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PokerStars Begins Testing Poker Side Bets

Over the years, PokerStars has been known for being one of the most innovative online poker operators on the planet. All of the poker operator’s efforts are motivated by the need to give its customers the best possible experience at the poker tables. With its next project, PokerStars intends to give its customers the opportunity to bet against the house on what cards are coming. This new side bets feature is definitely going to resonate well with gamblers who are looking for more ways of spreading their wagers around.

Side bets are not an entirely new concept for PokerStars. The operator has been mixing casino-style gambling with partially skill-based games in a number of their tournaments. Its Spin & Go tournaments are a great example of this.

How Side Bets Work

As mentioned earlier, side bets are a special kind of bet since unlike the skill-based gaming that poker players indulge in, they involve the players betting against the house instead of betting against each other. To avoid the impact of the actual play at the poker tables, the money used for making these side bets do not come from the player’s stacks at the table. The money will come from the players’ account balances.

Since they are totally based on luck, side bets doe not require any form of skill to play. This will make them an interesting addition to the PokerStars poker tables. It is speculated that there will be Return-To-Player (RTP) of 97.12 percent and 97.29 percent for side bets flops and side bets on hole cards respectively. The house advantages on these are pretty low which means that the interested players will stand better chances of making a killing from the side bets.

When Will It Arrive?

As of the time this piece was written, the side bets feature is only available on clients in the United Kingdom and the European Union. It is also only available at hold’em tables. The beta test of the feature has been shrouded in mystery but since it has stayed around for this long, it is safe to presume that the company is making some progress in that regard.

No details have emerged from PokerStars regarding any timeframes for the unveiling of the feature to more markets across the globe. However, given the online poker operators’ massive presence in several states in the US and other countries, there is some certainty that players in those areas will be able to enjoy using the new feature when it is rolled out. Get ready for even more action at the poker tables.

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The World of Crypto and Poker in 2020 And Beyond

Poker remains to be one of the most popular games on the planet and this is set to be the case for a very long time. No other games come even close to offering the thrill and excitement that poker offers its customers. Now, things are about to get even better thanks to the entry and subsequent integration of crypto technology.

While digital currencies and the associated technologies are still seen as novelties by many people, they have evolved tremendously over the years to become among the most popular topics on the planet. A revolution in the way that we perform transactions is imminent and one of the industries that will benefit will be the gambling industry. This is because the sector was among the very first ones to adopt crypto technologies in a bid to improve service delivery. The gaming industry has capitalized on the benefits that can be derived from the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well as supporting technologies such as the blockchain and smart contracts.

How Will It Impact Online Poker?

Already, there are a decent number of online poker operators that are utilizing digital currencies. These companies are now essentially proof of concept for the benefits of using crypto for banking. Some of the most marketed benefits include security, safety, speed, flexibility, and even anonymity. Decentralization plays a huge part in this and it ties in very well with the accessibility that online poker operators are working hard to keep offering.

The shift towards online poker operations that support crypto payments has already begun albeit on a rather small scale – it is picking up the pace though. Digital currencies may have grown tremendously popular but there has been a bit of a slowdown in terms of mainstream rollout. The gaming industry does not seem to be suffering from the same problem since it is known for being very experimental as an early adopter of technologies.

Giving Users Full Control

At the end of the day, this seems to be the most important factor for many online poker players. By eliminating the middleman, online poker operators will allow the users to have more control over how they spend their money. Speed, safety and security are the core consideration in this case. A number of projects were already in the pipeline by the time 2019 was coming to an end with more set to come into play this year. There are lots of crypto-powered online poker sites available right now. You might want to get acquainted with them as soon as possible. Why? They are the future.

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PokerStars Goes Live in Pennsylvania

Online poker has been one of the most anticipated pieces of the Keystone State’s expanded gambling plans. After months of waiting and several setbacks, the online poker industry is finally set to kick off with the launch of PokerStars’ online poker room. The poker operator which is best known as one of the world’s leading online poker operators will be starting off its Pennsylvanian operations with the launch of a toned-down version of its poker site. This is because the launch which is scheduled for November 4 will be a soft-launch and will, therefore, involve a few tests that will be overseen by the PGCB.

Licensed Under Mount Airy

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has already stated that its staff members are ready to oversee the test launch of an online gaming site. While the boar’s spokesperson did not reveal any specific details about the yet-to-be-launched online gambling operation, he did mention that the operation is licensed under Mount Airy Casino.

If you have been keeping an eye on the Keystone State gambling expansion, then you already know that Mount Airy is the official land-based casino partner of PokerStars.

Public Tests

The state’s gambling laws require all regulated operations to undergo a public test period before the official launch. During the test period, the regulator will be tasked with determining whether PokerStars is a good fit for the market and if it is it will be given the green light for a full launch. Some of the aspects that will be evaluated include the geolocation tools that are used by the operator as well as the fairness fo the games offered.

This test phase will last for two to three days after which the regulator will deliver a verdict regarding whether the operator can launch full operations or not. There is quite a bit of optimism that PokerStars will pass the tests. After all, it already has experience in the business and therefore it will certainly utilize this in the state. If all goes well, by next week Pennsylvanian poker enthusiasts will have full access to a robust and fully-featured online poker offering.

Is Mobile Gaming on the Way?

Unfortunately, there is no information suggesting that PokerStars is even thinking of a mobile poker app for the Pennsylvanian market. While the online poker site is definitely going to be responsive enough to work across a wide range of devices, mobile gaming has been gaining a lot of popularity in the state. More and more people are switching to available gambling apps and hopefully, there will be a mobile poker option. While there is no mention of the app and considering PokerStars’ history of starting things off with online gambling, it should not be long before something comes up. Keep your fingers crossed.

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MPN’s Closure and Its Impact on The Industry

Mid last month, Microgaming announced that the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) would be closing permanently in either the second or third quarter of 2020. The MPN has been running for 16 years now and it has been serving a number of top poker rooms from all around the world. Despite this, Microgaming made the tough decision to pull the plug citing a number of issues that had cropped up.

On Friday, September 20, the Isle of Man-based gaming solutions provider issued a press release that confirmed the rumors pertaining to the closure of the network which had been floating around for weeks. The press released confirmed that the company had indeed made the decision to ax the Microgaming Poker Network. As it turns out, the decision was made after the intensive internal review. This review, in one way or the other, contributed to the conclusion that the MPN was no longer a fully viable venture in the current era.

According to Microgaming’s CEO John Coleman, the poker network model no longer fits into the company’s strategic vision for poker. There was no better time of the company to announce the closure of the network as it shifts its focus to “redistributing key resources and personnel across the business.”

Fortunately, the closure of the MPN does not mean that Microgaming is ending its relation to the game. Instead, the move is intended to assist the company to follow a new strategic direction for the poker vertical. Details of their next move in this regard will be released in due course.

Lessons Learnt

Needless to say, the Microgaming Poker Network was arguably one of the healthiest and most profitable networks during its heyday. While its traffic did not match other big poker sites such as partypoker or PokerStars, it was able to hold its own. This was very impressive. Unfortunately, in recent years, the poker network has been having a bit of trouble especially with regards to traffic.

Times have changed and it seems Microgaming is only trying to adjust to this fact. As mentioned earlier, the company still has some very big plans for poker but it will be pursuing the venture using a totally different strategy. These are very hard times for veteran poker networks and therefore it is important for companies to be very innovative about the products they offer.

It is likely that the Microgaming Poker Network will not be the only poker network that has faced some of the difficulties highlighted here. That said, it is going to be very interesting to see how they will adjust to the new reality.

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A Review of Blockchain Poker: Is This It?

Online gambling has been around for a very long time now but the level of innovation in the sector puts many other industries to shame. This is mostly because the gambling industry has shown time and time again that it is more than willing to try out new and risky ideas in a bid to appeal to the newer generation of players while at the same time cashing in on new gaming verticals.

Some of the areas where online poker and online casinos have been focusing on in the past couple of years include digital currencies and blockchain technology. At this point in time, it would be an understatement to say that the blockchain has had its fair share of success with online gambling. In fact, the technology has solved so many issues that previously plagued online gambling activities – these include such aspects as biased gameplay, unfairness by some operators, lag timings and even slow transactions, all of which have now been improved significantly.

That said, more and more blockchain-powered gaming applications are beginning to rise and Blockchain Poker is one of the more interesting ones that players will come across on the internet. Not only is this online platform a great place to try out your luck at gambling but it is also a near-perfect version of the older generation of online casinos. In other words, it delivers on some very vital promises. For instance, all the transactions are secured, not biased in any way and are very secure.

What It Offers

Transaction speeds aside, Blockchain Poker gives poker players the opportunity to play using bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin SV (BSV) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). In essences, the blockchain-powered online gambling platform was “built to be a fun, easy way to help get more people using Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Bitcoin SV (BSV)!”

Unsurprisingly, while this platform is geared towards giving poker players the convenience of playing on an improved version of an online gambling site, the aim of the project is to facilitate further growth of the crypto community and ecosystem. What better way to do this than by showing people just how useful blockchain applications can be?

More Features

One of the most notable features that Blockchain Poker offers is the ability to instantly enter into No-Limit Texas Hold’em cash games or tournament using bitcoin. For these games, anonymity is guaranteed since the players are not required to sign up. The platform further award free satoshis to new players.

Moreover, Blockchain Poker also offers some very lucrative rake caps and rake backs thus giving the players a better chance to build their bankroll.

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SwC Poker: The World’s First True Bitcoin-Only Poker Game

As much as the crypto buzz may have dwindled a little over the last few months, there are still tons of innovative ideas being floated around and implemented in a bid to get both blockchain and digital currencies to be massively adopted. The use-cases have grown immensely but there is still a lot to be done in order to propel further growth which means that the industry needs all the help it can get. Fortunately, one of the industries that have been taking the concept of bitcoin and blockchain very seriously has been the gambling industry.

However, despite all the innovations in the crypto-gambling scene, most operators have been forced to keep one foot out of the fold – even though several online gambling websites have integrated crypto onto their platforms, very few of them have completely tokenized their services. Now, SwC Poker is changing the narrative by becoming the very first gambling service provider to go all in on bitcoin gambling with the tag line “No Banking, Only Bitcoin”.

Bitcoin 3.0

Launched in March 2015 following the shutdown of SealsWithClubs over some ethical issues, SwC Poker builds upon its predecessor’s ethos as well as data which included usernames and krill amounts. This basically means that some of the things that the site focuses on are anonymity, fast cashouts, and, of course, significantly low rakes. The concept of decentralization is also very important to the internet-based organization which has its server geographically distributed across the US hence its popularity among crypto enthusiasts and online poker players.

Moreover, in November last year, the company relaunched the amazing “Bitcoin Poker 3.0” and since then its customers have been treated to one of the most stable online poker experiences. Regardless of whichever device or operating system you may be using, the poker experience will be nothing short of exceptional.

Not only is the site now accessible from virtually anywhere in the world, but is also much easier to register on it and begin playing. As expected, in addition to a robust web-based client, the online poker platform also offers the users the luxury of downloading platform-specific software and apps – the experience is, fortunately, streamlined across all of the devices.

To register, all that is required is an email address but even though the site puts a lot of emphasis on anonymity, it also offers two-factor authentication for some important actions like making withdrawal or logging in.

Some of the other features that players should look forward to including 24/7 freerolls, a number of lucrative tournaments as well as the recently introduced Bad Beat Jackpot – the latter is a no-limit hold’em cash game that builds a jackpot fund using the normal rake amounts.

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Is BTC Gambling Still a Lucrative Investment Opportunity?

Bitcoin and digital currencies, in general, have become quite appealing as business prospects which was not the case just a couple of months back. Despite recent declines in the overall value of most digital currencies, the crypto industry is on a rather consistent upward trend. In many ways, the industry has seemingly gotten to the point where it can be said to be ripe for investment and exploration – a number of these are already underway. This is especially true for the gambling industry which is among the very first industries to adopt various crypto-related innovations. If history is anything is to go by, then this is a sign that crypto will be vital in the quest to boost returns for the gaming industry.

What 2019 Has in Store

Well, according to a number of experts, 2019 is going to be the year of next level application of bitcoin, and other digital currencies, in the gambling market. These projections mainly rely on the trends and forecasts for both markets that indicate several extensive changes that will come into effect by the second quarter of the year. This steady growth trend is expected to go on for the next two years with the areas expected to see the most changes being mobile gaming, sports betting and live online gaming.

Online casinos and online poker operators stand to reap the most from the integration of crypto technology and mainstream consumer technology. The trends indicated by these projections and forecasts are going to peak in 2019 which means that we might actually get to see fully-fledged applications taking advantage of the untapped potential of the crypto market. That said, it is safe to conclude that despite the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency space, it was always bound to rise above all that.

Blockchain Poker Tournaments

Last year we got to see the very first blockchain poker tournament that highlighted the three-day World Crypto Conference and was hosted by Las Vegas-based Aria casino. The tournament brought together live poker action that was powered by blockchain technology, making it the first to show off the full potential of blockchain and crypto technology in the gambling space. Poker players should expect more of these in 2019.

Prior to the inaugural blockchain poker tournament, there were already a number of established online poker brands including Virtue Poker that were already using decentralized smart contracts to manage their data. Even though the technology is still far from being perfected, players have grown to love the idea of their data and gaming application being managed by decentralized platforms primarily because the technology helps in reducing the possibility of site fixing and the use of poker bots.

Treasure Island’s Poker Room Closes

A Las Vegas poker institution is shutting it’s doors, and the local gaming market just won’t be the same without it. Unable to compete with the big boys, Treasure Island has permanently closed, leaving 17 other poker rooms on the Las Vegas strip.

Too Much Competition

There are only seven tables at the Treasure Island poker room, which certainly pales in comparison to places like Rio and Wynn that have huge venues to host thousands of players and large tournaments. The only games that were run at Treasure Island were $1/$3 no-limit hold’em games, which was limiting for the potential player base.

In recent years, the venue didn’t host a summer poker series. This is likely because bigger venues had more prestigious tournaments on offer. However, there were daily tournaments available, the most recent of which had a $45 buy-in and a $250 guaranteed top prize. Still, these types of tournaments just weren’t enticing for players and Treasure Island was unable to maintain a steady stream of players and runners.

Treasure Island simply couldn’t stay competitive with the rest of the casinos that offer poker on the Las Vegas strip. It’s unfortunate, but a harsh reality that venues in Sin City have to face. There is fierce competition in Las Vegas, and if you can’t keep up, you’ll have to close down. Over a dozen other poker rooms still remain, so players should have no problem finding another venue.

History of Treasure Island

The Treasure Island poker room originally opened in 2006 under the management of MGM. There were eight poker tables available, and it was a destination for players who wanted to experience niche games like badugi and crazy pineapple. Over the years, however, the selection of games became watered down and, as we mentioned above, there only typical Texas Hold’em games were table.

The Treasure Island poker room was known for its quaint interior. However, it also had that gritty feel to it that you would expect from a home game with high rollers. There was definitely something unique about the venue, and players who frequented it will certainly miss its presence on the strip.

Now, there are 17 poker rooms available in downtown Las Vegas. The best known destinations are the Bellagio and ARIA, both of which are world-renowned for their luxurious designs and the prestigious tournaments that they hold.

It is unlikely that another poker room will take the place of Treasure Island’s. With nearly 20 places to play poker on the Las Vegas Strip, there really is too much competition for another venue to open up and experience significant success.

Nevada Poker Revenue Way Up

Nevada’s poker market has experienced some big wins lately, as the state has raked in record revenue in June. Revenues have been climbing since the start of the year, and now they are the highest that they have been in almost a decade.

Record-Breaking Revenue

Throughout the month of June, poker rooms throughout Nevada accumulate $17.8 million in revenue, according to documents released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The only time that poker profits have exceed $17 million was in 2007, when they reached just over $17.6 million – so, if things keep going this well, poker in Nevada could see it’s highest-ever profits this year.

The World Series of Poker recently visited Nevada, which is the likely reason for this rise in poker earnings. Over 100 000 poker players came from around the world to play in the tournament, and many spent their spare time at cash game tables. Many players who bust out of the tournament early will end up playing cash games for the rest of the tournament at casinos both on the Las Vegas strip and throughout the rest of the state.

Other games across the state have also seen a jump in revenue, with table games earning an extra 15% over the course of the month for total earnings of $339 million. On the other hand, slots haven’t been performing particularly well, as they saw a 3.3% drop in profits.

Good News for Nevada, Bad News for Las Vegas

Las Vegas casinos also enjoyed a good start to 2018, but things have gone downhill quickly. While Nevada’s overall poker revenue has increased, Las Vegas’ gaming profits aren’t doing so well. Both MGM and Caesars have reported soft numbers for the month of June, which has caused casino stocks to fall by over 20%.

Operators have stated that this kind of decline is to be expected during the summer months. Tourists seem to avoid Las Vegas during this time, as the weather can be too hot too handle, and cooler months are when The Strip thrives.

Casino operators in the city are fighting this decline in profits by cutting costs for visitors. For example, MGM has reduced its room rates in hopes of attracting more guests. Some guests have cited paid parking and increased game odds as reasons why revenue has been on the decline, so it will be interesting to see if operators respond by making changes to those aspects.

Regardless of what the numbers say now, Las Vegas is still on track for a great year. With all of the recent developments with sports betting legislation, the city is sure to bring in extra revenue from punters who want to place wagers on their favourite sports teams.

Kardashians Host Charity Poker Tournament, Bitcoin Appears

The Kardashians hosted a charity poker tournament recently, and the event has been making headlines. However, while most blogs are interested in Kim’s weight loss and new haircut, we’re more focused on the inclusion of bitcoin.

Playing Poker for a Good Cause

The event was a lavish one, with sponsors paying up to $50 000 for a table. If you wanted to sit at a table next to a Kardashian, you could have to shell out $5000 to $7500 for a seat. All other players would be able to compete by paying $1000.

It was definitely a star-studded event, with plenty of celebrities making an appearance. January Jones, David Arquette and Meghan Trainor are just a few of the stars that showed up to compete on the felt. There were even some poker pros in attendance, including Phil Hellmuth, Ryan Feldman, and Brandon Cantu.

The event was in support of City of Hope, a leading research and treatment centre for life-threatening illnesses like cancer and diabetes. The organisation is a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and provides care to individuals in need while researching medical breakthroughs that could eliminate these diseases.

All in all, the event was a huge success. Over half a million dollars were raised for charity. The winners walked away with some impressive prizes as well, as first and second place received front row VIP tickets to see The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. Third place received a custom fitted set of golf clubs and fourth place earned a $17 000 diamond bracelet.

An Appearance from Bitcoin

One of the interesting things about this tournament is that bitcoin was in play. In an Instagram story posted by Kim Kardashian, she posted a photo of a bitcoin chip alongside her regular poker chips with a caption that read “We moved onto bitcoin!”.

The physical bitcoin was given to her by Matthew Roszak, the founder of Bloq – a company working on blockchain innovations. The small gift quickly started conversations around the world, as Reddit users suggested that this is a huge move for bitcoin. With Kim Kardashian adopting cryptocurrency, the market could get the mainstream push that it needs.

This isn’t the first time that bitcoin has made an appearance in the poker world. In fact, the Blockchain World Conference recently hosted the world’s first cryptocurrency poker tournament, where players were not only able to wager using digital money but also registered for the event with it.

Poker is emerging as one of the most desirable and viable partners for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Should these two markets continue to develop their relationship, it won’t be long before bitcoin is a major player in the online gaming world. It would be an important entry for cryptocurrency and the first step towards becoming mainstream.