Weekly Poker Roundup: July 24, 2015
A lot of Rational Group-related news this week, plus the ongoing bwin.party sale drama. Now on with the show….
PokerStars: VPPs Online-Only
PokerStars announced this week that it will stop awarding players VIP Player Points (VPPs) for live tournament participation. The policy change will take effect August 1st, 2015. The poker room is aware that this could cause some players grief, as they may have anticipated VPP rewards based on expected VPPs from live tournaments, so “….any player who would have earned additional Stellar Rewards or Milestone Cash Credits through earning Live Event VPPs will be manually credited their full value by January 31, 2016.”
Players can also petition PokerStars to raise their VIP level if they believe that live tournament play would have allowed them to move up the loyalty ladder.
PokerStars operates a number of poker tours and live events, including the European Poker Tour, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Championship, and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour.
888, bwin.party Deal Not Set in Stone Just Yet
Last week, bwin.party surprised the online poker world by accepting a $1.4 billion acquisition offer from 888 Holdings, an offer that was actually $30-$40 million less than one presented by the team of GVC Holdings and Amaya Gaming this month. According to several reports, though, GVC is contemplating preparing another offer and making one more attempt to woo bwin.party.
Because bwin.party already agreed to the 888 deal for less money than GVC and Amaya had offered, GVC will likely have to blow bwin.party’s metaphorical pants off and come up with a purchase price that is attractive enough to make bwin.party drop 888. Word is that GVC may also change up one other thing besides price: its partner. GVC cannot afford to buy bwin.party on its own, which is why it brought on Amaya Gaming. Amaya, though, owns PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, and the rest of the online gaming industry would be none too pleased that it would also have partypoker if it won the bwin.party bidding (it is thought that Amaya would get partypoker and GVC would take bwin.party’s sports betting and casino games divisions). GVC may look for a different partner to ease concerns about bwin.party being broken up after the sale.
PokerStars WCOOP Schedule Released
Not huge news, since it has been going on since 2002, but PokerStars has made the schedule for the 2015 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) official. The most popular poker tournament series on the internet will run from September 6th through September 27th and will feature 70 events. Total guaranteed prize money is $45 million.
The WCOOP is not a tournament series for poker players on a budget, as the lowest buy-in is $109. Of course, there are satellites running constantly on Stars, so it is very possible to win seats into the various tourneys for much less than face value. The Main Event will cost, as usual, $5,200; the $10 million buy-in tourney will be held on September 27th at 2:30pm ET.
This year will also be a first for the $51,000 No-Limit Hold’em Eight-Max Super High Roller Event, the most expensive tournament in online poker history.
Full Tilt Names First Player Ambassador
Full Tilt Poker announced Wednesday that top Rush Poker grinder, Marc “PlayinWitDreams” Kennedy, will be the poker room’s first-ever Player Ambassador.
“My new role at Full Tilt is not to be a sponsored pro in the traditional sense; my job is to act as a Player Ambassador, working with the team on any changes to the product that may have an impact on players,” explained Kennedy in a press release. “I’m here to be their voice, and want to hear from all players, whether currently playing at Full Tilt or not, if they’ve any concerns they want me to raise with Full Tilt or with any ideas they have. Let’s take this opportunity to contribute to an online poker room that we, as poker players who love the game, want to play at.”
Kennedy rose to internet poker fame by becoming one of the dozen winners of Full Tilt’s Black Card sponsorship contest during the final six months of 2013. He earned his sponsorship by earning the most leader board points in the “Rush Ring Games High” (above $0.50/$1) category. Full Tilt continued to re-run the promotion and Kennedy proceeded to win the same category the next four times, allowing him to maintain his Black Card sponsorship plus the perks like 100 percent rakeback that went along with it.
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