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Richard Branson Expanding Virgin Gaming iGaming Empire, by Greg Tingle - 20th May 2010

Gaming, gambling and iGaming fans, have we got some news hot of the press for you. Our bat phone has been running hot hot hot!

For the past few months Media Man and Gambling911 have been keeping you updated on all sorts of exciting developments at Richard Branson's Virgin Group, namelyVirgin Casino, Virgin Games, Virgin Poker, Virgin Bingo, and offshoot, AWOMO (A World Of My Own), with a DGI (Game Domain International) tie in. Last week Branson's Virgin Racing also sponsored Full Tilt Poker.

Richard Branson will unleash the Virgin return to the video gaming sector at the E3 event in Los Angeles, USA, in June.

We understand that a hard launch is being orchestrated, with Sir Branson, the one and only, in attendance. Can't wait to see what the man and his army wear and what sorts of stunts they have up their sleeve, but Branson isn't usually one to disappoint.

Virgin was one of the most successful brands to have ever competed in the video gaming industry, albeit over a decade ago, but 2010 is looking to be a record breaking year for the brands re birth, pardon the pun.

RB was one of the first pioneers - visionaries to see the massive potential of computer software as a global Virgin entertainment business, establishing Virgin Games in downtown London circa 1984. He later moved the core of the operation to Guernsey which has lower overheads and is understood to be more igaming industry friendly!

A Bit Of History

The company acquired Mastertronic and rolled Sega's Master System across the European region.

Sega Europe continued to power along, then Virgin Interactive Entertainment.

In 1994 it lost its Virginity, being acquired by Blockbuster for a cool $250 million, then was purchased by media powerhouse Viacom (which owns about half the media world).

Virgin Interactive Entertainment reached its financial global revenue peak in 1997, bringing home the bacon to the tune of $210 million.

Circa 94 - 98 it shared market dominance with EA (Electronic Arts).

Virgin saw partners and affiliates come on board including such greats Westwood, Bethesda, Capcom, LucasArts and Disney.

Since 2004 Virgin Games has been V's staple gaming brand, other gaming ventures basically on ice... until now!

The new gaming "start up" (of sorts), expected to go public at E3 will see Virgin pro actively exploring partnerships with publishers, content owners, and you get the idea. The timing looks to be right with 'Avatar' type technologies all the rage, movies being adapted to games in record time, and the availability of broadband internet at reasonable prices.

Internet, console formats and more will see the big V feature red hot games, both classics and newbies. Think Space Invaders to Cleo to Avatar, and their cousins.

Gamers are calling for interactive slot games, tournaments, TV and movie brands, and more casino and poker type experiences, in addition to what they already enjoy.

Insiders expect some sort of firm announcement from Virgin at the expo or soon after re return to the mainstream games market.

Punters, fire up the consoles...Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, multi-player PC gaming and more is just around the corner from the man who brought you Virgin Records, V Festival and Virgin Galactic... be excited... we sure as hell are.

At the moment Americans and Australians are not able to play casino, poker or bingo games at Virgin, however with the expansion of Virgin Games, and the push to clear up any gray areas in regions such as the U.S and down under in Australia, the whole suite of Virgin Games may go global sooner rather than later.

Competitors of sorts, PartyGaming - including PartyCasino and poker brands, Betfair and Centrebet, are all said to be watching this space closely. Australia's Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and News Limited, publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Australian, are also following for both potential deal opportunities and in a journalistic (journalism) capacity. Foxtel has only just got wind of the news, putting out its own gaming related press release less than 24 hours before this publication.

Yep, gamers and igamers... Tomb Raider, Rome Total War, Cleopatra, Flatout, WarHammer Mark Of Chaos, Pain Killer: Black Edition, maybe even Dan Dare and who knows what surprises will be jumping out of your computer once Team Branson turns on the turbo and blasts off Virgin Galactic style. TNA Wrestling, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bill Goldberg, UFC, NASCAR, F1 and Bull Run are all understood to also want to talk turkey and potential deals with Branson and 'V'.

Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Playtech, IGT, World Poker Tour, WSOP, SKY, Harrah's Entertainment, Trump Casinos, Infinity Ward, Sony and Sega remain tight lipped on the Virgin developments.

Virgin Games, AWOMO (A World Of My Own), bring in on... faster than you can say Virgin Racing Inks Deal With Full Tilt Poker! Read about the life and times of Branson and his world of planes, trains and automobiles (and spaceships) on the Media Man International website portal. Hours of entertainment for free.

Virgin remains one of dozens of corporate tech and communications giants seeking clarity on Australian censorship laws, both online and offline.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen of industry sectors they cover

*The writer is has conducted business with a number of arms of the Virgin Group and is a pro active member of Virgin Unite



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Mega Joker Poker

Mega Joker Poker

Game objective:

Mega Joker Poker is played against the machine. The objective of the game is to obtain a five-card poker hand containing at least a pair of Kings or better, up to the maximum of a natural Royal Flush. See the ‘paytable’ below for more details.

You place a bet, and the machine gives you five cards. You then choose the cards you want to hold, and the cards you want to discard. The machine replaces the cards you discard, leaving you with your final hand. You win according to the rank of your hand.

Game overview:

All suits (spades, hearts, clubs, and diamonds) have equal rank.
The game is played with a single deck of 52 cards, plus one joker.
The joker is a wild card, and substitutes for any other card to pay the maximum winning hand possible.
The cards are shuffled at the start of every game.

How to play:
Bets are placed as coins in this game. The value of coins can be changed by clicking on up and down arrows on both sides of the ‘COIN’ symbol.
A coin of $1 is set as bet by default when you enter the game.
The minimum bet is $0.10 and the maximum bet is $500.
The total bet amount is shown in the ‘BET’ box at the bottom of the game screen.
The value of coin you are playing is shown on the ‘COIN’ symbol.
The minimum coin value is $0.10 and the maximum coin value is $100.
The number of coins being played is shown in the ‘COINS’ box; you may play between one and five coins per hand.
The number of coins can be increased by clicking on ‘BET ONE’ or by selecting the column in the paytable at the top of the screen. The number of coins being played is also indicated by highlighting the respective column in the paytable.
The ‘BET MAX’ button automatically sets the machine to play five coins of your chosen coin value. Clicking on the ‘BET MAX’ button also automatically starts the next game.

PAYTABLE - The machine pays out as per the paytable shown at the top of the game screen. The prizes shown in the paytable are in coins and each column corresponds to the number of coins bet (one coin to five coins). The total win amount is the number of coins won multiplied by the coin value. The total win amount is shown in the ‘WIN’ box.
In the event of your win, the relevant row in the payout table will be highlighted, indicating the hand strength and the coins won. For example should you play two coins at $5 and get a Flush the paytable will highlight the second column and the flush row showing that you have won 12 coins. At $5 a coin you win $60.
Click ‘DEAL’ to receive five cards face-up.
You now have a choice to hold one or more cards in your initial hand.
Clicking on a card will place a ‘HOLD’ symbol on that card. To remove the ‘HOLD’ symbol, click on the card again.
After making your selection, click ‘DRAW’. The cards that are not held will be replaced, leaving you with your final hand.
Your win is based on the combination of the final set of cards, according to the paytable shown at the top of the game screen.
Your winnings are shown as dollars and cents in the ‘WIN’ box at the bottom right of the game window.
Your game balance is shown at the bottom left of the game screen. See below for more detail on ‘REBUY’.
The default bet for the next game is the same as the amount bet in the previous one. You can choose to increase or decrease your bet as you wish.
If your game balance falls below the last bet placed, the system will automatically decrease the bet allowing you to continue playing. If your game balance falls below the minimum allowed bet ($0.10), the ‘Buy-in’ window pops up, allowing you to buy in more credits from your PartyAccount.
Click on 'RULES' button at the bottom left of the game screen to view the game rules.
Click on the ‘GAMELOGS’ button to view the logs of the games you have played.
Click on ‘VERSION’ to view the current version number of the game.
Click on ‘REBUY’ to buy in more credits to the game balance from your PartyAccount.
To exit the game, click on ‘EXIT GAME’.

Payoff rules:
The paytable lists the prizes for winning hands.
Only the highest winning hand is paid.
All prizes shown in the paytable are shown in coins. The ‘WIN’ box at the bottom right of the game screen will show all prizes paid in dollars and cents.



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