Posts Tagged ‘Playoffs’

Nevada Sports Books Take Beating During NFL Playoffs

 Nevada Sports Books Take Beating During NFL Playoffs

The NFL is down to its final four teams: the Pittsburgh Steelers face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game and MY Green Bay Packers will head down to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. Up until Sunday night, when the Packers and Steelers won games that went down to the wire, the playoffs had been less than thrilling; the favorites had been beating the life out of the underdogs.

The Sunday games – particularly the Packers nail-biter against the Cowboys – were quite exciting. Unfortunately for the Las Vegas sportsbooks, they were exciting in all the wrong ways. Even though the favorites had been winning up until that point, bettors loaded up on the underdog Packers and Steelers and won big.

According to David Purdum of ESPN.com, William Hill, which has 108 betting outlets throughout Nevada, was handed its single-worst day in the five years it has been in Nevada, losing a “seven-figure” amount to its customers. Prior to the two Sunday games, the favorites were 6-0 both against the spread and straight-up, but the majority of the money shifted to the Packers and Steelers for the last two games of the divisional round.

“Seemed like a blue-collar betting day with public parlaying, teasing and pounding money lines on Packers and Steelers,” Bill Sattler, director of specialty games for Caesars Entertainment, told ESPN. “We salvaged the under in [the] late game, but another solid week for the public.”

To read more into his comment, it seems like the “blue-collar” descriptor has something to do with what happened. The Packers and Steelers have two of the largest and most loyal fan bases in sports and both are located in what one would consider blue-collar cities. They are the two hottest teams in the football – both coming into their games riding two month-long winning streaks. Aaron Rodgers is the sickest player on the planet and the Steelers have arguably the best running back (Le’Veon Bell) and wide receiver (Antonio Brown) in the game, not to mention a great, experienced quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger.

Thus, it might not be that big of a surprise that bettors went nuts putting money on those two teams in every way, shape, and form.

Purdum reports that the kill shot for the sports books was in the Green Bay/Pittsburgh parlays, bets that required both teams to win. Those bets, naturally, pay out more than if someone bet on each team individually, since it was an all-or-nothing proposition.

And though Sunday was terrible for the bookmakers, the rest of the playoffs haven’t been good, either. Bettors sided with the favorites for the other six games, so the sports books lost money there. Even in a non-NFL game, the NCAA championship game between Clemson and Alabama, sports books got slaughtered. Alabama was a heavy favorite, but more money was put on Clemson, who ended up winning outright, resulting in William Hill’s worst college football loss of all time.

Poker News Daily

Global Poker League Playoffs Set, But Why the Delay?

 Global Poker League Playoffs Set, But Why the Delay?

After nearly seven months of action (counting delays), the Global Poker League has reached its playoffs. While one conference had nearly set its four-team roster for the postseason, the other conference had plenty of jostling for position with none of the six teams eliminated as of the start of the final week of the regular season.

The conference with the least work to do, the GPL Americas, kicked off the week’s action with their three heads up matches. With the Montreal Nationals, the L. A. Sunset and the Sao Paulo Metropolitans all assured of a playoff spot – and the Las Vegas Moneymakers eliminated from contention – the final slot would come down to either the San Francisco Rush or the New York Rounders.

The Moneymakers’ Scott Ball would prove to be the proverbial thorn in the side of Manager Bryn Kenney of the Rounders, thumping Kenney by a 3-0 margin (a 9-0 rout by points).  In getting zero points, Kenney essentially eliminated his squad from playoff contention as the Rush’s three-point margin before they even took to the virtual baize was enough to lock up the final playoff spot for them; the Rush gathered in six points from Phil Galfond via his 2-1 victory over the Metropolitans’ Felipe Ramos to ensure their position.

On Wednesday, the GPL Eurasia put the cards in the virtual air to determine their entire lineup for the upcoming playoffs. With both the Hong Kong Stars and the Berlin Bears playing before them (and against each other nonetheless), the Moscow Wolverines would know after the Stars/Bears match what they would need to do to take the GPL Eurasia championship. The answer? Nothing, as the Stars’ Randy ‘Nanonoko’ Lew took the first two games against the Bears’ Dominik Nitsche to win the match, but he couldn’t pull off the sweep to put the pressure on the Wolverines by passing them in the standings and handing the Wolverines the championship.

By that singular match between the Stars and the Bears, the first three positions were set for the GPL Eurasia playoffs. The Wolverines were assured of the #1 seed and, because of their performance, the Stars eclipsed the Bears for the #2 seed. All that was left was for the London Royals, the Paris Aviators and the Rome Emperors to decide who would take the final slot.

In the second match on Wednesday, the Emperors’ Mustapha Kanit got off to a good start with a win, but the Royals’ Justin Bonomo would strike back and take the next two games to win the entire match 2-1 (6-3 on points). With the win, the Royals officially eliminated the Emperors from contention, but they had to sweat out the final match of the day between the newly-crowned champion Wolverines and the Aviators.

With nothing to play for, Wolverines manager Anatoly Filatov could have simply “taken a knee” (given up the game) and allowed the Aviators’ Alexandre Luneau to have a walk. Instead, Filatov came out firing, winning the first game, before dropping the second to Luneau. In the penultimate game, Filatov pulled out the win to take the best of three set 2-1 (6-3 on points). Despite having the same point total as the Royals, the Aviators didn’t have as many wins (15-14) during the regular season, relegating them to the fifth-place slot and missing the playoffs.

After the dramatic regular season finale, it was almost anti-climactic to learn the brackets for the GPL playoffs. Beginning on November 29, the teams will line up like this (with the chips they will bring to the table):

GPL Americas

#1 Montreal Nationals (130,000) vs. #4 San Francisco Rush (100,000)
#2 L. A. Sunset (120,000) vs. #3 Sao Paulo Metropolitans (110,000)

GPL Eurasia

#1 Moscow Wolverines (130,000) vs. #4 London Royals (100,000)
#2 Hong Kong Stars (120,000) vs. #3 Berlin Bears (110,000)

The difference in the chip counts is a bonus for the teams who earned the higher seed to have an advantage over their competition. Once the semi-finals are set, the team with the better seed will receive a 40,000 bonus over the 200,000-starting stack. For the Finals, the champions of the GPL Americas and GPL Eurasia will both start with 500,000 in chips.

At issue for many is why is there a delay in the play of the GPL Playoffs and the Championship Final. The playoffs are scheduled to start on November 29 with the GPL Americas determining its eventual champion and, on November 30, the GPL Eurasia will figure out their champion. The weekend of action will culminate with the crowning of the inaugural Global Poker League champion on December 1.

The delay works out well for the players as, at that time of the year, the tournament calendar is beginning to slow down (the traditional calendar year finale, the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic, begins on December 5). For those competing in the playoffs, it gives them the opportunity to get to Las Vegas to be able to participate at the GPL Arena (especially if they are overseas) and perhaps make some more out of their time by having the WPT event soon afterwards. It also allows for the managers of the teams competing for the title a chance to do some scouting and analysis of their opposition to be at max preparation for their matches.

Whatever the reason, the GPL’s inaugural season will end at the start of December. Who will take the title? We’ve got plenty of time to analyze that, but congratulations to the teams who will vie for the crown.

Poker News Daily

Global Poker League Moves Playoffs, World Championship To Las Vegas

 Global Poker League Moves Playoffs, World Championship To Las Vegas

When it was conceived, the Alexandre Dreyfus-driven Global Poker League looked as if it would be “The One” attempt at making poker more “sport-like” that survived when others failed. A recent announcement has cast some doubt on that, however, as the GPL looks to end its inaugural season on a high note.

According to Will Shillibier of BackdoorQuads.com, the GPL has decided to NOT hold their end of season playoffs – the matches that would determine the teams for the inaugural GPL World Championship – at TwitchCon 2016 in San Diego. That event, which begins on September 30 and ends on October 2, will instead be replaced with a “Meet, Greet & Play” event that will feature some of the stars of the GPL (no names have been announced at this time).

Dreyfus looks at the change as a chance to present the GPL to the eSports community, stating, “The GPL and Twitch are expanding their partnership to promote poker as an eSport. We are thrilled to expose (the GPL) to the largest eSport community and connect poker fans and GPL players. TwitchCon 2016 is the perfect spot to help make that happen and it is another step in our GPL Fan Engagement strategy of ‘Watch’Em, Play’Em, Shop’Em.”

This isn’t the only change that is occurring for the GPL. The original plan was for the GPL to hold its World Championship Event – where two teams from each conference would have played down to an eventual World Champion – at the SSE Arena at Wembley Stadium. This was supposed to have happened in November, but it has now been eliminated totally. All that Shillibier could find out about the cancelation of the date in London from SSE Arena personnel was that they “didn’t know what happened to the event.”

So where will the playoffs and the concluding World Championship be held? If you recall the Summer Series – where the teams in the GPL competed live from Las Vegas – then you’ve already got a look at what will be the stage come this fall. The “GPL Arena,” as it has been dubbed, will host both the playoffs and the World Championship, presumably under live circumstances and inside “The Cube,” which made its debut during the Summer Series.

Shillibier also had inside information from several surveys that were conducted by Mediarex, the company that Dreyfus owns that operates the GPL. The information from those surveys wasn’t exactly glowing of the product that the audience was seeing, stating in many cases that their level of desire to be a part of the GPL action was quite limited. The respondents stated that they didn’t want to buy GPL merchandise (58.8%), that they wouldn’t want to play a Fantasy Poker real money game using GPL players (43.2%) and that they wouldn’t want to bet real money on GPL matches (62.5%), among other items. Add in the factor that 66.7% of respondents to the survey said that they had heard of the GPL but a majority of those people had not watched it and the emergency beacons are blinking.

So what has been the problems? Rumors have it that moving their playing arena – “The Cube” – to Las Vegas for the Summer Series put a serious hurt on the bank accounts of the GPL, so much so that it couldn’t be transferred to San Diego for TwitchCon and then to London for the World Championship. There are also the issues with the monetization of the league, which Dreyfus has admitted previously was a significant problem. The bottom line, however, may have been the factor that the GPL is primarily an internet “thing” and not “live” poker, which many fans thought it was going to be and, after seeing that it was online poker being played, turned away from the product.

In a discussion with Poker News Daily, Dreyfus didn’t exactly open up about the reasons for the changes nor what the future would hold. “We are preparing a press release as we speak (that will address these issues),” Dreyfus stated (that press release has not been seen). Dreyfus also stated that there was more of a “long term” plan for the GPL rather than knee-jerk short term changes and that the priority was on “the digital passengers” (presumably meaning the online viewers and fans over the GPL Twitch account).

Even with the pleas continuing for patience and to wait for the GPL to mature, anyone can see there are some glaring problems with the program. What the effects will be after their restart on September 20 – a quick six-week burst of league matches that will determine the four participants from each conference who will compete in the playoffs that begin on November 29 – and the potential for a second season for the GPL will reflect how those problems are being handled.

Poker News Daily

Global Poker League to Hold Playoffs at TwitchCon 2016 in San Diego

 Global Poker League to Hold Playoffs at TwitchCon 2016 in San Diego

In what could prove to be a true test of whether their concept could actually work outside of a major gaming metropolis, the Global Poker League announced earlier this week that the inaugural season’s playoff schedule would take place during TwitchCon 2016, which will be held in San Diego, CA, between September 30 and October 2.

The focus of the stay on the shores of the Pacific Ocean will be the determination of the teams that will vie for the inaugural GPL World Championship. The top four teams from each conference, the GPL Americas and the GPL Eurasia, will play live in front of the TwitchCon audience inside the mysterious “Cube” that has been the topic of discussion for quite some time. Those four teams from each conference will be playing down to the two from each conference who will journey to London, the United Kingdom on November 22-23 to determine the champion at the SSE Arena at Wembley Stadium.

Because the GPL regular season matches are broadcast over Twitch, it seemed natural that they would partner for their playoffs, at least for the GPL’s founder. “The GPL and Twitch are expanding their partnership to promote poker as an e-sport,” stated Alexandre Dreyfus during the announcement. “We are thrilled to expose our League to the largest e-sport community and connect poker fans and GPL players. TwitchCon 2016 is the perfect spot to help make this happen.”

TwitchCon also seems to be excited about the partnership between the two entities. “Over the past year, poker has quickly grown into an immensely popular category on Twitch thanks to the game’s top stars engaging our community and being embraced in return,” said Scott Ball, the Community Development and Poker Manager with Twitch. “As a testament to its appeal, we are hosting the first Global Poker League playoffs at TwitchCon 2016, where it will be presented as an e-sport thanks to the innovations it brings via different formats and “The Cube,” its signature stage.”

Beyond the actual playoffs, the GPL is also going to look to turn Twitch denizens into actual poker fans through a myriad of poker-related activities. There are going to be demonstrations of the GPL’s latest poker development, HoldemX, as well as their 3V3 demonstrations. The players from the teams that make the playoffs will also be encourages to interact with the Twitch community through “meet and greets” and connect with other poker fans through what Dreyfus states might be a “few surprises.”

As noted previously, it is expected that TwitchCon 2016 will also mark the debut of “The Cube” on the poker scene. “The Cube” has been billed as an innovative device that will allow the players to be shielded from any artificial crowd influences (think being in a soundproof booth that you can’t see outside of) while they play their poker matches standing up at the table. This will allow the spectators to be as boisterous as they please in cheering for – or rooting against – the teams that they want to make it to the Championship Round in London.

Fans of the GPL aren’t being left out of the mix when it comes to the chance to see the GPL in action at TwitchCon 2016. The GPL is in the process of setting up online matches and giveaway options to make sure that fans have the chance to win a TwitchCon 2016 package to see the action go down live at the convention in style. Tickets to attend TwitchCon 2016 are also available at Twitchcon.com and fans can also win a select number of free tickets as part of GPL’s TwitchCon giveaway by following Twitch.tv/gpl.

The GPL is certainly pulling out all the stops for their inaugural season, bringing the show live to Las Vegas following the World Series of Poker, to San Diego and TwitchCon 2016 for the playoffs and to London to crown their first World Champion at the end of November. Will it be enough to drive the burgeoning professional poker league to success is the underlying question.

Poker News Daily



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