Billionaire investor, David Einhorn, has bought 3.8 million Amaya Gaming Inc. shares, and Dara O’Kearney writes a blog post about the same company that gives me the impression that he won’t be.
The decision by Guy Laliberte to bar professional poker players from competing in the 2016 Big One for ONE DROP creates conflicting emotions. On one hand, it’s difficult to call it a poker tournament if no professional poker players are competing, and then, on the contrary, you have the David Einhorn effect.
Einhorn took the term ‘Robin Hood of Poker‘ to a whole new level, when in 2006 & 2012, he donated his $659,730 18th place finish in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and his $4.35m ONE DROP purse to charity.
Somehow, I can’t see a professional poker player giving that much money to people in need, and it’s for that reason that the ONE DROP changes get my vote. This particular tournament transcends poker, a point we need to remember.
Philanthropists like Einhorn are a critical factor in reducing suffering in the world. So it’s important that Amaya Gaming Inc. starts performing well over the next few years because Einhorn has recently bought 3.9 million shares at $13.77 per share in the Canadian online gambling company.
Einhorn isn’t doing this because he loves his poker. He is worth an estimated $1.45 billion and has shown in the past that he’s not afraid to tangle with the likes of Apple and Microsoft. Einhorn is buying Amaya stock because he believes they are an undervalued company, and that their three-pronged attack of poker/online casino, sportsbook, and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are going to be very profitable indeed.
An EPT Trip to Far for Dara O’Kearney
One man who won’t be buying Amaya stock anytime soon is Dara O’Kearney. The Irishman has been travelling around the world competing, and having fun, in live tournaments since 2008, and so when he gets his quill out of the draw and dips it in blood, we should listen.
In a Tale of Two Tours O’Kearney writes about the stark contrast of competing on the Microgaming Poker Network Poker Tour (MPT) in Tallinn and the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Barcelona, and it’s a blog post that has picked up a head of steam.
O’Kearney begins by showering the MPN with compliments, making particular reference to exemplary customer service, before drawing a comparison to PokerStars lack of it.
The Irishman’s experience in Barcelona has seemingly left a bitter taste in his mouth pointing to the controversial decision by PokerStars to change to a 20-25% payout structure in a bid to extract more seat on bum time out of the customer.
“Before we know it, we may be playing 8 Win The Button hypers a day with 10% reg and a 1.02 buy-in min cash sipping water at the table from the sucky cup flask that is the Stars goody bag.” Writes O’Kearney.
From there he turns to the 10 am starts and how it’s made the players and the dealers ‘grumpy’. He recounts one aggressive encounter where a mild-mannered American is driven to tell a Polish player to go ‘back to their barn and milk cows,’ before stating that it wasn’t a one-off and that he couldn’t remember so many ill-tempered MTTs in a festival before.
He wasn’t alone with his thoughts.
Speaking on Twitter, Paul Newey claimed it was ‘the most unenjoyable trip for me in my four years on the circuit,’ and former EPT Main Event Champion, Niall Farrell, called O’Kearney’s blog ‘great’ and said it ‘sums up my feelings about Amaya/EPT very astutely.’
“Stars seem to be trying to weed out the pros and other winning players while making no effort to make things better for recreational players.” Writes O’Kearney.
It’s a classic tale of profit over people. The critical question being, will PokerStars have any players left if they leave the red carpet in storage for much longer.
David Einhorn doesn’t seem to be sweating.