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Poker: Mini Tournaments May Not Be The Smart Choice

One of the more interesting reads this weekend was an interview in Poker Daily News with Dan Stewart, the very clued-up owner of the independent online poker tracking website PokerScout. In the interview, Stewart makes some astute observations about the introduction of mini-tournaments running parallel with major competitions, and the negative effect this could be generating.
 
Stewart used major events at the Internet's two biggest online poker sites, PokerStars.com and Full Tilt Poker , to make his point.
 
Apparently the current Full Tilt Online Poker Series XII main event failed to reach its $2.5 million guarantee, drawing only 4 581 entries and requiring a $200 000 overlay. Stewart revealed that the $535 buy-in tournament was the centerpiece of the series, but Full Tilt's decision to run the miniFTOPS alongside, with a much smaller buy-in but a still respectable guaranteed $500 000 prizepool may have backfired.  Pokerstars
 
The MiniFTOPS main event attracted thousands of players and comfortably overtook the guaranteed prizes with a buy-in one-tenth that of its big brother, which started only minutes ahead. The conclusion is that the cheaper event cannibalised the business of the major tourney.
 
The level of overall interest in Internet poker remains strong, with Stewart reporting that traffic to Full Tilt is up 56 percent over the year, very close to that of PokerStars which is up 57 percent, and the burgeoning Cake Poker Network which is up year-on-year around 54 percent.
 
Stewart emphasised to Poker Daily News: “The [need for tournament prizepool] overlays don’t have anything to do with traffic or how well the site or the industry is doing. All you have to do is compare this FTOPS to the last one. They ran a similar schedule and if you look at the ring game traffic, it’s up about 10 percent.
 
"They’re busier now than they were then, yet you have a different outcome in terms of guarantees.”
 
Stewart analysed the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) and found a similar practice of offering low, middle and high multiple stakes this year, with similar negative results for the high stakes action.
 
“The FTOPS schedule came out before the SCOOP ran," Stewart told PDN. "When it ran, it became clear that low-stakes tournaments were cannibalizing their high-stakes counterparts. Both sites are probably learning from the experience.” Nine of the 22 high-stakes SCOOP tournaments did not reach their guarantees.
 
Broadening his outlook to the wider online poker industry, Stewart observed that despite the global economic slowdown: “It’s quite healthy. All we can do is compare right now to the same time last year. When we do that, we see that the industry is up 30 percent year over year. That’s probably a slow rate of growth in comparison to three or four years ago.”
 
But some individual operations have not done well, according to PokerScout records. Year-on-year, Bodog has experienced a 30 percent drop in player traffic, while Swedish state gambling monopoly Svenska Spel is down 14 percent.
 
The largest gain year over year went to the Entraction Network, which soared by 140 percent.
 
Stewart took a positive view on the overall situation for the online poker sector, telling PDN: “I don’t see the economy affecting online poker too heavily. Some people say that poker is counter-cyclical. A person is laid off, spends more time at home, and gambles online to make money. I don’t see it being counter-cyclical; it just chugs along regardless of the economy.”

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Gambling News :

Pokerstars Bahamas Main and High Roller Results - The inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas saw two big winners crowned this weekend when Christian Harder won the main event for $429,664 and Luc Greenwood took home $779,268 after taking down the $25,750 High Roller event.

Rodrigo Duterte has identified illegal gambling as his third priority - Illegal online gambling operators can anticipate tougher times in the Philippines following a directive from President Rodrigo Duterte that stamping out illegal gambling is his third most important goal after illegal drugs and government corruption.

High Hopes For Pennsylvania Online Gambling - Pennsylvania state politicians have wasted no time in getting back to work in the new legislative season, and there is renewed hope for a gambling expansion bill that includes online gambling and daily fantasy sports.

WILLIAM HILL ACCUSED OF QUESTIONABLE MARKETING TACTICS - British Labour member of parliament for Swansea East, Carolyn Harris, has described as "appalling" player-poaching techniques allegedly encouraged by the online and land bookmaker William Hill plc.

GoWild has announced the launch of its own new gaming platform - The European online gambling group GoWild has announced the launch of its own new gaming platform, providing entertainment in addition to its Microgaming games, which will now be delivered via the Quickfire platform.

UK Government Introduces Mandatory horseracing levy - The levy kicks in after the first GBP 500,000 in gross revenue has been earned by online and retail bookmaking firms and other betting organizations.

Chinese Arrested in Philippines Invalid - Representing the thirty-nine plaintiffs, defense lawyer Irene Bianca B. Distura claimed that the warrant that led to her clients’ apprehension is “invalid.”

NJ Warns No Federal Online Gambling Ban - New Jersey Senator and gubernatorial candidate Raymond Lesniak warned that any attempt to overturn a 2011 Department of Justice opinion that the federal Wire Act exclusively governs sports betting would be met with a hard-nosed reaction from his state.

Casino du Liban To Launch new online gambling platform - The venture will be in partnership with an unnamed international company, and a tender has already been launched with a deadline of January 19 to submit the proposals.

Winstar slot Pays Big Jackpot - One very fortunate online punter in Bermuda has scored a major win on the Winstar slot at the PokerStars online casino, collecting a $825,037 jackpot.

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