Random Thoughts: WSOP Eve Edition
With the 2012 WSOP right around the corner, it's time to vent with another installment of Random Thoughts where each paragraph has little to do with the others.
Groupe Bernard Tapie, having failed in their bid to acquire Full Tilt Poker, are continuing with plans to host a 30,000 person poker tournament in Wembley Stadium. The €600 buy-in event will pack participants in the stands playing on tablets. When the tournament is down to 3,000 players, they will congregate on the pitch to play out the remainder of the tournament brick-and-mortar style. It's a cool idea, but here's the alarming part: the Tapie group expects the prize pool to be around €20 million with a first-place prize of €10 million. That's right, half of the prize pool in a 30,000 player tournament going to one person. Sheer madness. And these guys think they can run an online poker room?
online poker 468x60
More evidence that life is stranger than fiction was offered recently when a group of Korean Buddhist monks were caught on video drinking, smoking and playing a high stakes poker game in a hotel. Allegedly, more than $800,000 changed hands during the 13-hour poker session. The incident has caused six high-ranking officials including the director of finance of the Jogye Order to resign their posts. There is a whole lot more to this scandal but this is Random Thoughts and we've got to get moving on. Read more here.
So apparently Spain is trying to charge back taxes to online poker rooms as part of its recent online gaming legislation. They have their hands out asking for $257 million from PokerStars and more from other online poker rooms who had been operating in their unregulated market. It's What to Do When Your Economy Sucks 101: regulate gambling and then hit aspiring operators with massive back-tax bills. The unexpected tax bill could actually affect PokerStars' alleged efforts to buy out Full Tilt Poker. Is Spain ruining it for everyone? Maybe.
WSOP numbers should be interesting to monitor this year. I've spoken with several people who might normally be found at the series for the entire six weeks who this year plan to go only for a short while if at all. Caesars is expecting massive numbers by providing nearly 100 additional gaming tables. There seems to be a chance that it's overly optimistic planning on their part. Many poker players are broke and/or uninterested in leaving their online poker safe havens to grind the slow brick-and-mortar action. But we'll see. A PokerStars bailout of Full Tilt in the coming days could get a few more butts in seats on a flight to Vegas.
The Obama Administration released a statement on online poker with about as much meat to it as a serving of cotton candy. They said they are "open to solutions" for how to guard against online gambling being used as a tool for illegal activities. I remember when poker players used to think Obama would be good for poker. George Carlin said it best in summarizing how much the government cares about the issues poker players are facing.
Play an interesting hand lately? Copy and paste the hand history in this thread and your hand could be reviewed by a BlueFirePoker pro. If it is, you'll receive a free one month membership to the poker training site. Seventeen months worth of free memberships will also be given away in a freeroll tournament at PokerStars. See the thread for more details.
A WSOP bracelet will be given away this summer to the winner of a $1 million buy-in tournament with a 48 player cap. Who said you can't buy a bracelet?! Ironic though isn't it that a tournament purportedly held for charity has a cap on the number of people who can buy in?
Speaking of 'The Big One for One Drop', its final day of play will be broadcast virtually live in the U.S. on ESPN. That should be fun to watch as they'll be playing for the largest first-place prize in poker history. What isn't so cool, however, is the disappearance of the live broadcasting of the Main Event from this year's ESPN lineup. That was great programming last year but ESPN officials claim it detracted from their two-hour recap episodes. Screw the recap episodes. Why can't poker be a live sport? (Note: poker is not a sport).
The line is getting awfully blurry for title of second largest online poker room. 888 Poker has stepped up their game so much it should nearly be considered a three horse race at this point. Call it four if you include the OnGame Network which is right in the mix as well. 888 Poker could overtake this position thanks to their deal with Caesars Entertainment to offer online poker in Nevada. While Party Poker has a similar deal with Boyd Gaming, 888 having teamed up with the owners of the WSOP brand seems to put them in better position. However, it remains unclear if players on a Nevada poker network will be combined with or segregated from rest-of-world players.