Posts Tagged ‘Announces’

Phil Galfond Announces Run It Once Online Poker Room Launch Coming This Summer

 Phil Galfond Announces Run It Once Online Poker Room Launch Coming This Summer

In September 2016, poker pro Phil Galfond announced that he was going to start his own online poker room named after his poker training site, Run It Once. His idea was to build something that would cater to players of all types, that would focus on fairness, and that would be transparent. Since then, we have heard so little about the new poker room that most of us assumed the project had been shelved. But last week, Galfond wrote a long blog post on RunItOnce.eu (which we assume is the web address for the poker room), explaining what has been going on and trying to get back to the concept of transparency.

Galfond explained that the delays have largely been related to software development.

“Our software delays weren’t the typical delays that come with the territory,” he said. “We made some significant missteps early in our software development (I don’t just mean our tech team – I’m as much to blame as anyone) and it set us on a course that’s been very difficult to navigate.”

He brought in new leadership and a new tech team, which resulted in a reworking of the development strategy. They believed they had the option of either continuing down the track they were on with the downside that future development would be hampered, or redo a whole bunch of things to increase flexibility, but which would also push back the launch even further.

They decided to go for a hybrid strategy of staying on track with cash games and launching them this summer while continuing to work on tournaments, which would be launched in Phase 2.

Galfond said this decision was made for a few reasons:

1. We didn’t want to release anything we aren’t proud of, so launching with unpolished and partial versions of multiple offerings was off the table.
2. We figured that you’d rather have something from us than to wait much longer for us to offer everything.
3. We were furthest along on cash games, and even if we hadn’t been, launching with tournaments only would be extremely challenging for a new site fighting for liquidity.

As mentioned, a big goal for Run It Once was to make a poker room for players, rather than make all decisions just to benefit the business. As such, Galfond said that the rake will be “sensible,” allowing people to actually be able to beat the games if they are good players. He also said the cash games will be “focused on fun and on pure, authentic poker.”

The rewards system will be good for both pros and recreational players. Pros will benefit the most, but recs should be happy, as well. And interestingly, Galfond said it will be impossible to leave rewards unclaimed.

Phase 2, which does not have a target date yet, will include:

1. General software enhancements, more user options
2. A distinct SNG offering
3. An innovative Tournament experience
4. An awesome nosebleed stakes offering, with several unique ideas from someone who’s played these games for a long time and thinks he knows what they need!

Between now and when Phase 1 launches, Galfond has promised to provide updates on what to expect.

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PokerStars Announces 2018 SCOOP Schedule

 PokerStars Announces 2018 SCOOP Schedule

Not content in topping its rivals, PokerStars keeps wanting to top itself. Case in point: the 2018 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP). This year’s edition of the exceedingly popular online poker series will feature $ 65 million in guaranteed prize pools, $ 10 million more than the guarantees from last year. Running May 6th through May 21st, the schedule is comprised of 61 events, four more than last year. And since this is SCOOP, that means that each event has three buy-in levels, so that’s 183 tournaments in total.

As PokerStars rightly boasts, every day of the 2018 SCOOP will have at least one tournament with a $ 1 million guaranteed prize pool. Four of the days will have multiple $ 1 million guarantees.

The highlight, of course, is the No-Limit Hold’em Main Event, which will be at 2:00pm server time on Sunday, May 20th. The $ 109 buy-in “Low” Main Event will have a $ 1.5 million guarantee, the $ 1,050 buy-in “Medium” Main Event will have a $ 4 million guarantee, and the $ 10,300 buy-in “High” Main Event will have a $ 5 million guarantee.

As always, there will be a SCOOP leaderboard to track which players perform the best over all events. The overall leaderboard winner will win a Platinum Pass valued at $ 30,000. The Platinum Pass includes a $ 25,000 seat in the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship (PSPC) live tournament, six nights’ accommodation at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and $ 2,000 in food and beverage allowances.

The top three finishers on the high leaderboard will win $ 10,000, $ 7,500, and $ 5,000, respectively (and one would think the high leaderboard’s top player will also be the overall winner). The top ten on the medium leaderboard will win money with $ 7,500 going to the winner, and the top 25 on the low leaderboard will score extra cash, with the winner taking $ 5,000.

The winner of each Main Event will also receive a Platinum Pass, as will the winner of a special All-In Shootout.

In addition, everyone who has played in any SCOOP event in the past will have access to a special 10th anniversary freeroll in which $ 50,000 in SCOOP tickets will be given away. The freeroll will be held May 5th.

And, as this is PokerStars, no poker series can be run without the requisite special Spin & Go tourneys. These Spin & Go’s with buy-ins of $ 7.50 and $ 35 will give players the chance to win SCOOP buy-ins worth up to $ 25,000. There will also be a couple weekly Spin & Go challenges that will provide players who complete them entry into a SCOOP ticket freeroll.

And that’s that. Lots of events, gazillions of dollars in guarantees, a quintet of Platinum Passes, Spin & Go promotional jazz, a leaderboard triptych, the 2018 SCOOP has all the trappings one would expect. If you want to start planning your May, the complete schedule is available on the PokerStars website.

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WPT Announces Schedule for Tournament of Champions, New Event

 WPT Announces Schedule for Tournament of Champions, New Event

Originally set as a singular event, the World Poker Tour recently announced that the third running of the WPT Tournament of Champions, this year being held for the first time at ARIA in Las Vegas, would be joined by a new tournament previously unscheduled as well as other preliminary tournaments.

What is now being called the “Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions Festival” will kick off on May 17 with its first event, a $ 10,000 buy-in Omaha Hi/Lo tournament. There will also be four one-day $ 25,000 “High Roller” tournaments and a solo $ 100,000 “Super High Roller” event. What will close out the festivities are the two official WPT events on the schedule, one the previously known Tournament of Champions and the other a new event.

The final official stop of the Season XVI schedule will now be the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, a $ 10,000 buy-in event that wasn’t previously part of the discussion. The tournament is named for the former World Champion whose prowess on the poker tables and the boardrooms of Las Vegas have become legendary. With one opportunity for re-entry into the event, it is possible that the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic – which replaces the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale of the past two years – could be one of the bigger tournaments of this year when it begins on May 20.

“ARIA takes great pride in being the host of the Season XVI WPT Tournament of Champions,” said Sean McCormack, director of poker operations for ARIA. “We have developed a tremendous festival of events, highlighted by the premiere of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, and are excited to welcome the biggest names in poker to Las Vegas in May.”

Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, added, “The World Poker Tour is thrilled to bring the illustrious WPT Tournament of Champions to the luxurious ARIA, as we close out a historic Season XVI. The WPT Tournament of Champions is our most prized event, and the winner will join Farid Yachou and Daniel Weinman as a WPT Tournament of Champions winner. We look forward to returning to Las Vegas, the birthplace of the WPT and the global home of poker, to crown this season’s champion of champions.”

Once the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic has concluded, the WPT Tournament of Champions will kick off its action. On May 24 (the day after the conclusion of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic), the ToC will open play for its third ever event. All the champions of the Season XVI schedule will be in the field (they have already had $ 15,000 deducted from their prize winnings) and, if any previous WPT champion wishes to join the tournament, they will put up $ 15K to get in the game. In the past two seasons, there have been other additions to the prize pool, including last year’s tournament which saw an Audi up as one of the spoils to the victor.

One problem that the ToC has had:  getting the players out to take part in the tournament. Once you limit the field to only previous WPT champions (now totaling 237 players; it will be 243 by the end of the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, if no previous champion wins again), you then must look at who is going to show. Some former champions, including Doyle Brunson and Mel Judah, aren’t as active in the tournament world anymore. Someone like Howard Lederer isn’t exactly considered welcome in tournaments (outside the WSOP, it seems) and unfortunately others have passed away (David ‘Devil Fish’ Ulliott). A look at the first two staging’s of this tournament demonstrate this difficulty in getting players.

When it was originally held in 2016 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, 64 players came out as Farid Yachou captured the inaugural championship. Fast forward to 2017 and the number clicked up to 66 as David Weinman defeated Michael Mizrachi to capture the title. With the move to Las Vegas for the 2018 ToC, it is perhaps thought by WPT officials that more former champs will come out and take part in the tournament rather than go across the country to play the ToC in Florida.

It promises to be an outstanding week of poker in May as the WPT wraps up its Season XVI schedule by crowning its final champion, its Player of the Year and the next “champion of champions” with the Tournament of Champions!

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Vanessa Selbst Announces “Retirement” From Poker

 Vanessa Selbst Announces “Retirement” From Poker

Everyone is looking for a fresh start when it comes to a New Year. For some, it is dropping a bad habit, such as smoking or cutting down on eating to drop some weight. For others, it is doing something different within the career they are pursuing or, in some cases, a change to a career course. On this New Year’s Eve, we can jot longtime Team PokerStars Pro and top flight poker professional Vanessa Selbst in the latter category.

In a lengthy announcement on her Facebook page, Selbst let her followers know that she was “moving on from my career as a professional poker player.” While admitting that poker has “given me so much over the last 12 years…It has been intellectually challenging, exhilarating, fun, and extremely rewarding,” she also admits that there are several reasons that she’s leaving. To that, Selbst states that it is “a number of factors, big and small,” that have brought her to this decision.

“The most obvious reason is that Black Friday has meant that, in order to do this job professionally, you either had to move out of the country or travel 90% of the time,” Selbst explained. “That was really fun for a period of time in my life, but as my late 20s turned into my early 30s and my priorities changed toward building a stable home and community and starting a family, the constant travel is no longer tenable.”

“Secondly, I don’t feel good about promoting poker as an ambassador anymore (I can’t tell amateurs they should come play online and it’s beatable for them when I don’t feel like it’s true),” Selbst wrote. “Lastly, whether because poker got more competitive or because we got older (or likely some combination of the two), poker recently turned into a real job…I had never treated the game that way–I always kept a very light poker schedule–I showed up and played for fun and did other projects back home as my “real work.” The shift in the nature of poker and what it requires put me at a crossroads and asked the question of me whether I would rather change my relationship to the game or move on.”

While Selbst may be giving up the rigors of the tournament poker grind, it isn’t like she’ll be stepping off and teaching law somewhere (Selbst does have a legal degree). “My next career I’m giving a shot is at a hedge fund,” Selbst declares. “I’m doing trading research and strategy. I’ve actually already been there for almost four months now, and the environment feels a lot like poker did back in the day – a bunch of nerdy kids collaborating to try to beat our opponents at a game…It’s exhausting, exciting and completely humbling every single day.”

Selbst is quick to remind folks that her “retirement” doesn’t mean she’ll never step to the felt again. “Whatever happens with my next career, I know that I’ll never truly stop playing poker (just ask Fedor Holz what happens when you retire)!” Selbst concludes. “Seriously though, I will always love the game and the people in it and I’m so thankful for everyone I’ve met and everything I’ve experienced. So with that, so long, and thanks for all the fish!

Selbst retires as one of the greatest female players ever to grace the green baize. Beginning in 2006 when she finished in seventh place in a $ 2000 No Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker, Selbst cashed in 84 tournaments around the world. The highlights of those endeavors was winning a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2008 in a $ 1500 Pot Limit Omaha tournament,  a major title on the now-defunct Partouche Poker Tour for a $ 1.8 million score and a $ 750,000 championship victory on the now-defunct North American Poker Tour at Mohegan Sun. Her most recent cash was in the Ladies’ Championship at the 2017 WSOP, which brought her career earnings to $ 11,851,384. That amount is first among female professionals and ranks her 41st in the all-time tournament earnings regardless of gender.

It is always disappointing to see someone who is quite talented walk away from the game, but one of the charms of poker is you can come back at any point in time. Here’s wishing Selbst the best of luck in the difficult hedge fund management world and that we see here “moonlighting” as a poker player soon!

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PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

 PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

PokerStars has sent an e-mail to its Australian players that it will withdraw from the Australia market in mid-September following the passage of a new online gambling bill in the country. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) passed parliament on August 9th and effectively bars all internet gaming sites that are not licensed in Australia. PokerStars does not have such a license.

Now, one’s initial reaction might be that PokerStars will just apply for a license, eventually be granted one, and Aussies can start playing again. And that would be a reasonable thought, but unfortunately, that won’t happen. The bill permits online gambling, but only of the sports betting variety. As sports betting operators are the only ones, therefore, who would be able to apply for a license, online poker operators like PokerStars have no way of complying with the law. Well, no way except to get out of Dodge.

PokerStars had already announced that there was a high likelihood it would leave Australia, so this comes as no surprise, even though it is disappointing. The exact withdrawal date depends on when the law goes into effect, but it is expected in roughly the middle part of next month.

Online bingo site Vera&John was the first online gambling site to exit Australia, doing so in December 2016. 888poker was the first poker site to do it, leaving the country in January of this year.

Below is the entire statement issued to Australian players by PokerStars:

The Australian parliament on August 9 passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) effectively banning all online gambling sites that are not locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law. We’ve been aware of this day coming and have done our best to keep you informed, but we can confirm that we’ll be closing our real money poker tables to players in Australia, most likely around mid-September. We will contact you as soon as a firm date is confirmed.

Your funds are, and will continue to be, safe and available for withdrawal. Remember to open any unopened Stars Rewards Chests you have, and you can continue to spend your StarsCoin in the Rewards Store. A $ 1 Cash Rebate has been added to facilitate converting your StarsCoin to cash. Any tournament tickets and tournament money will be converted to cash for withdrawal, effective from the market exit date. We have provided a FAQ page here.

We’re proud to have seen the Australian poker community grow so strong over the last decade. We do respect the Australian Government’s decision in taking steps to protect consumers and hope that in time we’ll be able to serve real money poker to you again. In the meantime, we will continue to offer play money poker and we hope to continue to welcome many Australian players to our tables.

We’d also like to thank the Australian Online Poker Alliance for their campaigning on behalf of the game and suggest that you consider lending them your voice if you’d like to see a regulated return of online poker to Australia.

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