Calling The Clock: Baazov Resigns; PokerStars California Problem; And More

TAGs: Calling the Clock, Editorial, Lee Davy

In this week’s poker news round-up we bring you up to speed on David Baazov’s resignation from Amaya Gaming; why PokerStars may have to sit on the sidelines for five years before getting a shot at the online poker in California, and European Poker Tour payout changes.

In March, the crown that had once so elegantly balanced on the bonce of the King of Online Gambling was hanging precariously on the bridge of his nose. This week, it fell off, and an Ironsmith was on hand to melt it down into a tie pin.

David Baazov resigned from his twin positions as Amaya’s CEO and Chairman of the Board and the interim CEO; Rafi Ashkenazi is the man looking for an Ikea shoehorn so he can fit into his boots.

Calling The Clock: Baazov Resigns; PokerStars California Problem; And MoreBaazov’s reign at Amaya has been plagued with uncertainty after the allegations of insider training emerged. The announcement came amid Amaya’s Q2 earnings call. The new CEO and his team waxed lyrical about the Red Spade’s involvement in New Jersey’s online poker market (25% growth year-on-year & PokerStars traffic counted for 44% of overall NJ online poker revenue). They were less enthusiastic about the performance of real money poker on a worldwide scale with $215.6m showing a flat year-on-year performance with the Euro 2016 Finals blamed for the lack of movement.

There may be more trouble ahead for PokerStars after an 11th-hour amendment to Assemblyman Adam Gray’s California online poker bill (AB2863). The revised bill would see PokerStars miss out on the first five years of a new online poker market in the state due to a revision to the ‘Bad Actor’ clause.

PokerStars are currently sitting out that same period as per the Nevada Gaming Commission ‘Bad Actor’ clause. One other amendment to the bill was a change in proposed taxation with a sliding scale of 8.64% – 15% moving out of the way in favour of a flat rate of 10% annual gross gaming revenue.

Daniel Negreanu Podcast & EPT News

Sticking with the PokerStars vibe and Daniel Negreanu is the latest poker player to get involved in podcasting. We have Joe Ingram and the Poker Life Podcast, we have Dan O’Brien and Cate Hall on the Fighting Chance Podcast, and now we have Negreanu and the Full Contact Poker Podcast.

Kid Poker has promised to give listeners a glimpse into the inner workings of the poker industry and in Episode 1 he talks to the poker player’s agent for the stars Brain Balsbaugh, about the evolution of poker sponsorship.

The kingpin of the Team Pro operation is currently at the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Barcelona holding Q&A discussions with online qualifiers. The event promises to be another cracker, but it doesn’t look like it will be an event that uses four colour decks.

After trialling the cards in Malta last season a prod and a poke around Twitter seem to have returned a negative vibe. PokerNews ran a poll, and the needle stuck on the NO part of that potential two part answer.

There might not be four colour decks, but there are other changes planned for the 13th Season of the EPT. Neil Johnson, Head of All Things Live, wrote a blog explaining that the EPT would incorporate a new €10k Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) High Roller, and would increase the payout percentage from 15% of the field to 20%.

There was also a small comment hidden amongst the print examining the opportunity to expose live poker players to roulette, blackjack, and video slot machines at EPT events in the future.

More Live Tournament News

The World Poker Tour (WPT) signed a new five-year extension to their broadcast deal with Fox Sports Regional Networks. The partnership extends through Season XIX (2021) and will incorporate an additional 13 hours of original WPT footage.

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) Big 4 reached its climax this week. The $5,250 buy-in Main Event missed the $5m Guarantee for the third successive year. The Seminole tribe had to shell out over half a million in additional juice. Jason Koon won the event and the $1m first prize. ‘Mad’ Marvin Rettenmaier was back to winning ways after he took down the $25,500 High Roller for close to $800,000; Princeton student Bradley Snider won the $2,650 Freezeout and $246,400 first prize, and Ruslan Dykshteyn took down the $1,100 Re-Entry for $151,100.

The Unibet Open will be heading to Romania after the Swedish online poker room announced a series stop in Bucharest later this year. It promises to the biggest Unibet Open in history with a guaranteed €500,000 prize pool.

Partypoker doubled their $1m Guarantee in the forthcoming partypoker Million at the upcoming event in Punta Cana, and they teamed up with Dusk Till Dawn (DTD) and the WPT Foundation to host a new £5,300 buy-in Devilfish Cup. The event, held in honour of the late Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliot will take place as part of the WPT UK Festivities. DTD also named their bar after the UK icon and anyone ordering a vodka and Red Bull will now call it a Devilfish. 

The World Series of Poker Circuit Global Casino Championship ended with the title going the way of the Moroccan Said El-Youfi for $343,256, and two former Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) employees have teamed up to launch America’s Poker Tour. There will be a single event held at the Majestic Star Casino, Gary, Ind. before a 10-series festival breaks out in 2017. Poker Central will broadcast the event as will Comcast in the Chicago area.

Time, ladies and gentlemen.

Someone has just called the clock.


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of