Weekly Poker Roundup: April 17, 2016
Shot Clock Coming to WPT Tournament of Champions
The World Poker Tour’s new season ending event, the WPT Tournament of Champions begins later this week and with a new tourney comes a new tourney feature: the Action Clock. Bringing a taste of online poker to big-time tournament poker, the Action Clock will serve as a way to speed up the proceedings.
One of the biggest problems many players have with live tournament poker is how long every hand can sometimes take, particularly when some players seem to unnecessarily tank on almost every decision, no matter how basic. The Action Clock aims to take care of that. Players will have 30 seconds in which to make a move; the first timer will be started by the dealer when the last card of the round has been dealt. If a player initiates a bet or raises, the clock will be started for the next player (after being reset, of course), when the dealer finishes counting the chips and announcing the bet. If there is a call, check, or fold, the Action Clock will restart immediately.
The dealer will give players a 10-second warning when their time is dwindling. If a player fails to act in time, his hand will be folded if facing a bet or checked if not. Everyone will be given four “extension chips” each day of the tournament that can be used to tack on 30 additional seconds to the clock. Players can use as many of these extension chips as they would like in a single hand (provided they still have some) if they need more than 30 seconds. These chips are non-transferrable and do not carry over to the next day.
Virgin Games, Gamesys Launch Wild Seat Poker Lottery Sit-and-Go in UK
The Virgin Group is not particularly well known for its online gaming, but it is trying to make a splash in the online poker world this month. Along with game developer Gamesys, Virgin Games launched Wild Seat Poker in the UK this month, a unique variation of the ever-popular Lottery Sit-and-Go.
As you likely know, Lottery Sit-and-Go’s are typically three-handed, hyper-turbo Sit-and-Go tournaments in which the prize pool is not known to the players until the game begins. Most of the time, the prize pool is just two or four times the buy-in, but in rare instances, it can be as high as several thousand times the buy-in. Most games are winner-take-all, but depending on the site, the prize pool can be divided amongst all three players at the higher prize multiple levels.
Wild Seat Poker is similar, though it is four-handed instead of three-handed. The twist here is that rather than seeing the randomly-determined prize pool at the beginning of the contest, each player has his own prize for which he will be playing. Every player’s prize is hidden in a box at his seat. Nobody knows what he has or what anyone else has. When a player busts out, his box is opened and the prize (which, obviously, was not won) is shown to everyone. At the end of the game, the winner’s prize is also revealed.
The goal of this prize-revealing method is to add a little more excitement to the festivities. 44 percent of the time, a player’s prize will be just twice the prize pool, but Wild Seat Poker guarantees that at least one of the prizes will be five times the prize pool (a multiplier which is supposed to come up 28 percent of the time, thus averaging slightly more frequently than once per contest). Thus, as players are eliminated and prize boxes are opened, the remaining players can guess what sort of prize might be in their boxes.
Changes at the Top after GPL Week 2
Week 2 of the Global Poker League’s (GPL) inaugural season is in the books and already there are two new leaders: the Montreal Nationals have taken over the top spot in the Americas Conference and the Paris Aviators are now in first place in the Eurasia Conference. Last week’s leaders, the New York Rounders and Hong Kong Stars, both fell to second in their respective conferences.
Montreal was the biggest points earner on the week, gaining an impressive 17 points. Only Hong Kong’s 18 points last week has been better. Things didn’t start so great for Montreal, as Xuan Liu was only able to garner one point in the first Americas Conference Sit-and-Go of the week, but she bounced back in a big way in the second tourney, finishing first and garnering 7 more points. Then, on Thursday, Pascal Lefrancois dominated Sao Paolo’s Thiago Nishijima, sweeping him in their heads-up match to earn 9 points for his team.
The two teams in the doldrums last week – the San Francisco Rush and Berlin Bears – turned things around in Week 2. Berlin was only able to grab three points in Week 1, but had a fantastic Week 2, adding 15 points to its team total, thanks largely to Dominik Nitsche’s first and second place finishes in the Sit-and-Go rounds. Berlin is now in fifth place in the Eurasia conference; after Paris and Hong Kong, it is now a very tight race with just two points separating third from sixth. San Francisco went from six points to 15 to also climb out of last place in the Americas Conference.
Here are the complete standings after Week 2 of the GPL:
- Montreal Nationals – 29 points
- New York Rounders – 25 points
- LA Sunset – 23 points
- Las Vegas Moneymakers – 21 points
- San Francisco Rush – 15 points
- Sao Paolo Mets – 13 points
- Paris Aviators – 30 points
- Hong Kong Stars – 23 points
- Moscow Wolverines – 19 points
- London Royals – 19 points
- Berlin Bears – 18 points
- Rome Emperors – 17 points
Tribes Express Support for California Assemblyman’s Online Poker Bill
According to reports from multiple outlets, the California Assembly Governmental Organization (GO) Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday to discuss Assemblyman Adam Gray’s online poker bill, AB 2863. In advance of the hearing, the PokerStars Coalition of Native American tribes and card rooms has written Gray a letter, thanking him for his efforts.
The Coalition, as it implies, is a group of stakeholders that has allied with PokerStars to work towards the legalization and regulation of online poker in California. It is composed of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the United Auburn Indian Community, the Commerce Casino, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino, and the Bicycle Casino, as well as PokerStars.
The letter read, in part:
On behalf of a broad coalition of tribal governments, card clubs and online operators, we write in support of your AB 2863, your bill to protect consumers, create jobs, and strengthen our state’s economy by authorizing and regulating intrastate, Internet Poker in California. Authorizing online poker will be good for millions of consumers and poker players who will benefit from a safe, regulated, commercial gaming environment where they are protected and assured that the games are fair and honest.
The only note of caution in the letter, which was otherwise extremely supportive, was a distaste for “provisions that would restrict the ability to use customer databases,” as the Coalition is afraid that this would limit the ability of online poker licensees to grow their sites.
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