Weekly Poker Roundup: November 26, 2017

Phil Ivey Joins Virtue Poker

Newly-minted Poker Hall of Famer Phil Ivey has signed on with Virtue Poker as a “poker advisor.” He follows top poker pros Daniel Colman and Brian Rast, who serve similar roles.

Virtue Poker is unique not in that it accepts crypto-currency, but that it ONLY accepts crypto-currency, basing its payment platform on Ethereum. Interestingly, players do not deposit money with Virtue Poker – the hands are essentially one-off transactions between players and the poker room. The poker room also uses a peer-to-peer algorithm for shuffling the deck, rather than a random number generator on a centralized server, supposedly making the games tamper-proof.

“I’m looking forward to serving as a strategic adviser to the Virtue Poker team. I believe their new peer-to-peer solution built using blockchain technology can add significant value to the online poker experience,” said Ivey.

U.S. Poker Open High Roller Series Coming to ARIA in February

Poker Central announced the birth of a new high stakes tournament series, the U.S. Poker Open, set to debut at the ARIA in Las Vegas from February 1st through February 11th. It will be streamed exclusively on Poker Central’s PokerGO service.

When we say “high stakes,” what we mean is that the lowest buy-in tournament is $10,000. There will be three $10,000 events, four $25,000 events, and the $50,000 Main Event. Game types will vary, with No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and Mixed Games all represented.

The big question is whether or not yet another high roller-type poker festival will bring out the players. High stakes/high roller tournaments have been all the rage in the last couple years, so it is possible the poker calendar has become saturated with them.

“The U.S. Poker Open is our newest marquee tournament positioned to kick off the high-stakes tournament calendar,” said Joe Kakaty, president of Poker Central, in a press release. “Our lineup of quarterly majors give PokerGO subscribers year-round access to some of the best high-stakes poker in the world.”

DraftKings to Sponsor WPT European Championship

Things tend to slow down a bit on the live poker calendar as the year comes to the end, likely because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States plus the Christmas/New Year’s combo a month later. The action ramps up in a hurry at the start of the year, though, with loads of tournaments on the slate. One of those that will take place in the first two weeks of January is the World Poker Tour European Championship, which recently announced that it has signed DraftKings to a sponsorship deal.

In addition to the usual advertising at the Spielbank Casino in Berlin, Germany, DraftKings is running special qualifier daily fantasy sports contest on its site. Eight winners in total will receive a prize package which will include a seat in the WPT European Championship Main Event, six nights in a hotel, and $1,500 in travel/spending money.

DraftKings had previously sponsored the WPT back in 2013 as the DFS wars were in their infancy, but as DraftKings had to focus on legal battles in several states, the partnership ended within a couple years.

The DFS leader also sponsored the World Series of Poker in 2014; there was even an event named after the site, the $1,500 DraftKings 50/50, which mimicked the popular 50/50 DFS contest format where half the field makes the money. That year, three of the members of the WSOP Main Event final table wore DraftKings patches.

The partnership continued the following year, but just before the final table it was cut off, as the Nevada Gaming Commission ruled that daily fantasy sports is gambling and thus DFS sites must have licenses. As a result, DraftKings pulled out of the Nevada market and withdrew its advertising from the WSOP.

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