Weekly Poker Roundup: August 14, 2016
Doug Polk on Rags to Riches Quest
Professional poker player Doug “WCGRider” Polk has set out upon a personal challenge this week to turn $100 into $10,000 playing online poker. He will be playing the entire challenge on WSOP.com in Nevada.
Chris Ferguson succeeded in what is arguably the most famous bankroll challenge about a decade ago, but unlike Ferguson’s quest, Polk has said that he is implementing no rules. Ferguson stuck to very strict rules concerning buy-ins and when he could move up or had to move down in stakes, but Polk’s goal – other than growing $100 to $10,000 – is to simply not go broke. He is treating the challenge money like it was his real poker bankroll, so naturally, he is starting in penny blind No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha games, as well as $1 tournaments and heads-up Sit-and-Go’s.
In an interview with PokerUpdate.com, Polk said, “I took on this challenge because I want to prove that, even in today’s tough online poker ecosystem, a hopeful micro stakes grinder can still run up a bankroll. The days of the 2003 poker boom may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up and blame our failure on the system.”
Polk is streaming his sessions on Twitch. Fans can also follow his progress on UpswingPoker.com.
Bovada Selling Online Poker Room to Ignition Casino
Bovada surprised the poker world Tuesday that it is selling its U.S.-facing online poker room to Ignition Casino. Bovada Poker has advised its customers that they will need to transfer their accounts to Ignition by September 30, 2016, after which date they will no longer be able to access Bovada Poker. Players will still be able to use sports book and casino – only poker is moving to Ignition.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding this acquisition by Ignition, as not much is known about the site. It is owned by Lynton Limited and licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC). It appears to possibly be a skin of Bovada, as its website looks very similar, Bovada is also licensed by the KGC, and the two sites share tables.
Bovada is the third largest online poker room in the world, according to PokerScout.com, with a seven-day average of 1,350 cash game players. It has continued to accept U.S. customers since Black Friday (except for those in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware), which is one big reason why it has seen success. It is known to have soft competition, thought to largely stem from its sizable population of sports betting customers throwing money away at the poker tables. This may also be the reason Bovada is selling the poker room to Ignition; it may want to limit its sports bettors from losing money anywhere but the sportsbook.
PokerStars Releases Official 2016 WCOOP Schedule
PokerStars release the final schedule for the 2016 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) this week, revealing an 82-event slate running from September 4th through September 26th. There will be over $50 million in guaranteed prize pools, with the $5,000 Main Event guaranteeing a $10 million prize pool and $1.5 million to the winner.
Also announced with the inaugural Mini-WCOOP, a “companion series” to the WCOOP that will follow the same schedule as the WCOOP with buy-ins that are 1/100th of the corresponding WCOOP event. If the WCOOP event buy-in is too high, the Mini-WCOOP buy-in will be capped at $11.
“We’re running this companion series to give everyone the chance to take part in the WCOOP experience, while rightfully keeping a respectable distance from the Events of WCOOP proper,” said Senior Manager of Online Championships for PokerStars Bryan Slick.
Slick also noted that second chance events have been nixed, saying, “As WCOOP has expanded over the years, both in number of Events as well as length and availability of late registration, the need for 2nd Chance tournaments has diminished significantly.”
For now, the entire WCOOP schedule can be found on the PokerStars blog.
Baazov Out at Amaya
Along with its second quarter earnings report, Amaya, Inc., the parent company of PokerStars, announced Friday that CEO and Chairman of the Board David Baazov has resigned. Though he has maintained his innocence, Baazov had been on a leave of absence from the company since he was charged with insider trading violations in March by Quebec’s Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).
Taking his place as CEO is Rafi Ashkenazi, the CEO of Rational Group and interim CEO of Amaya. Divyesh (Dave) Gadhia has been appointed as Chairman of the Board (he, too, had been manning that spot on an interim basis). Daniel Sebag, a long-time friend of Baazov’s and CFO of Amaya, appears to be safe in his position, despite being under investigation for the insider trading crimes. He was not, however, charged with anything. Sebag was also not standing for re-election to the Board of Directors; Alfred F. Hurley, Jr. and David Lazzarato have now replaced Sebag and Baazov on the Board.
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