Posts Tagged ‘team’

Jason Mercier Leaves Team PokerStars Pro

 Jason Mercier Leaves Team PokerStars Pro

Another American poker pro has left Team PokerStars, as Jason Mercier has announced his departure from his role as a site ambassador. As with fellow pro Vanessa Selbst, Mercier’s stint with PokerStars was effective at the end of 2017.

In a blog post on PokerStars’ website, Mercier explained that the reason for his decision – his contract with PokerStars was up at the end of 2017 and he had to think about what to do about renewal – revolved completely around his family and his newborn child.

His son, Marco Henry, was born three months ago. As any parent knows, having a child changes one’s life and priorities immediately. Said Mercier:

After my son was born, I knew things were going to be different. One of the major things to address was my relationship with PokerStars. My contract was set to expire at the end of 2017, and I wasn’t sure what exactly was going to happen there. I had a lot of questions rolling around my head. Do I even want to travel now? How much can I travel? Should I continue playing poker so much? How’s it going to be on the road with a baby? Does PokerStars want me to do more? Is my wife going to continue to play poker? DO WE NEED A FULL TIME NANNY!!??

Mercier said he “delayed my inevitable contract discussion” with PokerStars, but as the end of the year drew near, he realized it was time to call it quits. He needed to stop traveling full time and be home with his family.

While I have never been and never will be in the sort of position Mercier is in as an extremely successful poker pro, I did make a somewhat similar decision with my career in the poker world, though on a much smaller scale. When I started out in poker, I covered the WSOP live in Las Vegas in both 2005 and 2006. In 2006, my wife was pregnant with our first child, who was born that October. The following year, this site’s ownership (different ownership than today) asked if I could cover the WSOP again. I said no, as I did not want to leave my wife and infant, especially since my wife worked full-time. While I missed being at the Rio, it really wasn’t a difficult decision, and fortunately, my boss was onboard with it.

“The conversation about my contract was short and sweet,” Mercier wrote. “There were no hard feelings and there never would or could be. I was a PokerStars Pro for eight and a half wonderful years. I’m forever grateful that they took a chance on me when I was just a 22-year-old kid who had just captured his first gold bracelet in the summer of 2009. There were times when I thought I might be a PokerStars Pro for the rest of my life… hey, a kid can dream can’t he? Thank you to all of the wonderful people I worked with at PokerStars, your support and friendship has been invaluable.”

At the end of the blog post, Stephen Bartley of the PokerStars Blog staff, added a footnote from the site. He briefly described how they had met Mercier and how one thing that stuck out about him was that “he came across as a man who valued nothing more than the trappings of his family, and his friends.”

“So it was not really surprising to hear that it was his wife Natasha, and young son Marco took priority over a poker career at this stage of his life,” Bartley wrote. “The pride he takes in being a father and husband is clear for anyone to see. So while he’ll be missed as a PokerStars regular, we pass on our thanks and best wishes to Jason and his family, and look forward to seeing him at a PokerStars event soon.”

Cover photo credit: WSOP.com / Jamie Thomson

The post Jason Mercier Leaves Team PokerStars Pro appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Las Vegas’ WNBA Team Has a Great New Name

 Las Vegas’ WNBA Team Has a Great New Name

When the news broke in October that the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA were purchased by MGM Resorts International and moved to Las Vegas, a few things popped into my head: a) that stinks for fans in San Antonio, b) how interesting that a gaming corporation acquired a professional sports team, c) Las Vegas really has some sports momentum right now, and d) they are TOTALLY going to flub the team’s name, if it is renamed.

To my shock and delight, though, I was proven wrong on that last point! MGM Resorts International recently announced that the new name of its WNBA team will be the “Aces.” How about that? A simple, catchy, gambling-related name for a Las Vegas sports team! And if someone doesn’t like the gambling connotations of the name, just use an excellent alternate definition of Aces, like “great” or “people who are really good at sports!” It works for everyone!

“Selecting a new name is an important and symbolic step,” said Las Vegas Aces President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Bill Laimbeer. “Las Vegas has enthusiastically embraced us, and we’re incredibly excited for this opportunity. We have a strong roster driven to succeed, which makes this name an ideal choice. ‘Las Vegas Aces’ is a nod to the excellence, confidence and competitive spirit of our new hometown.”

Excellence, yeah, when you go with one of my alternate definitions of Aces. Confidence, I guess, if you stretch it a bit. Competitive spirit? No. It’s a nod to poker and blackjack. But hey, it’s a great name, so let’s stop arguing.

As mentioned, that the league owners approved of the sale of the Stars to MGM and the subsequent move to Las Vegas is significant, as professional sports leagues in the U.S. have seemingly forever been against sports betting, or at least have tried to make the public think they are. Now, the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA were already owned by Mohegan Sun, so there is certainly precedent in the WNBA, but the sale and move is significant nonetheless. There has been a migration to Las Vegas in the past year: the NHL’s Golden Knights are in their first year, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders have already announced they are moving to Las Vegas and will be there by 2020, the Las Vegas Lights FC of the United Soccer League will begin play in 2018, and now the Las Vegas Aces are in “Sin City.”

This is the second relocation for the franchise. It began as the Utah Starzz, one of the WNBA’s original eight teams, owned by the NBA. After the 2002 season, the NBA sold all of the teams and the Starzz moved to San Antonio, to be renamed the Silver Stars (the “Silver” was eventually dropped). Good seasons have been few and far between for the franchise, which has finished with the worst record in the WNBA the past three seasons.

The post Las Vegas’ WNBA Team Has a Great New Name appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

MGM Acquires WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, Will Relocate Team to Las Vegas

 MGM Acquires WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, Will Relocate Team to Las Vegas

Fear of gambling keeps getting harder to justify for professional sports leagues as MGM Resorts International has purchased the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars and will move the team to Las Vegas for the 2018 season. After decades of staying away from the gambling capital of world, the leagues are now flocking there. The NHL’s Golden Knights just began its inaugural season, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas by 2020, and the United Soccer League’s Las Vegas Lights are slated to begin play next year.

The NBA, which backs the WNBA, has had Summer League games in Las Vegas for a number of years.

WNBA President Lisa Borders told the Associated Press, which originally broke the story this morning, that the league has been eyeing Las Vegas “for some time.”

Simultaneous to the Stars’ move comes the hiring of former Detroit Pistons great and New York Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer as the Stars’ new head coach and president of basketball operations.

“He’ll run the basketball side of the business,” Borders said in her interview with the AP. “The MGM team and the league will work to staff the business side. The folks that will run business, sales, social, digital, all the functions to run the business.”

The team will play at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Lilian Tomovich, MGM’s chief experience and marketing officer, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal of the decision, “Mandalay Bay is a smaller, more intimate arena with about 12,000 seats. We feel it’s the absolute right size arena for the fans to have that intimate experience to come watch basketball.”

As mentioned, aside from NBA Summer League games and minor league baseball, the major professional sports leagues in the United States have kept their distance from Las Vegas, claiming that sports betting can damage the integrity of the game. This is true – sports betting could damage the integrity of the game – but the fallacy of this argument is that it really doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not a team is located in Las Vegas.

In instances when someone committed sports betting crimes – say, taking money to shave points – the teams involved haven’t been based in Las Vegas or Nevada. The gambler or mobster was able to bet the money no matter where the teams involved were. Perhaps they bet with an illegal bookie, perhaps they actually placed the bets legally in Vegas (or had an accomplice place the bets). It doesn’t matter.

And today it is even sillier to worry about a team being in Las Vegas when it comes to betting on the games, as the players involved in the games could always place bets online if they want. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics kick off the NBA season tonight and if he wanted, LeBron James could logon to an online sports book and bet on or against his team quite easily. And he is nowhere near Las Vegas at the moment.

MGM is the second gambling corporation to take ownership of a WNBA team. The Connecticut Sun has been owned by the Mohegan Sun since 2003.

The post MGM Acquires WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, Will Relocate Team to Las Vegas appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

New Team Poker Organization Attempts to Capture Poker Players’ Attention

 New Team Poker Organization Attempts to Capture Poker Players’ Attention

For at least the last couple of decades, there has been attempts at creating a poker system that would involve teams. While poker is, at its essence, an individualistic pursuit, casual fans and newcomers have stated in the past that “team” competition is something they also like. Several attempts have come in a live format and now one has started for the online world.

Team Gaming announced recently their “Team Poker” concept, which has been trademarked by its founder, Glyn Ottorfy. Citing previous efforts that present “no good team play option for online poker, partly due to the potential for collusion,” Ottorfy’s “Team Poker” system has created a system that allows for tournament competitions, team versus team battles and promotions, among other things. Also taken into consideration are team sizes, with a handicap process which allows smaller teams to compete on par with larger ones.

In the effort to combat collusion, the “Team Poker” concept employs what is called by the company a patent-pending “Seating Protocol” which “eliminates any potential for collusion between teammates in poker tournaments by never allowing teammates on the same table with opponents.” Few details are provided on this “protocol,” however, including how it would apply to final table circumstances.

“Our patented system brings a synergism and camaraderie to poker that only teams can enable,” said Ottorfy during the announcement of the new organization. “We plan to re-ignite the poker industry with team and league play in addition to the traditional individual performance and reward system. Team Poker is truly the new paradigm in poker.”

Ottorfy is looking to crowdsource the backing to get Team Poker up and running. Team Poker has been posted to Indiegogo, where the goal is to raise $ 50,000 within the next two months. Several award levels are offered to those who get involved, including subscriptions for play on the site and team waivers. The newly released Indiegogo campaign has had a bit of a time getting off the ground, however.

The “team poker” concept has been an idea that has been brewing since the early 1990s. Former gaming executive Robert Turner, in a discussion with this writer, recalled having an idea for a “team poker” concept as far back as 1991. “Marsha Waggoner and I took a team from the U. S. to Australia around 1992,” Turner commented. “Mike Sexton and Phil Hellmuth were on the trip, wish I had pictures!”

In 1999, Turner was behind the creation of World Team Poker, which he would spend the next decade bringing to fruition. “We signed 285 world-class players to contracts for the league,” Turner noted, which would be divvied up originally on a country status. In 2010, the first World Team Poker competition was held at the Bicycle Casino, with Team China (featuring former World Champion Johnny Chan and Maria Ho as key cogs) taking the inaugural championship.

A second World Team Poker event was set for play in Las Vegas at the South Point Casino in May 2011, but fates would intervene. “We were set for play, had Fox Sports 1 on tap for airing the tournament in prime time, but “Black Friday” caused a delay,” Turner recounted. “We’re still keeping hope alive (about bringing World Team Poker back), however, if online poker could make a comeback.”

In its own way, the inaugural Global Poker League also presented a “team” concept. Started in 2016, the GPL captured the attention of many in the poker world, but a second season has been a bit slow in its premiere. The GPL founder, Alexandre Dreyfus, has stated he’s trying to fix issues with the league, such as its length in 2016 that lasted from March until November, before moving forward with the league.

Whether Ottorfy will be able to develop “Team Poker” remains to be seen. Changing the mindset of the “lone wolf” poker player, however, is a difficult task. Even if it is only online, Ottorfy’s “Team Poker” faces an uphill climb.

Poker News Daily

MGM, GVC Team for New Jersey Online Casino/Poker Offering

 MGM, GVC Team for New Jersey Online Casino/Poker Offering

According to announcements from the players involved, the New Jersey online gaming industry will be growing by one very soon.

Last week, MGM Resorts International announced that they would be teaming with GVC Holdings PLC – the ownership behind partypoker – to bring a new entry into the Garden State’s online gaming and poker offerings. MGM, which owns the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on the Atlantic City boardwalk (and is already offering a popular set of sites), has been looking for some way to introduce an eponymously named sites that would work as a compatriot for the Borgata operation but still be standing on its own. Later this year, MGM will offer GVC’s software to run its games (at this point, it looks like the site may be called “PlayMGM.com”), looking to have over 300 casino games along with cash and tournament poker that will not only be offered online but also will be offered through mobile variants.

Naturally, both companies were excited to extend their partnership into another venue. “We are delighted to extend our relationship with MGM Resorts and to be launching casino and poker under the playMGM brand in New Jersey,” said GVC’s Chief Operating Officer Shay Segev. “MGM Resorts is quite simply one of the biggest and best names in the business, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

Echoing those sentiments was Corey Sanders, the Chief Operating Officer of MGM Resorts. “This is a historic moment for MGM Resorts to be launching real money online casino and poker under the MGM brand for the first time. GVC has been a first-rate partner for us, and we are excited about the possibilities of extending that partnership as regulated markets open up in the U.S.”

The Borgata/GVC partnership has been a profitable one for both sides. Since their partnership began when New Jersey opened for online gaming and poker in 2013, the Borgata and GVC have earned over $ 152 million, outpacing the second-place operation of Caesars/Harrah’s and 888 Holdings (have earned slightly more than $ 117 million in the same time span). Those two organizations have dominated the online poker segment of the New Jersey industry, with Borgata/GVC slightly outpacing Caesars/Harrah’s/888 by slightly more than $ 5 million.

Whether there is enough room for another operation in New Jersey is the question, however. When it was introduced in 2013, the two properties with a similar name – the Trump Taj Mahal and the Trump Plaza – were both involved in the Jersey online gaming scene. Within a couple of months, the Plaza was left in wreckage along the side of the road, while the Taj Mahal (paired with the now-defunct Ultimate Gaming) was able to stagger on until September 2014. Once Ultimate Gaming closed its doors, the Taj Majal lost its partner in the dance and shut off its operations (both properties are now closed).

A newcomer, Resorts AC, was one of the companies that was struggling on the sidelines in November 2015, but that was before they signed a deal with the company that was thought to be the “savior” of online poker in New Jersey. Resorts AC (already running an online casino operation), and its partnership with Amaya Gaming and the #1 online poker site in the world PokerStars, came into the fray in March 2016 and, to be honest, has not brought the throngs that people thought would turn out (especially in the poker arena). Since the debut of PokerStars in New Jersey in March 2016, they have consistently been the #1 online poker operation in New Jersey, but that lead is not dominant. After an initial burst of activity, the three online rooms have settled in to divvying up the $ 2 million online poker market in the state roughly equally.

The question will have to be asked if there are enough customers to support another online casino/poker operation in the state, but we’ll have to wait to see what that outcome will be. The new MGM/GVC partnership won’t open its doors until later this year, at which point players will decide whether the newcomers are worthy contenders or just another site.

Poker News Daily



usa poker svenska poker finland poker Deutsch poker spain poker italy poker france poker japan poker greece poker china poker brazil poker denemark poker netherlands poker india poker russia poker korea poker turkey poker
romanian poker bulgarian poker croatian poker czech poker israel   poker norway poker poland poker serbia poker slovakia poker slovenia poker