Category Archives: Games

CryptoFriends will celebrate its 1st Birthday on the “Blockchain Island”


CryptoFriends, the eclectic Blockchain and Crypto events company will be turning 1 year old and they are throwing an exclusive Crypto iGathering Party on the ‘Blockchain Island’ of Malta, on June 16th to celebrate. Read more to see what’s in store.

Partnering with IcoBench, The Malta Blockchain Summit and representatives from Malta’s Sigma IGaming organisation, the event will be held at Infinity by Hugo’s, a picturesque rooftop pool venue, and will pull together a selection of industry experts, sponsors, crypto enthusiasts and investoCryptoFriends will celebrate its 1st Birthday on the “Blockchain Island”rs to enjoy a blockchain event with a CryptoFriends style twist.

Daria Arefieva, Co-Founder of CryptoFriends, spoke with us about the upcoming event in Malta and said:

“We cannot wait to celebrate our 1st Birthday on the “Blockchain Island” on June 16th. We have a great lineup of speakers and ICO representatives who will be presenting, and we are almost sold out now. It really is very encouraging to see the amount of support we are getting for our activities from the community, and it really motivates us as a team to go even further with what we can deliver, and to contribute even more to the blockchain space. In fact, we already have 2 more events in Malta scheduled in August and September in the lead up to the Malta Blockchain Summit, so if you miss out on our Birthday Party, there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved.”

What can be expected from the upcoming Crypto iGathering Birthday Party in Malta?  Let’s shed some light on that.

Infinity by Hugo’s is an exclusive rooftop pool venue in the town of St Julian’s, and on June 16th it is going full crypto with a pool party sponsored by Aliquantum Gaming and Hipay. Be ready to expect a crowd of some of the movers and shakers in blockchain alongside a strong media presence. So remember, make sure to bring your swimsuit and your business cards, and get ready for an afternoon of delicious food, great cocktails, class entertainment and of course, blockchain knowledge.

The selection of speakers will include no other than:

● Olaf Carlson-Wee – Founder of Polychain Capital
● Miko Matsumura – Founder of Evercoin exchange
● Hartej Sawhney – Co-Founder of HOSHO
● Gordon Einstein – Blockchain legal specialist at CKR Law
● Eman Pulis – Founder and CEO at SIGMA I GAMING & MALTA Blockchain Summit
● Eric Benz – CryptoFriends Ambassador and MD at CryptoPay

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to hear from representatives from some of the most promising ICO projects in the space today such as:

● Clear Poker – a decentralised poker platform on ethereum blockchain.
● Fanfare – a blockchain powered social commerce marketplace.
● Nynja – a global blockchain platform for communication & commerce.
● Betonchart – a blockchain based sports betting platform.
● Blockchip – an I-gaming platform that combines the use of blockchain and AI technologies.

And there are still more ICO projects that are currently being vetted.

The upcoming Crypto iGathering on June 16th will be preceded by a private speakers dinner on June 15th, and then followed by a press conference on June 18th, organised by The Malta Blockchain Summit, which will play host to the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat.

If you are familiar with the past activities of CryptoFriends, then you know what to expect from their unique events. However, if you are new to hearing about this organisation, be ready for an afternoon of extreme fun in an environment of style. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to learn more. Also, check out their website to find out more about how to register as a participant or to present at one of their future events.

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William Shen: Integrated resorts add dimensions to non-gaming entertainment


In this interview with CalvinAyre.com’s Stephanie Tower, Caesars Entertainment Senior Vice President William Shen discusses the unique opportunities that the casino operator sees in Japan.

The Japanese Diet’s lower house is set to make a vote on the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill on June 12. The vote was initially scheduled for earlier in June but lawmakers moved it on a later date to give way to Niigata gubernatorial elections.

Major casino operators have been jostling for pole position in the Japanese market, courting both local partners and venue hosts even before the IR Bill was submitted to the Diet in May.

Japan’s vast opportunities have excited major casino operators seeking a slice of the country’s gambling pie, according to Caesars Entertainment’s Senior Vice President William Shen.

“Japan has enormous opportunity and IRs can only be built upon it because the existing attraction has already brought appeal, whether it is cultural or the arts, as mentioned earlier, the shopping, the food,” Shen told CalvinAyre.com. “IRs add additional dimension both on the conference and convention side but also from a non-gaming, broad-based entertainment side.”

Gaming analysts estimate that the Japanese gambling market could be worth as much as $40 billion annually. Japan also welcomed a record 24 million tourists in 2017.

Japan is also seen as a more viable option for many casino operators affected by the Chinese government’s crackdown on corruption and currency outflows in recent years.

However, Japan might only issue two casino licenses after its broad regulatory framework is passed. Shen believes that Caesars may succeed in securing one of these licenses since it offers multi-faceted entertainment opportunities for guests around the world.

In Las Vegas, Caesars currently has nine integrated resorts, which offer a variety of shows, not only the so-called headliners but also magic shows and family friendly shows, according to Shen.

“Japan is one of the places where the theme parks are the most popular and the most successful in the world. So IRs, this location-based entertainment model that we have to offer, we believe, will be very successful there as well,” the Caesars executive said. “We have lots to offer on the F&B side, the food and beverage, restaurants with celebrity chefs, but also the shopping, and the spa, and the golf courses. So, that’s the type of thing we want to be able to bring to markets internationally as we expand.”

He also allayed fears of that opening casinos in Japan will be bad for the residents of the country, saying that integrated resorts bring huge value in terms of job creation, tourism attraction, tax benefits and investment.

“I think that story needs to get out there more. This is a real track record that we possess in this industry and as it relates to casinos itself, there’s actually decades of responsible gaming leadership that we have exhibited in each market that we operate in, where we try to do the right thing by our guests all the time,” Shen said. “These are the types of things that as we go through this processes I think, people would come to better understand with some more effort of course on the part of the industry but also on the part of the public leadership as well.”

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WSOP champ Darren Elias talks delayed WPT final tables


Darren Elias has had a significant amount of prosperity at the poker tables. The New Jersey resident has racked up over $6 million in live-table earnings, and has won the World Poker Tour (WPT) four times—almost five before he was knocked out in third place at the WPT Tournament of Champions in May. His four wins broke a tie for the most titles, which had been shared by Elias, Chino Rheem, Carlos Mortensen, Anthony Zinno and Gus Hansen. Due to his success, his opinion carries some weight, so it might be conducive to future tournaments if WPT organizers listen to him about the decision to have all final table action of the upcoming season play out in Las Vegas.

WSOP champ Darren Elias talks delayed WPT final tablesElias sat down for an interview with Card Player’s Julio Rodriguez, in which he was asked about his recent run at the tables and making it into the record books. Elias showed his humble side in responding to the questions, but when asked about the delayed final tables being played in Vegas, he didn’t hold back.

“The new arena is cool, although I think they still have some kinks to work out before the WPT goes back,” he explained. “For example, it was very cold in there, and we were seated close together considering the size of the set. But at the end of the day, if it draws in some Esports players to poker who might not otherwise have been exposed to the game, then it will be worth it. Right now, we don’t have a lot of younger players, especially in America, picking up poker like they did a decade ago, and maybe this is the way to get those players. If down the line, we get some big final tables going in the arena with some big crowds to watch, then that would be amazing.”

Elias also indicated that delayed tables can result in players gaming the system. He opined that players should be the same at both the start and the end of a tournament, and a break in between could give some players the ability to seek additional training and hire coaches to improve their skills.

The 31-year-old also pointed to the logistics of the delays, saying that it’s possible a lot of players simply decide not to participate because of scheduling. He told Rodriguez: “What if you make a final table in Atlantic City or Florida as the short stack? Do you really want to wait a couple months, fly to Las Vegas and possibly bust in few hands? It may not stop someone from playing, but they aren’t going to be happy about that, especially if it prevents them from playing other tournaments somewhere else. I know it’s not convenient for me personally, in New Jersey, but I think I’m going to still continue to play my same schedule for now. If I make another WPT final table, then I’ll deal with that when it happens. I can just see it being annoying depending on your stack or the tournament buy-in. But I also see why the WPT did this. I see how it could be a good thing in the long run. It’s an experiment, and we just have to wait and see how it turns out.”

It is, indeed an experiment, but it seems like a huge misuse of poker talent and resources just to run some tests. Perhaps a better solution would have been to try one or two tournaments to gauge player reaction prior to implementing the policy across the board for next season.

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Las Vegas Union strike is much ado about nothing


Caesars having just reached a labor deal with the Culinary Workers Union (CWU), it’s a good time to talk about labor unions and how irrelevant they have become. Unions have been a dying breed since the 1950’s, when the percentage of unionized labor in the United States reached a high of 35%. We’re now at around 10.7%. Most union workers get their salaries from taxpayers. 34.4% of unionized workers are government bureaucrats.

Las Vegas Union Strike is Much Ado About NothingOnly 6.5% of the private economy is unionized, and it’s only that high because unions are protected by the federal government. They are actually allowed to commit violence against employers on a federal level, like when they strike and threaten or engage in violence against scabs and strike breakers, damage or destroy the employer’s property or even, in some cases, actually, literally, kill people. The 1973 Supreme Court decision U.S. v Enmons established that union violence against employers, including homicide, is not punishable by federal law if committed for the sake of wages or benefits. It’s still punishable by state law, but not all states actually go after instigators because it is politically unpopular. The Freedom from Union Violence Act proposed in 2007 to criminalize union violence on a federal level failed to pass. It would have prohibited obstruction of commerce, in other words picketing. Unions did not like that idea and lobbied successfully against it.

One of the last great bastions of unionized labor in the private sector in the US is on the Las Vegas Strip. “Great bastion” though is a misnomer, because while the Culinary Workers Union is the largest private sector union in the country in a Right to Work state with 60,000 members, it doesn’t have much that much power anymore.

The strike that the CWU is threatening the strip with is largely irrelevant. It will cause minor disruptions at worst if it happens, but that’s about it. No union, at least no private sector union, has the power to raise wages above market rates. They pretend that they can because that’s their whole selling point, but just like they can’t break the laws of physics, they can’t break the laws of economics either. If their demands are too high, they will lose whatever power they have left. They’re pinned down by supply and demand just like everyone else in the private economy is.

One way to demonstrate this is to look at unionized versus nonunionized (or relatively less unionized) casino labor costs. MGM currently has 70% of its employees covered by collective bargaining agreements. Standard, general, and administrative expenses comprise 18% of top line revenues for 2017. Boyd on the other hand has 19,707 employees, 1,811 of which are unionized. That’s about 9% of its work force, slightly more than a tenth the proportion of union labor that MGM has. Boyd’s SG&A expenses are still about the same as MGM’s proportionately at 19% of top line revenues. If union labor were so much more expensive, you’d expect MGM to have higher labor costs than Boyd, but that’s not the case.

This is just one data point, but that aside, if there were any drastic differences between union and non union labor costs, MGM would not rely so heavily on the CWU for its labor. Why do they? Probably because it’s easier logistically to just hire the CWU to take care of menial labor rather than spend resources headhunting for individual workers. Whatever savings MGM has from not having to find all these culinary and janitorial workers themselves, they can spend on slightly higher salaries, but it’s not like any private sector union grants amazing benefits to workers. If that were true, more people would join unions.

In the public sector it’s different, and unions have more negotiating power because there are no market wage rates. Plus, in the public sector, unions are working for their protectors, the government itself, so they are more or less on the same page. They clamor for what they think they can extort from taxpayers and then get the rest from government borrowing or inflation. It’s no coincidence that US states with the highest percentage of unionized labor like Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Connecticut, also have the worst public finances and unfunded public pension liabilities.

There is something really ironic though, call it poetic justice, about this particular strike threat. That is, automation is one of the chief complaints of the CWU. To quote my hometown newspaper The Miami Herald, union workers fear they will be replaced by robots, and that’s one of the reasons why they’re striking. Why will they be replacedLas Vegas Union Strike is Much Ado About Nothing by robots? Partly because the advance of technology makes automation cheaper compared to human labor costs, but one factor that speeds this process up is minimum wage laws. Minimum wage prices low-productivity workers out of the workforce faster than otherwise in favor of cheaper automated labor. It’s happening at fast food joints in New York City where $15 minimum wage laws are going into effect, for example.

Here’s the ironic part though. Who is the greatest advocate for minimum wage laws in the United States? Labor unions. Labor unions are always in favor of higher minimum wage laws because they help price out competition from non-union labor. If an independent worker cannot by law work below a certain wage, then de facto he is unable to undercut union wage rates, keeping unions in power. This is less of a problem now than it was back in the 30’s through 50’s when unions were much more popular and powerful and helped exacerbate the unemployment epidemic of that era. Now, unions are reaping what they sow, getting a taste of their own minimum wage medicine, and fear getting replaced by automation.

So this strike threat is really much ado about nothing. It’ll create temporary disruptions at worst, but threatening or actually pulling off a strike is all part of negotiating strategy. Eventually it will be settled. Hopefully though, if there is a strike, no property will be destroyed and union instigators won’t hurt or kill anybody, despite federal level protections by the Supreme Court, which looks out for our constitutional rights.

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Vanessa Selbst hints at teaming up with Phil Galfond for WSOP Tag Team


Vanessa Selbst hints at teaming up with Phil Galfond for WSOP Tag TeamVanessa Selbst’s on again/off again relationship with poker is enough to leave any fan dizzy. She “retired” at the beginning of the year after an alcohol-filled tweet on New Year’s Eve, and announced that she would be leaving PokerStars in favor of a hedge fund. A few days later, she announced that wasn’t retiring, but that she would no longer be serving as a PokerStars ambassador. Not long after, she was in retirement again, only to be seen taking a seat in a tournament a few days later. It would now appear that she wants to come back—at least for one more visit to the felt.

The three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner who racked up almost $12 million in live poker action took to Twitter (no indication if alcohol was involved) on Wednesday, recalling the “good ol’ days” of poker. She tweeted, “ok but seriously, when did it ppl 100% stop 4betting light (preflop OR on flop)? there used to be so many fun dynamics when ranges were [obviously] polarized- now it’s like there’s a rule if u get raised while holding air u must fold…? seriously is this a thing? seems like a bad thing.”

Phil Galfond responded, giving her remarks a virtual head nod. He acknowledged that the game has changed and is more difficult for “feel players” like the two of them are. The two chatted it up for a while, and then Selbst suggested that they should hook up for this year’s WSOP Tag Team event.

Galfond seemed to be on board, giving a Twitter nod of approval, so it’s possible that the pair will be seen at the tournament. The $1,000 Tag Team event will be held from June 27 to June 29 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In 2017, Aditya Sushant and Nipun Java won the event for a little more than $150,000 and their first-ever WSOP gold bracelets. Sushant made the win possible, substituting for Java, who had to be excused for a bathroom call. The pair was in heads-up play against Pablo Mariz and David Guay, with Mariz in control for his team. Sushant, holding A-8 off-suit, called an all-in bet by Mariz, who had scored a set of Queens on the flop. With virtually no way to win, the final handshakes and high fives began. However, a highly improbable runout of Aces on the turn and river secured the victory for the Indian team.

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EquiLottery CEO to Premiere Vision for live sports lottery games at GiGse


Louisville, KY (Tuesday, May 30, 2018) – With all eyes on US sports betting at the annual GiGse conference in Miami, the assembled audience of top gaming professionals in North America and beyond will be privy to a “first-of-its-kind presentation” when the event opens this week. EquiLottery CEO Brad Cummings will, for the first time in a public or private forum, provide his full vision for lottery games of chance based on live sporting events on May 31st at 3:30 PM at the Biltmore Hotel.

EquiLottery CEO to Premiere Vision for Live Sports Lottery Games at GiGse“EquiLottery is best known in the lottery and gaming industries through our development of Win Place Show, a game of chance based on live horse racing,” said Cummings. “But the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down PASPA has allowed us to publicly expand our vision and offer new games to lotteries that will provide more money to the good causes they support. Similar to our racetrack friends and partners, we see this ruling as an opportunity to build on the platform we have already established for Win Place Show. We look forward to transferring this vision to lottery games of chance based on all live sports, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, auto racing and golf.”

Cummings’ presentation will outline a vision for this new category and discuss in detail two conceptual games, the first a parlay style game based on live football and the second a higher stakes game based on a live auto race. Complete details, including the patented play style, suggested payouts and odds structure, will be presented to conference attendees. The games will range from smaller daily game options to larger jackpot games designed for multi-state play. All games will allow for the leagues and associations involved to get a piece of the action through a licensing fee as a percentage of sales.

“We’re thrilled that EquiLottery has chosen GiGse as the platform for this first-of-its-kind presentation,” said Clarion Gaming’s Head of Content, Ewa Bakun, which organizes GiGse as well as ICE London. “This kind of forward thinking is what has made Mr. Cummings an important voice in the lottery industry specifically and the gaming industry at large. This is the type of content that makes GiGse a highlight of the conference calendar each year. ”

EquiLottery recently announced the rebranding of its live horse racing lottery game as Win Place Show: An EquiLottery Game. Details of the new game can be found at www.WinPlaceShowLotto.com. This rebranding has set the stage for other live sports lottery games of pure chance to be developed by EquiLottery based on its U.S. and Canadian IP. These games are being developed for implementation by state and provincial lotteries and will become part of the EquiLottery family of lottery games as the company evolves its mission from the development of a single product to pioneering a new game category.

For more information on EquiLottery and its offerings, contact Brad Cummings at brad@equilottery.com.

For more information on GiGse, visit www.gigse.com.

About GiGse

GiGse’s two-day program, which takes place alongside the co-located Juegos Miami, will feature a wide range of industry debates including the monetization of sports betting and its relationship with Tribal Gaming, the role of technology in growing the gaming industry outside of regulatory boundaries, the utilization of behavioral data in tracking players from mobile to the casino floor, personalization and artificial intelligence as methods of engaging with digital users, as well as an examination of the pace of online gambling regulation and consumer attitudes towards it.

About EquiLottery 

The creators of Win Place Show, a lottery game based on the results of live horse racing, EquiLottery has evolved into leaders of a new live sports category for state and provincial lotteries. Developing a series of live sports games of pure chance protected by US and Canadian patents, EquiLottery supports its lottery offerings through a series of products and services that make its games plug-and-play for its state lottery customers. These include systems integrations, plug and play mobile apps, video streaming, intellectual property licensing, sports licensing, horsemen negotiations, calendar development, data licensing, second chance raffle prizes and multi-channel marketing support.

Media Contact
Brad Cummings
(502) 644-1454
brad@equilottery.com

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Lottoland Australia calls for lottery betting legislation to be abandoned following Tatts campaign probe by regulator


Lottoland Australia has called on the Federal Government to abandon legislation banning lottery betting following revelations the NSW gaming regulator is probing a $5 million anti-Lottoland campaign funded by Tatts Group.

LOTTOLAND AUSTRALIA CALLS FOR LOTTERY BETTING LEGISLATION TO BE ABANDONED FOLLOWING TATTS CAMPAIGN PROBE BY REGULATORThe NSW Liquor & Gaming authorities have launched a preliminary investigation into whether the misinformation campaign funded by Tatts may have breached the company’s licence obligations to act honestly.

The Chief Executive of Lottoland Australia, Luke Brill, said these latest revelations confirmed that the legislation, which passed the Lower House of Federal Parliament earlier this month, but is yet to be debated in the Senate, was unnecessary and counterproductive.

Mr Brill said the legislation was also opposed by many newsagents on the ground, including the peak bodies representing newsagents in the two largest states: NSW and Victoria.

He said the legislation would not protect newsagents, as some had claimed, but instead give Tatts – which is now owned by Tabcorp – a legislated monopoly on all lottery products in the country.

“A Tatts monopoly on all lotteries is a terrible outcome for Australian consumers who like the occasional flutter on overseas lottery betting,” he said.

“It is also a terrible outcome for newsagents, which will then be at the mercy of a monopoly that has shown it will do whatever it can to stop competition from new entrants such as Lottoland.

“That is why we wrote to lottery regulators asking them to investigate the actions of Tatts in spending $5 million on a campaign of misinformation designed to do just one thing: protect its monopoly.”

Mr Brill said that 700,000 Australians had registered over the past two years with Lottoland.

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It’s Showtime: PokerStars turn folded hands face up in new cash game variant


PokerStars have moved quickly to fill the void left by Split Hold’em by creating a new cash game variant known as Showtime Hold’em, a game where folded hands are shown face-up for all to see.

It’s Showtime: PokerStars turn folded hands face up in new cash game variantIf you’re a book, then you’re better off snuggling up next to other books in Waterstones, Barnes & Noble or some aged-old bookstore in Budva.

Competition is fierce, but you have to be in the arena with other books. Otherwise, nobody will see you. Nobody will touch you. Nobody will read you.

All the books are helpful to each other, but underneath earmarked, child food splattered pages there is envy. At night when the books go to sleep, the savvy ones inch their spines forward.

And it’s the same in poker writing.

I’m aware that I make a lot of shit up in my head, but of this one thing, I am sure. Poker writers are like hairy coconuts at a fairground, and the ones holding the balls are of the same ilk.

So when I tell you that most of my brethren screwed up this past week when they wrote of PokerStars decision to pull Split Hold’em from the shelves, intimating that the punters didn’t like the game, there is no envy, I am stating a fact.

PokerStars said that Split Hold’em would only be available for a short period. After that short period elapsed, the game came down for review.

I made the same mistake.

PokerStars Release Showtime 

PokerStars have wasted little time filling the space left by Split Hold’em. On Wednesday, the largest online poker room this side of the woman with the rainbow watch released a new cash game variant called Showtime Hold’em. 

The game – which is available for a limited time only – is another attempt by Stars to reduce the edge that professionals and semi-professionals have over everyone else, while at the same time, increasing the fun element of the game.

And note I said reduce.

If you are a master of the arts then nobody is taking away your paintbrush and easel, the very best in the game will still beat the rest over the long run.

The twist is a simple one.

Each time a player folds, the hole cards are shown face up. The extra information allows people to fill in some of the missing gaps that would enable the very best to use all of their experience and mathematical jiggery-pokery to gain an edge.

If the Pokerfuse article on this is anything to go by then, we can expect more cash game variants to follow as Stars continues to provide value for their recreational players.

If you want to see how the pros react to Showtime Hold’em, then PokerStars will be hosting a unique Twitch Invitational where the likes of Fintan Hand, Ben Spragg, Lex Veldhuis, Jaime Staples, Kevin Martin and Felix Schneiders will test their skills at the new game.

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Scientific Games continues hiring spree with new Chief Commercial Officer


Scientific Games continues hiring spree with new Chief Commercial OfficerScientific Games (SG) is barreling forward with its plans to take over the world. Recent announcements brought news of two new members to the team—Doug Albregts as the Executive VP and Group CEO for its Gaming Division, Tim Butcher in the executive VP and chief product officer role across all of the company’s divisions and Nikos Konstakis as the VP of the company’s new sportsbook. SG has added yet another veteran to the fray, picking up Steve Schrier to be the chief commercial officer of the firm’s digital division.

Schrier has been involved in a variety of senior sales roles for the past two decades, covering different aspects of technology, gaming and products. He is joining SG following a successful stint as the VP of sales for Playtech Plc. His appointment will begin in July of this year, and he will report to SG’s CEO, Jason Walbridge, in SG Digital’s office in London.

In a statement, the company said, “In his role, Mr Schrier will establish world-class customer partnerships and be responsible for all account management and business development across SG Digital.” SG Digital CEO Matt Davey said, “Steve’s appointment marks the elevation of our customer engagement strategy… to cement SG Digital… as a global digital gaming powerhouse.”

In no small part a result of the recent reversal of the U.S. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), Schrier pointed out that the digital gaming industry “continues to go through a rapid period of transformation and SG Digital is advancing on all fronts under Scientific Games’ leadership.” He added that he and his team will be concentrating their efforts on creating “world-class” partnerships while providing unparalleled customer engagement.

SG created its SG Digital arm in February to enhance its digital presence. The new unit incorporates the company’s existing portfolio with those of NYX Gaming Group, a sports betting company it acquired in January.

SG Corporation is a publicly traded company on NASDAQ under the symbol SGMS. It is the world leader of gaming entertainment and is ranked first in technology-based gaming systems. It also offers a variety of digital real-money gaming and sports betting platforms, as well as casino table and lottery games. It has net income of more than $1.3 billion and revenue of over $2.8 billion.

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Triton Poker Montenegro day 6: I fought the game and the game won


It’s Day 6 of Lee Davy’s reports from the Triton Poker Series in Montenegro, this time focusing on the winner of the HKD 1,000,000 Main Event, and a roundup from the €1m buy-in Cash Game. 

Triton Poker Montenegro Day 6: I fought the game and the game wonThe Asian crowd sitting across from me let out a collective hangover giggle. It sounds like a cacophony of monkeys at the moment a leopard strides into town looking for a headstone so he can piss on the dead.

One of them has the words ‘I Fought The Law’ on the back of his t-shirt. We all know the law won. It makes me wonder if poker players ‘fight’ other poker players, or whether the primary battle is with poker itself?

A few No-Limit Hold’em specialists came to Montenegro to pick up more video game points in the four tournaments on display in the shop window. But let’s not kid ourselves here. These events are the entrée. The cash games are the main course.

Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates – they win millions in these games because they approach them as a never-ending game. Some days you lose; some days you win. But you can’t sit there counting pennies. You need to look ahead until the day the headstone has your name on it, and then take a final count before the leopard cocks his leg.

So how do you ever leave a never-ending game?

It’s a puzzle.

This week, I have stared the beasts in the eye, and none of them has come up with a decent answer. There are no goals. There are no plans. There is only this moment. Only this hand.

Mikita Badziouski Wins the HKD 1,000,000 Main Event 

I don’t know what Mikita Badziouski calls himself: cash game player, tournament player, both, but he’s been mixing it up, both sides of the divide this week. And the man with the little handbag is in fine fettle.

After the rush of the HKD 250,000 Short-Deck event, the HKD 1m Main Event felt positively pedestrian, even with a 30-second shot clock. The event attracted 63 entrants, with at least a third of those entrants coming via a second, third or even more bullets.

Steffen Sontheimer entered the final table with the chip lead. The defending champion, Manig Loeser, wasn’t that far behind. But it wouldn’t be the Germans tournament. Heck, it wasn’t the Germans festival. Dietrich Fast bowed out in ninth, Loeser in eighth and Sontheimer in fifth.

The final two opponents were Badziouski and the cash game specialist Rui Cao with the Belarusian taking the title and $2.5m in prize money. It is Badziouski’s most significant win to date beating his previous seven-figure score earned when he finished third in the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) One Drop High Roller.

Final Table Results

1. Mikita Badziakouski – $2,499,090
2. Rui Cao – $1,683,648
3. Peter Jetten – $1,019,335
4. Wai Leong Chan – $702,146
5. Steffen Sontheimer – $483,171
6. Ivan Leow – $362,410
7. Steve O’Dwyer – $294,514
8. Manig Loeser – $256,681
9. Dietrich Fast – $249,165

The €1m Cash Game 

If you have a vision of a professional poker player settling down for a breakfast smoothie, followed by deep meditation, a massage, and an hour listening to Max Richter, before sitting down to play for the €2.5m first prize, then you’re not Rui Cao.

After making the final table, Cao immediately jumped into the €1m buy-in cash game streamed live via Twitch. For once, his fellow players understood he had to leave early. Cao banked a €241,000 profit.

But Cao wasn’t the biggest winner in a night that saw the two largest No-Limit Hold’em cash game pots ever recorded on a live stream. That honour goes to Kane Kalas.

Kalas has spent the entire week commentating on these players, giving him the advantage of seeing all of their hole cards. But when you flop a set on the turn in a €1.8m pot, none of that matters much.

Kalas tangled with Jason Koon in only his fifth hand at the table. It was a four-bet pot with Kalas the aggressor holding pocket tens and Koon calling with AQo. The pot was €263,000 deep before Koon fired another €160,000 at the sight of the Tc turn, and Kalas was more than happy to oblige. The river was the Ad, Koon pulled the trigger, shooting half a million euros into Kane, and the lad quietly said, “Call.”

Kalas left the table €771,000 in profit, the biggest winner in the game.

When we arrived in Montenegro, the men manning the passport control booths looked liked giants with hands like shovels, and at that moment, Koon must have felt them squeezing tightly around his neck.

And then…

In the same orbit, Koon flopped a straight flush draw in a threeway hand that saw Tom Dwan hit top pair, and Elton Tsang hit the bottom pair. The action got a little heavy on the flop with Koon check-raising to €100,000 on the Ad8h7h flop. The action forced Dwan to ditch his ATo, but Tsang continued somewhat speculatively with K7dd. The turn brought the Qd out of the deck. Tsang bet €390,000 on his nut flush draw, and Koon called, swelling the pot to €1.5m.

Was Koon about to lose back-to-back monster pots?

On this occasion, the deck came to his rescue.

The 4c hit the river to give Koon the nut straight; Tsang checked, Koon moved all-in to create a €2m pot, and Tsang released his hand into the muck.

Koon eventually left the game €186,000 in the black. Dwan made €176,000, and Patrik Antonius earned €101,000. On the flipside, Phil Ivey donated the entirety of his Short-Deck winnings and some, losing €717,000. Tsang lost €582,000, Zuo Wang shed €217,000, Wang Qiang did the same with €216,000, and the Jungleman ended up on the wrong side of the line with €50,000 in losses.

The €1m cash game is scheduled to reappear over the weekend where players will continue to fight the game hoping that the game doesn’t win.

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