CHIP CHATTER: Scheinberg, Poker Central, Zynga, WPT, High Stakes Poker, Jersey Numbers, More

February 20, 2020
CHIP CHATTER: Scheinberg, Poker Central, Zynga, WPT, High Stakes Poker, Jersey Numbers, More

It’s cold outside, but there’s been plenty of heat in the poker world over the last month. That news ranges from new TV deals and states legalizing online poker to big events and Platinum Passes.

There was even an arrest of one of the titans of online poker and the founder of PokerStars. Here’s a look at some news and notes in the live and online poker world.

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PokerStars founder turns himself in to authorities

PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg officially turned himself in to federal authorities in New York on Jan. 17. The 73-year-old Israeli-Canadian and industry titan has avoided U.S. soil for two decades, according to Forbes.

Prosecutors have indicted Scheinberg on gambling, bank fraud, and money laundering charges. He decided to surrender to authorities after the U.S. began extradition proceedings with Switzerland.

Scheinberg was released on $1 million bail and became a virtual fugitive from justice after Black Friday in 2011

In 2001, Scheinberg launched and built the largest online poker site in the world. He ran the company until its sale in 2014.

High Stakes Poker returns

High Stakes Poker has remained a fan favorite since its last episode aired on the Game Show Network in 2011. The show featured a cash game with some of the biggest names in the game.

The show is now coming to PokerGO after Poker Central’s acquisition of the its brand and assets. The company made the announcement in early February, and will begin streaming episodes in the coming months.

The new deal also calls for even more action. Poker Central is finalizing plans for new episode distribution through PokerGO and potential partners.

High Stakes Poker ran for seven seasons, from 2006-11. Regulars included Doyle Brunson, Antonio Esfandiari, Barry Greenstein, and Daniel Negreanu. Players ponied up a minimum buy-in of $100,000 in the first season and as high as $500,000.

Mori Eskandani produced all seven seasons of High Stakes with executive producer Henry Orenstein. Eskandani now serves as executive producer at Poker Central and is pleased to see the show’s return. 

High Stakes Poker was raw and natural, we just let the players play and that’s what made it so special,” Eskandani said in a news release. “It’s truly a dream come true to bring the series to a new generation of poker fans and players, and we expect even more action when the show returns with faces both new and old.”

Global Poker partners with Poker Central

In other Poker Central news, the company recently announced a new partnership with Global Poker. The social gaming site becomes the official online poker partner for a number  of Poker Central’s live events.

Some of those sponsored events include:

  • Super High Roller Bowl
  • Poker Masters
  • US Poker Open
  • Poker After Dark

Along with event sponsorship, the Global deal includes live stream integration with Poker Central. The platform will also create the “Global Poker Lounge” inside the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas.

“Kicking off this partnership with Global Poker has been a dream come true for our team,” Poker Central President Sam Simmons said. “Our two companies share a common goal of making poker accessible to fans worldwide, and this partnership will allow both to advance that mission through live events and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

Global has been expanding in recent years with numerous major series throughout the year. The site has partnered with the Card Player Poker Tour in the past and sponsors some of its big winners at live events.

The new sponsorship will also provide Global players with exclusive player experiences during Poker Central events. That could include meet and greets, special giveaways, and online qualifiers.

“Given the prestige of Poker Central’s events, bringing our brands together feels like the next step in taking both partners to the next level,” Global Poker General Manager David Lyons said. “This partnership will not only promote the events, but offer countless opportunities to bring poker players and enthusiasts from all over the world into the action.”

Zynga, WPT team up for high roller sweepstakes event

The partnership between Zynga Poker and the World Poker Tour grew a bit more last week. The mobile poker site already sponsors an annual WPT500 event at the Aria and also runs WPT-themed games.

The new deal includes the addition of the WPT Sweepstakes. The promotion runs through March 6 for all US-based players who complete daily in-game challenges. Some of those will win an all-expenses paid trip to play in the $3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

Players earn up to three sweepstakes entries (one entry per week) by completing Tournament Center weekly goals. Following the three-week contest period, 15 winners will be drawn from the pool of entries.

In addition, winners will attend an exclusive training workshop run by WPT commentator and champion Tony Dunst. With close to $4 million in live tournament winnings, Dunst believes Zynga can be a great way to learn the game.

“Zynga Poker is a great platform for anyone to learn the ins-and-outs of Texas Hold‘em rules, strategies, and community,” he said. “Zynga has given these players the practical tools to succeed, and I look forward to sharing tips I’ve learned as a WPT champion to accelerate their respective learning curves.”

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New Jersey shows some positive online poker signs

While online poker in New Jersey has been treading water in recent years, there may be some hope. With online poker going live in Pennsylvania, some enthusiasm seems to have spilled over to the Garden State.

According to, the state’s online casinos earned more than $50 million for the first time ever in January.

That total actually came to $55.1 million, a 70% increase from last January and 5.6% increase from December. Caesars/ remains the market leader, followed by PokerStars and BorgataPoker/partypoker.

For online poker fans, additional good news is that January marked the second straight month of growth. Players will be hoping 2020 continues to show positive signs.

Run It Once Poker to the US?

Phil Galfond, founder of Run It Once Poker, recently spoke with about the site’s first year. That included some challenges and his recent efforts to lure PokerStars cash game players.


The first year involved improving the RIO software and the company is now focused on growing the player pool. Galfond also spoke on growing the number of recreational players on the site.

There has been some movement in the US online poker market in recent months. Would RIO be interested in moving into legal US jurisdictions?

“We’d absolutely love to if the right opportunity came along,” he said, “but until we’ve established ourselves and our product in the rest-of-world market, it likely won’t be a feasible option for us.” launches Blast leaderboards

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Blast tournaments are four-handed super-turbo Texas Hold’em events. Entrants have a shot playing for up to 10,000 times their buy-in.

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