From 1970 through 2006 the World Series of Poker was in a constant state of growth, which is pretty impressive considering the event has and always will be the largest poker tournament in the game. But a funny thing happened when the “Poker Boom” pinnacled in 2006, the tournament series was still pulling in massive numbers (especially for the Main Event) but the prestige and the buzz around the entire tournament series has been severely lacking.
In the 1970’s the World Series of Poker was a niche event, the chances that the average person knew the names Doyle Brunson or Johnny Moss were slim to none, and if they did recognize the name it was only on a very general level. In the 1980’s the WSOP was even less of a spectacle. Not only were we getting to a point of “been-there, done-that”, but with fields that were no longer made up of solely of the best players in the world and maybe a handful of amateurs, the interest from the general public was definitely waning. By the 1990’s it wasn’t even a certainty that the WSOP would be sustainable in the future.
Fortunately by the mid-1990’s there was a renewed interest in the game, and with online poker launching in 1998 the WSOP was already seeing an increase in popularity and buzz well before Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 win. With Positively Fifth Street, Rounders, the Hole-Card camera, Chris Moneymaker, and the advancement of online poker the WSOP reached a “Golden Age” which continued for multiple years thanks to the poker bug biting countries around the globe.
All that being said, throughout it all –the highs and the lows—the WSOP really didn’t change. Instead of being proactive with wither their marketing or in the way the tournament was presented, they simply went with the flow, and in the case of the current Caesars Entertainment era they have simply supersaturated anything they deem to be popular, to the point that it becomes a watered down version of the original.
This is why I feel the WSOP is starting to get the point where it really doesn’t matter. There is no buzz to 95% of the tournaments (or if there is, it’s simply been manufactured buzz) and there is no special, individualized, identity to many of the tournaments 60+ tournaments. The WSOP is now a typical tournament series with a Main Event, some-type of Super-High Roller and High-Roller tournaments, and then meaningless preliminary events –with the only difference being these preliminary events award bracelets.
Personally I’d like to see the WSOP whittled down to maybe 20 “real” WSOP tournaments, while the other tournaments, including all events under a $5,000 buy-in being dropped as bracelet-events. I still want a massive tournament series, maybe even more tournaments, but I want a special emphasis placed on the higher-buy-in tournaments. Download Titan Poker Software for Free at TPBC!
With rumors of Caesars Entertainment preparing to launch their WSOP.com online poker room in Nevada in the next week –which is sure to be the most powerful early brand in the US market– Ultimate Poker is starting to clean-up around its edges a bit and has put a verification system in place for Verizon, Cricket, and Virgin Mobile users, according to PokerFuse.com.
The lack of a verification system, especially for the hundreds of thousands of Verizon users, was one of the biggest hindrances for Ultimate Poker in attracting players. Now that Ultimate Poker has put this system in place it will be interesting to see if they can pull in Verizon users before other sites start popping-up, and people are unaware that they can now play from their Verizon, Cricket, and Virgin devices.
Ultimate Poker was so adamant on being first in the market that the company was willing to rollout a stripped-down version of their software simply to beat their competitors to the punch. The reviews of the Ultimate Poker software have not been kind, with people likening the software to early online poker rooms from 2001. One poster on PokerForums.org had this t say about the software:
Big thumbs down…
No scrolling for bet sizing on the middle turn ball on the mouse
Can’t input bet sizing in an effective manner with the numerical pad
Also, they give you a random hourly text input (those puzzling “discolored/unreadable” codes that you see at credit cards, websites, etc. when you are sign up for an account)…not so great when you are the middle of hands on multiple tables
According to Todd Witteles’ website, PokerFraudAlert.com, he has heard that Caesars Entertainment is planning on launching their WSOP.com Nevada site in the coming week. The WSOP.com website will feature 888’s software, and unlike Ultimate Poker which developed its own software, the WSOP.com should be ready to go from day-one.
As more and more online poker rooms come online in what is a very small market –Nevada has less than 3 million residents—you can expect a number of upgrades and improvements to constantly be taking place, and you can also expect new and enticing promotions and bonuses to be offered to players in an effort to woo them away from competitors.
The question is, did Ultimate Poker do itself a favor by being first, or will they be remembered for their “not ready for primetime” debut, that not only featured inferior software and a lack of verification, but also the use of Ultimate Bet-connected Iovation to run checks on players, while other sites like WSOP.com unroll a near-perfect product right out of the gate? Get the detailed review on Titan Poker here.
In Part 1 of this series I detailed how the online poker world has changed since the poker boom, and offered up some thoughts and opinions on what online poker players will have to get used to in this “new” phase of online poker. In Part 1 I started off with a couple of things that have already begun to be implemented: Capped stakes and a ban on P2P transfers.
In this installment I’ll take a look at three more things poker players will have to deal with moving forward.
In 2005 the entire world was a site’s player-pool, but with a number of countries legalizing and regulating online gaming the worldwide market has been balkanized (a term I first saw used on CalvinAyre.com) with each area offering their own regulations.
It’s unlikely the worldwide market will ever return, since regulating foreign companies is next to impossible, as is collecting tax revenue from them, so online poker players will have to get used to these smaller player-pools.
One major drawback to this will be off-peak-hour traffic, which for smaller markets like Nevada is almost non-existent.
Another change that will most certainly be welcomed by poker players is that we will now be able to hold criminals and cheats responsible for their actions. No longer will the analogy of “It’s like stealing from a drug-dealer” apply to online poker thefts.
The End of the Rakeback Grinder
I for one will be ecstatic when this particular poker player is a thing of the past, the Rakeback Grinder. A Rakeback Grinder is a player who plays extremely tight, so tight that they are at best breaking even, BUT, because of their rakeback deal they are able to grind out a decent profit every month. I have yet to figure out why online poker sites decided to cater to these players: Yes, they are high-volume (high-rake) players, but they are terrible for the long-term poker ecosystem.
These players are probably one of the worst things that have happened to online poker as they tend to sit at 16+ tables and play uber-tight, basically killing action in the game. Now imagine what happens when you have three or four of these players at a single table!
Hopefully, the new US markets decide to implement something along the lines of B&M rewards system, where the rewards themselves cannot be enough to earn a living. I’d really like to see players rewarded by the number of hours they play instead of the number of hands they play. Looking for the latest poker promotions? Head over to our Promotions Titan Poker page.
On Tuesday, April 30, 2013, the US online poker world entered a new era with the launch of Ultimate Poker in Nevada. This era has already begun in other locales around the globe, where regulated markets are starting to outnumber the unregulated ones, and more importantly, where sites are starting to abide by the laws of the different countries they operate in. It would appear that slowly but surely the online poker world is changing. Gone are the days of unregulated markets and a Wild West attitude towards the games, and US poker players are going to be faced with some very hard truths moving forward in the new poker environment.
In this series I’ll take a look at five truths the poker community will have to get used to in the new online poker climate. In this installment I’ll take a look at two things that will likely be enforced at legal US poker rooms, capped stakes and a ban on P2P transfers. Get the latest updates from around the poker world at our Titan Poker News page.
One of the first things I noticed about Ultimate Poker was that the company had capped its stakes at fairly low limits — $5/$10 for No Limit games and $10/$20 for Fixed Limit games. I would have said that this was done to keep their small player-pool bunched together if capped stakes weren’t taking hold at other online poker site, chief among them Party Poker.
By capping the stakes online poker sites accomplish the following:
- No loss of rake since whether the stakes are $10/$20 or $1,000/$2,000 the rake itself is capped, usually at $3.
- Like a slow restaurant removing half their tables it keeps all of the players together, giving the appearance of a busier site, and keeping tables from constantly being short-handed and breaking.
- It eliminates many of the cheating complaints and charges leveled across poker forums. If cheats can only expect to make $2,000 instead of $200,000 online poker is not as appealing to them.
- It eliminates the potential for money laundering through chip-dumping.
- It keeps player losses to a “reasonable” amount, effectively destroying the “you could log on and lose your house in an hour” argument used by gaming opponents.
Capping the stakes will only aggravate high-level pros, but they are such a small segment in the poker world this really won’t be a problem –although it will probably seem like the end of the world if you read 2+2.
Bans on P2P Transfers
The second change players will have to get used to will be a ban on Player-to-Player transfers. This shouldn’t be a big deal since it will once again be easy to move money on and off a poker site, but players –especially backers and their horses—have grown used to this method of funding a poker account over the years.
The reason P2P transfers will likely be prohibited is to appease people concerned about underage gamblers getting online, and players circumventing deposit limits. P2P transfers have historically been the cause of numerous scamming ranging from people getting rolled when exchanging money to players simply abusing the system.
On August 28, 2013 The European Poker Tour (EPT) will turn 10, when Season X of the popular poker tour kicks-off with a stop in Barcelona. While very little was made of the historic 10th Anniversary of the tour when PokerStars released the Season X schedule on Monday, going by the site’s history with their own 10th Anniversary it’s a good bet that PokerStars has some special events planned for Season X of the PokerStars EPT.
Once again the EPT schedule has been streamlined, with the tour focusing on its most popular destinations and building full tournament series around the EPT Main Events. The only real changes to the schedule were the EPT San Remo and the EPT London, both reverting back to their usual dates on the calendar. Click this link for the latest Titan Poker bonus today!
“During a successful Season 9 where we decided to host fewer and bigger events incorporating the national tours, we listened to an enormous amount of player feedback who valued less time spent travelling, and more time spent playing. Since the Sanremo tournament will be held immediately before the EPT Grand Final in April, it will mean players can spend the whole month of April on the beautiful Riviera,” said EPT President Edgar Stuchly in the press release on the PokerStars blog.
Here is a look at the current dates for the Season X stops on the European Poker Tour:
||Main Event Dates
||Aug 15-25, 2012
||Aug 19-25, 2012
||€5,000 + 300
||Oct 3-11, 2012
||Oct 5-11, 2012
||€5,000 + 300
||Dec 5-15, 2012
||Dec 9- 15, 2012
||€5,000 + 300
||Jan 5-14, 2013
||Jan 7-13, 2013
||$10,000 + 300
||Jan 30-Feb 9, 2013
||Feb 3-9, 2013
||€5,000 + 300
||Mar 5-16, 2013
||Mar 10-16, 2013
||£5,000 + 250
||Apr 17-27, 2013
||Apr 21-27, 2013
||€5,000 + 300
|POKERSTARS AND MONTE-CARLO®CASINO EPT GRAND FINAL
||May 6-15, 2013
||May 6-12, 2013
||€10,000 + 600
Remarkably, after nearly nine full seasons the European Poker Tour has yet to see a player win multiple titles. Compare this to the World Poker Tour’s track record of 19 players with multiple championship titles, and two, Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen, having three championships on their resume. So, in 120 tournaments the WPT has crowned 19 repeat winners, and in 90 tournaments the EPT has crowned ZERO!
*Resources: www.pokerstarsblog.com, www.europeanpokertour.com
If you haven’t glanced at the online poker traffic numbers provided by PokerScout.com in a while you might be asking yourself what is going on with the US market. Bovada is now the #1 online poker room in the US market according to PokerScout.com, and Merge and Revolution are battling for the #2 spot, whereas just six months ago Revolution was easily holding the #1 spot, followed by Merge and then Bodog.
It’s been a terrible past couple of months for the Revolution Network, which now finds itself in a virtual tie with the Merge Gaming Network for the title of the second largest online poker provider in the US. Bodog (under the banner of Bovada) is leading the US market when it comes to traffic with near-double the amount at either Revolution or Merge according to PokerScout.com.
While second place is normally a decent place to be, Revolution has seen traffic fall nearly 50% in the past couple months as the network has been the target for numerous criticisms, most of which focusing on the slow withdrawal times from the network which have stretched to three and four months. At one point they were the #1 online poker provider in the US, and were crushing Merge Gaming after one of their flagship skins, BlackChipPoker, jumped from Merge Gaming to the Winning Poker Network. But now the two networks have seen their roles reversed, as Merge Gaming is hanging on strong to its player base, while Revolution has seen its numbers plummet.
The recipient of Revolution’s slide is not really apparent just yet, Bodog has seen a marginal increase in their traffic numbers, while the Merge Gaming Network and the Winning Poker Network have held fairly steady.
Soon we will also see the impact of Ultimate Poker’s launch in Nevada on the US traffic numbers, and as more and more rooms come online in the now regulated market it could wreak real havoc on the remaining offshore sites that are still operating in the US. Currently the site is tracking just below Seals with Clubs in PokerScout’s reports, not quite the massive debut people were hoping for.
Here is a look at the US online poker provider traffic rankings according to PokerScout.com (as of 5/1/2013):
- Bodog/Bovada: Worldwide rank #11 – 7-Day Rolling Average of 1,100 cash-game players
- Revolution Gaming Network: Worldwide rank #14 – 7-Day Rolling Average of 680 cash-game players
- Merge Gaming Network: Worldwide rank #15 – 7-Day Rolling Average of 670 cash-game players
- Winning Poker Network: Worldwide rank #27 – 7-Day Rolling Average of 245 cash-game players
- Chico Poker Network: Worldwide rank #31 – 7-Day Rolling Average of 210 cash-game players
- Seals With Clubs: Worldwide Rank #42 – 7-Day Rolling Average of 84 cash-game players
- Ultimate Poker: Worldwide rank #43 – 7-Day Rolling Average of 75 cash-game players
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Anyone who follows the world of poker with any level of scrutiny is well aware of the massive drops in attendance at major poker tournaments that have been taking place over the past few years. Black Friday gets a lot of the blame for these drops –and rightly so—but even before the US Department of Justice decided to turn the entire poker world on its head attendance had been waning virtually across the board. Of course, a few tournaments and locales managed to buck the trend and keep their attendance numbers from plummeting, but there is also one part of the world that has seen a sharp increase in poker tournament attendance, Macau.
Known mainly for its ultra-high-stakes cash games, Macau has started to become far more than a playground for the ultra-wealthy and top-tier poker pros in the world, evidenced by the massive turnout for the recent Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event. Prior to last week’s tournament, the attendance record for the tournament was a respectable 635 players, but this time around the tournament pulled-in a remarkable field of nearly 900 players, with the final number hitting 891 when all was said and done. And according to the PokerStars coverage of the tournament, this was with over 100 alternates never getting a chance to take a seat in the event!
The tournament itself is now in the hands of PokerStars (which is a likely reason for some of the growth this year) and if you think the Main Event was an outlier look no further than several of the preliminary events setting their own records. However you slice it, it seems like Macau could very well be the most desirable tournament destination next to Las Vegas in the middle of summer when the WSOP comes to town.
Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:
- Terry Fan: 1,771,000 HKD — $228,516
- Gie Reyes: 1,242,000 HKD — $160,258
- Neil Chen: 743,000 HKD — $95,871
- Fei Xie: 555,000 HKD — $71,613
- Andy Asihwardji: 393,000 HKD — $50,710
- Fanny Li: 328,000 HKD — $42,323
- Sailesh Lohia: 262,000 HKD — $33,806
- Wesley Zhu: 196,000 HKD — $25,290
- Ryan Yu: 153,000 HKD — $19,742
The tournament series has been running for a number of years of now, and up until now has pretty much been known for two things: The first is of course having the coolest trophy in the history of poker (and perhaps in the history of sports?) as well as being pretty much responsible for putting Celina Lin on the poker map as she won this event in 2009 and again in 2012. Click here for the latest tournament schedule for Titan Poker.
*Resources: www.thehendonmob.com, www.pokerstarsmacau.com
Inter Poker, one of the oldest online poker rooms in existence, has announced that their migration from the IPN (Boss Network) to the OnGame Network is now complete. The loss of Inter Poker is just the latest development that has seen IPN/Boss decline from one of the top online poker networks in the world to the point that many in the poker industry are now questioning the network’s survival.
Inter Poker’s website also underwent a bit of a makeover, with visitors now welcomed by a “Back and Better than Ever” welcome message, as well as a streamlined homepage.
While the name Inter Poker may not register with newer online poker players and the loss may not seem like a big deal, Inter Poker has a solid player base thanks to the site’s run in the online poker world which now measures over a decade. For those of us who have been ensconced in the world of online since its earliest days the name Inter Poker brings back fond memories, as the former flagship site of the Cryptologic Network was part of every poker player’s regular rotation thanks to their monthly reload bonuses and unbelievably soft games.
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The power of being first was definitely on display at Cryptologic poker rooms, considering the software was shoddy at best, but most players were willing to overlook this just so they could play in the juicy games –Limit Holdem and PLO games were especially soft at Inter Poker during the poker boom. However, after the passage of UIGEA Cryptologic and its sites left the US market and soon found themselves struggling to stay afloat; eventually leading to the merger with Boss Media to form the International Poker Network (IPN).
Now Inter Poker will be making a second go of their online poker room. OnGame traffic averages about 600 real-money cash-game players according to pokerscout.com, while IPN manages an average of 250 real-money cash-game players. Of course with higher traffic comes stiffer competition from other skins on the network. Inter Poker will now have to compete against well-known names like BetFair and not against Virgin Poker and Red-Bet for players.
OnGame hasn’t exactly had an easy go of it in the wake of UIGEA and Black Friday either. The network’s parent company bwin merged with Party Poker in recent years which made OnGame’s poker network the odd-man-out as it simply couldn’t compete numbers-wise with Party Poker. Bwin.party eventually sold OnGame (sans bwin players who were migrated to Party Poker) to Amaya Gaming who is now soldiering on with the OnGame brand.
*Resources: www.pokerscout.com, www.wikipedia.org
This is the final installment in our series on the domination of German tournament poker players: In Part 1 we looked at the history of German poker and the rise to prominence of German’s in tournament poker; in Part 2 of the series I listed five of the top talents in German tournament poker; and now in Part 3 I will continue my list showcasing four more great young German poker players.
Ole Schemion is perhaps the most unheralded player on my list, which is understandable when you are competing for headlines against the likes of Rettenmaier, Reinkemeier, and Phillip Gruissem, but Schemion’s resume is growing as fast as anyone’s in poker over the past six months or so, beginning with his Partouche Poker Tour Main Event victory last September. Schemion followed up his first major victory with a win at the Masters Classic of Poker in Amsterdam in November of 2012, then finished 4th in the $25k High-Roller event at the 2013 PCA, and most recently won the $5k Main Event at the Lebanese Poker Championship this month. Not a bad six month run.
Dominik Nitshce could very well be the best of the bunch when it comes to German poker players. The youngster has been around the poker tournament scene since 2009, but wasn’t really a known commodity until his 2012 WSOP win in a $1k NLHE event. Since then he has added a WPT title to his trophy case and now has over $2.3 million in career tournament earnings.
Nitsche is also part of the talented young cadre of young tournament players who play mainly EPT and European events. Nitsche’s poker circle includes names like Rupert Elder, Liv Boeree, and Melanie Weisner to name just a few,
Spindler is another German player who gets overshadowed by his more charismatic and high-rolling peers, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better poker resume. Spindler has two seven-figure scores in his career, including an EPT title, and nearly $3.8 million in career tournament earnings. Spindler is off to a good start in 2013, with two six-figure cashes, including a 6th place showing in the WSOPAPAC Main Event.
Phillip Gruissem is best known for his high-stakes cash game skills, but the talented player has also had quite a bit of success in high-stakes tournaments as well. Despite playing a fairly limited tournament schedule consisting of mainly Main Events and High-Roller tournaments, Gruissem has won nearly 45 million in his tournament career, good for 3rd on the German all-time list.
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In Part 1 of this series I detailed the rise to prominence of Germany in the tournament poker world; in this installment I’ll take a look at some of these players individually, so without further adieu here is a look at some of the talented young German poker players tearing up the tournament trail:
Tobia Reinkemeier is #1 on the all-time money list for German tournament players with $5.9 million in career tournament earnings. With three seven-figure scores on his resume Reinkemeier definitely rises to the challenge in the biggest events, even though he has yet to win an EPT, WPT, or WSOP tournament in his career!
So where does he do his damage? In the High-Roller and Super-High-Roller events of course! Reinkemeier won the 2010 EPT Grand Final High-Roller tournament, finished 2nd in the 2012 EPT Grand Final Super-High-Roller, and second in the $250k Challenge at the 2013 Aussie Millions; all of which saw him pocket over $1,000,000 in prize-money.
Moritz Kranich is on the cusp of poker greatness as the 31 year-old German is only a WSOP bracelet from joining the ranks of poker’s Triple Crown winners. Kranich won the 2009 EPT Deauville Main Event and followed that up with a WPT victory at the 2010 Bellagio Cup VI. Kranich nearly completed the Triple Crown in 2011 when he finished 3rd in the WSOPE Main Event.
Since then Kranich has barely registered on the tournament radar, but his talent cannot be understated, and should he play a full slate of tournaments at the WSOP he has a very good shot at becoming the fifth Triple Crown winner.
“Mad Marvin” as he is known in the poker world is one of the top young talents in the game, which explains why Party Poker (a very picky site when it comes to sponsorships) had no issue scooping him up in 2012. Rettenmaier returned the favor by winning not only the WPT $25k Championship mere days after signing the sponsorship deal, but he also won the next WPT tournament held, making him the only back-to-back winner in WPT history.
Rettenmaier already has surpassed the $4 million mark in career tournament earnings, putting him 4th on the all-time list for German poker players.
With so many talented players coming out of Germany the name Fabian Quoss tends to get lost in the shuffle, but make no mistake about it, Quoss is just as good as any of his countrymen. Quoss is another German without a major win on his resume, but he has been consistently appearing at final tables over the past couple of years and racked up an impressive $3 million in career tournament earnings in less than five years.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series where I’ll highlight four more talented young German poker players. Get the latest poker news and updates here.
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