In this column we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.
Over half a BILLION lockdown dollars
We can all agree that we live in very strange times. And these times shone a light on online poker as we probably only saw once before during the 2003 boom and the Moneymaker Effect. While many have lost faith and hope when it comes to online poker, at least in the times of Covid-19 with billions of people stuck at home, we saw that it’s not dead yet.
On the contrary, my dear Watson. During the past couple of months traffic skyrocketed and poker sites’ special events and series were overrun and got extended at places to give more players opportunities to win life changing amounts of money. In total over half a billion dollars in winnings were distributed amongst the hopeful players.
The partypoker Powerfest series was the first to understand the situation and extended their series for another week and then another week. GGPoker’s $100 million GTD WSOPC series left poker enthusiasts around the world in awe.
Then PokerStars topped up the guarantees for SCOOP from $85 million to $135 million and also extended the series for an extra week. On top of that there were high roller series like Poker Masters spicing up the numbers.
All in all around $800 million were paid out over the course of three months.
We can all look back at it in awe and speak of the times when, but we need to keep in mind that these were unprecedented circumstances and chances are we’ll never see anything like this again.
888poker in WonderWorld
In all the lockdown poker boom hype 888poker has been fairly quiet. Until now. The operator just announced what might become the biggest tournament in their history.
The tournament named ‘WonderWorld’ will be a $1 buy-in $100,000 guaranteed event. Multiple phase tournaments will feed into the final Day 2 which will take place on 29th June. It’s incredible value for just a buck you might think. However, the daily Day 1s are unlimited rebuys and it can be expected to be a donk fest at start with the possibility of costing several $1 buy-ins to progress.
If you make it to Day 2 though, you are likely to have made the money. The min cash has been set to $10 already. There are even 10 cents satellites offered for the $1 Day 1 tournaments.
It will require 110,000 players to hit the guarantee and this would mean that it will be 888poker’s biggest ever tournament.
PokerStars upping the action
Antes are forced bets every player has to post when a hand starts. This spices up the pot and at the same time increases the action. Usually antes are seen in later stages of tournaments, nowadays in live tournaments also as big blind ante.
In cash games this is fairly rare, but Zoom pools have a certain dynamic where many players constantly fold hands to quickly get dealt a new one. For the players this is great as they don’t need to wait around until the hand finishes. For the operator this means that many pots might not see a flop. And no flop means no drop – so, no rake for PokerStars.
Now PokerStars is trialling a 1 cent ante for the already action-packed fast-fold Zoom tables NL2 through to NL10. In a statement it was announced, “We hope that the introduction of the ante will encourage more battles leading to bigger pots, and, overall, a more exciting playing experience for everyone”.
The poker community is debating this obligatory introduction of ante to the games and there are opposing views, of course. Some are loving it for the reasons PokerStars announced, more action and bigger pots. Other poker fans obviously have to criticise their favourite scapegoat PokerStars by saying they only do it to earn more rake.
It is to be assumed that the truth lies in the middle. PokerStars will be able to provide more action and fun for their customers while of course juicing up profits in the process.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is called ‘business’.
GGPoker receives EU licence
Obtaining a gambling licence in Europe from the Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) means that GGPoker can legitimately expand into more European markets. So far the network has operated offshore from Curacao, but has started to move into regulated markets by receiving UK, Latvia and Estonia licences, the latter two through Olybet.
“It’s always a good sign and an honor to receive a license from Malta Gaming Authority and we could not be more enthused. We look forward to signing new partnerships to continue making Online Poker available all around the world,” said Head of GGPoker Network Jean-Christophe Antoine.