November 30, 2013
New Jersey online poker players had a lot to be thankful for this past Thanksgiving. Five thousand new online gambling accounts were set up last Thursday, making the entire number of live New Jersey online gambling accounts more than 32,000 since November 21st when the first online gambling testing began. With the testing phase over for more than a week now, it’s clear to see that New Jersey was ready for online gambling.
While some of the accounts may be set up by the same individuals, it’s still an impressive number, especially when compared to Delaware, where participation was scarce.
New Jersey began offering statewide online gambling last Monday afternoon, marking the biggest expansion of New Jersey gambling since 1978 when the first casino in Atlantic City opened its doors.
New Jersey online gambling consists of card games and slots that is provided in conjunction with the 12 land-based casinos in the city.
One player interviewed says he has played on more than one New Jersey online casino, but prefers Caesars Entertainment’s WSOP site, which was favored by a lot of players, apparently, during the first week.
Ridgewood’s Matthew Pineault says, “I haven’t had the time I would like to play, but turned my $250 deposit into almost $1,200. I requested a cash-out of my original deposit ($250) and that went fairly seamlessly. I had to send them a copy of my bank statement, but they were willing to accept a picture and that was easier for me. I still haven’t seen the funds but it’s only been 3 days, so no concerns yet.”
Six Atlantic City casinos launched online poker sites last week including the Borgata, the Tropicana, Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, Caesars, and Bally’s. The Golden Nugget is still working out some kinks in the backend, but plans to be up and running within another week or so.
So the verdict’s out: New Jersey is in fact a lucrative market for online gamblers and will likely do well in the future, especially once an intrastate network is opened up that will allow all players from legal US poker states to participate in real money online gambling at other online-gambling-friendly states in the country.
Of course, there’s always going to be opposition, but states that are already used to the idea of land-based gambling are seemingly better prepared to accept online forms of it (e.g. Nevada and now New Jersey).
November 25, 2013
Delaware introduced its first try at online poker this week, only to be disappointed with a not-so-successful run. Technical problems and low player volume plagued the first few weeks of Delaware online poker.
Like Nevada, Delaware has experienced a rocky start to its online poker offerings. Common problems included geolocation detection, depositing, and software problems. Because there wasn’t high traffic volume, however, not many players were affected.
A mid-month report from PokerScout found that the peak traffic was just 32 players over a 24-hour period. It was surprising that some players had issues with the software because 888poker is the power behind all three Delaware poker sites, reports explain that the 888poker client is best in the dot.com format, but regulatory restrictions of remote programs caused some players problems.
A TwoPlusTwo poster described his dilemma: “Verizon FiOS forwards my IP address to Philly, so they think I’m in Philly… But, apparently pretty much everyone with Verizon FiOS is having the same problem from what I got talking to Delaware Park’s online reps.”
Funding of player accounts was also a hurdle for some users, especially those trying to make a real money deposit using a VISA. Many VISA transactions were declined. The most successful forms of deposit were MasterCard or ACH options.
With a population of less than one million in the entire state (pop. 900,000), it may not be feasible for the small state to fill the rooms up; however, if an interstate network can be developed across all states where online poker is legal, small states like Delaware may survive the low traffic by sharing players with bigger states like Nevada and New Jersey. California is also looking into online poker regulations for some time next year, and interstate networks are something they have discussed for down the road. California’s 38 million people would definitely help out smaller states like Delaware and even Nevada, which has a population of million.
It’s a bit of a problem though until they get more states on board and settled into an interstate network. As it stands now, there aren’t enough limits, games, and tournaments to attract a full range of players, but there aren’t enough players to support a full range of limits, games, and tournaments that would be available 24/7 like US players are accustomed to. It will be slow going for at least another year.
November 22, 2013
New Jersey’s soft play online gambling trial took off last night at 6:00 p.m. when 15 potential skins were launched. Six New Jersey Internet gaming license holders that also have holdings in land-based Atlantic City gambling launched a number of sites that have been approved by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
The tentative five-day soft launch period is limited to invited players only. Operators will be responsible for inviting players. Trial play began last night, November 21st and 6:00 p.m. and will run intermittently through November 25th at midnight. If all goes well, the public launch is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on November 26th. Officials will not go live until the sites are functioning at 100%, so if the public launch date must be pushed back, they are willing to do so in order to get everything perfect.
Joe Versaci (@JoeV149), CMO of Ultimate Gaming tweeted the following message regarding what testers are looking for in order for a site to pass: “to prove r tech b4 green light must attempt,block & doc at least-25 underage, 25 mistyped, 25 deceased & 25 out of nj accounts”.
Three New Jersey Casinos have yet to receive online gambling licenses, Atlantic Club, Revel, and Resorts. Both Atlantic Club and Revel have opted out of online gambling at this time, while Resorts is still awaiting approval to enter the New Jersey online gambling market with controversial Black Friday player PokerStars.
Up to five skins per license are begin permitted by New Jersey. As you can see in the list below, there are some who have taken full advantage, while others are just testing the waters. Furthermore, the final list was subject to approval by NJ DGE and some sites were omitted such as a couple of Golden Nugget poker sites.
After one day of testing, the biggest complaint or problem has been with the geolocation systems. Multiple players have complained that they were not able to get passed the welcome screen because the websites insisted that they were not located within New Jersey boarders. Some were able to deposit money, only to be forbidden to bet because the system could not recognize their location, keeping them locked out because they did not appear to be within state borders when they clearly were. Many players drove to different areas of New Jersey to try and get a Jersey location registered, but to no avail. Obviously this is one of the bugs that the testing phase would catch before public launch.
Test sites that will go live once the trial is over, which is expected to be November 26th, include the following:
Caesars + 888Holdings
Caesars + Amaya
Borgata + bwin.party
Golden Nugget + Bally Technologies
Tropicana + Gamesys
Trump Taj Mahal + Ultimate Gaming
Trump Plaza + Betfair
November 21, 2013
After the fall out of Black Friday, many online poker players were not only left without a poker club, but they were left without their beloved Rush Poker. In answer to this, PokerStars introduced Zoom Poker, and later, Bodog brought us Zone Poker.
The concept is simple. You are seated at a table and dealt a hand. If you wish to play that hand, it plays out just like a regular poker hand would on a non-fast fold poker table. However, when the hand is over or should you choose to fold, you are immediately placed at a new table with a new group of players and a new hand is dealt to you. Continue on until you log out.
This type of poker went well with the online poker craze because it was fast-paced and allowed players to see up to 300 or more hands per hour, while regular paced poker reveals only 50 to 100 hands per hour. The trick is no wait time between bets and folds. If you fold, you no longer have to sit and wait for the rest of the players to carry out the hand. You are instantly seated at another fast table and dealt a new hand. This poker caught on quickly and has evolved since its inception.
Recently, Steve Day, PokerStars rep, announced on TwoPlusTwo that a new twist will be offered at the PokerStars Zoom Poker tables next month—heads up Zoom Poker. This alternative will be available in the same fast fold format, but instead of the six-max and full-table games, this new style will offer heads-up Zoom, so that once you fold, you are moved to another heads-up Zoom table to go up against a new player with a new hand.
The purpose of this was to address bum-hunting at heads-up casino games. Bum-hunting is defined as players who are preying on weak opponents by selecting a heads-up table against a known fish. PokerStars has further addressed the issue by announcing that they will be rolling out a new feature next year that will remove players from the tables should they not play a required amount of hands once a second player sits down. The new Zoom Poker format offers fishy players the opportunity to not be pigeonholed by self-proclaimed sharks who prey on inexperienced players. The new heads-up Zoom poker will allow less experienced players to gain more experience without being singled out as easy.
November 19, 2013
Step aside Tom Dwan and Viktor Blom, there’s a new world leader for biggest online earner for 2013, a seemingly lucky year for one young poker pro. The 2013 total online earnings for 28-year-old German player Niklas “ragen70” Heinecker recently surpassed $4.19 million, making him the biggest online poker earner of the year. And what’s even more impressive is that Heinecker only started playing seriously in May, grinding on Full Tilt. By August he was in the red, but now only about three months later, he’s one of the richest poker players in the world.
Not only has he been busy online, but he’s also a live poker winner as well. Back in June in Macau, he won the HK$1 GuangDong Asia Millions and won a whopping US$4.5 million (HK$34.6m). His live plus online earnings for the year total more than $8.7 million, making it one the best years for any poker player ever.
One of the biggest pots Heinecker won as of late was a $403K pot. He’s been a force at the 6-max NLHE tables, as well as the Triple Draw tables, and the 2-7 Triple Draw games as well. Last Thursday he took $573K after just five and a half hours on eight tables of $2K/$4K 2-7 Triple Draw.
Heinecker lives in the UK and is a student of economic mathematics, which he says helps him better understand poker. He first got into poker with some friends, and after a lot of practice, he eventually entered the 2007 WSOP Main Event, in which he took 80th place. Since then, he’s had two first place cashes, the Macau event mentioned above, and the $5,100 NLH Heads-Up Championship at the 2012 LA Poker Classic in Los Angeles, a tourney that paid him just over $46K.
But no year has been quite like this one for him. He kicked off his wonder year back in February with a $89K+ win at the $25K NLH $25K Challenge at the 2013 Aussie Millions Poker Championship in Melbourne.
Fellow German, poker pro, and friend of Heinecker, Philipp Gruissem, is not to be overlooked by Heinecker’s big wins. He recently won first place and $4.6+ million at the WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts.
Other German players that follow the international circuit with Heinecker and Gruissem include Fabian Quoss, Igor Kurganov, and Tobias Reinkemeier. They have sort of created their own German poker team and have all been successful, due in part to their support for each other.
November 12, 2013
Last week, gaming regulators in New Jersey announced the recipients of preliminary online gambling permits. Still set to open legal online gambling sites in the Garden State on November 26th (following a five-day trial phase), New Jersey is the third US state to legalize online gambling. State law affirms that only casinos with land-based operations in Atlantic City can operate online casinos.
To ensure a seamless online poker transition, the casinos, which are inexperienced with online poker operations, will be required to team up with an established online poker presence that will provide back-end solutions including software, payment processing geolocation, and other technological services to the land-based casinos. These online casino and online poker partners will need approval from New Jersey as well, and many of these business-to-business companies have been approved to offer such services to New Jersey residents.
The following is a list of approved online-casino-related firms that have received approval to do business in regards to online poker in New Jersey:
Aristotle International Inc, Certegy Check Services Inc, Cognitive Box Consulting LLC, Dbi Staffing Geocomply Inc, Locaid LLC, Player Verify LLC, Pokertrip Enterprises Inc, Poker Venture LLC, Securetrading Inc, US Casino Marketing LLC, and Xyverify Corp.
The state will also be approving “Internet Gaming Related Vendor Registrants.” Such companies that have received permission include the following:
Alexander Schneider USA Inc., Ecomaccess Inc, Envoy Inc, Forte Payment Systems Inc, Interactive Communications Intl, ITC Financial Licenses Inc, Kalixa USA Inc, Mazooma Inc, Nbx Merchant Services Inc., Paynearme Mt Inc, Paysafecard.com USA Inc, Sightline Interactive, Skrill USA Inc, Vantiv Payment Systems LLC, Worldpay Limited Counting House Services Ltd., Zycko Limited Digital.
Fifty-four various companies were approved to begin working with casino and Internet license holders and serve as subsidiaries and vendors for the brand new New Jersey online gambling market. The state’s in-depth approval process will be a precendent for other states as more states pass online gambling legislature and go through the same process of evaluating the conduct and past of these companies due to the short but sordid past of online gambling.
Online gamers will need to be located inside New Jersey borders to participate in online gambling. They will be able to register and play for real money at the approved casinos via computers and mobile devices without the fear or guilt of playing at unregulated online casinos and poker sites.
November 12, 2013
Nevada online poker is currently made up two sites: UltimatePoker.com and WSOP.com. UltimatePoker was the first regulated online poker site to open up to Nevada players. Five months later, WSOP.com came along to offer a little healthy competition and is now beginning to see even more traffic than Ultimate Poker for a number of reasons.
PokerScout.com reported that the 7-day average of UP players dropped to 120 per; whereas, WSOP.com saw a 130 player-average per week. Even though no one speaks of Planet Poker anymore (the first online poker site ever), success for the first regulated online poker site was seemingly a shoe in. While UP and WSOP.com are positioned to be the FT and PokerStars of Nevada online poker, traffic is showing that one is substantially better than the other.
While WSOP.com was most certainly the next stop for many players who watched the final table of the Main Event on ESPN, there are other reasons why players are more readily flocking to WSOP.com.
Top 5 Reasons Why WSOP.com is Getting More Traffic than Ultimate Poker
Many players are citing the subpar software used by Ultimate Poker as the main reason they are choosing WSOP.com. According to some reports, players are not happy with Ultimate Poker software because it crashes—a lot. This is a big turn off for any player, especially for those who multi-table for long periods of time. The online poker industry is almost two decades old now, and software issues have been resolved many times over. Inadequate software is not acceptable at this stage in the game.
2. Loyalty Rewards
Another problem for UP is that many players are excited about the recent updates to the WSOP.com loyalty program. The Action Club Loyalty Program offers better rewards and more frequent player points for higher tiered players. The general consensus still favors the UP rewards program in general, but WSOP.com players don’t have much to complain about, especially with the fresh upgrade to WSOP.com loyalty rewards.
3. New Deposit Poker Bonus
New players at WSOP.com can enjoy a whopping $400 poker bonus for first time depositors, while WSOP.com is offering only $50 new deposit bonus.
4. Added Money Tourneys
WSOP.com Online Championships, which just wrapped up, have attracted a lot of players to the site here recently. The additional $500K added money, which guaranteed an overlay and an increased value of events. Should WSOP.com resort to guaranteed tourneys and discontinue hosting added money events, UP may see an upswing in traffic.
5. Satellites to WSOP Events
Where else but WSOP.com would you go if you were looking to win a seat to a WSOP event? WSOP.com may see even more players sign up to play satellite tournaments and participate in qualifiers that award seats to WSOP circuit events and the 2014 WSOP and WSOP Asia-Pacific events.
November 6, 2013
The 2013 WSOP has come to a close and with a new champion, 23-year-old Ryan Riess, who is now $8.3+ million richer. He defeated second place Jay Farber after a long heads up battle, who won a cool $5+ mill himself. Riess outlasted 6,351 other players to come out as the best in poker for 2013.
Riess was fifth-stacked when play resumed two days ago in Las Vegas, and JC Tran was the chip leader, who ended up in fifth place (a little irony there). By the onset of heads-up play, Farber was in the lead with around 20 million chips more than Riess. But our champion pushed and pushed, taking pot after pot. A double up by Farber extended the tournament just that much longer, but ultimately, Riess reigned stronger.
The last hand, the 261st hand of the final table, came. Reiss had AH/KH against Farber’s QS/5S. Farber was all in. The flop: JD/4D/10C . The turn revealed a 3C. It wouldn’t help Farber. Finally the river was dealt. A 4D paired the board, and the rail flooded the stage in celebration of Riess, with a fanfare of, “Riess the beast!” chanting through the Penn & Teller Theater. Riess fought his way back to give congratulations to Farber before hugging each one of his railbirds individually.
After winning, Riess said with tears, “I want to thank my family and my friends, they’re the best friends in the world.”
Farber believes all the publicity will be good for his business, so he’s not going to quit his night job as a VIP host in the Vegas nightlife scene, despite his million-dollar upswing.
Eliminated in third place was Israeli player Amir Lehavot, who won nearly $3.8 himself. He was widely supported by Israeli flags from the sidelines. Going in to the final table, he was second in chips.
Lehavot, who moved to Florida from Israel at 16, now proudly plays under his home nation flag from south Florida. He had asked the WSOP organizers to play Hatikvah, the national anthem of Isreal, had he won.
“I have some family and friends there and I visit regularly. I very much love the country. No one from the Israeli government has gotten in touch with me and I’m not expecting it. I’m very happy as is.”
Lehavot isn’t the first Israeli to make the final table. In 2003, Tomer Benvenisiti finished fifth and won $320K.
November 4, 2013
PartyPoker has an all new website and an all new deposit bonus to match, and it is simple to understand and implement. When you make your first deposit, you will receive a match bonus worth up to $50, which will be paid in installments. Use PartyPoker Bonus Code 500PS when you sign up and deposit to claim your PartyPoker poker bonus. The more you play, the more you earn. And for every 8 points you earn while playing poker, you will receive $1 of your bonus in cash. To earn points, just play real money poker at tournaments and ring games. You will get 2 points for every $1 you pay in tourney fees or rake.
PlayStation 4 Giveaway
Every day this month, you can win a PlayStation 4, and there are three ways to win including freerolls running daily and $11 tourneys that can get you the Christmas present you want. Daily freerolls run at 13:00 and 19:00 ET or buy in direct to the daily buy-in tourneys for $11. You can also qualify for the $11 tournaments for free as well. So essentially, you could win a PlayStation 4 for free or for as little as $11. And now special events will reward winners with PlayStation 4 systems as well such as the Sunday Majors.
Other Sony giveaways will also be featured throughout November, so look out for such prizes as a Smart Watch, a 16GB WiFi Tablet Z, an i1 Xperia Smart Phone, and more all month long.
Sunday Cash Booster
If you are in search of some big Sunday tournament action, the Sunday Cash Booster at PartyPoker features a $50K guaranteed prize pool. Free qualifiers mean that everyone has a shot. Each new player will receive one free entry into one Cash Booster tournament and 50 players every day qualify for free.