Posts Tagged ‘pokerstars’

PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

 PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

PokerStars has sent an e-mail to its Australian players that it will withdraw from the Australia market in mid-September following the passage of a new online gambling bill in the country. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) passed parliament on August 9th and effectively bars all internet gaming sites that are not licensed in Australia. PokerStars does not have such a license.

Now, one’s initial reaction might be that PokerStars will just apply for a license, eventually be granted one, and Aussies can start playing again. And that would be a reasonable thought, but unfortunately, that won’t happen. The bill permits online gambling, but only of the sports betting variety. As sports betting operators are the only ones, therefore, who would be able to apply for a license, online poker operators like PokerStars have no way of complying with the law. Well, no way except to get out of Dodge.

PokerStars had already announced that there was a high likelihood it would leave Australia, so this comes as no surprise, even though it is disappointing. The exact withdrawal date depends on when the law goes into effect, but it is expected in roughly the middle part of next month.

Online bingo site Vera&John was the first online gambling site to exit Australia, doing so in December 2016. 888poker was the first poker site to do it, leaving the country in January of this year.

Below is the entire statement issued to Australian players by PokerStars:

The Australian parliament on August 9 passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) effectively banning all online gambling sites that are not locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law. We’ve been aware of this day coming and have done our best to keep you informed, but we can confirm that we’ll be closing our real money poker tables to players in Australia, most likely around mid-September. We will contact you as soon as a firm date is confirmed.

Your funds are, and will continue to be, safe and available for withdrawal. Remember to open any unopened Stars Rewards Chests you have, and you can continue to spend your StarsCoin in the Rewards Store. A $ 1 Cash Rebate has been added to facilitate converting your StarsCoin to cash. Any tournament tickets and tournament money will be converted to cash for withdrawal, effective from the market exit date. We have provided a FAQ page here.

We’re proud to have seen the Australian poker community grow so strong over the last decade. We do respect the Australian Government’s decision in taking steps to protect consumers and hope that in time we’ll be able to serve real money poker to you again. In the meantime, we will continue to offer play money poker and we hope to continue to welcome many Australian players to our tables.

We’d also like to thank the Australian Online Poker Alliance for their campaigning on behalf of the game and suggest that you consider lending them your voice if you’d like to see a regulated return of online poker to Australia.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Introduces Usain Bolt Edition Zoom Poker Tables

 PokerStars Introduces Usain Bolt Edition Zoom Poker Tables

As PokerStars’ push to attract and retain recreational players forges ahead, it has launched a new promotion, featuring, for the first time, a celebrity-branded poker table. Just days after retiring from his legendary sprinting career, Usain Bolt has lent his name to the – appropriately – Zoom Poker tables with the “PokerStars Zoom Usain Bolt Edition.”

The new Usain Bolt tables are the same as any other Zoom Poker table, but with the addition of Bolt’s name and likeness. PokerStars has also added the cute feature of turning the table’s traditional padded rail into a race track.

For those of you who are new to Zoom Poker, the rules of the game itself are the same as always. The mechanics, though, are different. Rather than sitting down with a set group of players at a single table, players select the game type and stakes and are then placed into a much larger player pool. Players are seated and contest a hand, but when a player folds, he or she is immediately whisked away to another table with a new group of players to begin the next hand.

The benefit of this for the player is that the action is constant; there is no more twiddling thumbs while waiting for a hand to finish. The downside is that it is much harder to get reads on opponents, as the opponents keep changing every hand. It is also, naturally, easier to bust more quickly, as the hands are completed more quickly (at the same time, one can win faster).

With these Usain Bolt tables, PokerStars is offering Zoom Challenges every day and every week from now through September 24th. There are daily challenges, allowing players to win up to $ 5,000, and those players who complete the required number of challenges (per the player’s Challenge window) will see their reward tripled for the weekly challenge.

It appears that the challenges vary based on the player. For example, some people on Monday have been given the challenge to win 9 cash game hands (interestingly, they don’t have to be Zoom Poker hands) in 15 minutes with minimum stakes of $ 0.01/$ 0.02 (so really any stakes), while some just need to win 6 hands. In the examples I have seen, players have up to 20 chances to complete the challenge before a new one is issued.

If everyone’s possible rewards are the same, they are paltry, but still more than zero. There is a 68.499 percent chance to win 50 whole cents for hitting the daily challenge, a 30 percent chance to win $ 1, a 1 percent chance to win $ 2, a 0.5 percent chance to win $ 10, and a 0.001 percent chance to win $ 5,000.

As challenges vary person to person, it is possible that the prizes do, too, but my guess is that they are the same across the board, as PokerStars has explicitly stated that the top prize is $ 5,000. And again, the weekly prizes triple if a player completes enough daily challenges.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Returns to its Roots; 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule Set

 PokerStars Returns to its Roots; 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule Set

Perhaps recognizing the error in their previous actions, The Stars Group has announced that their January tournament in the Bahamas will be returning in 2018, including a return to the name it was previously known as.

The 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will return to action at its traditional home at Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, the Bahamas, from January 6-14. Along with returning the original name of the event, PokerStars is also stepping out on a limb a bit in returning the buy in to its original amount. After spending several years as a $ 5000 buy in event, the 2018 PCA Main Event will be a $ 10,000 tournament, ensuring the tournament’s place in the pantheon of “must play” international poker tournaments.

The return to the PCA moniker was obviously on the minds of Stars Group officials. “We’re reviewing our live events and incorporating player feedback to ensure we’re delivering the highest quality experience and exceeding player expectations whenever possible,” Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars Director of Corporate Communications, stated during the announcement.

“This feedback included suggestions that we restore the PCA name and improve the quality of that event to reflect the great heritage and unique experience that made PCA one of the most-anticipated poker events of the year,” Hollreiser continued. “We’re restoring the name and reinvigorating the event to ensure it remains a premiere poker festival. We will also increase the promotions around PCA in order to bring even more people and make qualifying for packages as exciting as we can. We are committed to sending at least 400 players to this must-play event.”

There was plenty of outrage that came along with the 2017 tournament. Roughly along the same period as 2018’s play, the 2017 “PokerStars Championship Bahamas” featured over 90 events crammed into the timeframe. It seems that was too much, even for poker players who are always looking for action. Because of some of that criticism, PokerStars has streamlined the tournaments to a more sensible 30 events that will feature longer levels (40 minutes or more) and more play for the participants.

PokerStars is also looking out for the pocketbooks and wallets of PCA participants. Tournament fees have been reduced for the High Roller tournaments and any tournament with less than 19-minute levels will be reduced by 50%. These moves will allow the players to keep upwards of $ 300,000 in their bankrolls.

Finally, another complaint from the players regarding the 2017 tournament series was the treatment of those players. Many felt that they weren’t appreciated by PokerStars, especially after the decade-plus treatment by past ownership, with the parties and “SWAG” bags presented to the players. In response to this, PokerStars has set a large schedule of non-poker related activities and some “Q&A” sessions with Team PokerStars Pro members. Player parties are a key element of this change, including the aforementioned “SWAG” bags that will be valued at $ 200 each.

What isn’t being indicated by PokerStars nor The Stars Group is what will be the future of the “PokerStars Championship” or “PokerStars Festivals.” These events have been less than popular with players, including disappointing turnouts in Panama, Macau and Sochi. There isn’t any schedule beyond the final 2017 date in Prague, Czech Republic for the PokerStars Championship and there isn’t any indication whether the PCA will still be considered a part of the PokerStars Championship or whether the PokerStars Championship will continue to exist.

While a firm schedule hasn’t been set yet, satellites will begin running for the 2018 PCA in September. With the changes made, perhaps the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will return to its previous success.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Launches Spin & Go Max Tournaments

 PokerStars Launches Spin & Go Max Tournaments

PokerStars has launched a new Spin & Go format called…wait for it…Spin & Go Max which adds a heaping spoonful of variables to a Spin & Go game. The idea of Spin & Go Max is essentially the same as a Spin & Go, but rather than the predictability of the three player, winner-take-all format every time, each game can vary from one to the next.

What we are all used to with Spin & Go’s is three-handed play with short stacks and hyper-turbo blind levels. The prize pool is unknown until all players are seated and most of the time, it is winner-take-all. Spin & Go Max games mix all of that up.

In the new version of the game (by the way, there are still regular Spin & Go tables), the number of players is unknown until just before the game begins. Spin & Go Max games can have anywhere from three to eight players; the tables size is based on a random draw based on fixed probabilities. Four players is the most common, happening 30 percent of the time. This is followed by five players (25 percent) and three players (20 percent).

Then, like in a regular Spin & Go’s, a prize spinner shows up, but here it shows not one, but three potential prizes for the winner. Perhaps perplexingly, the winner’s prize has nothing to do with the prizes for the other players, if there are any (with five players or fewer, it can still be winner-take-all). The other prizes are pre-determined and payout depth will be shown in the tourney lobby.

At the end of the game, the three first place prizes reappear, face down, and the winner picks one. If the top possible prize was one of the ones offered, the winner automatically gets it. Additionally, with some of the higher, less probable prizes, the winner will be given a “Cash Out” option, equal to the average of the three prizes minus some amount. The winner can take that figure or take a chance on selecting a larger prize.

One more twist: Spin & Go Max tournaments have a hand limit. If this limit is hit before the tournament ends, everyone is automatically put all-in pre-flop until a winner is determined.

Buy levels for Spin & Go Max tourneys are $ 1, $ 3, $ 7 and $ 15. There is no difference in the probability of table size among the different buy-in levels, but the prize pool frequency and number of players paid fluctuates based on the buy-in and number of total players.

I think that’s it. There’s a lot to digest. Basically, we have a new Spin & Go game that can have three to eight players, three possible first prizes that the winner gets to blindly pick, and sometimes an option to take a guaranteed payout or risk it for a bigger prize. I suppose that’s more fun that regular Spin & Go’s?

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Testing Shorter Time to Act at Select Cash Game Tables

 PokerStars Testing Shorter Time to Act at Select Cash Game Tables

In what seems to be a never-ending effort in the poker industry to speed up the games, PokerStars announced last week that it will be conducting a trial of some new “time to act” settings at its cash game tables. Announced in a post on the corporate blog, the goal of the new settings is to try to reduce the impact of unnecessary tanking.

“One of the most frustrating aspects of playing cash games can be making a disciplined fold and then having to wait for your opposition to play out a painfully slow hand before you get to make your next decision,” wrote Dan Price, the PokerStars Ring Games Manager. “Unsurprisingly one of the most common complaints we receive is about opponents taking forever over the simplest decisions… even going into their time-bank just to fold pre-flop!”

To that end, PokerStars is implementing the trial of the new “time to act” settings on a limited set of tables today. At the ultra-micro stakes – $ 0.01/$ 0.02 No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha – the time a players has to make a decision has been reduced.

On the other cash game tables, and on these tables prior to today, players have 18 seconds to act pre-flop if not facing a raise and 25 seconds to act pre-flop when facing a raise and in all situations post-flop.

Now, on the trial tables, those time limits have been reduced to 12 seconds and 15 seconds, respectively.

Knowing that there are some situations in which a player needs more time – perhaps a tricky board with one’s entire stack at risk – PokerStars has not changed the time bank rules. Everyone starts with 30 seconds in their time bank (an extra bucket of time a player can use if the regular timer elapses) and gets an extra 10 seconds after every 50 hands played with a maximum of 600 seconds in a time bank.

“We will monitor the impact that these changes have on the games and will, as always, listen closely to the feedback of our players,” Price wrote. “We seek to keep our games fun, exciting and engaging for all players but appreciate that there may be some players who are upset with the new pace of the game. However, we are confident that this is a big step in the right direction for the vast majority of players.”

Of course, those who have absolutely no patience and can’t even wait even a few seconds for other players to act can always play poker over at the Zoom Poker tables, where players get whisked away to a new table and a new hand right after they fold. Problem solved!

To clarify, though, the time to act rules have not changed for the Zoom Poker tables, nor have they changed for tournaments. Right now, it is at the $ 0.01/$ 0.02 No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha cash game tables only, though we should probably expect it to be expanded to other cash game tables once the trial period ends.

Poker News Daily



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