Random Thoughts: Summer is Coming Edition
It's time for another edition of Random Thoughts, our poker commentary articles where each paragraph may have little or nothing to do with the ones following and preceding it.
888 Poker may be the first to the online poker in Nevada scene. The company said this week when announcing impressive first quarter earnings that they expect to launch their intrastate online poker room in the state of Nevada this summer. However, if 888 Poker fails to make good on this prediction, it wouldn't be the first delay in real-money online poker coming to Nevada; it was rumored that some sites would be live with their real-money online poker rooms in Nevada as early as last summer. As a result, it would be wise not to put too much stock into predictions from online poker operators involving when they will finally go live in Nevada.
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Pennsylvania is the latest state to introduce an online gaming bill. The bill, introduced by Pennsylvania State Representative Tina Davis, already has 11 co-sponsors and would grant any of the state's licensed casinos the right to pursue an online gaming license. Would-be operators will be met with a hefty one-time licensing fee of $5 million and a $500,000 renewal fee due every three years. In an unique twist, the state would require any of its residents who wish to create an account to do so by appearing in person at a casino. This is a clever approach to preventing underage players from accessing the state's online casinos. It will be interesting to monitor House Bill 1235's fate as Pennsylvania has a population 44% higher than that of New Jersey which is currently the most populous state with a legal online gaming framework.
Joe Sebok appeared in court this week for the sentencing of two men who attempted to extort him for hundreds of thousands of dollars after hacking into his computer and retrieving naked pictures. In his statement, Sebok said, "In short, I was no longer able to maintain my then-current level of participation in the poker industry, representing the brands that I had been previously, as well as greatly destroying my ability to do so with new companies moving forward." Yea, that's it Joe. The threat of naked pictures being leaked is why you had to throttle back on participation in the poker world. It didn't have anything to do with having aided the online poker room UB with an extortion scheme of their own. Say hi to others living in fantasy land for us, Mr. Sebok!
Recently, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey added to their WSOP bracelet count. Each man won an event at the inaugural WSOP-Asia Pacific series. Ivey brought his lifetime bracelet total to nine in the $2,200 (AUD) mixed-game event which drew a mere 81 players (Negreanu finished 4th in this event, incidentally). In the $10,000 (AUD) Main Event, Negreanu beat out a field of 405 for his 5th career bracelet and more than $1 million in winnings. It will be interesting to monitor field sizes in next year's WSOP-Asia Pacific; more of poker's top pros could turn up after learning of the relative ease with which Ivey was able to acquire another bracelet.
888 Poker has added an impressive new multi-table tournament to it's schedule. Every fourth Sunday, 'The Whale' will give participants a crack at winning the $60,000 place prize. The $250,000 guaranteed tournament comes with a hefty buy-in of $530. Players can qualify their way into the tournament throughout the month. Satellites for the event start at just ten cents. When you visit 888 Poker and create an account, you can receive $8 free, no deposit required. See our 888 Poker site review as country-based restrictions do apply.
Finally this week, an update from the online poker traffic fronts: according to PokerScout.com, Full Tilt Poker has finally regained their pre-Black Friday standing as the second largest online poker room after recently just barely overtaking the iPoker Network, home to sites like Titan Poker. Another takeover in the making is the battle between Party Poker and 888 Poker. PartyPoker has for years enjoyed a larger real-money player base than 888 Poker, but that lead is now shrinking. 888 Poker's 7 day average has grown to within 90% of Party Poker's. If this trend continues, one could expect Party Poker to slide to the fifth place spot for largest online poker rooms. It's been an impressive and steady run for 888 Poker since Black Friday two years ago.