On Monday, Bwin.party digital entertainment announced it had entered into an agreement with the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC) to provide online poker services to California residents if/when state politicians shift their asses long enough to pass the relevant legislation. The UAIC owns and operates the Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, which qualifies it to apply for an online poker license under the guidelines of the bill currently pending in the state legislature. However, without significant modifications, that legislation was recently described as “DOA” by a plethora of California tribal representatives. For the sake of argument, the bwin.party/UAIC deal would be for a term of 10 years starting from the passage of legislation.
Bwin.party execs have made no secret of their preference for a federally regulated US online poker market. The company has filed for an online poker license in Nevada to support their three-way joint venture with US casino operators MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming. However, not wanting to miss the party if individual states beat the feds to the punch, bwin.party has been busy preparing contingencies outside Nevada. In addition to Monday’s California dreamin’, the company announced last August that it was holding similar talks with potential joint venture partners in New Jersey.
PokerStars may not currently have a US joint venture deal – although it did once, with Wynn Resorts, and may yet again, if rumors about acquiring then dealing Full Tilt Poker’s mothballed operations prove accurate – but it does have undisputed bragging rights about ruling the online poker roost. Over the weekend, Stars dealt its 80 billionth hand, just six months after it dealt its 70 billionth hand. The 80b milestone was notched by funex700, a Spanish player who collected almost $23k for sitting in the hot seat. The rest of the players at the lucky table also collected at least $10k apiece.
In other Stars news, the company recently boosted the number of tables one can simultaneously play on Stars’ fast-paced Zoom Poker product. Players used to be limited to 24 tables, and since Stars counted each Zoom table as four normal tables, that capped your Zoom max at six. Now Stars has rejigged their formula to count one Zoom table as three regular tables, making eight Zoom tables your new limit. Then again, considering the number of hands per hour this configuration permits, the real limit may be the human brain’s ability to compute numbers. However, should Stars’ software determine that your Steven Hawking-like math skillz are legit, the 24-table cap will be automatically increased.