Archive for April, 2011

Poker Sites Accepting USA Players in May 2011

Since the unexpected and dramatic shuttering of poker powerhouses PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, many have wondered about the future of online poker in the United States.

Not only have those sites shut down since the government seized funds and domain names and charged owners with money laundering charges, but online players at the affected sites have wondered how they will be able to withdraw their money.

In the good news category, many sites are still accepting U.S players and are seeing a slight influx of players since the shutdown.

Doyle’s Room and the poker room at Sportsbook, Play Aces, are both still accepting U.S. players, and both sites are offering bonuses for new players making their first deposits.

Some of the other sites that are also friendly to U.S. players include CarbonPoker, which is currently offering a 100% deposit match, good up to $600. Players Only is also offering play for American players and a 100% bonus match worth up to $650.

Some American players might not be familiar with Card Player Poker, a site that offers not only educational content to help people understand the game better, but also offers special rewards for players who join the VIP club.

Casino City Times Black Friday Predictions

The online poker and casino gaming experts at the CasinoCityTimes.com are watching the latest online poker developments with interest.

This week, they released a list of the top 10 things to watch for in the online poker industry following the government’s indictment and subsequent shut-down of major online sites like Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.

Some of the things to watch for? More players in the U.S. market and more state legislation, according to the online news site.

The poker experts at Casino City times say they believe that some sites which currently don’t accept U.S. players will soon do so, especially Party Poker, which pulled out of the U.S. market after the Unlawful Internet Gaming and Enforcement Act was passed in 2006.

After the passage of the UIGEA, Party Poker pulled out of the U.S. market, which cost the company a 75% loss in company shares in the days following its withdrawal. PokerStars and Full Tilt moved in and did well in the U.S. market. Now that those sites can’t take American players, many believe that Party Poker will make a move back into the market. According to Casino City Times, share prices increased 40 percent in trading this week.

A less bold prediction is the belief that there will be fewer poker shows on TV, since many of them (such as “After Dark” and “The PokerStars.net Big Game”) are sponsored by the sites currently shuttered. ESPN announced this week that it will not show coverage of the North American Poker Tour as originally planned; much of the advertising came from big poker sites like PokerStars.

They predict there will be less sponsorship money to go around when players show up at live tournaments and that many online players might have to change how they play the game, either playing in more live tournaments, or moving out of the country altogether in order to have more access to online sites.

Finally, the site – likely rightly – predicts that federal legislation will move faster. There have been many attempts to legalize online poker, but most have failed. There are currently several states considering legalizing online poker, but the site predicts that federal legislation will find more of a voice, but those efforts to create solid state legislation will continue.

Mini UBOC

Ultimate Bet (www.ub.com) is offering a way for players to have the Online Challenge event without having to play in one of the bigger tournaments.

The mini-UBOC tournaments feature smaller but also valuable cash prize packages.

Starting April 10, the site will offer:

* Eight days’ worth of 27 events
* Guaranteed cash and prizes worth more than $650,000
* A $75 buy-in for a $100,000 guaranteed Main Event
* Events at 4:05 daily
* A triple shootout event
* A chance to win a $12K prize package for the Vegas Main Event
* A variety of award tournament seats such as Triple Pay Challenge, King of Cashing Challenge, Bubble Bailout Bonus and Championship Bonus.

These events aren’t connected to the larger UBOC events, but instead offer smaller prize packages for the player who either missed out on the UBOC or wants to try their hand at smaller, less intense games.

Players who are thinking they might like to play in the mini UBOC should visit UB.com for more information. New players can take advantage of the 111 percent matching deposit bonus, worth up to $1,100.

Women get own Poker Tournament

PokerStars Women (http://www.pokerstars.com/poker/promotions/women/) is staging an exclusive event for female poker players at the European Poker Tour’s Grand Final in Madrid in May.

The Spanish capital will host the EPT’s largest tournament and PokerStars Women will be there to represent. All the qualifiers running at the site now are for women only.

Freeroll and cash satellites are running now, making this one event that players can get behind. There is at least one satellite running each day of the week and satellites will continue to run through May 1. The winner will receive buy-in for the live Grand Final tournament as well as more than $700 in cash for expenses.

Unlike many similar prize packages for live tournaments, this prize package does not include hotel accommodations. Players can also buy their way into the tournament through PokerStars. The main event in Madrid runs May 11-12. All qualifiers will be invited by PokerStars to a welcome drinks reception and will receive a goody bag. They will also be invited to an exclusive EPT party.

NBC Heads Up Begins Airing

Call it an odd coincidence, but NBC began showing its weekly airing of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship that was filmed last month at Caesar’s Palace. The event featured strong product placement by many online poker rooms.

The Sunday airing came just two days after online poker was virtually shut down after the government’s sweeping indictment of 11 individuals associated with online poker, including the founders of the three largest poker sites, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

The individuals were charged via an indictment with bank fraud, operating illegal gambling businesses and money laundering. The operators of Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and PokerStars were also charged with money laundering and the government filed a $3 billion civil suit in an attempt to recoup some monies.

While the U.S. Department of Justice shut down the money-making side of the online poker companies, the free versions of the sites – which are generally instructional in nature and offer play for free – are still operating. Many of the players in the Heads-Up event were wearing Full Tilt and PokerStars branded gear.

In addition, many poker pros are sponsored by online poker rooms, most popularly Full Tilt and PokerStars.

Many of the television commercials were linked to online gaming in some fashion and PokerStars.net had several television commercials running during the event.

EPT Event Winner

While many people outside the online poker world might not have heard of Ben Wilinofsky, many people inside it have. Now, his name will be even better known among those who play online poker and those who play in live tournaments.

Wilinofsky won his first live tournament this week, taking €825,000 (or more than $1 million) in the PokerStars European Poker Tour Berlin Main Event.

Of the 773 players that entered the Main Event, held at the Spielbank Casino in Berlin, it was the Canadian Wilinofsky who took the title. The 22-year-old plays under the online moniker of “NeverScaredB” has taken in more than $1 million in online tournaments over the past two years. He’s a poker coach at the online poker training site PocketFives Training.

The 22-year-old beat an impressive field of European poker experts, including Team PokerStars pro Joep Van den Bijgaart of Holland. He was challenged mostly by a European crowd, thanks to the number of NAPT, WSOP and WPT tournaments running stateside.

Full Tilt Japan efforts

Full Tilt Poker players have raised more than $240,000 for Japan earthquake relief so far and the site expects to raise even more.

According to the site, more than 14,000 donations have been made through the site, accounting for about $242,000. Actual donations from players amounts to a bit more than $101,000 and Full Tilt is matching the donations at 100 percent.

There are two ways to donate to Japan relief through Full Tilt: play in ‘Aid for Japan’ tournaments or in ‘donation’ tournaments. An additional amount is donated through the Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan challenge held each week.

In the ‘Aid for Japan’ tournaments, players play in special tournaments that do pay winners as usual, but all registration fees are donated to Japan relief efforts. In the ‘donation’ tournaments, do not pay out. The buy-in is added to the relief fund.

All donations made by players and matched by Full Tilt are donated to the Japanese Red Cross.

WPT High Roller Event

Following the lead of other recent poker tournaments, the World Poker Tour announced this week that it would hold a Super High Roller event during the upcoming World Poker Tour World Championship series at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The $100,000 tournament will run from May 18-19. Coverage of the Super High Roller event will be included in Fox Sports Network’s coverage of the WPT World Championship episodes.

So far, Erik Seidel, WPT champion and eight Time WSOP bracelet winner, and Daniel Shak have confirmed they will play. Justin “BoostedJ” Smith has also confirmed he will play in the High Roller event.

“Hosting a $100,000 buy-in event within the WPT World Championship series means the world’s elite players have a chance to show their mettle as they battle for one of the year’s most coveted titles and one of the highest buy-in titles, all within a week,” said Steve Heller, CEO of the World Poker Tour.

Many of poker’s top professionals will already be at the Bellagio competing in the WPT World Championship, which runs May 14-20. The addition of the High Roller event is designed to attract premier players who have a premier pocket book.

Bodog takes bets on Royal Wedding

Online gambling site Bodog.com is offering odds on the Royal Wedding occurring later this month.

The site is offering a variety of odds on a number of different factors for the upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

“I would expect the Royal Wedding to be the biggest non-sports betting event of the year,” said Ed Pownall, global PR director for BodogBrand.com.

Some of the odds offered are on the following:

* Whether or not Kate will say ‘obey’ in her vows: Yes: 8/11, no evens
* Kate’s headwear: Tiara 10/11, flowers in her hair 6/5, any other 4/1
* The length of the bride’s train: Over/under 3 metres 10/11
* For the first paparazzi shot of the princess on her honeymoon while in a bikini; color of the bikini: White 2/1, black 5/2, cream 4/1, blue 4/1, green 4/1, red 6/1, any other 5/1)
* Color of the queen’s hat: Blue 4/1, pink 5/1, purple 5/1, cream 8/1
* Whether or not it will rain during the service: Yes 11/10, no 4/6

The site is even taking bets on whether or not the couple will be photographed naked while on their honeymoon. The odds for that? 16/1.

Bodog is a popular site that offers poker and casino with some of the most popular online slot machines and casino games for players to choose from.

PokerStars Game of Your Life

PokerStars launched the “Game of your Life” this week. According to the site, it is one of the biggest and most exciting promotions ever held by PokerStars (www.pokerstars.com).

For the next six weeks PokerStars players can participate in daily and weekly freerolls that might help them win a share of more than $1 million in cash and $100,000 prize package to the sporting event of their choice anywhere they choose in the world.

Each Sunday, the site will hold two weekly freeroll finals; the freeroll finals for Americans will be at 4 PM ET and at 10 PM ET for the rest of the world. Each of those freerolls will offer up $100,000. Players must qualify for the weekly freerolls or one of the many daily freerolls.

The grand final held on May 22, when two players will be awarded $10,000 in cash plus the “Game of your Life” $100,000 dream sports event package. The site will award two “Game of your Life” grand final prize packages, one for a winner from the Americas and one for a winner from the rest of the world

Winners can look forward to:

  • Great seats at a sporting event or events of the winner’s choice, anywhere in the world
  • The opportunity to take as many friends as they want=
  • All travel and accommodations paid for

The total prize package will have a value of $100,000.