PokerStars merges to become the largest online gaming company in the world. Audiences get their first look at Tony Dunst as the new WPT host. And a Johnny Chan documentary is released. All that and more in the weekend edition of the Hit and Run.

 

The Stars Group Buys the Sky

The biggest news this weekend is without a doubt the acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming by PokerStars. PokerStars parent company The Stars Group announced Saturday, April 21st that it plans to acquire UK-based Sky Betting & Gaming in a cash and common stock issuance deal valued at $4.7 billion.

The acquisition agreement — which could be finalized as soon as 3Q 2018 — would further diversify The Stars Group’s existing poker, iGaming and sports wagering portfolio as the company seeks to increase its influence within the quickly-growing sports betting market.

The Stars Group Sky Betting

In its official April 21st press release, The Stars Group stated that “this combination will result in the world’s largest publicly listed online gaming company.”

The move by The Stars Group comes in the midst of a major shake-up in both the land-based and online gambling industries as legislation to formally authorize real money sports betting gains steam ahead of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could liberate statewide sports wagering markets throughout the country.

PokerStars already has a huge market share and it will be interesting to see what effects this merger will create in the months and years to come. PTP’s own David Huber dives deeper into the story here.

 

New WPT Makes its Debut

After a bit of a delay, the new season of the World Poker Tour will finally debut tonight, Sunday April 22nd on the various regional Fox Sports networks.

The new season kicks off with WPT Choctaw and will see Tony Dunst join Vince Van Patten in the commentary booth on a full-time basis. Phil Hellmuth will be taking over Dunst’s old spot as the host of ‘The Raw Deal.’ But how audiences respond to both Dunst and Hellmuth is anyone’s guess; filling Mike Sexton’s spot will be a very tall order. New episodes of the WPT season premiere each Sunday on the FOX Sports Regional Networks at 8/11 p.m. local time, and each episode will re-air throughout the subsequent week.

 

Quick Hitters

 

– PokerNews has always been the leading name in poker tournament coverage. Now that the site has over a decade worth of hand histories on file, they decided to go down memory lane with their most exciting reported hands from the last 10 years.

-Much has been written about the PPA’s struggle to gain funding over the last year. Our friends over at BonusCodePoker decided to have a little fun with a new suggestion.

-PokerCentral has been producing amazing original content for well over a year now and they recently released an excellent documentary on Johnny Chan that’s free to the public. The 21-minute video is free to everyone on YouTube and takes a look at Chan’s rise to stardom.

-Finally, long time tournament pro and industry insider Steve Badger has written an excellent blog about the different types of characters one encounters at final tables. Badger always offers unique perspectives and this one is no different.

Photo Credits: PokerNews.com, WPT.com

Keith Woernle is a writer, comedian, and semi-pro poker player based out of New Jersey. He was a producer for season 10 of the World Poker Tour. Keith won a WSOP circuit ring in 2011. He likes poker a lot. Follow or contact him on twitter @WoernlePoker.