Poker Players Team Up For QLASH Esports Team Ownership

Some of the biggest names in poker have teamed up to invest in the QLASH esports team. They're betting on big things to come.

As a whole, video gaming is a $180 billion industry and competitive events have attracted huge crowds and sponsorship deals. Experts now expect the global esports market to top $1 billion this year.

The idea of a video game player “going pro” is no longer a foreign concept. And team owners are lining up to become the next Jerry Jones or Robert Craft.

That includes a group of five poker players looking to see the QLASH esports team and organization become a household name in the space. Some of these are among the biggest names in poker and hope to see the team follow a familiar path.

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“To describe in a simple way, we’re trying to do for gaming and esports what PokerStars did for poker during its heyday,” says Eugene Katchalov, one of the key owners of the team and winner of a World Series of Poker bracelet and World Poker Tour title.

The industry is growing at over 14% year over year and even professional sports teams have begun launching their own e-counterparts.

“We see a lot of these trends continuing, mainly because of some of the statistics that I’ve seen about sports where fanbases continue to get older,” Katchalov says.

“This means that kids are watching less and less sports and are instead interested in games and esports. This is who we are focused on and hence our mission to build ‘the go-to place for gamers’ with our platform.”

Launching the platform

Katchalov founded the organization in 2017 along former PokerStars ambassador Luca Pagano, who has $2.2 million in live poker tournament winnings. Both invested $4 million between them in the project.

“Luca and I became close in 2016 and realized that we were both very interested in esports,” Katchalov says.

“We were longtime gamers, even before poker. Considering our experience in PokerStars and Luca’s experience with Pagano events, which ran all live events for PokerStars in Italy and Malta for 12-plus years, we thought we had the right tools to transfer some of that knowledge into the exploding esport industry and see which aspects could be applicable.”

The pair’s first endeavor involved a simple competitive Hearthstone esports organization. The game exploded in popularity over the last few years, attracting players around the world.

Katchalov and Pagano travelled with the team to events to network and learn about the industry. The more they learned, the more they believed there was an opportunity.

“We realized no one was properly focused on the community and decided this is where we should focus,” Katchalov says.

Within the poker industry, many have already seen a possible crossover between the two games. The WPT began an esports arm a few years ago and others within the industry have also focused on esports.

Many players also see the potential and other players investing in the team include Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Jeff Gross. Former PokerStars CEO and CFO Michael Hazel also serves as one of the company’s top advisors.

“I love the esports space and Eugene’s reputation, and my experience with him as a professional made it an easy choice,” Gross says. “Also, with Daniel and Phil being involved, I knew they also did their due diligence and had believed the same.”

Building a gaming brand, following the PokerStars online poker path

That idea of building a community comes from years of serving as PokerStars ambassadors. For Katchalov and Pagano, their duties included:

  • attending live events
  • interacting with the poker community
  • representing the brand throughout the world
  • inviting others to play on the PokerStars platform

They now hope to bring some of those aspects to the esports space with QLASH.

“Essentially we were a marketing tool for PokerStars rather than an end goal on its own,” Katchalov says. “This is approximately the approach we’re taking with QLASH, albeit through quite a different starting route and with a very different business model.” 

That includes focusing on building communities in different games. QLASH then connects with those by organizing differing live and online events.

Katchalov says QLASH has signed deals with professional esport players, influencers, and streamers. These help promote the brand and engage with player communities.

Since its founding, QLASH has focused on building the brand through social media channels and a large Discord community.

The company has now moved on to developing its own event platforms. The “QLASH Community” platform launched in November 2020 and is available on iOS and Android

“It’s still in early beta,” Katchalov says, “but we’ve already accomplished quite a lot of traction by using it for event organization for our existing community.”

Unique funding approach

Part of the QLASH concept is a daily schedule of events that run for different games, much as PokerStars or other online poker sites might offer.

“Our monetization will, however, be quite different and will consist of things like sponsorships with global brands, providing marketing and event creation for game publishers, subscription models, skin and badge sales, et cetera,” Katchalov says. “We cover 15 different games with varying levels of focus.”

The most popular communities so far are for the games Clash Royale, Brawl Stars, Fifa, Fortnite, and League of Legends

The company is also now undergoing its funding round with the goal of continuing to invest in platform development. Owners believe it’s important to allow community members to become owners as well.

Players and fans can invest for as little as €10. QLASH recently launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on the British platform Seedrs to help make the funding effort a success.

US-based players can’t use the funding platform, but QLASH offers other investment options.

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Success in a growing market

Finding a foothold in a crowded market isn’t easy. There are now numerous teams, organizations, and players. Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban even owns a piece of a team.

QLASH has had some success stories so far. As a brand, the team has become the top esports organization in Italy and among the top five in Spain.

The team has also done well in the actual competitive video game environment as well. Its FIFA soccer player was the No. 1 player in the world on PS4 in 2020.

The current Brawl Stars team is also considered by many to be the best. QLASH’s Starcraft 2 pro, Reynor, is also considered No. 1 in the world.

In Italy, the company has even created a separate brand in partnership with the AC Milan football club. Milan QLASH serves as an esports arm for the club, splitting revenues between the two organizations. 

“All this success has allowed us to create important relationships with game publishers and big brands that we work with,” Katchalov says. “Likewise, it has brought many new people to our communities.”

Owners are hoping the market continues to grow, but even Cuban offers some words of warning. He recently noted that there’s not much revenue for US-based teams but believes there’s plenty of opportunity in the future.

That potential is what these poker-playing esports team owners are betting on. As Gross notes: “I really think esports is just scratching the service and I am a big believer in the future.”

Online Poker Gives Canadian Twitch Streamer Deborah ‘QueenBee’ Vanneste A Buzz

Deborah "QueenBee" Vanneste discovered online poker while recovering from an injury in the Canadian Naval Reserves. Twitch streaming has now become a passion. 

Injuries can come with major setbacks. But for Deborah Vanneste, an injury ended up changing her life. Vanneste was on leave from the Canadian Naval Reserves recovering from an injury and decided to give online poker a shot to pass the time. 

“I deposited onto PokerStars to Celebrate New Year’s that year,” says Vanneste, who lives on Prince Edward Island, Canada. “In my first week playing online poker I won a seat to the Vanessa Rousso boot camp and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament.” 

On that trip, Vanneste was introduced to poker legends like Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, and Bertrand “ Elky” Grospellier. She was hooked by the poker experience.


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Meet the QueenBee

If her name doesn’t sound familiar, then “QueenBeePoker” might ring a bell. She’s a Twitch poker streamer on and has almost 7,000 followers.

Vanneste plays poker online weekly and started streaming poker after seeing Jaime Staples on Twitch. 

“I thought there would be a good opportunity for streaming some low stakes at the same time representing women in poker,” she says.

Streaming brought some luck to her early on in the game. On just her second live stream, Vanneste won a PokerStars MicroMillions title live on Twitch. 

The QueenBee currently has over $150,000 in online tournament cashes, including two titles in the recent MicroMillions

Some of her notable online cashes include:

  • $3.30 PokerStars MicroMillions (2014) – 1st, $12,685
  • $8.80 PokerStars MicroMillions Pot Limit Omaha 6-Max (2015) – 1st, $3,517
  • $210 GGPoker Bounty Hunter Special (2021) – 2nd, $2,138
  • $82 partypoker Powerfest PKO (2020) – 5th, $2,323


Staying a busy bee

Vanneste currently considers poker a hobby, not a profession. Besides being a mom and a poker player, she has a day job and is pursuing some educational goals

“I currently work full time with Veterans Affairs,” she says. “I am back at university at the moment, pursuing my bachelor’s of business and public administration degrees.”

The QueenBee feels like her stream stands out because she isn’t the typical Twitch streamer. 

“I think representing women in poker sets me a bit apart, especially being mature,” she says. “Also the diversity of games I play, I love adding some mixed games and PLO into the lineup.”

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Live poker goals

Twitch streamer Deborah Vanneste showing off her Run It Up Reno trophy,

While she plays mostly online, Vanneste would like to play more in a live setting. She has achieved some success at brick and mortar casinos however. 

In 2017, she was able to attend the Run It Up Reno IV, hosted by Jason Somerville. The QueenBee won a PokerStars satellite for only $27 and punched her ticket to the event. 

At the series she secured some nice cashes and a win as well. She took the top spot in a $125 Triple Stud Six-Max event for $2,625. She also notched two more cashes.

“Getting to play with Jason Somerville was a dream,” she says. “Also bluffing him, showing the bluff, and going on to win felt pretty good too!”

Travel in Canada has been restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vanneste feels the positive side of this situation is that it’s created a mini online poker boom in the country. She still wants to play live and plans on traveling when it’s safe to do so.

“I want to incorporate a trip to Vegas once per year for the World Series of Poker as I have never been yet,” she says.

Vanneste wants that schedule to start soon. The Queen hopes to add some gold.

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New Twitch Show ‘Seat Wide Open’ Ramps Up Poker Talk – And Fun

The team behind the new Twitch poker show "Seat Wide Open" are hoping to find a niche and offer something new in the poker media landscape.

In a packed poker media landscape, there’s no shortage of websites, publications, and video options for poker fans. The team behind the new Twitch poker show Seat Wide Open are hoping to find a niche and offer something new.

Riffld, the production company behind the industry series The Orbit, debuted the new show last week. The pilot featured hosts Des Duffy and Leigh Wiltshire interviewing Unibet ambassador Dara O’Kearney.

A unique aspect of the game is seeing each guest play online poker while chit chatting with the hosts. O’Kearney, who co-hosts The Chip Race podcast and is also an author, played a Unibet cash game session while discussing topics ranging from his play on the virtual felt to cryptocurrency to writing and blogging.

Duffy recently spoke with PokerScout about the show and how Riffld hopes to offer some twists to the typical poker production.

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What to expect from the show

Seat Wide Open works in some additional features to add to the entertainment value. Viewers ride along as each week’s guest battles it out online.

That effort includes some multitasking for a wide ranging interview with Duffy and Wiltshire. The hosts also use some fun game show segments to add to turn up the fun.

Those features include: Stake a Shark, Sing a Long, Hot or Not, and Review a Flick. Each of these segments is meant to bring a television variety show feel. It’s a late night talk show mixed with a bit of The Gong Show and some Twitch poker thrown in.

On the poker side, viewers get a detailed insight into each player’s approach to the game. Each guest plays for 100 minutes with hole cards visible for viewers.

The show also keeps a leaderboard for show guests throughout the season. Producers hope this accomplishes two things:

  • Allowing viewers to see some varied thought processes and strategies across a full season.
  • Players are really working hard to post a great session to challenge at the top of the leaderboard.

“This absolutely lends itself to the competitive nature of poker players and it’ll be interesting to see what impact the leaderboard has on decision making live on the show,” Duffy says of the leaderboard.

“While all of this is going on, we are also conducting a deep interview with the guest through direct questions and some unique game show style segments, which will occasionally take the guest out of their comfort zone.

“There’s quite a mix of things going on, but they segued together well in our pilot episode with Dara O’Kearney and we’ve come out feeling confident that the format can find an audience. Plus, we had fun making it and that’s important to us too.”


A passion for poker

The show becomes the latest program for The Riffld team, which also includes Cardplayer Lifestyle blog founder Robbie Strazynski, hope to inform and entertain at the same time.

The team’s previous effort, The Orbit, received some nice buzz among players and fans. Seat Wide Open is meant to build on that momentum.

While entertainment is a big part of the show, the hosts bring plenty of industry knowledge

Duffy formerly worked as head of product at SkyBet and in other roles with online gaming operators. He also co-founded the Amateur Poker Association and Tour with Wiltshire.

Robbie, Leigh and I are recreational players with a great passion for poker,” Duffy says. “We come from a mix of backgrounds. I’ve worked for industry operators, for example. We do have a lot in common, particularly a wish to promote poker as the great social game that it is.”

The Orbit was our first format and it had a great response from the industry. We evolved the format by adding a complimentary Orbit Extra, which was a live reaction show to what was discussed on the show. We’ve had some outstanding guests on both of those shows.”

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Growing a poker channel

Seat Wide Open streams live each Thursday and fans can tune in to ask each guest questions. Hosts and viewers can inquire why certain hands were played in certain ways as well as other strategy questions. With the casual format, some of those questions may evolve outside the poker realm as well.

With so many operators and streamers on Twitch, Duffy, Wiltshire, and Strazynski hope the channel reaches all types of players.

“We see an opportunity for a more highly-produced show, with less emphasis on single operators or platforms,” Duffy says.”We want to showcase the best streamers, the best players and operators at any given time – whether through a news, game show, or live reporting format.

“Ultimately we’d like to build up a weekly schedule of shows and become a destination for viewers who want to add greater variation into what they watch. Everyone’s time is valuable these days and we just want to add a little more choice into the mix.”

O’Kearney believes the team is moving in the right direction and says he had a great time on the show.

“The show was tremendous fun,” he says. “Leigh and Des are great at keeping the chat flowing. I really enjoyed it and it reminded me how much fun live poker is.”

The next episode of Seat Wide Open streams live July 29 and features Jesse Sylvia, 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up. Riffld is seeking players or streamers interested in taking part in future episodes. Contact producers at [email protected] or @riffld via Twitter.

GGPoker Receives ISO 27001 Certification As Company Continues Expansion

NSUSLAB Korea, parent company of GGPoker, announced this week that it has received ISO 27001 certification for its online gaming platform.

NSUSLAB Korea, parent company of GGPoker, announced a new certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) this week. The company received ISO 27001 certification for its online gaming platform.

The distinction outlines a framework of “policies and procedures that includes all legal, physical, and technical controls involved in an organization’s information risk management processes,” according to

Company officials said the certification signals GG’s dedication to safety and security on the platform.

“NSUSLAB is proud to have secured this ISO 27001 certification, as we have always placed information security at the forefront of our efforts,” NSUSLAB CEO Daniel Lim said in a news release.

“We hope that the news further assures GGPoker, its players, partners, and regulators of our commitment to maintaining the security of their information.” 

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Details on the GGPoker certification

ISO 27001 is an international standard recognized globally for managing risks to the security of organization’s information. The process provides a set of standardized requirements for securely managing information.

With poker sites hosting thousands of players and maintaining their information funds, security is of top importance in the industry.

NSUSLAB Korea’s software powers GGPoker, which hosts hundreds of thousands of players and games each week. The company operates in a number of regulated markets.

Beyond poker, NSUSLAB also produces omni-channel online casino table games, proprietary gaming platforms, and business intelligence systems. The company boasts more than 200 developers.

The site is licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.

More major events coming to GGPoker

GGPoker has made some major poker news in recent weeks. Once again the site will host World Series of Poker online bracelet events for international players this summer.

The international half of the series runs on GG from Aug. 1 to Sept. 12 and awards 33 bracelets.

The site is also hosting the WSOP Super Circuit Online Series May 1-30. That series features a $100 million guarantee and awards 18 championship rings.

The site is also running satellites for the $10,000 WSOP Main Event from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1. World Series officials announced recently that the annual series in Las Vegas was being moved to the fall this year. The annual festival runs Sept. 30 to Nov. 23 at the Rio.

Much of the 2020 Main Event played out online with international players competing on GGPoker. The site also announced another major series in the works. The WSOP Winter Online Super Circuit will run at the site with a schedule released later.

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Partypoker MILLIONS Online Returns with Huge Payouts; KO Series Main Events Wrap Up

Partypoker’s MILLIONS Online returns Feb. 13 to March 9 with 28 events and features an overall guarantee of $17.55 million.

After record-breaking prize pools in two previous editions, partypoker’s MILLIONS Online returns in February. The festival runs Feb. 13 to March 9 with 28 events and features $17.55 million guaranteed.

In recent years, the MILLIONS series has become one of partypoker LIVE’s most successful tours. The online version is designed to replicate the live poker experience as much as possible. Just like in a live tournament, real names are used at the tables.

Partypoker is also again making it easy for players of every bankroll to get in the action with numerous satellites. There should be plenty of action for all kinds of players.

“We’re extremely proud to be hosting yet another online leg of the world-renowned MILLIONS tour,” partypoker’s head of poker room management Chris Donnachie said in a news release.

“The satellite framework this year has been designed with a view to make both the Main Event and Mini Main Event even more accessible to players of all buy-in levels.”

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Highlights from partypoker MILLIONS

The $5,300 Main Event highlights the MILLIONS Online series with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool. Day 1A kicks off Feb. 21 with Day 1B on Feb. 28. There will then be three more days of play with the final table set for March 3.

On top of the first-place cash, the winner also receives a trophy to mark his or her achievement. Benjamin “frenchsniperr” Chalot walked away with the top prize of $2.3 million in the last MILLIONS Online Main Event. All four top finishers claimed seven-figure prizes.

Players with smaller bankrolls also can look forward to several smaller buy-in events. The series begins with Day 1A of the $1,100 Mini Main Event on Feb. 13 with a $1 million guarantee.

Two flights will be held on consecutive days before three more days of action. That culminates in the final table playing out on Feb. 17.

Mini Main Event qualifiers start at just one cent, with 20 seats currently offered in satellite finals on Sundays. The centrolls feed into $1.10 and $11 phases with no direct buy-in to the phase tournament finals.

Players can look forward to several other big events. A few of those on the schedule include:

  • $1,050 Opener – A two-day Progressive Knockout (PKO) event running Feb. 19-21, with a $500,000 guarantee.
  • $1,600 NLHE Six-Max Knockout – A two-day event on Feb. 17 with a $250,000 guarantee.
  • $1,050 NLHE Warmup – This two-day PKO event with $500,000 guaranteed features three starting flights beginning on Feb. 26.
  • $1,050 NLHE Closer – One of the final events with three starting flights beginning March 5. The PKO event features $500,000 guaranteed.
  • High Rollers – The series features several big buy-in events including a $102,000 Mega High Roller with a $3 million guarantee.

Here’s a look at the complete schedule.

partypoker MILLIONS Online 2021

DateEventBuy-InTournamentGuaranteeDayFormatNumber of days
Feb. 13#01$1,100Mini Main Event$1,000,000Day 1A8-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 14#01$1,100Mini Main Event-Day 1B8-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 15#01-Mini Main Event-Day 28-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 15#02$530Mini Second Chance$50,000-8-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 16#01-Mini Main Event-Day 38-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 16#03$10,3006-Max High Roller$500,000-6-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 16#04$5,2006-Max High Roller Turbo$200,000-6-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 17#01-Mini Main Event-Final Table8-Max-
Feb. 17#05$1,6006-Max Knockout$250,000Day 16-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 18#06$3,200Omaha High Roller$150,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 19#07$1,050Opener$500,000Day 1A6-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 20#07$1,050Opener-Day 1B6-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 21#07$1,050Opener-Day 1C6-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 21#07-Opener-Day 26-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 21#08$5,300Main Event$5,000,000Day 1A8-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 21#09$2,100High Roller Turbo$100,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 22#10$2,100Omaha$200,000Day 17-Max[2-Day Event]
Feb. 23#11$25,5006-Max Super High Roller$1,000,000Day 16-Max[2-Day Event]
Feb. 23#12$5,2006-Max High Roller Turbo$200,000-6-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 24#13$1,600Knockout$250,000Day 18-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 25#14$3,2006-Max$300,000Day 16-Max[2-Day Event]
Feb. 25#15$5,200Omaha High Roller$200,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 26#16$1,050Warm Up$500,000Day 1A8-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 27#16$1,050Warm Up-Day 1B8-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 28#16$1,050Warm Up-Day 1C7-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 28#16-Warm Up-Day 28-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 28#08$5,300Main Event-Day 1B8-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 28#17$2,100High Roller Turbo$100,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
March 1#08-Main Event-Day 28-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
March 1#18$2,600Second Chance$250,000Day 18-Max[2-Day Event]
March 2#08-Main Event-Day 38-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
March 2#19$2,100Omaha Knockout$200,000Day 16-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 2#20$25,500Super High Roller$1,000,000Day 17-Max[2-Day Event]
March 2#21$5,200High Roller Turbo$200,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
March 3#08-Main Event-Final Table8-Max-
March 3#22$1,600Turbo Knockout$200,000-7-Max PKO[1-Day Event]
March 4#23$3,200Mix-Max$300,000Day 1Mix-Max[2-Day Event]
March 4#24$5,2006-Max Omaha High Roller$200,000-6-Max[1-Day Event]
March 5#25$1,050Closer$500,000Day 1A7-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 6#25$1,050Closer-Day 1B7-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 7#25$1,050Closer-Day 1C7-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 7#25-Closer-Day 27-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 7#26$10,300High Roller$1,000,000Day 17-Max[2-Day Event]
March 7#27$5,200High Roller Turbo$200,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
March 8#28$102,000Mega High Roller$3,000,000Day 17-Max[2-Day Event]
March 9#28$102,000Mega High Roller-Final Table7-Max-

Partypoker ramping up MILLIONS qualifying opportunities again

Once again, partypoker is hoping to provide MILLIONS opportunities to players of all levels. In 2018, “Scarmak3r” showed exactly how lower buy-ins can turn into large prizes.

Scarmak3r banked $1.4 million after qualifying for just $5.50 and then finishing third in the Main Event.

Satellites feeding into the series are ongoing with 10 Main Event seats guaranteed this Sunday. More satellites will also be added before the start of the tournament.

Players can qualify for the Main Event for as little as $0.01 with centrolls running multiple times daily. These events feed into $5.50 satellites and then a $55 phase, which leads to the Sunday final. There isn’t a direct buy-in into the final, so no player qualifying in this route will spend more than $55.

UK-based Christian Galvan has already scored big via qualifiers. After placing first in the centroll, $5.50, and $55 stages, he finished fifth in last Sunday’s final for a Main Event seat.

“One of my favorite things about poker is the zero-to-hero stories we hear on a regular basis,” Team partypoker’s Patrick Leonard said. “When I started playing, somebody would qualify for a $5,000 event from a $1,000 satellite and it was a great story when they went on to the final table.

“Recently, at partypoker, we’ve seen numerous people qualify for huge events for as little as a penny and win life-changing amounts. MILLIONS Online is always an amazing tournament and any player with a bankroll of $0.01 or more should get ready.”

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KO Series wraps up with big scores for Main Event winners

It’s been a busy time for partypoker. The KO Series concluded on Jan. 19 with three main events crowning a champion and taking home a combined $185,003.

In the $1,050 Main Event, “Kabuzzz” came out on top for $76,013. With bounties of $68,049, Kabuzzzz’s payout reached $144,062.

In the $109 Mini Main Event, “Scelevco” took the title for a total of $35,800. “Somuchfun” took down the $11 Micro Main Event for $5,141.

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888poker Sunday Sale Offers 50% Off Major Tournament Entries; Turbo Gift Drops Underway

The 888poker Sunday sale if back Jan. 24.

The popular Sunday Sale returns to 888poker’s major tournaments this Sunday, Jan. 24. The site is leaving its guarantees the same but dropping buy-ins by up to 50%.

This all adds up to plenty of value for online poker players. There’s plenty of the bang for the tournament buck with guarantees ranging from $20,000 to $100,000.

The popular buy-in discounts are just part of several 888 promotions running in January and February.

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Big payouts for smaller buy-ins at 888poker

Those looking to get in the action have three Sunday majors with major guarantees to choose from. Here’s a look at the tournaments seeing discounts:

  • $27.50 Monsoon (normally $55) – $20,000 guaranteed
  • $55 Mega Deep (normally $109) – $100,000 guaranteed
  • $215 Whale (normally $530) – $30,000 guaranteed

888 is also adding some nice opportunities to play these events at an even bigger bargain. The site’s “Pennybuy” satellites offer a chance to qualify for the Sunday Mega Deep for just one cent.

There are also low-priced sub-satellites and other qualifiers offering a guaranteed number of seats. To find these events simply look for the “Tournaments” category in the software client.

Players will then find a “Sunday Sale” section to find an event that fits their bankroll.

Turbo Drops bring free money for 888 players

888 is giving players another reason to check out the new 888poker Made To Play software. The site’s “Turbo Gift Drops” promotion offers players some free money and other prizes to get in the action.

Through Feb. 9, the site will be depositing a Gift Drop on one lucky table every 10 seconds. Some of the prizes up for grabs include:

  • $1,000 in BLAST Tickets
  • Cash awards
  • Daily freeroll tickets

How do players qualify for Turbo Gift Drops? Players simply have to play cash games, BLAST and SNAP tournaments, and multi-table tournaments.

Any players at a table that gets hit with a Turbo Gift Drop has a chance to win a prize.

Players also shouldn’t forget their two daily free spins in the “Winner Spinner” promotion. Every spin wins a prize, which also includes tickets to Turbo Gift Drop freerolls.

These freerolls range in prize pools from $200 to $1,090. Plenty of rewards await players getting in the action at 888poker this winter.

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AMATEUR HOUR: Partypoker Hosts World Championship of Amateur Poker With $750,000 Guaranteed

The partypoker World Championship of Amateur Poker (WCOAP) is set for Jan. 23 to Feb. 7 with $750,000 guaranteed.

The major tournament action continues this month at partypoker. The World Championship of Amateur Poker (WCOAP) is set for Jan. 23 to Feb. 7 with $750,000 guaranteed.

The series features 30 events with 16 championship events and buy-ins ranging from $55 to $530. There are also mini versions of each championship starting at just $5.50.

The Amateur Poker Association and Tour (APAT) is hosting the series. Partypoker promises affordable buy-ins, no re-entries, and earlier finish times than most other tournament series.

These features make it a nice series for amateur players to jump in the action at partypoker.

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APAT, partypoker appealing to non-professionals

Founded in 2006, APAT began as the United Kingdom’s first national poker tour. The group now runs live events in Europe and North America well.

The organization is dedicated to the development of amateur players. APAT provides affordable events for members to enhance their poker skills in a fun, competitive environment.

The series comes at a time when partypoker is working to bring more amateurs and recreational players into the game.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be working alongside APAT to bring our players the first fully online version of the World Championship of Amateur Poker,” partypoker poker room manager Chris Donnachie said.

“APAT is dedicated to the development of amateur poker players and this partnership perfectly complements our strategy of leveling the playing field and providing all players with a safe, exciting and fun environment in which to play poker.”

Shifting the action online to partypoker

The series is in its 12th year, but will be held in full online for the first time due to COVID-19 concerns. Events are open to all partypoker players and some hardware will be on the line in the championship events.

Winners take home a WCOAP bracelet or gold, silver, or bronze medal. Players can sign up for free for APAT to receive their winning hardware.

The two-day Main Event closes our the series  on Feb. 7 and highlights the championship event. That tournament features a $109 buy-in and $150,000 guarantee.

The Main Event winner becomes the World Amateur Poker Champion. This player also earns an APAT amateur national ranking on top of a big cash payout.

There will also be a mini-series of 15 events for the first time. The Mini Main Event comes with s $11 buy-in and guarantee of $20,000.

Partypoker WCOAP series highlights

Players will find No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Seven Card Stud events. Some of the highlights include:

  • $55 Six-Max Knockout Championship (Event 2, Jan. 24) – $75,000 guaranteed
  • $265 High Roller Championship (Event 5, Jan. 27) – $75,000 guaranteed
  • $27.50 Mini High Roller (Event 5, Jan. 27) – $15,000 guaranteed
  • $55 Knockout Championship (Event 9, Jan. 31) – $75,000 guaranteed
  • $5.50 Mini Heads Up (Event 11, Feb. 2) – $1,000 guaranteed
  • $530 Super High Roller (Event 12, Feb. 3) – $100,000 guaranteed
  • $55 PLO Championship (Event 13, Feb. 3) – $10,000 guaranteed

The series kicks off with another unique event. The International Team Championship begins on opening day with numerous countries invited to compete. Non-playing team captains will select players to represent their country.

Satellites for the series are already underway. Partypoker will also be awarding the most consistent player across the series. The highest-ranked WCOAP player snags a $5,300 MILLIONS Online Main Event seat, which is set for Feb. 21.

Partypoker plans more APAT events throughout 2021. Here’s a look at the complete schedule.

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2020 World Championship of Amateur Poker

Saturday, January 23, 2021#1 International Team Championship [Invitational] - Online 1 Day Eventnonenone
Sunday, January 24, 2021#2 6-Max Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $75K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$75,000
Sunday, January 24, 2021Mini - 6-Max Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$10,000
Monday, January 25, 2021Mini - Mix-Max - Online 1 Day Event : $5K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$5,000
Monday, January 25, 2021#3 Mix-Max Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $25K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$25,000
Tuesday, January 26, 2021#4 PLO8 Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $15K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$15,000
Tuesday, January 26, 2021Mini - PLO8 Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $3K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$3,000
Wednesday, January 27, 2021Mini - High Roller - Online 1 Day Event : $15K GTD [2-Day Event]$27.50$15,000
Wednesday, January 27, 2021#5 High Roller Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $75K GTD [2-Day Event]$265$75,000
Thursday, January 28, 2021Mini - FL 7 Card Stud - Online 1 Day Event [2-Day Event]$5.50none
Thursday, January 28, 2021#6 FL 7 Card Stud Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $2.5K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$2,500
Friday, January 29, 2021#7 PLO Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $15K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$15,000
Friday, January 29, 2021Mini - PLO Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $3K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$3,000
Saturday, January 30, 2021#8 6-Max Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $25K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$25,000
Saturday, January 30, 2021Mini - 6-Max - Online 1 Day Event : $5K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$5,000
Sunday, January 31, 2021#9 Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $75K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$75,000
Sunday, January 31, 2021Mini - Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$10,000
Monday, February 1, 2021#10 PLO8 Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$10,000
Monday, February 1, 2021Mini - PLO8 - Online 1 Day Event : $2.5K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$2,500
Tuesday, February 2, 2021#11 Heads Up Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [No Late Reg, 2-Day Event]$55$10,000
Tuesday, February 2, 2021Mini - Heads Up - Online 1 Day Event : $1K GTD [No Late Reg, 2-Day Event]$5.50$1,000
Wednesday, February 3, 2021#12 Super High Roller - Online 1 Day Event : $20K GTD$55$20,000
Wednesday, February 3, 2021#12 Super High Roller - Online 1 Day Event : $100K GTD [2-Day Event]$530$100,000
Thursday, February 4, 2021#13 PLO Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$10,000
Thursday, February 4, 2021Mini - PLO - Online 1 Day Event : $2.5K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$2,500
Friday, February 5, 2021#14 Turbo Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $40K GTD$55$40,000
Friday, February 5, 2021Mini - Turbo Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $7.5K GTD$5.50$7,500
Saturday, February 6, 2021#15 Turbo Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $20K GTD$55$20,000
Saturday, February 6, 2021Mini - Turbo - Online 1 Day Event : $4K GTD$5+0.50$4,000
Sunday, February 7, 2021#16 Main Event - Online 1 Day Event : $150K GTD [2-Day Event]$109$150,000
Sunday, February 7, 2021Mini - Main Event - Online 1 Day Event : $20K GTD [2-Day Event]$11$20,000

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STAKE WITH SIZZLE: GGPoker Staking Feature Brings Easy Online Option for Backing Other Players

GGPoker staking feature is exclusive to the site and has become a popular option.

Poker backing deals are probably as old as the game itself. A well-heeled player might peel off a few bucks to back a fellow player, landing a bit of skin in another player’s game.

The practice has grown in recent years to players even seeking some “investment” in online events. GGPpker has recognized this growing trend and made it even easier.

Players on the site can make use of the staking feature to back others on the platform. It’s a simple way to take out a sweat in another player – and possibly win some money without even playing.

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What is poker staking and why is it popular?

Those new to the world of poker staking may be asking: why stake other players at all?First of all, there’s some fun that comes with staking some other players.

Daniel Negreanu

Backers can follow their “horses” throughout an event to have a fun sweat. Seeing one of those players streamed at a final table makes it even more fun.

Backing another player also offers a chance at some winnings should that player run deep. Seeing a nice score for the player means spreading the winnings around to all those backers.

For a player selling action, backing means minimizing his risk. That player may be able to play in a bigger event by selling a chunk of his action.

GG ambassadors Daniel Negreanu or Felipe Ramos may even seek out some action. A big name player’s score also means some dollars coming the way of those who staked him as well. Regular online grinders can also get in the staking game as well.

“The staking feature on GGPoker is cutting edge and incredibly user friendly,” Negreanu tells PokerScout. “I truly love it. Whether you are looking to buy or sell action, you can do it all very easily in the client and when the player cashes in a tournament, the funds are updated immediately.”

The staking feature has also been popular with poker streamers, allowing viewers to check out their play. Staking also tends to make players focus on their best play with others’ money also on the line.

“You can set your own price, how much you want to sell, and even put a cap on how much anyone can buy,” Negreanu says. “This is really helpful for streamers who want to give fans a chance to have a piece of the action while they watch. I did it regularly during WSOP.”

Staking other players at GGPoker

So how does staking at GGPoker work? The ability to back others is integrated directly into the software and mobile app. Exclusive to GG, this is the first online poker feature to facilitate players buying others’ action.

“It’s very popular and in any given tournament there will be a range of players seeking stakes and others staking them,” GGPoker spokesman Paul Burke says.

The process is pretty simple. Players first just need to visit any tournament lobby to back someone in an event. 

The staking tab is found in the lobby of all eligible events. Backers pay a proportion of a player’s entry fee with an added player-defined margin (also known as markup).

A look at the GGPoker tournament lobby staking tab, for Felipe Ramos in this case.

Backers pay the full amount of the stakes they buy, which are purchased in increments of 1%. This can decrease to as little as 0.1% for events with a buy-in of $5,000 and above..

Once a stake is purchased, the transaction becomes non-refundable except when:

  • the seller subsequently cancels the sale or unregisters from the tournament
  • a tournament is cancelled for unforeseen circumstances

Selling action using the feature

Average Joe and Janes can also list some of their own action for sale. Once registered for a tournament, players go to the tournament lobby and use the staking panel to list their action.

After registering for a tournament, sellers set the percentage of their play for sale as well as the markup. Players can value their action as they see fit and sell throughout the tournament registration period. Sellers can cancel a sale at any time during this period.

A look at how players can buy action from another players on the site.

Once a player opts to sell action, a staking profile page will be accessible to potential backers. The profile provides information on a player’s performance.

Potential bakers can check the history of any player selling action to gauge potential success.

What does a staking deal look like?

Imagine a fictitious player named Johnny GG is looking to sell some action. He’s registering for a $10 event, but some backers might be nice to cover that entry fee.

Johnny then sets how much he’d like to sell in the staking tab of the event lobby. Perhaps he’s looking for backers to cover 50% of his entry at a markup of 2x.

A backer purchases 5% for $1. If Johnny cashes for $100, then the backer receives the equivalent percentage of winnings purchased. In this case, the backer receives 5% of the total payout – $5.

Players can sell up to 90% of their action and there’s no fee charged to players for using the feature. Many in the industry have stressed the need to bring the fun back to poker. GG seems to have done its part to add some extra entertainment to the poker mix.

GGPoker’s staking feature has now moved beyond the traditional notion of poker backing. Players surviving past the first day in phased tournaments can also sell some pieces of themselves.

Staking is now available on Day 2 of some events. This makes following a player’s action a bit more fun as cashing is now even closer.

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GG staking success stories

Those looking for some staking action in major events will usually find plenty of opportunities. All 54 of this summer’s World Series of Poker Online bracelet events utilized the staking feature.

The nine multi-day Phase tournaments have also used the recently-introduced Day 2 staking option as well. GGPoker staking has produced some nice scores for players.

Staking Fedor Holz in the WSOP Online at GGPoker paid off in a big way recently for 136 backers. (photo courtesy Poker Central)

The best overall result came during the WSOP Online. GGPoker ambassador Fedor Holz took the title in the $25,000 Heads Up event.

Holz sold 77.5% of his action to 130 investors at a markup of 1.15. Those players bought chucks of  between 0.1% and 10.3%.

After scoring $1.1 million, all players won 36 times their investment. That meant a 0.1% stake of $28.75 turned into $1,089. That was certainly a “good game” for backers.

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Irish Open Online Returns to Partypoker in March; Will Kassouf Scores Main Event Title

The Irish Open Online is coming to partypoker in March.

The Irish Open Online returns in March following the success of the inaugural edition earlier in 2020, partypoker announced last week. A familiar name also rose to the top in the Irish Poker Masters Online, which wrapped up on Dec. 18.

Will Kassouf, known for his “speech play” during his deep run in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, turned a satellite entry into a Irish Open Main Event championship. Players now won’t have to wait too long to get back in the Irish poker action.

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What to expect from the 2021 Irish Open Online at partypoker?

The next Irish Open Online begins March 29 and features a Main Event with a €1 million guarantee. The recent Irish Poker Masters featured 21 events with several event variations including Pot Limit Omaha, PKO, heads-up, turbo, and more.

Players can probably expect similar events. With an online poker boom underway, that schedule may even be expanded. 

The 2020 live series paid out €5.6 million with Brazil’s Pablo Brito Silva claiming the Main Event title for €462,100. He topped a field of 2,945 and was one of 22 champions in the series.

Partypoker and Irish Poker Open organizers are currently looking into potential alternative dates to host the live festival in 2021. The festival is Europe’s longest-running poker series.

“We all miss live poker action and we are looking forward to the time when all of us can experience the buzz and the thrill of the Irish Poker Open in a live setting,” partypoker marketing director Vadim Soloveychik said.

“Meanwhile, we are excited about the opportunity to once again host the Irish Open Online in the coming spring and we hope Irish Poker Open fans will enjoy it.”

Will Kassouf turns €109 satellite into Irish Poker Masters Main Event title

In taking the December Irish Masters Main Event title, Kassouf outlasted 1,340 opponents in the €1,100 buy-in tournament. The British poker star won his seat via a €109 satellite and turned that into €215,163.

Manuel Ruivo finished runner-up for €148,042 and also recently found big success in the WSOP Main Event at GGPoker. He finished third in the GG half of that event for $728,177.

When heads-up play commenced, Ruivo held a massive chip lead over Kassouf – 213,940,000 to 54,260. Kassouf managed to draw level, however, and the two battled back and forth before he claimed the title.

It was an unlikely finish as Kassouf began the day as one of the short stacks.

Other big names score in High Roller

The €2,100 High Roller attracted quite a few major names to the player pool. Dominik Nitsche, Evaldas Aniulis, Jans Arends, and Vlad Lache all cashed in the event.

The UK’s Jonathan Proudfoot beat Elio Fox heads-up to claim first prize of €40,206

Team partypoker’s Kristen Bicknell took third for €16,297. The event attracted a field of 67 players. 

Players can spin partypoker’s Christmas Wheel throughout December

Partypoker is giving away plenty of gifts this holiday season. Players have the chance to win up to $500 every day with the launch of Christmas Wheel promotion.


Prizes include cash bonuses and freeroll tickets, which are awarded every day until Dec. 31. Players earn one point per day by playing any:

  • SPINS game
  • cash game
  • fastforward cash game

Earning just one point allows players to head to the Christmas Wheel. The wheel can be found under “promotions” in the desktop client or via the “offers” section on mobile.

The two daily freerolls feature prize pools of $1,000 and $2,000. Players will find plenty of opportunities to brighten up the season even more.

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888poker Winter Series Goes XL With Rebrand; Festival Features $1 Million Guaranteed

888poker has completely rebranded the XL Winter Poker Series.

The XL Winter Series is back at 888poker with a completely new look. Set for Dec. 10-20 with a $1 million guarantee, the site has worked to rebrand the series.

Some changes have been made, with 888 promising affordable buy-ins ranging from $5 to $50 for the majority of events.

“We are focusing on what our players want,” the company notes in a news release.

The series features 34 events, culminating with a $250 progressive knockout Main Event and a $500,000 guarantee.

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888poker XL Winter Series highlights

888 recently released its new software and mobile app dubbed “Made to Play.” The site is hoping to carry that theme over to the renewed XL Winter Series.

The Main Event is set for Dec. 20 and comes with a $500,000 guarantee. The progressive knockout (PKO) format should make for a fun and interesting way to cap the series.

In a PKO, all players have a bounty on their heads. Similar to a traditional bounty tournament, players receive a prize for eliminating other players.

However, in a PKO a portion of each bounty won is added to the bounty on each winning player’s head. Each player’s bounty can increase, making knockouts later in the tournament even more valuable.

Beyond the Main Event, there are numerous other interesting tournaments. The $109 Opener on Dec. 10 comes with a $50,000 guarantee to kickstart the Winter XL. A few other highlights include:

  • $55 Tune Up (Event 10, Dec. 13) – $50,000 guarantee
  • $320 High Roller (Event 17, Dec. 15) – $50,000 guarantee
  • $55 DeepStack (Event 26, Dec. 18) – $25,000 guarantee
  • $33 Mini Main Event (Event 33, Dec. 20) – $50,000 guarantee
  • $5.50 Late Main Event PKO (Event 34, Dec. 20) – $15,000 guarantee

Here’s a look at the complete schedule:

Dec. 10Event#1 - $50,000 Opening Event$109$50,000
Dec. 10Event#2 - $15,000 Mini Opening Event$16.50$15,000
Dec. 10Event#3 - $15,000 Late Opening Event$55$15,000
Dec. 11Event#4 - $30,000 PKO$55$30,000
Dec. 11Event#5 - $15,000 Mini PKO$22$15,000
Dec. 11Event#6 - $10,000 Late PKO$33$10,000
Dec. 12Event#7 - $30,000 8-Max$109$30,000
Dec. 12Event#8 - $10,000 Mini 8-Max$12$10,000
Dec. 12Event#9 - $15,000 Late 8-Max$55$15,000
Dec. 13Event#10 - $50,000 Tune Up$55$50,000
Dec. 13Event#11 - $30,000 Mini Tune Up$16.50$30,000
Dec. 13Event#12 - $10,000 Micro Tune Up$5.50$10,000
Dec. 13Event#13 - $20,000 Late Tune Up$55$20,000
Dec. 14Event#14 - $20,000 R&A Event$33$20,000
Dec. 14Event#15 - $10,000 Mini R&A$5.50$10,000
Dec. 14Event#16 - $10,000 Late R&A$12$10,000
Dec. 15Event#17 - $50,000 High Roller$320$50,000
Dec. 15Event#18 - $25,000 Mini High Roller$55$25,000
Dec. 15Event#19 - $20,000 Late High Roller$109$20,000
Dec. 16Event#20 - $30,000 PKO$109$30,000
Dec. 16Event#21 - $15,000 Mini PKO$16.50$15,000
Dec. 16Event#22 - $10,000 Late PKO$33$15,000
Dec. 17Event#23 - $40,000 PKO 8-Max$160$40,000
Dec. 17Event#24 - $15,000 Mini PKO 8-Max$22$15,000
Dec. 17Event#25 - $15,000 Late PKO 8-Max$55$15,000
Dec. 18Event#26 - $25,000 PKO DeepStack$55$25,000
Dec. 18Event#27 - $15,000 Mini DeepStack$16.50$15,000
Dec. 18Event#28 - $10,000 Late DeepStack$33$10,000
Dec. 19Event#29 - $25,000 PKO 6-Max$109$25,000
Dec. 19Event#30 - $15,000 Mini PKO 6-Max$16.50$15,000
Dec. 19Event#31- $15,000 Late PKO 6-Max$55$15,000
Dec. 20Event#32- $500,000 Main Event PKO$250$500,000
Dec. 20Event#33- $50,000 Mini Main Event PKO$33$50,000
Dec. 20Event#34- $15,000 Late Main Event PKO$5.50$15,000

Plenty of extras planned during series

888 has ramped up the promotional power for the festival. Players following the XL Winter Series on the 888 social media channels have a chance for some freebies.

The site will hold special contests during the live streams on Facebook and YouTube.

888 is giving away three $109 and five $33 tournament tickets during each session. Look for a star-studded line-up of commentators including David Tuchman and Nick Wealthall.

888poker ambassadors will also be manning the microphone providing commentary on several events. Here’s a look at the streaming schedule:

  • $50,000 Opener – Dec. 10
  • $50,000 Tune Up – Dec. 13
  • $500,000 Main Event PKO – Dec. 20

Those looking to get in the action for a bargain buy-in also have plenty of opportunities. There are three ways players can qualify for as little as $0.01 or even free

Several freerolls are planned beginning on Dec. 3 and running until the series finale. Satellite buy-ins start for as low as a single cent.

Players can also look for random gift drops throughout the series with XL tournament tickets and other prizes. It looks like a couple nice weeks of online poker action are in the works at 888.

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