Casino Watch - July 2005

1 July 2005
Sizing up the WSOP

The popularity of the World Series of Poker continues to explode, as more than 6,000 players are expected to take part in the main event scheduled to start on July 7. For the first time in the history of the WSOP, the prize pool from the 45 different tournaments will reach the $100 million mark. Harrah's Entertainment, which took control of the WSOP last year, has moved most of the games to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino just off the Strip, where the tournament is hosted in a 60,000-square-foot gaming area equipped with 200 poker tables. The tournament's final days will be played at Binion's in downtown Las Vegas, which hosted the World Series of Poker for its first 35 years. The last two winners of the main event earned their seats by winning online satellite tournaments. Internet players have fueled the growth of the event in recent years, and 2005 is expected to be no different.

Jennifer Tilly Shocks Poker World

Actress Jennifer Tilly made waves last week at the World Series of Poker by taking home the $158,625 top prize for winning the Ladies Texas Hold 'Em event at the WSOP. Tilly beat out 600 opponents, including some of the top pros on the circuit, to win the two-day event. "I think she showed an incredible amount of talent," the tournament's media director, Nolan Dalla, said. "She had an enormous chip lead and never looked back. It was almost as though her victory was never in question." Tilly, an Oscar nominee for her role in the 1994 film Bullets Over Broadway, said she learned plenty of pointers from her boyfriend, poker player Phil "Unabomber" Laak. "When you're living with Phil, you kind of learn by osmosis," Tilly told "Even in the middle of the night, he wakes up screaming out poker terms. Most guys scream out other girls' names."

Absolute Poker Fronts Shannon Sharpe

Absolute Poker, the fourth largest online poker room in the world, announced this week that it is sponsoring former NFL player and current TV commentator Shannon Sharpe at the WSOP. The former tight end, known for his trash talking on the field, will play in the main event along with Absolute Poker pro Mark Seif. Sharpe, who has only played poker for five months, said he is taking the WSOP very seriously. "I'm approaching this like I would football or any other competition," he said. "It's all about being focused and prepared. I've started training with Mark and I'm getting better everyday. If I get beat, it will be because the other players outplayed me or had a better hand. I'll be looking out for the aces and kings to make my job a lot easier."

Fortune Lounge Raves about Personal Messenger

Fortune Lounge Group, a provider of online casino games, says its Fortune Lounge Personal Messenger (FLPM) has been a big hit among online gamblers. The application has achieved a 90 percent adoption rate among active players and is believed to be the industry's first tool for delivering player-specific information to the desktop. The FLPM is similar to instant message and chat applications that reside unobtrusively in the task bar and are activated when a new message is received. In addition to notifying users of special promotions and news, the FLPM provides one-click access to all gaming software. A new release of the FLPM, scheduled for mid July, will provide a 24-hour link to Fortune Lounge's dedicated support team, access to account balance information, a direct link to the casino winners' wall and easy retrieval of Players Club loyalty point balances.

CYOP Rolls out Ten Seat Poker

CYOP Systems International Inc., a provider of online gaming software, has debuted its Internet poker software at, a site opened by the company's U.K.-based Red Felt Software Inc. subsidiary. The non-downloadable software facilitates multiple forms of payment.

CryptoLogic Upgrades Poker Software

CryptoLogic Inc. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, WagerLogic Limited, has added several enhancements to its poker software. New features include high-speed lightning games and an expanded range of lower-limit games available in various speeds; 0.15/0.25 no limit and pot limit games as well as 0.25/0.50 and 0.50/1.00 limit games are among the new offerings. Several Crypto licensees--including,,,,,,,, and implemented the new enhancements.

Poker Night Live

"Poker Night Live" debuted this month in the England on Sky Channel 226 and has been a hit so far. The program is the first to infuse online action with the excitement of live television; online players can appear on televised tournaments and offers tips to all poker enthusiasts.

Chartwell Buys Micropower

Canada-based gaming software developer Chartwell Technology this month acquired poker software developer Micropower for $4 million. Micropower was formed in 2003 and landed deals to provide poker software for leading entertainment brands ranging from ESPN (Sports Television Network), NTN (iTV Games Network), FHM (UK Men's Magazine), Easybets and