Categories: Poker

Weekly Poker Roundup: December 18, 2016

GVC, Ladbrokes Coral End Merger Discussions

Consolidation talks in the gaming industry have continued right up until the end of the year, as GVC Holdings and Ladbrokes Coral Group – two players familiar to big deals – discussed a possible merger. According to The Financial Times, however, talks have ended and the two will continue on as competitors.

The deal would have been a reverse takeover of Ladbrokes Coral by GVC, paid for mostly with stock and worth about £3.2 billion.

GVC is best known in online poker circles as the company that bought bwin.party – and in turn, partypoker – for £1.116 billion last fall. Like the dead Ladbrokes Coral deal, it was funded mostly through stock. Bwin.party shareholders received 25 pence per share plus .231 shares of GVC Holdings per share of bwin.party for a total of 129.643 pence per bwin.party share.

Ladbrokes Coral became a company last July, when Ladbrokes and Gala Coral merged in a deal worth £2.3 billion.

New Jersey Legislators Still Looking to Expand Gambling

On November 8th, New Jersey voters soundly defeated a referendum that would have permitted two casinos to be built in the northern part of the state. Current state law restricts casinos to Atlantic City. Legislators have not given up on trying to expand gambling outside of Atlantic City, though, as a bill that is currently in committee would do just that.

Assembly Bill 4255 is an odd piece of legislation (in my mind, at least), as it would permit internet gaming cafes at New Jersey racetracks. At these cafes, patrons of the racetrack could gamble online at state licensed internet casinos and poker rooms. It doesn’t look like every online gambling site would be accessible, but rather ones with which the racetrack has partnered.

One might question what the point is of something like this, as if someone has internet access, they can play from anywhere, even a racetrack. Dennis Drazin, adviser to Monmouth Park Racetrack, told The Press of Atlantic City, “This is a win-win for both the racetracks and the casino industry. This would be purely at the will of the casinos. I believe this would give casinos a chance to grow their business. It would give them a chance to grow their online business. They don’t have to do it if they don’t want to.”

Others, like Anthony Marino, a former executive of the South Jersey Transportation Authority, don’t like the idea of any gambling that may reduce the number of visitors to Atlantic City.

Full Tilt Reimbursement Process at an End

Five and a half years after Black Friday, it looks like the process of getting former U.S. customers of Full Tilt Poker their money back is finally at an end. According to a report from Flushdraw.net, the Full Tilt claims administrator, Garden City Group (GCG) has said that all reimbursement petitions from players have been processed.

Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone was paid back. It looks like 1,635 petitions were denied, even though the GCG did not make the reasons for the denials publicly known (nor should they). Odds are, many had to do with incomplete applications.

There have been nine waves of payments to U.S. Full Tilt players, the first of which was in February 2014, with the latest coming just last month. Over 45,000 customers were reimbursed a total of $114.5 million. That is well short of the $160 million, though, that was allocated to Full Tilt players as part of the settlement PokerStars made with the U.S. Department of Justice when it agreed to acquire Full Tilt and make its customers whole.

partypoker Adds New Games

On Monday, partypoker added two new game types to its lineup, one tournament and one cash game. The new tournament offering is the Progressive Knockout tourney, something players on other sites have likely seen. The knockout portion of name refers to the added benefit of eliminating an opponent, aside from getting their chips and moving up in the standings. In a knockout tourney, a portion of the buy-in is used as a bounty on each player’s head. Knockout a player, receive his bounty in cash.

A Progressive Knockout uses this mechanic with one tweak. Instead of winning a player’s entire bounty upon elimination, the person dealing the final blow only wins half of the bounty. The other half is then added to that player’s bounty, thus making him an even more appealing target to his opponents. By the end of large Progressive Knockout Tournament, players could potentially have bounties in the three-figure range.

On the cash game side, partypoker has introduced Fast Five. These are basically coin flip lotteries, offering almost no chance to use skill whatsoever. The games are six-handed and each player starts with only five big blinds. Thus, everyone needs to find a hand quickly and odds are, at least in the opening stages of a game before someone has built up a stack, players will be going all-in frequently.

Paul Wilson

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