Posts Tagged ‘Back’

A Look Back at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Ticket Scalping Mess

 A Look Back at the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Ticket Scalping Mess

The World Poker Tour (WPT) Fallsview Poker Classic $ 5,000 Main Event kicks off Wednesday and will culminate on Friday with the crowning of a champion. Chances are, everything should go smoothly, but two years ago, Fallsview was the scene of stupendously poor planning resulting in ripped off and dissatisfied players. Let’s reminisce, shall we?

In 2015, Fallsview had but three tournaments, just as it does this year: a $ 1,100 event, a $ 2,500 event, and the $ 5,000 Main Event. Players could buy-in to the tournaments directly or win a seat via live satellite. The problem that emerged was not with the Main Event, but rather with the $ 1,100 preliminary tournament.

The way tournament organizers setup the event led to a massively broken economy when we really should never have to talk about the “economy” of a tournament in the first place. There were three factors that came together to create the fiasco:

1)    A maximum capacity of 500 players for each of the two starting flights.
2)    No alternate list.
3)    Entry cards were transferable.

The first and third points are probably self-explanatory, but if you are unfamiliar with an alternate list, it is essentially a waiting list to get into the tournament. Alternates have to wait to receive chips and seat until someone is eliminated. It’s basically like waiting for a seat at a full restaurant; you get your name on the list and once your name is at the top and someone leaves, you are shown to your seat. In poker, it is a way give people a chance to play when there is not enough space in the poker room to accommodate the demand.

The problem that resulted was rampant ticket scalping, especially shortly before the start of the second flight. With the three above factors in place, people who weren’t even poker players bought entries for the tournament knowing that it would end up sold out. Then, when players wanted to register, only to find out there were no seats available, the scalpers swooped in and charged massive premiums.

At the time, talked to poker player DJ MacKinnon who said, “The tournament area is next to the food court and Fallsview permits the scalpers to hound people coming off the escalator to ask if anyone wants to buy or sell tickets. The morning of (Day 1b) the cafeteria was crowded with a bunch of people near the tournament area trying to sell tickets. I know of two tickets that sold for $ 1,800 and $ 1,600 respectively.”

Scott Davies had just made two final tables at the Aussie Millions and therefore was unable to register in advance. On Two Plus Two, he called the situation “so gross.”

He then summed it up well:

Pretty awful that the casino creates perfect conditions for the scalpers. They cap the number of entries, let people buy multiple fully-transferable tickets, and then don’t take any alternates the day of the event. So it essentially cuts off the supply at the same moment demand peaks creating a black market. It literally brings out all of the bottom of the barrel scum of the earth to the poker area. These guys show up the day of the event with heaps of tickets and no intention of ever playing the event. I can’t believe the casino allows these guys to do business in their casino, they are as obvious as ticket scalpers at a sporting event/concert, and just as sleazy.

It was a situation that did not need to happen.

Fortunately, things were fixed last year as well as this year. This year, tickets were non-transferable and only one purchase was allowed per person, so there was absolutely no incentive for scalpers to buy any. Now, a better solution would have been to allow resales but control them, perhaps by linking a ticket to a loyalty card, so that transfers can only be made at face value or lower. That way, satellite winners or those who perhaps couldn’t play at the last minute could still sell their tickets. At least the scalping problem has gone away.

Poker News Daily

California Online Poker Bill Back for Another Go

 California Online Poker Bill Back for Another Go

They are back at it again in California. For about the billionth time this century, an online poker bill has been introduced into the state legislature and if we have learned anything, there will be a lot of pouting on both sides leading ultimately to nothing. The bill, Assembly Bill 1677 (AB 1677), also called the Internet Consumer Protection Act, was introduced by Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer late last week and will now begin all sorts of stupidity ending with us all saying, “Why can’t they just get it done already?

The bill would set the licensing fee for a cardroom or tribe to operate an online poker room at $ 12.5 million. The license would be good for seven years. The tax rate on gross gaming revenue is progressive; that is, the rate increases the more an operator makes. If an operators gross gaming revenue is less than or equal to $ 150 million, it will be taxed at 8.847 percent. From there up to $ 250 million, the rate is 10 percent. Below $ 350 million, the tax rate is 12.5 percent, and above $ 350 million, the rate is 15 percent.

Arguably the main reason nothing has ever gotten done in regards to online poker in California is because a hardline group of Native American tribes have essentially been adamant that they get everything they want, unwilling to compromise on most points. The composition of this group has varied, but the core members have been the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Barona Band of Mission Indians, the Lytton Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, the Table Mountain Rancheria of California, the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, and the Yoche Dehe Wintun Nation.

These groups want as few entities as possible to be able to operator an online poker room. Thus, AB 1677 presents a compromise, not allowing California racetracks to obtain licenses. In exchange for being excluded, the racetracks would share in 95 percent of the first $ 60 million collected by the state (so $ 57 million). Additionally, racetracks could serve as service providers (for instance, the provider of the poker software) and partner with an operator, but at least half of the partnership’s revenue would have to go to the racetrack.

The hardline tribes have long fought against allowing PokerStars to have any chance to be included in the California online poker industry. As such, they have always wanted a “bad actor” clause in any legislation, barring operators who offered games to Americans after the passage of the UIGEA in late 2006. This bill does not have a bad actor clause, rather leaving it up to state regulators to determine whether or not a license applicant it qualified for a license.

Because of its position as the most populous state in the country – by far – California is the white whale of the online poker industry. If the game were legalized and regulated in the state, any operator who gained a license could make a pretty penny. On top of that, the other states that have legalized online poker – currently Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware – would line up to for interstate compacts with California to boost their player pools.

Good luck at anything ever happening, though.

Poker News Daily

America’s Poker Tour Bringing “Excitement” Back to Tournament Poker

 America’s Poker Tour Bringing “Excitement” Back to Tournament Poker

While it may not be as prevalent as it was even just a few years ago, tournament poker is still a powerful draw for many in the poker community. The number of casinos and card rooms offering tournaments remains high across the country, in many cases driven by several poker tours that have a set schedule of events over the span of a calendar year. Come November, a new entry into the poker tournament landscape will hold its inaugural event in a highly popular casino.

America’s Poker Tour, the brainchild of former Heartland Poker Tour veterans Fred Bevill (who announced the syndicated shows of HPT alongside Chris Hanson) and Derek Melicher (a former executive with HPT), will take off on November 3 at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, IN, technically the suburbs of Chicago. Starting on November 3, satellites starting as low as $ 90 will kick off to funnel players towards their $ 1100 Main Event, which will begin on November 10. It is arguable that America’s Poker Tour, which will tape their shows for syndicated broadcast, is offering the best chance for players to get “into the action” for the lowest price in the poker tournament business.

The Main Event isn’t the only action going on with America’s Poker Tour. As a part of their schedule at Majestic Star, there will be a $ 50,000 guaranteed No Limit Hold’em tournament to kick off the festivities that features a buy in of $ 150 and multiple Day 1 starts. A $ 150 Pot Limit Omaha event, two more individual $ 150 No Limit Hold’em tournaments and a $ 150 Seniors Event will also be conducted.

It sounds like an audacious task for an organization’s first event and Melicher admits it is taking up quite a bit of time. “We’ve been crazy busy, as I am sure you can imagine,” Melicher admitted when he sat down to speak with Poker News Daily. But we were able to get some insights on what to expect from the new poker tour when it hits the felt come November.

Poker News Daily:  How will America’s Poker Tour separate themselves from the glut of tours that are out there?

Derek Melicher:  We’re using the tagline, “By Players, For Players” as we want to get back to why people start playing poker from the beginning…EXCITEMENT! We want this to be an exciting, energetic, fun event where everyone is having a good time and there’s that sense of community that I think sometimes get lost. You’re going to see that in the televised show as well. This isn’t the normal poker show where you see hand after hand until a winner is determined. The adrenaline, intensity, and excitement that occurs at each tour stop is going to be showcased.

PND:  What was the catalyst for creating the APT?

DM:  Fred Bevill and I had both worked for Heartland Poker Tour for a number of years. Fred in a producer/host role and myself in an executive/management role. We wish the best for HPT but we plan on doing things a bit differently. Hopefully the players and also the partnering casinos will recognize that and we can build something special here.

It’s a lower buy-in than a WPT or HPT. We are at $ 1100 for the Main Event while HPT is mostly at $ 1650 so we are the lowest buy-in amount that offers players a shot at television exposure. We also have satellites where players can win their Main Event seat for $ 90 or $ 250. This makes it affordable for the every-day weekend warrior player and also builds the prize pool to a level that pros will see value.

PND:  Three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Dutch Boyd has committed to the first stop in Chicago. What has been the general response from other pros and who else might we see in the Windy City?

DM:  Besides Dutch Boyd, I have also received commitments from former World Champion Joe Cada, Jeff Madsen, Will Failla, Eddy Sabat, Stan Jablonski, and Bernard Lee. We will also have a special guest appearance from Amanda Leatherman, who will be doing some sideline reporting.

PND:  How about the future stops for APT?

DM:  I have a lot of interest for 2017. We’re still working out dates with potential partners, but I’m expecting anywhere from 8-14 tour stops in 2017 and 12-16 events in 2018. The events will be spread throughout the U. S. including Florida, California, Chicago, and places in-between. Overall, we’re really excited and we plan to bring that excitement to each event!

We thank Derek for taking the time in an obviously hectic schedule to offer us a look at the start of America’s Poker Tour. For more information, be sure to visit the APT website, where you will also find a schedule of events for their inaugural stop in November at Majestic Star Casino.

Poker News Daily

GGNetwork to Inject Poker Back into Tain Network

 GGNetwork to Inject Poker Back into Tain Network

The GGNetwork, an online poker network licensed in Curacao and the Philippines, has struck a deal with internet gaming provider, the Tain Network. This is GGNetwork’s first “major” European partnership, as it is primarily Asia-facing.

The most interesting part of this is that it marks the return of online poker to the Tain Network. The youth of today likely know nothing about Tain, but many of us olds remember it as one of the minor online poker networks from the poker boom of more than a decade ago. Tain was low-trafficked – it didn’t stack up to Party Poker or, say, Paradise Poker at the time – but it had enough players to sustain games.

The most notable room on the Tain Network was probably Poker Share (which was originally operated by Excapsa and was essentially a skin of UltimateBet), which tried to make a name for itself in the internet poker world by giving players shares in the company via their play, kind of like rakeback, but using ownership of the company as the reward, rather than cash. That never happened.

PokerShare and Tain, though, will always hold a special place in my heart because of how soft the competition was. And when I think competition is soft, it is SOFT. It was the site and network on which I won my first multi-table tournament; my prize was only maybe $ 100-$ 150, but it was still a big moment in my poker history. The Tain Network stopped accepting U.S. customers after the UIGEA passed in late 2006 and soon stopped with poker altogether. PokerShare moved to the Microgaming Network but eventually went out of business.

So poker will be back on Tain with this deal. In a press release, Tain CEO Mathias Larsson said:

We are proud to be the first major European partner for GGNetwork. Poker used to represent a significant sector for Tain operators before its decline.

However, we do not believe that the downturn was due to people falling out of love with poker; it was because the poker networks simply were not good enough and allowed certain brands to take over the market.

Now, though, Tain will once again be able to offer world-class poker to its operators and I am sure it will be a massive success.

As mentioned, though it has offices in the British Virgin Islands, Dublin, and London, the GGNetwork is primarily Asia-facing. It has over 40 partnered brands, none of which would be recognized by virtually anyone that doesn’t play games in their target markets. Here, we’ll name some: Moon Poker, All New Bet, 88Fox-GG, and Asya Poker.

“This is a very exciting time for us and it is a big honour to be joining forces with such an experienced, outstanding, branded platform as Tain,” said Hilly Ehrlich, a GGNetwork spokesperson. “We look forward to re-activating and hosting all the poker followers on Tain Network with a style and flavour of poker that everyone will enjoy.”

Poker News Daily

Aussie Millions Going Back to the Bachelor Life

 Aussie Millions Going Back to the Bachelor Life

When PokerStars announced last week the elimination of the European Poker Tour (EPT) and creation of the PokerStars Championship (the new home for most of the EPT tour stops) and PokerStars Festival, many assumed that the Aussie Millions was not going to be included in the new tours because the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), of which the Aussie Millions was a part, was not going to be migrated over. The Aussie Millions was also not explicitly mentioned as one of the live tournament stops that would be on the PokerStars Championship (or Festival) and one would think that if a major tournament series were to be included, it would have been mentioned. Those who assumed all of that were right. The Aussie Millions will go back to being a stand-alone tournament series starting in 2017.

Crown Poker Tournament Director Joel Williams penned a statement with the announcement regarding the Aussie Millions’ fate:

Crown Melbourne can confirm that the 2016 Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Melbourne, set to take place on Thursday 6 October 2016, will be the final APPT event to be held in Melbourne.

Crown Melbourne can also confirm that the 2017 Aussie Millions Poker Championship, set to take place from Wednesday 11 January to Monday 30 January 2017 will revert to a stand-alone event.

On behalf of Crown Management and the Poker Team, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone from APPT including the management and operations teams, along with the poker community for their ongoing support.

All previous Satellites entry pathways are expected to remain active for the 2017 Aussie Millions. Land based satellites have already commenced in the Crown Poker Room.

Haley Hintze of briefly opined on the reason that the Aussie Millions was no longer going to be a part of PokerStars’ plans and I would suspect she is largely correct:

Reasons for the Aussie Millions’ departure from the Stars-branded family events are likely closely tied to the fact that the new Stars tours are designed to promote the PokerStars name, first and foremost.  The Aussie Millions, on the other hand, was always unusual among recent Stars-sponsored events in that it long preceded PokerStars’ own creation and rise to online prominence.

The Aussie Millions has long been a prestigious stop on the poker tournament calendar, almost like a southern hemisphere WSOP ultra-light junior. Its name has carried weight all by itself; it seemed kind of out of place on the PokerStars-sponsored tour. One would think that the inclusion on the tour was more important for Crown Melbourne and the Aussie Millions than it was for PokerStars, so it is not all that surprising that PokerStars decided not to bring it along to the PokerStars Championship or Festival.

Poker News Daily

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