Kobe Bryant invited to WSOP

Many online poker players yesterday heard that Kobe Bryant has been invited to play at WSOP (World Series of Poker) in tribute to the late Lakers Owner, Jerry Buss, who sadly passed away on February 18th, 2013.

Posting on Twitter on June 10th, WSOP (@wsop) said:

“Poker misses Dr. Buss. Game. Class. We invite @kobebryant to play in tribute. #sharksvsmamba” – although, sadly, Kobe Bryant then took to Twitter to reply to the request saying ” @wsop Thanks for the invite, means a lot. Doc says no go. I’ll be there in spirit, no bluff. Dr. Buss, best owner ever.”

Kobe Bryant talks to WSOPUnfortunately, Kobe had to decline the special invite due to doctor’s orders, but said he’ll be there “in spirit”

WSOP 2013 will continue through until July 15th 2013 in Nevada, boasting 62 bracelet events (one more than last year). Read the various Poker Reviews at poker.gamble.co.uk for help on choosing where to play online.



Full Tilt Poker Galway Festival

The Full Tilt Poker Galway Festival will be coming to the city later this year (29th July to 12th August, specifically) after PokerStars allowed it to be re-branded from the original UKIPT Galway Festival.

This is the first live poker festival since Full Tilt poker re-launched back in Q4 2012, after closing almost two years prior, following the events of Black Friday which caused thousands of players around the world to have their accounts frozen.

So far, one of the only pro poker player’s attendances has been confirmed, and that is Mr Gus Hansen, if you have read my previous posts you will know that he is in my top 3 favourite poker players of all time.

Hopefully I will be attending this years event as I haven’t been to any live poker festivals for some time now, and I definitely think it would be interesting to see Full Tilt’s first attempt at hosting one.

Hard Rock Poker Open 2013 $10m Guaranteed Tournament

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has announced the upcoming Hard Rock Poker Open tournament, running throughout August, with the Main Event running from 08/22 to 08/29 which will guarantee a $10 million pool that players will attempt to win.

I think this could be the largest (correct me if i’m wrong) guaranteed poker tournament prize ever, with others such as the WPT generating much higher, however they are more well known and attract more players. This is perhaps why this $10m guaranteed tournament looked so exciting when I first saw it on Twitter this morning.

The Main Event is going to run from August 22nd through to the 29th and will have a Buy-In of $5,300, which is considerably lower than a lot of other tournaments that can’t manage to offer such a high guaranteed prize.

Source: pokerbankrollblog.com

Speaking about this exciting new tournament that poker players around the world are no doubt looking forward to, the Director of Poker at Seminole Hard Rock, William Mason said that the $10 million guarantee would mean the winner would receive around $1.7 million. I am certainly looking forward to the event in Hollywood, as it has been confirmed that the Main Event will be part of a series running throughout August which will see multiple other poker rooms across Florida play lower entry fee tourney’s which will allow the winners to progress to the $10m guaranteed Main Event.
According to southflorida.com there are no plans to televise the tournament which is making many poker players online and off consider taking part in the tournament, which is understandable with such an irresistible tournament to play for.

Good Luck to everyone taking part in the Hard Rock Poker Open $10m guaranteed tourney, hopefully I will see you there!

How Viktor Blom won $1.7m in a matter of hours

Many people aspire to play poker professionally and become internationally known as the best, and for a very small minority, this dream does come true, I’m talking of course, about Viktor Blom, the Swedish poker player, who at just 22 is one of the best (in my opinion) and successful poker players out there.

Known online as “Isildur1“, Blom burst into the online poker world in late 2009, and later became one of the youngest to join Team PokerStars Pro in 2010, with his identity being revealed in 2011 at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Viktor “Isildur1” Blom

It is also well known, that Blom suffered the biggest loss on a single day in the entire history of poker when he lost $4.2 million to Brian Hastings on 8th December 2009 after playing for over five hours straight. Recently though, his winnings have started to look a lot more cheery, especially since the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker back in November 2012 when he was signed up for Full Tilt Poker, alongside Tom Dwan.

Starting off in 2013, Blom  had winnings of $2.4 million in just the first week of January, making it the largest winning streak he had had since Autumn 2009.

Last Thursday, Blom took to the tables against Ben Tollerene, finishing up $1.7 million, and leaving his opponent roughly the same amount worse off in losses. In more recent weeks his play has left him with not much to shout about, however, this match left him up there at approximately $4 million this year, just $300,000 ahead of second place player, Alexander Kostritsyn at $3.7 million. At the same time, poker pro Gus Hansen is down approximately $2.7 million so far this year.

So how has Blom got to where he is today? I think it is a combination of his aggressive playing style and the way he keeps his eye on the prize and plays some of the biggest tables out there. In March he took winnings of $1,769,775 after playing 54 sessions and 5,000 hands, proving that he is definitely here to stay.

Make sure to read the poker strategy tips at gamble.co.uk to improve your gameplay

Ruben Visser crowned winner of EPT London

Ruben Visser, 24, has took the crown as the EPT London Main Event winner, after storming ahead of the 647 other players in the event, and taking home the £595,000 prize. The 6 day Main Event made for some interesting following online, as players like Steve O’Dwyer, Theo Jorgensen, and Chris Moorman all placed in the final 8.

In what turned out to be a lengthy final day of the Main Event, Visser came out on top, and followed up with a tweet saying: “Thanks everyone for the support and congratulations the past days! Still feels unreal” 

I certainly hope to see a lot more of Visser’s gameplay after EPT in London, whilst other players like Mantas Visockis and Oluf Haglund both gave an impressive performance too.

This takes Ruben’s total winnings to a jaw dropping $1,977,887 since he first started playing for live cash back in 2008, and it isn’t the first time Visser has made the headlines with his poker strategy, after finishing as a runner up at the EPT Grand Final three years ago, and again in the Deauville Main Event last year.
I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating Ruben Visser on yet another hefty win at EPT London 2013.

Interstate Poker made legal by Nevada

News has today surfaced how Nevada have made interstate online poker legal, which if you have been keeping up with my latest posts, is quite a big step forward for online gambling in the USA. The bill was rushed through yesterday which allows states to form a pact together, allowing poker to be played legally across them.

An article from the Las Vegas Sun today reported how the bill was rushed forward on Thursday, labelled as an “emergency measure” for Gov.  Brian Sandoval to sign.

As you may know, I personally am all for online poker to be legalized in america, as it makes for healthier gambling habits and leads to less addiction i my opinion. It seems the aim of rushing through the bill was to beat New Jersey in signing their bill, which is to be done next week if reports are to be believed.

Online Poker in New Jersey

Towards the beginning of February, governor Chris Christie announced that he was going to pass a bill for online poker in New Jersey, as long as a few amendments were made to what had been submitted.

The announcement of multiple states hoping to pass an online gambling bill, making poker legal within those states has pleasantly shocked many after speaking to people on Twitter, as there have been quite a few failed attempts to get online poker up and running throughout 2011 and 2012 especially, although now it looks like it is all coming together.

So what do you think? Are you for or against the legalizing of online poker in the U.S?

Is Online Poker changing in the US?

Lately there have been a lot of news stories and events cropping up in the Poker world regarding Poker in the United States and the transition to online play, and also the opposite, with brick-and-mortar receiving a lot of attention. I have been keeping up with as much as I can on social media sites and through various news sources.

I have found this article which emphasizes that purchasing a casino in Atlantic City seems to be paving the way for online poker to make a comeback in the US . I can see why people are for and against poker being legalized online in the US, there is the view that doing so would reduce the amount of people that play in casino’s altogether, and add pressure to an already struggling casino industry in America. But then again there is the point that if it was legalized, there would be more brick and mortar games available to play, and could easily attract a new audience of people, perhaps those that don’t have access to a computer or the internet. Obviously if people were legally allowed to play poker online in the U.S then the government would receive tax on all money spent, so whilst the money going directly to Atlantic City could potentially decrease, the overall money the government receives would stay the same, if not increase.  Another benefit to legalizing poker online would be that people could have healthier gaming habits.. If somebody sits in a casino all day, and then moves to another the next day, there is virtually no way of tracking how much money they are spending, and therefore building up an addiction, whereas with online poker, there are possible ways of monitoring how much people are spending online, and then procedures could be put in place to stop them spending away their wages, and reduce the risk of people getting addicted.

Atlantic City Casino

Source: blog.nj.com

Brick and Mortar Poker to make a comeback

Not only this, but you get the social side of poker if you are playing online, whilst playing in brick and mortar casinos you do actually meet people face to face whilst you’re playing, you don’t always have time to stop and chat, but with online poker you do. Last weekend (Feb 19th/17th) I managed to play a few games online on Full Tilt and PartyPoker (an old favourite) and suddenly became aware of how friendly players are on there. I often find myself playing on tables where people talk constantly, and I get the impression that if the chat feature was taken away then the player numbers would drop significantly. How many times have you logged on to any online poker network and gone more than 10 minutes without seeing some form of interaction? I personally think it is a much better way to play poker than at a casino as you interact with people a lot more, and are able to concentrate more on your game play.

If Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey does sign a revamped version of the bill for online gaming, it could see a 10 year trial period for online gaming in NJ, which would definitely settle the argument for good, Brick-and-Mortar Poker, or Online Poker?


What’s happening with Full Tilt’s US Players?

Lately there have been a lot of rumours on social media regarding Full Tilt Poker, with many asking When Will US Players get their Full Tilt Refunds?
Well I am going to try and explain what we know is happening:

So far, we know that the Department Of Justice (DOJ) was said to start work on hiring a third party Claims Administrator in January 2013, this was announced in November last year, and there has been no announcement so far this year to suggest that this has or has not happened.

Full Tilt US Refunds

All that has been said regarding the remission of funds to US Poker Players so far this year is that an announcement is coming “soon” – however, there was no description of how “soon” that is going to be.

It is expected that once the claims administrator is appointed, there will be approximately $159,000,000 to be paid out to over 1.3 million former Full Tilt Poker players in the US, after their accounts were frozen back in April 2011.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to go on regarding this issue, however I will keep you posted as more information and dates are released regarding Full Tilt Poker.

What has happened to Virgin Poker?

Many of you may be asking, what’s happened to Virgin Poker?, well I hope to give some answers here:

Virgin Games have removed Poker from their site, after being acquired by Gamesys, but keeping the Virgin branding.
After the new Virgin games website went live on January 29th, the games now available are; Slots, Casino, and Bingo.

Where has Virgin Poker gone?

Virgin Games have said that they are going to look at adding a Poker platform sometime in the future, but for the near future there seem to be no signs of it returning.
For players that have money in Virgin Poker accounts, that money can be redeemed by logging into your Virgin Games wallet, and withdrawing the funds from there. When players sign up, they are asked to agree to new Terms and Conditions for the site.

Gamesys, the group that has acquired Virgin Games, was created in 2001 have taken on Virgin Games in an attempt to widen their reach in the European online gaming market, with Virgin Games being around since 2004, they certainly will have a large fanbase and a whole new audience.
Talking about the acquisition, Richard Branson said: “We are delighted the Gamesys Group has acquired Virgin Games and formed a partnership to build a global games business. Simon Burridge and his team built a strong platform and now with the help of the Gamesys Group we can expand further internationally.”

Until Virgin Games announce a new Poker platform, there are many other Poker sites available to play on, but don’t think you’ve seen the last of Virgin Poker yet..

Betfair Poker Moves to iPoker Network

Betfair Poker has moved to the iPoker Network after it was recently announced that the software was to move from the Ongame Network platform.

The full migration is expected to be completed by July 2013. Originally, the move was to provide an online poker platform for the French and Italian customers, if statements from Betfair in September were anything to go by, although it seems now that the move is going to affect the whole of the Betfair Poker.
Having already provided the online casino for Betfair, many didn’t take the announcement as a suprise when it was announced that Playtech’s iPoker would be hosting Poker for them.

The move to iPoker has been seen as a strategical one, as it is going to secure a wider European audience, generating higher profits and revenue through cross selling casino and sports.
There has been a mixed reaction to the move on Twitter, with some people saying that they are happy with the move, and some people not taking too well to the move. Last year, the Ongame network saw the number of active players on the network fall from 93,000 to 85,000.
A news article on poker.gamble.co.uk earlier this month has more information on the move, and says “iPoker offer Betfair the ability to retain, grow and develop their existing customer base”

Let me know your views on the move to iPoker on Twitter @that_poker_guy as I would love to hear what other players think of the move