The Week That Was In Poker November 29 To December 5 2021: Examining the World of Poker the Past Seven Days

Weekly Poker Update With the Poker Room at Boston Encore

If you’ve been following along in this column for the past several months, you know that poker players within the state of Massachusetts haven’t been pleased. The issue has been the return of poker to pre-pandemic conditions, which the players don’t feel like has occurred with enough urgency on the part of the state’s two casinos.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, the state’s two casinos, Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield, closed operations like all other casinos. And like most other casinos, they opened up shop in the summer of 2020 once health and safety restrictions started to ease. But their poker rooms initially remained dormant.

After some time had passed, poker players started to wonder when their tables were returning. They made those complaints known by voicing their opinions to the state gaming commission. MGM Springfield responded relatively quickly after that, but still there as nothing from the Encore Boston Harbor.

Poker Is Back But…

Finally, Encore Boston Harbor made the announcement in early November that they would be returning in February of 2022. But the reopening appears as if it won’t be so grand. Both the tables available to players and the hours that they can play have been cut back in a drastic fashion, leaving players more than a little frustrated.

The former poker room at the Encore held 74 tables, but that number has been dropped all the way down to 12. In addition, whereas once poker could be played all day and night, it has now been allotted to just four days a week (none of them weekend days) for 10 hours a day. With all the pent-up demand for poker in the state, it doesn’t seem as if the supply is going to equal it.

On top of that, some players were concerned that a bad beat progressive jackpot that had been pushed up significantly before the rooms went dark hasn’t been addressed. Representatives from the Encore have claimed that the money in that jackpot will be paid out via a poker promotion. But given the lack of enthusiasm they’ve perceived from the casino so far, you can understand if players are a bit wary.

Players Speak Out

This all made the poker news cycle once again this week because the players in Massachusetts once again spoke up. They feel that the efforts being made by Encore are minimal at best and that there is no way that the current situation does enough. And they also think that the Encore is basically appeasing the Gaming Board with these moves instead of worrying about the players concerns.

From their point of view, the casino claims it is a staffing issue, and anyone reading the news these days knows that this is no idle claim. It’s hard to say if the players would be happy if the casinos went full bore back into poker and the tables were understaffed or administered by employees who weren’t properly trained. But it seems like there should be a happy medium here.

Serious Poker Players at a Casino

What this situation proves more than anything else is that the poker community can get things done if they take a stand. It’s doubtful that they’re just going to let the status quo slide in Massachusetts without letting their opinions heard loud and clear. That should eventually cause some change, or else those voices will only get even louder.

Big Crypto Stakes

The connection between cryptocurrency and online poker is one of the most airtight you can find. Poker players know the convenience of paying and getting paid in digital coins. They also appreciate the privacy that goes along with it, allowing them to do their gambling in secret if they wish to do so.

The big money on line in an upcoming tournament is coming straight from Bitcoin enthusiasts. An anonymous Twitter invited others who were going to be in Miami for a Bitcoin convention to participate in a tournament.

That’s not that big a deal, but what is a big deal is the announced buy-in for the game: $1 million.

There is no certainty that this event will actually occur or how many players will end up participating. But there is no doubt that it will make for one of the richest tournaments of any kind. Let’s hope those investors bone up on their calls and bluffs before putting that kind of cash at stake, because even when measured in Bitcoin, a cool million is no joke.

BetOnline And Running Holiday Poker Promotions

Two of the top gambling sites are offering excellent ways to get involved in online poker during the holiday season. BetOnline and are highly-recommended, reliable online gambling sites, and their poker offerings are outstanding. Their 25 Days of Poker promotion makes it easy for you to get started with minimal to no financial commitment.

Throughout most of the month of December, you can win points by entering in poker tournaments at the site. These are so-called freerolls, which means that you don’t have to ante up any money to get involved. The idea will be to amass as many impressive hands and performances during those freerolls, which will earn you points in the process.

Tablet playing online poker

Leaderboards will be kept at each of the sites for all the best players. Towards the end of the month, tournaments will be held for actual money, and the participants will be those who do the best in the preliminary freerolls’ leaderboards. Those tournaments will be handing out a combined $25,000, and you can get your share without first putting up any money of your own if you start playing those freerolls right away.

Bonomo Back On Top

Being able to say that you’ve earned more money than any other tournament poker player is a feather in the cap that is hard to top. For the past few years, Justin Bonomo has been trying to get back to that spot. With a high-roller win this past weekend, he finally accomplished the feat and is now once again the all-time money-earner in terms of officially-sanctioned tournaments.

The event came at the Bellagio, a $100,000 buy-in known as the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, which attracted 19 entrants.

It was a field that also included the all-time money leader going into the night in Bryn Kenney. Kenney’s 2nd-place finish in an event in London a few years ago earned him over $20 million, which makes up over a third of his career earnings.

But Bonomo’s victory in this most recent event, which earned him $928,200, vaulted his career total to over $57 million, pushing him past Kenney. The margin isn’t that great, which means that the lead could change hands once again soon. But for Justin Bonomo, it means that for now anyway, he can say that, out of all the amazing poker players to play the game, he is on top of the mountain when it comes to earning money.

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