In this week’s Calling the Clock partypoker hire John Duthie as President of partypoker LIVE, AI triumphs over humanity in Pittsburgh, and much more.
The poker unemployment statistics got a boost this week. The free to play online poker room Cafrino.com bumped their co-founder into the role of Chairman and brought Joseph Conner into the fold to become the Director of Poker Operations.
Cafrino.com is a US-facing online poker room that offers real money prizes by using ad-revenue money and not player money. CEO, Michael Murphy, is hoping the roles and responsibility juggle will help them move into their next phase – a subscription model.
Conner used to work for bwin.party Digital Entertainment and their former daughter partypoker were also in the hiring frame of mind this week. Who do you turn to if you want to create the baddest live tournament series in the world? You hire the guy who created the baddest live tournament series in the world.
John Duthie is the founder and former CEO of the European Poker Tour (EPT), and partypoker has signed him on a five-year deal to become President of the partypoker LIVE brand.
Duthie will work alongside former World Poker Tour (WPT) General Manager, Neil Barrett, Dusk till Dawn (DTD) Owner, Rob Yong, and partypoker Head of Poker, Tom Waters, to make the LIVE and MILLIONS brand the best in the business.
Finally, Jamie Staples will be picking up another check after agreeing to become the face of the new Canadian TV Channel PokerVision Network (PVN). Staples, a member of PokerStars Team Online, is proof personified that you don’t have to be a multiple WSOP bracelet winner, or win gazillions of dollars, to carve a niche for yourself in the poker industry.
PokerStars Random Seating & Czech License
PokerStars were also in the news this week after launching an experiment designed to destroy Seating Scripts and make the environment less hostile for recreational players.
PokerStars are trialling a new Seat Me feature in Spain. Essentially, when you sign up to play a cash game, the software will randomly select a seat for you, removing the ability for the sharks to spot the fish.
The recreational players won’t even be aware that they are getting a gift. The pros will hate it. PokerStars are also trialling a similar randomised opponent selection tool for Heads-Up matches. If the Spanish tests go well, and I can’t see why not, then watch for an international roll out.
One region where the new Seat Me functionality will be available is the Czech Republic. This week, PokerStars became the first international operator to receive a ‘Live Games’ license enabling them to offer poker and casino games through the PokerStars.cz domain name. An application for sports betting via BetStars is still in a pile marked ‘filing.’
Machine Beats Man in Pittsburgh
This week also saw the beginning of the end of life on this planet as we know it. Yes, it’s true, we are walking around the globe with a red dot on our forehead.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) known as Libratus defeated four professional poker players over 120,000 hands of Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.
The margin of defeat was over 1.7m chips or 14 big blinds per 100 hands, and I noted down a few thoughts on how the advancement of human-level intelligent AIs will affect online poker’s future.
You can read all about it right here.
Grudge Matches and Poker Ambassadors
This week, whispers emerged through the social media jungle that the Tom Dwan vs. Daniel Cates challenge might resume shortly. With Cate Hall and Mike Dentale looking to get it on in March, and Will Kassouf and Stacey Matuson squaring off as part of 888Live King’s Festival this week, I asked ten poker players for their opinion on Grudge matches, and this is what they had to say.
And I also poked and prodded around the effectiveness of the poker ambassador. I have always wondered if online poker rooms have the right metrics to determine the value of a representative and I tried to answer that question with the help of partypoker’s Tom Waters.
Check it out.
Let’s Get Personal
A 70+ strong nomination panel has nominated Mike Sexton for a record three American Poker Awards. The WPT Commentator is in with a shot of winning Poker Moment of the Year, Media Content, and Tournament Performance of the Year. Ari Engel, Maurice Hawkins, Lance Bradley, Jason Mercier, and David Peters also have an opportunity to win multiple awards.
Here is the full breakdown of the nominees.
The Aussie Millions ended with one of the world’s best, and a complete unknown, sharing the headlines. Nick Petrangelo is currently the Global Poker Index (GPI) World Number 1, and he reminded everyone why with victory in the AUD$100,000 Challenge for AUD$882,000.
Fedor Holz came third in that one, and also made the final table of the Main Event finishing fifth. The winner was Shurane Vijayaram, who won his seat playing in an AUD$130 rebuy event in the Crown Casino. Vijayaram defeated the UK’s Ben Heath in the heads-up clash to become the unlikeliest of millionaires.
Time Ladies & Gentlemen Please.
Someone has just called the clock.