Posts Tagged ‘once’

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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Senators Graham, Feinstein Once Again Ask DOJ to Ban Online Poker

 Senators Graham, Feinstein Once Again Ask DOJ to Ban Online Poker

It has been a while since we heard from Senator Lindsey Graham (R – S.C.) about trying to ban online poker in the United States, so I suppose it was about time for him to try to revive his dead horse. Last week, Graham and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) sent a letter to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, asking him to reverse the Wire Act clarification issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2011, a decision which would effectively make online gambling completely illegal in the U.S.

As readers may remember, the Wire Act was designed more than 55 years ago to curtail organized crime by making sports betting over phone lines illegal. For whatever reason, decades later, the Department of Justice interpreted it to include all gambling over the internet. In late 2011, the OLC clarified that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting, thus officially opening the door for states to launch their own online gambling industries.

Sen. Graham has introduced billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) multiple times, trying to get the OLC’s ruling reversed, but it largely hasn’t been taken too seriously by lawmakers. Thus, it’s time for another approach.
As one would expect, the letter is mostly bullshit. For example, one paragraph states:

The DOJ opinion had the practical effect of repealing legislation Congress carefully and thoughtfully enacted in 2006 to ban internet gambling – legislation developed over seven years and crafted based on assurances from DOJ at that time that internet gambling was barred by the Wire Act and other federal criminal laws.

I’m not going to bother parsing every word, but suffice to say that the UIGEA – the law referred to there – was not “carefully and thoughtfully enacted.” It was, instead, attached to a must-pass SAFE Port Act and snuck through in the middle of the night with virtually no debate.

The letter goes on to use the “won’t anyone think of the children” scare tactic that we have heard a million times and again cites an old FBI letter that states, “[o]nline casinos are vulnerable to a wide array of criminal schemes” like money laundering. Of course, that letter is always misrepresented, as the concerns it addresses have to do with unregulated gambling, not legal, properly regulated online gambling.

Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas skewered the letter in a statement, saying:

If they were handing out awards for Congressional letters, this one would win “most misleading” in a landslide. Aside from the statement that Pennsylvania authorized online gaming and other states are considering it, there is nary a fact contained with the letter’s five paragraphs. Congress has given express authority to states to regulate igaming, a detail that Senators Graham and Feinstein repeatedly ignore. Moreover, they continue to misrepresent and almost decade old FBI letter that does not address the realities of regulated online gaming. I suppose it’s easier to conflate reality with their own bias to continue making the same points, than actually own up to the fact that regulated igaming is responsible public policy.

The PPA posted the entire letter, which can be read here.

The post Senators Graham, Feinstein Once Again Ask DOJ to Ban Online Poker appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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888 & Rank Increase Offer to Buy William Hill, Rejected Once More

 888 & Rank Increase Offer to Buy William Hill, Rejected Once More

On Monday, 888 Holdings and The Rank Group announced that they made a second proposal to acquire William Hill. William Hill announced, in turn, that it has rejected the offer. The “Revised Proposal” comes just six days after the initial proposal from 888 and Rank.

Both bids had two pieces: cash and stock. The new proposal increased the estimated value of the stock portion while also giving William Hill a larger ownership percentage of what would be a new, combined company.

In the original proposal, 888 and Rank would merge to create BidCo, the company which would turn around and buy William Hill to form a massive gaming company from the three rivals. William Hill shareholders would have received 199 pence per William Hill share in cash plus .725 BidCo shares per William Hill share. 888 and Rank (called the Consortium) estimated the value of the stock piece based on both of their share prices at the close of markets on August 5th, the last day of trading before the announcement of the proposal, making the total package worth 364 pence per William Hill share. William Hill shareholders would have owned 44.6 percent of the new company.

William Hill’s Board of Directors turned down that offer, so yesterday, 888 and Rank made a new one. As mentioned, the cash part – 199 pence per share – is the same, but the stock part has changed. This time, .860 shares of 888 Holdings were offered for each share of William Hill, rather than going with the BidCo arrangement. Again using the August 5th price of 888 as a guide, this increased the overall estimated value of the proposal to 394 pence per William Hill share. William Hill shareholders would have 48.8 percent of the new company in this case.

The total value of the offer is £3.425 billion, compared to £3.164 billion last week.

Once again, though, William Hill’s board is having nothing of it. In a press release, the company said:

Having reviewed the Revised Proposal with its financial advisers, Citi and Barclays, the Board of William Hill has unanimously rejected the Revised Proposal as it continues to substantially undervalue William Hill and as such the Board continues to see no merit in engaging with the Consortium.

The Board of William Hill continues to believe that the Revised Proposal is highly opportunistic and does not reflect the inherent value of the Group. Under the Revised Proposal, William Hill shareholders continue to be offered a substantial proportion of their consideration in highly leveraged BidCo shares and so it is directly relevant that the Board of William Hill continues to believe that a combination of William Hill with 888 and Rank will not enhance William Hill’s strategic positioning or deliver superior value for shareholders compared against William Hill’s strategy, which is focused on increasing the Group’s diversification by growing its digital and international businesses.

The Board cites a number of risks for its shareholders, including complications stemming from a three-way merger with not enough of a price premium to make up for it, the idea that proposed cost synergies wouldn’t be seen in full until 2020, and a high amount of debt for the combined company.

William Hill Chairman Gareth Davis said that the entire offer price is still not enough of a premium over William Hill’s current share price and that the cash portion remains unchanged, implying that he prefers cash over stock.

“As we have said before, this is highly opportunistic and complex and does not enhance the strategic positioning of William Hill,” Davis said.

It will be interesting to see if 888 and Rank keep trying and if there is eventually a number that would satisfy the Board, despite all of its concerns.

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