Poker Blog and Poker Gossip

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PokerStars Reverses Changes in Tournament Policies

PokerStars has upset a number of poker players by changing its satellite tournament policy. A thread was created on Two Plus Two forum on July 10 to inform players that they cannot unregister from a tournament they had qualified for through a satellite.
Professional poker players have always used satellites to convert their Frequent Player Points (FPPs) into Tournament Dollars (T$), which could then be redeemed for real money. This method of converting FPPs into real money is the favorite of Sit N Go players and cash game players as well because it gave them better value than VIP stores, which favor only those who have reached the top VIP levels.
The change in policy upset many players as it makes it compulsory for players to take part in the target tournament. Eventually, PokerStars paid heed to players’ feedback and said that it would reverse the changes by July 21, Monday.
PokerStars said that it had two reasons to reverse the changes. First, the changes led to software errors on mobile phones and tablets. Second, PokerStars understood that the changes did not please a number of players who used satellites to convert FPPs into real money.
The online poker room stated that the changes were implemented to make sure that satellite qualifiers achieved their purpose of helping players qualify for tournaments that their bankrolls did not permit them to play. However, the changes produced the unwanted, though unintended, impact on loyalty rewards for a certain section of the PokerStars’ gaming community.
Players were delighted when PokerStars reversed its changes. However, PokerStars also stated that it could re-implement the changes in the near future. Before doing that, PokerStars will have to deal with the bug in the software and also make sure that their changes will not have a negative impact on player FPPs.

Party Poker Launches New Mobile FastForward Poker App

Party Poker has launched FastForward: Special Edition, a mobile poker application that enables players to control their poker gaming activities with swipe actions. Meant exclusively for FastForward games, the app is compatible with iPads and iPhones and is available only in the iTunes stores of Ireland, UK, Sweden, and Austria.
Following the launch, Party Poker announced that the new app re-defines the very meaning of playing one-handed. The company stated: “Our new Fastforward: Special Edition poker app features a patent pending swipe-based interface that adds another gear to playing fastforward poker.”
The app does not have the usual Bet, Fold, and Raise buttons. Instead, players have to tap and swipe to show that they want to place a bet. For instance, if they want to fold, they must swipe off their cards. If they want to check, they must tap their screens twice. And to raise or bet, they should swipe the chips onto the screen from the right. Bet amounts can be selected by clicking on the pot.
Currently in the beta version, the app allows players to play FastForward games for fun as well as real money with other players registered at PartyPoker.com.
PartyPoker has used HTML5 to build its new app, which it says is “an experiment in new technology.” The company says that the app was created exclusively for users of mobile devices after carefully taking into consideration how these devices can be used to play games of poker. The company says, “The game is the same, but HOW you play is nothing at all like on other mobile poker games.” The company has plans to launch another version of the app, this time based on browsers.
If the beta version of the app turns out to be a success, the company will launch it in other markets, including New Jersey.

Poker Player Arrested for Operating Illegal Sportsbook

Paul Phua, a high-stakes poker player, has been arrested for involvement in an illegal World Cup betting ring that operated from three luxury suites at Caesars Palace, a hotel casino based in Las Vegas. A gang of eight, including a woman, was accepting bets through computers connected to many other offshore computers.
Fifty-year-old Phua occupies the first rank on the Macau All-time Money List of Hendon Mob. Three months back, he finished in the sixth place in the EPT Grand Final High Roller Tournament, which was held at Monte Carlo. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says that Paul Phua is actually Wei Seng Phua, the member of an organized group of criminals called 14k Triad.
In the middle of June, Phua was arrested in Macau for operating an illegal betting outfit, but was later bailed out. Apparently, he rushed to Las Vegas to continue operating his illegal betting ring. However, Caesars Palace got suspicious when Phua demanded high-tech equipment in the luxury suites. The hotel casino’s employees reported that Phua had installed computers connected to a sportsbook along with three huge TVs showing World Cup games.
On July 9, FBI agents raided the luxury suites, seized high-tech equipment, and gambling-related equipment. The eight defendants were charged with illegally using electronic devices to transmit gambling-related information and running a sportsbook.
Phua’s bail has been set for $2 million and his private jet worth $48 million has been set as collateral. Many poker players are now trying to bail Phua out of jail, and poker player Andrew Robl is prepared to raise $1.5 million of it.
Among the eight arrested was 56-year-old Seng Chen Yong, a Malaysian poker player, who had finished fourth in the Manila leg of the Asian Poker Tour in April 2012.
The FBI, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and the Homeland Security Investigations are currently investigating.

Win PokerNews Cup Prize Packages at Full Tilt Poker

The sixth PokerNews Cup will be played from October 2 to October 5, 2014 in the Montesino Casino at Vienna in Austria. The PokerNews Cup has been an extremely successful event so far, giving recreational and professional poker players from countries all over the world the chance to play with one another and win large prizes.
The PokerNews Cup 2014 includes a main event with a buy-in of €250 and a guaranteed prize of €75,000 followed by a second chance tournament with a buy-in of €60 and a guaranteed prize of €20,000.
The good news is that interested poker players do not have to spend a lot of money to take part in this event. They only have to part with $3 as Full Tilt Poker is giving them a rare opportunity to qualify for the event for only $3.30. Full Tilt Poker is running two qualifier satellites to the event, each rewarding nine winners with a PokerNews Cup prize package worth $1,150, which includes the buy-in to the main event.
The prize package includes the buy-in to the main event, a 3-night stay at Vienna’s Hotel Roomz, and $350 for spending and travelling. Those interested only have to sign up at Full Tilt Poker through PokerNews and make a deposit. The satellites will be held on August 13 and September 10, giving players two chances to win a PokerNews Cup prize package. These satellites are meant only for readers of PokerNews.com and are available only to those who sign up through a link provided by PokerNews.
The 18 winners will get the opportunity to travel all the way to one of Europe’s most beautiful countries, meet other PokerNews.com readers, interact with them, and win incredibly large prizes. And to make all this possible, players only have to part with $3.30.

ASA Dismisses Complaints Regarding Channel 5’s Gaming Ads

Channel 5, which ran advertisements for an online casino and a mobile poker app while showing a documentary titled “My Spiral into Debt Hell” featuring a man who incurred gambling debts of £70,000, was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The documentary could also be viewed on Channel 5’s official website along with a text message: “We meet four people who have suffered shocking financial disaster.” Thirteen viewers who felt that Channel 5 ought not to have shown such ads while presenting a documentary on the dangers of gambling had complained about the same.
“My Spiral into Debt Hell” revolves around the story of Justyn, who appeared to be having “the perfect life,” but had to pay off £70,000 in gambling debts. Ultimately, Justyn loses his family as well as his career.
The ASA, which had investigated the issue, did not take any action as it felt that the channel had not violated any code of conduct. The ASA felt that, although the documentary told the tale of a man who was ruined because of his habit of gambling, it did not contain any “practical advice to vulnerable indebted viewers.” Since the documentary just told a story, the advertisements that were run alongside it were neither unsuitable nor irresponsible. The judges therefore did not consider the ads to be offensive or distressful to viewers.
In a statement, Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd said that “My Spiral into Debt Hell” was an attempt to show how people can get into gambling debts and to convey the message that they cannot use gambling as a solution to their financial problems. The show also intended to show how attempts to use gambling as a solution to financial problems usually lead to more financial problems. The company also clarified that the show was for an adult audience.

WSOP 2014 Attracts Record Field of 82,360 Players

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) of 2014, which included 65 bracelet events, attracted a field of 82,360 players from all over the world, which is more than that of last year’s by 3.6%. This year the WSOP will distribute a record prize pool of $225,584,873 among its winners.
This year, the WSOP had included three more bracelet events as WSOP 2013 had only 62 bracelet years. The WSOP has come a long way, considering the fact that it awarded only 33 bracelets ten years back.
Since the WSOP intends to continue growing and developing, the player field and prize pool can be expected to grow too. Players can look forward to many more bracelet events during the next few years.
Declaring that “there is only one WSOP,” Ty Stewart, the executive director for the WSOP, said that the organizers are “humbled” at the response to the WSOP 2014 and have “embraced the challenge” to deliver something to everybody who likes playing poker. He also said that they cannot wait to start planning the next year’s WSOP.
This summer’s record turnout is because of two major tournaments—the $1,500 Millionaire Maker, which drew as many as 7,977 participants, and the $1,500 Monster Stack Tournament, which attracted a field of 7,862 players. The $1000 PL Omaha tournament also drew a field of 1,128 players, the biggest field that a non-Hold’em tournament has ever attracted.
Poker players flocked to Las Vegas from 107 countries all over the world to take part in this prestigious live poker tournament series. US poker players, however, won 52 bracelets before the Main Event began. While the average age of the participants was 38.93, the average first-place payout was $792,507. This year, 94.72 percent of the field comprised male poker players while 5.28 percent of it comprised female poker players.