Huge Taxes could hurt Greek Online Poker Market

April 27, 2016

greece-online-poker-taxesGreece has been struggling financially ever since their economic crisis in 2010. So one of the proposed measures to shore up their $350 billion national debt is to create an online gaming market. While this sounds good in theory, the key problem is that online poker sites and casinos might stay away due to the outrageous taxes

The leading proposal calls for a 35% tax on gross gaming revenue, €3 million to purchase an online gaming license, and a minimum tax payout of €1 million per year.

When looking across the European gaming market, these are pretty steep requirements from a country of 11 million people that’s still struggling economically.

On Greece’s behalf, they hope that the strict requirements will generate €550 million in tax money for the government. However, it’s a bit hard to see this happening when New Jersey and its comparable population of 8.95 people is only projected to make $160 million in total revenue.

Nevertheless, some online poker rooms could still shell out the hefty amount to enter Greece. Amaya Gaming, parent company of PokerStars, has a temporary license in the country. Another 20 gaming companies are also using these temporary licenses as a trial, although very few of these same operators will stick around if the current measures are passed.

Yet another problem with the proposed online poker bill is that players would be forced to pay taxes on any winnings within a 24-hour span. This is made worse by the fact that any losses incurred the following day would not reduce the taxes.

These laws will either force current Greek poker pros to quit or move away from their country. Case in point, PokerStars player ‘Pokerfan89gr’ writes:

“It sucks because of the ridiculous tax. Most Greek pros or people who want to play a lot have to move or stop playing entirely. (Greece’s government) tax daily. At 7:00am each day, they take 20% of your winnings. It’s automatically taken from your account.”

Perhaps only the state of Pennsylvania has a worse plan on the table since they want to impose 54% revenue taxes on operators, which would no doubt get passed on to the consumer.

Olivier Busquet discusses $150k MMA Bout with JC Alvarado

April 21, 2016

olivier-busquet-mmaPoker pros Olivier Busquet and JC Alvarado are set to step into the ring tomorrow for an MMA bout. The obvious prize for winning will be $150,000, but, according to Busquet, this fight is about a lot more than just the money.

Busquet blogged about his thoughts on the upcoming fight, dividing it up into WHY he’d doing this and a THANK YOU to those who’ve helped. Here’s one excerpt from the post in which he discusses the why:

“In addition to discipline though, there are a number of other things that motivated me to take this on. I wanted to test myself physically and mentally and raise my fitness to as high a level as I could. Also, since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to learn how to fight. I’ve always wanted to feel confident that I could protect myself and my family (or at least have a reasonable chance) if I was forced to. I think being able to handle yourself in a physical altercation is an essential skill that all men should have (sorry if this is not a progressive enough view for everyone). Until this point in my life I had never seriously pursued this skill, however, and I think part of the reason for that was my aforementioned lack of discipline. Booking a 6 figure bet with a huge backout penalty served as a forcing mechanism that ensured I would be committed.”

Another thing that Busquet discusses is how he initially saw this as a solo training mission. However, after attending the ECU gym, he got some excellent coaching and doesn’t think he could have gained enough fighting skills without them.

When this fight originally arose back in October, many people immediately gave Alvarado the edge because he’s previously done MMA training. But given Busquet’s rigorous training over the last few months, it seems that he might be able to offer up a serious challenge.

The fight takes place tomorrow (Apr 22), so we won’t have to wait long to see who emerges victorious.

Johnathan Duhamel signs Sponsorship with Quebec Casinos

April 11, 2016

jonathan-duhamel-quebec-casinos2010 WSOP champ Jonathan Duhamel has signed a deal to represent the Société des casinos du Québec (SCQ) network of casinos. The sponsorship precedes the WSOP Circuit event that’s set to take place at SCQ’s Casino de Montréal from April 20 to May 1.

Duhamel’s duties will include playing in the WSOP Circuit tournaments at Casino de Montréal as well as representing the Quebec online poker site Espacejeux. He will also represent all four Quebec casinos owned by SCQ, which operates on behalf of Loto-Québec.

It’s little surprise that SCQ looked to Duhamel when they needed a famous poker player to represent their brand. The 28-year-old is easily the most-famous player from Quebec, having won the 2010 WSOP Main Event along with $8.94 million.

Aside from his breakout WSOP performance, Duhamel has continued his winning ways, taking down the 2011 EPT Deauville High Roller ($272k), winning an 8-max side event at the 2012 PCA ($240k), finishing eighth in the 2013 WSOP $50k Player’s Championship ($207k), taking fourth in the 2014 WSOP $25k High Roller ($127k), winning the 2015 WSOP $111k One Drop ($3.99 million) and winning the 2015 WSOPE High Roller ($629k).

All told, Duhamel has earned almost $17.6 million in live poker tournaments, which ranks him 10th all time and 2nd in Canadian history. If it weren’t for Daniel Negreanu – the biggest poker winner ever at $32.3 million – Duhamel would also have the most poker winnings for his country.

It’s good to see him with another sponsorship deal because Duhamel parted ways with PokerStars in 2015. This was part of a large exodus from PokerStars by many sponsored pros, who either weren’t asked to renew their contracts or didn’t want to accept less money. Online poker has increasingly moved away from the sponsorship model, but land-based companies like SCQ obviously see value in having someone like Duhamel to represent them.

Dan Bilzerian wins $1.2m Bike Bet

April 1, 2016

dan-bilzerian-wins-bike-betDan Bilzerian is now $600k million richer after completing a 300-mile bike ride from Las Vegas to L.A. The Instagram King spent $150,000 on a chase van, medical equipment and a doctor to do it, but the expense seems well worth the prize.

Millionaire businessman/poker player Bill Perkins was on the losing side of this bet, and he spoke to the New York Post about the matter.

“I don’t like it monetarily,” said Perkins. “But I do like the strong finish.”

Seeking some solace from losing over a half million dollars, Perkins went on to say that Bilzerian isn’t looking so good after completing the arduous, mountain-filled bike ride in less than 48 hours.

“He looks like the Grinch — his skin is green,” Perkins noted. “He’s looking like death right now. He’s in bed with chafed buttocks, a fever, hot and cold [flashes], chills, wobbly legs. His immune system is down, and every virus you can have is rising. I was hoping his muscles would seize up [mid-ride], but they didn’t. He used all his willpower.”

Bilzerian actually had to surrender a few hours after Perkins complained about how he was drafting behind the chase van, which had its doors open to help cut down on the wind resistance he faced. This rule was never discussed, but Bilzerian agreed that it was a little bush league and took the van out of the equation. For Perkins’ part, he believes that “Blitz” would have completed the journey anyways.

“There’s no doubt he had a mechanical advantage, and I didn’t know he would be so close to the van,” Perkins said. “But you need to look at the totality and spirit of the bet. His drafting might have saved him 5,000 calories, but he had 14 hours in which to finish the bet. I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation and realized that he would have won even without the drafting.”

Bilzerian is supposed to receive another $250,000 from Rick Salomon, who bet that the poker pro would be brain-dead or possibly die on the bike ride. Now, Salomon claims he doesn’t owe the money after finding out that Bilzerian drafted behind the open-doored van.