In this week’s Calling the Clock we bring you news of the death of online poker in California in 2016; a new YouTube show by PokerStars called Duel, and a new online poker room from Phil Galfond.
Any hopes that Californians had of playing online poker on a fully regulated and licensed site by year end died on Wednesday. As predicted, the last minute changes that sought to bar PokerStars for five years, and the subsequent refusal to back the bill by the tainted red spade, meant Senator Adam Gray didn’t even bring the bill to a vote.
Unperturbed, PokerStars turned their attention, and their millions of dollars, to the rest of the world, releasing a new online video series on YouTube called Duel.
The show, featuring the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Aaron Paul, John Boyega, Mireia Lalaguna Royo, and Sara Sampaio, shows poker as a fun sport enjoyed by some of the chicest, trendy, and most modern people in the world.
It’s sure to be a big hit.
The new video series clearly has the recreational player in mind, and that’s been the focus for PokerStars since they upset the regs with changes to the Supernova Elite bonus system at the tail end of last year.
One of those upset regs was Phil Galfond and instead of complaining while continuing to play on the site like most people, he is taking a vastly different approach by creating a new online poker room. RunItOnce Poker will be released sometime in Q1 2017, and it will be interesting to see how that one develops.
Galfond’s manifesto seemed eerily similar to that used by Unibet, and last week the Swedish online operator allowed the media who were working at the Unibet Open in Copenhagen to take a peek at Unibet Poker Version 2.0. Amongst the new features for Unibet will be a tiled option for both online poker and casino games, with sport betting and live streaming being added in the future.
Unibet left the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) in 2014 and created a new standalone product with the help of Relax Gaming. The MPN misses its little Swedish star, but it hasn’t stopped it from growing. Last week, the MPN rolled out their plans to crown The Greatest Player in the Universe as part of their forthcoming Universal Championship of Poker series. The leaderboard winner will earn that incredible title and $10,000 in cash.
Sticking with a Scandi theme and Gus Hansen was spotted playing on PokerStars last week. The Great Dane has the ignominy of being the biggest online cash game loser on the planet with losses more than $20m.
Hansen, who was also spotted playing high stakes cash games at The Bellagio a few weeks back, won a small five figure sum during his brief soiree.
From one large donator of funds to another and David Einhorn reportedly bought 3.8 million shares in Amaya Gaming Inc. this week. The founder of the $9 billion hedge fund Greenlight Capital, who is worth a reported $1 billion, donated the entirety of his 2012 $4.35m One Drop purse to charity. Here is a man who knows how to invest his money wisely. As we all complain about their customer service, it’s worth remembering that people like Einhorn are prepared to invest in the stock.
Finally, we will end with a pat on the back for these lucky individuals.
Sebastian Malec parlayed a €27 online satellite ticket into €1.2m payday when he won the largest and last European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event in Barcelona. Connor Drinan won the €849,200 first prize in the €10k High Roller, and Alex Manzano beat Steve O’Dwyer to capture the €237,500 first prize in the €10k Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) event.
Joni Liimatta shifted into a gear he had never felt before when he won the Unibet Open in Copenhagen for €79,572. Julian Sacks won the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) Main Event at Foxwoods for $148,350, and Fishing Hall of Famer, Ted Takasaki hooked himself the top prize of $52,360 in the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Grand Falls Main Event.
Time ladies and gentlemen, please.
Someone has just called the clock.