Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for September 28, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Sep 28, 2018

Two Weeks To World Series Of Poker Europe

10 bracelet events this year

The poker pros should by now have finalised their travel and accommodation arrangements for the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe, which kicks off at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic on October 9 and will run through to November 2 this year.

The organisers advise that there will be ten bracelet events this year (78 were dished out at WSOP Las Vegas earlier this year) along with total guaranteed prize money of Euro 13 million. The main event will be a Euro 11,300 buy-in NLHE competition where the winner could take home Euro 5 million.

Full details on the WSOP website.

Pokerstars Hails Success Of Latest W.C.O.O.P.

Over 1.1 million entries, with $100 million in prizes handed out

PokerStars has hailed the success of its recently concluded World Championship of Online Poker, reporting that over 1.1 million entries were received from 148,000 unique players in 140 countries, who played in 185 events… a new online poker record.

Almost $100 million in prize money was handed out over the two week festival of online poker, way over the $70 million in guarantees laid out by PokerStars and easily overtaking the same event totals for last year.

In total, the company paid out more than 150,000 individual cash prizes and more than $15 million in first-place prizes.

The previous prize pool record, $94 million, was set in 2017 during PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker.

The company also handed out a total of seven Platinum Passes valued at $30,000 each, which will take the awarded players to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship,

Questions Asked Following Cuts In Partypoker Powerfest Guarantees

Company acknowledges that it reduced the prize pool guarantees on several events

A social media row brewed up this week over the much-hyped $60 million in prize pool guarantees invested by PartyPoker in its Powerfest series when eagle-eyed players noticed that the guarantees on some events in week three had been unilaterally reduced in the middle of the festival… apparently without announcement.

This was particularly questioned by players who had already registered for the events, raising the issue of whether the publicity and advertising had been rendered misleading by the changes.

One event, flagged by a cash game streamer who had pre-registered, originally carried a guarantee of $1 million which was slashed in half by PartyPoker, he claimed in social media posts.

PartyPoker player liaison staffer Colette Stewart was reportedly quick to respond, advising: “…unfortunately, our final week’s GTEs were based on us running alongside the final week of WCOOP, and rather than cancel the 3rd week we decided to run the full schedule with a relatively small amount of amended tournaments, the above being one such tournament. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. Website and other content should be updated accordingly today.”

That was mid-week, and by the start of the weekend players were still claiming that there had been no further notifications or information. There was also criticism that the guarantees had been cut without prior notification and publicity.

Going into the weekend the discussion was taking place across several major poker forums and Twitter, and Ms. Stewart was back with the company line Friday, posting her thanks for the feedback and commenting: “I believe transparency is the way forward and we aim at all times to be as open and as honest with our players as we can be I am always on hand across social media to answer any queries (when possible) and help our players and the community.”

But that did not address the issues at the heart of the matter, which remained the subject of discussion.

Various questions surrounding the cut in guarantees arose in the exchanges; respected industry writer Steve Ruddock observed: “I think changing it before the series is ok, but changing it during the series is questionable.”

He added: “However, the main issue from a Partypoker customer perspective is the fact that a player who had pre-registered for a $1 Million Guaranteed online poker tournament was not immediately or automatically refunded once the event no longer guaranteed the total payout that had been previously advertised”.

Poker player Michael Josem opined it is really a contractual issue: “I think that the key timing factor is when someone has paid/registered. At that moment, you’ve got an offer of a service, and paid acceptance of it.”

Pokerstars Awards Euro 17 Million In Galactic Series

New Southern European series hosts more than 50,000 unique players

The PokerStars Galactic Series has concluded with the company claiming it as the Southern European shared liquidity market’s biggest ever online poker tournament series with a total prize pool of Euro 16,973,768, surpassing its Euro 15 million guarantee.

A total of 50,612 players hit the virtual felt during the 186-event schedule. The series, which ran from August 26 – September 13, was also the longest yet held in the Southern Europe shared liquidity market and featured the biggest single-event guarantee at Euro 1.5 million.

PokerStars reports that the Main Event had 6,430 entries, with French players enjoying the most Main Event success with five countrymen making it to the final table, and the top four spots taken by French players.

French success characterised the whole series with players from France winning the most events – 42 in total– followed by Spain with 30 events and Portugal with 20.

“Sharing liquidity among these three markets continues to allow us to offer our players the most attractive tournaments with the biggest guarantees,” said Severin Rasset, director of poker innovation and operations at The Stars Group.

Outside of the Main Event, key tournament highlights included the Sunday Special on 2 September, which surpassed its Euro 350,000 guarantee by more than Euro 20,000, and the Super Thursday on 13 September, which exceeded its Euro 150,000 guarantee by almost Euro 100,000. The Euro 10 buy-in Classico events proved to be very popular as well, with an average of 15,000 entries across three Sundays.

This latest series in Portugal, France and Spain follows PokerStars successes at the Trio Series, France and Spain’s Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), and the FRESH (France Espania Hold’em) Series, which all beat their guarantees.

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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