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Poker TV shows get the axe

Among the many sad aftershocks of the US federal indictments against executives of leading online poker companies is a report that two popular poker television shows, the “PokerStars Big Game” and the “PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge,” have both been pulled from Fox TV.

Early reports indicate that the cancellation was agreed by both Pokerstars and Fox following the unsealing of the federal indictments last Friday.

The Pokerstars Big Game was hosted by Amanda Leatherman and featured many of the top pros on the international poker scene.

It is not yet known whether the next series of the show will be prepared and presented elsewhere.

In the Pokerstars Million Dollar Challenge, celebrities and online qualified players faced off in four heads up matches of NLHE. Those players who won against their celebrity opponents went on to play professional poker players on the Pokerstars roster - again highly respected names on the international poker circuit.

Winners of this second round then faced Daniel 'Kid Poker' Negreanu heads-up for a chance at $1 million.

ESPN announced earlier this week that it has canned the PokerStars-sponsored “Inside Deal” show, although it appears that another sponsor has been found for future issues of the program.

More bad news is that the indictments and reduction in US activity has reportedly resulted in lower prize pool guarantees on Sunday's tourneys by the leading internet poker companies - some slashed by almost fifty percent.

Poker News Daily reports that PokerStars cut the guaranteed prize pool of its Sunday Million by $500,000 to $1 million, and chopped its Sunday Warm-Up down by a third to $500,000. The guarantee on the Sunday 500 was reduced to $250,000 and the Sunday Second Chance was cut to $125,000.

The impact of the US situation was felt in lower entry fields, although the guarantees were all passed.

For example, 6,475 players entered for the Sunday Million, a significant drop from the previous week's 8,200.

At Full Tilt Poker the guarantee on the first event in the XX FTOPS sank from $3 million to $1 million, but almost 7,000 players still entered for the event. The Sunday Brawl also suffered, with its guarantee slashed by half, and the Sunday Mulligan was cut from $200,000 to $50,000.

UB, which is also involved in the indictment debacle, cut its $200,000 guaranteed tourney to $75,000, a number that was just topped by player buy-ins of $87,000.

It appears that the indicted companies were the only ones to reduce guarantees; reports indicate that Party Poker, Titan Poker and Bodog maintained the values of Sunday competitions.

The independent online poker monitor Pokerscout has been keeping a careful watch on traffic developments since the indictments were publicised last Friday, and according to its latest assessment on April 18 the global online poker market shrank by 23% in the wake of Black Friday.

The site informs that PokerStars traffic is 25% down; Full Tilt Poker 48% and the Cereus Network 39%.

Non-indicted but US-facing networks that have benefitted from the decline of the three main operators include Merge - up 23%; Bodog - up 26%; Cake - up 19% and the small Everleaf network, up 8%.

Non-US facing sites in Europe also saw improved traffic, with Party Poker rising by 9%; iPoker Network up 4%, PKR up 21% and 888 Poker up 5%. Ongame reported no change.

On a lighter note, one of the 11 persons indicted, Chad Elie has something to take his mind off his troubles.

Shortly after he was released on bail, the news surfaced that he had celebrated his release by marrying former Playboy Playmate Destiny Davis in Las Vegas.

Elie was one of the first of the indicted managers to be arrested and stands accused of facilitating financial transactions and other banking and financially oriented offences.

Federal officials claim that Elie and others worked with the poker companies to disguise money received from US gamblers "as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants purporting to sell merchandise such as jewellery and golf balls". He faces up to 30 years in jail on charges of bank fraud.

Source: InfoPowa News

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