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SHARP MARINE SCORES IN W.S.O.P. POKER
ONLINE POKER COMPANY EXTENDS FRENCH FOOTBALL SPONSORSHIP
Everest Poker and Olympique Lyonnais sign on for another two years
Online poker company Everest Poker.fr has announced a two year extension to its sponsorship agreement with French football team Olympique Lyonnais, unveiling a new red, white and blue team shirt this week.
Olympique Lyonnais is one of the most successful clubs in Europe, having won seven consecutive domestic titles beginning in 2002.
Everest's original agreement with the club was inked in mid-2010.
The new shirt will debut at the Stade Gerland on May 8, when Olympique Lyonnais clashes with Olympique de Marseille. Thereafter it will be worn during all home games played in League 1 and League Cup from next season.
Everest will be arranging OL Poker Cup events and tournaments for supporters of Olympique Lyonnais, with VIP tickets to OL matches on the prize list.
POKER TV SHOWS PULLED (Update)
Another side effect on 'those' indictments
Among the many sad aftershocks of the US federal indictments against executives of leading online poker companies is a report that two popular poker television shows, the “PokerStars Big Game” and the “PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge,” have both been pulled from Fox TV.
Early reports indicate that the cancellation was agreed by both Pokerstars and Fox following the unsealing of the federal indictments last Friday.
The Pokerstars Big Game was hosted by Amanda Leatherman and featured many of the top pros on the international poker scene.
It is not yet known whether the next series of the show will be prepared and presented elsewhere.
In the Pokerstars Million Dollar Challenge, celebrities and online qualified players faced off in four heads up matches of NLHE. Those players who won against their celebrity opponents went on to play professional poker players on the Pokerstars roster - again highly respected names on the international poker circuit.
Winners of this second round then faced Daniel 'Kid Poker' Negreanu heads-up for a chance at $1 million.
ESPN announced earlier this week that it has canned the PokerStars-sponsored “Inside Deal” show, although it appears that another sponsor has been found for future issues of the program.
More bad news is that the indictments and reduction in US activity has reportedly resulted in lower prize pool guarantees on Sunday's tourneys by the leading internet poker companies - some slashed by almost fifty percent.
Poker News Daily reports that PokerStars cut the guaranteed prize pool of its Sunday Million by $500 000 to $1 million, and chopped its Sunday Warm-Up down by a third to $500 000. The guarantee on the Sunday 500 was reduced to $250 000 and the Sunday Second Chance was cut to $125 000.
The impact of the US situation was felt in lower entry fields, although the guarantees were all passed.
For example, 6 475 players entered for the Sunday Million, a significant drop from the previous week's 8 200.
At Full Tilt Poker the guarantee on the first event in the XX FTOPS sank from $3 million to $1 million, but almost 7 000 players still entered for the event. The Sunday Brawl also suffered, with its guarantee slashed by half, and the Sunday Mulligan was cut from $200 000 to $50 000.
UB.com, also involved in the indictment debacle, cut its $200 000 guaranteed tourney to $75 000, a number that was just topped by player buy-ins of $87 000.
It appears that the indicted companies were the only ones to reduce guarantees; reports indicate that Party Poker, Titan Poker and Bodog maintained the values of Sunday competitions.
The independent online poker monitor Pokerscout has been keeping a careful watch on traffic developments since the indictments were publicised last Friday, and according to its latest assessment on April 18 the global online poker market shrank by 23 percent in the wake of Black Friday.
The site informs that PokerStars traffic is 25 percent down; Full Tilt Poker 48 percent and the Cereus Network 39 percent.
Non-indicted but US-facing networks that have benefitted from the decline of the three main operators include Merge - up 23 percent; Bodog - up 26 percent; Cake - up 19 percent and the small Everleaf network, up 8 percent.
Non-US facing sites in Europe also saw improved traffic, with Party Poker rising by 9 percent; iPoker Network up 4 percent, PKR up 21 percent and 888 Poker up 5 percent. Ongame reported no change.
On a lighter note, one of the 11 persons indicted, Chad Elie has something to take his mind off his troubles.
Shortly after he was released on bail, the news surfaced that he had celebrated his release by marrying former Playboy Playmate Destiny Davis in Las Vegas.
Elie was one of the first of the indicted managers to be arrested and stands accused of facilitating financial transactions and other banking and financially oriented offences.
Federal officials claim that Elie and others worked with the poker companies to disguise money received from US gamblers "as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants purporting to sell merchandise such as jewellery and golf balls". He faces up to 30 years in jail on charges of bank fraud.
WYNN EXPLAINS CHANGE OF HEART IN POKERSTARS DEAL (Update)
"I had only misconceptions...." says erstwhile online poker opponent.
Steve Wynn, the owner of Wynn Resorts and a central figure in that company’s recently announced partnership deal with online gambling giant Pokerstars (see previous InfoPowa reports), has expanded on his change of heart from being an opponent of online poker to a supporter of the industry.
Speaking to Nathan Vardi of Forbes Magazine this week, Wynn said that he previously had only misconceptions about online poker.
"I thought it would be difficult to regulate, and if the Internet people got in trouble it would bring the wrath of the government down on us in the live gaming community out here in Las Vegas. I didn't see the business opportunity, I just saw problems, he said."
Then he was approached by the Democratic Party Nevada Senator Harry Reid, Wynn recalls.
"Harry Reid called me and said, 'Steve, there are millions of people playing poker, and it's as American as apple pie. I want my office to look into this and see if we can regulate it.'
"Harry and I have been friends for 40-odd years, we ran marathons together. . . . And I got contacted by the people at PokerStars, who asked, 'Why are you not interested in this? Take a minute and learn the truth about this.'
"That began my exposure to that company and that business and what they do, and I have to tell you I was shocked."
Wynn explained that he had had no idea on a number of aspects of online poker, such as Pokerstars being highly regulated in Europe, employing 1 300 highly skilled people with an average salary is $110,000.
"One of my concerns was about young people playing," said Wynn. "It turns out they have more control about young people playing than we do."
Wynn went on to rationalise the Pokerstars argument regarding the legality of online poker in the United States, namely that the Justice Department opinion is untested in the courts, and that at state level there have been rulings that poker is a game more of skill than of chance.
"I say there is a bit of sophistry here clearly," Wynn told the Forbes writer. "What difference does it make what PokerStars or the Justice Department says? The point is millions of people are playing poker, and they are going to continue to play poker legally or illegally."
Wynn makes the surprising admission that he is not a technophobe, preferring to rely on his staff when it comes to computer and internet issues.
The land gambling mogul gives an interesting insight into his dealings with Pokerstars founder and owner Isai Scheinberg, who explained his motivation for a partnership by saying that Pokerstars had a multitude of American customers, and the company therefore wanted to "do it right".
Scheinberg apparently told Wynn: "I don't want to look over my shoulder at this point of my life."
Wynn responded by emphasising that he would only take his company into a putative online gambling venture if it was legalised at federal level, and if it was a 50-50 deal.
"I know that as a nonbeliever I was convinced by the logic of the argument," Wynn said. "And when I learn something and change my mind I may have the naive notion that other people might be enlightened by the facts themselves."
But he ended on a cautionary note, warning that his conversion "...doesn't mean I am right, especially in Washington."