Weekly Poker Roundup: October 2, 2016
Big One for One Drop Invitational Up to 35 Participants
When the schedule for the 2016 World Series of Poker came out, people wondered where the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop was. The tournament was held in 2012 and 2014, so it was assumed it would be on the schedule for 2016, but alas, it was not. In July, we found out what was perhaps the reason why: Cirque du Soleil and One Drop founder Guy Laliberte announced that a new Big One for One Drop Invitational would be held across the Atlantic in Monaco in conjunction with a festival for the rich, the Big One for One Drop Extravaganza.
The idea for the €1 million is the same: donate €111,111 from each buy-in of the world’s most expensive poker tournament to the One Drop charity. The difference here is that the tourney is only for recreational players – no pros allowed. This past week, Guy Laliberte and the Extravaganza announced that 35 players have already committed to the Big One for One Drop Invitational. That means the prize pool will be at least €31,111,115 with €3,888,885 earmarked for One Drop. The tournament is re-entry, as well, so even without additional players, those sums could increase.
The rest of the schedule for the Big One for One Drop Extravaganza was also released. There will be seven open events with buy-ins ranging from €10,000 to €100,000 as well as satellite tournaments. The Big One for One Drop Invitational will take place on Friday, October 14th.
Ongame Network to Close
The Ongame Network, a network with roots stretching back into the earliest days of online poker, announced that it will close on October 15th. Ongame began in the form of PokerRoom.com back in 1999, a once popular internet poker room (its name certainly didn’t hurt), becoming the Ongame Network in 2004.
At one point, Ongame was the largest online poker network in the world. It withdrew from the U.S. market after the UIGEA passed in October 2006 and was bought soon thereafter by Betandwin for an astonishing $570 million. Betandwin would later rename itself to bwin. Even as it lost its American customers and the sites that stayed in the U.S. – PokerStars, Full Tilt, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker – rose, Ongame remained one of the most powerful players in online poker, peaking at 4,800 cash game players in April 2008 according to PokerScout.
In March 2011, bwin and PartyGaming merged and bwin ended up shifting its poker players to the partypoker platform, hurting Ongame’s traffic. It was sold in October 2012 to Amaya for €15 million and then to NYX Gaming just a few months later. By that point Ongame was a huge money loser; NYX offloaded it in April 2016.
When the closure announcement was made, the PokerScout showed the Ongame Network with a seven-day average of just 140 cash game players.
EPT Makes Further Adjustments to Payout Structure
The European Poker Tour’s thirteenth season kicked off in August and at the time, the EPT and PokerStars announced that some changes would be made to the payout structure of the tournaments. The Tour wanted more players to experience the joy of making the money, so the payout structure was adjusted to pay down to 20 percent of the field rather than the usual 15 percent. Besides the thought that it would give more players a better experience, the idea was also to make it so that more people could afford to buy-in to another event. Naturally, though, this meant that the top payouts would have to be reduced.
After complaints from deep pocketed pros, PokerStars Department Head of Live Poker Operations Neil Johnson announced that the €50,000 Super High Roller and €25,000 Single-Day High Roller events would revert back to the 15 percent structure, thus keeping more money at the top.
Last week, the EPT announced further adjustments to the payout structure of its tournaments. Events with buy-ins of €10,000 or more will pay down to 12 to 15 percent of the field. All other events will have deeper structures, paying to 17 to 20 percent of the field; 20 percent will be the ceiling. For those tournaments, the min-cash will be around 1.5 times the buy-in. The original change had it at around 1.1 times the buy-in, which the EPT found didn’t really make people happy, as the profit was negligible. 1.5 times the buy-in makes min-cashing feel like more of an achievement.
PokerStars Becomes Lead Sponsor of GPL
Mediarex Sports & Entertainment has announced that PokerStars has signed an agreement to become the foremost sponsor and exclusive online poker sponsor of Mediarex’s Global Poker League (GPL). The second half of the GPL’s regular season is underway following the Summer Series during the World Series of Poker and a lengthy break.
In a press release, GPL creator Alexandre Dreyfus said:
We are optimistic about this partnership, having the support of PokerStars is a crucial step forward on the road to fully establishing the GPL as a real blueprint for poker entertainment in the future. PokerStars offers us a multitude of opportunities to grow our platform and continue developing our two-fold strategy of connecting the League to the poker community and genuinely connecting poker to the mainstream entertainment sector on a large scale.
No financial details of the deal have been announced. There has been talk that the GPL is struggling to bring in revenue and that it has had to delay payments to players. Three European players have said that Dreyfus came to them for loans. Fedor Holz, for example, explained on Two Plus Two that he gave Dreyfus $10,000 in June and was not repaid (with interest) until the end of August.
When Holz questioned Dreyfus as to where the money was, Dreyfus said that he was “in the middle of a strategic/financing deal,” implying that when it was completed, he would have the money. Perhaps the PokerStars sponsorship deal was the cash infusion that the GPL needed?
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