PokerStars and the Poker Players Alliance are now opposed to the latest draft of California’s online poker bill. PokerCentral adds new high-profile ambassadors to its payroll and tightens ties with the GPL. Million Dollar Sundays are back on Americas Cardroom and the rest of the Winning Poker Network. And more.

California bill would keep PokerStars out for five years

If you’re having a hard time following the twists and turns of the ongoing legislative battle in California over online poker, you’re not the only one. It’s got enough players and complexity to produce its own made-for-Netflix TV drama. In the latest turn of events, PokerStars and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) have done an about-face and come down in opposition to the latest draft of an online poker bill they formerly supported, and it’s not hard to see why.

There are several groups who are all keen on seeing online poker come to California, but all of whom want an edge over the competition. Locally, there are the racetracks – who currently have the monopoly on legal online gaming in the state – the cardrooms, and the tribal casinos. Then there are outside players, largely led by PokerStars, who of course want in because California is a much larger market than any of the other states which currently allow online poker. All of these are constantly stepping on one anothers’ toes as they advocate for specific legislation which would allow them to profit, but limit the other groups’ ability to encroach on their turf.

The latest move by the tribes has been to get additional bad actor language added to the bill which would punish PokerStars for its actions prior to Black Friday with a five-year ban. Given the current industry climate, it’s unclear where online poker will be in five years, so this is a compromise PokerStars and its beleaguered owner Amaya are unwilling to accept. With PokerStars and PPA both coming down against the bill, it’s unlikely to pass, so the prospects for online poker in California are only sinking deeper into the quagmire they’ve found themselves in.

Articles on the subject can be found at CardPlayer, CalvinAyre and PokerNews.

Quick Hitters

– The currently online-only poker network PokerCentral has announced the addition of new high-profile spokespeople to its team: Brian Rast, Maria Ho and Tom Marchese. The likely reason, as reported at Poker Update, is to strengthen ties with the Global Poker League, as Ho is the manager of the LA Sunset and Rast and Marchese are both players in the league.

– The Winning Poker Network, a US-facing network best known for its Americas Cardroom skin, has brought back its popular Million Dollar Sundays multi-table tournaments.

– Portland has made a particularly questionable move in the regulation of its poker scene. The local law is that poker is legal, but professionally-dealt games aren’t, a law that the cardrooms in the city have been working around by recruiting volunteer dealers who will work for tips. The city is attempting to close that loophole, and has issued a notice to its poker establishments that any designated dealer position is prohibited, and players will have to deal the games themselves in a rotating fashion, just as they would in a home game. In other words, if you’ve been practicing your bottom-dealing or other “mechanic” skills, consider a move to Portland.

– PartTimePoker’s own Keith Woernle weighs in with the latest instalment – 3b, now requiring letters as well as numbers – of his popular series of op-eds about how to grow poker’s popularity. This time around, he looks at the difficulties facing television producers of poker content.

– Over at PocketFives, Matthew Hunt makes the astute observation that emotional intelligence (EQ) is at least as important for success at poker as conventional intelligence metrics like IQ. A quick look at any thread on a poker forum bears out the hypothesis that this is a much-needed trait, and one in short supply.