Posts Tagged ‘Next’

Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bills to be Reconsidered Next Week

 Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bills to be Reconsidered Next Week

Last week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted on two gambling amendments and passed neither, meaning that the progress of a possible regulated online poker industry in the Commonwealth was slowed. Cross our fingers, but hopefully the slowdown is brief as the House is scheduled to reconvene next Monday, June 6th, and hold a re-vote on the gaming bills.

It is a little confusing, but listed on the House Calendar is a “Second Consideration” for both HB 649 and HB 1925. HB 649 is the online gambling bill introduced by Rep. John Payne last February, the one that he has been working hard to get passed over the course of the past year and half. HB 1925, though, was the bill that was the focus of the votes last week.

More specifically, it was two amendments to HB 1925 – A7622 and A7619 – that saw the failed votes. Both amendments are nearly the same except for how they treat the expansion of video gaming terminals (VGTs). Payne is rallying for A7619, which he says is essentially a twin of HB 649. Rep. Marc Mustio penned A7622, which is more liberal with VGT expansion than A7619. A7622 allows for VGTs (read: video slots and the like) in a wider array of establishments, like taverns, while A7619 only permits certain off-track betting venues and airports to have the machines.

As one might guess, nearly all of the dozen casinos in Pennsylvania favor A7619, as they want to limit the expansion of gambling machines as much as possible in order to protect their businesses. It is thought that A7619 has a solid chance to pass both the House and Senate. So why did it fail last Tuesday?

The reason for the failure was a clerical error and the resulting confusion. Both A7619 and A7622 were printed to list Rep. Payne as the sponsor, though it was Mustio who was the sponsor of A7622. Because of this, many legislators ended up voting for the wrong amendment. When people realized what happened, they basically just voted both amendments down and requested a re-vote at a later date. In essence, the vote got all messed up, so the lawmakers opted for a do-over.

Thus, it is a do-over they will get. If any of the amendments/bills pass through the House, they will then move on to the Senate and hopefully make headway there. Pennsylvania is an important online gambling battleground state, at is the sixth most populous state in the country with an estimated 12.8 million residents. That is about 4 million more than neighboring New Jersey, which is seeing the success of its online gambling industry continue to grow, even if the results have been a bit disappointing compared to expectations. If large states like Pennsylvania, California, and New York (the latter two are also considering online gambling) can eventually legalize and regulate online gambling or poker, it could serve as a catalyst for other states who decide they don’t want to be left behind.

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Full Tilt to Merge Into PokerStars Next Week

 Full Tilt to Merge Into PokerStars Next Week

If you play your online poker on Full Tilt, you have one more week to enjoy the site. The poker room announced last week that it will officially become part of PokerStars next Tuesday, May 17th, putting an end (for the second time, really) to Full Tilt as an online poker room.

The initial announcement that Full Tilt’s liquidity would be merged into PokerStars came in February, when the sites’ parent company, Amaya Inc. said that it was essentially a move to eliminate redundancies and cut costs:

This platform migration will allow Amaya’s development and technology teams to focus on improving one market-leading platform rather than two, leading to a better gaming experience for all; improvements and features will be delivered faster and more efficiently rather than doubling development requirements. For instance, rather than splitting resources developing Full Tilt Jackpot Sit & Go and PokerStars Spin & Go features independently, teams will be able to work together on delivering the best possible product on one platform.

Full Tilt will still live in a sense, as the brand will still exist, but just as a skin of PokerStars. “Full Tilt will retain its own great promotions, table layouts, specialist tournaments and branded differences, such as Rush Poker (instead of Zoom Poker),” the company said in February.

But Full Tilt’s popular online poker software will be retired; what will be known as Full Tilt will run on top of PokerStars’ software platform as all Full Tilt and PokerStars players will compete at the same table. Full Tilt apparently has no intention of selling its software.

Full Tilt players have begun to be contacted about how the transition to PokerStars will be handled. Those who already have PokerStars accounts – likely most Full Tilt players – won’t need to do anything. Their funds balances, as well as other account assets such as loyalty points, will be transferred to their PokerStars accounts. Those who don’t have PokerStars accounts will likely be able to create one and have their assets transferred or be given the option to cash out completely. Some players may run into a scenario where they were able to play on Full Tilt in their jurisdiction, but are not allowed to play on PokerStars; again, Full Tilt will let those players know what to do.

Full Tilt also sent out an e-mail this morning to announce some last minute (or week) opportunities to use freeroll tickets, as those will not transfer over to PokerStars. Next Sunday, May 15th, Full Tilt will host several bonus freerolls, allowing players to spend those tickets in tourneys with prize pools totaling $ 15,000.

As mentioned, most Full Tilt players probably also have PokerStars accounts, thus PokerStars probably won’t see a dramatic boost in its player traffic. Currently, PokerStars is the largest online poker room in the world according to PokerScout, with a seven-day average of 12,500 cash game players. Full Tilt is only 14th, with 550 cash game players.

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Women in Poker Hall of Fame Offering Public Vote in Selecting Next Members

 Women in Poker Hall of Fame Offering Public Vote in Selecting Next Members

The Women in Poker Hall of Fame is set to induct a new class of members to their rolls this fall. In the past, they have traditionally kept their voting “in the house,” meaning that a select committee and the past inductees were the only ones who were voting on new members. For the 2016 class, however, the WiPHoF has decided to offer the poker public a voice in the matter.

First, here’s a list of the potential inductees and a quick word as to their qualifications:

Debbie Burkhead – Longtime player, reporter, photographer and instructor, involvement with poker since the mid-90s.

Karina Jett – Outstanding tournament and cash game history, advocate for women in the game since the late 1990s.

Victoria Coren-Mitchell – The only two-time champion in the history of the European Poker Tour, longtime veteran of the toughest cash games in Europe.

Mandy Glogow – Television producer behind the World Poker Tour for Fox Sports 1.

Shirley Rosario – Cash game expert with vast knowledge of Omaha Hold’em and Seven Card Stud, still terrorizing the Southern California card rooms.

Esther Rossi – Considered one of the best Stud players in history – regardless of gender – Rossi has battled it out on the felt for more than 30 years across the United States.

Jennifer Tilly2005 World Series of Poker Ladies’ Champion, multiple cashes on the WSOP and World Poker Tour circuits. Longtime advocate of women in poker.

For this year’s nominees, the WiPHoF has asked that the poker public visit their website and choose just ONE of these ladies for consideration for the Hall. The public vote will count as one vote alongside the previously inducted members of the Hall and the overseeing voting council. The public will have until noon on May 13 to be able to enter their choice and the newest inductees into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame will be named later this month.

First off, the choices put up by the WiPHoF are excellent. Any of the ladies mentioned above would be worthy of induction alongside the likes of Barbara Enright and Linda Johnson (the only members of both the Women in Poker Hall of Fame and the Poker Hall of Fame), Cyndy Violette, Jennifer Harman, Kathy Liebert, J. J. Liu, Kathy Raymond, Allyn Shulman and Deborah Giardina. In theory, however, only two of the ladies mentioned above will get inducted and these two seem to be the best choices.

The WiPHoF could break a longstanding issue that the Poker Hall of Fame has in recognizing players that come from outside of North America (Liu was born in Taiwan but is a naturalized U. S. citizen). Great Britain’s Coren-Mitchell has been an advocate for women in poker since she stepped to the felt in her early years. Vicky has been an ambassador for the game, writing about her exploits on the felt in a variety of newspapers and in her autobiography For Richer, For Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker. Finally, as the ONLY player to ever have won two EPT Main Event titles in that tour’s 12-year history (in comparison, the World Poker Tour has had four men who have won three titles and no woman has ever won an open event), Coren-Mitchell would be hugely overlooked if she isn’t chosen.

If there were to be a second choice from the public, it should be Rossi. Linking the game’s past to the Hall is something that can never be seen as an incorrect decision. Rossi’s skills in the game – when it wasn’t “appropriate” for the ladies to be a part of the game – had to have been very strong to withstand the onslaught at the tables in those days. To repeat, this isn’t a slight against the other women in the mix. These are arguably the best two choices available, however.

Currently the vote is heavily going towards Rosario, who is dominating with nearly 60% of the vote. Jett, Burkhead and Tilly are all battling it out with about 10-12% of the vote, while Coren-Mitchell lags back (7%) and Glogow and Rossi aren’t earning very much support. The polls will remain open until Friday and, by the end of the month, the newest inductees to the Women in Poker Hall of Fame will be known.

Poker News Daily

Michigan Enters Race to be Next State to Enact Online Gaming and Poker Regulation

 Michigan Enters Race to be Next State to Enact Online Gaming and Poker Regulation

After slumbering through the first quarter of 2016, the drive for another state to join the three United States locales that have already enacted online gaming or poker legislation grew by one with the addition of the state of Michigan.

On Friday, Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall introduced his bill SB 889, or “The Lawful Internet Gaming Act” to the Michigan State Senate. Kowall is not a newcomer to the Michigan Senate, having been seated in the legislative body since 2010 and earning reelection from the 15th District in 2014. The bill will begin its process at the Committee on Regulatory Reform (of which Kowall is a member) and look to make its way through the Michigan Legislature before the end of 2016, which will be the end of the current legislative session.

The bill itself mirrors many that have been seen in the past – the reason for enacting the legislation is to “protect the residents of the state” and it is “in the best interest of the state to regulate the activity” – and the specifics are also along the same lines with other states. Players would have to be 21 years old to participate; the activities allowed would include online poker and casino gaming; the different casinos and tribal gaming outlets in the state would be eligible for a license and licensing fees would be $ 5 million with a 10% tax on gross gaming revenues. Where the bill differentiates is that is explicitly allows for either a U. S.-based gaming network (interstate network or compacts) or allows for international play.

Tucked into the bill is the statement “a wager may be accepted from an individual who is not physically present in the state.” This is a stark departure from previous efforts in other states that restricted their activities to just inside their borders. With this said, there are difficulties that face the bill in the Michigan Legislature.

Michigan has casino gaming and tribal gaming, two forces that often clash as they seek to pull in as much of the market as possible. There is also a system of charitable poker rooms throughout the state that have, for the past three-plus years, been under consistent fire from the state government as to their operation and regulation. Even though Kowall is a part of the trifecta of leadership in the Wolverine State (both bodies of the Legislature and the Michigan governorship under Rick Snyder are all Republican), there may not be much stomach to expand gaming in the state right now.

With Michigan getting into the mix, it reawakens the drive for online gaming and/or poker regulation in some other areas that have perhaps tabled the issue. In California, the nearly decade-long logjam between the different parties in the Golden State (card rooms, tribal casinos and horse racing tracks) shows no sign of being broken, even though there have bene offers to the horse racing industry to get out of the way (to the tune of $ 60 million). Adding into the infighting issues are the charges currently pending against the “on leave” CEO of Amaya Gaming and PokerStars, David Baazov, which have thwarted PokerStars’ lobbying efforts in the state.

In Pennsylvania, it is more political infighting that has shut down online gaming and poker regulation. Despite additional revenues that would allow them to try to keep taxes a bit lower, the Pennsylvania General Assembly is still at odds over a budget for the Keystone State. At one time, online regulation was in the mix for the state but, over several rewrites of the different budgets that have attempted to move through the legislature, online gaming and poker regulation is currently not in the mix as the legislature is mired down in a quagmire.

The same is true for legislation in the state of New York. After introducing it earlier this year and actually having the regulations included in a budgetary statement, online gaming and poker regulation was removed last month as the budget moved forward without it. For the past two years (and now, it seems, three), online gaming and poker regulation has been proposed as a “talking point,” but it hasn’t gotten much further.

Since 2013, when Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware became the first three states to pass online gaming regulation of some sort, there has been an audience waiting with bated breath for the next state to come along. As this is a major election year, it is highly unlikely that any legislative body will touch a bill that has, to be honest, significant and controversial issues potentially with their constituents. Even though Michigan’s moves are interesting, don’t expect a fourth state to come along before 2017.

Poker News Daily

Global Poker League Completes Inaugural Draft, Wild Cards Next

 Global Poker League Completes Inaugural Draft, Wild Cards Next

In what may become an iconic moment in poker history (depending on where we are with it, say, five years from now), the inaugural player draft for the Global Poker League is now history. Twelve teams gathered in front of Commissioner Kara Scott on Thursday and, after a four-plus hour ceremony, left the conference room at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills with at least four members of their new teams.

The draft was broadcast live on Twitch and was preceded by a half-hour “pregame” show that featured commentators Joe Stapleton and Eric Danis alongside color commentators Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth. Ranging the draft room floor was sideline reporter Holly Sonders, a late addition to the GPL team but a good one in that she actually brought a feel for the thoughts of each of the managers as they were in their “draft modes.” At approximately 2PM on Thursday, Commissioner Scott took to the microphone and, after a few opening statements from her and GPL founder Alexandre Dreyfus, the Rome Emperors and manager Max Pescatori were on the clock.

The teams had three minutes to make their picks in the first round and each team took the maximum amount of time to complete that act. Pescatori stayed within the confines of Italy with his first pick, taking countryman Mustafa Kanit with his first pick, and Montreal Nationals manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur did the same when he selected fellow Canadian Mike McDonald for his first round pick. New York Rounders manager Bryn Kenney then chose the United States’ Jason Mercier, who was actually on hand for the draft and made a few comments about being chosen before the draft moved on.

Overall there were no real stunning surprises in the first round of picks. What was a bit of a surprise is that teams looked more at the marketing potential of their players rather than maybe choosing the best players available at the moment. Hong Kong Stars manager Celina Kim was arguably the manager guiltiest of this, stocking the Stars with a very Asian-centric team that will be quite well known to Asian poker fans but maybe not so much to the rest of the poker world. To a lesser extent, Moscow Wolverines manager Anatoly Filatov went in a similar direction with an Eastern European team.

Here are the 12 teams that will make up the Global Poker League with their current rosters as they were picked in Rounds 1 through 4:

Rome Emperors

Mustapha Kanit (ITA)
Dario Sammartino (ITA)
Timothy Adams (CAN)
Walter Treccarichi (ITA)

Montreal Nationals

Mike McDonald (CAN)
Martin Jacobson (SWE)
Pascal Lefrancois (CAN)
Xuan Liu (CAN)

New York Rounders

Jason Mercier (USA)
Tom Marchese (USA)
Kevin MacPhee (USA)
Jason Wheeler (USA)

San Francisco Rush

Phil Galfond (USA)
Anthony Gregg (USA)
Kitty Kuo (TWN)
Anton Wigg (SWE)

Las Vegas Moneymakers

Anthony Zinno (USA)
Jonathan Duhamel (CAN)
Jake Cody (GBR)
Jonathan Little (USA)

Sao Paulo Metropolitans

Darren Elias (USA)
Byron Kaverman (USA)
Thiago Nishijima (BRA)
Joao Pires Simao (BRA)

London Royals

Igor Kurganov (RUS)
Vanessa Selbst (USA)
Chris Moorman (GBR)
Justin Bonomo (USA)

Moscow Wolverines

Dmitry Urbanovich (POL)
Vladimir Troyanovskiy (RUS)
Andrey Pateychuk (RUS)
Sergey Lebedev (RUS)

Los Angeles Sunset

Fedor Holz (GER)
Olivier Busquet (USA)
Eugene Katchalov (USA from UKR)
Chance Kornuth (USA)

Berlin Bears

Brian Rast (USA)
Sorel Mizzi (CAN)
Dominik Nitsche (GER)
Jeff Gross (USA)

Paris Aviators

Bertrand Grospellier (FRA)
Davidi Kitai (BEL)
George Danzer (GER)
Mike Leah (CAN)

Hong Kong Stars

Wei Yi Zhang (CHN)
Raiden Kan (CHN)
Dong Guo (CHN)
Di Wei ‘Bryan’ Huang (SGP)

The next task for the managers is to choose two “wild cards” that will fill out the final rosters for the teams. These “wild cards” can literally be anyone in the world, which provides room for a great deal of discussion for the poker world to forecast who some of these picks might be. After these “wild cards” are determined, then the matches themselves can begin and the Global Poker League can truly come to life.

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