March 29, 2012
Zynga Inc., online gaming company has announced that Mark Pincus, CEO, along with other executives, will sell stake in the company opening up at $12 per share, a little lower than the stock’s closing price on Wednesday. Zynga’s had announced that it will sell 43 million shares of stock, but a price was not indicated. According to Zynga, proceeds of the sale will not go to the company, but rather to the individuals.
Zynga, owner of such popular online games as Zynga Poker, Farmville, and other popular Facebook-based games, has said that they have been working on expanding into other non-Facebook areas, mostly mobile devices. Words with Friends, a Scrabble-style game in another well-known Zynga game for smartphones.
Zynga is only one in a handful of social Internet companies that has gone public within the past year, along with Groupon Inc., Linkedln Corp., and Yelp Inc. Facebook is also expected to go public later this year.
Zynga shareholders are now selling their shares three months after the company went public in order to avoid a drop in stock price.
Pincus founded Zynga in 2007 and will remain in control of around 35% of the company after the sale is complete, down only 1.6% because he will keep his Class C shares, which have 70 times more voting influence than the Class A shares being sold.
The Zynga stock price fell 78₵ and closed Wednesday at $12.24, 22% above the $10 IPO price and 2% above the new share offerings price. The 43 million shares, at the $12 price, will be worth around $516 million. Pincus is offering 16.5 million shares that equal nearly $200 million.
March 29, 2012
888, the UKs leading online poker firm, hopes to re-enter the US gaming market. Up until the whole UIGEA saga, 888 had a successful place in the US market, but pulled out when the US government cracked down on US-friendly poker sites.
888’s chief executive Brian Mattingley says that he is hopeful Nevada will be the earliest state to allow licensed intrastate poker.
Canaccord Genuity analyst, Simon Davies, says that 888 has undergone a great transformation over the past year.
Davies told the Daily Telegraph, “Brian Mattingley … has overseen the hugely successful re-launch of Poker 6, a pick up in new active customers and launch into Italy.”
The UK is 888’s main market, and it is one of the biggest Internet poker operators in the UK, which makes it all the more likely that the company will have proven success in the US market once the flood gates in the US market open up once again.
March 21, 2012
While online poker players in the US and elsewhere in the world still await the finalization of the Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) buyout of Full Tilt Poker in hopes that they might see some of their money, the deadline for the deal was supposedly March 16th. This deadline was an extension of a previous deadline when the $80 million deal would have been finalized, though both sides reported that they were confident the deadline would be met.
Currently, the French firm GBT has an agreement with the US DOJ that once GBT acquires Full Tilt Poker, the feds have agreed to drop all civil complaints against the online poker site. Furthermore, once the buyout is complete, GBT will pay all of Full Tilt Poker’s outstanding debts, including player account balances owed.
Canadian poker pro and PokerStars sponsored pro Daniel Negreanu doesn’t believe that players jilted by Full Tilt Poker will ever be repaid for the money that was supposed to be in their player accounts, but was merely just a virtual balance, and there was never any real money there to back those balances. Negreanu, who has publicly criticized Full Tilt Poker in the past, said in an interview, “The players are not getting paid. It’s over. It’s gone. Forget it.”
Negreanu has most recently been verbally attacking many individuals within the poker industry via his video blog, including Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar, and Chris Ferguson, whom he has referred to as “shameful little weasels” and “scumbags.”
As passionate as Negreanu may be, many are hoping that he’s wrong and that with an online poker miracle, GBT will return their money to them. Their only hope is the conclusion of the deal between GBT and FTP.
March 21, 2012
What will be a year after Black Friday, to the month, the Australian payment processor who allegedly tattled on himself and other online poker payment processing associates, Daniel Tzvetkoff, is set to testify in next month’s trial against Utah banker John Campos and Tzvetkoff’s former business partner, Chad Elie. Tzvetkoff will testify against for the prosecution as a witness to confirm his part in the Black Friday sting last April.
Campos and Elie’s trial is set for April 9th in New York. They are accused of multiple offenses including money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Elie, 31, is charged with nine different offenses and faces up to 85 years in prison. Campos, 57, who allegedly consented to the illegal gambling transaction processes, is charged with six different offenses and faces up to 35 years in prison.
Tzvetkoff, 29, was arrested in 2010 in Vegas for allegedly processing an estimated $1 billion in illegal Internet poker transactions via his company, Intabill. Before making a deal with the prosecution, he was facing up to 75 years in prison. Once a big deal in Australia media, Tzvetkoff was estimated to be worth $82 million only a few years ago. He owned a $27 million house on the Gold Coast with a garage full of Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Since agreeing to cooperate with officials, he has reportedly given more than 90,000 pertinent documents including confidential emails to prosecutors. As an informant, Tzvetkoff helped bring down the big three online poker sites last year, Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker.
While Campos and Elie have excellent representation, it’s a shame that they and the nine other individuals indicted on April 15th, 2011 have to take the fall for the millions of people who were also associated with illegal online gambling in the US.
March 21, 2012
Game Face Gaming, Inc. announced that since Beta testing began in September of last year and a 2.0 version was released in December, the company has successfully been able to provide a unique and new Internet social gaming product, FaceUp. FaceUp Gaming is a non-wagering and legal online gaming software that provides players with the ability to see each other and speak to each other while playing. No other subscription-based gaming site can say this.
CEO of the company, Felix Elinson, says, “The Beta trials have been most informative and have provided invaluable information and feedback from the over 2,000 individuals that have signed up and are playing on the site. We are rapidly approaching the end of Beta, and have made upgrades and tweaks based on user comments and feedback. We are extremely excited with the results to date and feel that we’re just about ready to complete this phase and make the platform available to the public. A decision on release will be made in the coming days. I am also pleased to announce that the Company has filed its annual report on form 10k, a full ten days early, with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
Elinson further commented, “Our goal is to maintain the thrill of online games while keeping it safe for everyone. Our social networking functionality provides the user base with the ability to grow their circle of friends beyond those they physically reach day to day. Our users sit down to play a game and more often than not leave making a connection with a stranger which is then maintained via our social network functionalities.”
March 20, 2012
PokerStars’ SuperStar Showdown features infamous online poker player Viktor “Isuldur1” Blom in which players qualify to go heads up against Blom. The high-stakes session consists of 2,500 hands and is played at four NLH and PLO tables, no lower than $50/$100. After 2,500 hands, the player with a profit or the winner who took all is declared the SuperStar Showdown champion.
If you have the bankroll to challenge Blom, you better be on your game because he has a pretty good track record. In the most recent installment of PokerStars SuperStar Showdown, Alex “Kanu7” Millar took the challenge and lost to Blom. Blom ended the session of NLH with $37,687 after previously winning more than $160K from Millar on PokerStars.
The 2,500-hand $100/$200 session saw Blom up nearly $150K at one point.
Isildur1 has only lost twice in SuperStar Showdown history, both times to Isaac “philivey2694” Haxton, the second time just last week in a PLO session. Haxton barely took the win though with a $5K profit over Blom.
Blom vs. Haxton Part 1 was the inaugural installment of the Showdown, but Blom went on to win the next nine challenges. He is up nearly $700K in the overall stats after taking back his winning position when he faced off with Millar this past weekend.
March 14, 2012
Like other states, Iowa’s economy is losing millions of dollars and potential tax revenue to overseas companies thanks to online gambling. Unlike many states, Iowa realizes the problem and is taking steps to do something about it. The Iowa Senate voted in favor of intrastate online poker for Iowa-based players 29 to 20.
While both Washington DC and Nevada have also voted to allow online poker within their boundaries, they are still drafting regulations.
Senator Jeff Danielson (D) estimates that Iowans wager around $30 million on Internet poker each year, and that money does not return to Iowa’s economy, but is rather gone to the operators that are not based in the US.
Danielson said, “That’s a problem for our overall economy to see that kind of leakage.”
Iowa’s Republican Governor Terry Branstad is open to considering the bill.
Branstad said, according to the Chicago Tribune, “In terms of regulating and controlling gambling in this state, our top priority has been to keep it honest, clean, open, transparent and keep the criminal element out.”
During his tenure, Branstad, who is serving his fifth term, has signed bills that allow pari-mutuel racing and has created a state lottery as well as several casino-related bills. Iowa is home to 17 state-licensed casinos. If the bill becomes law, these casinos would partner with an internet poker operators in order to provide online poker games to Iowa residents.
The downside is that there us a deadline for this Friday for the bill to clear a House committee in order for it to become law. Whether or not they make the deadline, it’s still a move in the right direction.
March 14, 2012
If a trip to the 2012 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada this summer is on your “to do” list, PartyPoker is already offering prize packages for the $10,000-buy-in Main Event. The $14K prize package includes buy-in, $2K spending money, and hotel accommodations for 10 nights in fabulous Las Vegas.
A comprehensive variety of WSOP qualifiers makes for a great chance for everyone to make the WSOP this year. Daily freerolls are just the tip of the iceberg. Qualifiers run through June 17th.
Pius Heinz won the title of World Champion last year, along with $8.7+ million in prize money. Why can’t this year’s winner be you? It can and PartyPoker has made that possibility available to you.
PartyPoker is offering the following structured opportunities to climb your way up and win the WSOP packages: Daily Freeroll, $2 Daily Sub Qualifier Speed Rebuy, $4 Daily Sub Qualifier Speed Rebuy, or the $9 Daily Sub Qualifier Speed, all of which feed into the Daily $75+$5 Satellite Qualifier, which feeds into the Sunday $700+$50 Satellite. Once you make it all the way to the Satellite, one in 20 players wins a $14K 2012 WSOP package.
Don’t wait—fulfill your dream of sitting at a WSOP table with a big stack of chips piled in front of you this summer.
If you still need an online poker account at PartyPoker, use PartyPoker Bonus Code 500PS when you signup.
March 13, 2012
PartyPoker’s Premier League V will take place in April in Vienna, Austria, just days before the €3,500 World Poker Tour Vienna Main Event and the PartyPoker.com’s 48-hour cash game, the Big Game VI. It was announced last week that Tom Dwan, Phil Laak, and Dan Cates would be added to the 16-player lineup. Unfortunately though, according to Tong G, Phil Hellmuth will not be joining the all-star lineup. Tony G blogged about Hellmuth’s decision to not participate in the Premier League this year: “He hasn’t got a sponsor and he doesn’t have the bankroll or the heart.” The tournament buy-in is priced at $125K.
While this is Tony G’s opinion and may or may not be the real reason Hellmuth will not be in attendance at PartyPoker’s Premier League V, other big names will be including the three new players listed above, as well as Erik Seidel, Patrik Antonius, Sam Trickett, Luke Schwartz, Andrew Frankenberger, and Vanessa Selbst.
Although Hellmuth has been a regular at Premier Leagues past, he has never won and finished in 3rd at best at the first Premier League when Juha Helppi was the 1st place finisher. Hellmuth also finished 9th at last year’s Premier League IV in Vegas.
The Premier League event features a unique format and point system to determine the winner, making for an exciting way to play. PartyPoker is actually running satellites through March 18th with nine $13K packages available to the qualification rounds, which will be televised. Two top finishers will then advance to the Premier League V preliminaries, a package worth the $10,450 buy-in plus spending money and hotel accommodations.
March 6, 2012
PokerStars Zoom Poker will be up and running for real-money play in the middle of March, according to a PokerStars representative.
The new fast-paced online poker cash game has been in beta testing at PokerStars for a couple of weeks, but it has only been available at the PokerStars test site for play money. However, a PokerStars representative posted at the online poker forum twoplustwo.com, and said real-money play will be rolled out soon.
We are finalizing the last few details regarding the product and expect Zoom to be released as Real Money beta in mid-March.
The representative also said a few changes were made to PokerStars Zoom since the beta test began:
Based on player feedback we have added two new features on the .TEST version:
1) Sit out next BB – Fully operational with the checkbox on the table.
2) “Fold & Watch” – There is still some graphic work to be done on this feature, but for now you can test it by pressing Ctrl+Shift while you click the Fold button. This feature does not work with the ‘Fast Fold’ button.
In PokerStars Zoom, players join a large “cloud” of players, and are seated at a table. Players can choose to play the hand, or instantly fold out of turn and be moved to a new table consisting of other players from the cloud. Zoom Poker allows players to see many more hands than they can at regular ring games, on average 200 hands an hour or more.