Weekly Poker Roundup: May 8, 2016
Full Tilt to Merge Liquidity Into PokerStars on May 17
In February, Amaya Inc. announced that Full Tilt’s liquidity will merge into that of PokerStars. “This platform migration will allow Amaya’s development and technology teams to focus on improving one market-leading platform rather than two, leading to a better gaming experience for all; improvements and features will be delivered faster and more efficiently rather than doubling development requirements,” the company said in a press release at the time.
This week, Amaya revealed that May 17th, 2016 will be the official date on which Full Tilt players will be folded into the PokerStars mix. Full Tilt won’t disappear completely, as it looks like it will simply become a skin of PokerStars, but the software will be retired. It will still be branded as Full Tilt, but the guts will be PokerStars.
Full Tilt players will be contacted about how the switch affects them and will be given instructions on what, if anything, needs to be done to transition accounts. Those who already have PokerStars accounts will have all their account information, balances, and loyalty rewards transferred.
French Online Poker Ring-Fence to be Torn Down
The French Senate has passed three amendments to the country’s “Digital Republic” to open up France’s online poker market beyond national borders. France has been one of the unfortunate countries where lawmakers believed it was a good idea to ring-fence the country from the rest of the world, only allowing the people of France to play against other French. As such, there are French-specific sites such as PokerStars.fr, Winamax.fr, and partypoker.fr.
As one might expect, cordoning off the player pool has created a much smaller online poker market than the country could have if players from the rest of the world were allowed in. The text of the amendment said that some players have gone elsewhere, turning to illegal poker sites with more action that they can find in France.
Interestingly, the amendment specifies that French players can only play with other poker players that are on sites licensed by a member of the European Union or European Economic Area. The problem here is that the largest poker site in the world, PokerStars, is licensed in the Isle of Man, which is not part of the EU or EEA. Thus, unless some compromise is made, French PokerStars players would have to be separated from PokerStars.com players. Complicating things is the fact that players on PokerStars.uk, PokerStars.eu, and many other sites licensed in the EU or EEA are also part of the liquidity on PokerStars.com.
GPL Week 5: Sao Paolo Soars
Two familiar names regained the lead in their respective conferences after the Global Poker League Week 5. The New York Rounders once again find themselves atop the Americas Conference standings in an odd-numbered week, while the Paris Aviators pulled back ahead in the Eurasia Conference by the slimmest of margins over the Moscow Wolverines.
The story of Week 5, though, was not either of those teams, but rather the Sao Paolo Mets who jumped from almost the bottom of the Americas standings to second place on the back of a 16-point week, the best of any GPL team last week. With 55 points, Sao Paolo is just four points behind New York. The
Montreal Nationals and LA Sunset, which had previously been in first and third, only garnered single-digit point totals (and Montreal only earned 5), allowing Sao Paulo to leapfrog both of them.
Over in the Eurasia Conference, only one point separates Paris from Moscow, while Rome still struggles, 24 points off the conference lead.
- New York Rounders – 59 points
- Sao Paolo Mets – 55 points
- LA Sunset – 51 points
- Montreal Nationals – 51 points
- Las Vegas Moneymakers – 50 points
- San Francisco Rush – 49 points
- Paris Aviators – 65 points
- Moscow Wolverines – 64 points
- Hong Kong Stars – 51 points
- London Royals – 49 points
- Berlin Bears – 45 points
- Rome Emperors – 41 points
Hearing Held for Michigan Internet Gaming Bill
A hearing on a pair of online gaming bills was held in front of the Michigan State Senate’s Regulatory Reform Committee Wednesday, which is at least a small step in the right direction towards a possible future legalized online poker industry in the state.
By all accounts, the hearing went well, giving several online gaming experts a chance to help educate lawmakers. Among them were a trio of executives from Amaya Inc., the parent company of PokerStars. The three explained how – with examples – their company does such things as prevent fraud and cheating, make sure customers are who they say they are, and ensure that geolocation can validate that players are playing from jurisdictions where their games are permitted.
Also testifying was Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas, who explained that the point of legalizing and regulating online poker was to protect consumers. There is currently a “void” in such protection, he said:
This void in consumer protection is all too real for Michigan residents who played on Lock Poker, an online site based in Curacao, which abruptly shut down in April 2015, and took millions in player deposits. Sadly, because of zero regulatory oversight, there’s nothing affected customers can do to get their money back and to hold this rogue website accountable. S.B. 889 changes this dynamic and puts Michigan in control of internet gaming by corralling the unregulated market and turning it into a state-based industry that is safe for consumers and accountable to regulators.
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