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Poker Operators Tightening Integrity Controls

Online poker is more popular than ever. As the game continues to gain more popularity, operators are hard at work trying to find new and interesting ways of ensuring that their customers get the best experiences. One of the areas that they have been improving on is integrity controls. This not only ensures fairness but also makes the platforms more trustworthy.

GGPoker Introduces Poker Integrity Council

The Poker Integrity Council was established by GGPoker as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to defend the integrity of the game via a variety of internal and external investigations. It will be up to the council, which will comprise Jason Koon and Andrew Lichtenberger, Fedor Holz, Seth Davies, and Nick Petrangelo, to examine complaints of cheating and carry out impartial evaluations. They will also be tasked with implementing punishments for suspicious behavior detected at GGPoker tables.

To determine if disciplinary action should be taken in every given matter presented before the council, members will vote. This will, of course, come after investigations into signs of suspicious behavior and analyzing relevant hand histories. Only then will they provide a verdict.

In each matter that is presented before the council, the steps of the procedure will include identifying suspicious behavior, evaluating relevant hand records, and ruling, which will include council members voting on whether disciplinary action is warranted.

If disciplinary action is required, the player may get a warning regarding their conduct. In some cases, GGPoker will temporarily suspend or permanently ban their account, or a player could receive a permanent ban in addition to having their funds confiscated.

PokerStars Implements Ban on Cheaters

In light of the multiple claims of cheating that have been floating around the poker world, PokerStars has decided to take a bold step in protecting the integrity of the game. Players who have been banned for cheating on PokerStars, the biggest online poker site in the world, will also be prohibited from playing in live tournaments that PokerStars organizes in the future.

When deciding whether or not to ban a player from live tournaments, PokerStars follows a “no questions asked” approach. For whatever reason, any player who is evicted from a PokerStars online tournament will not be allowed to participate in any of the company’s live tournaments.

Numerous allegations have been leveled against well-known live and online poker players in the last several months. In light of PokerStars’ new policy, other poker sites may follow suit and take similar measures against players that commit cheating acts such as using prohibited tools, ghosting, and collusion.

online-poker

Michigan Board Greenlights Online Poker Shared Liquidity

The state of Michigan has just become a party to a multijurisdictional poker agreement. This paves the way for residents of the state who play poker online to compete against players from other states. Poker fans in the state will compete against players in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey.

One of Michigan’s top gaming regulators, Henry Williams, was on hand to sign the document granting his state permission to take part in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. The announcement of the state’s participation was initially made public a month ago, but it had to be completed before Michigan could join.

All of this started back in December 2020, when the Michigan Legislature approved a measure that would enable the MGCB to become a member of a multijurisdictional poker compact. Sen. Curtis Hertel, a Democrat who represents East Lansing, was the primary sponsor of bill PA 327, and on December 29, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave her signature on the legislation.

“I am happy to announce Michigan has joined the multistate poker compact, and much of the increased tax revenue from multistate poker will go to support K-12 education in Michigan. By joining, Michigan will almost double the potential pool of participants in multistate poker games.”

Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams

The initial online gambling law (PA 152) that went into force in December 2019 lacked wording that would have enabled players to participate in several jurisdictions. Now, just one game has been exempted from the restriction, and that is poker.

New Requirements for Operators

The Michigan Gaming Control Board notes that licensed operators and related platform providers must fulfill several processes to obtain MGCB clearance to start multistate poker. Guidance on participation criteria for interested parties was published by the organization in April.

The multijurisdictional agreement stipulates that the operators must fulfill all criteria and regulations before starting multistate poker operations, including the need that only states included in the agreement participate. Additionally, they must get clearance for new platforms or platform updates, new remote gaming systems, and new game software.

Multistate poker providers must also seek internet gaming supplier licenses for any new suppliers utilized in conjunction with the poker game, as well as the MGCB registration for any new vendors. The Gaming Control Board may also issue occupational licenses to new multistate poker operators and platform providers.

At the moment, there are three licensed operators and providers that offer online poker in the state of Michigan. These include the MGM Grand Detroit with its partner site BetMGM, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians with its partner site World Series of Poker, and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians with its partner site PokerStars.

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GGPoker Unveils New Ask Fedor Feature

Want to get better at your poker game? How about getting a chance to learn from a poker pro? That is exactly what GGPoker is offering with its new, powerful, and innovative Ask Fedor feature. This is essentially a unique tailor-made deep learning system that was built in consultation with Fedor Holz, one of the best poker players alive.

The German poker pro has built up quite a reputation in the poker sector. Over the course of his career, he has earned over $32.5 million in live poker events and millions more from online poker gaming. That said, it is very exciting to get the opportunity to pick his brain.

How It Works

Ask Fedor is powered by Prometheus AI which not only analyzes your hand history but also gives detailed feedback on how you play a specific hand. To begin, you will be given feedback in the form of a one- to five-star rating. Five stars indicate that you played the hand in the same way or manner as Ask Fedor would.

“The perfect poker player doesn’t exist, and every one of us is curious about the best way to play a hand. This is why we have created Ask Fedor. Your hand is analyzed in real-time and the advice provided will help bring your game to the next level. It helps bridge the gap between casual players and professionals…”

Fedor Holz, GGPoker Ambassador

After the rating is then, the players then get recommendations on how to play the hand differently. In the long term, making the changes suggested by Ask Fedor should yield better outcomes for all the players that choose to participate.

The Ask Fedor feature currently only works in No-Limit Hold’em cash games and tournaments. However, there are plans in the works to introduce more varieties, so stay tuned.

Is It Free?

Well, it is possible to try out the feature without paying anything extra. Every player at GGPoker has been awarded five free asks. They may use these the next time they log into their account. You may choose from three membership tiers if you want additional requests to assist you in your game.

To make it more enticing, if you sign up for any of the subscription packages, GGPoker will give you a 50% discount on your first month. It is worth noting that VIP games can only be analyzed with the Ask Fedor Premium package. Cash games with stakes of $25/$50 or above, as well as tournaments with buy-ins of $5,000 or more, are classified as VIP games.

online-poker

Online Poker Finally Arrives in Ontario

Ontario’s online gambling market is finally a reality and this represents a lot of renewed optimism about Canada’s gambling sector. Being the very first jurisdiction in the country to take bets within the context of a legal and private online gaming market, it sets the pace for what we can expect in the future.

Going forward, residents of Ontario will be able to wager on casino games as well as sporting events. Other forms of gambling products and services will also be offered online on both mobile apps and web-based platforms. These will, of course, have to be from licensed and regulated operators.

So far, iGaming Ontario has registered an impressive 25 operators. More are expected to be added in the long run but this is certainly a great start. Thankfully, there is a decent number of online poker options. Poker enthusiasts in the jurisdiction now have another amazing option when it comes to enjoying their favorite online poker titles.

Offshore Operations

Now, even though online gaming is now available in Ontario, some of the online poker options will still be offered from offshore sites. Players will not need to worry about the lack of localized content though as the poker operators are taking the new market very seriously.

PokerStars, for instance, will strive to ensure that its customers in Ontario have access to the global poker market as well as its massive player pool. 888poker and GGPoker who are always big brands in the online poker sector also have their sights set on the newly-launched market. There is talk of even more operators coming in.

Two-Tiered System

The launch of online gambling today (Monday, April 4, 2022) came with the creation of a de-factor two-tiered system. As it stands, there are no long-term plans for the system but it is expected to have some far-reaching impacts, especially on poker players.

Commissioned by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the two-tiered system is intended to help with avoiding a blackout period. This means that licensed online poker operators will be operating alongside rivals that have just started the licensing process.

On the bright side, this could help eliminate the possibility of black market operators stepping in where the players have no viable options. The main disadvantage of this is that it might lead to the market having some arguably inferior products and services. Still, this is all work in progress and we will have to wait and see how it all pans out over the coming months.

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partypoker Partners with Theta Labs for NFT Venture

As part of its efforts to keep being a trendsetter in the poker community, popular online poker platform partypoker has recently launched its first-ever non-fungible tokens (NFT). This does not come as much of a surprise. Crypto and the iGaming industry intersected years ago. Given how well that has turned out, it was only a matter of time before the NFT craze caught on in the gambling sector.

For the venture, partypoker has partnered with Theta Labs, a decentralized, blockchain-powered video delivery network. It is best known for providing end-to-end infrastructure for video and NFT and Metaverse platforms.

The project will allow partypoker customers and poker fans the opportunity to own a piece of the gaming platform’s history. Its NFTs will major on a selection of the most iconic moments and tournaments hands from the previous partypoker tournaments.

For the mainstream audience, there will be a range of ‘PokerApes’ NFTs which will essentially be a showcase of 3D artwork with unique partypoker-inspired traits.

Where and How to Get Them

For those interested in the partypoker NFTs, the collection will be available on the platform’s own native marketplace. This is the first of its kind in the online poker scene and thus presents a huge leap forward. It will be the primary place where the sale of partypoker’s NFTs will be happening.

There are also plans for a secondary marketplace that users can take advantage of to trace their digital currencies. Both marketplaces will not only be exciting places for partypoker customers to explore but it could also be a great entry point for NFT enthusiasts.

“Partypoker has established a history across 20 years full of great hands and epic poker moments that have happened during our live and online events. We are happy to give players the opportunity to own their very own piece of poker history in partnership with Theta. I am truly excited for partypoker to join the NFT space.”

Vadim Soloveychik, partypoker Director.

This pioneering NFT launch in the poker space is part of a much larger innovative initiative by Entain, partypoker’s parent company. Its partnership with Theta Labs also extends to other equally exciting projects. These include the upcoming launch of a brand-new innovation hub known as Ennovate in London. The innovation hub is set to invest millions of dollars in several tech projects across the continent. This could potentially extend to other markets in the near future.

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Online Poker Wish List for 2022

The past couple of years have been quite challenging, to say the least. This was especially true for the land-based gambling sector which had to deal with the measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Online gambling, on the other hand, did not suffer quite as much as, something that is easily proven by the stellar performance of various iGaming sectors.

Online poker is quite mature now but this does not mean that it has stopped growing. The vertical still benefits from several innovations and technological advancements as operators rush to meet the growing market demand. Crypto and blockchain stand out for being some of the most notable technologies that have been pushing poker forward.

However, they are not the only aspects that we are paying attention to in 2022. Here are some of the things that we are hoping for in the world of poker this year:

Interstate Poker in the United States

Traffic sharing is a pretty big deal in the world of online poker. Not only does it open the doors for soma amazing possibilities for the players but it also creates room for more growth for the poker operators. In the United States, the best way of achieving traffic sharing has been interstate poker.

As it stands, only WSOP (World Series of Poker) can share traffic in the country. Unfortunately, this is limited to Delaware New Jersey and Nevada which happen to be the smallest regulated online poker markets in the United States.

Keeping that in mind, it would be amazing if Michigan and Pennsylvania could also be part of this online poker network. These two have massive poker markets and their inclusion would be a big step for online poker in the country. Moreover, it would even be better if other operators other than WSOP could launch their networks. The top contenders in this regard would be PokerStars, partypoker and BetMGM Poker.

2022 might not be the year all this is achieved but, hopefully, even a single step in the right direction could begin the journey towards the online poker market of our dreams.

An Expanded Poker Market Maybe?

When it comes to legal online poker, we have made tremendous strides towards an expanded regulated market. Even so, only a handful of states have actually come on board. Poker enthusiasts in many other states have had to stick to offshore betting sites or even underground poker sites which come with their own set of cons.

For state authorities, one of the things we hope will be a key consideration will be the introduction of regulated, safe and reliable poker offerings in their states. Some discussions had already begun and we will be following closely to see how far they go.

All in all, 2022 will certainly be quite a year. Nothing is cast in stone and there are lots of possibilities. Happy new year!

betmgm-poker

BetMGM’s Online Poker App Now Available on Google Play Store

Finding real money gambling apps on official application stores has always been quite difficult. However, things are beginning to change especially for gamers who own Android-powered smartphones and tablets. Google has been changing some of its policies with regards to allowing real money betting apps on its platform – at least in some jurisdictions – and operators are starting to step up to take advantage of the changes.

In mid-March, BetMGM became the very first real money online poker app to become available on the Google Play store. This first became available to poker players in New Jersey who could now easily access the operator’s offerings right from their mobile devices.

More to Come

Now, the launch of an app on the Google Play store might seem to be much of a big deal especially considering how many social gaming apps are already available. However, real money gambling apps remained prohibited on the Google Play store for a very long time. This change thus marks a landmark shift for the gambling sector in various jurisdictions.

For the operators, the change means that they will now be able to deliver their services to even more people in a more streamlined and simple manner. Their customers will no longer have to download any installation files or use the mobile versions of their websites which are more often than not less polished when compared to native apps.

For the customers, there is likely to be even better gaming experiences. For instance, as the number of BetMGM’s poker app users continues to rise, the operator will work hard to retain them. As such, the players can expect more interesting features, design improvements, or optimizations as well as other value-additions to make their poker gaming adventures all the more engaging.

A Few Concerns

Naturally, the decision by Google to change some of its policies is accompanied by certain implications – most of these have already been pointed out by several concerned parties. By opening the floodgates, it could be safe to assume that the company is prepared to deal with all of the issues.

Perhaps one of the things that customers will need to be vigilant about is the proliferation of copycat apps on the application store. This has been a problem in the past but companies have found ways of dealing with it. Hopefully, BetMGM is already implementing mechanisms to make it stand out lest it gets confused with pretender apps.

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PokerStars Launches Its Operations in Michigan

Poker enthusiasts in Michigan have had to endure a long wait for the launch of online poker since online gambling was legalized in the state over a year ago. Well, the wait is finally over as Michigan has recently officially become the fifth state in the country to offer legal and regulated online poker. As expected, this is a pretty lucrative market and already some of the biggest brands in the sector have already made a play for the sector.

World-renowned online poker operator PokerStars became the very first poker brand to go live in Michigan. The company’s efforts to offer its world-class services in the state received the backing of FOX Bet and Stars Casino both of which are also pretty notable brands in the world of gambling.

For the venture in the newly-regulated online poker market, PokerStars and its affiliate companies partnered with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority.

A Rocky Start

There was of course a lot of excitement when PokerStars announced that its poker offerings would be coming to the state. However, a little adjustment period may have been needed as the company tried to figure out the new market and iron out a few bugs. On the first day of online poker gaming on the site, there were a few notable glitches.

These glitches mainly affected the users’ ability to add funds to their accounts which would have been disastrous at any other time. However, this has since been fixed and new players can go in with confidence that such issues will not taint their experiences.

PokerStars even went as far as offering some very exciting promotions to welcome poker lovers in Michigan to their new offering. The most memorable one was a 100 percent deposit bonus – the minimum amount required to claim this was however on the higher side at $600.

Very High Hopes for The Industry

As mentioned earlier, the state has very high hopes for the online poker industry and by extension the online gambling sector as a whole. PokerStars’ entry into the market makes things all the more exciting given its stellar reputation.

According to Richard Kalm, the executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, revenue generated from the newly launched sector will have a huge impact on several projects in the state. The money will go into such things as education, support for the tribal communities as well as further development of Detroit.

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Poker Players Capitalize on Bitcoin to Enhance Their Winnings

Bitcoin has been on a roll of late and it is not just crypto enthusiasts that have taken notice of the surge in the digital currency’s price. Now, several successful online gamblers have begun to capitalize on the bump by cashing out using Bitcoin from their favorite poker sites.

Some of the sites that this has been happening to include the AmericasCardroom.eu and its sister sites under the Winning Poker Network (WPN) umbrella. The renowned poker operator has had to buy millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin in recent weeks to cater to their users who want to cash out using the digital currency.

Winning Poker Networks Chief Executive Office Phil Naggy revealed that about 90 to 95 percent of their users are now asking for payouts in Bitcoin simply because of the rise in the cryptocurrency’s price.

“We are constantly having to go out and buy Bitcoin — lots. Lots. More than we’ve even had to before,” the CEO commented.

The high demand for Bitcoin is not entirely a new thing but it does represent some pretty interesting dynamics for the online poker sites that are involved as well as the iGaming industry as a whole.

Cause for Concern?

Even though the sites that are seeing the massive surge in Bitcoin payouts are not legally available in the United States, most of the customers are actually Americans. Now, offshore gambling is not entirely unheard of in many states even those where online poker is still illegal. However, since crypto is involved, much more can be read from the situation.

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is that crypto enthusiasts may be using the online poker platforms as a means to evade taxation. To put this into perspective, the Winning Poker Network which is based in Costa Rica does not regulate certain aspects of their customers’ activities. The most notable one in this regard is the winning and losses – the players are allowed to file their winnings and losses on their own. There is no guarantee that they will file the right figures in this case.

Moreover, the current activities also come with some issues for the online poker operators that have integrated crypto payment methods. Bitcoin is still not considered to be fully stable, at least not yet. That said, the operators are always stuck with it regardless of the situation. As Phil Nagy points out, in cases where Bitcoin’s price drops, their uses who have Bitcoin usually send them to the operator since this is more often than not the fastest way to liquidate the digital tokens.

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CoinPoker Shifts All of Its Tables to USDT

After announcing in mid-September that it would be switching to a stable coin as its main in-game currency, CoinPoker has finally followed through with those plans by integrating USDT. It becomes the very first online poker operator on the planet to pull off such as move, something that is expected to pay off quite decently in both the short and long terms.

USDT, otherwise known as Tether, has been breaking records for quite some time now. In fact, it is widely considered to have a lot to do with the most innovative developments in the digital currency space since the conception of Bitcoin in the late noughties. The currency has grown so popular that even banks might start to consider it as a normal payment option in the near future.

Keeping all that in mind, it is not too surprising that CoinPoker has seen the potential of the digital currency. Perhaps the most compelling reason for the adoption of USDT is the fact that it offers a solution to the prevailing volatility problem that continued to plague a number of digital currencies. A stablecoin also creates room for accelerated growth, something that CoinPoker certainly needs in order to achieve its very ambitious growth plans.

The biggest perks that CoinPoker will be getting from USDT include stability, better transaction speeds as well as reliability. All of these are valued features among the members of the poker community and their existence will certainly make the site an attractive option for even more gamblers.

What About CHP?

Despite the fact that USDT will be taking over as the main in-game digital currency on CoinPoker, CHP which is the operator’s digital token will remain in place. According to CoinPoker, “CHP is the currency of the CoinPoker economy, and it will stay this way, except stronger than before.” The company still has some pretty huge plans for the token especially with regards to bringing customers more perks.

Using CHP will not be forced down the throats of the customers but those who choose to use it will gain special access to some exclusive perks and benefits. These will include such things withdrawal fee discounts, dedicated promotions, giveaways, special games, and special access to the sportsbook as well as rakeback. In addition to those, players who will be using CHP will also get 50% more Leaderboard points.

This is a pretty huge leap forward for CoinPoker, the crypto community, and the online poker community. Players can already join the action using fiat, BTC, or ETH if they do not have USDT yet – the in-app currency conversion really comes in handy here.