The World Series of Poker Circuit stop at Lake Tahoe, NV is winding its way to the Main Event. Through eight events, five events have been captured by Californians. Meanwhile, a legend of the game in California and Nevada earned his second career Circuit ring in this series. The WSOP-C Lake Tahoe stop kicked off last week with its typical 12 rings in 12 days schedule. Eight events have completed through Wednesday with the $1,675 Main Event to kick off on Friday. Frankie O’Dell Wins Second Career Ring in H.O.R.S.E. Event If you’re a mixed games player in either California or Nevada, odds are that at some time you have played Frankie O’Dell. Hailing from Henderson, NV, O’Dell has been a fixture in the Vegas and Los Angeles poker scenes for decades. He is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner and after Friday, he is now a two-time Circuit ring winner. O’Dell topped a field of 65 players to win Event #2, $365 H.O.R.S.E. to win his second career Circuit ring and $6,825. According to O’Dell, he only stopped in Lake Tahoe because H.O.R.S.E. was on the schedule. He decided to “see what happens” and ultimately walked away with gold. When asked what makes him such a good player, he stated, “It is a bunch of different games and I think I play every game solid. I don’t have any weaknesses. The key to playing an H.O.R.S.E tournament is that you cannot be weak at any game. That is why I like H.O.R.S.E.” O’Dell is considered one of the strongest mixed game players in the world. He has two WSOP bracelets, both in Omaha Hi-Lo. His other Circuit ring is in Omaha Hi-Lo. Two Times is a Charm for Foutty Steve Foutty finally broke through for his first career Circuit ring on Sunday after winning Event #5. A couple of days prior, he made the final table of Event #3 but fell in fourth place. This time around, the Mill Valley regular bested a field of 171 players to win his first ring and $13,850. This win was huge for Foutty on multiple levels. Not only did it give him his first ring, but also pushed him over $100,000 in WSOP related earnings. According to The Hendon Mob, Foutty has earnings topping $200,000. Earlier this year, he took down the WPTDeepstacks Main Event in Turlock, CA. He also finished 19th in Event #4 of the 2014 WSOP, a $1,00 NL Event. The Ladies a Champ – Donna Delfin Wins Six-Max Event for Second Ring The World Series of Poker in dewapoker Circuit has seen its share of champions and this week was no exception. Three women have taken down events so far this series but no win was bigger than Donna Delfin’s win in Event #7, the $365 Six-Handed NL Event. Delfin made it heads-up in the same event two years ago but fell short of the ring. This time around, she took the title but not without a bit of good fortune. She was all-in for her tournament life heads-up against Paul Kossluk with just a flush draw on the turn. Fortunately, she hit her flush to double-up into the chip lead and never looked back. This was Delfin’s second career ring victory. Back in 2012, she won a NL Event at Harrah’s Rincon in San Diego for her first ring. She said this victory was extra special because not only did she vindicate herself from her near miss a couple years ago, but also she won it on her daughter’s birthday. Two other women won events this week. Deva Crouch of Seattle, WA won Event #4, the $365 NL with ReEntry Event for her first circuit ring and $38,807. Debra Pulley of Camas, WA took down the $250 Seniors title. The non-ring event awarded Pulley $12,447 in prize money. Mankin, Aran and Murphy Enjoy Success Three other Californians took down Circuit rings this week. Sacramento real estate investor Earle Mankin won Event #1 after a grueling two-hour heads-up match against Tahoe resident Bob Donahue. Michael Murphy returned to poker this week after a three-year hiatus and won his second tournament back. He took down the Event #3 ring and $13,609. The Tahoe native used to be a regular but once a close friend moved away, he lost the desire to grind. This win could help rekindle a love for the game. Event #6, a $365 NL Hold’em Event, went to 29-year-old San Jose construction worker Daniel Aran. He survived a field of 194 players to take the ring and $15,132 in prize money. This was Aran’s second career ring. His other came at the same property in 2011. Previous Post Next Post About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

Episode 13: Narrowing it down to 9 Norman wants to remind us all that he’s been saying from the beginning how Mark Newhouse has a serious chance to make it to the final table twice in a row. Despite being in a weak position to start the episode, Norman is very confident that Newhouse will be able to pull off some impressive moves and climb back up, because he’s always had strong faith in his favorite player. Episode 14: Newhouse We’ve only eliminated two players last episode, we have five more before we’re caught up to the present. But, as expected, the narrative is now all about Mark Newhouse and whether he’ll make history with back-to-back final tables. The crowd breaks into song about it. Tomorrow we’ll skip four months into the future for the final table on ESPN. Previous Post Next Post episodes|wsop| About Ryan Ocello

California has proven to be one of the most turbulent gaming industries. Whether it’s their six year long trek towards online poker, the hundreds of card rooms and casinos that dot the Golden State, or the numerous competing interests, it’s never boring for anyone covering gaming in California. And it certainly wasn’t boring this past week, as there was big news on both the land-based and online fronts. On the land-based front, California regulators shut down a card room after it was discovered they lacked the proper funds to cover the chips in play. Obviously a major no-no. Meanwhile, a California tribe took a huge step towards launching an online gaming site… and no, I’m not talking about the “tribe who cried wolf.” The Santa Ysabel tribe and the launch of their online bingo site, which of course was followed by their insistence that online poker “is coming soon.” IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…Check out this ground-shaking news from earlier in the week: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Join PokerStars Faction in California. This could be a huge momentum boost for PokerStars fighting “bad actor” clause supporters in California. Pala Granted an iGaming License in New Jersey As I said, the big news in California online gambling last week wasn’t the launch of Desert Rose Bingo by Santa Ysabel. The big story actually happened far away from California, some 3,000 miles away in fact, as the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJ DGE) approved Pala Interactive for a transactional waiver which will allow them to offer online gambling in New Jersey. The license is almost a year in the making for Pala, as they applied before the industry launched last November; were approved for a transactional waiver; but never found a partner. Now a year later Pala Interactive has teamed up with Borgata in New Jersey (Pala will operate under Borgata’s iGaming license), but will not be part of the main Borgata/partypoker network in the state. It’s an interesting dynamic on a number of levels, as Pala’s New Jersey online casino is expected to launch within a couple of weeks, with their poker room expected to launch in early 2015, and both will compete directly with Borgata’s rooms. You can read more about Pala’s New Jersey license here: Can Pala Interactive Make it in an Already Crowded NJ iGaming Market? It’s also an interesting move by the tribe, especially considering the size (or lack thereof) of the New Jersey online gambling market, which is about to get even more crowded and competitive when PokerStars enters the picture. But perhaps Pala’s interest in New Jersey is with an eye towards California? Perhaps the tribe sees the NJ market as a chance to trial their product while they wait for California to pass an online poker bill, which would give them an experiential leg up on their potential competition in California. It also raises the question of whether or not Pala will now fight to remove any clauses that may be included in a potential California online poker bill that would disallow interstate compacts – thus far all online poker talk in California has been intrastate. Or, perhaps Pala simply sees an opening to get their foot in the door in a new market and help position themselves for the future; a future where iGaming may be legalized nationally, or interstate compacts readily available. Casino Royale Shut Down by California Regulators While Pala was busy securing an iGaming license, a card room in Sacramento was in the process of losing their license. In a scene reminiscent of what players went through on Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and UB following Black Friday, the Casino Royale card room in Sacramento, California was shut down by the California Bureau of Gambling Control after it was discovered the property didn’t have enough cash on hand to cover the “chips in play, the players’ banks, the player-funded jackpots and house-funded jackpots,” according to a report in the Sacramento Bee. Bureau officials were first alerted to the potential problem after a patron won $62,000 at the card room’s Pai Gow Poker tables, but was only paid $20,000 and told to come back later for the rest – An awfully strange request by a casino. When the Bureau investigated they found the casino to have a shortfall of over $268k , and after giving them 10 days to get their finances in order the Casino Royale was still short some $55k. The CBGC will now conduct a full audit of the property and a motion has been filed to revoke the licenses of Casino Royale owners James Kouretas, William Blanas and Faye E. Stearns. The shuttering of the small casino of just 15 tables likely signals the end of the Casino Royale, considering the club has had a tumultuous history since opening in 2008, including the owners suing one another according to the SacBee: The massive shortfall should also be the genesis of a serious CBGC investigation into all of California’s card rooms and casinos, of which there are over 100. But, considering the recent lawsuit filed by William Blanas against James Kouretas, this seems to be more of an isolated incident effecting only the Casino Royale. Previous Post Next Post igaming|pala About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

On Wednesday, PokerFuse broke the news that former Victory Poker CEO and Who’s Your Daddy, Inc. owner Dan Fleyshman will be taking the reins as CEO of Ivey Poker. This, less than two weeks after Phil Ivey announced on Twitter that Ivey Poker will temporarily suspend its free-to-play (F2P) Facebook application. The poker app shuttered its door on Saturday, October 25th, as scheduled. All was not doom and gloom, however, as Ivey stated that the closure of Ivey Poker is “the first step in our evolution as we prepare to launch an even bigger and better gaming experience for you all in 2015.” It is likely that Fleyshman ordered the closure of Ivey Poker as part of a broader re-imagining process that will see both Ivey Poker and poker training site Ivey League receive a complete makeover, although Fleyshman was not available to confirm. A brief history of Ivey Poker Ivey Poker debuted on Facebook in July 2013. Although the market was already saturated with F2P poker apps, Ivey Poker attempted to differentiate itself by integrating a spectrum of training videos and through its stable of Ivey Poker Pros, of which there were many. Of course the brand association with arguably the most recognizable name in poker certainly didn’t hurt either. Ivey Poker followed up with a poker training site entitled Ivey League in 2014. But whereas the training site managed to find a niche among the myriad of like-minded services on the Internet, Ivey Poker was unable to compete against established names within the social poker space such as PokerStars and Zynga – which leads us back to the present. Who is Dan Fleyshman? The self proclaimed “youngest founder of a publicly traded company in history,” Fleyshman began his entrepreneurial career within the apparel industry. His Who’s Your Daddy brand would later branch out into the energy beverage market, where it would find marketed success. By 2009, Dan embarked on a new venture, this time within the burgeoning online poker arena. He became the CEO of Victory Poker in 2010. The site quickly established itself among online poker’s giants, largely thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign and its lineup of “Team Victory” pros that included big names such as Antonio Esfandiari, Jonathan Little and Paul Wasicka. That success was to be short-lived however, as days after Black Friday, Fleyshman opted to block US customers from playing for real-money. Shortly after, Fleyshman voluntarily shut down Victory Poker, and migrated its existing members over to Cake Poker. To this day remains online, but it exists now as Fleyshman’s biography page. Fleyshman has also established himself as a formidable poker player, racking up more than $700,000 in live tournament winnings over the course of the past years. Expectations for the new Ivey Poker At the ripe old age 33, Fleyshman already has 15 years experience building brands from the ground up. His creativity, aggressiveness style of doing business and media-friendliness will likely prove invaluable assets to the Ivey Poker brand. How he intends to approach the relaunch is anyone’s guess. But if there’s one thing that’s a near inevitability, it’s this: the new Ivey Poker and Ivey League will be light years ahead of the old in terms of innovation and design. Previous Post Next Post ivey poker|popular About Robert DellaFave Robert DellaFave writes for a variety of online gaming sites and is also working on programming a poker simulation creative enough to beat the best. Follow Robert on Twitter @DivergentGames and on Google+

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has officially joined the PokerStars coalition in California, Joining the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Bicycle Casino, Commerce Casino, and Hawaiian Gardens Casino in partnering with Amaya Gaming to offer online poker in California when legislation is passed. San Manuel officially switches sides The San Manuel tribe had previously been part of a coalition of 13 tribes opposed to PokerStars being allowed to participate in California online poker if a bill was passed. By switching sides the San Manuel tribe has not only strengthened PokerStars position but has also weakened the opposition. “We are pleased to join this coalition,” said Lynn Valbuena, the Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in a joint press release issued today. “We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California.” Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Robert Martin was also pleased with the addition of San Manuel to their faction: Guy Templer, Group Business Development Director with PokerStars: Stay tuned for more information on the shifting power balance in California and commentary on what it means for a potential iPoker bill in 2015. The Full Statement Here is the full Press Release: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Joins with Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California’s Largest Card Clubs and Amaya to Offer Online Poker in California when Authorizing Legislation is Passed Addition of San Manuel reflects “new day” where gaming interests must work together in order to finally pass online poker legislation in California. Sacramento, CA, November 11, 2014 – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians announced today that it has agreed to join the existing business agreement between the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California’s three largest card clubs – the Commerce Club, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino and the Bicycle Casino – and the Amaya Gaming Group, which owns and operates PokerStars. These gaming operators will join together to operate a licensed online poker site in California once legislation is enacted to authorize iPoker. This coalition will also work together to advocate for legislation that extends California’s tough, long-established gaming regulations to include intrastate online poker. “We are pleased to join this coalition,” said Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman – San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California.” “We’re pleased to welcome San Manuel to our coalition. It marks a new day in our efforts to authorize online poker in California,” Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Robert Martin said. “We’re excited about the momentum and opportunities this new agreement represents in getting legislation passed. As tribes come together on this issue, the opportunity for success grows.” Speaking on behalf of the three card clubs, attorney Keith Sharp said, “We are very pleased to welcome San Manuel to our coalition. We look forward to working with legislators and our industry colleagues to pass a bill that provides strong regulation and consumer protection.” Guy Templer, Group Business Development Director with PokerStars said, “San Manuel is a strong, forward thinking operator and is a great partner to join our coalition in advocating for the development of an open and well regulated iPoker market in California. We are looking forward to working with the Legislature and with other stakeholders to help develop an industry that will benefit California consumers and the State alike.” ### About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. Since time immemorial, the San Manuel tribal community has endured change and hardship. Amidst these challenges the tribe continued to maintain its unique form of governance. Like other governments it seeks to provide a better quality of life for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development. Today San Manuel tribal government oversees many governmental units including the departments of fire, public safety, education and environment. San Manuel operates San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino. About the Morongo Band of Mission Indians The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is a federally-recognized Indian Tribe that operates the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa near Banning (Riverside County), California, under a Class III gaming compact with the State of California. The Tribe exercises governmental jurisdiction over the 34,000+ acre Morongo Indian Reservation. Since 2009, the Morongo Band has been in the forefront of efforts to give California’s online poker players renewed access to the online games from which they’ve been excluded since 2011. The Tribe’s California LLC, Morongo Internet Poker, is one of the members of the California Internet Poker LLC. About Commerce Casino Commerce Casino, the largest poker casino in the world, has more than 200 tables featuring about every form of poker: Texas Hold ’em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha, Pot Limit, Mexican Poker, Pineapple, Draw, Low-Ball and many others. Commerce Casino is recognized for its innovative “Bring Your Home Game to Commerce” program enabling poker fans to invite friends/family for a casual home game, bachelor party or birthday celebration with a professional dealer in a casino setting. Commerce Casino is located at 6131 East Telegraph Rd., Commerce, CA 90040, just off the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at the Washington Blvd. exit. For more information, go to or call 323.721.2100. About Bicycle Casino The Bicycle Casino has been a premier gaming destination in Southern California since it’s opening in 1984. Located in Bell Gardens, it has historical employed nearly 2,000 people hosting daily customers, international visitors and poker celebrities. Under the leadership of General Partners Bob Carter and Hashem Minaiy, they are expanding their facility which will soon open a world class 100 room luxury hotel to accommodate their growing tournament business. Active participants in their community, the Bike (as it’s commonly known) contributes significant resources to the public safety and recreational needs of its Bell Gardens neighbors, provides 60% of the City of Bell Gardens annual budget, and through its Bicycle Casino Community Foundation, provides several thousands of dollars annually in college scholarships to deserving students. About Hawaiian Gardens Casino Hawaiian Gardens Casino has been an integral part of the City of Hawaiian Gardens for nearly 20 years. The Hawaiian Garden Casino opened with five tables and has grown to nearly 200 tables in our current 59,500 square foot facility. Hawaiian Gardens Casino is the second largest card club and ranks second in revenue in the world. Hawaiian Gardens Casino is presently constructing a new 220,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art casino. Scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2016, this new facility will include 300 gaming tables as well as a restaurant, lounge, VIP gaming section and event center capable of hosting 75 tournament tables. About Amaya Amaya is the owner of the Rational Group, which owns and operates gaming and related businesses and brands including PokerStars, Full Tilt, the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. These brands collectively form the largest poker business in the world, comprising online poker games and tournaments, live poker competitions and poker programming created for television and online audiences. In addition to operating two of the largest online poker sites, Rational Group is the largest producer of live poker events around the world. Amaya also provides interactive and physical gaming solutions to the regulated gaming industry. For more information please visit Previous Post Next Post pokerstars|san manuel About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

Prior to the 2014 Midterm elections the Poker Players Alliance identified 22 anti-online-gambling lawmakers that the group termed “The Jokers,” terminology that makes me cringe every time I hear it, let alone have to type it out. So how did these 22 anti-online-gambling candidates up for reelection fare on Tuesday night? Not good if you’re an advocate for expanded online gambling, as they almost ran the table. Batted 1.000 in Congress All 17 of the House of Representatives and Senate candidates won handily – not a single race was decided by less than a double-digit spread.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), House 3rd District, UT
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), SC
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D), House 5th District, MO
Rep. Charles Dent (R), House 15th District, PA
Rep. Randy Forbes (R), House 4th District, VA
Rep. Trent Franks (R), House 8th District, AZ
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D), House 2nd District, HI
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R), House 1st District, TX
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R), House 4th District, SC
Rep. George Holding (R), House 13th District, NC
Rep. Jim Jordan (R), House 4th District, OH
Rep. Steve King (R), House 5th District, IA
Rep. James Lankford (R), House 5th District, OK
Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D), House 3rd District, IL
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D), House 2nd District, IA
Rep. Mike Rogers (R), House 8th District, MI
Rep. Lamar Smith (R), House 21st District, TX At the state level At the state level, the anti-online gambling candidates had less success, but not much less. Only Democratic nominee for Massachusetts Governor Martha Coakley lost, while Republican Gubernatorial candidate in Florida Rick Scott eked out a 1-point victory over challenger Charlie Crist. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley easily won a second-term. Pennsylvania State Representative Mario Scavello handily won his race as well. And Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott easily bested Democratic darling Wendy Davis to take over for Rick Perry as the Governor of Texas – Abbot was the only non-incumbent on the PPA’s list. What does it all mean? Not much. The PPA’s campaign was unlikely to impact any of the elections save for the Massachusetts and Florida governorships where literally every vote counted. Each of the congressional races were in “safe” districts, as was Governor Haley’s and State Rep. Scavello’s. In Massachusetts the difference between Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker as Governor is at best minimal. While Coakley has been more outspoken in her opposition to Internet gambling, Baker is far from an online gambling champion, as he even hedged his bets on the land-based casino repeal initiative that appeared on the ballot – and thankfully was shot down by 20 points. Massachusetts also elected a Treasurer, Deb Goldberg, who has made several statements against online gambling, and who was in favor of repealing the above mentioned 2011 casino law, which was voted down by a 60/40 margin. If you like your politics complex and contradictory, Massachusetts is the place for you. The Florida results have unknown consequences at this point as Charlie Crist never verbalized his opinions on online gambling. Rick Scott is in full agreement with Sheldon Adelson when it comes to online gambling, as he penned a letter supporting the proposed federal ban back in May. As bad as a Rick Scott governorship is for iGaming, a Crist governorship would have only moved the state into the possible category. Previous Post Next Post election results|ppa|sheldon adelson About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

Much to the chagrin of its high volume players, industry leading PokerStars has announced forthcoming changes to its rake structure and promotional schedule, many of which will have a noticeable impact on high-volume grinders’ bottom line. Throughout the past several months the company has instituted a variety of cost cutting measures. And while decisions to cut inactive affiliates, consolidate its pro roster and blur the line between poker and gambling haven’t sat particularly well with players, the latest changes were met with the full wrath of the poker community, with the majority directing their frustration at new owner Amaya Gaming, who took the reins in early August. An overview of PokerStars’ recent policy changes The majority of the latest policy amendments will primarily impact high-stakes cash game players and high-volume SNG grinders, while casual and recreational players may not even notice. Battle of the Planets promotion to end Effective November 2, 2014 the popular Battle of the Planets promotion will be no more. Author’s thoughts: Battle of the Planets awarded the site’s best Sit and Go grinders across all stakes and commitment levels with the opportunity to pad their bankroll via added cash prizes. Its removal is, in my estimation, the most nonsensical of the recent policy changes. Yes, in the immediate, the company will save in excess of $2.5 million per year, but who’s to say that savings won’t be more than offset by player liquidity losses? Deterring high volume players from participating in Sit & Gos, especially now that the company will be making more money, on average, per Sit & Go, doesn’t seem like a wise business practice. Cash game rake amendments The rake cap for Heads-Up NL/PL games ranging from $.25/$.50 to $10/$20 will be increased from $0.50 to $1.00. At $25/$50 and higher, Heads-Up caps will be raised from $0.50 to $2.00, and 5+ player caps from $3 to $5. Author’s notes: PokerStars is placing increased stock in its casual and recreational players, sometimes at the risk of ostracizing its hardcore regs. If that wasn’t already clear by prior policy changes, the latest amendments to rake caps hammers the point home. Heads-up cash game players across all but the lowest stakes will be immediately impacted by the rake cap increases. However, the ones who are going to really feel the effects are players that grind out $.25/$.50 – $1/$2 HU NLHE for a living, if only because at these levels, the rake is higher relative to the size of the average pot. Whether the changes are significant enough to discourage regs from playing other regs is yet to be observed, but I believe they are. High stakes 6-max and full ring players may not feel the full breadth of the cap increase immediately, but after forking over an extra couple of bucks a few thousand times, they will, especially since most of these players rely on Stars’ low rake to compensate for their relatively nominal skill advantage. Sit & Go fee amendments Entry fees for KO tournaments and Sit & Gos are being increased across to board to match those of non-knockout tournaments. Additionally, the entry fees for HU Hyper Cash Sit & Gos and 6 Max Hyper Satellites will see hikes for all stakes up to $1,000. Author’s notes: PokerStars’ policy modifications for HU Hyper SNGs and 6 Max Hyper Satellites aren’t terribly impactful, as they only target a small subset of the company’s game offerings. Furthermore, after the change, the entry fees at even the lowest stakes still won’t exceed 5% of the total buy-in. That’s a fair modification. On the flip side, the Knockout MTT and Hyper Turbo MTT reforms come across as more damning. Forcing combatants to pay a 10% VIG for a tournament where half the entry fee isn’t even factored into the tournament prize pool was a brazen move on PokerStars’ part; one that has already proven a point of contention among KO aficionados. As far as the changes to Hyper Turbo MTT’s go, I’ll say this: the VIG for the tournaments in question were really, really low before. So while the forthcoming fee hikes may come across as drastic, consider that the entry fees for such tournaments are still only half that of a normal MTT. Spin & Go rake modifications Spin & Go entry fees will be increased at stakes $3 and above. At the $3 and $7 levels, the entry fee will now be 6% of the buy-in price, an increase of 1% and 2%, respectively. Players gambling it up at stakes $15 and above can now except to pay a 5% VIG, also a hike of 1%. On a more positive “spin,” the top prize per buy-in tier will see an an increase from 1000 times the buy-in to 3000x. Author’s notes: What PokerStars fails to mention in its Two Plus Two post is that although the top prize is now three times greater than it was previously, its chance of occurring has been slashed by four-fifths. In fact, the frequency of all multipliers 6x and above are taking a hit. Well, at least they’ll be fewer 2x prize multipliers and a bunch more 4x. But that’s a small consolation prize, especially considering that with the rake changes, the game becomes essentially unbeatable. By now, I think we can all agree that while Spin & Go’s pose some benefit in that they balance the poker ecology and offer recreational players a chance to learn the game, their implementation is primarily a money generating device designed to draw the impatient gambling crowd. And to that effect, Spin and Go’s have been an overwhelming success. But as the format matures, PokerStars may find that it harms cash game liquidity more than it facilitates market growth. Will liquidity on PokerStars be affected? Slightly. When Spin & Go’s first launched on PokerStars in late September, cash game liquidity took an 11% hit. Since, only a portion of the lost volume has been recovered, indicating that the novelty of the new poker-gambling hybrid has not yet worn off. This, according to data gathered at PokerFuse Pro via PokerScout. I don’t however expect to see the same sharp drop-off when the newly announced policy changes go into effect next Tuesday, for the following:
PokerStars’ player loyalty program and customer service departments are still the best the industry has to offer.
The new rake structures are fairly in line with what other top online networks, second place included, currently offer. In essence, Stars is merely forgoing its overly generous rake structure in favor of one that adheres to the industry norm.
The PokerStars 7 client improves upon nearly every aspect of the company’s already exemplary poker software.
PokerStars is the most recognizable brand in the poker industry. That being said, due to the removal of the Battle of the Planets promotion, I do expect Sit and Go liquidity to take a smallish hit, as the added incentives for putting in massive amount of SNG volume are now virtually non-existent. Furthermore, PokerStars may not want to push the envelope too much further, as any further cuts may instill widespread paranoia in the community. That, and PokerStars’ promotional schedule isn’t nearly strong enough to offset a rake schedule that is, on average, below industry standards. Tread carefully PokerStars, trend carefully. Recapping PokerStars’ other policy changes This isn’t the first time PokerStars has made headlines for announcing upcoming changes to its long standing policies. In just the past several months, the Rational Group has:
Cut ties with its sponsored pros including 2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada, Marcel Luske, as well at its two remaining Full Tilt Poker “Professionals,” Gus Hansen and Viktor Blom.
Made minor changes to the amount of benefits its top tier (SuperNova Elite) members receive annually.
Alluded to forthcoming changes in nations where “regulation and taxation comes into effect,” such as the United Kingdom and Bulgaria.
Discharged nonactive affiliates and added a 2.5% currency exchange fee, both alarmingly, without any real notice or explanation. Is Amaya really to blame? Following Thursday’s announcement, Two Plus Two users were hasty to direct their scorn at Amaya Gaming, and to an extent they cannot be blamed. Most of PokerStars’ sweeping policy changes did go into effect shortly after Amaya took over as head honcho earlier this summer. And it does appear that the latest changes were designed by Amaya to push player patience as far it could without completely alienating segments of the community. But, and this is a big “but,” keep in mind that many of the company’s cost cutting measures were planned before Amaya took over. In particular, a full review of Stars’ VIP program was planned as early as one year ago, and if anything, the changes planned for 2015 are much tamer than most industry experts initially projected. Is Amaya behind some of Stars’ controversial changes? Undoubtedly. But it’s not entirely deserving of the venomous words being spewed in its direction either. Other resources For more, Pokerfuse’s Nick Jones writes on Amaya’s role in PokerStars’ policy changes in great detail in his latest article, “Breaking Down Every Major PokerStars Change This Year.” Steve Ruddock suggests that other factors may have driven PokerStars’ change of heart in his comprehensive piece, “What’s Really Driving Recent Policy Changes at PokerStars?” Previous Post Next Post 888 poker|full tilt|pokerstars About Robert DellaFave Robert DellaFave writes for a variety of online gaming sites and is also working on programming a poker simulation creative enough to beat the best. Follow Robert on Twitter @DivergentGames and on Google+

On Tuesday the Nevada Gaming Control Board released the state’s September revenue figures. Needless to say, September’s results were not what the industry was hoping to see, especially coming off the industry’s disappointing August numbers… Revenue declined for the first time since February. Whether it was Strip revenue, total gaming revenue, or online poker revenue, the numbers were bleak in September. In fact, the September revenue numbers can best be summed up by the following song:
September 2014 Revenue Numbers Strip revenue was down 12% year-over-year ($495 million), while Downtown revenue was down 4% ($43.5 million), and total gaming revenue took a 6% hit year-over-year ($901 million). This was the second consecutive month total gaming revenue declined, following a more palatable 4% drop in August. While these numbers are quite depressing, Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the NGCB did add some perspective, telling, “I wouldn’t say it’s cause for concern. We are facing some difficult comparisons the past two months. No reason to push the panic buttons yet.” Lawton is referring to the fact that in August of 2013 revenue was up 11.1% from 2012, while September 2013 revenue increased 7.4% year-over-year. Basically, Nevada would have had to have two fantastic months in August and September to keep pace with 2013’s tallies. Online Poker Revenue Numbers Nevada’s online poker industry took a pretty major hit in September as well, pulling in just $693k for the month, down close to 9% year-over-year, and down over 6% from August. Revenue is down some 30% from the peak in June/July. In June, in the midst of the World Series of Poker tournament series, online poker revenue surpassed $1 million. The $693k in revenue during September is the lowest output the state has seen since it started releasing iGaming revenue figures in February, a dubious record previously held by August 2014.
February 2014 – $824k
March 2014 – $926k
April 2014 – $792k
May 2014 – $862k
June 2014 – $1.04 million
July 2014 – $985k
August 2014 – $742k
September 2014 – $693k Where Does Nevada iGaming Go From Here? A post-WSOP drop was expected following the back-to-back million-dollar months (pretty much) the state’s online poker providers posted in June and July. That being said, the dynamic drop from July to August, followed by another significant drop in September is a bit alarming, especially considering historical online poker trends for this time of year. So what is causing it? The drop could be fallout from Ultimate Poker’s recent troubles in New Jersey, which led to significant operating and personnel cuts in Nevada. Ultimate Poker’s cash game liquidity has been inconsistent over the past six months, with the trend line pointing down based on’s charts. More troubling is the drop has endured. Setting aside the traffic surge that occurred during the WSOP the site’s traffic is well below their pre-WSOP numbers according to’s data. Fortunately there is some potential hope on the horizon, as Nevada is not only waiting for several new online poker sites to launch, but also for their interstate agreement with Delaware to be implemented. Both of these events should help overall liquidity in the state; the latter more than the former. Sports-betting has a historic month The only real positive in September was sports-betting, where the state had one of its four best months in its history. In terms of total amount wagered, Nevada saw the fourth highest total in the state’s history, with $450.9 million bet on sports in September. September sports-betting revenue was up over 12% month-over-month, and up 2.4% year-over-year. Previous Post Next Post ultimate poker| About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

Most will argue that it’s only a matter of when, not if, online poker will come to California. The big question is whether an agreement will allow PokerStars to operate in the state. Let’s assume for a moment that the best-case scenario happens for PokerStars and they are allowed to come into the state immediately. PokerStars will be then partner with Bicycle Casino, Commerce Casino, and Hawaiian Gardens, the state’s three largest card rooms. While this partnership will clearly give the card rooms a competitive advantage over the rest of the state, it could also cause some conflicts of interests in terms of several live tournament events that run at the casinos. Below are some major changes you could see in the California live tournament scene should PokerStars come to California. Legends of Poker and LA Poker Classic Could Leave the World Poker Tour Each year, the Bicycle Casino hosts Legends of Poker while the Commerce hosts the L.A. Poker Classic. Both are stops on the World Poker Tour with televised Main Events. The LAPC is one of the stops on the World Poker Tour’s “California Swing.” There’s just one problem. The World Poker Tour is affiliated with partypoker. In all likelihood, we will see bwin.Party in the state in some form and it seems unlikely they will want to drive business to a PokerStars competitor. This conflict of interest could force the WPT to abandon two long-standing events. In years past, even pre-UIGEA, this would not have been an issue because the casino was not in partnership with an online site. This is why you can see the WPT and the WSOP operate events at the Bike. Legalized online poker will change this. Bicycle Casino Could Lose Circuit Event The World Series of Poker Circuit runs an annual event at the Bicycle Casino. This past year’s event was highlighted by Mike Leah‘s two circuit ring victories in a 24-hour period. He went on to win Casino Champion and qualify for the National Championship. If PokerStars enters California, odds are you will see the Bike’s circuit discontinued. will certainly have a prescience in the state and like the World Poker Tour, it is hard seeing them sending business to a partner casino. In this case, we could see the WSOP choose another California card room as the Bicycle stop. NAPT Could Replace Sponsorship With the return of PokerStars to the United States, this opens up the possibility of resurrecting the North American Poker Tour series. Both Legends of Poker and the L.A. Poker Classic could switch over to become NAPT events with Resorts in Atlantic City possibly hosting an event. Pick up a couple of stops in Canada and PokerStars could legitimately resurrect the series. The most likely scenario would see Legends of Poker and the L.A. Poker Classic become NAPT events with a couple of smaller tournament series at the Bike and Commerce hosting satellites into the events. The Hawaiian Gardens could also be an option for a smaller satellite series but it’s unlikely they will host a major event due to space limitations. Other Tournament Series Likely Unaffected While the World Poker Tour and WSOP Circuit are among the most popular series with stops in California. They are not the only games in town. The Heartland Poker Tour has multiple stops at the Commerce each year while the CardPlayer Poker Tour hosted Big Poker Oktober. These series should remain unaffected and could actually benefit from PokerStars coming into the state. In the case of the Heartland Poker Tour, they would be a great option to replace the WSOP-C stop at the Bike. Move one of the events from the Commerce to the Bike or maybe event create a completely new event. HPT at the Bike would be a great addition to an already awesome schedule. Previous Post Next Post bike|commerce|hawaiian gardens|online poker regulation|pokerstars| About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.