Daniel Negreanu still Confident in Vegas NHL Team

November 26, 2015

daniel-negreanu-hockeyIt’s been a while since Daniel Negreanu immersed himself in the effort to bring an NHL team to Las Vegas. In fact, the talks have somewhat cooled down after the topic was frequently covered in early 2015. But a recent interview shows that Negreanu is just as confident as ever that Vegas will land a pro hockey team in the near future.

Kid Poker spoke with Canada’s TSN about how well he thinks an NHL club could do in Sin City, especially since there are no other professional sports teams here.

“It will be the first major sports team (in Las Vegas) and if you look historically, any city that’s had just one team, like San Jose for example, they do amazing,” Negreanu explained. “There was no hockey culture in San Jose before the Sharks came and now it’s a Shark’s town.

“We have the 2.2 million residents, we have a great arena built, we have the money to back it, we’ve already got commitments from over 13,000 people with season ticket deposits having been put down.”

Negreanu was instrumental in the ticket drive that earned over 13,000 commitments from Nevada residents. But besides the season tickets, he believes that Vegas will get a hockey team because of what they an offer out-of-state fans.

“People will go to games in Vegas as visitors as a destination game,” said Kid Poker. “Nobody says ‘let’s get the buddies together and we’ll go to Columbus and watch the Blue Jackets.’ No one’s going to do that. But if Calgary is playing Vegas in Vegas on a Sunday afternoon, people will take a weekend and make a trip out of it.”

In addition to discussing the prospects of Vegas getting an NHL team, Negreanu also spoke about his passion for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unfortunately, he feels like they’ve struggled to build a competitive team since they don’t rebuild properly.

“As far as overall strategy, I would love to have some say in terms of how things are being done because I think, Toronto for example, is a perfect example of a city that, for 20 years, has been doing it wrong,” he explained. “(The Leafs) have always made the same mistake of bailing on the rebuild too quickly.”

You can catch the rest of Negreanu’s interview with TSN here.

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.