In this column, we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.
Natural8 – GGNet’s newest game: Battle Royale, Sit & Go Survival
The fastest growing platform has aggressively captured the attention of the entire online poker scene in the past few years or so with its impressive roster of games and name-brand partnerships. This June, the leading Natural8 – GGNet platform introduced a new format on its client entitled Battle Royale: Sit & Go Survival featuring Dan Bilzerian as the face of the game. The fresh hybrid variant runs for an hour long and perfectly suits its recreational market.
At a range of stakes from as low as $0.25 up to $10, the high speed progressive knock-out tackles a 100-player cap, with the final winner awarded after three separate stages. The first stage, Rush Zone, instantly eliminates half of the player pool in its 15-minute duration played via a fast-fold poker format. The top 50 then proceed to the second stage, Shootout Zone, where only one player per table is set to survive after another 15-minute gameplay. The final ten players will then battle at the last stage for the qualifying payouts and the accumulated bounties of each contender.
Natural8 – GGNet’s latest innovation is great for those looking for fast-paced action and something widely different from the regular sit and go’s available. Continuously bringing fresh developments to its client, players loyal to the site can always expect to look forward to new additions to their regular daily grind.
Flip & Go format enters the live poker arena
Taking in the World Series of Poker’s unique new tournament as part of this year’s 88-bracelet schedule, poker enthusiasts are beginning to question if the flip & go format can truly be adapted in the live arena. The budding format was launched earlier this year in the Natural8 – GGNet client and is set to debut in the major brand’s festivities later this fall with an entry fee of $1,000.
While the price tag is a bit hefty especially if you could easily bust out the first hand of the event, the game stands to be a novelty tournament favored by many recreational players. To give an idea of its gameplay, the first hand of the event goes through an all-in shootout where players are dealt three cards face up and given the chance to discard one. The winner per table then automatically reaches the minimum payout and continues to play the rest as a regular tournament. Players looking to score a bracelet from this said event would definitely need more luck and possibly more buy-ins to gamble with.
Another juicy $12.5M GTD Asia Poker League series underway at Natural8 – GGNet
More than halfway through the festival, the second Asia Poker League Online Series for the year is currently underway at the top network, with the first one having concluded earlier this February. The festival features a combined $12.5m in prize guarantees and an increased total of 20 trophy events running until the 27th of June.
Similarly, events of the APL online series post a buy-in presented in varying local currencies and run from late afternoon to evening for Asia Pacific time. Despite only ten trophies are left to be awarded, players can still join in on the action with several side events going on every hour. The final event of the series, the CNY 10 million (~$1.5 million) GTD Main Event is also running starting flights daily for a buy-in of CNY 1,888 (~$293).
Remaining trophy events:
|Date||Event||Buy-in (CNY)||GTD (CNY)|
|June 20, 2021||APL Trophy #11 Macau Grand Prix||3,300||2,000,000|
|June 20, 2021||APL Trophy #12 Summer Championship [Day 2]||880||4,000,000|
|June 21, 2021||APL Trophy #13 Kunshan King of the Hill [Bounty 6-Max]||525||800,000|
|June 22, 2021||APL Trophy #14 Shanghai Masters of Poker||1,100||1,500,000|
|June 23, 2021||APL Trophy #15 Xi’an Silk Road Bounty||840||1,000,000|
|June 24, 2021||APL Trophy #16 Kunming Mountain Monster Stack||550||1,000,000|
|June 25, 2021||APL Trophy #17 Sanya Bay Shooting Star||1,100||1,500,000|
|June 26, 2021||APL Trophy #18 Beijing Bounty Millions||2,100||2,000,000|
|June 27, 2021||APL Trophy #19 Superstars Challenge||8,000||1,500,000|
|June 27, 2021||APL Trophy #20 Main Event [Day 2]||1,888||10,000,000|
PokerStars’ system and Bounty Builder updates
Holding the top spot as the current leading poker network, PokerStars, just like its competitors, is constantly striving to improve its client by introducing system updates dedicated to overall player usability. Following its change in ownership last year, slight changes in its loyalty rewards program have been observed, highlighting the PokerStars brand more so than ever. A new graphics update – Aurora has also been found to no longer be an option in its European market, which only suggests it could be a matter of time until the new engine enforces a mandatory transition worldwide.
With knockout tournaments rising in popularity these days, PokerStars has recently updated its Bounty Builder series with a few changes. Some of these are known to be: a shorter late registration period (1 hour and 45 mins), increased guaranteed prize pools, reduced blind structure to 7 mins, reduced starting stacks and added re-entries. While these updates may catch the attention of casual players, the fact remains that aggressive competitors are inching closer to its top spot and it may need to adopt bigger changes should it wish to attract more new international players.
EGBA calls for re-establishment of EU Expert Group on Gambling
Recent issues concerning the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) have resulted in the organization calling the EU Commission to re-establish its 2018-disbanded Expert Group. The association highlighted its previous successes while noting that its absence has brought a lack of coordination across its €100m gambling market. Cross-border issues such as money laundering and illegal gambling were also brought up to be easier to regulate with the shared information throughout the group.
EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer said in a statement, “There is currently no EU framework for gambling regulators to even communicate, let alone to jointly tackle the big issues affecting Europe’s online gambling sector. Most of these issues are cross-border in nature and require common solutions.”
“We therefore welcome the strong commitment to regulatory cooperation and call to action from the majority of Europe’s gambling regulators. The message to the European Commission is clear: both gambling regulators and the sector itself are united in support of the Expert Group and call upon the Commission to reinstate the Expert Group.”