In this column we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.
PokerStars releases Next-Gen mobile app with biometric login
PokerStars players have long awaited an update on the so important mobile experience and after a long period of testing in smaller markets, the poker giant has finally rolled out the app to all markets on iPhone and iPad.
It’s the biggest upgrade to the mobile app in a decade and it’s not just an improvement of the existing software, it is a full rebuild. With a new tech framework it will be easier and faster for the operator to integrate new features and modules in the future.
One of the news features in the PokerStars mobile app is a biometric login, using fingerprint or facial recognition.
Partypoker’s cash game leaderboards now pay out daily
Partypoker offers 16 leaderboards for Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha, 8 leaderboards each, covering the main buy-in levels. In total $36k is being paid out across all those leaderboards every day.
$0.01/$0.02 in NLH and PLO is the lowest level and each leaderboard awards $250 per day. The highest level is $2.50/$5 for $5.650 per day. Current standings can be monitored on the partypoker website – NLH & PLO.
For two weeks now the partypoker Cash Game Leaderboards have been paying out prizes daily instead of weekly. This means players don’t have to grind for a full week to get up there on the board or have to wait a couple of days for a restart if things haven’t gone their way at the tables.
With these leaderboards partypoker is adding to the success they have seen with a similar promotion for their daily SPINS and Sit & Go leaderboards.
DOJ targets Online Poker again
Eight months after “Black Friday” forced the world’s online poker sites out of the United States, a reinterpretation was offered that the 1961 Interstate Wire Act (“The Interstate Wire Act of 1961, often called the Federal Wire Act, is a United States federal law prohibiting the operation of certain types of betting businesses in the United States” – Wikipedia) only applied to sports betting and not to other forms of gambling.
This helped Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey to pass legislation permitting various forms of online gambling.
The deadline for compliance with a new reinterpretation of the Wire Act had been pushed forward several times and in January this year a new letter from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) stating the Wire Act’s prohibitions extended beyond sports betting to cover other types of online gambling. In effect, the new opinion reversed the DOJ‘s position regarding the Wire Act, suddenly throwing into question both current and future forms of online gambling.
The case hearing of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission vs. the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) finally took place on 30th June and could decide the future of online poker in the United States.
Council for the DOJ, Jeffrey E. Sandberg, and the counsels for the plaintiffs, Anthony J. Galdier and Matthew D. McGill argued their cases on a call that was recorded and can be listened to on YouTube.
The DOJ is looking once again to enforce the Wire Act in one way or another, being clear that they are not going to go after state lotteries, but not excluding “other plaintiffs”. And when Sandberg used an example using online poker in his argument it became clear that online poker might not be safe.
Once again it is strongly rumoured that the owner of the Venetian, Sheldon Adelson, has a clear role to play in this lawsuit, pushing proceedings along. Adelson has been very vocal in the past about his goals of banning online poker from the U.S., and yet poker players flock to his poker room at the Venetian in Las Vegas, indirectly funding Adelson’s war online poker.
How the case will develop remains to be seen, but unfortunately once again the American poker players need to fear for their freedom to play online poker in their own country.
Brazilian players dominating in GGPoker Masters POY
The GGNetwork launched in 2014, focused primarily on the Asian market. With Natural8 as its flagship site, it built up a solid base before opening its doors to European and Canadian-facing operators.
GGNetwork also recently gained in popularity in South America including Brazil, opening the doors for what might be the most passionate poker players in the world. And now after such a short period the Brazilian poker players are crushing on GGPoker – Natural8.
The GG Masters have been a widely discussed event with Daniel Negreanu advertising for it wherever he could – $300,000 guaranteed, one event, one entry, one Player Of The Year. And this POY is promised a sponsorship deal worth around half a million dollars with the Asian poker phenomenon.
Half a year of the challenge has passed and six of the top 20 players in the Player of the Year leaderboard for the GGPoker Masters hail from Brazil with Ricardo “M@cacaCidado” Nascimento leading the way.
It will be tough to catch up on the Brazilians in becoming a team member of ElkY, Felipe Ramos, Daniel Negreanu, Bryn Kenny and Fedor Holz, but in case you want to get in on the action, the GG Masters run every Sunday and cost $150 to buy-in with $15 and $30 buy-in satellites available.