Author Jennifer Newell's poker week in review for Oct.7-13.
Our consolidation of the week's news is quick and to the point — seven stories, to be exact — for the week ending Oct. 13. Let's go.
No. 1 — Full Tilt Remissions Available for Affiliates
The Garden City Group announced last week that the remission process would be altered for former Full Tilt Poker affiliates. Previously dismissed as unqualified for any types of payments from the funds, the claims administrator decided to allow the submission of claims from affiliates. However, the only eligible funds for repayment would be poker transactions, not payments for affiliate work.
Affiliate accounts are in the process of examination by the Garden City Group, and eligible people will be contacted with instructions for filing their petitions. From that point, they will have 30 days to complete their forms to claim their funds. This process will be separate from the normal and already-in-process remissions, and one will not affect the other.
No. 2 — More Questions Persist for Full Tilt Remissions
Players have numerous questions about Full Tilt remissions, and many have been unable to obtain answers from claims administrator Garden City Group. The Poker Players Alliance has since stepped in to attempt to help, sending a letter to the company late last week with a list of 14 questions.
The first three questions pertained to affiliates, and that issue has been addressed in many respects by Garden City Group. The next question focused on players who tried to make withdrawals from Full Tilt Poker on or near Black Friday, but those funds were never transferred or checks bounced. Other subjects tackled in the letter included player incentives that were purported to be worth cash — tournament entries and the like — that should be reimbursed with a cash value, rakebacks, disputes, submission-form mistakes, and supporting documents for claims. The final question regarded players living in the United States but without social security numbers as foreign residents.
No. 3 — Zagox Acquires Juicy Stakes
Juicy Stakes has had numerous problems of late, mostly pertaining to unacceptably long player-payout times, if the withdrawals were handled at all. As part of Revolution, it was no stranger to complaints and problems that face other sites on the network, as well. But players received encouraging news last week when they were informed that Juicy Stakes was acquired by Zagox Management N.V., which would assume all responsibility for the site's operations.
Players were told that their pending withdrawal requests, some of which dated many months or nearly one year, were canceled, and they would need to file new withdrawal requests. There was to be a limit on new cashouts, as no more than $1,000 per week could be requested, but payouts were promised to be completed in a timely manner. Bonuses were also canceled for players, but new players will see a new reload bonus soon in the hopes of attracting players to the site under new management.
No. 4 — New Jersey Issues First License to Borgata
With the launch of New Jersey online gambling edging closer to the set date of Nov. 26, the Division of Gaming Enforcement issued its first casino Internet-gaming permit last week to the Borgata. As the first casino to complete its application in proper order, owners MGM and Boyd Gaming also committed to being fully prepared for the November start date. The permit was issued to Borgata President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Ballance.
There is no word yet on the status of the license application submitted by partner bwin.party, the company that will provide the online gaming platform for Borgata.
No. 5 — New Jersey Says No to Player Transfers
In other New Jersey news, the Division of Gaming Enforcement is responding to some of the public comments received during the time in which companies were offered the chance to submit feedback on the proposed regulations for online gaming in the state. According to Pokerfuse, Rational Group — parent company of PokerStars — asked that players be permitted to conduct player-to-player funds transfers, but the suggestion was refused by New Jersey.
While some players use P2P transfers to exchange funds with friends, others use them for backing and staking, and the Division of Gaming Enforcement felt that there was too much possibility for abuse of the system. The proposal was rejected due to its hope of preventing fraud, collusion, and money laundering.
No. 6 — Nevada Online Poker Traffic Increases
According to PokerScout, the newest cash game traffic numbers for the legalized state of Nevada show that traffic has begun to increase. With the recent launch of WSOP.com to compete with Ultimate Poker, the sites are showing signs of bringing new players to the online tables and working out initial kinks of operations to please more players.
Ultimate Poker is still the top site of the two with 65 percent of the traffic, but WSOP.com shows signs of growth. The average numbers of concurrent players in the latest report was 232 players, beating the previous peak number by five players.
No. 7 — Players Unhappy With Merge Tournament Changes
On Oct. 1, Merge Network made a number of changes to its regular tournament schedule, and players are none too happy with many of them. The primary change is that most tournaments have become re-entry events, which some feel gives more of an edge to higher-bankrolled players. In addition, late registration has been extended to several hours for many tournaments, including turbo events. Some tournaments have been eliminated from the schedule altogether due to a lack of players and the corresponding necessity of overlays.
According to a synopsis of the changes on Flushdraw, the casual players are the ones most hurt by the changes. This should be the target demographic of most online poker sites, but Merge has implemented the new schedule without warning to or consultation with the majority of its casual players. The effects of the changes have yet to be seen.