Weekly Poker Roundup: December 4, 2016

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PokerStars Launches Online Poker Room in Portugal

This past week, PokerStars became the first licensed online poker operator to launch in Portugal, nearly two years after final internet gambling legislation was passed in the country. Currently, PokerStars is permitted to often Hold’em and Omaha in both cash game and tournament varieties, as well as French roulette and blackjack.

While this is good news for Portuguese poker players, the bad news is that Portugal is ring-fenced from the rest of the world, so players on PokerStars’ Portugal site can only play against players on the same site. Portuguese regulators have said that agreements to share liquidity with other ring-fenced nations like Spain, France, and Italy may be options, but there has been no movement on anything yet.

“PokerStars will maintain the very highest levels of player fund protection by segregating Portuguese player funds under trust agreements, as is done in all markets where PokerStars offers its products,” PokerStars’ parent, Amaya, said in a press release. “In the meantime, while Portugal remains a closed liquidity poker market, PokerStars intends to actively work with applicable Portuguese authorities to help further develop and enhance the Portuguese regulatory framework for poker, including, without limitation, through the promotion of shared liquidity.”

Unibet Launches New Software, Globe Trotting Promo

Unibet launched its long-awaited new poker client, dubbed “Unibet 2.0,” on December 1st, and to celebrate, the independent poker room is running a promo this month in which it will award two dozen pretty amazing vacation packages, including one that will take the winner all over the globe. Appropriately, the promo is called the “Around the World Dream Raffle.”

Unibet will randomly drop raffle tickets on cash game tables throughout the promo; the player on the button at the time of the drop will receive the ticket, while the other players at the table will get Unibet Open qualifier tickets. On January 7th, 2017, a drawing will be held live on Twitch to announce the winners.

Raffle tickets are split into tiers: Gold for NL/PL 25 and up, Silver for NL/PL 10 and up, and Bronze for NL/PL 4 and up. Only those holding Gold raffle tickets will have a shot at the ultimate travel prizes, but the top prizes in the lower two tiers are travel packages and everybody is guaranteed to win something, even if it’s just a tournament ticket.

The grand prize in the Gold level is a four-week trip to the “New 7 Wonders of the World”: Rome (Colosseum), Amman (Petra), Agra (Taj Mahal), Beijing (Great Wall of China), Cancun (Chechen Itza), Cusco (Machu Picchu), Rio De Janeiro (Christ the Redeemer).

Playtech Co-Founder Sells £329 million in Stock

The co-founder of Playtech PLC, Teddy Sagi, as offloaded £329 million worth of company stock through his trust, Brickington Trading Limited. He had previously made his intentions to sell ten percent of his holdings, but decided to increase it to twelve percent. In all, he sold 38.7 million ordinary shares for 850p each. Sagi/Brickington is still Playtech’s largest holder, owning 21.6 percent of the company.

Lest investors worry, this sale does not reflect any problems Sagi sees with Playtech. Sagi has said he simply wanted his trust to be more diverse, rather than having so money eggs in the Playtech basket. He said he agrees with the direction of the company.

Sagi also sold £326 million of Playtech stock in March 2014, again selling more than he had originally intended because he had found out there was a high demand for the stock. Playtech develops online gambling software and operates the iPoker Network.

Montreal Bests Berlin for 2016 GPL Championship

The Montreal Nationals defeated the Berlin Bears to claim the first Global Poker League (GPL) Championship on Thursday. Team manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur, along with Mike McDonald, Pascal Lefrancois, and Jason Lavallee represented the team in the final (Martin Jacobson and Xuan Liu also helped the team to the GPL regular season title) against Berlin’s Brian Rast, Sorel Mizzi & Bill Perkins (the other members of the team during the season were manager Philipp Gruissem, Jeff Gross, Daniel Cates, and Dominik Nitsche).

The championship round was a best-of-11 affair, compared to the quarterfinals and semifinals, which were best-of-7. Montreal got out to a 4-2 lead, but as a fan would hope in a championship, Berlin came back and the series went all the way to the final, deciding match. It was there that Lefrancois outdueled Brian Rast, who had been nearly unstoppable the entire playoffs, to give Montreal the GPL title.

For the victory the Montreal Nationals received $100,000 to split up as they please.

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