Posts Tagged ‘Full Tilt Poker

22
Jan
10

Beating the rush

This week, Full Tilt Poker made an announcement they feel will change the dynamics of the online poker world.

Rush Poker, the company’s new brainwave, will see the waiting time between hands minimised as players are moved to a different table and dealt new cards as soon as they fold.

Former world champion Chris Ferguson has described Rush Poker as ‘the greatest innovation in online poker since poker started on the internet.’

2000 World Series of Poker champion Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson

Still, putting superlative statements from Team Full Tilt members to one side, Rush Poker is definitely something to be excited about.

Original November Niner Scott Montgomery famously described himself as being part of the ‘ADD Generation’, and this new strand of the game should help to tackle issues of patience and concentration within the game.

Many players get bored playing one table at a time online, and some have resorted to multitabling to get round this issue.

And this emphasises how much of a risk Full Tilt are taking with the introduction of this new system.

With some former-multitablers trying out Rush Poker as an alternative, the site may lose rake on tournament and cash table entries.

But the company must feel confident that they can attract more players from rival sites: players who (a) want to be among the first to try out this new and exclusive system, and (b) have until now seen multi-tabling as a necessary inconvenience, and believe they have something to gain from Rush Poker.

More than just a hobby

There is, however, one element of Rush Poker which I would consider to be a potential stumbling block.

Players like myself, who have something of a superiority complex at the table, value their ability to pick up on reads and patterns.

This is particularly true of players in the higher echelons of the game (myself not included, sadly), as evidence by the amount of money spent on programmes like Sharkscope which give insights into the history or playing style of opponents.

Furthermore, the recent controversy surrounding Brian Hastings and his fellow Team Cardrunners members exchanging hand histories before Hastings took on online prodigy Isildur1 demonstrates how the best players in the world like to look for ‘tells’ away from the live circuit.

Brian Hastings recently won over $4million with the help of hand histories

With the advent of Rush Poker, the ability of players to ‘do their homework’ is diminished. They will face different opponents every hand, leaving them insufficient time to pick up on their rivals habits and eccentricities at the table.

On the basis of this, it is difficult to see Rush Poker having a significant impact on the ‘nosebleed’ games, or even on mid-stakes tournaments.

One can only assume, therefore, that Full Tilt will be targeting the lower-level games, where the rake is higher and their is more money to be made. It would seem that they are confident enough of generating significant revenue to overcome the diminishing returns from multitabling.

It will be interesting to see if Rush Poker takes off. And, if it does, how will Full Tilt’s competitors respond?

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05
Jan
10

Tiger Woods and Phil Ivey – a lesson in media management

It has emerged recently that Phil Ivey, one of the best and most famous poker players in the world, has been granted a divorce from his wife Lucaietta.

Phil Ivey with ex-wife Lucaietta

This news marks a sour end to a productive 12 months for Ivey, who won two World Series bracelets and reached the final table of the main event in Las Vegas.

Ivey’s nickname is ‘The Tiger Woods of poker’, and many commentators will be afforded a wry smile at these recent developments coming to light so soon after Woods’ own marital problems.

However – unlike the American golfer – Ivey may feel he deserves more privacy during what is hardly likely to be an easy time for him.

Comparisons will inevitably be made between Ivey's divorce and Woods' marriage to Elin Nordegren

Throughout his career, the California-born pro has made efforts to separate his private life from his professional life, so as not to put any unnecessary stress or attention on Lucaietta or indeed on his parents.

Consequently, any biographical article on Ivey will focus on his numerous poker achievements, and many will say this is the way things should be.

It therefore seems unlikely that fans or outside observers will delve too deeply into his marital situation.

Tiger Woods has lost a number of sponsorships, including a multi-million dollar deal with Gillette

Some might say that Woods is undeserving of the criticism and media attention which has come his way since allegations of unfaithfulness first surfaced.

But the fact is he has – through signing up to multi-million sponsorship deals with the likes of Gillette and American Express – set himself for public scrutiny.

In contrast, the one major endorsement deal to come Ivey’s way is his involvement with Full Tilt Poker, and it is stretching it a little to even call this an endorsement deal.

Instead, I would argue that it is more comparable with Woods’ deals with Titleist and Nike, whose relationship with the golfer fits in with his professional life.

And, to go one step further, Ivey’s position as one of the Team Full Tilt partners arguably alters his association with the company to an altogether professional relationship, in that any promotional work he does directly benefits a group to which he belongs rather than an external party paying him to indirectly boost its own bottom line.

Ivey's relationship with Full Tilt Poker will remain unaffected by his divorce

Some might argue that poker is an easier profession in which to keep a low profile, as its popularity is yet to reach the same heights as golf and other more mainstream sports.

But let us compare Ivey to his namesake and counterpart Phil Laak, whose relationship with Family Guy actress Jennifer Tilly is well-publicised.

Indeed Ivey himself is well-known worldwide, yet by distancing his wife from the poker world he has kept her out of the spotlight.

Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak, arguably poker's most famous couple

Furthermore, few golfers’ wives are as well-known as Woods’ other half Elin Nordegren: despite no outward efforts to put her in the public eye, their relationship was reasonably well-documented even before the recent developments.

And, while Woods has arguably taken his sport to new heights in terms of popularity and TV viewing figures, such advances have not forced his counterparts at the top of the game to generate such a high media profile.

Although Woods’ supporters might argue that the press are responsible for the attention given to his private life, it is a two-way system and the likes of Ivey have shown that – if you don’t want anyone delving into your life away from the green grass or green felt – you can make every effort to ensure you get this kind of privacy.


Of course, I would never wish ill fortune on anyone away from the sporting arena, even if I may cheer against them on the field of play.

But I think the respective cases of Woods and Ivey are useful in showing the realms of golf and poker – and the sporting world in general – that there are two ways of going about your business.

And, in an analogy which resonates with the professions of both men, when you take risks you have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.

21
Dec
09

The Lost Boyd

Let me take you back to 2004. Poker was in the midst of the ‘Moneymaker Effect’, the world was captivated and confused in equal measure by Greg ‘Fossilman’ Raymer, and The Crew were set to take over the world.

Led by Russ ‘Dutch’ Boyd, and featuring an assortment of exciting young players including bracelet winners Brett Jungblut and Scott Fischman, The Crew were seen by some to be emblematic of the first wave of young internet pros.

But the game has passed them by somewhat, with Fischman the only member of the group close to keeping pace with the even younger and even more aggressive twentysomethings coming through towards the end of the decade.

Even Fischman’s final table at 2008s WSOPE Main Event pales in comparison to the expectations surrounding The Crew when they burst on to the scene in the first half of the decade.

Now Boyd is back in the news, but it’s not for his poker play.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=scott+fischman&iid=1861118″ src=”0/1/d/3/NBCs_4th_National_b189.jpg?adImageId=9578592&imageId=1861118″ width=”428″ height=”594″ /]

Crew member Scott Fischman

……….

2+2=5

It emerged recently that the 29-year-old is being sued by popular poker forum Two Plus Two for trademark infringement, with regards to the domain name ‘twoplustwopoker.com’ which he registered in 2004.

Despite the name having expired, Two Plus Two owner Mason Malmuth continues to seek damages from Boyd for what he has described as a “blatantly infringing, bad-faith registration.”

As Boyd’s site – when it existed – offered links to other poker-themed websites, so it is easy to see why Malmuth would take issue with what he might see as an exploitation of the respected ‘Two Plus Two’ banner for Boyd’s personal gain.

So, what has caused someone like Boyd, who once had the potential to let his poker do the talking, to find himself back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons?

Spot of bother

This is not the first time controversy has courted the University of Missouri graduate. Back in 2001, before his WSOP breakthrough, his ‘PokerSpot’ online cardroom landed him in all sorts of difficulties.

When PokerSpot closed down, it was alleged that the company failed to return players’ funds to the tune of around $400,000.

After months of silence, during which a number of players were unable to withdraw funds from the site for a variety of reasons, Boyd provided this open letter.

And the main issue to this day is arguably not the failure to recompense people who deposited money on PokerSpot per se, but rather the alleged reneging on promises – that’s right, promises – that the money would be returned.

Of course I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, but if this money is still yet to find its way back to its rightful owners, then might Boyd be able to pay back any existing debts with the money earned through his more recent venture twoplustwopoker.com?

Dutch courage

It is certainly true that the online game is not what it once was. The top players are increasingly aggressive, the pots are getting bigger, and the variance is growing to unprecedented levels.

And while many pros have no trouble making money from the online game, several of them have begun looking elsewhere to generate a more steady income to augment the money they make playing poker.

Howard Lederer, once one of the best players in the world, has arguably found it hard to compete with the best of the best as the structure and makeup of the game has changed.

But he is now seemingly set for life due to his involvement with Full Tilt Poker, a company which brings in many millions a year for the 14 pros who make up ‘Team Full Tilt.’

With this in mind, Boyd’s early venture with PokerSpot showed him to be ahead of his time. But the bottom line is it didn’t work out for him, in terms of income and reputation.

And surely the best option for Boyd is to stay away from controversy, stay out of the headlines, and go back to doing what he does best so he remains well-known as a poker player.

At this stage I do not want to say too much, as as far as I can tell the talks between Boyd and Malmuth are still ongoing and the argument – if not necessarily ‘raging’ – is still very much alive.

All I feel justified to comment on so far is the fall from grace of a player who had the potential to become one of the game’s greatest.

Now, unless a resolution can be found, it looks as though Boyd may be travelling down the same road once trodden by his namesake Russ Hamilton – a road which may end in him being remembered for something other than his poker ability.

And I think we can all agree that this would be a huge shame, as – regardless of the dated and sometime-ridiculous marketing of the crew – there is no doubting the talent and intellect of Dutch Boyd.

Scott Fischman’s website: http://www.scottfischman.com/

Howard Lederer profile: http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/howard-lederer

Team Full Tilt: http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/our-team




Hi I’m Tom. I’m a freelance journalist, and I recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Cardiff University. In my spare time I like to play, watch and talk about poker. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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