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Industry News

by Brendan Murray |  Published: May 01, 2011


Poker Revenue Down At
portingbet Plc has issued its financial results for the first six months of its 2010/11 financial year ending January 31, 2011.
Net poker revenue in the second quarter (Nov. to Jan. 2011) at its online poker business, Paradise Poker, was down 36 percent to £3.6 million compared to £5.6 million in the same period last year.
The company said this was a result of “economic conditions [which] affected our players and our product has proved uncompetitive compared to the poker sites that still accept US based players.
“The poker market remains challenging as the environment is very competitive due to the large US-facing companies continuing to utilise their significant US cash flows and high liquidity to aggressively target the European region.”
In the six months to end January 2011 net poker revenue dropped to £9.8 million from £7.1 million a year earlier.

Revenue Declines At PartyPoker
Poker revenue continued to fall at PartyGaming Plc in 2010 with full-year gross revenue down 4 percent to €166.7 million from €174.4 million in 2009.
Net revenue was down 9 percent to €124.8 million from €136.8 million a year earlier.
Key performance indicators show active player days up 1 percent to 18.5 million, yield per active player day down 9 percent to €6.7 million, and new real money sign-ups rising 7 percent.
In the first two months of 2011 some key performance indicators were showing improvement with new poker player sign-ups up to an average of 1,905 per day compared to 1,853 in the final quarter of 2010. Average active poker players were 52,400 active compared to 50,400 in the last three months of 2010 and average gross daily revenue for poker was €452,600 compared to €440,200 in the final quarter of 2010.
In 2010 the company said it captured 14 percent of the French poker market post-regulation and average daily revenues there increased 220 percent before gaming taxes and 77 percent after gaming taxes compared to the second half of 2009.
This full year financial report will be PartyGaming’s last before it merges with Austro-German betting giant bwin.

PokerStars Launches Belgian Poker Site has launched a Belgian poker site in conjunction with bricks and mortar casino company Circus Groupe. is regulated by the Belgian Gaming Commission.
The new poker client will offer its own bonuses and promotions but there will be no first deposit bonus due to legal restrictions.
Also online poker players must be 21 to play at the site and existing .com players will be allowed continue to play there and will be migrated to the .be client at a later date.
Redbet Takes Over i4Poker
Redbet Holding, the Swedish-based online gaming operator, has acquired
The eastern European-facing online poker site is on the Entraction network and Redbet Gaming acquired it in an asset-based deal.
Jorgen Andersson, chief executive of Redbet said, “Through the acquisition of i4poker, Redbet strengthens its position in Eastern Europe, especially in Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
The acquisition is part of Redbet’s expansion strategy and the ongoing consolidation in the gaming industry opens up opportunities for Redbet to grow faster.”
The company already owns the Total Poker online brand.

Swedish Judges Get Poker Lesson
Swedish Supreme Court judges presiding over a legal case attempting to discern if poker is a game of skill or luck have had a detailed poker lesson from an expert player, according to Swedish press.
The judges must rule on the case which saw poker tournament organisers convicted of running a tournament in 2007 before their convictions were quashed on appeal.
The unnamed expert witness told a local newsagency that, “Courage, patience, experience, mathematical and psychological knowledge are some important characteristics [of poker],” while mathematician Erik Broman of Chalmers University of technology in Stockholm said poker encompassed a game built on skill and the chances of winning money in poker without some knowledge of the game are non-existent.
Ladbrokes Poker Revenue
Plunges 21 Percent
Ladbrokes Plc has announced its preliminary financial results for 2010 and for poker the reading was grim. Net revenue for poker fell 20.7 percent to £18.8 million from £23.7 million in 2009.
The number of active poker customers also plummeted by 27.7 percent compared to 2009. Meanwhile customer yield growth was 9.8 percent as customer acquisition numbers fell and VIP retention activity increased.
Overall the company, which also operates sportsbook, online bingo, and casino businesses saw group net revenue up 1.3 percent to £976.6 million and group operating profit up 20.1 percent to £202.3 million in 2010.
The company said in a statement that, “Revenue growth in Sportsbook, Casino and Bingo was partially offset by continued weakness in Poker where the market remains challenging.”
Ladbrokes Poker revenue has been in decline since 2007 when it fell 11.4 percent to £31 million.
In recent weeks Ladbrokes has been linked with merger talks to 888 and Playtech much to the chagrin of William Hill which has a significant online deal with Playtech. Hill’s sought and won an injunction agaist Playtech in the wake of the talks news breaking preventing Playtech from trying to alter the terms of the companies contractual arrangement.

Unibet Poker Falls 17 Percent
Unibet Plc, owner of Unibet Poker, saw poker revenue down 17.3 percent to £20.2 million in 2010 from £24.4 million in 2009.
Fourth quarter 2010 saw gross winning revenue for poker of £4.5 million compared to £6.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 – a drop of 33 percent.
However fourth quarter 2010 poker revenue was up 12 percent on the third quarter of 2010.
The company said in its annual report, “For Unibet Poker a strong global promotion schedule drove activity with a new single table tournament schedule and the innovative ‘Santa Box’ promotion. The Unibet Open continues its success as one of Europe’s leading poker tours with the events in Valencia with 361 players participating, and in London with 273 players from all over Europe and as always, strong media coverage.
“Unibet plans, subject to final business assessment of whether resources can better be used in other markets, to roll out poker on the platform during 2011.
The company launched its own Italian poker platform in December 2010 with tournament play available. These will be joined by cash games later in the year.

Betsson Poker Revenue Drops 19 Percent
Nordic gaming operator Betsson saw revenue from online poker fall 19 percent in 2010 to SEK106.7 million (€12 million) from SEK131.9 million (€14.8 million) in 2009.
Poker accounts for 6.8 percent of Betsson’s overall revenue, down from 10.1 percent in 2009, Casino accounts for 55.4 percent and sportsbook 32.7 percent.
Fourth quarter 2010 poker revenue amounted to SEK26.7 million down 15 percent on the SEK31.5 million taken in the fourth quarter of 2009 but up 9 percent on the SEK24.4 million registered in the third quarter of 2010.
In 2009 Betsson’s poker revenue also declined by 17 percent.

Entraction Poker Revenue 27
Percent Lower
Swedish gaming operator Entraction saw its online poker network revenue decline 27 percent in 2010 to SEK316.4 million (€35.8 million) from SEK435.7 million (€49.3 million) in 2009.
Revenue dropped 24 percent to SEK81.7 million from SEK106.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The company’s annual report stated that, “The growth of the poker market in Europe has stagnated primarily because revenue per player decreases. Entraction is therefore working to develop a new loyalty program designed to attract new recreational players, and increase and prolong the activity of these. The 4th quarter saw an increase in liquidity in the poker network, which also had a positive effect on poker turnover of turnkey customers.”
The number of registered players at the end of 2010 was 3.9 million, an increase of 100 percent on 2009. The number of active players during the fourth quarter was 165,825 an increase of 13 percent on 2009.
During 2010 the company signed up Victor Chandler Poker as a client and Paradise Poker’s Canadian players also joined the network.

Sunday Million Fifth
The $5 million guaranteed, fifth anniversary PokerStars Sunday Million took place in early March and the numbers were staggering. A total of 59,128 players ponied up $215, creating a prize pool of nearly $12 million.
Online grinder Luke “Bdbeatslayer” Vrabel won the event after a nine-way deal at the final table. The players elected to leave the Lamborghini Gallardo, which PokerStars had thrown in as a prize, for the winner.
Here is a look at the final results:
First Luke “Bdbeatslayer” Vrabel $671,093.81
Second sheppyshape $465,647.02
Third wrzr123 $844,209.87
Fourth guccyka $411,090.13
Fifth Syndrome1977 $799,842.09
Sixth zeurrr $518,402.33
Seventh nhar818 $441,541.06
Eighth Jan10004 $311,023.33
Ninth Battmeister $263,888.06

Viktor Blom’s Wild Ride
In early March Viktor “Isildur1” Blom was having his best week yet since joining PokerStars in late December, but just a few days later he had given nearly everything back.
The young Swede started his week off with a win of $350,000 against Dan “w00ki3z” Cates in a session consisting of 2,000 hands of $25-$50 pot-limit Omaha. The duo were playing super deepstacked in the match, and that came to benefit Blom in this 3,400-big-blind cooler:
The action started when Cates raised to $150 with the A♠ J♣ 2♣ 3♥. Blom three-bet to $450 holding the 10♥ 9♦ 7♣ 3♣, and Cates called. The flop came 9♥ 3♦ 3♠, giving Blom the second nuts, and he led out with $900. Cates raised to $2,000, Blom made it $4,450, Cates five-bet to $8,900, and Blom wasn’t satisfied, six-betting to $18,800. Cates ended things by calling.
The turn brought the 2♥, giving Cates a coolered full house. Blom bet $16,670, and Cates made the call. The 5♠ fell on the river, and Blom put his opponent all in for about $50,000. Cates called and mucked when Blom exposed his superior full house. Blom raked in the massive $170,000 pot.
After crushing Cates for 68 buy-ins at $25-$50, Blom faced off against Scott “urnotindangr” Palmer. The pair battled across four tables of $50-$100 pot-limit Omaha, and the action was aggressive as they elected to do a mandatory three-bet every hand. Even though Blom didn’t win any pots worth more than six figures, he ended the session up more than $600,000 in less than 800 hands.
Despite winning more than $1 million from Friday to Monday, Blom managed to dump more than $700,000 on the Tuesday night in a session of $100-$200 pot-limit Omaha against unknown “gavz101”. The loss erases all of Blom’s profits on the year, and also halts his biggest upswing since reemerging onto the scene after his PokerStars sponsorship.
Other nosebleed regulars who saw action in early March include Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond, who won nearly $500,000 playing $100-$200 six-max pot-limit Omaha, and Ashton “theASHMAN103” Griffin (+$100,000). ♠

Blom Beats
Katchalov In Showdown
Graphic here if needed –
Team PokerStars Pro Viktor “Isildur1” Blom defeated Eugene “MyRabbiFoo” Katchalov in the fourth installment of the SuperStar Showdown in mid-February.
The four-hour match, which consisted of 2,500 hands played across four $50-$100 no-limit hold’em tables, ended in a win of $111,750 for 20-year-old Blom.
The largest hand of the contest was a $62,500 cooler that went in the Swede’s favor. On a board of J♦ 3♣ 2♥ K♥ 9♥ all the money went in with Blom tabling pocket kings and Katchalov mucking the smaller set of nines.
With the win Blom improves to 3-1 in SuperStar Showdowns. He lost the first one to Isaac Haxton, but won his next two against Antanas Guoga and Dan Cates before beating Katchalov. Blom has $165,525 in profits after four matches. ♠

Blair Hinkle Scores
$1 Million in FTOPS Main Event
Graphic here if needed –
The FTOPS XIX main event wrapped up on February 21 after setting the record for the largest prize pool in the Full Tilt’s history.
At the end, the final three players decided to make a deal, which netted eventual runner-up Blair “blur5f6” Hinkle a mammoth $1.1 million and winner “GIAMPP” nearly $900,000.
The $600+$40 buy-in no-limit hold’em event was held as a multi-entry, allowing all players to register up to six times. As a result, 14,479 players sat down at the virtual felt for a share of the $8,687,400 prize pool.
Here is a look at the final results:
First GIAMPP $877,949.74*
Second Blair “blur5f6” Hinkle $1,162,949.74*
Third SirMad $805,440.26*
Fourth Nayza $451,744.80
Fifth Dan “WiLDmAn75” Buzgon $321,433.80
Sixth J NOCK $230,216.10
Seventh 425wedabest $165,060.60
Eighth beerocrat $121,623.60
Ninth Nick “Colonel Mustard” Stowell $86,005.26

Another highlight from the series was Full Tilt Pro Scott Clements winning event no. 19 ($10,000 no-limit hold’em heads up) after remaining undefeated through an elite field of 128 players.
Clements banked nearly $300,000 after a deal at the final match. Italian and fellow Full Tilt Pro Alessio Isaia scored $285,500 for the runner-up finish to add to his recent World Poker Tour Venice victory and Italian Poker Tour second place.
Clements’ win, which was the largest online score of his career, brings his lifetime earnings to more than $5 million.
Additional winners from the series include David “OSUTexan” Walker, Mike “SirWatts” Watson, Sam “miserd00d” Stein, Marius “DevilTruck” Olsvik, Alex “AD_84” Debus, Nick “Grippolio” Grippo, Mike “Scary_Tiger” Kaufman, Mike “CuteIsWhatIAim4” Telker, Chris “MrDoggy” Klodnicki, Alex “derdings” Jung, and Alex “-AKwow-” Kim.
The winner of the FTOPS XIX leader board competition was Paul “paulgees81” Volpe. Volpe made four final tables en route to capturing the series’ top honour and a special prize package of entries to FTOPS XX events. At the time of writing he sits atop the 2011 Card Player Online Player of the Year (OPOY) race with 3,024 points. ♠

Gus Hansen Dominates $500-$1,000 Omaha
Graphic here if needed –
Gus Hansen has continued to roll at the nosebleed cap pot-limit Omaha stakes on Full Tilt Poker.
He beat up Rui Cao for more than $300,000 in a short 100-hand session of heads-up $500-$1,000 cap pot-limit Omaha in mid-February. The win brought Hansen’s lifetime earnings in the specific game to more than $3 million — by far his most profitable variant of poker online.
At the time of writing Hansen sat with $230,000 having just defeated David Benefield in the discipline for about $150,000 in less than 200 hands.
At the same time Hansen was crushing Benefield, the Danish pro was doing battle with the one of the biggest winners in the extremely popular limit deuce-to-seven triple draw on Full Tilt. Unknown triple draw regular “fishosaurusREX” is in the black more than $1 million playing the game so far in 2011.
Despite Hansen’s action in cap pot-limit Omaha and deuce-to-seven triple draw, things were relatively quite in February. However, the cash games could receive a slight boast if Hansen’s fellow Dane, 2008 World Series of Poker main event champion Peter Eastgate, who announced he was returning to poker after a seven-month retirement, comes back to the nosebleed stakes online. Eastgate is down more than $500,000 lifetime playing cash games on PokerStars.
One other significant session in mid-February saw Brian Hastings and Dan “jungleman12” Cates do battle at $50-$100 hold’em and Omaha mix. Hastings ran well in the contest, as evident by the following hand:
On a flop of 8♣ 6♣ 4♠, both Hastings and Cates held the nuts. After a series of bets all the money went into the middle, and the duo elected to run it twice. However, each separate turn-and-river combo were disastrous for Cates.
Hasting’s A♦ J♠ 7♠ 5♠ improved on the first run to a superior straight when the turn brought a 9♣ and the river a 10♥. The second board yielded a K♠ turn and a 2♠ on the river, giving Hastings a runner-runner flush. Cates mucked his 8♠ 7♦ 5♥ 4♥, and Hastings raked in the $21,000 pot. According to Card Player’s Omaha Odds Calculator, the pot is split 75 percent of the time. ♠