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February 16th Poker news ... Gambling Poker Room at gamblingpokerroom.com
OVERALL STATS FOR WORLD SERIES OF POKER RELEASED
2013 WORLD SERIES OF POKER EPIC NOW IN MOTION
Wednesday saw the launch in Super Bowl 54 Kickers Punters Prop Bets Super Bowl 54 Defense Prop Bets Las Vegas of world pokers most prestigious and big-money spectacular - the 44th World Series of Poker tournament at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, running until July 15.
Past tradition was followed with the first event being a $500 buy-in Casino Employees event, and this was followed by an 8-handed $5,000 buy-in NLHE competition.
As in previous years, the main event will play down to a final table of nine, which will then adjourn until 4-5 November 2013.
The big money starts early this year, with the new $1,500 buy-in NLHE Millionaire Maker competition that carries a guaranteed first prize of a million dollars scheduled to begin this weekend.
According to the WSOP website, this poker spectacular continues to grow in total prize money terms:
2003 7,572 $21,789,060
2004 14,054 $45,973,770
2005 32,341 $106,055,907
2006 48,366 $159,616,588
2007 54,288 $159,796,918
2008 58,720 $180,774,427
2009 60,875 $174,013,215
2010 72,966 $187,109,850
2011 75,672 $192,008,868
2012 74,766 $222,045,377
Among the many celebrities and big name players seen at the Rio Wednesday was 18-time Olympics gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps, who has exhibited a penchant and talent for the game over the last two years.
The 27-year-old was spotted taking a seat at the $5,000 buy-in NLHE event, along with pros like Antonio Esfandiari. It is Phelps' first WSOP.
LOCK POKER IN STATEMENT ON TRANSFER POLICY (Update)
Player-to-player money transfers at Lock Poker are now subject to a new policy restricting any withdrawal until 15 percent of the amount has been generated as rake.
In the wake of widening publicity on its slow-pay and player-to-player restrictions, Lock Poker management broke its silence late Thursday with a website statement that advised:
"Through a detailed investigation over the past few weeks the Lock security team uncovered a large group of persons that were abusing the P2P transfer policy and creating a large network of mule accounts to move and withdraw funds without any play at all taking place.
"To deal with this situation a policy change was put into place to clear out the backlog of withdrawals by accounts with little to no play and increase the speed of withdrawals for players taking actual winnings.
"Lock has introduced a new cash-out policy for transferred funds which requires a player to accumulate at least 15 percent in GGR on the funds received via P2P transfer before these funds are cashed-out. Put simply, for every $100 of transferred funds to be withdrawn, $15 of rake or fees will need to be accumulated beforehand.
"The policy change was put in place explicitly to put an end to money laundering via Lock's player transfers. Players withdrawing winnings are not affected.
"Lock will continue to process withdrawals and work to reduce all withdrawal delays over the coming weeks.
"A large amount of mis-information has been spread recently on various poker news sites and forum postings about player funds being lost in recent banking scandals; none of this is true."
Meanwhile, the publication Gambling911, which is seen in several quarters as supportive of Lock Poker, carried a short article detailing comments which appear to have been made in an exclusive interview with Lock CEO Jennifer Larson, but which has not yet been fully published.
The article quotes Larson as saying that her company is working to find new payment processors to speed up payment times, and that some improvement will soon become apparent.
Larson explained: In terms of slow payouts there are a number of reasons for this. There was a group of people who were buying and cashing out players bankrolls and not playing at all - this was a large volume and was causing legitimate players' cash outs to be delayed, as the scheme was using accounts incorrectly marked as belonging to affiliates.
The other main reason is that Lock [is] one of the largest poker sites that continues to serve players in most States in the US. This means that all Lock payments processors must be discreet as the DOJ has shown repeatedly that it likes to seize the players funds."
That in itself raises questions as to how Lock Poker and its Revolution network has managed to evade DoJ action despite openly attracting US punters.
Larson uses a pipe analogy to explain that the enterprise has the money but not enough pipes to get it through to players timeously in the United States. Again, that does not explain delays in payments to non-US players.
The feeling that Lock Poker is in damage control mode, and there may be more going on in the background than is at present apparent, is inescapable. For example, the company's denial that it was impacted by the Cyprus banking scandal is questionable, given that one of its major payment processors is registered in that location.
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