Posts Tagged ‘Announces’

PokerStars Announces Increased Support to Right to Play Charity

 PokerStars Announces Increased Support to Right to Play Charity

The connotation of gambling is not typically a positive one; gamblers are not typically thought by “outsiders” to be generous or philanthropic. We in the poker industry know better, though, as every year, there are loads of live and online charity tournaments and funding drives, highlighted by the One Drop tournaments at the World Series of Poker. The latest charitable news comes from PokerStars, which just announced that it will be continuing its relationship with the Right to Play charity for another two years. The world’s largest poker room plans to contribute another £600,000 to the organization, bringing its total support to more than £1.5 million.

Whereas an organization like One Drop aims to bring life-sustaining clean water to impoverished areas around the world, Right to Play provides less tangible assistance. According to the group’s site, it uses “the power of play to educate and empower children to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities.”

Explained further:

Central to our approach is the theory: children learn best when they are experiencing lessons through play. It’s why each of our games is specifically designed to provide kids with the knowledge and skills they need to overcome adversity and to tackle the challenges affecting their communities. We tailor our programs to each locale’s context and need, whether it’s health concerns, lack of education, a need for peace or all three.

Once established, our regularly-scheduled programs and repetitive activities provide the children with a proactive routine. This helps them build on newly learned skills and attitudes to positively influence lasting change. As their learning evolves, these children grow from being unaware of their role in society to becoming advocates of positive behaviour within their communities.

Most of the communities in which Right to Play works are located in Africa. Other locations include the Middle East, China, Pakistan, Thailand, Canada, and even New York City.

In a press release, Sue Hammett, Head of Corporate Giving for PokerStars, said, “Right To Play makes such a positive impact to so many children around the world and PokerStars is incredibly proud to be able to support their valuable work. Using play to educate and empower is a philosophy that our players and staff really believe in. We’re delighted to be extending our partnership for two more years.”

Neil Child-Dyer, Partnerships Manager at Right To Play, added, “We are immensely proud of our partnership with PokerStars and extremely grateful for their continued support, not just in terms of funding but also for the exposure to their 108 million customers and the fabulous charity tournaments that they hold for Right To Play. Without the backing of our corporate partners like PokerStars, Right To Play would not be able to help as many children around the world.”

Naturally, an organization like Right to Play has partnered with a number of Athlete Ambassadors from around the world. More than 300 professional and Olympic athletes have worked with Right to Play, including such names Martina Hingis, Joey Cheek, Allyson Fenix, Summer Sanders, and Haile Gebrselassie.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Announces Increased Support to Right to Play Charity

 PokerStars Announces Increased Support to Right to Play Charity

The connotation of gambling is not typically a positive one; gamblers are not typically thought by “outsiders” to be generous or philanthropic. We in the poker industry know better, though, as every year, there are loads of live and online charity tournaments and funding drives, highlighted by the One Drop tournaments at the World Series of Poker. The latest charitable news comes from PokerStars, which just announced that it will be continuing its relationship with the Right to Play charity for another two years. The world’s largest poker room plans to contribute another £600,000 to the organization, bringing its total support to more than £1.5 million.

Whereas an organization like One Drop aims to bring life-sustaining clean water to impoverished areas around the world, Right to Play provides less tangible assistance. According to the group’s site, it uses “the power of play to educate and empower children to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities.”

Explained further:

Central to our approach is the theory: children learn best when they are experiencing lessons through play. It’s why each of our games is specifically designed to provide kids with the knowledge and skills they need to overcome adversity and to tackle the challenges affecting their communities. We tailor our programs to each locale’s context and need, whether it’s health concerns, lack of education, a need for peace or all three.

Once established, our regularly-scheduled programs and repetitive activities provide the children with a proactive routine. This helps them build on newly learned skills and attitudes to positively influence lasting change. As their learning evolves, these children grow from being unaware of their role in society to becoming advocates of positive behaviour within their communities.

Most of the communities in which Right to Play works are located in Africa. Other locations include the Middle East, China, Pakistan, Thailand, Canada, and even New York City.

In a press release, Sue Hammett, Head of Corporate Giving for PokerStars, said, “Right To Play makes such a positive impact to so many children around the world and PokerStars is incredibly proud to be able to support their valuable work. Using play to educate and empower is a philosophy that our players and staff really believe in. We’re delighted to be extending our partnership for two more years.”

Neil Child-Dyer, Partnerships Manager at Right To Play, added, “We are immensely proud of our partnership with PokerStars and extremely grateful for their continued support, not just in terms of funding but also for the exposure to their 108 million customers and the fabulous charity tournaments that they hold for Right To Play. Without the backing of our corporate partners like PokerStars, Right To Play would not be able to help as many children around the world.”

Naturally, an organization like Right to Play has partnered with a number of Athlete Ambassadors from around the world. More than 300 professional and Olympic athletes have worked with Right to Play, including such names Martina Hingis, Joey Cheek, Allyson Fenix, Summer Sanders, and Haile Gebrselassie.

Poker News Daily

Bodog Announces Latin America Expansion

 Bodog Announces Latin America Expansion

In an e-mail sent to its affiliate marketers this week, Bodog announced that it will be expanding into 15 Latin American countries next week. That concise e-mail is as follows:

We are excited to announce that, as of February 15, our partnered brands Bovada and Bodog will be launching their product offerings in Latin America.

Bovada Sports and Casino will be available in Mexico only while Bodog Poker, Casino, and Sports will launch in the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia [sic], Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

Those Central and South American countries are not ones that normally get all that much press when it comes to online poker; most of the attention goes to the United States and various European countries primarily because of their large player pools and online gambling legal wranglings. But this is interesting not only because of the size of several of those countries but also because right now, Bodog and its related sites are only open to players in the United States, Canada, China, and Vietnam.

Bovada is the U.S.-facing arm that re-branded from Bodog a number of years ago; it will now serve just the United States and Mexico.

Thus, if you do the arithmetic, that means that Bodog itself is only accessible in Canada, China, and Vietnam (the latter two countries are served by the Bodog88 brand). Adding 15 more countries to the mix should be quite the boon for Bodog’s poker traffic.

You may notice in the e-mail above that it is Bovada Sports and Casino that will be available in Mexico. That name does not include the word “poker.” In August 2016, Bovada sold its online poker business to Ignition Casino. Bovada was one of the few poker networks/sites that still accepted U.S. customers; it’s American player-base went to Ignition, as did its Mexican players.

There is some confusion in the industry as to who Ignition actually is, but it seems to be very closely related to Bodog. Ignition and Bodog share player pools at the tables, so the expansion into Latin America will also help Ignition greatly. Speculation in the poker community is that much of the new traffic will be seen at micro and low stakes tables, as many of the new countries have households of lower average income than in the U.S. and Canada.

PokerScout currently ranks Ignition as the sixth-largest poker room or network on the internet with a seven-day average of 1,150 cash game players (note that this does not take into account tournament traffic), the same size as partypoker. Bodog has blocked PokerScout’s ability to see its traffic numbers for several years now, so its exact poker population is unknown.

NOTE: According to professionalrakeback.com, Costa Rica will not be one of the countries included in the Bodog expansion.

Poker News Daily

WSOP Announces New Stops for International WSOP Circuit

 WSOP Announces New Stops for International WSOP Circuit

The World Series of Poker has announced the addition of seven stops to the WSOP International Circuit schedule, bringing the total number of stops on the non-U.S. portion of the Circuit to 14. The first six additions, announced a couple weeks ago, are:

Sydney, Australia – November 22 through December 12, 2016 – The Star, Sydney
Marrakech, Morocco – January 14 through January 22, 2017 – Casino de Marrakech
Campione, Italy – March 6 through March 20, 2017 – Casino Campione D’Italia
Cannes, France – April 17 through April 24, 2017 – Casino Barriere Cannes le Croisette
Estoril, Portugal – May 1 through May 7, 2017 – Casino Estoril
Brussels, Belgium – May 19 through May 28, 2017 – Grand Casino Brussels VIAGE

Additionally, the U.S. Circuit event that was scheduled for Bally’s Las Vegas from February 23rd through March 6th has been moved to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. It will now be February 16th through February 27th, 2017.

At the time the above six Circuit stops were announced, a seventh was foreshadowed. Another World Series of Poker International Circuit stop HAS been revealed this week, but it is not the seventh to go with the above six on the 2016-2017 schedule. The WSOP announced that a new WSOP International Circuit stop will for the 2017-2018 season will be in the Netherlands at the Holland Casino Rotterdam. No date specifics have been revealed, as the schedule for that season has not been set yet.

“We are proud of the collaboration between Holland Casino and the largest poker brand in the world. The WSOP is a wonderful addition to our already broad range of poker, and it has national and international allure,” said Holland Casino CEO Erwin van Lambaart in a press release.

“As a European, I know Holland Casino to be a party that is capable of organising large and prestigious poker events, such as the historic Master Classics of Poker,” added WSOP Director of Events Gregory Chochon. “We are very proud that the WSOP can work together with such an iconic casino chain and we are looking forward to seeing more Dutch players take part in the WSOP in Vegas.”

As is the case with the WSOP Circuit stops in the United States, two players will qualify at each international stop for the WSOP Global Casino Championship. The Main Event winner will earn an automatic seat in the season-ending Championship, as will the “casino winner.” Each official ring event at a Circuit stop awards players points based on how they finish. The player that earns the most points in total at a particular stop is dubbed the casino winner.

The international portion of the WSOP Circuit has been quite successful lately. According to a press release, the recent stop in Brazil saw 2,981 entries for the opening event, a WSOP record for an event outside of the United States. The tournament was a R$ 580 (USD $ 170) re-buy event, so it wasn’t, 2981 actual players, but rather a combined number of initial entries and re-buys.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Announces Changes to VIP Rewards Program for 2017

 PokerStars Announces Changes to VIP Rewards Program for 2017

In what will probably raise the ire of the online poker community even further, PokerStars has announced new guidelines that will go into effect in 2017 for their VIP program.

Amaya Gaming, the ownership behind the number one online gaming site in the industry, announced these changes in an e-mail to players on Friday. “In 2017, date still to be determined, we will launch a new rewards program that recognizes your play on poker, casino, and sportsbook (where available) and rewards you for recent activity, not monthly or annual play volumes,” the e-mail stated. “As a result, from January 1, Supernova VIP status will become a monthly status for players until the launch of the new rewards program.”

As noted, the biggest move of all is from recognizing just the poker players to moving the rewards system to the entirety of potential offerings from PokerStars (BetStars, the sportsbook for the company) and the online casino). “You won’t be required to play on any specific product, but your activity on all products will help you progress on your path to earning rewards,” the e-mail says.

There is also an emphasis being placed on “recent” activity versus a longer time span. “Currently, your VIP progress resets each month, but our rewards should be personalized to your recent gaming activity and profile, not your monthly or annual play volumes, to improve player retention and engagement at all levels,” the PokerStars e-mail continues. “As a result, our current VIP statuses will be discontinued upon launch of the new program and replaced with a new program rewarding your recent activity.”

This also means that such programs as Supernova will be moved to a monthly status rather than a year-long effort, as it was previously. “From January 1, Supernova will be a monthly status for players who achieve it in 2017, while players who earn Supernova status in 2016 will retain it until the launch of the new rewards program,” PokerStars says. “The value of VIP rewards and monthly VIP status requirements for 2017 are still subject to change.”

So what is the reasoning behind these changes? PokerStars addresses that in the same e-mail, stating that “While we understand that the 2016 VIP Club changes have impacted some of our highest-volume players, they have had a positive impact for the vast majority of our players, improving the overall game experience,” PokerStars contends. “A higher percentage of hands are seeing the flop in cash games, player deposits are lasting longer, which along with other such trends indicate a (healthier) poker ecosystem, with long-term sustainability.”

The general reaction from online poker players isn’t exactly glowing. Many are contending that this is just the latest cash grab by Amaya Gaming, but some are contending that there’s a more sinister element to the changes. In effecting these changes, some believe, PokerStars is forcing out the “professional” online poker player because there aren’t enough rewards for the effort being invested and that the multi-tablers will have trouble keeping up with the rake (in line with the elimination of high stakes tables on the site). Of course, PokerStars would deny this, but in catering to the “recreational” player, it is something that has to be considered.

There are many that are also looking towards a potential savior for the online game. In a much ballyhooed announcement at the end of August, professional poker player Phil Galfond has stated that he will be launching his own online poker site, Run It Once Poker, which is scheduled to begin operations in the first quarter of 2017. While there are few details involved, Galfond himself has said, “A poker site can’t seek to please everyone by making changes that hurt the business, but it shouldn’t ignore the public,” Galfond says. “It should be held accountable for the decisions it makes. It should be able to explain itself in a way that reasonable customers will understand.” These statements have whetted the appetite of players, including those in the United States who may not be able to play on the site at all.

Although there have been several symbolic protests of PokerStars changes, it has done little to affect their standing in the industry. According to PokerScout.com this morning, there are 168,085 players on PokerStars (including 16,447 cash game players). This massively dwarfs any other online site; the nearest competitor with documentable numbers (888poker and Bodog do not list current players online), Winamax.fr, has 12467 players online and 1437 cash game players. Even PartyPoker cannot contend with only 4497 current and 1209 cash game players on the site.

Poker News Daily



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