Weekly Poker Roundup: September 4, 2015
Welcome to this week’s whip-around of what’s happening in the poker world. If you only have a minute, read the first news item below. It’s a doozy.
GVC Holdings to Acquire bwin.party
The two-month long drama came to an end on Friday as bwin.party announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Sportingbet parent GVC Holdings for £1.116 billion (USD $1,697 billion). It is a mostly stock deal, with bwin.party shareholders receiving .231 shares of GVC Holdings and 25p for each share of bwin.party. That nearly quarter-share of GVC was worth 104.643p based on GVC’s stock price at the close of the markets on September 3rd.
GVC made its initial bid for bwin.party, which owns partypoker, on July 9th, offering 110p per share. Rival 888 Holdings followed that up on July 17th with a lower, 104.09p per share bid, but bwin.party’s Board of Directors opted to recommend that one to its shareholders, citing corporate synergies. There was also speculation that it feared the company would be broken up upon sale, as GVC had brought along Amaya Gaming, parent of PokerStars and Full Tilt, as its partner in the deal. The thought was that bwin.party would be divided, with sports betting and casino games going to GVC and partypoker handed over to Amaya Gaming.
On July 27th, it was announced that GVC had increased its bid to 122.5p per share, a deal structured similarly to the one announced today. The lower per share price was the result of a lower price for GVC’s stock at the time. Not much happened for the bulk of August; bwin.party discussed matters with GVC while still sticking to its recommendation of 888. On September 1st, though, bwin.party confirmed that it had received a new offer from 888, but did not put forward any details. The Times reported that 888’s offer was for 115p per share and The Independent reported that bwin.party had told 888 on Saturday that it was going to take GVC’s offer, which may have prompted the new bid. It still didn’t come close to GVC’s, though, so bwin.party agreed to become part of GVC Holdings.
Full Tilt Announces Full Tilt Classic
In its ongoing efforts to recruit recreational players, Full Tilt Poker introduced the Full Tilt Classic tournament series, which will run from Friday, September 11th, through Sunday, September 20th. It will feature 20 events, two each day, starting at 12:30 and 14:30 (except for Sunday, when the tourneys will begin at 11:30 and 13:30).
The buy-ins are low for a typical online poker tournament series, ranging from just $10 to $100. There are no astronomical $25,000 Super High Roller events or anything like that. Most events will be No-Limit Hold’em, but there will also be a few Omaha, Razz, and mixed games, as well. There are $270,000 in guaranteed prize pools across the 20 events, with $75,000 guaranteed for the series-ending $100 buy-in Main Event. There are also 40 “side events” during the Full Tilt Classic with the same buy-in levels, but all of the tournaments are No-Limit Hold’em with no guaranteed prize pools.
All players receive leaderboard points for participating and can earn more for strong finishes in the tournaments. The top 100 players on the leaderboard at the end of the Classic will win varying amounts of tournament tickets.
No Quantum Reload at the WPT Legends of Poker This Year
The World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event concludes Friday as Freddy Deeb attempts to become the fourth player in WPT history to win three titles. But rather than talk about the end of the tournament, we want to talk about the beginning. The tournament was a $3,700 re-entry event with three starting flights. Registration was open until the start of Day 2.
And fortunately, that’s it. Gone was last year’s strange Quantum Reload concept, which drew the ire of many players. With Quantum Reload, the three starting flights worked the same as they did this week – if players get knocked out of a starting day, they can buy-in again to a subsequent day. But where Quantum Reload veered from the norm was in the late registration prior to Day 2. Anyone could just skip the opening flights and buy-in directly to Day 2 or use it as a re-entry option if they busted out on any of the Day 1’s, but they would have to pay $10,000 to do so, rather than the regular $3,700. For that $10,000, though, they received 60 big blinds instead of just a standard starting stack.
This year, late entrants were actually punished, rather than rewarded (though that reward came at a hefty price). Those who registered after the Day 1 flights but before the start of Day 2 started with only 25 big blinds, rather than the 30 that everyone else did.
MTT’s Meet Spin & Go’s
Lottery Sit-and-Go tournaments have become so popular that PokerStars decided to see if the format would work with multi-table tournaments. As such, the world’s largest online poker room launched a trial run of Spin & Go-flavored scheduled tourneys on its French site, PokerStars.fr.
The tournaments, called Sunday 3D, are held every…well…Sunday at 22:00 CET. There are three different Sunday 3D events held simultaneously at different buy-in levels: €5, €25, and €100. They have a similar structure to Spin & Go’s, PokerStars’ version of the Lottery Sit-and-Go. The Sunday 3D events feature three-handed tables, have three minute blind levels, and start everyone with just 500 chips. Unlike Spin & Go’s, however, the prize pool is known before the tournament begins and is not chosen randomly.
Each tournament also has a guaranteed prize pool. €5,000 guaranteed for the €5 event, €10,000 guaranteed for the €25, and €15,000 guaranteed for the €100.
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