Weekly Poker Roundup: August 22, 2016
888, Rank Give Up Pursuit of William Hill
After two failed attempts to team up and purchase William Hill, gambling companies 888 Holdings and The Rank Group have announced that they have given up the chase. In a press release, the duo said, in part:
Notwithstanding 888 and Rank’s belief in the inherent value of their Proposals, it has not been possible to meaningfully engage with the board of William Hill. 888 and Rank respect the William Hill board’s position and, as such, after careful consideration each now confirms that they have withdrawn their interest and that they do not intend to make an offer for William Hill.
The first offer of £3.16 billion to buy William Hill was made on August 9th; it consisted of 199 pence per share in cash plus .725 shares of a new 888/Rank company called BidCo, totaling an estimated 364 pence per share. A new proposal was submitted less than a week later, upping the offer to 394 pence per share, or £3.425 billion. The cash portion remained the same, but rather than creating BidCo and offering shares in that, .860 shares of 888 were offered for each share of William Hill. William Hill turned down both proposals without much consideration.
Sorel Mizzi Banned from PokerStars for More Cheating
Poker pro Sorel “Imper1ium” Mizzi, who has shown no qualms about cheating in the past, admitted to doing it again last fall and has thus been banned from PokerStars. In February, allegations against Mizzi emerged on Two Plus Two, as he was accused of playing on someone else’s account at the final table of the 2015 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker Main Event.
In a July interview with poker podcaster Joey Ingram, Mizzi confirmed that he did, in fact, use someone else’s account in order to be able to play in the tournament. He also played from the United States, likely using software that spoofed his location. PokerFuse reported recently that Mizzi has said that PokerStars has banned him.
Unfortunately, this is not a new thing for Mizzi. In 2007, he was permanently banned from Full Tilt for purchasing a friend’s account late in a tournament which he went on to win. The following year, he was suspended from PokerStars for three months for multi-accounting. Most recently, John Racener accused Mizzi in 2011 (an allegation that Mizzi denies) of bottom-dealing in a live game of open-face Chinese poker.
WPT Signs Five-Year Broadcast Deal with Fox Sports
The World Poker Tour announced Wednesday that it has inked a five-year deal with Fox Sports to broadcast the next five seasons of the WPT on the network. The WPT will produce another 13 hours of original content each season for broadcast, as well. Fox Sports has been the television home of the World Poker Tour since 2009 after previously residing on The Travel Channel and GSN (Game Show Network).
The WPT has really been the one mainstay of poker television in the United States for over a decade. It debuted in 2003 and though it perhaps has seen does of higher popularity, is still going strong. The World Series of Poker has been on TV for more a long time, as well, but it is more of a seasonal broadcast. During the poker boom, shows like “High Stakes Poker” and “Poker After Dark” were immensely popular amongst poker fans, but those have disappeared.
In a press release, Josh Oakley, Executive Director, Acquisitions and Programming, for FOX Sports said, “WPT remains a highly rated, regularly scheduled program on FOX Sports Regional Networks, and it’s a key part of our primetime lineup each Sunday. WPT is the perfect complement to our other sports programming, including MLB, NBA, NHL, and college football and basketball. We are excited to have this partnership through 2021.”
Million Dollar Sunday Coming Back to WPN in September
The Winning Poker Network (WPN) has scheduled another Million Dollar Sunday tournament for September 4th at 4:00pm. The tournament, which will have a $1 million guaranteed prize pool and a $540 buy-in, will be the first for the network since April.
Million Dollar Sundays debuted on the network, home to America’s Card Room and True Poker, in December 2014. It was an interesting tournament offering, as WPN was small and likely couldn’t draw enough players to meet the guarantee. As one of the few U.S.-facing networks based offshore (read: it doesn’t have a U.S. license), it was thought that the tournament was a way to boost its standing among American online poker players. It did not go well, though, as the network was hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, forcing WPN CEO Phil Nagy to cancel the tournament and refund buy-ins.
Since then, the network has run successful Million Dollar Sunday tournaments, though some were also victimized by DDoS attacks. Fortunately, in those cases, the network’s technical staff handled them well enough to allow the tournament to carry on, even if there were some slow-downs and glitches.
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