partypoker Unleashes Third Monster Series With Over $2 Million GTD

partypoker Monster Series

The popular “Monster Series” on partypoker is set to make a triumphant return from July 29-Aug. 6, 2018, with a staggering $2.1 million in guaranteed prize money spread over 171 tournaments.

This marks the third time that partypoker has hosted the low-to-mid stakes series with buy-ins ranging from $1.50 to $33.

partypoker utilizes a three-tier buy-in system for 56 events with a variety of different formats including 6-Max, Smooth, Deepstack and Hyper.

The entire series is very approachable for recreational players with buy-ins ranging from just $1.50 all the way up to $33.

Series culminates with $200k championship

This third edition of the Monster Series will conclude with a $33 buy-in championship event on Aug. 5.

Despite the relatively modest buy-in, the championship tournament will offer $200,000 in guaranteed prize money. It’s particularly impressive considering the series was designed with low to medium stakes players in mind.

“Players told us they were keen to compete in a series of tournaments that offered a range of low to mid-stakes buy-in levels,” said partypoker managing director Tom Waters.

“We continue to evaluate our major online events and hope the latest Monster Series continues to offer as much excitement as the first two series.”

There will also be medium ($11 buy-in) and micro ($3.30 buy-in) versions of the championship event, which truly accommodates bankrolls of all levels.

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Frequent flyers get a shot at MILLIONS Online

partypoker is giving frequent Monster players a little extra incentive to get in on the action.

Every player that plays 10 or more Monster events will be entered into a prize draw with MILLIONS Online satellite tickets up for grabs.

The MILLIONS Series is one of the biggest online events in the world and the last edition had a staggering $20 million in guaranteed prize money.

That’s not the only giveaway that partypoker is packing into the Monster schedule. Players looking to scoop a free entry will want to keep a close eye on partypoker’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

At random times throughout the week partypoker will be inviting players to log into their accounts for a 50% chance at winning Monster Series tournament ticket.

partypoker offers Monster Cash Games

More and more poker sites are starting to run cash-game promotions in conjunction with their major tournament series and partypoker is no exception.

partypoker will be running Cash Game Monster Hours daily throughout the entire series. Players will earn double cashback points on their cash game action from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays (all times in CET).

Team partypoker Ambassador Natalia Breviglieri is a big fan of the Monster Series and the promotions surrounding it.

“I love these low to mid stakes series’ on partypoker, they offer a great series experience for players of all bankrolls,” she said.

“I’ll be playing as many of these as I can, and keep an eye on my twitter account: @N4talB, as I’ll be running some great promotions for followers throughout the Monster Series.”

The Monster Series was conceived in 2017 to provide a special series for low to mid-stakes players.

The overall guarantee of the series has actually been rolled back slightly for this edition (it was $2.7 million last summer) but the overall number of tournaments on the schedule has increased by nearly 40%.

It’s clear that partypoker is still tweaking the series to find out exactly what works for both players and the site.

GGPoker Network Rolls Out Over $140K in Promos for July

GGPoker

The burgeoning GGPoker Network is piling on the value-added promotions with over $140,000 in free cash up for grabs during the month of July.

At the center of the storm is a gigantic $100,000 Flush Jackpot Chase. Essentially the network is offering various instant-cash rewards at different No-Limit Hold’em cash levels.

The cash will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis, however, which means it will be a race to the biggest rewards.

In addition to the big $100k Flush Jackpot Chase, the GGPoker Network recently introduced a brand-new series of tournaments called the Yellow Series, which runs every day and offers over $10,500 in guarantees. There’s also a new daily Mini Main Event that has a guaranteed prize pool of $10,000 with a buy-in of just $50.

GGPoker didn’t stop there, however, and also added three $10,000 Invitation Freerolls and a Maple Leaf Celebration that adds another $1,000 freeroll into the mix.

$100K Flush Jackpot Chase offers instant rewards

You can’t beat instant cash and that’s exactly how it’s going to work with GGPoker’s $100k Flush Jackpot.

Once you reach the right threshold in your particular stake of No-Limit Hold’em then you’ll get cash wired to your account. Provided of course there are still prizes to be won. There will be over 1,622 different winners in total.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the $100k Flush Jackpot Chase structure is how points are awarded. Unlike traditional points races the Flush jackpot awards points every time you hit a Royal Flush, Straight Flush or even an Ace-High Flush in No-Limit Hold’em cash play.

That means there will be a little more variance in the Flush Jackpot Chase, which gives recreational players more of a chance.

Stakes will be divided into high, medium and low with more Flush Jackpot points awarded for the higher stakes.

Here’s how the reward structure breaks down exactly:

Level Required Points Reward Total Winners Total Rewards
1 10 $10 1,000 $10,000
2 40 $50 500 $25,000
3 150 $250 100 $25,000
4 500 $1,250 20 $25,000
5 1,500 $7,500 2 $15,000

 

Five new daily tournaments in Yellow Series

Not much of a cash game player? GGPoker has something for tournament players well.

The newly launched Yellow Series offers five separate tournaments with guaranteed prize pools every single day.

The Yellow Series events offer a deeper structure with buy-ins set at either $15 or $30. Late registration is also open for three hours giving players plenty of time to get in the action.

The tournaments run at 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00 GMT with guaranteed prize pools of $2,000, $4,000, $3,000 and $1,500 respectively.

Players looking for something a little bigger might be interested in the $50 buy-in Daily Mini Main Event that runs at 13:00 GMT. The Daily Mini Main Event offers a sizable $10,000 guaranteed prize pool.

As always the GGPoker Network offers a variety of unique features for tournament players like switching seats, tournament staking and deal-making.

$10K freerolls for new players, red leaf celebration

Thanks to all the new promotions and tournaments there are undoubtedly going to be some new players coming to GGPoker over the next few weeks and the network decided to add a little extra incentive with $10K Invitational Freerolls.

The first freeroll, which takes place on the second week of the month, requires 2,500 Tournament Points in the previous week.

Meanwhile, the third week freeroll requires 15,000 TPs, and finally the fourth week freeroll requires 50,000 to play.

Finally, GGPoker is celebrating Canada Day with the Red Leaf celebration.

First up are a couple $500 freebuy events on June 24 and July 1 (Canada Day), that cost absolutely nothing to play.

Next up is a promo where anyone who changes their avatar on GGPoker to a maple leaf and posts a screenshot to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ggredleaf will be awarded a ticket to the Mini-Mega.

The promotion celebrates Canada but is open to all players on GGPoker.

 

New $86 Buy-in Moneymaker Tour Gives Players A Shot At PSPC Millions

Chris Moneymaker

Fifteen years ago, Chris Moneymaker pulled off the seemingly impossible and won the 2003 WSOP Main Event for $2.5 million after qualifying for just $86 on PokerStars.

Now the same company is giving players a chance to write their own rags to riches story with a new small-stakes tour that will award a $30,000 Platinum Passes to the PokerStars Players No-limit Hold’em Championship.

The Moneymaker PSPC Tour will hit eight different venues across America and will also offer one online event in New Jersey.

Each stop will feature an $86 live tournament with cash prizes and, more importantly, a $30,000 Platinum Pass up top.

It’s conceivable one of the winners from the Moneymaker PSPC tour could make even more money than Moneymaker did in his historic 2003 Main Event win as the PSPC prize pool is expected to be enormous.

Tour Stretches from Arizona to Connecticut

Chris Moneymaker formulated his namesake tour to give players from all corners of the USA a chance to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to mention the possibility of winning life-changing money.

The tour kicks off on Aug. 4-5, 2018, at Stones Gambling Hall in Citrus Heights, California, but from there it meanders across the country with multiple stops in California, Connecticut and Maryland as well as a one-off stop in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The tour will conclude on Oct. 10-14, 2018, at Maryland Live in Hanover, Maryland, which gives players enough time to prep for the gigantic PSPC, which is scheduled to take place in early 2019.

With nine different stops, PokerStars will be awarding $270,000 in Platinum Passes over the course of the tour.

Outside of New Jersey, it’s been a considerable amount of time since PokerStars had a large land presence in the USA.

The North American Poker tour kicked off in 2010 but its lifespan was cut short when Black Friday shut the door on poker in the USA back in 2011.

The Moneymaker Tour is a very different affair, however, as it focuses on recreational players rather than professionals.

Here’s a complete look at the Moneymaker PSPC Tour schedule:

Date Venue Geographic Area
August 4 – 5, 2018 Stones Gambling Hall Citrus Heights, California
August 19 – 26, 2018 Lucky Chances Colma, California
September 9, 2018 Foxwoods Resort Casino Mashantucket, Connecticut
September 15, 2018 MGM National Harbor Oxon Hill, Maryland
September 22, 2018 Gardens Casino Hawaiian Gardens, California
September 23, 2018 Talking Stick Scottsdale, Arizona
September 30, 2018 PokerStarsNJ.com ONLINE
October 7, 2018 Mohegan Sun Uncasville, Connecticut
October 10 – 14, 2018 Maryland Live Hanover, Maryland
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Moneymaker: “The Big Win Still Feels Like Yesterday”

Moneymaker will be on hand for every stop of the new tour and he’s hoping that someone will be able to replicate his success from 2003.

“It’s been 15 years since the big win and it only feels like yesterday. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I want to give someone else the opportunity to feel that #winningmoment,” said Chris.

“I’ve played a lot of poker for years and during that time I’ve got to know lots of people at live events and meet-ups.

“Now U.S. fans will have the chance to win an amazing prize and have some fun along the way. Come join me to play, you never know, this could lead to a life-changing moment like I had. I am looking forward to playing with some familiar faces at every stop.”

Meanwhile the prize at the end of the road — the 2019 PSPC — is shaping up to be one of the most compelling tournaments ever held.

The steep $25,000 buy-in is buoyed by the fact PokerStars is adding more than 300 seats. That infusion of amateur players will likely take much of the sting from the professional contingent and make it one of the more value-packed events ever held.

In theory the level of skill at the PSPC could be right in line with something like the Main Event where amateurs regularly make life-changing scores.

Players who can’t make it to the Moneymaker tour might be interested in the recently announced Platinum Pass Adventure, which gives players a plethora of ways to qualify.

The 2019 PSPC is set to take place in the Bahamas from January 6-10 to kick off the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

PokerStars Cranks Up PSPC Qualifiers With Platinum Pass Adventure

Platinum Pass

PokerStars has already awarded a staggering number of $30,000 Platinum Passes to the 2019 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) but there is much more to come.

The online gaming giant is enlisting the aid of its PokerStars Ambassadors to award the next batch of passes in something called the Platinum Pass Adventure.

Jason Somerville, Jaime Staples, Andre Akkari, Felix Schneider, Fintan Hand, Benj Spragg, Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov were all charged with creating unique ways to award the next set of passes and they’ve outdone themselves with some of the most interesting contests ever seen in the poker world.

Although most Platinum Passes have been handed out to players for poker achievement the Platinum Pass Adventures went a different direction and make it possible to qualify for the 2019 PSPC without playing a single hand of poker.

Somerville launches “Next Great Twitch Streamer”

Jason “Jcarver” Somerville single-handedly changed the poker world when he carved out a unique niche on Twitch and brought poker to a new audience.

Now Somerville is asking players to follow in his footsteps and become the “Next Great Twitch Streamer”.

Contestants will have to log at least 150 hours during the four-month contest period but beyond that, they will have a fair amount of freedom.

Contestants can be amateurs or professionals and they can even play in the play-money games or real-money provided the majority of the action is on PokerStars.

Somerville will select three finalists and then the rest of the PokerStars ambassadors will help decide the ultimate winner. They will judge the contestant based on the criteria of chat interaction, average concurrents, additional hours broadcast, live cashes, presence in Twitch Poker community and the ability to fulfill the role of Twitch Poker Ambassador.

You can opt into the contest by sending your name, Twitch page, country of origin and a short paragraph about yourself to [email protected] by July 27th. The winner will be chosen on Nov. 15, 2018.

Find “Your Ultimate Sweat” with Jaime Staples

Brothers Jaime and Matthew Staples recently completed one of the most audacious prop bets in history by taking a year to get down (or up) so that they weighed roughly the same amount.

That was slightly harder than you might think considering Jaime weighed 305 pounds and Matt weighed 134 to start the challenge. By the time the smoke cleared they both weighed 188, which won them $150,000 from prop-betting extraordinaire Bill Perkins.

Now Jaime Staples is paying it forward by challenging contestants to enter their own Ultimate Sweat.

It doesn’t have to be weight-related this time around and contestants must simply set a goal and document their journey.

“I wish people could have their own Ultimate Sweat experience. Now thanks to PokerStars you can!” said Jaime Staples.

“I am giving away one Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship and you get to set your own challenge. Lose weight, learn to play Omaha poker, read a book a day, run a marathon. Anything! Submissions open July 1st. Good luck to you all on #myultimatesweat”

Igor, Boeree challenge the mind

PokerStars Ambassadors Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree are taking a more cerebral approach to the Platinum Pass Adventure and have developed a series of puzzles and tests to challenge each players game theory and critical thinking.

The contest is officially titled “The Next Poker Brain” and the preliminary rounds of multiple choice questions will take place July 18, Aug. 8, Aug. 29 and Sept. 19.

The 10 contestants with the highest total scores will advance to the final on Oct. 3. The exact structure of the final quiz is yet to be determined but the winner will walk away with a $30,000 Platinum Pass package.

“What we’ve always loved most about poker is the strategy of the game and how it constantly challenges you to think deeply,” said Liv Boeree.

“Much of this translates to better decision making in everyday life. So when PokerStars gave us two Platinum Passes to give away to our followers, we immediately knew we wanted to do something around rationality and logic.”

Many paths to 2019 PSPC

The aforementioned promotions are the most high-profile events giving out Platinum Passes but there are plenty of other opportunities to qualify for the enormous PSPC.

Andre Akkari will be giving a pass to a lucky winner who plays the Brasil Series of Poker.

Felix Schneiders will be hosting a monthly nine-handed Sit & Go called “Bro Battle” in Cologne, Germany, where each contestant gets a seat in a special home game on Sept. 2 where the winner walks away with a Platinum Pass.

Fintan Hand and Benj Spragg may have the most abstract of all the Platinum Pass Adventure contests.

Each week the pair has been running unique challenges every day like Photoshop challenges or Lodden thinks or a Lookalike competition.

Each day Hand and Spragg pick winners that receive entry into a final tournament on July 29 that awards a $30,000 Platinum Pass. It just might be the best way for casual poker fans to get a trip to the gargantuan 2019 PokerStars Players Championship.

For those keeping track at home, just over 120 players have picked up Platinum Passes for the 2019 PSPC with plenty more to go. By the time the PSPC takes place in early 2019 there will have been a total of 320 Platinum Passes awarded to players from around the world.

Rapido Series Set For $20K GTD Main Event Finale On Global Poker

Global Poker Rapido

Online poker site Global Poker is careening towards the epic conclusion of its first-ever Rapido Series.

The turbo-only Rapido Series was a first for the game-changing Global Poker with over 70 different events and a variety of different buy-in levels.

Global Poker is a social poker site that offers safe and secure cash outs for players in the USA.

The site employs a sweepstakes model, similar to the promotions what you might find at McDonalds or Pepsi, to provide real-money winnings.

Global Poker avoids the deposit structure altogether by offering Gold Coins, which have no cash value. Players do receive a bonus of $weeps Cash for buying Cold Coins, however, and $weeps Cash CAN be converted to real money (it’s 1:1 with USD) or used for tournament buy-ins.

It’s a system that is finally allowing US-based poker players to get back in on the action.

Rapido Poker Series to offer SC$20,000-GTD main event

The Rapido Poker Series began on June 18 with over 70 different events spread across two weeks with buy-ins ranging from SC$11 all the way up to SC$110. The series is mostly No-Limit Hold’em with some PLO sprinkled into the mix. Global Poker also added Crazy Pineapple to the final day of the series, which is a welcome surprise.

This last weekend of the Rapido Poker Series offers the heaviest action yet. The SC$110 buy-in Main Event on July 1 represents one of the biggest tournaments ever offered on Global Poker with an immense SC$20,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Global Poker has also increased the guarantees for its regularly-scheduled daily hyper-turbo tournaments. Lunch Money is now up to SC$400 while Eyes Wide Shut is up to SC$500. All the daily hyper turbos have a buy-in of SC$5.35.

Free-to-play players can take also take advantage of some enormous Gold Coin events with several GC33,000 buy-in tournaments on the weekend that offer a GC3,000,000 guarantee.

Here’s a complete look at all of the events for the final weekend of the Rapido Series on Global Poker:

Date Time (ET) Event Buy-in ($weeps)
Fri Jun 29 7:30 PM Rapido 34: NLHE $1,000 Guaranteed [2x-Chance, Turbo] $11
9:00 PM Rapido 35: NLHE $4,000 Guaranteed [Turbo] $55
10:30 PM Rapido 36: PLO $2,000 Guaranteed [1R1A, Turbo, 6-Max] $22
Sat Jun 30 7:30 PM Rapido 37: NLHE $1,000 Guaranteed [Turbo] $11
9:00 PM Rapido 38: NLHE $6,000 Guaranteed [1R1A, Turbo, 6-Max] $55
10:30 PM Rapido 39: NLHE $2,000 Guaranteed [2x-Chance, Turbo, 6-Max] $22
Sun Jul 1 7:30 PM Rapido 40: NLHE $1,000 Guaranteed [2x-Chance, Turbo, 4-Max] $11
9:00 PM Rapido 41: Main Event NLHE $20,000 Guaranteed [Turbo, 6-Max] $110
10:30 PM Rapido 42: NLCP $1,500 Guaranteed [Turbo] $22

How to play on Global Poker

Because Global Poker eschews the traditional deposit structure there are plenty of questions about how to get money on the site.

To put it simply: buy Gold Coins (which is the play money on the site) and you will be awarded the equivalent to your purchase in $weeps Cash.

For example, lets say you buy 30,000 Gold Coins for $100 USD. You will then be awarded a bonus $100 in $weeps Cash. $weeps Cash can be used for everything you’d normally use cash for on a poker site including tournaments and cash.

You can cash in your $weeps Cash at any point for USD using a payment processor although there is a SC$50 minimum for cash outs. In addition, your account must be verified, which requires a form of ID and proof of address.

It’s somewhat similar to the system that McDonalds uses in its famous Monopoly promotion where you buy food at the restaurant but also get a chance at winning bonus prizes. The difference is that $weeps Cash is guaranteed.

Buying Gold Coins isn’t the only way to acquire $weeps Cash, however. The site runs a number of promotions where you can win free $weeps Cash in Facebook contests or even a mail-in promotion.

Global Poker’s action-packed roster of games

Global Poker is different than traditional poker sites in more ways than one.

The site emphasis 4-Max and 6-Max tables, which cranks up the action and makes tournaments significantly faster.

Most of the Rapido Series events have clocked in at under two hours making them perfect for recreational players.

The site also includes several variants that you won’t find on many other sites including Big Ante, which includes a massive ante, and Ante Up where the blinds remain the same but the antes get bigger with every level.

As you would expect the majority of games on Global Poker are No-Limit Hold’em but the site also offers Pot-Limit Omaha and Crazy Pineapple, which is very unusual for a mid-size site.

You can register for Global Poker via Facebook and it only takes a few minutes to get playing. That’s more than enough to get in on the Rapido Series, which concludes this weekend.

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PokerStars Trio Series Smashes Expectations in Spain, France, Portugal

PokerStars Trio Series

PokerStars‘ newly-shared market of Portugal, Spain and France is off to a fast start with over €6.4 million awarded in the recent Trio Series.

PokerStars Europe, which shares liquidity between all three countries, offered the Trio Series to celebrate Portugal finally coming online.

The 78-tournament series featured a €5 million guarantee but that ended up being a conservative estimate with nearly €6.5 million awarded by the time the final tournament entry was tabulated.

The Main Event alone awarded €615,195 with eventual winner Ineed1000ETH outlasting 2,645 players to take down €71,917.

Trio’s success has also led to more clamoring from Italian players, who are currently region-blocked, to finally be included on PokerStars Europe.

Trio draws 40,816 unique entries

It’s safe to say that players in France, Portugal and Spain are happy to once again have access to big MTTs.

The Trio Series drew a total of 40,816 entries over the course of its 78 individual events. It’s easy to forget that PokerStars recently held SCOOP for Spanish and French players, which ended up awarding over €11.7 million.

Apparently Spanish and French players didn’t get enough because they signed up for the Trio Series en mass.

“We’ve had great success with our various series in shared liquidity regions and it’s brilliant to see the Trio Series carry on this trend,” said Severin Rasset, Director of Product Innovation and Operations at The Stars Group.

“We believe that this has strengthened our offering in Southern Europe and we will continue to work hard to give our players the best experience in the market.

“Players benefit from the shared player pool between Portugal, Spain and France in all aspects of the poker offering and we hope that Italian players will benefit from the same great offer soon.”

PokerStars is the first operator to offer regulated, fully legal, online poker with shared liquidity between all three countries although several other operators including 888poker have declared their intention to do the same.

The Spanish and French PokerStars’ sites start sharing players this January while Portugal entered the fray in May.

Make Trio a Quadro?

The success of the Trio Series has renewed hope for Italians to join the action relatively soon.

Italy, which remains one of the biggest poker markets in Europe, initially signed on board to join the four-country agreement to share liquidity between itself, Spain, France and Portugal.

In the last year, Italian legislators back-pedaled, however, and began making vague accusations about poker being a vehicle for laundering money.

Regardless Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi has stated the company will continue to push hard for Italian players to be included on PokerStars Europe. There’s no question that Italy would be a welcome addition to the site.

There are already some signs that the shared liquidity between Spain, France and Portugal is having a positive effect on the industry as a whole.

According to PokerIndustryPro the French regulator ARJEL reported that gaming revenue for Q1 grew by over 8% to hit a five-year high of €68.9 million. That kind of growth is rare in the online poker industry these days.

Interestingly cash game revenue remained effectively static but revenue from tournaments spiked by 15%, which could represent a changing trend in the overall industry.

Big traffic coming for PokerStars Europe?

PokerStars Europe currently ranks third in PokerScout’s overall traffic rankings behind Asian poker network IDNPoker.

Those numbers will likely only go up as more and more players from France, Spain and Portugal return to a site that’s now brimming with action.

It will be particularly eye-opening to see what kind of numbers a WCOOP series would attract in the fall. If PokerStars decides to offer a WCOOP in Europe, which seems likely.

Of course, the elephant in the room remains Italy. If Italy joins PokerStars Europe it would likely solidify the site in second place in the overall traffic rankings trailing only the gargantuan global PokerStars.com.

Sweden Blazes New Trail With Online Gambling Reform Bill

Sweden

Online poker players in Sweden have reason to celebrate this month as the government took a huge step towards a more progressive, regulated online gambling market.

Sweden’s parliament voted nearly unanimously in favor of a new bill that will officially allow foreign online gambling operators in the country and remove the current gray area of the market that currently exists.

Previously Sweden was officially limited to the state-owned Svenska Spel while foreign operators could only operate from offshore.

Parliament was overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, regardless of party, with nearly 94% voting their approval.

Sweden was at the forefront of the online poker boom of the mid-2000s contributing software and businesses as well as producing some of the best players in the world but its laws regarding online gambling have remained restrictive compared to countries like England.

It’s hoped the new regulated market in Sweden will help keep unlicensed online gambling from contributing to criminal activity. The government also hopes to raise money through taxes on the new licensees.

The regulator plans to open the licensing system on August 1 with the licenses issued in time for the market officially opening for business on Jan. 1, 2019.

Time to Gain Regain Control of Swedish Market

Currently, foreign operators do business in Sweden but they are technically restricted from advertising and marketing. They are also considered to be contravening the existing law.

In practice, the Swedish government was unable to keep online operators from advertising because it contravened against EU treaty law.

The new bill wipes the floor clean and will set a new precedent for online poker in the country.

“Unregulated gambling has taken over and gambling is used in criminal activities. It is 14 years since the first of a line of gambling inquiries was appointed,” said Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi.

“It is now time for us to move from words to action and regain control of the Swedish gambling market.”

It’s unclear what will happen to the poker side of Svenska Spel. The state-owned operator, which currently runs on the aging GTECH platform, will suddenly have a great deal more competition.

New Bill Includes Tax of 18%

The new licensing system will include a gambling tax of 18% for operators. That means operators will pay an 18% tax on their gaming revenue. The licenses will be valid for a maximum of five years.

The tax is fairly standard for online poker with Spain and Italy setting their tax at 20% while New Jersey taxes online gambling at 17.5%.

According to the new legislation the state will retain control over land-based casinos, large lotteries and gaming machines positioned outside of casinos but that leaves online poker, sports betting, bingo and other digital products available for licensing.

Because of the licensing fees and taxes it will likely be difficult for new players to enter the market and it’s likely the market will be dominated by the larger operators at least at first.

It’s expected that poker sites will be able to welcome Swedish players to their dot-com global sites instead of a walled-off Swedish-only sites.

Swedish Poker Pros in Demand?

It’s complete conjecture at this point but it will be interesting to see if any of Sweden’s highly-vaunted poker pros will be snapped up by online poker sites looking for a representative in the area.

Perhaps the biggest free agent in Swedish poker is Viktor “Isildur1” Blom who previously had deals with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

Some of the other Swedish heavy hitters include Anton Wigg, Michael Tureniec and Ramzi Jelassi.

Meanwhile, 888poker is already set for official expansion into Sweden with arguably the most famous Swedish poker player — 2014 WSOP champ Martin Jacobson — wearing an 888 patch these days.

There’s still a decent amount of time before the new market officially launches but for now the new gambling bill seems like a solid piece of commonsense legislation that offers something to players, operators and the government.

Ex-Amaya CEO Baazov Vindicated? Court Tosses Insider Trading Case

b&w image of man being tossed in air

Former Amaya CEO David Baazov is going to walk away from charges of insider trading relatively unscathed.

A Canadian court tossed the case against Baazov and the two other co-defendants, Benjamin Ahdoot and Yoel Altman last week.

The case was dropped because the prosecution essentially mishandled over 300,000 documents. The prosecution accidentally shared the documents to the defense but then attempted to make the documents private.

The defense took issue with having to give up more than 300,000 documents in an ongoing case and filed to have the entire case tossed. It appears they were successful.

Baazov was being investigated for insider trading during the period of time that Amaya purchased PokerStars for $4.9 billion in 2014.

“No other acceptable solution”

The mishandling of documents was not the first time the prosecution made a mistake according to the defense.

Previously lawyers for Baazov and co had moved to get the charges tossed because of what they were calling an “unreasonable delay” in getting them to court. The defense also tried to get the charges tossed because the prosecution was late in disclosing evidence.

The judge in the case, Salvatore Mascia, rejected both of those motions but apparently felt this last mistake involving the mishandled documents was one step too far and he had no choice but to stay the charges.

“When the circumstances justify it, the courts must stay the proceedings,” said Mascia in a written statement.

“This is only to be used in the most dramatic cases. There must be no other acceptable solution that might right the wrongs. In this case, do the accumulation of mistakes require a stay of proceedings? Yes.”

Baazov applauds court’s decision

The three defendants in the case, including Baazov, released a brief statement that applauded the judge’s decision to stay the charges.

“We agree with the judge and are happy with the decision,” the three men said, adding they will have no further comment at this time.

The charges in the case stemmed from Amaya’s $4.9 billion deal to acquire the Rational Group, parent company to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, in 2014.

The deal transformed Amaya into the biggest online poker company in the world and caused the company’s stock to reach previously untold heights.

Baazov had pleaded not guilty to five separate counts including influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya stock.

The trial had been going on for six weeks already and was expected to run until the fall.

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The Stars Group hits all-time high

Meanwhile, Baazov’s former company, which has been rebranded as The Stars Group has been on a steady climb in 2018.

Since Baazov left the company in 2016, Rafi Ashkenazi has taken the reins as CEO and moved the company to Toronto. The Stars Group has diversified heavily in the last few years and now has burgeoning online casino and sports betting businesses.

The company’s stock was particularly buoyed by the massive $4.7 billion acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming. The deal helped make The Stars Group the biggest publicly quoted online gambling company in the world.

It seems unlikely that Baazov’s case had any effect on The Stars Group stock but the company did hit an all-time high of CAD$48.84 on the TSE last week.

Analysts believe there may still be room for growth, however, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that gave the green light to sports betting on a state by state basis.

The Stars Group only has one license in the USA, that’s for online poker in New Jersey, but the company has the infrastructure to rapidly expand into other states if given the green light.

partypoker.eu Launches €1m in Weekly MTTs for Spanish, French Players

Spanish and French flags

It’s a good time to be a poker player in Spain or France this week as yet another poker giant was able to finally offer a more international version of its software.

The long-awaited partypoker.eu launched on Monday with shared liquidity between Spain and France. That means much larger prize pools for players in both countries.

Prior to this week partypoker players in both countries were only able to against their fellow countryman. partypoker has effectively broken down those walls with the new .eu edition of its client.

The company has come out firing with €1 million in guaranteed prize pools in ongoing weekly MTTs.

New software for Spain, double MTTs for France

The new partypoker.eu software is a dramatic upgrade for players in Spain and France.

Poker players in Spain are in for the biggest upgrade. The country’s outdated partypoker.es software offered a scant amount of MTTs. It was also several generations behind the current partypoker software platform. That’s a distant memory as the new partypoker.eu is more in line with the global partypoker software.

French poker players will also benefit, however, with double the previous amount of MTTs.

“Today’s pokerstars.eu launch represents a milestone for both French and Spanish players, who can now enjoy greater variety, reduced rake and bigger and better games on the new .eu platform,” said partypoker managing director Tom Waters.

“We look forward to bringing our Spanish and French players together for the first time on our new and improved site.”

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New MTT schedule includes €600K+ in progressive KOs

The newly unified Spain and French partypoker offers a substantially upgraded MTT schedule with over €1 million in guaranteed prize pools every week and buy-ins ranging from €.55 all the way up to €250.

The new weekly schedule also includes more than €600K-GTD in partypoker’s signature “Progressive Knockout” events.

The new PKO events should be of particular interest to players considering partypoker recently scrapped the rake on the bounty element of the events. That means there’s plenty of rake-free cash to be won in each event after the initial buy-in.

Six-max tournaments will also play a big part in the new schedule with named events like “Shield”, “Predator”, “Monster”, and “Bazooka” running around the clock.

Iconic French poker player Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, who recently joined partypoker as an ambassador and representative for the EU market, was thrilled about the new partypoker site.

“I am extremely enthusiastic about joining partypoker to actively support their efforts to bring back the ‘Poker First’ mentality, live and online.”

“Our goal is to provide players and fans with an experience they deserve worldwide. partypoker will be aiming to bring their ambition, expertise and successful model to the .eu market with some big announcements coming soon.”

Portugal, Italy on the Horizon?

France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal all signed an agreement that would allow shared poker liquidity between them last year but the rollout has been relatively slow.

Currently PokerStars is the only company that offers shared liquidity between France, Spain, and Portugal. As partypoker has said in the past, that it will also attempt to incorporate all three countries into partypoker.eu.

partypoker currently doesn’t have license in the Portuguese market but that’s something the company is looking to rectify in the near future.

Italy might be a little tougher. partypoker is licensed in the country and operates an Italian-facing site but so far the country has been very reluctant to open its player pool to the rest of Europe.

Regardless, partypoker has some significant software upgrades to roll out for the French and Spanish markets over the coming months.

One, Two, Trio! PokerStars Celebrates Share Market With MTT Series

three kittens in a field

The playing field for Portuguese players on PokerStars got significantly bigger this month.

PokerStars announced that Portugal would finally be joining a player pool that already includes players from Spain and France.

It’s a win for players from every country as they’ll all enjoy a wider selection of games to play. PokerStars is the first operator that has been able to unite the three countries for online poker.

PokerStars is set to host a series of tournaments with millions of Euros in guaranteed prize pools to celebrate the new union.

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More games, better rewards

A bigger player pool means more games, bigger prizes, and better rewards for PokerStars players in Portugal, Spain, and France.

The infusion of thousands of Portuguese players should help solidify PokerStars Europe’s position in third on PokerScout’s worldwide traffic report behind only Asian network IDN Poker and the global PokerStars site.

“We have worked hard to become the first operator to bring the benefits of shared liquidity to Portugal. Our players will see a huge increase in the variety and scale of our tournaments and promotions and will enjoy more excitement, more competition and more fun!” said Guy Templer, COO of The Stars Group.

“This dramatically strengthens our offering and demonstrates our commitment to the Portuguese market.

“We look forward to working with the Portuguese regulator to further improve the poker product offering for Portuguese players, and additionally hope that Italy will soon progress so that their players can also enjoy the significantly better experience that shared liquidity brings.”

€5 million Trio Series for PokerStars.eu players

PokerStars is kicking off the newly-unified Portuguese/Spanish/French-facing site with a new Trio Series that will offer €5 million in guarantees spread across 78 events including a €250 Main Event with a €500,000-GTD prize pool.

The Trio Series will run from June 3-13 and buy-ins start at just €1. There will also be a number of freerolls to Trio events for new depositors in Portugal, Spain, and France.

The Trio Series comes hot on the heels of France and Spain’s very own version of the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), which smashed its guarantee of €10 million to hit over €11.7 million awarded to players.

PokerStars Europe also hosted the French Espania Hold’em Series (FRESH), which attracted over 30,000 unique entries and paid out over €6.1 million.

The inclusion of Portuguese players on PokerStars Europe should help boost those numbers even further and create some eye-popping prize pools.

Will Italy be next to join PokerStars Europe?

With Portugal finally onboard with PokerStars Europe, there remains one big outsider: Italy.

The Italian poker market is one of the biggest in Europe but it’s taken a bit of a hit thanks to restrictive legislation in the country. The country passed a digital tax in 2017, which obliges companies to play a three percent levy on some internet transactions.

The Italian PokerStars site ranked slightly below PokerStars.pt according to PokerScout’s traffic reports.

Italy signed a pact with France, Italy, and Portugal last summer with the intention of allowing cross-border play.

Unfortunately, there has been speculation that Italy is second-guessing the commitment over fears of money laundering.

Right now it’s the Italian poker players who are suffering as they have to deal with much smaller player pools and prizes than the rest of Europe.