Archive for the ‘Poker stats’ Category

Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule

 Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule

The World Poker Tour recently released the remainder of its Season XVI schedule and, for the most part, the usual suspects were a part of the roster of events. There was one quite noticeable absence, however, as the Bay 101 Shooting Star was not in its usual spot between the WPT L. A. Poker Classic and the WPT Rolling Thunder.

On the WPT schedule since the Season II schedule, the Bay 101 Shooting Star was one of the most popular tournaments on the WPT schedule. Until recently, it was unique in that it was the only bounty tournament on the WPT schedule. Players could enter the event (it started as a $ 10,000 buy-in tournament but, by last year, the buy-in was reduced to $ 7500) and, if they eliminated a few of the 50 poker professionals who were “bounties” in the tournament, they could eliminate their buy-in without having to cash. It also awarded a bonus payout for the leaders after the two-part Day Ones.

These little bonuses for the players brought them out in droves. Professional poker players scrambled to be named one of the “bounties” for the tournament, wearing it as a badge of honor to signify that they were a “notable” in the tournament poker world. It also translated into very nice crowds for the tournament. After starting in 2004 with what was then an unheard of 243 players (and a rousing final table that featured poker pro Phil Gordon defeating defending World Champion Chris Moneymaker for the championship), the 2017 version of the tournament brought in 806 entries, its best performance in its history (and saw Sam Panzica win his second event of the Season XV schedule).

Thus, the actual background on why the WPT didn’t have the Bay 101 Shooting Star on the schedule was a bit of a mystery. The reason for the removal of the fan- and player-favorite tournament wasn’t given in any press release from the WPT or from Bay 101, but now someone for whom the tournament is near to their heart has spoken up. In reaction to Poker News Daily’s editorial on the subject, WPT Executive Tournament Director Matt Savage reached out, clearing away the cobwebs as to why the Bay 101 was taken off the Season XVI schedule.

Poker News Daily: OK, let’s get right to it. Why isn’t the Bay 101 Shooting Star on the Season XVI schedule?

Matt Savage:  It was mutually agreed upon between officials on both sides that the Bay 101 would not be a part of the Season XVI World Poker Tour schedule. Bay 101 will always have a special place in the WPT history books and we would encourage players to continue to visit our friends at Bay 101 Casino.

PND:  Will the Bay 101 Shooting Star return to the schedule in the future?

MS:  We have seen events return to the WPT schedule in the past, as evidenced by the most recent return of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open (at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL) to the Season XVI schedule. We have a group of very exciting events on the roster, including the six newly announced stops, and we look forward to players joining us in Europe (the first-ever WPT European Championship will be contested in January) and throughout the United States and Canada.

PND:  The Bay 101 Shooting Star is something that is very close to your heart, having created the tournament. What are your thoughts on the subject?

MS:  If we are going to do the Shooting Star tournament, I want to do it right. The Shooting Star may be a no-go this year on the WPT, but of course I’d love to run it this year and, hopefully, we can bring it back to the WPT in 2019.

Poker News Daily would like to thank Matt for clearing up the story a bit regarding the Bay 101 Shooting Star. While it would be good to see it continue uninterrupted, players can hope that it returns in some manner – whether it be a “stand alone” tournament or as a part of the WPT roster of events.

The post Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Compact Agreement Signed Between New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware

 Compact Agreement Signed Between New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware

Since 2013 the three states that passed online gaming and/or poker regulations – Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware – have gone their own ways in trying to be successful in the online gaming industry. Now, the trio of states have made the historic decision to compact between each other.

In a press release, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey announced the important decision. “New Jersey has been a pioneer in the development of authorized, regulated online gaming, which has been a budding success since its launch in late 2013,” Governor Christie said. “Pooling players with Nevada and Delaware will enhance annual revenue growth, attract new consumers, and create opportunities for players and Internet gaming operators.  This agreement marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for online gaming, and we look forward to working with our partners in Nevada and Delaware in this endeavor.”

Although there isn’t a firm date set for the beginning of the deal between the three states, it will eventually allow their citizens to compete amongst each other in cash game or tournament and tournament poker. There is also a provision for sharing the pools between the states for progressive slot games, something that New Jersey and Delaware will be able to do as states that regulate an online casino industry (Nevada is poker only). Although the agreement is a hallmark of better days for the industry in the three states, there are still roadblocks to its actual implementation.

First, there is a clause in the New Jersey regulations that stipulate that all gaming must originate from Atlantic City, something that nearly stopped the Garden State’s online gaming industry from even getting off the ground back in 2013 during debate. The director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, David Rebuck, may be confident that “New Jersey stands prepared to approve a game offering for all three states as soon as an operator submits such a product for testing,” that doesn’t mean that Nevada and Delaware will be willing to give up this power.

If the servers creating the game do not originate in New Jersey, then the New Jersey regulations make it an illegal game. The Nevada regulations do not have any type of restriction as to where the game takes place (they only state that it must be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board) and it is unknown what Delaware’s regulations say on the issue. The best way to get around this would be for Nevada and Delaware to allow for the games to originate from Atlantic City, but that’s a slippery slope into #2 on our list.

Second, there is the potential for New Jersey to attempt to dominate the proceedings. With the largest pool of players of the three states, it is possible that the state’s regulators may want to get everything their way. If the states have agreed to a true compact, however, this isn’t much of a worry as these issues would have been previously worked out.

Third, there is the question of how many rooms would be able to operate in the system if all three states must license them. Currently the only site licensed by all three is 888-software driven, who is the dominant power in Nevada and Delaware (these two states had compacted previously) and who also has operations in New Jersey (with Caesars and Harrah’s in partnership with 888). There are other sites in New Jersey – including partypoker and Betfair – that would like the same opportunity to compact with the other states, but they currently don’t have a dance partner – a casino in Nevada or Delaware (Delaware is driven by 888 software) – to take advantage of the compact.

Finally, there is the 800-lb. gorilla in the room – PokerStars. While they are licensed and operating in New Jersey with Resorts Atlantic City, they also aren’t licensed in Nevada or Delaware. The battle for a license with these states would be huge between those outlets who “played by the rules” (party, 888, etc.) and left the U. S. after “Black Friday” and PokerStars, who continued to serve and became the biggest online poker operation in the world.

There are further issues with the number of players – it still isn’t enough (between the three states there are roughly an average of 250 players during a seven-day period) – that can only be corrected with more states joining the compact. But it is outstanding that the trio of states that have been in operation for four years now have come together as one to drive more states into the game and the building of a larger market for online gaming and poker.

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Editorial: WPT, Bring Back the Shooting Star!

 Editorial: WPT, Bring Back the Shooting Star!

Earlier this week, the World Poker Tour announced the remainder of its Season XVI schedule. On the roster of events were the usual suspects that have been a part of the WPT for quite some time, tournaments such as the Borgata Winter Poker Open and the L. A. Poker Classic. While those tournaments have been on the schedule of the WPT for years – in the case of the LAPC, since the WPT’s inception – there is one notable absence on the roster of events.

In one fell swoop and with no reason given, the Bay 101 Shooting Star was knocked off the list of tournaments for Season XVI of the WPT. The elimination of the tournament also destroys the popular WPT “California Swing,” another reward that the players enjoyed and competed for hard. This rather rude departure has many clamoring for justice – hey WPT…bring back the Shooting Star!

The Bay 101 Shooting Star has been a part of the WPT schedule since the second year of the tour and it held the distinction of being arguably the most unique tournament on the schedule. The Shooting Star was a bounty tournament, one in which 50 top tournament poker professionals entered with a monetary bounty on their heads, and until the advent of the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble the ONLY bounty tournament on a major tour’s schedule. Along with this, there were usually two-Day Ones in which the end-of-day leader of each was given a sizeable bonus for the achievement. The bounties and the achievement bonuses allowed some players to take part in the event and, without even cashing from the tournament itself, earn back their buy in or even more.

The players responded in droves year after year for this tournament. Earlier this year the tournament saw its peak number of entries, with 806 entries received for the tournament (the Shooting Star originated as a $ 10,000 event; by 2016, it was a $ 7500 buy in), and pros were actually on a waiting list to be chosen to be a Shooting Star for the event. Thus, it is obvious that it isn’t that the tournament wasn’t doing well enough to be a part of the WPT schedule.

With all of this evidence, just why did the WPT decide to knock off the Bay 101? That’s the perplexing thing…there hasn’t been a reason given for the erasure of the Shooting Star from the WPT schedule. If they were looking to eliminate a tournament, the powers in charge could have cut one of the multiple stops they make at the Borgata or at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL.

If it was because of the number of players, there were other options available. While it is nice that the WPT is trying to put the “world” back in its name, the WPT Amsterdam only drew 224 entries back in May. Additionally, the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic pulled in 489 players in February. If the WPT isn’t happy with a tournament whose entry figures had gone up in each of the last four years during a time when there has, at the minimum, been a plateau in tournament poker participation, then there isn’t a tournament on the schedule that can feel secure.

Could it have been nothing to do with the WPT? Could the Bay 101 have said, “We’re tired of putting this tournament on. We’re tired of tying up our card room for a week with only this tournament going on (not true, but just saying). We could make better use of this time by not having the WPT come into town.” When you write it out like that, then you can see the lunacy in the statements and conclude that the Bay 101 didn’t decide to suddenly shut down the Shooting Star.

Was there not enough time in the schedule? This never stopped the WPT before. The “California Swing” was unique in that it put three tournaments within a month-long window (the “California Swing” was the LAPC, the Shooting Star and the WPT Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, CA). Instead of leaving the space between as was tradition, the LAPC ends on March 1 and the WPT Rolling Thunder starts March 2. And before you say there isn’t the room after the close of the WPT Rolling Thunder, there is six open weeks before the finale of Season XVI at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown is contested.

The man in the difficult spot is WPT Executive Tour Director (and the creator of the Bay 101 Shooting Star BEFORE the WPT came along) Matt Savage. While he wants to see his creation a part of the schedule, he must acquiesce to his bosses at the WPT. Earlier this week, Savage mentioned to this writer that “he wasn’t happy” about the exclusion of the Shooting Star, but he was talking with Bay 101 to try to figure out the future of the tournament.

Perhaps all it will take is a little uproar from the fans and the players and the WPT will put the status quo back in place. As of now, however, the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star is no more. The history books will show that Sam Panzica was its final champion – at least while it was a WPT event – but there are hopes that this was just a mistake made by the WPT.

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“Molly’s Game” Premiere Delayed Until Christmas – Good or Bad for the Film?

 “Molly’s Game” Premiere Delayed Until Christmas – Good or Bad for the Film?

While initial showings have been received surprisingly well, the distribution company behind the upcoming film based on the autobiography of Molly Bloom has decided to push the opening of the film back.

Molly’s Game, the Aaron Sorkin adapted and directed film based on Bloom’s book of the same name, has been making the rounds of different festivals. These festivals usually allow for a “buzz” to build regarding a film or an actor’s performance in a film. With Molly’s Game, there has been a great deal of praise for the film and for its stars, Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.

First, however, there was a bit more drama for Bloom herself. One of the premiere showings of the film was in Toronto, Canada, at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Bloom, as a convicted felon because of her 2014 plea bargain with the federal government, originally could not cross the border. Sorkin had to step in and negotiate with Canadian officials to grant a 48-hour pass for Bloom to attend the premiere with her father.

Molly’s Game is, as expected, based on Bloom’s book where she recounts her life as one of the major players in the world of high stakes cash games. First, Bloom catered to the elite of Hollywood as host of the most exclusive game in town, one that included actors such as Ben Affleck and Leonardo di Caprio, major Hollywood directors and executives from both Tinseltown and the business world. After a great deal of success there, Bloom moved a version of the game to New York City. It was there than she ran afoul of the Russian mob and, eventually, was caught in a gambling raid that shut down her operation.

Those that read the book shouldn’t be looking for a verbatim transcription of the book to film. Sorkin has said he wasn’t interested in the poker aspects of the book, rather the “journey” of Bloom from an Olympic-quality skier to the host of high stakes poker games. Sorkin has said that he wouldn’t use any names of “big” players and, in fact, created Elba’s character (which didn’t appear in the book) as a method of telling the story.

It seems that Sorkin’s method of telling Bloom’s story and cutting back on the poker content was the right decision. Reviews from several outlets have applauded the performances of both Chastain and Elba, even to the point of touting both for possible nomination for best actor and actress at the Academy Awards (it doesn’t hurt that these two are darlings of the critics, either). In their review, said that Chastain “hasn’t been this good since Zero Dark Thirty (the 2012 film that earned a Best Picture nomination and Chastain a Best Actress nomination). states that “Chastain and Elba’s rapport in these scenes is positively electric…the best parts of the film usually happen whenever these two are on the screen together.”

These accolades aren’t getting Molly’s Game to the silver screen any faster, however. Originally slated to be released during the Thanksgiving weekend, the film will be “slow-walked” to the theaters, first in a limited release on Christmas Day, then what is called a “wide release” on January 5. The reasons for the change is perplexing for a few reasons.

Films normally released during the Christmas holiday are being “dumped” by their studios because they know there isn’t an audience at that time of year or, to be painfully blunt, they are terrible films that have to be released for contractual reasons. On the other hand, it isn’t uncommon for studios to have a “limited release” for a film at the end of the year, and then a full release a couple of weeks later, so that it qualifies for major awards such as the Golden Globes and the Oscars. It is difficult to sometimes see which one applies regarding many films but, with the accolades that have been laid upon Chastain, Elba, Kevin Costner (who plays a supporting role as Bloom’s father) and Sorkin (for his adaptation and directing), it wouldn’t be incorrect to assume the latter.

While it may not be the full-out poker movie that the community wants, Molly’s Game might provide a nice dramatic respite for poker fans. If nothing else, seeing Bloom’s words come to life in the persona of Chastain might be about as good as can be hoped for – unless you were there during Bloom’s original home games.

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OPR: Michigan Online Poker Bill Author Wants House to Pass It by Thanksgiving

 OPR: Michigan Online Poker Bill Author Wants House to Pass It by Thanksgiving

According to a report by (OPR), Michigan State Representative Brandt Iden, who introduced an online poker bill in September, wants to see it passed by the state House by Thanksgiving. While there are certainly big question marks surrounding the bill’s support, Rep. Iden said he is optimistic about its chances.

“Throughout the month of October, I’m hoping to gain a lot of headway,” Iden told OPR. “If I had my way, we’ll be able to get everyone to the table and put a bill together and through the House before the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll see how achievable it is, but that’s my goal.”

H 4926, which was introduced about a month ago, would legalize and regulate online poker and potentially other online casino games, in the state of Michigan. Prospective operators would have to pay a $ 100,000 fee just to file an application for a license and then, if granted a five-year license, pay a $ 200,000 fee the first year and $ 100,000 per year after that. Software providers would pay a $ 50,000 application fee, $ 100,000 the first year, and $ 50,000 each year thereafter.

Taxes assigned by the bill would be 15 percent of gross gaming revenue.

Michigan’s licensed casinos would be eligible to apply for a license. Federally recognized Michigan Native American tribes may also apply, provided their compact with the state authorizes them to do so (or if it has been amended, as they might not have foreseen internet gaming when the compact was drawn up).

The bill also makes it possible for tribes to come to an agreement with the state – via a new or amended gaming compact – that would set a lower tax rate.

Most of the rest of the base rules are the same as we’ve seen in other legislation: players must be 21, Michigan can enter into interstate compacts with other states, etc. I also mentioned earlier that the bill would legalize online poker and potentially other internet gambling. The interesting thing about this is that the bill actually requires operators to offer online poker, with other games being optional.

Iden told OPR that perhaps the biggest hurdle is getting all twelve tribes (who operate 23 gambling venues) and the three Detroit commercial casinos on board. None of them had representatives at a recent hearing for the bill, but the three casinos and one tribe wrote letters in opposition to the bill, though only to how it was currently written, not necessarily against online gambling in general.

“They’re constantly looking to expand their operations with new gamers. They realize they have generations of gamers that are going to be looking at new platforms, and if they don’t get on board they will miss bus,” Iden said to OPR.

Tribes currently have sovereignty over how their run their gambling operations. Rather than all being regulated under a single state umbrella, they are regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission and the all of their own compacts with the state.

“I’m telling them, ‘I have the desire to work with you to make this legislation right, but if you don’t come forward we’re going to proceed anyway,’” Iden told Online Poker Report. “I think the message is starting to resonate. I’m not naïve. I do understand there are some hoops we’ll have to jump through so everyone believes it is equitable.”

The post OPR: Michigan Online Poker Bill Author Wants House to Pass It by Thanksgiving appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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