DAILY BUZZ: New WPT Buyout, Annette_15 in Vegas, LAPT Adds PCA

Welcome to the BLUFF Daily Buzz, where we scour the entire internet for all the latest news in and around the world of poker. If it involves chips and cards, or people known to associate with chips and cards, we’re there.

Mandalay Media tenders last-minute offer for World Poker Tour

The World Poker Tour Enterprises Board of Directors was all set to vote today on a $12.3 million offer tendered by PartyGaming subsidiary Peerless Media to buy the majority of the WPT’s assets, but a last-minute offer from Mandalay Media worth $36.5 million has the Board putting on the brakes and considering the new deal.

The Peerless Media offer was actually the second offer the WPT received in August and represented a 33% increase over the previous offer from Gamynia Limited for $9.08 million. Now WPT has a suitor who not only wants to pay four times the original deal, but also wants to offer “significant cash and stock” to WPTE shareholders where the previous offers had nothing for them. As our good friends at Wicked Chops Poker noted yesterday:

Damn. That’s a quick turnaround for a company many felt was running on fumes a year ago. Hats off to Lipscomb and crew.

Mandalay Media has asked to meet with the WPTE Board of Directors as soon as possible, so there should be more coming on this story in the very near future.

(Mandalay Media Announces Proposal to Acquire World Poker Tour – Reuters)

Annette_15 gets first taste of live US poker

At the age of 18, Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad became the youngest WSOP bracelet winner ever when she took down the inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event in 2007, hitting a milestone that’s going to be difficult. Now Obrestad has reached another milestone: she’s played her first game of live tournament poker in Las Vegas.

Obrestad let the world know last week on her Twitter feed that she would be appearing on her first episode of Poker After Dark. Yesterday she got to work, and in the finest PAD tradition there were no soft spots at the table; Obrestad’s opposition includes Mike Matusow, Antonio Esfandiari, Erick Lindgren, Phil Laak, and 11-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. There’s no word yet on the results, or on when the episode is set to air.

Originally the Norwegian poker prodigy was going to play the Festa al Lago main event at Bellagio. However, her wire transfer didn’t go through in time and she didn’t want to borrow money from anybody, so she sat the tournament out instead.

You can follow Annette Obrestad’s Twitter Feed, or check out the rest of our Poker Tweets page here.

PCA switches tours, again

After announcing the first stop of its third season a few weeks ago, PokerStars finally released the rest of the Latin American Poker Tour schedule for 2009-10 – and one of poker’s biggest tournaments is being added to the mix.

Season Three of the LAPT will sport five tournaments in all, starting in November 19th in Playa Conchal, Costa Rica, and ending with the LAPT Grand Final at an as-yet-undetermined location in Argentina. In between the tour will hit familiar stops in Chile and Uruguay, but not before detouring to the Bahamas in January for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

The PCA is already a virtual lock to break every record set thus far in the LAPT’s two years of existence, since it sports both the largest buy-in ($10,300) and the largest field-size cap (1,600) on this year’s tour. Placing one of the most popular tournaments on the annual worldwide tournament calendar in the middle of the LAPT schedule also adds some extra credibility to a young tour in one of poker’s most promising emerging markets; the 11-day PCA is the largest poker festival in the world outside Las Vegas.

This is officially the third tour that the PCA has called home. It started off as a World Poker Tour stop before the WPT ended it ties to online poker rooms after passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The European Poker Tour then hosted the PCA for the next two years, giving Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier the chance to pad his EPT career stars with a $2 million win in 2008.

More info on the new Latin American Poker Tour schedule is available at the tour’s official website.

India set to legalize online gambling

The Indian state of Sikkim is accepting bid for three online gambling licenses which would give outside companies a foothold in an Indian gambling market worth an estimated $60 billion.

The companies who win the licenses will only be able to promote their services in the Himalayan state, which has a population of just 600,000 people, but apparently they will be able to take bets from all over India, which has a total population of 1.2 billion. Sikkim is just one of two states in the entire country where casino gambling is legal; the other is Goa, where the now-defunct Asian Poker Classic took place a few years back.

Indian law requires that foreign companies partner with a local company in a joint venture. That means that outifts like William Hill, Betfair, Bwin, 888, and Ladbrokes who are interested in the licenses will have to find a company from Sikkim to come along for the ride as well. The market seems ripe for exploitation at this point: legal operators in Goa and Sikkim combine to give the Indian government revenues of $400 million per year, while possible revenues from the current black market are estimated to be in the $2 billion range.

The government in Sikkim is expected to announce who will receive the licenses at some point in the next two weeks.

(Betfair and William Hill target India – The Independent)

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