Category Archives: PokerStars

PokerStars, GVC, Paddy Power Betfair join US casino lobby

american-gaming-association-pokerstars-stars-groupAmerica’s top casino lobby group has welcomed six new members, including a company the group once called “a business built on deceit, chicanery and the systematic flouting of US law.”

On Thursday, the American Gaming Association (AGA) announced that it had added six new companies as Board-level members, including BMM Testlabs, Oklahoma-based tribal casino operator Choctaw Casinos and Resorts, Nevada’s Golden Entertainment, UK-listed operators GVC Holdings and Paddy Power Betfair, as well as The Stars Group, parent company of PokerStars.

AGA president/CEO Geoff Freeman said the newly “diverse membership reflects the interest of the casino gaming industry.” Freeman said the addition of these six “industry leaders” would allow the AGA to better serve as “an effective advocate for the industry as a whole.”

The AGA announcement is proof that, if you wait long enough, the world eventually turns on its head. In 2013, the AGA actively campaigned against PokerStars being issued a New Jersey online gambling license, marking the first time the lobby group had ever felt the need to intervene in a licensing process.

Stars, then under its original ownership, had sought to participate in New Jersey’s regulated online market after reaching a $731m settlement with the US Department of Justice to resolve its civil liabilities stemming from the 2011 ‘Black Friday’ online poker indictments.

That settlement stated that the DOJ saw no legal reason why Stars should be excluded from future participation in US regulated markets. But the AGA insisted at the time that the settlement hadn’t “altered in any way” the rank odor of criminality wafting off the Stars brand.

To be fair, the AGA was then under the command of Frank Fahrenkopf, who handed the reins of power to Freeman just one month after making those pejorative comments toward Stars. But it does vividly illustrate how much the US gambling landscape has changed since those days.

PokerStars did eventually get licensed in New Jersey (as did GVC Holdings’ PartyPoker brand) and the AGA has since reversed itself on a number of other positions, including its recent support for overturning the federal ban on single-game sports betting outside Nevada.

The AGA’s welcoming of online gambling operators into the fold will almost certainly revive concerns that Las Vegas Sands will withdraw its membership from the AGA. Sands boss Sheldon Adelson, who hates online gambling the way Donald Trump’s hair hates gusts of wind, previously threatened to withdraw his financial suppport unless the AGA reversed its position advocating for online legalization, which prompted the AGA to knuckle under.


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Putting it all on black: PokerStars marketing Cody style

After Phil Galfond shares his thoughts that PokerStars is becoming nothing more than a casino, a Norwegian poker player wins $1.6m playing the slots, and Jake Cody puts it all on black – Lee Davy pens an op-ed about it all.

I’ve always wanted to hold a sponsored poker player’s Roles & Responsibility Statement in my hand. It’s an itch. No, more like a gnaw. I know there is a headline and then nothing beneath. I know it. It’s the reason those who are supposed to write them never produce one.Putting it all on black: PokerStars marketing Cody style

Isaac Haxton is proof personified.

The former PokerStars darling and new partypoker squeeze is busy doing the media interview rounds, celebrating his new position, giving his new employer some air time, and telling all and sundry that the beauty of his contract is he can do what he wants, go where he wants and play what he wants.

You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

And sometimes, one of your trusted steeds shines your brand underneath the eyes of your market, quite accidentally, like a flashlight into the eye of an investigative toddler.

Jake Cody is PokerStars’ best piece of marketing this year (granted, it’s early). Somewhere, somehow, Usain Bolt is supposed to be battling Kevin Hart in a social media war. Who cares? All anyone is talking about is Jake Cody.

I called my cousin last night to discuss sleeping arrangements for my 70-year-old uncle’s party.

“Did you hear about that idiot who put £42k on black.” He squealed down the phone. “You must know him; he works for PokerStars or something.”

Cody’s decision to place his partypoker LIVE UK Poker Championship High Roller first prize on black, and then watch as it came in, doubling his score, has gone viral.

The newspaper is a mighty weapon.

Phil Galfond Wouldn’t Have Done That 

He wouldn’t.

The man is not a degen.

Entrepreneurial. Business-like. Galfond is too busy building an online poker site. He doesn’t have time to wait for a ball to drop into a black number. Needs must and all of that.

Poker’s darling did have time to write a blog post offering his two cents on the Daniel Negreanu/PokerStars/Rake Debate. You can read about it by clicking the little blue line between these brackets (The Discussion on Rake That Nobody is Having)

In the op-ed, Galfond intimates that if PokerStars continues to increase rake, while at the same time, introducing more softer style game types, then they stop becoming an online poker site, and become PokerStars Casino.

I don’t think many within PokerStars will disagree with him.

PokerStars stopped being a poker site a long time ago.

I don’t think they’re hiding that fact.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? 

Seven-figure winners on PokerStars are as familiar as cotton candy at the fair, and they have crowned the first one of 2018. A Norwegian won $1,608,448.03 playing on the $10 per spin Genie Jackpots Slot game. It’s the first time anyone has hit a progressive slot jackpot on PokerStars Casino.

The Norwegian’s name is “zetheriver”, and back in 2014 he finished fourth in the Sunday Million for $120,000, so you can be sure that some of that $1.6m will filter down through the slot and table carcasses and end up in poker.

PokerStars believe they’re giving their players what they want. A recent study by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) published a report earlier this month claiming 46.3% of poker players experienced gambling problems in the past year, and they spend more money on average than ten other tranches of gambling groups.

I spoke about this to a high stakes poker player over tea the other day, and he replied, “It’s not that people come to poker and then develop a proclivity to gamble. Poker attracts gamblers.”

Yesterday, I covered another brilliant case of cross-pollination when I told you how BetStars and PokerStars planned to merge marketing muscle to host a poker tournament where the winners win free BetStars bets and get the chance to have a sweat in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in a marketing campaign called the Big Game.

Maybe I’m not giving PokerStars enough credit.

It’s not a secret that a few sponsored pros have recently left. Things are changing. A new direction and all of that. Perhaps, the person responsible for the Roles & Responsibility statements of the PokerStars Ambassadors finally filled in the blanks beneath the headline.




Methinks Jake Cody was one of the first people to get his fresh new copy, and fair play to the lad, whatever you think about gambling, he’s single-handedly showed the world how cool it could be.


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3 Barrels: PokerStars Hamburg; RaSZi wins the Thrill; Negreanu holiday rant

Three stories from the cafeteria at PokerStars Towers including the results from the PokerStars Festival in Hamburg, Lex ‘RaSZi’ Veldhuis proving he still has it with a mighty fine win on Twitch, and Daniel Negreanu explains why he isn’t a fan of Thanksgiving.

3: Barrels: PokerStars Hamburg; RaSZi wins the Thrill; Negreanu holiday rantGiven the impact that German poker players are having on the global scene, it would be daft if a native didn’t win the PokerStars Festival Main Event in Hamburg this weekend.

Ulrich Pauls ensured we avoided a drift into daft by taking down the first prize of €105,850 in the €1,100 buy-in event. The 36-year-old from Hamburg nearly didn’t play. Before the Main Event, Pauls was one of the unhappiest faces of the 2,609 entrants from 54 different countries who created €1,170,138 in prize money.

But he went for it, like walking into a barbershop, saying, “Take it all off.”

Pauls, who had never cashed in a live event tracked by Hendon Mob up until his win, came into the final table riding shotgun. The Pole, Michal Lubas, was in the driving seat. A second Pole, PokerStars Team Pro, Marcin Horecki, played the role of the most famous face of the final table but fell very early.

The Main Event attracted 567 entrants, dwarfing the 367 that appeared last season, and ensuring the decision to create a €500,000 Guarantee didn’t make PokerStars look like a photosensitivity sufferer basking in the desert.

Final Table Results

1. Ulrich Pauls – €105,850
2. Michael Lubas – €66,220
3. Jan Sigel – €47,410
4. Behzad Zarnegar – €36,960
5. Bo Rundström – €28,980
6. Andrei Nodea – €22,770
7. Karolis Domarkas – €16,990
8. Marcin Horecki – €11,770
9. Rudolf Koster – €9,290

The former United Kingdom & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) Champion, Daniel Stacey, finished 12th.

Andre Haneberg Wins the High Roller

Outside of the Main Event, the €2,200 High Roller was another target that people wanted to hit hard. The event attracted 100 entrants, and Andre Haneberg defeated Kim De Han, heads-up, to take the €46,380 first prize.

The result ranks as Haneberg’s largest score to date eclipsing the €39,000 he banked for finishing runner-up to partypoker ambassador Anatoly Filatov in the €2,200 High Roller at the partypoker MILLION High Roller at the King’s Casino back in June.

Final Table Results

1. Andre Haneberg – €46,380
2. Kim De Han – €32,210
3. Martin Wendt – €21,300
4. Jamila von Perger – €16,670
5. Eric Henning – €13,440
6. Adnan Dizdarevic – €10,480
7. Varahram Vardjavand – €8,290
8. Frederik Jensen – €6,460
9. Grzegorz Derkowski – €4,890

Lex Veldhuis Proves There is Life in the Old Dog Yet 

You need a lot of motivation to grind 10-15 hours of online poker per day, or maybe you just need one twat to ignite your boosters?

Before the weekend broke, Lex ‘RaSZi’ Veldhuis was competing in the $1,050 buy-in PokerStars Thursday Thrill, streaming to his loyal audience on Twitch, when a troll appeared from under his bridge to call Veldhuis old. 

“Lex quit poker; you don’t got it in your anymore. You’re life’s with your girl now; you’re too old for this, you don’t got the fire in you anymore.”

15 hours later and Veldhuis proved that he still has it by winning the thing for $55,000 in front of 9,000 enthused viewers.

“Winning a tournament on Twitch feels like becoming Olympic champion,” Veldhuis told PokerStars’s Stephen Bartley after his win.

I’m not sure Olympic champions are that old, Lex.