Phil Ivey's Newest Venture2 years ago
Poker legend, Phil Ivey, has announced his latest adventure which will see him join forces with iTEAM Network to launch his own Daily Fantasy Sports site – PhilIveyDFS.
Expected to appear on the network next month as a skin, Ivey’s move brings the worlds of poker and DFS closer together, rather surprisingly, at a time when both are under pressure from industry regulation and massive internal changes.
Ivey’s announcement however shows his passion for the DFS world, unsurprising given his love of all forms of gambling:
Over the past few years, I've been looking for more ways to share with fans my perspective on daily fantasy sports."
For his part, iTEAM Network CEO Hunterton explained that signing Ivey is “part of an aggressive marketing strategy that will soon lead to an increase of the network's liquidity and prize pools.”
"We are always looking for quality brands and partners in the world of fantasy [and] there is no elite-level individual that fans want to follow and learn from more than Ivey," Hunterton stated. "Ivey's team engaged in extended due diligence, which we welcomed in light of our commitment to conservative regulatory practices and great user experiences.”
There is a large crossover between poker players and DFS players,” commented Hunterton on the new deal. "Adding the Phil Ivey brand will substantially increase network-wide player liquidity and prize pools. We have already started an aggressive marketing and execution plan in which PhilIveyDFS users will be able to compete immediately for more than $20,000 in weekly pro basketball contests and interact directly with Ivey."
The deal may sound unusual given the recent problems DFS have been facing in the US where the unregulated fantasy sports sites have been put under immense pressure – and Ivey’s own ongoing civil lawsuits against New Jersey’s Borgata and London’s Crockfords casinos, where “edge sorting” tactics were used to win massive sums in mini-baccarat games at the casinos.
However, the iTEAM Network was launched last September, before the ‘insider trading’ allegations blew the DFS world wide open, and the five original iTEAM Network DFS sites of Wagerocity, SkillDraftDFS, SportsMemoDFS, BigBlackDFS & Amber Gaming (under the brand name HogWildPokerDFS) have since been joined by at least three other DFS sites, AtlantaDraft.com, GameDayDrafts, and URCompedSports.
Over at FlushDraw.net, Haley Hintze has reported on the poker links within the iTEAM Network which, added to Ivey’s obvious compatibility with Hunterton, makes his decision to go with the new DFS network seem extremely sensible.
A look at iTEAM’s corporate offerings shows that several veterans of the poker world figure heavily in the company’s success. Poker’s most well-known agent, Brian Balsbaugh of Poker Royalty, sits on iTEAM’s board of directors, and David Williams, runner-up to Greg Raymerin the 2004 WSOP main event, is listed as a 'Data Analysis' executive.”
In addition, with all the expected regulatory hurdles to come, Hintze spots that:
Former Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli and his GVIII, LLC counseling firm also serve in an independent advisory capacity to iTEAM, which bills itself as a “DFS 2.0” industry, seeking to be fully regulation-compliant in all jurisdictions where the company offers its services.”
Although it remains to be seen how well PhilIveyDFS does in the fantasy sports world, he can take comfort in the knowledge that former professional poker player Aaron "aejones" Jones recently took down the biggest prize ever awarded in Daily Fantasy Sports. A good omen surely!
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