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In this edition of our PokerGuru 3-Bet, we begin with the news of four PokerStars ambassadors coming up with three unique ways to give away platinum passes to the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) Bahamas as part of the PokerStars’ Platinum Pass Adventure.
Next, we move over to the rebranding of Poker Players Alliance as Poker Alliance and the revamp that the US based poker advocacy group has undergone to boost its financial structure and give a directional push to its efforts towards creating a platform for the advocacy of fair and regulated gaming in the country.
We will be wrapping up with the reported participation of 30 players in the closing tournament at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP), the $1 Million Big One For One Drop, that may outperform its earlier recorded participation to become the biggest event in the history of poker in terms of prize pool.
As part of its Platinum Pass Adventure, online poker mega-brand PokerStars has been raking in participation of its ambassadors for unique contests and challenges to give away the coveted $30,000 Platinum Passes for the PSPC to be hosted in the Bahamas in January 2019. The latest in the series are four PokerStars ambassadors, Jason Somerville, Jaime Staples, Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov.
The first of these, aptly titled Somerville’s Platinum Pass Adventure Program offers Twitch audience an opportunity to win a Platinum Pass. Starting from July 27, players can enter the program by sending details like their name, Twitch page, country of origin and a short paragraph about themselves to [email protected]. From there, streamers should start working on building their audience till November 15.
“If you need any help getting started with your streaming journey, we have a comprehensive guide on RunItUp.com and I am excited to see who gets involved and what these streams look like. I think it is going to be awesome for both poker and Twitch. Good luck everyone and I can’t wait to watch you guys out on the Twitch streets,” Somerville said.
Apart from an audience-selected Twitter poll, three finalists will be voted on by a panel of judges that will include Somerville himself and steaming gurus Lex Veldhuis, Kevin Martin, Jaime Staples, Ben “Spraggy” Spragg, Jeff Gross, and Fintan Hand. The final three should have logged a minimum of 150 broadcast hours before November 15, with a majority of games being played on PokerStars. The winner will be selected on basis of his ability to fulfill the role of ‘Twitch Poker Ambassador’, his average concurrent viewers, chat interaction, live cash and additional hours of broadcast.
PokerStars ambassador Staples who dropped more than 100 pounds in a single year is offering poker players a chance to win a coveted platinum pass via his ‘Your Ultimate Sweat’.
Staples wants people who join in to decide on a goal for their own ultimate sweat that could be anywhere from losing weight, gaining muscle, learning an instrument, reading a book a day, and so on.
Competitors will have to submit a video between July 1 and July 15 highlighting their chosen sweat challenge both on Twitter using the hashtag #myultimatesweat and email the same to [email protected] The video should have them describe their challenge, plan to accomplish it, measurable benchmarks and timelines for updates on progress.
Winners will be chosen based on their personality and creativity, frequency of updates, level of difficulty and goal achievement. They will have to give weekly updates via Twitter and finally between October 8 – 15, they will need to submit another, 90-seconds or less video summing up their results and process. After top five contenders are chosen, a panel comprising of Matt Staples, Chris Staples, Mike Vacanti, Bill Perkins, Jeff Gross, Mike McDonald, Lex Veldhuis, and Kevin Martin will rate the entries.
Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov have come up with ‘The Next Great Poker Brain’ challenge requiring players to do some ‘mental gymnastics’.
“What we’ve always loved most about poker is the strategy of the game,” the two said. “It constantly challenges you to think deeply, which translates to better decision-making in everyday life.”
There will be a preliminary quiz round, on July 18, August 8, August 29 and September 19, each featuring a different quiz testing skills of players necessary for the poker tables.
The top ten scorers across the first four rounds will advance to a final quiz round on October 3rd with the structure to be announced later. All the quizzes will be timed, and in case of a tied score, the player with the fastest time will advance. The two highest scorers of the final quiz will win the free platinum pass.
Returning as a form of corporate backing, the poker-focused lobbying and research group, Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has been rebranded as Poker Alliance (PA).
In its new avatar, the largest US-based poker advocacy group will be headed by longtime business development and government relations executive, Mark Brenner and will seek to build further on its 13 years of work alongside policy makers, journalists and industry partners towards serving as the unified voice for millions of US citizens in support of fair, safe and regulated gaming across the country.
For the PPA that has off late lost its financial footing, the rebranding move laced with a new corporate structure is a crucial step to keep the boat afloat. Instead of relying on funding from membership, PA will rake in funding from industry participants including online poker-content streaming company Poker Centralas well as one of the many businesses, resorts, hotels, casinos, gaming applications or platforms.
Talking about the rebranding, PPA’s outgoing Executive Director Rich Muny said,“One benefit to this new structure is that we no longer have a financial reliance on membership. We continue to serve members and only ask for their grassroots support.”
Right from its inception in 2005, PPA was operating on 99% corporate-backing until the last of its earlier corporate backers, PokerStars pulled out its support at the end of 2017. A fund-raising effort by Muny to raise $25,000 for short term operational needs in March 2018 failed and netted only about a fourth of the target.
One of the reasons cited for the poor response was a collective player-based resentment that had to do with the group’s claims to be a grassroots player-based group but allegedly acting more in interest of its corporate benefactors.
Muny as well as former PPA President John Pappas who stepped down in February 2018 will continue their relationship with PA in an advisory role for at least the next three months. The fate of the remainder of PPA’s board of directors, some of whom have served on the board since 2005 has not been announced yet.
The last bracelet tournament scheduled for the 2018 WSOP, Event #78: The Big One for One Drop- $1,000,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em may see participation of a big number this year and is also likely to be the most significant event in the history of poker.
According to the WSOP, 30 players have already confirmed and committed their participation in the grand event that entails a buy-in of $1 Million.
In a press release, WSOP came out with a list, revealing only 15 names and this included poker luminaries like Daniel Negreanu, Bryn Kenney, Jason Koon, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Rick Salomon, Leon Tsoukernik, Rainer Kempe, Antonio Esfandiari, Nick Petrangelo, Christoph Vogelsang, Adrian Mateos, Talal Shakerchi, Steffen Sontheimer andDominik Nitsche.
While WSOP is keeping the poker fraternity guessing by not revealing the remaining 15 names, the grapevine has it that this year’s participation roll in the event will cross well beyond 30. If rumors are to be believed, 48 players may enter the tournament, taking the prize pool to a record-breaking $44,160,000!
Eight percent of the total buy-in goes to the One Drop Foundation and from 2012 to 2018, the WSOP and One Drop Foundation have collaborated in 15 events pulling in participation of 12,000 players to raise $20 Million for charity and positively affect more than 170,000 lives.
Anyone interested in appearing in the event can take up the live satellites at Rio from July 14 onwards, with $10,300 feeder satellites for the $100,500 Mega Satellites. In addition, MGM Resorts International is providing a seat through their MGMRI Big 3 Poker Invitational initiative.