Posts Tagged ‘Harrahs’

Slot Wars

INSIDE GAMING: How a Texas company competes in a Vegas casino world

by , Aug 29, 2012 | 12:00 pm

The slot machine industry’s largest manufacturers in the past year have invested billions of research and development dollars in interactive gaming prototypes, social media casino efforts and systems, hoping to capitalize on the potential for legalized Internet gambling in the United States.

Multimedia Games, meanwhile, is growing the company the old fashioned way: It’s building actual slot machines.

The manufacturer could give rivals International Game Technology, Bally Technologies and WMS Industries competition for the casino floor by next year.

One analyst recently came away from meetings with company executives convinced the manufacturer is poised for years of increased game sales as it moves into major markets, including Nevada.

What has held Multimedia Games back is that it can sell slot machines only in roughly 40 percent of U.S. casino markets, primarily those run by Indian tribes.

Not that Indian gaming is a bad base.

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Panning for Bracelets

On the Strip in search of WSOP seat giveaways

by , May 13, 2012 | 2:24 am

The temporary poker room at IP during construction of the Linq project is currently enjoying Quad-a-Palooza.

In the weeks leading up to the World Series of Poker, grinders all over Vegas start making big plans. Even small-stakes guys like me and my friends want a piece of the action. But with the major online sites shuttered for US players, we must hunt for a way to qualify for a bracelet event.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart told reporters that Caesars properties would increase satellites leading up to the series.

Caesars Palace just launched its WSOP Warm-Up, running through May 20, with tournaments as low as $130 that have $20,000 guaranteed prize pools and $1,000 WSOP seats.

My friends and I decided to skip those tournaments for now — thinking we’d hit a few of the smaller Caesars properties to increase our chances of scoring a seat. These rooms wouldn’t be as packed with local grinders, we figured, and the games would be less volatile.

With the construction of the Caesars’ Linq project underway, the Imperial Palace poker room moved from the front of the casino, by which all the tourists would stumble, to a rather inconvenient spot up on the third floor.

“I don’t get it. They had such a great location,” said one of my poker buddies — an out-of-towner who takes most of his vacations to Vegas.

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The Re-Publicing of Caesars

Sign Federal online legalization is almost here?

by , Feb 7, 2012 | 5:23 pm

Buckle up … the news (we care about) has been moving too fast for Pokerati be the lone source keeping up with it all. And with this latest — Caesars has made it official … the Empire is going public (again)! — don’t be surprised if February/March 2012 turns out to be the biggest news month in poker since April 2011.

I haven’t quite yet figured out if and how this is different from an IPO. But I do know these sorta things don’t happen in a vacuum. And considering the last time Caesars — soon to be better known on NASDAQ as CZR — looked serious about going public was the last time they had reason to believe passage of online poker legalization was imminent (Dec 2010) … uh, um, gahhh! So much going on, so many old docs to look at, so much for Kevmath to hopefully fact-check … my head is spinning with the possibilities! (And I can only wonder who Barack Obama met with on the side when he visited Las Vegas long enough to stay the night in the suburbs a couple weeks ago,)

Probably not a bad time to remember that Caesars was a public corporation (called Harrah’s) that went private almost immediately after passage of the UIGEA, controversial legislation that leveled the impact of the biggest online poker sites in the world (at the time).

Read below for an official press release.

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Caesars Public Offering

Preliminary IPO teaser brings us 300+ pages closer to fully legal online poker

by , Dec 28, 2011 | 11:13 pm

caesars harrahs czr IPO online poker

CZR FTW?
“Poker Poker!”

It feels like we’ve been talking about Caesars going public since before they were Caesars (we have) … but their latest S1/A filing with the SEC suggests not only that CZR really is might be ready to kick it Zynga-style with a big fat IPO … but also that any public offering from the worldwide gambling empire may be in preparation for imminent legalization of US online poker.

While such hefty levels of high finance are still probably a little beyond my ken … you can read the nearly 300 pages of Big Casino corporate speak and decide for yourself. Somewhere in here, I’m pretty sure, is a blueprint for the future of poker and/or online gambling.

At a minimum, I found this snippet on page 7 suggesting that Caesars is getting ready for something big related to online gambling poker:

We believe that additional jurisdictions will legalize online gaming due to consumer demand, a broader understanding of the need to regulate the industry and to generate income through taxes on gaming revenue. As such, we support efforts to regulate the online gaming industry to ensure that consumers are protected. We believe that the potential for online gaming is substantial and believe that we will command, at a minimum, our fair share in any legal jurisdiction. An H2 Gaming Capital study conducted in 2010 projects that the global online gaming market will grow to $36 billion in revenues by 2012. We believe that the largest opportunity in online gaming in the near term is the legalization of online poker in the United States. [emphasis added]

There’s tons more in this document worthy of perusal … some of which I’ve already skimmed. And it doesn’t take much to see how an actual Caesars IPO — not just talk of it — could-well coincide with legalized American online poker hubbub (finally!) reaching critical mass.

Caesars, after all, formerly known as Harrah’s, was a publicly traded company until going private shortly after passage of the UIGEA in 2006. Changed their name to Caesars in November 2010 — the last time they prepped seriously for an IPO (right after their boy Harry Reid won re-election and owed them a favor) only to withdraw plans for a public offering of stock shares right after someone told them the lame-duck online poker Reid bill was just a farce for other political purposes a couple weeks later.


Give Harrah’s Some Credit

Corporate poker giants have been good stewards of the game

by , Jun 26, 2011 | 2:50 am

Johnny Hughes


OP-ED

At the World Series of Poker, they announce the event and coveted bracelet winners and then play the national anthem of the country they come from. Play stops at all the cash games and the players stand and remove their hats. When an American won, my table stood with their hands over their hearts and sang. I looked out over that vast sea of poker players and was overcome by emotion. The song always gives me tingles but there was also a love and astonishment at how wonderful the playing conditions have become for this sport. Yes, it is a sport.

The players’ manners are terrific today compared to the past. Johnny Moss was known for being abusive to dealers. Puggy Pearson was worse. He pissed on one once. Another Hall of Famer, Joe Bernstein, bit a dealer.

I cannot sing enough praise for the poker management of Harrah’s. I had long conversations with Bill Sattler, Director of Poker, and aslo Jake Reville, Cathy Klufer, and Carrie Jacobs. For twenty years, I taught management subjects at Texas Tech. The magnificent professionalism of Harrah’s management makes me wish I could go lecture on how great they are. I played in the cheap no limit where you only buy $300. I’ve never lost at the Rio, but only played there seven times. I’m not trying to beat the best in the world anymore. I’m too old.

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This Week’s Big Winners – May 21st

Rapture on Hold - Poker Won't Wait

by , May 21, 2011 | 4:05 pm

The signs of Rapture are all around us. No, I’m not talking about the idiot who spent his life savings putting up billboards around the country to tell everyone the world was going to end on May 21st. I’m talking about the world in which I exist, the poker world, where we’re clearly in a time loop, as the same things happen over and over again and nobody seems to notice. Déjà vu was certainly the theme for this week’s winners in poker.

Scott Seiver Breaks Through On WPT; Seidel Wins Another High Rzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
WPT Championship & Super High Roller, Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada

C/O WPT

There are times in the poker world in which a situation goes beyond explanation. Sometimes players, for no better reason than running bad or random chance, a player will go an extended period of time without a big score. Michael Mizrachi’s previous results at the WSOP leading up to last year’s explosion comes to mind. A player of the caliber of Scott Seiver doing no better 19th place in 5 years of WPT tournaments defies explanation. Unless the explanation was that he was saving up all his rungood for this past week’s $25,000 WPT Championship.

Seiver beat an impressive collection of players in the final six, including 2011 PCA Champion Galen Hall, Justin Young, and Farzad Bonyadi. For his breakthrough WPT performance, Seiver raked in an impressive $1,618,344.

In news that can’t possibly surprise anyone who knows anything about poker, Erik Seidel took down the inaugural WPT Super High Roller Event. 28 of the sickest gamblers of the world decided to put up $100,000 to vie for second place to Seidel. The lucky second place finisher was fellow Team Full Tilt member Erick Lindgren, but the human cybernetic organism that is Erik Seidel walked away with another score of over $1 million, bringing his total for the year to over $5.4 million. Nice life.

Freitez Wins EPT Season 7 Finale; Mercier Wins PokerStars Sponsored zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
EPT Grand Final, Madrid, Spain

C/O PokerStars

The EPT Grand Final, a €10,000 event to conclude an interesting season for the crown jewel of the PokerStars tours featured a “live” broadcast with hole cards on a two-hour delay, sequestering players until their eliminations had “happened” on TV. It’s interesting to see the lengths that they had to go to to broadcast this table on a delay, while the WSOP was able to negotiate just a 30 minute delay between play and broadcast, with no sequestering, but that’s another story for another day.

Two members of Team PokerStars made the EPT Grand Final final table, with Brazilian Alex Gomes chasing a triple crown and Juan Maceiras trying to become the first Spanish-born EPT champion. Both players found the rail early on in Final Table play. Venezuelan player Ivan Freitez was the last man standing, claiming €1,500,000 (about $2.2 million) in the swan song for the EPT’s seventh (!) season.

The following day’s action saw winners from the EPT’s first seven seasons compete for a first place prize of €50,000 in buy-ins to the next season of the EPT. In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Jason Mercier was the champion.

Chris Porter Tops Station Event With for $60K
Sunset Station Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

C/O Station Casinos

The Station Casinos have created an interesting series of poker tournaments at their various Las Vegas properties. They’re running four separate $1,100 events at four different casinos, each with a $200,000 guarantee, and the top 25 finishers at each casino will compete in a championship event with a $200,000 guarantee of its own, to create a prizepool totaling $1 million for the five events. The most recent event, taking place at Sunset Station, brought in over 200 players, with FullTilt player representative Chris Porter taking down the top prize of $60,000, and a chance at some more in the championship event.

Matt Legard “Positions” Himself For Big Win in New Game at Bellagio
Bellagio Prelim Event, Las Vegas, Nevada

C/O Position Poker

As much as the popularity of poker continues to flourish, there are some innovative minds thinking of “the next step” in the evolution of the game. Most of the time it’s an innovation in bringing in more players or changing the pace of the game, but certain developments, including Rush Poker, have completely changed the way poker can be played. An exciting new version of live poker made its debut during the preliminary events at Bellagio a few weeks ago, and this one is called Position Poker. The key variation of the game is that the player winning a pot gets to act after the button on the following hand. There are a few other intricacies, which you can check out at their website here. The winner of the first ever event was Matt Legard, who won $18,000 for his efforts.

NOLA Wraps the WSOPC With Scramble For Points(+2 rings +Team Pokerati Update +National Championship update)
WSOPC Harrahs New Orleans, Louisiana

C/O WSOP

With the conclusion of the WPT Championship, all eyes in the poker world have turned towards New Orleans, where the last few entries to the $1 million WSOPC National Championship have been grinded out over the last week and a half. There are three methods by which players earned their seats in this event; the grinders who have followed the circuit around all year tried to accumulate enough points for one of the at large spots (including Team Pokerati member Dave Clark, who seems to have squeezed his way in with a few key points at this final stop).

Another option was to be the “Casino Champion” by accumulating the most points at this stop. That spot was snatched up by an impressive performance by Brian Walsingham, who locked up two rings inside of a week. In Event 4, a $355 No Limit Hold’em event was the first ring he won, and in Event #8 he really cashed in. The $1,085 tournament generated a prize pool of over $340,000 and Walsingham took the lion’s share of over $78,000. He also gave himself a chance at $300,000, the top prize in a field of less than 100 that will take place in Las Vegas in the coming week.

The third method? Outlasting 75 players and make the final table of the $10,000 Southern Regional Championship, ensuring yourself of one of the last nine seats in a $1 million freeroll. At the time of publication, there are 12 players left, including Allen Kessler, Allie Prescott and Shannon Shorr. Once the final nine is finalized, we’ll throw a quick update your way.

UPDATE: The Final Nine was just set. The unlucky bubble boy was Shannon Shorr, who ran pocket kings into the pocket aces of Allie Prescott to go out in tenth. Prescott punches his ticket to the National Championship, as do Harry Cullen, Allen Kessler, Jeremy Gaubert, Gary Friedlander, Kunal Patel, Matt Waxman, AJ Jejelowo and Scott Lipshutz. The overall field for the freeroll is unofficially set, but you can look here to see who has “officially” qualified and here to check out how the National leaderboard for at-large qualifiers shook out.


This Week’s Big Winner – December 27th

by , Dec 27, 2010 | 4:07 pm

This is likely the slowest week on the poker tournament scene that you’ll see all year. After the conclusion of the World Series of Poker Eastern Regional Championship, there were no other tournament circuits with even preliminary events on the docket. Once we get beyond a week into the new year, we’ll find one of the biggest stops of the year, the PCA, as well as another stop on the WSOPC.

World Series of Poker Eastern Regional Championship –
Harrah’s Atlantic City (Atlantic City, New Jersey)

The final table for this $10,000 was an interesting mix of circuit grinders and young guns, including WSOP bracelet winner Chris Bell, 2009 WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Champion Chris Klodnicki, and 5 players who had made the final table of a WSOP event in Las Vegas. Also in the field was red hot Andy Frankenberger, who has over $1 million in tournament cashes this year.

Day 1 chip leader Vanessa Selbst failed to make the money after losing a monster pot to Klodnicki on Day 2. Beth Shak finished in 11th, while Matthew Waxman, who previously won the $1,650 “Main Event” earlier in the series, qualifying for the National Championship in the process, finished tenth to the delight of the final nine, who will now join him in the $1 million freeroll in 2011.

Heads-up play got down to Klodnicki and Bell, and when the dust had settled, it was Bell capturing the title and over $350,000. He bookends a year that started off with some admitted financial troubles, followed by the surreal moment during the World Series of Poker in which he and good friend Gavin Smith each captured their first bracelet within days of each other.

I would like to take the time to thank each and every one of you who has taken the time to read this column this year, and I hope you will continue to in the new year, as things should only continue to get better.


Harrah’s Inc. Is Now Caesars Corp (We Think)

A new era of online poker imperialism upon us?

by , Nov 23, 2010 | 11:34 am


Oh Yeah? Regardless of what you call them, the WSOP parent company’s old logo was like so 2010.

The Las Vegas Sun reports that the name change is now official, citing chairman and president Gary Loveman as the source. The Sun gives no context, however, as to why this time he really means it, other than to provide a rather generic summary:

“The new name can open new opportunities for the company in the future.”

Hmm, a name leading to new opportunities? Harrah’s has been talking about the name change for more than a year — pretty much ever since they opened up their non-poker online gambling opportunities at CaesarsCasino and CaesarsBingo dots-com — but have never gone through with it, at least in any marketable or taxable way. But sure enough, a form filed with the SEC yesterday confirms that Harrah’s Entertainment Incorporated would now, finally and officially, like to be called Caesars Entertainment Corporation. At least in the eyes of Uncle Sam.

And while the new monicker may lend itself to illustrations of Loveman in a toga eating grapes and future mockery should Harrah’s-cum-Caesars ever wanna deny its imperialistic nature … some of us can’t help but wonder if there isn’t even more to it than that. Why now for such a bold move? Surely it will cost a few million bucks to get everyone new business cards and change the labels on bottled water … so what relation, if any, might it have to seemingly accelerated online gambling pursuits and/or, most recently, a (suddenly) delayed IPO — both specifically addressed in the same document as the name change.

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GamingCounsel’s Weekly Briefs

by , Oct 26, 2010 | 1:22 am

Here’s @GamingCounsel‘s look at the important legal developments in gaming over the past ten days or so:

  1. Crespo v. Online Poker – Interesting complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division filed on October 12th. In a nutshell: A resident of Florida named Scott Crespo, who may or may not play poker online (there’s no indication from the complaint that he does or not), is suing residents of Illinois under an Illinois statute for money they purportedly won from other online poker players who may or may not be residents of Illinois. Oh, and Crespo apparently didn’t lose any money. He wants triple the amount of the unclaimed “losses” of others accruing to the defendants. Illinois was chosen because it’s one of a handful of states that have third party recovery statutes. As a gaming attorney I know in the US put it: We have way too many lawyers with nothing productive to do. [US District Court]
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  3. Betfair IPO Numbers – The Betfair IPO seemed to hit the top end of what analysts were predicting as the company’s market capitalization. Betfair was valued at £1.4 billion on flotation. Fully £200 million was raised on the IPO. [Herald Scotland]
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  5. Harrah’s IPO Imminent – More news from the public markets: Harrah’s is heading back to the public marketplace with an estimated $575 million offering. The money is likely to be used for new casino projects in Las Vegas and Ohio, not to pay down debt. We’ll have to wait and see how this offering fares, but there are definitely challenges ahead. [Wall Street Journal]
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  7. Canadian I-Gaming Split – While certain provinces are keen to enter the interactive gaming market, others are throwing cold water on the idea. Ontario and Quebec have announced that they’re coming out with online offerings; British Columbia already offers an online experience at www.playnow.com. However, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island recently announced that they’re not comfortable with participating in Internet gambling at this point. These latter three provinces are small – PEI is the smallest province in Canada, both geographically and in terms of population – but, interestingly, they’re part of the Atlantic Lotteries Corporation, which is working with BC and Quebec on sharing liquidity on a common Internet poker platform. [Globe and Mail; CBC]
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  9. IMGL Conference in Madrid – The International Masters of Gaming Law is the pre-eminent organization for gaming attorneys and other gaming experts. Their Fall conference is on from October 24th-26th in Madrid and, as usual, it’s an interesting lineup and series of sessions. I’ll be tweeting on different panels and speakers throughout the conference; check out my tweet stream if you’re interested. [Gaming Law Masters]

WPT/Party Continues to Rip off WSOP on Facebook

How much do ad agencies charge for shoddy, shady campaigns anyway?

by , Oct 20, 2010 | 2:03 pm

I swear I’m not the Facebook police any more than I am a Harrah’s attorney … but when the shit just gets served up while I’m busy liking stuff … it’s kinda hard to miss! Yet another example appeared on Tuesday night of a rather blatant misappropriation of WSOP trademark on Facebook. It always seems to happen on Tuesday nights … hmmm.

First, before I get into the new offense … to be fair and clear, the WPT did acknowledge their error almost immediately after we mocked their maiden foray into Facebook marketing. On September 21 a WPT spokesman said:

“We would like to confirm that the Facebook ad mentioned in your September 17, 2010 post was indeed a mistake on the part of a 3rd party advertising agency used by our “WPT Texas Hold’em on Facebook” licensee. The ad was placed by the advertising agency without the knowledge of WPT or our Facebook game licensee.

Please be assured that we acted immediately to rectify the situation and that the advertising agency has pulled the unapproved ad. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.”

Cool, yeah whatever, like we said, we’re not the Facebook police, but you’re welcome — Pokerati is always happy to help. We did notice the replacement ads that appeared the following Tuesday:

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WSOP-Circuit Headed to Florida Next?

Book it, says TD: Palm Beach Kennel Club, Feb 17-Mar 1

by , Sep 30, 2010 | 9:27 am

If this is true, it would mark the second WSOP-Circuit addition not at a Harrah’s property. That’s the unofficial word from a Harrah’s suit, with firm-sounding dates attached. According to venerable Circuit TD Jimmy Sommerfeld on 2+2

I think that … a Tournament at Palm Beach Kennel Club on February 17 – March 1 would be a great Idea. Maybe its not a rumor?!! I would gamble and book a room.

Ah yes, it all makes so much sense now, doesn’t it? (That is, of course, assuming Sommerfeld doesn’t get canned before WSOP-Choctaw, in January 2011, for running his yap ahead of any official press release.

Not only would a WSOP-Florida series further support America’s favorite citrus-bearing peninsula as the juiciest destination in poker since France, but also, it would confirm Harrah’s willingness to take unprecedented steps in an effort to keep up with the new-and-improved WPT/Party/Bwin.

The above dates, if true, would run it right up against the WPT-LAPC, btw.

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BTW FYI

WTF?

by , Sep 6, 2010 | 3:46 pm

Much more to say on the matter … but just to set the record straight, after further research I am now fairly confident that the rumor propagated across the internet about a Harrah’s sale of the Rio being “complete” was not accurate.

Pretty sure something was close to done and may or may not have fallen apart, and that Harrah’s is still looking to unload the home of the WSOP on someone … with any serious offers of $300 million or more getting a real look. But I don’t really know even that. Meanwhile, any poker media who ran with the story needs to consider their willingness to rely on such unsavory sources, and should probably go sit in a corner and think about what they’ve done.


Harry Reid Voices Support for Online Poker-Only Legalization

Yeah for poker! But kick in nards for Big Casinos?

by , Aug 26, 2010 | 2:02 am

We’ve been saying for awhile how critical Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is for any regulated online gambling legislation to stand a chance at making its way into law. And despite non-denial denials from his office regarding plans for a forthcoming poker-only Senate bill, the Reno Gazette-Journal is reporting that Reid is now saying something more directly suggestive of his online poker intentions:

[Gaming] executives said Reid, D-Nev., told them he would support the legalization of online poker in the United States but drew the line there — he would not support any other form of online gaming — during an Aug. 16 meeting at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa [in Reno].

This falls in line with what Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) told the same paper earlier this month — that Reid’s position against online gambling had “softened dramatically” — after she and Nevada’s two other representatives made a serious push on Reid to support Barney Frank’s HR 2267. Berkley and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) are Frank bill co-sponsors, and Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) “cautiously supports” it.

The problem Reid’s supposedly running into now are non-Harrah’s B/M casinos in northern Nevada asserting online gambling is a threat to business and Nevada tourism … thereby costing the state jobs. And as outdated and arguably inaccurate as that argument is — we’ve heard it before, from the same Vegas ops and Indian tribes that now support online gambling — anything that opponents can spin against Reid as anti-jobs probably isn’t something the senator would want to risk heading into November, as he faces a statewide election in the state with the highest unemployment in the nation. At a minimum, wading into such waters would require a lot more money for internet ads to smear Sharron Angle out of contention.

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Poker in the Round

by , Jul 15, 2010 | 6:16 am

This one goes to 11: Rob Gusman and Danny Egelhoff knew there had to be a better way to watch poker — all they needed was a high-resolution camera with 11 lenses digitally stitched together.

When Danny Egelhoff was a “multimedia producer” for CardPlayer in 2007, he quickly realized, “we needed a way to make watching poker more interesting. Events were edited down to boring bare essentials, and viewers were force-fed what they had to watch.”

Fast-forward to the 2010 WSOP … Egelhoff, 31, and his partner, Rob Gusman, 34, are founders of All 360 Media, an upstart video company launching what some are saying could be the most significant technological advancement in poker since the hole-card cam.

For the past six weeks, these friends of 10+ years have camped out in a makeshift bunker across the hall from the Amazon room. In addition to powerful computers, video equipment and an all-in-one printer/copier/fax, there’s an air mattress, mini-fridge, and 4-cup coffee-maker — all of which have played a role in bringing their vision to fruition. This is Egelhoff’s fifth Series, Gusman’s first. Taped to the wall by one of their monitors is a letter from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, approving All 360 Media to record limited casino action with these strange cameras the GCB had never before seen.

The device looks something like a studio boom-mike outfitted with a Magic 8-ball at its end. It’s actually a special camera (they have two of them) with 11 different lenses all pointing in different directions, packed into a small black orb, and digitally stitched together to provide a seamless view of an entire poker area. The set-up is so new it doesn’t yet have a name. But it uses the same basic technology that Google Earth deployed to map out the planet … upgraded and customized for watching poker.

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WSOP Revamps WSOP-Circuit schedule

Televised $10k regional championships, $1mm freeroll National Championship bracelet

by , Jul 12, 2010 | 11:05 am

The WSOP Circuit has had its share of ups and downs (mostly downs) in recent years as its relevance has waned a bit in the past few years with small fields in their $5,000 main events at various Harrah’s properties across the US.

The announcement of the 2010-11 WSOP Circuit schedule today brings about several major changes done to push the tournament series back into relevance. Changes include a drop in the buy-ins of the Circuit Main Events to $1,500, four $10,000 buy-in “regional championships” that will air on national television (ESPN?), and a $1,000,000 freeroll tournament at Caesars’ Palace in May 2011.

More information found in their press release on below:

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