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Posts Tagged ‘Online’

Record-setting Full Tilt Poker Montreal Main Event

The Playground Poker Club played host to a fantastic poker series that produced a record turnout for the $1,100 buy-in Main Event. The final tally for the tournament saw 1,625 players register for the Full Tilt Poker Montreal Festival Main Event, shattering the previous record of 1,173 players from the 2012 WSOPC Main Event in Montreal.

After crushing the record, Full Tilt Poker Country Manager Geoff Fardy was quoted as saying:

“Quebec is a hotbed for poker, home to some of the most talented players in the world, including 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel and finalist at this year’s WSOP Marc-Étienne McLaughlin, both of whom played in this event,” adding, “Full Tilt Poker is thrilled to bring a tournament of this calibre to Quebec and have the opportunity to host many of these outstanding players. Breaking the Canadian record is a great indication of the quality of the tournament and Canadians’ love of live poker.”

Heading into the final table it looked the tournament was Vinny Pahuja’s to lose. Not only was Pahuja one of the most experienced and accomplished players at the final table but he took a commanding chip-lead into Thursday’s action.

  • Seat 1: Roger Lamia — 3,380,000
  • Seat 2: Vinny Pahuja — 10,910,000
  • Seat 3: Colin Piche — 3,080,000
  • Seat 4: Zheng Yi Xie — 1,565,000
  • Seat 5: Henri Balcazar — 3,480,000
  • Seat 6: Bill Kontaratos — 6,715,000
  • Seat 7: Guillaume Rivet — 4,865,000
  • Seat 8: Michael Linster — 6,765,000
  • Seat 9: Eric Despres — 7,985,000

But the final table would not follow script, and Pahuja struggled throughout the contest, eventually finishing in a disappointing 6th place. After two more eliminations the final three players decided they wanted to lock-up a bit of the prize-money and cut a deal. The deal saw each player receive at least $150,000, but it was third place finisher Mike Linster who would pocket the most money ($200,000) just nudging past the winner of the tournament Henri Balcazar, who earned $194,046 for the win.

  1. Henri Balcazar — $194,046*
  2. Eric Despres — $150,000*
  3. Mike Linster — $200,000*
  4. Guillaume Rivet — $96,151
  5. Bill Kontaratos — $74,714
  6. Vinny Pahuja — $58,006
  7. Roger Lamia — $44,923
  8. Zeng Yi Xie — $35,150
  9. Colin Peche — $27,269

The festival also saw the return of the Full Tilt Poker live feed that first appeared at the UKIPT Galway series. The feed is made possible by Winmedia, and they have done an excellent job creating a product that not only works (an issue that has plagued live feeds all along) but also innovates. I wrote an in-depth article on the feed back in August, which you can read here: UKIPT Live Stream Could Revolutionize Tournament Coverage

Check out the latest tournaments for online poker at our Tournaments Schedule page.

Nevada’s Impact On US Online Poker Traffic Numbers

Now that the online poker industry is up and running in the state of Nevada we are starting to see exactly what kind of impact licensed online poker rooms will have on the US market –and if you are an unlicensed offshore provider the future doesn’t look very promising.

The US online poker market currently consists of Bovada, all of the other unlicensed rooms, and then Ultimate Poker, WSOP.com and Seals with Clubs.

The sites that have taken the biggest hit in recent months are those on the Merge Gaming Network and the Revolution Network. Both networks (which were thriving just after Black Friday) have seen traffic plummet, and can now only boast average traffic of 370 players.

But not all of their traffic has gone to Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com. Bodog has seen a traffic increase, as have the Winning Poker Network and the Chico Poker Network, both of which are now in striking distance of Merge and Revolution –something that I would have considered an impossibility even a few months ago.




Bovada 7-Day Average 1,100 players 7-Day Average 1,320 players
Revolution Gaming Network 7-Day Average 680 players 7-Day Average 370 players
Merge Gaming Network 7-Day Average 670 players 7-Day Average 370 players
Winning Poker Network 7-Day Average 245 players 7-Day Average 305 players
Chico Poker Network 7-Day Average 210 players 7-Day Average 300 players
Ultimate Poker 7-Day Average 75 players 7-Day Average 155 players
Seals With Clubs 7-Day Average 84 players 7-Day Average 64 players
WSOP.com N/A 7-Day Average 55 players


*Traffic numbers from www.pokerscout.com. Pokerscout.com uses a 7-day rolling average of cash-game players to determine traffic numbers.

If the current trend continues it’s quite likely that one or more unlicensed poker rooms may have to close their doors. Revolution has plummeted from an average of over 1,000 cash-game players just last year to their current level, while Merge has seen a similar fall but for different reasons: Revolution has been plagued by lengthy withdrawal times while Merge has seen several high-profile skins leave the network for unspoken reasons.

Bovada could end up being the proverbial thorn in the side of the licensed US poker rooms in the early going, as the site is the only unlicensed US-friendly online poker room with traffic numbers that are currently unattainable for the current crop of licensed rooms to compete with – and we all know that taffic is one of the biggest factor when players join an online poker site.

Are On Demand Tournaments A Game-changer?

The US-friendly Winning Poker Network is set to roll out a new update that could change the way players register for online poker tournaments as we know it. The new format, dubbed “On Demand” tournaments, begin when a specific number of players registers (much like a Sit & Go tournament) but will also feature a late-registration period allowing more players to enter (like a multi-table tournament). The question is: Will this be just another little-used format, or will “On Demand” tournaments be a real game-changer for online poker?

On Demand-style tournaments are already available at Full Tilt Poker, where they have received some pretty positive feedback so far, and along with the Winning Poker Network, the iPoker Network also has plans to add the structure to their tournament lobby.

In a press release issued this week, Americas Cardroom spokesperson Michael Harris stated:

On Demand Tournaments are designed for every player who wants to experience the heated competition of a large-scale multi-table tournament without having to wait for a scheduled start time. We know they’re going to be hugely popular.”

Black Chip Poker spokesman Robert Gray had this to say about “On Demand” tournaments:

We’re constantly striving to improve the performance of the poker client to make the best playing experience possible. This latest release adds another tournament option along with features that will make multi-tabling and multi-tasking easier for our players.”

The Winning Poker Network is comprised of a number of US-friendly online poker rooms, with the flagship sites on the network being Americas Cardroom and Black Chip Poker. “On Demand” tournaments will be part of a larger software overhaul that will also include the addition of preferred seating and a highlighting option in the lobby that allows players to identify tournaments thy are registered for.

A New Era or Just Another Structure to Choose From

It’s hard to innovate. It’s even harder to innovate when the product you are looking to alter is as long-lived and simplistic (from a game-play point of view) as poker is. Even with the rise of Internet poker, where the game is no longer constrained by physical space or location boundaries there has been very little in the way of real innovation in poker.

Sure, there have been structural changes, such as late registrations, multi-entries, turbos, and so on, but the only thing that really comes to mind when I think “game-changer” is Full Tilt Poker’s Rush Poker. To me, “On Demand” tournaments fall somewhere in the middle: While on its surface it’s merely a structural change, “On Demand” tournaments are altogether different from what we are used to seeing.

For more updates on around the online poker world check out our News Section for Titan Poker.


PokerStars Software Upgrade Rolls Out This Week

After sending out applications for Alpha-testers for their new software product a couple of weeks ago it appears PokerStars is ready to unveil the first part of their upgraded PokerStars 7 client to a wider audience this week. According to a post on the 2+2 poker forum, PokerStars customers can expect to see a number of minor upgrades, while PokerStars 7 will offer even more upgrades and will deal with one of the most annoying problems in poker: Ratholing.

Before I get into the ratholing and the Alpha 7 part of the software update let’s first take a look at the upgrades that will be part of this week’s software update from the 2+2 post:

Upgrades and Bug Fixes

  • Mac Cocoa API
  • Extra Bet Slider Button
  • We believe we’ve identified and fixed a rare occurrence that sometimes prevented starting SNGs from opening when multi-tabling.
  • Tournaments will now correctly auto-close a table that breaks when the player busts.
  • Changed the ante sound triggers in the beta sound set. This sound will now play less often. We look to enable the new sounds by default in early October, while keeping the option to use the old ones.
  • BOOM! hand replays can now be watched using mobile devices, via boomplayer.com
  • Few more fixes and improvements.

While there is nothing spectacular or revolutionary in this week’s update, it will fix a number of bugs in the software, and should act as a harbinger for PokerStars 7, which will be a more comprehensive, and from the looks of it, far more innovative upgrade to the poker client.

PokerStars 7 Alpha

PokerStars 7 will apparently feature, among other things, the following enhancements:

  • Quick Seat lobby
  • Favorites
  • New Main Lobby filters
  • The new App Bar

Once the Alpha testers are finished with their trial run, and PokerStars can work out any bugs or implement any suggestions they received, a beta-testing phase is expected to take place.

Another key aspect of PokerStars 7 will be the attempted elimination of “Ratholing” at the PokerStars tables. Ratholing is when a player (usually a short-stacker) wins a few pots and then leaves the game, joining another table and begins the process all over again.

According to the post on 2+2:

We are in the final stages of testing the new ratholing restrictions that were agreed upon during player meetings. If we do not find any problems they will be enabled this month.

Looking where to play online poker? Check out the top poker rooms today on our Best Poker Rooms list.

Multiple Sites Update Online Poker Software

It’s been quite a while since I can remember this amount of software upgrades, sites launching, and new clients being released in the world of online poker. And as you’ll see below, it hasn’t simply been a matter of fixing a small bug, or improving tournament filters; these sites have been making major changes and some major launches of new software.

Delaware launches free-play software

Delaware is hoping to get their real-money online gaming up and running by the end of the year (the state is hopeful for an October launch) and the first step was apparently to launch a free-play site, which the state Lottery did recently. It should be noted that the social media free-play games are not designed by the partnership of Scientific Games and 888, which was chosen by Delaware to provide real-money games in the state.


Ultimate Poker 2.0 revealed

With the expected launch of their first rival, WSOP.com, Ultimate Poker has unrolled their version 2.0 client, which is a major upgrade over their initial software. Version 2.0 has an enhanced GUI (from sleeker avatars to crisper graphics and colors) a number of new features, and most importantly a VIP Rewards Program.


Party Poker Software launches

The recently launched Party Poker software is supposed to be a game-changer for the site but so far the new client has left the poker community nonplussed and wondering what the big deal was. The new software has an emphasis on recreational players, which continues the company’s recent trajectory towards what Bodog calls the “Recreational Player Model.”


PokerStars seeks alpha-testers for new software

With their competitors making some serious renovations to their poker clients it was only a matter of time before PokerStars decided to follow suit and make sure they still have the best iPoker product in the industry. While the update will not be a major overhaul like the sites mentioned above, the PokerStars client doesn’t really need one and is widely considered the best in the industry.


iPoker Mobile

iPoker was a very late arriver to the ranks of online poker rooms with mobile offerings, but their recent release should allow them to compete on equal footing with the likes of Party Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and 888.


Carbon Poker mobile

Carbon Poker is the first US online poker room to launch a mobile client in the post-Black Friday, so it will be interesting to see what type of interest there is.


For Titan Poker software updates please visit this link:


WCOOP and Mini-FTOPS Highlight Tournament Schedules

It’s a very busy time for online poker tournaments, as several tournament series kicked off this past weekend, not to mention the usual slate of big weekend action that can be found across the Internet. The biggest tournaments for the next three weeks will be found on PokerStars (as they always are, but for the next three weeks they will be even bigger than usual) as the 2013 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) got underway this past weekend.

In addition to the WCOOP, PokerStars sister site Full Tilt Poker will be hosting the Mini-Full Tilt Online poker Series (Mini-FTOPS) over the next couple of weeks, and over on the Merge Gaming Network the Poker Maximus VI tournament series also got started on Sunday –the Poker Maximus is the only one of the three open to US players.

WCOOP Fever Already Gripping the Poker World

The numbers are a bit mind boggling: 66 tournaments over three weeks, with at least $40 million in prize-pools waiting to be won. This can only mean that the PokerStars WCOOP has returned. The 2013 WCOOP is looking like it will be one of the biggest in the series history (which is no small order) and as always there will be a player of the Series leader-board where players will compete for even more cash and prizes.

In addition to the huge events that will be taking place the WCOOP will also be running countless warm-up and second-chance tournaments, as well as their usual daily and weekly tournaments.

For more information on the PokerStars WCOOP you can visit the following website: http://www.pokerstars.com/wcoop/

Full Tilt’s $3 million Mini-FTOPS

The Mini-FTOPS is exactly what you would expect it to be; an exact replica of the recently concluded FTOPS XXIII with the exception that the buy-in for every tournament has been slashed by a factor of 10. The series will feature 39 events with $3 million in guaranteed prize money.

The Main Event of the Mini-FTOPS will be a $70+$5 buy-in No limit Holdem tournament and will take place on September 29th.

You can learn more about the Mini-FTOPS at the following website: http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/promotions/ftops/mini

Poker Maximus at the Merge Gaming Network

85 Poker Maximus VI tournaments will be held on the Merge Gaming Network in the coming 15 days with $3 million in guaranteed prize-money on the line. The tournament are pretty affordable, with some featuring buy-ins s low as $1.10, but the Main Event will be a bit more exclusive, with a $530 buy-in.

You can learn more about the Poker Maximus series at the following website: http://www.carbonpoker.ag/promotions/poker-maximus-vi.html

Get the latest news and schedules of Titan Poker tournaments here!

Will Online Poker Players Flock to New Jersey?

While doing some research for recent articles I question came to my mind: Could New Jersey become the next haven for online poker players? My initial feeling was probably not, but the more I looked at the numbers the more I began to envision a scenario where online poker pros would move to The Garden State.

The biggest factor is of course New Jersey’s population of 8.8 million, and the millions more that live along its borders. This is going to give us our first real glimpse at what is possible in state-by-state online poker legislation, since unlike Nevada, the Garden State has the population to maintain a legitimate player base. But how many of these people are going to participate in online poker games?

The Arbitrary 1% Participation Number

Most people in the industry use 1% when determining the participation rate over a given year. So if this is the case in New Jersey, we should expect nearly 90,000 players to try their hand at online poker in 2014.

The problem with this number is that it doesn’t give us a good indication of what type of hours these players are putting in, or what type of money they are betting. 90,000 is a great number, but if 80,000 of these players deposit $50, play for two hours, and never return than they aren’t all that helpful to the poker ecosystem in New Jersey.

Cold Hard Data

The only real comparison we have at this time is to look at Nevada, as well as some of the European countries that have legalized and regulated intra-country online poker: France, Italy, and Spain.

Starting with data from the Balkanized European markets: All three nations have between six and eight times the population of New Jersey (less if you consider the dense border population, but we’ll leave that aside for the time being) but being a US state will likely mean more poker players per capita in New Jersey than in Italy, just as there are more poker players per capita in the UK than Italy.

Still, these countries have sizable poker communities and should offer a pretty good starting point for comparison. Here is a look at the average cash game traffic from the Top 3 poker providers in each country:

  • France (Population 64 million)about 3,000 cash-game players
  • Italy (Population 60 million) about 2,500 cash-game players
  • Spain (population (47 million) about 2,000 cash-game players

Data courtesy of www.pokerscout.com

Keep in mind that this is not the total number of online players; this is merely the average number of real-money cash-game players that are online at any given time on the Top 3 online poker providersi These numbers should be at least doubled when we consider tournament players, and for every player online there are likely a dozen with money in their account that are not online (this second number is a complete guesstimate on my part).

As you can see, average traffic is closely tied in to population (the three countries averaging 1 cash-game player on a major site per 21,000-24,000 residents) or 1 player for every 22,800 residents overall. If this holds true in New Jersey, the player base for cash game players would be about 400.

However, as we’ve seen from Nevada, where Ultimate Poker has been able to maintain average cash-game traffic of about 150-200 players despite a population of just 2.7 million, New Jersey’s traffic could be much higher than the 1 player for every 22,800 residents: In Nevada this number is about 1 for every 15,000, and that’s with only a single room available.

If we estimate New Jersey to be able to produce 1 current online poker player for every 15,000 residents, and we bump the residency number up to 10 million to take into account their border population (remember, you don’t need to be a New Jersey resident, just located in New Jersey at the time) than New Jersey’s average game cash-game traffic on the top sites will be about 667 players, with even higher peak-time numbers.

Taking this one step farther, suppose a number of poker players move to New Jersey (which gives them access to online and live poker games), even just 100 would be a massive boost to the sustainability of New Jersey’s online poker games. It’s not inconceivable to envision New Jersey’s online poker industry with average cash-game traffic numbers of 800 cash-game players on two or three major sites and peak traffic of around 2,000 cash-game players, possibly as high as 5,000 if we count tournament players.

(I chose Top 3 to look at the number of players in larger player pools, considering New Jersey will have multiple operators just like these countries).

For more updates around the poker world check out our News Section for the latest on online poker.


Ultimate Poker Version 2.0 Released

Players logging into Ultimate Poker today will be met with a new software update, which will install the long-awaited version 2.0 of the site’s software. While many features have been added and complaints addressed version 2.0 will likely fall a bit short of expectations for most players. The update is a major improvement, but still leaves more to be desired in my opinion.

What’s New in Version 2.0?


First and foremost the software is a lot crisper, both aesthetically and in terms of performance. Lag issues have been greatly reduced and the GUI now appears to be of an online poker room in 2013 and not like version2.0’s predecessor which screamed 2006 to most poker players. Players will also find they now have a large selection of Full Tilt Poker avatars to choose from.

Resizable tables

Ultimate Poker also added a resizable table option in the version 2.0 upgrade, which will surely have the online poker grinders jumping for joy.

Auto-Post Blinds Fixed

One of the biggest complaints on the forums was the auto-post blinds option being set to “post” by default whenever you sat at a table. Thankfully this has been addressed, and the default auto-post option is now unchecked.

Color Up VIP Program Launched

Ultimate Poker 2.0 will also see the start of the site’s VIP Program. I had expected each level (which are associated with a particular color casino chip) to correspond to the number of VIP Points a player would need to attain that level in the Color Up program, but this proved to not be the case –although they do match-up as you climb higher up the VIP ladder.

Ultimate Poker Color Up VIP Program

What’s Missing from Version 2.0?

No New Games

Version 2.0 did see a few tournament options added to the site, but as of new Ultimate Poker is still a Texas Holdem only poker room.

Hand Histories

Another missing element from version 2.0 was an upgraded hand history format.

Player Notes

Players will still have to do without any note-taking capabilities for the time being.

Future Upgrades

Now that version 2.0 has been released the community is hopeful that Ultimate Poker continues to upgrade and make improvements to their software. The site has already announced that many of the concerns raised on the forums (such as new games, hand history improvements, and player notes) are already on their to-do list for future updates.

All-in-all I’ll give the version 2.0 software a B- grade at this point. The areas they did improve were all done well, but there are still so many “standard” features and options that are lacking from the software.

For starters you might want to try Titan Poker!

Can a Letter Writing Campaign Aave the Revel Poker Room

The floundering Revel Casino in Atlantic City made the strategic decision to close their poker room last week, and despite grumbling about the backwater location and 2-star amenities of the Revel’s poker room since it opened in 2011, the poker community is now trying to save the room, or at least keep poker at Revel in some way, shape or form.

The Revel thread on 2+2 has seen several players pushing for a letter writing campaign in an effort to keep poker at the casino, even if it means just a couple of wayward tables somewhere on the casino floor. Unfortunately this might be a case of nobody caring until it’s too late; something like the Hartford Whalers moving to North Carolina and becoming the Carolina Hurricanes, and then suddenly lifelong Whalers fans came out of the woodwork saying “how could this happen?”

Well, it can and does happen all the time, and if the poker world continues to operate reactively, it will keep happening. The Revel closing their poker room, and then the poker community making noise about it is something that seems to happen across poker; whether it’s legislatively or in terms of cheating and scamming in poker. It seems like poker players don’t care about something until it happens, when it’s already too late to reverse course.

Take the Ultimate Bet Super-User scandal as case #1 of this. In 2006 you were roundly ridiculed if you claimed a poker site was cheating you, or players could see your hole cards. You were called a “rigtard” or conspiracy theorist who was only saying this because you sucked at poker and couldn’t win. But lo and behold, some of these rigtards were right! And after the fact everyone and their mother were screaming about how people were stupid for not seeing this coming: The sheer beauty and elegance of postdiction.

More recently it’s been computer hackings and poker bots that have gone from, “what are you worried about” status to “oh my god, how do we stop these things?”

So back to the letter-writing campaign: While I applaud the effort I really don’t see how they are going to exact a change. For one thing, even if they are successful, the Revel had a lousy poker room when it was a full art of the casino; why would Revel suddenly go to great lengths to see that two wayward tables were being run at a higher level?

Secondly, looking at it realistically, the campaign won’t work. But I don’t understand the problem to begin with as there are several other poker rooms on the Boardwalk? Several nicer rooms with better reputations.

Want to know more about Titan Poker? Check out this extensive review about it.



Cake Poker Undergoes Rebranding Now Win Cake

Last week Cake Poker announced (or rather USPoker.com noticed) that it would be rebranding its business and would henceforth be known as Win Cake, with the CakePoker.com/CakePoker.eu domains now redirecting to WinCake.com. There was no reasoning given for the change and the logo and overall appearance of the site seem the same.

Over the past year Cake Poker has gone through a number of changes, most notably migrating all of their US customers to their sister site Juicy Stakes Poker, while Cake Poker retained its European and ROW player base. Perhaps the Revolution Gaming site is looking at becoming a player in Europe where a company must be licensed and regulated to gain access to certain markets?

After Cake Poker migrated its players to the Juicy Stakes website the emphasis for the site saw a shift from a poker-centric website to a full gaming website that offers casino games and a soon to be launched sports-book. The name change could simply reflect the new direction of the company as a gaming website (Win Cake) and not a poker website (Cake Poker).

Another possibility is that the site is simply trying to stay a step ahead of the US DOJ, but this doesn’t make much sense if they continue to use a .com domain name, which the DOJ has proven to be easily seized.

Yet another possibility is the site simply wants to put some space between its current operation and the Cake Poker brand, which has been one of the worst in online poker in terms of withdrawal times since Black Friday. For whatever reason Cake Poker has been unable to process withdrawals in a timely manner over the past two years, and after addition of Lock Poker and the rebranding of the Cake Poker Network to Revolution Gaming the problem has only been exacerbated.

A final reason that has been long-hinted at in online poker circle is that the Revolution Gaming Network is headed towards a split. The network is a complete mess at this point in time, with skins using their own cashiers, which has seen a site like Intertops process payments in days, while the likes of Cake Poker and Lock Poker take months. This issue has led to rampant chip-dumping and other problems across the network, and turned the skins against one another with a lot of finger-pointing.

Whatever the reason for the name change may be, it still doesn’t solve the withdrawal issues at the site, or the in-fighting and problems with other Revolution Gaming skins. The likely answer to why the rebrand occurred is some combination of all or some of the above possibilities I laid out. Check out all the latest online poker promotions at our Titan Poker Promotions section.

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