Weekly Poker Roundup: October 2, 2017
PokerStars Power Up Keeps Evolving
PokerStars continues to conduct its public Alpha test of Power Up, the sort of poker/Hearthstone crazy hybrid game. It only keeps the game up for a limited period of time before taking it down for adjustments, and while it is not in the lobby right now, the latest active period saw a number of changes made to the game.
The powers and their energy costs are still the same, but this go around, players only begin the game with two powers, rather than three. The maximum number of powers that can be held at one time is still three, it’s just that the third won’t come until the second hand (provided a player does not use one in the first hand). Maximum energy that can be stored is now down to 15, as well, from the previous cap of 20.
Starting stacks are down, too, to 2,000 chips from 2,500. Blind levels begin at 40/80 and increase every five hands when there are three people in the game and every six hands when the match is heads-up. Previously, blinds increased every seven hands, regardless of how many players remained.
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Gets International Gaming License
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma recently announced that it has been granted an online gaming license by Isle of Man regulators, meaning that we could see the launch of the Tribe’s real-money online poker site, PokerTribe.com, in the near future.
The site has been active for play money since last year, but the real-money launch has been delayed since August 1st, 2016. When the Iowas, working with developer Universal Entertainment Group (UEG), originally began their push to bring the site to life, Oklahoma regulators claimed the Tribe was violating state and federal gaming laws. But an independent arbitrator ruled in favor of the Tribe and, in turn, so did a judge last spring. The Iowas said the real-money site would launch August 1st of last year, but pushed it back, citing the desire to make sure everything was done perfectly.
The Iowa Tribe has said the real-money launch will happen this fall and that it is closing in on a deal to sell the software company owned by the Tribe and UEG to “an internationally-recognized company.” Of course, the question to be answered will be if PokerTribe.com will actually get any traffic in a sea of established competitors.
Portland Poker Rooms Under Fire
The battle between the state of Oregon and Portland poker rooms continues, as rival gambling forces have gotten the state to crack down on the popular poker venues that may be technically operating illegally. Recently, the Oregon Lottery has become an enforcement arm, cancelling the video lottery terminal contract of the Portland Meadows racetrack for structuring its poker room in a way that the Lottery sees as violating the law.
Portland poker rooms are already not permitted to charge a rake or pay dealers, so the rooms charge a cover to enter the club and dealers rely on tips. Following an undercover police investigation, the Oregon Lottery has really come at Portland Downs, saying that the poker room can’t even have “designated dealers” and must have players self-deal, that by taking entry fees for tournaments, the venue as acting as a “house bank,” and that by NOT charging non-poker players a $15 cover to enter the premises, Portland Downs is effectively charging people to play poker. It all sounds like so much fun, I know.
As such, the Oregon Lottery has cancelled its contract with Portland Downs that permitted the racetrack to have ten video lottery terminals. These terminals generated almost $350,000 for Portland Meadows last year and $1.83 million for the state of Oregon. Portland Meadows has until October 30th to file a petition for judicial review.
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