2017 WSOPE to Feature 11 Bracelet Events, €20m Gtd

March 10, 2017

kings-casino-rozvadovThe 2017 WSOP Europe will have a new home this year in King’s Casino Rozvadov. The Czech Republic casino will house the WSOPE from October 19th to November 10th. And what’s exciting is that the event will offer 11 bracelet events, with €20 million ($21.2m) in guaranteed prize money.

The action begins on Oct. 19 with a €1,100 buy-in Monster Stack NLHE tournament, where €500k will be guaranteed. The 2017 WSOPE will conclude on Nov. 19 with the €10,300 Main Event, where a €4 million (or more) prize pool will be up for grabs.

Other exciting tourneys will include a €111,111 High Roller for One Drop, and a €550 Colossus NL Hold’em event. The Colossus has been very successful in the Las Vegas-based WSOP, so organizers have decided to try the tournament in Europe too.

King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik is very excited about the fact that his casino will play host to the 2017 WSOPE.

“I started off with a dream and my dream has come true and I hope poker players have their dreams come true too when they see the sheer size and facilities of King’s,” said Tsoukernik.

WSOP Director Ty Stewart is also happy about where the event will be held, and he feels like this could be a long-term site for the event.

“WSOP Europe has struggled to find a permanent home since debuting in 2007 because we could never really find the venue or partner to replicate what we have in Las Vegas,” said Stewart. “But I truly believe in Leon’s vision, his passion and King’s Casino to execute the best WSOP Europe to date.”

The WSOP Europe has moved around from London (2007-10), France (2011-13), and Germany (2015) in its existence. This year will mark yet another change in venue. But given Tsoukernik’s love for poker and success with King’s Casino, it’s possible that this could be the last time it has to move for the foreseeable feature.

Dan Bizlerian Sparks Outrage – Bikini Girl Rides Endangered Tortoise

March 3, 2017

dan-bilzerian-tortioseNot long ago, Dan Bilzerian’s biggest problem involved getting Bill Perkins booted from America’s Cardroom for multi-accounting. But he’s stepped into a whole new world of trouble after posting an Instagram picture with a bikini-clad woman riding a 100-year-old tortoise.

Vacationing on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island – Branson’s privately owned land in the British Virgin Islands – Bilzerian thought that the girl riding the Galapagos tortoise would make for a trending picture.

But some of his Instagram followers were outraged upon finding out that this is an endangered animal.

Bilzerian immediately began receiving flack after sending the pic to his 20.9 million followers, with one posting: “100% it is disrespectful – no need to interfere with nature like. Just take a photo and move on – but sitting on it? Just how’s a lack of class and education.”

Another commented that Bilzerian should be “ashamed of himself” for putting the picture on Instagram.

According to The Mirror, the poker pro and social media star wasn’t having it and fired back: “Get off your soapbox, the people working there said it’s fine to sit on them.

Bilzerian is referring to the World Wildlife Fund workers, who, along with Brandon, help protect the endagered Galapagos tortoises.

As for sitting on the tortoise, Rob Stewart Photography claims that they can carry a full-grown adult on their back with no problem.

The age might be a slight problem, though, because Galapagos tortoises have an average life span of just over 100 years. The oldest of these creatures on record was 152 years.

But given the fact that tortoises are capable of carrying people and the workers told Bilzerian it was fine, we don’t see any animal abuse going on here.

Online Poker World Looks to South America, Asia for Boost

February 24, 2017

machu-picchu-online-pokerIn the mid-2000s, online poker experienced a boom thanks to the game’s rapid growth in America. When the US signed the UIGEA into effect, poker sites targeted European countries for further growth. But with the game now stagnating in both of these regions, online poker is setting its sights on South America and Asia.

This trend has been brewing for a few years now, but brands like Bodog and PokerStars have increased their South American and Asian marketing efforts recently. Asia is a potential goldmine with its 4.44 billion people, while South America has 422.5 million residents.

PokerStars ended its European Poker Tour in 2016 and plans to dedicate more efforts to their Latin America Poker Tour (LAPT) and Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT). Additionally, they’ll be running the PokerStars Festival, in Chile, Korea, the Philippines, and Uruguay this year. Other big events include an event in Macau and the PokerStars Championship in Panama.

Bodog, which exited Europe in 2012 and the US in 2013, has been focusing on Asia for a while, establishing a strong foothold in China and Vietnam. But just recently, they’ve expanded into the South American market, targeting countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru.

Bodog spokesman Ed Pownall talked about the company’s strategy and where they see it heading.

“The Latin American region has long been seen as a growth area for the online gaming industry but we felt leading with poker was the best point of entry as we have made such a strong name for ourselves in this arena,” said Pownall. “Furthermore, the innovative brand has also introduced Bitcoin payment processing as part of its service in those countries, together with more familiar deposit and withdrawal options.”

With some of the biggest brands in online gaming making inlets in South America and Asia, it’ll be interesting to see when other poker sites begin following suit.

What’s Ronaldo Doing for PokerStars? Added $500m to Nike

February 18, 2017

ronaldo-pokerstarsLast year, PokerStars made bold moves by reducing VIP rewards for high-volume grinders, adding new products, and shifting their focus entirely towards recreational players. The foundation for many of these moves were made in 2015, when Stars began signing footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo.

Poker purists have questioned these moves because, after all, the game is poker. But then again, one also has to think about the international appeal Ronaldo has, and what he can do for Stars in terms of drawing recreational players.

According to HypeBeast and Hookit, Ronaldo generated $500 million in added value for Nike. And the biggest reason why is his massive social media following.

Forbes was kind enough to break down the $500 million figure, which you can see below:

“Ronaldo posted 1,703 times overall on social media in 2016. Those posts generated 2.25 billion social interactions (likes, comments, shares, retweets and views on videos), per Hookit. Nike was referenced or its logo visible in a photo or video in 347 of the posts, which had 477 million interactions. Hookit’s methodology looks at promotion type and quality, as well as interactions and market-driven rates. The result: $499.6 million [USD] for Nike in media value from Ronaldo’s posts.”

Nike signed Ronaldo to a $1 billion lifetime deal last year, and it appears that he’s already made half that back for the company in one year.

We have no idea what PokerStars is paying Ronaldo, but Brazilian footballer Neymar has a €4 million annual deal with the company. Even assuming that Ronaldo’s deal is double or triple this amount, he’ll be bringing PokerStars back a big return thanks to his social media following.

This being said, we can continue to rip the way that poker sponsorships are going. But it’s obvious that Stars will do what’s best for them, and that definitely appears to be having Ronaldo on-board.

New Bill Would Lower Vegas Poker Room Age to 18

February 11, 2017

jim-wheeler-nevadaAs it stands, you can’t get into a Las Vegas poker room without being 21 or older. But Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler is trying to lower the state’s minimum gambling age from 21 to 18.

Called Assembly Bill 86, this piece of legislation has been submitted to Nevada’s legislature. If successful, AB86 will allow both state residents and visitors to enter casinos and poker rooms as long as they’re 18.

Wheeler, who often wears a white cowboy hat, has been asking around to see what others think of his proposal. “Well, the fact is in this business you actually have to put a bill out before you get comments on it,” he said.

Nevada’s current age limit of 21 has been in effect since gambling was legalized in the Silver State in 1931. However, some lawmakers have begun to question this limit in recent years, including when a bill was introduced in 2008.

The idea behind the 2008 legislation was to lower the gambling age and help Nevada casinos during the Great Recession. But it couldn’t get enough support, meaning, in better economic times, AB86 has an en even tougher climb ahead.

Most US states impose an age limit of 21 because, like with alcohol and marijuana, they want to prevent young people from the harmful side. But Wheeler believes that if you’re old enough to be in the military, then you deserve more liberties.

He said, “I think if you’re old enough to go to Afghanistan, or Yemen, or Iraq and fight – if you’re old enough to drink in some states – if you’re old enough to vote – then you ought to be old enough to gamble, if that’s what you want to do.”

One thing making this situation stickier is that casinos – like other businesses – can only serve alcohol to people 21 and older. So if 18 year old’s are allowed into the casino, employees will have an even tougher time making sure that minors don’t get served. Nevada’s toughest penalty for inadvertently serving a minor is a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

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