The World Series of Poker announces that the Colossus will return in 2016 and feature a $1 million top prize. PokerStars announces upcoming roll-out of BetStars brand. Robot dealers may be coming to a table near you. Confirmed registrations for WPT $200k Super High Roller now 21 and counting.

The Colossus II – More Colossal Than Ever

One of the highlights – and sources of controversy – at this summer’s World Series of Poker was the Colossus, which was both the lowest buy-in open WSOP event ever and the largest live tournament in all of poker history. It’s no surprise, then, that the WSOP has confirmed that it will be back next year, even before the official schedule is out.

The 2016 Colossus will be bumped up right to the front of the schedule, as Event #2 (with Event #1 being the Casino Employees’ event), likely because last year’s attendance numbers seemed to be lower than usual before it ran and higher afterwards. Other changes include two additional starting flights, and a $1 million guarantee for first.

This latter change will likely be well-received by the community, as one of the gripes about last year’s event was that the WSOP’s standard payout formula, combined with the tournament’s unprecedented size, produced final table payouts that some found disappointingly small in relation to the overall prize pool.

Quick Hitters

– PokerStars has been offering sports betting in certain jurisdictions since this April, but has now announced that its sportsbook will get its own brand called – what else – BetStars. A customer acquisition program for BetStars will run through the first half of 2016.

– As 2015 draws to a close, the GPI Player of the Year race is still up for grabs, with Byron Kaverman holding the slimmest of leads over Anthony Zinno and Steve O’Dwyer.

– 2016 will kick off with a bang, as the World Poker Tour hosts its highest buy-in event to date, a $200k Super High Roller in the Philippines. The event promises to be a star-studded affair, with Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Sam Trickett, Daniel Cates, Andrew Robl, Vivek Rajkumar, Fedor Holz and Andrew Pantling all confirmed to be playing.

– A company called Paradise Entertainment is threatening promising that your bad beats may soon come at the hands of a robot dealer. Paradise Entertainment describes its robots as “lifelike,” but I prefer the term “creepy as hell.”

– A Twitch user by the name of StickyRice1 has been accused of filling his channel with fake “viewbots” to make it appear more popular than it really is. Although his current game is CounterStrike: Global Offensive, he’s well-known to the poker community for his high-stakes, harebrained antics on Bovada, which he has also streamed on Twitch.