Poker News in Brief: Jan. 4-10, 2010

Old Main Pennsylvania

If the past week was any indication, 2010 is going to be a very good year for the poker industry.

The 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure drew a record 1,529 players to generate a $14.8 million prize pool – the seventh biggest in poker history.

Plus, there was some poker news that happened outside of the Bahamas and we’re breaking it down for you below in our ongoing Poker News in Brief feature.

This week we’ll look at a new poker film coming to DVD, Pennsylvania legalizing live poker and table games, Belgium moving to nationalize online poker and Bodog making a big brag.

Legal Poker for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania legalized poker, blackjack and other table games at Casinos this week in an attempt to generate extra revenue for the State.

Previously, casinos in Pennsylvania had been restricted to slot machines only.

It will be six months before games start being dealt in Pennsylvania, but the State stands to make millions in licensing fees.

Several neighboring states are taking notice and Indiana is considering allowing riverboat gambling in Lake Michigan and the Ohio River. Back in November, Ohio voters passed a law that will see four casinos constructed in four cities.

The Pennsylvania law change could have a potentially negative effect on neighboring Atlantic City if Pennsylvania residents opt to gamble closer to home.

shark city 209x300

Poker Film “Shark City” to See DVD Release

Indie poker flick Shark City is scheduled to be released on DVD on Feb. 16 though Morningstar Entertainment and Stardust Pictures.

The film stars Vivica A. Fox, Carlo Rota, Jefferson Brown and David J. Phillips and it centers around around the story of two friends who get mixed up with the daughter of a gangster. The two attempt to con a group of gangsters through a poker game and the plan goes awry.

High stakes poker, both live and online, is central to the theme of the film.

Shark City won the John Muir award at the Yosemite Film Festival.

To learn more go to the film’s website.

Belgium Attempts to “Nationalize” Online Poker

Belgium appears to be the latest country that is trying to restrict its citizens to only playing on local online poker rooms.

A recent story in Belgian newspaper Da Standaard claims the government has plans to demand Internet Service Providers block any foreign online poker sites.

This could potentially have huge ramifications for sites like PokerStars, Full Tilt or PartyPoker as they would have to set up regional offices in the country to continue operations.

The changes are scheduled to become law before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is reportedly not pleased with Belgium’s decision claiming it goes against the free trade agreement made by members of the European Union.

Despite the European Commission’s objections, Italy currently restricts its online poker market to rooms that have a presence in the country.

Calvin Ayre

Study Shows Bodog Best Brand

Bodog may not have the most players, but according to a recent independent study it carries the strongest brand recognition.

The report was conducted by gaming consultant Josh Apiafi using Google to understand the brand strength of the top 10 online poker websites including PokerStars, William Hill, 888.com, Bet365, Betfair, bwin, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, PartyPoker and Bodog.

“We had a hunch since I first rolled out the Bodog brand and business model that we are considered interesting,” said Bodog founder Calvin Ayre. “But that’s only part of the story – we also stand for having fun and that’s what all people want, especially ones that like to gamble."

The survey was conducted by looking at the number of Google alerts generated daily during December. Apiafi recorded every time a document was published that contained a mention of the brands listed above.

In the end, Bodog narrowly edged PokerStars by a score of 510 to 493.

Huge Growth for HeadsUp Entertainment

HeadsUp Entertainment, a poker media company out of Canada, posted its most recent quarterly statement this week and the company showed massive expansion in 2009.

The company sanctioned 362 events under its Canadian Poker Tour (CPT) brand this year, up from the 71 since it acquired the tour in 2008. HeadsUp Entertainment is aiming to host more than 560 events in 2010.

Also in 2009, HeadsUp Entertainment helped produce the CPT Finals in the Dominican Republic and Canadian Open Poker Championships in Calgary for television.  The Canadian Open Poker Championship drew big-name poker players like Gavin Smith, Jennifer Tilly and Huck Seed.

HeadsUp Entertainment also currently runs www.canadianpokertour.tv and Canadian Poker Magazine.

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