Mac-Friendly 888poker and Facebook to run Casino Games Next Year

Facebook and 888 Holdings have announced an agreement to offer real money gaming in the UK next year. Under the deal, 888 will use its social gaming application, Mytopia, to run real money bingo, casino and slots games through Facebook UK. Interestingly enough, 888 won’t be running online poker games for the social networking giant, which we’ll discuss more later.

Of course, 888 Holdings still has to be thrilled about having any kind of partnership with this company. First off, Facebook has over 1 billion members worldwide, and millions of these users reside within the UK. Another point worth making is that 888 is just the second company to enter into a real money gaming partnership with Facebook; London-based Gamesys runs “Bingo Freindzy” for the social media site.

After the deal was completed, 888’s chief operating officer, Itai Frieberger, said, “888 has long recognized the potential for social gaming.” He added, “Our Facebook freemium (play money casino games) offerings have found a significant audience, and we are very excited by the opportunity that real money gaming on Facebook provides. We are working closely with Facebook on this launch, ensuring we introduce the best of both worlds of real money and social gaming.”

Facebook Europe’s head of games, Julien Codorniou, also expressed his excitement over the deal by saying, “Facebook is a great platform for playing games and with your friends and we are really pleased to be working with 888, who have a strong reputation on both the quality and safety of their games.”

Now that we’ve covered the basics of this partnership, let’s get more into the financial details, the puzzling question of why 888poker isn’t involved, and how this deal will affect Mac users.

Stakes and Commission

Both low and high rollers should feel comfortable at Facebook’s UK gaming operation because allowable stakes are rumored to go up to £500. This falls in line with the rest of the industry because most online casinos offer maximum bets worth between £250 and £500. At this point, we’ve received no word on how high slots wagers will go, but it’s likely that these bets meet industry standards too.

Moving to the business side, 888 Holdings will receive 70% of the revenue made through the casino games while Facebook is going to collect the remaining 30%. It should also be mentioned that Facebook will feature strict safeguards to ensure only users who are 18 and older can make bets.

No Poker

888poker is one of the world’s largest online poker sites since they currently rank fifth in player traffic behind PokerStars, Party Poker, Full Tilt and iPoker. Taking this into account, it seems a bit strange that the poker arm of 888 wasn’t mentioned in the Facebook deal. It’s unclear why online poker isn’t involved in the partnership, or if it might be included in the future. Perhaps Facebook is still in talks with other poker rooms and will decide who they’ll partner up with later.

Whenever the social media site does choose to offer real money poker games, it’s sure to be a lucrative venture. Their play money gaming partner, Zynga, has attracted nearly 40 million players over the past few years. Even if Facebook only had a fraction of this number for a real money operation, they could earn considerable profits.

Mac Players Welcome

One great thing about the 888/Facebook deal is that it will certainly benefit UK residents who own Mac products. After all, 888 offers an Instant Play option so Mac users can enjoy bingo, casino and poker games through their web browser. So no matter whether you own a PC, Mac computer, iPad or iPhone, you’ll be able to enjoy real money games at both 888 and Facebook UK.

The iPad and iPhone options are extremely nice because they offer players the ultimate convenience advantage. For example, if somebody wanted to wager real money on a bus or plane, they could simply use their Apple mobile product to do so. And with a growing number of people owning both iPad’s and iPhone’s, this is a great benefit to players.

http://www.macpoker.net/

Black Chip Poker Exodus leaves Mac Players High and Dry

Black Chip Poker made a huge move last month after leaving the Merge Gaming Network for what they deemed greener pastures at the Winning Poker Network (formerly Yatahay). While the exact reason for leaving was never publicly disclosed, one probable explanation is that Winning Poker is serving deposits and cashouts faster than any other US-friendly network out there.

Whatever the case may be, not everybody is “winning” when it comes to this move – namely Mac players! The only way to play at Winning sites is through a Windows (PC) download, and there’s no “Instant Play” option available either. So Mac players are theoretically cut out of the equation at the Winner Network. Taking all of this into account, Black Chip Poker’s recent move has definitely affected one large set of grinders in a negative way.

But even though many Mac users aren’t able to access Black Chip right now, the site has still gained some benefits in other departments. Here’s a quick look at the positives from the Black Chip Poker move along with how Mac players can still enjoy the action here.

Fast Service

As mentioned in the introduction, one of the biggest perks of the Winning Network is that deposits and cashouts are processed extremely quick for a US-friendly operation. The cashouts are especially impressive because some players have been receiving paper checks in less than a week.

This probably comes as a relief to many Black Chip players because their funds were tied up for a month while the site was busy changing networks. But with the move now completed, it appears as if payouts will be coming in faster than ever before.

Increasing Player Traffic

Another benefit to Black Chip Poker’s change is that they’re attached to a rising network. Winning Poker has steadily been moving up the traffic rankings and they’re currently fourth out of eight US-friendly networks. Regarding specific numbers, they average around 365 cash game players per hour, which is fairly close to the Merge Gaming Network (660 players per hour).

With Black Chip now added to their stable of sites, the Winning Poker Network is expected to continue increasing in traffic. Their other major sites include Americas Cardroom, BetCRIS, BetDSI and True Poker.

Playing at PC-Only Rooms

Seeing as how a fair amount of Mac users were left in the dust when Black Chip Poker changed networks, it’s worth discussing some of the options these players have in regard to PC-only rooms. Unbeknownst to some grinders, they can use a Windows emulation program to run Windows software through a non-PC.

Some of the most popular emulation programs include Boot Camp, Parallels and VMware. Boot Camp is a widely-used option because it’s very smooth and efficient when running Windows through a Mac – which can’t always be said of other emulators. However, the downside is that grinders can’t run Windows and Mac OS simultaneously when using Boot Camp.

For this reason, some players opt for either Parallels or VMware since both programs allow you to run Mac OS and Windows at the same time. This is perfect for multi-taskers who want to switch back and forth between operating systems while playing online poker. However, the only downside is that running simultaneous operating systems can slow down your computer. And this leads players to mull over whether they want to sacrifice performance for Mac/Windows multi-tasking.

If you’re wondering how to use Boot Camp, Parallels and/or VMware, make sure to check this article out because it’ll clear everything up.

Skip the Hassles

Any Mac player who’s not attached to Black Chip might just want to avoid the hassle of playing at PC-only rooms. After all, there are still plenty of other Mac-friendly poker sites and networks that offer good promotions and services. Black Chip’s old network, Merge Gaming, is still very popular among Mac grinders because of their large player base, huge tournaments and frequent promos. Plus they offer downloadable software for both Mac and PC players, meaning nobody will miss out on any of the features.

Once again, there are quite a few other networks that make provisions for Mac grinders, which means you should have no trouble finding a quality poker site.

http://www.macpoker.net/

What Mac Players can expect at New Full Tilt Poker

Before they lost their gaming license in June of 2011, Full Tilt Poker was one of the most popular sites among Mac players. And on November 6th, 2012, the poker world welcomed FTP back under its new management – the Rationale Group.

While under their new ownership, Full Tilt has seen a number of changes including getting rid of “Red Pros,” signing Viktor Blom, and allowing “rest-of-world” players to access their funds. But what we’re most interested in involves software features that Mac poker players can expect from the newly-launched site. This being said, let’s take an in-depth look at the fairly new Full Tilt Poker Mac software.

Full Tilt Mac Software Features

Mac Download – Just like in the past – when Full Tilt was run by the despised likes of Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar – there’s a downloadable Mac poker software version available. This ensures that Mac grinders won’t miss out on any of the same features PC users get. Assuming you still have the Mac software from Full Tilt’s old site, you merely need to update it this time around.

Rush Poker is Back – 2010 and 2011 saw FTP pioneer their innovative Rush Poker product, which was a huge hit with players. So it’s no surprise that Rush is back again and available for play through the Mac poker software. But it doesn’t look like Full Tilt can rely on Rush to bring them an exclusive client base any longer because other sites are now offering fast Mac poker variants too.

Interesting Tournaments – Rush Poker isn’t exclusive to cash games since FTP also runs Rush tournaments as well. Other intriguing tourneys you can expect to try include Multi-Entry, On-Demand, Second Chance and Triple Chance. The major benefit to these tournament types is that they’re pretty unique in the poker industry.

No Mobile Version – If you’re looking to play at FTP on Apple devices like an iPad or iPhone, we’re sorry to report that you can’t right now. That’s because there’s no mobile option, which is surprising since the old Full Tilt dabbled in the Android market before going offline. Seeing as how the Rational Group’s other site in PokerStars has done quite a bit with mobile poker, you can expect wireless play in the future.

Various Lobby/Table Views – Those who like to see different looks when playing online poker should be pleased with what’s at this site. You’ll be able to choose between three different lobby views and lots of table views.

In-Play Features – Once you jump into the cash games/tournaments at Full Tilt, you’ll have a number of different options such as a bet slider, auto-mucking hands, auto-rebuys/add-ons, auto-running-it-twice and multi-tabling (up to 16 tables). If you’ve ever been relegated to browser-based games as a Mac player, the latter option is nice because browser play doesn’t allow multi-tabling.

PokerStars-to-Full Tilt Transfers – Seeing as how the Rational Group now owns the world’s two largest poker sites, Mac grinders can make cash transfers from one site to the other. What’s nice is that you don’t even have to wait very long before funds move between the sites.

Play Same Player across Multiple Tables – One more interesting feature worth discussing about the Full Tilt Mac software is how grinders can play the same opponent across different tables. To do this, you need to be in heads-up cash or SNG games.

How has Full Tilt Poker fared so far?

For those interested in how the new Full Tilt site has done so far, they initially opened to a very successful launch date. It took just two hours before over 23,000 cash game players were grinding on the site. The next day was pretty good too as FTP hit a peak of over 15,000 players. Since that time, traffic has expectedly cooled off a bit with the current daily peak at 8,400 grinders.

But even though Full Tilt isn’t generating quite as much traffic, it’s still easily the world’s second biggest online poker room behind PokerStars. FTP’s 7-day cash game player average is 5,400, while the iPoker network is third with a 7-day average of 2,750 players. Seeing as how Full Tilt is loaded with software features for both PC and Mac users, you can certainly expect this gap to continue growing over time.

http://www.macpoker.net/

Spanish Court gives PokerStars Big Legal Victory

Earlier this year, one of the biggest stories in the online poker industry involved how much money Spain was demanding from PokerStars. The country was issuing licenses through their newly-regulated market, and government officials stated that Stars owed them four years’ worth of back taxes.

This amounted to a whopping €200 million ($257 million), but the world’s largest poker site paid up because they wanted a legal Spanish license. Thanks to that decision, PokerStars in now thriving in the regulated market since they command over 70% of Spain’s online poker traffic. But while all seemed well, there was one very unhappy party in all of this.

False Accusations

Codere, which is a Spanish multinational company that owns casinos all over the world, claimed that Stars had been operating illegally in their country since 2001. Furthermore, the Codere Group believes that PokerStars’ “illegal” operations cost them money because so many Spaniards were playing internet poker. But popular speculation is that the land-based gambling giant wanted to clear the way for their own online poker site, which has been rather unsuccessful on the Boss Media/GTECH G2 network.

Stars is not the only company that Codere was going after though because similar lawsuits were brought against both Betfair and SportingBet. In the case of SportingBet, their Miapuesta brand was actually forced offline for a few months, but was allowed back after paying back taxes to the Spanish government.

Getting back to Stars, a Barcelona court ruled that there was no basis behind Codere’s case. The court “agreed with PokerStars’ position that it operated lawfully in the country because the lack of regulation meant that there was no relevant law preventing such activity.”

Joyous Occasion

Lawyers for PokerStars have been in and out of the courts quite a bit in recent times. First off, they had the US Department of Justice to deal with from Black Friday (April 15th, 2011) to the fall of this year. During the same time, they were also dealing with the Spanish back taxes issue as well. Luckily, the massive poker site can finally rest easy on the legal front for a while after the favorable ruling in Barcelona.

Paul Telford, who is a lawyer for PokerStars, spoke about the legal victory by saying, “This ruling confirms the legal advice we have been given and which we have followed in Spain for years.” He went on to say, “We are very pleased the court agreed with our position and look forward to continuing to provide our licensed poker services as the leading brand in the Spanish market.”

Another Stars lawyer named Antonio Vazquez Guillen talked about the case by saying, “The Barcelona court judgment is absolutely clear in its conclusion that PokerStars has always operated in Spain according to the law.” Guillen added, “We are very happy with this outcome. It clarifies a question that, in our view, should never have been brought to a court of justice.”

Another Victory for Mac Poker Players

For the past few years, Stars has been one of the leading Mac online poker sites. Unlike some rooms – which only offer browser-based (instant) play for Mac grinders – PokerStars features a fully-downloadable version of their software for Mac players. What’s great about this is that you won’t get robbed of certain features that may be lacking in an instant play version. This being said, you can enjoy all of the same software features, bonuses and promotions as anybody else.

Because Stars is such an excellent Mac poker site, it’s great to hear that they’ve had a big legal victory in Spain. This means that Spanish Mac players will get to keep playing at the world’s largest poker room without a hitch. Furthermore, it could have positive implications in other parts of the world too where PokerStars has failed to gain a foothold so far.

This is especially pertinent in the United States because many American Mac poker players are hoping to eventually play in a legal and regulated market. And PokerStars definitely figures to be one of the driving forces in making this happen in the near future.

http://www.macpoker.net/

Bwin.party involved in Deals with both Zynga and MGM

When it comes to the online poker industry, bwin.party is no doubt one of the top companies since they operate both Party Poker and bwin. These two poker sites are well known for huge promotions, big player pools, and for making concessions to Mac poker players.

But despite the popularity and success, bwin.party is certainly not ready to kick back and count their money just yet because the high-powered gaming business is aggressively expanding into legal, regulated markets. This has led to two major deals recently, which we’ve discussed in-depth below.

Zynga to run Real Money Poker Games through bwin.party

For the past year, leading social game-maker Zynga has been a hot topic in the gaming world. The company has a large following thanks to being the developer of Facebook’s social games, and this is expected to translate very well into the poker and casino gaming world.

Bwin.party certainly agrees with this thought since they’ve gotten involved in a partnership with the San Francisco-based firm. Zynga is already running free poker/casino games for UK residents through the bwin.party software. And now there’s news that Zynga will be offering real money games through this software platform in early 2013.

As for the specifics behind the deal, the real money poker and casino operation will be run separately from the free social games. The poker site is actually going to run on the Party Poker network, but only UK residents have access to it and the cyber casino. The major benefit to this deal for Zynga is that they’ll be able to run real money games much sooner through bwin.party than by going out on their own.

Following the real money gaming announcement, Zynga Executive Vice President Barry Cottle said, “Partnering with an established leader like bwin.party is a strategic and prudent way for us to enter a key RMG market while giving local players the real money games they’ve been asking us for.”

Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, who are the co-CEOs of bwin.party, also weighed in on the deal by stating it was a, “further example of our success in leveraging our assets through strategic blue-chip partners.” They went on to say, “We are delighted to have been selected as their (Zynga) chosen partner for this important step in their evolution and hope to expand our relationship into other products and markets”.

Bwin.party Partner MGM Resorts gets Nevada Poker License

MGM Resorts International has become the latest company to land an online poker license in the state of Nevada. After being awarded a poker license by the Nevada Gaming Commission, MGM announced that they plan to run games through the bwin.party software platform. Much like Zynga, MGM feels that bwin.party gives them the ability to operate a turnkey poker site without spending years developing their own software.

The only possible hitch in this deal is that bwin.party is still going through the licensing process in Nevada. If/when approved, MGM will be able to start featuring real money poker games through the Party Poker software. But for now, the plan is to offer play money games in early 2013 and transition to real money games later on down the line.

It’s also worth mentioning that land-based casino operator Boyd Gaming is involved in this partnership too. The breakdown of the partnership is as follows: bwin.party owns 65% of the poker room, MGM owns 25% of the site, and Boyd Gaming stakes claim to the remaining 10%.

How these Deals affect Mac Poker Players

For the vast majority of those who play Mac poker games, the recent bwin.party deals aren’t going to affect them. After all, the Zynga real money gaming partnership only includes UK residents, while the other deal involves Nevada residents and visitors. However, the partnerships that bwin.party is currently forging could continue to impact regulated markets in the future and increase the reputability of this company in the eyes of federal governments.

This being said, we could see a lot more legal, regulated poker action throughout the world. And with most new sites making concessions to Mac poker players, this means there’ll be plenty more quality Mac sites in the industry!

http://www.macpoker.net/