Posts Tagged ‘Launch’

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.

The post Phil Galfond Announces Run It Once Online Poker Room Launch Coming This Summer appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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PokerStars to Launch Czech Site This Week

 PokerStars to Launch Czech Site This Week

PokerStars announced this morning that it will be launching its new Czech Republic site, PokerStars.CZ, on Thursday, February 16th. The announcement comes two weeks after the world’s largest online poker room revealed that it had been granted a new Czech gaming license.

That license was issued January 28th, giving PokerStars permission to offer both online poker and online casino games in the Czech Republic. PokerStars said PokerStars.CZ would be ready a few days later, so this is a bit of a delay, but hopefully hasn’t been too big of a deal for Czech players.

PokerStars had previously served the Czech market, but when the country’s new gambling laws took effect on January 1st, it had to withdraw. The new laws, signed by Czech President Miloš Zeman in July 2016, require operators to hold a Czech gaming license. Previously, online poker was in a gray area, like in many countries, where operators could offer their services without a license, even if the activity wasn’t explicitly legal.

PokerStars became the first non-Czech gaming brand to be issued a license in the Czech Republic. The company has also applied for a sports betting license so that it can get BetStars up and running. On the casino side, PokerStars will only offer Classic Blackjack, Premium Blackjack, European Roulette and Double Ball Roulette, though it is looking to have more games approved.

“We are very proud to be the first online casino and poker operator to be awarded a license and support the newly regulated Czech market,” said Guy Templer, Chief Operating Officer, in a press release when the license was announced. “This underscores our commitment to supporting local regulations and obtaining local licenses wherever possible.”

For those who had PokerStars accounts in the Czech Republic before the new gambling laws took effect, it won’t be as simple as just downloading the new software and logging on. The new Czech regulations do not permit inter-account transfers, so players will have to cash out of their old PokerStars accounts, create new ones on the .CZ platform, and then re-deposit. PokerStars has sent e-mail to all of its Czech players explaining how to go about doing this.

It seems that the new gambling laws were a not-so-subtle way to try to rid the country of online gambling. They were introduced by Andrej Babiš, the Czech Finance Minister, who is staunchly anti-online gaming. As a way to discourage license applicants, the gaming tax was set at a stunning 35 percent of gross gaming revenue on any game that uses a random number generator. Companies also have to pay 19 percent corporate income tax.

PokerStars may be one of the few companies who can afford to pay more than half of its revenues in taxes. It would be surprising if any smaller operators jumped into the mix.

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PokerStars Championsip to Launch Next Week with PokerStars PCA

 PokerStars Championsip to Launch Next Week with PokerStars PCA

The world of major live tournament poker is in a bit of a lull right now because of the holidays, but come the new year, things will pick up quickly once 2017 starts as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will kick off on January 6th. This is a normal spot on the calendar for the PCA, but it holds slightly more significance next week at the PCA will be the first-ever PokerStars Championship.

The PokerStars Championship was born out of the European Poker Tour, which PokerStars operated. The Tour was probably the most popular live poker tour that spent the bulk of its time outside the United States, but PokerStars felt it had outgrown the confines of Europe (as is evidenced by the PCA being part of the EPT), so something had to change.

As such, the European Poker Tour brand was retired with the conclusion of EPT Prague this month, with two different tours – the PokerStars Championship and the PokerStars Festival – taking over. It appears the PokerStars Championship will essentially be the big brother, while the PokerStars Festival will be the little brother.

Said PokerStars in its initial announcement:

PokerStars Championship events will take place in major cities, organised by the most prestigious casinos across the globe, and are designed to deliver the best poker experience on the planet for players of all levels. A PokerStars Championship event will typically last 10-11 days and feature extensive schedules of up to 100 tournaments, including a €/$ 5,000 Main Event and a variety of cash games.

The PokerStars Festival will have shorter tour stops and lower price points, kind of like how the World Series of Poker Circuit compares to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

The first PokerStars Championship, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, will take place January 6th through January 14th, highlighted by the $ 5,000 Main Event. PokerStars TV – via PokerStars.tv, Facebook, YouTube and Twitch  – will broadcast the Main Event beginning on Day 2 (January 10th).

Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars’ Director of Live Events, said in a press release:

We’re very excited about the first PokerStars Championship stop. Our aim is to host an event that will be enjoyed by players of all kinds – from the world’s biggest high rollers to recreational players who have perhaps never played at a live event before. With over 90 tournaments on offer, this year’s schedule adopts a ‘something for everyone’ formula. So, for all our regulars, as well as newcomers, we extend a very warm welcome to the Bahamas and hope a great experience is enjoyed by all – both on and off the tables.

Other PokerStars Championship stops that have already been announced include Panama, Macau, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona. The PokerStars Festival already had its first stop at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey spanning the end of October and beginning of November. London and Rozvadov (Czech Republic) Festival stops have also been announced.

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Unibet to Launch Around the World Dream Raffle with New Poker Software

 Unibet to Launch Around the World Dream Raffle with New Poker Software

With Unibet set to go live with its long-awaited new poker client on Thursday, the online poker room is also gearing up for spiffy new giveaway to promote the upgraded software. Dubbed the “Around the World Dream Raffle,” Unibet will be giving two dozen phenomenal trips away, including one that will treat someone to a month-long vacation visiting some of the greatest locations on Earth.

Starting December 1st, the day the new poker client goes live, Unibet will randomly drop raffle tickets at the real money cash tables. The player on the button at the lucky table that is chosen at any given moment will win the Around the World Dream ticket, while the rest of the players at the table will be granted Unibet Open qualifier tickets.

All tickets are not created equal, however. The higher the stakes of the cash game table (No-Limit and Pot-Limit only, not Fixed-Limit), the better the potential prize. Here is how it breaks down:

Gold Raffle Ticket – NL/PL25 and above – €10 UO qualifier ticket for everyone else
Silver Raffle Ticket – NL/PL10 and above – €10 UO qualifier ticket for everyone else
Bronze Raffle Ticket – NL/PL4 and above – €2 UO qualifier ticket for everyone else

There will be 5 Gold tickets dropped per day, 10 Silver tickets per day, and 30 Bronze tickets per day. Everybody who wins a ticket will win something, even if it is not one of the biggest prizes.

SPEAKING OF…the ultimate prize for the Gold level is a 28-day journey to the “New 7 Wonders of the World,” a trip valued at £31,088. The Wonders and their locations include, in the order they would be visited:

Rome (Colosseum)
Amman (Petra)
Agra (Taj Mahal)
Beijing (Great Wall of China)
Cancun (Chechen Itza)
Cusco (Machu Picchu)
Rio De Janeiro (Christ the Redeemer)

Also included in the prize package is all the transportation and 4- and 5-star accommodations one would need.

Unibet is also awarding another 23 Gold ticket winners various trips such as a South African safari, sailing in Barcelona, and golf in Ireland. Non-trip winners will win Unibet Open packages or tournament tickets.

The top prizes for both the Silver and Bronze tiers are a €3,000 Travel Experience plus €2,000 cash. Other top Silver prizes include a laptop, a €2,000 Unibet DSO Mauritius package, and a €750 UK Tour package. The remainder of the prizes for both levels are tournament tickets.

The raffle will be held live on Twitch on Saturday, January 7th, 2017. The top prizes will be hand drawn and announced by David Vanderheyden, while the lower value prizes will be selected by an automated randomizer program. Winners will be notified via e-mail within seven days, so it is not necessary for raffle ticket holders to be watching the drawing as it happens.

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FanDuel, Yahoo Launch DFS Contests in Season-Long Wrappers

 FanDuel, Yahoo Launch DFS Contests in Season Long Wrappers

Following DraftKings’ launch of a new daily/season-long hybrid game, rivals FanDuel and Yahoo! have introduced their own versions of DFS with a season-long flavor. FanDuel’s is called “Friends Mode” while Yahoo’s is the “Yahoo Cup.”

We’ll start with FanDuel’s Friends Mode, as it most closely mirror’s DraftKing’s Leagues. Really, it is just about the same thing, which isn’t surprising since the two largest DFS sites tend to do pretty much everything in lock-step. In fact, there is a good chance that FanDuel would have called it Leagues if DraftKings hadn’t done it first.

In Friends Mode, anyone can create a private league and then invite friends (whether or not those friends are already on FanDuel) to join, similar to how one would get a league together in season-long fantasy. The contests, though, are week-to-week (or day to day, if we’re not talking football, but who are we kidding – we are), just like in regular DFS and are setup by the commissioner of the league. For the most part, that’s it. Friends Mode is basically away for friends to get together and play against each other in fantasy sports without the pressure of remaining diligent about their teams for a full season.

The season-long hybrid part comes into play with a leader board for the league, giving players a chance to see how they are faring against their buddies in the long-term. The daily/weekly contests are where the money comes in; the season-long leader board looks to be just for bragging rights.

Yahoo’s DFS/season-long combo shares some traits with that of DraftKings and FanDuel, as contests run weekly during the NFL season and overall scores are added up across the enter season, but that is where the similarities stop. In the Yahoo Cup, everyone on the site who participates is competing against everyone else; there are no private leagues in this case.

Yahoo will be awarded $ 10,000 in prizes to the top points earners for Week 1 and presumably will be offering prizes for the remaining 15 weeks of the contest (it is only going through Week 16 of the NFL season). On top of that, the top 10,000 total points earners across all weeks will share $ 93,000 in prizes at the end of the Yahoo Cup with the winner earning $ 50,000.

It looks like in similarly-structured contests on Yahoo that consist of weekly contests adding up to longer competition only advance a certain number of players to subsequent rounds, but from the looks of it, everyone qualifies for every round of the Yahoo Cup. There is no requirement to participate in every week, though obviously a person’s chances of winning a season-end prize will be greatly diminished without submitting a lineup each and every week.

The best part: the Yahoo Cup is free to play.

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