Is Esports Really the Next Online Poker?

August 25, 2016

While online poker still enjoys plenty of popularity today, we can all agree that it’s no longer a booming industry. Esports, on the other hand, seem to just be getting started on the path towards success.

More and more people are either attending live Esports events, or gambling on Esports contests through online sites.

As Forbes reports, the industry is expected to grow from $325 million to $463 million in 2016 – an increase of 43%.

Of course, this is a far cry from the online poker industry, which is worth billions of dollars today. But it at least shows that Esports are a force to be reckoned with in the future.

One thing holding Esports back is that they don’t get the TV coverage that the World Series of Poker does since it’s featured regularly on ESPN. But the one benefit for Esports is that they take place at a time when the internet is fully mature.

Professional players can stream their sessions through Twitch, while their fans can tune in at any time. Furthermore, it’s easy to find betting sites that offer Esports gambling.

One more thing going in Esports’ favor is that they inspire global interest, with 40% of Chinese smartphone users having attended at least one live Esports event. These games are also very popular in Europe, Australia, and the US.

Forbes doesn’t expect the Esports industry to catch up to online poker any time soon, given that the latter has been around much longer. But it also shouldn’t be long before the industry as a whole is valued at over $1 billion.

With a valuation that’s expected to hit $463 million by the end of the year, Esports are already halfway towards becoming a billion dollar industry.

Beth Shak Details Strip Poker Games with Dates

August 17, 2016

beth-shak-pokerBeth Shak built her fame upon playing poker in the mid-2000s. And as Shak recently explained, she used her former career as a way to get to know her dates better through strip poker games.

“Before I married my new husband, [Fox News senior correspondent] Rick Leventhal, I used to play strip poker with my dates,” she said. “Because of my experience and expertise, I was usually able to decide whether I wanted to see my date naked or allow him to take my clothes off.”

Shak needed all of her poker skills to win because, as she told Page Six, men have a distinct advantage in strip poker games.

“Women are always at a disadvantage when playing strip poker because men wear more clothes, especially in the summer, when women are more apt to go commando than men.”

Shak hasn’t been playing in many live poker tournaments lately, given that her last cash was in 2009. But before stopping her play on the live circuit, Shak built a poker career that includes $481,809 in live winnings.

Her best-career finish includes taking second in a 2007 WSOP $3,000 NLHE event, which earned her $328,683.

Perhaps more important to Shak’s poker career was her Full Tilt sponsorship, which saw her used in some of the company’s advertisements.

She was also married to hedge fund manager Dan Shak, who’s an even more accomplished poker player with over $8.63 million in career winnings.

Dan and Beth were one of poker’s greatest power couples for years, before getting divorced in 2009. This messy divorce eventually saw Dan sue his former wife over a collection of shoes totaling over 1,200 pairs. Dan would later drop the lawsuit, which demanded that Beth sell off a shoe collection that was valued at over $1 million.

Bovada Exiting US Online Poker Market in Oct.

August 11, 2016

bovada-poker-leaving-us-marketBovada, the biggest US online poker site, will exit the American market on September 30. An email sent to players explains that their accounts and balances can either be cashed out or transferred to Ignition Casino.

Here’s an excerpt from the email:

“After this date, poker at Bovada will no longer be available. You’ll still have access to Bovada’s sportsbook, casino and racebook products. Ignition Casino uses the same platform as Bovada, so the features you enjoy such as anonymous tables, Zone poker, mobile poker and guaranteed tournaments, like the weekly $100K, will be there waiting for you. Both sites will also operate simultaneously with shared player pools until the transition is complete.”

Black Friday (Apr. 15, 2011) saw the US government crack down on some of the world’s largest online poker rooms for money laundering and fraud. Most poker sites exited the US after this, but not Bovada, which was created to serve as the US-facing arm of Bodog.

Given its association with the famed Bodog network, Bovada quickly rose up the online poker traffic rankings to become the largest US room. According to PokerScout, Bovada/Bovada comprise the world’s third-biggest online poker site with an hourly average of 1,350 cash game players.

Based on website appearances, Ignition seems to be part of the Bodog group, which has puzzled some regarding the upcoming migration from Bovada. But unlike Bovada, Ignition doesn’t offer a sportsbook, prompting TwoPlusTwo users to speculate that the network wants to separate its poker players and sports bettors, with the latter being more profitable.

An Ignition spokeswoman said that they’ll “only be a US-facing site,” meaning that Ignition won’t share players with the Bodog network. That said, PokerScout’s rankings of the site will assuredly separate Ignition and Bodog poker in the future.

Daniel Negreanu Plays $2k/$4k Game with Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman

August 4, 2016

negreanu-bellagio-pokerDaniel Negreanu rekindled the mid-2000s recently by playing in a high stakes cash game with Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Patrik Antonius, and Doyle Brunson.

As you may know, these were some of the biggest names from the poker boom, and they all furthered their fame as poker exploded.

As for the big cash game, it took place at the Bellagio, with stakes ranging from $1500-$3000 mixed games to $2000-$4000 blinds.

Harman, Hansen, Brunson, and Antonius were involved in many of these games along with “a little bit of new blood sprinkled in.” Negreanu, who blogged about the action, wrote that the players made prop bets too, much like they did on High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark.

As the hours grew later, Negreanu wrote that the stakes moved up a notch. Here’s one excerpt from his FullContactPoker blog:

After the clock struck midnight it was time to kick it up to $2000-$4000 for the night owls who would play around the clock. From what they’ve told me, the game has been going strong and hasn’t broke for 5+ days. The high stakes poker economy is as healthy as I ever remember it. Usually for a game that size the player pool in town at any given time wouldn’t surpass 15. It seems as though there are currently still 30+ players in town who make appearances in the game. I would have thought that after the WSOP the games would dry up, but nope. They are going strong.

Anybody who’s been a fan of poker for a while will find these games interesting because they truly feel like a flashback to a decade ago. Not only because of the players involved, but also due to the fact that Bellagio’s “Bobby’s Room” used to be the premier destination for big high stakes cash games.

Las Vegas as a whole was the the main spot for poker cash games of any kind. Eventually, the action got dispersed among Vegas, international destinations, and online poker. But with online high stakes games now confined to PokerStars, and Macau no longer the sole destination for big live action, maybe Las Vegas’ high stakes poker scene will see a revival.