In this column, we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.
Online Poker is back in Switzerland
After 18 months of online gambling blackout in Switzerland, there is finally some movement. The first legal poker site has launched with an iPoker skin and is connected to .com liquidity. So from now on Swiss players have full access to the games offered on the iPoker network.
The software offers cash games, tournaments, Sit & Gos and even 6+ Hold’em. Fast-fold games and jackpot Sit & Gos are not being provided. This might be due to legislation, but maybe Swiss players will get to enjoy these in the future, too.
Swiss Casinos is the leading operator in Switzerland and had partnered with Playtech before. In October 2019 they launched both a live casino offering and jackpot casino games in the market. So it feels only natural for this relationship to continue under new regulation.
iPoker Network Manager Joerg Nottebaum said, “It’s very exciting for us to re-enter the Swiss poker market with our strong partner, Swisscasinos.ch. We are proud to be the first in the regulated Swiss market and are looking forward to the Swiss poker community joining iPoker.com!”
For now, Swiss Casinos is the only online poker room available in Switzerland. However, it is likely that more will follow soon.
PokerStars tests shortened Sit & Gos
Last week, PokerStars had replaced some selected $1.50, $3.50 and $7 6-max with 5-max ones. The payouts changed accordingly to 70% and 30% instead of 65% and 35%.
In addition to this also some 10-max tables were replaced by 8-max ones.
For now, the 6- and 10-formats are restored and the PokerStars poker team is presumably crunching the numbers to decide how to proceed with the once popular game variant.
It is no secret that since the introduction of Spin & Gos many poker sites struggle to get their Sit & Go offering moving. Even a site with as much liquidity as PokerStars needs to look at solutions. These “shortened tables” tests will teach the poker giant something, but if the solution will simply be fewer players at the tables remains to be seen.
Fewer players per table means that ultimately more tables can get filled, so less wait time for players, more rake for the operator. Players are sceptical for now – but they always are.
Sit & Gos might need something else to stay alive and maybe PokerStars can have a look at how Run It Once poker is attacking the issue by combining the player pool for both Sit & Gos and Jackpot Sit & Gos.
PokerStars’ BSOP returns
After PokerStars’ flagship tour, the European Poker Tour, had its first online appearance, the poker giant did not take long to also introduce further online substitutes for other live events.
The Brazilian Series Of Poker (BSOP) had two more online versions in the past year due to Corona restrictions and it’s now coming back for a third installment. It was also the first time last week to see the Belgian Poker Challenge on the virtual calendar. The latter was held on PokerStars.be and couldn’t be played by the whole world.
The Brazilian event, however, is international and is running right now, offering 23 events, with a total of $1.23 million guaranteed. Buy-ins range from $11 through to a $540 high-roller.
GGPoker teams up with PokerShares
Poker players love to bet on things. If it’s simple sports betting, the colour of the next flop, the amount of weight someone might lose or how many hoops a guy can throw in basketball. There are always people interested in wagering money on this, in person, or through betting market sites, like Mike McDonald’s PokerShares.
The GGPoker network has now announced the possibility to bet on dedicated final tables happening on their client with the help of PokerShares technology.
The tool is incorporated into the poker client, so no need to open an external website to place the bets. You can bet as little as $0.01 and as much as $500 per bet on one, several or all poker players at the final table.
This new feature is great for player engagement as there will be even more reasons to watch the outcome of games live in the client or streamed via Twitch or other platforms.
Tesla tests in-car casino with poker
Electric car manufacturer Tesla is testing an in-car casino app including poker. The software is powered by online gaming giant Tencent. Besides all kinds of arcade games the casino offers Hold’em and even Omaha games to play at your leisure.
Of course, you can only play when the car is parked and these kind of entertainment offerings are specifically dedicated to help drivers bridge the time when their electric car is recharging.
It’s great to see poker being on the minds of developers around the world and placed in front of people in all areas of life. The more people join in this amazing game that we all love so much, the better.
For now the software is only tested in the gambling heavy market of China. Next step: real-money? On the whole doubtful!