Weekly Poker Roundup: July 10, 2015
The big news in the poker world this week was obviously the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event, but shockingly, there were a few poker-related things going on, as well. Let’s take a look, shall we?
2015 WSOP Main Event Underway
The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event began on Sunday, July 5th with the first of three starting flights. A total of 6,420 players entered the tournament – making this one the 8th largest Main Event of all time – and generated a prize pool of $60,438,000. The prize structure was dramatically changed before the WSOP, as tournament officials decided to make the payouts flatter, paying out to 1,000 places. This, of course, means that prize money has to come off the top. As such, first place will be $7,680,021, a significant drop from last year’s $10,000,000.
After Day 2 (which lasted almost a week, as it included three flights for each of the first two days), there are 1,796 players remaining, led by Amar Anand with 603,500 chips. Seven former WSOP Main Event champs are still alive in this year’s tourney: Greg Raymer, Jonathan Duhamel, Ryan Riess, Phil Hellmuth, Jim Bechtel, Joe Hachem, and Scotty Nguyen.
Play will continue with five two-hour levels per day until the final nine players are determined on Tuesday night (or Wednesday morning, depending on how long things last). Those players will become the newest November Nine and will return to the Rio for the final table this November.
PokerStars Closer to Pure Play
PokerStars Poker Room Manager Steve Day announced this week that PokerStars will be culling its list of permitted third-party software in order to weed out programs that are dangerously close to being bots. The catalyst for the decision was a piece of software distributed to a select few players by someone named “skier_5.” The software’s function is still a bit of a secret, but it is believed to present Heads-Up Sit-and-Go players with the best action decisions based on the pre-flop situation.
Day said of the program, which was approved by PokerStars, “The software we reviewed allows quick and precise reference to a very large number of static charts that cover most or all preflop situations. While within our current rules, this software goes beyond the level of assistance we want to see software providing players in our online poker room.”
That piece of software is now banned. Other third-party software will also hit the prohibited list, but it will be a gradual process. “We still have some decisions to make regarding final wording and also to make sure we are comfortable with our detection and enforcement capability,” Day said. “In the meantime we will be in touch with some software developers regarding their existing applications to clarify which features might violate the upcoming rules so that they will have time to make the appropriate changes.”
bwin.party Sale Closer to Fruition
Both bwin.party and GVC Holdings have confirmed that GVC has made a proposal to purchase the online gaming giant, partially backed by Amaya Gaming. In separate press releases, the companies said the proposal (not an official offer yet) is for 110p per share, or approximately £900 million (about $1.4 billion). Bwin.party did say, though, that its shareholders have reviewed the proposal and the company is working with GVC to finalize the offer. Thus, it sounds like the deal will happen.
It is widely assumed, particularly because of Amaya Gaming’s involvement, that once the transaction is complete, that bwin.party will be split between GVC and Amaya. GVC considers itself a“multinational sports betting and gaming group” and owns SportingBet, so it would likely take control of the sportsbook portions of bwin.party: bwin and PartyBets. Amaya owns PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker and has quickly become a beast in the online poker world; it would take over PartyPoker, other poker skins, and likely the online casino portions of the business.
NJ Gambling Sites Victimized by DDoS Attack
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) confirmed that four of the state’s licensed online gambling sites were hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Thursday, July 2nd. The attack lasted about 30 minutes, rendering the sites useless.
Online gambling sites have been targets of DDoS attacks in the past, though this is the first directed towards U.S.-based sites. In such an attack, the perpetrator floods a site with false communications requests, essentially paralyzing the site’s servers, as they cannot weed out the bad requests quickly enough. Because the requests are sourced from multiple machines in different locations, the sites have trouble pinpointing the origin in an effort to block them.
New Jersey DGE Chairman David Rebuck said that they believe they know who did this, but the offender has yet to be apprehended.
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