Ever heard the date April 15th 2011 mentioned in relation to US poker? Well, it was a sad day for online poker players, especially those who did not just play for fun but for the money element. After months and years of making a living off online gambling, avid poker players woke up to the devastating news that the prevailing poker law had caught up with their favorite online poker hosts. As such, Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker, as well as Cereus, poker sites that had become home to many online poker enthusiasts were no longer going to operate. In fact, only later were those online gambling sites open for operations outside the US. The fateful day became known unanimously amidst the poker fraternity as Black Friday.
Anyone who has had a whiff of how the atmosphere was like during that time when a ban was suddenly put on what were then the biggest poker sites in the US, cannot help but question the reliability of online poker sites. However, it is brightening to know that within a week’s time, the online poker players who had deposits with the poker sites were able to withdraw their money, and in slightly more than a year, the sites were able to resume operations.
What Has Changed Since Black Friday?
Evidently, the poker traffic online is testament to the fact that the online gambling environment is very different now from what it was back in the day when vibrant online poker sites were brought down by government without prior notice. At the time, major players in the poker arena assumed that the law that was passed in 2006 – UIGEA – was for others in the cyberspace but not them. As such, they kept reaping heavily as they had already been doing since 2003 when interest in online poker began to significantly shoot up. In addition, the online poker sites had become a safe haven for money launderers, who saw an avenue to sanitize their ill gotten money.
Today, however, every online poker site is aware of the keen monitoring that the US government does, of every site or institution that receives money from the public. Even serious poker players, particularly those looking to win big monies from online poker sites, are able to see the transparency with which the online poker sites operate today. For example, it is always clear what the stakes are at the World Series of Poker. Anyone can see what the prizes are at every stage, and even the size of every significant win. Hence, as far as exchange of money and the revenues from the online poker sites is concerned, not much can be concealed, least of all, from the country’s gambling regulating body.
What to Check
If you want to log onto an online poker site that is hosted outside the US and is subject to the laws of another jurisdiction, it is your choice. Otherwise, for a poker site hosted in the US, you need to confirm that the online gambling site is registered and licensed accordingly. Often such a site will provide basic details regarding its existence, including the license under which it is operating.
In addition, anyone would expect a credible online poker site to proudly mention poker players who have won big prizes from their site over time, and also the sizeable prizes that site patrons have taken home over time.
Once you have established that the poker site is operating legally and that it is proud of the manner it operates, you can be sure you stand a fair chance to win cash prizes, and that the site is not cheating the exchequer of tax revenues.
When it comes to top poker sports giants, it is not as easy to identify them in poker as it is in other games where there are three medals in contention – gold, silver and bronze – and limited number of tournaments in a year. In poker, there is the money aspect to consider, championships participated in and ranked, bracelets won, and such other factors involved. So, to speak confidently about the greatest poker player at any one time is, to a great extent, subjective. However, there are those poker players who are not just fascinating at the table, but have also won big tournaments and cashed big prize monies consistently.
Poker Giants Of 2016
Negreanu has been consistent in poker championships held live since he began competing, and his admirable performance in those poker competitions has also been consistent. For that reason, he comes top on the list of this year’s Global Poker Index. In addition, he is notable for being the sole competitor to win bracelets in the World Poker Series in Europe, Australia as well as Las Vegas.
As far as earnings are concerned, Negreanu has had occasion to take home six separate winnings of a million dollars and above. In fact, in one of those great performances, he took home a whopping $8.28 million; and that was the winning from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) held in Las Vegas in July 2014. So far, his accumulated earnings from poker competitions are in excess of $30 million.
Esfandiari, whose accumulated earnings from poker have reached $26 million and more, is also among the most fascinating and popular poker players in the live poker scene. He earned his first $1 million cash prize about a decade ago, and that was in the LA Poker Classic. From 2004 onwards, his annual earnings have consistently hit six figures in US dollars, his greatest single win being in July 2012 when he scooped an enviable $18.3 million. It was in the WSOP held in Las Vegas that this American poker player of Iranian descent set the record for the highest prize won so far in a single poker tournament.
Seidel is known on the poker scene, not just for his long poker career that spans decades, but also because he has been making big winnings. He began being noticed as a poker player with great potential when he came second in the main event of the 1988 WSOP. Then in 2011, his name was on everyone’s lips as he won a remarkable $6.5 million in a span of twelve months. Not only has Seidel won millions on US soil, but also in Australia where he made a single winning in Melbourne of almost $2.5 million.
It is not for nothing Phil Ivey is referred to as the Tiger Woods of Poker. This talented poker player is 38yrs old now, but he broke onto the poker scene as an underage teenager. Back then, he played under the name of Jerome, and his base was mostly casinos within the state of New Jersey. In 2000, Ivey, whose cumulative earnings from poker are almost $23 million, won a WSOP bracelet, and that marked his rise to fame, more winnings and greater respect from peers. Since that time, he has won eight more of those bracelets that are coveted by all serious poker competitors. Among his biggest single winnings are $2 million he won in January 2012, $3.5 million he won in February 2014, and $1.7 million he won in February last year.
Other poker players within this top league include Sam Trickett, who has $20.5 million accumulated winnings to his name; Phil Hellmuth Jr. whose accumulated earnings have reached $18.8 million; Jonathan Duhamel, with $16.8 million; John Juanda, with $15.6 million; Jason Mercier, with $15 million; and Michael Mizrachi, whose accumulated winnings have hit the $14.4 million mark.
The state of New Jersey is leading all others in the US in earning the highest revenues from online gambling. This is not to be attributed to an increasing number of casinos or gamblers, although online casinos are plenty in the state, but to the structures that the state has put in place to ensure transparency in the sector. It is, definitely, impressive that gambling revenues should increase at a time when poker revenues, which constitute a big part of gambling revenues, had gotten a little destabilized.
Online Gambling High despite the Scotching Heat
New Jersey has recently been experiencing raised temperatures, beating the levels that residents and visitors anticipated, yet fans of online gambling have still managed to keep casinos flourishing. The month of January, just for example, saw casinos generating gross revenues of $12,478,841. That was the climax of great success experienced by New Jersey casinos for six consecutive months. Yet that climax was not the ceiling. The climate for online gambling in New Jersey has only become better, and February’s gross revenues from casinos beat those of January, reaching $12,755,555.
The fact that revenues from online poker have dropped does not mean that online poker revenues are not significant. For four consecutive months, online poker progressively grossed its revenues, even reaching $2 million a month. However, the instability in poker revenues was being viewed as significant because February saw the progress that was being made come to a halt, and online poker revenues only totaled $1,994,065, which was a 7.3% drop from January. Of course a figure of $1.9 million is still a respectable figure coming from online poker alone, but the state, obviously, hoped that the reverse trend did not persist.
Luckily, the drop in February online poker revenues was reversed last month, thanks to the establishment of PokerStars within the state. Gross revenues from online poker in the month of March totaled $2.46 million, according to the statistics provided by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). The state is looking at this sector with optimism, especially considering that of the $2.46 million earned from online poker in March, a good $598,000 came from PokerStars.
Even as New Jersey earned a good portion of March poker revenues from PokerStars, the poker host had only been in full operation within the state for only the last third of the month. The popularity of PokerStars was noted immediately its operations resumed in the US. On its very first day of operation, PokerStars managed to beat its competitors, looking at things from the perspective of player liquidity. Today, its success has even superseded that of Party-Borgata as well as that of WSOP-888. This is clear when one checks out regular traffic rankings. Many poker analysts are waiting in bated breath for the April poker revenues, in order to see how the market share of various poker competitors is being affected by the entry of PokerStars into the arena. Many poker pundits are particularly eager to see how Party-Borgata’s portion is being affected.
Even with its opening success, PokerStars is not about to sit on its laurels. Plans are underway for it to host a Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) tournament, well customized for the state of New Jersey. It is anticipated that this tournament will influence many poker enthusiasts to shift loyalties from elsewhere to PokerStars. Irrespective of where the loyalties of online poker players end up, all signs point towards New Jersey continuing to reap increased revenues from the gambling sector, and particularly the online gambling arena. The competition that PokerStars has brought in can only help the industry.
Niklas Astedt, otherwise referred to as Lena900, has reached the top in the World Rankings of the PocketFives. For two weeks, he has remained unbeaten in terms of winnings on the popular poker platform.
Tough Call Remaining Tops
However, enviable as it may be, remaining at the top in the PocketFives for a couple of weeks does not mean that Astedt is invincible. Another committed poker player, Simon Mattsson, who also goes by the nickname, C Darwin2 held the win for seven good weeks consecutively. Yet, now that Astedt is reigning, he is held at number three. Holding Position Two in the PocketFives after Astedt is another serious contender, Artem Vezhenkov, popularly known as Veeea. He is Russian.
Astedt’s Recent Winnings
Niklas comes from Sweden and has participated in online poker for many years now. He entered the PocketFives the first time in 2013 and has continued to play since then. The success of this consistent Swedish poker player comes after winning on different poker networks, which means it is an advantage for an online poker player to enroll on different poker platforms and not to confine himself or herself to only one network.
Recently, Astedt has had outstanding performances on PartyPoker, one of the famous poker sites there are. Also in the event held recently by PowerFest High Roller, this avid online poker player won two big events. His recent lucky streak began with the winning of Powerfest #91, where he took away a respectable $75,000.
For Niklas Astedt, playing serious online poker is not a one-time event. He takes his game seriously and wins reward for it. He was on the Monthly PocketFives Leaderboard in January and February, two consecutive months this year. This makes it clear to his peers that he is a force to reckon with in the poker arena.
Lena900’s Impressive Profile
Astedt reached the final table at the FTOPSs tournament and won a clean $86,000. That was back in 2011. In the same year, he took home a respectable winning of $50,000, courtesy of PartyPoker. Come 2013, and Lena900 ceased to appear new to the poker arena. In that year, he reached the Final Table at the Winamax Grand that was held in November, and he scooped his $12,000 winning. Later on in the same year, he came 5th in the WCOOP Challenge, and he took home a clean $43,000 after his great performance in the NLHE event. 2013 was still the year he took 2nd Position in the FCOOP tournament, winning a grand figure of $82,000. Then came February 2014, and Astedt, who by now had become a big name in the online poker arena, engaged in a 5-way chop in PokerStars, and he took away $129,000. Some months down the line, he won another $10,000, courtesy of Stars Sunday $100R.
It seems this Swedish poker player, who has made his mark primarily online, is not about to tire of winning. During the 888 Whale held within September 2015, Niklas Astedt earned a good $33,000, having come second in a poker arena of 414 competitors.
Lena900’s closest rivals at PocketFives
PocketFives is a highly competitive arena. Remaining at the top is a big challenge even for seasoned poker players. Although Niklas Astedt from Sweden is leading the pack now with 7,270 points, he is closely followed by Artem Vezhenkov from Russia, who has 7,036 points. Number 3 is even closer with 7,033 points, and that is a position held by Simon Mattsson, also from Sweden. Ariados, also from Sweden comes 4th in the line-up, with 6,930 points. Chris Hunichen, who follows closely at 5th position, has 6,926 points. He hails from Costa Rica.
The $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl is set to take place from May 29th to June 1st this year. The venue will be the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Impressively, this event that was introduced by Poker Central TV network last year has already been sold out. The Director in charge of poker operations at Aria, Sean McCormack, says the success of this event is unprecedented, particularly the aspect of selling out a whole 3mths in advance.
All indications are that this year’s Super High Roller Bowl is going to be a great success. For example, the competitor seats available for sale in this marquee event are sold out – all 49 of them – and 47 of the participants have already submitted their names. This is not surprising considering what a success this poker event was on its debut, last year.
Any world famous poker players enrolled?
Well known names are among the poker players expected to compete in this summer event which is coming in just a couple of months, including Daniel Negreau and Phil Hellmuth Jnr.
Negreau is one of the greatest poker players in the world and is a Canadian residing in Las Vegas. He was born in 1974. His poker winnings are in excess of $30 million. This poker star who also goes by the nickname, Kid Poker, is a proud holder of two World Poker Tour (WPT) titles as well as owner of five World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. What is impressive about Negreau, who served as spokesperson for Poker Mountain, an online poker site, in 2005, is that he is amiable and good natured, whether at the poker table or elsewhere.
Hellmuth Jnr is an American who was born in 1964 in the state of Wisconsin. He goes by the nickname, The Poker Brat, and justifiably so. He is known for telling off other players at the poker tables, and complaining incessantly about myriad bad things. However, he is well accommodated and respected within the poker fraternity, being the proud owner of 14 WSOP bracelets, all gold as usual. He won the latest of them only last year. Hellmuth’s winnings over the years are in excess of $19 million.
Other renowned poker players whose participation at Aria has been confirmed include Brian Rast, who won the event last year; Dan Colman; and also Antonio Esfandiari. The inaugural Super High Roller Bowl was a $500,000 event, and Rast topped a list of tough poker players to win a whopping $7.5 million immediately ahead of Scott Seiver. Both players are also among this year’s participants.
The rest of this year’s participants include Andrew Robl, Anthony Gregg, Ben Lamb, Ben Tollerene, Bill Perkins, Bobby Baldwin, Brandon Steven, Bryn Kenney, Byron Kaverman, Cary Katz, Christoph Vogelsang, Connor Drinan, Dan Perper, Dan Shak, Dan Smith, David Peters, Dominik Nitsche, Doug Polk, Erik Seidel, Fedor Holz, Haralabos Voulgaris, Igor Kurganov, Isaac Haxton, Jake Schindler, Jason Les, Jason Mercier, John Morgan, Justin Bonomo, Kathy Lehne, Larry Wright, Matthew Berkey, Nick Petrangelo, Phil Calfond, Phil Laak, Rainer Kempe, Sam Soverel, Stephen Chidwick, Talal Shakerchi, Timofey Kuznetsov, Tom Marchese and Vitaliy Rizhkov.
Broadcasting of the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl
Poker Central is expected to broadcast this poker event throughout, and it will also be responsible for streaming it online. The network’s CEO, Clint Stinchcomb, sees the success in selling out this event as being confirmation that poker is becoming popular by the day, and also as underlining the popularity of the Super High Roller Bowl. It is fascinating to note that this much anticipated event has also spared 14 seats for non-professional players.
The season for the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) is here and the series of tournaments begin in a couple of weeks. Online poker fans and the poker fraternity in general is eager to see this year’s winner. Last year, Jason Mercier, an American, won the 138-tournament championship.
What’s the excitement surrounding SCOOP?
When it began some 8yrs ago, SCOOP played second fiddle to the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) in the field of online poker competitions, and now tables have turned, placing SCOOP on the forefront. Looking at the various online poker tournaments held annually, SCOOP leads the pack as the largest of all.
How big is SCOOP?
The SCOOP festival is set to hold 165 tournaments this year. To get to that number, consider that SCOOP, as a matter of routine, splits each event into three distinct tournaments, namely, the low; the medium and the high buy-ins. When the events in the schedule are 55, as they are this year, the number of distinct tournaments becomes 165, which is simply 55 multiplied by 3. That means the poker fraternity has a lot more activity to enjoy this year than last year, when the events were 46.
Is the money worth the size of SCOOP?
Any serious poker player would cherish the chance to play in SCOOP, whether they are professional poker players or just ordinary poker players who love the game. The prize money is the largest being put on the table, in comparison to all other tournaments of this year. The total amount guaranteed in the prize pool is in excess of $40 million! And to water each player’s mouth, the High Main Event promises the first prize to be a clean $1 million!
When are the actual SCOOP dates?
The events of this online poker tournament that has drawn the attention of many in the world of poker are set to commence on May 8th. They will then continue every day onwards up to 22nd May.
On the poker tournament’s opening day, poker fans will be treated to five events and of all those, four will fall under the category of No-Limit Hold’em. The variations then become broader as the poker tournament progresses in subsequent days. In short, whatever a poker player enjoys to play and whatever each competitor feels most competent in, SCOOP provides something to suit every participant.
SCOOP Keeps the Poker Arena Vibrant
This season when SCOOP is held happens to be spring. And knowing how favorable the weather is during spring, there is little activity taking place indoors as everyone wants to be out doing activities they are unable to do in the cold. So, poker enthusiasts are excited that SCOOP fills the void, keeping the poker field alive and the pockets of lucky poker players well lined.
SCOOP Brings the World Together
Looking at the amounts earned by poker competitors during SCOOP festivals and matching them with the competitors’ respective countries, it is clear that the tournament that is yet to hit a decade has attracted poker players across the world.
Since its inaugural tournament back in 2009, accumulated winnings from the poker tournament puts Canada in the lead at almost $62 million. UK follows closely at almost $51 million. The gap then widens a little, with Germany coming third at around $28 million. Other countries whose winnings in the SCOOP tournament come close to Germany, courtesy of their respective poker competitors, include the US, Russia and Mexico, with their earnings being around $28 million, $27 million and 23 million respectively. With such monies getting into the various economies, it is evident that the impact of SCOOP goes beyond the realm of fun.