In this week’s poker news round up 888Poker sign an extension to their World Series of Poker sponsorship deal; create a new loyalty program called 888Poker Club, and much more.
It makes a change not to lead with a flurry of PokerStars activity this week after 888Poker stole most of the front-page headlines.
It began with the news that their agreement to sponsor the 2015 World Series of Poker (WSOP) rolls on to cover the 2016 extravaganza. 888Poker also sponsored the 2015 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE), but there is no word on an extension with this particular beauty should it pop up again by the end of the year.
The deal means the 888 brand will feature on their web page, live reporting pages, and throughout ESPN coverage. The press release wasn’t clear on whether 888Poker would have exclusive rights to send online qualifiers to the WSOP – a point of note given PokerStars’ New Jersey debut in March.
Much later in the week, they floored their high stakes grinders by announcing the removal of the word ‘Rakeback‘ from their vocabulary. The second largest online poker room in the world announced plans to make wholesale changes to their Rewards Program with the intention of taking money from the grinders and disseminating it amongst the recreational players.
The new loyalty program is called 888Poker Club. They are taking gamification to heart. Players will level up to earn points for completing a series of challenges. The challenges will take a more holistic look with poker, casino and sports betting thrown into the mixing bowl. The new look program begins on March 28 when more intimate details will be revealed.
Poker, the Presidency, and PokerStars
Two of our own got some airtime courtesy of the US presidential candidacy this week. Firstly, Phil Hellmuth conducted a phone interview with an MSN reporter where he called Donald Trump a Loose Aggressive Player (LAG). Fortunately, the writer knew a little something about poker, so he didn’t confuse the word LAG for SLAG.
Next we saw 2006 WSOP Main Event Champion, Jamie Gold, appearing on Fox News airing his opinion on the betting odds for the Presidential race despite the act being illegal. Gold swerved that one by basically telling the general public that there are plenty of ways to get a bet on…nudge…nudge…wink…wink.
Sticking with an American theme and The Californians for Responsible iPoker (otherwise known as the PokerStars Coalition) increased their size by one after the United Auburn Indian Community joined the coalition somewhat through the back door.
You would expect the handshake to have been greeted with some fanfare; instead, their name was exposed on the bottom of a letter of support that the coalition wrote in favour of Assemblyman Adam Gray’s latest attempts to bring online poker to the Golden State. Something tells me that was a mistake. Nobody from the coalition has come forward to dismiss the notion.
It’s not only Californians who aren’t allowed to have a bit of fun with PokerStars. Austrian based poker players were told this week that they were no longer welcome on PokerStars.fr. The decision was made due to changes in existed VAT tax laws that would see Stars paying both the French and Austrian governments.
Home Games and TV Games
If you think it’s absurd that online poker in California is illegal, then your mind will be blown to smithereens to learn that if you were living in the state of Maryland and decided to play poker in your home for pennies, you could face a year behind bars and a $1,000 fine.
Yes, throwing copper coins on your kitchen table is illegal if there is a deck of cards involved.
How will the cops even know there is a game, and if they did, would they bother raiding granny?
Of course not, and this is why it’s even barmier that Maryland lawmakers are currently wasting everyone’s time trying to change those laws. This week we learned that in the very near future people living in Maryland will be able to play in the comfort of their home as long as they only do it once a week, don’t play for more than $500 in a 24-hour period, and only play with people they love and care for.
It’s easier to switch on the TV and watch the bloody thing, and if you do that, and find Season 4 of Poker Night in America staring right back at you, then you might see the chiseled mug of Joe Stapleton. The European Poker Tour (EPT) co-host agreed on terms to join PNIA ranks this week.
Last week we brought you news that PNIA producers Rush Street Gaming were bringing a second TV show to your screens called The Final Table, well the UK are also getting in on the act after Good Egg Productions announced plans to launch Celebrity Poker Home Game on Channel 4.
People who did the right thing this week include Edmund Yeung winning £210,000 at the 2016 Sky Poker UKPC Main Event, and Brent Roberts winning $205,944 at the WPTDeepstacks at Parx.
Time ladies & gentlemen, please.
Someone has just called the clock.