Poker Industry PRO

Poker’s Most Famous Online Tournament Now Costs Half as Much to Enter (January 2019)

Top line: “The best known and longest-running weekly tournament in online poker, the PokerStars Sunday Million, will undergo the most significant change in its 13-year history: The event will now cost $109 to enter instead of the traditional $215.”

Key takeaways:

  • Since it was introduced in 2006, the Sunday Million has been the industry’s flagship weekly tournament.
  • The other Sunday events will remain the same, including the $22 buy-in Mini Sunday Million with a $150,000 guarantee that runs concurrently.
  • The satellite schedule has naturally been changed in a bid to fill the 10,000 seats.

Read the article »


Exclusive: PokerStars to Ban Automated Seating Scripts (January 2019)

Top line: “After years of consideration, the world’s largest real-money online poker site will soon be implementing a number of changes to its third-party tools policy including restricting the use of so-called “automated seating scripts” on its client.”

Key takeaways:

  • PokerStars will soon be implementing a number of changes to its third-party tools policy including restricting the use of the so-called automated “seating scripts” on its client.
  • The changes will reportedly come into effect on March 1.

Read the article »


Unibet Migrates to Relax Platform in France (April 2019)

Top line: “Unibet Poker has moved off iPoker’s French online poker network onto a new network run by B2B platform provider Relax Gaming.”

Key takeaways:

  • Unibet has used Relax Gaming for online poker in the primary dot-com market for over five years, using its custom-built online poker software to run an independent online poker room.
  • Until now Unibet has kept its French online poker offer on Playtech’s iPoker network in France, pooling liquidity with Betclic and later with Spanish skins.
  • Unibet has exiting this network to join a new venture with Relax Gaming.

Read the article »


Revealed: How PokerStars Plans to Extend UFC Partnership Far Beyond Spin and Gos (April 2019)

Top line: “The Stars Group’s partnership with UFC is not just limited to rebranding Spin & Go’s. New details reveal that the company plans on a much deeper and prolonged partnership that will cover other poker games and promotions—even possibly expand into fantasy sports.”

Key takeaways:

  • UFC KO looks like a straight rebranding of Knockout Poker.
  • UFC Tornado could be a new name for Spin and Gos, extending the UFC theme.
  • UFC Payday and Perfect Pick hints at fantasy sports-style apps.

Read the article »


Exclusive: Partypoker $20m MILLIONS Online will Have Just Two Day 1s and Next-Day Re-Entry Only (May 2019)

Top line: “After months of speculation and rumors, partypoker has finally confirmed that MILLIONS Online will be back with yet another ultra-ambitious $20 million guaranteed prize pool.”

Key takeaways:

  • Partypoker has officially confirmed that MILLIONS Online will be back with yet another ultra-ambitious $20 million guaranteed prize pool.
  • The record-breaking tournament is set to return in December and will see its buy-in doubled to $10,300.
  • MILLIONS Online 2019 will feature two Day 1s with both to be played as freezeouts.

Read the article »


PokerStars “Executing Plans” to Remain in Swiss Market as Gaming Act Comes into Force (July 2019)

Top line: “Online poker giant PokerStars is working to remain operational in Switzerland following the implementation of a new gambling law that only permits locally licensed casinos to offer their games online, PRO can reveal.”

Key takeaways:

  • The online gambling framework allows for licensed casinos in the country to offer online casino and poker games online.
  • None of the four casinos approved for online gambling last month is partnered with PokerStars.
  • Statement suggests the online poker giant will soon reveal its market strategy.

Read the article »


Casino Davos is Understood to be PokerStars’ Partner for Swiss Online Poker (July 2019)

Top line: “The Stars Group, parent company of global online poker market leader PokerStars, will relaunch online poker in Switzerland through a partnership with Casino Davos, already authorized for online gaming in the country.”

Key takeaways:

  • PokerStars abruptly withdrew its online poker service in the country on Monday.
  • PRO understands that the company has partnered with one of the four casinos already approved in Switzerland.
  • The Stars Group already has a business history with Ardent in Belgium, which operates under a similar system to Switzerland.
  • It appears that the PokerStars account system will be closely tied to that of casino777.
  • Players will connect to the global player pool, with access to all cash games and tournaments available elsewhere.

Read the article »


Exclusive: All-In Cashout, Throwable Virtual Objects, Stacks in Big Blinds—PokerStars is Believed to Be Readying Major Product Upgrade (July 2019)

Top line: “Online poker giant PokerStars is set to continue its trend of developing and innovating its core online poker product in its effort to remain the front-runner in the online poker industry.”

Key takeaways:

  • PokerStars is set to introduce some innovative game features that could be soon launched.
  • It includes a popular feature that show stack sizes and bet amounts in terms of big blinds, and the ability to throw virtual items at other players.
  • But perhaps the most intriguing feature of all—an option to cash out when all-in.

Read the article »


Exclusive: PokerStars to Spread 6+ Hold’em in Spin & Go Format (July 2019)

Top line: “Following the success of the format in cash games and tournaments, PokerStars plans to expand the action-packed Short Deck variant to its immensely popular lottery-style Spin & Go game.”

Key takeaways:

  • The game is played similarly to the classic Texas Hold’em except that deuces through fives are removed.
  • It will be the first online poker room to spread Short Deck in lottery sit and go format.
  • PokerStars already offers traditional, Omaha, and Max formats of Spin and Go.
  • Since its debut earlier this year, the operator has expanded 6+ to SNG and MTT formats.

Read the article »


GGNetwork Adds “Bubble Protection” in Industry First (July 2019)

Top line: “Online poker network GGNetwork has launched a new “bubble protection” feature that refunds players their buy-in of any tournament if they bust out just before the money.”

Key takeaways:

  • The bubble will be between one and ten spots, depending on the tournament size.
  • All players who register before a tournament starts will automatically get the built-in bubble protection.
  • It is thought to be the first time such a feature has been offered built-in to the poker software.

Read the article »


PokerStars’ New All-in Cash Out Feature Rolls Out on Free Play Client (July 2019)

Top line: “PokerStars is trialing a new feature at its play money cash tables that allows players to immediately receive a portion of the pot equal to their equity when they are all-in with no further action pending.”

Key takeaways:

  • The feature works by calculating the equity of players that are all-in and offering them the option of cashing in that equity for a 1% fee.
  • Opting to cash out equity does not have an impact on how the hand plays out nor on the decision of other players.
  • The new feature injects an element of a house-backed game into peer-to-peer poker.
  • All-in Cash Out is not the first time the idea of cash game insurance has been offered in online poker.

Read the article »


Exclusive: Winamax Readies Sportsbook in Italy (September 2019)

Top line: “Leading French online poker room Winamax appears to be preparing its debut in the Italian regulated gambling market with the launch of an online sportsbook platform, PRO can reveal.”

Key takeaways:

  • Winamax appears to be preparing an Italian regulated online gambling market launch.
  • Winamax.IT domain, an Italian-language landing page, has been recently created that states “Coming Soon.”
  • Online poker is thought to have been sidelined as the operator awaits Italy’s participation in the European shared liquidity project.

Read the article »


Spin & Go Flash: Faster Version of PokerStars’ Lottery-Style Sit & Go Goes Live in Italy (October 2019)

Top line: “Online poker giant PokerStars has launched a new, faster version of its Lottery Sit and Go game, Spin & Go Flash, in Italy for real money on a trial basis.”

Key takeaways:

  • The new , faster variant of the lottery Sit & Go goes live in Italy for real money on a trial basis.
  • Spin & Go Flash borrows its format from Winamax’s Expresso Nitro.
  • Players start with shallower stacks and blinds increment every minute.

Read the article »


Bot Crackdown Led to Partypoker Revenue Slowdown Last Quarter, Says GVC (October 2019)

Top line: “According to GVC, parent company of partypoker, its ongoing efforts to clean up the poker games by banning bots had a material impact on revenue from its “gaming” segment of its product portfolio in the third quarter of the year.”

Key takeaways:

  • “It’s important to have the ecology of the cash rooms as clean as possible, so there’s been a clean-up there—things like bots.”
  • Last year, the company embarked on a network-wide effort to clamp down on bots and cheaters at the online poker tables.
  • The company seized $180,000 from cheaters in both July and August this year.
  • September was much lower, and the company expects poker to return to growth in Q4.

Read the article »


Winamax Explored Developing Internal HUD, Third Party API (October 2019)

Top line: “French online poker operator Winamax has shown interest in implementing a built-in Heads Up Display (HUD) into its software.”

Key takeaways:

  • Winamax was seeking a software engineer to develop an integrated poker tracking feature.
  • The proof of concept was to utilize players’ own statistical data as well as their opponents’.
  • The project was originally scheduled to wrap up between mid-year and the end of Q3.

Read the article »


Exclusive: PokerStars to Discontinue its eSports Hybrid Game Power Up (November 2019)

Top line: “PokerStars Power Up, the operator’s ambitious hybrid online poker game which made its debut over two years ago, will soon be discontinued, PRO has learned.”

Key takeaways:

  • PokerStars Power Up, will soon be discontinued after a two-year run.
  • Power Up is the operator’s attempt to bridge the gap between poker and video games.
  • It led to the creation of the Aurora game engine, now used throughout the PokerStars client.

Read the article »


Exclusive: PokerStars Readies Deep Water and Tempest, Two New Hold’em Variants (November 2019)

Top line: “Online poker giant PokerStars is preparing to launch two new novelty Hold’em variants, Deep Water and Tempest, Poker Industry PRO has learned.”

Key takeaways:

  • The game Deep Water was revealed by PRO back in April of this year; tempest is new.
  • The tandem updates in the last week also suggest that the formats could deploy together.
  • “Much like our other exclusive games, Deep Water and Tempest will be offered by PokerStars for a limited period.”
  • Deep Water and Tempest are lining up to be the sixth and seventh cash game variants PokerStars has launched in two years.

Read the article »


Exclusive: Partypoker Releases First Stage of Complete Mobile Product Overhaul (November 2019)

Top line: “Partypoker is rolling out a major upgrade to its suite of mobile apps, in the first step to a complete poker experience overhaul on small-screen devices.”

Key takeaways:

  • Partypoker is rolling out a major upgrade to its suite of mobile apps, in the first step to a complete poker experience overhaul.
  • A new social currency Diamonds will be added, with new gamification features in a bid to grow engagement.
  • The first stage will be deployed this week to Android and iOS to both phones and tablets, as well as the web client.
  • PRO got to test-drive the new app in an exclusive play test on the new app a couple of weeks ago.

Read the article »


Exclusive: Partypoker Delays Coral Poker Move to New Year (December 2019)

Top line: “Parent company GVC has chosen to push back the migration of Coral Poker to the partypoker network until the New Year, the company informed PRO.”

Key takeaways:

  • The fact that the company would ultimately want to bring their newly acquired brands onto the partypoker network is not surprising.
  • The December 4 date came and went and the Coral Poker iPoker skin remained online.
  • The move has been pushed back to the New Year.

Read the article »


Run it Once Traffic Hits Seven-Month High with New Rewards Program (December 2019)

Top line: “The cash game traffic of online poker room Run it Once has stabilized at around 50 concurrent cash game seats following the introduction of its new rewards program, the latest cash game data reveals.”

Key takeaways:

  • From July through to October, traffic languished between 20 and 30 concurrent cash games seats.
  • A revamp to how the operator approaches rewards has had a significant and long-lasting effect to its traffic.
  • All in all, it is likely that the change to the rewards program is close to neutral in terms of total rake returned to players.
  • Its cash game traffic today may be more than double its low seen in the summer, but it still has a long way to go.

Read the article »