Weekly Poker Roundup: August 20, 2017
WPT to Award One Billionth Dollar
The World Poker Tour (WPT) has done the math, announcing that it will be awarding its one billionth prize dollar this month at the WPT Legends of Poker, which began July 28th and concludes August 31st. The Main Event, which is the tournament in which that milestone buck will be awarded, will run August 25th through August 31st. As always, the famed Bicycle Hotel & Casino (the “Bike”) will serve as the host venue.
A total of $998 million have been awarded in the 15-plus seasons of the WPT.
“On the road to one billion dollars, The Bike has been home to some of the greatest moments on the World Poker Tour, including WPT titles from stars such as Doyle Brunson and Dan Harrington, and victories from WPT Player of the Year winners Andy Frankenberger and Mike Shariati. As we return to The Bike for a 16th season, we welcome WPT players from all over the world to join us for this momentous occasion,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska.
The player to claim the one billionth dollar will win a seat in next year’s WPT Legends of Poker plus accommodations at the Bike.
Georgia Republicans Pass Anti-Casino Resolution
Republican Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach introduced a bill to legalize and regulate brick-and-mortar casino gambling in the Peach State early this year and plans to do so again next year, but he will officially be working against many in his own party when he does so. This month, the Georgia GOP passed a resolution urging state lawmakers to reject any attempts to bring casino gambling to the state.
The idea behind authorizing the construction of a handful of “resort” or “destination” casinos is to bolster the state’s HOPE Scholarship program, which helps students pay for in-state colleges and universities, as well as funds the Georgia pre-K program. The HOPE Scholarship is currently funded by the state lottery, but the popularity of the program is causing financial strain.
The Georgia GOP understands this reason for casino gambling (let’s not forget entertainment, as well), but believes the potential social costs are not worth it and that these social costs can lead to higher tax payer costs to remedy problems that may develop.
PokerStars Releases 2017 WCOOP Schedule
Though it has yet to post it on its website, PokerStars has released the schedule for the 2017 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), a tournament festival that features 81 events spanning September 3rd through September 26th.
The most significant change to the schedule this year is a “Low” buy-in option for each event to go along with the regular “High” buy-in. This role was served last year by a Mini-WCOOP, but in a blog post, PokerStars Tournaments Team Manager Luke Staudenmaier said that the Low buy-ins are “not a companion series!”
“With over $11,000,000 guaranteed, WCOOP Low is the real deal,” he said. “Featuring buy-ins approximately 1/20th the size of their High counterparts, Low events will run 24 hours after High events (with a couple notable exceptions). We feel WCOOP Low will offer something special to our players whose bankroll may not support playing the High events.”
Also of note is a new “Phased” HORSE event, which has six separate starting flights, called “Phase 1” tournaments. Those who make it out of each Phase 1 advance to the final Phase 2, just like how live tournaments with multiple starting days work. Interestingly, five of the Phase 1’s will feature a different game from the HORSE rotation with one going through every HORSE game. Thus, players can choose which game they are best at to try to give themselves the best chance to advance to Phase 2.
PokerStars Leaving Australia
PokerStars has sent an e-mail to customers that it will be withdrawing from the Australian market within about a month because of new online gambling laws in the country.
“The Australian parliament on August 9 passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) effectively banning all online gambling sites that are not locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law,” the e-mail said, in part. “We’ve been aware of this day coming and have done our best to keep you informed, but we can confirm that we’ll be closing our real money poker tables to players in Australia, most likely around mid-September. We will contact you as soon as a firm date is confirmed.”
The law bans all online gambling operators who are not specifically licensed in Australia. Normally, something like this would just be a speed bump for PokerStars, as it would typically apply for and be granted a license, but the law only authorizes licenses for internet sports betting. With no poker licenses available, PokerStars has decided to not flaunt the law and simply pull out of the country.
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