Category Archives: Poker News

Virtual Reality: The Future of Online Poker?

Poker has been around for more than a century. During this time, it has evolved, adapting to the habits of the players and the times, branching out into areas like casinos (with the many types of casino poker) and sports (with “match poker”). Poker is played in many forms, from the simple and fast-paced video poker to home games, organized tournaments, and dedicated poker rooms in casinos – but most of the hands today are played online. And, of course, in virtual reality, using the best VR headsets for gambling. Continue reading →

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KidPoker Documentary Now on Netflix

Netflix now has KidPoker, a documentary that chronicles the life of the world’s most high profile poker player, Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. It is now available for viewing in Ireland, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The doco takes viewers on an interesting journey to the very beginning, starting with Negreanu’s childhood in Toronto, Canada, through to his affinity with gambling and pool-hustling days, and then his rise in the poker world. He began playing poker when he was 21, turning his sights onto the bright lights of Las Vegas to chase his dream of poker stardom.

At 23, he became the youngest player to win a WSOP bracelet. Because of this victory, he earned the nickname ‘Kid Poker’. Even at the ripe old age of 41, Kid Poker still manages to mix it with the new breed of poker players in the highest buy-in live poker tournaments around the world and online.

The full-length PokerStars documentary features contributions from some of the biggest stars in the high stakes poker scene, including Phil Ivey, Jason Mercier, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, Antonio Esfandiari and John Duthie, the creator of the European Poker Tour (EPT).

KidPoker had premiered to an exclusive crowd at the TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre in Downtown Toronto late last year, and at the conclusion of the film there was a great crowd reaction. Most were expecting to watch the behind the scenes success story of the six-time WSOP bracelet winner and poker’s all-time money list leader (with over $30 million in live earnings), but nobody was expecting the story of the close bond that the Toronto native has with family and friends, who obviously were a huge influence in his early life. After the film, questions were answered by Negreanu, ranging from how poker in his time has changed, and it also provided an opportunity to reminisce with poker friends about old times.

Of course, the high stakes poker personality isn’t new to the silver screen, he has made cameo appearances in a range of films, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Grand (2007) and Lucky You (2007). However in “KidPoker”, he’s the star of the film.

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iPoker Network Launches Six Plus Hold’em

ipoker-six-plus-holdemAre you getting tired of playing No Limit Hold’em and looking for a new poker game to play? Six Plus Hold’em is a an exciting variation of Texas Hold’em that was recently launched on the iPoker Network, and if it’s successful, you can be sure this new poker variant will become available at other online poker sites. It is the first significant poker variant to be introduced to online poker sites since Open-Face Chinese Poker (OFCP) a few years ago.

So what are the rules of Six Plus Hold’em?

The only difference between Texas Hold’em and Six Plus Hold’em is the number of cards used in the game. The new action-packed poker game from Macau removes all the deuces, treys, fours and fives from a standard deck, leaving 36 cards, six through ace, hence the name “Six Plus Hold’em”. In other words, it is “short deck poker”.

All of our readers should be familiar with the standard poker hand rankings. In Six Plus Hold’em they are slightly different to account for the removal of some cards.

Six Plus Hold’em Hand Rankings

  • Royal flush
  • Straight flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Flush
  • Full House
  • Three of a kind
  • Straight
  • Two pair
  • A pair
  • High card

As you can see from the hand rankings above, a three-of-a-kind beats a straight, and a flush now beats a full house. Removing 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s changes the frequency of getting straights, flushes and three-of-a-kind (trips) in your hand.

In saying that, due to the removal of certain cards, actually have less value than in 6 Plus Hold’em (as explained in the video below), since there is only 9 cards of each suit. An Ace can still make a low straight (commonly known as a “wheel”) – but the lowest possible straight is A-6-7-8-9. High straights remain unchanged.

High stakes pros Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan can be seen promoting Six Plus Hold’em in an interview on the Asia Gaming Fans YouTube channel. Both players have been known to play high stakes cash games in Macau.

Why is it good that Six Plus Hold’em has been introduced?

Well, it’s simpler to play than Omaha, which in turn could attract more recreational players who are looking to play something other than regular No Limit Hold’em. It is also an all action game, which is awesome news if you’re looking for a fun game to play.

Since this new poker game has just been introduced at several iPoker skins, a lot of players will be playing Six Plus Hold’em for the first time, and hence won’t be very good. Just like was the case when OFCP got released. When players don’t even understand the rules, this can present opportunities that you can exploit to really increase your bankroll rapidly.

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Could Online Poker Become a Reality in Pennsylvania in 2016?

pennsylvania-state-sealWith 2015 nearly gone, a question that remains unanswered in the current online poker landscape is whether the state of Pennsylvania will move forward with the idea of legal and regulated online poker next year.

“Pennsylvania poker players we are so close, and with your help we will soon have regulated Internet poker in your state” is the message which is posted on the the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) website.

According to the PPA’s Twitter account, an online gaming bill that would allow for state-regulated online poker was introduced on the House floor, Tuesday this week, less than a week after being cleared by a standing committee.

The measure easily passed the House Gaming Oversight Committee by a margin of 18-8, meaning that moving forward lawmakers will vote on the issue of regulated online poker and casino gaming in Pennsylvania sooner rather than later. The online gaming bill now just needs to become law.

Will regulated online poker come to Pennsylvania in 2016?

In a recent interview we had about the current status of US poker legislation with Mr. Lathram from USAfriendly PokerSites he told us that it “could take at least a year before online gambling becomes a reality in PA due to potential legislative delays, license processing and software testing”.

The Pennsylvania economy will be vastly better off when online gaming is properly regulated and taxed. In addition to the taxes collected on gaming revenue, the state would also generate a significant amount of income from casino licensing fees. Regulated online poker would also create many more jobs.

During peak times of the day the traffic at regulated New Jersey online poker sites can climb above 2,000 players. In October alone, New Jersey operators generated $12.9 million in total online gaming revenue, which was a considerable increase from last month.

The state of Pennsylvania could certainly use some more revenue coming in. With a population of 12.79 million, Pennsylvania would be the largest US state to have regulated online poker, so $13 million per month would be on the low end of revenue targets the state would have for internet gaming.

And it’s not like there wouldn’t already be a demand for real-money online poker games. Many Pennsylvanians would be already playing online poker at any one of the offshore poker sites. So, essentially Pennsylvanians are sending revenue out of this state, and even in some cases, out of the country.

Will PokerStars be allowed to operate in the Pennsylvania market? That is the million dollar question. The bill in its current form doesn’t contain a “bad actor clause”, which is good news for PokerStars, but obviously changes might still be made to the bill.

I think in 2016 you are going to see a lot more i-gaming bills introduced to allow online poker in states yet to approve a regulatory framework.

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Poker Central Launches Its Own 24/7 Poker Channel

Poker-CentralPoker Central has launched its own dedicated televison channel, which will cover all things poker. It is promoting itself as the only 24/7 Poker Network. When tuning into Poker Central, you can expect to watch some of the biggest live cash games and tournaments, poker strategy from top pros like Phil Helmuth, Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari, rag to riches stories, plus other highly entertaining coverage.

The network has a solid team of veteran programmers, thus allowing them to instantly make a compelling product. Dan Russel will be in charge of spearheading the programming division. He has extensive industry experience, having helped launch the World Poker Tour back in 2003 on the Travel Channel, and most recently serving as Vice President of Programming for Velocity, the first network catering to an upscale male audience.

On launch, the initial lineup of shows includes Alpha 8, the World Poker Tour, Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker, Heartland Poker Tour, Poker Den, Premier League Poker and many other exciting premier poker events that have been televised in recent years.

In addition to this, Poker Central announced the production of two, new original poker TV series. The first, called ‘Pokerography’, will explore the lives of some of the greatest players to ever play the game, revealing their fascinating backstories with interviews from family/friends. The second series, called ‘Inside Poker’, will feature a number of exclusive interviews hosted by Matt Savage. Both series will begin to air in early 2016.

Poker Central has also announced that professional poker player Maria Ho will be streaming live programming on its Twitch TV channel. It was an extremely easy choice to go with Maria Ho, because of her huge popularity and what she’s already accomplished in the poker community. The live show will be called “Poker Central Live with Maria Ho”. They also have plans to announce additional programming in the upcoming months.

There are a variety of ways to view the 24/7 around the clock poker coverage, including apps on Amazon Fire TV, Roku TV, Xbox One, as well as a traditional cable TV. So viewers will get the option to watch poker all day every day streaming the content from an online device, without the need for a cable subscription.

To celebrate the launch of the Poker Central channel, they’re giving away a poker experience of a lifetime, a trip to Las Vegas to stay at the Aria. To enter this competition, all you have to do is send Poker Central your best poker face.

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Full Tilt Poker Given the Green Light on Steam

Steam-Full-Tilt-PokerSteam will soon be hosting free-to-play Full Tilt Poker games on their platform. The popular online poker brand will be accessible in Valve’s Steam client by the year’s end, the first major online poker room to manage this feat.

The game was given the green light by the community this month. In October, Steam conducted a survey, allowing gamers to vote to bring the Full Tilt Poker .net experience to Steam as part of their Greenlight program.

If the game received enough votes it will be distributed for PC on Steam, and it had reached that goal after a month of voting. It would have been extremely important for Full Tilt Poker to get the nod from Steam. According to Pokerscout.com, Full Tilt’s cash game traffic has been declining rapidly.

There are now over 125 million active Steam accounts, so tons of new players will be introduced to the site. It is also fairly common knowledge that a lot of gamers like to play poker. Full Tilt will be hoping they will be able to turn some of these newly acquired Steam-based players into real-money players.

Of course, being the .net version of Full Tilt, it doesn’t allow you to play the real money games offered in their regular downloadable client, but it’s a step in the right direction for online poker in general.

Steam players can expect exactly the same online poker experience as found in the regular Full Tilt online poker platform, including all the cool animated avatars that reflect your mood, as well as all the action-packed poker variants. It provides a great introduction to online poker for brand new players who are looking to size up their opponents on the virtual felt.

There’s already popular poker games on Steam like Poker Night at the Inventory and Poker Night at the Inventory 2, and even though the character dialogue is humorous, these games are single-player only, it has the player playing against the four main characters.

If the version of Full Tilt Poker on Steam proves to be a hit with players, then you’d have to think they would be looking to get their games on the PS4 and Xbox One.

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PokerPages.com Is No More

pokerpages.comPokerPages.com was originally launched in 2000 and quickly became one of the top sources for poker information on the Internet. But fifteen years later, the site is no longer online after changing ownership and officially closing down, much to the dismay of poker fans from around the globe.

The site provided an overwhelming amount of information on poker rules and strategy, news, interviews, player profiles and book reviews, but perhaps one of the most important aspects of the site was the extensive tournament results that were published for both American and European tournaments going back as far as the 1970s. However, due to challenging years in the poker industry, PokerPages.com had fallen on hard times, and were forced to shutdown while keeping the site online in the hopes of attracting a buyer.

In October 2009, this update was published on their website:

For many years Poker Pages has enjoyed providing the best source of poker related content, arguably the Internet’s largest and most complete live poker tournament results and listings database, as well as a place to play poker for free. These services will certainly be missed, but we realize that the most appreciated benefit of our products and services has been the community created by our user base. We thank you for the many great years you allowed us to provide you with the best poker content on the Internet and wish you all the best in your future poker endeavors. It has been a pleasure and a privilege serving you over the years!

-Poker Pages Management Continue reading →

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Konami Partners with Spin Games to Provide Online Slot Game Content

konamiKonami Gaming, who are the US-based subsidiary of Konami in Japan, have a fairly small selection of online slots games. But with the recently announced news that Konami is partnering with online gaming developer Spin Games to offer more of their proven slot game content by launching a new HTML5-based remote gaming server (RGS), all that is about to change and will put them at the very top echelon of operators in internet gaming.

Both land-based and online casino gambling establishments will have the ability to provide popular Konami video slot games to all relevant desktop, browser-based and mobile casino gaming platforms, with no download necessary at all.

The Konami Corporation is very well-known for their legendary console video game titles such as the “Metal Gear Solid” and “Pro Evolution Soccer” game series, which were hugely popular with console gamers. For every online video slot game that Konami develops, it’s more than just an idea, they have a wealth of experience, as well as a proven track record in the gaming industry. They will be looking to bring the same amount of entertainment value to the rest of their portfolio of online slots games that will be released.

Many avid online slots players will be keen to see many of Konami’s popular land-based slot machines transition to online versions, which according to a Konami Gaming press release, “will be available for deployment across online social and for-wager gambling system environments.”

As alluded to already, they already have online versions of several of their land-based slot games. This is began to happen in 2014, some of their popular online slots titles featuring top-notch graphics and gameplay include the oriental-themed “China Shores” slot, a nautical-themed online slot called “Treasure Voyage”, and “Ancient Dragon” which is another one of their Asian-themed slot games. All of the existing Konami online slots games you can play right now have high rewarding bonus rounds, and this will be a key feature in their lineup of new slot games.

Although the Konami Corporation have offices all over the world, including headquarters in the United States, it is a Japanese-created video game company, so it should be no surprise that they provide a large collection of oriental-themed slots.

It is not yet known if Konami’s soon-to-be-released iconic video slot games will be offered at online casinos for US players. Due to licensing restrictions, they may not be offered to Americans upon release, but we’ll have to wait and see. Land-based slots enthusiasts in the United States will certainly be hoping they can play online versions of their favorite Konami slots, as they are a big hit amongst brick-and-mortar players.

The new video slot gaming content from Konami Gaming is scheduled for market availability in the first quarter of 2016, so the good news is that we don’t have to wait long until we can get our hands on Konami’s great new catalog of online slot games that will provide a casino gaming experience unlike no other.

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