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The online gaming circuit has been blown away by big winds of change and there is big news coming in from the major stakeholders of the global gaming market.
Introducing new game variants seems to be the mantra for PokerStars this year but not all has been going well in that direction. A month after ‘Unfold’, a variant of Texas Hold ‘em where the player had the option of unfolding his cards under certain conditions, was introduced, it is now being shelved.
On partypoker, players can now join the $500,000 Millions Passport promotion that opened to online satellites on September 10 and will continue till September 30. Satellite winners will win entry to the $5,300 buy-in, $20M Guaranteed Millions Online tournament that offers a gateway for them to compete in live high-stakes poker events across various global destinations.
Meanwhile the online poker community saw another shocker coming their way when 888poker acknowledged that disruptions on the site earlier this month were due to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which has cast a shadow on the upcoming XL Eclipse series.
PokerStars has been rolling out new poker variants at frequent intervals this year and ‘Unfold’ was touted as another of its super innovative variants, introduced not long after cash game innovation ‘Fusion’ was launched on PokerStars’ global client. As quickly as it was launched however, Unfold is on its way out.
“Following a strategic review, we have made the decision to fold ‘Unfold,” said Severin Rasset, director of Poker Innovation and Operations in PokerStars. Unfold was to be shelved on Monday but is yet to be removed.
PokerStars has, in the past toyed with the idea of allowing mucked cards back in the hand. The concept was to be included as one of the power cards in PokerStars ‘Power Up’ game, but the feature never made it to the final version of the game.
Unfold was designed to be a permanent offering on the PokerStars client and allowed a player to pay to unfold his cards if he or she was determined that the flop was actually suitable.
PokerStars labeled Unfold as a way to “add a fun twist to poker,” and introduced it initially to the Danish market on August 1, followed by other markets a day later.
Rasset had, talking about the game’s launch on the PokerStars blog stated, “The common goal of these innovations is [to] continue to maintain a high level of engagement from our active players, to reactivate players that may be tired of playing poker as it is today, and to speak to potential players that haven’t discovered the game yet.”
Clearly, like its two preceding Texas Hold ‘em variants launched this year- Showtime Hold ‘em and Split Hold ‘em, Unfold hasn’t gathered the much needed momentum on the popularity chart for it to remain on PokerStars.
Popular online poker portal partypoker has, as part of its Millions tournament series, launched a new online poker promotion – $500,000 Millions Passport, offering winners of online satellites the opportunity to compete in live high-stakes poker events across various global destinations. The Passport package promotion kicked off on September 10 and will run till the month-end, while the package will remain valid till December 31, 2019.
As part of the promotion, a number of online satellites will be run through the coming weeks, till September 30. The satellites offer a cheaper way for players to enter the $20M Millions Online tournament that has been billed as the largest online poker tournament ever to be recorded.
partypoker has laid out definitive terms and criteria for players to be eligible to win the package. Players need to first win a seat to the November Online event by participating in the satellites running this month. Next, they should win the $20 Million GTD Millions tournament that runs from November 25 to December 5.
The Passport package includes buy-ins for Main Events, High Rollers and Super High Rollers to the Millions series, in addition to travel expenses for two people to poker venues, $5,000 in spending money for each event and luxury hotel accommodations for two people at each event.
In addition, the player making the deepest run will win a Passport package valued at $25,000, covering only event buy-ins.
The partypoker Millions Online event this year promises a prize pool that is four times bigger than the $5 Million in 2017, and the top four winners will receive payouts in the seven figure range.
September is usually the busiest month of the year in online poker and close on the heels of the ChampionChips tournament series at 888poker, the online poker site’s much-awaited XL Eclipse series is about to kick off this Thursday. It has now come to light that 888poker has suffered a series of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
888poker has been facing major connection issues since September 5 and while the company was initially quiet about the technical glitches causing these problems for users, through the past weekend the site emailed its customers, acknowledging that it had suffered DDoS attacks.
Confirming this further in midst of a TwoPlusTwo thread on Wednesday, a 888 representative said, “As many of you may already know, we have experienced intermittent disruptions of our service to you due to DDoS attacks. This has affected our ability to provide you with a comprehensive poker experience. On behalf of the team, I apologise for the inconvenience caused and want you to know that the entire 888poker Team continues to work diligently to mitigate these attacks.”
He added, “Addressing technical issues, outstanding member concerns and restoring normality to our poker room is our top priority. As you can imagine, our contact volumes are much higher than usual; therefore there may be delays in our responses. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to work to get our service to you.”
888poker is not the only site to come under the recent DDoS onslaught. In August, online tournaments were disrupted on both PokerStars and partypoker owing to DDoS attacks. On PokerStars, many players were unable to connect midway through tournaments. Apart from refunding their buy-in amounts, PokerStars later announced freerolls to compensate the affected players.
With the 888poker XL Eclipse headlined by a $1 Million GTD Main Event slated to kick off soon, the DDoS attacks have certainly cast a shadow of doubt over the smooth run of the series.