With the second edition of the Cash Game Festival in full swing in Tallinn, Estonia, the country is showing its capital city has everything it needs to become a Northern European go-to destination for poker players.
Meanwhile, the recently adopted online gambling legislation in Portugal is driving most of the biggest operators out of the country. Finally, the King's Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic gets ready to celebrate the first tournament series organized in cooperation with Raising for Effective Giving. Find out more about all these stories below.
Tallinn Celebrates the Second Cash Game Festival
From July 15-19, hundreds of cash games players will engage in a memorable battle at the Olympic Casino in Tallinn, Estonia during the second Cash Game Festival.
Organized by ABC Pokker and Poker Icons, the event aims to repeat the success of last year's edition when more than 150 players from across Europe met in Tallinn for four-day of great cash game action.
"We want to prove that cash game live events can be at least as fun as live tournaments," Poker Icons owner Martin Franke von Zweigbergk told PokerNews. "Every time we go around to play in the big tours, we always see people looking for cash action as soon as they leave the tournament table. So, we said: 'why not create a cash-game-only live event?' "
During the Cash Game Festival, players will have the opportunity to sit at hold'em, Omaha, mixed games, and open-face Chinese poker tables and take on a slew of challengers, who're mainly Scandinavian players.
"Events like this do very good for poker, especially as they contribute to bring new players in," von Zweigbergk continued. "Last year, right after the first edition of the festival, the cash games in the casino were literally full. We had a lot of players who fell in love with cash games thanks to our event."
According to the organizers, one of the keys to success was the fact that cash games allow people to visit new places and avoid the long hours of tournament play.
"When you go to a tournament, and you do well, you need to stay at the table from six to eight hours straight - at least," von Zweigbergk explained. "In a cash game event like ours, you can play for as long as you want, have a walk to discover the city you are in, have a nice dinner … and then come back to the tables to play some more hands. How can it get any better than this?"
Betfair, 888poker, PokerStars and Full Tilt Exit Portugal
As Portugal gets ready to issue its first online poker licenses and celebrate the first legal online poker hands played since approval of new legislation on online poker, most international operators decided to put their operations in the country on hold.
One week ago, 888poker contacted all their affiliate partners in Portugal asking them to stop promoting the world's second-biggest online poker site until their parent company 888holdings secures a poker license.
Similarly, only a few days later, poker operator Betfair decided to withdraw from the Portuguese market and end their operations in the country starting Thursday, July 16. In an email sent to their players, Betfair explained that the players based in Portugal will have until July 31 to withdraw their account balances.
Before 888poker and Betfair, Amaya decided to suspend their operations in Portugal. An email sent by the PokerStars Partners Team to the room's affiliates active in the Portuguese market urged them to stop promoting PokerStars and its sister site Full Tilt from Thursday, June 2 onward.
"In an effort to comply with Portuguese Regulations, the PokerStars Partners affiliate program will no longer accept players from Portugal until further notice," the note from PokerStars stated.
The poker room explained that the move was a temporary measure, as PokerStars' and Full Tilt's marketing activities will be back once operators receive a license to lawfully operate in Portugal.
PokerStars and Full Tilt intend to apply for a Portuguese gaming license as soon as the application process will be in place.
"We fully expect to apply for a license in Portugal so that we can provide a fun, safe and competitive environment for Portuguese consumers to enjoy online poker."
Talking to PokerNews, a representative from PokerStars confirmed that the room intends to apply for a Portuguese gaming license as soon as an application process is in place and offer their games to Portuguese citizens with the framework set by the gaming legislation recently approved.
Raising for Effective Giving and King's Casino to Join Forces in August
Back in April, during a short conversation with PokerNews right at the beginning of the Celebrity Cash Kings event held at the King's Casino in Rozvadov, Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree announced that the casino was about to launch a series of events organized in cooperation with Raising for Effective Giving (REG), the award-winning charitable organization founded by Boeree, Philipp Gruissem, and Igor Kurganov.
The first series of events organized by Europe's biggest live poker room and REG will kick off on August 12 to offer six days of poker that aims to help REG reach their noble goals.
The series will feature a €250 buy-in Main Event, as well as a €10,600 buy-in High Roller event , with entry fees being donated to REG. The series will include also a number of other tournaments that the casino plans to announce during the coming weeks.