PokerStars has notched a couple more victories in its ongoing war against poker tracking sites. In April, PokerStars sent ‘cease and desist’ letters to data miners Poker Table Ratings, demanding the site remove Stars player data from its product offering and threatening to strike down with great vengeance and furious anger if PTR failed to comply. Stars followed that up by seizing PTR’s domain, which prompted PTR to hoist the white flag and promise to work with Stars to provide its more freewheeling players with an opt-in service. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, fellow data miners Poker-Edge removed Stars player data not long after the Stars/PTR dust-up.
Stars has now convinced two more data diggers to get with the program. Pokerfuse reports that Sharkscope and Official Poker Rankings have agreed to institute a fully opt-in policy regarding the inclusion of Stars player data in their online tournament results. The two sites had been tinkering with opt-in/out functionality on a trial basis, but apparently the verdict finally came in as ‘guilty’. A notice posted to the SharkScopers forum said the company had made “great efforts to collaborate with PokerStars on their 3rd party data collection policy. Unfortunately now the time has come where they are requiring us to completely implement their opt in procedure on their .com network, even for subscribers.”
The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) launched its eighth season this week on 250 TV stations across America. While Fred Bevill and Chris Hanson will continue to man the broadcast booth, this season marks the addition of Phil Hellmuth to the show as host of the “pro tips” segment. Meanwhile, HPT’s former parent company All In Productions (AIP) has submitted a bid to reclaim its assets from the ashes of the Federated Sports + Gaming (FS+G) bankruptcy. FS+G purchased HPT from AIP in June 2011 for $2.95m, but FS+G has only paid AIP $1m to date (and that was loaned to FS+G in January by Pinnacle Entertainment), leaving $1.9m still owing.
WickedChopsPoker got hold of US Bankruptcy Court in Maryland filings in which AIP submitted a bid of $1.5m to regain control of HPT. The bid would essentially erase FS+G’s outstanding debts to AIP, but AIP’s bid also contains a $100k offer for FS+G’s “good” assets, including the Global Poker Index, the TV production components of FS+G’s mothballed Epic Poker League and FS+G’s contractual relationships with partners like the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. The bid was submitted on May 8, at which point began a 30-day countdown for the court to consider the offer. However, a bankruptcy attorney told WickedChops the process will likely drag on as other entities submit their own bids, culminating in an auction and an overdue end to this Epic madness.