Weekly Poker Roundup: February 6, 2016
Poker Central Finds Its Way to Real Television Sets
Poker Central, the 24/7 poker television network that launched in October, will finally live up to its name and be on television. MultiChannel.com reported that the network has signed a deal with Onio’s Buckeye CableSystem to occupy both a standard definition and a high definition channel on the regional cable provider. Buckeye serves northwest Ohio and some of southeast Michigan, competing with larger companies like AT&T and Time Warner.
Prior to this, Poker Central, despite calling itself a television channel, was only available through a few online streaming devices. According to Poker Central’s website, poker fans can find the network on Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Apple TV. It can also be watched on filmon.com, but it is considered a “premium” channel and requires a paid subscription.
Poker Central airs mostly re-runs of past poker tournaments as well as former popular television shows like “Poker After Dark” and “High Stakes Poker.” It recently began airing an original show, called “Pokerography,” which, as it sounds, is a biographical show about poker pros and celebrities. It also has a show called “Inside Poker” in the works.
The network’s biggest claim to fame so far was the production and broadcast of the Super High Roller Bowl this past summer; the event will return this year. Poker Central will also air the Global Poker League.
Online Poker Bill Passes Through New York Senate Committee
There is still a long way to go for online poker in New York, but one hurdle was overcome this week, as Senate Bill S5302, which would legalize and regulate internet poker in the state, unanimously passed through the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering.
The bill’s sponsor, State Senator and chairman of the committee John Bonacic, said, “S.5302-B took a necessary step forward today with its vote out of the Racing Committee. The Bill now goes to the Finance Committee and I anticipate having ongoing discussions with my colleagues in both Houses regarding this bill as session moves forward.”
The Poker Player’s Alliance also applauded the vote, though warned that supporters must still be vigilant, as some lawmakers want further progress on the bill to be delayed until New York’s land-based casinos open. Three casino licenses were recently awarded to Montreign, Rivers Casino, and Lago Resort & Casino; the casinos are expected to open in 2017.
“It would be a mistake for New York to wait for its brick-and-mortar casinos to go online,” said PPA executive director John Pappas. “Moving Internet poker legislation now would establish an existing customer base of poker players for brick-and-mortar casinos when they open their doors for business.”
Funky New Poker Game HoldemX Launches Alpha Version
I have never been big on new poker variations; the vast majority of attempts to jazz up the game have failed miserably. HoldemX, though, is something I am definitely going to try, even though it is just a play-money game right now (probably for the better for me). Launched by Mediarex Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Global Poker Index and Global Poker League, this week, HoldemX is a heads-up online poker game with an added deck construction element that bring it a slight Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering flavor.
The basic game plays out like any other heads-up no-limit hold’em match: two hole cards and multiple betting rounds pre-flop, flop, turn, and river. But before the game starts, players get to choose up to six “xcards” to hopefully give them an added advantage during play. These xcards can do things like change the suit of a board card, add or subtract one from a card, re-deal a street, or even add a sixth street.
Each player first selects three cards that their opponent is prevented from choosing themselves. After those are chosen, each player picks up to six cards to have by their side during play. Each card has an associated point value; players have a budget of 45 points for the three “banned” cards and a budget of 90 points for their own six xcards.
Players have an opportunity to play one of their xcards during each betting round, though it is not required. HoldemX is free to play and is currently in alpha testing mode.
Bwin.party Can Still Operate in New Jersey with GVC’s New Temporary Waiver
GVC Holdings was issued an operational waiver by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) this week, allowing its recent acquisition, bwin.party, to continue operating in the state while GVC’s own interactive gaming license application is being considered.
GVC, primarily a B2B gaming company, bought partypoker parent company bwin.party in September 2015 for £1.116 billion (USD $1,697 billion). It was a cash and stock deal, with bwin.party shareholders receiving 25 pence and .231 shares of GVC for each share of bwin.party. At the time, the stock portion of the deal was worth 104.643p per share, making the total deal 129.643p per share.
On February 1st, the UK Scheme Court approved the acquisition and the new company began trading on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker “GVC.”
The problem for GVC in New Jersey, though, was that GVC itself was not licensed to offer online gambling in the state, even though bwin.party was. That’s where the operational waiver comes into play. It allows GVC’s subsidiaries, namely bwin.party, to continue operating in the state while GVC’s application is pending. In the meantime, though, GVC employees are not allowed to communicate with any bwin.party/partypoker employees on the U.S. side of things. Basically, the company’s New Jersey operations be on their own without guidance from the parent company until GVC is officially licensed.
bwin.party currently operates the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s online poker site, BorgataPoker.com, as well as PartyPokerNJ.com.
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