PokerStars Drops the Drop

The PLO drop, that is.This week PokerStars announced a rake reduction – scheduled to kick in July 1st – for a handful of PL / NL Omaha limits.New Omaha rake schedule at PokerStarsThe change impacts four limits. Before is a chart from PokerStars comparing the previous and new rake schedule:While four limits might not seem like much, those stakes account for more than half of the Omaha played at PokerStars in terms of number of hands & active tables.According to PokerStars, these new levels represent “lower rake than any major competitor.”The reasoning behind the switchYou can read the complete explanation for the change here. Short version:
PLO rakes more often than NLHE.
As a result, rewards are more important to a typical PLO player’s bottom line.
But rewards at PokerStars skew heavily toward the most active players.
The rational solution as viewed by PokerStars was to reduce both rake and VPP multipliers.
But PokerStars feared a backlash if they paired a positive change (lower rake) with a negative one (less perceived rewards).
So they decided to simply lower rake.Impact of player feedback on the decisionPlayer feedback was apparently instrumental to this change, especially the direct meetings PokerStars regularly holds with player representatives.So does that suggest players at other games (or at different PL / NL Omaha limits) should lobby PokerStars for lower rake in their corner of the lobby?You might try – there isn’t a lot to lose by doing so – but it sounds as if PokerStars is determined to make this the exception, not the rule, with their rep on TwoPlusTwo stating that “this is not an indication that we will be changing rake for other stakes of PLO.”Other games were not mentioned.

PokerStars Drops the Drop

Scott Seiver Takes Down 10k Limit Bracelet

Two big developments for online poker documentary Bet Raise Fold.The first: An official opening date for the film, which is set for June 30th. The premiere will be on June 12th in Las Vegas at the Palms.The second: If you’d like to attend that premiere, you can get a package that includes premiere tickets (but not travel) by chipping in for Bet Raise Fold’s official Kickstarter campaign.Support levels start at $15 (gets you a digital copy of the movie) and run all the way up into the many-thousands of dollars.There are some neat rewards, but my favorite has to be:Visit the Kickstarter campaign here. Teaser video for BRF below:

Scott Seiver Takes Down 10k Limit Bracelet

Does the UIGEA Apply to Online Gambling Transactions in Bitcoin?

Interesting Twitter back and forth between gaming attorneys Stuart Hoegner and David Gzesh regarding the applicability of the UIGEA to online gambling transactions in Bitcoin.Cliffs: The UIGEA might not apply if there’s no financial nexus in the US, but bitcoin gambling transactions could still easily run afoul of state laws and other federal laws.The discussion started at Bitcoin 2013, where Gzesh was presenting on the issue:

Does the UIGEA Apply to Online Gambling Transactions in Bitcoin?

Bet Raise Fold Opens and Raises

Two big developments for online poker documentary Bet Raise Fold.The first: An official opening date for the film, which is set for June 30th. The premiere will be on June 12th in Las Vegas at the Palms.The second: If you’d like to attend that premiere, you can get a package that includes premiere tickets (but not travel) by chipping in for Bet Raise Fold’s official Kickstarter campaign.Support levels start at $15 (gets you a digital copy of the movie) and run all the way up into the many-thousands of dollars.There are some neat rewards, but my favorite has to be:Visit the Kickstarter campaign here. Teaser video for BRF below:

Bet Raise Fold Opens and Raises

Ultimate Poker: To HUD or Not to HUD?

Ultimate Poker launched in late April without hand histories, a decision likely driven by both technical necessities and a cautious approach toward the potential by-products of hand histories such as data mining and heads-up-displays.Now it appears that (limited) hand histories are on the horizon at Ultimate. And support for HUDs seems to be on the table as well.That’s per tweets from Chris Danek, Ultimate’s Poker Product Manager:Danek also suggested that the issue of supporting HUDs was in play at Ultimate HQ:Would HUDs be legal in Nevada?Even if Ultimate does eventually offer support for HUDs, it’s quite possible that current Nevada law outlaws their use:Nos. 2 and 4 seem particularly problematic for HUDs and tracking software in general. Obviously NV regulators could tweak regulations for online gambling to clarify the situation.Head to Danek’s Twitter to see the whole debate.

Ultimate Poker: To HUD or Not to HUD?

“Runner, Runner” Trailer Released

The official trailer for Runner, Runner was released today. Set in the world of overseas online gambling and starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, the movie is the highest-profile Hollywood take on Internet gambling to date.The current release date for Runner, Runner is September 27th.Watch the trailer:
Below is a screenshot from the trailer featuring some pretty-familiar-looking online poker tables. I believe that’s the UNO deck mod.

“Runner, Runner” Trailer Released

Delaware Targeting Sept 30th For Online Gambling Launch, Poker Not in Immediate Plans

Delaware is on track to launch casino-style online gambling by the end of September.But online poker does not appear to be part of the launch plan.That’s per GamblingCompliance’s Jennifer Webb at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS):Not a terribly big surprise given Delaware’s population, but I could have seen 888 pushing for some small-scale poker product at launch just to plant a flag in the ground. Webb also semi-implies that Delaware hasn’t made any serious progress on compact talks to date.Follow Brad Polizzano for good ongoing coverage of the NCLGS.

Delaware Targeting Sept 30th For Online Gambling Launch, Poker Not in Immediate Plans

Reid: “I Don’t See Anything Happening” With Online Poker

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks the chances for a federal online poker bill in 2013 are close to nil.In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Reid put it plainly: “I don’t see anything happening.”Reid said he’s continuing to make a push for poker, but isn’t “confident we can get something done.”Reid unimpressed by King billThe Senator also had some less-than-kind words for Rep. Peter King’s recently introduced bill to regulate online gambling, arguing that the approach of legalizing nearly all gambling online will only fortify opponents against any attempt to regulate online gambling, even in limited form.Reid, along with former Senator John Kyl, unsuccessfully attempted to secure passage for a poker-only bill in last year’s session.AGA / Reid in spatThe comments from Reid come on the heels of some unusually pointed statements from his office regarding that failed legislative attempt:More on the war of words between Reid and the AGA here.

Reid: “I Don’t See Anything Happening” With Online Poker

California Judge Dismisses Cardroom International Claim

Cardroom International’s (CI) legal attempts to grab a $30mm piece of the Black Friday settlement pie were rebuffed in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday.The Hon. Elizabeth White issued a tentative ruling dismissing CI’s California case (Cardroom International LLC v. Mark Scheinberg, et al).Read the ruling here.CI can appeal White’s ruling. If you’re not familiar with CI’s claim, Haley Hintze penned a good overview at PokerFuse.CI’s federal case continuesCI continues to wage a parallel battle in federal court connected to United States v PokerStars, et al.The DoJ has been trying to secure a dismissal of CI’s claims for over year and continues to hold some $30mm of Black Friday funds in the event that CI prevails.While the California ruling does not directly impact the federal case, DoJ attorneys have utilized past developments in the CA case as ammunition for their effort to dismiss CI’s federal claims.Attorneys familiar with the case told me that they expect CI’s federal claim to be significantly damaged by today’s ruling.

California Judge Dismisses Cardroom International Claim

Chad Elie Released From Jail

Black Friday defendant Chad Elie announced his return to the ranks of the free via Twitter today:Elie began his five-month sentence in late January and served the full term.That’s in contrast to fellow Black Friday defendant Brent Beckley, who reportedly was released several months ahead of schedule.Elie stirred up quite a conversation prior to the start of his sentence when he appeared on Twitter and provided something of a window into his first-hand experience with Black Friday.That culminated in an extended interview over at DiamondFlushPoker.Elie remains involved in a lawsuit against his former legal representation.

Chad Elie Released From Jail