In this column we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.
PokerStars Stadium Series with strong finish
We have reported multiple times on the big overlays PokerStars was facing in their Stadium Series this summer. It will go down in history as one of its most costly tournament series ever.
Nevertheless, the last week of the Stadium Series showed that players are still not fully tired of tournament action. Some of it might be due to the actual reporting on massive overlays and some it due to PokerStars spending a few dimes on additional promotions to get players to the tables.
The series that lasted a full month was unprecedented and ambitious. It went live right after the $135 million SCOOP and $25 million Summer Series, with barely a week between each, and offered an average $500k GTD.
It became apparent right away that the series might be in trouble to produce black numbers with early overlays piling up in the higher tier events. Shortly after also smaller buy-in events started overlaying.
Only for the last week overlays went back to more manageable numbers, but with over $2 million in overlays in total the Stadium Series will go down in history as one of the costliest tournament series ever run.
The $5200 Grand Final High attracted 971 entries (slightly missing the $5 million GTD) and was won by Fernando ‘fviana’ Viana for a monster payout of $721,235.
The $530 Mid version of the Stadium Series Grand Final saw 4234 entries and so cracked the guaranteed prize pool of $2 million by $117k. The winner was also a Brazilian with Caio ‘Pessagno’ Pessagno taking down the $266,006 first prize.
And just to round it up, the $55 Low Grand Final barely cracked the guarantee as well with only $60k over the planned $1 million. The event had 21,207 entries with a first prize of $96k after a deal.
What all this means for the upcoming prestigious World Championship Of Online Poker (WCOOP) in autumn remains to be seen, but some industry experts expect a disaster for the poker giant.
Finally Sit & Gos on Run It Once?
Phil Galfond’s Run It Once poker site has been debatably successfully offering cash games now for a while and many players are still desperately waiting for the introduction of tournaments.
Sit & Gos had been expected to be running by the end of 2019, but as with many previous timelines also this one has been misjudged by the independent poker operator.
Now, some players on Run It Once, the 21 winners of cash game leaderboards, are invited to play money beta tests for Sit & Gos.
“SNG gameplay will take place in our private testing environment and will not be for real money,” the promotional page states. Details on this testing period will come “in the coming weeks.”
All fingers are crossed for Run It Once to move ahead fast and successfully on this as offering tournament poker is crucial to get players to the site. Waving with exciting tournament series and nice guarantees should finally move the needle for Galfond’s poker baby.
Corona Poker Boom leaving traces
The poker boom created by the Corona crisis has passed as players’ bankrolls have either been depleted or new opportunities for entertainment have arisen. But we don’t need a boom to be happy about poker traffic as it looks like there might be a longer term increase possible.
It’s tournament series that are luring the players to the poker sites, but independent industry monitor GameIntel reports that cash game traffic in the global dot-com online poker market remains up 25% year-over-year. Traffic is holding steady at around 15,000 average concurrent cash game seats daily.
This is good news as it suggests a longer lasting increase in play that might not just simply be produced by the surge during the pandemic.
Transition period for German legislation
We reported in April about the upcoming legislation for online gambling in the important German market. Germany is famous for great poker players, but they mainly came out of an unregulated market and many even left their home country to be able to fully legally pursue their profession.
In the current limbo, the different German States have taken contrasting approaches to online gaming operators. Some allowed online gambling, others have pursued action against operators.
The new law will finally be in place in July 2021. Online casino and poker will be regulated, though under strict conditions, such as a €1 per spin cap on slot stakes and overall deposit limits.
Operators need to obtain licences to operate legally under the new law. All operators now offering online gambling in Germany have been in a gray area for years and now German States discuss a possible transition period for them.
Bavaria, Hamburg and Berlin are considering allowing operators to provide online casino without any sort of restriction. Other States are still slow to respond on the topic.
It stays interesting and we can just all hope that Germany gets all of this under control eventually as it has been an embarrassing affair for the otherwise so efficient and well-organized country.