In this week’s instalment of Calling the Clock David Baazov ramps up his interest in taking Amaya private; Dan Smith promises to match $175,000 in charitable donations and much more.
It’s been a news week dominated by PokerStars, and we will start our round-up with some financial flittering.
Professional grinders might be shouting from their penthouse suites that PokerStars is Joffrey Baratheon, but they don’t seem to be doing anything about it. Amaya Gaming released official Q3 results this week, and real money active users on PokerStars increased by 3%.
PokerStars poker revenue accounted for 73% of the Amaya pie despite their $196.8m haul being down 1.3% year-on-year. But none of that has spoiled the appetite of David Baazov as he attempts to take the company private.
The former king of online gambling increased his offer to take over the company he left acrimoniously in August over insider trading allegations he refutes to this day. You can read all about his new offer and why he believes ‘private’ is the way to go right here.
Let’s hope that a newly privatised Amaya leads to an overhaul of the PokerStars Communications team. Earlier this week, PokerStars released two pieces of comms that made little sense.
The first was an email sent to PokerStars players explaining that there would be changes made to the VIP Club Program ‘sometime’ in 2017. The changes revolved primarily around screwing the Supernova players and confiscating StarsCoins from accounts that remain untouched for six months or more. The writer of the correspondence forgot to explain why PokerStars Chiefs thought the changes were necessary and why they believe they are ‘new and exciting.’
You can read my thoughts right here.
But the prize for the most unusual piece of PokerStars communications goes to Neil Johnson, Head of All Things Live. Johnson penned a blog post entitled PokerStars Live 2017: Payouts and Buy-ins and I wouldn’t understand the point of it if I was still reading by the time I got to Mars on Elon Musk’s Big Fucking Rocket.
I asked several fellow writers to explain the changes to me, secretly of course, because I didn’t want to appear dumb, and the best I got from the cream of the writing crop was.
“It looks like they were going to change something, then decided not to change it, and have written about it, but I don’t know why?”
If you can figure out how the buy-ins are changing for 2017 then answers on a postcard to Lee Davy, Dumb as Shit Writer, CalvinAyre. Here is the blog post for you to peruse.
Sticking with the live theme and PokerStars waved bye-bye to the Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) in Macau this week. From 2017, the new PokerStars Championship format will replace the event. Vladimir Geshkenbein won the Main Event, for $727,483, making him the only player to win ACOP and European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event titles. Yuan Liu won the $863,865 first prize in the Super High Roller, and David Peters won $629,868 in the baby High Roller.
And it was also a week where PokerStars announced plans to invade Portugal. PokerStars left in 2015 vowing to return once the country had sorted its online gambling regulatory mess out. That hasn’t happened as of yet, but PokerStars are planning to return nonetheless. They have obtained two licenses for their casino business, two for sports betting, and are in the final throes of applying for a poker license to join the segregated online community.
Rounding off the PokerStars news week was their intention to use their charitable arm to support the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Memorial Fund with a charity poker tournament hosted by Don Cheadle. They launched a great little tournament derivative called Beat The Clock – a four-handed zoom game that only lasts five minutes. And Jake Cody published a highly polished VLOG prompting me to ask the question: Can he be the Jason Somerville of Vlogging?
Online Poker Awards; WSOPC News And a Few Record Breakers
Online poker database MacroPoker announced plans to host an Online Poker Awards ceremony sometime in December. The Russian-facing website will recognise the very best MTT and SNG players overall and by country. Click on this link for the full list of awards.
The World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) added six more international tour stops to their 2016/17 program. Sydney, Marrakech, Campione, Cannes, Estoril and Brussels are the new locations. And Ivan Banic won the WSOPC Main Event gold ring at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov. Banic defeated 737 unique entries and 114 re-entries to take the $327,460 first prize.
The Battle of Malta set a new record when 1,813 entrants created a prize pool closing in on €900,000 – not bad for a €550 buy-in event. It was not only the largest field in BOM’s five-year history but the largest of any kind held in the tiny country. Robert Berglund picked up the €160,000 first prize.
And BOM wasn’t the only record-breaker this week.
Carl Carodenuto Made history at the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Main Event in Colorado when he defeated 490 players to win his third MSPT title in under 11-months. He earned $114,072 for his victory and is now the favourite to win the Player of the Year award with two events remaining.
And finally, Mike Sexton could become a WPT Champions Club member when he leads the final six players at the WPT Montreal Main Event. Tom Middleton won £56,255 after beating 251 entrants in the Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) Main Event in Blackpool. And Dan Smith won the hearts and minds of the poker community after promising to match $175,000 in donations to effective charities.
Time ladies & gentlemen, please.
Someone has just called the clock.