As of this writing, four remain in the WCOOP Main Event. Ongame Network closing its doors. Skill-based video game gambling coming to Atlantic City casinos. And more.

WCOOP Main Final Table Underway

The final nine players in the World Championship of Online Poker Main Event resumed play at 2 PM EST today, two and a half hours ago. In that time, the field has already been cut in half. The final four are all screen names likely to be known to high-stakes regulars, but whose real life identities are either secret or not as well-known.

Chip leader at the time of writing is llJaYJaYll, an MTT regular from Germany whose biggest recent wins have been in large-field turbos

The other three players are virtually tied with around 20 million chips apiece. These are two Brits, “0409479” “R_Scientist,” plus the Austrian “Gambler4444.” Play has been halted twice to negotiate a deal so far, but llJayJayll is not willing to accept one without being given additional money, while no one else is willing to give it up.

Those who’ve already fallen at the final table are as follows:

5th – axtipitos_86 ($420,888.94)
6th – Olorionek ($305,439.66)
7th – uknowProsky* ($221,656.95)
8th – gorodski ($160,856.12)
9th – deadfizh ($116,733.03)

Game Over for Ongame

Ongame was a major network back in the early boom years of poker, but has been on the decline for ten years now, and more sharply in the past five. The network’s fate was likely sealed in 2011 when then-owner Bwin merged with PartyPoker; two years later, Ongame was sold to Amaya, and Bwin pulled its skins off the network and moved them over to Party’s, leaving not much behind. That caused a near-instantaneous loss of 80% of the network’s traffic, which then continued to decline steadily, finally dipping into double-digit daily averages this year.

It’s no surprise, then, that the network is now going to be throwing in the towel for good. It’s a stark reminder of how volatile the poker industry can be, that a top-ten provider during good times can come to be seen as a liability just five years later, and disappear entirely five years after that.

Quick Hitters

Daniel Negreanu and Vanessa Selbst are playing a charity tournament today, for the Urban Justice Centre (UJC), a venerable New York initiative, and one on whose board Selbst currently serves.

Video game gambling is coming to Atlantic City, with the first-to-market being a company called GameCo. The games are said to be skill-based – the first will be a first-person shooter called Danger Arena, which awards payouts based on the number of robots the player manages to kill – and yet GameCo claims that the economics for the casino will be the same as for slot machines. It’s tough to see how that can be the case, but perhaps the games will feature dynamically adjusted difficulty and/or payouts, to ensure that players are collectively losing more than they’re winning, even if individual players find they can beat the house.

– Meanwhile, big tournament series are coming to the New Jersey online poker scene. PokerStars will run its New Jersey WCOOP-equivalent NJCOOP in the final two weeks of October with $1.2 million in combined guarantees. Beating Stars to the punch is Party-Borgata, with its latest instalment in the Garden State Super Series (GSSS) starting on the 9th and featuring over $1.1 million in guarantees of its own.

– Discussion of the William Massouf controversy is starting to die down, but James Guill at PokerUpdate couldn’t resist getting in one final piece on the subject of table talk in general.