Posts Tagged ‘William’

William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair Competing to Acquire CrownBet

 William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair Competing to Acquire CrownBet

Gambling industry consolidation talks have started up again, this time with Australian bookmaker CrownBet as the acquisition target by both William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair. CrownBet is 62 percent owned by Crown Resorts – Crown Melbourne is the host venue of the popular Aussie Millions poker series – which is itself part of James Packer’s gambling empire.

The news of William Hill’s interest in CrownBet broke late last week and a William Hill spokesperson confirmed to financial media that there were “very preliminary discussions” going on between the two companies.

That spokesperson, though, cautioned against anyone getting too excited over a possible deal, saying, “This industry is undergoing consolidation and people in the sector talk to each other all the time. Don’t look too much into this as a firing gun.”

William Hill got into the Australian sports betting market several years ago, when it bought Sportingbet and It has not done well in Australia, though. Canaccord Genuity analyst Simon Davies told The Telegraph that the move has been “fairly disastrous.”

Fortunately, Australia only comprises about six to seven percent of William Hill’s sports betting business.

Not long after the word got out about William Hill’s talks with Crown, Reuters reported that Ireland-based Paddy Power Betfair was also courting the Australian company. No further details have been forthcoming.

Both Paddy Power Betfair and William Hill have been involved in the gambling industry’s consolidation in recent years. Paddy Power and Betfair, once rivals, agreed to a merger in August 2015. Paddy Power owners controlled 52 percent of the company in the deal. It was one of the rare combinations in which the two companies had a strong understanding of the other before the merger took place, as Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran was once COO of Paddy Power.

Edward Wray, co-founder and Chairman of Betfair, told The Financial Times of Corcoran back then, “He knows both businesses inside out. Often when you do a merger, it is 25 per cent known and 75 per cent unknown. This is the other way around.”

William Hill has been very active in the M&A arena. In 2015, the company was thought to be one of the suitors for and before that, it attempted to acquire 888 Holdings. William Hill was in talks to merge with Gala Coral, as well, in 2015, but nothing ever happened there. Gala Coral eventually joined up with Ladbrokes.

Last year, in a reversal, 888 Holdings attempted to acquire William Hill, teaming with The Rank Group to do so. William Hill rejected multiple bids by the duo, rankling 888 owner Eyal Shaked, who tweeted, “Pure ego made #WilliamHill reject #Rank and #888 £3.16bn bid and that will be their downfall.”

Also in 2016, William Hill and Amaya Gaming – now The Stars Group, parent company of PokerStars – were in talks about a “merger of equals.” Mads Eg Gensmann and Edoardo Mercadante, co-founders of Parvus Asset Management, William Hill’s largest shareholder, hated the deal, writing to the William Hill board, “We strongly encourage that the board and management stops wasting valuable time and shareholder resources pursuing this value-destroying deal.”

Eventually, talks were canceled. Stay tuned to find out if William Hill finally finds a merger partner.

The post William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair Competing to Acquire CrownBet appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Stacy Matuson Crushes William Kassouf in “The Grudge Match”

 Stacy Matuson Crushes William Kassouf in “The Grudge Match”

In a specially staged event by 888Poker during their 888Live Poker Festival schedule at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, 2016 World Series of Poker combatants Stacy Matuson and William Kassouf came together to continue their battle. In “The Grudge Match” broadcast over 888Poker’s Twitch stream, Matuson rather handily defeated Kassouf in the best-of-three match by the score of 2-0.

Matuson, who admitted to Poker News Daily that there was no animosity between her and Kassouf in scheduling this heads-up battle but rather just a good-natured competition, seemed to have the best of everything throughout the quick match. The cards came her way, the flops worked to her advantage and she was able to keep Kassouf off-balance for the entirety of the match with an aggression that wasn’t something she displayed last summer. But it was the changes in Kassouf that might have caught the viewers by surprise.

While he wore an LED visor that constantly scrolled “COCONUTS” (one of the catchphrases he used during the WSOP) across the lenses, that was pretty much the only thing that would lead people to believe it was the same Kassouf from last summer’s WSOP Championship Event. In the heads-up battle, Kassouf was silent for stretches of the competition and, when he did go into his “speech play,” the announcers were quick to notice the fact that – at least for this competition – he was usually folding the hand. That didn’t stop Matuson from jokingly donning a prop pair of oversized headphones during the match.

As far as the competition, there wasn’t much between the twosome. Starting off with 10,000 chips and 12-minute levels, Matuson and Kassouf would make the first game of the match a drawn out affair. Matuson was finally able to whittle Kassouf’s stack down to only three big blinds and, when he moved in with a K-2, she had every reason to call with her J-8. While the flop was fortuitous for Kassouf in keeping him in the lead, Matuson would hit runner-runner Jacks for trips to take Game 1.

Game 2 was much quicker than their first round. With pal Michael Mizrachi (her partner in a dealer’s school in Hollywood, FL) on the 888Poker broadcast, Matuson played power poker against Kassouf, who seemed to be unprepared for her aggression. After about 30 minutes, Kassouf raised with an A-7 and, after a three-bet from Matuson, thought he’d found his spot to attack. Kassouf moved all in and Matuson snapped him off, turning up pocket Jacks for the battle. Once the board ran out six-high, Matuson snatched the victory in a rather easy fashion.

After Matuson picked up $ 1000 and a trophy for the victory in “The Grudge Match,” both sides were gracious. Matuson stated over Facebook to her fans, “Thank you for all of you that supported me and showed so much love! Grateful!! Did it for all of you!” Kassouf admitted that heads-up wasn’t necessarily his forte and that Matuson “seemed to have gotten some coaching” since their clash back at the WSOP.

Of course, the reason for “The Grudge Match” was the tete a tete between the two during the 2016 WSOP Championship Event. Deep into the tournament – and on a ten-high board that appeared completely innocent – Kassouf and Matuson knotted up in a hand. Matuson, holding pocket Queens, was debating a big bet from Kassouf, who was engaging his “speech play” that many felt stepped over the boundaries of simple table talk. Matuson folded that hand and Kassouf showed his nine-high bluff (the birth of the “nine high like a boss” line that has become overplayed) to Matuson’s chagrin. Soon afterwards, Matuson was eliminated from the tournament when her pocket Aces were cracked, leaving her to wonder what might have been should she have called Kassouf on the hand.

For the broadcast of “The Grudge Match,” viewership on the 888Poker Twitch stream vacillated between 600 and 1000 viewers at any one moment. Whether that translates as a success or not is something that is difficult to quantify (it was morning in the States of America and the comments from the viewers in the Twitch chat room weren’t exactly printable in some cases, but they were constant and engaged) but the poker world did stop to watch. Whether anyone outside of the poker world did is debatable point.

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Editorial: Do We REALLY Need to See Stacy Matuson and William Kassouf Heads Up?

 Editorial: Do We REALLY Need to See Stacy Matuson and William Kassouf Heads Up?

It is early in the 2017 poker calendar, so there have been few things that have grasp the attention of the poker world. There’s discussion as to whether the PokerStars Caribbean…whoops!…the PokerStars Championship Bahamas was a success or not (when you have a premier high roller in Paul Newey dissing the offering, you might have a problem) and there’s the Aussie Millions Main Event, which begins Sunday in Melbourne. Beyond that, there’s not much else other than the latest state in the States of America to tease its citizens with online poker regulation. That must be the only reason that the news regarding Stacy Matuson and William Kassouf has gotten so much attention.

After their public tête-à-tête during the 2016 World Series of Poker Championship Event – in which Kassouf, utilizing what has become his increasingly irritating habit of talking every hand up like it’s a decision whether to fire nuclear weapons or not, badgered and berated Matuson during a key hand late in the event – the poker community has drawn up battle lines as to which side they were on. For those who thought Kassouf was out of line with his actions, they’ve found a pleasant person to support in Matuson, who has been around the poker world for some time and built up some goodwill. For those who believe that Kassouf was just “playing the game,” it was an opportunity to cry about how the game of poker has gotten too “politically correct” (sound familiar?). So, what is the logical next step? That’s right…a heads-up match!

Matuson, who will be at the 888Live festival at the King’s Casino in Rozvaodov, Czech Republic to start February, challenged Kassouf to a best-of-three heads up match while she is in the country. Kassouf, who never met a camera he didn’t want to suck up to, accepted the challenge. Here’s the question, however…do we REALLY need to see Matuson and Kassouf play?

It is one of the most boastful things – and usually it never happens – when there’s a dispute online regarding the play of a hand, someone feels their manhood has been assaulted or they are just generally a jerk. “HU for rollz” has arguably become the most typed sentence in an online poker chat room box – exceeded only by the insincerity of “nice hand” – and it usually ends when one player or the other loses their table stake or they are knocked out of the tournament. In live events, it rarely reaches this stage because…well, in public you act like an adult.

To be honest, Kassouf has come off like a massive tool during and since the WSOP. Prior to the 2016 event, his “best achievement” had been a sixth-place finish at the 2009 Irish Open (a $ 133K score). EVERY OTHER FLAG Kassouf had on his Hendon Mob resume prior to the 2016 WSOP were in the four or five-digit range, with the largest one a $ 32K win on the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour in 2014. So it isn’t like Kassouf was lighting up the European poker scene prior to his “moment in the spotlight” in Las Vegas last summer. (Add in his “bought” win in the final High Roller event at the European Poker Tour event in Prague in December and the “tool factor” rises to immaculate levels.)

Matuson shouldn’t escape scrutiny here, either. What purpose does it serve her to keep this “rivalry” going on? She’s well respected in the poker community, she pretty much had the “people’s support” on her side after the WSOP and, by being the one to make the challenge, comes off as the aggressor in the situation rather than the aggrieved. She could have just sat back and waited until the next time her path crossed with Kassouf, bust him there and get even more attention and glory…instead, she chose to unnaturally push the issue now.

Finally, what does it say about us in the poker community? We continually state we want the game of poker to be taken seriously as a “mind sport” or whatever your particular vernacular would be, but then we support things like this (and other “prop betting”) that make those in the game of poker look like sideshow freaks rather than accomplished members of society. We want to get more women in the game, but then we promote someone such as Kassouf who denigrated a woman at the table AND FURTHER REWARD HIM by letting him buy championships and probably go even further into his “speech play” in this heads-up match than what he did previously. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard but it seems we always end up sinking to the depths of depravity.

This carnival act – along with the vitriolic heads up battle that is forthcoming between Cate Hall and Mike Dentale (and there’s some TRUE animosity between that twosome) – isn’t something that poker should be promoting. Sure, it’s entertaining in that “train wreck” sort of way, but it does nothing to advance the game or the people that populate it. Thus, when the Matuson/Kassouf and Hall/Dentale matches are being streamed online, I won’t be watching. And, if you’re a TRUE poker fan, you’ll ignore the circus also because we really don’t need this to be the focus from those in the “mainstream” world.

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William Hill Closes Czech Player Accounts Following New Gambling Law

 William Hill Closes Czech Player Accounts Following New Gambling Law

Prominent online gambling site and sports book William Hill has withdrawn from the Czech Republic market as the result of new internet gambling laws that took effect at the turn of the New Year. In an e-mail to affiliates last week, William Hill indicated that it may ramp back up in the Czech Republic sometime in the future.

Here is the e-mail, as sent to William Hill affiliates:

We would like to inform you, that following recent regulatory developments in The Czech Republic, William Hill will cease to accept business from customers in The Czech Republic. This means, that none of William Hill’s products will be available in The Czech Republic, though players will be able to withdraw from their existing account balances. Furthermore, affiliates are required to remove all marketing materials from their websites (including banners, text links, etc.) that relate to Czech Republic bettors. We value your cooperation and contribution and though William Hill is obliged to cease to accept business from customers in The Czech Republic, for the time being, we are confident that we will have the opportunity to work together in the future. In the meantime, if you require any help or assistance on this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact your affiliate manager…

The “regulatory developments” likely have to do with the new gambling law, signed by Czech President Miloš Zeman in July 2016, which require operators based in the European Union to acquire Czech online gaming licenses in order to offer their services to Czech residents. As William Hill does not have one – there seem to be only eleven operators that do – it decided not to run afoul of the country’s new law. The letter quoted above seems to imply that the company feels confident that it will obtain a license at some point.

It is entirely possible, though, that William Hill and other major operators won’t seek licenses, though, as the tax structure implemented by the new gambling law is extremely punitive. Licensed internet gaming operators will now be taxed 35 percent of gross gaming revenues from any game that uses a random number generator. Naturally, this includes poker in addition to casino games like blackjack and roulette. Sports betting and lottery revenues are taxed at 23 percent. On top of that, the operators still have to pay a 19 percent corporate income tax rate.

Many, if not most, operators will find this taxation way too prohibitive to make it worth getting back into the country. The tax rate was no accident, either. Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, the man who originally introduced the new online gambling bill in 2014, is very anti-online gambling, but rather than try to ban it and leave players without protections and the government without the tax revenue, he decided to just tax the industry out the wazoo. His idea was that such a high tax rate will keep operators away and he will get his wish of no internet gambling, anyway.

Of course, it could backfire on him and just encourage residents of the country to frequent unregulated sites, increasing their risk and keeping money out of the government’s coffers, anyway.

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William Kassouf Subject of Reddit AMA

 William Kassouf Subject of Reddit AMA

Riding the wave of attention – whether it is a star turn or the latest villain to be crowned at the World Series of Poker is up to individual tastes – that he has received, poker professional William Kassouf was the subject of an Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on the popular site Reddit. During his Q&A with the general public, Kassouf opened up a bit about his actions at the WSOP and other areas that he was queried on.

Of course, many of those in the AMA audience wanted to know more about his actions at the WSOP Championship Event this summer. On his way to a 17th place finish, Kassouf managed to either entertain or offend pretty much everyone in the Rio with his (let’s say) deliberate pace of action and what he called his “speech play.” That “play” in particular – in which he would verbally bombard his opponent with a myriad of questions, bluffs, suppositions and other borderline actions – was what most of the online viewers wanted to know more about.

When asked about his speech play and whether if everyone started to employ such a style would ruin the game, Kassouf responded, “It’s not for everyone. I think everyone should have their own style and way of playing if they are comfortable with it and opening up and potentially giving away tells and possibly giving away the strength of their hand in order to get information from their opponents as to the strength of their holding, then so be it.” Kassouf would continue with a tsunami of nonsense following this lengthy statement and never answered the question.

When asked how tough the players were at the WSOP, Kassouf had an answer that is sure to cause some turmoil. “It’s a mixed bag, really,” Kassouf said. “I think the standard of play in the EPT (the soon-to-be-disappearing European Poker Tour)…you could say (is) a bit tougher than the WSOP.” Kassouf went on to soften this statement a bit in saying “It’s a luck of the draw who you get at the table, you’re unlikely to get Negreanu, Ivey, Hellmuth, Matusow all on one specific day.”

Kassouf didn’t spare the criticism of WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, either. When asked about “obstacles in poker other than Jack Effel,” Kassouf ripped in by saying, “Effel…knew I was a lawyer so I’m going to argue my case.” Kassouf continued by saying that Effel “effectively gave quite bad rulings that were completely wrong, unjustified, and weren’t relevant to the actual situation at the time.”

The cast of characters that Kassouf was seated with when he was eliminated also drew his scorn. “Most of my opponents on Day 7…just lost it and got frustrated and called the floor on every hand and tried to moan and bitch about me to the TD,” Kassouf griped. “I’m taking my time in every hand and giving them a speech in every hand, so what? You’re allowed to talk to your opponent heads up.”

Kassouf didn’t stop there, however. “What I think was ridiculous was how they acted, like a bunch of cowards really, with (Cliff) Josephy being the ringleader of the pack, being the shepherd of the flock if you like, and the rest of them being all the sheep that jumped on the bandwagon, to try to call me out, try to get me a penalty, try to chop me down because they couldn’t take what I was doing with my speech play in every hand. They couldn’t take it, couldn’t handle it.”

Regarding the table, Kassouf also called out Griffin Benger – who memorably took Kassouf out when he coolered Kassouf’s pocket Kings with pocket Aces – for his behavior. “Benger should have his man card revoked for acting like such a little bitch, in my opinion. And thanks for the Grade 11 psychology ‘I have a great life, I don’t care what happens in the hand’ rant, I was so enlightened…fucking pussy.”

Whether Kassouf continues to have a successful career in the tournament poker world or heads back to the barrister’s office remains to be seen. He has some middling results since his deep run in Las Vegas this summer, but hasn’t cashed in anything higher than a £500 tournament. It is obvious from his Reddit AMA, however, that he regrets none of what went on this summer.

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