The Nightly Turbo: Shuffle Master Purchases Ongame, Online Poker Traffic, and More

  • PNI Editorial
The Nightly Turbo

It's been anything but a super year for poker, but the industry could see a ray of light if things go well on Super Tuesday. As voters hit the polls, online gaming companies continue to prepare for a new U.S. gaming market. We'll cover those stories and more in this edition of the Nightly Turbo.

In Case You Missed It

PokerStars is expected to launch a real-money beta test for Zoom Poker in the coming weeks. What is Zoom Poker, exactly? Matthew Pitt takes a look at the highly anticipated fast-paced way of play.

Erick Lindgren's gambling debts have been the talk of the poker community lately. Rich Ryan discusses that story and more in his latest Five Thoughts piece.

The World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event kicked off on Monday. It wasn't a great day for the Shooting Stars, but a few big names landed near the top of the leaderboard on Day 1a.

Greg Ronaldson is off to a quick start in 2012 with wins at the Aussie Millions and World Series of Poker Africa. Chad Holloway recently caught up with Ronaldson to talk about his incredible run.

David "Doc" Sands joined the PokerNews Podcast this week. The crew asked Sands about his second-place finish at the LAPC, wedding planning, and stepping in dog poo.

ShuffleMaster Acquires Ongame Network

On Monday, gaming provider Shuffle Master announced it would be entering a €19.5 million agreement to purchase the Ongame Network from bwin.party services.

Shuffle Master is best known for providing automatic card shufflers and roulette chip sorters to casinos throughout the world, but the company said this new acquisition will help its strategic expansion into the online poker market in areas with regulated online gaming. The company will remain a business-to-business company and won't provide gaming content directly to players.

"Our acquisition of Ongame will allow Shuffle Master to offer a scalable, proven and secure solution for online poker,” Gavin Isaacs, CEO of Shuffle Master, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I am confident that Ongame will fit seamlessly into our ongoing interactive initiatives of delivering our renowned brands to online gaming operators, partner web sites, social networks and mobile platforms.”

Read more at PokerNews.com.

Online Poker Traffic Report

On Monday, PokerScout.com released its online poker traffic rankings for the previous week. The tracking site reported a minor decline of 0.6 percent, but it marked the fourth straight week of losses at online poker rooms worldwide.

PokerStars continued its dominance in the market, boasting a seven-day average of 25,800 cash-game players last week. PartyPoker and the iPoker Network came in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. 888poker landed at No. 4, and the Ongame Network stayed at No. 5 ahead of the news that it had been purchased by Shuffle Master.

As for year-over-year traffic numbers, online poker has seen a worldwide decline of 31 percent since this time last year. Along with obvious drop off at Full Tilt Poker and the CEREUS Network, the International Poker Network (down 44 percent), PKR (down 36 percent) and the Ongame Network (down 24 percent) have seen a significant decline.

The biggest movers over the past year were the Merge Gaming Network (up 89 percent), 888poker (up 72 percent) and Bodog (up 53 percent). Bodog's traffic dropped 5 percent last week after the Bodog.com domain was seized and founder Calvin Ayre was indicted.

The full report can be found at PokerScout.com.

Bally, Aristocrat Prepare for U.S. Online Poker Market

On Tuesday, gaming companies Bally Technologies and Aristocrat Technologies announced a partnership designed to offer their poker networks as part of a business-to-business online gaming solution for operators in the U.S.

Under the alliance, Bally and Aristocrat will secure arrangements with leading poker providers, who will then be integrated into Bally’s and Aristocrat’s iGaming platforms — Bally through its recent acquisition of Chiligaming’s iGaming platform, and Aristocrat through its exclusive collaboration with GameAccount Network.

“By teaming up, Bally and Aristocrat can source and integrate with the strongest online poker product, specifically tailored for this market, which can help our customers maintain their leadership position in both land-based and on-line gaming,” said Bally Technologies CEO Richard Haddrill.

Read more at PokerNews.com.

O'Dwyer's Heater Blazes Through Denmark

Since the events of Black Friday essentially forced him to leave to U.S. to continue his poker career, Steve O'Dwyer has been hotel surfing around the world to play live tournaments. He doesn't have a place to call home, but the decision to travel the globe has been a lucrative one for the former online grinder.

Less than two weeks after final-tabling the PokerStars European Poker Tour Copenhagen Main Event, O'Dwyer won the World Poker Tour National €1,650 event in Vejle, Denmark for 893,960 kroner (about $158,000) on Saturday.

O'Dwyer was the only non-Dane at the final table but had a huge stack going into the final day. Despite handing the chip lead over to Martin Tonnesen during the heads-up match, O'Dwyer battled back and secured the win when his pocket tens bested Tonnensen's {A-}{9-} on the final hand of the tournament.

Since last April, O'Dwyer has nearly $1.6 million in live tournament earnings. He won a Bellagio Cup VII side event last July for $260,000, and followed that up with second-place finishes at EPT London ($717,728) and the World Poker Tour Venice Main Event ($125,740).

O'Dwyer's heater has captured the attention of the high-stakes community, including the legendary Doyle Brunson.

Scott Seiver. @steveodwyer final tables nearly every live tournament he plays. Truly he is untouchable.
Doyle Brunson@scott_seiver @steveodwyer You are right. I played with Odwyer in London and he impressed me, which is pretty hard to do.

For a recap of the World Poker Tour National Denmark final table, visit pokernyhederne.com.

How Bodog.com Was Seized

On Tuesday, Wired.com published a great piece breaking down how the U.S. government was able to seize the Bodog.com domain. In case you missed the big story last week, Bodog.com was seized by the Department of Homeland Security, and Bodog founder Calvin Ayre was indicted on charges of operating an illegal gambling business and conspiring to commit money laundering.

This particular seizure case was unique because the Bodog.com domain name was registered with a Canadian company by non-Americans. However, according to the seizure warrant, U.S. authorities did not contact the Canadian registrar to pull the domain. Instead, they used domain operator VeriSign to alter the "glue" records and take down the website, highlighting the control the U.S. holds over the global domain name system.

“VeriSign responds to lawful court orders subject to its technical capabilities,” the company said in a statement, according to Wired. “When law enforcement presents us with such lawful orders impacting domain names within our registries, we respond within our technical capabilities.”

Read the full story at Wired.com.

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