In this week’s Calling the Clock we bring you up to date on the news of the Global Poker League draft; sweeping changes around the poker rooms of the world and much more.
We will begin this week’s roundup of poker action with news of the most exciting and new poker tournament in modern times.
The Global Poker League (GPL) Draft will take place February 25. We now know who will be available for selection. Of the 1,000 players eligible, 203 of them signed a contract and sent it by carrier pigeon to Castle Global Poker Index (GPI) in Malta.
Players from 36 different nations are involved: over 50% of them are American (103); Canada (13) and Russia (10) are the other two countries in double figures. There is a healthy mix of players of all ages, both online and live skills, cash and tournament experience, and eight female players.
Six of the GPI Top 10 are involved. The only notable omission is the whirlwind Steve O’Dwyer. The tournament would have also been stronger had the reigning World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion; Joe McKeehen signed up.
Other notables included are Martin Jacobson, Phil Galfond, Vanessa Selbst, Fedor Holz, Dani Stern, Jason Mo, and Antonio Esfandiari.
For the full draft, click here.
Sweeping Changes For Online Poker Rooms
Poker rooms around the world, both online and live, were featured heavily in the news this week.
We will begin with the world’s largest online poker room.
PokerStars announced plans to scrap heads-up tables. The company said it was a move designed to reduce ‘predatory behaviour’. The only method of heads-up poker at PokerStars remains the Zoom tables.
In stark contrast, Stars released a new mobile game called Duel. It’s a new game that allows competitors to play heads-up against each other, in a multitude of different matches, played out over days, weeks and months, rather than seconds. Imagine poker having a lovechild with Words With Friends and you’ll get the picture.
The site also witnessed it’s fastest ever millionaire this week. As always it was a Russian. Rainman731 won a $100 Spin & Go in less than two minutes. His two opponent’s won $100,000 consolation prizes. Another millionaire will be created during the 10th Anniversary of the Sunday Million. $10m in guaranteed prize money will be added to the coffers of that event.
There was still no official news on the proposed takeover by Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov, but news reports suggest he is continuing to build up to it. According to those reports the King of Online Gaming has hired Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs to join his team. Amaya Gaming has reportedly hired Barclays and Blake, Cassels & Graydon.
PokerStars.fr could soon see an upturn in revenue. The will they, won’t they narrative of the French online poker liquidity tale took another twist this week after PokerNews announced plans for a new Digital Bill to be tabled in April. If successful, the net will be widened to allow players in the likes of France, Italy and Spain to compete in the same cash games and tournaments.
PokerStars sister site Full Tilt were also in the news this week. They launched details of the Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS) XXIX. The biggest story to fall out of that press release was the death of the MiniFTOPS series, and the fact that FTOPS XXIX would be held at the same time as the $5 Million Guaranteed partypoker Power Series.
The Power Series will offer tournaments across four different weight classes: Featherweight, Middleweight, Heavyweight and High Roller. The new series replaces the popular PokerFest. There will be 98 tournaments in total.
Partypoker player’s withdrawing their winnings during that series have some good news after the site declared they have abolished payment processing fees. Skrill, Neteller and WebMoney have come in line with the likes of Visa, Mastercard and PayPal to offer a 0% withdrawal system.
The impact of GVC Holdings on partypoker became more apparent this week after it was announced the online poker room will be setting up camp in 21 new gambling markets. Sites previously blocked by Bwin.party in 2013, and a host of new ones populate that list.
The Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) was also in the news this week. PKR joined the site leading many experts to believe they now had the firepower to become more successful than the partypoker mentioned above. The MPN’s Head of Poker, Alex Scott, also rolled out a series of changes designed to improve their Sit n Go offering across the network.
There were also changes across the pond. WSOP.com introduced a new Winner Takes All format. The new tournament series included an unusual gift of steak knives for the runner-up, and a special steak knives free roll that would see the winner pick up a $100 steak dinner.
The Wynn Poker Room declared their intention to move. A new 8,600 square feet poker room will open up alongside the Encore Players Club. It will open at the end of May.
Bits and Bobs
The Flying Dutchman, Marcel Luske, has launched FiDPA Travel. He has partnered with MainEventTravel (MET) in his new endeavour. Luske hopes to get a little cosier with the poker community by offering an end-to-end travel and accommodation solution for live tournament players.
The 16th Annual GPI European Poker Awards (EPA) will be held in Monte Carlo. Poker Central inked a deal with Buckeye CableSystem. A former crack dealer won close to $300,000 at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Winter Poker Championships; Chris Leong won $816,246 in the Main Event, and David Kruger won $198,657 at the WSOP Circuit (WSOPC) event at Horseshoe Tunica.
Time ladies & gentlemen, please.
Someone has just called the clock.