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Found 3 results

  1. [caption width="640"] Amaya Chairman and CEO David Baazov has stepped aside - temporarily - to deal with insider trading allegations.[/caption] Just days after being charged with insider trading, David Baazov has taken an indefinite paid leave of absence from his role as Amaya Chair CEO to deal with the allegations. He will remain a member of the board of directors. Last Wednesday, Autorité des Marchés Financiers, the securities regulator in Quebec, announced they had filed 23 charges related to insider trading at Amaya. Five of those charges were levied at Baazov including aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of Amaya securities, and communicating privileged information. Amaya acquired the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands in June 2014. After the charges were announced, Baazov proclaimed his innocence. "These allegations are false and I intend to vigorously contest these accusations," Baazov said. "While I am deeply disappointed with the AMF's decision, I am highly confident I will be found innocent of all charges." Others charged included Yoel Altman and Benjamin Ahdoot, both described by AMF as close friends of Baazov. With Baazov stepping aside, at least temporarily, Amaya's board of directors named Divyesh Gadhia as interim chairman and Rafi Ashkenazi as interim CEO. Ghadia is currently on the Amaya board of directors, while Ashkenazi is the CEO of Rational Group, the company which oversees the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands. Despite the charges, which could result in fines, jail time or a combination of those for Baazov, he has indicated he still intends to pursue an acquisition of Amaya. "As always, I continue to be dedicated to doing the right thing for Amaya and all its stakeholders. I believe that stepping down in the short term will help to avoid distraction for the company and its management while I vigorously contest all allegations made against me and pursue my bid to acquire the company," Baazov said in a statement. Ghadia is also the chair of the special committee of independent directors, which was established to handle any potential sale or transfer of Amaya ownership, including the interest shown by Baazov. Rumors of Baazov's interest in acquiring the publicly traded company first surfaced in February and the news sent Amaya's stock price on a nearly 30% upswing. The day the charges were announced, Amaya stock price fell from $18.57 to $14.75 - a 21% decrease.
  2. The world's largest online poker operator now has a new owner. The Stars Group, owner of PokerStars, has been acquired by Flutter Entertainment, owners of online gaming brands Paddy Power, FanDuel and BetFair, in a deal that creates the world's largest online gaming company. The all-share transaction sees Flutter wind up with 55% of the ownership of the combined group and TSG with 45%. The combined 2018 revenues of the two companies was $4.66 billion. "This exciting combination will allow us to enhance and accelerate our existing strategy. In recent years, we have transformed TSG from a single product operator in poker to a diverse global leader with multiple product offerings across poker, gaming and sports betting," said Rafi Ashkenazi, The Stars Group CEO. "The combination with Flutter will further enhance our company’s core strengths, and position us strongly for the future in this rapidly evolving industry. I’m delighted to be joining the Board of the Combined Group and to serve as its COO." As part of the transaction, Ashkenazi will be one of 14 members of the newly-formed board of directors and moves from TSG CEO to the COO of the combined group. This isn't the first mega-merger involving Paddy Power or PokerStars. In 2016, Paddy Power merged with BetFair to create Flutter Entertainment and in 2017 they acquired daily fantasy sports giant FanDuel. The US-facing opportunities that The Stars Group has is one of the reasons Flutter pursued this merger. The Stars Group acquired Sky Betting in 2018. “The combination represents a great opportunity to deliver a step change in our presence in international markets and ensure we are ideally positioned to take advantage of the exciting opportunity in the US through a media relationship with FOX Sports as well as our development of US sports betting through Flutter’s FanDuel and TSG’s FOX Bet brands. We are committed to these two high-quality brands to drive the growth of the Combined Group in the US," said Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter. PokerStars currently operates only in New Jersey, but are expected to their Pennsylvania online poker product sometime this month. The FOX Bet sportsbook product, which is a rebranded offering of BetStars, the online sports betting offered by The Stars Group, is currently available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  3. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. October brought us one of the biggest stories of 2019 when allegations of cheating by Californian poker pro Mike Postle captured the attention of the entire poker world. Poker Pro Mike Postle Accused Of Cheating California poker pro Mike Postle found himself at the center of one of the biggest poker stories of the year after he was accused of cheating in the live-streamed cash games of Stones Poker Live. Accusations of cheating first came to light when Veronica Brill, a one-time player and commentator for Stones Poker Live, took to Twitter to voice her concerns. Soon after, clips of Postle playing in the game showed him routinely making correct river decisions in spots where it would be difficult to always be correct. Stones Live Poker social media quickly attempted to shut down the concern, dismissing Brill’s allegations as ‘fabricated’ and also claimed that an internal investigation proved no wrongdoing. That’s when popular podcaster Joey Ingram stepped in. He began pouring over hours and hours of Postle’s hands, providing hand-by-hand reviews of his play. The deeper Ingram looked, the more suspicious the play became and top-tier pros weighed in with their thoughts that there was indeed something to the allegations. Postle was not without his defenders and Stones Gambling Hall Tournament Director Justin Kuraitis insisted there that the game was on the up-and-up. But in the end, pressure from the community and the uncovered evidence forced Stones to re-open an investigation and cease all streaming activities. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Postle Story Goes Mainstream The details behind the Mike Postle cheating allegations story became so incredible that mainstream media picked up the story, including some of the biggest media outlets in the world. Perhaps the biggest exposure the story received was from ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt who highlighted the story on his ‘1 Big Thing’ segment during an episode of SportsCenter that took place right after Monday Night Football. The three-minute national segment had Van Pelt breaking down the complicated story into an easy-to-understand narrative for his viewers. “If a guy were able to cheat his way to six-figure gains playing cards and it gets solved by a bunch of poker sleuths on the interest, is that a story that interests you? Because it did me,” Van Pelt teased before hitting on all the major points of the story. Van Pelt wasn’t the only news outlet to run with the Postle story as local news covered it extensively as did a feature article on The Ringer and CNBC. Postle Gets Hit With Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit It didn’t take long before the Mike Postle cheating allegations turned into a full-blown court case. Poker playing lawyer Maurice VerStandig of The VerStandig Law Firm, representing 25 total plaintiffs, filed a lawsuit requesting more than $30 million in restitution from the victims of the Stones Live cash games. It seeks $10 million from Stones Gambling Hall for contrastive fraud for not monitoring the games to prevent cheating, another $10 million from Stones and Tournament Director Justin Kuritis for fraud for the potential cover-up and $10 million against Postle himself, as well as other as-yet-unnamed associates for fraud on the allegations of cheating. This matter has not yet been resolved. PokerStars Acquired By Flutter While everyone was waiting for news of PokerStars to launch in Pennsylvania, news of another sort dropped in October as it was announced that The Stars Group, parent company to PokerStars, had been acquired by Flutter Entertainment, the owner of gaming brands Paddy Power, BetFair and FanDuel. The merger created the world’s largest online gaming company with a total 2018 combined revenue of $4.66 billion. “This exciting combination will allow us to enhance and accelerate our existing strategy. In recent years, we have transformed TSG from aa single product operator in poker to a diverse global leader with multiple product offerings across poker, gaming, and sports betting," said The Stars Group CEO, Rafi Ashkenazi. PokerStars Prepares To Go Live In Pennsylvania At the very end of October the news came down that finally, after two years of waiting, online poker players in Pennsylvania were finally going to get to return to their online grind. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced that PokerStars would be the first online operator to launch in PA and that the required two-day soft launch would happen on November 4. “We are very excited to be bringing our most popular brands to Pennsylvania in the next week,” a PokerStars representative said just ahead of the launch. At the time, the two-day launch was subject to regulatory approval and potential delays should there have been issues. However, the soft launch period was a resounding success with players flooding the lobbies and proving that not only was the PokerStars client ready for Pennsylvania, but the players were ready for PokerStars. Johannes ‘Greenstone25’ Korsar Wins October PLB Sweden’s Johannes ‘Greenstone25’ Korsar has already had a prolific online poker career, currently sitting at #6 on the PocketFives All-Time Online Money List. However, at the end of 2019, he began to achieve things he’d never done in the over four years since joining PocketFives. The first of those achievements was taking down the October 2019 PLB title. He racked up 80 cashes and over $237,000 en route to earning the October honor. On top of that, Korsar used that momentum to become the #1-ranked player in the world for the first time in his career just weeks later.
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