John Oliver trolls Daily Fantasy Sports Industry

November 19, 2015

john-oliver-daily-fantasy-sportsAs if the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry weren’t already catching enough flack from federal and state governments, comedian John Oliver recently provided another attack on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight.” Oliver not only made jokes about the frequency of the television ads, but he also tied in some poker humor and called on Seth Rogen for a DFS commercial spoof.

“A few months ago, the two main daily fantasy sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, were airing a national TV ad every ninety seconds,” said Oliver. “You only need to remind people of something that often if your target market is sports-loving golf fish.”

Oliver also noted how DraftKings and FanDuel like to try and use the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) as evidence why they’re completely legal.

“It (DFS) was meant to be a very small exception (in UIGEA),” Oliver explained. “But through that small carve-out, two multi-billion dollar businesses have emerged. It’s like lawmakers built a doggy door for a beloved pooch, and then daily fantasy came bursting through like a pack of wolves saying, ‘We are dogs. That’s a doggy door, right? That’s us, we’re legally dogs.”

The goal of Oliver’s discussion – besides making people laugh – is to poke fun at at the notion that DFS is somehow legal, even though similar skill games like poker are not. In fact, Oliver is sure to note how the DFS industry has heavily marketed itself to the poker crowd with lots of success.

“If it attracts the same people and requires the same sort of skills, it’s safe to say it is somewhat similar.”

The idea that DFS is somehow different than online poker and other forms of gaming that are murky is a laughing matter. This being said, state governments like New York and Nevada have already asked DraftKings and FanDuel not to operate in their states. And it shouldn’t be long before other states begin doing the same thing.

Global Poker Index, USA Today become Partners

November 13, 2015

global-poker-indexGlobal Poker Index (GPI) founder Alex Dreyfus has maintained all along that he wants to “sportify” poker. And this week he took a big step towards making this happen since GPI and USA Today Sports have signed a multi-year partnership deal.

“We’re extremely pleased to be announcing this multi-year content partnership with USA TODAY Sports,” said Dreyfus. “The partnership will provide an essential platform to showcase our innovative new events and to promote the players ranked in the Global Poker Index.”

Dreyfus’ company plans on launching the Global Poker League (GPL) next year, which will essentially be a pro sports-type poker organization. The 12-team league will feature drafted players, teams representing cities (New York, L.A., etc.) and an arena called “The Cube.” So it’s definitely good that they now have USA Today Sports covering the action too.

“It’s great to have the support and passion of an industry leader like USA TODAY Sports, whose team shares in our vision to ‘sportify’ poker,” Dreyfus explained. “We’re looking forward to working closely with them over the coming years.”

USA Today will look to provide coverage of the GPI rankings, player profiles and live events. Articles/content on the GPI will appear in both the USA Today print magazine and on the website.

“The Global Poker Index has done more than any other organization to unify poker and to see the possibilities that exist for creating a ‘big league’ atmosphere around play,” said Jason Ford, Sports Marketing VIP at USA TODAY Sports Media Group. “We’re looking forward to working together to create a 24/7 digital poker destination, and to providing coverage for some of the groundbreaking events that GPI is launching.”

PokerStars VIP Changes: Dani Stern isn’t Happy

November 5, 2015

dani-stern-pokerJust recently, PokerStars announced that they’re making huge changes to their VIP program. The moves are being advertised as helping out low-volume players while taking away from high-volume players, who sometimes earn 70% rakeback or more from their play. Here’s a brief overview of the main changes:

– Frequent Players Points (FPPs) will be replaced by StarsCoin.
– StarsCoin is worth about 1 cent, which is 25% less than an FPP.
– $5/$10 No-Limit and Pot-Limit tables (and above), along with $10/$20 Fixed Limit tables, will not offer any rewards.
– Rakeback will be capped at 30% starting in 2017 (45% in 2016).
– The Supernova Elite level will soon be eliminated from the PokerStars VIP program.

PokerStars’ head of corporate communication, Eric Hollreiser, said that these changes will only affect a small percentage of PokerStars players.

“Approximately two percent of players – including our highest volume and high stakes players – will have significantly reduced rewards,” wrote Hollreiser. “The reason we are focused on the highest status levels is because these rewards have become so enticing that we have inadvertently altered why some people play and how they play.”

In theory, these changes sound great for the average player, who would never even sniff the Supernova or Supernova Elite levels. However, certain pros are livid about the situation and say that the matter goes beyond just helping out the little guy.

Dani ‘Ansky’ Stern is one player who’s been outspoken about the situation, accusing PokerStars of everything from reneging on their stated promise (on the website) to Supernova players, to foolishly killing the dream of becoming a successful poker player.

Beyond this, Stern also isn’t happy with how, from an overall perspective, PokerStars is just trying to save money through the VIP program. After all, even when they increase rewards for PokerStars “Chrome” members, the overall result is a huge dip in rewards for the entire player base. Check out everything that Stern had to say below on ChicagoJoey’s podcast.

Poker’s Assani Fisher must leave Nevada to play DFS

October 28, 2015

assani-fisher-pokerWhile Assani Fisher has had a solid poker career, he definitely makes the bulk of his money playing daily fantasy sports (DFS). In fact, Fisher is ranked as the seventh-best DFS player in the world according to his winnings. Unfortunately for Fisher, he also lives in Nevada, which recently voted to ban unregulated DFS sites.

Much like how Black Friday forced online poker players to uproot their lives and head to other countries. Fisher must leave the Silver State to continue playing daily fantasy sports. And this is especially bad for him considering that it’s the middle of the NFL season, when DFS nuts are at their wildest.

So where is Fisher going now that he can’t enjoy the activity in his home state?

“The thing is, I need to be playing DFS right now, as soon as possible,” he said. “The money is too good right now to just sit back and see what happens. I’ve emailed both sites (DraftKings and FanDuel) and now I’m just waiting to hear what the official rules are going to be. If need be, I’ll be moving sometime this week to California or something so I can start playing right away, but no one is really sure right now what will be required to prove your location or establish residency.”

Once Fisher does move, he will be able to resume a career that’s made him $800,000 in just the past year alone – much higher than his $600k in online poker profits. And when one considers the volume of money that he’s betting each week, it’s easy to see why Fisher is doing so well.

“The first few weeks of the NFL season, I was getting between $100,000 and $150,000 down every weekend,” he said. “The biggest weekend was probably around $275,000. But this is very new to me. Like I said, I was playing $2-$5 no-limit earlier this year. This is really my first experience with this big of a bankroll and that much money in action. But of course, just to clarify, my rosters are diversified so it would take a complete disaster to lose all of that money in one week. I might have one player I really like in something like two-thirds of my teams, so if he manages to get hurt on the first play of the game, then I might be in a lot of trouble, but I don’t put more than $75,000 on any one particular team. I know that’s still a ton of money, but it’s not as crazy as it might look to an outsider.”

Fisher isn’t the only one who’s been affected by Nevada’s decision. Mike Matusow was also angry about DFS, complaining that his state took away one of the few things he has to look forward to. But despite the criticism, Nevada appears validated in what they’ve done, given that they have a regulated online poker market.

Beevers mad about Poker Hall of Fame Choices

October 26, 2015

joe-beevers-pokerJust recently, Jennifer Harman and John Juanda were selected to be the two members of the 2015 Poker Hall of Fame class. Both seem like very deserving candidates, however, not everybody is happy with the selections, including Joe Beevers.

Of Hendon Mob fame, Beevers wrote a post that rips how the Poker HOF is largely an American affair. He takes exception to how, out of all 39 living HOF members, none are from Europe. Entitled “When is a Hall of Fame not a Hall of Fame?“, the post’s following excerpt perfectly sums up the point that Beevers is trying to make:

“There are zero living non American’s in the PHOF and the only non American name I can see in the list of (now) 50 is Edmond Hoyle inducted in 1980 (he died in 1769). Sounds like they have a fair system here with no bias whatsoever right? Yeah right.

So when is a Hall of Fame not a Hall of Fame? When it’s a club.

I think that the PHOF as it is resembles more of a private ‘club’ than a real Hall of Fame. So today I am starting the ‘Joe Beevers Poker Hall of Fame’. I’m not sure what the guidelines are and how future members or inductees will be chosen but I am certainly sure who the first member is.”

The one player whom Beevers thinks should have been inducted into the HOF – but wasn’t – is not surprisingly Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliot. There was some debate over whether Ulliott passing away this year should have some bearing on him getting into the Poker HOF. However, it’s pretty clear that he had some fans like Beevers who thought Devilfish had both the clout and emotional aspect to make the 2015 class.

In any case, the simple fact that Europeans were once again shut out of the Poker HOF is enough to spark a larger debate.

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