Posts Tagged ‘Tournaments’

World Poker Tour to Stream Tournaments over PokerGO

 World Poker Tour to Stream Tournaments over PokerGO

In an effort to keep up with the ever-changing times, the World Poker Tour has made the decision to live stream all its Main Tour championship events over PokerGO, the subscription streaming service from the former Poker Central.

“The World Poker Tour delivers the thrilling and action-packed poker programming our audience loves,” said Joe Kakaty, the president of Poker Central. “This partnership is part of our commitment to adding the best live poker programming to our already robust library of content and bringing it to our viewers around the world.”

Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, added during the announcement, “Poker Central shares the World Poker Tour’s vision of high-quality, entertaining poker content, and we are proud to have such a committed partner to showcase our events. We look forward to continuing to elevate the WPT product and invite poker fans from around the world to watch the World Poker Tour live on PokerGO.”

Although Season XVI has already started, future final tables on the WPT’s Main Tour schedule will be shown over PokerGO, the subscription service that can be had for $ 10 per month or $ 99 per year. The first event that will show up on the PokerGO streamers will be the 2017 Legends of Poker, broadcast from the venerable Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA. When the final table convenes on August 31, the cameras for PokerGO will be on the scene to broadcast the tournament live.

This doesn’t mean that the WPT is ditching its longtime partner, Fox Sports. Fox Sports will have the cable broadcast rights to the WPT for the upcoming season, with the first episodes expected to begin later this year. The deal allows for the WPT to have a consistent streaming outlet and provide all their Main Tour events live, something that was very inconsistent in the recent past.

The move does present a mixed bag of thoughts, however. On the one hand, the World Series of Poker has shown that people want to see poker tournaments live, especially the final table of an event. The WPT has dabbled in streaming tournaments (see previous), but it has never committed to an actual live broadcast or streaming schedule of its tournaments, depending on the tape-delayed Fox Sports broadcasts to bring its product to the people.

On the other hand, however, the move by the WPT to live stream its events might be indicative of a bigger problem. Broadcasting the tournaments over a network outlet is expensive and, if the WPT could bring its product directly to the people live through streaming and save money, then the thought would have to be entertained. Furthermore, if it doesn’t look as if there will be an audience on television for the product, it might not be worth maintaining.

Even the WSOP Championship Event had issues with its final table. Ditching the “November Nine” format it had used for the last decade, the 2017 live broadcasts over ESPN weren’t exactly stellar. While there was an overall increase in viewers comparing 2017 to the 2016 “November Nine,” the average total number of viewers for the three nights (615,000), the final night of the tournament saw a decrease in the number of viewers. In 2017, 741,000 viewers watched Scott Blumstein seal the deal and win poker’s World Championship, a drop from the 780,000 who watched in 2016 as Qui Nguyen bested Gordon Vayo for the crown.

There are two paths forward for the WPT with their broadcasts. If this experiment works with Poker Central and PokerGO, then it would give the WPT the opportunity to depart the cable spectrum and simply broadcast their events live over PokerGO. PokerGO, however, hasn’t demonstrated that it is the answer. Many have complained of the quality of the streaming product during the WSOP, while some have also complained that paying for what they’ll eventually see on a major cable network is a useless endeavor.

For now, the WPT will be collaborating with Poker Central, PokerGO and Fox Sports 1 for its broadcasting needs. Whether that will be the case in the future remains to be seen.

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

Editorial: Re-Entry Tournaments? Same Crap, Different Day

 Editorial: Re Entry Tournaments? Same Crap, Different Day

Earlier this month, the traditional finale to the calendar year for the World Poker Tour kicked off its action in Las Vegas at the Bellagio. The Five Diamond World Poker Classic had all the trappings of a big time tournament poker – exquisite location, big money and tough competition at every table. What it didn’t have, however, was one of the things that is gradually disappearing from the tournament poker world – a singular buy-in freezeout format.

The 2016 version of the Five Diamond, a $ 10,000 buy in tournament (also unheard of in this day and age), featured unlimited “re-entry” until the start of the NINTH level of play in the tournament (prior to the end of the second day of the event). Per Keith Kwazar, the statistician for the WPT, there were plenty who took advantage of this “re-entry” rule. Of the 791 entries that were received, there were 152 players that bought in twice, 43 players who bought in three times (including 18th place finisher Richard Seymour, who busted twice when his Kings ran into Aces, before running up a stack and running deep) and a stunning 10 players who bought in four times OR MORE (Daniel Negreanu is reported to have bought in SIX times).

If you’re not near a calculator, that is a total of 205 players that counted for a minimum (remember that OR MORE above) of 473 buy ins. Along with the 318 players who “only” ponied up $ 10K once, then you have your 791-entry field. If it reminds you of the day when “rebuy” tournaments were popular, you’re not out of line because the “re-entry” tournaments are basically the same crap, just a different day.

The subject was brought up by poker professional Raymond Davis, a confidante of fellow pro Allen Kessler, who was discussing Kessler’s departure 30 minutes after buying in at the Five Diamond and Kessler’s subsequent grousing about the rake at the tournament. “The rake is high at a lot of events (and) I have no complaints about it,” Davis began. “What bothers me is this re-entry BS! I think it has gotten totally out of hand!”

Davis went on to say that he could have been staked into the Five Diamond, but he felt “one bullet against people willing to fire two to three bullets isn’t fair at all.” Davis continued his diatribe in stating that the “recreational” players are “turning away” from the game and that it isn’t good for poker overall. “Whatever happened to the good old days? When you eliminated someone, they were actually eliminated?”

Overall the commentary from Davis’ Facebook followers were in his favor, including a couple of notable names in the poker world. Eric Mizrachi, the brother of two-time WPT champion Michael Mizrachi, noted in the discussion, “Nothing better than a freezeout poker tournament where everyone is equal…one shot, one chance and one opportunity is how it should be!”

Former World Series of Poker Europe champion and CardPlayer Magazine owner Barry Shulman saw the argument but countered, “Some would argue that the prize pool is relatively massive this way and some of the re-enterers are more likely to get it in bad than usual which creates an opportunity for more of a long run statistical edge for the one bullet folks.” Shulman also noted that different poker rooms have different rules and that “people should enter those tournaments that they feel comfortable playing.”

The problem with Shulman’s last statement is that it is difficult to find the traditional “freezeout” tournament anymore. Virtually every major poker tour and every major individual tournament has gone to some sort of “re-entry” format (either through allowing for multiple Day One entries or another variant, the “one time” re-entry after busting on a particular day). In fact, it has gotten so bad that some tournaments offer the option of simply buying into Day 2 for the starting stack AFTER you haven’t been able to make it through multiple Day Ones.    

More than four years ago, I touched on this subject in an editorial on these very virtual pages. It hasn’t gotten any better since then and, many would argue, it has become even more a scourge on the tournament poker world. The problem doesn’t rest on the individual poker tours or even the casinos, however. They are there to provide the game and, along the way, make a little money for their businesses (there’s quite a bit of cash that goes into the production of a poker tournament). The tours and the casinos are going to try to squeeze every ounce of blood from the turnip that they can, hence the continuation of the re-entry tournaments.

The true power lies in the players, and that is perhaps a detriment. Players, if they don’t approve of a format or discipline of the game (how many razz tournaments do you see outside of the WSOP?), can vote with the one piece of power that they have – their wallets. If players don’t show up for these re-entry tournaments, then the tours and casinos will quit using the re-entry format. Unfortunately, most players can only see the dollar signs and don’t look at how that massive number was reached. Thus, despite fevered discussion about the subject, the re-entry tournament doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

Poker News Daily

Party/Borgata GSSS V Tournaments Cancelled Because of Geolocation Problems

 Party/Borgata GSSS V Tournaments Cancelled Because of Geolocation Problems

This is why we can’t have nice things. The Party/Borgata Garden State Super Series V (GSSS V), the most aggressive tournament series the network has offered to date, was scheduled to conclude this weekend. It did conclude, but not in the way management would have hoped.

The GSSS V was announced as the largest online poker tournament series in New Jersey history with 75 events and more than $ 1.1 million in guaranteed prize pools. It was edged out in guarantees by PokerStars’ New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOOP), but that’s beside the point – GSSS V was a big deal. On Sunday, though, around 8:00pm ET, players began having geolocation issues, forcing most players to sit out. In the meantime, those who were still active were just stealing the blinds of their absent tablemates.

For those unfamiliar, geolocation is the technology used to verify a player’s location. On the New Jersey poker rooms, players must be located within state borders to play. Typically, this is a reliable system – PokerStars and WSOP/888 were not having problems at the same time – but for some reason, it was going haywire at Party. Any player who could not be pinpointed via geolocation was not permitted to play, even if they had already started the tournaments.

At about 8:30pm, Party paused all tournaments, saying that it was working to “isolate the issue” so it could resume the game. Unfortunately, the issue did not get resolved and the tournaments were cancelled before 10:00pm, including the Main Event, which had started at 5:00pm.

Borgata issued the following statement on Twitter at about 4:00pm on Monday:

We experienced a failure on our geolocation service which impacted all active players on our network, the failure resulted in the player locations not being verified. As a regulated provider in NJ, we had to adhere to the regulations and not permit wagering while a player’s location could not be verified. The technical support team worked tirelessly to identify the root cause. The issue was finally resolved late in the evening.

PartyPoker later issued a longer explanation on PocketFives and Two Plus Two saying that even if a player had already begun playing, it would have been against New Jersey regulations to allow continued play when the player’s location could not be verified. The payout solution was laid out:

At this time we will be settling the affected tournaments per our cancellation policy. This will award the full guaranteed prize money to the remaining players in the events. Players still in the tournament will be refunded the amount that would have been awarded to the next player to be eliminated from the tournament. 50% of the remaining prize pool will be distributed equally between the remaining players, and 50% will be distributed on a percentage basis according to each player’s chip count. The remaining players will also be refunded their entry fee.

That generally works, even if it isn’t completely satisfying, but many players complained that the portion of the prize money awarded based on chip stacks was calculated from when the tournament was paused/cancelled, not from when the problems began. During the 30 minutes in between, players who were forced to sit out lost chips via the blinds. Players with payout concerns have been encouraged to contact Party customer service.

Party/Borgata ran into a similar problem two years ago with the first GSSS. The network also added $ 50,000 to the prize pools of the GSSS events that were to take place the next week. As this is weekend was the end of GSSS V, that customer friendly gesture won’t happen and the network has yet to announce if it will do anything else for its players.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Adds “Win the Button” Tournaments to Schedule

 PokerStars Adds “Win the Button” Tournaments to Schedule

PokerStars announced today that it has added a number of “Win the Button” tournaments to its schedule, building on the success of this poker tournament variation in the online poker room’s sponsored live events.

The Win the Button format has appeared now and again online, but has generally just been one of those one-off, fun, gimmicky types of games. The name of the game is an accurate descriptor: in Win the Button events, whoever wins the hand is automatically put in the dealer’s position – the button – for the next hand. As most of our readers likely know, the button is the most powerful seat at the table, as the player in that spot acts last in each betting round.* There is no limit to how many times in a row someone can be on the button, so the winner of a hand already has a slight edge to win the next one and return to the button. It’s kind of like “make it, take it” in pickup basketball.

Theoretically, Win the Button is likely meant to heat up the action at the tables, as winning a pot now has the added bonus of grabbing an advantage for the next hand. There could even be jockeying in a hand to try to prevent a player to someone’s right doesn’t win, as that would put that “someone” in the blinds.

Win the Button was most recently rolled out in Event #59 of the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). 1,414 players entered the $ 320 tournament and 944 re-entered, creating a prize pool of $ 707,400. “sousinha23” of Hungary won the event and $ 104,284.57.

Now PokerStars is installing Win the Button tourneys on a permanent basis in the poker room’s schedule. There will be eleven daily Win the Button tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $ 2.20 to $ 162 plus two weekly Saturday “majors.” Those Saturday events will have buy-ins of $ 55 and $ 5.50. Here is the complete daily schedule for the new PokerStars Win the Button tournaments:

02:10 – $ 3.30 Re-Entry $ 750 Guaranteed
03:30 – $ 4.40 8-Max R+A $ 500 Guaranteed
07:10 – $ 5.50 $ 1.5K Guaranteed
09:10 – $ 55 $ 4K Guaranteed
11:15 – $ 3.30 $ 2K Guaranteed
14:00 – $ 162 Ultra Deep $ 5K Guaranteed
14:10 – $ 3.30 $ 2K Guaranteed
16:15 – $ 11 $ 3.5K Guaranteed
19:00 – $ 11 R+A $ 1.5K Guaranteed
21:15 – $ 2.20 Re-Entry $ 1K Guaranteed
23:15 – $ 33 Re-Entry $ 2K Guaranteed

PokerStars representatives offered up the usual comments about the new offering. “We are proud to continue to deliver exciting & innovative games, the largest variety of tournaments anywhere in the world and to be the home of online poker,” said Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations at PokerStars, in a press release.

Legendary poker streaming and member of Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville said, “I love the interesting twist of Win the Button tournaments. I’m very much looking forward to competing in these tournaments more regularly. It’s awesome to see PokerStars continue to innovate and develop new fun-oriented tournament variants like Win the Button.”

*Except, technically, pre-flop, but even though the blinds act after the button, they have already put money into the pot involuntary. The button is still the last to act in the pre-flop round out of the players who are not forced to pony up a blind.

Poker News Daily



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