Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for January 05, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Jan 5, 2018

Top Female Poker Professional Retires

Vanessa Selbst is moving onto hedge fund trading

Top international female player Vanessa Selbst (33) has amassed live poker earnings alone of $11,851,384 in a sparkling, 12-year-long poker career, but has decided to call it a day.

In a Facebook and Twitter announcement the MIT and Yale law graduate revealed that she is severing her Pokerstars obligations and moving in a fresh direction after a poker experience that she characterised as “intellectually challenging, exhilarating, fun, and extremely rewarding.”

“It has given me the opportunity to travel to places I might never have experienced, and forge friendships with people from all over the world. Speaking of those people, those whom I’ve met through the poker world (players and industry people alike) are some of the most dynamic, creative, out-of-the-box thinkers and all around passionate people that I know,” she wrote.

Listing her reasons for departing the poker scene, Selbst said that since the federal government shutdown of major poker companies in 2011, professionals were faced with the choice of moving out of the US or travelling extensively to tournaments; whilst the latter was fun for a while, for her it palled in favour of building a family, home and stable lifestyle.

Selbst said that secondly, she no longer feels good about promoting poker as an ambassador, observing: “I can’t tell amateurs they should come play online and it’s beatable for them when I don’t feel like it’s true”.

“Lastly, whether because poker got more competitive or because we got older (or likely some combination of the two), poker recently turned into a real job, requiring hard work and discipline to succeed,” Selbst wrote.

“I had never treated the game that way–I always kept a very light poker schedule–I showed up and played for fun and did other projects back home as my “real work.”

“The shift in the nature of poker and what it requires put me at a crossroads and asked the question of me whether I would rather change my relationship to the game or move on. To me, the opportunity to work hard and learn something totally new and get to keep poker in my arsenal of fun go-to hobbies feels like the right approach.”

Selbst revealed that she will be entering the challenging fields of trading research and strategy in a hedge fund, something she has been trialling for four months and with which she has developed a similar affinity to poker. In this Selbst will be following her mother, who was an options trader, lawyer and recreational pokerplayer.

Poker will not entirely lose its grip on Selbst, who concluded her announcement by revealing that “… whatever happens with my next career, I know that I’ll never truly stop playing poker…I will always love the game and the people in it and I’m so thankful for everyone I’ve met and everything I’ve experienced. So with that, so long, and thanks for all the fish!”

New Poker Room For The MPN

Online poker network welcomes Tower Torneos

Online poker room Tower Torneos has gone live on the MPN network, moving its online poker operation having already experienced working with Microgaming through the Quickfire online casino games platform.

In a statement Tuesday Horacio Santoianni, operations director at Tower Torneos, said: “Working with the Microgaming team is a real pleasure, and the success of the Quickfire integration showed us that they were the perfect company to work with for a new and improved poker product. They have vast experience in the poker world and the flexibility we require to succeed.”

The operator has moved away from being a white label brand to becoming a stand-alone operator, specifically targeting the Latin American market. In addition to poker, the operator offers casino, live dealer and sportsbook, and will soon be launching skill games and bingo.

Jean-Luc Ferriѐre, director of network games at Microgaming, added: “It’s great to welcome Tower Torneos to the MPN and be their poker provider of choice. The addition of Tower Torneos will increase our overall liquidity on the network, but also our presence in markets outside of Europe. Their team bring a wealth of industry and poker experience to the MPN.”

Spain Ready To Share Online Poker Players

Regulator signs off on sharing as agreed with France, Portugal and Italy

Arrangements by four European nations to permit online poker operators to share player liquidity came a step closer as December ended when Spanish regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) authorised the practice, complying with its July 2017 agreement with France, Italy and Portugal.

In doing so, Spain’s regulator joins its equivalent in France, ARJEL, which gave similar authority to earlier in December (see previous InfoPowa report).

The DGOJ authority will be confirmed in the government gazette shortly, and that will be followed by the issue of the first Spanish player sharing licenses.

The advent of shared player pools is expected to improve business for operators, thereby boosting tax revenues.

Operators in Portugal and Italy are now awaiting similar authorisations from the respective regulators, although concerns have been expressed regarding mounting political opposition which surfaced late last year in the Italian Senate, where some members raised the possibility of money laundering through pool sharing despite ample experience and evidence to the contrary.

There have also been rumblings from Italian gambling giant Lottomatica, which appears to be worried that its rival PokerStars could be a major beneficiary through its licensing in all four player sharing nations.

Unibet Withdraws Two High Stakes Online Poker Games

Cites need to protect site ecology

Online poker provider Unibet in the Kindred Group has revealed that it has withdrawn two high-stakes games that were introduced in March 2017, citing a need to protect the site ecology.

The two games are No Limit 800 and Pot Limit 800, and Unibet head of poker Dave Pomroy has explained that the removal of the games is a precautionary measure.

“Our main priority has always been to safeguard the ecology of our site as everything we do is ultimately built on that foundation,” Pomroy told the publication Poker News.

“The addition of NL800 and PL800 had contributed to short-handed games and slightly faster loss rates of recreational players at our higher stakes. Although the situation was by no means critical, we decided it was best to act on that trend sooner rather than later.”

Unibet is not disregarding high stakes players, Pomroy emphasised, assuring them that a new promo will soon be launched.

“We’ll be launching a new promotion next month which will be aimed at our recreational higher stakes players and will consider restoring NL800 and PL800 in the future once we feel a sufficient support structure is in place. This decision doesn’t change our long-term ambitions to continue growing the site but right now our focus is on ensuring that we continue to offer a non-predatory environment and the most enjoyable cash games online.”

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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