Does Anyone Care About Online Poker?

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Poker News | Tuesday 6 November 2012 7:56 am

We have been seeing the same news for what seems to be years, and very little changes in terms of Federal regulation for the game of online poker in the USA. Certainly the State of Nevada has made this form of gaming legal and is currently issuing licenses, but this is for intrastate poker online. The Federal Government has said as much – each state must decide, and legislate for themselves.

However, in December last year, the Department of Justice changed their stance on the matter of legality for online gambling. Basically the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 was revisited, and the DoJ opinion released that only sports betting is illegal. The online poker industry has mobilized rapidly, joint ventures are in place, and Nevada has passed legislation for online poker, while the state of Delaware has made legal the full gamut of casino games for the Internet.

The American Gaming Association has released a white paper, and they represent just about every US casino operator, as well as gambling equipment manufacturers. The report states that $4 billion is spent annually by American who play at offshore casino and poker websites. They peg the potential for the online gambling industry to make between $6 billion and $10 billion annually. Is the payday close for these operators, they seem to think so, but is it time to start picking winners?

The problem is actually three-fold; the industry can only look at the potential for regulating online poker for the meantime. The potential turnover for this game would not be $6 billion and $10 billion annually, only a fraction of this. The second problem is that online poker alone, might not be all that attractive a business proposition for potential operators, and the third issue is certain states will not opt to legalize and regulate, so, it needs to happen on a federal level. In its present position the market is much too small, or too shaky to be a viable proposition.

Overseas we see that online poker sites are closing their doors on a regular basis. While we see PokerStars doing well, they actually monopolizing the marketplace because of their massive liquidity. A good example would be IGT’s purchase of Entraction, only to find that they were compelled to close this poker network. Regulation in Europe is also a tricky task to breach. The Italian industry is failing, France is a nightmare of regulatory red tape, Will Hill Poker is losing business as is Bwin.party and others. Fortunately for 888 Poker, they also seem to be doing something right and their business has grown.

But what we are seeing is that online poker alone is not financially viable in many instances. Operators need to be able to offer the whole range of online gambling games. So, with the exception of Delaware which state apparently sees the bigger picture, very little can change if the Federal Government does not come to the party, and offering online poker without the addition of other Internet gambling games, simply won’t cut the mustard.

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New Facebook Poker App – Play Poker With The Stars

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling News,Poker News | Monday 22 October 2012 9:29 pm

A brand new Facebook Poker app seems to be hot in the news – driven by actor Kevin Pollak and his apparent love for this game. For those of you who don’t know who Kevin Pollak is don’t feel alone, neither did we. However, after conducting a little research we found that he certainly has a very well-known face; claims to fame roles in A Few Good Men, The Whole Nine Yards, The Wedding Planner and more. He hosted the first season of Celebrity Poker Showdown, and regularly invites friends over to his house for poker nights.

Anyway it seems he is also the host for the brand new Facebook poker app, which has been aptly named – Hollywood Poker. The app debuts on the 8th October, 2012, and basically offers players a chance to win into star-studded poker games. This is not a “play for real money” game, but apparently does offer great prizes.

So far the names being dropped include: James Woods, Dennis Quaid, Peter Facinelli of Twilight fame (he plays Dr. Carlisle Cullen), John O’Hurley from Seinfeld, Scott Baio, Tim Busfield of The West Wing, Dean Cain of Las Vegas, Rob Riggle of 21 Jump Street, and of course plenty more. While we did not see Ben Affleck or Matt Damon on the list, and they are well-known for their celebrity poker antics, there is still a whole load of shining stars who seem keen to participate in this game, and have also committed themselves to playing Hollywood Poker.

While Hollywood Poker launches on Facebook on the 8th October, the tournament won’t start right away. Members will be playing their best game of poker to win entry into the first tournament which takes place on the 20thOctober. It offers a "rare and exciting chance to play Texas Hold’Em Poker" with Kevin Pollak and his chosen celebrity friends. Three lucky winners will get to play in this single table event. What a rush?!

This is one of the first poker games to be launched by Facebook themselves, and no poker player worth their salt is going to want to miss out on the chance. It is their first ever celebrity games, and over 160 stars of movies, TV, Sports and Media have pledged to play Hollywood Poker. Films and shows such as Too Big to Fail, Saturday Night Live, Vegas, Vampire Diaries, Revolution, News Radio, Charles in Charge, 7th Heaven, Melrose Place, 30 Rock and more to be confirmed will be represented.

Hollywood Poker is easy to use – its designed this way – and fun for everyone. Fans get to interact directly with stars, rub virtual shoulders and chat with them, while playing poker. Visitors can follow the action, as well as become a member, and prizes include trips to star-studded events. This game is playable on most devices which includes mobile for iPad, with support for iPhone and Android being well on their way.

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Fast-Fold Poker: A New Twist To The Game

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Poker News | Tuesday 16 October 2012 1:02 pm

Fast-fold Poker is finally taking a-hold at more than one well-known website; PokerStars is now also attempting to stop its feverish spread on the World-Wide Web by pending patent rights. The game started more than a year ago at Full-tilt Poker, and with this websites’ downfall, copies have sprung up like mushrooms after a rain.

Players are getting the hang of the game, where the appeal is its difference to normal paced poker online. Because it is fast, it reduces waiting time – a player can fold, then simply be moved to another table, and take part in another game. The additional appeal is that the game is a natural fit for mobile, and opponents barely get to know the game of the people they play against, so, this makes it fabulously fair. It is an action-focussed game with an almost arcade game-type feel.

Full-tilt introduced fast-fold in 2010 – calling it "Rush Poker". At the time, no other poker product was interested in exploring the possibilities that this form of the game seemed to offer. This gave FTP almost a complete year with exclusivity on fast-fold poker. Whether or not this shows lack of competitive vision, or fear of patent infringement, on the part of other online poker software developers, we actually do not know. But what we do know is this, as soon as Full-tilt was out of the fold, there was a mad rush to develop software which emulated fast-fold.

PokerStars have their own version of the game, and now that they own FTP – lock, stock and their backs over a barrel, they also want their hands on any patent rights they may be entitled to. Their version is called Zoom Poker, but they were in fact not the first to offer real money fast-fold poker after FTP. InstaDeal was the first fast-fold poker competitor online.

This software provider soft- launched a flagship product called "Terminal Poker" back in late 2010. They were the first online network to exclusively host fast-fold style poker with low stakes Hold ‘em games. They expanded with white-label skins on PokerTube as well as at an online poker portal – Vegas365. This product still receives consistent players, even if only in very small numbers.
When it seemed as though Full-tilt would never rise from the ashes of their ruin, let alone ever be able to competitively defend a patent rights legal brougha; “Fast Poker” from Maltese developer – Relax Gaming was the next to hit the Net. This game can be found at Unibet and iGame.

Zoom Poker came from PokerStars in March 2012, and is still ostensibly wearing the "Beta" banner. However, it has hit the tables hard, there are various stakes and multiple game types available already, and now PokerStars has nothing to worry about, their lawyers have taken the problem of "Patent Pending" away from FTP lawyers, and are letting their lawyers handle the issue, as though they developed this product for themselves. Good on them, they paid enough money for FTP; might as well get it back one way or another!

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Hall Of Fame Finalists Include Some Serious Poker Pros

Posted by Gambling News | Poker News | Saturday 6 October 2012 5:33 am

It is that time of years again, the time when poker gets serious, and looks at the names of players and people who deserve recognition for the part they have played in poker. The WSOP Hall of Fame is the name of the game, and it is not only Players who are acclaimed, also non-players who underwrite the success and growth of poker have an opportunity of being inducted. The criteria are:

  1. Must have played against accredited competitors
  2. Minimum of forty (40) years old when nominated
  3. Must have been a high-stakes player
  4. Gained the respect of peers – played poker consistently well
  5. Stood the test-of- time
  6. Non-players, – contribution to the overall success of poker. Must have indelible and positive results.

There are ten finalists this year, and there are also only ever a maximum of two winners. Mostly only one person wins. The induction class takes place during the course of the World Series of Poker Main Event, and all nominations were gathered during a public nomination process. The finalists will be decided upon and approved by the Governing Council of the WSOP Hall of Fame.

The Finalists are:

  1. Jennifer Harman
  2. John Juanda
  3. Tom McEvoy
  4. Scotty Nguyen – these first four have all been nominated before
  5. Six first-timers — Chris Bjorin a sixty-four-year-old Swedish-born player residing in London. Bjorin’s earnings are over $5 million, and he is a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner – has seven WSOP Main Event cashes.
  6. David Chiu – moved to the US as an eighteen year old exchange student from China. He started in poker as a dealer – was originally a Colorado restaurateur. Chiuin – now fifty-two years old – has transitioned into one of the most successful tournament players in recent poker history. He is a four-time WSOP gold-bracelet winner, with cashes in fifty-four events.
  7. Eric Drache – a poker career which stands head and shoulders above many. He has made five WSOP final tables, ending in the top three each time, but also served as the tournament director at one stage. He is responsible for various innovations in the WSOP event, and has worn many hats in the Las Vegas poker industry. Our money is on this man receiving induction.
  8. Thor Hansen – A Norwegian poker pro who has cashed in a mahoosive one-hundred and seventy- five tournaments and earned $2.9 million. Known as the “Godfather” of Norwegian poker in Europe, he has 2 WSOP gold bracelets and has contributed massively to the EU poker scene.
  9. George Hardie – The only non-poker player, but has never-the-less left a lasting impression on the character of the game. He stood at the centre of the poker boom on the West Coast, and built-up the largest poker club in the world during the 1980’s.
  10. Brian "Sailor" Roberts. Was nominated at the final hour, in writing, but another Hall of Fame inductee. He is well-known as one of the “good guys” of the game, and apparently there aren’t all that many.
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Evolution Of Online Poker – Increasing Interest In This Game of "Skill"

Posted by Gambling News | Poker News | Thursday 30 August 2012 10:00 am

While there has never been a doubt that the online gambling industry has a massive interest in offering online poker games to the public; this game has also evolved to such a degree, that there is on-going growing interest from the public also. If there had not been so much interest from the paying public, this game would not have grown as it has.

There has been much ado about nothing happening, regarding playing online poker in the USA for a few years, where the department of Justice has insisted that playing this game was illegal. So much so, that they closed down the biggest online poker sites in the US last year in April 2011. In the process, the DoJ managed to put most of these sites out of business – the only survivor being PokerStars. But then again the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA enacted 2006), also put paid to plenty of poker potential.

What is so paradoxical about the online poker situation in the USA, is the fact that the game is as American as apple pie. However, that having been said, the Poker Players Alliance and many other protagonists for the game, have been trying to prove that it is okay to play online as it is a game of skill, not gambling.

Now all kinds of worms are coming out of the woodwork, the DoJ has had a change of heart, but are still prosecuting people who were indicted under UIGEA. They have also said that the only gambling game not allowed is online sports betting, so, we are in the dark about what’s real any more in the states.

A recent scientific research from the University of Rotterdam (Department of Economics), Holland, sees poker classified as a game of skill. And now a Judge in the USA – Federal District Court Judge Jack Weinstein – has agreed. Poker is a game of skill!

The fact of the matter is, that the lawyers defending a gentleman who was running a home poker game, put up such a good argument, that the judge simply had to agree. They argued that – "increased proficiency boosts a player’s chance of winning and affects the outcome of individual hands as well as a series of hands. Expert poker players draw on an array of talents, including facility with numbers, knowledge of human psychology, and powers of observation and deception." We already know this to be true.

John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance – said they have waited very patiently for the right opportunity to arise to take the game of poker to a Federal Court. This was the right opportunity, where this association of poker players, played a major role in securing the “not guilty” verdict. They believe this federal court ruling is a most important victory for the game.

The judge noted that "poker has a long history in the United States, has been embraced by many political and other public figures. " Finally… perhaps something has now got to give?!

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