In this week’s Calling the Clock we catch up on a variety of innovative angles from Unibet, a devastating server fault for partypoker, and much more.
The birds are tweeting.
My neck is aching.
I’m dying for a poo.
We’ll begin with Unibet. The Swedish online poker room had several balls rolling down the poker media bowling alley this week. Housemate Rauno Kiviloo will join Unibet ambassadors Espen Uhlen Jorstad and Rauno Tahvonen as the trio attempt to vlog their way to €1m in profit via online poker and cryptocurrency trading. Unibet is backing the project called 1 Year 1 Million.
Unibet’s parent company, the Kindred Group, shut down the Stan James arm of the business. All accounts migrated to Unibet, and at the same time Unibet opened the poker room to Irish based players for the first time since 2015. There was also time to celebrate International Women’s Day by rolling out a series of charity-based games where the queen outranked the king in a project known as #QUEENSRULE.
Skipping from Unibet to 888Poker and this week we learned that Itai Frieberger had written to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board expressing his concerns that third-party skins like 888 would not be allowed to function in the state after loud voices were heard saying that only land-based casino owners could hold online poker licenses. And the 888Live Bucharest concluded with Andrei Racolta beating 469 entrants to take the €71,042 first prize in the Main Event. Ana Marquez won the High Roller for €26,080.
And sticking loosely to the 888Poker theme, this week the Women in Poker Hall of Fame (WiPHOF) opened the nomination process for the Class of 2018. I set the lion amongst the pigeons after declaring who I thought should enter (including 888Poker Ambassador Kara Scott), which set off a very delicate age debate. Don’t go there, guys.
partypoker had a torrid week after a server failure caused havoc on the most significant Sunday of the year. The finale of the $10m guaranteed KO Series was affected as party had to cancel numerous tournaments. partypoker officials apologised for the mess, made everyone whole, and added $2m in guarantees to this Sunday’s action.
One area of success that party did have was in South America where the inaugural partypoker Latin American Poker Championships took place in Uruguay. Amauri Grutka beat a 1,137 field to win the $200,000 first prize. Party ambassador Joao Simao kept up his brilliant form with a fourth-place finish.
PokerStars announced at least eight more ways to win $30,000 Platinum Passes to the Player’s No-Limit Hold’em Championships (PSPC) in the Bahamas.
Three additional MEGASTACK events turned up on the 2018 roster in London, Dublin and a groovy little bay in France. The winner of the London event wins a seat in the PSPC. Six more passes are available in two new PokerStars Festival events popping up in Marbella and Lille. There will be at least one pass available in the upcoming $10m GTD Online High Roller Series happening later this month. Finally, the Stars Group had their highest ever payout this week, when a UK-based customer won $3.3m playing in the PokerStars Casino. The lucky punter won the money after a $1.25 spin of a slot machine.
The Global Poker Index (GPI) announced plans to create a standalone Global Poker Index China (GPIC). Players and officials believe the move is the more likely way to persuade lawmakers that poker is a serious sport. PokerStars Team Pros Celina Lin and Randy Lew got engaged. And the Asian Poker Tour (APT) partnered with the live stream experts The Hong Kong Player’s Association (HKPC) so more Cantonese speaking regions can get access to the action.
World Poker Tour News
Two World Poker Tour (WPT) events concluded this week. Dennis Blieden prevented Toby Lewis banking his second seven-figure score in a month when he won the $1m prize at the LAPC. The Aussie Millions Main Event Champ had to settle for a runner-up spot.
And David Larson defeated a record 440-entrants to win the Rolling Thunder Main Event for $295,128. The event achieved notoriety when this live stream clip of Ian Steinman laying down trip kings to Joe McKeehen’s rivered broadway straight went viral.
Bits and Bobs
Resorts World Catskill opened the largest live poker room in the state of New York this week. The new gaff has 19 tables and all the mod cons. Molly’s Game failed to win an Oscar. And the poker world lost the man responsible for the M-ratio this week. Paul Magriel passed away at the age of 71.
Most of my opinions had a marketing flavour this week.
I wrote about the difficulty online poker rooms face trying to build a brand story that fits the worldview of recreational and professional poker players in Resistance: An Online Poker Story.
I opined that online gambling firms had a lot of work to do to improve shoddy email communications in The Online Gambling Fortune Cookie Principle. I offered my thoughts on why the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is on the brink of folding in The New Marketing and How it Eluded the PPA, and lastly I spoke about why I had to back out of the PokerStars Big Race in It’s a Question of Time: Why This Face Didn’t Compete in the Big Race.
Time ladies & Gentleman.
Someone called the clock.