888’s Poker 8 Software is Coming to WSOP.com in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Nevada: Here’s What to Expect

In January 2021, 888 Holdings and Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) signed a multi-year extension for their existing partnership in the US market.

As part of the deal, 888 confirmed that they will provide their innovative Poker 8 client for WSOP.com in regulated US markets.

The software client represents a major upgrade for both desktop and mobile. Poker players in states where legal US online poker has been approved can look forward to vast improvements this year.

The launch in regulated US markets has been confirmed by Senior Vice President and Head of US at 888 Holdings Yaniv Sherman in a recent exclusive interview with pokerfuse.

He outlined the company’s specific expansion plans for 2021 with a launch in Pennsylvania as the top priority, with the goal of going live this side of the WSOP summer festival. The WSOP.com client in the Keystone State is slated to feature the Poker 8 software when it goes live. 888 also plans to go live with Michigan online poker as their next key market.

It is also expected to roll out the new software in other regulated states—namely WSOP Nevada, WSOP New Jersey and 888 New Jersey—thereafter.

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New desktop client on Windows and Mac
Clean new lobbyRedesigned filtersOverhauled lobby designCleaner tablesMulti-flight tournamentsNew mobile app for Android and iOS
Portrait designSlick new layoutPlay up to four tables simultaneouslyPLO availableWhen is it deploying?
888 hopes WSOP.com will go live in Pennsylvania with Poker 8Will then deploy to Nevada and New Jersey888 and WSOP are also eyeing Michigan launch

888’s Long Partnership with the WSOP in the United States

The partnership of 888 and CIE dates all the way back to 2013 when the WSOP.com online platform was launched in Nevada. One year later, 888 became the official sponsor of the WSOP live festival in Las Vegas, a role it has retained ever since.

888 is also the software provider for the WSOP client in New Jersey online poker, as well as the three racinos in Delaware. During all these years of operating on the US market, the overall design of the software has barely changed. As a result, the major upgrade has been long-awaited and sought-after among players.

The trio of states represents the only cross-border liquidity sharing pool in the US right now. Cash game liquidity is shared but players based in Delaware are excluded from participation in the WSOP Online Bracelet and Circuit Events.

With the planned launch in Pennsylvania, the cross-border network could grow further and provide a significant traffic boost. However, this would require that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). The same hurdle applies to all other potential states, including Michigan.

Major Upgrade to Desktop and Mobile Experience

But what makes the Poker 8 software such a big step forward compared to the current WSOP.com client? Pokerfuse takes a closer look at the client, which rolled out to global dot-com player pool in late 2020.

First and foremost, Poker 8 represents a tremendous overhaul for the overall design. It is the biggest leap forward in several years for the 888poker software client. What may have felt cramped in the previous layout has received a much cleaner and more modern look and feel in general.

All images are courtesy of our big brother publication Poker Industry PRO, which has published exclusive, in-depth coverage of the new software over the last 18 months. Of course, when this deploys to WSOP.com, expect it to be branded with WSOP’s logo and color scheme, but the overall design and features will likely stay the same.

The existing two-tab system has been replaced entirely and all different game types remain separated distinctively. The navigation bar has moved from the top of the main poker lobby to the left-hand side. Included in the fresh look are symbols for each specific compartments, which portray a more visual appeal compared to the previous monotone design.

The beginner’s lobby, players will find eight different quick launch tables for various formats in a modern and sleek design.

The Blast and SNAP lobbies showcase all available limits for the Fast-Fold cash game variant and jackpot SNG variant, respectively.

Perhaps the biggest visual improvement in the lobby design of the global Poker 8 software has been made with the entirely separate and dedicated cash game lobby. The navigation bar includes the available game types, stakes, table limit, and type. By clicking on each symbol, players can include or exclude the respective quick launch tables.

888 has moved the filter from below the main tournament lobby to a more distinctive filter system with a search function above all available tournaments. Players can select by game variant, category, buy-in, speed, and type with a simple click.

For each respective tournament, the lobby has received a fresh new look, and six different tabs showcase all required details. When moving between tabs, an instant swipe effect takes place.

The new layout of the SNG lobby is very similar to the fresh design of the main tournament overview. Three separate compartments are shown in the navigation bar on top including the game type, the buy-in, and the number of players. 888 has retained the same individual lobby design with six tabs for SNG as well.

Perhaps the most vital improvement for the tournament functionality itself will become available when Poker 8 goes live in the regulated US markets. So far, the WSOP.com desktop client in Nevada and New Jersey cannot run multi-flight tournaments. This will be possible in the new Poker 8 client, which opens the door for bigger guarantees going forward.

New Mobile Client for Android and iOS Also Expected in US Markets

The new Poker 8 mobile client for Android and iOS also represents a major step forward. It was released for the global pool in October 2020 and 888 celebrated the launch with $1 million in promotions.

A fresh look and slick design across the entire client showcases the complete overhaul. The most notable visual change is the newly implemented portrait mode. Also included in the new mobile client are the same quick launch tables for all game types after log-in.

In terms of existing limitations and functionality, players are no longer limited to just one table at a time. The new Poker 8 mobile app allows for up to four tables at the same time.

Furthermore, Pot-Limit Omaha has become available recently for the global pool in the 8.4 mobile version. Until now, this is not the case in the WSOP.com client in Nevada and New Jersey. Four card aficionados are unable to participate in WSOP Online Bracelet and Online Circuit Events for PLO tournaments on the mobile client and have to rely on the desktop client instead.

Once 888, in partnership with WSOP.com, launches in Pennsylvania, the Poker 8 client for desktop and mobile is expected to become available in other regulated states soon after. Michigan was specifically mentioned by Sherman as the next key market.

They are then expected to provide Poker 8 for the WSOP.com client in Nevada and New Jersey in quick succession. A further expansion in more regulated states may also be on the horizon after the favorable developments in 2021 thus far.

If everything goes as planned, the Poker 8 software will become available until the summer in Pennsylvania. This may very well be in time for poker enthusiasts in the Keystone Stone to participate in WSOP Online Bracelet Events.

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Posted on 1:54 pm

Century Casinos announces re-opening of Poland Casinos

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Century Casinos, Inc. (Nasdaq Capital Market®: CNTY) (“Century Casinos” or the “Company”) announced that its subsidiary Casinos Poland Ltd., in which the Company holds a 66.6% ownership interest, reopened its eight casinos today.

The government mandate allowing casinos to reopen is limited until February 28, 2021 and expected to be reassessed by then.

Casinos throughout Poland were closed on December 28, 2020 to comply with a quarantine imposed by the Polish government to contain the spread of COVID-19. The regulation lifting the lockdown for casinos includes social distancing practices and enhanced health and safety protocols.

There is no assurance that the casinos will be allowed to remain open past February 28, 2021; if the casinos are required to close again at that time, the Company will report such closures in its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020. 

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Posted on 1:51 pm

GambleAware launches first ever National Gambling Treatment Service campaign targeted at women

London, 15th February 2021: GambleAware has launched a National Gambling Treatment Service campaign targeting women aged 18-54. This is the first campaign that is targeted at women to promote treatment and support for gambling harms. This new campaign is running on radio, magazines and in digital media, until the end of March.

The purpose of the campaign is to drive awareness of support and signpost women who are either at risk of or are already experiencing gambling harms, to the National Gambling Treatment Service.

This phase of the campaign has been launched following recent research on women and gambling harms, completed by YouGov commissioned by GambleAware. The research found that 10% of women in Great Britain experience some level of  gambling harm and that women are more likely to be an “affected other”, an individual that suffers on account of a loved one’s gambling, with 8% being identified as such compared to 6% of men. 

Commenting on the latest campaign activity, GambleAware Communications and Engagement Director, Zoë Osmond says “Following the success of the previous campaign, we are continuing with our targeted approach to make sure women are not overlooked in the drive to raise awareness of gambling treatment and support. These findings highlight an increase in women suffering from gambling harm, and we hope this campaign will help to signpost those experiencing harms to the help that is available.”

Similar to previous campaigns, the campaign creative focuses on the all-consuming nature of gambling with the inclusion of the line “when you’re there, but not there”. The content draws upon the insight that people with gambling problems feel disconnected from their family and friends and is based on promoting confidence that treatment is easy to access and will help them overcome their struggles with gambling.

More information on the campaign can be found here.

The radio advert is available here and the campaign visuals are included below.

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Posted on 1:30 pm

£2 Million in Climate Funding Awarded by People’s Postcode Lottery to African Parks to Secure Ecosystems and Mitigate Climate Change

JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — People’s Postcode Lottery has made a £2 million commitment to conservation non-profit African Parks as part of its £24 million Climate Challenge Fund. The funds will help to conserve four major protected areas which are under the management of African Parks in partnership with Governments in Africa, contributing to climate change mitigation and building climate resilience in their landscapes. Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda is one of the beneficiary parks, following a partnership recently announced to ensure its long-term protection.    

African Parks is responsible for the rehabilitation and long-term management of an area in excess of 14 million hectares across 19 national parks in 11 countries, and its work is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Nyungwe National Park provides 70 per cent of Rwanda’s fresh water, represents some of the largest and most intact high-altitude rainforest in Central Africa and is home to twenty-five percent of Africa’s primate species.

Besides Nyungwe, African Parks’ award will support three other parks under their management: Chinko in the Central African Republic; Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo; and Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia. The funding will contribute to restoring biodiversity, preventing deforestation and poaching, and supporting local enterprise and community initiatives to ensure sustainability for people and wildlife. This will help to mitigate climate change by protecting ecosystems that lock up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It will also help to ensure the ecosystem’s ability to deliver clean air, water, food and other natural resources.

“African Parks is extremely grateful to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for the significant contribution to the conservation of these four crucial parks,” said African Parks’ CEO Peter Fearnhead. “Thanks to this instrumental support, we can work with our Government partners to sustainably manage these large natural landscapes which safeguard a myriad of wildlife species, protect the catchments of three of Africa’s largest rivers, and help to moderate climate change and improve climate resilience among communities that depend on these ecosystem services for their survival.”

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Since the launch of People’s Postcode Lottery 15 years ago, our players have been providing vital support to a wide range of environmental charities. This latest project, led by African Parks, will see funds raised by players being used to tackle the two great environmental challenges of our age – climate change and biodiversity loss. The climate and nature emergencies are inextricably linked and we must fight them together. By doing so, we can help safeguard the future of these globally-important ecosystems and, of course, the communities who depend on them.”

The funding award forms part of People’s Postcode Lottery’s Postcode Climate Challenge initiative. £24 million, raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is shared across 12 charities to invest in projects focusing on reducing the impacts of the climate crisis. 

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Posted on 1:10 pm

WSOP Michigan FAQ

Online poker went live in Michigan in January of 2021, and it was only with one operator, PokerStars Michigan. Other licensed companies launched online casinos and sportsbooks, but they held back on the poker segment to begin with.

It was not long before the state showed its online poker potential: PokerStars MI has become the largest regulated online poker room in the States, with the average traffic of 400 players in the very first week.

This development could well have prompted other stakeholders to move their online poker plans up. WSOP.com is one: While the final launch date for WSOP MI is still up in the air, as the company is currently focused more on going live in Pennsylvania before the summer, it might not be too long of a wait.

WSOP is one of the largest and best-known brands in the poker world and the name behind the largest yearly tournament series taking place in Las Vegas and (as of late) online. The company will certainly want to establish a foothold in Michigan.

On this page, we bring answers and predictions for the launch of WSOP.com in Michigan. Some of the information is based off of what we know about the two rooms currently in operation, namely WSOP Nevada and WSOP NJ, and we will make sure to update the information here as we obtain it.

When will WSOP MI go live?

There is no definitive date for the launch of WSOP Michigan. The operator is currently divided between several fronts, putting a lot of effort towards the launch in Pennsylvania. A realistic timeframe would be a few months, but it is possible the operator moves the launch date up and surprises MI players. The operator seems set on launching before the end of 2021.

Do I have to be physically present in the state to access WSOP Michigan?

You need to be within the state borders to play for real money at WSOP MI. This is one feature that all US regulated sites have in common and there is no reason to think that things will be any different when WSOP.com launches in Michigan.

The operator uses geolocation to make sure players adhere to this rule, and trying to bypass it is grounds for having your account closed. Also worth noting is that the minimum age limit to legally play on WSOP.com is 21.

Will WSOP.com Michigan combine player pools with other states?

Creating interstate online poker compacts is currently work in progress, not just for WSOP but for poker operators in the US in general. WSOP.com aims to offer combined player pools at some point, but it is difficult to say when and if this will happen.

Right now, there is an ongoing battle with regards to the Wire Act interpretation and if it should apply to online poker. Things are currently looking good for poker players and operators, and if the trend continues, we will start to see more rooms combining their pools across states.

Since WSOP MI is set to launch later this year, it is not impossible that there will be more clarity on the matter by that time. So, in theory, the room might have combined pools from the get-go, although it is likelier that they will kick off catering to Michigan players only and potentially expanding later.

What kind of a welcome offer will there be for new players?

Looking at what the room offers at New Jersey and Nevada, players from Michigan are probably looking at a 100% welcome bonus up to the maximum of $1000.

Like most poker bonuses, you will not receive the full amount immediately, but you will need to unlock it by playing real money cash games and tournaments and gathering Action Player Points (APPs). The bonus is released as follows:

The initial $10 releases at the rate of $1 for every 10 APPs
You will unlock the next $50 by receiving $5 for every 50 APPs
The rest of the bonus releases at the rate of $10 for every 100 APPs

The timeframe to release the bonus is usually 60 days, so there is plenty of time to do it. Action Player Points are awarded based on the rake generated, as follows:

2 APPs for $1 paid in cash games (based on contributed rake)
2 APPs for every $1 paid in tournament fees

Will there any other rewards offered by WSOP MI?

WSOP Michigan will very likely feature their simple but rather generous Poker Rewards program. Action Player Points that you gather by playing real money games can be used for more than just to unlock bonuses.

These points can be turned into real money when you convert them to WSOP Points. The number of WSOP Points you can get from your APPs depends on your loyalty level:

Bronze: Achieve 200+ APPs in a month and get 4x WSOP Points’ multiplier.
Silver: 750+ monthly points & 10x WSOP Points’ multiplier.
Elite: Gather 1500+ APPs and enjoy 12.5x multiplier.
Champions Club: Based on the yearly number of points. Achieve 20,000 or more and get to the maximum multiplier of 16x.

You can exchange WSOP Points for cash on your account. The process is very simple and you can redeem the points at the rate of $1 for 100 WSOP Points. The minimum number of points you can convert is 1000.

What deposit methods will be available for WSOP Michigan players?

WSOP offers a good variety of deposit options for the players in other states, and it is likely that Michigan players will have access to the same or at least very similar array of deposit methods, which includes:

MasterCard, Visa, and Discover
PayPal
ACH
PayNearMe
In-person deposit at the cashier cage

Some of these options have been thoroughly tried and tested by players, and PayPal and ACH seem to be top picks. Of course, in-person deposits are always a good option if you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of the actual property.

Credit and debit cards are always touch-and-go in the US. Despite the fact the sites have licenses to offer online poker games, many banks still block gambling-related transactions by default, so there is no guarantee your card will work with WSOP MI.

Does WSOP have a land-based partner in Michigan?

WSOP still does not have a land-based partner casino in the state of Michigan, which is a crucial step in the process. Before they launch, they will either need to find a partner in the state or wait for interstate compacts to become available.

What cash games will WSOP MI offer?

The most popular game offered at WSOP.com is No Limit Hold’em, with stakes going up to $25/$50. Other available cash game tables include Pot Limit Omaha and Omaha 8, as well as some stud games.

The bulk of action happens at NLHE and PLO tables, though, and this trend is likely to keep at WSOP MI as well. If you prefer other variations, the action is usually scarce and mostly found at lower limits.

Will WSOP.com MI offer BLAST poker tournaments?

WSOP Michigan will likely offer BLAST games. These are four-handed sit and go tournaments featuring the hyper-turbo structure and offering a chance to fight for the prize that can go as high as 10,000x your buy-in.

This is an exciting format, not just because of the jackpot potential, but also because there is a timer set for every game. Once the time runs out, all players are forced to go all in every hand until there is just one player remaining holding all the chips.

Does WSOP offer any form of fast-fold poker?

There are no fast-fold tables of any sort currently available at WSOP.com. This may change by the time WSOP MI is ready to launch, but at this point in time, the room does not offer any quick fold variations.

Is WSOP.com software any good?

While there are better online platforms out there, WSOP.com has done a fine job with the desktop software. The company is not too keen on implementing regular updates, but the fact is that WSOP.com offers a nice design and a good range of options to personalize your playing experience.

There are a few different deck designs on offer and a solid selection of avatars to choose from. The actual play interface is fairly simple but it is clean and easy to use.

It is worth mentioning that WSOP.com and 888 are getting ready to roll out a brand new client called Poker 8. This should be a major improvement on the existing software.

The plan is to roll out Poker 8 in Pennsylvania first and then move to other states. Depending on when WSOP Michigan goes live, players might have the privilege to play on the new platform from day one.

Will I be able to play WSOP Michigan from my phone?

Right now, WSOP.com offers mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, so Michigan players wanting to play from their phones and tablets should experience no problems. The current app does come with certain limitations, though. For example, you can only play one table at any given moment.

This problem, as well as many other smaller issues, should go away with the launch of the Poker 8 platform, as it will cover the mobile segment as well.

Latest News on WSOP MI:

Read more on WSOP MI »

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Posted on 12:30 pm

Indiana regulated sports betting off to hot 2021 start


There’s no question that regulated sports betting has been a massive hit in the United States. Every month there’s at least one state that shatters its previous record handle and January 2020 was no exception. With a $384.2 million handle, Indiana broke its previous wagering record of $313.1 million that was set way back in December, 2020. And with the Hoosier State’s love of basketball, bigger numbers could yet be in its future.

January 2020 was a record month in Indiana, but nearly every month of regulated sports betting in the state has earned that accolade. This was actually the fifth consecutive record breaking handle for Indiana’s regulated operators and the good news is likely to keep coming.

There is certainly good news in the January numbers for Indiana state coffers. That $384.2 million translates into about $29.3 million in revenue for the state’s combined sportsbooks. Of that number, approximately $2.8 million will be scooped up by tax collectors.

So how fast has Hoosier sports betting been growing? By way of comparison, January 2020′s handle was a mere $171 million.

Like most newly opened US sports betting markets, Indiana’s bettors are mostly playing off of mobile apps. The biggest operators (from top to bottom) were DraftKings ($122.6 million); FanDuel ($89.2 million); BetMGM ($52.4 million); PointsBet ($13 million); BetRivers ($9 million).

Unlike most of the rest of the United States, Indiana bettors did not favor NFL wagers above all else. In the land depicted in the motion picture Hoosiers, basketball topped the board with $133 million in wagers. NFL football only brought in $77 million, according to a report on LegalSportsReport.com.

And with college hoops entering into its busiest months, Indiana operators are certain to break more records before the winter is done.

The post Indiana regulated sports betting off to hot 2021 start appeared first on .

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Posted on 12:18 pm

Ranking every NFL quarterback drafted with the first overall pick in the Super Bowl era


Trevor Lawrence will join an elite fraternity if he is selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Lawrence would become the eighth active NFL quarteback taken with that first pick. The last three No. 1 picks were Joe Burrow (2020), Kyler Murray (2019) and Baker Mayfield (2018). All of those quarterbacks are faced with the expectation of leading that team to the Super Bowl. A total of 25 QBs who were taken No. 1 in the NFL Draft in the Super Bowl era have faced that test. Seven lived up to that expectation, and two more started in a Super Bowl later in their careers. A total of six won Super Bowls.MORE: Ranking 2021 QBsSo that’s the company Lawrence will keep among the active No. 1 QBs in the league today.Here are those 25 quarterbacks, ranked from 25-1.

Team: Raiders (2007)Stats: 4,083 yards, 18 TDs, 23 INTsNext QB taken: Brady Quinn (No. 22)Lowdown: Lane Kiffin wanted Calvin Johnson. The Raiders went with Russell, theLSU star who made it through half of a bloated six-year, $68 million deal. He is nowconsidered one of the biggest busts in NFL history, and that secures his spot at the back of this list.

Team:Bengals (2020)Stats:2,688 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTsNext QB taken:Tua Tagovailoa (No. 5)Lowdown:Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury just 10 games into his career, but he’s already on the recovery path and he offers the Bengals a bright future at the game’s most-important position. He’ll move up this list, but Cincinnati needs to protect their investment.

Team: Browns (1999)Stats: 11,131 yards, 64 TDs, 67 INTsNext QB taken: Donovan McNabb (No. 2)Lowdown: Couch took over for the expansion Browns, and he took 56 sacks in his first season. Couch fought through growing pains for five years, but he lost the starting job to Kelly Holcomb and never returned after the 2003 season.

Team: Texans (2002)Stats: 14,452 yards, 65 TDs, 71 INTsNext QB taken: Joey Harrington (No. 3)Lowdown: Carr took over as quarterback for the expansion Houston franchise, and he took an NFL-record 76 sacks as a rookie. He never had a winning record in five seasons, but he did stay in the league as a backup until 2012.

Team: Buccaneers (2015)Stats: 19,812 yards, 121 TDs, 88 INTsNext QB taken: Marcus Mariota (No. 2)Lowdown: Winston led the NFL in passing yards with 391.3 per game in 2019, but he also threw a league-worst 30 interceptions. He struggled with turnovers throughout his career with Tampa Bay, and he has yet to live up to the expectations he set as a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Florida State. Winston spent the 2020 season as a backup in New Orleans.

Team: Cardinals (2019)Stats: 7,693 yards, 46 TDs, 24 INTsNext QB taken: Daniel Jones (No. 6)Lowdown: Murray is the first of three Heisman Trophy winners from Oklahoma on this list. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury hitched his coaching future to the 5-foot-10 quarterback. Murray has shown promise through two seasons, and Arizona nearly made the playoffs in 2020. Murray also has 1,363 rushing yards and 15 TDs.

Team: Rams (2010)Stats: 19,449 yards, 103 TDs, 61 INTsNext QB taken: Tim Tebow (No. 25)Lowdown: Bradford won Rookie of the Year honors in 2010, but injuries derailed the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback’s career. Bradford has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee twice. He is generally considered one of the most overpaid quarterbacks of all time.

Team: Falcons (1975)Stats: 24,124 yards, 156 TDs, 144 INTsNext QB taken: Gary Sheide (No. 64)Lowdown: Bartkowski was a fixture in Atlanta through the mid-1980s, and he led the NFL with 31 TD passes in 1980. He became a much more accurate passer as his career progressed. He went 1-3 in four playoff appearances with Atlanta.

Team: Browns (No. 1)Stats: 11,115 yards, 75 TDs, 43INTsNext QB taken: Sam Darnold (No. 3)Lowdown: The third Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winner on this list, Mayfield set a rookie record with 27 TDs in 2018, but he endured a sophomore slump in 2019. Mayfield settled in with Kevin Stefanski in Year 3, and that produced an 11-5 record and run to the AFC Divisional playoffs. Mayfield threw 26 TDs and just eight interceptions in 2020. He’s moving up.

Team: Colts (1990)Stats: 27,602 yards, 154 TDs, 113 INTsNext QB taken: Andre Ware (No. 7)Lowdown: George was a legendary arm talent, and that allowed him to hang around in a league where he had a 46-78 record as starter. George led the NFL in passing yards in 1997 with the Raiders, and he had a fantastic 10-game stretch with the Vikings in 1998. George had a 1-2 record in three career playoff games.

Team: Bengals (2003)Stats: 46,247 yards, 294 TDs, 187 INTsNext QB taken: Byron Leftwich (No. 7)Lowdown: Palmer led the NFL in TD passes in 2005 with 32, but a devastating knee injury in the AFC wild-card game that season side-tracked what turned out to be an up-and-down 15-year career. Palmer was traded to the Raiders after threatening to retire in 2011. He later revived his career with the Cardinals and led a run to the NFC championship game in 2015.

Team: 49ers (2005)Stats: 35,650 yards, 199 TDs, 109INTsNext QB taken: Aaron Rodgers (No. 24)Lowdown: Smith’s career will forever be linked with Rodgers, who was taken 23 picks later. Smith’s career took off with coach Jim Harbaugh, and he led the 49ers to the NFC championship game in 2011. Smith then led the Chiefs to four playoff appearances. He suffered a gruesome leg injury in Washington in 2018. Smith returned to the field this season in a remarkable comeback story. He finished 5-1 as a starter for Washington in 2020.

Team: Rams (2016)Stats: 18,171 yards, 107 TDs, 55INTsNext QB taken: Carson Wentz (No. 2)Lowdown: Goff and Sean McVay led the Rams to an appearance Super Bowl 53. Goff put up big numbers, and he led the league with 626 pass attempts in 2019. He is 42-27 as a starter, but he was part of the first big trade of the 2021 offseason when Los Angeles sent him to Detroit for fellow former No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford.

Team: Buccaneers (1987)Stats: 46,233 yards, 275 TDs, 267 INTsNext QB taken: Kelly Stouffer (No. 6)Lowdown: Testaverde enjoyed a 21-year career that that progressed with age after a rough start in Tampa Bay. He was a Pro Bowl selection with the Ravens in 1996 and again with the Jets in 1998. He spent the last few years of his career as a backup, but he did make six starts with the Panthers at age 44 in 2007.

Team: Colts (2012)Stats: 23,671 yards, 171 TDs, 83 INTsNext QB taken: Robert Griffin III (No. 2)Lowdown: Luck enjoyed a solid career with Indianapolis, albeit one that was hampered by injuries. He led the Colts to the AFC championship game in 2014 in a season when he passed for 40 TDs. Luck was a four-time Pro Bowl selection who led Indianapolis back to the playoffs in 2018 before unexpectedly retiring before the 2019 season.

Team: Patriots (1993)Stats: 44,611 yards, 251 TDs, 206 INTsNext QB taken: Rick Mirer (No. 2)Lowdown: Bledsoe helped the Patriots on the road to respectability before Tom Brady took over. Bledsoe led an AFC championship run in 1996 and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection. He resurrected his career with the Bills and Cowboys and finished with a 4-3 record in the postseason.

Team: Lions (2009)Stats: 45,109 yards, 282 TDs, 144 INTsNext QB taken: Mark Sanchez (No. 5)Lowdown: Stafford was tasked with turning around a franchise that finished 0-16 in 2008, and he has done that over the last 11 seasons. Stafford has led the NFL in passing attempts twice, and he has taken the Lions to the playoffs three times. He has had an under-appreciated career given the circumstances in Detroit, and now he gets a new opportunity with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021.

Team: Falcons (2001)Stats: 22,464 yards, 133 TDs, 88 INTsNext QB taken: Drew Brees (No. 32)Lowdown: Vick was one of the most exciting players in NFL history. He is the all-time leader among quarterbacks with 6,109 rushing yards. He led the Falcons to the NFC championship game. Vick missed two seasons while serving a 21-month federal prison sentence, but he relaunched his career in Philadelphia with the same highlight-reel play. Vick retired in 2016.

Team: Patriots (1971)Stats: 25,882 yards, 164 TDs, 198 INTsNext QB taken: Archie Manning (No. 2)Lowdown: Plunkett was a Heisman Trophy winner at Stanford, but he struggled through five seasons with New England before a two-year stint in San Francisco. Plunkett, however, revived his career in his mid-30s as a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Raiders. He is the only eligible QB with multiple Super Bowl wins who isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Team: Chargers (2004)Stats: 57,023 yards, 366 TDs, 244 INTsNext QB taken: Philip RiversLowdown: Yes, the Chargers drafted Manning before one of the biggest draft-day trades in NFL history. Manning has the most passing yards and TDs of any quarterback on this list, and he took out the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. He retired this offseason, and his career came with a .500 record as a starter. Is it enough to get Manning in Canton? Let the debate begin.

Team: Panthers (2011)Stats: 31,698 yards, 190 TDs, 118 INTsNext QB taken: Jake Locker (No. 8)Lowdown: Newton won the Heisman Trophy at Auburn in 2010, and he won the NFL Rookie of the Year award the following season. He is on pace to be the all-time leader among quarterbacks in rushing yards, and he put together an MVP season in leading the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 in 2015. He has an impressive resume, but injuries have plagued him over the last few seasons. Newton started for New England in 2020, but he struggled with just eight TDs and 10 interceptions.

Team: Cowboys (1989)Stats: 32,942 yards, 165 TDs, 141 INTsNext QB taken: Mike Elkins (No. 32)Lowdown: Aikman was one of the building blocks of the 1990s dynasty in Dallas, and he did that with steady play around a loaded roster. Aikman was a three-time Super Bowl champion who won Super Bowl 27 MVP honors. He was also a six-time Pro Bowl selection. He is one of four QBs on this list in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Team: Steelers (1970)Stats: 27,989 yards, 212 TDs, 210 INTsNext QB taken: Dennis Shaw (No. 30)Lowdown: The Steelers drafted the “Blonde Bomber” out of Lousiana Tech, and he became a franchise cornerstone on four Super Bowl-winning teams through the 1970s. Bradshaw led the league in TD passes twice, but it’s his 14-5 record in the postseason that stands out most.

Team: Colts (1983)Stats: 51,475 yards, 300 TDs, 226 INTsNext QB taken: Todd Blackledge (No. 7)Lowdown: Elway refused to play for the Colts, and he was traded to the Broncos. In Denver, he enjoyed a 16-year career that included nine Pro Bowl selections. Elway won NFL MVP in 1987 and led the Broncos to five Super Bowl appearances and back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. He would later sign the only quarterback ranked ahead of him on this list.

Team: Colts (1998)Stats: 71,940 yards, 539 TDs, 251 INTsNext QB taken: Ryan Leaf (No. 2)Lowdown: The Colts have taken four different QBs at No. 1, but none changed the game more than Manning, a five-time MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion. Manning set the single-season passing TD record on two occasions, and his final act with the Broncos ended with a Super Bowl. He is on the short list of greatest QBs ever to play.

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Posted on 8:25 am

NFL fans react after J.J. Watt announces his release from the Texans



J.J. Watt asked for his release from the Texans, and his wish was granted.
Watt was a first-round draft pick for the Texans in 2011, and has spent his entire career there. He earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors three times during his run with Houston, but his off-field impact was felt as well — most notably, his Hurricane Harvey relief fund, which raised more than $40 million in donations. According to KHOU, two years after the start of his relief fund, Watt’s efforts helped repair 1,183 homes and 971 childcare centers. It also helped serve 239 million meals to those impacted by the hurricane.
Even though Watt won’t spend his entire career in Houston, he’ll forever be remembered in that city.As for the football side of things, Watt’s release was his own doing. In a video announcing the transaction, Watt said he wanted to move on.MORE: SN’s latest NFL mock draft for 2021″The connection I have with the people of Houston is special, and I will never take that for granted because I know how rare it is. I just want you to know that I love you and I appreciate you,” Watt said in the video. “I want to thank the McNair family for drafting me and giving me my first opportunity in the NFL. Thank you, Houston.”
Texans CEO Cal McNair confirmed the move in a statement.”Change is never easy, especially when it involves the ones you love. J.J.’s impact on not only our organization, but the entire Houston community, is unlike any player in our franchise’s history,” McNair said. “I told J.J. earlier this week that we will forever consider him a Texan. We take solace in knowing that this is not a goodbye but a ‘see you soon.’ For now, we will build upon the foundation that J.J. created here and forge ahead with our unwavering mission to bring a championship to our city, create memorable experiences for our fans and do great things for Houston.”Watt’s release caused quite the buzz on social media. Below are some reactions from fans, players and the media.
The state of Houston sports looks a lot different than it did in 2018.Astros• Gerrit Cole• George SpringerRockets• James Harden• Chris PaulTexans• DeAndre Hopkins• J.J. Watt• Jadeveon Clowney• Tyrann Mathieu pic.twitter.com/x7mQxfUJm8
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) February 12, 2021
J.J. Watt’s impact in Houston was immense.In 2017 he launched his Hurricane Harvey relief fund, which raised $40+ million in donations.The relief fund helped:• Cleanup/repair of 1,183 homes• Cleanup/repair of 971 childcare centers• Serve 239 million meals pic.twitter.com/IdCk9a4dKt
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) February 12, 2021
Good for you JJ Watt. You did all you could in Houston. The franchise’s greatest defensive player and it’s no discussion in that. You deserve to win, you deserve an organization that understands how that happens. Go get a ring Champ. It’s bout dang time!
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) February 12, 2021
Added bonus for JJ Watt if he comes to the Steelers: TJ says he’s the front runner for favorite uncle to Derek’s kids because of proximity (even though he says he won’t change a diaper)A move to Pittsburgh could be a game-changer in that race. https://t.co/sfRPATkVCS
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 12, 2021
JJ Watt played 16 games two of the last three years. He’s going to be 32 and has a history of injuries, but he’s still a good player.He hasn’t seen 1-on-1 blocks consistently since he was a junior at Wisconsin. Put him on a front between Clark and Z.
— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) February 12, 2021
J.J. Watt has had three playoff wins in his career, has never made it past the divisional round, so since he’s turning 32 in March, I’d think wherever he goes will be a team poised to make a deep playoff run in 2021.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 12, 2021
J.J. Watt’s 10-year run with the Texans:* 3X NFL Defensive Player of the Year* 5X 1st team All Pro, 5X Pro Bowler* Walter Payton Man of the Year winner* 101.0 sacks, 61(!!) passes defensed, 494 tackles, 25 FF* 3 receiving TDArguably the best player in franchise history ✊
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 12, 2021



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Posted on 6:52 am

Klopp: Kabak and Davies are making big steps



Jurgen Klopp says Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies have made “big steps” in recent days, and the duo could be in line for Liverpool debuts during the club’s weekend clash with Leicester City.
The two signed for the Reds just before the transfer window set, giving Klopp a few more options on his backline amid an injury crisis.

Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all out with long-term injuries, while Fabinho will also miss out this weekend against Leicester.What did Klopp say? “They have really thrown themselves into everything that is ahead of them, which is what a defender should do,” Klopp said. “Both Ben and Ozan are calm people, willing to learn and have a great attitude. They are making big steps in adapting to the way we play. Again, that’s important..“We have still a clear way to defend, which is important. If both of them would be on the pitch then there are still nine players used to what we have done before. If two players do something completely differently then that would lead to a strange situation. It’s all good so far. Now we have to make a decision. “We have to change again because of Fab, and now we will see which solution we will take.”Who else could start against Leicester?Should Klopp opt against using Kabak or Davies against Leicester on Saturday, he does have other options to turn to.Jordan Henderson has deputised in defence in recent weeks as Klopp has used 12 different central defensive partnerships in the Premier League this season.Among the other options are youngsters Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams, whom have stepped in several times this season due to the Reds’ injury issues.What’s at stake for Liverpool?Heading into Saturday’s clash with Leicester, Liverpool currently sit fourth in the Premier League.The Reds recently suffered a 4-1 defeat against Manchester City, headlined by several blunders from the normally-steady Alisson.
As a result, there’s just a one-point gap between last season’s champions and fifth-place Chelsea, while Leicester currently sits three points ahead of Liverpool in the table.Due to the Reds’ recent struggles, there is a fear that they could slip out of the Champions League altogether.They’re still in this season’s competition, though, as they look ahead to a clash with RB Leipzig, which will be held in Budapest due to Germany’s coronavirus restrictions.Further reading

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Posted on 5:25 am