A trio of tales from the virtual rail including a couple of stars shining brightly over the weekend, GGNetwork taking over the world one country at a time, and partypoker feeling some heat.
Three news stories from the virtual rail to catch up on, and we begin with partypoker’s decision to force players to create new aliases, and banning the ability to download hand histories.
It’s a risky and bold decision taken by the world’s second largest online poker room, and it’s gone down like a kite made from fish guts in some quarters of the poker world.
Some people are so incensed by the decision that they’ve created a website called www.protectonlinepokerplayers.com to complain that partypoker’s decision makes the site more unsafe because players no longer have the ability to research hand histories to eke out illegal acts.
As the one-page website states.
“HAND HISTORIES ARE FOR PLAYER PROTECTION.”
Also, it what can only be described as a cute marketing ploy or an extraordinary moment of coincidence – on the day partypoker ban hand histories, the Microgaming Poker Network’s (MPN), Managing Director, Alex Scott, penned a blog post reversing their decision to ban them.
“With the best of intentions, we made a mistake, and so now we’re going to make changes,” wrote Scott.
You can read the blog post in full, right here.
The man spearheading partypoker’s changes is Rob Yong, and I managed to catch up with the Dusk till Dawn (DTD) owner for a chinwag on these topics, yesterday.
During our conversation, Yong shared his belief that the owners of Hold’em Manager and PokerTracker created www.protectonlinepokerplayers.com, and said they would be better served using their talents and technology to work with online poker rooms to improve security.
“They are not in the security business,” said Yong. “They are in the business of helping people prey on the weak.”
Yong recognises that the interrogation of hand histories by professional poker players it a critical part of the process, but stated that alone is not enough to make partypoker a safe place. Yong intends to use the full might of partypoker’s new risk department, coupled with pro player involvement, to improve security at partypoker.
The voices of dissent do not come as a shock to Yong who admitted that no decisions like this are ever clear cut, and expects to lose some players in the short term, but believes the losses are worth it with the long term goals in mind.
The full interview will hit the stands shortly.
GGNetwork expands into Estonia
Speaking in the same interview, Yong said he wanted to create an independent body focused on the problem of security in online poker rooms, and once that’s up and running, you’ll imagine the GGNetwork would want to be a part of it.
A few months after GGNetwork expanded into the Latvian market, thanks to their partnership with Enlabs Optibet Poker, they’ve now entered the Estonian market.
Speaking of the Estonian invasion, Maksims Gorbacs, Product Owner Poker at Enlabs had this to say:
“We are very happy about the development of poker in our core markets in the Baltics. The launch in Latvia earlier this year was well received by the market and I am very excited for the opportunities in Estonia. Everyone in the team, both internally and GG Network, have worked hard ahead of the launch. But now the real work of giving the customer the best possible poker experience begins.”
As GG’s LinkedIn page shows:
“Taking over the world, one country at a time.”
Kelopuro and Oliver take Sunday titles
Two heroes took down PokerStars titles on Sunday.
The Finn, Sami “Lrslzk” Kelopuro beat Preben “prebz” Stokkan, heads-up, to win the 140-entrant, $1,050 Sunday Supersonic 6-Max on PokerStars for $29,852.
Kelopuro’s won $5.2m (gross) playing live tournaments, with $3.4m coming on Stars and $1m on partypoker. His biggest ever score was in 2011 when he won $735,300 after beating 380-entrants in the $10,300 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) Main Event.
Kelopuro has also won the $250,000 GTD on Full Tilt, a Turbo Series title, two World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) events, and two SCOOPs on Stars, and a KO Series and three POWERFEST titles on partypoker.
Chris “ImDaNuts” Oliver beat a field of 232-entrants to win the $22,414 first prize in the Sunday 500 at PokerStars after beating Alfred “Kzzon” Karlsson, in heads-up action. ‘bencb789’ was third, and Sam “Str8$$$Homey” Greenwood came sixth.
Oliver is a former PocketFives World #1 currently playing out of Costa Rica. He’s earned $12.1m playing online tournaments with $8.6m coming on PokerStars.
Oliver has won all the COOPs and several POWERFEST titles.
His biggest score came in 2012 when he finished 2/3,667 in the Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) Main Event for $285,310.