Posts Tagged ‘Program’

New Fox Television Program “LA to Vegas” Borne of Vegas Poker Trips

 New Fox Television Program “LA to Vegas” Borne of Vegas Poker Trips

Everyone loves to get in the creative minds of writers, especially if they come up with something that is unique. Many in the poker world love to hear from David Levien and Brian Koppelman, the duo who wrote the seminal poker movie Rounders (and, to a lesser extent, Runner Runner). Now the creator of a new television comedy on Fox is admitting that his new program was borne of weekend trips to Las Vegas to play poker.

Writer Lon Zimmet is the creator of the new Fox Television comedy LA to Vegas, a half-hour comedy that premiered last week on the Fox network. In an interview with Christopher Lawrence of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Zimmet admitted that, as a struggling writer during the “Moneymaker Boom” in poker, he would frequently go to Las Vegas to ply his poker playing skills. From those trips, it seems, the birth of a television series came.

“I started making (the trip) a lot,” Zimmet stated to Lawrence. “(I) realized a lot of people were getting introduced to poker after I’d been playing for years and (I) could make money off it…So I used to come out one weekend a month and it would pay my rent for the month and it would pay for food for the month.” After more than a decade of fermenting in his mind, Zimmet decided, “That might be a show. (This) might be something.”

The show itself looks quite interesting and does have some outright funny moments. It focuses on the people around the low-budget airline Jackpot Airlines and one particular flight which leaves on a Friday and returns on a Sunday. Captain Dave, portrayed by former The Practice star Dylan McDermott, is more interested in entertaining his passengers than flying the plane. In fact, he is more likely to give his customers suggestions on where to get a steak (or a lap dance) rather than his real job, flying.

McDermott’s character is countered by a flight attendant who is more than his equal. Ronnie, portrayed by actor Kim Matula, is constantly looking for a new job, to be able to get away from what she calls, “People not looking to cheat on their wives and butt-smuggle molly.” They are joined by three constant passengers – an economics professor from UCLA (whom Ronnie initiates into the “Mile High Club” in the first episode), a gambler, and a stripper who makes the commute each weekend and solicits other women to be dancers on the flight. These core five (and another flight attendant, Bernard (Nathan Lee Graham) that really didn’t get a great deal of attention in the first episode) make up the cast.

Or, as Matula says to Lawrence, “It’s The Love Boat in the sky, only dirtier (and the thought of what this show might be like on cable or, even better, on HBO makes the mind wander!).”

The first episode does delve into the dancer recruiting a young lady to “working the pole” while she is on her way with her fiancé to Vegas to elope on a Friday. As the half-hour rolls along, there is other things that show up – the gambler prop betting everything that goes on and Captain Dave’s insistence on wanting to show his Muay Thai skills – and, before you know it, Sunday has rolled around and the fiancé returns sans bride. He becomes a bit agitated at the entire crew and Captain Dave must restrain him (using his Muay Thai abilities) and have him arrested once they return to Los Angeles.

Zimmet promises that there will be more of those short trips – and what went on during them – in the future. “I made sure to pack a staff full of people who are very familiar with Las Vegas, so everyone has their own stories,” he says to Lawrence. “One of my writers actually used to take trips where he’d (get money) from someone just to…place sports bets for them.” Such stories as that seem to be what will make up the gist of LA to Vegas soon.

LA to Vegas will settle into its time slot on Tuesdays at 9PM (Eastern Time) and should be well worth the time for people who know Las Vegas to get to know. It will, at the minimum, give those who know the scene well a chance to say, “Yep…I’ve seen that.”

The post New Fox Television Program “LA to Vegas” Borne of Vegas Poker Trips appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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PokerStars Announces Changes to VIP Rewards Program for 2017

 PokerStars Announces Changes to VIP Rewards Program for 2017

In what will probably raise the ire of the online poker community even further, PokerStars has announced new guidelines that will go into effect in 2017 for their VIP program.

Amaya Gaming, the ownership behind the number one online gaming site in the industry, announced these changes in an e-mail to players on Friday. “In 2017, date still to be determined, we will launch a new rewards program that recognizes your play on poker, casino, and sportsbook (where available) and rewards you for recent activity, not monthly or annual play volumes,” the e-mail stated. “As a result, from January 1, Supernova VIP status will become a monthly status for players until the launch of the new rewards program.”

As noted, the biggest move of all is from recognizing just the poker players to moving the rewards system to the entirety of potential offerings from PokerStars (BetStars, the sportsbook for the company) and the online casino). “You won’t be required to play on any specific product, but your activity on all products will help you progress on your path to earning rewards,” the e-mail says.

There is also an emphasis being placed on “recent” activity versus a longer time span. “Currently, your VIP progress resets each month, but our rewards should be personalized to your recent gaming activity and profile, not your monthly or annual play volumes, to improve player retention and engagement at all levels,” the PokerStars e-mail continues. “As a result, our current VIP statuses will be discontinued upon launch of the new program and replaced with a new program rewarding your recent activity.”

This also means that such programs as Supernova will be moved to a monthly status rather than a year-long effort, as it was previously. “From January 1, Supernova will be a monthly status for players who achieve it in 2017, while players who earn Supernova status in 2016 will retain it until the launch of the new rewards program,” PokerStars says. “The value of VIP rewards and monthly VIP status requirements for 2017 are still subject to change.”

So what is the reasoning behind these changes? PokerStars addresses that in the same e-mail, stating that “While we understand that the 2016 VIP Club changes have impacted some of our highest-volume players, they have had a positive impact for the vast majority of our players, improving the overall game experience,” PokerStars contends. “A higher percentage of hands are seeing the flop in cash games, player deposits are lasting longer, which along with other such trends indicate a (healthier) poker ecosystem, with long-term sustainability.”

The general reaction from online poker players isn’t exactly glowing. Many are contending that this is just the latest cash grab by Amaya Gaming, but some are contending that there’s a more sinister element to the changes. In effecting these changes, some believe, PokerStars is forcing out the “professional” online poker player because there aren’t enough rewards for the effort being invested and that the multi-tablers will have trouble keeping up with the rake (in line with the elimination of high stakes tables on the site). Of course, PokerStars would deny this, but in catering to the “recreational” player, it is something that has to be considered.

There are many that are also looking towards a potential savior for the online game. In a much ballyhooed announcement at the end of August, professional poker player Phil Galfond has stated that he will be launching his own online poker site, Run It Once Poker, which is scheduled to begin operations in the first quarter of 2017. While there are few details involved, Galfond himself has said, “A poker site can’t seek to please everyone by making changes that hurt the business, but it shouldn’t ignore the public,” Galfond says. “It should be held accountable for the decisions it makes. It should be able to explain itself in a way that reasonable customers will understand.” These statements have whetted the appetite of players, including those in the United States who may not be able to play on the site at all.

Although there have been several symbolic protests of PokerStars changes, it has done little to affect their standing in the industry. According to this morning, there are 168,085 players on PokerStars (including 16,447 cash game players). This massively dwarfs any other online site; the nearest competitor with documentable numbers (888poker and Bodog do not list current players online),, has 12467 players online and 1437 cash game players. Even PartyPoker cannot contend with only 4497 current and 1209 cash game players on the site.

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Israeli Software Company Creates Facial Recognition Program, Uses It To Identify Professional Poker Players

 Israeli Software Company Creates Facial Recognition Program, Uses It To Identify Professional Poker Players

In this day and age, there are many things or people that we would like to be able to identify simply from their appearance. From judging whether someone has donned a disguise to more sinister implications, such identification would be critical for particular situations. A software company in Israel says it has developed a facial recognition software that they claim can identify terrorists and pedophiles, proving it by identifying…poker players.

According to Yahoo! Tech writer Dyllan Furness, The Israeli company Faception (which is a startup that is currently looking for funding) has developed this software and demonstrated it at an unnamed poker tournament. Yahoo! states that the software analyzed 50 amateur players that were in the tournament and, after comparing them to a database of poker professionals, picked four players that the software determined would excel in the event. Of those four players, two of them – amateurs, mind you – made the final table and would finish in the top three positions (it is not stated whether they won or not).

The theory that Faception’s software runs off is that facial profiling is supported by two genetic research observations, Furness says. DNA affects a person’s personality and also determines their facial features. Putting these two “genetic expressions” together and having a viable database to work from, the facial recognition software determines who has the potential to become whatever they company is searching for…be it poker pros, serial killers, geniuses or terrorists. The program has 15 different classifiers in its system and, according to its creators at Faception, the software is 80% accurate with its predictions.

There are some problems with the system that are pointed out, however. The determinations from the facial recognition software are only as good as the data that is put into the system (otherwise known as “garbage in, garbage out” or GIGO). The computer program is, after all, using an algorithm to qualify its decisions. There is an example of a computer program that correctly differentiated between wolves and dogs; it was quite proficient in its task, but the researchers found an error that led them to believe that the software wasn’t “differentiating” the two creatures – the computer program learned by identifying snow in the background of photos that it was more likely a wolf than a dog, which normally aren’t photographed in the snow.

The Washington Post’s Matt McFarland also looked into Faception’s work and potentially revealed further issues. “Can I predict that you’re an ax murderer by looking at your face and therefore I should arrest you?” said Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington and author of “The Master Algorithm.” “You can see how this would be controversial.” Domingos also pointed out that the software program may focus on one particular trait – such as a beard – and develop inaccurate predictions from such information.

The folks at Faception do not seem to be fazed by the naysayers, however. “We understand the human much better than other humans understand each other,” a Faception chief executive, Shai Gilboa, boasted to McFarland. “Our personality is determined by our DNA and reflected in our face. It’s a kind of signal.” They also state that they have a signed deal with an undisclosed security agency that will use the software to fight terrorism.

It might have been a joke previously – how all the great poker players were named Phil, for example, or they all were successful backgammon players – but what if there is something to the Faception theory and their software? Could we be identified by our faces, with them dictating what our future course may be from an examination of its contours? Or is it just another “snake oil” sales gimmick by a company to attempt to fool people?

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888poker to Launch New Loyalty Program, Eliminate Rakeback

 888poker to Launch New Loyalty Program, Eliminate Rakeback

888poker recently demonstrated that it will become the latest online poker room to make a significant move toward catering to recreational players at the possible expense of high volume grinders, announcing that it will introduce a new rewards program on March 28th, 2016.

In a post on Two Plus Two, an 888poker representative wrote:

We’d like to let you know that as of 28/03/2016, we’ll be launching our new rewards program, “888poker Club”, which will replace our current rewards plan.

The new 888poker Club will reward players based on different criteria to that of our current rake-based program. The vast majority of our players will benefit much more from the new program, which will be much easier to understand and will give significant weight to long term loyalty with 888poker.

Once the change is implemented, our current rewards program and statuses will no longer be applicable. Players will be awarded according to the new 888poker Club system.

We’d like to assure you that despite these major changes, 888poker will fully honour its cashback commitment to all players, including its VIPs, who are currently entitled to yearly cashback in the existing rewards plan. Moreover, any reward points players accumulated in the current rewards program will be automatically transferred to Gold Tokens, with equal value, in the new 888poker Club and will continue to be redeemable any time.

The cashback available in our current rewards program will likely not correspond to that offered in the new 888poker Club. Therefore, in the event that the cashback earned by a VIP player within the 888poker Club structure is lower than that which the player would expect from our current program, we’ll make sure to grant a monthly compensation of any difference in these amounts up until each player’s VIP status expires. We’ve emailed each VIP player the expiration date of his VIP status.

We are very proud to be launching this new and innovative rewards plan and we expect it to make a very positive impact on our user experience at 888poker.

For more on the 888poker club visit this link:

While the change has already made some players angry, it should at least be appreciated that 888poker is trying to avoid the same mistakes that PokerStars made when it announced the widespread changes to its own VIP system last year. 888 is admitting that high level VIP players will likely be hurt by the changes, but it is also trying to make sure that any current commitments to its players are being honored.

No significant details of the new 888poker Club have been revealed yet, but in general, players will be given challenges to complete that will require them to both earn points and earn them playing certain games. Once the challenge has been completed, the player will advance to the next level, collect Gold Tokens that can be exchanged for prizes, and receive a new challenge.

Some challenges will ask players to participate in real money casino games or bet real money on sports, but players can still complete challenges by only playing poker; it will just take longer to move to the next level in those situations.

Note that because the challenges are largely NOT based on anything having to do with rake, this means that rakeback at 888poker is gone. Certainly, it would be possible for a player to calculate a rakeback percentage, but it sounds like it would be pointless.

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Newest Poker Central Program, “Inside Poker with Matt Savage,” Premiers Monday

 Newest Poker Central Program, “Inside Poker with Matt Savage,” Premiers Monday

Slowly but surely, the amount of original programming is beginning to stack up for the 24/7 streaming channel (and hopefully soon we’ll see some more television outlets) Poker Central. Less than six months into their run, Poker Central will debut their latest program on Monday night, featuring arguably the most well-known tournament director in the world as he corrals the biggest names in the world to discuss the game.

Inside Poker with Matt Savage will premiere on Monday night at 9:30 PM (Eastern Time) and will replay later in the evening at 12:30 AM. Featuring World Poker Tour Executive Tournament Director, Commerce Casino Tournament Director and founder of the Tournament Directors Association Matt Savage, the show will feature in-depth and unfiltered conversations between Savage and industry icons on the biggest topics within the poker world. In addition to discussing a wide array of issues, poker tips and advice from the pros and “inside-the-ropes” stories from the top events and card rooms around the country will also be featured.

The first episode will bring a variety of stories for poker fans. First up is Mike Matusow, who has been beset with back issues over the past year that have kept him out of the poker rooms of the West Coast and off of the tournament poker trail because of the factor that he cannot sit for extended periods of time. Savage will also talk with 2012 World Series of Poker Championship Event winner Greg Merson about his struggles with sobriety. Finally, Savage will open up the mike alongside WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.

Poker Central is looking for Inside Poker with Matt Savage to really take the poker community inside the game and learn more about not only its personalities but its insiders. “Poker Central is committed to being the world’s TV channel for all things poker, by providing unprecedented coverage of the poker world and insider access to the incredibly talented professionals who make the game so compelling for viewers around the globe,” said Clint Stinchcomb, the Chief Executive Officer of Poker Central. Future episodes of Inside Poker with Matt Savage will take place at the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida, the Commerce Casino in California and Foxwoods Resort in Massachusetts.

With the debut of Inside Poker with Matt Savage on Monday night, Poker Central has fortified its original programming lineup tremendously since its launch. Their series Pokerography, featuring 30-minute biographies of some of the biggest names in the history of poker, have been quite well received, as were their broadcasts of the Super High Roller Bowl, which will return in 2016 as a part of Poker Central’s broadcasting (in 2015, it was on the NBC Sports Network to “tease” viewers to come to Poker Central). What may be their biggest coup, however, is coming later this spring.

In April, the Global Poker League, the brainchild of Alex Dreyfus and the Global Poker Index, will begin their play and Poker Central will be the broadcast home for all GPL matches. Both live and recorded events will be shown twice weekly over the Poker Central airwaves (cablewaves? streamers?), as will pre- and post-game shows for those two match days. After the World Series of Poker this summer, Poker Central will also be the home for the GPL playoffs and the GPL World Championships in late summer.

With the addition of the new Savage show, Poker Central is at least making a concentrated effort to provide original programming for a voracious audience. But there are still far too many reruns of old poker tournaments and cash game programs on Poker Central to maintain a steady audience. Hopefully there will be more original programming – the channel is not eve six months old yet – to bring this station fully to life.

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