Online Poker

Good News and Bad News for PokerStars

by Omar

Good News and Bad News for PokerStars

The world’s largest online poker site, PokerStars, has found himself in the news a couple of times in the past 24 hours, one for good news, and one for not so good news.

First the good news.  This Sunday, March 6th marks the 5th Anniversary of the Sunday Million and PokerStars fully intends to pull out all the stops to commemorate the special occasion. For this Sunday’s landmark event, PokerStars announced that it will be holding a Super-Sized Sunday Million with a guaranteed prize pool of a whopping $5 million. PokerStars has also stated that the winner will win at least $1 million along with a brand new new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 which boasts a price tag of over $200K. Naturally, the winner will be on the hook for any of the taxes involved to acquire the ownership of the automobile, but they’ll have at least a million bucks to offset those costs.

Previously, PokerStars had a similar large Sunday Million to commemorate their 40-billionth hand in which they guaranteed a $4 million purse.  That generated so much buzz in the industry that they smashed the guarantee as over 36,000 players signed up, bringing the pool to over $7 million.  It is likely that the same could happen this time around. The buy in is just $215 for a shot at the million and satellites are running for as low as $1 or 100 Frequent Player Points.

Now for the not so good news. This weekend, PokerStars was all set to sponsor a North American Poker Tour (NAPT) at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. However, late last night, word broke out that PokerStars would be abruptly removing all of their branding from the site. The tournament series, culminating with a $5,000 buy in main event will go on and PokerStars reps will still be on hand assisting with the logistical aspects of the tournament.  The main event will also no longer be airing on ESPN, which held the rights to do so.

Though no specific reason has been revealed for the move, it appears to have something to do with California gaming regulators and lack of compliance. Interestingly, at the same time, the Commerce Casino across town us holding a World Poker Tour event and they are showing their logos everywhere.

This could possibly be a result of the highly publicized letter issued by Commerce Casino Board members Tom Malkasian and Haig Papaian in August.  In that letter, they said that the casinos were opposed to Congressman Barney Frank’s HR-2267 which sought to regulate the online poker industry, on the grounds that online gambling lobbyists were “special interest groups receiving funds from illegal offshore gaming operators.”

Clearly there is much work to be done in the realm of legalization of online gaming, even in a poker-friendly state like California.

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