In this column, we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.
Micro Stakes added on Natural8
Natural8 is riding the traffic high from the Corona pandemic and is determined to keep this going. While a lot of focus has been on big number tournament series, efforts are now being focused on the smaller stakes players.
The GGSOP, a small stakes copy of the WSOP Online, has just concluded and now eyes are on providing more small stakes cash game action.
So far, GGNetwork has offered cash games starting from $0,05/$0,10, but since the latest software update on 28th September there are four new stakes available: NL2, NL5, PLO2 and PLO5.
At the moment there are an average of 4,000 cash players on the site and launching more micro stakes levels will allow the network to reach even more players. This will continue the saga of the small Asia-facing network conquering the poker world.
The latest update also features the following:
- In addition to Daniel Negreanu avatars, there are now also Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier once available
- A redesigned “My Page” menu
- More instructions for players when reaching a final table about timebank, deal-making and seat selection
PokerStars waiting list changes
If you have played live cash games before chances are you have experienced sitting at a “must move” table. These tables were designed to always make sure the main game keeps running. So, instead of opening two tables with the danger that the first game breaks, players on the waiting list sit down in the ‘must move’ game to then be moved to the main game once a seat becomes available.
In an effort to further reduce predatory game selection PokerStars now introduced a new waiting list system very similar to this. Now players that are waiting for a seat will have to play against each other on a secondary table.
The update is called “active waiting list”. Players on the waiting list will be forced to play against each other on a secondary table until joining the main game when a seat becomes available.
Instead of letting the player that waited for the longest move to the main game first, however, a draw is conducted that is merely weighted towards that player. If players are sitting out they are not included in the draw. And in order to stay on the waitlist players have to be active first on the secondary table.
The main goal of this is to prevent players from targeting weaker players, also called “bum-hunting”, and force them to at least play against each other first. As a secondary goal it will speed up the game and wait times.
You can read the PokerStars announcement about this on their blog.
“Railbird” tables on partypoker
Many poker fans cry after the good old “rail heaven” days around 2009, when they could watch the crazy nosebleed cash game sessions on Full Tilt Poker with players like Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Patrik Antonius, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom or Brian Hastings.
Rob Young, partypoker spokesperson, has now tweeted about new “Railbird” tables that sound very much like a reenactment of the popular high stakes tables on Full Tilt about a decade ago.
FYI: New Railbird Cash Game Tables
At player request @partypoker added "Railbird Tables" 50-100 25-50 10-25 & 5-10 for players who don't mind being watched [orange icon]
High stakes only runs when there is an amateur player but we should get a few games to watch.
Cheers Rob pic.twitter.com/XBZqVy8jGV
— Rob Yong (@rob_yong_) September 27, 2020
But times have changed, and many high stakes buffs prefer shielding their play from the public eye, while playing with real names in private games, accessible only to certain players.
This development to only allow observers that are playing the stakes themselves was introduced a while back to prevent “bum-hunting” and other predatory behaviour.
The offering of high stakes tables that allow observers is now giving the players the choice if they wanted to play on a public stage.
So far these tables have not been frequented very well by players so it remains to be seen if this idea will be successful. It’s better to come up with ideas and concepts and try them out though, instead of dismissing them right away.
Fingers crossed that partypoker can succeed in building a “Rail Heaven 2.0”.
Caribbean Poker Party moves online
And while we’re at partypoker… the incredibly popular Caribbean Poker Party (CPP) that was scheduled to take place in The Bahamas from 12th to 22nd November has now officially been postponed and an online alternative has been added to the virtual partypoker tables.
The event will now take place online in mid-November. If players have won their seats they can use them for MILLIONS Online or keep them for the next live events. Passport holders can buy-in rake free and online satellites will start in October.
It’s definitely disappointing for many fans of the event as well as the operator, but things are simply still as they are in times of Covid restrictions.
GGPoker reacts to Real-Time Assistance
Recently we have reported about the scandal around Fedor Kruse using Real-Time Assistance (RTA) tools. The players that brought this to light said when they reported the allegations and proof to the big poker operators like PokerStars there wasn’t much of a response.
So they went public on the 2+2 Forum to make sure everybody knows about the issue and are aware of cheats. Since then the high stakes community is in an uproar and tries to figure out who the bad apples are.
High stakes regular Dominik Nitsche and co-founder Markus Prinz have taken an official stance with their GTO app “DTO Poker” and while pointing out that their app is NOT a real-time solving app they distanced themselves from their former ambassador Henri “Buehlero” Buehler. Buehler is not accused of being involved himself, he did however stake Fedor Kruse in those games where he cheated.
tldr: we ended our partnership with Henri.
Even though this obviously had nothing to do with DTO we take RTA extremely serious and would never make it possible for our app to be used in that way!
— DTO Poker Trainer (@DTOPoker) September 28, 2020
Now the GGNetwork made sure everyone knows where they are standing on this topic and issued a statement about steps they have taken to punish users of RTA tools.
Industry specialist and PokerIndustryPro editor Nick Jones has summarised the statement on Twitter.
Breaking: GGPoker makes decision on real time assistance:
– "Through our upgraded detection methods, we have discovered a small group of RTA users"
– 13 accounts banned, $1.2 million confiscated
– 27 further banned, no confiscation
– 40 warned
— Nick Jones (@pokerprojones) September 30, 2020
Of course it is important to shine the light on those in our industry that are not playing fair and we need to do everything to prevent this kind of behaviour. The bigger the spotlight on this gets, however, the more it will be difficult to convince already suspicious recreational players to trust their money with online sites.
2 Million Week KO on Winamax
Winamax announced a new 2 Million Week KO. It will run from Sunday, 4th to Thursday, 15th October.
The €50 (€22.5 + €22.5 bounty + €5 rake) event has 43 Day 1 flights with unlimited re-entries and a €2 million guaranteed prize pool. Day 1s will end once 97% of the field has been eliminated.
There are satellites available starting from €4 and you can read all information about the event on the Winamax website.