada, which has resulted in a cost-prohibitive and tough environment to operate in.

Out of the three — Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware — states that permit legal online gambling, only Nevada accepts wagers from players physically in the state.

However, the company did not mention the number of employees that have been affected by their decision to not continue operations in the state.

UB website will no longer accept any wagers and comply with regulatory requirements that need to be followed during a shutdown of this nature. 

With Nevada and Delaware in the process of creating an interstate online poker network, this decision by Ultimate Gaming to pull the plug on operations is bound to play on the minds of the powers that be.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 11:17

Martin Jacobson is 2014 WSOP Main Event winner!

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Martin Jackobson 2014 WSOP Winner

Martin Jacobson of Sweden won the 2014 World Series of Poker (WSOP) for a whopping $10 million. This was an historic win for him as he shattered several records and stereotype on his way to the ultimate prize in world poker.

Before this grand event, the bespectacled Jacobson had never won a major live poker event. He was second last in terms of chips on the final table when November Nine kicked off. Apart from that, he became the first player from his country to achieve this feat.

Apart from all that money, Jacobson will take home the coveted gold bracelet every poker players strives to earn at least once in his lifetime.

Final table results:

1) Martin Jacobson (Sweden) - $10,000,000

2) Felix Stephensen (Norway) - $5,145,968

3) Jorryt van Hoof (Netherlands) - $3,806,402

4) William Tonking  (USA) - $2,848,833

5) Billy Pappas (USA) -  $2,143,174

6) Andoni Larrabe (Spain) -  $1,622,080

7) Dan Sindelar (USA) - $1,235,862

8) Bruno Politano (Brazil) - $947,077

9) Mark Newhouse (USA) - $730,725

November 9 resumed on Monday as Jorryt van Hoof led the nine players. The action went on till the wee hours of Tuesday morning and amounted to 244 hands. Only three players survived – Jacobson, Felix Stephensen and Van Hoof.

The Dutchman Jorryt was the first player to hit the rails leaving Jacobson to take on Stephensen in the heads-up battle for the greatest prize in poker. Hand no. 328 is when all the action ended as Jacobson ousted his fellow European to be crowned the 2014 WSOP main event champion.

He also added another record to his incredible run by being the only player since Joe Cada in 2009 to begin as chip leader of the event to champion.

We congratulate Martin on this historic day and wish him well for the future!

Image courtesy: USA Today/AP

 
Monday, 10 November 2014 08:07

Patrick Leonard tops UK poker rankings

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Patrick Leonard UK Poker Rankings

Patrick Leonard has had phenomenal success in tournament poker in 2014. 

Earlier in the year, he rose to the top of PocketFives.com online poker rankings. And now has followed it up by reclaiming the No.1 spot after a string of consistent performances. 

At this stage, it would be hard to bet against Leonard for finishing the year on top. Apart from him, there were others who did well too. Notably "BigTurtle11", who took home a cool $141,000 after chopping the PokerStars Sunday Million. 

David Vamplew could not take down yet nother live tournament title as Martin Smith got the better of him in the 2014 Genting Poker Series Edinburgh Main Event heads-up. 

Andy Taylor too has been in solid form recently; "wiisssppppaa" as he is often known has been spending most of his time on PokeStars. 

The tournament poker circuit is abuzz with plenty of big events. The momentum is set to continue with more big-ticket events like 2014 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour Blackpool, Unibet Open London, and the £1,000,000 guaranteed WPT500 beginning soon. 

After Playtech revealed excellent trading numbers, both Betfair and 888 too did the same. However, William Hill had some bad news as their Manila service center was shut due to an investigation of "illegal gambling activities". 

Over, the poker scene in the UK has been good and with big events coming up, we can expect more players to emerge out from here.

Saturday, 08 November 2014 17:34

Dan Fleyshman is new CEO of Ivey Poker

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Dan Fleyshman Ivey Poker CEO

Ivey Poker has a new CEO. Yes that’s right, the online poker room has named Dan Fleyshman as the new man in charge.

The former Victory Poker CEO is bound to re-launch of the Facebook poker game Ivey Poker in 2015. Fleyshman likes to describe himself as the youngest founder of a publicly traded company in history

Ivey Poker debuted on Facebook in July last year. Phil Ivey himself along with other pros even used to participate in games with free play users. However, it was difficult for them to occupy mind space with big brands like Zynga and PokerStars around in the social poker market.

The company then announced its temporary closing in October 2014. However, they ruled out a close down of operations. Though, Ivey League still continues to operate.

Post Black Friday, Fleyshman’s Victory Poker pulled the plug on its US operations. Few weeks later, Fleyshman announced the closure of Victory Poker and the player accounts were moved to Cake Poker.

Before Black Friday, Victory Poker was on the verge of moving to the Cereus Poker Network.

Image courtesy WPT

Wednesday, 05 November 2014 08:41

5Dimes exits Equity Poker Network to launch Grand Poker

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5Dimes quits EPN to launch Grand Poker

Equity Poker Network skin 5Dimes has left the network to launch its solo venture Grand Poker. Both the parties announced the separation with immediate effect by releasing a statement.

The new online poker site (Grand Poker) can be found at 5Dimes.eu and for now, looks open to players from the US.  Players need to register themselves on 5Dimes.eu site, however, the new site is operated from a separate domain name, 5dimes.grandpokernetwork.com.

5Dimes operated a small cluster of four sites on the Equity network - 5Dimes.eu, Sportbet.com, IslandCasino.com, and Vietbet.eu. SportBet and IslandCasino have been merged under the Grand Poker offering.  Bonuses and loyalty points will be carried forward from EPN, but an extensive schedule is yet to be made official.

5Dimes followed in the footsteps of Gear Poker that left EPN in August.  Both these skins were among the first to join EPN when the network was launched in 2013. From reports and the press statement, it suggests that 5Dime’s split from the network was amicable and in good faith.

Press statement from EPN:

San Jose, Costa Rica, (October 31st, 2014) – As EquityPokerNetwork.com (“EPN”) is only days away from its first anniversary of real-money gaming, it is also enjoying a phase of new maturity, as it better understands its own recreational player base and what makes for a great union between Network and Operator. This self-awareness brings today’s announcement that the EPN and the 5Dimes Group have ended their business relationship, effective immediately.

EPN’s infancy online was very much about attracting established Operators as part of an important push for player awareness and added liquidity, and the Network’s organic growth has allowed EPN Management to take stock of this particular ‘marriage’; the time is right for 5Dimes to move on, and both parties have mutually agreed to go their separate ways.

This separation will affect players across the 5Dimes Group, which includes the poker rooms 5Dimes.eu, Sportbet.com, IslandCasino.com, and Vietbet.eu. There will be no impact on the flagship card room, FullFlushPoker.com (“FFP”), or any of the EPN’s other skins.

The Network’s emphasis remains squarely on providing recreational players with a fun, entertaining and secure online poker experience. The team is equally committed to consolidating its position in the industry, while attracting like-minded Operators that are the right fit for the Network’s unique business model.

“We are happy with where the Network is heading, and with the steady climb in player numbers. Our month-on-month increased guaranteed prize pools, quality promotions, and consistently fast and reliable cashouts are markers of EPN’s early success, and our growing reputation amongst players,” said an EPN Spokesperson.

“We bid farewell to 5Dimes on good terms, and we wish them continued growth for the future.”

 

 

 

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 12:49

Adjarabet breaks into top three in cash game traffic

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adjarabet cash game traffic

Adjarabet, the online poker site based out of Georgia has moved into third place in cash game traffic on the back of a leaderboard race promotion called PokerMasters.

As per the latest figures from pokerscout, Adjarabet overtook iPoker Network, thereby relegating it to fourth place. They are now behind the first placed PokerStars and runner-up 888Poker.

Adjarabet has 1,800 cash game players as their seven-day average, while PokerStars and 888Poker have 18,500 and 2,400, respectively. Playtech-powered iPoker Network managed 1,700 ring game players, just ahead of 1,600 at PartyPoker and Full Tilt.

Adjarabet’s impressive performances can be credited to PokerMaster Blaster, as it is devised around the premise of players collecting points and moving up in weekly leaderboards. All five of the weekly contests culminate into a final leaderboard.

The promotion involves gamification as it requires players to fulfill a variety of tasks. The level of difficulty of each task estimates how many points are given on successfully finishing a mission.

This promo is being clearly enjoyed by Adjarabet regulars as well as all the recreational players. It is now in its third week and is set to conclude on November 16.

Though it is important to mention that the traffic spike in the site began before this promotion, there is no denying that PokerMaster Blaster help boost the numbers up further.

Adjarabet had a tough journey to break into the top 10, but now this Georgian online poker site is among the biggest brands. This is definitely one of the biggest success stories of the iGaming industry.

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Full Tilt Poker Refund

On October 25, Garden City Group (GCG) sent 2200 emails to customers of Full Tilt Poker (FTP). This was done due to certain irregularities that cost them their refunds.

These players did not provide the required information to the GCG. Some has issues with banking information, others has wrong social security information and had wrong account balances on their forms. Hence these requests for refund were considered invalid.

Hence, the players now have to provide the right information through the Full Tilt Poker Claims Administration website. The last date to make corrections to the petitions is November 24.

Despite contacting all the players via email, the GCG also put out this notification on their website to make sure no players missed this important piece of information.

"GCG has identified certain Petitioners who previously confirmed their FTP Account Balance but who submitted incomplete or incorrect banking information or an incomplete or incorrect Social Security Number. On October 25, 2014, GCG sent emails to more than 2,200 of these Petitioners with instructions on how to update and correct their Petitions through the online filing site.

Please note that if we do not receive updated, complete and accurate information by November 24, 2014:

Petitioners with incomplete or incorrect banking information will be sent a check to the mailing address provided with their Petition, should their Petition be approved.

Petitioners with an incomplete or incorrect Social Security Number will have their Petition recommended for denial.

As explained in FAQ Number 17 on this website, prior to the payment of funds to a Petitioner, GCG is required to provide the Petitioner’s Social Security or other Taxpayer Identification Number to the Government, in order to offset and collect any qualifying debts currently listed in the Treasury Offset Program."

If you are a player that needs to correct the refund petition, the best way to proceed would be to call the GCG’s toll-free at (866) 250-2640 or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .