In March 2013, the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas became one of the first companies to be granted an online poker license in Nevada. Shortly before that, 888 Holdings entered into a joint venture with Avenue Capital Group to create the All American Poker Network (AAPN). The first poker room on the network was to be one from Treasure Island, but it didn’t launch. As time went on, WSOP.com cropped up in Nevada and then Nevada signed an agreement with Delaware to merge the two states’ liquidity. At that point, it was believed that WSOP.com, the three Delaware poker sites, an upcoming Treasure Island site, and a separately-branded 888 poker room would all form the AAPN, covering two states to start. That didn’t happen, either. But now, with little fanfare, Treasure Island has finally launched an online poker room, though it is taking on a different form that originally thought.
Treasure Island’s poker room, ti-poker.com, is a subscription poker room, not your traditional internet poker site like WSOP.com or PokerStars. Players signup on a monthly basis and then play for free for a chance to win various prizes. It does not use the 888 software, either, but rather a platform developed by Australian firm Strategic Entertainment.
It appears that the launch of Treasure Island’s site was timed to coincide with the start of the 2016 World Series of Poker, which begins next week. Since thousands of poker players will converge on Las Vegas, TI likely sees it as an opportunity to try to grab players.
Players can actually subscribe for free using the “Free Basic” plan and have access to Members Games. In these games, players can win entry into Weekly and Monthly tournaments to try to win cash and prizes. Those who want a little extra can pay $ 9.95 for a Gold Premium Membership or $ 14.95 for a Platinum Membership. Each gives access to additional tournaments and freerolls as well as more perks like casino coupons and message board access.
Games on the platform include Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, and something called Ozzie Poker, game specific to Strategic Entertainment. Ozzie Poker initially plays the same as Hold’em, but after the flop, plays can post a additional “high blind” (likely a big blind) to receive a third hole card. The extra chips will be added to the pot. Players who opt for the extra card will then have a time limit in which to discard one of their hole cards. If a player does not make a choice within the time limit, that new card will be the one tossed away. Play then continues as normal.
Upon initial registration, TI Poker players will automatically be given Platinum Membership free for 30 days. New players are also entered into a drawing to win a three-night stay at Treasure Island, including $ 300 restaurant credit and two tickets to the Mystère by Cirque du Soleil show.
It is unknown if Treasure Island will ever launch a traditional online poker room.
Once upon a time, the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) was an upstart online poker series, trying to give poker players their big tournament series fix while they waited for the giant World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) to kickoff later in the year. SCOOP is an upstart no more; it is now officially the largest online poker series on the face of the Earth.
SCOOP began on May 8th and will finish up tonight as the $ 100 “Low” and $ 1,000 “Mid” Main Events run to their conclusion. Registration has closed on each, though, so we now know that a total of $ 90,984,283.44 was accumulated in prize pools across all 56 events (with three tournaments in each event, that is 168 tournaments in all). This number is the largest combined prize pool for an online poker tournament series in history, smashing the previous record of $ 81,222,158.66, set by the 2014 SCOOP.
“This record-breaking prize pool is testament to the enduring popularity of online poker,” said PokerStars’ Director of Corporate Communications, Eric Hollreiser, in a press release. “It’s also a result of the talented people and hard work exhibited by everyone at PokerStars, from the poker room tournaments team who put the schedule together, to the customer support teams helping our players get the most out of their experience.”
All three Main Events also set records:
• 2016 SCOOP $ 10,000 High Main Event: 824 players, $ 8,000,001.76 prize pool (previous record 694 players, $ 6,940,000 prize pool in 2015 SCOOP)
• 2016 SCOOP $ 1,000 Mid Main Event: 5,026 players, $ 4,786,661.88 prize pool (previous record 4,238 players, $ 4,238,000 prize pool in 2015 SCOOP)
• 2016 SCOOP $ 100 Low Main Event: 24,591 players, $ 2,255,978.34 prize pool (previous record 23,045 players, $ 2,304,500 prize pool in 2013 SCOOP)
The High Main Event, the highlight tournament of the series, had a $ 4 million guaranteed prize pool and guaranteed $ 1 million for first place, two marks that were easily eclipsed. That tournament was completed earlier today as the final nine players fought to the finish. Player “raidalot” from the United Kingdom won the crown and $ 1,468,000.88, beating Romania’s “Nolez7” ($ 1,048,000.23) heads-up. A total of 99 places were paid with a min-cash of $ 18,400.
As this article is being written, the Mid Main Event is down to just two players: “Jymaster11” from Mexico and “Educa-p0ker” from the UK. The Low Main Event is also heads-up in a battle of Brazilians: “mmleandro” and “nillolok.” As I type this, that tourney is almost in a dead heat.
Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb is in first place on the overall SCOOP leader board and is in position to win the leader board trophy and $ 20,000 cash. 2015 SCOOP Player of the Year Jason Mercier is in second place.
The World Poker Tour announced Monday an initiative that sounds like it came straight out of a decade ago: a poker education site called LearnWPT.com.
LearnWPT.com is trying to differentiate itself from other poker training sites by “focusing on clarity of instruction,” which makes sense. The sites that have been/were around during the last decade essentially boiled down to online pros providing running commentary on their poker sessions with varying degrees of intelligibility. The videos have typically been geared toward experienced players who can follow the action like it was second nature. They would often be next to impossible for novice players to understand; I can imagine beginners thinking the pro instructors sounding like millennial auctioneers.
Nick Binger has been highlighted as the lead instructor on LearnWPT.com. Also a WPT Boot Camp instructor, Binger was once known more as the brother of Michael Binger, who finished third in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event. Nick quickly became a poker success of his own and has earned $ 2.3 million in live tournaments, including about $ 400,000 from his WSOP bracelet win in 2011.
“I love teaching poker,” Binger said in a WPT press release. “I’ve been doing it for seven years now, and it’s become so important to me that I wanted to find a way to make learning poker easier. I want to share my love and passion for this game with the world, and partnering with the World Poker Tour allows LearnWPT.com to leverage the vast archive of televised and live-streamed WPT content in addition to the WPT’s impressive global footprint.”
As mentioned, it sounds like the LearnWPT.com venture is going to be more than just a site containing a bunch of videos and blog entries. Of course, the main teaching tool will be videos, as there is only so much someone can absorb from reading articles, but it does sound like they will be carefully constructed to really try to hold new players’ hands and not just assume they already are relatively advanced at poker.
According to the LearnWPT.com website, which is fairly barebones at the moment, the pro instructors such as Binger will produce weekly strategy episodes, two of which will be delivered to subscribers each week. Episodes include things such as “Ask a Pro” in which players can actually check with the pros to see if they played a hand correctly and analysis of broadcast hands from WPT events.
Subscribers will also be given a “Winning Blueprint” that includes specific strategy videos and e-mails that will supposedly help players make noticeable improvements within 30 days. This is included in the site’s introductory promotion of 30 days for five bucks.
LearnWPT.com is currently hosting two free strategy videos: “Preflop Size Raising” and “Board Texture.”
Week 7 of the Global Poker League has concluded and, with one more week before the teams take a slight pause before heading to Las Vegas for the “Summer Series” and the 2016 World Series of Poker, two teams have opened up some space from the rest of the competition in their conferences.
In the GPL Eurasia, the Moscow Wolverines were sitting comfortably atop the standings after a dominant Week 6 performance. Just as easily as it was established, however, that 14-point edge over the Paris Aviators disappeared over three days of play. It started with the less-than stellar play of Igor Yaroshevsky in the Six Max action on Tuesday, where Yaroshevsky could only pull in two points between the two matches. The situation didn’t get any better in their heads up match, where the Wolverines’ Andrey Pateychuk could only manage to pick up three points against the Hong Kong Stars’ Weiyi Zhang on Wednesday. By picking up only five points, the Wolverines opened the door for the rest of the GPL Eurasia to close in on them.
Taking most advantage of the Wolverines’ tough week was the London Royals. Tied with the Aviators in second place a week earlier, the Royals were able to chip out 11 points for the week, eight courtesy of Chris Moorman in the Six Max sit and gos and three more from Igor Kurganov after his loss to the Rome Emperors’ Dario Sammartino in their heads up fight. The 11 points the Royals picked up were one point more than Aviators earned over the week, putting the two teams right on the heels of the Wolverines with one week to go before the WSOP break.
After Week 7, here’s how the GPL Eurasia is lining up:
|Hong Kong Stars||74||5|
There’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to the GPL Americas after several weeks of dominance by the former leader. For some time, the New York Rounders have been able to withstand the assault of several of the other members of the conference and remained atop the mountain. Week 7, however, proved to be a bit of an undoing for the Rounders as they dropped from first place for the first time in the month of May.
Week 7 got off to a tough start when the brother of Rounders manager Bryn Kenney, Tyler, could only muster two points during the Six Max sit and go action on Tuesday afternoon. Kenney’s teammate Jason Wheeler picked up some slack when he was able to defeat the Las Vegas Moneymakers’ Jake Cody, 6-3, in their heads up match on Thursday, but some of the other squads in the GPL Americas pounced on the weak week for the Rounders overall. In fact, one team pounced so well they were able to take over first place.
The new leader in the GPL Americas is the Montreal Nationals, led by the outstanding performance of Mike McDonald in the Six Max on Tuesday. In the two sit and gos, ‘Timex’ earned a first and a second place performance for a total of 12 points (out of a possible 14). Although his teammate Pascal Lefrancois lost his heads up match to the San Francisco Rush’s Jonathan Jaffe 6-3, the 15 points the Nationals collected pushed them to the fore in the GPL Americas by a healthy margin.
With Week 7 now tallied, here’s how the GPL Americas looks:
|New York Rounders||81||7|
|L. A. Sunset||79||6|
|Sao Paulo Metropolitans||70||5|
|Las Vegas Moneymakers||63||3|
|San Francisco Rush||61||6|
Week 8 will be the final week of the first half of the inaugural GPL season, starting off with its usual quartet of Six Max sit and gos – two for the GPL Eurasia and GPL Americas. Wednesday’s heads up battles for the GPL Eurasia feature a battle between the Royals and the Wolverines that may very well be for the conference leadership, while Thursday’s heads up matches will feature the marquee pairing of the Sunset and the Rounders as they try to catch the Nationals. It will lead to the “Summer Series” that begins in Las Vegas on June 6, featuring live action between the 12 teams in the league.
After a little glitch in their tabulating system negated their public vote (more on that in a moment), the Women in Poker Hall of Fame induction committee has named the two women who will join the hallowed halls of the organization during an induction ceremony this fall.
For the first time earlier this month, the WiPHoF opened up voting for the general public to determine one vote as to who they believed should be inducted from these nominees:
The voting from the public was quite vociferous, according to WiPHoF director Lupe Soto, but there was a glitch in the system that caused some issues. “When the system was set up, it was only supposed to accept one vote per IP address,” Soto stated to Poker News Daily earlier this week. “Unfortunately, we discovered that if someone cleared the cookies from their browser, they were able to do multiple votes and we saw such actions in the public voting process where people were abusing the system. Thus, we could not in good faith use the public voting as a part of the process this year.” Soto noted that, for the next WiPHoF vote, there will be better software in place for the voting.
The remaining members of the WiPHoF and the induction committee’s votes did count towards the election of new members and they had a difficult task. Every person that was nominated for induction brought their own talents to the fore and each were worthy of induction. It is arguable, however, that the two who earned their slots were slightly ahead of their competition.
Victoria Coren-Mitchell has been playing the game of poker since she was a young girl growing up in the United Kingdom. Entranced by the game played by her older brother, Coren-Mitchell would eventually join her brother’s group before branching out into the card clubs of England. Through such noted establishments as her home casino, the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London (“The Vic”), and across Europe, Coren-Mitchell would battle the best that the poker world could throw at her, be it in cash games or tournaments. She is the only player in the history of the European Poker Tour to win two Main Event titles (EPT London 2006 and EPT Sanremo 2014) and has earned over $ 2.4 million in her tournament poker career.
Outside of the felt, Coren-Mitchell has long been a proponent of the game, both live and online, and involving women in the game. She was a longtime member of Team PokerStars Pro (resigning her position in 2014 when Amaya Gaming, the new owners behind PokerStars, introduced casino gaming with the PokerStars platform, something Coren-Mitchell did not agree with) and has written extensively about poker. Her autobiography For Richer, For Poorer: My Love Affair with Poker documented her life’s journey with the game and her articles in newspapers such as The Observer and The Guardian also allowed her to talk about the game and her other musings on life. Coren-Mitchell has also been a part of several poker broadcasts over the years, both as a presenter and as a player and becomes the first European poker professional to be inducted into any Poker Hall of Fame.
Debbie Burkhead has done almost everything in the world of poker, be it as a player, promoter of the game or as a member of the media. Since the 1990s, Burkhead has written about the game of poker, starting with PokerPages.com, and hey byline could be found at such notable poker institutions as Poker Player Newspaper and Poker Digest. In 2010, Burkhead founded Poker Player Cruises in 2010, catering to travelers who liked to play poker while their ships were in transit, and served as president of the organization until 2013.
Burkhead also has done some damage on the tables over the years. In her tournament poker career, she has garnered over $ 200,000 in tournament earnings, mostly in regional events. She earned the Best All-Around Player title at the Peppermill in 2002 and has cashes in virtually every discipline of poker imaginable. She also earned the Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS) National Championship in 2007 and is a member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
Coren-Mitchell and Burkhead will be inducted during a special luncheon ceremony that will be held July 6 at 11AM at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas. Tickets are available for the induction ceremony, which will be emceed by Women in Poker Hall of Fame member Jan Fisher and feature keynote speaker and Global Poker League’s L. A. Sunset’s manager Maria Ho, at the WiPHoF website. Congratulations to both Burkhead and Coren-Mitchell, two women well deserving of the honors bestowed upon them.