PokerUpdate app feed. 3359 What the World Wants to see at the 2015 World Series of Poker <p><span class="letter-big">P</span>oker has never moved as quickly as it does today.</p> <p>There is no time for people to pore over the success or failure of the <strong>World Series of Poker Asia Pacific</strong> (WSOP-APAC) because nine of the most fortunate poker players alive are about to sit around a table and play for $10m.</p> <p>But there is one man looking beyond the Penn &amp; Teller Theatre, and he’s also the man who will be standing center stage when the climax to the world’s most illustrious tournament delivers it’s two-day finale in three weeks time.</p> <p>I am, of course, talking about <strong>WSOP Tournament Director (TD) Jack Effel,</strong> who earlier this week went to Twitter to ask his clients what games they would like to see at the <strong>2015 WSOP</strong> in Las Vegas.</p> <p><em>“What new event would you like to see at the 2015 WSOP? This is your chance to weigh in and send suggestions! Only serious comments please.”</em></p> <p>You sensed the Australian experience had gotten those intelligent cogs whirring because he followed up that Tweet with several others, asking for opinion on the WSOP-APAC type events: The Terminator and The Accumulator.</p> <p>I love this approach.</p> <p>The <strong>Vice President of Corporate Communications for Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Seth Palansky,</strong> did something similar a little while back, and I think it’s not just a nice thing to do - it’s a necessity.</p> <p>So how did the players react? What do they want to play?</p> <p>Here is a round up of the feedback that flew in the general direction of Effel.</p> <p><strong>Hold’em is so Last Week</strong></p> <p>Either the game of Hold’em is starting to resemble a pair of corduroys, or nobody mentioned it because the WSOP is full of it.</p> <p>I recently penned an article, on this very site, called <em><a href="">Innovation Divides the Poker World,</a></em> where I questioned if our human trait of always searching for something better will take us too far away from the beating heart of poker: nine players sitting around a table with a decent structure, playing No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE).</p> <p>Using Effel’s feedback as a barometer - it seems there aren’t many people who want their heart to beat like I think it does.</p> <p><strong>Pot-Limit Omaha</strong></p> <p>The biggest reason that I came to this conclusion was the overwhelming surge of popularity for the game of Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO). The request to have more PLO tournaments was, without a doubt, the most popular request that was tweeted to Effel.</p> <p>It was difficult to extrapolate one particular trend from within the midst of the PLO requests, but the one that did stand out was the reminder that PLO is a six-handed game.</p> <p>$25k 8-max events, $10k HU, $10k PLO Hi/Lo, $3k HU PLO, and one of the most popular requests: a $1k PLO with rebuys, were just a few of the types of buy-ins and types that were filling up Effel’s inbox.</p> <p><strong>Dealers Choice</strong></p> <p>The 2014 WSOP was a test bed for the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice Six-Handed event, and it went down a storm. So much so that there were a lot of Tweets asking for more of the same, but with a wider range of buy-ins.</p> <p>$3,000, $5,000 and even a $10,000 Championship event; all very popular formats.</p> <p><strong>Mixed Games</strong></p> <p>There was a lot of noise around mixed games, in particular draw games, and Badugi. There were a lot of requests for more Badugi tournaments, and also a few people pushing an idea submitted by <strong>Allen Kessler</strong> for a Triple Stud event: Stud, Stud8 &amp; Razz.</p> <p><strong>The $50k Poker Players Championships</strong></p> <p>Another idea of Kessler’s that seemed to gain some traction was a request to reduce the buy-in of the $50k Poker Players Championship to $25k. The argument being that it would allow more people to participate, and thus create a bigger field, that would still create a lot of money in the top three spots. There was also a great idea to turn this tournament into a Dealers Choice event.</p> <p><strong>Shot Clocks</strong></p> <p>The idea of implementing a Shot Clock, into live tournament poker, gained a lot more traction after the WPT balloted players regarding their interest and received a positive yes vote earlier this year.</p> <p>It seems the idea has stuck with a lot of Tweets asking for specific events to include a Shot Clock, not only as a way of increasing the game speed in general, but to actually create a new speedier format of the game.</p> <p><strong>Monster Stack</strong></p> <p>What can I say? Everyone loved them, and there were a lot of tweets demanding more of them.</p> <p><strong>Open Faced Chinese</strong></p> <p>Open Faced Chinese (OFC) is starting to pop up at more poker events. The WSOP introduced an event at the 2013 Carnivale of Poker, and TonyBet Poker plan to host a €1,000 Main Event and €10,000 High Roller at the Prague Poker Festival this December.</p> <p>WSOP players want this type of game in their series.</p> <p><strong>The Best of the Rest</strong></p> <p>Those were the main points that seemed popular, now here are the best of the rest.</p> <p>There was a lot of noise surrounding 10-Handed tables. People don’t dislike 10-Handed play, they hate it. There was also a suggestion of an annual $250,000 buy-in should the $1m buy-in remain an ‘on off’ event.</p> <p>Online registration was requested to avoid the wastage of queues, Ironman events came up a lot, and there was even a request to up the age limit of the Seniors to 65+ and add in a ‘Mid Life Crisis’ event for the 40+ (where do I sign up?).</p> <p>EPT style ‘Win the Button’ events were requested, and a lot of requests for 4-max events. Perhaps the biggest suggestion that was tweeted was the need to have 5x starting structures for the smaller events to give more playability.</p> <p>If none of that floats your boat, then I loved the idea that one person had to increase the level of punting to an obscene level, and that was to host a $10m Russian Roulette event.</p> <p>We could even make it heads-up: <strong>Mike Matusow v Ted Forrest, Daniel Negreanu v Annie Duke, and anyone you choose v Howard Lederer.</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:11:36 +0000 Lee Davy 3358 Real Gaming "Soft Launch" Concludes <p><strong>Real Gaming,</strong> the third <a href="">online poker website operating in Nevada</a>, has discarded its "soft launch" label and can now proceed to take a stab at grabbing a piece of the Internet poker market in the Silver State.</p> <p>A soft launch in February lasted a solid eight months until the <strong>Nevada Gaming Commission</strong> deemed Real Gaming's testing period concluded this week. That approval came following a recommendation from the <strong>Nevada Gaming Control Board</strong> in favor of putting an end to the site's soft launch status, <a href="">LV-RJ reported</a>.</p> <p>Real Gaming is the online offering of <strong>South Point Casino,</strong> who had been mainly targeting their live gaming customers to play <a href="">online poker</a> during the prolonged testing period. With that phase of the ipoker operation over, it is likely that Real Gaming will now broaden its marketing endeavors in an effort to capture some of the market currently controlled by <a href=""></a> and <strong>Ultimate Poker</strong> (UP).</p> <p><strong>A Look at the Numbers</strong></p> <p>As of this writing, <a href="">PokerScout</a> lists as averaging 85 ring game players to the 55 of UP. A population of roughly 2.8 million severely hampers intrastate online poker in Nevada.</p> <p>For that reason, <a href="">Nevada and Delaware became partners</a> in a <strong>Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA)</strong> in February that will combine player pools at a future date. The idea is to get <strong>New Jersey</strong> and other states that eventually enact ipoker legislation to also join the party.</p> <p><strong>More Sites to Launch in Nevada</strong></p> <p>Let's hope that the MSIGA grabs a few new partner states pretty soon because the Nevada market is expected to become crowded in short order. <a href="">888Poker</a> is readying a branded site for launch and is also partnered with a poker site soon-to-be offered by <strong>Treasure Island.</strong></p> <p>Those two newbies will join forces with the existing site, who is already in bed with 888. Combined, <a href="">the three sites will operate as the All American Poker Network (AAPN).</a> Those who follow the online poker industry know that AAPN is already active and accepting online wagers in <a href="">New Jersey</a>.</p> <p><strong>Exciting Promos Already Underway at Real Gaming</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Nevada residents and tourists may begin to mouse-click their way over to Real Gaming now that the soft launch is officially over. Those that do will find some promotions that may strike their fancy.</p> <p>Those promos include <em><strong>"Quadzilla,"</strong></em> where bonus cash of between $5-$50 is added to your bankroll when you can make a hand of four-of-a-kind using your pocket pair. Or the <em><strong>"High Hand of the Hour"</strong></em> promo that pays between $5-$100 for making the best hand during specific hours of the day in the afternoon and evening.</p> <p>Should you win one of those two promotions and announce it to the world via Twitter or Facebook, Real Gaming will send more cash your way in its <em><strong>"Power Up"</strong></em> promotion. And players may also want to participate in Real Gaming's <em><strong>"Real 50"</strong></em> monthly and annual leaderboard races, as well as <em><strong>"Final Table Freerolls."</strong></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:52:37 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3357 If You're Not Taking Sheldon Adelson Seriously, You Should Be <p>Have you written off <strong>Sheldon Adelson</strong> and his crusade to end the scourge of online gambling as nothing more than the whim of a rich old man? Do you think an online gambling ban has little chance of having any real world success?</p> <p>If you feel this way, you may want to reconsider your position.</p> <p>Here are five reasons you should be taking Sheldon Adelson and his online gambling ban seriously.</p> <p><strong>Reason #1: His arguments resonate</strong></p> <p>Conjecture, bending the truth, misdirection, omission, unrealistic hypothetical's, and other tactics have certainly been employed by the anti-online gambling crowd when they make their case against online gambling, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t listening.</p> <p>Let's not forget that gambling is still somewhat taboo and filed under either "Sin" or "Vice" by most people.</p> <p>People who follow iGaming may be able to punch holes in these arguments all day long, but when the average person reads or hears the Adelson/CSIG rhetoric it makes perfect sense to them, and they're unlikely to spend the time and energy looking up the facts to debunk these statements.</p> <p>Case in point, when <a href="">former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb penned an op-ed</a> and stated that African Americans are <em>"nearly twice as likely to be 'disordered gamblers' compared to the white population,"</em> I had to go find the <a href="">original study</a> (which wasn’t the easiest thing to locate), read through it to find the caveats and explanations of the terms and methodology, and this still wasn't enough to debunk Webb's statement, it was only enough to offer a different, more thorough interpretation of the data.</p> <p>Make no mistake about it, the simply stated rhetoric being used by the anti-online gambling crowd is getting through.</p> <p><strong>Reason #2: He's surrounded by very smart people</strong></p> <p>First off, Sheldon Adelson is a very smart, strategic, and successful man. And on top of that he is surrounded by a cadre of very smart, strategic, and successful people.</p> <p>We're not dealing with a Don Quixote type; Sheldon Adelson and Las Vegas Sands employ some of the top minds in the gaming industry.</p> <p>In this sense, I feel as if a lot of people advocating for legalized online gambling are underestimating not only Adelson, but the people he surrounds himself with.</p> <p>Sure, some of his talking heads have <a href="">stumbled over themselves</a>, but if you pay really close attention you’ll notice they learn from these mistakes very quickly, and are adept at fine-tuning their arguments.</p> <p>To truly understand the headway Adelson and his allies are making, just look at the results their anti-online gambling vendetta has produced.</p> <p>From the numerous op-eds in mainstream papers to letters from several prominent governors - <strong>Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Rick Perry, Mike Pence</strong> – the Adelson message machine has been doing an admirable job, far better than our side.</p> <p><strong>Reason #3: He is passionate about this issue</strong></p> <p>During his G2E keynote address (see video below), Adelson’s passion regarding this issue was on display. Whether you believe his stated motivations or feel there is some ulterior motive at work, there is no denying the passion he brings to the online gambling debate.</p> <p>However you slice it, this is not some random policy that he will lose interest in, and for the foreseeable future we are going to have address this.</p> <p><strong>Reason #4: He has the money</strong></p> <p>With a net worth of $32.3 billion, Adelson ranks #9 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people. Essentially, Sheldon Adelson has what amounts to an infinite amount of resources to pour into this issue.</p> <p>Let’s not forget this is the man who wrote check after check (totaling $50 million) to Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign in 2012, and then turned around and poured a similar amount of money into the coffers of Gingrich’s chief rival in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, the man Adelson’s money was spent tearing down.</p> <p>Who on our side is going to throw $100 million into this fight without batting an eye?</p> <p><strong>Reason #5: So far he's winning</strong></p> <p>This is debatable, and perhaps making progress is a better term than "winning," but consider that after <a href="">announcing his public campaign against online gambling in late 2013 </a>it took Adelson just a few months to get legislation introduced into Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and now there is talk of <a href="">a potential "November Surprise"</a> not unlike UIGEA passage in 2006.</p> <p>Or how about the simple fact that not a single online gaming bill has even come up for a vote since Adelson ramped up his efforts. How much of the stalled legislative efforts in California and elsewhere can be pinned on CSIG is unclear (the way <a href="">Fabian Nunez stated it</a>, CSIG was instrumental in derailing California's online poker bill in 2014), but dismissing their involvement would be a major mistake.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:34:33 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3356 Daniel Negreanu and Jack McClelland Elected to Poker Hall of Fame <p>The <strong>Poker Hall of Fame</strong> officially has two new members. On Thursday, <strong>Daniel Negreanu and Jack McClelland</strong> were announced as the 2014 class for the Professional Poker Hall of Fame.</p> <p>The pair will become the 47th and 48th individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame. Both emerged as finalists after a public nomination process and were forwarded to a voting panel that included living Hall of Fame members and select members of the poker media.</p> <p><strong>Negreanu Was a Lock As Soon as He Turned 40</strong></p> <p>Daniel Negreanu's induction into the Hall of Fame this year was as close to a "stone cold lock" as you can get in poker. Negreanu has been one of the games best players since the late 1990's and is the most consistent winner in live tournament poker history.</p> <p>KidPoker's many accomplishments include the following: $29.79 million in tournament earnings (#1 All-Time); six World Series of Poker bracelets; two World Poker Tour titles; one of only two players in history to win bracelets in all three WSOP venues; winner of 1999 United States Poker Championship; and has won over $1 million in a single year eight times.</p> <p>Along with his accomplishments at the table, Negreanu has served as the ultimate poker ambassador. In addition to his sponsorship duties at PokerStars, Negreanu has been prominently featured on numerous televised poker programs, including World Series of Poker broadcasts. He is also a top fan favorite on the circuit and is truly the face of modern poker.</p> <p>On being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Negreanu stated, <em>"It's an honor to be inducted alongside so many great players that have come before me. An even bigger honor to be recognized at age 40, the same age as the legend Chip Reese. Thank you to the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame and those on the Blue Ribbon Media Panel that voted for me."</em></p> <p><strong>McClelland Spent Five Decades Improving the Game</strong></p> <p>Like many people that move to Las Vegas, Jack McClelland came to Sin City looking toward one path but ultimately settling into another. A former semi-professional bowler, McClelland started working in the casino industry as a dealer and slowly worked his way up the ladder until he started running some of the largest poker rooms in the industry.</p> <p>McClelland's colleagues are a who's who of the poker industry. In the past, <strong>he has worked with Hall of Famers Jack Binion, Bobby Baldwin and Eric Drache</strong> in running poker rooms around Las Vegas. In the 1980's, McClelland was best known as the Tournament Director for the World Series of Poker. Fast forward to 2002 and he took over the poker room at the Bellagio. It was there that <strong>he teamed up with Mike Sexton</strong> to bring World Poker Tour events to the Bellagio, a venue that hosted numerous events including the WPT Championship.</p> <p>McClelland was one of the most respected tournament directors in the industry and has worked major tournaments all over the world. He helped grow the game around the world for the better part of five decades and helped set the standard for the modern day poker tournament.</p> <p>Speaking on his induction, McClelland commented, <em>“Being inducted into the Class of 2014 Poker Hall of Fame is a very exciting prospect and I am sure it will be a very humbling experience. I thank everyone involved in this process and to the WSOP, WPT and all of the great people I have met and the wonderful people I have worked with throughout the years. Thank you for bestowing this honor upon me. I am very grateful.”</em></p> <p>The pair will officially be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday November 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Binion's Gambling Hall. Binions was the former home of the WSOP from its inception in 1970 until 2004. A dinner and induction ceremony will be held in the former Benny's Bullpen, now known as the Longhorn Room. The pair will also be recognized during the November Nine final table on November 10.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:50:18 +0000 James Guill 3355 PPA Identifies "Joker" Lawmakers Up for Re-election <p><span class="letter-big">E</span>very fresh deck of cards has a couple of jokers that are normally cast aside or discarded entirely before a game of poker begins. Anyone familiar with U.S. politics is aware that there are any number of lawmakers who can be considered jokers in their own right.</p> <p>Those who hope to see <a href="">regulated online poker</a> and gambling continue to spread throughout the U.S. would certainly put the legislators who oppose ipoker legislation in the joker category. And with the November elections just around the corner, the <strong>Poker Players Alliance</strong> (PPA) has done the homework for U.S. voters by identifying 22 candidates up for re-election who have teamed with Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling during the past year.</p> <p>The PPA has compiled a list of those anti-online poker state and federal lawmakers and labeled them <a href=""><em>"The Jokers"</em></a> in advance of the upcoming election. And just as is done with the jokers in a new deck of cards before the dealer shuffles up and deals, the PPA believes those candidates need to be cast aside by U.S. voters who have the power to do so.</p> <p><blockquote>Unfortunately, all of these lawmakers have decided to put politics before their constituents by siding with Sheldon Adelson in supporting an online poker ban that would deny consumers of the meaningful protections that can only be achieved through responsible state or Federal regulation," said PPA Executive Director John Pappas.</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Player Involvement and Voting Crucial</strong></p> <p>Americans who value their right to play online poker would be well-advised to vote against the politicians intent on destroying that right. Perhaps equally as important as casting a vote for their opponent is to contact the wayward lawmakers themselves and let them know how you feel about their stance against regulating the game that you love.</p> <p>The PPA has provided <a href="">contact information for each of the 22 anti-ipoker legislators</a> that includes telephone numbers as well as social media. Players are urged to voice their feelings regarding ipoker regulation to the candidates hoping to be re-elected. <strong>Election Day is November 4.</strong></p> <p><em>“A federal prohibition on Internet poker would only serve to expand an underground market and deny states their right to establish a safe and regulated online marketplace,"</em> Pappas added. <em>"In the weeks leading up to Election Day, it is time that our nation's elected officials consider the opinions of the voters over that of a billionaire."</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:13:51 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3354 Full Tilt Rolls Out New Ads Focused on Player Experiences <p>Out with the old and in with the new. Just hours after <strong>Full Tilt</strong> confirmed that it shed partnership deals with its two remaining pro sponsors --<strong>Gus Hansen and Viktor Blom</strong>-- the site launched a new ad campaign centered around <em>"sharing the experiences of players."</em></p> <p>The idea behind the new marketing concept created by advertising agency <em>'Simply Zesty'</em> is to <em>"showcase the drama of playing at Full Tilt from a player’s perspective,"</em> stated a press release. Just a few years ago, that drama included phantom deposits and the mismanagement of funds under the regime of <strong>Ray Bitar and Howard Lederer,</strong> et al.</p> <p>But alas, two owners and three years later finds Full Tilt's ship righted and heading for calmer waters that will eventually include the U.S. In the meantime, the new marketing strategy <em>"is initially set to hit England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, allowing budding poker players all over the UK to create their own stories with a tantalizing offer of £10 free from Full Tilt."</em></p> <p><strong>A Barrage of New Ads on the Way</strong></p> <p>That free £10 is offered to new players, giving the newbies <em>"a taste of what’s available 24/7"</em> at the Full Tilt tables. Another taste is provided by two new, short videos entitled <em><strong>‘The Bluff’ and ‘The Call’</strong></em> (see above and below).</p> <p><blockquote>These cutting edge adverts showcase exactly what playing our games is all about – the psychological warfare, the bluffing, the fun and the drama that happens all day long at Full Tilt," said Full Tilt Managing Director Dominic Mansour . "A huge amount of time and effort has gone into the new brand and we’re thrilled to share the first of our stories with the UK.”</blockquote></p> <p>While the videos focus on poker, the new Full Tilt is readying an equal emphasis on its online casino games. Just a few months ago, 'Poker' was dropped from the name as the first step in the expansion process.</p> <p>In addition to the videos, players in the UK can expect to see digital and television ads about the revamped Full Tilt coming soon. Commuters and those who still get their information from newspapers are also being targeted in the new advertising strategy.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:55:35 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3353 Chris "Fox" Wallace on Poker Tells: Who's Watching You? <p>As sunglasses, baseball hats, and deception in general have become more common at the tables, we need new tools to help us determine whether a tell is real or fake, and whether a player is paying attention to us or not. I find this problem particularly tough when my opponent is wearing glasses that shade their eyes. Whether they are wearing Blue Sharks, or dark sunglasses, it's tough to tell whether a player is paying attention to you or just wearing the shades because they heard it was a good idea.</p> <p>Even players who aren't wearing shades, or even a hat, can sometimes be deceptive about who they are watching or where they are looking. We often assume that players who make obvious strategy mistakes are terrible in every aspect of the game, but some of them can be very perceptive and may be paying attention to what you are doing, watching you in peripheral vision or when they know you won't be looking.</p> <p>This is why it can be important to watch the whole table and pay attention to everything you do. A <em>"bad player"</em> may still be picking up information on your hand strength from your behaviors, and keeping the information that you give away to a minimum can save you money in the long run even if you aren't obviously stressed and tend to be robotic in handling your chips and cards.</p> <p><strong>Who Is Watching?</strong></p> <p>There are also <strong>some tricks to getting people to reveal whether they are paying attention to you.</strong> My favorite is simply to check my watch. When you check the time, anyone who sees you do it also wants to know the time. It spreads like a yawn, but is much less obvious so most people don't know about it. If I check my watch in an inconspicuous way, then only people who are paying attention to me while I do it will feel the need to know the time.</p> <p>It's a simple formula, and it works with other things too. I check my watch, and within ten or fifteen seconds, I see a few players at the table checking the time themselves. Don't make it obvious or everyone will want to know the time and you won't learn anything, just do it casually and pay attention to the behavior of players around you.</p> <p><strong>Other Ideas</strong></p> <p>There are other things that work on the same principle. You are simply reminding people that there is something they don't know. The score of the game on television works too. Just take off your shades, move your eyes up the television, and allow your eyes to get slightly bigger, as if something interesting has happened. Someone will suddenly look to the television to check out whatever happened, and you'll know that they are paying attention to you.</p> <p>This concept also works great with tournament clocks, cute cocktail waitresses, and the stack size of the big stack at the table. In fact, it can work with nothing at all. If I can't find an easy target for my attention, I just take off my Blue Sharks, focus on something most players at my table won't be looking at, and look interested for a second. Anyone watching me carefully will feel a compulsion to see what I'm so interested in, and when they turn to look, they give themselves away.</p> <p>I'm happily married these days, so it's of no consequence to me, but this technique also works in singles bars and at parties. If you think someone might be watching you from across the room, check to see if they look where you look or check the time when you do. If you can't manage to catch them with their attention following yours, then it's probably just wishful thinking.</p> <p><strong>Using the Information</strong></p> <p>Once you find out that a player is paying attention to you, it gives you a few pieces of very valuable information. <strong>When someone is paying attention to your behavior, it usually means that they see you as either a threat or a target.</strong> It shouldn't be tough to figure out which option applies and why. If you just showed down a weak hand, they probably see you as a target. If you are a big stack, they may see you as a threat.</p> <p>Once you know that they are paying attention and why, you can usually figure out how to handle them. If someone sees me as a threat, I tend to be very aggressive against them. If they are aggressive right back at me then I know they usually have a strong hand and aren't afraid. If I know someone sees me as a target, I give them enough rope to hang themselves, and they often do.</p> <p>Every situation is different, and there are people who are tough to figure out, but even with those tougher players it helps to know that you are being watched. Against players wearing shades, these techniques are definitely the best way to tell if someone is watching you, and they are something to look out for in your opponents as well. As far as I know, very few people know about this little trick, but with the publication of this article it is behavior you will start to see in players who are paying attention.</p> <p>As with almost any technique that involves reading your opponents, you'll find that wearing <a href="">Blue Shark Optics</a> will make it easier.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:26:26 +0000 Chris Wallace 3352 Trump Taj to Remain Open Until End of November <p>The <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong> will not close on November 13 as owners had previously warned. Instead, owners now claim that the struggling casino will stay open until the end of November, but a December closure is not out of the question.</p> <p><strong>Trump Entertainment CEO Robert Griffin</strong> told the Associated Press on Monday that, <em>"As of now we don't have any plan to close the Taj, but that could change next month. We still need our plan to be approved, and we need assistance from the state with no assurance we're going to get it."</em></p> <p><strong>Casino Looking for Good Karma to Avoid Closure?</strong></p> <p>The delay in the Taj's closure didn't come because of an influx of funding or promises from the government. Rather, it seems the casino may be trying to tap into a little karma.</p> <p>According to a post from the <a href="">Houston Chronicle</a>, one of the primary reasons that Trump Entertainment is delaying the Taj's closure is so that it can fulfill its obligation to host a <strong>Culture Club</strong> concert on November 28.</p> <p>Culture Club and its lead singer <strong>Boy George</strong> became popular in the 1980's for their song <em>Karma Chameleon.</em> While this seems an odd reason to keep the casino open, it will give it a couple more weeks to work out a plan to perhaps remain open for good.</p> <p><strong>Icahn Plan Likely to Be Blocked</strong></p> <p><strong>Carl Icahn</strong> has come forward with a plan to save the Trump Taj that would see him invest $100 million of his own money after converting debt into equity and becoming the official owner of the property.</p> <p>Part of this plan involves receiving approximately $175 million from the state in the form of tax credits and grants. <strong>State Senate President Stephen Sweeney</strong> was quoted last week as saying that he would block any request for aid from Trump Entertainment following a bankruptcy court decision last week that will allow the Taj to quit providing pension payments and health care to union members.</p> <p>Sweeney took to Twitter on Wednesday to explain his stance. A barrage of tweets included the following:</p> <p><blockquote>I won't allow Icahn to use any state grants, tax breaks, subsidies to help underwrite attempt to take away rights and benefits of workers. - If the court's ruling stands, then middle-class America has lost. We should be building economy from the bottom up by supporting workers. - It's unfair and un-American to allow billionaires like Icahn to exploit the financial difficulties of the casino industry to prey on workers."</blockquote></p> <p>Icahn has stated that without state support, he will not move forward with his plan. Should Sweeney stick to his guns on this matter, a December closure is all but guaranteed.</p> <p><strong>Union Members to Picket - Asking Supporters to Boycott Icahn Properties</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>As warned last week by union attorneys, the Local 54 of UNITE-HERE is planning to picket in protest of the changes to the contract forced by the bankruptcy court. The protest is planned for Friday outside the Trump Taj Mahal. The union currently has around 1,100 workers at the Taj.</p> <p>Furthermore, the union is asking that their supporters boycott Icahn-owned properties. He currently owns the <strong>Tropicana</strong> and is considered the de facto owner of the Taj because he owns all of their first-lien debt.</p> <p><strong>New Jersey State AFL-CIO president Charles Wowkanech</strong> spoke out on Wednesday against the bankruptcy court's ruling. He called the ruling a <em>"short sighted decision [that] drives a stake through the heart of collective bargaining."</em> He went on to ask union supporters to <em>"consider options other than Icahn-owned properties when booking an event in Atlantic City."</em></p> <p><strong>Will Icahn Change His Tactics?</strong></p> <p>Based on the backlash from the union and lawmakers, one has to wonder whether Icahn will consider a change in tactics to save the Taj. At present, it appears he will not receive the tax credits he claims to need to save the casino.</p> <p>If Icahn were to change his mind and reinstate union pension and health care, would that be enough to coerce the state to allow the tax credits and grants? Should such a scenario be possible, it would seem more logical to eat the $14 million that the casino would claim to save from axing pensions and health care in exchange for the $175 million they are seeking from the state.</p> <p>Ultimately, saving the Taj may boil down to how much both sides are willing to bend. It would seem unlikely that the state would allow a fifth casino to close when they have some chance of keeping it open.</p> <p>If Icahn really wants to keep the Taj open, he may have to come off some more money or other concessions to get what he wants. If one were to put odds on the Taj's closure, the current line would probably be around 60/40 in favor of a closure. We should get a better idea of what's going to happen over the next two to three weeks.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:31:00 +0000 James Guill 3351 New Poll Indicates Waning Support for Gambling in NJ <p>A new <a href="">poll by the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics</a> can be interpreted as evidence of a general malaise among Garden State residents of all things gambling. Based on the poll results, it would appear that New Jersey residents are becoming more disillusioned with gaming, particularly online gambling.</p> <p>Here is a breakdown of the poll question by question (Author's Note: there were several questions in the poll I deemed trivial that are not included in this breakdown).</p> <p><strong>Question 1: Do you think casino gambling should be permitted in other parts of New Jersey, or should it be limited to Atlantic City?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>The results were pretty much split (especially considering the 4.4% margin of error) as 47% of respondents were in favor of expanding gambling while 43% would like to limit casinos to Atlantic City - 3% were against gambling anywhere, and 7% were unsure.</p> <p>Expansion beyond Atlantic City is a highly contentious issue, and that can be seen in the polling results. Still, expansion outside of AC is definitely gaining momentum as the same question in 1999 garnered only 35% support, with 54% opposed to expansion beyond AC.</p> <p>Governor Christie has already started the <a href="">ball rolling on casino expansion</a>, and even Senate President Steve Sweeney (a staunch Atlantic City defender) is <a href="">starting to explore potential expansion.</a></p> <p>As the Atlantic City market right-sizes (the polite way of saying contraction) there may be more support from the public for another casino or two outside of Atlantic City.</p> <p>One of the people proposing a non-AC casino might be Sheldon Adelson, who said he was very interested in building a casino in the Meadowlands during his G2E keynote.</p> <p><strong>Question 2: Overall do you think gambling has been good or bad for the state as a whole, or has it made no difference?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>On gambling in a general sense, only 33% responded that gambling has been good for the state, down from 72% in 1999. Interestingly, the number of people who responded that gambling has been bad for New Jersey remained the same, 13% in 2014 and 12% in 1999.</p> <p>The change was in the number of people who were unsure, as 46% of people chose "both, or no difference" in 2014, up from just 7% in 1999.</p> <p>It would seem that the opinion of gambling in New Jersey is probably at the mercy of economic cycles, but overall these results should be a wakeup call, as it seems New Jersey residents are no longer of the opinion that gambling alone is going to solve the state's or Atlantic City's problems.</p> <p><strong>Question 3: Do you think online gambling has been good or bad for Atlantic City specifically, or has it made no difference?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Definitely the most troubling result of the poll was the question about online gambling. Just 5% of respondents said online gambling was good for Atlantic City while a full 55% felt it was bad.</p> <p>Only 7% of respondents said they have tried <a href="">online gambling in New Jersey</a>.</p> <p>The poll results should be somewhat unsurprising considering Atlantic City's struggles and the loss of a quarter of their brick and mortar casinos and 8,000 casino-related jobs in 2014, which just happened to coincide with the launch of online gambling - although it should be noted that correlation does not equal causation.</p> <p>Additionally, the online gaming revenue numbers have been an extreme disappointment after trumped up projections created false hopes for New Jerseyans who now deem the industry as an abject failure - even though the revenue numbers are within the range of conservative projections.</p> <p>Overall, the optics of online gambling in New Jersey have not been good, and public perception of the industry definitely needs to be addressed.</p> <p><strong>Question 4: There is talk about allowing betting on sporting events in Atlantic City casinos and racetracks statewide. Do you think sports betting would be good or bad for Atlantic City, or make no difference?</strong></p> <p>This is an issue that has been in the news a lot lately, with legislators trumpeting how beneficial it could be. This might explain the extremely favorable view of sports betting by respondents, as 44% said they felt it would be good, and just 17% bad, with 31% saying it would have no difference and/or be both good and bad.</p> <p>Sports betting is seen as the current antidote for Atlantic City, and it seems New Jersey residents agree.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:56:09 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3350 Got the Nuts? It's Poker Nuts Day at Borgata in NJ <p>October 22 is celebrated as <strong>National Nuts Day</strong> in the U.S., and although it's not a federally-recognized holiday that allows kids to stay home from school and those chained to a 9-5 workday to avoid punching the time clock, it is observed by nut lovers nationwide.</p> <p>Most of those nut lovers take their appreciation in pistachios, cashews and walnuts, but <a href="">Borgata Poker in New Jersey</a> feels that poker players who enjoy getting the nuts should also be rewarded on National Nuts Day. In that vein, players in the Garden State can take advantage of a deposit bonus available today only at <strong></strong></p> <p><strong>How long can I get the nuts?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Today until 11:59 p.m., players within New Jersey are able to receive a 100% up to $50 deposit bonus simply by making a deposit at Borgata Poker and using the bonus code <em><strong>"POKERNUTS."</strong></em> The bonus will be released in increments of 25% of the deposit simply by playing poker at Borgata and earning the required iRPs.</p> <p>Amassing 50 iRPs is equivalent to earning a $10 bonus. Therefore, players who avail themselves of the entire $50 bonus allowable must collect only 250 iRPs to receive the full bonus, payable in four chunks of $12.50.</p> <p>Nuts have been found to decrease the risk of falling victim to coronary heart disease when consumed regularly. Poker players who get the nuts have been known to increase their bankroll. That bankroll can swell even further by depositing $50 at Borgata Poker today, on National Nuts Day, before the clock strikes midnight.</p> <p>For those unfamiliar with Borgata Poker, take a look at our <a href="">Borgata Online Poker Review</a> for more information.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:47:31 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3282 Poker Tales With John Rich, Barack Obama, Ray Donovan, Thor Hansen and Larry Flynt <p>American country singer <strong>John Rich</strong> fancies his chances in a game of poker with <strong>Barack Obama.</strong></p> <p>The former <em>Lonestar</em> frontman was speaking as a guest on the Fox News political show "Hannity" - where the panel were chewing the fat over Obama’s decision to bomb Iraq and Syria - when the challenge came down.</p> <p><em>"I'd like to play poker with the president someday, because it would be so easy to win. He shows you all his cards the entire time,”</em> Rich told Sean Hannity.</p> <p>Rich prefers his president to keep his cards closer to his chest. A lesson he seemingly learned from his granddad. Rich explains, <em>“My granddaddy was a World War II vet who was a 'tunnel rat’. He would tell me about going into a cave with a flamethrower. And they did not tell the Japanese, 'Hey, by the way, we're coming in with a flamethrower, you might want to get out of the way.' They just went in, and went and won the war.”</em></p> <p>It all seems so simple.</p> <p>It’s widely believed that Obama is the first poker-playing president to enter the White House since <strong>Richard Nixon</strong> left four decades ago. The writer <strong>James McManus</strong> even quoted Obama as saying he was a <em>"pretty good player"</em> in his book <em>"Cowboys Full."</em></p> <p>When you consider that <a href="">playing poker for real money</a> is still banned in many states, and the online version of the game is still only available in three states, then perhaps Rich is right when he says, <em>“I don’t think the president has to tell us everything he’s gonna do. For God sake, keep something to himself.”</em></p> <p><strong>Ray Donovan Butcher Their Poker Scene</strong></p> <p>Once John Rich has finished taking the American president to the cleaners, perhaps he should set his sights on the screenwriters of <strong>Showtime’s American TV Series: Ray Donovan.</strong></p> <p>What is it with scriptwriters and poker scenes?</p> <p>The hatchet job continues during Season 2, Episode 10 “Volcheck." A parole officer, who is on Ray Donovan’s payroll, is playing poker at the Hollywood Park Casino. The river card is dealt, several players fold their hands before the action stops at the parole officer - who laughs smugly before saying, <em>“I’m going to put you all in motherf**ker.”</em></p> <p><em>“Not enough. Not enough chips,</em>” says his opponent.</p> <p>Not enough chips?</p> <p>What kind of poker game are these guys playing?</p> <p>The parole officer takes off his expensive watch, throws it into the middle of the table, the dealer accepts it as collateral, and he goes on to lose the hand full house vs quads.</p> <p>Where’s Matt Salsberg when you need him!</p> <p><strong>Larry Flynt Gave Thor Hansen £2m to Organize his Bachelor Party</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>One man who has picked up a few watches, car keys, and houses during some lively cash games is the legendary <strong>Thor Hansen.</strong> The Norwegian was diagnosed with terminal colorectal cancer in 2012 and has undergone over 100 doses of chemotherapy in a bid to extend his life.</p> <p>Hansen was looking as good as I have seen him during the Unibet Open in Cannes where he sat down for a chat with sideline reporter Laura Cornelius (see video at end of article), and his <strong>Larry Flynt</strong> tales were the stuff of legend.</p> <p>Talking about Flynt’s local home game, Hansen said, <em>“He had a private game in his home at Beverley Hills. They were playing seven-card stud and he offered to stake me in that game. We did that for 10 years. He would give me $200k to play with every day and we would chop the winnings. We won a lot of money together.”</em></p> <p>The former porn heavyweight champion of the world didn’t stop there. Flynt asked Hansen to organize his bachelor party, and Hansen explains, <em>"I arranged his bachelor party. He gave us £2m to party and it became the party that he wanted. When we were done buying all the girls, we had no money for food. It was quite a party. It was crazy, crazy.”</em></p> <p>Now that’s a game that you do want to get involved in, John Rich.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:45:49 +0000 Lee Davy 3348 Warren Lush: The Man Behind the partypoker PR Machine <p>With his sharp suit, trademark specs, and ZX Spectrum style laptop, <strong>Warren Lush</strong> has been a mainstay on the live tournament circuit for many years.</p> <p>The man behind the partypoker PR machine has been instrumental in turning the likes of Tony G and ‘Mad’ Marvin Rettenmaier into two of the most influential poker stars of their generation, and I was fortunate enough to sit down with him and fire off a few questions.</p> <p>This is what the ‘Minister Without Portfolio’ had to say.</p> <p><strong>How would you describe partypoker’s return to the U.S. online poker market?</strong></p> <p>“There have been a lot of growing pains, but the early signs are encouraging. This is <a href="">regulated online poker in the United States</a> so you have to expect a few teething problems, such as geolocation, but it is great to see regulated online poker in the U.S!</p> <p>“From a personal perspective, the people that we brought on at the beginning in New Jersey have been excellent. Jamie Kerstetter, and Scott Baumstein are really great people and great ambassadors, and I am happy with my choice to get them on board.”</p> <p><strong>What were you looking for when hiring ahead of the New Jersey launch?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>“We wanted local knowledge of the Borgata &amp; <a href="">New Jersey poker</a> community. I wasn’t after a massive social presence, or someone who has sponsorship expectations stuck in 2005. We have to be more realistic about the size of the market. The days when people got paid stupid sums to put on a patch at the WSOP and WPT are long gone.</p> <p>“Jamie moved to Mexico, post Black Friday, and moved back to New Jersey when regulation came in. She is a New Jersey girl who is well known in the community. With Scott, you get this New Yorker, who has moved to New Jersey to restart his online poker career and that’s a nice story.</p> <p>“Scott is one of the guys who came over to Europe in the early days, post Black Friday, who were grinding online and following the EPT and WPT. He also did commentary work, and that certainly put him in the shop window. Jamie and Scott are much more than just sponsored pros, they are involved in the business and are consulted on poker room decisions.</p> <p>“We took a new approach in New Jersey and I am very pleased with that. Jamie has been on the front page of the Philadelphia Enquirer and on TV. It’s more difficult now to generate buzz because there is just one story in New Jersey right now - and that’s the closure of Atlantic City casinos and how the city can regenerate. That said, these two players have made some serious breakthrough with their profile in these past 12-months.”</p> <p><strong>And the appointment of Ken Daneyko?</strong></p> <p>“With Ken, it’s an excellent complement to the NHL New Jersey Devils partnership. We brought Ken along for the charity event, at the partypoker WPT World Championships at the Borgata, and he ended up winning a real side event! Ken coming on board seemed like a no-brainer to me. He loves poker, is very passionate, interested in the people on the scene and the customers, and gets on well with the pros.</p> <p>"He plays online whenever he can and he loves the game. I would love to see him come to partypoker WPT Montreal in November, this year, and be Mr. Devils in Montreal Canadien land but he has his hockey season commentary commitments. I know he is gutted to miss the chance to be enforcer in what is likely to be a bumper field in one of the most popular World Poker Tour events.”</p> <p><strong>What does a successful year look like for the Minister Without Portfolio?</strong></p> <p>“Essentially, my number one concern is press coverage. But I am the go-to person for the professional poker community in the business, so end up involved in all sorts of things. I am also involved with the Alpha8 and the higher stakes players. A lot of what I have been trying to do since Jeffrey {Haas} came on board is to support with PR his approach about engaging more with the forums and communities, and I enjoy that.</p> <p>"I still think too many people, without direct experience of poker, fail to define correctly what people call - to say the dreaded word - a ‘recreational player.’ Things haven’t been easy on a technical front in recent months, but it is best we stand up and admit we have had problems; tell people what we are doing about it, and impress on them that we are trying our best to resolve it all in a transparent fashion.”</p> <p><strong>How disappointing was it behind the scenes when the technical issues affected the inaugural Garden State Super Series (GSSS)?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>“Obviously, it was disappointing. We had momentum online and things were going well. But it was a technical problem beyond the control of someone like me as an individual. I think we did the right thing by the players in fully refunding and upping the guarantees the following Sunday.”</p> <p><strong>Are your eyes on PokerStars inevitable return to New Jersey?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>“You have to remember that the PokerStars marketing budget, product and customer service will be hugely significant. We will see what happens.”</p> <p><strong>Looking at what happened to Ultimate Poker - how important has your land-based connection with The Borgata been for you?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>“The Borgata is the home of poker in Atlantic City and New Jersey, and the relationship is clearly important. It has a fabulous poker community. It’s a place that poker players love to go too - it’s a hotbed. There are three places in North America that are like that in my mind: Borgata, The Commerce, in Los Angeles, and the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. It’s a poker paradise if you want a game at any level.”</p> <p><strong>What’s your opinion of the congested live tournament scene, and should live tournament organizers do more to work together and iron out the kinks?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>“There should be co-operation and I know that there has been co-operation. In the past my understanding was this didn’t happen, but I know the WPT talk with the EPT for example. At the moment you have EPT London, and WSOP-APAC, and they are two big events that have clashed. It’s the responsibility of the big poker organizers to get together and forward plan as much as possible, in co-operation with each other. I agree with what the likes of Matt Savage and Alex Dreyfus say about that with an eye on the bigger picture.”</p> <p><strong>As a PR man, how disappointed are you with Dan Colman?</strong></p> <p>“He came into the Premier League as a last minute replacement for Greg Merson, and I remember Vanessa Selbst telling me that we had just increased the level of competition in the event ten-fold. That’s how highly Dan Colman is rated - and look what he went on to achieve.</p> <p>“It’s a bit of a shame really, he didn’t do interviews in Vegas, but the bottom line it is his choice. He's a grown man and entitled to do what he wanted after he won, but some of us in the industry would have liked to see him co-operate with the TV interviews. You have to admire what he has done though, and the ability he has. After meeting him on a personal level, he’s always been great too. I still laugh at the banter between him and Sorel Mizzi at the Premier League.”</p> <p><strong>The WPT UK event is on the horizon and once again there is a big field expected for the WPT500 - is this new price point the way forward for live tournament operators?</strong></p> <p>“I suspect this to be the case. When we had massive online poker liquidity around the world we could fill $10k’s easily. There are new price ranges now, and the $500 buy-in is a key one of those. To invest $500 for a million guaranteed is excellent and aspirational. Poker is just adapting to its times, and its regulatory environment. partypoker WPT UK Nottingham will be great. Rob Yong has such passion, and my colleagues in the poker room have created many different ways that players can to qualify online.”</p> <p><strong>You have just parted ways with Marvin Rettenmaier.</strong></p> <p>“He’s going to be the next Ed Sheeran. Marvin and I had a great relationship, and I couldn’t have asked for a better start when he signed. He won the first event he entered {the WPT World Championship after eating at Noodles in the Bellagio every day}, and then the next in WPT Cyprus to become the first back-to-back champion, and he is a very popular player in the live community and the U Mad hat suits him. He still wants to play live all of the time too! How many air miles can he get? I would have liked him to play more online. With the contract expiring you sit down and are realistic about things and parting ways was obvious.”</p> <p><strong>What other sponsored players have really been worth their weight in gold?</strong></p> <p>“I think Kara {Scott} is a fantastic ambassador for poker. She is an excellent TV presenter, and great with customers. We use her as a face on the mobile app, and we have enjoyed an excellent relationship for years now. When we had Tony G, we ripped up the copybook PR style, and just went for it. Even now, as a friend, I attended a House of Commons Select Committee with him on the future of basketball in the UK, and I was involved in his European Parliamentary Election campaign. He is a sharp businessman, and I think he is going places in politics and has a natural aptitude for it. He also has a new dog coming to Brussels – big news :).</p> <p>“I loved working with him, in poker, because he was not afraid to ruffle some feathers – some people still think his dog wears a WSOP bracelet as a collar! He was great for TV because people wanted to watch him and he put on a show even though sometimes I was in the firing line on the rail. I like to see Hellmuth, Devilfish, Tony G, Mike Matusow and Luke Schwartz on a table!</p> <p>“Mike Sexton is a legend and I was honored to be at his induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. Without Mike most of us wouldn’t be in the positions we are today and you always have to remember that.”</p> <p><strong>I also notice you have been involved in the darts.</strong></p> <p>“I have been doing the darts for a long time, including when I used to work for Sky Sports and Ladbrokes. A number of the players play poker at a decent level. Michael Van Gerwen is a very good poker player and he beat-up Roy Brindley at the World Grand Prix in Dublin recently. We have used some pro darts players in our events before, and I am sure you will see them used again in the future. Keep your eye on World Champion Michael Van Gerwen playing poker, he is developing into a very good player.”</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:25:58 +0000 Lee Davy 3344 Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino Starts Work on its Poker Room; Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison Closes Theirs <p>Poker is on its way to Philadelphia, and <strong>SugarHouse Casino</strong> General Manager Wendy Hamilton can’t contain her excitement.</p> <p><em>“It’s going to be a game changer,”</em> Hamilton told CBS Philly, as the local media came out in droves to <a href="">film the arrival of 24 poker tables</a> in readiness for the interim poker room scheduled to open for business early next month.</p> <p>The SugarHouse Casino is the only casino in Philadelphia, and when the poker room finally opens, it will be the only place in the city where you can get a fully-licensed game of real money poker.</p> <p>Hamilton was so excited about the arrival of the new tables, she armed herself with bolt cutters and helped the delivery guys offload the truck. The first of 30 poker tables were delivered to the casino on October 17 and representatives from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board were on hand to inspect the tables before they were nestled in their new home.</p> <p><strong>It’s Good News For Everyone</strong></p> <p>The launch date for the $2.9m poker room is sometime in 2015, but an interim poker room will open early next month so players can get into the action much sooner.</p> <p>The poker room is part of a new $164m expansion that will generate over 500 new full and part-time jobs in the city. One hundred of these positions will be assigned to the poker room, with 80 of them going to poker dealers. It’s anticipated that the room will generate $1.8m in taxes.</p> <p><blockquote>We found a way to put this temporary structure up, just in the meantime,” Hamilton told CBS Philly. “This will house 24 poker tables, so that’s 240 playing positions.”</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Will We See a Second Casino in Philly?</strong></p> <p>Is there ever going to be a second casino in Philadelphia?</p> <p>That’s the question that property developer Bart Blatstein is asking after becoming increasingly frustrated with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as they drag their feet over the issuance of the second casino license.</p> <p><blockquote>I think there are forces trying to keep the other casino license from going out and that is the frustration, “ Blatstein told NewsWorks. ”I do believe there is a lobbyist being paid to kill the license.”</blockquote></p> <p>Blatstein is the developer behind The Provence’s proposed bid and they are competing against Goldenberg Group’s Market8, PHL Local Gaming LLC’s Casino Revolution, and the Live! Philadelphia bid by Cordish Cos. and Greenwood Gaming.</p> <p><strong>Ho-Chunk Nation Poker Room Closes</strong></p> <p>Whilst one poker room prepares to open, another one plans to shut down for good.</p> <p>The controversial <strong>Ho-Chunk Nation Poker Room in Madison, Wisconsin,</strong> is scheduled to close shop on Nov. 15, 2014 - four years after it first opened for business amidst a hailstorm of complaints.</p> <p>The poker room contains eight electronic tables, no dealers, no chips, and no cards; and for the past four years, the state has gone to war with the casino over claims that the poker room violates gaming compacts between the state and the tribe.</p> <p>In June, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb sided with the state and ordered the room closed, but the Tribe appealed a month later.</p> <p>It’s unknown whether the poker room is closing because of mounting legal pressure, or whether it’s a cost cutting exercise. Either way, the last chance to play some electronic poker will be Nov. 14, when the plug will remain fixed into the socket from 12pm to 4am.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:45:08 +0000 Lee Davy 3343 Online Poker Player Traffic Update - October 21, 2014 <p>The top ten online poker rooms and networks experienced substantial shifting last week, giving the global rankings of <a href="">PokerScout</a> a completely different look.</p> <p>The biggest mover was <strong>Adjarabet,</strong> catapulting five notches into fourth place. On the strength of a leaderboard race promotion entitled <em>"Poker Masters"</em> that came on the heels of another successful promo, the Georgia-based poker site has seen its traffic double in just one month.</p> <p>The latest promo has a shelf life of five weeks and aims to add $300,000 in bonus money to Adjarabet player accounts. A seven-day average of 1,900 players has Adjarabet firmly in fourth, 200 players behind the 2,100 of third place <strong>iPoker Network</strong> and 300 players ahead of the 1,600 average at fifth place <strong>Full Tilt.</strong></p> <p><strong>Other Top Ten Movement</strong></p> <p>Joining Full Tilt in tumbling in the rankings was <strong>PartyPoker,</strong> now in 6th place. The rest of the top ten from seventh to tenth consists of three ring-fenced <strong>PokerStars</strong> offerings, the poker rooms servicing Italy, Spain and France, with <strong>Winamax</strong> sort of in the middle of those in eighth place.</p> <p>Finding itself booted out of the top ten is <strong>Bodog/Bovada,</strong> who went from 8th to 11th. The top U.S.-friendly poker room still holds a commanding lead over the next U.S.-facing network, <strong>Merge,</strong> but that lead that used to be more than double in average ring game player traffic is no longer.</p> <p>The <em><strong>Spin &amp; Go</strong></em> craze at PokerStars appears to be waning. Amaya's top poker site saw cash game traffic gain about 2.7% and now sits at 18,500 in a seven-day average. That's more than 7-1 better than second-ranked <strong>888Poker,</strong> where 2,400 ring game players can normally be found online.</p> <p><strong>The Regulated U.S. Market</strong></p> <p>The online offering of <a href=""></a> in <strong>Nevada</strong> has put a bit more space between itself and chief rival <strong>Ultimate Poker.</strong> NV gained more than 11% of cash game action and now averages 95 players. UP held solid with the same player numbers as the previous week at 60.</p> <p> in <strong>New Jersey</strong> also was on the rise at a somewhat lesser pace than its NV poker room at 9%. Ten more players joined the average to gain ground on the lead of the <strong>Party Borgata Network</strong> in the Garden State.</p> <p>Party Borgata saw its cash game traffic fall 7% as it lost the 10 players that NJ gained. The difference now sits at 130-120, with Party Borgata remaining the top-ranked site not only in <a href="">New Jersey</a>, but all three regulated states.</p> <p><strong>Other Happenings</strong></p> <p><strong>TonyBet Poker,</strong> the online poker room dedicated to Open Face Chinese Poker, may see its player traffic numbers rise in coming weeks, albeit at the tourney tables. The site has announced that it is running freerolls and satellites for players to win entries to events at the first-ever Live World Championship of Open Face Poker set for Dec. 8-10 in Prague at the Prague Poker Festival.</p> <p>Traffic at Full Tilt will likely not be affected one way or another following confirmation that it has done away with its team of pro sponsors. <strong>Viktor Blom and Gus Hansen</strong> are no longer <em>"The Professionals"</em> at Full Tilt, as the site intends to focus on its new online casino game offerings in addition to poker.</p> <p>Online poker player traffic was up 2% industry-wide last week. In the year-to-year category, player numbers are down 11% from 2013.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:45:58 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3342 Examining Shrinking Opportunities for Online Poker Sponsorships <p>The latest rumor floating around the poker world is that <strong>Viktor "Isildur1" Blom and</strong> <strong>Gus Hansen are no longer pros with Full Tilt.</strong> This move appears to be part of the company's rebranding, but is also a continuing trend that's been happening in the poker industry.</p> <p>In the past, certain players could be guaranteed sponsorships based on past performance or star power. That is no longer the case and some pros are finding their options limited in the poker sponsorship arena.</p> <p><strong>What Have You Done for Me Lately?</strong></p> <p>One noticeable trend in the last couple of years has been the culling of what we'll call <em>"non-performing"</em> pros. By these, we mean pros that have had significant scores in the past but haven't achieved the same type of success in recent years.</p> <p><strong>Greg Raymer</strong> and <strong>Humberto Brenes</strong> are two pros that easily qualify for this category. Brenes rose to fame due to his antics on ESPN television in the early years of the poker boom. Several deep runs kept him at the forefront of the public eye and made him one of the most popular celebrity players on the circuit.</p> <p>However, in the last few years his performances have been lackluster at best. He has plenty of money finishes, but he hasn't had a six figure score since 2011. Even his ten cashes at the 2014 WSOP only produced one score over $10,000.</p> <p>Greg Raymer won the 2004 WSOP Main Event and was a force in the poker world for several years. He also served as a major advocate for the game. From mid 2009 to early 2011, Raymer didn't have any significant performances of note. While this may or may not have played a part in the contract PokerStars offered him in 2011, one has to believe that better performances would have made him more valuable as a pro.</p> <p>In the case of Blom and Hansen, one has to assume that their departure is tied to performance. <strong>Hansen has hit $20 million in lifetime losses on the site and Blom is down over $3 million this year.</strong> In the case of Blom, he just has never met his full potential and his skipping the 2014 WSOP didn't help his case any.</p> <p><strong>American Market Too Small</strong></p> <p>Another reason for the lack of available sponsorships is the lack of opportunity currently available in America. While <a href="">three states offer online poker</a>, the market is too small to support large stables of online pros like in the past.</p> <p>For the sites not operating in the United States, it makes little sense to sign American players when they can ink players with international appeal. Even the American sites that have signed pros have been unable to retain them.</p> <p>Ultimate Poker and <a href="">888Poker</a> both signed pros and have had to cut many due to budget constraints. <strong>JC Tran</strong> was 888's only pro player and they have agreed to part ways. The culling of pros over at Ultimate Gaming has been the subject of articles in recent months with the obvious reasons being sliding revenues and the closure of Ultimate Gaming NJ.</p> <p>When the American market begins to expand, you can expect American pros to receive opportunities. However, they will not be the same as contracts we have seen in the past.</p> <p><strong> Setting the Bar for New Generation of Sponsorships</strong></p> <p><strong>Greg Merson</strong> became <a href=""></a>'s first sponsored pro back in September and his deal is different than many sponsorship deals. First, the WSOP isn't backing him in tournaments and forcing him to be their pitchman.</p> <p>Instead, Merson will have a deal with incentives based on his play, his recruitment of players, and helping to improve the site. Simply, Merson has become a high-profile prop player. For those unfamiliar with the term, a prop player is one who is hired by the casino to play in games and keep them going.</p> <p>Often, the prop plays with their own money but receive an hourly rate from the casino. Online props in the past have received higher rakeback or even full rakeback for propping games.</p> <p>Unlike other deals where the pro sitting down at the table was a <em>"treat"</em> or a <em>"special event,"</em> Merson is to be a regular presence on the site and will help to promote the game in the <a href="">legal U.S. market.</a></p> <p>This type of deal is one that could be easily mirrored by other sites in the future and one that could provide the greatest advantage. It provides greater exposure for the product while keeping costs down. Pros benefit from keeping their name in the public limelight and consistently improving their game. It may not be the same as having a pseudo-backer as in the past, but it may be what's best for the fledgling U.S. online poker market.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:46:45 +0000 James Guill 3341 Innovation Divides the Poker World <p>As a young Englishman, when I watch a game of American Football, I feel like foregoing the nail clippers and instead reach for the pliers to rip off my toenails.</p> <p>Painful experiences, the both of them.</p> <p>The reason that I find American Football so painful is because I was raised as a football fan (I still cannot bear to write the word soccer). So when I watch other sports I compare them to my beloved game.</p> <p>American football doesn’t flow; the gaps in between the action are too lengthy, and this is what puts me off.</p> <p>So when we introduced goal line technology, recently, I was a little worried. On one hand I could understand the need to innovate. We had the technology, and teams who were affected by poor decisions were losing a lot of money; but on the other hand, I didn’t want my game to turn into American Football.</p> <p>Fortunately, the decisions are made in a matter of seconds, and the upshots are: the decisions are 100% accurate, nobody can complain anymore, and the game continues to flow. It turned me into an innovation optimist.</p> <p>This morning I made the young cable guy a cup of tea as he installed Sky TV in my home. Whilst showing me the sports channels, the young man said, <em>“You have to watch this dive…it was never a penalty,”</em> as he showed the Stoke City winger, Victor Moses, clearly diving in the penalty area.</p> <p>Charlie Adam stepped up and slotted the ball home, Stoke City went on to win the game 2-1, and all hell broke loose in the subsequent press conferences, with Moses being labeled a cheat and the referee incompetent.</p> <p>So do we innovate?</p> <p>Do we introduce a stop-start procedure for potential diving infringements? Where do we stop? Do we also stop the game to check offside decisions, sending offs or bookings?</p> <p>Fortunately, for this football fan, men and women have been playing this game for centuries. It’s like a religion in most countries, and it’s barely moved away from the core of its genius. Despite the advancement of technology, the football purists stand strong. They keep the very essence of our beautiful game intact.</p> <p>Goal line technology will do for now.</p> <p>In the first 10 days of the new <strong>Spin &amp; Go game on PokerStars,</strong> there were 7.3m games played, 20 $30,000 jackpot winners, 377 1,000x jackpot multipliers, 787 players who had won five-figure prizes, and one lucky punter who took only 229 seconds to win $30,000 from a peanuts investment.</p> <p>Innovation at its finest.</p> <p>Or is it?</p> <p>The world’s largest online poker room is a different beast since it changed hands in the summer. Debt will do that to a company - just ask Manchester United fans.</p> <p>It always needed to make a profit, but now it REALLY needs to make a profit. And you can see the changes. They may be blurry, passed off as insignificant, but they all add up to an office full of people, plenty of Post-It notes, a whiteboard, and hours of brainstorming with the words "Cost Cutting" cast up high in neon lights.</p> <p>The death of affiliates, sponsored pros, and a few cleverly disguised rake hikes/welcome bonus cuts, all cutting fat away from operating expenditure.</p> <p><em>“But what about revenue!”</em> cry the cost cutters.</p> <p>Spin &amp; Go arrives right on point.</p> <p>Gambling is a pastime that divides opinion. Some people believe it’s a healthy, and enjoyable hobby, whilst others believe it has the propensity to be as dangerous as Ebola.</p> <p>So it’s ironic that so many millions of people play the lottery each week. It’s the most popular gambling game in the world, and yet so many people who play it will swear that it’s not gambling at all.</p> <p>If you are responsible for driving growth in an online poker room, understanding that ideology is a license to print money, and PokerStars have started to print it.</p> <p>The question of how we can get more people into the game has been tattooed on industry insider’s eyelids ever since the grinders came into the online poker rooms and turned water into dust.</p> <p>It seems innovation might be the answer to the problem of attracting fresh fish into the online poker waters, but we mustn’t forget that it was innovation that emptied the tank of water in the first place.</p> <p>What would our online ecosystem look like if there were no HUDs, table selection software, and Table Ninja’s? Can you remember our once beautiful game? Nine players, a chunk of chips, and a deck of cards? It wasn’t that bad was it?</p> <p>Just like I don’t want technology to move football away from its beating heart, the same is true of poker. There are so many different formats of the game it’s frightening - and now we have another one. A game that looks like poker, it smells like poker, but after your sweaty 229 seconds, you look across at sex-stained sheets and see lottery staring back at you.</p> <p>Poker is supposed to be a game of skill. It’s an argument that those who are trying to fight for the future of our game need to be solid. With each new game, each new innovation, this solidity becomes about as stable as Scotty Nguyen’s legs minutes after he won his $50,000 H.O.R.S.E bracelet.</p> <p>Innovation has created the most magical medical advances of the past few centuries. It has also created GMO foodstuffs that are killing us in quantities never before known to mankind. Soon we will all be like the humans in the movie Wall-E. At least innovation will also be used to create the tiny space machines that will keep us afloat.</p> <p>We have moved too far away from what we were.</p> <p>When we look in the mirror we don’t recognize our reflection.</p> <p>10-seconds in an online poker room lobby feels like two hours on the Waltzers.</p> <p>Instead of turning to innovation to solve our solution, why not try taking away the innovation? Why not peel back the layers to reveal our beating heart. The game that started out on the riverboats all those years ago, and did pretty well until innovation started screwing around with it.</p> <p>Online poker rooms do not have a right to create careers for players. In a recent interview for BLUFF Europe magazine, the British pro Jamie Sykes said, <em>“We became poker players to escape from the rat race, so why does everyone keep treating it like a regular job?”</em> He also said, <em>“It was a hobby that turned into a profession.”</em></p> <p>The role of the online poker room is to provide value for their ultimate customer. But who is that? Is it the member of Supernova Elite? The person who managed to turn their hobby into a profession? Or is it the person who still thinks that poker is their hobby? Perhaps, it’s the person who now likes playing these lottery-style games, because they don’t think the lottery is really gambling?</p> <p>The best description of value that I have read comes from the book <em>Lean Thinking</em> by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones.</p> <p><em>“Value is only meaningful when expressed in terms of a specific product (a good or a service, and often both at once) which meets the customer’s needs at a specific price at a specific time.”</em></p> <p>If the current numbers are to be used as a yardstick, then at PokerStars, Spin &amp; Go games are that value. I might not like it. We may have moved too far away from the heart of poker, but if this is the approach that pays dividends, then so be it.</p> <p>I just wish that we could remove all of this make up, and just spend a few more nights with that familiar face, because the way I see it, if everyone in poker is thinking out of the box, there’s nobody left doing any thinking inside of it - and that’s where I really think our problem lies.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:57:42 +0000 Lee Davy 3340 What Does the Average Online Poker Player Look Like? <p>When someone conjures up the image of an <em>"online poker player"</em> in their mind, the picture that normally pops into their head is one of a young (college age) white male, sitting behind a computer, and clicking away at pot after pot for hundreds or thousands of dollars.</p> <p>However, you might be surprised what the average online poker player looks like - most are well past college age, as virtually every study places the average age of online gamblers in their 40's.</p> <p>In addition to discovering that online poker players are generally middle aged, you'd probably also be surprised to find out that <strong>most online poker players play what are known as, micro-stakes games, or penny-limit games.</strong></p> <p>We know this based on the tables available at an online poker site's lobby. The overwhelming majority of games have buy-ins under $100, with many as low as a $1-$5. These are the popular games online, not the $25/$50 No Limit games with $5,000 buy-ins that are so rare that they only run on a couple of sites.</p> <p>The fact of the matter is, the typical online poker player is over 40 years old and plays for extremely small stakes.</p> <p><strong>More evidence</strong></p> <p>A <a href="">poll by Commercial Intelligence</a> (CI) found the average age of an online gambler at New Jersey's licensed online casinos to be 46. Two separate studies verified these findings, one in Canada by AlixPartners and another in the U.S. conducted by Ipsos, and also came to some very interesting conclusions about the education and income levels of online gamblers.</p> <p>The findings from the two studies were examined during a <a href="">panel discussion at G2E</a> by John Bonno, Director at AlixPartners, and Paul Lauzon, Senior Vice President of Lottery &amp; Gaming at Ipsos Reid.</p> <p>The Canadian study (conducted by Alix) found 1/2 of online gamblers to be 35-54 and 30% to be over the age of 55. The study also found that 36% of online gamblers had a degree from a University, most were employed full time, and a full 40% had a yearly income of $80,000 or more.</p> <p>The U.S. study by Ipsos found the average age of an online gambler to be 41 and of a similar financial and educational background.</p> <p>Hardly the basement dwelling college kid losing his tuition money opponents of online gaming like to depict.</p> <p><strong>Fun players</strong></p> <p>These are what I will refer to as <em>"fun players."</em></p> <p>Fun Players are players who risk very little when they gamble online, and players whose ambition is simply to unwind by playing a little poker without all of the pomp and circumstance associated with going to a casino - not to mention the much higher budget needed to play in a land-based casino.</p> <p>These are the online versions of the group of friends who congregate in a basement or around a kitchen table every couple of weeks to play a $20 game of cards. For these players, risking $20 at an online poker table is no different than playing Angry Birds, or streaming a movie on Netflix.</p> <p>To a fun player spending a few hours online and firing up a handful of $5 Sit &amp; Go poker tournaments is no different than spending $20 to go to the movies, or $40 to go bowling. Online poker is their entertainment, and people are trying to take that away from them under the guise of protecting them.</p> <p>Unfortunately, opponents of online poker would have you believe these players don't exist or are the minority. They would have you believe that online poker is a cesspool of degenerate gamblers haplessly hooked on the game and being victimized by a group of cutthroat professionals.</p> <p><strong>Fun players starting to become more vocal</strong></p> <p>Up until now, it's been the professional poker players and the serious poker enthusiasts who have raised bloody hell about a potential online poker ban, commenting on articles and taking to social media. But the debate has garnered a lot of mainstream attention and the "Fun Players" are starting to take notice and make their voices heard.</p> <p>Such as <a href="">this comment</a> made under former Denver mayor turned lobbyist Wellington Webb's recent op-ed declaring online gambling to be the work of the devil himself:</p> <p><blockquote>I deposited $50 into an online poker site and started playing $1 to $3 tournaments. I enjoyed the idea of playing against other players instead of a game against the house. The card room down the road from where I live has a poker tournament on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s that has a cost of $55 and is structured nowhere near as well as what I was able to find online. I decided that online poker was the way to go for a beginner because of the inexpensive price point."</blockquote></p> <p>Hardly a hardened gambler and hardly a self-serving statement by a professional poker player.</p> <p>Or how about this one which explains who is hurt by an online gambling ban (hint: It's not the problem gamblers who will gamble regardless):</p> <p><blockquote>You know what I miss? I miss being able to fire up my computer whenever I want to enjoying myself for an hour before work in a $5-20 one table tournament (a Sit-N-Go for Mr. Webb's info). I also miss turning my $50 deposit into $200 and advancing in buy-ins, only to get knocked down a couple of pegs and retreat back to a "safer" level. You know, realistic and enjoyable gambling! I am the person that an Internet gambling ban hurts, not someone that is intent on wasting all of their money or life on gambling it away, which they will do with or without the Internet. I am not a chump! The chumps are those that I pass on the way to the Poker Room, those that spend their time at a losing proposition, where the "house" (such as Sheldon's house) has an overwhelming edge over the player (e.g. slots, blackjack, craps, etc.) Those casinos don't pay for themselves!"</blockquote></p> <p>Or this one, which perfectly summarizes the difference between playing in a brick &amp; mortar poker room and an online poker room:</p> <p><em>"If I want to play a live no limit cash game... smallest stakes is $1/$2 blinds with a buy in of $200-$300</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"If I want to play an online cash game... they would have blinds as low as 1cent/2cent with a buy in of $1</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"If I want to play a live tournament, with a decent structure, I will have to pay at least $200 with a rake going to the casino of $30-$50</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"To play a decent tournament online, I can play a $5 tournament with $0.50 rake</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"For new players, there is no intimidation, and can make mistakes, and learn the game for $50 online with the same experience that they would have to pay thousands live....</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"This article is such a joke, and the tribune is a joke of a paper, proven by the fact that have to publish this trash"</em></p> <p>So the next time someone tries to warn you about the devastating effects of online poker, and how these young college kids are bankrupting their future, keep some of these comments in mind, and remember that the vast majority of online gamblers are over 35, with full time jobs, and just looking to have a little fun and play what amounts to a $20 poker game in the basement of their friend's house.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:05:08 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3339 Sebastian Pauli Writing His Own History in London: EPT Title and £499,700 Going to Germany <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">N</span>ot all EPTs are created equal. Every player who's been on the tour for some time will tell you this. Some stops tend to attract more rich, recreational players looking to have good time. Others, like London, usually turn into shark-infested waters where one must match their mind against the best in the world to stay on the surface.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The London stop of the European Poker Tour certainly belongs in the latter category, as it traditionally attracts the crème de la crème, as the French would put it. And this is the field in which a relatively unknown German named <strong>Sebastian Pauli </strong>claimed his first EPT title.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Generating a </strong><strong>£2,619,000 </strong><strong>prize pool</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Over the course of two starting days and a late registration reaching into the start of Day 2, EPT11 London attracted a total of 675 players, generating a prize pool of £2,619,000. A total of 95 players were set to make the money, and £499,700 was reserved for the winner. This meant that, apart from the prestigious title, players would have plenty to battle for.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Hanging in there</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">There was a long way to go from surviving the first day to making the final table of eight. For anybody with such intentions, matters were further complicated that the same dreams were in the minds of pros such as first two-time EPT champion <strong>Victoria Coren, </strong><strong>Jake Cody, Benny Spindler, Johnny Lodden, Ryan Spittles </strong>and countless more professionals with years of poker experience under their belts.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Pauli is by no means a poker slouch, but in a competition such as this, no one would really feel comfortable. Still, the German remained calm and unfazed until the last river card was dealt. Only then would he let his emotions take over.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Final two tables</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The penultimate day of EPT11 London started with two tables of eight. In this field of sixteen, three players were looking for a double-title – Jake Cody, <strong>Kevin MacPhee</strong> and Benny Spindler. It was hard to root against any of these three, as having a final table with three double-pretenders would be a joy for everyone – poker fans and media alike!</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The champs held well, proving once again that their success did not come by luck or accident, but we would lose one just as the final table was looming. Benny<strong> </strong>Spindler<strong> </strong>successfully battled his way out of the short stack he started the day with, only to be dispatched in 9<sup>th</sup> in an unavoidable cooler hand.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Denying history</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Still, two former EPT winners returned on the next day to play, and chances were not against them coming out on top. However, the quiet Pauli was the one holding about a 3:1 chip lead over his nearest competitor and, as it would turn out, he would never give it up.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As for the champion, MacPhee and Cody actually got involved in a hand that would mark the destiny for one of them. Jake got it in good on the flop of #jh#kc#ks holding #kd#10d, but #qh on the turn actually filled up MacPhee’s #qs#qc and only one pretender for the double title was left.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Kevin MacPhee actually made it all the way to the heads-up, but the German was clearly determined to write his own history and not be influenced by the dreams of the masses.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Pauli was helped by a great run of cards as well, and things generally fell in place for him. When the two finally saw the last river card, the calm and composed Pauli let go of his emotions, bursting into tears of joy. The German had won his first EPT title and £499,700. MacPhee, who was denied an epic second title, will have to be satisfied with £308,500 this time – not quite the same as the double title, but it will ease some of the pain!</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Final Standings of the EPT11 London Main Event</strong></p> <ol style="text-align: justify;"><li>Sebastian Pauli, Germany, £499,700</li> <li>Kevin MacPhee, United States, £308,500</li> <li>Kevin Killeen, Ireland, £220,500</li> <li>Artur Koren, Germany, £168,900</li> <li>Jake Cody, UK, £133,800</li> <li> Jakub Mroczek, Poland, £104,200</li> <li> Jonathan Bensadoun, France, £75,900</li> <li style="text-align: justify;">Pablo Gordillo, Spain, £51,900</li> </ol> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:37:21 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3338 Buyer's Remorse? Not for Amaya! <p><span class="letter-big">S</span>ometimes a large acquisition brings about feelings of <em>"buyer's remorse"</em> in which the purchaser wishes it possible to go back in time in order to negate its new possession. Not so with Amaya's $4.9 billion acquisition of Rational Group holdings that include the world's most popular poker site.</p> <p><em>“We’re very pleased with the performance of PokerStars and Full Tilt in 2014,”</em> <strong>Amaya CEO David Baazov</strong> stated recently. <em>“The core poker business continued to grow during the first half of the year and recorded strong cash flow."</em></p> <p>Baazov's upbeat comments came in the form of a <a href="">press release</a> announcing the filing of a <em><strong>"Business Acquisition Report"</strong></em> and update. The future looks bright for Amaya and the release did not hide that fact.</p> <p><blockquote>We have broadened our rollout of casino, including into Spain, and introduced an exciting new poker game that has proved very popular on Full Tilt and which was recently launched on PokerStars,” Baazov added.</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Spin &amp; Go, not Spun &amp; Went</strong></p> <p>That new game is the somewhat controversial <em><strong>"Spin &amp; Go"</strong></em> that has been <a href="">lambasted by PokerStars' grinders</a> for attracting recreational players, <strong>diluting the fishy player base normally found at Sit n' Gos and ring game tables.</strong> Those online pros better get used to the new offering, because all indications from Amaya are that the innovative concept first made popular by Expresso Poker on Winamax is here to stay.</p> <p><blockquote>"The (Spin and Go) format has proved to be an instant hit, with more than 7.5 million games played over the first two weeks," the press release added. "The successful launch demonstrates that product innovation can attract new poker players and increase the amount of play from existing customers."</blockquote></p> <p>Also included in the update were the results of the <strong>2014 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP).</strong> Prize money totaling just shy of $62 million was awarded to players over the course of 66 events. That was the third highest total ever with regard to collective WCOOP payouts, despite the fact that U.S. players remain shut out from competing. But that may change one day.</p> <p><strong>Future Includes Regulated U.S. Market</strong></p> <p>The BAR makes note of the fact that <em>"steady growth"</em> continues in terms of profits related to its newest acquisition. And on the horizon is the foreseeable penetration into the <a href="">U.S. regulated online poker</a> and gambling market, as Amaya <em>"anticipates its ownership will have the potential to accelerate the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt"</em> in the U.S.</p> <p>Also heralded was the recent release of videos entitled <a href=""><em>“Inside PokerStars"</em></a> that show the world the inner workings of the no. 1 poker site. Such transparency has certainly not been the norm in the online poker industry and <strong>accomplishes the purpose of allowing players to feel that their funds are safe and secure.</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>But the hot-button topic at Amaya remains its Spin &amp; Go launch, and the press release praised the new hyper-turbo Sit n' Go jackpot games even further.</p> <p><em>"We believe that the speedy, mobile-friendly poker variant with the exciting potential for a big payout will help attract new recreational players to our platform, reactivate players in our database and excite current players,"</em> Amaya said, also adding that Spin &amp; Gos give <em>"players of all levels the chance to win up to $30,000 in a matter of minutes."</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:23:43 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3337 Lock Poker Player Accounts Total Over $3 Million <p>While it is known by regular <strong>PokerUpdate</strong> readers that <a href="">hundreds of players at Lock Poker are waiting for almost $1 million in cashout requests</a>, it has been further revealed that those same players have another $2.2 million in their accounts at Lock, bringing the total amount owed to more than $3 million.</p> <p>2 + 2 poster <em>'IHasTehNutz'</em> has been dutifully compiling the unpaid funds and account balances of Lock players and recently posted that information on <a href=""></a> While 394 players have requested withdrawals that have been languishing for months, 205 of those players have additional money in their Lock accounts ($2.2 million) that is in jeopardy of never being reimbursed.</p> <p>Keep in mind also that those 394 players willfully submitted their information to IHasTehNutz. There may be hundreds more who have not done so.</p> <p><strong>Don't Patronize Lock Poker</strong></p> <p>IHasTehNutz has been tracking the forlorn withdrawal requests of Lock players since May 2013 and began tallying the funds sitting in the accounts of those players since August. More than $941,000 is owed in unprocessed cashouts. Of the over $2.2 million idle in player accounts, more than $1.7 million belongs to players residing outside of the U.S.</p> <p>The majority of the pending cashouts are over a year old, with the last payout received by a player listed as April of this year. The last time a non-U.S. player on the list of IHasTehNutz reported receiving funds from a cashout request was in November 2013.</p> <p>Players are again reminded to avoid depositing and playing at Lock Poker unless your aim is to join the list of unpaid players. A letter from the <strong>Poker Players Alliance</strong> to Lock Poker management in April requesting answers to the unprocessed withdrawals has not emitted a response from the site.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:27:26 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3336 Chris "Fox" Wallace on Getting Smarter Playing Poker <p>There are a lot of ways to make sure you are at your best when you are starting a long poker session, and a few extra IQ points can mean the difference between the right fold and the wrong call in a huge pot that could ruin, or make, your night. Things like staying in shape, getting enough exercise, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep can all make a big difference.</p> <p>But…</p> <p>I can't always manage those things, and neither can most of the poker pros I know. I'm not saying a healthy life isn't a good idea, it certainly is, but even if you are already doing those things, there are some nutrients and supplements that can make you even sharper. I can't teach you how to live better, but I can teach you about the supplements I take to keep my brain functioning at a high level.</p> <p>New research seems to come out almost every day on which nutrients and smart drugs work the best and how well they work with each other, but there are some staples that we know have some effect and shouldn't be toxic.</p> <p><em>Before we go on, our lawyers here at PokerUpdate would like me to say that I am not a doctor and you should consult a doctor before taking any supplements or following any of my advice and even after you do that you are still doing this at your own risk. I'm not responsible for your actions. It's your body, do your own research and make good decisions.</em></p> <p>The best way that I have found to keep my brain functioning at a high level is a combination of simple supplements that give your brain the fuel it needs to keep working smoothly through a long day at the tables figuring pot odds and trying to decide if the guy in seat six really made his flush or not.</p> <p><strong>The Goods</strong></p> <p><strong>Alpha-GPC</strong> - This is the best available source of choline, a precursor that your body uses to make acetylcholine, which is essential to brain function. I think that a study of people using their brains heavily for hours on end would show that acetylcholine levels go down. I think this is a big part of why you lose IQ points as the day goes on. You can buy Alpha-GPC at nutrition stores like GNC, or online at and it is relatively cheap. I take 200 mg a day.</p> <p><strong>Multivitamins</strong> - I don't take one every day, most studies say that this isn't necessary and some say that it isn't a good idea. I take two vitamins a week just to offer my body and my brain anything that it really needs.</p> <p><strong>Focus Factor</strong> - I also take an inexpensive product called Focus Factor that I buy on According to my research, it has most of the good stuff in it, and not much that could be bad for me. I take it before a big tournament day or a long cash session.</p> <p><strong>What Do I Know?</strong></p> <p>Actually, I know quite a lot about these substances and many others, because I have tested them on myself after doing a ton of research. There are things that have even more significant effects, but using them can be complicated and you really want a doctor on board for any drugs that you might take, so we aren't even going to cover those things.</p> <p>I got started with nootropics, which is another name for drugs that enhance brain function, when I was playing blackjack for part of my living. Lots of people tell me they can count cards, and the basic concept of a point count system is not complicated, but being good enough to beat the house long term takes a significant amount of work and the vast majority of people who think they are winning are running good or are not keeping accurate records.</p> <p>I kept perfect records, and I know that I was making money. Not enough to make it worthwhile given the bankroll I had to maintain or how hard the work was, but I was making money over a large sample size. By the way, I'm not recommending blackjack as an income stream, it's the worst job I ever had.</p> <p><strong>Smart Chris, Meet Dumb Chris</strong></p> <p>The biggest problem for me was that after four or five hours of counting cards and acting like I wasn't counting cards by chatting with the pit boss about how the key to my success was my good karma and my lucky crystal, my brain just ran out of steam. I'm not talking about getting tired, I'm talking about becoming a complete idiot.</p> <p>In the space of a few minutes I would realize that I was Dumb Chris. Dumb Chris couldn't count cards. Dumb Chris couldn't find the cage to cash out, and sometimes Dumb Chris couldn't find his hotel room without help. I can't prove it, but I think Dumb Chris was just what happened when Smart Chris's brain ran out of fuel.</p> <p>To combat this, I started researching ways to be smarter and stay smarter for longer sessions of grueling number crunching. I should have been going to college, or learning a trade, or holding a sign by a freeway exit ramp, because any of those things would have paid more for less work, but the thrill of beating the house was irresistible.</p> <p>When I took Choline precursors, multivitamins, DMAE, and a few other supplements, I found that I could play for eight hours or more without turning into a zombie who just wanted to drink cranberry juice and go to sleep (yes, cranberry juice, I don't know why). For me, these things definitely worked. I stayed sharper longer, and on the rudimentary tests available on a computer fifteen years ago, my scores improved a little.</p> <p>It wasn't a drastic change in terms of intelligence, but in terms of staying power it was incredible. My brain was on steroids, and they were fairly safe in terms of potential side effects because they were naturally occurring compounds in foods we eat and there were no indications of anything serious in the literature I was reading. There are potential side effects, which is why you need to read up on these things and talk to your doctor before taking them, but in my case they just kept Dumb Chris from popping up so often.</p> <p><strong>What Should You Do?</strong></p> <p>My recommendation is that you look into smart nutrients and supplements for yourself. Start with my recommendations, they are fairly safe for most people. Research them and find potential side effects that may be a problem for you. Come up with a plan, and take that plan to your doctor, who may very well be fascinated with your research. Then try things and use a product like to test your results after different supplements and different amounts of sleep and after various amounts of "work."</p> <p>If you keep records, you will almost certainly be able to find some things that make your brain function better and help you stay sharp longer. This is a significant edge at the poker table, especially at the end of a long tournament day when the blinds are big, the stakes are high, and your opponents are all running on empty. The only thing I can say for sure is that it helped me in a big way and I believe it has been an important part of my success in the tough world of professional poker.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 22:18:43 +0000 Chris Wallace 3335 Phil Hellmuth In Wife Swapping Rumors <p>How would you fancy swapping your wife for a newer model for a two-week period?</p> <p>That’s the opportunity that has just passed the desk at <strong>Phil Hellmuth Jr.</strong> H.Q. and the 13-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner was well up for it.</p> <p>For the second time in the past four years, the American television network ABC have reached out to representatives of Hellmuth with the possibility of him appearing on a reality TV show.</p> <p>In 2010, rumors were abound that <em>The Poker Brat</em> had been invited to be a contestant on <em>Dancing with the Stars,</em> and four years on, it seems he has received a second opportunity - this time as a star of the reality TV show <em>Wife Swap.</em></p> <p>There’s only one problem. His wife is not up for it.</p> <p><blockquote>Have an offer to be on ABC television show <em>'Wife Swap,'</em> but wife won't do it! Though I'm sure she would look amazing," Hellmuth posted on his twitter feed.</blockquote></p> <p>It would have been Hellmuth’s second TV role of the year after he was hired to shoot a 15-second commercial for the <strong>Carls Jr. Texan BBQ Thickburger.</strong> It would have also been pure comedy gold to see how Hellmuth’s notoriously paper-thin patience would have managed in the face of some feisty female aggression.</p> <p>The 50-year old has been married to his wife <strong>Katherine Sanborn</strong> for 25-years, and absolutely cherishes the ground that she walks on. Behind every great man is an even greater woman, and if you are fortunate to interview Mr. WSOP then you will hear it from the horse’s mouth. He owes everything to the Stanford University psychiatrist.</p> <p><em>Wife Swap</em> made its debut back in 2004 and has had a more celebrity focus since 2012. The late <strong>Joan Rivers</strong> is one of the celebrities to make an appearance on the show. The rules involve the wives adjusting to the new husbands' roles in the first week, and then inject their own rules in the second week.</p> <p>Hellmuth’s potential appearance on ABC comes after a long line of other professional poker players have hit the small screen lately. <strong>PokerStars Team Pro Liv Boeree</strong> had a starring role in the Discovery Channels: <em>The Mind Control Freaks</em>, <strong>Eugene Katchalov</strong> was chosen to participate in the Ukraine’s version of <em>The Mole,</em> and old school buddies <strong>Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari</strong> appeared in a pilot episode of their show: <em>Underground Poker.</em></p> <p>Hellmuth is currently in Melbourne, Australia, where he told one poker media outlet that he <em>"would’ve loved to do it,"</em> as it would have given the world the opportunity to see the <em>"real Phil."</em></p> <p>He didn’t win a bracelet Down Under, but he set two new records with his 51st WSOP final table appearance and his 108th WSOP cash. He also seems to be breaking all sorts of partying records, mixing with the likes of Esfandiari, <strong>Daniel Negreanu,</strong> and the cricket legend <strong>Shane Warne.</strong></p> <p>I wonder if his wives would approve?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:02:36 +0000 Lee Davy 3334 Judge Voids Union Contract of Trump Taj Mahal Employees <p><strong>Carl Icahn</strong> got what he wanted on Friday, but it may cost him the <strong>Trump Taj Mahal.</strong></p> <p>According to the <a href="">Press of Atlantic City</a>, Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross ruled on Friday that the Trump Taj no longer was required to pay for healthcare or contribute to pension for union workers. This move was the first part of a plan put into motion by Icahn to save the bankrupt Atlantic City casino, but backlash could still result in the property's closure.</p> <p><strong>Trump Entertainment</strong> officials had argued cutting benefits for their workers was a necessary step towards saving the casino. The move will allow the casino to save $14.6 million in costs. This includes $5 million in healthcare expenses.</p> <p>The union had been open to reducing pension contributions, but would not budge on healthcare payments. Under the terms of the ruling on Friday, union members will now have to find healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act and the company will offer a 401(k) plan instead of a pension program. Healthcare coverage for employees ends on October 31.</p> <p><strong>Icahn Blasted Over Cutting Benefits</strong></p> <p>It didn't take long for Icahn to be blasted publicly following the decision. Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) voiced his displeasure on the ruling, stating, <em>"I've met with many Taj workers who simply want to earn a livable wage and provide for their families. These aren't rich people -- to ask and now force workers to give up their pension and health benefits is just wrong. It's no way to treat the people who have put their lives into building the Taj Mahal. I hope this can be resolved in a way that allows workers to keep what they've rightfully earned, while continuing to be able to put the Taj Mahal on the financial footing to remain open long term."</em></p> <p>Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of UNITE-HERE, accused Icahn of wanting to use a <em>"slave work force"</em> to run the Taj Mahal. McDevitt pointed out that the ruling will result in a 35 percent pay cut for low-wage hourly workers, calling them <em>"poverty-level"</em> jobs.</p> <p><strong>Icahn Wants State Help But State is Saying No</strong></p> <p>The next part in Icahn's plan to save the Taj is to seek $175 million in state assistance to save the struggling casino. Part of this is $25 million in Urban Revitalization and Economic Redevelopment grants However, this plan is already receiving resistance from lawmakers.</p> <p>State Senate President Stephen Sweeney spoke out on Friday and quickly struck down any potential aid from the state, saying, <em>“Stripping the employees of health care and their existing pensions is a destructive act of profiteering that should not be allowed,”</em> Sweeney said in a statement released after the ruling. <em>“I won’t allow state or any other public funds or subsidies to be used to support this plan.”</em></p> <p>If Icahn can receive state assistance, he claims that he will put up $100 million of his own money to help revitalize the Trump Taj. He plans to convert debt into equity and become the official owner of the Taj. He did similar to take over ownership of the Tropicana.</p> <p><strong>Union Seeking Stay on Ruling - Trump Claims Stay Will Force Closure</strong></p> <p>The Local 54 will appeal the ruling and is seeking a stay of Gross' ruling. Kathy Krieger, attorney for the Local 54, argued that the ruling would harm the Atlantic City casino industry and Taj workers.</p> <p>Trump Entertainment lawyers are claiming that a stay will force a closure. Trump Entertainment attorney Kris Hansen pointed out that the company would have to tell the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement next week whether they would close in November. He said that at present, <em>"We are not going to tell them we are closing on Monday. We are going to scrape together our cash"</em> in an attempt to remain open. He continued saying that, <em>"Right now we can keep our doors open, but if you stay this, we can't."</em></p> <p>Trump Entertainment has been in <em>"scrounging"</em> mode for quite a while. When they filed bankruptcy, they claimed that even with the Taj closing that the company would run out of money in December. This past week they claimed that they have been selling used mattresses and televisions from the closed Trump Plaza property in order to raise cash.</p> <p>While not confirmed, there is a chance that the union could start picketing next week and Krieger even hinted at a strike when asking for a stay in the ruling.</p> <p><strong>Will the City Really Let the Taj Close?</strong></p> <p>The question now remains whether the city and policymakers will stick to their guns and not support Trump Entertainment in their efforts to save the Taj. While many are siding with the Union, can the city really afford to let a fifth casino close in 2014?</p> <p>New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission chair Jon Hanson voiced a different opinion than that to Senate President Sweeney. While he said that the Trump plan was not their <em>"number one mission,"</em> he did say that the Commission was in <em>"listening mode."</em></p> <p>What does this mean? On the surface, it likely means that the door is not completely shut on state aid. Further negotiations could bring about terms that the state can "live with" but likely ones that the union will not fully sign off on.</p> <p>Unlike <strong>Revel, Showboat or Trump Plaza,</strong> there is a plan being floated that can save the casino. Will lawmakers really let a fifth casino close and face further deterioration to the Atlantic City economy, or will they make some tough and unpopular choices?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 23:53:35 +0000 James Guill 3333 George Danzer is the 2014 World Series of Poker Player of the Year <p>For the second consecutive year, poker fans were subjected to a treat of a race, as the final stages of the <strong>World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year (POY) </strong>culminated in victory for the German mixed game specialist <strong>George Danzer.</strong></p> <p>It was the second time in succession that the POY leader, coming out of Vegas, was unable to hold on to their lead, as the most prestigious tournament in the history of poker upped its anchor and headed to a different continent.</p> <p>Last year saw <strong>Daniel Negreanu</strong> leave it until the very last tournament before he surpassed the Englishman, <strong>Matt Ashton,</strong> after victory in the €25,600 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) High Roller at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) in Paris, and once again the race went to the wire, as Danzer overcame the American <strong>Brandon Shack-Harris</strong> after a wonderful display in Melbourne, Australia.</p> <p><strong>Here is how the race went down.</strong></p> <p>On the 28th May 2014, Brandon Shack-Harris won his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet after defeating 1,128 entrants in the $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) event in Vegas. One day later and George Danzer took fifth in the $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Championship.</p> <p>Moving into June and the pair would clash in the $10,000 Seven Card Razz Championship after Danzer overcame Shack-Harris in heads-up action to win his first - and deny Shack-Harris his second - WSOP bracelet of the summer.</p> <p>From that point on Danzer had the momentum. In the space of seven sunny days in June, he would finish 39th in the $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo event, 9th in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Championship, and he would win his second bracelet in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Championship.</p> <p>That second bracelet opened up a big lead for Danzer, but Shack-Harris stepped his foot on the gas and came up with two fantastic performances. On the 20th June he finished third from a field of 654 entrants in a $1,500 NLHE event (654), and then finished runner-up to John Hennigan in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship.</p> <p>Danzer was once again playing catch up - but a 48th place finish in a $1,500 NLHE Ante Up event, and 44th place finish in the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, brought him neck and neck with Shack-Harris, who responded by finishing in 34th place in the $3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo event to head to Australia with the lead.</p> <p>When the first event of the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP-APAC) kicked off on 2nd Oct, it was as if the two had never been away. Danzer finishing in 22nd place, and Shack-Harris taking 53rd, in the A$1,100 NLHE Accumulator to give the German the lead once more.</p> <p><strong>How did Shack Harris react?</strong></p> <p>He would go on to make the final table of the A$1,650 NLHE Terminator event, and once again Danzer was pushed down the pecking order.</p> <p>It would be the 8-Game action that would see Danzer eventually create a lead that not even the outstanding performances of Shack-Harris could claw back. The man nicknamed 'Trickyscarfy' making the final table of the A$1,650 8-Game Dealers Choice, finishing in sixth, and then he became only the sixth player in the history of the game to win three bracelets in one season, with victory in the A$5,000 8-Game Mixed Event.</p> <p>It was all over.</p> <p>Except nobody told Shack-Harris.</p> <p>Incredibly, whilst needing to finish first or second in the A$10,000 NLHE Main Event to capture the title, Shack-Harris made it to 17th place out of a starting field of 329 players.</p> <p>Then, with time to spare, Shack-Harris jumped straight into the High Roller, looking for a fourth place finish to take the title. Unfortunately, his incredible run would come to an end after flopping trip queens against the pocket aces of Sean Winter, only to see a third ace hit the river to send Shack-Harris to his final rail, and hand Danzer all the glory.</p> <p>Congratulations to George Danzer. It took three WSOP bracelets, five final tables, and 10 cashes to win the POY, and a $10,000 seat in the 2015 WSOP Main Event makes it all worth it.</p> <p><strong>2014 WSOP Player of the Year Results</strong></p> <p>1st George Danzer - 923.50 points</p> <p>2nd Brandon Shack-Harris - 806.70 points</p> <p>3rd John Hennigan - 557.88 points</p> <p>4th Daniel Negreanu - 519.08 points</p> <p>5th Ismael Bojang - 467.91 points</p> <p>6th Daniel Colman - 452.40 points</p> <p>7th Justin Bonomo - 449.63 points</p> <p>8th Richard Ashby - 413.55 points</p> <p>9th Brock Parker - 406.25 points</p> <p>10th Calvin Anderson - 398.20 points</p> <p>It was the fourth year that the WSOP have used the BLUFF formula to power their rankings, throughout 62 bracelet events in Las Vegas, and 10 in Melbourne, Australia.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 22:12:11 +0000 Lee Davy 3332 Dream Comes True for Scott Davies in Melbourne: First WSOP Gold in the Main Event <p><span class="letter-big">S</span>ome people dream of piles of money, expensive houses and luxury cars. Some others desire fame and recognition for their own sake. Yet others dream of winning WSOP bracelets. You could, of course, say that every poker player covets a WSOP bracelet at some level and you wouldn’t be wrong, but with some that desire is so strong that it takes precedence over everything else.</p> <p><strong>Formidable field in Crowns Casino</strong></p> <p>This was the case with <strong>Scott Davies</strong>, an American-born poker player currently residing in Canada who claimed victory in the WSOP APAC Main Event, topping a formidable field of 329 players. The names that he left behind included the likes of <strong>Phil Hellmuth</strong>, recently crowned player of the year <strong>George Danzer</strong>, 2012 WSOP ME champion <strong>Greg Merson</strong>, close contender for the PoY title <strong>Brandon Shack-Harris</strong>, and many more.</p> <p>Whether you are a top notch pro or an amateur, your money counts the same toward the prize pool. And when registration ended, that prize pool crossed the AU$3,000,000 mark, guaranteeing AU$850,000 for the player who made it all the way through five days of battle.</p> <p><strong>Creating the final table of six</strong></p> <p>With the bubble bursting early on Day 3, the remaining players were free to focus solely on making the final table and compete for the prestigious title. <strong>Jackie Glazier </strong>fell in 12<sup>th</sup> place, and just a few eliminations later, <strong>Victor Teng </strong>hit the rail in 7<sup>th</sup>. Among the final six players, there was still one lady remaining to fight for the title.</p> <p><strong>Ang Italiano </strong>was not just the only lady standing in the event, she was, interestingly enough, the only Australian representative still standing. This was a bit uncharacteristic for this year’s WSOP APAC as Aussie’s have, in general, fared very well and claimed more than their fair share of the bracelets.</p> <p><strong>To the victory</strong></p> <p>Italiano started as the shortest stack and she couldn’t get any traction going, so she was the first one to depart, taking home a decent prize of AU$118,769 for her efforts. She was followed to the rail by two USA pros at the final table, <strong>Frank Kassela </strong>(AU$164,089) and <strong>Kyle Montgomery </strong>(AU$231,287).</p> <p>The only representative of Taiwan, <strong>Henry Wang</strong>, would then depart in 3<sup>rd</sup>, banking $343,805 and leaving <strong>Jack Salter </strong>from UK and <strong>Scott Davies </strong>to fight it out for the bracelet and very respectable first place prize money.</p> <p><strong>Dream comes true</strong></p> <p>Davies all of a sudden found himself sitting just inches away from capturing his dream – winning a WSOP bracelet. He blogged about it, he talked about it, and he simply had it coming. There wasn’t much Salter could do to stop him.</p> <p>Cards simply kept falling Scott’s way and hand after hand he was chipping away at Jack. The final hand only confirmed what was already quite clear. This bracelet had the name of Scott Davies engraved on it all along.</p> <p>Salter turned trips and got his chips in the middle, only to find that he was miles behind Davies, who turned full of Sixes. The river brought no miracle for the UK pro, and he would have to be satisfied with the runner-up consolation prize of <em>only </em>AU$516,960.</p> <p>Davies, who became AU$850,136 richer after this victory, was out of words. The money was great, but not as great as the bracelet. No amount of money can ever match the feeling of a long-time dream coming true – a dream that has become a reality for Davies after many years of dreaming!</p> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 19:49:10 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3331 Grinder's Guide for Limit Hold'em <p>In some parts of the country you can't find a limit holdem game for hundreds of miles, but in other places where mixed games are common, or in states with a cap on the amount that can be bet, limit holdem is still going strong.</p> <p><strong>Books</strong></p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1886070148&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=blindstrcom-20">Holdem Excellence</a> and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0047DW5AE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=blindstrcom-20">More Holdem Excellence</a> by <strong>Lou Krieger</strong> - Both of these books are very easy to read and well-written. For years, Lou beat up on low limit <em>"no foldem holdem"</em> games in California and these books will help you grasp the basic strategies necessary for beating these loose games with solid practical advice. Either book is a good choice for beating low limit games and getting started with fixed-limit games.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003TXSRJQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=blindstrcom-20">Small Stakes Holdem</a> by <strong>Ed Miller and David Sklansky</strong> - This is the best book on advanced limit holdem strategy and very well put together. If you only own one book on the game and want to really crush it, then let this be your study guide. Small Stakes Holdem is a little harder to read than Krieger's books, but still very readable and much more advanced. The advice in this book will help you beat any limit holdem game below $60/120. Read it twice and take notes if you are looking to be a serious limit grinder.</p> <p>There are other books that may be useful, but many are hard to read, unnecessarily complicated, or outdated. A great many math wizards have had their say on how fixed-limit holdem should be played, but reading the words of a math nerd can be a dry and painful experience and almost no one finishes those books.</p> <p>Many people will wonder why David Sklansky's seminal work Holdem for Advanced Players isn't on this list. While it was the bible for many years, Sklansky's work has been supplanted by Small Stakes Holdem. We know more about the game now, and the newer work with Ed Miller teaches new principles and is much more readable.</p> <p><strong>Links</strong></p> <p>The <a href="">2+2 Limit Holdem Forums</a> have some excellent information. The <a href="">digest thread</a> has tons of links to good posts to keep you busy reading for weeks. There aren't any sites that compare to this forum in terms of sheer knowledge, just watch out for the grumpy old limit grinders if you ask a question, they can be a little snappy.</p> <p><strong>Training Sites</strong></p> <p>Because the younger players who tend to join training sites are only now starting to discover the unique challenge of fixed-limit games, most training sites have not covered the game. This is mostly good news because the game will stay soft longer if the information is harder to find, but it makes it tougher for a beginner to get really good, really fast.</p> <p><strong>CardRunners</strong> has some excellent limit holdem videos from two very strong players in <em><strong>Mike "Schneids" Schneider</strong></em> and <em><strong>Kyle "KPR16" Ray.</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Coaches</strong></p> <p>There are excellent limit holdem coaches on the list at <a href=""></a>. Limit Holdem coaching can be very effective in a short period of time if you are playing online and using tracking software or saving your hand histories for a coach who loads them into his or her tracking software.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:59:15 +0000 Chris Wallace 3328 NJ Casinos Post Gains Even Though Total Market Shrinks <p>At first glance New Jersey's gaming revenue report for September wasn't pretty.</p> <p>New Jersey's brick &amp; mortar casinos posted a year-over-year decline of 12% ($240 million in 2013 compared to $209 million in 2014), and this doesn't take into account the $10 million generated by the state's online gaming sites in 2014, which means land-based casino revenue actually dropped from $240 million to $199 million - a 17% drop.</p> <p>However, New Jersey is a much different place today than it was back in September in 2013. The state is transforming (not that it had much of a choice) its gaming industry, and once you get past the initial shock of a 12% year-over-year decline a new picture begins to emerge; a much prettier picture for gaming in Atlantic City and New Jersey.</p> <h3>The reshaping of Atlantic City</h3> <p>The big changes in New Jersey were the addition of online gambling in November of 2013, and the number of Atlantic City casinos shrank from 12 operators to just eight over the course of 2014 - Trump Taj Mahal may also be going the way of the dodo very soon.</p> <p>This sudden contraction has, for lack of a better metaphor, churned up the ocean floor, and it's likely going to take months for things to settle back to the bottom in Atlantic City and the new landscape takes shape.</p> <p>Yes, most of the flotsam and jetsam has been cut free, but it's going to be a while before we have a good idea what consequences the closures of Showboat, Revel, Trump Plaza, and Atlantic Club will have on Atlantic City.</p> <p>That being said, this week's revenue numbers may offer us a glimpse into the future.</p> <h3>7 of the 8 casinos experienced growth or no change</h3> <p>The market as a whole may have taken a double-digit hit, but the remaining casinos in Atlantic City fared much better year-over-year, and should continue to increase revenue as more and more of Showboat's, Revel's, and Trump Plaza's wayward players find new homes on the Boardwalk and in the Marina.</p> <p>In September of 2013, the eight casinos currently open for business in Atlantic City tallied $190.1 million in revenue. In September of 2014, their tally has grown to $204.3 million. Even removing the $10 million from online gaming, land-based casino revenue among these eight casinos increased year-over-year.</p> <p>Individually, the outlook is even better.</p> <p>A full five of the eight casinos posted year-over-year gains (four of the five posted double digit gains), while Resorts and Bally's AC saw revenues remain flat and drop a meager 2% respectively. The only real loser in September was Trump Taj Mahal, which, as noted above, may not be long for the world anyway.</p> <p>Yes, total revenue was down 12% year-over-year, but take a look at the individual operators' revenue numbers from September 2013 and September 2014. They tell a drastically different story:</p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tbody><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Casino</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center"><strong>September 2013</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center"><strong>September 2014</strong></p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center"><strong>Increase/Decrease</strong></p> </td> </tr><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Borgata</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$51.7 million</p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$58.5 million</p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center">+13%</p> </td> </tr><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Harrah's AC</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$29.5 million</p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$31.3 million</p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center">+6%</p> </td> </tr><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Caesars AC</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$23.8 million</p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$26.1 million</p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center">+10%</p> </td> </tr><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Tropicana</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$20.2 million</p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$23.4 million</p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center">+16%</p> </td> </tr><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Bally's AC</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$20 million</p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">19.6 million</p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center">-2%</p> </td> </tr><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$22.6 million</p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$17.5 million</p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center">-23%</p> </td> </tr><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Golden Nugget</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$10.7 million</p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$16.3 million</p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center">+52%</p> </td> </tr><tr><td width="164" valign="top"> <p><strong>Resorts</strong></p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$11.6 million</p> </td> <td width="166" valign="top"> <p align="center">$11.6 million</p> </td> <td width="143" valign="top"> <p align="center">No Change</p> </td> </tr></tbody></table><p>Data provided by the <a href="">New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</a>.</p> <h3>Year-over-year growth likely to continue</h3> <p>To put an even rosier spin on things, Resorts and their iGaming partner PokerStars are expected to launch an online gaming site by the end of the year, and former Ultimate Gaming players (who were generating over $500k a month in revenue) are still looking for homes following the sites departure from New Jersey in late September.</p> <p>There is also the potential closure of Trump Taj Mahal (which puts another $17.5 million of monthly revenue up for grabs), as well as some $1.3 million in revenue generated by Trump Plaza and another $140k by Revel in September (not listed above).</p> <p>If The Taj closes, there could be in the neighborhood of $20 million of monthly gaming revenue looking for new homes in the coming months, and it will be the seven remaining casinos in the market that divvy it up.</p> <p>It should be noted that the Revel is expected to reopen as a casino, which changes things, but shouldn't change the expected year-over-year growth for the other current operators.  </p> <p>When we factor in all of these variables, most of, if not all of Atlantic City's remaining seven or eight casinos will likely be posting year-over-year gains for the foreseeable future - even if the market itself shrinks. </p> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 19:20:27 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3325 Spin & Gos Saving Online Poker, PokerStars Claims <p>The controversy swirling around <strong>Spin &amp; Gos at PokerStars</strong> was addressed by a site representative who answered critics by posting on 2 + 2 that the revolutionary, hyper-turbo, lottery-jackpot Sit n' Gos are saving, rather than killing, online poker.</p> <p>Since <a href="">launching on September 29</a>, Spin &amp; Gos have been blasted by regular players who are upset that the games are attracting recreational players, taking those players away from the cash tables and <em>"regular"</em> Sit n' Gos. The angry cries in protest include the belief by some regs that Spin &amp; Gos are <em>"killing the games"</em> and led to the formation of a petition to do away with, or at least alter, Spin &amp; Gos as currently offered.</p> <p>PokerStars remained mum on the controversy, save for <a href=";postcount=53">a rant from site ambassador Daniel Negreanu</a> one week ago, who opined that winning players were responsible for killing the games and destroying poker's ecosystem. The site's <a href=";postcount=582">silence was broken yesterday</a> and the official stance offered by PokerStars falls along the same lines as KidPoker's thoughts on the issue.</p> <p><blockquote>Poker is increasingly struggling to attract new players, and Spin and Gos serve exactly this purpose," stated PokerStars Ring Game Manager Baard Dahl. "I think it is much more likely that in a few years we are going to say that Spin and Gos saved online poker than Spin and Gos were responsible for killing the game."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>14 million games played and counting</strong></p> <p>The prospect of landing at a Spin &amp; Go where the prize pool could be <strong>as high as 1,000x a single buy-in</strong> is quite enticing for the casual crowd. It has resulted in 14 million Spin &amp; Go games played to date in just over two weeks, a staggering number.</p> <p><a href="">Cash game player traffic numbers</a> tallied by <strong>PokerScout</strong> support the claims of regs that perhaps too many players are spinning their way over to the new Spin &amp; Gos. Ring game action has declined in percentages of double digits since the new concept was launched. Yet Dahl continued to defend Spin &amp; Gos, keeping in mind that an obligation remains to give customers what they want.</p> <p><blockquote>We cannot lose sight of the fact that we are a business and that we do business in a competitive environment," Dahl posted. "And as a business, we need to provide the products that are pleasing to our customers. Clearly, given the popularity of Spin and Go, we have many customers who like the format, are pleased that we have offered it, and based on the overall volume of play on our site, it is clear that players are overall happier than they were before."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Online poker always evolving</strong></p> <p>The ring game manager went on to remind players that <strong>the online poker industry is always changing.</strong> Adaptation to new elements or features that may be added or removed along the way is required for success. That ability to go with the flow and accept the changes goes both ways --players and site operators alike.</p> <p><blockquote>We do need to keep adapting to provide the games that our customers as a whole prefer," Dahl added. "If we don’t, someone else will. So when a new product comes along that captures the imagination of a wide range of players, it is not something that we can just pass on because we don’t want to upset the regular players."</blockquote></p> <p>It is evident that PokerStars plans to keep riding the Spin &amp; Go craze, as long as that's what its customers want. That may cause some regs to take their multi-tabling elsewhere, but PokerStars appears intent on catering to the needs of the largest number of players possible. As any business would do.</p> <p><em>"In general, we spend our development resources on the features that have the most positive impact on the greatest number of players, and the development and launch of Spin &amp; Gos is likely to reach the greatest number of players that we have seen in a very long time,"</em> Dahl said.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:44:24 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3324 New Jersey iGaming Revenues Drop 2.8% in September <p>The <a href="">New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</a> released revenues on Wednesday. Overall revenues dropped 2.8 percent in September to $10.24 million thanks in part to the closure of <strong>Ultimate Poker.</strong></p> <p><strong>Golden Nugget</strong> was the big winner in September, gaining an impressive 27.5 percent in revenue to eclipse $1 million in earnings. Meanwhile, <strong>Betfair</strong> actually gained revenue in September despite the closure of <strong>Trump Plaza.</strong></p> <p><strong>Golden Nugget and Betfair Post Gains - Tropicana Slides</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>For the first time in months, <strong>Tropicana</strong> saw a decrease in monthly revenues. The site posted just $2.04 million this month opposed to $2.26 million in August. This number is still impressive considering the site does not offer online poker.</p> <p>Betfair actually saw a 7.5 percent gain in September, something unexpected considering they lost their casino partner, Trump Plaza. Revenues increased to $767,870, including a whopping $1 earned in poker rake.</p> <p>The big winner for the month was Golden Nugget. They achieved a 27.5% gain in September to $1.08 million in revenue. Part of this may have been the influx of players coming from <strong>Ultimate Gaming</strong> after the closure. Not surprisingly, this gain in revenue mirrors what's been happening at the property in <strong>Atlantic City.</strong></p> <p>According to the DGE's press release, Golden Nugget has combined casino win of $15.18 million in 2014, a 41.5% increase over 2013. Their total gaming win is $16.27 million including iGaming, an increase of 51.6 percent year over year. No other casino in Atlantic City has posted a double-digit increase in earnings this year, so the Nugget's turnaround is amazing.</p> <p><strong>Caesars and Borgata Remain Flat</strong></p> <p><strong>Caesars</strong> and <strong>Borgata</strong> both saw small losses in September, but neither were cause for concern. Borgata dropped just over $20,000 to finish with $3.45 million in revenue. Caesars saw close to a $100,000 drop in online poker revenue in September, but nearly the same gain in other iGaming. They finished down about $41,000 on the month, with $2.66 million earned in September.</p> <p>With Ultimate Gaming now closed and both sites offering some serious poker promotions in October, expect poker revenues to increase. We should also get a better idea of where former UG table game players land, but at present it appears they are favoring the Nugget.</p> <p><strong>Final Numbers for Ultimate Gaming in 2014</strong></p> <p>During its last couple weeks of operation, Ultimate Gaming pulled in $228,717 in revenue. Just under $7,000 of that was from <a href="">online poker.</a> The final numbers for Ultimate Gaming show the site earning $5.14 million in 2014.</p> <p>After September, New Jersey has pulled in $93.91 million in iGaming revenues. Online poker accounts for 32.73 percent of that figure, or $23.15 million.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:32:28 +0000 James Guill 3323 Is Player Verification Behind Tropicana's iGaming Success in NJ? <p><strong>Caesars</strong> and <strong>Borgata</strong> were expected to lead the way when New Jersey's online gaming experiment began last November, and while they are ranked #1 and #2 in terms of total revenue, a third Atlantic City casino has joined them in the upper echelon of New Jersey's iGaming industry: <strong>Tropicana.</strong></p> <p>In terms of online casino revenue (disregarding online poker which the Tropicana does not offer at this time) Tropicana is on the cusp of overtaking Caesars in Year-to-Date revenue, as well as overtaking Borgata as the top producing online casino on a monthly basis.</p> <p>The performance of and has been one of, if not the biggest surprises in the first year of New Jersey online gaming, and there could be a very simple explanation for their success - The Tropicana's decision to only ask customers for the final four digits of their Social Security Number.</p> <p><strong>Less Intrusive Player Verification</strong></p> <p>In the grand scheme of things, it's likely a combination of a number of things that has allowed Tropicana to ascend toward the top of New Jersey's online casino industry, as Tropicana has done a lot of things right:</p> <p>successful marketing campaigns;</p> <p>partnering with Virgin;</p> <p>launching with stable software;</p> <p>and offering exclusive games.</p> <p>However, the key difference between Tropicana and its competitors is the less intrusive player verification checks. The Tropicana's online casino sites only require players to divulge the final four digits of their Social Security Number. All other <a href="">sites in New Jersey</a> require potential players to disclose all nine digits of their Social Security Number.</p> <p>It may not seem like much, but this one difference makes Tropicana a far more appealing site to potential players who have been conditioned not to divulge their Social Security Numbers, especially amid all of the recent hacking scandals. Yet, at the same time, most people will rattle off the last four digits to just about anyone on the other end of the phone line without hesitation - which is a really bad idea.</p> <p>All things being equal, most players would choose the less intrusive site.</p> <p>The requirement by the New jersey DGE that customers disclose their Social Security Number has been mentioned as a major hurdle by everyone from <a href="">Tom Breitling of Ultimate Gaming</a>, to <a href="">David Rebuck, the head of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</a>, and this one step in the process is also one of the most common dropout points for registering players - it should also be noted that SSN disclosure is yet another hoop their Black Market competitors don't require players to jump through, and a major reason some are still in business.</p> <p>Thus far, the Tropicana is the only company that has decided to adopt the less intrusive KYC checks, but they do so at a price.</p> <p><strong>Success rates of KYC checks</strong></p> <p>First, it should be noted that the Tropicana is authorized by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to only require the final four digits of a customer's SS#, other sites have the option to petition the DGE and adopt the same procedures but they've chosen not to, and perhaps for good reason.</p> <p>According to CAMS CEO Matthew Katz (CAMS handles the player verification checks for the Borgata and for Betfair), using just the last four digits of a person's SSN drops the success rate of a Know Your Customer (KYC) check from 97%-99% down to just 90%.</p> <p>This doesn't mean Tropicana is letting people play at their site that should not be allowed; it means the site rejects many legitimate players other sites would approve in order to continue using their scaled-back Social Security requirements.</p> <p>Using the final four digits creates more false-negatives, not false-positives.</p> <p>So while Borgata is turning away somewhere between one and three players per hundred, Tropicana is turning away around one in 10.</p> <p>That means that somewhere between 7-9 legitimate customers that would be approved by the Borgata are declined by the Tropicana's online casino. The only reason the vast majority of these players are declined is because the site chooses to only collect the last four digits of a person's Social Security Number, thereby dropping their accuracy from as high as 99% down to just 90%.</p> <p>So why is the Tropicana willing to turn away legitimate players in order to continue offering the less intrusive KYC check? The company has apparently decided it's better to attract 100 players and turn away 10 than to attract 90 players and turn away two.</p> <p>How this strategy will play out in the long run remains to be seen, as a 10% decline rate might create some PR issues down the road, and could be adversely effecting the entire industry as players become annoyed with continually being denied access, and could apply their experiences to other online casinos in New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Revenue figures bolster the Tropicana's strategy</strong></p> <p>Still, the Tropicana's decision to only require players to divulge the final four digits of their SSN seems to be working out pretty well for them. Not only have several competitors in the market mentioned the Tropicana only requiring the final four digits directly to me, but it's hard to not look at their revenue numbers and attribute a significant amount of their success to this singular difference.</p> <p>Here are the revenue figures for online casino games in New Jersey year to date (through August) showing Tropicana ready to surpass Caesars: Borgata - $19,642,649; Caesars - $14,313,958; Tropicana - $14,059,363.</p> <p>And here are the currently monthly revenue figures for the month of August, showing Tropicana about to overtake Borgata in monthly revenue, as the two are nearly neck-and-neck in monthly online casino revenue: Borgata - $2,309,337; Caesars - $1,644,620; Tropicana - $2,264,576.</p> <p>The Tropicana is not Borgata or Caesars, and their iGaming partner, Gamesys, is not or <a href="">888.</a> The Tropicana seems to be over-performing, and the only major difference is the player verification process.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 07:49:55 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3322 Borgata Asks U.S Court to Apply Same Ruling vs. Ivey as Crockford's in England <p>It didn't take long for Borgata's legal team to try and take advantage of an England High Court ruling against <strong>Phil Ivey.</strong> According to <a href=""></a>, Borgata attorneys have petitioned a U.S. District Court to apply the High Court's ruling to their case against the 10-time WSOP bracelet winner.</p> <p>Last week, <a href="">England's High Court determined that Phil Ivey cheated</a> on his way to winning over $12 million in punto banco, a form of baccarat. On Monday, attorneys filed a three-page brief that shared this ruling in U.S. District Court in New Jersey and <strong>asked that the judge use that judgment to reinforce their claim</strong> that edge sorting is cheating.</p> <p><strong>Facts Nearly Mirror Crockford's Case</strong></p> <p>In the Crockford's case earlier this month, Phil Ivey was attempting to have the casino pay over $12 million in winnings he racked up playing punto banco. Ivey argued that edge sorting was a legitimate strategy and that he was an <em>"advantage"</em> player in using this strategy against the casino.</p> <p>The High Court judge ruled that Ivey's actions constituted cheating under common law primarily <strong>because he used the croupier as his tool </strong>during the game. According to testimony, Ivey and his accomplice had detected a flaw on the back of playing cards and then instructed the croupier to deal the cards in such a way that they could expose this flaw.</p> <p>Borgata is contending that the facts in their case are primarily the same except for the fact that Ivey is the defendant this time around. Ivey is being sued for over $9.6 million in winnings following several winning sessions at the Borgata in 2012.</p> <p>Prior to these sessions, Ivey's associates made several requests from the casino that included using the same type of cards that were known to have the printing flaws they used to run their system. These demands were made under the ruse that Ivey was <em>"superstitious."</em></p> <p><strong>Attorneys Argue High Court Ruling Should Apply to Case</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Borgata attorneys were quick to point out in their filing that the judge ruled edge sorting as cheating, but perhaps a more important point was that the determination was made based on <em>"common law"</em> and not that of England's Gambling Act of 2005. Attorneys called the ruling <em>"instructive"</em> because it directly addressed the issue of whether edge sorting was indeed legitimate gaming strategy.</p> <p>The attorneys further contend that they are not attempting to enforce New Jersey's Casino Control Act. Instead, they believe that the English ruling should carry over to their case since it has already been litigated.</p> <p><strong>Ultimately, the Borgata attorneys are seeking that,</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p><em>"First, ….. this Court should extend comity to the judgment of the High Court of Justice."</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"Second, the scope of the English judgment’s collateral estoppel effect, whether viewed under federal law, New Jersey state law, or English law, should preclude Ivey from re-litigating the issue of whether 'edge sorting' is fair play.”</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"Since the issue has already been fully and fairly litigated by Ivey, and since the issue was integral to the English Court’s judgment, Plaintiff would be entitled to judgment on the pleadings against Ivey, at the very least, on Count I of the Amended Complaint.”</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><strong>Poker Players and Industry Professionals Continue to Rally Around Ivey</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Poker players have been rallying behind Ivey since last week's decision. <a href="">Doyle Brunson tweeted</a> what was the sentiment of most following the case:</p> <p><em>"Ivey could have lost and would have to pay. That's bull chit, he had an advantage, not a lock."</em></p> <p>Others are arguing that the casinos are liable to make sure that someone is unable to take advantage against them and should have absorbed the losses.</p> <p>The question now is whether a judge will agree with the poker community or sode with the casino. This case is far from over as it is certain that the loser, regardless of side, will appeal.</p> <p> <script src=""><![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ <br>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ <br>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]><![CDATA[>]]></script></p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 19:28:56 +0000 James Guill 3321 Inside PokerStars - Episode #3: The Shuffle <p>Continuing in their effort to show the inner workings behind the world's top poker site, the Isle of Man-based <strong>PokerStars</strong> has released episode #3 of <em><strong>"Inside PokerStars."</strong></em></p> <p>The latest video details how the random number generator (RNG) functions, a crucial element to the integrity of any poker site. Poker players at just about every online poker room, PokerStars included, have at one time or another read comments in the chat boxes from disgruntled players claiming that the site is <em>"fixed"</em> or <em>"rigged."</em></p> <p><strong>PokerStars' Head of Poker Communications Lee Jones</strong> tells you the opposite, explaining how the RNG works and assuring players that all is kosher when the cards are dealt. PokerStars has no stake in seeing your Aces cracked by a set of deuces on the river, and Jones rightly points out that such bad beats tend to remain in your thoughts due to <em>"selective memory."</em></p> <p>Players often forget how many times those Aces hold up, as they will do in line with the exact winning percentage they are supposed to, provided there are enough sample hands to choose from. It's the bad beats that remain etched in players' minds.</p> <p><blockquote>Poker naturally provides swings, outdraws and coolers," said <strong>PokerStars' Head of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser</strong> on PokerStars Blog while introducing the volume 3 video. "It's why most of us fall in love with the game in the first place. Our job is to protect the game and to protect your money, which we do day-in and day-out. But no one can protect you from bad beats. Nor can anyone protect other players when you suck out on them. That's poker."</blockquote></p> <p>It is quite refreshing to see PokerStars open its doors via the videos in a gesture of transparency that is lacking among other online poker rooms. Perhaps that is why they remain head and shoulders above the rest.</p> <p>Take a look at <em>"Inside PokerStars"</em> episode #3 below. Click <a href="">here</a> to watch the previous episodes.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:59:30 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3320 Rafael Nadal Experiences First Zoom Poker Defeat <p>Tennis superstar <strong>Rafa Nadal</strong> suffered his first Zoom Poker loss yesterday in a play money match versus The World on <strong>PokerStars,</strong> staining his previously unblemished record.</p> <p>The <em>'King of Clay'</em> had been on his way to becoming the <em>'King of Play'</em> for taking down his first three matches on the play money tables. However, the PokerStars SportsStar showed a bit of clairvoyance when the match began, admitting that he realized that remaining unbeaten on the felt would be a difficult task, PokerStars Blog reported.</p> <p>Zoom Poker play money players took an early lead against the Spaniard, who has won more than $70 million on the tennis court. Nadal found himself behind 19-11 before winning a hand that he hoped would be the impetus for <em>"an amazing comeback!"</em></p> <p>But it was not meant to be for the 28-year-old. Nadal was defeated by The World in a final score of 28-22.</p> <p><blockquote>Congratulations. You beat me," Rafa stated, taking the loss in stride. "I'm going to practice more for the next time."</blockquote></p> <p>That next time will be in three short weeks when Nadal is set to face Brazilian football star, <strong>Ronaldo</strong>. Hyped as <em>"The Duel"</em> or <em>"el duelo,"</em> that heads-up match is scheduled for November 6 in London.</p> <p>Ronaldo made the challenge and Rafa accepted. Who will come out on top in the battle of Team PokerStars SportsStars?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:48:50 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3319 Online Poker Player Traffic Update - October 14, 2014 <p><span class="letter-big">C</span>ash game player traffic in the online poker industry was up last week, but the amount was negligible. <a href="">PokerScout</a> reported a gain of <em>"less than half a percent."</em></p> <p>Any gain is better than a loss. However, the miniscule progression forward is likely attributable to the continued popularity of <strong>Spin &amp; Gos at PokerStars</strong> where a good many players are avoiding the cash tables in hopes of landing a huge jackpot.</p> <p>While regular grinders apparently hate the Lottery-style Sit n' Gos, recreational players seemingly love it. With <a href="">an industry trend pointing to favoring the casual crowd</a>, the jackpot-type games are here to stay.</p> <p>Cash game traffic is about 2,000 players below the amount seen prior to the launch of Spin &amp; Gos in late September. But analysts at PokerScout inform that <em>"the rate of decline has obviously slowed."</em></p> <p>Once the novelty of trying a new game wears off, ring game traffic at PokerStars may once again reach that seven-day average of 20,000. Or at least come close.</p> <p><strong>What else is shaking among the top 10 poker rooms and networks?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>As player traffic was negligible last week, so was movement among the industry's top ten. The only change in rankings saw <strong>Bodog/Bovada</strong> slip two spots to eighth, while <strong></strong> grabbed sixth place and <strong></strong> seventh.</p> <p>More bad news came Bodog's way when it was learned that the feds are <a href="">set to begin extradition proceedings against Calvin Ayre</a>, the site's founder. Ayre's mug shot continues to adorn Homeland Security's Most Wanted List among alleged drug dealers, human traffickers, and a distributor of child pornography.</p> <p>Ayre's alleged crimes include money laundering and running an illegal gambling business. But it apparently remains business as usual at Bodog/Bovada.</p> <p><strong>New Jersey update</strong></p> <p>The <strong>Party Borgata Network</strong> continues to remain on top in Garden State player traffic. While their ring game average held steady at 140 players, <a href=""> NJ</a> lost 15% of its action and now sits at 110.</p> <p>Still no word from the <strong>New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</strong> as to when <a href="">PokerStars</a> might receive igaming accreditation. Should there be no constraints or limitations placed on PokerStars once approval is granted by the DGE, we will likely see a PokerStars site up and running faster than you can play a Spin &amp; Go.</p> <p><strong>Silver State traffic watch</strong></p> <p><strong></strong> remains <a href="">Nevada</a>'s #1 online poker site, bettering <strong>Ultimate Poker</strong> at a clip of 85-60 in average cash game players. Unfortunately, player numbers seem to be heading in a downward direction for the Caesars' offering.</p> <p>Many will recall that traffic shot through the roof at NV when the WSOP rolled into town over the summer. But even before that occurred beginning in late May, held a 2-1 edge over UP at 110-55 players in a seven day average.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:53:27 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3318 Shakerchi and Shak: Poker Community Sharks <p>I am in the restaurant of the Palm Beach Casino waiting impatiently for my mushroom and zucchini pasta. Sitting a few tables yonder is <strong>Talal Shakerchi</strong>, the owner of <strong>Meditor Capital</strong>, a hedge fund that he started in 1998 that now owns assets worth a reported £3bn.</p> <p>There is no over-sized watch, no Gucci loafers, no Louis Vuitton bag. I’m even convinced that his spectacles are from the National Health. You would never in a million years imagine that he is worth an estimated £100m, and you certainly wouldn’t have him pegged as a poker player.</p> <p>Shakerchi is the chip leader as we resume the second, and final day, of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Alpha8 Season II kick starter in London. He has paid £60,000 for the pleasure of competing against some of the very best players in the world; he is playing almost every pot, and he is winning most of them.</p> <p>He feels completely at ease sitting amongst the likes of <strong>Dan Colman, Sam Trickett, and Philipp Gruissem.</strong> That’s his level, and he is now used to it. He is the winner of two EPT High Rollers, and also competes with the online wizards, winning a PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) title, and coming very close to adding a PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) title to his resume with a second and third place finish just a few weeks ago.</p> <p>I move over to his table and ask if I can interview him.</p> <p>“Sure,” he says.</p> <p>“What do you want to talk about?” I ask.</p> <p>“You tell me. You’re the interviewer,” he replies.</p> <p>“What’s going on in your life?” I counter.</p> <p>“Who wants to know about my life?” he laughs.</p> <p>This self-made multi-millionaire is one of the best stock pickers in today’s financial world, and he doesn’t even realize that he has become one of the most interesting poker players in the community today.</p> <p>The High Roller ecosystem existed because the sharks of the professional game were lured into the choppy waters to feed on the excess blubber surrounding the financial whales.</p> <p>This is changing.</p> <p>Players like Talal Shakerchi, and the American commodities trader, <strong>Dan Shak</strong>, are biting back - and they are capable of taking chunks. Why do we want to know more about them? Because, although they may believe they are part of the rough and tumble of the financial world, we just recognize them as members of our family.</p> <p>When you watch Shakerchi play you can see that he is another Dan Shak in the making. Shak has over $7.2m in live tournament earnings, has won the partypoker Premier League - one of the toughest competitions in the world - and also took the AU$100,000 Challenge in the 2010 Aussie Millions.</p> <p>The gold futures expert carries a GPI world ranking of #60 (he has been as high as #15), he is ranked #33 in the US, and is the all-time top money earner in Pennsylvania’s history.</p> <p>Not bad for a part-time poker player.</p> <p>Shak was recently in the news after the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a civil enforcement complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for allegedly violating a CFTC order that stems from Nov., 2013.</p> <p>“It’s not worth writing about,” says Shak.</p> <p>But it is.</p> <p>You are part of the family, Dan.</p> <p>If we are going to write 1,000 word articles on your ex-wife’s shoe collection, you can be sure that we are going to cover an alleged CFTC violation - even if we think CFTC is an anagram for a member of the NFL.</p> <p><blockquote>It was a de minimis error with no intention to violate the order," Shak's lawyer said. "The error occurred because it was a weekend holiday and the practices Daniel Shak has in place failed in this one instance to stop him from trading 14 seconds later than he should have. The amount he traded was two lots, which is extremely insignificant, like trading two shares of IBM stock. When his broker saw that the error had occurred, Mr. Shak, through his broker, disclosed the error to the CFTC.”</blockquote></p> <p>It’s believed that the CFTC are trying to throw the book at him.</p> <p><em>“We are going to fight the factual contentions in the CFTC's complaint, namely that Mr. Shak failed to report the error,"</em> his attorney added. <em>"He did knowingly report the error to his broker and through them to the CFTC. I don’t think he should receive any penalty.”</em></p> <p>It might seem like insignificant news for Shak, but that’s the way the cookie is going to crumble these days. The financial web news outlets are going to be writing {very badly} about million dollar poker tournaments, and we are going to be doing exactly the same about trading violations {also very badly}. And it’s all because these behemoths of the financial world are transferring their success onto the dirty green baize.</p> <p>Some millionaire self-help guru -whom I fail to remember - once said that you are the sum total of the five people you most spend your time with. Shakerchi, Shak and co., are certainly rubbing off on poker’s elite.</p> <p>In this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, Shakerchi was named as one of the Top 20 Philanthropists in the UK. Speaking to him over my mushroom and zucchini pasta, he told me how he has been spending his time learning more and more about philanthropy so he can be sure that his charitable endeavors reap maximum rewards for the people who are fortunate to be the benefactors of his willingness to give.</p> <p>Just like Shakerchi, philanthropy is dear to Shak’s heart. He is the co-founder of the largest poker tournament for a children’s hospital in the US: <a href="">The ‘All in’ for Kids Poker Tournament</a> in New York. The next installment will take place at the Mandarin Oriental New York on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, with proceeds benefiting The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).</p> <p>CHOP will be hosted by <strong>Phil Hellmuth</strong>, and will run in conjunction with the World Poker Tour (WPT) Foundation. It has raised over $5m since its inception.</p> <p>So it’s no accident that <strong>Philipp Gruissem, Igor Kurganov, and Liv Boeree</strong> created the non-profit organization <a href="">Raising for Effective Giving (REG).</a> Like I said, you are the sum total of the five people you most spend your time with, and with the likes of Shak and Shakerchi making so many final tables, the values of philanthropy are rubbing off on one side, whilst the ability to play mind games with the best poker players on the planet are rubbing off on the other.</p> <p>They might think they are both members of the financial community who play poker for a hobby, but for this particular writer, they are a part of the fabric of the poker community who also pick stocks as a hobby.</p> <p>And what great bastions they are.</p> <p>Talented, humble, and generous.</p> <p>Two people who need to remember that the players they compete against not only inspire them, but they also provide inspiration in equal measures.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:44:21 +0000 Lee Davy 3317 Maryland to Begin Extradition Procedures on Bodog Founder Calvin Ayre <p><strong>Maryland</strong> is officially moving forward with the extradition of <strong>Bodog founder Calvin Ayre.</strong> According to a report in the <a href=",0,3414744.story">Baltimore Sun</a>, federal prosecutors are seeking to extradite Ayre to the United States in connection with the 2012 indictment against <strong>Bodog Entertainment Group.</strong></p> <p>Federal attorneys revealed their plans this past Friday in U.S. District Court in Maryland. However, the door remains open that Ayre can avoid extradition if a resolution to charges can be reached.</p> <p><strong>Ayre on "Most Wanted List"</strong></p> <p>In 2012, Ayre and three others were indicted on charges of running an illegal gambling business involving sports betting and conspiracy to commit money laundering. At the time, he called the indictment an <em>"abuse of the US criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large US corporations."</em></p> <p>Since that time, all four men remain <em>"at-large"</em> with Ayre said to be either in <strong>Antigua or Canada.</strong> The other three are said to be in Canada. Furthermore, Ayre is on the <a href="">Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Most Wanted list.</a></p> <p>According to the indictment, Bodog and associates moved at least $100 million from overseas accounts to bettors in Maryland. The indictment also alleges that Bodog spent at least $42 million in U.S.-based advertising.</p> <p><strong>Attorneys Seek to Administratively Close Case Until Further Need Arises</strong></p> <p>Realizing that nothing can proceed without either extradition or legal negotiation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Kay asked for the case to be administratively closed until the need to reopen the case arises. The primary reason for this is because extradition for Ayre could take <em>"a number of years."</em></p> <p>However, extradition may never happen in this case. Kay reported back in July that he and an attorney connected to Ayre had reached a deal in principle to resolve the matter, but the parties were unable to finalize the deal. Kay contends that <em>"parties intend to continue to try and find a resolution that will not require extradition of the defendants, but, in the meantime, I am pursuing extradition."</em></p> <p>While court documents fail to list an attorney for Ayre, several sites have listed Barry and Stuart Slotnick as his legal defense. Slotnick would not confirm, but did say, <em>"The matter is still ongoing, and I think it is appropriate for me to have no comment."</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><strong>Ploy to Force Ayre's Hand</strong></p> <p>Based on the words of Assistant Attorney Kay, this extradition may be more of a ploy than a serious attempt to incarcerate the Bodog founder. Kay admitted that it could take a number of years to actually bring Ayre back to the United States, and that is assuming that he doesn't move to a country that will not comply with extradition requests.</p> <p>What's much more likely is that the <strong>DOJ</strong> is just trying to embarrass Ayre into finalizing an agreement to bring this indictment to an end. Nearly every major player in the <strong>Black Friday</strong> saga has settled with the DOJ.</p> <p>The fact that a deal had been agreed to in principle would imply that the terms were acceptable to Ayre. We wouldn't be surprised to see a deal finalized between the parties in the next few months.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:18:25 +0000 James Guill 3316 Online Poker Sites Shift Focus Back to Recreational Players <p>Online poker sites have been undergoing some serious changes recently. The industry seems to have put a renewed emphasis on attracting recreational players, in lieu of the longstanding model that almost exclusively appealed to and rewarded their highest volume players.</p> <p>Some of the recent changes have resulted in <a href="">harsh criticism and blowback from the poker community</a>, as they feel they are always the ones being victimized whenever the online poker industry decides to tighten its purse strings.</p> <p>What they are failing to realize is some of these seemingly harsh changes are for the greater good.</p> <p>Personally, I'm excited about these changes, and quite certain this initial disappointment will eventually die down; so long as the new emphasis on <em>"fun"</em> players has the desired results, and the online poker tables are once again filled with an abundance of recreational players.</p> <p><strong>UIGEA necessitated a shift toward targeted marketing</strong></p> <p>The move towards what is usually called the <em><strong>"Recreational Model"</strong></em> isn't a new development so much as it is a return to the marketing campaigns and rewards programs that were in place prior to UIGEA.</p> <p>The good old days, when the online poker tables were full of fish and win-rates were through the roof occurred for the most part without tiered VIP Programs and when rakeback was still in its infancy.</p> <p>From 2004-2006 recreational players were just showing up at online poker rooms and at affiliate sites - thanks to the Moneymaker Effect - and pretty much everybody was making money right up the ladder: winning poker players, poker affiliates, and the poker sites.</p> <p>Following UIGEA passage and the U.S. exodus in late 2006/early 2007, this was no longer the case.</p> <p>What we were left with was an increasingly skilled player base as the losers busted and never returned, and the new players that would normally replace them found it too difficult to move money on and off the sites and became disillusioned with online poker.</p> <p>Because of this, every day the games grew tougher to beat, and winning players, affiliates, and the poker sites were slowly losing the war of attrition.</p> <p>Players who were cleaning up at the $5/$10 and even $25/$50 No-limit tables in 2005 could suddenly be found playing in the $2/$4 and $3/$6 games in 2010. The players who were once beating those limits were displaced and either dropped down to micro-limit games or left the game.</p> <p>And the affiliates who were once making money hand over fist off these players suffered just as much.</p> <p><strong>The fallout</strong></p> <p>What ended up occurring was a dramatic shift (by the sites and by many affiliates) toward targeted marketing, and focusing rewards on high-volume players in order to attract and retain them.</p> <p>It's easy to throw blame around, but for many affiliates and poker sites, their survival depended on these tactics.</p> <p>After a few years of this we were left with affiliates focused mainly on landing (and in some cases poaching) the one or two high-volume players, and poker sites trying to retain their high-volume players by offering them more and more rewards - to the point that players could be down $100,000 at the tables over the course of a year but still make six-figures thanks to their VIP rewards.</p> <p>The poker ecology was hurt while the sites and affiliates struggled to stay alive.</p> <p>Fortunately, many sites are starting to see the error of their ways during these years, and are now recalibrating.</p> <p><strong>Bodog lead the way with the Recreational Model</strong></p> <p>The first site to really call for a return to the "Recreational Model" was <strong>Bodog</strong>, under Jonas Odman, and they have since taken it further than anyone else, going so far as instituting site-wide <strong>Anonymous Tables,</strong> and always prohibiting rakeback deals.</p> <p>Always known for their extremely soft games with plenty of gamble, Bodog bucked the industry trend of rakeback and catering to their winning, high-volume players with lucrative VIP rewards. Bodog let their soft games do the talking, and even though they didn't offer the rewards other sites did, soft games was a strong enough lure for a lot of grinders.</p> <p>Considering their current dominance of the U.S. market, it's hard to argue with their results, particularly when you consider poker is a secondary product for the sports betting giant.</p> <p>It now appears other people are taking notice, as several high-level industry people have used the term "Recreational Model" (or some variation of it) in conversations with me recently regarding their products.</p> <p>Not to mention that we are seeing it in practice, as several sites are starting to introduce their own recreational models, even if it means alienating their grinders and dealing with the forum backlash.</p> <p><strong>partypoker adopts a new strategy</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Over the past few years, <strong>partypoker</strong> has jumped on the Recreational Model bandwagon, beginning with a <a href="">software update in May of 2013</a>, along with a six-step program to <em><strong>"optimise the poker ecology"</strong></em> launched a few months prior.</p> <p>Since then, partypoker has increasingly shifted their focus toward recreational players. Among other changes, the site has:</p> <p>done away with high-stakes games (some have since returned), and <a href="">added <em>"Casual"</em> cash games;</a></p> <p><a href="">implemented a <em>"missions"</em> and <em>"achievements"</em> based rewards program;</a></p> <p>and <a href="">eliminated the highest tier of their VIP program.</a></p> <p><strong>PokerStars recent moves</strong></p> <p>Recent moves by <strong>PokerStars</strong> seem to indicate they are also shifting toward their own version of the recreational model, and their high-volume players are none too happy with many of the changes.</p> <p>Some of the recent changes implemented by PokerStars include:</p> <p><a href="">The site recently introduced lottery style Spin &amp; Go's;</a></p> <p><a href="">made changes to their bonus structure;</a></p> <p>and <a href="">severed ties with many sponsored pros</a> and <a href="">non-producing affiliates.</a></p> <p><strong>How will it all end?</strong></p> <p>It seems as if there is a concerted effort afoot, and the outcome for the near future is going to be a ticked off swath of poker pros, who see their VIP rewards and other longtime benefits start to dry up as the online poker sites send more of that money toward the recreational players.</p> <p>On the other hand, the games have gotten so tough, there also appears to be a new zeitgeist afoot, as high-profile players like <strong>Daniel Negreanu</strong> <a href=";postcount=53">have started sounding the alarm bell when it comes to precisely what it is that is hurting the poker ecology. </a>An alarm some of us have been sounding for a number of years, and will continue to ring until the problem is solved.</p> <p>Negreanu said, <em>"You guys don't even want to know what I would do to the VIP programs if I was in charge!"</em> I know exactly what he would do, and I am 100% in favor of it: Good games beat good rewards all day every day.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:54:25 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3315 George Danzer Captures Third WSOP Gold Bracelet This Year in Australia <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">C</span>apturing three WSOP bracelets is a feat in its own right, and for most poker players it will remain but a dream. Simply, there aren’t enough of these to go around. But to capture three of them in a single year is truly something else, an achievement that only the likes of <strong>Jeff Lisandro, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Ted Forrest </strong>and <strong>Puggy Pearson </strong>can boast. Now <strong>George Danzer</strong> (pictured) joins this elite club.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Great year continues</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The German has truly had a tremendous year, capturing two bracelets during the summer, and his triumph in Melbourne basically locks him for the win in the Player of the Year race with just two events remaining to be concluded in Australia.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Danzer’s victory came in the AU$5,000 8-Game Mixed Event that attracted a small but formidable field of 48 players, generating a prize pool of AU$225,600. Twenty-six players made it through Day 1 and continued to play it down to the six-handed final table on Day 2. Falling along the way were names such as <strong>Daniel Negreanu, Brandon Shack-Harris, Joe Hachem, Jeff Madsen, Vanessa Rousso, Mike Leah </strong>and quite a few others.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">When the final table was finally set up, with the elimination of <strong>Brian Rast</strong> in 7<sup>th</sup> (also the bubble), George Danzer actually had his work cut out for him, as he was coming in as a severe short stack. It was <strong>Scott Clements </strong>leading the way, followed closely by <strong>Jonathan Duhamel </strong>and <strong>Sam Khouiss</strong>, while <strong>Tino Lechic </strong>and <strong>Ismale Bojang </strong>had some making up to do.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Making history</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">However, the German player demonstrated once again that patience and never giving up can really pay dividends in poker. He made two quick double-ups to put him right back in contention and he never looked back. At one point or another after that, most players found themselves at the losing side against Danzer.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Sam Khouiss was first to depart, dispatched by Clements, followed by severely crippled Tino Lechich. Ismael Bojang and Jonathan Duhamel lost a huge hand to Scott Clements, but as Duhamel had one more chip in front of him, Bojang finished in fourth, while Jonathan would leave in third the next hand.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">With this, Scott Clements and George Danzer began the battle for bracelet number 3. Danzer started with the advantage but Clements quickly closed the gap, making it anybody’s game once again. However, the German was relentless and kept grinding the Canadian down, slowly gaining a big advantage.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Ship it!</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In the last hand, Danzer called off Clements’ all-in holding #jd#10d and was behind the Canadian’s #qs#6s, but a ten on the flop was all he needed to secure the victory and the first place prize money of AU$84,600. This victory grants him a place in history and proves once again that his results are by no means a fluke!</p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 21:18:55 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3314 An Interview With Charity Series of Poker Founder Matt Stout <p><strong>Matt Stout</strong> (pictured) is not only one of the most well-known professional poker players on the live tournament circuit, he is also a man who puts the interests of others before his own.</p> <p>Stout is the founder of the <a href="">Charity Series of Poker (CSOP)</a>, a non-profit organization created to help charities such as <strong>Three Square Food Bank</strong>, and <strong>Habitat for Humanity</strong> - an organization Stout has been involved with since his teens.</p> <p><strong>How did you first get involved with the Habitat for Humanity project?</strong></p> <p>“My brother was the President for Habitat for Humanity at Johns Hopkins University, when I was 15; and I went down and visited him and saw some of the things he was doing, and what Habitat was doing for Sandtown - a pretty rough area in Baltimore - and it really touched my heart.</p> <p>“It wasn’t just how much good they were doing, but how much fun everyone was having. You meet some pretty awesome people doing charity work.</p> <p>“When I went to college I ended up being Vice President of Habitat for Humanity at my college. I went to Trenton, the capital of New Jersey, and did some work on some homes there. I ran a most likely illegal $10 re-buy fundraiser tournament at my college that drew about 40 players and raised about $900 for Habitat for Humanity, and some donated prizes like a flat screen TV and stuff.”</p> <p><strong>15 is a very young age…your brother must have been a very influential person?</strong></p> <p>“He has always been a huge influence on my life. I didn’t fully grasp the scope of how important it was to help others when I was young. I grew up in a lower-middle class family and we didn’t have much growing up, so we never had a lot to give. But you can give your time even when you don’t have money. It does a lot of good for the person doing it, and not just the person being helped.”</p> <p><strong>When it comes to your choice of charity are you a head or heart man?</strong></p> <p>“I find that my head and my heart are pretty close together on these topics. Mostly I am looking to see that the majority of the money is not only going to help people, but it’s going to be used effectively. So, for example, the American Cancer Society spends 75% of their money on admin, so most of it goes to the company and not on cancer research - stuff like that.</p> <p>“So doing your homework is very important even if you are helping a cause that’s close to your heart. Are they unintentionally wasting money where they could be using it effectively for example?</p> <p>“The charities that have always been close to my heart are helping people which is food banks, and building houses for poor families. Habit homeowners need to do 250 hrs of work on someone else’s house as well. They really choose the people who are being helped really well, and use the money really well.</p> <p>“Habitat have donated materials, donated labor and sometimes they build houses for somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 which is ridiculous. Then they work with banks to try and get people zero interest mortgages, so they get the house for very little money.</p> <p>“The food banks I have partnered with are ones I have looked into and are really doing a lot with a little. One of the main things with food banks, is you don’t pay for the food a lot of time. Most of it is donated. For example we took two pallets of potatoes for the food banks, and had to go through them and throw away the gross ones, and bag up the good ones.”</p> <p><strong>Community seems to be very important to you?</strong></p> <p>“Absolutely. It’s interesting because I have wandered around so much that I feel like I am a part of so many communities. The first event we had was for the Vegas Food Bank, then we ran one for Borgata and raised money for the local Habitat for Humanity out there, but also, in Florida, we did a combination of work for the local Habitat for Humanity and Habit for Humanity International. So I like to work for communities that helped raise me, and where I live now, but there is something to be said for using some of your time for helping people in other parts of the world.”</p> <p><strong>What have you learned from the first three events?</strong></p> <p>“The things that went really well is we all got quite drunk and went all-in a lot. We had some of the best times I have had in poker. You can sometimes forget why you love poker so much. It’s easy, especially during downswings, to forget to enjoy the game for what it is. Everyone was drinking, gambling, and having a great time.</p> <p>“We raised around $35,000 in the three events we have held so far. What I have learned is we have to work harder at marketing it to the non-poker people. We need to get the word out to people who don’t ordinarily play poker a lot, that they can play poker with professional poker players, celebrities and models and the like.</p> <p>“It’s a great opportunity for recreational players to play with the likes of<strong> </strong><em>James Woods, Joanna Krupa, Ryan Cabrera, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Merson, Ryan Riess and Carlos Mortensen.</em> It’s good to come and play the game without that intimidation factor, and just have fun.”</p> <p><strong>How did you manage to get Joanna Krupa to play in the event? Her appearance in the tournament went viral.</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>“I have to give credit to PokerStars on that one. The Seminole Hard Rock have a partnership with Stars, and Ray Stefanelli - who was originally the Marketing Director for Borgata who moved down to Hard Rock and then back to Borgata - he is one of the best people to work with in poker, and he called me one day and told me that Stars were adding in a load of prizes, and had invited some Miami Heat stars, and Joanna Krupa…I was like…you have got to be kidding me!</p> <p>“That was amazing. It really speaks to the synergy that’s there when charity is involved. I have had unreal support from people who built my website, my accountant, all of the pros. Everyone is working for free. It’s incredible how many people help when they know that you are working towards helping the Food Bank and Habit for Humanity.</p> <p>“It’s what I counted on when started the thing, but at the same time it’s amazing to see it come to fruition and very humbling to see it all coming together.”</p> <p><strong>Poker’s association with charity is very prevalent right now, has it always been like this?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>“There has always been a decent number of charity poker tournaments around, but there have also been a few that have ruined it for everyone else. They have either raised money for less than reputable causes or stole money along the way. It kind of died off after Black Friday because Stars and Full Tilt sponsored a lot of them.</p> <p>“It reinvigorated my passion for the idea for running my own events. Back in the day the charity events never seemed to be very convenient for us. I try to make sure that my tournaments are held very convenient for poker players to attend and give back.</p> <p>“I am really glad to see things like REG. How well the charity is using the money is a big way that I determine whether or not I want to invest money for that charity over another. So the way that they are looking at the best way to spend the money, is so good. It’s really great to see people in the poker community who are generally interested in doing this and raising money for such great causes.”</p> <p><strong>How can more people get behind the CSOP?</strong></p> <p>“Retweet, tell their friends, get involved, turn up, get ready with a lot of re-buys and a lot of tip money for drinks. I can’t stress it enough. Everyone involved has said they can’t believe how much fun they have had at the events. The more the word gets out, the more fun people will have, and the more people will play.”</p> <p><strong>What are your long term aspirations?</strong></p> <p>“I would like to compete against myself and say I would like to raise more than I have grossed in poker tournaments. If I can raise more in charity than I have grossed in poker tournaments that would be a pretty great milestone in my life.”</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 20:58:03 +0000 Lee Davy 3313 PokerStars Quietly Modify Deposit Bonus <p>As the world's top poker site, every move made by <strong>PokerStars</strong> is under a microscope.</p> <p>Whether attempting to buy a casino in New Jersey, partnering with a <a href="">California</a> tribe and cardrooms, cutting affiliate programs, or <a href="">launching lottery-style Sit n' Gos called Spin &amp; Gos</a>, each and every maneuver is analyzed and dissected by players and industry insiders alike.</p> <p>The latest move to come under scrutiny is a change in PokerStars' initial deposit bonus, which was spotted by <a href="">astute posters at 2 + 2.</a> Previously, PokerStars promoted the bonus as 100% up to $600, with 120 days allowed to clear the bonus. As it stands now, that 120 days has been shortened to just 60.</p> <p>Also modified was the rakeback rate, which poster 'jspill' at the popular online poker forum noted is now at 27%. That's down from the previous rakeback of 32%.</p> <p>PokerStars always did have a nice policy of allowing that initial deposit to be spread out over three separate deposits. That feature has not changed. What has changed is the length of time allowed to make those three deposits, now at 60 days, down from 90.</p> <p><strong>Is Amaya Doing the Tinkering?</strong></p> <p>At first glance, it would seem that new owner <strong>Amaya</strong> may be the one slicing some of the value from the welcome bonus. That was, perhaps, a logical assumption considering that PokerStars recently <a href="">took the knife to some of their long-time affiliate partnerships</a> after the Scheinbergs made an exit and Amaya took the wheel.</p> <p>However, as the 2 + 2 thread evolved, it was discovered that the changes to the deposit bonus occurred long ago --sometime last year. It's likely that nobody noticed until now as most online poker regulars cleared the bonus long ago and new depositors were none the wiser as to the the previous parameters of the bonus.</p> <p>So those who have been critical of some of the changes at PokerStars since Amaya took over --the controversies surrounding Spin &amp; Gos and the terminated affiliates come to mind --cannot lump the modifications to the deposit bonus in with their other criticisms.</p> <p><strong>What About Full Tilt's Deposit Bonus?</strong></p> <p>The deposit bonus of sister site <strong>Full Tilt</strong> has also been adjusted --also before Amaya took the reins. The time allowed to clear the bonus is down to 60 days. Veteran players may recall that 120 days used to be the norm.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:42:27 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3312 Full Flush 1-Year B'day Prompts $50K GTD <p>Next month will mark one year of dealing online poker for the <strong>Equity Poker Network</strong> (EPN), and its flagship skin announced a $50,000 guaranteed tournament in commemoration.</p> <p><strong>Full Flush Poker</strong> (FFP) has scheduled the event for November 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET at a buy-in of $35.00 + $3.50. Re-buys and add-ons are permitted in the tournament, with plenty of satellite opportunities in the month leading up to the event to gain entry as well as re-buy at a reduced price.</p> <p>On the day before the $50K GTD on November 8, which is the actual birthday launch date of EPN and FFP, a $10,000 Members freeroll will get underway at 2:00 p.m. ET. Two tickets are required to gain entry to the freeroll. The first will be distributed to any player who ever deposited at the site, while the second requires 100 points to be earned from Nov. 1-8.</p> <p><strong>Delaware iGaming Birthday on Same Day</strong></p> <p>Coincidentally, <a href="">Delaware online poker</a> and gambling also launched for real-money on the same day as FFP --November 8, 2013. The First State conducted a soft launch about a week earlier.</p> <p>There has yet to be an announcement from the <strong>Delaware State Lottery</strong> as to how its birthday will be celebrated. While Nevada beat Delaware to the punch with Ultimate Poker's roll out of <a href="">real-money online poker</a> on April 30, 2013, Delaware was the first state to offer online casino gambling in addition to poker.</p> <p><strong>Still Waiting on Interstate Agreement with Nevada</strong></p> <p>What a nice touch it would be if the historic <a href="">interstate compact agreement between Nevada and Delaware</a> were to get off the ground on the 1-year anniversary of Delaware's launch. Unfortunately, in this case, no news is not good news, as the partner states have remained somewhat mum on when shared liquidity may commence.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 20:26:41 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3311 California Tribal Infighting Forces Casino Evacuation <p>Infighting among <strong>California tribes</strong> has long been the main cause for the delay in the approval of <a href="">online poker legislation in the Golden State,</a> but warring tribal factions took a dispute to a new level recently when they forced the evacuation of a Fresno casino.</p> <p>A number of gunmen, perhaps as many as 20, apparently entered the <strong>Chukchansi Gold Resort &amp; Casino</strong> on Thursday and held casino security guards at bay. As reported by <a href="">ABC7 News</a>, the gunmen were opposing members of the same tribe that runs the casino.</p> <p>Details remain a bit sketchy, but what is clear is that casino patrons had to leave the casino without being allowed to cash in their chips. None of the gamblers were hurt in the fracas, but it is believed that more than one security guard may have been assaulted.</p> <p>Guests of the hotel were reportedly allowed to remain in their rooms, but the casino was shut down. The dispute apparently revolves around some missing audits.</p> <p>The <strong>National Indian Gaming Commission</strong> has threatened to shut down the casino permanently at the end of October if the missing audits do not turn up. The owners and operators of the casino, the <strong>Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians</strong>, are facing fines of up to $16 million with regard to the audit reports.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 04:05:08 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3310 Lock Poker Player Traffic Drops 15% <p><strong>Lock Poker</strong>, widely known as a U.S.-facing poker site in which withdrawal requests have been languishing and repeated empty promises from customer support that those cashouts are on their way to players, has seen its cash game player traffic decline by 15%.</p> <p>The latest estimates provided by <a href="">PokerScout</a> show that ring game action has tumbled down to a seven-day average of 34 players. The decline comes after <a href="">traffic rose about 14%</a> early last month.</p> <p>One would like to believe that the decrease in player traffic indicates that the word is out on the unreliability of Lock Poker and that player numbers will continue to decrease. However, recreational players often do not keep up with news or updates made available through the poker media and may unwittingly fall victim to what many players who have yet to be paid are calling an undeniable scam.</p> <p>For those players who may be playing on Lock Poker and perhaps have not yet heard, a list exists of hundreds of players with withdrawal requests totaling in the neighborhood of $1 million and seemingly long-forgotten by Lock management. The <strong>Poker Players Alliance</strong> (PPA) sent a letter to Lock representatives in April asking for answers to the delay and none have been forthcoming.</p> <p><strong>New Lock Deposit Bonus Laughable</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>The Lock Poker site continues to promote the advantages of playing there and began a new rake chase promotion on Oct. 1 entitled <em>"BATTLE-X."</em> Players who deposit using that title as a bonus code are promised a <em>"200% deposit bonus, up to $1,000, redeemable up to 6 times!"</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p>Bonuses of that magnitude (6 times) are practically unheard of in the online poker industry and should likely serve as a warning to players that things are not on the up and up at Lock Poker. The odds are good that seeing that bonus in the form of an eventual cashout are remote, as attested to by a long line of former Lock players who do not hold back their frustration and anger by <a href="">venting on a thread at 2 + 2</a> entitled <em><strong>"Lock Poker Payout Scam."</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Regulation Needed in U.S.</strong></p> <p>It's poker rooms such as Lock Poker that point to the need for <a href="">regulated online poker in the U.S.</a> Players who deposit at unregulated sites and fail to receive their rightful withdrawals have practically no recourse when dealing with offshore poker sites.</p> <p>The push for regulation continues in the U.S. behind the efforts of organizations such as the PPA and the <strong>Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection.</strong> In the meantime, information about the dangers of depositing and playing at sites such as Lock Poker must be spread and made available to potential depositors who may be unaware of the risks involved.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 02:17:50 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3309 WSOP May Need a New Home in 2015 if Rio Sale Rumors are True <p>Could the <strong>World Series of Poker</strong> be looking for a new home in the near future?</p> <p>It's a distinct possibility, if the rumors of a possible sale or closure of the <strong>Rio</strong> have any truth to them.</p> <p>The first hint of a potential sale occurred when <strong>Robin Leach</strong> (yes, that Robin Leach) tweeted out on October 4th that a major off-Strip hotel had just sold for $400 million.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p>Has a major off Strip hotel just sold for $400million? Digging for details</p> — Robin Leach (<cite>Robin_Leach) <a href="">October 4, 2014</a></blockquote> <p> <script src=""><![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt</cite>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ ]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]><![CDATA[>]]></script> Leach's vague rumor of the sale of an unnamed off-strip hotel (which many immediately assumed was the Rio) picked up even more steam this week when a <a href="">thread sprang up on 2+2</a>, where user 'KKAnderson' stated he was <em>"just advised by a confidential employee that the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will be closing."</em></p> <p>According to KKAnderson, <em>"all employees were pulled in last month [late Sep 2014] and advised of this transition, as they were offered opportunities to transfer elsewhere within Caesars."</em></p> <p>The following day, on Thursday, @VitalVegas <a href="">tweeted</a> out the following message, echoing KKAnderson's 2+2 post -</p> <p><em>"Rumors persist something serious is up at Rio Vegas. Some saying sold, some saying employess offered transfers to other Caesars resorts."</em></p> <p>It's unclear if this tweet was confirming or if it was using the 2+2 thread as a source.</p> <p>While there is certainly a bit of smoke, it's important to point out that nobody has seen any flames yet.</p> <p>Gaming has not been notified as it would have to be in the event of a sale or closure, nor has there been an official announcement of the Rio's 5,000 or so employees receiving <a href="">WARN letters.</a></p> <p>Using the recent history of <strong>Atlantic City</strong> sales and closures, the sale or closure of the Rio would likely be reported more widely than on Twitter or poker forums… Unless the sale is still unofficial and is more of a handshake agreement at this point.</p> <p><strong>Long history of sale rumors</strong></p> <p>The Rio has been rumored to be on the market for several years, with <a href="">sale rumors dating as far back as 2010</a>, when Caesars Entertainment was still Harrah's Entertainment.</p> <p>Interestingly, <a href="">Leach hinted at a possible Rio sale back in 2011</a>, a sale that obviously never occurred.</p> <p>More rumors (sexy rumors at that) surfaced in 2013, when Forbes' Nathan Vardi reported that <a href="">Caesars had contacted PokerStars about possibly buying the Rio along with the World Series of Poker.</a> <strong>Eric Hollreiser</strong>, PokerStars current Head of Corporate Communications, was quoted in the column as saying:</p> <p><em>"Caesars Entertainment approached PokerStars and offered to sell us certain assets, such as the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. Caesars suggested that this acquisition would give us a better relationship with Caesars and would help PokerStars gain a license in Nevada… PokerStars declined the offer because we had no plans to acquire another casino in the near term.”</em></p> <p>Quite frankly, Rio sale rumors are nothing new.</p> <p><strong>Why would Caesars sell the Rio?</strong></p> <p>While the Rio is well known in poker circles due to its fortuitous hosting of the World Series of Poker, the casino itself is far from a moneymaker for Caesars. The property is located off the strip and isn't even a popular destination among Las Vegas locals.</p> <p>The company is also in dire financial straits, <a href="">doing everything it can to stave off a bankruptcy restructuring</a>. Earlier this year, <a href="">Caesars Entertainment sold four casino properties to one of its subsidiary companies</a>, and also shuttered the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City as well as selling off the already closed Atlantic Club which Caesars picked up in a bankruptcy auction in December of 2013.</p> <p>In September, the company <a href="">began talking with bondholders</a> about their mounting debt, which currently stands at well over $23 billion.</p> <p><strong>Could the WSOP still be on the table?</strong></p> <p>Earlier rumors of a Rio sale also included the possibility of Caesars trying to sell one of its top assets, the World Series of Poker. However, this was before Caesars launched <a href="">online poker in Nevada</a> and in New Jersey, and considering the company is now heavily involved in the online gambling sphere in the U.S., a sale of the WSOP brand seems more unlikely.</p> <p>Considering the time and investment the company has put into developing <a href=""></a>, one would think the WSOP would not be up for sale, but then again, the company's debt obligations are only getting worse, and they may be willing to spin off the Rio, the WSOP, and perhaps for the right price.</p> <p>Or, more likely, these are all just rumors and the WSOP will remain in Caesars' control and the 2015 WSOP will once again fill up the Amazon, Brasilia, and Pavilion rooms at the Rio.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 19:36:57 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3308 Play Money Bonanza! 9.3 Billion Prize Pool in PokerStars PlayWCOOP <p><span class="letter-big">O</span>perators of just about every online poker and gambling site the world over are continuously on the lookout for ways to convert social gamblers into the real-money variety. Tapping into just a small fraction of the massive social Internet poker and gambling market could mean a windfall of monumental proportions.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the effect of <strong>Black Friday</strong> on <a href="">online poker in the United States</a> has undoubtedly forced a good number of former real-money players to make a transition the other way --from real-money poker to play money. Hopefully, that will change in the future as ipoker regulation spreads throughout the U.S., with <a href="">a prediction of 20 regulated states by 2020</a> forecast by Morgan Stanley not long ago.</p> <p>In the meantime, U.S. online poker players who are keeping their skills sharp while competing for play chips are apparently in abundance. Evidence of that is the recent <strong>play money World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) at PokerStars.</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Play Money Multi-millionaires</strong></p> <p>A recent running of the <strong>PlayWCOOP Main Event</strong> saw 208 players fork over a buy-in of 50 million play money chips that created a prize pool of <em>9,360,000,000.</em> That's not a typo and I didn't accidentally lean on the '0' key on my keyboard. It's 9.36 billion.</p> <p>Outperforming the play money field was U.S. player 'Divus,' who earned the title of PlayWCOOP World Champion, along with 957 million in play chips. Divus invested nearly 4 and 1/2 hours of his time to lay claim to bragging rights as play money champ, but told PokerStars Blog that he would much rather compete on real-money tables.</p> <p>After scooping that record number of play chips, Divus admitted to being hopeful that <em>"real-money play on Pokerstars will be available in the USA again eventually. In the meantime, I like to enter play money tourneys to practice and for fun."</em></p> <p>Divus is due to get his wish, as the approval of PokerStars to operate <a href="">online poker in New Jersey</a> is anticipated shortly. Industry insiders and players are banking on that approval to be followed by regulation in other states. It may take a while to play out, but that appears to be the direction the industry is headed <strong>despite the efforts of the anti-online gambling crowd led by Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.</strong></p> <p><strong>Inaugural PlayWCOOP</strong></p> <p>PlayWCOOP ran in conjunction with the real-money WCOOP, the first time that PokerStars hosted such a play money extravaganza that included a full menu of tournaments similar to that found in the real-money poker lobby. Odds are that it won't be the last, considering the success achieved.</p> <p>Five U.S. players made the final table and the smart money would likely be wagered on the likelihood that Divus is not alone among his fellow countrymen at that final table in wishing that his online play had more at stake financially than play money chips. I'm sure PokerStars has the actual numbers and it would certainly be interesting to know how many regular U.S. play money online poker players at the site are refugees from real-money action due to Black Friday and/or the <a href="">fear of playing for real-money at unregulated sites in the U.S.</a></p> <p><strong>Do Play Chips Have Any Value?</strong></p> <p>For those unfamiliar with amassing, say, 50 million in play chips to be able to compete in a tournament such as the PlayWCOOP Main Event, PokerStars readily provides 1,000 in free chips to anyone who registers. Should that chip stack fall below 100, more free chips (1,000) can be had with a simple mouse-click as many as three times per hour.</p> <p>Players do actually purchase play chips to compete at the play money tables, with $1.99 good for 350,000 in play chips. Larger packages are available at the rates of $4.99 for 900K, $9.99 for 2 million, $24.99 for 7.5 million, $49.99 for 30 million, and $99.99 for 75 million.</p> <p>According to that pricing chart, Divus' first place prize of 957 million is worth well over $1,000. However, per the Terms and Conditions at PokerStars, <em>"Play Money chips are designed for entertainment, as well as to help beginners and intermediate players get familiar with poker rules, tournaments and ring games."</em> As such, those play chips <em>"have no monetary value, and cannot be cashed out, sold or converted into real money."</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><strong>Social Gaming Booming</strong></p> <p>Recent estimates put the value of the social gaming market in the U.S. at over $5 billion by 2015. Poker competes with the likes of <strong>CandyCrush</strong> and <strong>Farmville</strong> in that space. <strong>Somewhere around 60% of that $5 billion total is generated by the purchase of virtual goods that have no actual value to consumers.</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>With regard to play money online poker, PokerStars is looking up at industry leader <strong>Zynga Poker.</strong> The latest estimates by <a href="">PokerScout</a> show Zynga more than doubling the play money online poker player traffic of its main rival by averaging 38,500 to the 14,500 of PokerStars.</p> <p>As a comparison, <strong>the play money traffic average at Zynga Poker alone is more than the real-money traffic of the top 20 poker rooms and networks worldwide COMBINED.</strong> That includes PokerStars and its average of 18,000 real-money players. <a href="">Social gaming</a>, be it online poker or whatever, is worth big bucks.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 18:13:04 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3306 WSOP APAC Halfway Recap: Five Bracelets Find New Owners <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">T</span>he World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific started on October 2<sup>nd</sup> in the famous <strong><em>Crown Casino</em></strong> in Melbourne. This year’s Asia-Pacific edition of the world’s best known poker series will feature a total of ten bracelet events including the $10,000 Main Event.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Five new gold bracelet owners</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Five tournaments have already resulted in the crowning of five new (old) proud owners of the most coveted achievement in poker. The very first title, the AU$1,100 Accumulator, went to Aussie <strong>Luke Brabin</strong>, who topped the field of 611 players to claim the first place prize of AU$131,365.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Event #2, a AU$2,200 buy-in event, brought the very first gold bracelet for Malaysia as <strong>Junzhong Loo </strong>claimed the title after defeating his fellow countryman, <strong>Aik-Chuan Nee</strong>, in the heads-up battle for first place prize money of AU$107,500. Nee received AU$66,400 for his runner-up finish. The event attracted a total of 215 players, creating a prize pool of AU$430,000.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Aussies doing well, Lisandro takes number six</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Event #3 featured Pot Limit Omaha and attracted 123 players who ponied up AU$1,650 in exchange for their place at the tables. Once again, an Australian player shined, but on this occasion it was a name well-known to many. <strong>Jeff Lisandro </strong>(pictured), a member of the Australian Poker Hall of Fame, added WSOP bracelet number six to his impressive resume. Lisandro also received AU$51,660 in prize money, but much more importantly, he joins the likes of TJ Cloutier, Ted Forrest, and Daniel Negreanu in the Six-Bracelet Club.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Aussies have fared well so far, as another title stayed on the continent after 29-year old <strong>Scott Calcagno </strong>outlasted 249 players in The Terminator event. Featuring a buy-in of AU$1,650, this tournament was different because players received a AU$500 red Terminator chip for every player they sent to the rail. Calcagno successfully outlasted all the players and terminated quite a few (twelve in total) in his quest for the gold and the first place prize of AU$61,250.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Melbourne local <strong>Sam Higgs </strong>triumphed in Event #5 – an AU$5,000 PLO tournament that attracted 80 players. The tattoo shop owner started the final day as a massive chip leader and calmly brought things to their natural conclusion, walking away with the bracelet and AU$127,843. Runner-up <strong>Mike Watson </strong>took home AU$79,099.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>George Danzer battling for the PoY lead, Hellmuth after number fourteen</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Two more events are currently under way. Event #6, The Dealer’s Choice, will be starting final table play soon. The last six players standing will battle it out for the first place prize of AU$42,720 and the man who will receive special attention by the media is certainly <strong>George Danzer</strong>. He will start as fifth in chips and needs to finish in fourth place or better to take the lead in the Player of the Year race. One of the names standing between Danzer and his goal is that of <strong>Brian Rast</strong>, who will be starting second in chips.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Finally, in Event #7, <strong>Phil Hellmuth </strong>is looking to add to his collection and claim his 14<sup>th</sup> career bracelet. Thirty players need to be toppled for Hellmuth to win no. 14. That's the number that remain after a full day of play in the AU$2,200 6-Handed NLHE tournament that attracted 243 players, creating a prize pool of AU$486,000. The other well-known names still in with a shot include <strong>Tony Hatchem</strong>, brother of the more famous WSOP Main Event winner Joe, <strong>Jesse Sylvia, </strong>November Niner <strong>Bruno Politano, </strong>and<strong> Ashley Mason</strong>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Phil will be starting fifth in chips, so we definitely would not bet against him to once again show everyone how it's done. The WSOP APAC has now officially entered well into the second half and it won’t be long before the cards are in the air for the Main Event!</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:50:14 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3305 PokerStars "Spin & Go Week" Begins Oct. 9 <p>The launch of <strong>PokerStars'</strong> lottery-type game known as <strong>Spin &amp; Go</strong> on Sept. 29 has resulted in <a href="">massive amounts of play at the Sit n' Go tables</a> and has prompted the world's top poker site to attract even more players by announcing <em><strong>"Spin &amp; Go Week."</strong></em></p> <p>Set for October 9-19, Spin &amp; Go Week aims to eclipse the 7.5 million Spin &amp; Go games that have already been played on PokerStars in the 10 days since launching. That's an average of 750,000 hyper-turbo Spin &amp; Go games daily that pit three players against each other, all starting with 500 in chips in a Sit n' Go contest where random prize pools can reach $30,000.</p> <p><strong>Try Spin &amp; Go for Free</strong></p> <p>Players who have yet to try Spin &amp; Go can do so for free simply by depositing $25 and using the bonus code <strong>‘SPIN5’</strong> during Spin &amp; Go Week. That nominal deposit will allow PokerStars to credit your account with five free Spin &amp; Go tickets totaling $7 --four $1 tickets and one $3 ticket.</p> <p>That way you can try online poker's latest craze without putting up even a single dollar of your own bankroll. PokerStars is betting that you will enjoy Spin &amp; Go and suggests using your free tickets in the <em><strong>"Spin &amp; Go Daily Challenge"</strong></em> during the promo from Oct. 9-19.</p> <p><strong>Spin &amp; Go Daily Challenge</strong></p> <p>While in the PokerStars client, just click on your Spin &amp; Go Daily Challenge window to determine the challenges facing you each day. In addition to Spin &amp; Gos, those challenges include playing real-money ring games, tournaments, and <em>"regular"</em> Sit n' Gos.</p> <p>Most of the challenges are quite simple and will be fun to conquer! Your rewards for completing the daily missions are free Spin &amp; Go tickets, as well as entries to All-In Shootouts where more money can be won.</p> <p><strong>Spin &amp; Go First Deposit Bonus</strong></p> <p>Extending even beyond Spin &amp; Go Week is a first deposit bonus for new players who deposit $20 or more. Lasting through Oct. 26, the deposit for first-timers using <strong>‘FREE20’</strong> as a bonus code will result in a cash bonus of $20 and a bundle of Spin &amp; Go tickets, the value dependent upon a random spin for each depositor.</p> <p>Spin &amp; Gos typically last just a few minutes and are ideal for players short on time. They are also custom-made for players who hope to enjoy the riches of a jackpot by using their Sit n' Go online poker prowess to eliminate two other competitors in a fast-paced contest.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:28:20 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3304 $330,000 Prize Pool for Debut of WPN's "The Cage" <p>Sixty-six players either ponied up the $5,100 entry fee or won their seat via a satellite at yesterday's <em><strong>"The Cage"</strong></em> match that found $330,000 on the online poker tables at the <strong>Winning Poker Network</strong> (WPN).</p> <p>A 6-max cash game that included elements of tournament play made the three-hour contest the first of its kind in online poker. Each player started with $5,000 in chips after WPN raked $100, and those chips were converted to cash after three one-hour blind levels of play.</p> <p>Of the 66 entrants, 27 busted before the three hours were up and had to leave The Cage without an opportunity to re-buy and likely possessing only a bad beat story or two to tell. Thirty-nine players had chips in front of them when the time clock arrived at 0:00.</p> <p><strong>Who claimed the title?</strong></p> <p>The most money was won by 'bik6624235,' whose chips totaled $29,947 and allowed for <strong>King of The Cage</strong> bragging rights. The champ was buoyed by one particular hand where a #10d on the river made a set, busting the pocket #ad#ah of 'WhosGotItBetter.'</p> <p>'UpayformyKia' was The Cage runner-up with $20,921, which will likely mean the end to monthly payments on that Kia. Other top finishers included 'vasya9' in third place ($15,556), followed by 'Fruits_of_Fib' in fourth ($15,429), and 'chiclick1' rounded out the top five ($13,785).</p> <p>The players who cashed in the event (59%, but not all winners) were granted a free cashout in the form of a bank wire. Some may want to leave the cash in their accounts, however, considering that <strong>The Cage II</strong> has already been scheduled.</p> <p><strong>When is that next The Cage match?</strong></p> <p>Based on the success of The Cage last night, the next running of the innovative cash/tournament hybrid is set for November 12. That gives players a full month to either scrounge up the cash or perhaps gain entry via satellite at a WPN skin.</p> <p>While the excitement generated by The Cage is encouraging for online poker, players are advised to exercise caution when playing on unregulated sites. There is no telling when <a href="">another shutdown in the U.S.</a> may be put into place by the DoJ.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:47:28 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3303 Another Black Friday Looming? <p>Recent developments involving <strong>Bodog</strong>, and the federal indictment against four of their top employees, underscore the fact that the online poker business that serves the United States is a fragile house of cards that could topple at any time. We never saw the first <strong>Black Friday</strong> coming, nor did we expect the lesser-known site closings that followed soon after. We probably won't see the next Black Friday coming either.</p> <p>It's possible that there won't be another major Black Friday. The Department of Justice made nearly a billion dollars from the Black Friday seizures and that kind of money just isn't available any more, but they have still gone after some smaller sites in addition to the Bodog indictments. Smart money is on another series of site closures at some point, but it's impossible to predict when that might be.</p> <p>The Bodog indictments were easy to get, and similar charges could be created in an afternoon against any online poker site. Every offshore site that I have played on in the past few years has done exactly what <strong>Full Tilt</strong> and <strong>PokerStars</strong> were charged with and they will do it for anyone who opens a new account. A single federal agent opening an account, just like the Bodog case, is more than enough to shut down an online poker site.</p> <p><strong>The Law is the Law</strong></p> <p>The <strong>UIGEA</strong> is pretty clear. Making transactions for online poker sites, and covering up where those deposits are going in order to fund an online poker account, is illegal in the United States. We could argue about where these transactions are actually taking place when they happen online, but the Department of Justice doesn't work that way. They prosecute what they want to prosecute, and they don't lose a lot of cases. If they go after the offshore poker sites, then the sites will be shut down regardless of the arguments they may have about the legality of their business in the world market.</p> <p>If you have any doubts, go ahead and start an account at an offshore site that serves customers in the United States and make a deposit using your bank card. If you find one that works, the debit from your bank account will not be from an online gaming site. It may appear to be from a clothing company in China, or a tech company in India, but it won't be from an online gaming site. This is an exercise that someone from the federal government has undoubtedly already done, probably years ago.</p> <p>These sites are serving a market that comes at great risk to them, but the reward is great. With substandard software and very little security in most cases, they are able to open an online poker site and serve a market that is already starving. They don't have to be good at what they do, and most of them aren't, they just have to offer a service that the bigger sites won't - <a href="">online poker in the United States.</a></p> <p><strong>That's a Lot of Cash</strong></p> <p>The rake numbers at these offshore sites are nothing compared to the industry giants, but they are significantly more than a live poker room. Their expenses are drastically lower as well, with very few employees, a much less expensive physical location, and very little regulation to deal with. When you don't have to pay a light bill, pay US tax rates, or hire dealers and floor people and maintenance people and cocktail waitresses, poker can be remarkably profitable.</p> <p>So what will happen if these sites are shut down? Some of them are run by upstanding people who will do what they can to make sure that their players get paid, although they may not have much choice in the matter if the DoJ seizes their assets from offshore bank accounts. Then you are stuck trying to get your money back from the government, and we all know what a struggle that can be and how long it can take if you even get your money.</p> <p>The bigger problem is that in a business that is less than completely legitimate, the people who run these businesses are often unscrupulous and some of them will be outright thieves. When the business is shut down, any assets they can hide from the United States government are also hidden from their players. This sets up a wonderful situation for the owners of these online poker sites.</p> <p><strong>Picture This</strong></p> <p>You see a business where you hold a huge quantity of money in a place that is well-hidden. You know that the whole thing will probably be shut down at some point. You can set it up so that your business appears to be broke when the shutdown comes, and keep tens of millions of dollars for yourself. I wouldn't do it, and you might not either, but we also wouldn't take the risk of starting an online poker room and serving customers in the United States when we know we could end up in jail.</p> <p>What happened to the money at <strong>Absolute Poker or UltimateBet?</strong> We know the Full Tilt money wasn't there, and with AP and UB there was literally nothing for the government to seize. The same has been true of a number of much smaller sites that have been shut down. Whether through a lack of responsibility, or outright theft, owners of unregulated online poker sites have not taken good care of the money that players entrust to them and we can't assume that will change with the next round of shutdowns.</p> <p>While the sites may be shut down, and your money may disappear, will the owners actually be prosecuted? Probably not. Any time there is a lot of money in one spot, people and government agencies will try to find ways to get their hands on it. The people who end up with it don't usually get in any significant trouble for taking it.</p> <p>Full Tilt, Absolute Poker, and UltimateBet are all perfect examples of how this may play out. The owners don't have your money, the government threatens them with prosecution if they don't get some of that cash, they get some, and somehow no one goes to jail. Who gets screwed? You, the player, the guy who should legitimately own that money. You may or may not get some of that cash back, but only after the government gets their bite of whatever the owners are willing to give up.</p> <p><strong>Sometimes I'm Right</strong></p> <p>It may lend some gravity to my arguments to remember that I was the most vocal opponent of UltimateBet for years before the cheating scandal and Black Friday. Ultimate Bet offered a pro deal to everyone at <strong>PokerXFactor</strong> except me, the head cash game instructor, because they knew I wanted nothing to do with them and they hated me.</p> <p>Of course, I am wrong sometimes too. I got my money off Absolute Poker at the right time, and told my friends to do the same thing, but like a fool I moved most of that money on to Full Tilt. It is certainly possible that unregulated offshore poker will continue to be safe for many years and everything will be fine, but if that is likely to be true, why are all the major players in the industry staying out of such a lucrative market?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:10:16 +0000 Chris Wallace 3302 Dan Colman: History in the Making <p>As <strong>Dan Colman</strong> faced off against <strong>Max Altergott</strong> in the heads-up phase of the <strong>World Poker Tour Alpha8 Season II</strong> event in London, all eyes were on two of poker’s brightest stars.</p> <p>Except mine.</p> <p>To the left of the table there was a busty young lady wearing a pair of latex pants that must have taken a full bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder to squeeze on. She was bent over; inches from my face, as she set up a small table containing several champagne flutes and a bottle of Dom Pérignon.</p> <p>So you could imagine where my eyes were fixed?</p> <p>You can guess what was on my mind.</p> <p>You’ve got it.</p> <p><em>“There is no way that Dan Colman is going to drink that champagne,”</em> I thought.</p> <p>I learned a lot about Dan Colman during WPT Alpha8, and I barely spoke to the young man. As soon as I heard that he was playing, I was excited. Ever since his ‘wedding photo style’ look on ESPN divided the poker world, I have been keen to sit down and chat with him.</p> <p>Anyone who does what he did is worth speaking to because you know he has an opinion worth listening to. People think his balls shriveled the day he turned into a mute in front of the world’s press. I say that takes balls bigger than Andre the Giant.</p> <p>I introduced myself to him.</p> <p><blockquote>Look Dan, we are going to be together for the next few days, and rather me pestering you all of the time for an interview, let’s get it over with right now. Can I interview you in the next few days.”</blockquote></p> <p><em>“I’d rather not if that’s ok with you,”</em> said Colman as he shook my hand.</p> <p>I didn’t take this as a refusal. I took this as a polite request to respect his privacy. I am 100% convinced that it’s all about trust. Colman doesn’t want to talk about poker. I don’t want to talk about poker. But he doesn’t know me from Adam. If someone builds a strong relationship with this guy, then he will open up.</p> <p>And he has a lot to say.</p> <p>Away from the dictaphone, Colman doesn’t shut up. He has an opinion on everything, and the way that I saw it; it’s a respectful opinion. He doesn’t dominate conversations, he knows his place, and he let’s others chime in when it’s their time to.</p> <p><em>“I don’t like food snobs. I don’t get it.”</em></p> <p>This was one of his replies after <strong>Sam Trickett</strong> gently poked fun at Colman’s insistence that he doesn’t really like to go to dinner.</p> <p><em>“Is that crispy duck?”</em></p> <p>Proof personified that he really doesn’t spend much time going to dinner.</p> <p>It’s through his table talk that I learned that he is not a fan of alcohol. It’s why I knew the champagne toast would not be accepted. If you don’t know this about Colman, and instead took your thin slice of him from the ‘One Drop incident,’ then you will think he’s a bit of a cock for refusing that drink.</p> <p><em>“I don’t understand why people drink? It does nothing for you. An acquired taste? Why would you want to acquire a taste for something like alcohol?”</em> he said during a debate with <strong>Sorel Mizzi.</strong></p> <p>Mizzi was a constant companion to Colman. The pair were talking incessantly and a lot of the chatter was centered on health and nutrition. They both ordered burgers. They both ate the meat and left the bun and fries. They talked about health regimes, protein, and all manners of ways of keeping their bodies in peak physical condition.</p> <p>And the game.</p> <p>Man this lad can talk about the game.</p> <p>He was always seeking opinions, not only on other people’s game, but also his own. When he eliminated Sorel Mizzi on the bubble, he openly asked Altergott if he had made the right decision, and instead wanted to know if it would have been wiser to keep the short-stacked Canadian in the game.</p> <p><em>“I am no good at those sorts of decisions,”</em> said a humble Colman.</p> <p><em>“He’s good. He’s bloody good,”</em> said <strong>Talal Shakerchi</strong> after Colman had eliminated the Hedge Fund Manager in third place.</p> <p>What Talal was really telling me was he is a freak of poker nature. We are in the midst of history. Poker historians will look back at this time and talk about the greatest heater in the history of the game.</p> <p>After disposing of Altergott in a heads-up encounter that got a little silly towards the end, Colman’s giant Alpha8 trophy was heading to his apartment to sit alongside the<strong> </strong>2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open title, the Big One for One Drop title, and the EPT Grand Final Super High Roller title. Although you can’t help but think they will never be removed from their cardboard boxes.</p> <p>That’s $22,520,248 in earnings for 2014 alone.</p> <p>It’s no wonder that everyone wants to speak to him, everyone wants to video him, and everyone wants to take a snap of him. He is history in the making. I say give him time. If you want the story then you either wait it out, learn to build up some trust with him, or just do what I have done.</p> <p>Cheat.</p> <p>Hang around the guy, pay attention to what you hear, and then write a little something like this.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:46:28 +0000 Lee Davy 3300 Grinder Guides from Chris "Fox" Wallace: Live No-Limit Hold'em Cash Games <p><strong>Grinder Guides</strong>, from a professional poker player and coach, are a series of guides to learning how to beat a variety of poker games. From the books to videos, training sites and forums, Grinder Guides provide a roadmap to the best information available including links to coaches and training sites that can help you hone your game to a razor edge.</p> <p>We are starting off the Grinder Guides here on <strong>PokerUpdate</strong> with the world's most popular game, No-Limit Holdem cash games. This guide will be about live cash games in casino card rooms, though much of the advice provided here will apply to online games as well. A future Grinder's Guide will offer advice specifically for online games.</p> <p><strong>Books for Live No-Limit Holdem Games</strong></p> <p><a href="">No Limits: The Fundamentals of No-limit Holdem</a> - Yes, I'm biased because I wrote it, but if you want to understand how no-limit holdem actually works, this is the book to have. With simple bluffing and calling formulas, a simple way to understand preflop play, and hand examples geared toward small to mid-limit cash games, No Limits is geared toward helping beginning and intermediate players understand the game and learn to think clearly about the game.</p> <p><a href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1412787788&amp;sr=1-3&amp;keywords=Professional+No-Limit+Holdem+by+Sunny+Mehta%2C+Matt+Flynn%2C+and+Ed+Miller">Professional No-Limit Holdem by Sunny Mehta, Matt Flynn, and Ed Miller</a> - While No Limits gives you all the information to make your own decisions and unlock your creativity, Professional No-Limit Holdem gives you a more formulaic way to play the game. This book will prevent you from making common mistakes by following some simple guidelines and paying attention to the size of the pot in relation to the size of the stacks involved in the hand. It can be a bit of a dry read, but Mehta, Flynn, and Miller know their stuff and the information is solid.</p> <p><a href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1412787951&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=Poker%27s+1%25+by+Ed+Miller">Poker's 1% by Ed Miller</a> - Poker's 1% offers a new way to think about no-limit holdem. The best players tend to play a certain way, <em>"tight and sticky"</em> as Miller calls it, because it works. The book explains why this works and how to emulate it and achieve real success playing no-limit. A nice compliment for the first two books on the list, and Miller's writing style makes for a fairly easy read even when the subject matter is complex.</p> <p>These three books aren't the only useful books on no-limit holdem cash games, but they are the best and reading all three of them is the easiest way to improve without spending a lot of money.</p> <p><strong>Training Sites for Live No-Limit Holdem Games</strong></p> <p>Don't learn well from books? Done with books and ready to take it to the next level? Subscribing to a poker training site can be a big help, even if you are learning quickly with the help of some very good books. Watching world class players, seeing their hole cards, and hearing them explain how they do what they do, can help you learn very quickly.</p> <p>I was part of some of the very early video training sites and have watched training sites come and go. While there are just too many sites to keep up with these days, I know that these sites are excellent and have a lot of cash game content.</p> <p>Red Chip Poker (<a href=""></a>) is a newer entry into the poker training world, but they have collected some of the best coaches in the business and offer very high quality training videos on advanced concepts. <strong>Hunter Cichy</strong>'s no-limit holdem cash videos are excellent.</p> <p>CardRunners (<a href=""></a>) has been the largest poker training site in the world for a few years now, with a huge archive of big name coaches. Definitely worth a look.</p> <p>Blue Fire Poker (<a href=""></a>) is the former home of <strong>Phil Galfond</strong> and has a nice number of coaches and some very advanced information about no-limit cash games. Known as one of the best sites for cash games.</p> <p>These sites all offer some sort of free trial and if improving your game is important to you at all then they are all a bargain. Try them out and see which one you like the best, or just join them all and get better that much faster.</p> <p><strong>Coaches for Live No-Limit Holdem Games</strong></p> <p>There are hundreds of poker coaches willing to take your money for instruction, and it's hard to know which coaches are worth spending your money on. If you try a coach and you don't feel like you are learning quickly, try another, and another if necessary, until you find one that works well with your learning style. You can find coaches through most training sites, at <a href=""></a>, or on the <a href=""></a> coaching forum. A good coach is an amazing resource and will help your game much faster than any of the other methods, though they are also the most expensive option.</p> <p><strong>Learning Online</strong></p> <p>While this guide is geared toward live games, you can learn the basics and get a good quantity of cash game hands under your belt much faster and at lower limits if you can play online. It's not necessary, but online play is a useful resource and we would be remiss not to mention it here.</p> <p>Get tracking software, either <strong>Holdem Manager</strong> or <strong>PokerTracker</strong>, and learn how to use it, especially if you plan on getting a coach. When a coach can look at your stats, and replay hands you have played, they can help you improve faster than any other method. The tracking software will also help you recognize your own leaks even without a coach and you can find information on the tracking software's web page about where your stats should be and adjust accordingly.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:37:46 +0000 Chris Wallace 3301 High Court Rules that Phil Ivey Cheated at Baccarat <p><strong>Phil Ivey</strong> will not be receiving any of his punto banco winnings from the <strong>Crockfords Casino in London.</strong> A High Court judge has ruled that Ivey did indeed cheat on his way to racking up over $12 million in winnings.</p> <p>On Wednesday, <a href="">Bloomberg</a> reported that Judge John Mitting ruled that Ivey's use of edge sorting did equate to cheating and Genting will not have to pay Ivey the $12.4 million in winnings racked up in 2012. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner had claimed that edge sorting was a legitimate strategy, but the way in which Ivey implemented his strategy ultimately led to the judge's decision.</p> <p><strong>Honest Witness, But Still Cheated</strong></p> <p>Judge Mitting acknowledged that Ivey was an honest witness during the trial, but his honesty was not enough to secure a win. According to the judge, <em>"He gave himself an advantage which the game precludes. This is, in my view, cheating."</em></p> <p>Ivey had argued that his job as a gambler was to spot ways that he could reduce the house edge and put the odds into his favor. Using a process known as edge sorting, Ivey spotted flaws on the backs of cards that he used to determine their value. This allowed him to rack up over $12 million in winnings.</p> <p>However, there is one extra wrinkle to this story that may have made the difference in the judge's ruling. During the game back in 2012, Ivey and his companion had influenced the croupier to move the cards and deal them in a way that allowed them to spot the flaws.</p> <p>Mitting determined that Ivey cheated <em>"by using the croupier as his innocent agent or tool."</em></p> <p><strong>Ivey Claims Edge Sorting Legitimate Strategy</strong></p> <p>Even after the High Court's ruling on Wednesday, Ivey is still claiming that he did nothing wrong. In a statement released after the ruling, Ivey stated, <em>"I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy and we did nothing more than exploit Crockfords' failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability. Clearly today the judge did not agree."</em></p> <p>Ivey described himself during the trial and in an interview aired last night on 60 Minutes Sports as an <em>"advantage player,"</em> which is one that seeks to shift the odds from the house's favor as much as possible.</p> <p><strong>Crockfords Feels Vindicated</strong></p> <p>Not surprisingly, the Crockfords Casino feels vindicated after the judge saved them from having to pay out over $12 million. In a statement released after the ruling, the casino stated, <em>“We attach the greatest importance to our exemplary reputation for fair, honest and professional conduct and today’s ruling vindicates the steps we have taken in this matter.”</em></p> <p>Crockfords is one of Genting's many casinos worldwide. They currently have a market capitalization of around $35 billion, according to Bloomberg. The company recently purchased the site of the former Stardust Casino in Las Vegas.</p> <p><strong>What Will this Mean for Ivey's Borgata Case?</strong></p> <p>Ivey is also facing a similar case in the United States. The <strong>Borgata Casino</strong> in Atlantic City has a lawsuit pending against Ivey and is seeking repayment of $9.6 million that he won from the casino back in 2012.</p> <p>Much like the Crockfords case, Ivey and his partner <strong>Cheng Yin Sun</strong> used similar techniques to achieve their wins. A few extra details are known about the Borgata case. Ivey was granted several concessions, including his own pit and that a single eight-deck shoe of purple Gemaco playing cards be used for the entire session. <strong>These concessions were granted under the ruse that he was superstitious.</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>It is hard to see a judge having a drastically different view than that of the High Court. It is much more likely that Ivey will be forced to repay his winnings to the Borgata unless other arrangements are made following this ruling.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:33:46 +0000 James Guill 3299 PokerStars Has the Pieces In Place for a New U.S. Poker Tour <p>In 2010, <strong>PokerStars</strong> launched the <strong>North American Poker Tour</strong> (NAPT), a multi-stop poker tour focused on the U.S. market. The NAPT was fairly successful for an upstart poker tour created as the Poker Boom was waning, but alas, the NAPT was short-lived, folding in 2011 following Black Friday.</p> <p>But could the NAPT, or some variation of it, return when PokerStars goes live with <a href="">legal online poker in the U.S.?</a></p> <p>With <a href="">PokerStars ready to reengage in the U.S. via New Jersey</a>, I'd say it's almost a certainty. And the tour will likely be a lot bigger than you think.</p> <p><strong>The original NAPT</strong></p> <p>PokerStars' original NAPT stops were held at <strong>The Bicycle Casino</strong>, the <strong>Venetian</strong> (of all places), and <strong>Mohegan Sun</strong>, as well as incorporating the already established <strong>PokerStars Caribbean Adventure</strong> (PCA) into its four-event schedule.</p> <p>All four events took place in 2010, and all four were quite successful (particularly when you consider this was the inaugural year of the tour) and broadcast on ESPN2.</p> <p>The $10,000 buy-in 2010 PCA attracted 1,529 players</p> <p>The $5,000 buy-in 2010 NAPT Venetian attracted 872 players</p> <p>The $5,000 buy-in 2010 NAPT Mohegan Sun attracted 716 players</p> <p>The $5,000 buy-in 2010 NAPT Los Angeles held at the Bicycle Casino attracted 701 players</p> <p>Season 2 of the NAPT was far more tumultuous, with only the PCA and NAPT Mohegan Sun events taking place.</p> <p>The LA event was re-branded and dropped from the official schedule over regulatory concerns, and the NAPT Venetian never occurred as the tour was suspended following Black Friday.</p> <p>Considering the success of Season 1, it would be quite surprising if PokerStars didn't relaunch the tour in some capacity, and in fact, they seem to already have the chess pieces positioned on the board to do just that.</p> <p><strong>Former NAPT venues that might return</strong></p> <p>The PCA switching from the <strong>European Poker Tour</strong> (EPT) to the NAPT (or perhaps the two tours would share the popular event on their schedules) would seem to be a lock.</p> <p>The PCA doesn't really fit in with the EPT considering it takes place in the Bahamas and not Europe, and would give the tour instant credibility and a proven tournament to showcase. The EPT also has its own season-ending stop in the EPT Grand Final, so it doesn't necessarily need the prestige of the PCA as its showcase tournament.</p> <p>The new NAPT would almost certainly have a stop at the Bicycle Casino as well, as The Bike is one of PokerStars' <a href="">California online poker</a> partners; along with <strong>Commerce Casino, Hawaiian Gardens, and the Morongo Tribe.</strong></p> <p>California could actually see several stops considering the number of partnerships it has with top notch land based cardrooms in the state.</p> <p>Mohegan Sun is also a viable partner for PokerStars and a strong candidate to host another NAPT stop in the future as the casino doesn't have any current affiliation with the WPT or WSOPC. In its two year run, the $5,000 buy-in NAPT Mohegan Sun attracted a strong 716 players in 2010, and a respectable 387 players in the topsy-turvy 2011. <strong>Vanessa Selbst</strong> won both of these events, by the way.</p> <p>The Venetian… Well, not so much. But there are likely several willing partners in <a href="">Nevada</a> if PokerStars doesn't run into regulatory hurdles due to their <em>"Bad Actor"</em> designation in the state.</p> <p><strong>Potential new venues</strong></p> <p>In addition to its California partners, PokerStars has also partnered with <strong>Resorts Casino in Atlantic City</strong> to launch an impending online poker client, and was rumored to be considering building a $10 million live poker room at the property.</p> <p>Considering the company's track record, it pretty much goes without saying that Resorts would host some type of PokerStars-branded tournament series once the partnership is officially launched.</p> <p>PokerStars has also been forming relationships with several other casinos on the continent, including the <strong>Seminole Hard Rock in Florida</strong>, where PokerStars offered a live stream of their recent Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open and <a href="">advertised the event on their website</a>, as well as with the <strong>Playground Club in Montreal</strong>, where PokerStars hosted the Canada Cup tournament series (a recurring tournament series at the casino), before pulling out in August, likely due to Canada's unclear (or better stated, unenforced) regulatory issues governing offshore online poker sites.</p> <p>In all, it's not hard to envision PokerStars launching a North American Poker Tour with perhaps eight or more stops in its inaugural season, and with their history of creating regional poker tours in markets they are active in, the return of the NAPT (or whatever acronym it will use) seems like a good bet.</p> <p>The WPT should definitely take note of this, as they have pretty much been the only game in town (in terms of high buy-in tournaments) since Black Friday.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 14:56:57 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3298 PokerStars' Spin & Go Causes 9% Drop in Cash Game Action <p>The <a href="">release of the Lottery Sit n' Go offering</a> at <strong>PokerStars</strong> last week under the title <em><strong>"Spin &amp; Go"</strong></em> apparently has players at the world's top poker site in quite a tizzy.</p> <p><a href="">PokerScout</a> reported that cash game player traffic fell 9% at PokerStars last week, a huge amount of players considering that the top site's cash game player base typically hovers around 20,000. PokerStars' current seven-day average of ring game players as reported by the foremost player traffic tallying site now sits at 17,500.</p> <p>While operators of most poker sites would likely celebrate for days at a five-figure player average of that magnitude, 17,500 is low for PokerStars and the only explanation is that its loyal players have been checking out the action at the Spin &amp; Go tables. With a shot at random jackpots that may reach $30,000, those players can hardly be blamed.</p> <p><strong>How about the rest of the online poker market?</strong></p> <p>As the calendar turns to fall, past history has shown that online poker players tend to get back in front of their computers after enjoying the summer months outdoors. That appeared to be the case last week as well, as worldwide poker sites overall showed a gain in player traffic at a two-to-one ratio. For every poker site that saw a decline in ring game player traffic, two sites showed positive results.</p> <p>But despite that positivity, the effect of Spin &amp; Go tasters putting cash game play on hold tilted cash player traffic numbers. The online poker industry as a whole dropped 2%.</p> <p>Speaking of tilting, PokerStars' sister site has seen its player numbers rise thanks to a promo of its own. <a href="">Full Tilt vaulted into fourth place</a> in player traffic rankings last week due to its <strong>Easy Bonus Promotion.</strong></p> <p>Full Tilt was the only site among the top ten worldwide to advance in the rankings. The bonus acceptance period expired Sunday, so we may soon see a dip in cash player traffic at Amaya's no. 2 offering.</p> <p><strong>Anything new in the regulated U.S. market?</strong></p> <p>There is plenty of action in <a href="">New Jersey</a>, where <a href=""></a> is gaining on the Party Borgata Network and threatening to take over top dog status in the Garden State. Currently, Party Borgata holds an edge of 140-130 in a seven-day average of ring game players, but <a href="">a new promotion at NJ</a> may allow <strong>Caesars</strong> to soon lay claim to operating the state's #1 poker site as it does in Nevada.</p> <p>A contest awarding a trip for two to sunny Las Vegas is now underway for new player signups at NJ. All that's required is a $25 deposit after opening a new account for a chance to win a vacation to everybody's favorite U.S. gambling destination.</p> <p>Over in <a href="">California</a>, the real-money launch of has yet to occur. My latest inquiry last week as to the delay was met with the following during a chat with a customer service representative:</p> <p><blockquote>We are currently testing our payment processing interface in preparation for our real money launch. We are only processing approved test transactions to make sure that everything is 100% tested and ready for you when we do go live with cash games."</blockquote></p> <p>The same rep promised also that someone from management would get back to me with more information. Like the real-money launch, that too has apparently been delayed.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:26:19 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3295 NJ Offers Free Trip to Vegas Promotion <p>Online poker players in <strong>New Jersey</strong> who fancy a free vacation to warmer climes and the bright lights of <strong>Las Vegas</strong> have a chance at making that dream a reality by participating in an October promotion offered by <a href=";amp;utm_source=95&amp;amp;utm_campaign=431&amp;amp;utm_medium=niche"> NJ.</a></p> <p>For the entire month of October, new players who sign up and create an account at NJ are eligible to win a trip for two that includes a two-night stay at <strong>Planet Hollywood</strong> in Las Vegas, Nevada. Winners can book their flight anytime before 2014 ends and board a plane from any major U.S. airport.</p> <p><strong>Who can participate?</strong></p> <p>The promo is open to new real-money players within New Jersey who open a new account, deposit at least $25, and use the bonus code <strong>"VegasTrip."</strong> That first-time deposit is good for one free entry to the sweepstakes drawing that will take place on November 3.</p> <p>Players can increase their chances of winning by playing real-money online poker at NJ throughout the month. For every 10 Action Player Points (APPs) accumulated, each eligible player will receive one additional entry to the drawing.</p> <p>Along with free airfare and hotel accommodations, the winner will receive a <strong>$200 Total Rewards Gift Card</strong> to spend as desired. Hundreds of restaurants and businesses throughout Nevada accept the TR Gift Card, so the entire vacation package will likely allow the winner to enjoy sunny Las Vegas at no charge.</p> <p><a href=";utm_source=95&amp;utm_campaign=431&amp;utm_medium=niche"><img src="" alt="WSOP Free Trip to Vegas Promo"/></a></p> <p> NJ is nearing its one-year anniversary of providing exciting online poker action to New Jersey residents and those who visit the Garden State. The site offers a number of valuable promotions to its players, with a trip for two to Las Vegas just one of many opportunities available to win cash and prizes.</p> <p> </p> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:03:02 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3297 Are Social Casinos a Fad or the Future? <p>For those of us interested in the iGaming sphere, social casinos were among the most talked about items at G2E.</p> <p>Despite the attention and chatter, it was abundantly clear that there is little consensus as to where this nascent industry is heading -- the industry pretty much took off just a couple years ago-- as nearly every aspect of social casinos appears a bit hazy, even to the experts.</p> <p>During a <a href="">panel discussion</a> at G2E that included, among others, Monty Kerr, the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of PlayStudios; Rory Shanahan, the Head of Marketing &amp; B2B Social Product at Williams Interactive; and Mario Maesano, the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Maryland Live! Casino; the panel was not just completely split as to how Social Casinos could be utilized and monetized, but over the very definition of social casinos themselves.</p> <p>The one point the panel seemed to be in agreement on also happened to be the most self-serving one, which was whether social casinos were gambling; something they all emphatically disagreed with. Monty Kerr called it (social casinos) an oxymoron, even though the goal is to sell chips and/or convert players to real-money gamblers.</p> <p>Whether it is gambling will be decided by people far smarter than myself, but there are several noticeable problems with the argument that social casinos are not a form of gambling.</p> <p><strong>If it's not gambling, than why…</strong></p> <p>… Does Kerr's company go so far as to offer redeemable rewards to partnered land-based casinos?</p> <p>Despite these connections to land-based casinos, the monetization aspect, and the sometimes issuance of real world prizes beyond virtual chips and a higher level, the panel all but dismissed the possibility of regulation down the road. This unconcerned stance seems far too hopeful (in my view) considering the paradoxical dynamics of social casinos.</p> <p>For one thing, social casino games have the look and feel of online and land-based casino games, and while players cannot technically win anything, they can (depending on the company supplying the game) win things by completing preset missions, and they can certainly lose things, namely money.</p> <p>How much money can they lose? At the USOG Conference just a few weeks ago, it was reported by <a href="">Chris Grove</a> that <em>"the top customer at PurePlay has spent over $250,000 on play chips. Chips with no redemption value."</em></p> <p>Kerr himself said, of the 3% of players that monetize, 80% are still active at least two years later. If he doesn't think problem gambling organizations are going to start investigating this, he's quite delusional, as those stats fall right in line with the historical percentage of problem gamblers.</p> <p>Additionally, this seminar was held at G2E, the largest gambling conference in the world. If you really believe your product is not a form of gambling or connected to gambling, you should have declined the invite.</p> <p><strong>Even if it's not gambling, regulations may be needed</strong></p> <p>There is also the not so minor problem of minors.</p> <p>As Kerr explained, there is no age requirement set forth at social casinos; the age requirement comes from the provider, which for Facebook is 13 years old, and as if this didn't already present some very poor optics, there are usually very little safeguards in place to insure the person is even 13.</p> <p>Furthermore, there are no regulations governing the fairness of the games, so a site looking to convert players to real-money gamblers could payout their social slots players 105% or even 140% and make them think the game is beatable, or they are simply lucky.</p> <p>A site that monetizes through the purchase of virtual chips could send a player on a cold streak just as they are about to complete some mission to level up, or collect a small real-world prize, likely increasing the chances they purchase more chips.</p> <p>Even if it's not gambling, it would seem that regulations may be needed to protect the consumer considering money is on the line and the association with land-based casinos.</p> <p><strong>A lot of similarities to online poker pre-UIGEA</strong></p> <p>Social Casinos currently occupy a legal space not unlike <a href="">online poker</a> found itself during the first half of the 2000’s, along with all the questions that go along with it.</p> <p>Is it legal?</p> <p>What laws and regulations if any does it fall under?</p> <p>Will governments step in and regulate it?</p> <p>Poker, a proven game of skill, still has an issue differentiating itself from games of pure chance. So I find the social casino creators' and operators' assertion that regulation won't happen, and their games are not gambling, a bit expedient.</p> <p>Basically, social casinos' place in the gaming world is quite unclear. And despite what the G2E panel believes, it's fairly obvious to me that they occupy a very confused space (and I'm someone with pretty extensive knowledge of the gaming and gambling world), and that social casinos look like a duck and quack like a duck.</p> <p>If I see it this way, it's quite likely that when social casinos land on the radar of politicians and regulators, they will also have some reservations about these games. When that will happen is unclear, but at some point these companies are going to have to clearly explain why the animal with feathers, wings, and a bill, that goes <em>"quack quack"</em> is not a duck.</p> <p>They didn't accomplish this during their hour-long talk at G2E.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 19:55:40 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3296 Glenn Straub Files Objections to Revel Auction <p><strong>Glenn Straub</strong> warned that he would not give up on the <strong>Revel</strong> auction without a fight. True to his word, Straub filed a motion on Monday officially objecting to the sale of the Revel Casino to <strong>Brookfield Asset Management.</strong></p> <p> first reported on the story and detailed many of the highlights of the motion. Straub has been very vocal about his displeasure regarding the lack of transparency of the bidding process. His complaints began prior to the resumption of bidding last week and now it seems that Straub will try to use legal muscle to seek a new auction.</p> <p><strong>Straub Points to Suspicious Timing and "Life and Death Situation" in Motion</strong></p> <p>As we all know, bidding on the now defunct Revel Casino resumed last Tuesday with Straub's $90 million used as a stalking horse bid. Brookfield then countered with $94 million. Straub bumped his bid up to $95 million but Brookfield countered with a $98 million bid before dinner.</p> <p>This is where things got interesting. Around 7:45 pm, Straub said he needed to talk to his accountants and Revel supposedly agreed to an adjournment at 8:15 pm. Two hours later, an announcement was made to hold over bidding until the next day.</p> <p>At 11:25 pm, Brookfield put in a bid of $110 million, but only if that bid is announced as the winning bid by 6 am on Wednesday. Straub claims that this did not leave him enough time to bid. The filing claims that Revel acknowledged the contingency bid placed by Brookfield was a <em>"departure"</em> from the planned course for the auction.</p> <p>Here's where things got dicey. Revel is reported to have told Straub that a counter bid needs to be placed by 5 am. This announcement was made at 3:45 am. This left just over an hour to formulate and place a bid.</p> <p>From there, Straub and his attorneys argued that in addition to not having enough time to consult financial partners, Straub was dealing with health issues. Calling it a <em>"life or death medical situation,"</em> Straub reportedly left important pills back in Palm Beach.</p> <p>Straub and associates were unable to place a counter-bid before 5 am and Brookfield was declared the winner at 5:13 am.</p> <p>After the announcement was made, Straub's attorneys attempted to lodge several complaints about the process. The filing claims that they were then threatened with non-payment of both their $3 million breakup fee and their initial $10 million deposit.</p> <p><strong>Were There Other Bidders?</strong></p> <p>The filing also pointed out that there were other bidders present during the auction on Tuesday but none chose to bid. As quoted from the filing, <em>“As noted above, other bidders were present [on Tuesday]. Yet they chose not to submit bids. We do not know why. There is no way to rule out the possibility, if not likelihood, that their bids were chilled by the lack of transparency in the process and the obvious antagonism by the Debtors’ counsel to all but the favored bidder.”</em></p> <p>It would seem odd that other bidders would show up and choose not to put in a bid, especially considering that bidding had not reached $100 million before dinner. The filing does not appear to name these other bidders and news reports have not mentioned other bidders. A couple of days prior to the auction, there were reports that two bidders were being considered for the sale and it is assumed that Brookfield was one of those parties.</p> <p><strong>Does Straub Have a Case?</strong></p> <p>There are some matters in this case that will likely warrant investigation while others seem a bit far-fetched. The <em>"contingency bid"</em> by Brookfield and the timeline to the winner's announcement will likely come under question. Why did the casino agree to these terms and not allow Straub sufficient time to consult with financial partners?</p> <p>Next, how much truth is behind claims that Revel officials threatened to withhold payment of the deposit and breakup fees? Also, were there other bidders in the auction and why did they choose not to bid?</p> <p>As far as Straub's health playing a role in the timeline, it seems unlikely this will have any sway. A person with a true life-threatening condition is unlikely to forget important medications. How long had he been without medication, and if he had forgotten, why hadn't other steps been taken to acquire the required pills? It's hard to see the court giving this complaint much consideration.</p> <p>According to the motion, Straub is making several demands with the most important being a new auction. These complaints will be heard on Tuesday at a hearing in Camden, NJ.</p> <p>According to, Straub may make a play at the auction for the property. A representative for Straub claims that a bid exceeding $110 million may be made at the hearing and that the judge has the authority to accept it.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 18:57:01 +0000 James Guill 3294 Chris "Fox" Wallace on Poker Backing: How to Sell Action <p>Selling action seems like a simple thing - people give you money and they get part of your winnings in a tournament - but if it's not done correctly from the start you can run into some tough spots where either your bankroll, or your reputation, will suffer unnecessarily. If you do things right, selling action can keep you in the game and making money for the long run.</p> <p>Start off by being very clear with your offer. I'll use my WSoP package from this year as an example throughout this article. Here is how I offered the package of tournaments for investors.</p> <p><blockquote>I am selling action in a $50,000 package of tournaments for this year's WSoP. Markup is 1.2, so every 1% costs $600. Unplayed tournaments will be refunded. I must have the money before the start of the first event."</blockquote></p> <p>Something like this will prevent a lot of confusion. The reason that unplayed tournaments are refunded is that an unscrupulous player could either dilute or concentrate his investor's percentage by skipping tournaments or playing extra tournaments. Once you sell for a specific set of tournaments, you should only be playing those tournaments with that money and refunding the investments for any tournament you don't play. I recommend keeping the funds in a separate bank account and never using them for anything but their intended purpose.</p> <p>You should always get the money before you play the tournaments because it can be unpleasant to collect from an investor after they have lost money investing in you. You don't want anything unpleasant about the experience for your investors, or they may not invest again. It feels a lot better to gamble and lose money that is already out of your hands, than to lose and have to pay.</p> <p>Make sure everyone knows how much they are getting. If someone gave me $1,200 to invest in my WSoP this summer, they knew they were getting 2% of all of my winnings in any tournament that was part of the package.</p> <p><strong>Be Transparent</strong></p> <p>Make sure any deals that are made are public knowledge so that you can justify things to your investors. This summer during the HORSE event, we cut a very minor deal among the final five. We each agreed to it, which I recorded on my phone, and there were multiple reliable witnesses. If I did not have proof, some of my investors would have been uncertain about the fact that I had to pay $38,000 to another player and that I didn't win quite as much as was reported by the WSoP news feed.</p> <p>When you are done playing, pay your investors promptly and pay them the full amount. Make sure they know that a 1099 is coming from the IRS as is standard practice, and use a site like <a href=""></a> or have your accountant send the forms. If you take taxes out first, then they may have to pay taxes on the money again if the IRS gets wind of their income.</p> <p><strong>Make Them Happy</strong></p> <p>Once everything is done, make people happy they invested with you. A thank you card or email can be a nice touch and insure that they invest with you again in the future. When I was lucky enough to win a bracelet at the WSoP this year, my investors not only made a nice profit, but they got a little something special. Each investor received a special card I had made from <a href=""></a> and a tiny piece of the bracelet left over from when I had it sized.</p> <p>Do you think those investors will buy a piece again? Absolutely. And happy investors means job security and freedom to play what I want when I want without stress. And that should be your goal, build your own bankroll and make your investors happy so that you don't need them often, but they are excited to invest with you when you do need them.</p> <p><strong>Getting Started</strong></p> <p>When you first start selling action, you may not have a lot of people interested. Get a following on Twitter and <a href="">Facebook</a>, get to know people in the poker community in your area, and get the word out any way you can. It can help to sell action in long packages of small buy-in tournament series' where you are likely to make a profit, even if that isn't really what you want to be playing. If people make money investing in you, they will be eager to invest in bigger events next time.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:54:22 +0000 Chris Wallace 3293 Isai Scheinberg Wins UKIPT Isle of Man High Roller for $22,253 <p>The founder of the largest online poker site in the world, <strong>Isai Scheinberg</strong>, has been more concerned with collecting rake than paying it. That changed back in August with <strong>the sale of PokerStars to Amaya.</strong> With his new found free time, Scheinberg has gone back to playing the game he loves and is already in the winner's circle.</p> <p>On Saturday, Scheinberg took down the High Roller Event of the UKIPT Isle of Man. The £2,200 buy-in event drew a field of 15 players, including EPT Champion Mickey Peterson. In the end, Scheinberg came out on top to win $22,253, the largest score of his live tournament career.</p> <p><strong>Poker Community Voice Support for Win</strong></p> <p>While not a complete newbie to live tournament poker, many would not expect Scheinberg to win an event such as this due to his lack of experience. This was his first cash since 2008 and best overall finish.</p> <p>Following the victory, several pros and former employees took to Twitter to express their congratulations. <strong>James Hartigan</strong> has seen many epic moments in the game and called this win one of the greatest moments he's seen in poker.</p> <p><strong>Lee Jones</strong> called the victory the <em>"most epic story"</em> of the series:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p>I've witnessed many great poker moments. Isai Scheinberg winning the <a href="">E-mail</a> staff ranks pretty high.</p> — James Hartigan (<cite>J_Hartigan) <a href="">E-mail</a> employees photo-bomb winner photo. — Lee Jones (@leehjones) <a href="">October 5, 2014</a></blockquote> <p> <script src=""><![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ // <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ // <! <p><b>Scheinberg Has Enjoyed Mild Success in the Past <p> ]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt</cite>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]><![CDATA[>]]></script></p> <p><strong>Scheinberg Has Prior Success in Tournament Action</strong></p> <p>Looking at his profile on Hendon Mob, Scheinberg has enjoyed mild success in live tournament poker. He currently has three final table appearances and over $45,000 in career earnings.</p> <p>His first recorded live score came during the 1996 <strong>World Series of Poker</strong> where he finished 25th in a $2,500 NL Hold'em Event. Two years later, he made his first final table in a $1,000 NL preliminary event at the now defunct United States Poker Championship. He finished eighth in that event.</p> <p>His last live score before yesterday was a final table in a £1,070 NL Preliminary at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. He finished in eighth for $18,039.</p> <p><strong>Will We See More of Scheinberg in Future Events?</strong></p> <p>Now that Scheinberg is no longer tied to <a href="">PokerStars</a> in any official capacity, will we see more of him on the tournament circuit? As was evidenced in his win yesterday, he was certainly welcomed by the poker community.</p> <p>Also, think of the spin that PokerStars could put on this story. <em>"PokerStars founder becomes poker champion"</em> and other similar stories would bring a ton of positive press to Amaya's new company.</p> <p>The only downside to Scheinberg's budding playing career is that he will not be able to play in the United States for fear of being arrested. He is still considered <em>"at-large"</em> by the United States government following the Black Friday indictments. It is unknown at this time whether Scheinberg intends to clear up this matter with the Department of Justice or if he will just continue to avoid the U.S.</p> <p>For now, the poker world can bask in the glory of Scheinberg's win and look forward to his next appearance in a live event.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>// ]]&gt;</p> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 22:21:10 +0000 James Guill 3292 Jilli Dog the Poker-Playing Yorkie Dead at 17 <p>The world of poker experienced a bit of sad news last week when it was reported that <strong>Jilli Dog</strong>, a Yorkshire terrier who delighted fans the world over by performing tricks involving playing poker and miniature basketball, passed away of natural causes.</p> <p>Jilli Dog's exact age was unknown because owner <strong>Rick Caran</strong> rescued her from the hard life of a stray when he found her on a UK street about 16 years ago, no tags or collar and apparently homeless. What developed after that chance meeting is the stuff that legends are made of, as Jilli Dog spent her life paying forward Caran's kindness by performing poker-playing tricks to adoring audiences on television, at charitable events, and at a number of other gatherings.</p> <p>Retired from show business the past two years due to declining health that included poor hearing and blindness, Jilli Dog stepped out of the limelight to allow another Yorkie owned by Caran, <strong>Ruby Dog</strong>, to take over the starring role. Ruby Dog is four years old.</p> <p>Jilli Dog died while with Caran as he clicked away at his computer one morning, perhaps for the best considering her deteriorating health.</p> <p><blockquote>Her last two days she couldn't stand well," Caran told Newsday, admitting that up until the end Jilli Dog "still loved to do the tricks. She couldn't do her old stuff but she'd try."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>A star is born</strong></p> <p>Jilli Dog got her start playing poker when Caran visited his mother in a nursing home and amazed the elderly residents with her tricks. Word spread regarding the performing antics of the poker-playing pooch and a career was born.</p> <p>That career included traveling to other countries to put on shows, as well as guest appearances on <em>"Live! With Regis and Kelly," "Today," "Good Morning America,"</em> and <em>"Dogs 101"</em> on Animal Planet.</p> <p><blockquote>My Sweet Jilli Dog, I don't know what I did to deserve such a blessing in my life, as you, but I will love you, and miss you, forever," Caran posted on Facebook, adding that the lovable pooch "changed my life, showed me unconditional love, and brought me, and so many others such amazing joy... I cherish the day you walked into my life, those 16 years ago, a sickly pup from the street, and you turned it upside down... It's been a great ride... Thank you..."</blockquote></p> <p>Take a look at the video below to see Jilli Dog in action. Rest in peace, Jilli Dog.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 15:58:59 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3291 "The Cage" Prize Pool at $100K and Climbing <p>The <strong>Winning Poker Network</strong> (WPN) is preparing to host its innovative game known as <em>"The Cage"</em> that combines elements of cash and tournament action into one on Wednesday, October 8.</p> <p>While a few days remain before those who intend to play have to pony up the required $5,100 entry fee, the prize pool has reached $100,000 thanks to satellites run during the past month by WPN flagship skin Americas Cardroom (ACR). The prize pool will likely grow considerably when Wednesday arrives and high-stakes players register.</p> <p>Players who would like to participate in The Cage at 8:00 p.m. ET on Oct. 8 but perhaps are short on the $5,100 buy-in are advised that a last chance satellite featuring a $320 entry fee will be held at ACR the day before on Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Two seats are guaranteed.</p> <p><strong>How "The Cage" is structured</strong></p> <p>Players begin with a chip stack of $5,000 and will play for a three-hour time period as a time clock counts down the minutes until The Cage match concludes. The blinds will escalate each hour beginning with $10/$20 with $2 ante, $25/$50 blinds with $5 ante in hour no. 2, and the final hour requires a $10 ante with blinds of $50/$100.</p> <p>The Cage will be played as a 6-max cash game, and players who bust before the three hours are up will be sent to the rail and cannot re-buy. Chips retain their equivalent monetary value, meaning that whatever chips remain in your stack when the time clock reaches 0:00 are converted to cash and can be withdrawn as you deem fit.</p> <p>ACR has announced that live updates on The Cage contest will be made available on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Those updates are set to include player profiles, so that railbirds will know more about the combatants who have entered The Cage.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 04 Oct 2014 22:33:07 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3290 Chris "Fox" Wallace on Bankroll Management <p>When I meet poker players who find out that I play for a living, they often ask me about bankroll management. The question is usually phrased in a way that indicates how little they know about money management in poker. Something like:</p> <p><em>"How much money do I need to play $2/5 no-limit?"</em></p> <p>The answer to this, like so many poker questions, is usually,</p> <p><em>"It depends."</em></p> <p>It depends on so many factors. Are you talking about playing for a living? Sitting down at a table one time? Do you think that if you have a certain amount of money in your bankroll you will just become a winning player? Are you a winning player? What is your long term win rate in the game? Do you play a high variance style? Are you tired of my questions yet?</p> <p>That barrage of questions is just a start for all the things I would need to know in order to answer this question. Luckily, the answer usually doesn't matter. Most people who are asking the question in such a basic way, and expecting a simple number as an answer, could never provide the information I would need - they are just looking for a number to make them feel better and set as a goal.</p> <p>The truth is that most casual or recreational players don't need to worry about bankroll management at all. Around 90% of players are long term losers because of the rake, and if you are a losing or break even player, no bankroll is big enough. If you haven't kept accurate records of your last 30 sessions, then don't worry about bankroll management, just play with money you can afford to lose.</p> <p>If you are looking to get serious about poker, reading books, keeping accurate records of your results, and trying to put together a separate bankroll, then it's nice to have a goal. Start off by getting a separate bank account that you only use for your bankroll. Talk to someone at your bank and you should be able to get an ATM card that allows you to pull out $1,000 per day and most casinos have ATM machines that allow this number as well.</p> <p>Whether you win or lose in a given session, keep that money separate and don't spend any of it until you reach your goal. Some reasonable goals for starter bankrolls are shown in the chart below. These aren't the kind of figures a pro would use to make a living, but they are nice goals for a recreational player who is looking to get serious about the game.</p> <p><strong>Starting Bankroll Goals</strong></p> <p>No-Limit Holdem - 2,000 Big Blinds</p> <p>Pot-Limit Omaha - 2,500 Big Blinds</p> <p>Fixed-Limit Holdem, Omaha/8, or Mixed Games - 600 Big Blinds</p> <p>Tournaments with fields smaller than 150 players - 30 buy-ins</p> <p>Tournaments with fields larger than 150 players - 50 buy-ins</p> <p>Single Table Tournaments or Satellites - 20 buy-ins</p> <p><strong>Satellites</strong></p> <p>If you are playing satellites to sell the seats into the tournaments after you win them, then you can get by just fine with around twenty buy-ins. If you plan on playing the tournament, then you can fall into a trap that causes you to commit bankroll suicide. If you are only investing $200 in an attempt to satellite into a $1,000 tournament, you may only be spending $200, but you are much less likely to cash than you would be in a regular tournament.</p> <p>An above average player might cash 15% of the time in a typical tournament. And that player might play a qualifier where 15% of players get a seat and because they are above average they might get a seat 30% of the time. Now how often will that player win a seat and then make the money in the tournament?</p> <p>30% * 15% = 4.5% of the time you will both win a seat and then cash in the tournament. This obviously requires a much bigger bankroll. How much bigger? Almost as big as the bankroll you would need to play the tournament you are playing the satellite for. The basic rule is that if you can't afford to play the tournament, you can't afford to play a satellite into it.</p> <p>Do I play satellites myself? Yes. Usually I treat them as cash tournaments because I would play the tournament anyway and if I win a seat it will just save me the amount of the buy-in. I also sell a lot of action in bigger tournaments. If I win an entry into a $10,000 buy-in event, I will usually sell around half my action for that tournament, which cuts down my variance significantly and keeps me within my own bankroll requirements.</p> <p><strong>Taking a Shot</strong></p> <p>I hear the term <em>"taking a shot"</em> so often in tournaments that you would think it is a legitimate strategy. It isn't. Taking a shot is just something you say when you are playing way above your bankroll. It's an excuse. It's not something you should do once in awhile and it isn't okay as long as you don't do it very often.</p> <p>If you are playing for fun, then go ahead and take all of the shots you want, but don't take that money out of your bankroll. If you are taking shots out of your bankroll then you will probably lose the whole thing anyway, so you don't really have a bankroll. If you take a shot with your entertainment money, or some other savings, then your bankroll doesn't suffer the hit and it feels like it should, like you are paying for the thrill of buying into a big tournament or a big cash game.</p> <p><strong>Moving Down</strong></p> <p>You probably don't need much advice on moving up. If you are bankrolled for the next biggest game, and you are beating the game you are playing soundly, then go ahead and move up. But what about when you are running bad, and your bankroll is getting short?</p> <p>If you drop below the bankroll you need to play a game, it's probably time to move down to a smaller game, work on your skills, rebuild your bankroll, and beat up that smaller game to get your confidence back. Almost every pro I know has had to drop down a level a few times, myself included. And almost everyone I know who refuses to drop down a level when it's necessary has gone broke. Which way you choose to go is up to you.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 04 Oct 2014 02:46:38 +0000 Chris Wallace 3288 California Pro "Grinders" Sue Iowa Cops for Confiscating Poker Bankroll <p>The lives of pro poker players who travel throughout the U.S. can be quite stressful, with possibilities looming that an entire bankroll can vanish without scoring a major cash. Those risks are difficult enough without having to worry about that bankroll disappearing at the hands of police officers who perhaps extend their authority beyond what is legally permissible under the Constitution.</p> <p>Two California pros learned that all too well while driving through Iowa after competing at an event in Illinois in 2013. <strong>William “Bart” Davis</strong> and J<strong>ohn Newmerzhycky,</strong> both from Mckinleyville, CA, had their bankroll of about $100,000 seized last year after a questionable traffic stop.</p> <p>The pair were cruising through Iowa on I-80 in a red Nissan Ultima with Nevada license plates --a rental-- when two Iowa State troopers in a single vehicle assigned to a team devoted to wiping out crime on the interstate pulled them over --apparently for failing to signal a lane change. However, a video from a dashboard camera on the troopers' cruiser that captured the traffic stop shows that Newmerzhycky did indeed signal correctly --making the stop unlawful, according to an attorney hired by the pro players.</p> <p><blockquote>If you sit down and you watch the video, you can see very clearly that they signaled," said Benjamin Okin, a California lawyer. "If you have a bad stop, then anything that flows from that is gone."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Seized bankroll returned</strong></p> <p>The cops also claim that a report from Illinois police alerted them to be on the lookout for "a red vehicle." But that information alone does not seem enough to warrant pulling over just any red car without probable cause. And if Newmerzhycky signaled --as the video shows-- there certainly seems plenty of evidence for an attorney with a background in search and seizure and Constitutional Law to adequately defend the California poker pros.</p> <p>And that is precisely what happened. Newmerzhycky and Davis fought a forfeiture complaint filed by the state of Iowa that sought to keep the bankroll confiscated by the Iowa cops. The poker pros hired an attorney in Iowa who managed to work out a settlement in which $90,000 of the bankroll was returned. Less, of course, the lawyer's standard fee of one-third.</p> <p>But there is a bit more to the traffic stop, which occured on April 15 of all days. A date that online poker players know all too well as Black Friday, the virtual shutdown of major poker sites in the U.S. in 2011.</p> <p><strong>More than money found</strong></p> <p>Newmerzhycky was apparently going to be let go by the coppers with merely a warning until his nervousness prompted one of the troopers to ask if there happened to be any drugs or cash in the car and requested a search of the rented vehicle. Newmerzhycky said there was not and resisted to the search, asking if he was obligated to submit to such a search and was told by the trooper that he was not.</p> <p>The California pro indicated that he'd "prefer to be on my way," but the cop was insistent and called in a police dog. That's when the $100K was found, along with a grinder --a device used to grind marijuana in order to better process the weed before smoking.</p> <p>The grinder contained "small pieces" of marijuana, prompting the trooper to cite the out-of-state driver for possession of drug paraphernalia, the Des Moines Register reported. That was the only citation Newmerzhycky received from the traffic stop, despite the fact that both he and Davis possessed medical marijuana cards issued in California.</p> <p><strong>Iowa cops alert California cops</strong></p> <p>The pros were allowed to leave with the single citation and without their bankroll, but law enforcement in California was made aware of the traffic stop by the Iowa troopers. Based on that information --which all stemmed from the questionable traffic stop --their homes in the Golden State were searched the next day.</p> <p>Marijuana was discovered and both players faced felony drug possession charges. Those charges were eventually dropped after California prosecutors viewed a tape of the Iowa traffic stop.</p> <p>Davis and Newmerzhycky are now hoping to win a monetary judgment in a court of law by filing a case against the Iowa officers that takes offense to the traffic stop that seemingly had no basis under the U.S. Constitution.</p> <p><blockquote>There is absolutely nothing illegal or uncommon about people driving through the United States with out-of-state plates ... and carrying amounts of cash," said Glen Downey, the Iowa attorney representing the poker pros. "There's nothing illegal about carrying cash, and yet law enforcement begins to treat individuals who are carrying cash as if they are criminals."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Lives of pros affected by bogus stop</strong></p> <p>Davis claims to have lost considerable income by the seizure of the bankroll, as he could no longer buy into poker tournaments. Newmerzhycky suffered some health issues following the incident, which he claims were brought on by the illegal traffic stop.</p> <p>Newmerzhycky has $21,961 in live tournament cashes, according to the Hendon Mob database. His best score was at the WSOP in 2012 where a 124th place finish in a $1,500 NLHE Re-Entry was good for $4,595.</p> <p>Davis, on the other hand, has won $259,267 by cashing in 13 events dating back to 2010. He has six WSOP cashes, including a couple this year. The bulk of his earnings came at the 2010 WSOP when a 4th place finish in $1,000 No Limit Hold'em brought a payday of $206,904.</p> <p>Odds are another payday is likely in the cards when the lawsuit runs its course or prompts a settlement of some sort. The state of Iowa is mired in a number of legal skirmishes involving traffic stops by its perhaps overzealous state troopers. A number of those lawsuits entail stops of drivers with non-Iowa license plates.</p> <p>Take a look at a video of the traffic stop below.</p> <div class="t_iframe"/> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 20:08:56 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3289 PokerStars and Full Tilt Withdraw From Grey Markets as US Entry Looms <p><strong>PokerStars'</strong> promise that the <strong>Amaya Gaming</strong> acquisition wouldn’t affect their operation in <em>"current"</em> markets has been smashed to pieces after they ceased operations in over 30 countries where it’s deemed that the market is <em>"grey."</em></p> <p>The countries affected range from the likes of Afghanistan, all the way through the alphabet to Vatican City. Asia, Africa and the Middle East seem to be the most affected by the decision, and both Stars and <strong>Full Tilt</strong> have ensured players in those areas that their accounts are safe and all funds will be returned.</p> <p><blockquote>Our management team and advisors regularly review our operations market-by-market to assess commercial opportunities and business risks for our brands," said an email sent to affected players. “Following a recent review we have decided to stop offering real money games to players who are physically located in, or have registered address in, a limited number of countries.”</blockquote></p> <p><strong>The UK Gambling Commission</strong></p> <p>The date of the shutdowns was Oct. 1, 2014, which, incidentally, is the same date that the UK Gambling Commission initially intended to <a href="">implement The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014</a> in the UK.</p> <p>This was also the date that PokerStars decided to <a href="">drop a whole host of affiliates from their books</a>, prompting outrage on affiliate forums. The UK Gambling Commission later moved the implementation date to Nov. 1, 2014 due to a High Court case levied against them by the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA).</p> <p>Steven Stradbrooke of believes the significance behind the Oct. 1, 2014 date is the need for the new UK licensees to legally justify their involvement in a market where the company derived 3% or more of it’s total revenue.</p> <p><strong>A Return to the US</strong></p> <p>The other reason cited by Stradbrooke - and most other poker news sites that have carried the same story - is the need to be squeaky clean for their <a href="">return to US cyber soil.</a></p> <p>With the team feverishly working behind the scenes to ensure nothing stands in their way of a triumphant return to <a href="">New Jersey</a> cyber space, the last thing that Amaya Gaming needs is to be recognized as operating in a market that might, perhaps, could, be legal.</p> <p>The trimming of the fat doesn’t just extend to <em>"grey"</em> markets. PokerStars have also cut several Team Pros from the wage bill, including: Marcel Luske, Joe Cada, Alex Kravchenko, Jose Barbero, Humberto Brenes, and Angel Guillen; and a series of <a href="">'look at our squeaky clean business’ videos</a> have also been created in connection with PokerStars HQ on the Isle of Man.</p> <p><strong>Still Taking that Canadian Bacon</strong></p> <p>One grey market that is not found nestled on the list in between Bangladesh and Cuba is Canada.</p> <p>You may remember that PokerStars set tongues wagging when they withdrew their sponsorship deal for the Playground Poker Montreal Festival due to be held in Aug., 2014.</p> <p>Amaya Gaming are still in discussion with Loto-Quebec about a nice black-looking licensing deal, but for the time being that card still looks very grey.</p> <p>Not great news for one of the most successful poker nations in the world, and one that now houses a whole host of <a href="">American online poker</a> grinders who defected north after Black Friday.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:08:34 +0000 Lee Davy 3287 Betfair Receives Waiver to Operate in NJ Under Caesars License <p>It appears we have an answer as to whom Betfair's next New Jersey partner will be, and it will be <strong>Caesars.</strong> The <strong>New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</strong> has issued a transactional waiver for <strong>Betfair</strong> to operate under Caesars Interactive Entertainment's license in New Jersey.</p> <p>With the waiver, Betfair will be able to continue offering <a href="">online poker in New Jersey</a> for at least six months or until Betfair can obtain their own internet casino service industry enterprise license. They are currently listed as an applicant for said license.</p> <p><strong>Betfair to Move Servers to Caesars</strong></p> <p>According to the transactional waiver, Betfair will move their servers and operate from CIE as part of a Data Center Sublicense Agreement. The agreement was entered into on September 22, 2014 by the two parties.</p> <p>Under this agreement, Betfair will operate separately from Caesars and offer real-money online gambling services in New Jersey. It is unclear at this time whether they will offer both online poker and general gaming or eliminate their poker room.</p> <p><strong>Standalone or Partnered With Caesars AC?</strong></p> <p>As an official announcement hasn't been made by either company, it is unclear at this point whether Betfair will operate as a stand-alone site or partner with another casino. Caesars AC would be the most logical fit since they are not actively partnering with <a href=";">888.</a></p> <p>Prior to the <a href="">Ultimate Gaming departure</a>, Betfair was next to last in overall revenue in New Jersey and dead last in online poker revenue. Dropping their poker room and focusing exclusively on general gaming could help improve the site's position. Also, a partnership with a casino that will actively market the company should help to improve overall market share in the state.</p> <p>This is a developing story and we will bring further details as they arise.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:58:25 +0000 James Guill 3286 WSOP NJ Offering Over $100,000 in Guaranteed Prizes in October <p>The weather may be cooling down on the East Coast but the action is heating up on <a href=""> in New Jersey.</a> During the month of October, WSOP NJ is offering over <strong>$100,000 in prize money</strong> as well as launching a new fall tradition.</p> <p>Several new promotions are available for new and current players at WSOP, including the return of Sit &amp; Go leader boards. Also, frequent players have a chance to earn extra cash in their accounts while racking up Action Player Points. Finally, the new <strong>Fall Poker Festival</strong> will award the first-ever champion's ring.</p> <p><strong>Fall Poker Festival Offering $60,000 in Guarantees and Champion's Ring</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>WSOP NJ will kick off their newest tournament series this month with the Fall Poker Festival. Starting October 12 and continuing through October 19, players will have the opportunity to compete for $60,000 in guaranteed prizes.</p> <p>The eight event series will cover most variants of poker spread on the site with buy-ins as cheap as $10. The series kicks off on October 12 with a $200 buy-in NL Hold'em Re-Entry Event with a $20,000 guarantee.</p> <p>The Main Event of the series on October 19 is a $200 buy-in NL Hold'em Event with Re-buys and a $25,000 guarantee. Also up for grabs is the first-ever Champion's Ring. The site is hoping to establish a tradition with this event and draw a stellar field for their Main Event.</p> <p>This champion's ring could also be a precursor for things to come in the future for the site. WSOP officials have indicated a desire to possibly run bracelet or circuit ring events on, so a successful run during the Fall Poker Festival could help make that a reality in the future.</p> <p><strong>Play Along While Watching the WSOP on ESPN</strong></p> <p>Every Sunday through November 9, you can compete on WSOP NJ while watching your favorite players on <strong>ESPN's World Series of Poker broadcasts.</strong> Every Sunday at 9 pm players can compete in a $10 NL Hold'em with re-buys event with a guaranteed prize pool of $2,500.</p> <p>This turbo-structure event will feature five-minute blinds and starting stacks of 4,000 chips. Players get 4,000 for each re-buy and will receive 8,000 chips when they add-on after the re-buy period. The event will pay the top 10 percent of the field.</p> <p>These events are a great way to become part of the WSOP experience or even build your bankroll, so you can take your own stab at the <strong>2015 WSOP Main Event.</strong></p> <p><strong>Earn Your Share in the October APP Dash</strong></p> <p>Frequent players on WSOP NJ will have a chance to earn extra cash while racking up Action Player Points (APPs). During October, the players earning the most APPs will earn their share of $5,000 in prize money. APPs are earned each time you play in cash games or tournaments on WSOP NJ.</p> <p>The top 300 players each day of a qualifying week will be featured on WSOP NJ's daily leaderboard. At the end of the week, the top 30 APP earners will receive cash directly into their player accounts. The more you play, the more APPs you can earn.</p> <p><strong>Sit &amp; Go Leaderboards Return</strong></p> <p>Starting October 5, Sit &amp; Go leaderboards return to WSOP NJ. Players of all bankroll levels can earn cash prizes based on their performance in Sit &amp; Go tournaments on the site. This time, up to $7,500 in prizes are up for grabs.</p> <p><strong>The leader boards are split into three tiers and are as follows:</strong></p> <p>Low Limit ($5 and under) - $1,000 in weekly prizes</p> <p>Mid Limit ($20 and under) - $2,500 in weekly prizes</p> <p>High Limit ($25 and up) - $4,000 in weekly prizes</p> <p>Earning points for this challenge is simple. Just finish in the top half of any qualifying Sit &amp; Go tournament to earn points. Each prize pool will be split among the top 30 players on each week's leaderboard. Please note that Heads-Up Sit &amp; Go tournaments and Satellites do not award points in this promotion.</p> <p><strong>Below are the times you can qualify for each week's Sit &amp; Go leaderboard:</strong></p> <p>12am ET, Sunday October 5 – 11:59pm, Saturday October 11</p> <p>12am ET, Sunday, October 12 – 11:59pm, Saturday, October 18</p> <p>12am ET, Sunday, October 19 – 11:59pm, Saturday, October 25</p> <p>12am ET, Sunday, October 26 – 11:59pm, Saturday, November 1</p> <p><strong>Cash in With October Reload Bonus</strong></p> <p>WSOP NJ is offering a generous reload bonus for those needing to beef up their accounts prior to the Fall Poker Festival. Make your next deposit during October and WSOP NJ will match it 100% up to $400. Just use code Oct2014 to make your deposit and take your seat at the tables. This bonus is clearable in $10 increments with only 100 APPs needed to clear each increment.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>So what are you waiting for? With more than $60,000 in guaranteed prize money up for grabs in 8 great events + the chance to win the first-ever Championship Ring you’ll want to make sure you’re bankroll is ready for battle when the  Fall Poker Festival begins - <a href=";utm_source=95&amp;utm_campaign=431&amp;utm_medium=niche">Join NJ today!</a></strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 14:49:51 +0000 James Guill 3285 Full Tilt Skyrockets into 4th Place in Player Traffic <p>Just a few days ago, <strong>Full Tilt</strong> overtook <strong>Bodog/Bovada</strong> for <a href="">5th place in cash game player traffic.</a> The relaunched poker site has not ended its ascent up the worldwide rankings there, as an influx of players now finds Full Tilt in 4th place and climbing.</p> <p>The latest numbers provided by <a href="">PokerScout</a> show Full Tilt with a seven-day average of 1,700 players, a gain of 250 players in a matter of days. As a result, <strong>PartyPoker</strong> now holds down the 5th position, averaging 1,450 ring game players.</p> <p>That's a decrease of 50 players for the offering, many of whom may have clicked their way over to Full Tilt. The sister site of <strong>PokerStars</strong> is likely benefiting from its <strong>Easy Bonus Promotion</strong> that gives away free cash to all active players who earn a specific number of points that vary according to the bonus offered to each player.</p> <p>Full Tilt appears to be pushing the promo quite heavily. On a personal note, I received two emails in recent days reminding me that a bonus cash offer is sitting in my Full Tilt account. The deadline for acceptance is Oct. 5, with 10 days permitted to release the bonus by earning the required points after accepting.</p> <p>Next month will mark two full years since Full Tilt relaunched following <strong>Black Friday</strong> and its shutdown. My, how time flies.</p> <p> </p> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 18:30:09 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3284 Chris "Fox" Wallace on Poker Backing: A Look at the Numbers <p>I am frequently approached with this question -</p> <p><em>"I have a friend / poker buddy / family member who wants to buy me into some tournaments for 50% of my profits. How should we do this? Do we need a contract?"</em></p> <p>I've never had a contract myself, I wouldn't deal with someone where I felt I needed a contract and so far no one has felt that they needed a contract from me. If I were to put together a contract for a backing deal, I would be just fine with a plain English email. Judges can read plain English too and you don't need a bunch of legalese to create a legally binding document.</p> <p>Either way, you should be aware that you are on the sweetheart side of this deal. Usually this question comes from people who may be strong players in their local game, but don't have a significant proven track record in bigger events. No matter how good you are, this kind of agreement wouldn't be profitable for the backer no matter who they were backing. Without makeup, 50% is just an insurmountable margin for the backer, though it will make the player wealthy very quickly.</p> <p><strong>Don't Believe Me?</strong></p> <p>If you want to test this, keep a record of the next fifty tournaments you play. Now put them into a spreadsheet and add up the buy-ins. As an example, we'll use $200+30 buy-in tournaments with 100 entrants and assume they are all the same. First place would be around $6,000 and 10 spots get paid.</p> <p>A great player might cash as often as 20% of the time, so our hero cashes ten times in the sample of 50 tournaments, and wins twice as often as the usual player. In fact he finishes in each payout spot twice as often as the usual player, so he finishes in each payout spot exactly once.</p> <p>We don't need to do the math in this case (funny that it ended up that way, almost as if someone planned it…) because our hero finishing once in each spot will win exactly the prize pool of the tournament over the course of his 50 buy-ins. After 3% comes out for staff and dealers, he wins $19,400. His buy-ins are only 50 * $230 = $11,500, so he makes a profit of $19,400 - $11,500 = $7,900. Unfortunately, that profit isn't nearly enough to make this a profitable deal for the backer.</p> <p>The backer spends $11,500 and gets back half of the $19,400 profit, which comes to $9,700. He loses $11,500 - $9,700 = $1,800. While the backer loses $1,800, the player makes half of the $19,400, or $9,700, for himself. In this very common deal, the player makes $9,700 while his backer loses $1,800. Not a good deal for the backer even though they chose a very strong player who had good results.</p> <p><strong>Look at it This Way</strong></p> <p>In single events, it's better to see this kind of agreement as selling action, where the backer might pay 1.25. If you divide 1 /1.25 = .8, you can see that if you want the backer to put up all the money, then he should get 80% of the winnings if he pays all of the buy-in. I know, that doesn't sound as good as getting half of the income for no investment other than your time, but it's about what is fair and it's what pros do for each other on a frequent basis.</p> <p>I hope I have shed some light here. Backing isn't always the right way to go, and in fact it is best to start small and win your way up, but if you must take backing or sell action, now you have some ideas about how it should work.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:02:21 +0000 Chris Wallace 3283 Brookfield Asset Management Wins Revel Auction for $110 Million <p>A winner has emerged from the <strong>Revel </strong>bankruptcy auction and <strong>Glenn Straub</strong> isn't happy.</p> <p><strong>Brookfield Asset Management</strong> was announced as the winner of the auction on Tuesday following a bid of $110 million. Straub is officially the backup bidder at $94.5 million. The $110 million is just 4.5% of the $2.4 billion that it cost to build the property.</p> <p>Brookfield placed their $110 million bid on Tuesday with the caveat that it must be accepted by 6 am on Wednesday or they would withdraw it. The bid was accepted and Straub chose to end bidding on the property. The sale still requires approval by the bankruptcy court with a hearing scheduled for October 7.</p> <p><strong>Winner Has Experience in the Casino Industry</strong></p> <p>Brookfield was clearly the best fit for the former Revel property considering their background in the casino industry. They own the <strong>Hard Rock Hotel &amp; Casino in Las Vegas </strong>and the <strong>Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas.</strong></p> <p>According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, we can get some insight into what to expect from Revel based on what they did with the Atlantis. The company spent $8 million in upgrading the facilities and organized a preseason college basketball tournament to attract non-gambling patrons. The property's hotel also became a member of Marriott International Inc.'s independent hotel network.</p> <p>The company will also benefit from over $2 billion in debt that has been eliminated in Revel's two bankruptcies. That, coupled with the deep pockets of the company, puts Brookfield in a great position to succeed in Atlantic City.</p> <p><strong>Auction Riddled With Controversy</strong></p> <p>Glenn Straub is still unhappy with the overall process of the bankruptcy auction, claiming a lack of transparency during the process. Straub filed multiple motions this week complaining about the auction process. He even tried to delay the auction, but was denied.</p> <p>Straub told Reuters on Monday that he would challenge the results of the auction if he lost due to the lack of transparency. The bidding officially started on September 24 but Straub claimed that he and his staff were forced to wait around for six hours and were not even permitted to make a bid. The bidding was then suspended for the Rosh Hashanah holiday.</p> <p>Even if Straub is unable to receive any legal remediation for his complaints, there is still the matter of the $3 million breakup fee. The bankruptcy court reluctantly agreed to the fee when it was apparent he would withdraw from the auction proceedings. At the time, there were no other potential bidders to challenge him.</p> <p><strong>Licensing Procedure Could Be Swift for Brookfield</strong></p> <p>The next step in the process is final approval and closing on the property. An approval hearing is scheduled on Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Camden, NJ. Judge Gloria Burns will oversee the hearing and make the final approvals. Should Brookfield receive approval and close on the property, the next step is licensing.</p> <p>Matthew Levinson, chairman of the NJ Casino Control Commission, wouldn't offer much insight into the licensing process but did say that they would be swift in the process. He stated, <em>"It would be premature for me to discuss what might happen, since the bankruptcy court has not yet approved the sale. We certainly will do this as expeditiously as possible."</em></p> <p>With four properties closed and a fifth potentially closing, there is little reason to believe Brookfield would not be licensed. <strong>Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian</strong> is optimistic on Brookfield, stating, <em>"I think they are the right company for the property."</em></p> <p><strong>Will Brookfield Tackle Online Gambling?</strong></p> <p>While the immediate focus is closing on the sale and reopening the casino, the Brookfield project does present the possibility of another player coming into the <a href="">New Jersey online poker</a> and gambling market. Due to financial pressures, Revel chose not to enter Atlantic City iGaming but it would seem counterproductive for the Brookfield project to take the same route.</p> <p>The question is whether Brookfield will provide their own solution, contract a third party, or maybe become the new home for <strong>Betfair.</strong> <a href="">Betfair is still seeking a partner</a> following the closure of the <strong>Trump Plaza</strong> and they would provide a ready-made solution for Brookfield.</p> <p>With <a href="">PokerStars</a> and Amaya on the cusp of entering Atlantic City, Brookfield's project could provide a partner for <strong>Full Tilt.</strong> While there have been no discussions of bringing Full Tilt to the United States, Brookfield could open that door.</p> <p>For now, the company must focus on closing on the property and getting their licenses in order. A timeline hasn't been set on reopening the property, but a realistic estimate would be in early 2015.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 15:32:35 +0000 James Guill 3281 PokerStars Rolls Out Casino Games on Spanish Site <p>Since launching in September 2011, <strong>PokerStars</strong> has been known for dealing only online poker at its worldwide site and a number of other websites servicing various ring-fenced jurisdictions.</p> <p>Thirteen years later, that has changed as PokerStars is now offering <strong>Roulette</strong> and <strong>Blackjack</strong> to its Spanish players on <strong></strong> Both play and real-money action is available at an assortment of stake levels at the new online offerings.</p> <p><blockquote class="left">We know that many of our customers are enjoying online casino games on competing platforms and our offering will enhance their experience with PokerStars and provide a safe, trusted and convenient way for them to be entertained,” said Gino Appiotti, PokerStars' President of the region covering Southern Europe. “PokerStars aims to remain as the number one poker operator in Spain and strongly believes that in this market, adding casino games is the best way to serve players.”</blockquote></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>The launch in <strong>Spain</strong> may be followed by similar roll outs in other jurisdictions such as <strong>Italy</strong>. There are indications that PokerStars may also choose to offer <a href="">New Jersey</a> residents both online poker and casino gambling once state gaming regulators issue a license to do so.</p> <p>It is debatable whether <strong>Rational Group</strong> would have done likewise had they still maintained control of PokerStars. But with <strong>Amaya Gaming</strong> now at the helm following <a href="">the blockbuster $4.9 billion acquisition</a> a few months ago, changes appear to be on the agenda.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:01:19 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3280 Phil Ivey to Tell All on "Edge Sorting" on 60 Minutes Sports Oct. 7 <p><strong>Phil Ivey</strong> doesn't like the word <em>"cheater"</em> to be associated with his name in reference to the <em>"edge sorting"</em> lawsuits he is involved in, and the poker superstar will apparently tell his side of the story in an interview on <strong>60 Minutes Sports.</strong></p> <p>Airing on Showtime on October 7 at 10:00 p.m. PT and ET, Ivey will be interviewed by <strong>James Brown.</strong> A short video clip has been released by CBS News in conjunction with next Tuesday's broadcast, and it appears that the interview will provide more than just a glimpse into Ivey's life as a poker pro and gambler.</p> <p>Arguably the world's best poker player, Ivey has two lawsuits pending over his ability to win millions of dollars playing baccarat at both <strong>Crockfords Casino in London</strong> and the <strong>Borgata Hotel Casino &amp; Spa in Atlantic City.</strong> The casinos accuse the 10-time WSOP gold bracelet winner of cheating by edge sorting, to which Ivey takes extreme offense.</p> <p><em>"Some people believe that it was cheating,"</em> Ivey calmly explains. <em>"I know it wasn't, and that's why we're going to court."</em></p> <p>Filming for the 60 Minutes Sports segment was shot during the <strong>2014 World Series of Poker</strong> in June and July in Las Vegas. Ivey managed to secure his tenth WSOP title in $1,500 Eight Game Mix over the course of the summer festival, as well as cash in three other events.</p> <p>Check out the teaser below regarding the upcoming episode.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:50:02 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3279 GPI Aims to Unite Poker Industry with Global Poker Conference <p>The <strong>Global Poker Index</strong> (GPI) has one allegiance, and that’s to the fans of poker. <strong>Chief Executive, Alex Dreyfus,</strong> has a vision to not only help create a better product for those fans, but to also help create more fans. To ensure that happens, Dreyfus believes that a unified approach is necessary.</p> <p>He is an advocate of the rowing boat imagery that is slapped on whiteboards up and down the business world. If everyone is rowing in different directions then the boat will go around in circles. Get everyone to row in the right direction and suddenly you are going somewhere.</p> <p>The poker industry is very splintered. It’s a dog eat dog world. The constant clashing of tournaments is proof personified that the three biggest live tournament organizers in the world don’t seem to be able to sit in the same boat without picking up the oars and smashing them over each other’s heads.</p> <p>The GPI is the one true constant in this aggressive little market. Dreyfus and his team couldn’t care less if the <strong>European Poker Tour</strong> (EPT) is better than the <strong>World Poker Tour</strong> (WPT), but they do care if the tours are a success. They are the gateways for millions of fans. Those doors need to be well-oiled and open easily. The GPI do everything they can to make sure they don’t rust like the man who asked the Wizard for a heart.</p> <p>In an attempt to get everyone rowing in the same direction, the GPI have decided that the first step is to get everyone into the same boat. They intend to do this by hosting the first-ever <strong>Global Poker Conference</strong> in the first quarter of 2015.</p> <p>The vision is to host the GPC 2015 concurrently in both Europe and North America with a handful of experienced members of both world’s crossing over to ensure the breadth of the industry is covered on both continents.</p> <p><blockquote>The purpose of our twin Global Poker Conferences is to get the poker industry to communicate," Dreyfus said in a press release. "We’re pushing it to structure itself as a cohesive industry rather than the set of disparate initiatives it is today.”</blockquote></p> <p>The approach the GPI have taken is superlative in its simplicity. Why hasn’t anybody thought about this before? It’s because it’s daring, hard work, and a tad inconvenient. Three problems that Dreyfus is willing to brush under the carpet in order to do what’s right.</p> <p>It’s anticipated that the events will showcase a series of high profile speakers from throughout the industry. That people from all parts of the complicated system that is poker get a voice and feel like it’s heard.</p> <p>Innovators will get a chance to share their dreams, social media plans can be drawn up and delivered. The way that we organize and promote poker tours and competitions can also be placed on the table and dissected until the fat has been placed in the trash.</p> <p>The GPC was founded to create an open forum capable of accommodating industry-wide discussion, encouraging the exchange of information, and giving poker - both as a professional global sport and as a business community - a focal point from which to grow and adopt new initiatives. To achieve this, GPI will gather the game’s most important operators and prominent brands active in North America and Europe.</p> <p><strong>Global Poker Index Partners With CineSport</strong></p> <p>Let’s imagine for one moment that the GPC 2015 is a rip-roaring success.</p> <p>Then what?</p> <p>It’s imperative that part of the new world order involves a marketing strategy that gives poker a make over. A startling revolution that changes us from a shady game to a well-respected sport. One of the ways to do this is to connect with people who already do this - people like <strong>CineSport.</strong></p> <p>CineSport is a web syndication company that distributes sporting videos to over 30 news outlets in the US. High profile establishments such as The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are just a few of the gateways that CineSport use to reach over 14 million eyeballs.</p> <p>Dreyfus and his team at the GPI believe that 22.5% of US sports fans that use the Internet to access their information are interested in poker content. That makes total sense. It also makes total sense to go after them in a constructive, smart, and aggressive way.</p> <p>The relationship with CineSport achieves that goal.</p> <p><blockquote>This strategic partnership finally gives us the opportunity to reach a U.S. sports market that’s interested in poker content.” Dreyfus said. “This is a great first step towards a larger plan to bring poker into the mainstream sports consciousness, and GPI is excited to provide fans with this volume and quality of exclusive coverage with the support of CineSport.”</blockquote></p> <p>CineSport COO, Michael Dresner, believes that poker is a <em>"growth"</em> sport and is very happy to be getting into bed with the GPI at such an early phase of what will hopefully turn out to be quite a magnificent journey.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:43:31 +0000 Lee Davy 3278 Bid for Revel Casino Up to $110 Million <p>We have a bonafide auction for the defunct <strong>Revel Casino</strong> in Atlantic City and <strong>Glenn Straub</strong> isn't happy.</p> <p>A Canadian firm has thrown down the gauntlet in the Revel bankruptcy auction and has increased their bid on the property to $110 million. Meanwhile, Straub is complaining on how proceedings are unfolding.</p> <p>The race to own the former Revel Casino appears to be down to two parties. According to <a href="">NBCPhiladelphia</a>, <strong>Brookfield Properties</strong> has emerged as the other challenger for the property and currently has the lead in bidding at $110 million. Straub's company has yet to counter the latest bid.</p> <p><strong>New Player is Canadian Firm Familiar with Casino Industry</strong></p> <p>Brookfield Properties is a global firm based out of Toronto, ON. They currently own casinos in both the <strong>Bahamas</strong> and <strong>Las Vegas.</strong> They opened their bidding at $94 million and Straub quickly countered with $95.4 million.</p> <p>Brookfield then upped the ante and raised their bid to a hefty $110 million, or just over 5 percent of the Revel's original cost. The auction is still ongoing and Straub has yet to make a counteroffer.</p> <p><strong>Straub Not Happy With Auction Process</strong></p> <p>The auction is already off to a rocky start after complaints from Straub over auction procedures. Straub is upset over how the auction is being handled and filed a pair of motions late Monday.</p> <p>The first asked to force casino lawyers to provide information on other bids received by the casino. Straub claims that Revel attorneys are not honoring a promise to share information on other bids received during the auction. This filing was denied.</p> <p>His other filing requested the auction be delayed until Thursday. In the filing, Straub also complained about the auction process on September 24. He claims that he and his team were forced to wait for six hours without anything happening.</p> <p>He further claims that no bids were taken before the auction was adjourned for the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah. In the filing, he claimed, <em>"The entire time spent on the trip was completely wasted with significant dollars spent, all for nothing. That six hours went by with nothing whatsoever occurring in public, and with the debtors' counsel refusing to provide any information at all as to the 'proceedings' supposedly taking place behind closed doors, serious concerns arise as to good faith."</em></p> <p>The court denied the request but did schedule a hearing to listen to Straub's objection on October 20.</p> <p><strong>Auction Will Continue on Wednesday</strong></p> <p>The auction is scheduled to continue on Wednesday with the bidding at $110 million. Straub has yet to indicate whether he will continue or how much more he is willing to bid on the property.</p> <p>Brookfield Properties has yet to reveal their plans for the former Revel property, but one has to assume it will involve some type of casino. Regardless of who wins the property, a casino in some form will return to the property and some of the nearly 8,000 jobs lost this year will be recouped.</p> <p>Revel was one of four properties to close in 2014. The $2.4 billion casino opened just two years ago and has as many bankruptcies as it does years of operation. Straub described the property as a <em>"monstrosity,"</em> but plans to put in a <em>"genius university"</em> in the property along with a scaled-back casino.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:01:58 +0000 James Guill 3277 Locaid Ready as Nevada-Delaware Geolocation Provider <p>The upcoming interstate online poker launch between Nevada and <a href="">Delaware</a> is anxiously awaited by many throughout the poker industry who realize that the success of <a href="">regulated Internet poker in the U.S.</a> is dependent on such partnerships.</p> <p>Delaware and Nevada formed the first interstate alliance in February with hopes that many other states would climb aboard in the future. The <strong>Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement </strong>(MSIGA) was born between the pair of regulated states and that agreement carries with it some strict regulatory requirements, especially concerning geolocation technology.</p> <p>Faced with the task of restricting online poker play to players within those two partnered states is <a href="">Locaid</a>, a geolocation company that is primed and ready for the interstate compact to begin. Locaid currently provides its geolocation services to gaming companies in all three regulated states and will play a big part in the MSIGA's success.</p> <p><blockquote>Locaid delivers mobile compliance technology that ultimately enabled the first interstate online poker deal in U.S. history," said Locaid President and CEO Rip Gerber. "We have been plumbing the mobile location systems with carriers, operators and regulators for years to reach this landmark accord, and we congratulate Nevada and Delaware in delivering a secure, customer-friendly geolocation compliance approach that can cross state lines."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>New Jersey too?</strong></p> <p>Locaid also operates in <a href="">New Jersey</a>, a state in which complaints from players mounted following the Garden State's online poker and gambling launch last November. Some were claiming that even while physically located in New Jersey, they could not access the gaming sites.</p> <p>Part of the reason for that is because the boundaries established by the casinos that operate the gaming sites were not identical to New Jersey's actual physical boundaries. It is imperative that players located outside the state not be able to access the sites, so the gaming providers may have adjusted their areas of operation slightly inward.</p> <p><blockquote>A lot of customers (gaming sites) have moved the borders in a little bit, just to be safe," said Jeff Allyn, Locaid's Senior VP of sales and marketing to "Over time those boundaries will get adjusted."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Advanced technology</strong></p> <p>Although those geolocation issues pertaining to boundaries did crop up, the technology is actually quite advanced and can identify exactly where a player is located. You can be playing in a poker tournament on your iPad in New Jersey while in a car and drive over one of three bridges to get to Staten Island, New York.</p> <p>Your access to the poker site will be denied once you are within the boundaries of the state of New York. Turn around and go over the bridge back to New Jersey and you will once again be online and participating in tournament action.</p> <p>Both <a href="">Nevada</a> and Delaware are hoping that New Jersey does become a partner in the MSIGA, as well as other states that enact online poker regulations in the future. It is <a href="">estimated that 20 states will join the online poker party by 2020</a> and Locaid is more than willing to provide geolocation services to them all.</p> <p><em>"We look forward to working with additional state regulatory teams and gaming operators as they onboard,"</em> said Gerber. <em>"And if New Jersey joins the pact, our location service currently deployed in the Garden State will seamlessly integrate."</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:31:25 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3276 "Chip Dumping" Detected at EPN <p>The <strong>Equity Poker Network</strong> (EPN) has issued a press release stating that evidence of chip dumping was discovered earlier this month and the network has taken appropriate action against the perpetrators.</p> <p>Four players were reportedly involved in the scam, which is typically done by intentionally losing chips to another player. Chips are dumped to either aid another player in his or her quest to win a tournament or are dumped at a cash table as a means of laundering funds.</p> <p>In the latter circumstance, money in the player's account who is doing the dumping may have been deposited in a fraudulent manner such as with a stolen credit card. The player with a valid account who receives the dumped chips will then cash out the ill-gotten funds.</p> <p><strong>5Dimes alerts EPN fraud team</strong></p> <p>The alleged chip dumping at EPN was spotted on Monday, Sept. 22 by a representative on <strong>5Dimes</strong>, a network skin. A <em>"very large sum of funds was incorrectly credited to the online account"</em> of a 5Dimes player on Sept. 17. The rep then informed the EPN Fraud and Security Team.</p> <p>The fraud team carefully observed the suspected chip dumper's play and <em>"identified suspicious activity occurring between him and three new <strong>Full Flush Poker</strong> (FFP) player accounts, which were registered on September 18."</em></p> <p>Hand histories of the four suspect accounts were analyzed and revealed that the 5Dimes player <em>"consistently"</em> dumped chips to the FFP players, who requested cashouts worth thousands of dollars. EPN security determined that <em>"the three FFP accounts were set up for the sole purpose of cashing out as much of the misappropriated funds as possible."</em></p> <p><strong>What to look for</strong></p> <p>In studying the hand histories of a possible chip dumping scam, the jig is usually up when a fraud team spots large bets made with poor hands and/or large bets and raises by the chip dumper who will then fold his cards on fourth or fifth street. Opening a new account and then attempting to withdraw large funds just a few days later is another red flag for network investigators.</p> <p><blockquote>The welfare of our players remains our number one priority, and we will not tolerate cheating or any other form of fraud occurring on EPN," said a network spokesperson. "We take all necessary precautions to safeguard our Network, and to protect our players and the integrity of their bankrolls. Our Fraud Team has worked diligently to identify this irregularity, and to deal with the perpetrators quickly and permanently.”</blockquote></p> <p>The colluding perps had their online accounts disabled. The money was confiscated and returned to 5Dimes.</p> <p><strong>Not the first incident at EPN</strong></p> <p>This was not the first time that EPN announced that its investigators had discovered and put an end to fraudulent activity among players on its network. In February, <a href="">a <em>"collusion ring"</em> was found to be operating</a> and the accounts of a number of players were <em>"quickly and permanently"</em> shut down.</p> <p>Collusion may occur on <a href="">online poker sites</a> more than players realize. The incidents found are likely not announced, as most sites would rather not draw such negative attention to the goings-on at their sites.</p> <p>It is somewhat refreshing that EPN has chosen to go in the opposite direction and report to players and the public when fraudulent activity is discovered. Such transparency is needed throughout the industry, <strong>as there are many players who continue to be wary and skeptical of the integrity of online poker sites.</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:16:19 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3275 Chris "Fox" Wallace on the Basics of Poker Backing <p><span class="letter-big">O</span>ver the years I have tried almost every way of financing my poker career. For the first seven or eight years that I played poker for a living, I played entirely with my own money and never accepted backing or sold action. I highly recommend doing the same thing for your entire poker career if you can. Splitting your winnings with someone else just cuts down on your income and doesn't make sense if you have a comfortable bankroll to play on your own.</p> <p>While playing exclusively on your own bankroll is preferable, it's not always easy to do. When <strong>Black Friday</strong> caused around 90% of my net worth and a similar percentage of my income stream, I was left in a tough spot financially and the small $1/2 no-limit games that I would have used to rebuild my bankroll just weren't available in my home state of Minnesota.</p> <p><strong>Full Backing with Makeup</strong></p> <p>I took on a backer for awhile, with a standard makeup deal. After my backer got all the buy-ins back from previous losses, then we split winnings 50/50. Not only does this clearly cost me half my income, but it is also very frustrating. If you didn't have a big score in your last tournament, you are in makeup, and even a very good player can be in makeup for months at a time.</p> <p>There are very few players who play the same size tournaments all the time, which leaves you in a tough spot in makeup. If you bust a few $10k events and are $30,000 in makeup, it can be tough to give it your best effort in a $1,000 event with a small field where first place won't even get you out of makeup. Imagine playing for two days, spending your own money getting to the venue and eating, only to bust in 3rd place for $10,000 and walking away with nothing, still $20,000 in makeup. Demoralizing to say the least.</p> <p>Standard makeup deals do work for some players, and they can be profitable if they get you to a place where you can play much higher than you could play on your own money. Just be careful to include which events (or cash games) are included in the deal ahead of time. You don't want to find out that you have to play $100 events at your local card room for your backer when they are your source of rent money.</p> <p><strong>Selling Action</strong></p> <p>I found that selling action was the best solution for me, but only once I was established as a proven winner and could charge a markup. A markup is basically a fee that you charge your investors. You are doing the work, and they are getting a profitable investment opportunity, so you charge them a percentage much like a hedge fund.</p> <p>I sold a package of tournaments totaling around $50,000 last year for the <strong>World Series of Poker</strong>, with a markup of 1.2. This was a bargain, a lot of people knew it, and the action sold out quickly. I sold a little more than half my action and put up the rest of the money myself. For each 1% of my future winnings in this package of tournaments, my investors paid $600. That is $500 * 1.2 = $600. This is how markup works.</p> <p>You will have trouble charging markup if you are not an established winning player. The very best players, or those who have lots of investors interested because they are famous or have large followings, can charge as much as 1.4 and still sell out. While players who have $100,000 in tracked winnings and no real reputation beyond this will probably have to sell at 1.1 to 1 or charge no markup at all. This can still be valuable, helping to make up the difference so that you can play all the tournaments you would like to play and start building that reputation so that you can charge a higher markup later.</p> <p>Remember to always, no, let me restate that, <strong>ALWAYS</strong>, get money ahead of time when you are selling action. If you can't get the money together, don't play the tournament, but do not extend credit and then try to collect from people who owe you money after you have already busted the tournaments. It is not worth the hassle and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of your investors.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:43:43 +0000 Chris Wallace 3274 Atlantic City Mayor May Have Killed Deal to Save Trump Taj Mahal <p>Atlantic City's mayor may have sealed the fate of the bankrupt <strong>Trump Taj Mahal.</strong></p> <p>On Monday, a comprehensive plan was revealed that could have saved the struggling casino. However, a tax break that was key to the plan's success has been reportedly shot down and could lead to the property's closure.</p> <p><strong>Trump Entertainment</strong> filed papers detailing a comprehensive plan intending on saving the Trump Taj Mahal. According to <a href="">ABCNews</a>, the plans hinges on several key concessions, including a massive tax break from the city. However, <strong>Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian</strong> revealed a tax break would not be possible.</p> <p><strong>Deal Would Give Icahn Ownership</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>The proposed deal by Trump Entertainment would effectively give principle debt holder <strong>Carl Icahn</strong> control of the Trump Taj Mahal. Icahn wants to convert debt into equity in the casino and then wants to invest approximately $100 million in improving the casino.</p> <p>However, the deal requires several concessions be made from various parties. First, he wants the casino employees union to abandon their pension plan and participate in a 401(k) plan. He also wants them to abandon their health care through the union and participate in the Affordable Care Act.</p> <p>Next, he wants the city to reduce tax assessments on both the <strong>Trump Plaza</strong> and the Trump Taj Mahal. He wants them reduced from $248 million and $1 billion to $40 million and $300 million, respectively. Finally, he wants $25 million in tax credits or other investments from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.</p> <p><strong>"No Hope" Without Icahn Money</strong></p> <p>According to the court filings from Friday, the outlook for the Taj is grim. The property contends that without Icahn's money, there is little chance for the property to survive beyond November. Trump Plaza is currently losing $7 million per month and will run out of money completely by mid-December. At present, Icahn appears to be the only solution.</p> <p>The casino union contends that Icahn is attempting to use this to his advantage. They claim that the proposed Icahn deal would result in a cut in total compensation to employees of approximately 35%. Court filings reveal that the union was willing to give up their pensions, but not their health care.</p> <p>According to the Local 54 of Unite-HERE, Icahn is <em>"seeking to take advantage of the Atlantic City crisis to do away with the health care thousands of south Jersey casino workers and their families have fought for and relied upon for over 30 years. The impact of these proposals throughout south Jersey communities would be dire."</em></p> <p><strong>Tax Breaks Not Possible According to Guardian</strong></p> <p>Guardian quickly stated the city's position on the Icahn proposal, essentially nixing the requested tax reassessments. Guardian told the Associated Press, <em>"Given the difficult economic situation in Atlantic City, we are not in a position to accept these requests. We cannot afford those demands."</em></p> <p>Guardian's unwillingness to reduce tax assessments should not come as a surprise considering the financial crisis the city is currently experiencing. The city already has to cut $40 million from its budget over the next four years and that was before the closure of four casinos in 2014. The Taj would make the fifth casino to close its doors.</p> <p><strong>Is There a Plan B?</strong></p> <p>Some of the demands put forth in the initial Icahn deal seemed a bit excessive, so one has to wonder if this was just the <em>"first attempt"</em> by the company or if they really put all their cards on the table. Icahn could try again with a similar proposal, but a better strategy may be to possibly negotiate with city officials and see if there is a tax arrangement that could help keep the Taj open.</p> <p>Atlantic City doesn't want to see the Taj close and its 2,800 employees certainly don't want to lose their jobs. The potential to save the Taj exists. Now it's a question on how much Icahn really wants to pay and how much the city is willing to give up to keep the casino.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:41:38 +0000 James Guill 3272 Affiliate Agreements Cut by PokerStars Prompting Outrage on Forums <p>There is an air of superiority about <strong>PokerStars.</strong></p> <p>The world’s largest <a href="">online poker</a> room, the European Poker Tour (arguably one of the best live tournament series in the world), SCOOP, WCOOP, and software and structures that online poker companies would die for.</p> <p>They even hire <a href="">Rafael Nadal and Ronaldo</a> to promote their brand.</p> <p>They are absolute mustard.</p> <p>For once they are in the news for the wrong reasons. Affiliate companies around the world are calling them <em>"thieves," "scum,"</em> and uttering quotes such as, <em>"Karma is a bitch PokerStars and I hope she delivers justice soon."</em></p> <p>This vitriol has emerged after a number of PokerStars affiliates received a standard letter from <strong>Amaya Gaming Group Limited</strong> giving them a seven-day notice period of termination of agreement.</p> <p><strong>Here is the meat of that letter -</strong></p> <p><blockquote>In accordance with Clause 8.4 of the Agreement by this letter AGL gives you written notice via e-mail that it is terminating the Agreement. As set out in Clause 8.4 of the Agreement the notice period for this termination is 7 days and the effective termination date will therefore be October 1, 2014 (the “Termination”). As of the Termination, and the payment to you of monies due to you as at the time of the Termination, AGL shall have no obligation to make any further Commission payments to you.</p> <p>We remind you that, pursuant to Clause 8.9 of the Agreement, upon the Termination, you are obligated to immediately remove from the Website and cease to use all Links, Marketing Codes, Trade Marks and any other materials of any form provided by or on behalf of AGL to you pursuant to the Agreement and all license and rights granted hereunder to you shall immediately terminate.”</blockquote></p> <p>Not exactly what I would call a friendly letter.</p> <p><strong>Where’s the Human Touch PokerStars?</strong></p> <p>You will notice that the glaring omission from the letter is a reason why the company is being severed from the PokerStars brand? It’s this approach that seems to have angered affiliates the most, with some of the companies having relationships with the Red Spade since the turn of the noughties.</p> <p>Writing on the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association (GPWA) website, a poster known as ‘Edd’ asks, <em>"Are PokerStars doing an Empire Poker?"</em> before going on to tell people that he received a termination letter. A second member known as ‘Notspot’ - who said he had been supporting Stars since 2006 - also confirmed that he too had received the same letter.</p> <p>Over at Poker Affiliate Listings, the Swedish owner of, Markus Sonermo, also uses the forum to spread the word about his termination letter and complain that Stars still plan to send two representatives to the Barcelona Affiliate Conference, <em>"to find new affiliates!"</em></p> <p><strong>Is it Just Business?</strong></p> <p>In reaction to the news, PokerStars Head of Corporate Communication, Eric Hollreiser, tweeted:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet">It's a slow poker news day when dropping a handful of affiliate contracts drives random and wrong assumptions. <a href="">#NextTimeCallFirst</a> <p> </p> — Eric Hollreiser (<cite>erichollreiser) <a href="">September 26, 2014</a></blockquote> <p> <script src=""><![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ ]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt</cite>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]><![CDATA[>]]></script></p> <p>On a more formal note Stars then issued a statement that included the text:</p> <p><blockquote>PokerStars ended the agreements with a very small number of affiliates who were not recruiting many new players, and who were doing little active promotion of our services.”</blockquote></p> <p>The Oct 1st termination date coincides with the <a href="">UK Gambling Commission’s initial plans to invoke the Gambling (Licensing &amp; Advertising) Act 2014.</a> As part of the new legislation PokerStars will have to pay a 15% point of consumption (POC) tax for the business that it does in the UK.</p> <p>With several high profile PokerStars Team Pros having their contracts severed in recent weeks (the most recent, and high profile, being Joe Cada), and now the decision to <em>"routinely review its agreements with these affiliates to ensure that they are productive for the company,"</em> are Stars cutting their cloth to pay for this new 15% charge?</p> <p>What do you think?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:49:23 +0000 Lee Davy 3273 PokerStars Rolls Out "Spin & Go" Worldwide <p>Online poker players who enjoy <strong>Lottery Sit n' Gos</strong> can now play the game at the world's top site as <strong>PokerStars</strong> announced it has launched its version called <strong>Spin &amp; Go</strong> on its main poker site.</p> <p><a href="">PokerStars </a>previously tested the fast-paced, lottery-type Sit n' Go game in its segregated markets of <strong>France, Italy and Spain.</strong> A press release trumpeting the new roll out claims Spin &amp; Go <em>"has been a big hit"</em> in those ring-fenced markets, passing the test and prompting the launch on</p> <p><blockquote>Spin and Go is great for so many reasons," said Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel. "First, the game lasts just a few minutes, making it perfect for whenever you have some free time, and it’s ideal for mobile play. But the most attractive aspect is the lottery-style prize pool, which means you never know how much you’re going to be playing for. Having the chance to win thousands of dollars from just a few dollars is great, considering you only have to beat two players to win the lot!”</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Lottery Sit n' Go Basics</strong></p> <p>For those who have yet to hear about Lottery Sit n' Gos, the action is three-handed and hyper-turbo, forcing players to start with less chips and navigate blind levels that jump quickly. The buy-ins available at Spin &amp; Go are from $1-$30 and the randomly selected prize pools can be anywhere from 2x to 1,000x a single buy-in.</p> <p>Once three players are registered at a particular buy-in, spinning numbers will eventually rest on one number that indicates the worth of the prize pool. Jackpots can reach $30,000 on a $30 entry fee. The probability of being seated at a table with that massive prize pool is 5 out of 100,000.</p> <p>The concept was first introduced by <a href="">Winamax and called Expresso Poker</a>. Since then, copycats have come out under the names of <strong>Twister Poker at the iPoker Network, Jackpot Sit &amp; Go at Full Tilt,</strong> and Spin &amp; Go at PokerStars.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:22:10 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3271 Delaware Online Poker Revenue Up 24% in August <p>Online poker revenue in <strong>Delaware</strong> rose 24% in August to $38,654.69, marking the second month of solid increases for the tiny state.</p> <p>On the heels of a 22% rise in July, <a href="">Internet poker in Delaware</a> is enjoying a bit of a resurgence after a three-month decline that saw it drop from $84,476.91 in March to $25,607.60 in June. While those revenue numbers may seem paltry to some, keep in mind that only 900,000 or so call Delaware home.</p> <p>Huge gains the last two months over previous months can likely be partially attributed to a software enhancement undertaken by the Delaware Lottery that permitted <a href="">online gambling to be compatible with players using Macintosh computers.</a> That software upgrade was finalized in late June and ipoker revenue gained handsomely the next two months.</p> <p><strong>Online gambling up too!</strong></p> <p>A month-by-month increase was also <a href="">posted by the Delaware Lottery</a> in all its online gambling offerings including poker, video lottery and casino games. <strong>Harrington Raceway, Delaware Park and Dover Downs</strong> collectively took in $172,854.50, up a few hundred bucks from July's total of 172,496.41.</p> <p>The gaming sites of Delaware's three racinos reported that 376 new players registered to gamble online in August. That's down 8% from July. The best month to date for new signups was the launch month of November 2013 when 2,654 Delawareans registered. The lowest was May 2014 at only 342 new players.</p> <p><strong>Delaware Park leads the way</strong></p> <p>Delaware Park is the state's igaming revenue leader, accounting for $122,136.49 of the 172,496.41 taken in during August. Dover Downs grabbed $34,920.57 in revenue for all online gaming during the month, while Harrington Raceway pulled in $15,797.44.</p> <p>In terms of only <a href="">online poker</a> revenue, Delaware Park again has the bulk of market share with $23,499.73 of the $38,654.69 taken in by all three racinos. Dover Downs' ipoker total came in at $8,885.80, while Harrington Raceway posted $6,269.17 in Internet poker rake.</p> <p>The latter experienced a massive increase from month-to-month, however. After generating only $2,794.40 in July, Harrington Raceway's Internet poker gain was 124% in August! Dover Downs decreased 8% month-to-month, while Delaware Park online poker revenue jumped 25%.</p> <p>Delaware's best month so far for online poker was its first full month in December 2013 when the three racinos posted rake of $106,922.76. The worst month was June with only $25,607.60 as a net gain.</p> <p><strong>Still waiting on combined player pool with Nevada</strong></p> <p>Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the <strong>Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement</strong> in February and both states are hard at work at making that alliance become a reality. It was hoped that a launch that combines the online poker player pools of both states could take place this year, but both <a href="">Nevada</a> and Delaware officials have remained mum as of late regarding a possible launch date.</p> <p>A number of Delaware online poker players are believed to be waiting in the wings until liquidity increases through that partnership and launch. It is highly likely that revenue numbers will boost significantly once that alliance is put into effect.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:48:16 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3270 Full Tilt Moves Up to 5th Place in Player Traffic <p><strong>Full Tilt Poker</strong> has gained a notch in cash game player traffic on <a href="">PokerScout's global rankings</a> and is now holding down 5th place.</p> <p>The boost in action at <strong>PokerStars</strong>' sister site is likely attributable to the <strong>Easy Bonus Promotion</strong> that went into effect last week. All players who managed to earn at least one Full Tilt Point through Sept. 25 received personal Easy Bonuses of varying amounts.</p> <p>All that's required to collect the bonus is to begin playing real-money online poker at Full Tilt. Players have until the end of the day on Oct. 5 to accept their Easy Bonuses and a full 10 days to earn the points required to release the bonus cash into their accounts.</p> <p><strong>A look at player traffic averages at the top poker sites</strong></p> <p>Full Tilt now finds a seven-day average of 1,450 players on its cash tables. Thanks to the Easy Bonus promo, Full Tilt leaped over <strong>Bodog/Bovada</strong>, who is now in 6th place with 1,350 ring game players.</p> <p>Full Tilt may soon be making moves on 4th place <strong>PartyPoker</strong>, who is just 50 players ahead at 1,500. The <strong>iPoker Network</strong> in third place is quite a long way off, however, averaging 2,200 players.</p> <p>Holding down 2nd place worldwide is <strong>888Poker</strong> with a seven-day average of 2,300 players. The industry leader, PokerStars, averages almost 9x as many players as its nearest competitor with a solid player pool of 20,000.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 28 Sep 2014 04:29:04 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3269 Adelson Lobbyist Inadvertently Points the Way for Online Poker Advocates <p>Last week Caesars Palace hosted the 5th annual <a href="">C5 US Online Gaming Forum</a> and one of the most important moments occurred just after lunch on day one of the conference in a debate over whether online gambling should be regulated or prohibited at the federal level.</p> <p>The debate was titled, <strong>Two Sides of the Coin: Federal Regulation or Prohibition?</strong>, and was moderated by Roger Gros of Global Gaming Business. The participants were Fabian Nunez of Mercury Public Affairs, who is also a lobbyist for Sheldon Adelson, and Jan Jones Blackhurst, the Executive VP of Communications &amp; Government Relations, Caesars Entertainment (similar to Andy Abboud's job title at Las Vegas Sands).</p> <p><strong>The unexplainable state's rights argument</strong></p> <p>Nunez proved himself to be one of the better Adelson surrogates, and did much better than his performance at the California Conference on Online Gambling back in May. But like all the other Adelson proxies before him (Andy Abboud, Willie Brown, Lindsey Graham, Jason Chaffetz, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and a solid supporting cast as well) he was still unable to explain how a federal ban was somehow protecting each state from an overreaching government action.</p> <p>On the other side, Jones Blackhurst argued that a federal ban was inappropriate and she believes the matter should be left up to the states, which is the actual state's rights argument; not the bastardized version the Adelson side is pushing.</p> <p>Nunez opined that <em>"obviously the states have a right to intervene as they see fit"</em> on iGaming, making the same illogical fallacy that so many of his predecessors have stumbled into, as they are unable/unwilling to properly explain how a federal ban allows states to make their own decisions, particularly for the three states that have already passed online gaming laws, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, as well as the three states with online lottery sales, Minnesota, Illinois and Georgia.</p> <p>Where is their right to intervene if you snatch online gambling/poker/lottery away from them?</p> <p><strong>Is federal iGaming legislation coming?</strong></p> <p>Another interesting rumor that sprouted wings at USOG was the potential for a <a href="">federal ban that included an online poker carveout.</a></p> <p>No less than four USOG panelists mentioned this rumor, with varying levels of belief:</p> <p>Bally Tech's John Connelly started the ball rolling when he stated that he expects a federal push to make <em>"everything other than poker illegal"</em> to occur this November during the <em>"Lame Duck</em>" session of Congress.</p> <p>Roger Gros then asked both Jones Blackhurst and Nunez for their thoughts.</p> <p>Jones Blackhurst was bearish on the chances that a federal bill would be able to pass, but didn't outright dismiss the possibility of a <em>"Lame Duck"</em> compromise on online gambling legislation. Nunez was a bit more skeptical, but considering he is representing the man aiming for the ban to go through, his comment of <em>"It's difficult to get anything done in Washington,"</em> could be seen as a clever way to deflect the question.</p> <p>Later in the conference, New Jersey attorney Bill Pascrell III said anyone who thinks Congress will pass an online gambling bill is <em>"smoking funny cigarettes."</em></p> <p>Whatever the case may be, this is certainly something to keep an eye on when Congress comes back to Washington DC following the mid-term elections.</p> <p><strong>Nunez points out mistakes</strong></p> <p>At the tail end of the debate, Fabian Nunez was apparently speaking off-the-cuff, and in an extremely candid manner when he essentially <em>"opened up the CSIG (Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling) playbook,"</em> as Chris Grove put it.</p> <p>Nunez detailed several areas where Adelson's coalition has been able to attack online gaming advocates, and make inroads with legislators in California --Nunez credited Adelson and his team for stopping <a href="">online poker in California</a> in 2014, but this seems a bit of an overstatement.</p> <p>The first area they attacked was the gap between the initial (grossly overstated) projections by Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey and the actual revenue generated. Nunez called this <em>"one of his most effective arguments with California legislators."</em></p> <p>Nunez also indicated that poker supporters' inability to coalesce around a single approach was damaging to their efforts.</p> <p>As the debate was wrapping up, Nunez offered one final bit of advice to his opponents, and that was to raise consumer awareness in regards to the safeguards and safety measures that are in place, particularly when it comes to real time identity verification.</p> <p>This is certainly one of the most difficult tasks logistically, but it should be noted that the operators need to do a better job in this area as the <a href="">legal online poker sites in New Jersey</a> are very difficult to differentiate from the previous (and current) illegal online poker rooms.</p> <p>The marketing is the same; the websites look similar; and nobody in the space is focusing on the key difference and highlighting the fact they are licensed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the state of New Jersey.</p> <p>This should be front and center on their homepage in my opinion, as it's more important than any tournament guarantee or deposit bonus.</p> <p>Nunez didn't detail anything industry followers and analysts don't already know (myself and others have been harping on things like <a href="">consumer awareness</a> and <a href="">foolish revenue projections</a> for quite some time), but what he did let slip during the discussion was what Adelson and CSIG have found to work, and where the focus of online gaming advocates should be placed going forward.</p> <p>As a final note, we no longer have to rehearse for when an Adelson surrogate whips out their cell phone and waves it around screaming about mobile casinos. Nunez introduced CSIG's new conference prop, a copy of <a href="">Newsweek</a>!</p> <p>CSIG, the <a href="">Carrot Top</a> of online gaming conferences.</p> <p> </p> <p>Author's note: I relied heavily on Chris Grove's live tweeting of the conference for this article. You can follow Chris on Twitter <a href="">here.</a></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 28 Sep 2014 03:10:36 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3267 2014 WSOP Main Event Airs on ESPN Sunday, Sept. 28 <p><span class="letter-big">T</span>he television broadcast of the <strong>2014 WSOP Main Event</strong> begins airing Sunday, Sept. 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.</p> <p>Two episodes, each one hour in length, will be shown on seven consecutive Sundays beginning tomorrow and running through Nov. 9. The conclusion of the Sunday evening broadcasts will be followed by live final table action that kicks off the very next day on Monday, Nov. 10.</p> <p>This year's Main Event began on July 5 with a field of 6,683 and ended with nine finalists remaining on July 14. Those nine will have had four months to fine-tune their game during the hiatus before play resumes.</p> <p>The 2014 Main Event winner is guaranteed $10 million, which will be the second largest Main Event first place prize in WSOP history. Jamie Gold's victory in 2006 that brought $12 million in riches remains the top winner's prize to date.</p> <p>This is the 10th year that the <strong>Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino</strong> in Las Vegas, <a href="">Nevada</a> has hosted the WSOP. The amount of $10 million to the victor commemorates that milestone.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 05:48:52 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3266 Black Friday Prosecutor a Possible U.S. Attorney General Candidate <p><strong>U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder</strong> announced his resignation a few days ago, leading to speculation as to who <strong>President Barack Obama</strong> might name to take over the reins as top dog at the <strong>U.S. Department of Justice</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Preet Bharara</strong>, currently serving as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is among a list of candidates that White House officials have said may be considered for the position, <a href="">Reuters reported</a>. Bharara, as many will recall, led the charge on Black Friday when the DoJ took aim at the industry's top poker sites by seizing their domains and forcing a shutdown in the U.S.</p> <p>Five months later, Bharara's name was again splashed across poker and mainstream media outlets when he referred to <strong>Full Tilt</strong> as a massive <em>"Ponzi scheme."</em> Here is what Bharara said in a statement three years ago:</p> <p><blockquote class="left">Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme. Full Tilt insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited.”</blockquote></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Played part in history of U.S. online poker</strong></p> <p>As lead prosecutor in the Black Friday indictments, Bharara can certainly be seen as having a role in the direction that <a href="">online poker in the U.S.</a> is headed today. That direction is regulation on a state-by-state basis, with three states on board and more likely to follow suit.</p> <p>In 2012, <strong>Bharara made Time Magazine's list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.</strong> That list included the likes of Hillary Clinton, Tim Tebow, Benjamin Netanyahu, Warren Buffett, and Rihanna.</p> <p>Bharara was born in India, but grew up in <a href="">New Jersey</a>. A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School, the 46-year-old was nominated by President Obama in 2009 for his current U.S. Attorney position. The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination.</p> <p>Holder will not step down from his U.S. Attorney General duties until a successor is named. That process could take several months.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 04:34:08 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3264 New Web Series Offers Behind the Scenes Look at PokerStars <p><strong>PokerStars</strong> is giving the poker community a behind the scenes look at their company headquarters and the people that make the world's largest online poker site run smoothly.</p> <p>Titled <a href="">"Inside PokerStars,"</a> the web video series offers visitors a first of its kind look at the inner workings of an online poker site and the activities that take place behind those walls.</p> <p>In addition to pulling back the curtain on the Isle of Man headquarters, PokerStars Head of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser said he hopes the series, <em>"provides a visual complement to our stellar customer support staff,"</em> who Hollreiser said accounts for <em>"more than 25% of our 1,700 full time staff around the world."</em></p> <p>This type of series is long overdue.</p> <p>For far too long the <a href="">online poker</a> industry has been an industry of secrets. Little was known of their software and servers, the customer protections they had in place, or even the day-to-day happenstance that takes place at an online poker site's headquarters.</p> <p>PokerStars, under their new owners <strong>Amaya Gaming</strong>, seems intent on changing that with their web series.</p> <p>Thus far three videos have been released, and all three shed light on parts of <a href="">PokerStars</a> and online poker that have never been brought to light before.</p> <p>Here are the three videos and a brief explanation of what you'll find in each.</p> <p><strong>Behind the Scenes at PokerStars HQ</strong></p> <p>Take a look behind the scenes at the home of PokerStars on the Isle of Man. This video was so well received that we realised that you, the player, wanted to know more about the business and the people who bring PokerStars to life on your screen. Inside PokerStars was born.</p> <div class="t_iframe"> <p> </p> <p><strong> </strong></p> </div> <p><strong>Episode 1: What kind of company is PokerStars?</strong></p> <p>James speaks to <strong>Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications</strong>, about the history of the company, how its working ethos of putting the player first made it the world’s largest poker site, and where the future of PokerStars lies.</p> <p><strong>Episode 2: What does PokerStars do with your money?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Donna Crellin, Head of Treasury</strong>, explains how PokerStars protects your money after it’s been deposited. Spoiler alert! We keep your funds separate from operational funds and never let those streams cross.</p> <p><strong>Why these videos are important</strong></p> <p>For the average person browsing around YouTube, these videos will be similar to watching someone watching Bob Ross count marbles, but make no mistake about it, these are some of the most important and sorely needed videos in the online poker industry.</p> <p>What the videos do is show the world (and all the rigtards and naysayers) that an online poker site isn't run by five tech nerds from their grandmother's garage. These videos show that PokerStars is much like any other multi-billion-dollar company, with a beautiful headquarters full of cubicles and executive offices. PokerStars has receptionists and security, and they probably even get together for 20 minutes to enjoy cake on their employees' birthdays.</p> <p>The videos show charitable endeavors, the incredible servers, including the CIA-like security measures in place to even access them, and a whole lot more.</p> <p>Quite frankly, these videos are every cell phone waving lobbyist's and politician's worst nightmare as they paint a picture more akin to Google than to the nefarious den of <em>"Bad Actors"</em> they want us all to envision.</p> <p><strong>How this series came into being</strong></p> <p>The amazing thing is the series seems to have sprung up almost by accident.</p> <p>Making this all the more interesting, PokerStars was one of the tighter lipped of the online poker companies, so these new glimpses into their operation is a breath of fresh air, and is precisely what is needed in the U.S. market in order to put the minds of players, lawmakers, and regulators at ease.</p> <p><em>"A couple of months ago we released a video that took an exclusive behind the scenes look at the PokerStars HQ here on the Isle of Man,"</em> Hollreiser said on the <a href="">PokerStars blog</a>.</p> <p><em>"We thought people might be interested, but we didn't realise how many,</em>" Hollreiser added, indicating that the original video has more than 75,000 views on YouTube. And so the <em>"Inside PokerStars"</em> series was born.</p> <p>Along with <em>"Where do you keep your money?,"</em> here is a look at some other topics that will be covered in the coming months as new episodes are released. <em>"How do you prevent cheating on the site?"</em> And <em>"Who are you guys anyway?"</em></p> <p>The one I'm waiting for is the behind the scenes look at the security department whose job it is to make sure the games are not being compromised by poker bots, colluders, and other nefarious characters.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 23:00:22 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3265 Nevada Gaming Revenue Drops 3.7% in August; Online Poker Down 22.5% <p><span class="letter-big">T</span>he winning streak had to end at some point.</p> <p>Nevada's winning streak came to a screeching halt in August after reports of a 3.7% drop in gaming win statewide. The news was much worse for online poker, with revenues dropping 22.5% in August, their lowest point since the state started reporting the figures.</p> <p>The <strong>Nevada Gaming Control Board</strong> (GCB) <a href="">released their monthly gaming report</a> on Friday and the big story was the state's first decline in gaming win in five months. Revenues for the state dropped to $920.2 million. Perhaps the most disappointing figures came from online poker, reporting revenues of just $742,000, down from the $985,000 reported in July.</p> <p><strong>Baccarat Was a Significant Factor in State Loss</strong></p> <p>According to the <a href="">Las Vegas Review-Journal</a>, high-end baccarat games were the biggest reason behind the 3.7% drop in win for the state in August. Revenue from baccarat fell by 14% on the Strip due to decline in baccarat hold. For those unfamiliar with the term, hold is the percentage of money that a casino makes from a particular game.</p> <p>Year-over-year, baccarat saw a 3% drop in hold by the casinos. In August 2013, the state saw a 18.9% percent hold vs. just 15.9% this year. Last year's hold was viewed to be a bit high, so this may just be a correction by the marketplace.</p> <p>Baccarat has played a huge role in gaming win for the state. Last year, most of the Nevada's 5% revenue increase was driven by baccarat hold. Wagering on the game was up 3.2% last year. This year, wagering on the game is up 10.9% on the Strip. The lesson to be taken away is that Nevada casinos are winning big on the game and should expect some occasional bumps in the road.</p> <p><strong>Baccarat Can't Take the Blame for Online Poker Numbers - But Not All News is Bad</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p><a href="">Online poker in Nevada</a> took a major hit last month, down 22.5% to $742,000. This is the lowest figure reported by the GCB in 2014. Some of the drop can be blamed on the end of the summer tournament season in Las Vegas. <strong>World Series of Poker</strong> gamblers helped push the state to over $1 million in online poker win during the summer while logging on to <a href=""></a> in record numbers.</p> <p>July's win of $985,000 was still partially influenced by WSOP gamblers as the series did not conclude until mid-July. With the summer gamblers out of Vegas in August, numbers were expected to drop to pre-WSOP numbers. Keep in mind that the state experienced a similar drop in April, with revenues falling from $926,000 to $792,000, so this could just be a short term correction.</p> <p>Despite the short term drop, the $742,000 collected in August was a 8.65% increase in revenues year-over-year. Per that figure, online poker collected just $677,000 during August 2013. From Sept 2013 to August 2014, the state collected $11.075 million in Internet win.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 20:41:44 +0000 James Guill 3263 Online Poker in the U.S.: Regulated vs. Unregulated <p>While online poker has returned to three states, the vast majority of <a href="">online poker played in the United States</a> is on unlicensed online poker rooms based offshore and operating under almost no regulation. Why are so many players still playing offshore?</p> <p>We've seen <strong>Full Tilt, UltimateBet, Absolute Poker,</strong> and at least ten smaller operators run off with players' money, and we know there is a risk of the same thing happening with the current crop of unregulated sites. It appears that <a href="">Lock Poker has done much the same thing</a> and is no longer liquid, and other sites may be headed in that direction. So why are so many players from the US still playing on these sites?</p> <p>Probably because it's their only option. People want to play poker, and sometimes they want to do so from the comfort of their own homes and they don't believe the government should have any say about what they do in their own homes. It's simple really, but apparently it's not so simple for lawmakers.</p> <p>Shutting down all of the online poker sites outside the U.S. that serve Americans would be impossible. Anytime they shut one down, a new one, probably shadier than the last one, will pop up. We've already seen this with <strong>PokerStars</strong> leaving the country. The sites that popped up to replace it are not nearly as legitimate or as safe.</p> <p>The solution to this problem? As with any prohibition, the solution is to remove the barrier for legitimate businesses to fill the market. They already have massive advantages, and would take over the market quickly if they were allowed in unless they were completely crippled by over-regulation.</p> <p>If regulated online poker were available in a combined player pool that included even half of the United States, giving it access to around 200 million people, the regulated sites would eliminate their unregulated competition almost instantly. Let's take a look at the advantages that the regulated sites would enjoy.</p> <p><strong>Deposit Options</strong></p> <p>This is where the regulated sites really shine. Depositing on a regulated site could be done in literally any way that you can spend money. If <strong>Paypal</strong> didn't want to be involved, then <strong>Skrill</strong> and <strong>Neteller</strong> certainly would. <strong>Western Union</strong>, deposits via electronic check, debit and credit cards, and we could even see gas stations and convenience stores getting in on the action like 7-11 has done in <a href="">New Jersey</a>.</p> <p>The unregulated sites are constantly dodging the UIGEA regulations, breaking the law in America, and losing tremendous amounts of money on deposit fees and account seizures from the Department of Justice. Depositing on <strong>Bovada</strong> right now, the largest US-facing online poker site, requires a 4.9% deposit fee and most options won't work for most people.</p> <p>They have to charge this 4.9% fee, and still can't get most deposit options to work, because the United States government is making it tough for them to do business. Even with a huge disadvantage, the Bodog/Bovada poker site is the sixth largest online poker site in the world according to industry resource <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><strong>Trust and Safety</strong></p> <p>Regulated sites within the United States can be bonded, are typically required to hold deposits in separate accounts, and are attached to large corporate entities in the gambling world that could pay off their debts if necessary. It's possible that you could lose your money if a regulated online poker site went under, but it is very unlikely.</p> <p>Unregulated online poker sites, even those that are well funded and operating in a very legitimate way, have to deal with the fact that unregulated sites have gone broke and lost players' money before. Everyone thinks they are going to be a winner, and nobody wants to run up thousands of dollars in winnings only to have them disappear into the ether.</p> <p><strong>Consistency</strong></p> <p>Would you rather play on the same site every day, use software you are comfortable with, talk to the same people and make friends, or bounce from site to site as one gets shut down and a new one pops up? Regulated sites win this portion of the battle without a doubt.</p> <p><strong>Shoot for the Moon</strong></p> <p>Many of us play poker in hopes that we will win that one big tournament that will make us wealthy and prove to everyone that we are a great player. It doesn't usually work that way even when you get a big score, but for many players it is the dream of bigger things that fuels their interest in the game.</p> <p>Legal online sites can run qualifiers to their big live tournaments within the United States, while the unregulated sites cannot. This was a big hit for <a href=""></a> in <a href="">Nevada</a> this year as well as for during their recent WPT event. Back in the pre-UIGEA days, there were thousands of online qualifiers to the main event at the WSoP every year. Now the unregulated sites can't run qualifiers to anything within the United States, which is where most Americans would like to play their big tournaments. This provides yet another advantage for the regulated sites.</p> <p><strong>Advertising</strong></p> <p>Perhaps the largest advantage for the <em>"legal"</em> online poker sites is the chance to advertise real money cash games openly in the United States. If the market opens up in the US, we will see ads during the Super Bowl, constant advertising during sporting events, and taxis around the country with the web addresses of online poker sites stenciled across their doors. The ability to advertise would mean all the difference in the world.</p> <p><strong>Why Are Unregulated Sites Still Thriving?</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>There are two major reasons why the unregulated sites are still in this fight when the battle looks so lopsided.</p> <p>The first is regulation. The very regulation that allows them into the market could cripple them. If the government makes it too hard for the regulated sites to run, they will fall behind and have trouble ever catching up. Red tape, licensing fees, waiting periods, and all kinds of other over-regulation could cripple the US-based sites so badly that they can't compete even with all the advantages we listed above.</p> <p>The second is simple availability. Right now there are only three states with legal online poker, and they haven't combined their player pools. An online poker site cannot survive unless it reaches a critical mass of players that brings in more players and keeps games full. Getting to this critical mass can be tough within a single state, and we have seen that even New Jersey, a state with a significant population that are comfortable with gambling, is having trouble reaching critical mass.</p> <p><strong>The Fight Rages On</strong></p> <p>This fight won't be over until the government decides it is over, and we know how quickly things move in government. When the government makes the right rules, and more states join the player pools, we will see the regulated sites win out quickly and the competition will fade into the background. All we can do until that happens is support the regulated sites in the US when we can and support legalization efforts in our home states.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:59:28 +0000 Chris Wallace 3262 $1.8 Million More Paid to Full Tilt Players in U.S. <p><span class="letter-big">T</span>he latest round of reimbursement to U.S. claimants in the <strong>Full Tilt remission process</strong> was the smallest yet at $1.8 million, but it's likely not small to the 600 or so players who benefited from Thursday's payout.</p> <p>The <strong>Garden City Group</strong> (GCG) revealed the numbers at the official website yesterday, advising that ACH payments went out on Sept. 25 and may take a few business days before players see the cash in their accounts. The 600 players join about 33,000 others who have been on the receiving end of reimbursement since the first of four payment waves began in late February.</p> <p>The total paid to date is inching nearer to $100 million and certainly will eclipse that amount when Full Tilt Pros and disputed claimants see their funds reimbursed. The latter are likely in for a <a href="">wait until at least 2015</a>, according to Poker Players Alliance (PPA) honcho John Pappas.</p> <p><strong>DoJ has decisions to make</strong></p> <p>The PPA executive director advised that the DoJ still needs to establish criteria regarding cashouts requested and not fully processed on or around (before or after) Black Friday --April 15, 2011. The result of which has led to player account balances (as they see it) failing to fall in line with the balances on record with the DoJ as per the books kept by those in charge of Full Tilt's mismanagement.</p> <p>It is highly likely that a number of disputed claimants will not be satisfied with whatever decision the DoJ makes regarding cashout timelines and their acceptance. Keep in mind that an appeals process is available to those players who would like to further argue the disputed account balances.</p> <p>Thursday's reimbursement went to petitioners whose account balances were confirmed. Simple arithmetic tells us that those U.S. claimants received average payouts in the amount of $3,000. While providing the latest update, the GCG also reminds players whose bank account information has been found to be invalid to supply the correct information by October 16.</p> <p><strong>Full Tilt goes through changes</strong></p> <p>Since payouts in the remission process began about seven months ago, Full Tilt has experienced some major changes. The first was the sale of Rational Group assets that include <strong>PokerStars</strong> and Full Tilt to <strong>Amaya Gaming</strong> for $4.9 billion in June.</p> <p>One month later, Full Tilt rebranded by dropping <em>"Poker"</em> from its name and web address. That move was made to better reflect a transition to a gaming site that also offers online casino games along with poker.</p> <p>Those changes will not affect the Full Tilt Poker remission process. Those still waiting to be reimbursed can expect payment, just don't expect it very soon.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:07:27 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3261 Delaware Online Gambling Compatible with Macintosh <p>Of the <a href="">three regulated states that offer online poker</a> and gambling, Delaware is often overlooked due to its tiny population of less than one million.</p> <p>Most of the online gaming industry in the U.S. has its attention focused on <a href="">New Jersey</a>, Nevada and California. While still unregulated, <a href="">California</a> garners a considerable amount of press due to its revenue potential with more than 38 million calling the Golden State home.</p> <p>As <a href="">Delaware</a> may tend to be left out of certain igaming conversations, some may not be aware that over the summer the Delaware Lottery Office announced that its online gambling regime is now compatible with Macintosh.</p> <p><blockquote>The success of Internet gaming for the state, the casinos, and players depends on creating a fun and easy experience for everyone," Delaware Secretary of Finance Tom Cook told Delaware Online. "We're excited to offer an iGaming option that doesn't require a poker download, and we're thrilled Mac users can now participate. These enhancements to the technology and to the games themselves allow Delaware to service a whole new segment of players."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Interstate play with Nevada also on the horizon</strong></p> <p>Another new segment of players may also arrive when the interstate partnership agreement with <a href="">Nevada</a> that allows the two states to combine player pools gets off the ground. It is believed that a number of would-be online poker players in Delaware are turned off by the small number of game choices currently available due to lack of liquidity.</p> <p>That liquidity is expected to get a much-needed shot in the arm when the two states make a historic launch under the <strong>Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement</strong>. The idea is to get even more states involved and the welcome mat has already been laid out to fellow states by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.</p> <p>In the meantime, Mac users in Delaware are now enjoying online poker as they await an influx of players expected when the alliance with Nevada takes hold.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:43:16 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3260 UK Gambling Act Implementation Postponed Until November <p>PokerStars UK residents get another month to <em>"auto top up"</em> their cash game action after a notice on the <strong>UK Gambling Commission</strong> website stated that the Oct. 1, 2014 implementation date is being pushed back to Nov. 1, 2014.</p> <p>The notice - which is hardly conspicuous - stated that: <em>"Due to a High Court challenge, DCMS will be taking the necessary steps to postpone this legislation coming into force until 1 November 2014. This will allow a judgment to be made without undue time pressure."</em></p> <p>The High Court challenge that the Gambling Commission is referring to comes from the <strong>Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association</strong> (GBGA). A trade association that provides a united voice for 22 online gambling companies that are licensed out of the tiny British overseas territory.</p> <p><strong>According to the GBGA website their vision is as follows:</strong></p> <p>1. Safe, fair and competitive offering</p> <p>2. Highest standards for consumers</p> <p>3. Gibraltar as a center of excellence</p> <p>4. World leaders in online gaming</p> <p>5. Online gaming best practice</p> <p>6. Commitment to the consumer</p> <p>Back in August the GBGA argued that the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 and the guidance and policies of the Gambling Commission were <em>"unlawful."</em> Stating that it is an <em>"illegitimate, disproportionate and discriminatory interference with the right to free movement of services guaranteed by Article 56 TFEU, and is irrational."</em></p> <p>The Tyrannosaurus Rex sized bone of contention is that the Gambling Commission believe the new laws have been created to add more layers of protection for the consumers, and the GBGA believes they are stripping them away.</p> <p><blockquote>The absence of effective supervision and enforcement, coupled with the burdensome regulatory requirements, will encourage the growth of and migration to unregulated or poorly regulated operators which will present genuine risks to the British consumer,” the GBGA argued in its submission to the High Court of England and Wales.</blockquote></p> <p><strong>GBGA argument centered on POC tax</strong></p> <p>When you really get down to it, the GBGA are arguing that the only reason the new laws have been created is to create more money for the government in the form of the 15% point of consumption (POC) tax. The GBGA are therefore arguing in the High Court that the objectives of the law are illegitimate.</p> <p>As the new regulations were due to be enforced on Oct. 1, 2014, the GBGA asked for an expedited hearing of the case that has been granted, prompting the DCMS to postpone implementation of the new rules until Nov. 1, 2014.</p> <p><blockquote>It is extremely disappointing that our concerns have not been listened to by the UK Government, and that the Gambling Commission’s plans to expand its remit have been accepted," stated GBGA chief executive Peter Howitt in a press release on the GBGA website. "The only beneficiaries of this change are the UK domestic industry and the Gambling Commission itself, which has persuaded the UK Government that it should be the global regulator of this high tech and complex industry. It has neither the resources, the legal powers, nor the skills to operate successfully across the globe. This is bad news for consumers, and for international competition. We have an effective and knowledgeable regulator in Gibraltar. That the Gambling Commission believes it is better placed to regulate the industry here is laughable. We are determined to fight against measures that actually undermine consumer protection.”</blockquote></p> <p>Nobody will be throwing in the towel in this one.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:22:03 +0000 Lee Davy 3259 Indiana Casinos Report 24 Straight Months of Falling Revenue <p>New Jersey is not the only state that is experiencing declining revenues at its casinos, as recent numbers released in <strong>Indiana</strong> reveal that Hoosier State casinos have now tallied decreasing revenue for 24 straight months.</p> <p>The declines fall in the category of year-over-year statistics and show that Indiana's 13 casinos took in just shy of $200 million in August, a dip of 4.7% when compared to August 2013. The results were provided by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC), who reported that over the last two years, revenue is down a collective $110 million.</p> <p>Why the flagging numbers? Much like the situation in Atlantic City, competition from nearby states has dented revenue totals. The culprits appear to be Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois.</p> <p><strong>Three up, 10 down</strong></p> <p>Three Indiana casinos saw revenue go up in August, while all the others experienced a decrease. Both Tropicana Evansville and Hoosier Park Racing and Casino were the benefits of a 7.5% rise in revenue, while the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino's boost was rather mild at 1.3%.</p> <p>What can be done to get the revenue totals heading North in the Hoosier State? It seems that that ship may have already sailed, according to IGC executive director Ernest Yelton.</p> <p><blockquote>Most observers will say Indiana will never regain the total numbers of dollars it was used to getting," Yelton said a few months ago. "I think the goal, more realistically, is to minimize the amount of dollars that is going to be lost.”</blockquote></p> <p>Adding live table games at racinos has been mentioned as one way to possibly see an uptick in revenue. The racinos currently offer only slots. Video lottery machines in Illinois and Ohio are being blamed for the revenue decline at the racinos.</p> <p><strong>How about Internet gambling?</strong></p> <p>While <a href="">online poker</a> and gambling regulation may also offset some of the losses, Indiana lawmakers do not appear headed in that direction. A recent report released by Morgan Stanley predicted <a href="">20 states that could enact Internet gambling by the year 2020.</a> Indiana is nowhere to be found on that list.</p> <p>Almost 13,000 are employed at Indiana gambling establishments. The threat of a casino closing or two certainly is a possibility, putting the livelihood of hundreds if not thousands of casino workers in jeopardy.</p> <p><em>"Those are real jobs we can't ignore,"</em> Republican Rep. Tom Dermody (LaPorte) told the Indianapolis Business Journal.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:13:44 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3258 WSOP-APAC Begins Oct. 2; Ruffles Potato Chip Muncher Could Net $10m <p>In just one week, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is once again setting up shop in the <strong>Crown Melbourne Casino</strong> for the second incarnation of the <strong>World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP-APAC).</strong></p> <p>The 2013 debut had it all.</p> <p><strong>Phil Ivey</strong> captured his ninth WSOP bracelet, after victory in the A$2,200 Mixed Event, and <strong>Daniel Negreanu</strong> began a trail of destruction that would see him become the first-ever two-time winner of the <strong>WSOP Player of the Year</strong> (POY) award, with a victory at the Main Event for a smidgen over a million dollars.</p> <p>There were five gold bracelets doled out that year, and this time around that number is doubled, as the WSOP plan to hand out more gold bracelets outside of Las Vegas than ever before in the history of the game.</p> <p>It’s the only international WSOP event of 2014, and the first-time that a WSOP event has not been held on European soil since <strong>Annette Obrestad</strong> became the youngest player to win a bracelet after taking the million pound prize in the £10,350 Main Event back in 2007.</p> <p><strong>Live Streaming Galore</strong></p> <p>The series will operate Oct. 2-18, 2014, and for those of you that can’t make the trip to the other side of the world, don’t worry, the WSOP has you covered.</p> <p>The final tables of the first eight events will be streamed - free of charge - on the website. Scheduled start times will be 12:10pm daily subject to the play condensing as planned.</p> <p>The streams will be on a five-minute delay, without hole cards.</p> <p>The Main Event and the High Roller will both be shown on ESPN, in both Australia and the US, with full hole cards and a 30-minute delay. If all goes to plan the cameras will start rolling at 3pm (local time) and it will be the first time in Australian TV history that a poker event will be aired the same day it’s played out.</p> <p><strong>Late Registration</strong></p> <p>Most events will keep registration open until the start of Level 7.</p> <p>Here are the exceptions:</p> <p>¥ Event #5 $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha (The start of Day 2)</p> <p>¥ Event #8 $5,000 8-Game Mix (The start of Day 2)</p> <p>¥ Event #10 $25,000 High Roller (Level 12 on Day 2)</p> <p><strong>Player of the Year Race</strong></p> <p>The coveted WSOP POY race is powered by BLUFF magazine and a new POY will be crowned in the Crown Melbourne. The winner receives a $10,000 seat into the 2015 WSOP Main Event.</p> <p>Last year, Daniel Negreanu’s 10-cashes, four final tables, and two bracelets were enough to earn him the accolade for the second time, and the Canadian is once again in the running as all eyes avert Down Under.</p> <p><strong>2014 WSOP Player of the Year Current Standings</strong></p> <p>1. Brandon Shack-Harris - 752 points</p> <p>2. George Danzer - 745.20 points</p> <p>3. John Hennigan - 557.88 points</p> <p>4. Daniel Negreanu - 519.08 points</p> <p>5. Daniel Colman - 452,40 points</p> <p><em>“With 10 gold bracelets on the line and video of every event, we are thrilled to be at Crown in Melbourne to finish what has been an exceptional year for the WSOP,”</em> said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.</p> <p><strong>WSOP Main Event Media Credential Time</strong></p> <p>Members of the poker press should have received an e-mail from Vice President of Corporate Communications, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Seth Palansky, on how to apply for media credentials for the 2014 WSOP Main Event Final Table.</p> <p>Cards will start flying on Monday, Nov. 10 at 4.30pm Vegas time. Coverage of the event will be available on ESPN2 with a 30-minute delay. Play resumes with three players remaining at 5.30pm on Tuesday, Nov. 11, and ESPN will cover the action until someone wins $10m.</p> <p>Seating will be organized by the WSOP, and all bust out interviews will take place in the lobby of the Penn &amp; Teller Theater. Interviews are open to all media.</p> <p>Flash photography is not allowed during the final table, video crews will have limited time around the final table, and footage will not be allowed to include hand-for-hand play, but video is permitted during the bust out interviews.</p> <p>In a change from previous years, the one post per hour rule has been abolished and members of the media will be allowed to post in tune with the material being aired to the public on ESPN &amp; ESPN2.</p> <p><strong>Ruffles $10m Promotion</strong></p> <p>The winner of the WSOP Main Event is guaranteed to walk away with $10m, making it the biggest Main Event prize since <strong>Jamie Gold</strong> won the event in 2006, and it’s the second biggest prize in WSOP Main Event history.</p> <p>But the WSOP are giving another $10m away.</p> <p>Players should look out for specially endorsed WSOP Ruffles potato chips in stores throughout the US. Follow the instructions on the bag, and if you predict the final hand of the WSOP Main Event, you could also win $10m.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:01:08 +0000 Lee Davy 3257 Jonathan Chen Binks HPT Commerce Casino Main Event for $159K <p>The <strong>Heartland Poker Tour</strong> (HPT) completed its second stop of a four-stop Gold Rush series at the <strong>Commerce Casino in Los Angeles</strong> that saw <strong>Jonathan Chen</strong> take down the Main Event title over a field of 583.</p> <p>On his way to earning first place prize money of $159,780, Chen was the last player to enter the Main Event and also the last player seated with all the chips in front of him. On the tournament's last hand, Chen managed to fade a straight draw by his opponent, <strong>David Rosenbloom</strong>, and hold on with his top pair.</p> <p>Rosenbloom grabbed runner-up prize money of $112,010, telling HPT, <em>“I’m very happy with how it all turned out.”</em></p> <p><strong>Leaderboard races in full swing</strong></p> <p>HPT's Gold Rush series comes complete with a points competition that allows players to earn points based on their finishes in all events offered during the four <a href="">California</a> stops. The player who racks up the most points will cross the border into <a href="">Nevada</a> in November with a sponsorship package that calls for competition in a HPT Main Event in Las Vegas.</p> <p>Another race hosted by HPT is for Player of the Year. <strong>Jeff Madsen</strong> was looking for at least a runner-up finish in order to take the lead in that competition.</p> <p>Madsen got it in good with pocket aces, but the board delivered a couple queens to allow Chen to make a set with his A-Q. Madsen busted in eighth place and cashed $21,300. On being asked of the poker prowess of his HPT rivals, Madsen called his opponents <em>"a good mix of recreational players, but also good players."</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><strong>New leader in career HPT cashes</strong></p> <p>One of those good players is <strong>Stan Jablonski</strong>, who landed in 40th place and grabbed a payday of $4,230. That finish allowed the Arizona native to overtake <strong>Craig Casino</strong> for most HPT career cashes. Jablonski's lifetime earnings at HPT events now stands just shy of $250,000.</p> <p>The HPT's third Gold Rush stop is in <strong>Lincoln, California at the Thunder Valley Casino &amp; Resort</strong> where the $1,650 Main Event gets underway tomorrow, Sept. 25. The fourth and final leg of the series is set for the <strong>Club One Casino in Fresno</strong>, with Main Event action kicking off on Oct. 3.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 20:49:27 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3256 Tom Dwan Continues to Avoid "Durrrr Challenge" <p><span class="letter-big">F</span>ormer Full Tilt Professional <strong>Tom "durrrr" Dwan</strong> has repeatedly avoided the attempts made by <strong>Dan "Jungleman" Cates</strong> to continue the "Durrrr Challenge" that the two heads-up combatants began prior to Black Friday.</p> <p>So said Cates when asked by <a href="">PokerListings</a> whether the pair will ever resume the match that finds Cates holding a big lead and in line for a payday of $1.5 million while risking only $500K. That's in addition to any cash won on the virtual felt, which at last count shows Jungleman $1.25 million to the good.</p> <p><blockquote class="left">The latest with durrrr is that he is being totally uncooperative,” Cates said. “We have played zero hands in 2014 and only 2,500 of the 62k hands Tom played in 2013 were from the challenge.”</blockquote></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Penalties adding up!</strong></p> <p>Apparently, communication between the two is non-existent, with Dwan failing to return calls and texts made by Cates. This despite the fact that financial penalties that the pair previously agreed to in order to prompt a conclusion to the contest are adding up against Dwan.</p> <p>Every two months of inactivity in the challenge calls for $40,000 more to be added to the pockets of Jungleman. And another penalty of $10,000 was tacked onto that. By his count, Cates is owed $300,000 in penalties alone, but collecting seems another matter entirely.</p> <p><blockquote>He (Dwan) failed to uphold any promises he made to me,” Cates said. “He's extremely frustrating. It's outrageous."</blockquote></p> <p>A number of other players have money riding on the outcome, so it isn't only Cates who would like to see the Durrrr Challenge resume. Bets were made on the match before the first hand was dealt and have been in limbo ever since. There are some who believe that <a href="">Dwan's standing as a respected poker pro has taken a beating</a> due to his apathy toward the contest and other reasons.</p> <p>The last time the Durrrr Challenge was resurrected was last October, when Cates solidified his lead by almost a quarter of a million dollars. A total of 50,000 hands need to be played before the contest can be called complete. Roughly 60% of the heads-up match remains.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:55:42 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3255 Chris "Fox" Wallace on Poker Tells: Reading Appearances <p>I have found that most poker instruction on reading opponents' tells and body language falls short because it lacks any instruction about context. If you don't know who your opponent is, you can not accurately read their behavior. Most books and articles and videos just say things like <em>"sometimes this tell is faked, so you should watch to see if they are faking it or not,"</em> which is the simplest possible piece of instruction and not terribly useful.</p> <p>There are lots of ways that you can learn about who a person is and how they approach poker, and we will focus on different ways to learn things about your opponents in this article series. I think it's best to get started with the most basic information gathering tool, observing your target's physical appearance. If you get good at this, you will be shocked at how much you know about people within a few seconds of seeing them for the first time.</p> <p><strong>Reading people can be fun!</strong></p> <p>Reading people, whether you are reading body language, or appearances, or anything else, takes practice. This isn't something that you'll be good at right away, but everyone can learn and it's a skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life in social interactions, at work, and in relationships. If you can become interested in learning about your fellow humans, you will enjoy your homework and learn quickly while you are having fun.</p> <p>You may have played a game with a friend where you attempt to guess the story of a person or a couple at a table in a restaurant or tried to guess things about people walking by on the sidewalk. This game, if you get serious about it, can increase your skill in reading appearances very quickly. It works fine to play the game in your head and learn as much as you can about each person you see by reading their appearance, but it's even better with a friend.</p> <p><strong>Some things to keep an eye on</strong></p> <p>Here is a sample list of things to look for when you are trying to discern as much as possible about a person using only their appearance.</p> <p>Hat - Baseball hat wearers are certainly different from people who wear top hats right? And if the logo on the hat is for a team from out of town, then the wearer may be from out of town. Is the bill flat or rounded? Is the hat clean or old and dirty? Is it for a sports team or a free hat from a construction company? All of these things tell you about a person. The guy wearing the dirty hat from the construction company is not terribly vain, while the perfectly clean flat-bill that cost $40 is more likely to be worn by someone who is very proud.</p> <p>Hair - Even more than a hat, hair tells us much about a person. Did they spend money on a haircut? Do they dye their hair? Hair plugs or a wig? These things all tell us about a person. Long hair on a man tells us that the wearer is likely to be liberal, while short hair on a woman tells us that she is likely to be independent, confident, and not easily bullied. Dark black hair on an older person usually means that they are dyeing their hair and are vain and may live as if they are younger than their true age.</p> <p>I could write pages and pages about hair and hats and what they mean and how they combine with other parts of a player's appearance, but I'll save some of that for future articles. Those examples serve to show just a few things you can learn from people by simply looking at the top few inches of their appearance. All you have to do to start learning is to apply this approach to everything about people.</p> <p>Are they wearing make-up? Glasses? Facial hair? What do those things tell you about them? How about jewelry, clothing, wristwatch, backpack, purse or handbag? Shoes can tell us something, and so can a nice tan or lack thereof. How do they move? How old are they? Where are they looking? Do they seem comfortable? Are their chips stacked in an organized way or are they a mess? Be intrigued by other humans and learn about them. Speculate.</p> <p><strong>It's not foolproof, but increases your odds</strong></p> <p>All of these assumptions can be wrong. There are long-haired Republicans and Democrats with military style flat-top haircuts, but if you bet against it you will win much more often than you lose. It's ok to stereotype when it comes to poker as long as you can change your opinions once you see evidence to the contrary. This isn't hiring someone for a job, it's just poker, and making assumptions based on someone's race, sex, appearance, culture, or anything else about their appearance, is fine. In fact, it's necessary!</p> <p>Now go out and read some people. Find new ways to learn everything you can about people you see around you and how to combine different things to narrow down or confirm your assumptions. And from now on, when you are at the poker table, look around you. You will learn something, I promise.</p> <p>As always, I highly recommend <a href="">Blue Shark Optics</a>. If you are going to read people, you don't want them to know they are being watched. To get clean reads where you know that your opponents are behaving the same way all the time, invest in a pair of Blue Sharks and get serious about reading your opponents.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:56:59 +0000 Chris Wallace 3254 Momentum on Side of Casinos in MA Repeal Effort <p>On November 4th, <strong>Massachusetts</strong> will decide the fate of casino gaming in the Bay State in the form of a ballot referendum. If approved, the Referendum (<a href=",_Question_3_%282014%29">Question 3</a>) would repeal the 2011 law that allowed for the construction and operation of three resort style casinos and a single slots casino in Massachusetts.</p> <p><strong>The casinos</strong></p> <p>The slots parlor was the <a href="">first license awarded</a> back in February, going to Penn National and the Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, Massachusetts. Construction has already begun on the slots parlor, despite the repeal effort.</p> <p>In June, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) awarded the <a href="">first casino license to the MGM proposal in Springfield.</a> This is the license for the Western Massachusetts region (Region B).</p> <p>Last week, Wynn Entertainment was <a href=";p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=1969142&amp;highlight=">awarded the coveted Boston area gaming license</a> (Eastern Massachusetts region or Region B) for their proposed casino in Everett.</p> <p>According to the <a href="">MGC website</a>, the third casino license for the Southeastern region (Region C) isn't expected to be determined until August 2015.</p> <p><strong>How we got here</strong></p> <p>Uncertainty over where the casinos would be located fueled the current push to repeal the previously popular casino law. But as the uncertainty has dissipated, so has the support for repeal.</p> <p>When casino projects were introduced in several communities from Foxboro to Milford to Springfield to Revere, a number of anti-casino groups spawned in the state, proving the old adage that everybody loves gambling, just not in their backyard.</p> <p>These groups rallied support in an effort to keep casinos out of their towns, and seem to have been emboldened by their successes.</p> <p>The licensing process called for each town to go to the ballot box to decide if a casino was right for them. This was followed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission selecting the most suitable casino proposal in each of the state's three regions.</p> <p>The anti-casino groups went on a massive (mis)information campaign and the 2011 law saw its public support falter. These same groups also saw an opportunity to not only keep casinos out of their towns, but out of the state through a petition for repeal.</p> <p>In June, the <a href="">State Supreme Court ruled</a> that the ballot question was legal, and despite millions of dollars spent by private companies and by the state, the fate of the Massachusetts casinos should be decided by the voters.</p> <p><strong>Polling supports casinos</strong></p> <p>While support for casinos in Massachusetts dipped during the proposal and licensing process (falling as far as 49% support for the casino law at one point), now that virtually all of the licenses have been awarded and residents know precisely where the casinos will be located, support for a repeal has fallen.</p> <p>What is likely at play is, residents in the areas that shot down casino proposals no longer have to worry about a casino in "their backyard," leading to opposition to casinos tapering off since the petition was first circulated --in many people's minds the repeal initiative was a backup plan in case their town was selected.</p> <p>On the flip side, in the locales awarded a license, support for a casino was already high (as it needed to pass a town/city-wide referendum) so the anti-casino groups were already dealing with less support in these areas.</p> <p>Polling data from early September suggests the repeal effort has a stiff uphill climb.</p> <p>The latest poll by <a href="">The Boston Globe</a> found 42% in favor of repeal and 51% against repeal, with 7% undecided.</p> <p>A similar poll conducted by <a href="">UMass/7</a> found 36% in favor of repeal and 59% against repeal, with just 5% undecided.</p> <p>A third poll, conducted by <a href="">WBUR/MassINC</a>, found 37% in favor of repeal and 52% against repeal, although a full 10% were undecided in that poll.</p> <p>The most recent polling data on Question 3 by the <a href="">MassInc Polling group</a> has 41% in favor of repeal and 51% against repeal, with 8% undecided.</p> <p><strong>Spending in favor of casinos</strong></p> <p>This week a pro-casino group, the <a href="">Committee to Protect Mass Jobs</a>, formally launched their statewide campaign, and as bad as the polling data trend has been, the repeal effort is likely more disheartened by this, and the current financials of the two sides.</p> <p>According to the <a href="">Berkshire Eagle</a>, the Committee to Protect Mass Jobs has ramped up their efforts, spending $702,000 from Sept. 1-15, compared to just $577,000 in July and August combined --which is still far more than the opposition.</p> <p>On the other side of the ledger is <a href="">Repeal the Casino Deal</a>, a group that spearheaded the initial petition and campaign. Repeal the Casino Deal has spent a mere $50,000 over the first two weeks of September, according to the Berkshire Eagle, and has raised just $36,000 in that same period, $25,000 of which came from a single donor.</p> <p><a href=""></a> highlighted the fundraising disparity between the two groups, citing <a href="">campaign finance reports</a> that show casino advocates have raised $1,785,150 from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31, while Repeal the Casino Deal raised less than 14% of that amount, $247,222.</p> <p>Repeal the Casino Deal is facing mounting debt issues as well. According to, <a href="">the group owes some $440,000</a> to lawyers, consultants, and supporters, and has just $11,000 cash on hand. Considering their paltry fundraising numbers, this mounting debt could be a serious problem.</p> <p>Approved casinos have also ramped up their efforts as well. Social media presences have been increased by <a href="">Wynn</a> and <a href="">Plainridge</a>, job fairs are being held, and an education campaign detailing the number and type of jobs, as well as painting a clear picture of the other advantages a casino will bring to the host town and the state as a whole, have begun.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:35:35 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3253 Late Bidders Force Revel Auction <p>If <strong>Glenn Straub</strong> wants to buy the <strong>Revel Casino</strong>, he will have to put up a little more cash. According to <a href="">Reuters</a>, late bids have come in for the bankrupt casino with an auction expected to take place today, Sept. 24.</p> <p>A pair of last-minute undisclosed bids were received yesterday for the two-year-old property and will force an auction. Florida developer Glenn Straub had an agreement in place to purchase the casino for $90 million, a bid that will now serve as the launching pad for additional bids.</p> <p><strong>Bidding to Start at $94 Million</strong></p> <p>While not specifically named, Reuters did point to the two interested parties as being a casino gaming interest from outside <strong>New Jersey</strong> and a real estate developer. Bidding will begin on Wednesday at $94 million, a far cry from the $2.4 billion that it cost to build the property.</p> <p>Reuters did point out that the bids are not a slam-dunk, stating that the offers are still subject to certain terms, such as financing arrangements. However, should they pass all the necessary criteria, it could be a spirited contest.</p> <p><strong>Doesn't Mind Competition But Doesn't Need "Monstrosity"</strong></p> <p>Straub's reaction to the news of other potential bidders was a bit mixed on Tuesday. According to the <a href="">Press of Atlantic City</a>, Straub seemed to welcome new bidders but then took a stab at the defunct casino.</p> <p>Straub stated via phone interview, <em>"We love competition. I'm in a very competitive sport. The sport of buying things."</em> Later on, Straub commented that he would not be very disappointed if he didn't win the auction, claiming, <em>"I don't need that monstrosity."</em></p> <p>One has to wonder if his comments are just last minute gamesmanship in an effort to perhaps convince other bidders not to fight as hard for the property. It seems unlikely that one would put up $90 million for a perceived monstrosity.</p> <p><strong>What's Next?</strong></p> <p>Provided that at least one bidder meets the terms of the bankruptcy auction, the sale will commence on Wednesday in New York. Straub has a clause in his agreement that will pay him $3 million should he lose the bid by $1 million or more. He is in a true win-win situation at this point.</p> <p>Should Straub win the bid, the property will undergo major changes including the addition of a university. Straub was recently quoted as saying that he wants to add a university for geniuses to work on the major issues facing our planet. He has also stated that <strong>casino gambling will be available at the new property, but in a greatly reduced capacity.</strong></p> <p>Straub's lawyers claimed that some parts of the property could be reopened in two weeks following the close of the sale, so many in Atlantic City will be interested to see the outcome of the auction. Granted, the casino entity winning the property could potentially go further in restoring some of the lost jobs in the area. Revel lost close to 3,000 jobs when they closed earlier this month.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:00:06 +0000 James Guill 3252 Real Gaming Adds 7-Eleven as New Deposit Option <p><strong>Real Gaming</strong> has yet to make much of a splash in <a href="">Nevada's online poker market</a>, but is hoping that may change by adding <strong>7-Eleven</strong> and <strong>Family Dollar</strong> convenience stores as a new deposit option for players.</p> <p>The website now allows players to choose the 7-Eleven deposit method by making a simple mouse-click and obtaining a barcode number. That number needs to be printed out or written down and taken to the nearest 7-Eleven convenience store where the number will be scanned and player deposits accepted through the PayNearMe network.</p> <p><strong>Real Gaming trails competition but trying harder</strong></p> <p>Funds will be deposited instantly for use at Real Gaming, the third website launched in the Silver State following Ultimate Poker (UP) and <a href=""></a>. Currently, that Nevada online poker market finds with over 60% of the action, while UP's share consists of the rest, according to PokerScout. Real Gaming is still establishing its footing after a February soft launch.</p> <p>Real Gaming had permitted deposits through either wire transfer, check by snail mail, electronic (ACH) check, or the <strong>South Point Casino</strong> cashier cage before adding Family Dollar and 7-Eleven stores to the mix. That increases player convenience substantially, considering that over 200 locations are sprinkled throughout Nevada.</p> <p>South Point, as many will remember, received the first online poker license in Nevada and was planning an Internet poker launch before being beaten to the punch by UP. South Point eventually did launch after first creating new software that allows online poker to be played on mobile devices without requiring a download.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 23:49:42 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3251 Full House - How Much Could Each U.S. State Earn From Online Gambling? <p>Earlier this month, <strong>Morgan Stanley</strong> issued their latest predictions on the United States iGaming market. <a href="">According to revised estimates</a>, the market will bring in at least $1.3 billion by 2017. That's down from a previous prediction of $3.5 billion.</p> <p>We found some of the estimates provided by Morgan Stanley to be a bit <em>"inflated"</em> in some spots in comparison to state estimates. We've compiled a list of states that are considering online gambling (<a href="">California</a>, <a href="">Pennsylvania</a>, Florida etc..) or have considered online gambling (<a href="">New Jersey</a>, <a href="">Nevada </a>and <a href="">Delaware</a>)   and present what these states could expect in year one of legalized iGamingIn addition, we present the estimates for those states where iGaming is already legal and the revenues actually realized during their first fiscal year of operation</p> <p> </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img title="How much could each US state earn from online gambling - PokerUpdate" src="" alt="How much could each US state earn from online gambling - PokerUpdate"/></p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:34:07 +0000 James Guill 3250 Full Tilt Disputed U.S. Claims Likely in Q1 of 2015 <p>Do you want the good news or the bad news?</p> <p>That’s the sum total of <strong>John Pappas</strong>’ post on the <strong>Full Tilt Poker (FTP) Remissions</strong> discussion thread on 2+2.</p> <p>The Executive Director of the <strong>Poker Players Alliance</strong> (PPA) was on 2+2 to give an update on the FTP remissions process after speaking to the Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier this week.</p> <p>The good news is the new wave of $2m <em>"undisputed claims"</em> - that include a lot of remissions from former affiliates and players of FTP - will be hitting bank accounts sometime this week.</p> <p>That will mean <strong>Garden City Group</strong> (GCG) would have coordinated close to $100m in repayments to former FTP customers based in America.</p> <p><strong>Bad news not surprising</strong></p> <p>Now for the bad news, and although it may be bad, it certainly won’t shock anyone.</p> <p>There will be a number of players who filed a claim that the GCG deemed to be <em>"disputed."</em> In most cases <em>"disputed'</em> means that the petitioner did not submit sufficiently clear evidence of their disputed figure.</p> <p>Pappas told the thread that they should expect to receive an email within the next two months, notifying them of what the outstanding issues are, and a time frame for providing the necessary evidence to help prove your case. He went on to say that if you don’t receive any notification from them then there is no issue with your disputed claim.</p> <p>This is one part of the process that I think has more leaks than my poker game. If you already know that your petition falls into the <em>"disputed"</em> basket, then it’s imperative that the GCG send you notification one way or another. To simply not respond is shoddy.</p> <p>If you do receive notification, then Pappas believes that there will be two likely issues with your claim.</p> <p>1. Your claim involves cash outs on or around Black Friday where the funds were never transferred or a check bounced. In these cases the GCG are still determining the time frame for when these types of payments will be owed to the player without them having to provide additional documentation.</p> <p>2. Your claim has a number of <em>"small discrepancies"</em> relative to your overall claim. Pappas wasn’t able to clarify what <em>"small discrepancies"</em> means but suggests that they will be small enough that the GCG will not undertake serious investigation before approving them.</p> <p>There is also an appeals process. If the GCG or the DOJ do not agree with your claim, then you do have the right to appeal.</p> <p><strong>Q1 of 2015 means nearly a four-year wait for some petitioners</strong></p> <p>The reason for the bad news is the estimated timescale for completion of the <em>"disputed"</em> claims process. Pappas received word that payments are expected Q1, 2015.</p> <p><em>“The wait has been torturous for many and we hope that no one will have to wait beyond early next year to be paid,”</em> wrote Pappas.</p> <p>On Feb 28, 2014, the GCG issued more than 27,500 payments totaling approx. $76m to former FTP players who timely confirmed their FTP Account Balances online.</p> <p>The next wave of payments were distributed on April 1, 2014 - about 2,200 payments totaling approx. $5m - and were sent to players who needed to correct their bank account details</p> <p>Then on Jun 12, 2014, another 3,200 payments, totaling $14m, were sent to petitioners who completed late petitions confirming their FTP account balances.</p> <p>The latest payments of around $2m are the remaining stragglers, former Affiliates and former players of Full Tilt Poker who do not fall under the auspice of Team Full Tilt Poker players.</p> <p>The final deadline for all petitions was Sep 3, 2014.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:15:32 +0000 Lee Davy 3249 Betfair to Remain in NJ Due to GameAccount Mobile Launch? <p>An interesting development with one of Betfair's partners may hint that the beleaguered online site might have a future in New Jersey.</p> <p>According to <a href="">RTE News,</a> <strong>GameAccount</strong> is eyeing a 2015 mobile casino launch with an <em>"undisclosed US casino operator"</em> that plans to launch its mobile casino in the first quarter of 2015. The product to be released by the company will be HTML5 games as well as apps for both iOS and Android.</p> <p>These products are said to replicate Class III slot machines. The apps are targeted towards younger users of legal age.</p> <p><blockquote>On-property Mobile Casino gaming is the natural evolution of Internet-based gaming for US casino operators," said Dermot Smurfit, CEO of GameAccount Network. "We are delighted to have been chosen as the provider of On-property Mobile Gaming for a major US casino and will seek to deliver this innovative solution for the Operator as soon as possible in 2015."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Who Else But Betfair?</strong></p> <p>While not specifically named, the only logical assumption to be made for the US gaming partner is Betfair. No other states are anywhere close to legalizing generalized online gambling in the time frame named in the report.</p> <p>GameAccount is already partnered with Betfair and operates Betfair is still operating in New Jersey despite the Trump Plaza shutting down earlier this month. GameAccount has deals in three other states, but those are for <em>"free play"</em> sites.</p> <p>The company operates Foxwoods Casino's free play site, one that has been in operation since January. They also have deals with Oklahoma's Osage Casino and Empire City Casino in Yonkers, NJ to provide free play services.</p> <p><strong>Positive Spin by Company or Hint at Betfair's Future?</strong></p> <p>With the recent closure of the Trump Plaza, the future of Betfair in New Jersey has been uncertain. One has to wonder if this announcement is a hint that Betfair will continue operations in the state with another partner or through some other arrangement with the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement.</p> <p>Other than GameAccount trying to put on a positive spin for stakeholders in the company, it would seem unwise for the company to make bold claims if there weren't some assurances that they could deliver. This is purely speculation at this point, but it's possible that Betfair will remain in the New Jersey market.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:55:42 +0000 James Guill 3248 Card Player Tour Implements Quantum Reload Concept at The Bike <p>If you live in the UK, and love football (soccer for American readers), then a Saturday night is not complete without a cup of tea and Match of the Day.</p> <p>A few weekends ago I listened to the Hull City manager, Steve Bruce, complaining about a disallowed goal, due to a bad offside call.</p> <p><em>“We have goal line technology, so why can’t we use the same technology to make sure the offside decisions are also accurate?”</em> questioned a rather irate Bruce.</p> <p>The man has a valid point, but I couldn’t help but worry for the future of our game. Goal line technology was a good thing. The decisions are made in seconds, but to tinker even further? Our beautiful game would lose its sheen. It would become unrecognizable.</p> <p><strong>Too many changes in poker?</strong></p> <p>The same is happening in poker right now.</p> <p>There is a real worry that our beautiful game is undergoing so many facelifts that soon we won’t even recognize it.</p> <p>The Card Player Tour have just announced details of the next stop at The Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California, Sep 21 through Oct 15. It’s a $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) Main Event that will use the Quantum Reload concept.</p> <p>Purveyors of poker press will remember that the Quantum Reload concept resulted in <strong>Allen ‘Chainsaw’ Kessler </strong>boycotting the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker Main Event when they declared their intention to incorporate the concept a few weeks ago.</p> <p>It turned out to be a good call for Kessler, after he decided to travel to Connecticut instead. He played in the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) event and won it for $170,031.</p> <p>But that’s not the point.</p> <p><strong>Chainsaw makes plea on behalf of non-pros</strong></p> <p>Kessler was so incensed that he posted an open letter to the WPT head honcho, Adam Pliska, and even created a poll on 2+2 (77.14% of people who took part agreed with Kessler that Quantum Reload is bad for poker).</p> <p>In Kessler’s view, the Quantum Reload concept makes it incredibly difficult for the recreational player to make any headway in these sorts of events, as professionals have so many chances to even out their luck.</p> <p>So I guess Kessler will not be playing in the Card Player Tour event at the Bike then?</p> <p>An article on states that the event will carry an estimated guaranteed prize pool of $500,000. The last time the Card Player Tour was at The Bike they were only willing to offer a $300,000 guarantee, so it’s obvious the Quantum Reload structure allows the organizers to get a little bit more confident in their guarantees.</p> <p><strong>Definition of "guarantee" unclear to organizers</strong></p> <p>That being said I have never seen the word <em>"estimated"</em> next to the word <em>"guarantee"</em> before.</p> <p>Players will have the opportunity to buy-in for $1,100, on three different starting days. If they are eliminated during any of these starting days then they can re-enter the following day. Players also have the ability to enter on Day 2 - with an average starting stack - for the additional price of $4,000. This means the max buy-ins for the pros - or wealthy fish - is $7,300.</p> <p><em>“The deep pocket skilled pros have an even bigger edge,”</em> said Kessler, when complaining about the WPT using the structure at the Legends of Poker.</p> <p>It’s not surprising that the Card Player Tour have gone this way for their event at The Bike. After all, The Bike Tournament Director, Mo Fathipour, is the creator of the concept.</p> <p><blockquote>The Quantum Reload concept is one tournament where you can come in different times, pay different amounts of money, and get different amounts of starting tournament chips,” said Fathipour. “It’s the ability for the player to choose his or her day to play, depending on what day you choose dictates the amount of the buy-in and the amount of each starting stack. For the bigger tournaments, the players are coming on day two paying more money and starting with more chips.”</blockquote></p> <p>The Bike will also be offering a series of live satellites for as little as $65. This means that Joe Bloggs will get the opportunity to play in the main event for a paltry price. Rest assured, there won’t be many satellite winners taking advantage of the Quantum Reload concept.</p> <p><strong>Quantum Reload's effect on poker questioned </strong></p> <p>So is this a good or bad thing for poker?</p> <p>As a recreational player, I couldn’t care less about the Quantum Reload concept. I live in Cardiff, South Wales, and we rarely get any big time poker tournaments in this neck of the woods.</p> <p>If the only way this could happen is the introduction of a Quantum Reload tournament then bring it on. I know before I start that I am at a disadvantage so I have a choice whether I am going to play or not. I don’t really see much difference between this and the re-entry format. Either way, it’s more difficult for me to beat the pro.</p> <p>It’s a tough call to make but I think as a whole I would prefer to see the money remain in poker. This doesn’t happen if a Deli owner from California takes the first prize. So if the concept helps the pros more, then as long as we are sensible about the use of this toy, then we should be ok.</p> <p>And here lies the problem.</p> <p>It’s all about the money honey.</p> <p><strong>Bigger prize pools and bigger fields</strong></p> <p>The Quantum Reload concept allows the organizers to offer bigger guarantees, and that will attract bigger fields. The organizers of these events will do anything to earn more profit, and tournament derivatives such as Quantum Reload and Re-Entry seem to bring home the bacon.</p> <p>And this is where our beautiful game comes under threat.</p> <p>How long before the WSOP Main Event is a re-entry event?</p> <p>How long before the WPT and EPT Main Events are all re-entry?</p> <p>How long before poker players look back into the annals of time and piss themselves laughing at the thought that we used to have a tournament format called a Freezeout?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:55:15 +0000 Lee Davy 3247 Who Is Going to Challenge PokerStars in the U.S.? <p>All the evidence is pointing to <a href="">PokerStars entering the New Jersey online poker market</a> in the coming weeks, a moment that is expected to be one of the biggest stories of the year, as poker players are looking to the return of PokerStars as that of a conquering hero.</p> <p>PokerStars is the consensus #1 in online poker, currently in a dominant position and the general feeling is upon their return to the U.S. online gaming market they will immediately establish a new ceiling that all other operators will strive to reach; it will be PokerStars and then a trail pack of operators trying to catch them.</p> <p>PokerStars is expected to ascend to the #1 spot, easily, but what about down the road?</p> <p>Stars may be the biggest and best company in the online gaming industry right now, but they are certainly not untouchable, and with their own future a bit uncertain (the company was <a href="">sold to Amaya Gaming</a> in August) a challenger could emerge on the horizon.</p> <p>From whence that challenge will come is still anyone's guess.</p> <p><strong>Full Tilt</strong></p> <p>PokerStars' most dangerous competitor may actually come from within, in the form of Full Tilt.</p> <p>The fact that they are currently owned by the same company makes Full Tilt perhaps the most interesting of PokerStars' potential competitors. Whether they remain friendly rivals, or once again become bitter enemies following Amaya spinning off Full Tilt is unclear, and could be something that determines the trajectory of the U.S. online poker industry in the coming years.</p> <p>During the post-UIGEA to Black Friday period from 2006-2011, PokerStars was the clear #1, but Full Tilt did manage to keep pace with PokerStars, forcing Stars to avoid becoming complacent.</p> <p>They managed this even though Stars had a five-year head start on FTP, and (as we have come to know following the company's internal issues coming to light after Black Friday) despite Full Tilt being grossly mismanaged --Who knows how the company would have fared against PokerStars had they had competent leadership and a business plan that went beyond doling out massive monthly dividends?</p> <p>Imagine if those dividend payments were reinvested in the product (which some would argue is the best poker software in the industry), marketing, or customer service?</p> <p>Furthermore, what would have happened had Full Tilt's monopoly on multi-entry tournaments and Rush Poker not been interrupted by Black Friday? Stars was #1, but Full Tilt was the innovator.</p> <p>Even though Full Tilt was a legitimate top tier online poker room from the moment they launched, thus far there has been little talk of Full Tilt returning to the U.S.</p> <p>The most obvious reason is the company's reputation is simply too tough to overcome. The term Ponzi scheme, and having your entire Board of Directors settle with the DOJ isn't the type of press companies want to receive, and it's the type of news consumers don't easily forget.</p> <p>There was also the <em>"minor"</em> issue of owing over $300 million to their players. Some of that money was repaid a year later, while some remains <a href="">unpaid to this day</a>, well over three years later.</p> <p>Moving forward there are two possibilities for Full Tilt to return to the U.S.</p> <p>The first possibility is for Amaya to launch Full Tilt alongside PokerStars in U.S. markets (with separate land-based partners), a move that seems somewhat redundant even though the two products differ aesthetically, but is not out of the question.</p> <p>The second possibility, the more likely in my mind, is for Full Tilt to be sold and rebranded by their new owners; owners I would expect to be a major casino corporation.</p> <p>If the company is rebranded (perhaps to <a href=""></a> or it would eliminate virtually all of the negatives overnight. Essentially wiping the slate clean for Full Tilt.</p> <p><strong>A new company</strong></p> <p>While their most likely challenger is Full Tilt, there is also the possibility that someone comes along with some online gaming breakthrough and releases a new software product that trumps PokerStars.</p> <p>The world is never short on visionaries with grand ideas.</p> <p>Paradise Poker took what Planet Poker had done and released a significantly superior product in 1999, completely reinventing the online poker industry a little over a year after it launched. Then along came another major innovation, the failed and tournaments.</p> <p><strong>The point is, if you think PokerStars is the pinnacle, you're sorely mistaken. They are currently halfway up the mountain while their competitors are still at base camp, but nobody has reached the summit.</strong></p> <p>A new company could come out of nowhere with some innovation that flips the industry on its head; perhaps 3-D video game graphics that do not use so much memory that the game is slowed down.</p> <p>Or, a current competitor could get their act together.</p> <p><strong>A resurgent partypoker</strong></p> <p>One company that has somewhat been written off (prematurely in my opinion) is partypoker.</p> <p>Party Poker dominated the U.S. market pre-UIGEA by appealing to casual players (grinders will remember you had to sign-up through the Party skin Empire Poker to get rakeback, and even those deals were hush-hush) and while they haven't exactly been world beaters in New Jersey, the company does have a real business plan in place and is sticking to it.</p> <p>A few software improvements, stepping up their customer service, and of course the vast U.S. market to pull casual players who like to play poker from is all partypoker needs. A task(s) that is far from impossible.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:54:19 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3246 Heads-Up Poker Match Between Ronaldo and Rafa Set for Nov. 6 <p>Brazilian football star <strong>Ronaldo</strong> and worldwide tennis champ <strong>Rafa Nadal</strong> are set to compete in a heads-up poker contest on Nov. 6 in London.</p> <p>The two sports stars are both <strong>PokerStars</strong> ambassadors and the upcoming match, dubbed "The Duel" by PokerStars Blog, came about after Ronaldo issued a challenge and Rafa gladly accepted. The event will be live and broadcast on</p> <p><blockquote>I challenged Rafa to a rematch after finding out he was preparing for another live poker game," said Ronaldo. "The last time we played together Rafa won the match and it was a lot of fun. This time it will be different, though, because I have been improving on my own poker strategy and will be more prepared."</blockquote></p> <p>That last match occurred in December in Prague as part of the <strong>European Poker Tour Charity Challenge.</strong> The six-handed event included <strong>Fatima Moreira de Melo</strong> and <strong>Daniel Negreanu</strong> and resulted in Rafa taking home the title, which he also does quite frequently on the tennis court. The staging of that event raised €100,000 for charity.</p> <p><strong>Rafa's poker game is improving</strong></p> <p>This time around, Rafa believes he may be an even tougher foe for Ronaldo, considering that he has been able to put in a few more hours on the felt. That is, when he's not winning Grand Slam tennis titles.</p> <p><blockquote>It was my first live poker tournament when I last played against Ronaldo and one year later I'm more confident with my skill level," the affable Nadal said. "I really enjoy playing poker and the challenge of learning as quickly as possible, so I can't wait to get back to training on my game and to play against Ronaldo."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Players and fans can compete against Nadal at PokerStars</strong></p> <p>In order to sharpen his game, Rafa will be putting in some time at the play-money tables at PokerStars. Players are invited to compete against the tennis champ on the six-max <strong>Zoom Poker</strong> tables today at 19:00 CET. Players in the U.S. can access PokerStars' play-money offerings.</p> <p>Questions can be asked of the tennis pro and up-and-coming poker star similar to the last time that PokerStars staged such an event in March. During that Zoom Poker session, <a href="">Negreanu sat alongside Rafa</a> as he took on the world and won, raising funds for Care International in the process.</p> <p><blockquote>"A lot of times you will have someone who is number one in the world, and they develop an ego," Negreanu said while mentoring the 'King of Clay.' "He's just very humble despite his success."</blockquote></p> <p>Another Zoom Poker play-money session with Nadal is scheduled for Oct. 14. Players and fans who would like to ask questions of the Spaniard either today or next month can do so via Twitter using the hashtag AskRafa.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:39:09 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3245 Ultimate Gaming Faced Too Much Competition to Survive in New Jersey <p><strong>Ultimate Gaming</strong> has officially pulled out of the <strong>New Jersey</strong> market and while some are viewing this as a black eye to the industry, was their departure unexpected?</p> <p>After all, the site was at a disadvantage in both brand identity and with the partner they chose in New Jersey. We can applaud their valiant effort to expand to the Garden State, but it may have been an ambitious move that should have waited until the company was more established.</p> <p><strong>Too Much Competition and Too Little Experience to Become Viable</strong></p> <p>One cannot blame Ultimate Gaming for wanting a foothold in Atlantic City. They enjoy the successful operation of <a href="">online poker in Nevada</a> and believed it was possible to replicate that same success in New Jersey.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there were just too many sites operating in the state and they had to compete against three powerhouses in the online gambling world. Borgata chose bwin.Party to supply the backend for their site. In addition, PartyPoker chose to provide a standalone site that shared player pools with BorgataPoker.</p> <p><a href=""></a> chose 888 Holdings to provide their backend. 888 also decided to run a separate, truly standalone site --<a href=";">888Poker</a>. by itself has proven to be more than a match for the combined pools of BorgataPoker and PartyPoker NJ. The All-American Poker Network is still a solid #3 in the state for online poker.</p> <p>Despite not running an online poker room, Tropicana has pulled in over $14 million this year in table game revenues. That's three time's Ultimate Gaming's total earnings in 2014. Tropicana partnered with Euro gambling leader Gamesys Limited for their site and have been one of the big surprises in NJ iGaming.</p> <p>The big three in New Jersey iGaming run over half of the state's eight iGaming sites. Their experience in the industry coupled with contracts with the largest casinos in the state resulted in their claiming the lion's share of the market. Had the big three been the only experienced operators in the state, Ultimate Gaming may have had a chance. Unfortunately, even the smaller sites were run by experienced companies.</p> <p>Golden Nugget partnered with Bally Technologies and Trump Plaza with Betfair, both companies having far more experience in the iGaming industry than Ultimate Gaming. Despite throwing a lot of money at advertising and running some clever promotions, Ultimate Gaming just didn't have the branding or the experienced needed to be successful in a state with eight iGaming sites. It was a brave endeavor, but perhaps one that they undertook too soon.</p> <p><strong>Lesniak Announcement Was Likely Death Knell, Not Bankruptcy</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>According to reports, the Taj hadn't paid Ultimate Poker in months and they are owed $1.5 million. In addition, the site was forced to do all of their own promotion because they were unable to get a deal in place with the property on advertising.</p> <p>Essentially, the site was operating as an independent entity. As such, did it really matter that the Taj was going into bankruptcy? Why not just try and continue with their license as Betfair did?</p> <p>Enter Senator Lesniak. He made claims last week that PokerStars was a matter of <em>"weeks, not months"</em> away from being approved for a license. That revelation changed the timeframe of PokerStars setting up shop from sometime in 2015 to possibly as soon as Thanksgiving.</p> <p>Ultimate Gaming was already dead last in the state for revenue and barely making a dent with their poker room. PokerStars likely would have killed a large percentage of the poker traffic and made them about as relevant as Betfair. Odds are that the table game revenue would follow.</p> <p>It's not a slam-dunk that the Taj will shut down in November, so the bankruptcy was a convenient excuse. Getting out of Dodge before PokerStars cuts further into their earnings would make more sense.</p> <p><strong>Ultimate Gaming May Be Perfect for Smaller Markets</strong></p> <p>One of the reasons behind the success of Ultimate Poker in Nevada is the fact that until recently, they were 50% of the industry. While is the industry leader in Nevada, Ultimate Poker is not far behind.</p> <p>As states begin to look at <a href="">online poker</a> in the near future, Ultimate Poker may want to start marketing themselves to some of the smaller market clients looking for a solid poker client or in states where a limited number of providers will be used.</p> <p>For example, states such as West Virginia and Rhode Island are going to have a limited number of sites. These smaller markets would be excellent targets for the company as they will have a larger chunk of the total market share.</p> <p>Ultimate Poker should also start marketing their brand as a U.S. brand. They didn't <em>"return to the U.S."</em> following Black Friday and are a company made by Americans for the American poker market. Why worry about whether a company broke the law post-2006 when you have a company that has only operated in a legalized American poker marketplace? <em>"Made in the USA"</em> may seem like a cliché for branding, but it may put them over the top in some more <em>"patriotic"</em> states.</p> <p>Ultimate Gaming will have a place in the legalized U.S. market. However, its growth will have to be slow as they continue to build their brand. With the right strategy, they can be a solid contender in the future.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:51:05 +0000 James Guill 3244 Play Heads-Up vs. Viktor Blom for $5,000 at Full Tilt <p>Want to match your poker skills against the best in the business and earn $5,000 in cash and bragging rights for a lifetime? You can do so by playing in <a href="">Full Tilt's Sit &amp; Go Trio promotion</a> and win your way to a heads-up showdown versus <strong>Viktor “Isildur1” Blom.</strong></p> <p>Requirements for the <strong>Sit &amp; Go Trio</strong> promo are quite simple. Just play in three Sit &amp; Go Tournaments a day starting on Sunday, Sept. 28 through Friday, Oct. 3. That includes Full Tilt's popular Jackpot Sit &amp; Go Tournaments.</p> <p>Playing three Sit &amp; Gos will allow your account to be credited with a $1K Sit &amp; Go Trio Freeroll ticket. Register and play in that freeroll under a Super Turbo tournament format the very next day. The freeroll ticket is good only for the $1K Sit &amp; Go Trio Freeroll the following day and will expire if you fail to take part.</p> <p>Finish within the top three in the $1K Sit &amp; Go Trio Freeroll and you'll advance to a $5,000 heads-up match against online poker legend and Full Tilt Professional Viktor “Isildur1” Blom set for Sunday, Oct. 5. Take down Blom and your account will be credited with $5,000 in bonus cash. But more importantly, you'll have achieved success where many others have failed.</p> <p><strong>More ways to win</strong></p> <p>To increase your chances of facing Blom heads-up, play six Sit &amp; Gos in one day and earn another $1K Sit &amp; Go Trio Freeroll ticket. The maximum amount of freeroll tickets allowed to be earned each day during the course of the promo is two.</p> <p>However, three of those Sit &amp; Gos must be played on desktop software, while the other three must be entered via the Full Tilt Poker app. Each day of eligibility from Sept. 28-Oct. 3 begins at 00:00 ET and ends at 23:59 ET.</p> <p>That's a total of 12 $1K Sit &amp; Go Trio Freeroll tickets that are available to be won. A dozen chances to win money in the freerolls, as well as to pit yourself against one of the most feared and respected heads-up players in all of poker.</p> <p>The heads-up matches against Blom are set for Eastern Time on Sunday Oct. 5 at each of the following: 14:45, 15:00, 15:15, 15:30, 15:45 and 16:00. Do you have what it takes to step up your game and take on Blom?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:41:12 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3243 Northern New Jersey Eyes Casino Proposals <p><span class="letter-big">T</span>he recent spate of casino closings in <strong>New Jersey</strong> has renewed interest in perhaps allowing casinos to be located outside of Atlantic City, with the state's northern end receiving considerable attention.</p> <p>That attention has come in the form of huge projects proposed for the North Jersey area designed to capture gamblers who are currently visiting casinos in nearby states. One such proposal includes more than just a casino-hotel, with the world's largest Ferris wheel, a racetrack that seats more than 100,000, and a skyscraper 95 stories high all mentioned as part of the project.</p> <p>That massive development with a price tag of $4.6 billion has been proposed by Paul Fireman, founder of Reebok International. The venture capitalist is held in high regard by many in the Garden State for turning a toxic waste site in Jersey City into a lavish golf course a dozen years ago.</p> <p>Another project being discussed calls for a $1.2 billion investment to transform the Meadowlands sports complex into a gambling haven that would consist of a number of "themed casino districts" located among hotels and a huge convention center, the Press of Atlantic City reported. The Meadowlands racetrack would function as the centerpiece for that proposal that also includes blueprints for a water park, indoor ski slope, and a people-mover system to allow for easy access to the various entertainment options available.</p> <p><strong>Don't forget Atlantic City!</strong></p> <p>While both of those proposals sound wonderful, neither will get off the ground unless lawmakers agree to put forth a referendum that allows New Jersey residents to have a say on the matter. The state's Constitution currently restricts gambling to within Atlantic City.</p> <p>One of the concerns about allowing gambling expansion in the state is that it may decimate Atlantic City gaming even further. For that reason, any projects undertaken in North Jersey will also likely include strategic development for Atlantic City in order to continue to attract tourists and gamblers.</p> <p><em>“Any expansion up here (North Jersey) has to subsidize projects to make Atlantic City a year-round resort,”</em> said State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, who previously held an executive position with an Atlantic City casino before venturing into politics in 2008.</p> <p><strong>Gov. Christie appears willing</strong></p> <p>Gov. Chris Christie has indicated a desire to expand gambling to North Jersey at some point in time, provided that revenue be used to help rejuvenate Atlantic City. While his approval of online gambling in February 2013 was also done to bolster slumping revenues at Atlantic City casinos, <a href="">New Jersey online poker</a> and gambling sites remain a work in progress.</p> <p><strong>PokerStars</strong> is expected to soon join that online gambling market, with a <a href="">recent study by Morgan Stanley</a> predicting that revenue may rise some 60% due to the presence of the industry giant. Following the casino closings of the Atlantic Club, Revel, Showboat, Trump Plaza, and perhaps the Trump Taj Mahal in November, the addition of PokerStars and the expected revenue boost, albeit in the realm of online gambling, will likely be a welcome sight.</p> <p>Should voters approve gambling expansion and North Jersey does become home to one of the two projects proposed, it's vital that the north and south regions of the state aren't pitted against each other. That's why including Atlantic City in any future projects elsewhere in the state is so important.</p> <p><em>“If Atlantic City loses, all of New Jersey loses,”</em> said Meadowlands Regional Chamber president Jim Kirkos. <em>“We want to use the resources of a North Jersey casino to help fund Atlantic City. We don’t want to hurt Atlantic City. But protecting dollars in New Jersey is really what this conversation is about.”</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 23:32:12 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3242 California Online Poker Advocate Resigns from Senate <p><strong>California Senator Roderick Wright</strong>, the backer of two intrastate online poker bills in 2012, resigned from office after receiving a three-month sentence for perjury and voter fraud.</p> <p>Wright's resignation was accepted by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who happened to co-author one of the online poker bills that Wright attempted to push through the legislature two years ago. The resignation is effective Monday, Sept. 22, about 40 days before Wright is scheduled to surrender to authorities on Oct. 31 to serve out his sentence, the Daily Breeze reported.</p> <p>The charges levied against Wright pertained to lying about where he resided. He was found to be living outside of Inglewood, the district he was elected to represent. Wright received a suspension of his Senate position with pay following his conviction in January.</p> <p><strong>Wright's proposals included racetracks</strong></p> <p>Wright and Steinberg championed SB 1463 in February 2012, but the state's gaming interests were not in agreement over the language of the bill. Wright tried again on his own with a proposal in December 2012, SB 51, that also failed to gain traction and never came up for a vote.</p> <p>Both of the bills supported by Wright included the state's horse racing industry as players in an ipoker regime. The two most recent online poker bills introduced by lawmakers in 2014, both of which were shelved last month, excluded horsemen from participation.</p> <p>The latest reports out of California indicate that a bill being prepared for introduction in December for the 2015 legislative session will include racetracks. The horsemen are reportedly prepared to initiate a legal challenge should attempts to keep them out of any Internet poker scheme continue.</p> <p>During his sentencing, Wright was told by Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy that he is ineligible to ever again hold public office. Though he was instrumental in laying some of the groundwork for the expected eventual approval of <a href="">online poker in California</a>, Wright will not be part of the celebration when regulation is enacted.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:27:08 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3241 Poker Strategy with Chris "Fox" Wallace: Quick Action Tells <p>When I first started watching for tells in live games, I watched for the timing of my opponent’s bets. After playing online for so long, it was the only thing I knew how to interpret right away, and it was a great entry into live tells because it was much easier in a live situation than online. Believe it or not, many online players are more conscious about giving away tells than live players. There was even an app that would randomly make your action take a few extra seconds to insure that your opponents couldn’t get a read on the timing of your bets.</p> <p>The one thing I was sure of was that a fast bet was a much more reliable indicator than a long pause. A long pause could literally mean anything because players sometimes thought a long time over tough decisions and often waited a long time on easy decisions as an attempt at deception. I don’t know if this ever worked on anyone, but I saw enough players tank for 30 seconds on an easy decision that I’m sure they thought it was working.</p> <p>Unlike a long wait in the tank, a fast action is tough to fake. A good player can act quickly in many situations, and prepare his action for all of the possibilities on the next street, but most players aren’t good, and some plays are tough to fake even for a strong player who is planning ahead.</p> <p>It’s elementary when you think about it. If a player flopped top pair on a nine-high board, and a queen falls on the turn, an instant bet has to be a preplanned action. Very few players will instantly evaluate an over card in that situation and decide to bet in less than two seconds.</p> <p><strong>Two second rule</strong></p> <p>Less than two seconds is the key here. The time can differ from player to player, but a bet that takes less than two beats after the card falls was almost always planned out. In order to make a decision, most players will take at least a beat to decide what they will do, and another beat because no one wants to act the instant they make their decision. Keeping their movements still and their face expressionless takes a beat as well. They don’t just have to decide to do something, they have to plan out doing it or their actions will be very readable.</p> <p>Almost always, an action that takes less than two seconds was preplanned. That planning might be “If the flush card or an over card comes, I check, otherwise I will bet.” But even that sort of plan requires a beat to read the board, and another to plan out and initiate your action. An instant bet means even less wiggle room. It means “No matter what, I will do x on the next street.”</p> <p><strong>Opponent aware of being read or not?</strong></p> <p>The interpretation can be the tough part. Once your opponent has acted quickly, you have to decide what it all means. I try to break opponents into two groups as soon as I sit down at a table. Either they are thinking about their actions, and aware that someone might be attempting to read them, or they are not.</p> <p>If your opponent is not thinking about how he is perceived, then he will be easy to read. His actions indicate what he holds and how he feels about it. A fast bet means he is confident. A slower bet means he had to think about it. A fast check and call often means a draw, but it can also mean that your opponent is excited for a check-raise, or even that they are checking instantly to make you afraid of a check-raise to induce you to check. Sometimes an instant check even means that they are feeling stubborn and ready to check and call every street instantly to show you that they know you are bluffing.</p> <p>When an opponent is not paying attention to covering up their emotions, you can discern what is causing their fast check. If they stare you down, they are stubbornly checking and calling with a real hand. If they are very interested in the next board card, they are probably on a draw. The simple opponent planning a check-raise will usually check and prepare to raise, and they will be interested in your bet, but not challenging or staring you down like Mr. Stubborn.</p> <p>My goal with this series is not to teach you every tell I can think of and what they all mean. I’m not sure it’s even possible to catalog a significant percentage of the tells I see at the tables. Multiple books have tried that approach, and while some of them were useful, none of them have gone beyond very rudimentary physical reads that aren’t reliable enough to make you real money. All of these tells need to be seen in context and you need to be able to think for yourself and stay a step ahead of your opponents.</p> <p><strong>Tells, like players, are unique</strong></p> <p>Every tell, and every player, is unique. I want you to be able to look at every situation and make smart decisions and narrow down your opponent’s hand ranges because of their appearance, behavior, speech, and body language. Those things are too wide ranging and there are too many of them to memorize, and far too many for me to write about each one. Think about the examples I provide and apply the same approach. Learn about people and think about why they do things and what they mean. Eventually it will start to make sense and your reads will be more and more accurate.</p> <p>As with all of my tells articles, I have to stress how important it is to get clean reads on your opponents. If they know you are watching them, they will be much tougher to read, and the best way I know of to keep my opponents in the dark is to wear Blue Shark Optics glasses. Check them out at <a href=""></a> and let them know that Fox sent you.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 23:16:50 +0000 Chris Wallace 3237 Is Congress Mulling Online Gambling Ban with Poker Exemption? <p>Rumors of a renewed push to ban online gambling at the federal level have started picking up steam, as it appears a more palatable version of <strong>Sheldon Adelson's Restoration of America's Wire Act</strong> (RAWA) bill with several exemptions including online poker may be brought up for a vote in Congress this November.</p> <p>According to the rumors, RAWA, or a toned-down version of it, would be voted on when lawmakers reconvene following the mid-term election -- commonly referred to as a <em>"Lame Duck"</em> session as many of the Senators and Representatives are little more than seat-savers for the men and women who unseated them during the elections.</p> <p><strong>The new rumor</strong></p> <p>As Chris Grove reported from C5's US Online Gaming Conference (USOG), Bally Tech's John Connelly stated during a panel discussion, <em>"he expects a federal push to make 'everything other than poker illegal' this November."</em></p> <p>Adding even more credibility to Connelly's statement, Editor Victor Rocha responded to Grove's tweet, saying he has been hearing these same rumors (that there will be a push for an online gambling ban with a poker carveout in November).</p> <p><strong>Not the first time this has been rumored</strong></p> <p>Earlier this week, <a href="">Politico reported</a> a rumored deal was hashed out over the summer between Sheldon Adelson and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) where the casino magnate would abstain from the 2014 Senate Races in exchange for Reid allowing a vote on Adelson's RAWA anti-online gambling bill.</p> <p>Whether the deal is true or not, it does indicate the two have spoken about RAWA.</p> <p>Any vote on RAWA by Reid would almost certainly have to contain an online poker carveout, or at the very least a grandfather clause for states that have already passed online poker bills, considering the state Reid represents.</p> <p>You may recall Reid made <a href="">a halfhearted attempt</a> to pass an online gambling ban with a poker carveout back during the 2012 Lame Duck session, but shelved the idea when he was unable to muster Republican support.</p> <p>Reid was also linked to <a href="">another similar attempt</a> along with the junior Senator from Nevada, Dean Heller (R-NV), earlier this year. Once again, the measure was unable to gain enough support to even be introduced.</p> <p>Back in May <a href="">another gambling ban with an online poker carveout</a> was reported by Jon Ralston, who later reported Caesars Entertainment was behind the bill. Ralston posted a draft of the legislation on his site, titled the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Control Act of 2014. This bill and the people behind it were never officially confirmed.</p> <p>A lack of support to introduce a bill wouldn't be an issue this time around, as the bones of a bill are already in place in the form of RAWA. More importantly, if Adelson is content with a poker exemption, Reid would find the Republican waters a lot more friendly this time around, as Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and other Adelson allies would likely go along with Reid provided the final bill receives Adelson's blessing.</p> <p><strong>Why RAWA needs exemptions</strong></p> <p>As far back as March, <a href="">I speculated</a> that the end-game for Adelson's attempted prohibition of online gambling was most likely a compromise bill that saw the prohibition of online gambling with numerous carveouts including online poker.</p> <p>The issue of online gambling is one that pulls political ideologies in several different directions, as Republican politicians must balance several contentious issues that are at the core of their political philosophies. There is a states' rights component, a moral "Christian Conservative" component, individual liberty considerations, and of course the revenue potential from the industry.</p> <p>Further complicating things, there are current exemptions to consider (Horse Racing and Daily Fantasy Sports) as well as the current landscape where three states (Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey) have passed online gambling laws and have their industries up and running, and three other states (Illinois, Minnesota, and Georgia) are offering online lottery sales.</p> <p>It would be difficult to muster Republican support without addressing these concerns. For instance, to get Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on board you would need a horseracing exemption, as you won't get a Kentucky senator's support without it.</p> <p>This same scenario will almost certainly play out across Congress.</p> <p>You also have several other states exploring their online options, from online poker in California to online lottery sales in West Virginia. Lawmakers from these states as well as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and New York would all need to weigh the local politics back home at the state level with their vote on online gambling at the federal level.</p> <p>Finally, a full ban of online gambling also opens the door to legal challenges, as Illinois, Minnesota, Georgia, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey would likely challenge any attempt to repeal their online gaming/lottery laws.</p> <p>It's also quite likely that a passable bill would contain grandfather clauses for New Jersey's and Delaware's online casino games.</p> <p>All of these interests would need to be appeased, and a compromise bill seems to be the only solution.</p> <p>It's still a long-shot, but the path is starting to become more visible.</p> <p><strong>Is Poker-Only what Sheldon Adelson wanted/expected all along?</strong></p> <p>One of the earliest hints that compromise wasn't out of the question (even though Adelson was adamant he wanted a comprehensive ban) was when RAWA sponsor Lindsey Graham intimated that compromise was a perfectly acceptable outcome, telling <a href="">the Las Vegas Sun</a> back in March, <em>“If you want to have online gambling, then come to the Congress. … If you want to have a poker exception, offer an amendment and see if it will pass.”</em></p> <p>As I opined at the time, <em>"Was his [Sheldon Adelson] call for a ban on everything, simply an instance of leveraged bargaining?"</em>One would assume that Adelson understood the politics of the issue and understood the slim chance a comprehensive ban would have to even be voted on as sitting members of Congress are unlikely to take a vote on an issue that will alienate a significant portion of their constituents.</p> <p>Perhaps he has always seen online poker as the bone to throw to the other side to get what he truly wants: A ban on online house banked casino games?</p> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 02:00:51 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3240 Ultimate Gaming to Pull out of New Jersey <p>In a move expected by many, <strong>Ultimate Gaming</strong> has ended their contract with the <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong> in New Jersey.</p> <p>According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the company cited multiple breaches of contract by the casino. Ultimate Gaming has also chosen to shut down their New Jersey operations rather than find a new casino partner.</p> <p>While not specifically stated by the company, one of the breaches may have been over payment for services rendered. According to the bankruptcy filing by Trump Entertainment Resorts, Fertitta Acquisitions Co. is owed nearly $1.5 million by the Trump Taj. Fertitta Acquisitions is an associate company of Stations Casinos, majority owner of Ultimate Gaming.</p> <p>Trump Entertainment Resorts entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 9 and could be on the way to shutting down the Taj in November unless other arrangements are made.</p> <p><strong>Doomed From the Start?</strong></p> <p>What do you call a partnership where one side fails to do any work? You would call it Ultimate Gaming in New Jersey. From the beginning, it appeared that the Taj wanted an online partner but didn't want to do any work to help them grow.</p> <p>Look at their site. There are no links at either or for Ultimate Gaming. Advertising by the casino was non-existent for their partner. Odds are that if you asked the average player if the Taj had an online site, they would say no.</p> <p><strong>Failed to Replicate Nevada Success</strong></p> <p>Ultimate Gaming was unable to duplicate the success enjoyed in the <a href="">Nevada online poker market</a> and was dead last in New Jersey for overall performance. In 2014, the poker room pulled in just $451,321, less than 5% of second place Caesars.</p> <p>Ultimate Casino was dead last in table games, pulling in $4.46 million through August and just $4.92 million overall. Betfair, despite making only $49 this year on poker, pulled in $5.05 million through August.</p> <p><strong>Shutdown Not Expected to Take Long</strong></p> <p>While a date was not set for a final closure of New Jersey operations, many expect the company to shut down in just a few short days. According to UG chairman Tom Breitling, <em>“We are working closely with the Division of Gaming Enforcement to ensure a smooth transition for our online gaming customers as we wind down our New Jersey operations.”</em></p> <p>With the closure of Ultimate Gaming in New Jersey, there will be just five online gambling sites remaining. Betfair is continuing their New Jersey operations despite Trump Plaza shutting down and are looking for a new gambling partner.</p> <p>The shutdown of Ultimate Gaming could be of benefit for some of the other sites as players look for a new place to call their online home. With close to $600,000 a month in table game revenue, expect some sites to see noticeable jumps in revenue over the next couple of months as these players transition.</p> <p><strong>What's Next For Ultimate Gaming?</strong></p> <p>For now, the company will focus on Nevada. Ultimate Poker has remained competitive in the state despite Caesars popular launch of <a href=""></a> Enhancements to the Nevada site are planned in upcoming months, including the ability to play on both Mac and mobile platforms.</p> <p>Ultimate Gaming could also be biding their time until <a href="">California legalizes online poker.</a> The company has claimed in the past that they have tentative agreements with some tribes to serve as service provider. Depending on what happens with PokerStars, UP could find traction in a legal California marketplace.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:47:33 +0000 James Guill 3239 J.C. Tran and 888Poker End Partnership <p><strong>J.C. Tran</strong> announced that he longer represents <strong>888Poker</strong> as a sponsored pro, ending a partnership that lasted one year.</p> <p>Tran initially signed on with 888Poker last year during a hiatus of the 2013 WSOP Main Event final table. Tran was leading the November Niner finalists in chips at the time. When play resumed in November, the Vietnamese national finished in fifth place and took home more than $2.1 million.</p> <p><em>"Want to announce that I am no longer a member of <cite>888poker,"</em> Tran tweeted on Wednesday. <em>"Thank you for a fun journey ovr the past 12mos. GL to all of #team888."</em></p> <p>Tran's performance at last year's Main Event was his sixth cash at the WSOP in Las Vegas in 2013. His next best finish among the six was 20th place in $5,000 No Limit Hold'em that landed a payday of $24,872, according to the Hendon Mob database.</p> <p>Justin Cuong Van Tran also ran good at the 2014 WSOP, finishing in-the-money five times. A fourth place finish in $25,000 NLHE Mixed Max was good for $290,622, while fourth place in a six-handed $10,000 buy-in event added $185,971 to Tran's earnings.</p> <p>Prior to the 2014 WSOP, Tran bested the field in the World Poker Tour's $3,500 Rolling Thunder Main Event, grabbing $302,750 in first place prize money. All told, the 37-year-old is 16th on the all-time money list with more than $11.7 million in cashes.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="</cite>"><strong>Get up to $888 welcome bonus at (available for New Jersey players only!)</strong></a></p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:28:30 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3238 Morgan Stanley Revise US Online Gambling Revenues <p>Financial reports…the words make me shudder.</p> <p>Lao Tzu, the sixth century BC Chinese poet, once said, <em>“Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.”</em></p> <p>If you’re a fan of sixth century poets, then perhaps you should take Morgan Stanley’s US online gambling revenue forecasts with a pinch of salt?</p> <p>The financial powerhouse has recently penned a 22-page report cutting US online gambling market estimates quite drastically. The new figures show a drop from $3.5bn to $1.3bn by the time 2017 rolls into town, and another drop from $8bn to $5bn in 2020.</p> <p>To be fair to Morgan Stanley, the current performance of iGaming revenue in the three regulated states doesn’t produce a tingle in the belly, and their assessment of the current levels of growth as <em>"underwhelming"</em> are on the mark.</p> <p>Despite the falling numbers, the reports indicate that Morgan Stanley remains bullish on the long-term opportunities for US online gambling once the technical and awareness issues are finally put to bed. Issues, the financial specialists said, that lead to <em>"a stubbornly slow market ramp and legislative process."</em></p> <p>Talking about legislative process, and the report bears no mention of any federal ruling over iGaming in the next five years, and instead focuses on the current state-by-state trend that has kick-started the revolution.</p> <p>The forecast indicates there will be seven states live by 2017, and 20 by the end of 2020. With the exception of California, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois, the rest of the cast seem to be hiding on a memo that failed to reach the desk of the person who wrote this report.</p> <p>Writing in the California Gambler, intrepid reporter <strong>Steve Ruddock</strong> cites Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, West Virginia, Maryland, Hawaii, and Washington as potential candidates, but even that little wizard is left scratching his head as to what other states will be opening their cyber doors.</p> <p><strong>New Jersey</strong></p> <p>Morgan Stanley has had to rely heavily on the performance of the current three states (New Jersey in particular) for their predictions of the future.</p> <p>Here are the revised revenue forecasts for the Garden State.</p> <p><strong>NJ Online Gaming Forecast</strong></p> <p>2014 - $127m</p> <p>2015 - $203m</p> <p>2016 - $355m</p> <p>2017 - $507m</p> <p>PokerStars are still being hailed as the savior, and Morgan Stanley point to the Red Spade’s entrance into the Italian market as a potential indicator of the possibilities of a New Jersey impact.</p> <p>In March 2009, the Italian online poker market was worth €178m. PokerStars enter, and that figures rises 62% to €288m, with half of that lolly being earned by Stars, showing that the presence of the online poker giant created extra earning potential for their competitors also.</p> <p>The above figures are primarily based on the $73m of online gaming revenue earned this year, with a 3% growth month-on-month for the rest of the year. Morgan Stanley is predicting that <a href="">PokerStars will enter the NJ market</a> in January 2015, three months after Senator Ray Lesniak predicts.</p> <p><strong>California</strong></p> <p>The report believes an online poker bill will be passed in California some time during 2015, with the market opening up in 2016. The current 80/20 casino/poker revenue split in New Jersey has made them more cautious over the prospects for the <a href="">poker-only offering out of CA.</a></p> <p>The assumption is that PokerStars will ride into New Jersey, show the whole world how ‘this shit is done,’ and California will start thinking that bad actors are not that bad after all.</p> <p>A $260m market is assumed in 2016, growing to $610m by 2020. These figures have dropped quite significantly from $435m &amp; $1.2bn.</p> <p><strong>CA Online Gaming Forecast</strong></p> <p>2016 - $261m</p> <p>2017 - $348m</p> <p>2018 - $435m</p> <p>2019 - $522m</p> <p>2020 - $610m</p> <p><strong>Illinois</strong></p> <p>The inclusion of Illinois is forecast to be 2017 after legislation is passed in 2016. Morgan Stanley forecast $177m in the first year, and $607m by 2020. This assumes that Illinois will go the whole nine yards and introduce a total iGaming experience into the state, and not just <a href="">online poker.</a></p> <p><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></p> <p>A similar thought process is attached to the fate of Pennsylvania. Morgan Stanley predicts that a bill will be passed in 2016, and money will start rolling in during 2017. They believe it will earn $58m in its first year as an online poker-only operation, rising to $253m by 2020 with a full online casino implemented in the third year of operation.</p> <p>So there you have it.</p> <p>The art of saying what will happen, now we wait another few years for the explanation as to why it never did.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:03:05 +0000 Lee Davy 3236 Greg Merson Becomes's First Brand Ambassador <p><strong>Greg Merson</strong>, the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, abruptly left Ivey Poker this summer and was spotted wearing <a href=""></a> patches during the Main Event. Most speculated that he had been signed by the site but an official announcement was never made.</p> <p>On Thursday, <a href=""> officially revealed Merson as their first brand ambassador</a> as well as several promotions in connection with their one-year anniversary. Officials also revealed several brand enhancements that players can look forward to in the near future.</p> <p><strong>Merson to Be the Face of the Brand in New Jersey and Nevada</strong></p> <p>If you're going to pick a brand ambassador for, there are few stories more compelling than Merson's. Perfecting his game online, Merson overcame issues with drug addiction to win two bracelets at the 2012 World Series of Poker, including the Main Event.</p> <p> Head of Online Poker Bill Rini heralded the signing, stating, <em>“Greg is a terrific ambassador for the game of poker. He loves the game, is passionate and opinionated about its future, and he will help us spread the word about our offerings and ensure the poker playing community has a respected, experienced voice to help shape moving forward.”</em></p> <p><strong>Promotions Celebrate One Year Anniversary and Acclimate Merson in New Role</strong></p> <p>Today marks the official one-year anniversary of's launch in Nevada. The site is celebrating with some huge promotions available to all players.</p> <p>The first is the <strong>Anniversary Tournament Series</strong>. Running from Sept. 19 through the 27th, will run a series of tournaments with total guarantees of $70,000. The <em>"Super Sunday"</em> event on September 21 will feature a $25,000 guarantee.</p> <p>Players wanting to rack up some Action Player Points (APP's) can take advantage of's <strong>Double Me Up</strong> promotion. Through the 27th, players can earn double APP's on all ring games and tournament fees paid.</p> <p>Finally, players can take advantage of's <strong>Tournament Ticket Sale</strong>. Starting at 9:19 am on Sept. 19 and continuing to 9:19 am on Sept. 20, players can purchase tournament tickets at 50% of the normal tournament fees. These tickets will be valid for up to a year.</p> <p><strong>Improvements Will Help Improve Player Experience</strong></p> <p>Officials also revealed some recent and upcoming site improvements that will help improve the overall experience for players. These improvements include a new verification process, live withdrawal and deposit options, and a general time frame on the arrival of mobile gaming. The enhancements are as follows:</p> <p><strong>Wi-Fi Geolocation</strong> - Instead of using a mobile device, players can now use Wi-Fi to verify their location with This move was made to help eliminate many of the verification issues experienced under mobile verification. In order to participate, players must upgrade their client and keep Wi-Fi always on.</p> <p><strong>In-Person Withdrawals and Deposits</strong> - In addition to standard deposit and withdrawal options, players can now do both at the main cage of the Rio All-Suite Hotel &amp; Casino in Las Vegas. Players can begin the transaction at <a href=""></a> and complete the transaction at the Rio.</p> <p><strong>Mobile Options Coming</strong> - Players will be able to play at from their iOS and Android devices later this year. They will be able to do everything they can with the standard PC client once their account is linked to their mobile device.</p> <p><strong>Expanding Payment Options</strong> - This one was a bit vague, but officials revealed that <em>"positive discussions with major credit card issuers and banks"</em> have occurred and expanded payment options will be available in the future. An exact time frame was not stated.</p> <p> is the top online poker site in Nevada and #2 in New Jersey. During the 2014 World Series of Poker, they rose to the #1 spot nationwide. Since its launch, over 100,000 accounts have been created and $363.28 million wagered.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:02:06 +0000 James Guill 3235 Bitcoin Sports Betting Site Nitrogen Sports to Open Online Poker Room <p>Bitcoin-loving poker players got another shot in the arm this week after <strong>Nitrogen Sports</strong> declared their intention to open an online poker room.</p> <p>The scheduled launch date is Thursday, Sept. 18 and the online poker room will offer both real-money games (using Bitcoin) and a play money option. Customers will access the games via an HTML 5 application and initially there will be No-Limit, Pot-Limit, and Fixed-Limit Texas Hold’em cash games and tournaments (MTTs, SNGs and Rebuy tournaments).</p> <p><blockquote>It’s clear to us that online gambling would hugely benefit from embracing Bitcoin, with the biggest benefits being instant transactions, low transaction costs, anonymity, and security," said Jacob Dawson, co-founder of Nitrogen Sports. "Extending those benefits to a community of poker players was an easy decision for us."</blockquote></p> <p>The poker room is a turnkey system developed by the Swedish outfit Cubeia, who specialize in social and Bitcoin poker sites. They have business relationships with the likes of bwin and Microgaming, and a few fingers in the real-money poker pie in India.</p> <p><strong>A handful of Bitcoin poker sites</strong></p> <p>The Nitrogen Sports poker room is the latest poker room to choose the Bitcoin-only platform. <strong>Seals With Clubs</strong> and <strong>Betcoin Poker</strong> are the two well-known sites, with <strong>Switch Poker</strong> and <strong>WinPoker</strong> accepting Bitcoin alongside real-money offerings.</p> <p><blockquote>This extension of our brand comes directly from the feedback we’ve received from our current users," stated co-founder James Hampelton. "Our goal has always been to provide the best possible user interface, and I’m really excited to hear what they have to say about our new and modern software."</blockquote></p> <p>Although Cubeia have relationships with other poker operators, the liquidity of the Nitrogen Poker room will be purely self-contained. The poker room will run alongside the sports book, and it’s hoped that Nitrogen sports bettors will jump onto the tables in between flutters.</p> <p>Nitrogen Sports was launched in 2012 and is based out of Costa Rica. It’s one of the leading Bitcoin only sports books in the world. Bitcoin Reviewer said that the site delivered <em>"outstanding customer service,"</em> that it was <em>"a great social media experience,"</em> and that they <em>"listen to their customers."</em></p> <p>The Bitcoin betting guide said that Nitrogen Sports <em>"has the best odds in Bitcoinland"</em> before giving it a 95% rating.</p> <p>Nitrogen Sports is one of the only Bitcoin sports books that have a wide range of betting on eSports including Starcraft, League of Legends, and Counter Strike.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 23:49:23 +0000 Lee Davy 3234 WPT Heads to Asia in October <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">T</span>he World Poker Tour has announced the schedule for events that will take place on Asian soil in October and November of this year. First on the schedule is the WPT National Philippines in Manila, which represents an inaugural World Poker Tour event. Immediately after the conclusion of the Manila stop, the tournament will move to Mainland China, more precisely, Hainan, where poker festivities will continue.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Solaire Resort &amp; Casino in the Manila Bay</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Philippines’ stop will spread over 11 days and all the action will take place in Solaire Resort and Casino situated in the famed Manila Bay. The flagship tournament, a $2,200 Main Event, will commence on October 25<sup>th</sup>. A rich offering of side events are also available, featuring tournaments such as the $25,000 high roller, $500 pot limit Omaha, and a $150 charity event.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Solaire Resort &amp; Casino President Thomas Arasi expressed his excitement about the prospect of this inaugural event and it seems that players and other guests will be in good hands.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><blockquote>Solaire is about creating moments, and the World Poker Tour is going to provide many powerful moments for everyone involved."</blockquote></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>MGM Grand Sanya in Yalong Bay</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Located some 800 miles from the Philippines, MGM Grand Sanya will host the players in Hainan, Mainland China. The National Main Event is scheduled to kick off on October 28<sup>th</sup> and features a buy in of $1,600, while the High Roller event will have a somewhat modest entry fee of $5,000. There are several $1,000 deepstack NLHE tournaments on the schedule as well as a $1,000 Open Face Chinese Poker event.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Great Expectations</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The first ever sanctioned poker tournament in Mainland China took place in 2012. It was a WPT event that attracted 550 players. Year 2013 saw an increase of nearly 100%. The organizers, WPT President <strong>Adam Pliska </strong>and tournament director <strong>Matt Savage</strong>, have every reason to hold big expectations regarding these events.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As for Manila, it is already home to numerous poker professionals and it has all the makings of an evolving poker market that could help with bringing new players to the green felt.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><blockquote>After experiencing great success during our first two trips to Mainland China, it was only natural for the World Poker Tour to expand within the region. Like China, the Philippines is an emerging poker market with a host of both talented new players and skilled veterans." <cite>Adam Pliska</cite></blockquote></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The year so far has broken quite a few records in terms of tournament fields and Asian WPT stops could easily build upon this trend. A total of 35 events spread across two stops should guarantee enough action for all the potential grinders weighing their options.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">New poker markets are always more than welcome and Asia, without any doubt, has a lot of potential for numerous reasons – the number of people being near the top of the list. More information will be available once the tour kicks off, but things certainly look promising for everybody involved – players and organizers alike. </p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 23:21:27 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3233 PokerStars Keen on Attracting Casual Players in NJ <p>Two <strong>PokerStars</strong> representatives met with online poker players in New Jersey last week in an effort to obtain feedback as to ways that its soon-to-be launched poker site can best address the needs of its loyal customers.</p> <p>On the surface, it may appear as though the meet and greets were mostly for PokerStars players who can best be labeled as regulars. After all, would recreational players be interested in attending and sharing their viewpoints considering that poker likely does not consume their time as much as it does the grinders who toil away on the virtual felt day in and day out?</p> <p>It seems that much of the discussion at at least one of the gatherings that took place at restaurants in Atlantic City and Jersey City last week was focused on casual players. Attracting more recreational players and keeping them coming back was apparently discussed at length, according to <a href="">posts at 2 + 2</a> made by attendees of the get-togethers.</p> <p><strong>New Jersey players provide insight regarding gatherings</strong></p> <p><blockquote>I went to the private dinner meeting with 9 other players and the 2 Poker Stars Reps," posted 'njpokerplayer24.' "First off let me say i felt way unqualified to be at that meeting compared to the accomplishments of the other players there. But the main point of discussion on the left side of the table was how to attract the casual player back into playing online poker."</blockquote></p> <p>Another player who attended, 'Jersey Jay,' echoed the sentiments of 'njpokerplayer24' by posting, <em>"There was plenty of conversation around casual players, and making deposits easy and solving geolocation frustrations."</em></p> <p>PokerStars has shown a knack for attracting both regs and casual players via their loyalty program and promotions such as 'milestone hands' that typically boost player traffic significantly. We can likely expect much of the same once New Jersey gaming regulators finally approve the application for an igaming license submitted by parent company Amaya that is expected soon.</p> <p><strong>Late October launch?</strong></p> <p>Another tidbit of information gleaned from players who attended the meet and greets was that a <a href="">PokerStars launch in New Jersey </a>may occur as soon as mid to late October. It should be stated, however, that 'njpokerplayer24' finds that timeline a bit optimistic and a <em>"best case scenario."</em> Later in 2014 is perhaps more realistic.</p> <p>Back to the matter of casual players, it is widely known in online poker circles that recreational players are key to the success of poker sites. Nothing better than fresh depositors who enjoy playing but tend not to withdraw. It can be argued that grinders are equally important, generating huge rake by playing many tables simultaneously.</p> <p>PokerStars has certainly found a balance in catering to both ends of the spectrum with regard to skill levels of its players. Based on the accounts of players who happened to partake in the free food and drink gatherings last week hosted by the industry giant, the player pool in New Jersey (whenever that may be) will follow much the same course and won't neglect the recreational crowd.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:02:46 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3232 Dan Bilzerian Teams with Verne Troyer in new BGO Marketing Campaign <p>Dan Bilzerian’s life is complete.</p> <p>He had the hookers, the porn stars, the money, the guns, and even the goat. And now to round it all off, he gets to hang with the coolest dwarf in the business: Verne Troyer.</p> <p>The images of Troyer kicking back in the world of Dan Bilzerian have already invaded my mind, and I can’t stop laughing.</p> <p>BGO Entertainment - an entertainment company founded in 2012 - has signed Dan Bilzerian to join the Hollywood movie star in a £15m online and TV marketing campaign.</p> <p><em>“I am very selective who I do business with because in the world of gambling you are only as good as your word, and I’m excited to be working with BGO,”</em> Bilzerian said.</p> <p>It’s not as if Bilzerian needs the money.</p> <p>In a recent interview with radio talk show host, Howard Stern, Bilzerian said that he had won over $50m playing poker in home games against billionaire businessmen – in 2014 alone.</p> <p>BGO Entertainment started out as one of the biggest casino affiliates in Europe before changing tact in 2009. Today, they work extensively in the online bingo market with,, and, a few of the brands that are associated with BGO.</p> <p><strong>Troyer worked with BGO previously</strong></p> <p>Troyer first joined the team in February of this year in a series of marketing campaigns called <em>‘Beat The Boss.’</em></p> <p><em>“I’m the boss at - come and beat me,”</em> says Troyer in the 30-second ads.</p> <div class="t_iframe"> <p>Troyer said. <em>"I really enjoyed working with the BGO guys last year and am really happy to be a part of the new campaign.”</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color: #0563c1;"><br/></span></p> <p> </p> </div> <p><em><br/></em></p> <p><span style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">BGO Entertainment’s co-founder, Richard Skelhorn, thought the Troyer ads were a great success, hence the decision to bring him back into the fold.</span><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><span style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"><blockquote>“Bringing Verne to the BGO brand made a real step change in our business," Skelhorn said. "We also won the EGR innovation in marketing award and to have the opportunity to continue working with Verne was really a no-brainer, we just had to do it.”</span></blockquote><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><strong><span style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">Bilzerian's mass appeal cited</span></strong><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><span style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">The addition of Bilzerian makes for some crazy script ideas. Let’s just hope they don’t put the little man anywhere near the gun-toting playboy when they get on a roof!</span><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><span style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"><blockquote>This year’s addition of Dan Bilzerian is very exciting and provides us a real opportunity to do something very different in the space, to continue to grow the brand internationally and appeal to a wider audience," Skelhorn added.</span></blockquote><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><span style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">Troyer was keen to remind Bilzerian of his role in the new team set up.</span><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><br style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"/><span style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;"><em>“I’m still The Boss at!"</em> Troyer said. <em>"I really enjoyed working with the BGO guys last year and am really happy to be a part of the new campaign."</em><br/></span></p> <p>The new campaign is set to launch in Q4 of this year.</p> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 229px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"><em>Troyer said. "I really enjoyed working with the BGO guys last year and am really happy to be a part of the new campaign.”</em></div> <p><em> </em></p> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 229px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"><em>BGO Entertainment’s co-founder, Richard Skelhorn, thought the Troyer ads were a great success, hence the decision to bring him back into the fold.</em></div> <p><em> </em></p> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 229px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"><em>“Bringing Verne to the BGO brand made a real step change in our business," Skelhorn said. "We also won the EGR innovation in marketing award and to have the opportunity to continue working with Verne was really a no-brainer, we just had to do it.”</em></div> <p><em> </em></p> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 229px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"><em>Bilzerian's mass appeal cited</em></div> <p><em> </em></p> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 229px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"><em>The addition of Bilzerian makes for some crazy script ideas. Let’s just hope they don’t put the little man anywhere near the gun toting playboy when they get on a roof!</em></div> <p><em> </em></p> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 229px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"><em>“This year’s addition of Dan Bilzerian is very exciting and provides us a real opportunity to do something very different in the space, to continue to grow the brand internationally and appeal to a wider audience, Skelhorn added.</em></div> <p><em> </em></p> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 229px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"><em>Troyer was keen to remind Bilzerian of his role in the new team set up.</em></div> <p><em> </em></p> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 229px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"><em>“I’m still The Boss at!" Troyer said</em></div> <p><em> </em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; color: #0563c1;"><a href=";" target="_blank"><span style="color: #0563c1; text-decoration: none;">Get up to $888 welcome bonus in (available for NJ Players Only!)</span></a></span></strong></p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:04:09 +0000 Lee Davy 3231 Margaritaville Casino Closes and Files for Bankruptcy <p>The <strong>Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant in Biloxi, MS</strong> closed its doors on Monday after just two years in operation. Failure to build helped lead to the casino's closure. A day after closing the casino, the property's parent company filed for bankruptcy.</p> <p>First reported by <a href=";rh=1"></a>, MVB Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday afternoon. The company had operated the now defunct Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant.</p> <p>This filing comes just one day after the Margaritaville closing. The property had announced back in July that they would close down. The facility opened in 2012 and was the first new casino to open since 2007.</p> <p><strong>Closure Not Unexpected</strong></p> <p>When the Margaritaville opened in 2012, owners knew that their future depended heavily upon building a hotel. Back in July, facility President Doug Shipley had been quoted saying, <em>“You need to have the amenities to be able to compete. It’s a fact that people play where they stay.”</em></p> <p>After the opening of the casino, the Mississippi Gaming Commission made a rule requiring new casinos include a hotel with at least 200 rooms so that the property would provide a well-rounded gaming experience for customers.</p> <p>Executive Director of the MGC, Alan Godfrey, was quoted back in July as saying, <em>“This is a pretty good example of why we put that rule in place. Without a hotel, they (Margaritaville) knew it was going to struggle.”</em></p> <p><strong>Attorneys Blame Landlord - License Now Void</strong></p> <p>Margaritaville attorneys were laying much of the blame on the property's landlords on Monday. According to Michael Cavanaugh, attorney for MVB Holdings, the casino had been attempting to reach an agreement with Clay Point LLC, the landowners of the property, to build a hotel. Unfortunately, that deal fell through.</p> <p>Now that the casino is closed, the landowners cannot just take over the property and operate a new casino. When the property shut down on Monday, the license was null and void. Any new operator would have to go through the standard licensing process and build a hotel.</p> <p><strong>Bankruptcy Filing Paints a Different Picture</strong></p> <p> listed the top 20 unsecured debts owed by the casino with more than $4.47 million owed to creditors. Of that figure, over $1.37 million is owed to Roy Anderson Corp of Gulfport, the builder of the casino.</p> <p>Other creditors owed money according to the filing include Bally Gaming of Las Vegas, Sysco Food Service of Jefferson, LA, WMS Gaming Inc. of Chicago, and Bally Gaming of Los Angeles.</p> <p>One debtor of note in the report was the aforementioned Clay Point LLC. The landowners of the Margaritaville property claim that they haven't been paid rent since the casino opened back in 2012. If this is true, that would explain the lack of cooperation on a new hotel.</p> <p>A hearing on the bankruptcy is scheduled for Wednesday morning. At this time, it is unclear if anyone will step up to purchase the casino, but any interested future owner will have to invest significant funds to bring the property up to regulation.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:29:54 +0000 James Guill 3230 Donald Trump Wants to Save AC; His Track Record Says Otherwise <p><strong>Donald Trump</strong> took to Twitter on Tuesday to lament the closing of the Trump Plaza and the current state of affairs in Atlantic City. During his <a href="">Twitter musings,</a> Trump also intimated that he may come riding back into town to save the day, apparently forgetting his own history in Atlantic City, where he possesses a track record most people would choose to leave off their resume.</p> <p>How bad was his time in AC? Consider that Trump found himself in <a href="">bankruptcy court four times</a> due to his casinos over the years.</p> <p><strong>A Recap of Trump Bankruptcies in AC</strong></p> <p>It started in 1991 when Donald Trump's Trump Taj Mahal found itself in bankruptcy court. The restructuring saw bondholders given 49% of the casino.</p> <p>In 1992, it was the Trump Plaza's turn with Chapter 11 restructuring as the casino was sitting on $550 million of debt. Donald Trump once again filed for bankruptcy, and in the process became the butt of many jokes as the only man who could bankrupt a casino --remember this was the 1990's and casino bankruptcies were quite rare. Trump also gave up 49% ownership in the Trump Plaza during the restructuring.</p> <p>In 2004, the parent company of the casinos, Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts, filed for bankruptcy protection again (restructuring $1.8 billion of debt) and Donald Trump saw his ownership share in the company reduced to 25% along with his title of CEO and control of his own name on the side of the properties vanish (although more recently he did try to <a href="">sue to have his name removed</a>).</p> <p>The newly renamed parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, minus Donald as CEO, didn't fare much better. Despite his reduced ownership, Trump was still the Chairman of the Board when the company found itself back in bankruptcy court in 2009 (that's four times if you're counting), and following another bailout Trump saw his ownership stake reduced to just 10% and resigned as Chairman of the Board after a heated fight with other owners and board members for control of Trump Entertainment.</p> <p>After the failed attempt to purchase the company and take it private in 2009 (see, he already tried to get back in long before this week), Donald Trump currently possesses just a 5% stake in the company that bears his name. No, Donald Trump didn't have a casino close on his watch, but at one point he controlled 30% of the AC casino market, and lost it all through restructurings.</p> <p><strong>A Gallant Rescue Attempt or Poor Memory?</strong></p> <p>Now Trump Entertainment is back in bankruptcy court once again, the Trump Plaza closed on Tuesday, and the company is threatening to close the Trump Taj Mahal in November.</p> <p>Amid this landscape, <em>"The Donald"</em> now feels he alone is the person who has the capability to save Atlantic City and rescue the properties that bear his name, because apparently history (and his memory) don't go back before 2009.</p> <p>In Trump's mind it's all the fault of the people who foolishly loaned him money during his restructurings and pushed him out. They are the ones that mismanaged the properties he bankrupted four times.</p> <p>Donald Trump took to Twitter this week to accuse those very firms that bailed him out during his company's 2004 and 2009 bankruptcies of essentially screwing up a good thing, because apparently being at the helm for four bankruptcies in 17 years is ok, but five in 23 years is just unacceptable and a sign of poor executive decisions.</p> <p><em>"They were run badly by funds!"</em> Trump tweeted, telling his followers, <em>"I may buy back in, at much lower price, to save Plaza &amp; Taj."</em> (Perhaps he has forgotten he tried to buy back in 2009, which would have been one of the absolute worst times to invest in AC, once again showcasing his acumen for the AC gaming industry).</p> <p><strong>Trump Re-entry? Don't Count on it</strong></p> <p>To be clear, the chances of Trump <em>"buying back in"</em> to Atlantic City fall somewhere between his investigation into the President's birth certificate producing results, and him officially running for President. Like much of what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth, in the end it's all just hubris and self-promotion.</p> <p>The <em>"funds"</em> weren't Trump's only targets, as he repeated comments he made just a month ago to <a href="">Bloomberg</a>, saying, <em>"It is so sad to see what has happened to Atlantic City. So many bad decisions by the pols over the years - airport, convention center, etc."</em></p> <p>His rewriting of history didn't end there. In the same Bloomberg interview Trump stated, <em>"A lot of people say when I left that's when it went bad,"</em> which is true, but let's be clear, Trump didn't voluntarily abdicate Atlantic City, he left after his fourth bankruptcy and was more or less forced out as his ownership dwindled to 5%.</p> <p>And let's also not lose sight of the fact that when Trump left AC in 2009 the financial crisis was in full swing.</p> <p>Trump doubled down on this assessment on Tuesday, tweeting:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet">Does anybody notice that Atlantic City lost its magic after I left years ago. I had the big boxing, introduced UFC (ask Dana),the best shows <p> </p> — Donald J. Trump (<cite>realDonaldTrump) <a href="">September 16, 2014</a></blockquote> <p> <script src=""><![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ ]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt</cite>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]><![CDATA[>]]></script></p> <p>If Trump did anything right in AC it was bankrupting his company before the economy went completely downhill. I'm not sure that's the type of forward-thinking AC needs right now.</p> <p>Frankly, the last thing an Atlantic City casino needs is Donald Trump at the helm.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:52:11 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3229 in Nevada Marks 1-Year Anniversary with Promos <p>Regulated real-money online poker at <strong></strong> in Nevada will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Friday, Sept. 19 and the state's top online poker site is rewarding its players in commemoration.</p> <p>An <strong>Anniversary Tournament Series</strong> kicks off on the Sept. 19 anniversary date and runs for nine days through Sept. 27. One tournament is featured each day with a collective guaranteed prize pool of $70,000 covering all nine events.</p> <p>The highlight of the Anniversary Tournament Series is a $200 buy-in on Sunday, Sept. 21 that guarantees a prize pool of $25,000. That event is normally run as the $15,000 Sunday Guaranteed, but $10,000 more has been added to the guaranteed prize pool in honor of legally dealing <a href="">online poker in Nevada</a> for one full year.</p> <p>Satellites are available for budget-minded players hoping to enter at a fraction of the entry fee. Those on a budget will also be pleased to know that the $200 buy-in event is by far the most costly during the nine-day Anniversary Tournament Series. The other eight events in the series range from only $5-$100 to enter.</p> <p><strong>50% Off Tourney Tickets</strong></p> <p>Another promo offered in conjunction with the one-year anniversary celebration is the <strong>Tournament Ticket Sale</strong> that permits a 50% reduction in buy-in fees for specific tourneys. The tournaments available during the promotion range in entry fees from $1-$200.</p> <p>Players need to be aware that this promo runs for only 24 hours beginning on Sept. 19 at 9:19 a.m. PT and expires exactly one day later at the same time. To repeat, half-off selected tournaments from 9/19 at 9:19 a.m. until 9/20 at 9:19 a.m. That's a valuable promo for tournament aficionados!</p> <p><strong>September Reload Bonus and Extra APPs</strong></p> <p>Before entering the tournaments that begin on Sept. 19, players in Nevada would be well-advised to make use of a 100% up to $400 <strong>Reload Bonus</strong> that starts on the anniversary day and is available until Sept. 28. The bonus code of <em>"FALL2014"</em> is required when making a deposit that will lead to extra cash in your bankroll just for playing <a href="">online poker at</a></p> <p>Player points (APPs) at provide fantastic rewards and the <strong>Double Me Up</strong> promotion running from Sept. 19-27 allows grinders to earn twice as many. Simply play for an hour at a cash table or enter a MTT or SNG during the allotted time frame and your APPs will rack up double-time.</p> <p>Since launched on 9/19, the site loves to emphasize the numbers <em>"9"</em> and <em>"1."</em> As such, 19 players on each of the 9 days of Double Me Up will be winners of 919 bonus APPs.</p> <p><strong>Leading Nevada Market</strong></p> <p> in Nevada continues to reign supreme in player traffic over its competition. The latest numbers from PokerScout show roughly 25% more cash players at than its main rival, Ultimate Poker.</p> <p>Greater liquidity means more choices in selecting available tables on which to play, as well as larger tourney prize pools. Those prize pools and table options will be even larger come Sept. 19 when's promotions tied in with its 1st anniversary of dealing <a href="">real-money Internet poker</a> kick in.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:57:48 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3228 Straub Strong-arms Revel to a September 24 Auction Date <p><strong>Glenn Straub</strong> will get his chance to purchase the now defunct <strong>Revel</strong> casino in Atlantic City but not after threatening to pull the plug on the entire deal. According to <a href=""></a>, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Gloria M. Burns approved the new auction date of September 24 and the $3 million breakup fee despite objections from the bankruptcy trustee.</p> <p>Last week, real estate mogul Glenn Straub placed a $90 million cash bid on the property with the demand that the auction date be moved to September 24. Also, a $3 million fee would be awarded to Straub should someone outbid him by at least $1 million.</p> <p><strong>Delay Likely Would Not Make Much Difference</strong></p> <p>The hearing to consider the new auction date was held on Monday in Camden and lasted for over four hours. Lawyers representing both Straub and Revel tried in vain to negotiate terms for a delay but according to Revel lawyers, Straub wanted too many concessions.</p> <p>Judge Burns was not fond of setting the September 24 auction date but agreed because she didn't believe that extending the time for the auction would make much difference in gaining new bids for the property.</p> <p><strong>Lawyers Cave When Straub Threatens to Pull Out</strong></p> <p>Lawyers representing Revel and its creditors worked hard to try and force a delay for the auction proceedings but ultimately had their hand forced by Straub. According to reports, Straub was willing to pull out of the deal completely should he not get his way.</p> <p>If the property had other bids, this would not be a problem. However, the casino has tried twice before to hold an auction for the property and failed to receive bids. Furthermore, Straub threatened legal action to recoup his $10 million deposit already placed on the Revel should he choose to back out.</p> <p>Legal action would incur even more expense on Revel and its creditors and they cannot afford further losses. Apparently, the property is still racking up debt of $5 million per week despite shutting down.</p> <p><strong>Revel Could Reopen in Two Weeks Following the Sale</strong></p> <p>While not stated by the judge, another potential influence on allowing Straub's bid may have been his insistence that the property could reopen within a couple of weeks after the close of the sale.</p> <p>Stuart J. Moskovitz, attorney for Straub, revealed to the judge that parts of Revel could reopen within two weeks provided the property sells quickly. Those parts would not include a casino. However, a casino is planned sometime in the future.</p> <p>Straub has contended from the beginning that casino gambling would be part of the new property, but not a major part. He reiterated that position on Monday, saying that the casino will be there, just not the size that it was.</p> <p>The sale will commence next Wednesday at the New York offices of White &amp; Case L.L.P. Straub's offer sets the baseline for bidding, a bidding that will likely result in the property going for less than 10% of it's original construction costs.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:23:05 +0000 James Guill 3227 Trump Plaza Closes on Schedule <p>As expected, the <strong>Trump Plaza</strong> casino closed its doors this morning after enjoying a run of entertaining gamblers for three decades.</p> <p>The fourth Atlantic City casino closing of the year following <strong>Atlantic Club, Showboat and Revel</strong> may not be the last. The <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong> is next in line to be shuttered in November.</p> <p>New Jersey's gaming industry has seen revenue chopped almost in half after peaking at $5.2 billion eight years ago. A summit was held early last week under the direction of Gov. Chris Christie to address the problems.</p> <p>A number of the closed casinos may open at some time in the future. Recent reports indicate that <a href="">Donald Trump has shown an interest in the casinos that bear his name</a>, while a <a href="">bid for the Revel</a> has also been accepted.</p> <p>Trump Plaza lost $4.7 million last year and $7.4 million the first half of this year.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:56:59 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3226 Regulated Online Gambling Estimated in 20 States by 2020 <p>A recent <a href=";d=f%2Fe66941kg-3p1p-g00j-afb6-e41f13f03302%3Fstore%3D0%26d%3DUwBSZXNlYXJjaF9NUwAyYzA2YWY0Mi0xZGExLTExZTQtODhkOC0zNDllODg4ZjgwNTg%253D%26user%3Dkz1rms7fn9nb-196699%26__gda__%3D1536556228_4f0abb2fe2057b253ddc8950d2ec46a9&amp;s=f%2Fe66941kg-3p1p-g015-afb6-e41f13f03302%3Fstore%3D0%26d%3DUwBSZXNlYXJjaF9NU1NXRgAyYzA2YWY0Mi0xZGExLTExZTQtODhkOC0zNDllODg4ZjgwNTg%253D%26user%3Dkz1rms7fn9nb-196717%26__gda__%3D1536556228_5942d5508bd8fec54c92a22252b09388#docId:2c06af42-1da1-11e4-88d8-349e888f8058">igaming report</a> compiled by <strong>Morgan Stanley</strong> indicates that residents of 20 states may be enjoying <a href="">Internet poker</a> and gambling by the year 2020.</p> <p>The financial services corporation headquartered in New York released its findings a few days ago which revealed that those 20 states may be generating revenue of $5.2 billion by the end of this decade. If all 50 states became regulated and were included in the estimates, the U.S. online gambling market would be worth double that total at $10.7 billion.</p> <p>The $5.2 billion estimate comes in lower than Morgan Stanley's previous report that projected revenue in the range of $8 billion.</p> <p><blockquote>While we remain bullish on the online gaming opportunity in the U.S., we are lowering our estimates to better reflect the insights we have gained following the first few months of operations in NJ, NV and DE," stated the report.</blockquote></p> <p><strong>PokerStars' Impact in New Jersey</strong></p> <p>Those insights are gleaned from the fact that all three states have produced rather lackluster revenue results in comparison to projections made prior to launch. However, better days appear to be on the horizon, as Morgan Stanley believes <strong>PokerStars</strong> will have a tremendous impact on the <a href="">New Jersey market.</a></p> <p>Based partially on the performance of PokerStars following the industry giant's entry into the Italian market in 2009, Morgan Stanley sees revenue in New Jersey growing 60% year-on-year after gaming regulators give their approval as expected. The market in Italy boomed 62% due to PokerStars' inclusion.</p> <p>The report makes mention of the fact that PokerStars' entry into the marketplace in Italy is only one example, however, analysts <em>"believe it portends well for the potential impact PokerStars could have on the NJ market, especially if it begins to convert some of its users to casino games (which are much more profitable)."</em></p> <p>That projected spike in revenue in the Garden State may cause other states to rethink their online gambling regulation leanings. Should PokerStars indeed be responsible for New Jersey revenue to skyrocket as Morgan Stanley suggests, other states may be more inclined to get in on the action. That inclination would likely permit PokerStars to rid itself of the <em>"bad actor"</em> label.</p> <p><strong>The Projected 20 States</strong></p> <p>Online poker players in the U.S. who hold out hope that their state will soon enact igaming legislation are in for a disappointment, according to the report. Morgan Stanley envisions only the golden state of <a href="">California passing online poker legislation in 2015,</a> with a launch taking place the following year.</p> <p>Next in line to join the online poker and gambling party will likely be New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania in 2016 with market grand openings in 2017. While those three states are launching, Morgan Stanley believes there is a good chance that the legislatures in Colorado, Massachusetts and Iowa finally approve igaming regulations of their own and invite players within their states to place online wagers in 2018.</p> <p>The next handful of states most likely to climb aboard include Michigan, Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut and Florida. And by 2020, Morgan Stanley believes that regulation may find its way to Louisiana, Rhode Island, Missouri, West Virginia and Mississippi.</p> <p>The report points to the fact that casinos, run by either Indian tribes or commercial interests, are currently found in only 39 states. Its projections take this into account under the assumption that states without casinos would be less likely to enact Internet gambling statutes.</p> <p>Also a factor in Morgan Stanley's estimates is the unlikelihood that federal lawmakers will ever see clear to approving online gambling legislation that would provide blanket regulation on an opt in basis.</p> <p><strong>Still Not Enough States</strong></p> <p>The report's findings and projections, while certainly interesting and plausible, are merely estimates that may change substantially as time moves on. Whether 20 regulated states in six years is a lot or a little is a matter for debate. It's a lot considering only three states are currently regulated, and a little when realizing that it represents only 40% of the entire U.S.</p> <p>If the report should ring true, there will be far too many players in far too many states who won't have the safeguards and protections that regulation guarantees. And the players who do reside in states that eventually enact online poker legislation are seemingly still in for a long wait.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:45:34 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3225 Full Tilt Introduces Live Dealers at Online Casino <p><strong>Full Tilt</strong> has announced that real live dealers will be part of the online casino action for players who log onto the site via Windows.</p> <p>The dealers are located in Latvia and will be stationed at four tables --one roulette table and three blackjack tables. Online players seated at any of those tables can interact and chat with the dealers who will be attired in uniforms carrying the Full Tilt brand.</p> <p> </p> <p><blockquote>We believe that we have created the most authentic Live Casino experience available in the market right now," said Sam Hobcraft, Rational Group's Director of Casino. "When combined with some really innovative promotions, we are confident that we will quickly become market leader in Live Casino.”</blockquote></p> <p>Those promotions include the Gold Card promo that will pay out a guaranteed $15,000 each month to blackjack players seated at the live dealer tables. Live roulette players can enjoy the Lucky 13 promo where their bets will be refunded up to $13 whenever the roulette wheel hits the number 13.</p> <p>Full Tilt Poker rebranded in July, dropping <em>"Poker"</em> from its name to reflect a transition that includes online casino games in addition to poker. While the live dealer casino games are currently supported only by Windows, users of Mac, iOS and Android can expect to also be accessing the live dealer tables in the near future.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:29:24 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3224 Who's Better at Safeguarding Players, Live or Online Poker Rooms? <p>Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling spend a lot of time harping on the lack of safeguards available at online gambling sites. Their argument is essentially, <em>"we can't trust the Internet to protect us to the same degree that brick &amp; mortar casinos can,"</em> despite there being virtually no evidence to support this.</p> <p>So let's take a look at the evidence and see how online safeguards stack up against brick &amp; mortar safeguards.</p> <p><strong>Age verification</strong></p> <p><strong>Brick &amp; mortar safeguards: random, targeted, ID checks</strong></p> <p>Security at casinos don't check the ID of every player who attempts to access the casino floor (in fact they check very few), but overall they do a pretty good job of stopping underage players from gaining access to the gaming floor by profiling younger looking patrons along with random checks.</p> <p>The process is far from perfect (as the numerous fines for underage gambling and drinking attest to) but it does prevent underage gambling with a reasonable amount of certainty --which is really all we can ask for or expect.</p> <p><strong>Online safeguards: Know Your Customer Check</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>The signup process for an <a href="">online poker site</a> is essentially the same as signing up for a credit card or a PayPal account. The information you enter (including a social security number) is checked and verified in the same way a bank or American Express would verify a person's identity.</p> <p>Basically, <em>"faking out"</em> an online gambling site is as difficult as faking out Citibank.</p> <p>Still, there are several scenarios where an underage player could gain access to an online poker site. However, the methods all require the player to use someone else's account, either through identity theft or collusion.</p> <p><strong>Verdict: Slight edge to brick &amp; mortar casinos</strong></p> <p>I would call this a push, with a slight leaning towards brick &amp; mortar.</p> <p>Much like brick &amp; mortar procedures, online age verification is far from foolproof, but it does require someone to either break the law or be assisted in some way by an of age player, and prevents underage gambling with a reasonable amount of certainty.</p> <p>The reason I give a slight edge to B&amp;M casinos is due to the fact that casinos have a better chance to correct their initial error -- A player evading a security checkpoint and gaining access to a gaming floor could still be asked for their ID by another employee, or on their next visit, whereas, once a minor has access to an online account it's almost impossible to detect who is using that account.</p> <p><strong>Identity verification</strong></p> <p><strong>Brick &amp; mortar safeguards: None, except in the case of large transactions</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Identity verification is virtually nonexistent in the brick &amp; mortar gaming industry with the exception of large transactions (wins) which need to be reported for tax purposes, and/or for large wires or money transfers that need to be investigated due to the Bank Secrecy Act.</p> <p>That being said, most players' identities are known through a casino's VIP Rewards Program, although this is not mandatory.</p> <p><strong>Online safeguards: Know Your Customer Check</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Again, players have to go through a very stringent KYC check before sitting down at an online poker table. Unlike a brick &amp; mortar casino, every single player has their real-world information attached to every bet and wager and every deposit and withdrawal they make.</p> <p>This makes it incredibly difficult to launder money online (despite claims to the contrary), even though the player-to-player relationship is quite anonymous, the player-to-site relationship is completely transparent and leaves a clear paper trail anyone could follow.</p> <p><strong>Verdict: Blowout victory by online gambling sites</strong></p> <p>This isn't even close. When it comes to knowing your customer, brick &amp; mortar casinos cannot hold a stick to online gaming sites. This transparency allows online sites to <a href="">prevent money laundering</a> and identify problem gamblers through their betting habits.</p> <p><strong>Problem gambling</strong></p> <p><strong>Brick &amp; mortar safeguards: Self exclusion lists</strong></p> <p>At casinos any player can choose to add their name to the state's self-exclusion list, forcing them to abstain from gambling in the casinos under the penalty of having their money confiscated.</p> <p>It's a pretty strong deterrent; even if you make it onto the casino floor you're in danger of having your chips confiscated at any moment. The process is far from ideal though, as a player must, for lack of a better term, admit to being a problem gambler and sign themselves up for the self-exclusion list.</p> <p>And because of the anonymity of casino betting, the casinos have no real way of identifying problem gamblers other than the self-exclusion list.</p> <p><strong>Online safeguards: Self exclusion lists, deposit limits</strong></p> <p>Online sites use the same self-exclusion policy, however, because of the identity verification process (see above) its far easier to keep players on the self-exclusion list from entering the casino -- a baseball hat and a pair of sunglasses aren't going to disguise you online.</p> <p>Furthermore, with a player's complete betting history to peruse, online sites can better identify problem gambling behavior. While there is nothing they can do with this information at this point in time, it could be an invaluable research for getting problem gamblers help down the road.</p> <p>Finally, online sites have smaller stakes available and impose deposit limits on their players.</p> <p><strong>Verdict: Solid victory by online gambling sites</strong></p> <p>Both might rely on the same method to prevent problem gamblers from gaining access, but once a person places themselves on a self-exclusion list it's far more difficult to break that compact with an online site.</p> <p>Additionally, the lower stakes and deposit limits in place at online sites can be the difference between someone doing something stupid with a month's worth of wages and someone doing something stupid with their life savings.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:21:51 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3223 How Final Table Deals Hurt Our Ability to Promote Poker as a Sport <p>If poker is ever going to be promoted as a sport, we need to do something about our end game.</p> <p>I understand the player’s point of view. They stump up 100% of the prize money and have every right to determine the direction of those funds. But handing this power to players doesn’t help those who are trying to promote poker as a sport.</p> <p>At the recent A$2,200 Australia &amp; New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT) Main Event in Melbourne, Edison Nguyen and Corey Kempson had battled through a field of 516-players to reach the heads-up phase of the competition.</p> <p>It was during this time that the pair decided to discuss a deal. The ANZPT is a PokerStars-sponsored event and therefore transparency is encouraged during deal making. It’s exposed and written about in the blog, and the revised numbers are sent to the Hendon Mob to ensure accuracy of data.</p> <p>In this instance there was $386,245 to play for, and despite Kempson holding the chip lead, Nguyen emerged from negotiations with the larger pay out ($203,410 vs. $192,835).</p> <p>Reading through the PokerStars blog it seems that Nguyen got the better end of the deal because he was more reluctant to enter into negotiations in the first place, instead preferring to rely on his skill edge to see how the cards fell. However, the deal did go ahead, and after the pay outs were revised, there was just $7,500 to play for during heads-up.</p> <p>Then, in the first hand, Nguyen limped the button, Kempson raised to 4m (leaving just 400,000 behind), Nguyen moved all-in and Kempson folded. The clock was then paused as the ANZPT Commissioner, Danny McDonagh, and Crown Poker Tournament Director, Joel Williams, entered into a confab, because it seemed pretty obvious that another part of the deal was to allow Nguyen to win the trophy and title.</p> <p><strong>Integrity compromised</strong></p> <p>The two head honchos finished their discussion and asked the pair to take back their chips and have more respect for the competition.</p> <p>The PokerStars blog stated: <em>“McDonagh implored both players to play it out with integrity.”</em></p> <p>So what did the pair do in order to maintain the integrity of the game?</p> <p>They decided to move all-in blind.</p> <p>Nguyen’s junk beat Kempson’s junk and the integrity of the game had been burned to a crisp.</p> <p>Whilst it’s clear that Kempson had no inclination to headline poker articles - and was only interested in the money - this sort of behavior is very worrying if we are to be promoted as a sport and eventually attract non-gambling related organizations as sponsors.</p> <p><strong>Winner has the title or more cash?</strong></p> <p>Here is another example.</p> <p>After Andrea Dato was eliminated in fourth place at the recent European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event in Barcelona, the remaining three players decided to negotiate a deal.</p> <p>Once again, the event in question was sponsored by PokerStars where transparency of deal making is encouraged. At this time, Samuel Phillips held a huge chip lead over the remaining two players, Andre Lettau and Hossein Ensan, and he quite rightly came out of those negotiations with the largest prize.</p> <p>Phillips picked up €1,021,275, Lettau €794,058, and Ensan €652,667. This time though, the players were facing off for an additional €90,000, and the title of EPT Champion.</p> <p>Lettau went on to beat Phillips in heads-up action, and whilst the €90k and title would have been serious enough for the trio to avoid a Nguyen/Kempson moment of madness, it’s still a little confusing to declare Andre Lettau as the winner when you know he took home over €200,000 less than Phillips.</p> <p>Ask anyone who won EPT Barcelona and they will say Samuel Phillips.</p> <p>We cannot be promoted as a sport if this is the way that we do business at the champagne end of our tournaments.</p> <p><strong>Final table deals remove magic of event</strong></p> <p>The World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker are often criticized for not allowing deals to be struck at their final tables. This doesn’t mean that deals are not made, but they do not form part of the final cut that the viewers at home get to see.</p> <p>This is exceptionally important because the success of the WPT and WSOP TV shows is one of the major reasons our sport is so popular today. They realized, very early on, that to allow the viewer to know that a deal had been struck removes the magic of the event.</p> <p>What’s the point watching if there is no magic?</p> <p>It would be the equivalent of the FIFA World Cup final ending in a draw and the two captains flipping a coin to determine the winner (yes they used to do this but evolved as we must now follow suit).</p> <p>The viewer watching the WPT show will have no idea that a deal has been struck because nobody will mention it. They won’t find anything in writing either because the modus operandi will be for the player to keep those details to themselves.</p> <p>It’s a form of control that appeases everyone, and after flip-flopping on this subject for many years, I am now comfortable in my backing of ‘no deal making’ at final tables.</p> <p><strong>Allow deals but remove transparency</strong></p> <p>The way the WSOP and WPT do business means the players get to make their deal, their final numbers are not made public, the general public aren’t even aware it’s happened, and the magic of the contest still exists.</p> <p>I’m not asking the players to stop making deals. It’s your money to do with how you please. But I am urging the organizers of live tournaments to once again question their decision to make deal making ‘transparent.’</p> <p>We are evolving.</p> <p>Promoting poker as a sport is the best way to gain maximum exposure for the game we love.</p> <p>Take a fresh look.</p> <p>Be bold.</p> <p>Change.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:38:15 +0000 Lee Davy 3222 Partypoker NJ Servers Freeze During Garden State Super Series <p><a href="">Online poker in New Jersey</a> could be said to have suffered a setback of sorts. Last night, during their heavily-promoted <strong>Garden State Super Series (GSSS)</strong>, partypoker’s servers experienced a serious malfunction. Over 700 entrants bought in to the $200,000 Guaranteed Main Event of the GSSS only for the event to be disrupted midway through. This was most unwelcome news for the players, each of whom ponied up the $200 buy-in, eager to cash in on what was to be a big overlay. To their credit, partypoker did what they could to make the best of the unfortunate situation.</p> <p>After intensive efforts to fix the technical glitch failed, <strong>partypoker issued an email to all players affected</strong> who still remained in the tournament, which read as follows:</p> <p><em>Dear all,</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>We experienced some serious technical difficulties with the Garden State Super Series and some other tournaments this evening which resulted in some of this evening's GSSS events, including the main event, crashing and their cancellation. Numerous attempts to resume these tournaments failed.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>Players will shortly be paid out funds as per our tournament cancellation policy which deems that the entire prizepool is considered for payout including the guaranteed money which had not yet been covered by player buy-ins.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>The cancellation policy is as follows: <a href=""></a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>Eliminated players at the time of cancellation will not be refunded their buy-in or entry fee</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>Players still in the tournament will be refunded the amount that would have been awarded to the next player to be eliminated from the tournament. 50% of the remaining prize pool will be distributed equally between the remaining players, and 50% will be distributed on a percentage basis according to each player's chip count. The remaining players will also be refunded their entry fee.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this will have caused. We have been humbled by this experience and appreciate the enormous burden we have placed on the players tonight and are so sorry. We will diligently work to make certain that we overcome these technical challenges in the future.</em></p> <p>As confirmed by numerous players on Twitter, partypoker remitted the funds, as promised, to all players remaining in the tournament at the time of the malfunction. <strong>Moreover, again to partypoker’s great credit, these payments processed and distributed to the players reflected the full $200,000 prize pool guarantee.</strong> In other words, they didn’t capitalize on a technical glitch to renege on their commitments to the players.</p> <p><strong>Bad Timing</strong></p> <p>Despite partypoker taking responsibility for factors clearly beyond their control, players were understandably upset with what happened and <a href="">publicly voiced their displeasure</a> on social media as well as popular poker forums.</p> <p>There’s no such thing as a <em>“good time”</em> for bad things to happen to a poker operator, but partypoker seems to have gotten caught with their pants servers down at a particularly bad time, for multiple reasons.</p> <p>The GSSS represented the debut appearance of former New Jersey Devils star Ken Daneyko as a partypoker ambassador. Much commotion was made of this deal, which represented another successful crossover of poker into the mainstream. Daneyko naturally was active in promoting participation in the GSSS and it seems as though he’s unintentionally ended up with a bit of egg on his face. Not the most auspicious of debuts to say the least…</p> <p>Beyond this, <em>“PokerStars”</em> has been a buzzword on people’s lips in New Jersey, as their arrival on the local online poker scene seems imminent. It can’t have hurt their chances of gaining market share to have had this happen at a premier partypoker event.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href=";">Get up to $888 welcome bonus at (available for New Jersey players only!)</a></p> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:35:49 +0000 Robbie Strazynski 3221 PokerStars Gears Up for UKIPT Isle of Man Oct. 1 <p>While <strong>PokerStars</strong> prepares for an entry into <strong>New Jersey</strong> perhaps as early as next month, preparations are also underway for the <strong>UKIPT Isle of Man</strong> that kicks off the 1st of October.</p> <p>This will be the second such pilgrimage to the home of PokerStars for the UKIPT following its inaugural stop there last year. Fourteen events are scheduled from Oct. 1-6, culminating in the final table of the £770 UKIPT Main Event on the last day. Satellites for that Main Event are running now at PokerStars.</p> <p>There will be more than poker for those who make the trek to the island inhabited by about 81,000 situated in the Irish Sea between Ireland and the UK. PokerStars will once again provide tours of their headquarters in addition to a free player party where a number of PokerStars Team Pros will be on hand.</p> <p>The UKIPT Isle of Man tour stop takes place while PokerStars also plays host to the <strong>Isle of Man International Chess Tournament.</strong> That event runs from Oct. 4-12 and gives players another option of things to do when not competing on the felt.</p> <p>Click <a href="">here</a> for the full schedule of this year's UKIPT Isle of Man.</p> <p> </p> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 22:56:17 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3220 Bankruptcy Trustee Objects to Revel Bid <p>The proposed bid to purchase the recently shuttered Revel Casino in Atlantic City may already be in jeopardy as U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee Roberta DeAngelis has objected to the bid submitted by real estate mogul Glenn Straub.</p> <p>In a 12-page document filed on Friday, DeAngelis objected to both the $3 million break-up fee and the September 23 auction date requested by Straub. DeAngelis feels that the $3 million fee is inappropriate since the property is currently in bankruptcy. The new auction date was objected to because it fails to give enough time for other interested parties to submit a bid.</p> <p><strong>Either They Sign the Contract or They Don't</strong></p> <p>Despite putting up a bid of $90 million with $10 million already in escrow, it appears that Straub isn't too concerned about the objection. He claimed to be unaware of the objections raised by DeAngelis and had a response ready when informed of the filing by the Press of Atlantic City.</p> <p><blockquote>We are cash buyers. We try to get things done and move on," Straub said. "I don’t do this for the $3 million. Either they sign the contract or don’t.”</blockquote></p> <p>Straub doesn't appear to be interested in waiting for other bidders and may be willing to pull his bid rather than wait. He commented, <em>“There are only so many people who can qualify to buy. I have a window right now. If they are not interested, give me my deposit back.”</em></p> <p><strong>Bidders Need More Time</strong></p> <p>The emergency motion to change the bid deadline is set to be heard this week and the September 23 deadline leaves insufficient time for bidders to act, according to DeAngelis.</p> <p>Bidding for the property had been open well before the casino closed. Tours were being provided to prospective bidders right up until the Revel shut down on Sept. 2, but nobody pulled the trigger.</p> <p>According to DeAngelis, <em>"now that (Revel's) operations have been closed, potential new bidders should be provided sufficient time to become qualified bidders and present their bid."</em></p> <p><strong>Casinos Will Not Dominate the Property</strong></p> <p>When Revel was first built, it was one of the most ambitious casino projects in Atlantic City history. Should Straub take over the property, the role of gambling will be secondary to the property's future.</p> <p>Straub plans to have a casino in the building, but he will let a third party operate the casino and the operation will be a secondary enterprise.</p> <p><em>"We're not going to let a building be dominated by a casino,"</em> he said.</p> <p>A multi-purpose complex with a casino as a small part of the business could be the type of business to flourish in Atlantic City in the future. The $2.4 billion failure of Revel along with the other recent casino closures is proving that a change is needed for the Atlantic City economy. Straub's complex could be part of that change.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 21:01:04 +0000 James Guill 3219 Donald Trump Eyes Trump Casinos in Atlantic City <p><strong>Trump Plaza</strong> is scheduled to close in a matter of days and the <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong> may follow suit in a couple months, but workers would be well-advised to not remove the signage bearing the Trump name just yet.</p> <p><strong>Donald Trump</strong> is reportedly considering a return to Atlantic City and is said to be eyeing the struggling Trump casinos, reported. <em>"The Donald"</em> has been gone for five years following his resignation as chairman of Trump Entertainment in 2009, but still retains a 10% share.</p> <p><blockquote class="left">I can confirm that Mr. Trump is looking at Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City," said Michael Cohen, Trump Organization Executive Vice President and Special Counsel to Donald Trump. "But he's doing so cautiously."</blockquote></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>The real estate mogul and star of reality television's <em>"The Celebrity Apprentice"</em> made headlines just one month ago when he filed a lawsuit in an effort to force the casinos to remove his name. The 68-year-old claimed in legal documents that the casinos were in disrepair and lacked the <em>"high standards"</em> associated with the Trump name.</p> <p><em>"I want it off both of them,"</em> Trump said in August. <em>"People think we operate (the company), and we don't. It's not us. It's not me."</em></p> <p>Trump's limited involvement reportedly allows the use of his name for licensing purposes. His lawsuit states that Trump Entertainment defaulted on the licensing agreement due to the <em>"appalling conditions"</em> of the Trump casinos, among other reasons.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 23:40:03 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3218 Illegal NY Poker Game Could Land "The Undertaker" in Jail <p><span class="letter-big">A</span> mortician in Staten Island, <strong>New York</strong> was found guilty in federal court of running an illegal poker game and may be sentenced to up to 16 months in jail.</p> <p>Known as <em>"The Undertaker,"</em> <strong>Joseph Fumando</strong> and his attorney were not able to convince a Brooklyn Federal Court jury that Fumando was simply a participant in the game and not its operator. The jurors deliberated only 20 minutes before returning the guilty verdict, which may cause the 42-year-old to surrender his mortician's license, the <a href=";utm_medium=social&amp;;utm_campaign=buffer">New York Daily News reported.</a></p> <p>The feds were tipped off to the whereabouts of the underground poker game after a plainclothes detective with the NYPD happened to spill the beans about the Staten Island gambling club while wearing a wire. Twelve other suspects were arrested in addition to Fumando, including two firemen and a retired police sergeant.</p> <p>One of the club's dealers testified against Fumando after cutting a deal with prosecutors. Deborah Berardi told the court that the club provided food and shoulder massages for the players. But more damaging was her testimony that a rake of 5% was taken from each pot.</p> <p><strong>Shades of Molly Bloom</strong></p> <p>Just a few months ago, illegal poker in New York also took center stage when Molly Bloom received probation and community service for her role in hosting high stakes games and raking the pot. Poker games run by the <em>"Poker Princess"</em> seated a number of well-known athletes and Hollywood movie stars.</p> <p>Bloom has since told her story in a book title <em>"Molly's Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker"</em> that was published by HarperCollins. The latest gossip from the rumor mill reveals that Hollywood is interested in bringing Bloom's tale to the silver screen.</p> <p>Those who have yet to read the tell-all from the Poker Princess may want to first read a <a href="">review</a> by <strong>James McManus</strong>, author of <em>"Cowboys Full - The Story of Poker"</em> and <em>"Positively Fifth Street."</em> McManus, who finished fifth at the 2000 WSOP Main Event and is approaching $800K in lifetime earnings, believes Bloom's prose may be fudging the facts.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 21:43:09 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3217 New Jersey Online Gambling Revenue Up 4.5% in August <p>The <strong>New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</strong> has released monthly online gambling figures for August that show $10.54 million in Internet win during the month, a jump of 4.5 percent from July.</p> <p>Of that win, $8.3 million came from casino games, while $2.2 million was attributable to online poker. The number of registered accounts in New Jersey grew by 6.5% to 431,617.</p> <p><strong>Tropicana and Borgata Big Winners</strong></p> <p>The Tropicana continues to make huge gains in New Jersey iGaming despite not offering poker. In August, the Trop took in $2.26 million compared to $1.96 million in July. The 13% gain was the largest among NJ iGaming sites for the month. Tropicana is currently third overall in annual iGaming revenue with a win of $14.05 million through August.</p> <p>The Borgata Hotel Casino &amp; Spa had a solid month, improving on their July numbers by 9.5%. Online poker was up, earning over $1.16 million, while table games swelled to $2.3 million.</p> <p>Borgata finished the month with $3.47 million in total win. They remain the industry leader in New Jersey with $30.6 million in Internet win earned through August.</p> <p><strong>Golden Nugget Takes Huge Hit - Caesars Remains Flat</strong></p> <p>The Golden Nugget took a huge 16.6% drop month-over-month. Total win in August was just $787,838 compared to $944,840 in July. Their bad month actually allowed Trump Plaza to close the gap in annual win rate. Less than $1,000 separates the two properties, with the Nugget earning $5,054,965 through August.</p> <p>Caesars saw a minor drop in revenues in August. They pulled in $2,705,475 compared to $2,716,594 in July. The drop came primarily from table games. Caesars claimed $23.94 million in win through August, making them second overall.</p> <p><strong>Trump Properties Improve</strong></p> <p>While both the Trump Plaza and Trump Taj are closing their doors soon, their online sites continue to make small gains.</p> <p>Trump Plaza jumped 4.6% in August, pulling in $709,674 in gaming win. Trump Taj experienced a rise of 2.6% with a win of $602,595.</p> <p>Both properties remain the state's cellar dwellers. Trump Plaza has closed the gap on Golden Nugget with annual win of $5,053,599. The Taj has pulled in just $4.92 million through August.</p> <p><strong>What Does the Future Hold for NJ iGaming?</strong></p> <p>The landscape of NJ iGaming could change dramatically by year's end. Both Trump properties are scheduled to close and their iGaming partners will be forced to find new allies or shut down.</p> <p>Betfair is currently in the market for a new partner and Ultimate Gaming has yet to make an announcement on their plans should the Taj shutdown occur in November as has been reported.</p> <p>In addition, PokerStars is now just weeks away from having their NJ iGaming license approved, according to State Senator Ray Lesniak. Many have predicted that PokerStars will grab a huge share of the <a href="">New Jersey online poker</a> and gambling market once they open for business.</p> <p>Also, will Tropicana continue to make gains in New Jersey? They have nearly caught Caesars in terms of table game win. Will PokerStars kill their growth or will they continue to be the state's iGaming alternative?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 23:39:24 +0000 James Guill 3216 CSIG's Wellington Webb Plays Race Card in Anti-iGaming Op-Ed <p>Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb offered up one of the more head scratching op-eds the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has produced in <a href="">The Hill</a> on Thursday, which basically makes it the valedictorian of head scratching op-eds.</p> <p>Webb decided to open up an entirely new line of attack against online gambling, citing the need to protect minorities, who he calls <em>"nearly twice as likely to be 'disordered gamblers' compared to the white population,"</em> based on a study from the NIH in 2009.</p> <p>Mayor Webb is apparently citing <a href="">this study</a>, which he fails to mention carries the all important caveat of <em>"However, no national survey on gambling disorders exists that has focused on ethnic differences,"</em> in its abstract introduction, also known as the very first paragraph.</p> <p>Here is the full statement for context:</p> <p><blockquote class="left">Prior research suggests that racial minority groups in the US are more vulnerable to develop a gambling disorder than Whites. However, no national survey on gambling disorders exists that has focused on ethnic differences."</blockquote></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>The racial component to Webb's argument was not lost on online-gambling advocates.</p> <p>Rich Muny of the Poker Players Alliance accused Webb of pulling <em>"the race-card"</em> when he shared the op-ed on social media channels.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p>Former Mayor Wellington Webb tries to play race card for Sheldon Adelson's online <a href="">#poker</a> agenda: <a href=""></a></p> — Rich Muny (<cite>RichMuny) <a href="">September 11, 2014</a></blockquote> <p> <script src=""><![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ [CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt</cite>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]<![CDATA[> // ]]]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]><![CDATA[>]]></script></p> <p>Another high-profile vocal critic was the Competitive Enterprise Institute's (CEI) and columnist Michelle Minton, who had this to say about the allegations on Twitter:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p>A race-based argument against igambling is 100% wrong. RFK was explicit in targeting mob sports-gambling rackets. <a href=""></a></p> — michelleminton (<cite>michelleminton) <a href="">September 11, 2014</a></blockquote> <p> <script src=""><![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[ <![CDATA[<![CDATA[// <![CDATA[]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt</cite>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]<![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]][CDATA[ // --&gt;]]]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]]]><![CDATA[><![CDATA[>]]]]><![CDATA[>]]></script></p> <p><strong>More troubling statements</strong></p> <p>In addition to the racial currents running through the article, there were also plenty of out-of-context quotes, and cherry picked data - an all too common theme in anti-online gambling columns.</p> <p>The study was adamant in pointing out that other factors such as socioeconomics, cultural norms, mood, and other dependencies are also factors. The study also makes clear that it was not a national study and focused on distinct regional groups.</p> <p>Mayor Webb did touch on the socioeconomic elements, but only to use out of context data to further prop up his already questionable points.</p> <p>Poker advocate Mike Exinger also noted that the article takes Pew Internet Research out of context when it contends:</p> <p><blockquote>… minority communities are uniquely susceptible to the threat posed by 24/7 access to Internet gambling, finding that African Americans and Latinos are more likely than whites to both own a smartphone and count on those phones for uses other than making calls."</blockquote></p> <p>What <a href="">the research</a> actually states is [bold mine]:</p> <p><em>"Among smartphone owners, young adults, minorities, those with no college experience, and those with lower household income levels <strong>are more likely than other groups to say that their phone is their main source of internet access."</strong></em></p> <p>What this research is saying is minorities and households with lower incomes are less likely to have Internet access beyond their smartphones.</p> <p>Pew's research also reiterated findings from a <a href="">2000 report</a>, that <em>"… minorities, adults living in households with lower incomes, and seniors were less likely than others to be online."</em></p> <p>Also interesting was Webb's use of the term <em>"disordered gambling,"</em> which is cited in the study, but never actually defined by Mayor Webb. What makes this term interesting is that it is far more encompassing than simply stating problem or pathological gambling.</p> <p>According to the definition given by <a href=""></a>, disordered gambling is:</p> <p><blockquote>A term coined by Howard Shaffer, Matthew Hall, and Joni Vander Bilt in 1997 to encompass the range of pathological, problem and excessive gambling. In their lexicon, level 1 of disordered gambling includes those with no gambling problems, level 2 includes people with gambling problems who do not meet the criteria for pathological gambling, while level 3 includes pathological gamblers."</blockquote></p> <p>As you can see, you can be classified as a <em>"disordered gambler"</em> without actually having a gambling problem.</p> <p>The NIH study makes this distinction clear by saying, <em>"'Disordered gambling' is used to describe the combination of problem and pathological gambling. All individuals meeting 3 or more DSM-IV criteria for the diagnosis of pathological gambling are considered as suffering from disordered gambling."</em></p> <p>As mentioned above, a disordered gambling diagnosis requires a positive answer to three of the 10 questions on the <a href="">DSM IV questionnaire</a>, whereas a problem gambling diagnosis requires a positive answer to five of the 10 questions.</p> <p>Another interesting little tidbit I discovered reading through the NIH study was the addition of an 11th question to the DSM IV:</p> <p><em>"In addition, the DSM-IV criterion for chasing one’s losses was expanded to include chasing one’s winnings."</em></p> <p>Essentially, instead of needing to score a 5 out of 10 to be labeled a pathological/problem gambler, Wellington Webb focused on a study and a diagnosis term that required a score of 3 out of 11. A score that doesn't even require the person to have a gambling problem.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:01:39 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3214 Back to Back WPT Titles for Alexander Lakhov in Cyprus <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Alexander Lakhov</strong> successfully navigated a field of nearly 250 players (including re-entries) in July and took home the title in the $2,2200 WPT National Merit Cyprus Main Event. That victory was good for $124,000, but it wasn't enough for the 42-year-old Russian.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Back to Back</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Lakhov came back for more as he registered for the WPT Merit Classic North Cyprus Main Event, contributing to the overall pool of 404 players who created just shy of $1.5 million in prize money. Once again, Lakhov dominated the field and ended up with all the chips in his possession – a bounty he exchanged for <strong>$310,000 in cold, hard cash</strong> together with a <strong>$15,400 ticket for the World Poker Tour World Championship</strong> at Borgata.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Outlasting the Four</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Russian player started the final table in very good shape, holding eighty big blinds in his stack. It was smooth sailing for him all the way to the heads-up stage. His compatriot, <strong>Igor Devkin</strong>, was first to depart in sixth place ($62,000), followed by Israeli player <strong>Ori Miler </strong>($77,000) and <strong>Toby Lewis </strong>of UK ($102,820).</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">At this point, <strong>Nicolas Chouity </strong>of Lebanon and another Russian, <strong>Dmitry Gromov</strong>, were in the lead, while Lakhov was waiting for his chance. He wouldn’t wait long as Gromov opted for a bluff on a board reading #9h#kh#5s#3s. He check-raised all-in with nothing but a pair of deuces and when Chouity made the call holding #ks#qs, Gromov was left with just one out from the entire deck of cards.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">But once again, poker demonstrated its cruel side as the dealer peeled #2d on the river, delivering the one-outer and sending the Lebanese player to the rail with $140,000 in prize money.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Heads Up Miracle</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It was time for the two Russians to face the music and Gromov had a huge chip lead over his countryman. However, it was clearly Gromov’s tournament to lose, as his pocket Aces could not hold up against the Ace-Jack of Lakhov and that’s how his comeback started.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Lakhov continued to grind down his opponent and was eventually able to strike the finishing blow when his pocket Jacks held up against Gromov’s Ace-Deuce. The runner-up took home $215,000 for his efforts, which is nothing to be ashamed off – but Alexander Lakhov was the man of the hour as he successfully pulled back to back runs in Cyprus and will be battling it out with other winners at Borgata at the end of the season.</p> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:34:18 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3213 Revel Receives Acceptable Bid of $90 Million <p>The <strong>Revel Casino</strong> will likely be under new ownership later this month as a bid of $90 million has been accepted.</p> <p>That amount represents the lowest that the current owners would take and may not be the final offer. A deadline of Sept. 23 has been established that allows other bidders an opportunity to trump the $90 million bid of <strong>Polo North Country Club Inc.</strong></p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p>Polo president Glenn Straub develops real estate out of a home base in Florida and told the <a href="">Wall Street Journal</a> that the Revel needs <em>"a new direction."</em> Whether that direction consists of gambling was not made clear.</p> <p><strong>Two lesser bids received</strong></p> <p>Bids were also received from <strong>Carl Icahn</strong>, as well as <strong>Alex Meruelo's California-based Meruelo Group</strong>. Should those bidders or any others wish to come in with higher offers than $90 million, they have 13 days remaining before an auction hearing that is slated for Sept. 24.</p> <p>Icahn also is said to have his eye on the casinos owned by Trump Entertainment --<strong>Trump Plaza</strong> and the <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong>. The former is set to shut down on Sept. 16, while the latter may bite the dust in November, according to the latest reports.</p> <p>A purchase agreement between Straub and Revel has been signed that calls for $10 million to be placed in escrow while the clock ticks on the deadline for higher offers. Such offers may come into play for the Revel that opened in 2012 following an investment of $2.4 billion.</p> <p><strong>Revel tops spate of casino closings</strong></p> <p>The Revel closed its doors to gamblers on Sept. 2, two days after the <strong>Showboat Casino</strong> did likewise. Including the <strong>Atlantic Club</strong> shutdown in January, Atlantic City is now down to nine operating casinos. That number will be reduced further in the near future when the Trump properties follow suit as anticipated.</p> <p>The Revel never managed to operate in the black after its much-ballyhooed grand opening two years ago. High construction costs, elaborate plans, a nationwide recession, and over-saturation of casinos on the East Coast are reasons pointed to by those looking to play the blame game.</p> <p><strong>State officials taking action</strong></p> <p>In an effort to devise a new strategy for the struggling Atlantic City gaming industry, <strong>New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie</strong> fronted a summit on Monday that saw lawmakers and business leaders convene to discuss solutions. One result of that summit saw Christie approve a directive allowing the state's racetracks and casinos to accept wagers on sporting events.</p> <p>That decision follows the approval and launch of Internet gambling last November. Online casino and <a href="">poker sites in New Jersey</a> have been operating for 10 months, providing much-needed revenue to offset declining land-based gaming revenue totals in recent years.</p> <p>Legalized online gambling and sports betting will certainly help. Another option likely to be given serious consideration is casino expansion beyond Atlantic City. The state's northern section that includes the <strong>Meadowlands Sports Complex</strong> has often been mentioned as a favorable and likely site for a new casino.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:40:07 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3212 $2 Million More to 600 U.S. Full Tilt Claimants by End of Sept. <p><span class="letter-big">F</span>ormer U.S.<strong> Full Tilt</strong> players still waiting for reimbursement in the remission process can expect another wave of payments totaling $2 million by the end of September.</p> <p>Claims administrator <strong>Garden City Group</strong> (GCG) revealed in a recent update on the official website that the latest batch of cash recipients numbers about 600 players <em>"who confirmed their FTP account balances"</em> and previously submitted complete petitions. As with previous payouts, those who are included in this wave will likely see zero-dollar transactions on their bank statements prior to the release of actual funds, as the GCG conducts a test to make sure that bank accounts are valid.</p> <p>The GCG further advises that players with delinquent debts will see a reduction in their reimbursement in order to settle matters via the Treasury Offset Program. Those petitioners will receive a form to fill out in order to facilitate the process and eventually receive payment.</p> <p>The deadline for filing a Petition for Remission was Sept. 3. The <a href=""></a> website has since closed the section of the site where players previously submitted claims.</p> <p>A total of roughly $95 million has been dispensed by GCG in previous payment waves that began in late February. The last such round of reimbursement totaled $14 million and found its way to player bank accounts in June.</p> <p>Still waiting for payment are players who filed petitions that disputed the account balances on record with the DoJ and GCG, as well as those players labeled as Full Tilt Pros. The official website advises that more updates will be forthcoming, which will likely pertain to those petitioners.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 05:26:14 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3211 Changes Needed in Poker Hall of Fame Selection Process <p>Earlier this week, the finalists for the <strong>2014 Poker Hall of Fame</strong> were released. This launched the latest flurry of arguments about who was deserving and whether it's time for a change in the process.</p> <p>The problem resides in the fact that poker players are being judged on a set of standards set prior to the Poker Boom. Poker's landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade and tournament poker is the driving force in the poker economy.</p> <p>Much of today's modern induction process relies on fan participation and most of what fans know about poker is based on tournaments. This has resulted in some players being snubbed from consideration and others becoming finalists when they are less than deserving.</p> <p>A change is needed in the process, and below are a few of my personal suggestions.</p> <p><strong>Reduce Fan Voting</strong></p> <p>As pointed out by several top pros, the Poker Hall of Fame nomination process needs a bit of an overhaul. Currently, the process is almost entirely fan driven. They cast ballots for their favorite players and the top selections become finalists.</p> <p>The only exception to this rule, on paper at least, is if a Hall of Famer casts a write-in vote for a player during the voting process. That player will automatically be added to the following year's list of finalists.</p> <p>The problem with fan voting is that often we are seeing a mix of deserving candidates and those who have been in the headlines recently. For example, last year <strong>Carlos Mortensen</strong> was on the list and that was likely due to his high profile run in the Main Event. This year, he didn't make the final list.</p> <p><strong>Ted Forrest</strong> won his sixth career bracelet this year and subsequently has become a finalist. Where has he been the last few years? Did one more bracelet really put him over the top?</p> <p>A few years back, <strong>Tom "durrrr" Dwan</strong> received enough votes from fans to become a finalist. He was later removed from the list because he hadn't <em>"met the test of time."</em></p> <p>I'm not saying eliminate fan voting entirely, but rather we limit it to maybe two or three selections max. Continue the fan voting as has been done but only reserve two or three spots on the Top 10 for fan voting.</p> <p>The remaining finalists should be selected by a panel consisting of top players, Hall of Famers and select industry professionals. Those on the committee should have the knowledge and experience for making this type of decision.</p> <p><strong>Veterans Committee Needed</strong></p> <p>The Baseball Hall of Fame currently has three committees that essentially serve to consider the eligibility of executives, umpires and long retired players. They replaced what was known as the Veterans Committee. It may be time for poker to consider adopting a veteran's committee concept.</p> <p>The three committees that Major League Baseball uses to evaluate the game's history meets every three years on a rotating basis. While poker may not need multiple committees, they could adopt a three-year window for consideration by a potential Veteran's Committee.</p> <p>The other option would be to take one of the two yearly inductions and give one of those to the Veteran's Committee. A write-in nomination during annual voting would automatically be forwarded to the Veterans Committee for consideration.</p> <p>Former poker executives and contributors would definitely fall under this category, especially those who were known more for their contributions to the game <em>"Pre-Boom."</em></p> <p>Members of this committee should consist of living Hall of Famers, poker historians and other qualified individuals. Qualified individuals being those with demonstrated knowledge or experience with poker's past.</p> <p><strong>Time to Change The Criteria to Reflect Modern Era</strong></p> <p>Back before the Boom, if you had aspirations of being in the Poker Hall of Fame, you had better be ready to battle in high stakes cash games. The norm shifted after the boom and many of the game's recognized top pros have earned their fame via poker tournaments.</p> <p>Does someone who has earned $2 million or more in cash games over the last 10 years deserve more recognition than someone who has won the same amount in poker tournaments? Some would say yes.</p> <p>Tournament poker is the reason for the Poker Boom and why most of us are in the game today. It should not be overlooked by the Hall of Fame.</p> <p><strong>Here is how my criteria would look for nomination:</strong></p> <p>A player must have played cash or tournament poker against acknowledged top competition</p> <p>Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination</p> <p>Played for high stakes - Tournament players must have consistently played in events with $5,000 buy-ins or higher</p> <p>Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers</p> <p>Stood the test of time</p> <p>Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results</p> <p> </p> <p>I chose the $5,000 or higher buy-in plateau for <em>"high stakes tournaments"</em> because many major events have been adopting this concept in recent years.</p> <p>Some consideration should be given to changing the requirement for standing the test of time. Tournament players can often have their lifetime numbers skewed by a single year or two of performance.</p> <p>For example, <strong>Jamie Gold</strong> would hardly be considered Hall of Fame worthy despite having won over $10 million. However, many would agree that <strong>Antonio Esfandiari</strong> is a future Hall of Famer and nearly 70% of his lifetime tournament earnings are in one tournament.</p> <p>It is time to include criteria for tournament players. In baseball, pitchers are not judged on the same criteria as right fielders or shortstops. That's ridiculous.</p> <p>Tournament players should not be expected to go play in Bobby's Room when their edge is in tournaments. Adversely, those that are making a killing in high stakes cash games should not be overlooked because they didn't win any WSOP bracelets.</p> <p>Change the criteria to reflect the era.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 23:45:46 +0000 James Guill 3210 Lock Poker Gains Player Traffic <p><span class="letter-big">D</span>espite repeated warnings from the <strong>Poker Players Alliance</strong> (PPA) and players themselves who are owed almost $1 million (at last count), <strong>Lock Poker</strong> has seen traffic increase slightly better than 14% as of late.</p> <p>That boost represents only about five players, as the latest tallies from PokerScout show a seven-day average of 40 cash players at Lock, up from 35 previously. As far as many are concerned, any increase is reason to worry because Lock Poker continues to shirk its responsibility of paying players, a number of whom who have waited in excess of one year.</p> <p><strong>Warning issued</strong></p> <p>For those who continue to play at Lock Poker and may be unaware of the risk involved, the PPA issued a statement about two months ago warning of the danger of depositing, perhaps winning or earning a deposit bonus, and never being paid. Here is that statement:</p> <p><blockquote>Due to continued nonpayment of player funds by Lock Poker, along with their refusal to respond to inquires by PPA, PPA has shared with the Department of Justice player concerns regarding this site. We did this in person during regular meetings on ongoing Full Tilt Poker remission. In the meantime, we warn extreme caution when depositing on Lock Poker. We also strongly warn affiliates to remove Lock Poker ads and positive reviews."</blockquote></p> <p>In April, the PPA sent a letter to Lock management, requesting an open dialogue with regard to outstanding funds owed to players. No response was ever offered, the lack of transparency obviously showing that Lock Poker is not a site where your funds are safe.</p> <p>At this point, Lock has become and remains the poster child for <a href="">regulated online poker in the U.S.</a> Without regulation, player funds can never truly be safe.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:21:01 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3209 Online Poker Viability Requires Population of 40 Million <p>This week's big news in <strong>New Jersey</strong> was the directive legalizing sports betting that came out of Governor Chris Christie's office. The new directive still has some hurdles to clear, but the idea of legal sports betting in the Garden State sent the gaming community into a tizzy, and rightly so.</p> <p>Due to legalized sports betting dominating the headlines, another major revelation that came to light on Monday (courtesy of Howard Stutz's Twitter account) went relatively unnoticed, as Stutz, reporting from the Atlantic City Gaming Summit noted:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p>When asked about a NJ-Nev Internet gaming pact, <a href=""><cite>GovChristie</a> says he's "spoken " to <a href="">@GovSandoval</a> about the idea <a href="">#lvrj</a> <a href=""></a></p> — Howard Stutz (@howardstutz) <a href="">September 8, 2014</a></blockquote> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute</cite> left: -10000px; top: 0px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;">&lt;blockquote lang="en"&gt;&lt;p&gt;When asked about a NJ-Nev Internet gaming pact, &lt;a href=""&gt;<cite>GovChristie&lt</cite>/a&gt; says he&amp;#39;s &amp;quot;spoken &amp;quot; to &lt;a href=""&gt;<cite>GovSandoval&lt</cite>/a&gt; about the idea &lt;a href=""&gt;#lvrj&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&amp;mdash; Howard Stutz (<cite>howardstutz) &lt</cite>a href=""&gt;September 8, 2014&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;</div> <div id="_mcePaste" style="position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 0px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;">&lt;script async src="//" charset="utf-8"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;</div> <p>New Jersey joining forces with <strong>Nevada</strong> (and by extension <strong>Delaware</strong>) would be a very big deal, but it's far from a game changer.</p> <p><strong>Failed to live up to expectations</strong></p> <p>A combination of small player pools and intrusive regulations has left players frustrated and annoyed with the online poker markets in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. But as annoying as it has been, the lack of liquidity in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey highlights the need for greater liquidity.</p> <p><a href="">U.S. online poker</a> needs action at the federal level, or, more states to legalize online poker and form interstate or possibly international compacts.</p> <p>Since federal legislation seems unlikely anytime soon, and international compacts are still in the theoretical stage, all eyes are on interstate compacts; something that is already available and set to happen between Delaware and Nevada, and now might extend to all three states.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the jump from intrastate to interstate online poker has been just as slow as online expansion itself.</p> <p>The good news is legislators and regulators are starting to understand the value and importance of shared liquidity and the necessity for interstate compacts.</p> <p><strong>Liquidity is, of course, the key to a thriving online poker industry</strong>, and even in New Jersey (with a healthy population 8.9 million) the reality is starting to sink in that the state simply cannot sustain a thriving online poker industry on its own.</p> <p><strong>What's the threshold?</strong></p> <p>40,000,000. That's the number of residents needed to have a viable online poker industry.</p> <p>This number wasn't pulled out of a hat; this is based on the historical data that we have (courtesy of sites like and regulatory bodies like France's ARJEL) which show the participation rates to be between 50 players and 100 players per million, depending on the region.</p> <p>Using these numbers, a player pool of 40,000,000 residents would see average traffic between 2,000 and 4,000 players. We can safely use the high-end for U.S. online poker, which would mean the #1 poker site in the market would likely have about 2,000-2,500 players, as overall traffic would be divided amongst several sites.</p> <p>This would create a top room with average traffic somewhere along the lines of the global <strong>iPoker Network</strong>, but far from <strong>PokerStars</strong> and its average cash game traffic of over 20,000 players according to's data.</p> <p><strong>Basically, other than California, no state can expect to create a strong online poker market on its own</strong>, and even California (38.8 million residents) isn't going to be a world beater. It's top room's traffic ceiling is somewhere around the iPoker Network.</p> <p>These numbers shouldn't scare away other smaller states from exploring online poker, <strong>they simply have to be aware that at some point they need to form interstate compacts in order to reach the 40,000,000 mark</strong> --and hopefully get well beyond that at some point.</p> <p><strong>New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware still not enough</strong></p> <p>Even if New Jersey joins Nevada and Delaware, this still leaves them well short of the 40,000,000 mark; the three states combined have around 12.5 million residents.</p> <p>It would nearly double New Jersey's liquidity, and completely reshape Nevada's and Delaware's online poker markets in the eyes of players, but the size of the top rooms in the market would only be comparable to poker sites like <strong>Unibet</strong> and the <strong>Merge Gaming Network</strong> (not exactly considered thriving rooms).</p> <p>It would also make joining forces with the trio far more appealing to other states that legalize online poker in the future. Add in a <strong>New York</strong> (19.6 million), <strong>Pennsylvania</strong> (12.7 million), or perhaps a couple of states like <strong>Maryland</strong> (5.9 million) and <strong>Massachusetts</strong> (6.7 million) and now you have something.</p> <p><strong>The first step in the process is almost upon us</strong></p> <p>So why haven't the current crop of states with legalized online poker joined forces already?</p> <p>A lot of states are taking a <em>"wait and see"</em> approach to online gambling, and New Jersey may be doing the same before joining Nevada/Delaware.</p> <p>Delaware and Nevada have certainly made it easy enough for New Jersey and others to join them, as they created the <strong>Multi State Internet Gaming Association</strong> (MSIGA) when they announced their interstate agreement back in February.</p> <p>MSIGA is heralded as a flexible agreement for member states, and most importantly it allows each state to retain their full share of revenue generated. In MSIGA there are no winners or losers, every state will get precisely what they deserve.</p> <p><strong>New Jersey may need to join MSIGA before PokerStars is licensed</strong></p> <p>Wait and see is fine, but New Jersey may need to join MSIGA sooner rather than later, otherwise they could be setting themselves up for some serious infighting, as certain companies would be pro MSIGA while others would be against it.</p> <p>If New Jersey does eventually team up with Nevada and Delaware it could allow <strong>Caesars</strong> and <strong>888</strong> to compete with PokerStars, as PokerStars would not be able to draw from Nevada (which has barred PokerStars for five years) or Delaware (where 888 has a virtual monopoly through the state) giving <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a> a huge advantage in the New Jersey market as almost all of the added liquidity would benefit them exclusively.</p> <p>If <strong>Boyd Gaming</strong> and <strong>MGM</strong> launch an online product in Nevada, they could then team up with the <strong>Borgata</strong> in New Jersey as well.</p> <p>The current lack of interstate prospects for PokerStars could severely limit them in New Jersey.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:44:08 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3207 2014 Poker Hall of Fame Finalists Announced <p>The finalists for the <strong>2014 Poker Hall of Fame</strong> have been named. This year's class consists of five repeat nominees and five new candidates.</p> <p><strong>Daniel Negreanu</strong> headlines the list of nominees. Joining him are <strong>Humberto Brenes, Jennifer Harman, Bruno Fitoussi, Jack McClelland, Huck Seed, Ted Forrest, Chris Bjorin, Mike Matusow and legendary road gambler Bob Hooks.</strong></p> <p>The list of finalists now heads to a 41-member panel who will each vote for up to two players to induct. The panel consists of 21 living Hall of Fame members and 20 media members.</p> <p>Voters will vote on the candidates in order of preference and return their ballots to the Poker Hall of Fame governing council. The two finalists with the most votes, provided they are a majority, will be inducted.</p> <p>This year's induction dinner will be held on Sunday, November 9. The inductees will also be recognized during the WSOP Main Event final table on November 10.</p> <p><strong>Daniel Negreanu a Virtual Lock for First Ballot Induction</strong></p> <p>Not surprisingly, Daniel Negreanu is a finalist for induction in his first year of eligibility. Outside of <strong>Phil Ivey</strong>, Daniel may be the only player 40 and under that clearly meets the hall's criteria.</p> <p>Negreanu is #1 on tournament poker's All-Time Money List with $29.76 million in earnings. He is a six-time WSOP bracelet winner, two-time WPT Champion and former winner of the now defunct United States Poker Championships.</p> <p>He has also excelled in the high stakes cash arena both live and online. Negreanu was one of the regulars on GSN"s now defunct High Stakes Poker, as well as numerous other poker TV programs.</p> <p>While he doesn't really need the extra help, his contributions to the game away from the table have been equally as impressive. He is the poster child for <strong>PokerStars</strong> and has been their primary ambassador for years. He has also given his time to help promote the game at all levels and has regularly been tapped to be a featured televised player.</p> <p>Negreanu has served as player advisor for the World Series of Poker and has been consistently vocal on all matters surrounding the game. While his opinions may not be popular with all players, he has never been afraid to stand up for the game or call out those who have wronged the game.</p> <p>Negreanu is one of the game's all-time greats and deserving of a first ballot induction. It's hard to imagine a scenario where that doesn't happen this year.</p> <p><strong>Fitoussi and McClelland Among Early Frontrunners for Second Nomination</strong></p> <p>Each year, the Poker Hall of Fame inducts up to two nominees. Five out of the last six years have seen one player and one individual whose nomination was at least partially based on being a <em>"contributor"</em> to the game. This year, two names fit under the latter.</p> <p><strong>Jack McClelland</strong> is known as one of the greatest poker tournament directors in the history of the game. While primarily known for running the WSOP in the 1980's, his career in poker spans five decades.</p> <p>Working events all over the world, McClelland earned the respect of pros and industry peers alike and helped to grow both the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour into premier events. McClelland retired from the industry last year.</p> <p>If you're a French poker player, odds are you're playing because of <strong>Bruno Fitoussi</strong>. An experienced player in his own right, Fitoussi has over $2.7 million in live tournament earnings.</p> <p>His greatest accomplishment in the game came at the 2007 World Series of Poker. He finished runner-up in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event to earn over $1.27 million.</p> <p>Fitoussi was instrumental in developing the French poker market. He introduced Texas Hold'em to the Aviation Club de France in 1995 and over the next few years worked to bring poker to live TV. Fitoussi has appeared on French poker shows as both a player and commentator and is a key part to poker's growth in the region.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 23:34:32 +0000 James Guill 3206 Raffi Der Gregorian Wins $74,276 at HPT Agua Caliente Main Event <p>The <strong>Heartland Poker Tour</strong> finds many an amateur rubbing elbows with established pro players as it makes its way to various tour stops throughout America. Sometimes, an amateur manages to navigate the field and land on top.</p> <p><strong>Raffi Der Gregorian</strong> was able to do just that in <strong>Rancho Mirage, California</strong> when he binked the Main Event for $74,276 at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. Der Gregorian's accomplishment is even sweeter considering that he won his $1,650 Main Event seat through a $200 qualifier.</p> <p><strong>Eliminated pro Allen Cunningham</strong></p> <p>An electric contractor by trade, Der Gregorian was able to jolt his final table rivals despite having the third shortest stack as the remaining nine took their seats on the last day of the tournament. One of the players zapped by Der Gregorian was poker pro Allen Cunningham, who fell to the victor's aces and was sent packing with $21,973 in fourth place prize money.</p> <p>Cunningham is listed by the Hendon Mob as 17th on the all-time money list with earnings of $11,556,578. The HPT cash was his seventh and largest of 2014 following three in-the-money finishes at the WSOP that collectively totaled slightly more than $12,000.</p> <p><strong>Michael Rocco finishes second-best</strong></p> <p>Another pro taken down by Der Gregorian was Michael Rocco, who finished as runner-up and earned $45,803. The outcome may have been different had Rocco hit one of his outs on the last hand of the tournament. Those outs were many with a straight draw and a couple overcards, but the poker gods favored the amateur.</p> <p>Rocco is having a phenomenal year despite missing the winner's circle. In March, a 3rd place finish at the $10,000 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event was good for $423,440. He followed that up with a handful more cashes, the best among them another second place prize of $16,800 at the California State Poker Championship four months ago.</p> <p>But Monday belonged to Der Gregorian, who intends to take a vacation and buy his way into a few more tournaments with his winnings. He won't have to leave his home state of California to do so, as the HPT is in the midst of its four-stop Gold Rush Series. Other destinations that all begin in September include the <strong>Commerce Casino in Los Angeles</strong> (already underway), <strong>Thunder Valley Casino &amp; Resort in Lincoln</strong>, and the <strong>Club One Casino in Fresno.</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:48:59 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3205 Poker Strategy with Chris Wallace: Check-Raised by an Aggro <p>Last week I covered a hand where I thought through my opponent's hand range, considered all the options, and made the wrong play. A few days later a surprisingly similar board popped up in a cash game and another interesting hand developed.</p> <p>The game was $2-100 spread limit, which plays a lot like $1/2 no-limit, especially in small pots. I raised to $7 from early position with a pair of fours and the big blind called. Both stacks were deep, a fact that I thought might be important when I flopped a set on a board of #As#Ks#4d.</p> <p>Flopping a set on an ace high board is about as good as it gets in a cash game. With an ace on board, it is likely that your opponent has a hand he won't let go, and he may even raise you with one pair and play a huge pot if he is inexperienced.</p> <p>The bad news was that my opponent was a strong player who knew who I was. We had played together many times. My opponent, we'll call him Tony because, well, his name is actually Tony, is a very aggressive young player who learned to play online. He is the very prototype of the young online player and is friends with a whole group of online players who have some similar strengths and weaknesses and all play in the same card room.</p> <p>The good news is that I know these players and I have played with all of them many times. I learned to play online too, and aggressive players don't scare me. Sure, I would rather avoid them when I can. My opponent is a solid player and I would rather not have him at the table, but it is important not to be fearful or timid when playing against aggressive players. It feeds into their game perfectly if you play scared whenever you are in a pot against them.</p> <p>Tony checked the flop. Checking back here would be terrible. If I slow play my hand, I may win one extra bet at some point, but as soon as I put chips in the pot after checking behind on the flop he will know I have a set and fold. If he has a draw, top pair or two pair, all of which are likely, then I win a much bigger pot by betting. I bet $10, Tony called, and after the rake the pot was about $35.</p> <p><strong>Scary turn card</strong></p> <p>The turn was the scariest card in the deck for me, the queen of spades. With Ace-King-Queen of spades on the board, and my opponent just calling a bet on the flop, it would seem likely that he has a flush or a straight here, but remember who my opponent is.</p> <p>Tony will call a bet on the flop with nothing to take the pot away from me if I check the turn. He may even call to represent the flush or straight if a scare card comes and raise me. If I have a hand like ace-jack, he assumes that I will fold to a raise on the river or even check and fold.</p> <p>At least that is how a player like Tony thinks, and they are typically correct. They steal pots from weaker players all day, and they steal enough pots to more than offset the times when they get caught. But a tiger can't change it's skin. In most cases, hyper-aggressive players have trouble finding the brakes and can be trapped. The fact that he made this play against me instead of waiting for a softer player is Tony's only mistake in this hand. Most of the table would have folded most of their range at some point in the hand.</p> <p>I bet $20 on the turn after Tony checked. I wasn't betting small because I was scared and didn't want to bet too much when I was going to have to fold, but it sure looks like it doesn't it? I looked weak. It was probably at this point that Tony decided to run a bluff if he missed the river. I was actually hoping for a turn raise, but he called and waited for the river.</p> <p><strong>River arrives as</strong> #jd</p> <p>The river was the jack of diamonds. Now I was losing to any ten, any two spades, or a higher set. With four cards to a broadway straight on board, many players would check behind with bottom set, but the real money is made in no-limit holdem with value bets on the river.</p> <p>There are a few players that are tricky enough to check-raise with a big hand here, and I would check behind if I thought I was playing one of those opponents. Tony might check raise if he had a ten for a straight, but what hands could he have that include a ten? Ace-ten maybe, but not many others. Any hand that was already strong would have raised the turn, and there just aren't very many combinations of cards that my opponent is likely to have that include a ten.</p> <p>I also know that Tony knows that if he leads out with a bet on a scary river, I am going to call with any reasonable hand. And I think that Tony assumes that I will bet my monster hands and bluffs and check behind with anything less than a straight. It's smart thinking against most opponents, because very few players will bet again with a medium strength hand here, and those who do will often fold to a raise.</p> <p><strong>Check-raise from aggro</strong></p> <p>Tony checked and I bet $30. Another small bet, looking weak. Maybe I was betting a monster trying to get a call from a weak hand, or maybe I had a monster and was trying to get paid off. Either way, it fits with his assumptions about my betting range.</p> <p>He raised to $80, and I wasn't terribly surprised. The only mistake I made in the hand was calling immediately. If I thought for awhile before calling, and made it look like a tough decision, Tony may make this mistake against me again. He, and some of the other players at the table, might not realize that I had planned the hand out well ahead of time and that I knew I was calling a check-raise. My snap call was a significant mistake that gave away information and also may have taught Tony something about how I play the game.</p> <p>When I was 30, and playing with mostly older players, I was seen as the loose and aggressive "Internet kid," but those days have passed. I'm 40 now and the Internet kids think I'm a nit. When someone has an idea about your game, push them farther in that direction. If they think they know all about you, let them hold on to that belief as long as possible. Don't show your true colors until you must.</p> <p>When I called, Tony said something like <em>"You must be ahead"</em> and I showed my set of fours. He mucked and looked surprised. I should have waited to see what his hand was, because he clearly had a little something or he would have just mucked as soon as I called.</p> <p><strong>Analyzing the possibilities</strong></p> <p>Let's take one last look at my river call. The hands that can beat me are:</p> <p>A flush - A flush, unless it included the jack, would have raised the turn. Even the nut flush probably would have raised the turn or bet out on the river. I don't believe my opponent ever has a flush here.</p> <p>A bigger set - Tony is too smart to slow play a set for two streets on a board full of draws. He never has a bigger set here.</p> <p>A straight - Once in awhile Tony has a straight, but not very often. Most hands that include a ten would have folded a long time ago, and would a straight check-raise here? There has to be some possibility that I have a flush, and if I bet I usually have a flush or nothing, so raising a straight doesn't always make sense either.</p> <p>I know Tony is a smart player, and you can't always be sure of your reads on a smart player. Every once in awhile he is going to show me a hand I didn't expect, or my read is just going to be wrong, but the pot was almost $185 and I only had to call $50. Those odds are too good to pass up, and if I wasn't calling a raise I would never have bet the river in the first place.</p> <p>Sometimes, against an aggressive player, you just have to make a hand and hold on to it. You don't need a set to do it, sometimes a pair is good enough, but make sure you are thinking it through and not paying them off every time they make a big hand, because that is how they get rich. From players who are tired of their aggression feeding them huge pots every time they make a big hand.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:20:08 +0000 Chris Wallace 3202 Pennsylvania Newspaper Sees Positive Future in Online Gambling <p>A major Pennsylvania newspaper's editorial board made a strong proclamation this past weekend when they came out in favor of the state expanding into online gambling. This is the first newspaper to weigh in on Pennsylvania's potential expansion into Internet gambling.</p> <p>Pennsylvania is considered one of the frontrunners for online gambling expansion next year, but expansion is far from assured and is still viewed as a bit of a long shot. <a href="">The endorsement by The Sentinel editorial board</a> could help pro-online gambling legislators and advocates get their message to the masses, counteract any negative columns, and possibly sway a few legislators that are currently on the fence.</p> <p>Citing the current situation unfolding in neighboring New Jersey, The Sentinel's editorial board endorsed online gambling in Pennsylvania in a short editorial simply titled, <strong>Our View: Seeking opportunities online.</strong></p> <p>The four-member editorial board sees the burgeoning industry as a way to stem current and future revenue slides, and referenced the Econsult Solutions study that was delivered to the Pennsylvania legislature earlier this year as a way to raise up to $113 million per year in tax revenue for the state.</p> <p>The editorial also spoke to Pennsylvania's successes in gaming, citing how Pennsylvania has quickly (in just eight years) risen to the second largest casino industry in the country behind Nevada. But, as The Sentinel editorial board points out, revenue has already started to decline as new competition continues to pop up in nearby states -- a trend that will only become more pronounced as the years go on.</p> <p><em>"The circle is closing. New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online gambling and are expanding casinos; New York is on the edge of legislative approval for Internet play; Maryland is looking at a sixth casino and Ohio has been deliberately sidestepping enforcement of online gambling,"</em> the editorial board stated.</p> <p>The board then went on to cite the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as saying <em>"increased competition"</em> is responsible for the slide in revenue, <em>"and the next logical step is legalized online gambling."</em></p> <p><strong>The path to a bill in 2015</strong></p> <p>Pennsylvania first flirted with online gambling expansion in April of 2013 when Representative Tina Davis introduced a <a href=";sessYr=2013&amp;sessInd=0&amp;billBody=H&amp;billTyp=B&amp;billNbr=1235&amp;pn=1566">bill to legalize online gambling.</a></p> <p>The Davis bill received little attention, and was met with lukewarm support and opposition, but it did set the stage for the State Senate to <a href=";sind=0&amp;body=S&amp;type=R&amp;bn=273">commission a study</a> (the Econsult Solutions study referenced earlier) in December of 2013 to examine potential online gambling in the state and compare it with other forms of expanded gambling.</p> <p>Things took a turn for the weird in February of 2014 when State Representative Mario Scavello tried to score some brownie points with Sheldon Adelson when he introduced <a href=";sind=0&amp;body=H&amp;type=B&amp;bn=2052">a bill that would make playing online poker a crime in the state.</a> The bill was quickly forgotten once the principles realized how much of a backlash the proposed legislation created.</p> <p>Within two months talk had once again turned to expansion and not locking up Pennsylvania players who accessed <a href="">online poker sites.</a></p> <p>Before the eConsult study's results were introduced in May of 2014, the State Assembly's Democratic Policy Committee (which includes Rep. Tina Davis) held an impromptu online gambling hearing that was positive and promising.</p> <p>The hearing went reasonably well, with a positive albeit unapprised vibe to the proceedings and the knowledge level of the state legislators. Just days after the hearing the eConsult report was introduced and the findings were incredibly positive, building on the momentum from the hearing.</p> <p>And with that being the case, Pennsylvania suddenly became a serious contender for online gambling expansion in the near future.</p> <p>From there, a second even more productive hearing was held in June that included most of the gaming power players in the state.</p> <p>Even with two productive hearings, a study in hand, and an open-minded legislature and gaming control board, 2014 seemed somewhat unreasonable, which it turned out to be.</p> <p>Still, Pennsylvania was moved from the <em>"when"</em> not <em>"if"</em> column, and 2015 is looking much better with The Sentinel's official endorsement.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 21:08:17 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3201 Singapore Proposes Online Gambling Regulation <p>A proposal to curtail unregulated online gambling in <strong>Singapore</strong> was introduced in Parliament, the result of studies by the government that included consultation with several organizations known to have an anti-gambling bent.</p> <p>Citing the need <em>"to maintain law and order, and protect young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by remote gambling,”</em> the Ministry of Home Affairs put forth the proposal seeking to prevent unregulated online gambling throughout the country.</p> <p>Should the measure be approved, all igaming ads would be forbidden and those convicted of unregulated online gambling activities would face criminal penalties. Also outlined in the <strong>Remote Gambling Bill</strong> are steps to be taken to block Singaporeans from accessing non-sanctioned igaming sites.</p> <p><strong>Exemptions allowed</strong></p> <p>Exemptions would be made for gambling that benefits charitable or social causes, provided that the operators are both not-for-profit and based in Singapore. The exemptions may allow for current wagering on such contests as football and horse racing to continue, Channel NewsAsia reported.</p> <p>The ban includes the Internet and telephone, in addition to any other modes of communication. Wagering would be illegal even and especially if the site operators are beyond Singapore's borders.</p> <p>Roughly 5.4 million reside in Singapore on the country's 63 highly urbanized islands. With one of six households having acquired disposable wealth of one million dollars, <strong>the Southeast Asian country enjoys the largest percentage of millionaires throughout the world.</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 18:28:50 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3200 Betfair Allowed Time to Find New Casino Partner in NJ <p><span class="letter-big">T</span>he closing of <strong>Trump Plaza</strong> is scheduled for next week, leaving online gaming partner<strong> Betfair</strong> without a bricks and mortar ally with which to continue its online gambling operations.</p> <p>The <strong>New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</strong> (DGE) has issued an order permitting the London-based bookmaker to continue accepting online wagers in the Garden State as it seeks a new dance partner. Its current partner, Trump Plaza, will lock its doors on Sept. 16 and join the <strong>Atlantic Club, Revel and Showboat</strong> on the list of <strong>Atlantic City</strong> casinos that have closed in 2014.</p> <p>Garden State online gaming statutes enacted in 2013 require licensees who don't operate a casino to align themselves with one. Betfair is one such licensee who has invested heavily in New Jersey, but has fallen victim to Atlantic City's struggling land-based gaming industry.</p> <p>In issuing the order allowing Betfair to continue sans a casino partner, DGE director David Rebuck did put limitations on the company's involvement pertaining to the entire licensing ordeal. Betfair asked to be fully apprised and a part of any future talks in conjunction with its operations and licensee status, but Rebuck will allow participation by Betfair only in writing as required, eGaming Review reported.</p> <p><strong>Available Casino Partners Dropping Like Flies</strong></p> <p>Options in finding a casino in which to form a partnership have decreased considerably due to the aforementioned spate of closings. Also <a href="">rumored to be joining that list of shuttered Atlantic City casinos</a> is the <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong>, Trump Plaza's sister casino that is reportedly in the process of initiating bankruptcy proceedings and aiming for a November shutdown.</p> <p>Should that occur, it would leave only the <strong>Golden Nugget, Tropicana, Borgata, Resorts, Caesars, Harrah's and Bally's</strong> remaining. Of those seven bricks and mortar gaming locales, the latter three are all owned by <strong>Caesars Entertainment</strong>.</p> <p>Betfair is certainly in a bit of a bind in New Jersey, a new market in which it has yet to reap revenue rewards in comparison to its competitors. But the London bookmaker has had no such problems back home where gambling on the <strong>World Cup</strong> earlier this year allowed Q1 results to experience a boost of 39% overall.</p> <p><strong>Future of Atlantic City to be Discussed at Today's Summit</strong></p> <p>Atlantic City's problems will be addressed at a summit scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today at the Casino Reinvestment and Development Authority. <strong>Gov. Chris Christie</strong> has invited business leaders and elected officials to convene in hopes of setting the state's gaming industry on a path to revitalization.</p> <p>That revitalization may include locating new casinos in northern New Jersey in an effort to keep gamblers from going to nearby states to place wagers. That idea had been toyed with previously, but Christie put it off until 2016 in hopes that Atlantic City revenue would regain some of its previous magic, in part by the approval of <a href="">online poker in New Jersey</a> that launched in November 2013.</p> <p>New casinos in coming years in the northern region of the state would create more partnership possibilities for companies like Betfair. But that is little comfort for the UK bookmaker today, as the time frame for finding a new casino partner is believed to be only a couple of months at most.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 16:50:02 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3199 South Korea Blocks Social Gaming on Facebook <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">I</span>n the most recent attempt to seize control of what they refer to as the 'social gambling industry,' authorities in South Korea have pulled the plug on all Facebook games, making the games unavailable to residents of the country. In order to be allowed back into the market, developers will have to submit an application with the Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC) to have their product reviewed and rated.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>All-Encompassing Ban</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The shutdown started on August 26<sup>th</sup> and initially blocked only financial transactions toward Facebook game operators, but quickly evolved into a full-fledged ban of all the games. That includes the highly popular <strong>Candy Crush Saga </strong>and<strong> Farmville</strong>, as well as the most popular social poker application – <strong>Zynga</strong> <strong>Texas Hold’em Poker</strong>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Although the Committee promised that all applications will be reviewed within 15 days after submission, game marketers are currently losing a lot of money that would be coming their way from numerous dedicated players residing in South Korea and are also at risk of losing them to other platforms.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Innocents Fall</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The move was initially directed at social casino games, which have been successfully circumventing Korea’s anti-gambling laws for quite some time, but turned into an all-encompassing action intended to bring all Facebook games in line with the<strong> Game Industry Promotion Act </strong>of December 2013.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Act describes the process of rating games by a panel of nine people, placing them into four categories:</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>All – </strong>games that are suitable for all ages</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>12+ - </strong>not for minors under the age of 12</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>15+ - </strong>not for minors under the age of 15</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Adult only – </strong>games that can only be played by adults and are not suitable for children or minors</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In order for developers to get their games rated, they must not only submit an application but must also pay a fee. The new procedures happened very fast and without announcement, forcing game marketers to act swiftly in an attempt to control the damage.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Financial Implications</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A market report published earlier this year by <strong>Transparency Market Research </strong>indicates that the value of the social gaming market is expected to reach $17.4 billion by 2019. In 2012, the largest contributor in this market by region was Asia Pacific. The largest amount of revenue (60%) was created through the purchase of virtual goods.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Social networking bans in regions like the Middle East and China have already had a serious impact on potential revenue and this latest development will certainly have serious consequences as well, especially if the speed of processing application is not satisfactory – a scenario that is not unlikely at all.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 21:48:38 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3188 iGaming Revenue in Regulated States Inconsistent <p>Nearly 16 months of online poker in Nevada, and over nine months of online gambling in Delaware and New Jersey and we have yet to settle into any discernible pattern.</p> <p>The industry is still new, and there will certainly be variance from month-to-month, but all things considered I think the word inconsistent is a good descriptive for the three legal U.S. online gambling markets thus far.</p> <p>What was expected to be an industry that would see month-after-month of steady growth (with the occasional outlier of course) has proven to be extremely unpredictable in all three markets.</p> <p>Both Nevada and New Jersey saw their markets level off far sooner than anticipated for a variety of reasons --People have pointed to payment processing, the intrusive sign up process, geolocation hiccups, poor marketing, and over-regulation as reasons for the stunted growth in the U.S.</p> <p>But what is causing the inconsistency we see in the chart below? Where is the steady growth and market maturity?</p> <table style="width: 412px; height: 344px;" border="0"><tbody><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>Nevada</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>Delaware</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>New Jersey</strong></td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>April 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;" rowspan="10"> $8.52 million*         </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>May 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>June 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>July 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>August 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>September 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>October 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> </td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>November 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $111k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $980k</td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>December 2013</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $140k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $7.39 million</td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>January 2014</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $146k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $9.46 million</td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>February 2014</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $824k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $167k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $10.31 million</td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>March 2014</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $926k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $207k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $11.88 million</td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>April 2014</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $792k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $241k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $11.43 million</td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>May 2014</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $862k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $175k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $10.47 million</td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>June 2014</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $1.04 million</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $187k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $9.51 million</td> </tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"><strong>July 2014</strong></td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $985k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $173k</td> <td style="border: 1px solid #000000;"> $10.07 million</td> </tr></tbody></table><p>*The Nevada Gaming Control Board only began releasing monthly revenue data in March.</p> <p>Seasonal trends certainly played a part, but in these nascent markets should they have been this impactful? Shouldn't the markets continuing maturation have offset these historical slumps?</p> <p>Furthermore, the peaks and valleys aren't consistent across the three markets.</p> <p>Delaware increased revenue by nearly 7% from May to June while New Jersey saw revenue decrease by more than 9% over the same time period.</p> <p>Nevada's biggest slump came in April of 2014, whereas Delaware had its best month in April 2014.</p> <p><strong>Nevada</strong></p> <p>There isn't much rhyme or reason to be gleaned from the little data we have from Nevada --which is why it's too bad we don't have the monthly breakdowns for the period from April 2013-January 2014.</p> <p>There was certainly a spike during the 2014 World Series of Poker, which ran from late-May to Mid-July, but perhaps not as much of a bump as expected, considering July's numbers (the WSOP ended July 14) only bettered March's revenue tally by about 6%, and July should have been the peak time for online poker play as players were in town by the thousands for the WSOP Main Event.</p> <p>Even June, the first month where Nevada broke the $1 million mark was only up about 10% from March's figures. A solid boost, but once again, perhaps not as large as expected.</p> <p>That said, if we eliminate the disappointing revenue figures from April, and remove the WSOP bump, the Nevada online poker industry looks pretty consistent, and seems to have settled into revenue of about $900k.</p> <p>You can view the Nevada revenue figures at <a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>Delaware</strong></p> <p>Delaware has been the most consistent of the three states in terms of sustaining growth (Delaware's online gambling industry grew for five consecutive months from November 2013 to April 2014) but has also seen some of the largest fluctuations month-to-month.</p> <p>These fluctuations can partially be blamed on the size of the market, but they are significant.</p> <p>From April 2014 to May 2014 Delaware's revenue declined 27%, and the state hasn't sniffed its previous revenue highs since.</p> <p>Additionally, Delaware has seen poker revenue plummet from a high of $88,000 in January to just $25,000 in June.</p> <p>You can see the complete Delaware revenue figures at <a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>New Jersey</strong></p> <p>New Jersey started off with slightly underwhelming revenue reports, and the state's slightly underwhelming performance has continued throughout, as has the state's inconsistency.</p> <p>Three months of gains was followed by three months of decline in revenue, with the state dropping to under $10 million in June for the first time since January. July did see a slight rebound, once again bringing New Jersey above the $10 million mark.</p> <p>The state does have the chance get a pretty strong boost when PokerStars enters the market, but whether or not Stars brings the consistent steady growth we expected from the outset is another question entirely.</p> <p>You can see the New Jersey revenue figures at <a href=""></a></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 08:30:00 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3198 Judge Issues Ruling Blocking Live Poker Tournaments in Idaho <p>Live Texas Hold'em tournament poker is once again banned in <strong>Idaho</strong>, at least for now, after a United States District Court judge issued an injunction that will force the Coeur d'Alene casino in Worley, ID to cease running tournaments because they violate state law.</p> <p>U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill made the ruling Friday against the <strong>Coeur d' Alene Tribe</strong>, preventing the hosting of live tournaments at their casino in Worley, the <a href="">Spokesman-Review reported</a>. The tribe started offering tournaments back in May and the state filed for an injunction in June, claiming that the games fell under Idaho's state ban on gambling.</p> <p>Back in June, Judge Winmill agreed to stay the lawsuit after the tribe argued that both parties had agreed to arbitration. However, the ruling notes that the tribe changed their minds and decided to litigate for a dismissal. One of their primary arguments was that Texas Hold'em is a game of skill and does not apply to the state's ban on gambling.</p> <p><strong>Poker Is Gambling Due to Element of Chance</strong></p> <p>The judge ultimately denied the Tribe's request to dismiss because some elements of poker are subject to chance. Judge Winmill wrote:</p> <p><em>"The second problem with the Tribe’s assertion argument that poker is a game of skill is Idaho’s statutory definition of 'gambling.'</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>As already noted, this definition says gambling means to risk money 'in whole or in part . . . upon chance . . .' Idaho Code § 18 - 3801 (emphasis added). There is no dispute that in a game (or a series of games) of Texas Hold’em, players risk money at least partly upon chance. So even if the statute did not expressly refer to 'poker,'</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>Texas Hold ’em would fit the definition of gambling. But should there be any doubt on this point, the legislature expressly listed 'poker' as a form of gambling."</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p>Judge Winmill also went on to state that only three forms of gambling are legal in Idaho and Texas Hold'em is not one of them. Since poker involves an element of chance, it is illegal under the state's gambling ban and Texas Hold'em is poker.</p> <p><strong>Tribe Will Appeal</strong></p> <p>The Coeur d'Alene Tribe intends to appeal the judge's decision with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They claimed on Friday that they would file a motion to stay Judge Winmill's ruling.</p> <p>There is also some dispute whether the tribe backed out of arbitration. <em>“It appears there may be a misunderstanding by the court,"</em> tribal legislative affairs director Helo Hancock stated after the ruling.</p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"Our compact is clear that it is the aggrieved party that is supposed to file or provide notice of their intent to arbitrate,"</em> Hancock added. <em>"And we’re not the aggrieved party. We don’t think we’re doing anything wrong. It was the state who sued us, and accordingly it would be the state’s responsibility as the aggrieved party to file notice of their intent to arbitrate."</em></p> <p>Idaho Governor Butch Otter was pleased with Winmill's ruling, stating, <em>“I appreciate the initial determination that the Coeur d’Alenes’ decision to conduct Texas Hold ’em games violates state law and the Idaho Constitution. The Legislature and the people of Idaho have made it clear what kind of gambling they will accept. That does not include poker. And no matter how much the Tribe insists otherwise, Texas Hold ’em is poker.”</em></p> <p><strong>Not First Time Poker Upheld as Gambling Under State Law</strong></p> <p>Judge Winmill's ruling does shine the light on the classic <em>"luck vs. skill"</em> argument in poker and her ruling is not the first time an <em>"element of chance"</em> made the game illegal.</p> <p>Back in November 2011, a Portsmouth, Virginia court declared that poker constituted illegal gambling under state laws. The Virginia statute declares illegal gambling as wagering something of value on a contest or something where the ultimate outcome is uncertain or a matter of chance. Judge Thomas Shadrick declared that while poker is skillful, the result of every hand is still uncertain.</p> <p>While most would agree that Texas Hold'em is a skill game, the game does have an element of luck involved. This element is sometimes highlighted late in tournaments when a player suffers a bad beat elimination or a less skillful player goes on an incredible run of cards to win an event.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 06 Sep 2014 23:00:37 +0000 James Guill 3197 Trump Taj Mahal to File for Bankruptcy and Close in November <p><span class="letter-big">T</span>he news continues to get worse for <strong>Atlantic City</strong> casinos. Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that the <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong> could be headed into bankruptcy. Now it appears that the bankruptcy is happening and the casino will close.</p> <p><a href="">CBS Philly</a> reported Friday evening that the Trump Taj Mahal has already begun bankruptcy filing procedures and will close its doors sometime in November. According to a Press of Atlantic City report, the casino had missed terms on creditor loans and bankruptcy was the only option unless better terms could be negotiated.</p> <p><strong>Jobless to Exceed 10,000 After Taj Closing</strong></p> <p>At one point, the Trump Taj employed over 5,000 workers in the AC area. That number had shrunk to just 2,800 in August. The closing in November will push the jobless totals of casino workers in Atlantic City past 10,000, including the <strong>Atlantic Club</strong>, <strong>Showboat</strong>,<strong> Revel</strong> and the upcoming Sept. 16 shutdown of <strong>Trump Plaza</strong>.</p> <p>While local lawmakers are working to establish programs for the jobless in the area, those programs are only going to be viable for a small percentage of the unemployed. Odds are that workers will be forced out of Atlantic City to find work, further stressing the struggling local economy.</p> <p><strong>Closure Not Unexpected</strong></p> <p>A recent Deutsche Bank forecast predicted that the Atlantic City casino market would be cut in half by 2017 from the number of casinos operating at the start of 2014. Deutsche Bank expects only six casinos to remain in the city and specifically named the Trump Taj as one of two casinos to close. <strong>Resorts</strong> was the other.</p> <p><em>“By 2017, we foresee Atlantic City to have two center boardwalk casinos (Caesars and Bally’s), the Tropicana, and three casino hotels located in the Marina district (Borgata, Harrah’s, and Golden Nugget),"</em> the report said.</p> <p>With only six casinos, they predict 2017 casino revenue for AC of $1.8 billion. That would be a 36.5 percent drop from 2013 numbers.</p> <p><strong>Poker World to Lose a Historic Treasure</strong></p> <p>The closure of the Trump Taj will also have significance to the poker world. Many will remember that the property was featured prominently in the cult classic <em>"Rounders,"</em> including a memorable heads-up scene with <strong>Johnny Chan</strong>.</p> <p>The property also served as home for the now defunct United States Poker Championships. ESPN provided coverage for the Main Event for many years and the event became one of the most prestigious poker tournaments during the early years of the Poker Boom.</p> <p>The Taj also served as one of two places where Seven Card Stud pros could regularly find a game. Spreading limits of $1-$5 to $30-$60, it was a venue where serious Stud players often gathered.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 06 Sep 2014 17:25:56 +0000 James Guill 3196 Popular Las Vegas Dealer "Elvis Joe" Levine Shot and Killed <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span class="letter-big">J</span>oseph "Elvis Joe" Levine</strong> was one of the most popular and liked WSOP dealers. Sadly, his life ended at the age of 56 after he was shot in his Las Vegas home on Wednesday. According to the police report, the most likely culprit is <strong>Marjorie "Maggie" Fiora</strong>, a homeless woman who was arrested in the backyard of a nearby home not long after the shooting.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Fiora, 30, was swimming with two of Levine’s brothers while Joseph was inside the residence. When they got out of the water, Fiora went inside, completely naked, and a few minutes later a gunshot was heard.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As she ran away, Fiora said, "I have to kill him" to the stunned brothers, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. When the police arrived at the scene, they found Levine with a gunshot wound to the chest and he passed away at the University Medical Center.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Many from within the poker community extended their condolences after this sad event, including WSOP officials and players like <strong>Robert Mizrachi</strong> and <strong>Victor Ramdin</strong>. Levine, who was famous for his Elivis-like appearance, will be missed by many.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The police detained Fiora and will continue investigating to shed some light on the facts pertaining to the alleged murder.</p> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:44:05 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3195 Legal Sports Betting Likely to Spread to Other States <p>In an article that appeared on <a href=""></a> on Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made some very intriguing comments on the subject of sports betting.</p> <p><em>“It’s inevitable that, if all these states are broke, that there will be legalized sports betting in more states than Nevada and we will ultimately participate in that,”</em> Silver told Bloomberg.</p> <p>Silver compared the potential for legalized sports betting in the U.S. to the current situation in the United Kingdom, where sports betting is completely legal and seems to drive involvement in the matches.</p> <p><em>“If people are watching a game and clicking to bet on their smartphones, which is what people are doing in the United Kingdom right now, then it’s much more likely you’re going to stay tuned for a long time,”</em> Silver stated.</p> <p>These comments come as somewhat of a surprise, considering the league's longstanding stance on sports betting. The NBA, along with other professional and amateur sports leagues, have vehemently opposed sports betting to the point that the NBA was among the various leagues that sued New Jersey (and won) to prevent their 2011 sports betting law from being implemented.</p> <p>On the other hand, Silver is a new commissioner trying to make his mark, and at 52 years old, perhaps sees the value in change as opposed to maintaining the status quo.</p> <p>Exactly how Silver sees sports-betting expansion in the U.S. taking place is unclear, as New Jersey's attempts to have the federal PASPA law that bans sports betting ruled unconstitutional has failed. Although, it should be noted that New Jersey is now recalculating and seems to have found a reasonable workaround (more on this in a moment) to PASPA that could open the flood gates for other states.</p> <p><strong>What is PASPA?</strong></p> <p>The <a href=";context=glj">Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act</a> (PASPA) of 1992 bans sports betting across the country, except in Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. Interestingly, even though the other states have PASPA exemptions, Nevada is the only state that has comprehensive legal sports betting laws on the books.</p> <p>Even more interesting, New Jersey was offered a PASPA exemption back when the law was crafted in 1992, but the state legislature (which now so desperately wants sports betting) never acted and the exemption was rescinded after a year.</p> <p>The true power behind PASPA (the NCAA and professional sports leagues) can best be summed up by the fact that Delaware, which has a PASPA exemption, attempted to expand into sports betting in 2009 but was blocked by the Third Circuit Court. The state was allowed to offer three-team NFL parlays as something of a consolation prize.</p> <p>Delaware's denial (despite an exemption) shows how hard fought passing a sports betting law in another state would be… but this hasn't stopped New Jersey from trying.</p> <p><strong>New Jersey's PASPA fight and potential workaround</strong></p> <p>Silver's comments were most likely directed at the current situation unfolding in the Garden State.</p> <p>New Jersey has been fighting for sports betting since 2009, and after passing a bill, and the requisite ballot referendum, they found themselves taken to court by the NCAA and professional sports leagues challenging their new law.</p> <p>Unfortunately, New Jersey has been unable to convince the courts they are right (that PASPA violates state's rights and equal sovereignty, all states treated equally), and the state saw their attempts to institute legalized sports betting officially dashed by the Supreme Court when the <a href="">SCOTUS decided not to hear the case</a> in June of this year.</p> <p>Undeterred, New Jersey is now trying to circumvent PASPA sports betting laws.</p> <p>This latest attempt (an ingenious bill crafted by the state's online gambling architect, State Senator Raymond Lesniak) seeks to remove the PASPA hurdle by repealing older statutes that ban sports betting by private companies. In doing so, the state would have no hand in New Jersey's sports betting industry (the key component to PASPA) and PASPA wouldn't come into play --at least that's the theory Lesniak and others are working under; the courts may see it differently once again as it would likely be challenged.</p> <p>The new bill easily passed through the legislature (38-1 in the Senate and 63-6-2 in the Assembly) but met with Governor Chris Christie's veto pen in August. Even though Christie is a proponent of sports betting expansion, he felt that New Jersey had to adhere to the laws of the land, and that the courts had spoken.</p> <p>Now Lesniak and the legislature are attempting to override the governor's veto (which requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers), something that hasn't happened during Christie's entire time in office, but does have a chance on this issue, considering the legislature has already taken the difficult step of even scheduling an override vote.</p> <p>For one thing, this is Christie's final term in office, so Republicans who initially voted for the bill may vote for the override measure as well instead of toeing the party line. Additionally, several key Republicans are in districts that would greatly benefit from legalized sports betting.</p> <p>The override vote is scheduled for September 22nd.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong><a href="">NJ Online poker</a> - Find the best poker sites in the garden state</strong></p> <p> </p> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:30:09 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3194 Trump Plaza to Retain iGaming License Despite Closure <p><strong>Trump Plaza</strong> will become the fourth <strong>Atlantic City</strong> casino to shut down this year once they close their doors on September 16.</p> <p>The casino submitted the necessary paperwork to cease operations after a three-year attempt to sell the property, the <a href="">Press of Atlantic City reported</a>. Trump Plaza's <a href="">petition to cease operations</a> was filed late last month with the <strong>New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</strong> (DGE), who recently released the filing that details closing procedures to the public.</p> <p>The following items pertain to former patrons with vouchers, tokens, chips or with money on account with the property:</p> <p>Gaming vouchers can be redeemed at the <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong> for up to a year from the date of issuance at Trump Plaza; gaming chips and slot tokens can be redeemed at the Trump Taj Mahal for an unlimited amount of time; and player funds held on deposit by Trump Plaza will be available until September 16 and afterwards at the Trump Taj Mahal.</p> <p><strong>iGaming License to Be Retained</strong></p> <p>In an unusual move by the property, the Trump Plaza has requested that they retain their New Jersey iGaming license. The DGE has approved their request provided that the following conditions are met:</p> <p>Trump Plaza must provide an audit of their iGaming revenue to the Division's Revenue Certification Unit on September 8 and continue to do so weekly; they must provide the Division daily reports that their iGaming account has enough funds to ensure the safekeeping of player funds; and a list of safeguards and procedures used to guarantee player security and gaming system integrity must be submitted on or before September 8.</p> <p>Trump Plaza ranks fourth out of Atlantic City's six iGaming sites, having collected $4,343.925 in combined gaming win in 2014. Their poker room currently ranks dead last in AC, earning just $49 this year.</p> <p><strong>Property Failed to Sell Despite Being on the Market For Years</strong></p> <p>Trump Plaza had been attempting to sell the property since 2011. A deal looked to be in place in February 2013 when the Meruelo Group offered $20 million for the property, but the deal was killed by Carl Icahn, the primary mortgage holder.</p> <p>Trump Plaza will become the fourth Atlantic City casino to close in 2014. After a failed buyout attempt by <strong>PokerStars</strong>, the <strong>Atlantic Club</strong> was forced to close in January.</p> <p><strong>Revel</strong> and <strong>Showboat</strong> both closed earlier this week. Showboat was shut down by Caesars as they consolidate their AC holdings.</p> <p>Revel had been mired in problems since its initial conception. The property had been in bankruptcy multiple times and saw its value drop from $2 billion to around $400 million as of 2013.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 16:20:41 +0000 James Guill 3193 "The Cage" Tourney/Cash Hybrid Unveiled at WPN <p><span class="letter-big">O</span>nline poker players who clamor for new, innovative concepts will likely applaud the latest offering known as <em>"The Cage"</em> introduced by the<strong> Winning Poker Network</strong> (WPN).</p> <p>Seen as a hybrid of sorts that combines elements of both tournament and cash game action, The Cage is being heavily promoted by WPN flagship skin Americas Cardroom. The first Cage event is slated for October 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET.</p> <p><strong>$5,100 buy-in a bit steep for many</strong></p> <p>Here's how it works. Players register for the $5,100 multi-table tournament and must be prepared to play for three hours, as a clock is counting down from 3:00 once the event begins.</p> <p>All players will be armed with $5,000 in chips that retain their full value once the clock stops and the tournament ends. Play at the tables consists of a cash game format with three blind levels, one for each hour of play.</p> <p>The levels are $10/$20 blinds with $2 antes in hour one, $25/$50 blinds with $5 antes in the second hour, and $50/$100 blinds with $10 antes in the final hour. Each table will be 6-player max. No re-buys or add-ons permitted.</p> <p>Players who bust during the three hours are eliminated and those still standing after the clock hits 0:00 will have won whatever chips remain in their stack. In essence, it's a cash game with a beginning and an end. But players can not leave at anytime and must remain in The Cage for the full three hours, unless they lose their chips.</p> <p><blockquote>We’re creating something new that’s guaranteed to cause the blood to fly,” said Americas Cardroom spokesman Michael Harris. "We're raising the stakes with an unbelievable poker cash game that's designed for players who are in it to win it."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Qualifiers available for low stakes players</strong></p> <p>Those players on a tight budget who would love to participate but perhaps don't have the $5,100 buy-in needn't worry. Qualifiers are running now at Americas Cardroom that start at a mere $1.50 on up.</p> <p>With the first Cage event more than a month away, there is ample time for lower stakes players to win their entry into the tourney/cash game hybrid that may revolutionize online poker. It certainly is an interesting concept that already has players talking.</p> <p>How many times have you played at an online cash game where a certain player wins a big pot or two and takes the money and runs? You want another shot at your cash but the winner may have already disappeared.</p> <p>That won't happen at The Cage, where the 3-hour time limit guarantees that each player must continue competing until the clock winds down to 0:00. Taking the money and running is not an option.</p> <p>It will be interesting to see the number of entries for the first Cage event on Oct. 8. Perhaps player demand will cause WPN to offer the game at lower stake levels. Perhaps, too, other poker rooms and networks are lining up to copy the concept.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:31:38 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3192 Virginia Top Cop Against Adelson Coalition <p><span class="letter-big">T</span>he president of the <strong>Fraternal Order of Police in Virginia</strong> has come out against a possible federal ban on online gambling by expressing his views in a Letter to the Editor of his local newspaper.</p> <p>Published in the <a href="">Richmond Times-Dispatch</a> just a few days ago, Kevin Carroll took offense to the bills proposed in March by <strong>South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham</strong> and <strong>Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz</strong>. The Graham/Chaffetz measure seeks to overturn the 2011 DoJ ruling that found only sports betting to be unlawful under the 1961 Wire Act and allowed states to move forward with online gambling legislation.</p> <p>Entitled the <em>Restoration of America's Wire Act</em>, the Graham/Chaffetz proposal was introduced at the behest of <strong>Sheldon Adelson</strong>, the multi-billionaire casino owner on a mission to keep U.S. citizens from legally playing poker and gambling over the Internet. Carroll's letter blasts that effort as being <em>"ill-advised"</em> and one that would force Americans to gamble <em>"in unregulated, overseas black markets where there are no consumer protections"</em> as well as denying a source of revenue that benefits law enforcement and education.</p> <p><strong>Adelson argument disputed by law enforcement</strong></p> <p>Adelson and his <strong>Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling</strong> have repeatedly asserted that legalized online gaming sites would permit criminals a new avenue to launder money. Carroll provides a solid rebuttal to that rubbish of an argument through a wealth of experience in fighting crime.</p> <p><blockquote>As a law enforcement officer, I am faced with crime and criminals every day," Carroll stated. "We need to do everything we can to shut unregulated sites, not give them more opportunities to thrive. Taking online gaming away from the states will do just that."</blockquote></p> <p>Carroll acknowledges that throughout the great history of the United States, the <em>"federal government had a strong role to play,"</em> but also rightly points out that <em>"so too did each state."</em> As a Virginian, the FOP president is extremely proud of his home state and its ability to govern itself, adding that <em>"there is no stronger example of a highly functioning, model state than the Old Dominion."</em></p> <p><strong>Let each state decide</strong></p> <p>Duplicating the sentiment of those in favor of online poker and gambling legislation, which includes the recent addition of the <a href="">National Conference of State Legislatures</a> and the <a href="">Georgia Lottery</a>, Carroll urges in his letter that individual states be allowed to decide whether or not igaming will be suited for each.</p> <p><blockquote>Virginia has an exemplary record of running its lottery." Carroll argues. "It is regulated in a strict fashion that ensures only those who are legally eligible can play. So does Congress think it knows better about what is good for our state?"</blockquote></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 21:26:14 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3191 Dan Colman on Fire: One Drop Winner Takes Down Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">W</span>e can all still remember the day <strong>Daniel Colman</strong> won the <strong>Big One for One Drop </strong>tournament and all the controversy that followed as he refused to give the obligatory winner's interview and stated something along the lines that poker was making many people miserable. But this did not stop the young gun from plowing on and adding a few more awesome results to his score book, including the recently concluded Super High Roller Event at the EPT Barcelona.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Enjoying the Overlay</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">His latest achievement was a victory in the <strong>Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open</strong> Main Event and the first place prize added another $1,446,710 to his tournament winnings. The tourney itself featured a huge overlay, as 1,499 players who ponied up $5,300 for their seats failed to meet the guarantee of $10 million – by a lot ($2.5 million to be exact).</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">With three starting days, it took almost an entire week for this tournament to come full circle and for the final table to be played. But yesterday (September 3<sup>rd</sup>) the big moment finally arrived. Prior to that, the tournament bubble burst with 300 players remaining, sending <strong>Joe Weissman</strong> home in the unlucky 301<sup>st</sup> position.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Final Six</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Final table play was six-handed, and although Colman was the most accomplished player of the bunch, he still had to battle experienced players like <strong>Mike Leah, John Dolan, Shawn Cunix, Joseph Kuether </strong>and <strong>Martin Hanowski </strong>on his way to victory.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Hanowski was the first one to fall, and his sixth place finish brought him $324,000. He was soon followed by Las Vegas resident Kuether, who earned $424,000 for his efforts. Dolan departed in fourth after making a strange call with only second pair against Colman, padding his pockets with just shy of $549,000 and triggering the three-handed phase.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Seven Figures Heads Up</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Shawn Cunix of Delaware fell in third, walking away with $748,000 and leaving the last two to play for seven-digit sums. Colman took quick advantage in the match and never gave it back. He struck the finishing blow to Leah when Colman’s #ah#kd held up against the #qc#jc of Leah.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Leah's runner-up finish was good for $1,047,000, while Colman became nearly $1.5 million richer and added a fourth $1 million+ cash to his already amazing year. Dan Colman may have issues with poker on a philosophical level, but that certainly does not stop him one little bit at the tables.</p> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 19:38:15 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3190 Trump Taj Mahal May File for Bankruptcy <p>Just a couple of days after <a href="">the closure of two Atlantic City casinos</a>, it appears yet another is headed towards bankruptcy.</p> <p>The <strong>Trump Taj Mahal</strong> could be facing Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a matter of days after the property was unable to meet the term on certain loans.</p> <p><strong>Can Bankruptcy Be Avoided?</strong></p> <p>Until recently, Trump Entertainment Resorts had been working on plans to avoid bankruptcy. Part of that plan centered on Carl Icahn converting some of the property's debt into equity. Ichan owns the majority of the company's debt. According to the <a href="">New York Post</a>, it appears those plans have fallen through.</p> <p>The company continues to work on a plan to stave off bankruptcy, currently working with restructuring adviser Houlihan Lokey. The Taj recently laid off employees as a cost-cutting move. Prior to the move, they had around 5,000 employees.</p> <p><strong>Future for AC Casinos Continues to Be Grim</strong></p> <p>By the middle of September, four Atlantic City casinos will have closed their doors in 2014 and others may be forced into bankruptcy reorganization. The <strong>Atlantic Club</strong> shut down in January and the property was split between <strong>Caesars</strong> and <strong>Tropicana</strong>. The hotel property was later sold to a non-gambling entity.</p> <p>Earlier this week, both the <strong>Revel</strong> and <strong>Showboat</strong> closed their doors. Revel had been in operation a mere two years and originally cost $2.4 billion to develop.</p> <p>Trump Entertainment's other casino, <strong>Trump Plaza</strong>, will close on September 16. Counting all four casino closures this year, over 8,000 people will have lost their jobs.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the news isn't getting any better. According to NY Post sources, unsecured debt for Caesars is now worth just 25 cents on the dollar as opposed to 50 cents at the beginning of summer.</p> <p>Caesars still operates three properties in the city following Showboat's closure. But a bankruptcy, whether Trump Taj Mahal or a Caesars casino, could be another major blow to the remaining Atlantic City gaming market.</p> <p><strong>Bankruptcy Doesn't Necessarily Mean the End</strong></p> <p>While bankruptcy is a dire circumstance considering recent activity in Atlantic City, it does not necessarily mean the end for the Trump Taj Mahal. The 24-year-old casino has been part of three bankruptcies in its lifetime, the last in 2009 when Avenue Capital bought the property.</p> <p>Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company to restructure its debts and remain in operation. This is done in an attempt to return to profitability.</p> <p>Famous companies that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the past include Chrysler, LLC, CIT Group, Washington Mutual, General Motors, Delta Air Lines and Texaco, Inc.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 16:39:47 +0000 James Guill 3186 Revel and Showboat Close; Trump Plaza to Follow <p>The recent Labor Day holiday paid its annual tribute to workers who help make the country strong and proud. That strength and pride took a hit in <strong>New Jersey</strong> where almost 5,000 workers were sent to the unemployment line following the closings of the <strong>Showboat Casino</strong> on Aug. 31 and the <strong>Revel Casino</strong> two days later on Sept. 2.</p> <p>Waiting in the on deck circle is <strong>Trump Plaza</strong> after receiving approval to shut down on Sept. 16 from the <strong>New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement</strong> last Friday. That will add roughly another 1,000 workers to the Garden State's unemployment totals when Trump Plaza turns away gamblers in two weeks.</p> <p><strong>Sept. 8 summit scheduled to discuss remedies</strong></p> <p><strong>Gov. Chris Christie</strong> is not standing idly by, as a summit has been called for Sept. 8 where officials from all levels of government and the gaming sector will convene to discuss a remedy, the Press of Atlantic City reported. The discussions will center upon how to revive an industry that took in $5.2 billion in 2006 before the bottom fell out and declines each subsequent year led to nearly only half as much in revenue in 2013.</p> <p>Online poker and gambling regulation was enacted and launched last year in New Jersey in an effort to boost the flagging revenue totals. The gaming sites collectively took in over $10 million in July, an improvement over June's total of $9.5 million.</p> <p><strong>2014 a bleak year for Atlantic City</strong></p> <p>But those totals, while likely to increase with the expected approval and entry of <strong>PokerStars</strong> into the <a href="">New Jersey online poker</a> market, are not enough to offset the revenue lost at brick and mortar gaming establishments from the peak of eight years ago. And the closing of four casinos since January that includes the <strong>Atlantic Club</strong> and the upcoming Trump Plaza shutdown means that 2014 will likely be the darkest year in <strong>Atlantic City</strong> history since casinos opened in 1978.</p> <p>Potential buyers for the Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza continue to be welcomed. That topic is likely one of many that will be addressed by Gov. Chris Christie during next Monday's summit.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 17:39:13 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3185 Chris "Fox" Wallace on Poker Tells <p>For the first article in my series on tells, I thought it was appropriate to start with the first tell I ever spotted. I didn't know much about reading my opponents, and to be honest, I was terrible at reading body language and facial expressions. So it was a slow process that I had to work on when I started playing more live poker. I knew from martial arts classes that watching an opponent's eyes was usually the best way to discern their intentions quickly, so I was watching the eye movements of my opponents to see if I could spot anything.</p> <p>The game was $8/16 limit holdem and I was in the one seat, looking directly across the table at a young and fairly inexperienced player in his early twenties. While I didn't know much about tells yet, I was a reasonably good limit holdem player after reading up on the game and making part of my living playing the game online, so I knew how to gauge a player's skill level by the way they played their hands. This guy was just seeing flops and waiting to get lucky.</p> <p><strong>First tell spotted</strong></p> <p>I watched him play a hand where his eyes flashed down to his chips and back on the flop and then he bet out and I started to wonder if this was an indicator of the strength of his hand. He didn't bet unless he really had something, so even though the hand didn't go to showdown I knew that he had a hand. A few minutes later I saw the same tell again when he made a flush on the river. This hand was shown down, so I knew he had hit the hand on the river and was fairly certain I had just spotted my first tell.</p> <p>I continued to watch this player and within an hour I was certain that I had found an accurate tell and I was ever so pleased with myself. I was becoming a live poker player, someone who could read their opponents and crush them because I knew what they held at all times. I was incredibly far from the ideal of the poker wizard that I wanted to become, but I had finally taken the first step and spotted a tell.</p> <p><strong>Using the information correctly</strong></p> <p>After a few hours I was finally in a spot to use my new bit of knowledge. I raised the cutoff seat and Mr. Eye Flash called to defend his big blind. I had a pair of eights and the flop was 5-4-2 rainbow. He checked, I bet my overpair, and he called. The turn was an ace, and his eyes darted to his chips, back to the flop, and then he checked. After his check he looked at me, and I thought he looked eager for me to bet so that he could check raise me. This coupled with the eyes was more than enough for me to check behind.</p> <p>The river was a jack, no response from his eyes, and he bet out. I folded, showing my pair of eights and hoping that this would cause him to show his hand so I could confirm my tell. He showed Ace-Deuce for two pair, and I nodded my head and said "nice hand."</p> <p>This was great news. I had spotted a tell, confirmed it, and saved $16 in the process! I was so proud of myself. It was weeks before I spotted another tell, but the eye flash tell was the first feather in my cap and my confidence got a big boost. The eye flash tell has made me a lot of money over the years, and even ten years later when games are much tougher, I still see it often enough to make it worth watching for.</p> <p><strong>Watch out for fake tells</strong></p> <p>Now that you know about the tell, and how I first spotted it, let's talk about how you find it and determine whether it is a legitimate indicator. This tell is very common among new players and very weak or inexperienced players, but it is also very well-known among strong players, and easily faked. Telling the difference between the two usually involves knowing the player or at least knowing enough about them from their appearance to decide how much they know about the game.</p> <p>In future articles, we will talk more about reading your opponent from their appearance, but the guy in the 3bet hoodie who knows half the table and has a monster stack might be faking it. The kid who just started talking excitedly about the newest episode of the WSoP Main Event broadcast and asking if anyone has ever been to Vegas is probably not faking it.</p> <p><strong>Hat and sunglasses not a fashion statement</strong></p> <p>A real eye flash is not a conscious act. It happens instantly after seeing the flop and the person doing it is not self conscious in any way. They don't know they are being watched. This is a good reason to make sure they don't know they are being watched, which is why I wear a baseball hat and Blue Shark Optics at any major tournament that I play. People behave differently when they know they are being watched and tells become less reliable.</p> <p>An eye flash is a check for chips, a subconscious desire to bet those chips, a genuine excitement. It doesn't happen when a player makes third pair on the turn. It happens when they flop a real hand, something they are excited about, and it is even more reliable on the turn and river when there are draws on board.</p> <p><strong>Keep your eyes open and trust your instincts</strong></p> <p>Remember that this tell is sometimes faked, and that it only reveals a desire to bet, not always a huge hand. That fish who just sat down may be excited about his K-9 on a J-9-4 board because he thinks he has made a pretty good hand. As with all tells, as long as you keep your cool and don't reveal that you are interested in them, they will be repeated over and over and you can often get a read on what they mean for a particular player.</p> <p>If you are watching carefully, this can even help with the pros who fake it. If they consistently fake this tell when they want a free card or they are about to bluff, you can use that knowledge against them. Whether you are playing with a bunch of your donkey friends in a basement somewhere, or against the best in the world, you will make more money by keeping your eyes open, paying attention to the table, and trusting your gut.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:02:34 +0000 Chris Wallace 3184 Seminole Hard Luck Poker Open: An Overlay, a Holiday & Scott Seiver Gets His Way <p>Oh what a difference a year makes.</p> <p>Press rewind on the VHS of life and 2013 saw the emergence of a new heavyweight in the live tournament roster.</p> <p>Ding, ding.</p> <p>The <strong>2013 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open</strong> declared open war on the big three by announcing their intent to host a $5,300 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) Main Event.</p> <p>Drum roll please….</p> <p>With a $10m Guarantee!</p> <p>Would they make it?</p> <p>Would they fall flat on their faces?</p> <p>The event was a huge success.</p> <p>Entrants numbering 2,384 dwarfed the guarantee, and there was a talented final table to boot, with <strong>Blair Hinkle</strong> defeating <strong>Justin Bonomo</strong> in heads-up action to take the $1,745,245 first prize.</p> <p>If at first you succeed, let’s just do the whole thing all over again.</p> <p>One year later and the wheels seem to have fallen off the SHRPO bus. Only 1,499 entrants ponied up the $5,300 buy-in, representing a 37% dip in year-on-year heads, but more importantly, it left the SHRPO chiefs with a $2.5m overlay.</p> <p>$2.5m!</p> <p>By my reckoning, that’s the biggest mass of free money ever given out in the history of tournament poker.</p> <p><strong>It Get’s Worse</strong></p> <p>With the vig set at $2,500 per player, the $100,000 Super High Roller was a nice little money earner for the Seminoles. So how then did they also end up eating it after that event?</p> <p>I will try to explain.</p> <p>Reading through Twitter and various posts on 2+2, it seems that <strong>Scott Seiver</strong> asked a member of the floor how many places were going to be paid out when he realized that the field was going to be quite small.</p> <p>Seiver, and the rest of the table, received word that they would be paying two spots (65%-35%), as long as there were &lt;11 players, and three spots (50%-30%-20%) with a field size of &gt;11 players.</p> <p>When Day 1 action ends the players are handed their bags and the official tells the table that they have made a mistake and three places will be paid out and not two.</p> <p>This ruling sends Seiver into a spin and he demands to speak to the boss of all bosses as he is deeply upset that they are planning to change the payout structure midway through the tournament.</p> <p>Remarkably, Seiver is told that the Director of Poker Operations, William Mason, is on holiday. Yes, Mason’s boss actually allows him to take a vacation during their biggest event of the year.</p> <p>Go figure.</p> <p>Anyway, to cut a very long story short, Seiver eventually convinces the people in charge not to change their decision, which, by the way, abides by Tournament Rule No. 9 which states, <em>“Tournament Director decisions are final and without recourse,”</em> and everybody leaves for the day.</p> <p>When the rest of the players find out that only two places are being paid, there is a back and fore Twitter debate between <strong>Ryan Fees</strong>, <strong>Jason Mo</strong> and Scott Seiver, with Fees and Mo calling Seiver out for effectively changing the TD’s mind because he had the most chips, and therefore the most to gain from the decision.</p> <p>What Mo and Fees failed to understand is that Seiver didn’t change the TD’s mind. He successfully argued that they wouldn’t change their mind. The evidence is pretty clear that the officials stated that two places would be paid out, if fewer than 11 players entered, and this is what happened.</p> <p>A lot of arguing about nothing if you ask me.</p> <p>So how did the SHRPO lose out on money as well as losing their integrity?</p> <p>Oh yeah…I almost forgot.</p> <p>With the debacle promoted within the corridors of poker social media power within minutes, the SHRPO officials kindly offered to add an additional $50,000 to the prize pool so the player who finished third had a little something to take away from the whole sorry episode.</p> <p>On the bright side. The SHRPO did manage to blag <strong>Shannon Elizabeth</strong> to carry out the sideline reporting, and <strong>PokerStars</strong> did a sweet job with the coverage of the live stream.</p> <p>I can’t wait until next year.</p> <p>Wait.</p> <p>Will there be a next year?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 23:44:44 +0000 Lee Davy 3182 Equity Poker Network Gaining Player Traffic <p>The <strong>Equity Poker Network</strong> (EPN) continues to attract players and climb the ladder of cash game player traffic rankings as tallied by <strong>PokerScout</strong>.</p> <p>The latest numbers show EPN, buoyed by flagship skin <strong>Full Flush Poker</strong>, in fourth place among non-regulated poker rooms and networks that service the U.S. market. EPN's seven-day cash game player average has reached 220, directly behind the 240 players typically found on the <strong>Winning Poker Network</strong> (WPN).</p> <p><strong>Bodog/Bovada</strong> continues to rule the roost in the U.S. market, proving that its innovative <strong>Recreational Poker Model</strong> implemented in late 2011 that removed screen names and left all players anonymous remains quite popular. Averaging an estimated 1,450 players and ranked fifth globally, Bodog/Bovada has a substantial lead over its next nearest U.S.-facing competitor, the <strong>Chico Poker Network</strong> and its 400 players.</p> <p><strong>EPN sees 10% spike in traffic</strong></p> <p>Just 10 days ago, EPN averaged 200 players. Its recent 10% boost in traffic is likely attributable to a number of promotions at Full Flush Poker such as the Rising Star Leaderboard coupled with generous deposit and reload bonuses. Full Flush's largest-ever prize pool tournament is also on tap for next Sunday when the Monster $50K GTD kicks off at 5:00 p.m. ET.</p> <p>EPN arrived on the scene on Nov. 8. 2013 with a real-money launch that was somewhat subdued because of all the hoopla surrounding the legal <a href="">online gambling launches in Delaware</a> and <a href="">New Jersey</a> in the same month. A lot of attention continues to be directed toward the regulated states and those such as <strong>California</strong> and <strong>Pennsylvania</strong> that are toying with joining the online poker party.</p> <p><strong>Non-regulated poker rooms a gamble</strong></p> <p>Considerable attention should be heaped upon the potential of certain states to regulate Internet poker because playing at the non-regulated U.S. poker rooms affords no safeguards to consumers. Despite fast-paced payouts that are currently enjoyed by players requesting cashouts at the likes of Bovada and WPN skins such as <strong>Americas Cardroom</strong>, one never knows when the DoJ may decide again to orchestrate a shutdown a la Black Friday in 2011.</p> <p>The future of <a href="">online poker in the U.S.</a> lies in regulation and the hope is that more states than not eventually see their way to passing the required legislation. Unfortunately, regulation is currently spreading at a snail's pace and it leaves U.S. players outside of the regulated states who want to play online poker no choice but to gamble and play at the U.S.-facing rooms and networks available such as Bovada, Chico, WPN, EPN and <strong>Merge</strong>.</p> <p><strong>But beware of the risk involved!</strong> Anybody who had money at <strong>Full Tilt</strong>, <strong>Absolute Poker</strong> and <strong>UltimateBet</strong> certainly doesn't want to relive that experience, even though U.S. Full Tilt players will have a happy ending when all is said and done.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 21:26:48 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3183 PokerStars Deflects Blame for California iPoker Failure <p><br/>Two bills that would have legalized <a href="">online poker for the state of California</a> were pulled last month after lawmakers felt that there was insufficient time to properly iron out details. Much of the blame for the failure of these bills has been laid at the feet of PokerStars and the bad actor clause that may prevent them from entering California. <br/><br/><a href=""></a> recently reached out to PokerStars regarding the matter and the company has a different take on the matter. They recently spoke with PokerStar's Director of Group Strategy and Business Development Guy Templer and he defended the company, stating that the bad actor clause was not the problem but rather a lack of universal support by California stakeholders that is preventing legislation from moving forward.<br/><br/></p> <h3>Where Does the Problem Lie?</h3> <p><br/>Templer mentioned in the article that there is more support for online poker currently than at any point in the state's history. Back in June, thirteen California Tribes led by the Pechanga sent a letter to the state legislature claiming that the tribes had reached a consensus on online poker. <br/><br/>This letter was significant because it represented a "meeting of the minds" of most of the major tribes in the state. The key word there is most. <br/><br/>The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is the one major tribe that has not chosen to join this consensus and rather entered into an agreement with PokerStars to allow the company to provide online poker services. This agreement has led to a bit of a stalemate as the Morongo has hinted at a Constitutional challenge to any bill that includes a bad actor clause. They believe that it is equal to a bill of attainder and therefore unconstitutional.<br/><br/>However, Tribes are not the only stakeholders at odds over online poker. As the previous bills were written, California racetracks would not be allowed to participate in the legalized marketplace. <br/><br/>In recent months there have been rumblings of racetracks potentially throwing up a potential court challenge should they not be included in the bill. <br/><br/></p> <h3>Consensus that Change is Needed</h3> <p><br/>Templer holds the opinion of many legal analysts in that a consensus is needed between all parties before any bill can move forward. The state has tried to get a bill passed for several years and the issue has never even reached a vote.<br/><br/>He is not alone in a belief that something needs to change in order to move forward. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer is currently working on a new online poker bill for the state but believes that language for the bad actor clause must be modified. He believes that it should be modified so that it is applied fairly across the board and closes the door on any potential legal challenges.<br/><br/>Jones-Sawyer will have several months to prepare his bill and to work towards a compromise on relevant issues. Realistically, some type of progress will need to be made in short order surrounding the lack of consensus between tribes before we can realistically expect any California poker bill to even come to a vote.</p> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 18:29:01 +0000 James Guill 3181 Poker Strategy with WSOP Champ Chris Wallace <p><a href="">Chris “Fox” Wallace</a> has been around poker for longer than many new players have known how to calculate pot odds. He recently <a href="">won his first WSOP gold bracelet</a> and he is the newest addition to the PokerUpdate team. Every week, Chris will share his knowledge and experience as a professional player and poker coach with readers of PokerUpdate.</p> <p><strong>The Fox's Den</strong></p> <p>This week we will be looking at a hand that I played in a $1,000 buy-in event at Running Aces poker room here in Minnesota. I had been raising quite a few hands and felt like I was playing very well, so I raised a pair of deuces under the gun. My opponent was a solid player who plays fairly tight, isn't super creative, and very rarely makes a big mistake or gets out of line. He is smart enough to run a big bluff, but I have not seen him do so in a big spot. We'll call my opponent Sam. <br/><br/>My raise was around 2.3 big blinds, a standard number for me late on day one when the blinds are starting to get big in relation to the stacks. Sam called on the button and everyone else folded. The flop was #Ad#7s#2s, and I bet my set of deuces. We both started the hand with a little over 60 big blinds, and I could see a big hand potentially developing if Sam had AK or AQ.<br/><br/>The pot was just over 7 big blinds, so I bet 4.5 big blinds and Sam called. He has very little expression when he is in a hand, so I wasn't able to get any feel for how strong his hand might be in this spot. Most of the time he has a suited ace here or two spades in this spot and is just calling to see what happens on the turn before he commits a significant portion of his stack. <br/><br/>The turn was the ace of spades, pairing the top card and bringing in the flush while giving me a full house. Gin! This looks like a chance for me to win a monster pot, but only by betting. If I check, it looks like I am either being sneaky with a monster or have nothing, and either way I limit the size of the pot I can win. <br/><br/>If Sam has a flush here he will definitely raise me since he will expect me to have an ace with a big kicker fairly often and his flush can beat any big ace. If he has an ace it is a big ace, so I am beating almost his entire range. He could have a suited ace that flopped two pair and have me drawing nearly dead, but I think he would fold a small suited ace preflop. I also think he would reraise preflop if he had aces, so quads are out as well. The only hand that can beat me is a set of sevens. <br/><br/>The pot was around 15 big blinds now, and Sam and I both had about 55 big blinds in our stacks. With such a perfect turn card I really expected to be raised. I bet 8 big blinds and Sam just called my bet. Once he calls I can narrow his range down with a little more certainty. If he has a flush it is a big one, almost certainly king high. With a smaller flush he would have to raise to punish me if I have a big spade. Sam might also call with an ace here, and he might also call with a full house which would have to be sevens full of aces. <br/><br/>The river was the queen of diamonds, so the final board was - <br/><br/>#Ad#7s#2s#As#Qd<br/><br/>I was a little worried about Ace-Queen, since it was a significant portion of his range, but Ace-King, Ace-Jack suited, and any two spades were also in that range. If I checked I believed he would check behind with everything except Ace-Queen and 77 and I would be missing value when most of his range was losing and could call my bet. <br/><br/>The pot was about 31 big blinds and I was worried that Sam might not call if I bet too much. He must be considering the possibility that I have Ace-Queen if he had a flush or an ace of his own, so I thought a small bet was much more likely to be called. I had 42 big blinds left and I bet 15 of them. Sam didn't think for long, just calmly pushed out a raise that would put me nearly all-in. <br/><br/>I thought for quite some time about what this might mean. Do yourself a favor and stop reading for a moment and think about what you would have done in this situation and why. <br/><br/>Sam is a sharp guy, could he be bluffing here? No, I didn't think so. He can't expect me to fold. If he isn't bluffing, what hands is he raising for value? I don't believe he raises with a flush. I don't believe he raises with an ace, not even Ace-King. That leaves a full house. He must have a full house. And I can't beat any full house. I have to fold here. <br/><br/>I know most intermediate players would call and then tell the bad beat story for a week, but an advanced player has to fold here. I almost always fold in this spot. The only time I don't fold is if I am running good, winning every pot, and on a sneaky form of tilt where I can't stand to see my chip stack drop. Unfortunately, after a minute or so, which is a long tank for me, I called. I knew it was wrong, but I called. <br/><br/>Sam rolled over 77, one of the two hands I knew he must have, and I was crippled with one or two big blinds left in my stack. I played great all day, I really did, and then punted off my stack near the end of day one because I couldn't make the play that I knew was right. So we have a lesson in hand reading, and another lesson on how important it is to be psychologically ready to make the right play at the right time every time. <br/><br/>Next week we'll cover a hand where I get raised on the river with three spades on the board and a set in my hand and I make the right play instead of blowing it!</p> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:27:58 +0000 Chris Wallace 3179 Bwin.Party 2014 Half-Year Results Show Revenue Decline <p><em>“We are on track with our current cost saving measures, however it is clear that a more fundamental approach is needed to turnaround our commercial and operational performance.”</em></p> <p>Those were the words of <strong> digital entertainment CEO, Norbert Teufelberger</strong>, after his baby had released their 2014 half-year results to the general public.</p> <p>Things are not ship-shape on the freighter, that’s for sure.</p> <p>The key performance indicators (KPIs) for the six months ending 30 June 2014 were showing more red than green with a series of bad news stories permeating through the paper.</p> <p><strong>Overall revenues decrease 7.5%</strong></p> <p>The biggest story is the news that total revenue is down 7.5% from a 2013 figure of €342.5m to €317.1m. The causations cited are a <em>"soft international poker market,"</em> and <em>"the loss of €11.9m of revenue from their withdrawal from the Greek market.</em>"</p> <p>It’s a sad story, particularly because it was <strong>World Cup</strong> year. The additional income from the World Cup came in at €127.4m, but sports betting handle actually declined 5% year-on-year to €1.35bn.</p> <p>Despite that decline, sports betting remained the only tranche that grew revenue with a 7% increase to €127.4m from €119m this time last year. New player sign-ups were up 7% overall and up 40% in nationally regulated and/or taxed markets, yield per active player day was up 8%, and 35% of gross gaming revenue came through mobile.</p> <p><strong>Poker revenue falls 37%</strong></p> <p>The other tributaries performed like dogs with casino &amp; games falling 8% from €112.2m to €103.3m, poker dropping 37% from €63.9m to €44.1m, and Bingo dropping 3% from €27.6m to €26.7m.</p> <p>Once again, the withdrawal from the Greek market was cited as the answer to most of the problems in all of these areas.</p> <p>To round off this dismal news, earnings were down 23% and they also made an operating loss of €100.4m (of which €95m came via non-cash impairment charge against its under performing poker assets).</p> <p><strong>New Jersey investment won't break even until 2016</strong></p> <p>It does have to be noted that there are start-up costs associated with the gaming and <a href="">poker sites operating in New Jersey</a>, which amounted to a €7.3m loss. are forecasting another €6m loss by the end of the year and CFO Martin Weigold believes that the New Jersey business won’t break even until sometime in 2016.</p> <p>With shares down by a third this year, and its market value seeing £660m vanish into thin air, what’s the plan?</p> <p><blockquote>This requires a major change: we are simplifying our structure to accelerate the execution of our plans to drive revenue growth, increase our focus on customers in nationally regulated and/or taxed markets, and further reduce infrastructure costs,” Teufelberger stated.</blockquote></p> <p>According to Reuters’s Keith Weir, Teufelberger and his team plan to focus on developing the Bwin brand in Europe whilst doing likewise with PartyPoker and World Poker Tour (WPT) stateside.</p> <p>There are also plans afoot to look at the potential of an initial public offering for their payment processing business, Kalixa, and a further €15m will be clawed back through cost cutting exercises (that’s in addition to the €30m it saved this year).</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 20:13:15 +0000 Lee Davy 3178 Online Gambling Expansion Most Likely on the East Coast <p>With the shelving of the Senate and the Assembly bills in <strong>California</strong>, the state's online poker expansion status has changed from <em>"clear frontrunner"</em> to the Facebook-esque <em>"it's complicated"</em> over the course of 2014.</p> <p>The unresolved issues in the state have also called into question the state's chances for expansion in 2015, leaving the door open for other states to leapfrog California and pass online gambling bills of their own. The chances of another state joining<strong> Nevada</strong>, <strong>Delaware</strong>, and <strong>New Jersey</strong> as locales with <a href="">legal online gambling options</a> in 2015 are still somewhat of a long shot, but if one does, it may create a domino effect, since all of the non-Californian contenders (the serious ones anyway) come from the same general region.</p> <p>If California doesn't get their ducks in a row in 2015, all eyes are liable to turn east and it will be the <strong>East Coast that will act as the linchpin for iGaming expansion in the U.S.</strong> Among the potential 2015 candidates are several Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Maryland.</p> <p>Here is a quick look at why these are the top five contenders to pass an online poker bill.</p> <p><strong>Massachusetts</strong></p> <p>Massachusetts is one of the more interesting candidates as the state is currently fighting a very real ballot referendum looking to repeal the law passed in 2011 that allowed for brick &amp; mortar casino expansion. All the while current State Treasurer and Gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman has been pushing the legislature for online gaming expansion, and speaking publicly about his desire for state-run expansion.</p> <p>If Massachusetts does repeal their casino expansion, and if Grossman wins the governorship, we could see a serious push to pass an online gambling bill in 2015 as something of a tit for tat measure. On the other hand, if the 2011 law is preserved, the state is likely to hold off on iGaming expansion until the brick &amp; mortar casinos are up and running (something several legislators have called for), regardless of who wins the governorship.</p> <p><strong>New York</strong></p> <p>A late, somewhat feeble push by outgoing State Senator John Bonacic and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow sparked the possibility of New York as a potential candidate for online gambling expansion in 2015. Much like Massachusetts, several New York legislators have stated their intention to have the brick &amp; mortar expansion that is currently underway in the Empire State fully setup before exploring online gambling.</p> <p>This could happen sooner than later though, as the process is moving along as planned. With the brick &amp; mortar licensing process going according to Hoyle, Gambling Compliance is reporting that one key legislator has indicated online gambling may be taken up in 2015.</p> <p><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></p> <p>On paper, <a href="">Pennsylvania is the most likely 2015 adopter of online poker.</a> The state legislature has held multiple hearings, commissioned internal and independent studies, and seems to have several legislators willing to sponsor iGaming bills.</p> <p>The question with Pennsylvania is how influential Sheldon Adelson will be if the legislature gets serious (Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp. owns the Sands Bethlehem Casino in the state), and precisely where does the Parx Casino come down on this issue.</p> <p>Thus far, Parx has sent mixed messages, with Chairman Bob Green stating his concerns over online gambling (but begrudgingly willing to be a part of it), while Parx has teamed up with GameAccount Network and JOINGO to create freeplay and mobile online gaming sites that could be converted to a real-money site.</p> <p><strong>West Virginia</strong></p> <p>A late addition to the list, West Virginia's state lottery director John Musgrave recently stated his intentions to expand lottery sales to the Internet, and hasn't ruled out taking the next step: Comprehensive online gambling expansion. Last week, Musgrave told the Charleston Daily Mail the state was <em>"still exploring online gambling,"</em> adding, <em>"we feel that’s the way the industry’s moving, so we want to plan for it.”</em></p> <p>Musgrave also told the CDM he felt the state lottery had the power to offer online lottery ticket sales now, but more comprehensive online gambling (poker and casino games) would require the passage of a bill in the legislature along with the signature of the governor.</p> <p><strong>Maryland</strong></p> <p>Maryland isn't on many people's iGaming radars, but the state is certainly capable of passing an online gambling bill. The Director of the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, Stephen Martino, has already publicly stated they [Maryland] are <em>"mapping it out,"</em> when he spoke at a Massachusetts forum on online gambling back in March of 2014.</p> <p>Martino's comments during this hearing were a clear indication that even though the state hasn't publicly looked into online gambling, and no bills have been introduced in the legislature, there are a lot of behind the scenes talks taking place.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:36:13 +0000 Steve Ruddock 3175 PokerStars Considered Purchase of New Orleans Saints in '06 <p><span class="letter-big">W</span>hile most everyone is aware that <strong>PokerStars</strong> came to the rescue and purchased <strong>Full Tilt Poker</strong> in 2012, the industry giant toyed with the idea of playing the knight in shining armor role six years earlier in a possible purchase of the <strong>New Orleans Saints</strong>.</p> <p>In a <a href="">recent blog post</a> by poker writer and industry veteran<strong> Nolan Dalla</strong>, who at the time was PokerStars' Director of Communications, it was revealed that discussions had taken place and an offer sheet prepared to acquire the struggling Saints of the National Football League.</p> <p><strong>Louisiana</strong> was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, forcing the Saints to play their home games elsewhere due to extensive damage to the Superdome in New Orleans. Dalla explains that Saints owner <strong>Tom Benson</strong> considered selling the franchise in 2006 amid speculation that the city of New Orleans would not be able to support the football club despite a loyal fan base.</p> <p><strong>PokerStars no. 2 at the time</strong></p> <p>This was prior to enactment of the UIGEA and also before PokerStars ascended to claim the top spot in the online poker industry. <strong>PartyPoker</strong> was still leading the way, with PokerStars a distant second but trying hard to catch their main rival under the direction of owner <strong>Isai Scheinberg</strong>.</p> <p>Although the sale of an NFL franchise to an online poker site located offshore would likely not sit well with NFL honchos, the marketing team at PokerStars that included Dalla felt that the publicity attached to just submitting an offer would be worth millions of dollars.</p> <p><blockquote>PokerStars was about to be playing in the real major leagues of sports and business, and would be destined to get a whole lot of attention once the announcement went public," Dalla said of the offer. "Who knows — with some creative organization and structuring, anything might happen."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Proposal to purchase Saints sent to Isai Scheinberg for approval</strong></p> <p>Dalla prepared a proposal and sent it off to Scheinberg. The proposal contained language stating that PokerStars would keep the Saints in New Orleans, which would surely create a tremendous amount of goodwill toward the poker site. At the time, rumors were circulating that potential new owners might move the team to a new city in another state.</p> <p>Even if the purchase were to be vetoed by NFL bigwigs worried about the league's image, PokerStars had nothing to lose and everything to gain by making an offer and generating positive publicity.</p> <p><blockquote>Our offer would be the lead story on ESPN’s SportsCenter — watched nightly by the coveted sweet spot consisting of 18-35 year old males," Dalla stated. "We’d make the talking heads shows. I suspect it would even make mainstream news and expose us to an audience that didn’t know online poker even existed. It certainly would have been a front page story in the Wall Street Journal."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Scheinberg takes a pass</strong></p> <p>Scheinberg, however, decided against submitting the bid for a reported $600 million to acquire the New Orleans Saints. The reasons why are apparently known only by the poker site founder, with Dalla speculating that the exposure such an offer would receive perhaps amounting to too much publicity.</p> <p><em>"There was always the risk that with more scrutiny aimed our direction, we might become targets,"</em> Dalla said.</p> <p>That scrutiny did eventually find its way to PokerStars in the form of a shutdown orchestrated by the <strong>U.S. Department of Justice</strong> five years later on Black Friday in 2011.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:18:06 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3174 Credit Card Roulette a Staple of Life Among High Stakes Poker Players <p><span class="letter-big">A</span>s far as anyone can tell, <strong>Credit Card Roulette</strong> (CCR) can be traced back to 1960 when a gambler named Jerry Osip attempted to leave a restaurant without paying for his meal by playing a form of the game with his waiter.</p> <p>Osip reportedly cajoled a waiter into participating in CCR with him by tossing a few of his credit cards into a pile, including one that was no longer valid. Osip allegedly promised the waiter a big tip if he managed to select one of the credit cards that had not been previously cancelled. If the waiter happened to choose the invalid credit card, Osip would be allowed to walk away with a full belly and without a receipt in his pocket.</p> <p>Whether Osip won or lost remains a mystery, but CCR is by no means a mystery to poker pros who regularly engage in the practice more than 50 years later. Credit must be given where due and Osip deserves his share, although the way CCR is played nowadays is quite different.</p> <p>The basic parameters of the game as introduced by Osip remain the same. Making a game out of who must pay a restaurant or bar tab in hopes of letting someone other than yourself pay the bill.</p> <p>CCR's popularity has reportedly reached far and wide to include gambling types from all walks of life. It isn't only poker players who enjoy spinning the wheel of Credit Card Roulette. McDonald's ran a commercial on CCR about three years ago. But the game is custom-made for poker players to whom playing games and making bets for large sums of money is an everyday occurrence.</p> <p><strong>How Credit Card Roulette is Played</strong></p> <p>For those unfamiliar with CCR, the game is typically played at a restaurant among a group of people after the meal is finished and it's time to settle up and pay the bill. Each player or diner will give a credit card to the waiter or waitress, who then tosses and mixes the cards into a hat or in a pile for random selection.</p> <p>There are generally two ways of playing at this point, the first one being that the very first credit card selected randomly by the impartial wait staff employee ends up as the unlucky loser who has to foot the bill. However, that method of determining winners and a loser lacks suspense and brings a rather abrupt end to the game.</p> <p>The other way of playing CCR that is favored by a large majority of players, except perhaps the faint of heart who may be prone to anxiety, is to implement a reverse-order draw in which each credit card selected is given back to the owner. The last credit card to be chosen becomes the loser who gets the honor of paying for the entire meal or tab.</p> <p>The second method allows for an abundance of fun and excitement for the players whose credit cards are chosen early on in the game. Those players tend to revel in their good fortune, which generally includes good-natured ribbing of their fellow diners who may still be on the hook for paying the bill.</p> <p>It's a game of chance that is dependent upon the luck of the draw. However, those who play the game regularly often use <em>"lucky"</em> or favorite credit cards, insisting that such credit cards allow them to skate away without paying much more often than not, resulting in being ahead of the game overall.</p> <p><strong>The Advantages of Credit Card Roulette</strong></p> <p>The advantages of the game are fairly obvious. First of all, there is no unnecessary quibbling as to the amount owed in divvying up the bill. Whether your meal consisted of lobster or a cheeseburger, the bill will be paid by the loser whose credit card is selected either last or first, dependent on whatever way it was agreed upon to play the game.</p> <p>Regular players of CCR generally agree to play the game before ordering their meal. This sometimes leads to menu selections on the pricey side in order for players to <em>"get their money's worth."</em> Depending on how well you know your fellow diners, this behavior may be frowned upon. But to some CCR players who know each other quite well and whose incomes tend to come in the form of cashing in high stakes poker tournaments, over-consumption may be part of the game.</p> <p>Another benefit is that all but one of those playing CCR will walk away from the table with a full belly at no cost. Elation from winning at CCR is practically priceless. Added to that is the amusement of fun-spirited mocking of the player who gets stuck with the check, a mocking that is completely optional. Remember that the shoe could very well be on the other foot one day when your credit card gets selected.</p> <p>One more benefit pointed out by MMA fighter and former poker pro <strong>Terrence Chan</strong> on a recent blog post entitled <em>"Why You Should Play Credit Card Roulette, Even If You Don't 'Gamble'"</em> is that losing at CCR can actually be good for you. Chan tends to think outside the box, and his take on the game of CCR is a fine example:</p> <p><blockquote>To be an effective gambler, you have to embrace the sting of defeat," Chan stated. "It has to hurt a little. It shouldn't hurt so much that it seriously damages you, but constantly exposing yourself to small financial pain is beneficial, in exactly the same way that getting regular exercise makes your body healthy. Losing money is a stressor that makes you more emotionally prepared to lose money."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Don't Play Credit Card Roulette if You Can't Afford to Lose</strong></p> <p>As alluded to by Chan, it should also be pointed out that those who cannot afford to lose at CCR should not be playing. The game is meant to be fun among friends and if a loss at CCR might hurt you financially, then you should opt out and agree to pay for your portion of the bill and not participate in the game.</p> <p>Osip probably did not know that his gambling spirit and desire to eat a meal for free would one day become such a popular game among diners, especially poker players. He was also likely unaware that someone would eventually dub the game Credit Card Roulette. Those who play and enjoy CCR regularly can thank him, while those who lose and get stuck with the bill can wish the game was never invented.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 18:35:40 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3173 A Realistic Outlook for Legal US Online Poker <p>From the moment the UIGEA cast its shadow over the United States back in 2006, the wheels had, albeit slowly, been set in motion towards the dawn of a new age of legal, regulated online poker in the country. As most fans who follow the poker scene already know, three states (<strong>Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware</strong>) have legalized online poker, and anyone is free to play at any of the many licensed online poker sites so long as you’re within the borders of any of those states. Though this is certainly progress from not having any<a href=""> legal online poker in the U.S.</a> whatsoever, we’re nowhere near approaching its heyday, which occurred before Black Friday, when PokerStars ruled the proverbial roost.</p> <p>There’s a general feeling amongst all fans of the game of wanting the new, legal online poker industry to succeed in the United States. Moreover, poker media outlets have been reporting practically every tidbit of new information released as relates to U.S. online poker, obviously doing their best to drum up buzz and notoriety <em>“for the cause.”</em> With that said, a distinction ought to be made between wishful thinking and <strong>the current reality of U.S. online poker.</strong></p> <p><strong>Misleading Projections Have Led to Disappointment</strong></p> <p>As earnings reports for online poker operators in all three states continue being published, there seems to exist a certain sense of disappointment, if not among the operators themselves then certainly among online poker advocates as well as the legislators in the aforementioned three states. This is because revenues – and thus tax revenues – have been way lower than initial projections. Unfortunately, however, those initial estimates had all been plagued not just by optimism, but by the existence of an alternate reality in which the online poker player pool was significantly larger.</p> <p>When trying to project how much money would be generated by <a href="">legal online poker in Nevada</a>, New Jersey, and Delaware, it made sense, on the one hand, to <em>“look to the past”</em> and cite figures from when citizens of those states were playing in the unregulated, unlicensed days of the game. What many of the projected revenue figures seemed to have failed to take into account, however, was that <strong>the figures of the past were generated, in part, due to highly increased liquidity</strong>. Players in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware used to be able to fire up their online poker software and find oodles of players from all around the world to play against 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Currently, only Nevada and Delaware share player pool liquidity, while <a href="">NJ online poker</a> still has yet to join forces with the other two states. Naturally, this leads to a scenario where there are far fewer game options – both in terms of how many tables are running, as well as what times of day these games are running – for everyone. Thus,<strong> far fewer players are active in those three states than in the past.</strong></p> <p><strong>The Only Real Potential Game-Changer is Increased Liquidity</strong></p> <p>Having enough players is the lifeblood of online poker. In live poker, if you’ve only got four or five people standing around, no matter how beautiful and well-serviced a poker room is there simply isn’t much good action to be had. The same holds true for online poker. While it may finally be legalized and regulated in a few states, <strong>there have to be enough players available to enable good action.</strong> So long as states cannot cooperate with one another and allow their player pools to be shared, the games will be <em>“bad”</em> for the players and operator revenues (and tax revenues) will mirror this.</p> <p>Online poker’s proponents are always on the lookout for additional U.S. states to join in the fray and legalize the game, with California and its 38 million+ residents being the<em> “big prize.”</em> But if the Golden State doesn’t partner up with the Silver State, the Garden State, and the First State, the benefits will be limited to Sacramento and Californians.</p> <p>Realistically, then, for online poker to once again thrive in the United States and reach its full potential,<strong> it’s not just that more states must legalize it, but they’ve got to agree to cooperate and share player pools.</strong> Should that happen – and it might, but it’ll take a lot of goodwill among political leaders – perhaps sights could then be set further afield towards international borders such that the magic of what online poker used to be like can be recaptured once again.</p> <p>For more stories covering legal us poker issues and other <a href="">online poker news</a> - make sure to join our newsletter</p> <p><strong><br/></strong></p> <p><a href=";"><strong>Get up to $888 welcome bonus in (available for NJ Players Only!) </strong></a></p> <p> </p> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:07:50 +0000 Robbie Strazynski 3172 Double Bubble Tournaments to Take Place During PCA <p><span class="letter-big">I</span>n a recent PokerStars blog post by Lee Jones, an interesting new format for tournament payout structures has been proposed – <strong>the double bubble.</strong> What this concept essentially entails is that 50% of the field will receive their buy-in back and the top 8% will share the remainder of the prize pool in more or less the traditional way. According to Jones, these tournaments should make their first appearance during the next <strong>PokerStars Caribbean Adventure</strong> (PCA).</p> <p>His blog entry explains the idea that paying out a greater number of people is essentially good for poker, as it ensures that more players will have a good day. That, combined with the fact that a winner in any big tournament will still receive a big, basically life-changing amount, makes this decision both reasonable and justified.</p> <p><strong>Bird in the Hand</strong></p> <p>Players often talk about how they don't enter tournaments for a min-cash. But as explained by Jones, once the bubble phase kicks-off, a lot of players with shorter stacks will resort to the <em>something is better than nothing</em> mentality and do whatever it takes to walk away with at least some money in their pockets.</p> <p><blockquote> My point is this: whatever people's plans and dreams are at the beginning of a tournament, for most folks, there comes a point where locking up some money right now is preferable to the possibility of more money later. Call it the "Bird in the hand" theory. <cite>Lee Jones, PokerStars Blog</cite></blockquote></p> <p><strong>PCA as the Perfect Testing Ground</strong></p> <p>Although this may not be a revolutionary idea, it certainly is an interesting one that may appeal to players whose primary reason for playing is to have a good time. And as is often the case with poker, it will probably attract a number of pros who believe they will have a significant edge in that kind of setup.</p> <p>PokerStars believe that a tournament like the Caribbean Adventure will be a perfect testing ground for this novel idea – it attracts a big enough number of recreational players and in general the atmosphere is more laid-back and relaxed in comparison to other similar poker festivals.</p> <p>There are certainly arguments to be made both for and against this concept, but probably the best thing to do is simply to wait and see what happens. PokerStars tend to do their research before coming out with these types of novelties. Since they have decided to give it a go, there is likely a good reason to do so that includes the numbers to support it.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 19:22:59 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3171 Launch Delayed Indefinitely <p><span class="letter-big">O</span>nline poker players in <strong>California</strong> have been anxiously awaiting the real-money launch of <strong></strong> that was scheduled for this week.</p> <p>Those players will have to wait a bit longer, as the poker site being readied by the <strong>Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel</strong> will be delayed. Customer care at informed PokerUpdate that a firm launch date has not been set in stone.</p> <p><blockquote>We are making the final preparations," said a site representative via email. "We are still double and triple checking everything and until that is all done we are not setting a date."</blockquote></p> <p><strong>Legal matters still being addressed?</strong></p> <p>Though not directly expressed, one can speculate that those multiple checks may center around the legality of going forward with a real-money launch without the legislative approval of <a href="">online poker in California</a>. Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission Chairman Dave Vialpando has insisted that the <strong>Indian Gaming Regulatory Act</strong> (IGRA) allows the site to proceed.</p> <p>However, California is the most populous state in the nation and likely the most lucrative. With the potential of billions of dollars in revenue to be realized, you can almost certainly bet your bottom dollar that the Golden State's cardrooms, racetracks and other Indian tribes are a bit miffed that Santa Ysabel appears poised to take the lead in the absence of online poker regulation.</p> <p><strong>Waiting is the hardest part</strong></p> <p>California lawmakers have been proposing ipoker bills for five years and <a href="">the calendar will turn to 2015</a> before legislators convene to discuss the matter again. Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer aims to have a new Internet poker bill ready for introduction in December for the 2015 legislative session.</p> <p>In the meantime, Californians can play online for play-money at until the real-money offering is launched. A site rep promised that an official announcement via press release will be forthcoming in the future.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:41:18 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3170 What Raising for Effective Giving Can Teach us About Promoting Poker as a Sport <p>Poker changed my life.</p> <p>There are times when it drives me crazy. Times I wish I never met the damn game. But it really did change my life.</p> <p>There was a period of time when I had a nasty drink problem. My abuse of alcohol had become ingrained into my way of being. It affected all of my decisions, my relationships and my choice of career.</p> <p>I had no meaning, no purpose.</p> <p>I had no life.</p> <p>Then I quit drinking.</p> <p>During the transition it was important for me to have something else to focus on. I chose poker. I wanted to become the best poker player in the world. I played every day, read poker books, joined poker forums, joined online training sites and I even tried to teach others to play the game.</p> <p>I was happy when I won.</p> <p>I was unhappy when I lost.</p> <p>I lost more than I won.</p> <p>It became clear that poker was a hobby. Nothing more. To become a professional poker player was not my life purpose. That would not make me happy. But that phase allowed my mind and body to stabilize and become sober.</p> <p>My life purpose is to help people quit alcohol to make the world a better place.</p> <p>Poker helped me find my way.</p> <p>In a recent poll on Reddit, 460 people were asked to express their opinion on a series of 53 different ‘fringe sports.’</p> <p>Were these fringe sports actually sports or games?</p> <p>When the numbers were sorted, <strong>poker was at the bottom of that list with a little over 10% of people believing it was a sport</strong>. Competitive eating and cheerleading were considered more of a sport than poker.</p> <p>I think these types of polls are damaging.</p> <p>It diminishes the credibility I believe poker needs to create more of a global exposure. <strong>The more people that can see poker as a sport of skill, the more non-gambling affiliated companies will be interested in slapping their labels on our tins.</strong></p> <p>In a recent blog post called <em>"Sports Marketing: Poker is Mainstream, Legitimate and Bankable,"</em> the CEO of Zokay Sports &amp; Entertainment, <strong>Alexandre Dreyfus</strong>, looked at this Reddit report with a more positive outlook.</p> <p>Speaking to Dreyfus, he told me that 10% was a good start. But he also told me that it was <strong>more important to start promoting poker as a sport rather than arguing whether it actually is.</strong></p> <p>Dreyfus is a very knowledgeable businessman. He believes that big brand sponsorship is key. <strong>Dave Brannan</strong>, CEO, Living it Loving it &amp; Mindsports International concurs with him.</p> <p>Brannan’s worry is <strong>the big non-gambling brands will be too scared to be affiliated with poker because of our image</strong>. As Dreyfus once pointed out in another article, <em>“all we seem to be doing is writing about the latest robbery, cheating scandal or death.”</em></p> <p>Both of these incredibly influential members of the poker community believe that the players have a huge role to play in the brand appeal of poker. We need to tidy up the image. <strong>It will never be choirboys and angels, but there is no need to be all Quentin Tarantino.</strong></p> <p>Stand up and be counted.</p> <p>Shake the image of mistrust, deceit and shadows.</p> <p>Let me give you an example.</p> <p>According to popular belief, <strong>Phil Ivey</strong> is the greatest poker player on the planet. The poker community and the fans adore him. He is also embroiled in two multi-million dollar lawsuits for alleged cheating in the games of Baccarat and Punto Banco.</p> <p><strong>Ivey’s guilt or innocence is not the point.</strong></p> <p>He is tarnished.</p> <p>That great avenue for poker is tarnished.</p> <p>So what other options do we have?</p> <p>Let me tell you the tale of <strong>Philipp Gruissem</strong>. The man who inspired me to start this article with a little tale on life purpose.</p> <p>Like many people in the poker industry, Gruissem dropped out of college to travel the world and play poker because it seemed like a quick and easy way to make a lot of money. It was also fun, interesting and provided him with a sense of freedom.</p> <p>After a while he began to question what he was doing.</p> <p>What value was he gaining?</p> <p>He wasn’t happy.</p> <p>He deduced that to be happier he needed to be more successful.</p> <p>He started to play higher and started to win more. Titles, accolades and millions of dollars came his way.</p> <p>That still wasn’t enough.</p> <p>It was at this time that he learned that giving would make him happy. He tried it. He gave money here and there. Nothing changed.</p> <p>Then it clicked.</p> <p>He <strong>realized the power of the poker community.</strong></p> <p>If he could spread his wisdom and philosophy, to others like him, then he could change the lives of millions. Suddenly, folding his 10bb stack for the next four to five hours was not about him, it was about something much bigger.</p> <p>Philipp Gruissem had found his life purpose.</p> <p><strong>Raising for Effective Giving</strong> (REG) was launched.</p> <p>How to use science and rational decision-making to help as many people in need as possible.</p> <p>Gruissem is not alone. <strong>Igor Kurganov</strong>, <strong>Liv Boeree</strong> and <strong>Adriano Mannino</strong> are a few members of a band that will soon turn into a full-blown orchestra. They are hoping that their collective power will mean more people will listen, give, but more importantly, find meaning and purpose.</p> <p>They are also ready made ambassadors for poker. Philipp Gruissem is the <strong>David Beckham</strong> of poker. They both have balls made of gold. They can do no wrong. Their hearts are in the right place and they are an inspiration to the world.</p> <p><strong>What respected non-gambling brand wouldn’t want to be affiliated with someone like Gruissem?</strong> A young man who<strong> plays professional poker so he can earn as much money as possible to help young children in Africa </strong>go through a deworming program so they can receive a school education.</p> <p>Poker can be promoted as a sport.</p> <p>We have our ambassadors.</p> <p>Use them.</p> <p>Promote them.</p> <p>Tell the whole world about Raising for Effective Giving (REG) and start showing poker in a whole new light.</p> <p>One of give, and not of take.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:01:03 +0000 Lee Davy 3169 Nevada iPoker Revenue Down Slightly in July <p>After breaking the $1 million mark in June, revenue for <a href="">online poker in Nevada</a> saw a slight drop in July. Despite a five percent decline month-over-month, the state still saw its second best month since figures were released back in February.</p> <p><strong>Drop Was Expected Post-WSOP</strong></p> <p>According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Nevada online poker collected revenues of $985,000 in July versus $1,037,000 in June. The state benefited from the 45th annual World Series of Poker held at the Rio for six weeks but lost its seasonal players by mid-July.</p> <p>From late-May through mid-July, was completely integrated into the 2014 WSOP. Players were encouraged to play from the tables and rules were even changed to allow play from laptops and post-bubble play online.</p> <p>The event was tailor made to bump traffic at the site and helped move Nevada past the $1 million mark. Following the WSOP, seasonal players went home but the state still nearly hit the $1 million mark for the second month.</p> <p><strong>Numbers Up for Vegas Casino Industry</strong></p> <p>Despite fears that Las Vegas casinos would have a losing month in July, the state pulled out a 0.65 percent increase year-over-year. Nevada collected gaming win of $932 million for July 2014 versus $925.8 million in 2013's seventh month.</p> <p>July's win comes one month after the state reported a 14 percent increase year-over-year in June.</p> <p><strong>Tourism is the Key for Improving Casino Numbers</strong></p> <p>The two-month win streak is likely a direct result of the recent influx of tourism to the state. The Review Journal also reported that Vegas saw record tourism in both June and July with both months posting their best numbers in history.</p> <p>Through July, tourism in Las Vegas is up 2.2 percent over 2013 with 24.2 million tourists having already visited the city. By the end of the year, Vegas could see a record 40 million visitors.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 23:46:58 +0000 James Guill 3168 Heartland Poker Tour Arrives in California <p>The<strong> Heartland Poker Tour</strong> (HPT) begins its next tour stop today at the <strong>California-Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa</strong> in Rancho Mirage where 12 days of exciting poker action will conclude with the final table of the $1,650 Main Event on Monday, Sept. 8.</p> <p>Players who enjoy HPT events will be pleased to know that three other tour stops are on the schedule in the Golden State next month. On Thursday, Sept. 4, action will kick off at the <strong>Commerce Casino</strong> in Los Angeles and run through Monday, Sept. 22. The highlight is the $1,650 Main Event slated to begin with Flight 1A on Sept. 18.</p> <p>On Sept. 15-28, cards will be in the air at the <strong>Thunder Valley Casino &amp; Resort</strong> in Lincoln. There are tons of satellites and qualifiers on the docket allowing players to win their way into events at higher stakes at a fraction of the entry fee.</p> <p>The <strong>Club One Casino</strong> in Fresno will be HPT's next California destination. Live poker action gets underway with single table satellites on Sept. 24. Five events are scheduled with the last being the $300,000 guaranteed Main Event that begins Friday, Oct. 3. Final tablers should be prepared to have their play scrutinized by <strong>Mario Ho</strong> and<strong> Fred Bevill</strong> as the tourney action on Monday, Oct. 6 will be filmed for television.</p> <p><strong>Aaron Massey Victorious at East Chicago Event</strong></p> <p>HPT just finished a run at the <strong>Ameristar Casino</strong> in East Chicago, Indiana. <strong>Aaron Massey</strong> of Elmwood Park, Illinois took down the Main Event title and $177,502 in prize money. He managed to capture the chips of all 538 players when his two pair held up versus the straight draw of runner-up <strong>Stan Jablonski</strong> who earned $108,504 for his second-best performance.</p> <p><em>"I just kept firing away and firing away until I finally won,"</em> Massey said of his aggressive, winning play.</p> <p>The victory allowed Massey to take over fourth place on HPT's all-time winnings leaderboard with $278,942. He is looking up at only <strong>Craig Casino</strong> ($395,646),<strong> Greg "FossilMan" Raymer</strong> ($393,278) and <strong>Michael Harris</strong> ($352,657).</p> <p>The HPT leaderboard for 2014 finds <strong>Doug Milner</strong> of Salt Lake City, Utah on top with $230,582. Utah allows no legalized gambling whatsoever, forcing Milner to leave his home state to compete at live poker tournaments. Odds are that Milner can be found at the HPT poker tables in the adjoining state of California that begin today in Rancho Mirage and transition to various venues throughout the Golden State until Oct. 6.</p> <p><strong>Online Poker Regulation May Arrive in California</strong></p> <p>California has dozens of card rooms and is also getting serious about online poker legislation. The odds of Californians having the choice of playing live poker or on <a href="">regulated online poker sites in California</a> in 2015 are looking up, considering that <strong>Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer</strong> has stated his intention to <a href="">propose a new bill in December</a> that aims to address the issues that have stalled legislative progress in the past.</p> <p>In the meantime, California players can make their way over to Rancho Mirage, Los Angeles, Lincoln and Fresno and enjoy the live events hosted by the Heartland Poker Tour.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:37:40 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3167 Showboat and Revel Confirm Closings by Sept. 2 <p>Despite last minute tours and hopes for the best, two <strong>Atlantic City</strong> casinos will officially close their doors by Tuesday, Sept 2.</p> <p>The <strong>Showboat</strong> will turn away gamblers on Sunday, Aug. 31, and the failed <strong>Revel</strong> experiment will finally end two days later. <strong>Trump Plaza</strong> previously announced its shutdown for Sept. 16.</p> <p><strong>Last Minute Interest Couldn't Save Showboat</strong></p> <p>The buzz around Atlantic City on Tuesday was that Caesars Entertainment was giving tours of the Showboat to <em>"prospective buyers."</em> Unfortunately, these tours failed to produce an offer.</p> <p>According to, a Caesars spokesperson revealed on Wednesday that while there was indeed last minute interest from potential buyers, the casino would not be operating beyond 4 p.m. Sunday.</p> <p>Wednesday was the first time that the company would go on record publicly on a closing date. They did state that offers for the casino are still being accepted and they would sell the property if it made financial sense.</p> <p><strong>Revel to Close Sept. 2</strong></p> <p>The failed multi-billion dollar experiment known as Revel will finally conclude on Tuesday. The property is scheduled to officially close at 6 a.m. on Sept. 2, but Sunday is effectively its final full day of operation.</p> <p>In a statement from the company, it was revealed that a number of debtors will begin removing perishable goods, alcohol and equipment after certain internal establishments close at their normal business hours.</p> <p>If you have vouchers or casino chips and cannot make it to Revel by Tuesday, you will have up to two weeks to redeem them. Anyone failing to redeem chips or vouchers before Sept. 15 will be forced to petition the bankruptcy court for payment.</p> <p><strong>What's Next For Displaced Workers</strong></p> <p>Those hit hardest by this weekend's closings and the closing of Trump Plaza next month are the 8,000 employees who will find themselves unemployed.</p> <p>According to, Atlantic City will be offering assistance for former casino workers with the program slated to begin in October. Per the report, approximately 1,200 workers a year will be helped.</p> <p>Job training programs through the city and Atlantic Cape Community College will be available to former workers, but odds are that many will go outside the state to secure employment.</p> <p>According to AC Mayor Don Guardian, up to 30% of former AC casino workers could go to other states to seek jobs. <strong>Maryland Live!</strong> casinos are one viable possibility. The company has been recently conducting job fairs in the city in anticipation of casino closings.</p> <p>Even if 30% leave the state, that's still over 5,000 former employees looking for work. Approximately 1,300 new jobs will be created in the city soon, but that will still leave a solid number of workers unemployed. Unless one or more of the casinos are sold and reopened, many families could be facing some lean times in the upcoming months.</p> <p><strong>Which Casinos Might Reopen?</strong></p> <p>While each of the three closing properties is entertaining offers, one has to wonder which has the best chance of reopening as an actual casino.</p> <p>Revel is the newest property in Atlantic City, but has lost a ton of value since opening. Once valued at $2.4 billion, the property was worth just $450 million in 2013.</p> <p>While recent offers on the property have not been released, Revel will easily be the most expensive of the three properties. However, with that higher price tag comes a casino that could be ready to reopen in a short amount of time.</p> <p>Based on past behavior and rumored intentions, the Showboat may be the least likely property to reopen as a casino. When Caesars and Tropicana bought the Atlantic Club, they stripped the property and Caesars later sold the building to a non-casino entity.</p> <p>Considering that Caesars is looking to consolidate their own casino holdings, it doesn't make sense for them to sell to a competitor. When they say they may sell if the deal makes financial sense, they could mean if the entity isn't planning to use the property as a casino.</p> <p>Out of the three, Trump Plaza could be the best deal for someone looking to enter the AC market. The last time the property was on the market in 2013, it almost sold for $20 million. One has to assume the current asking price will come down, making it a potential steal.</p> <p>In the short-term, Trump Plaza is the best bet to reopen. Long-term, someone will likely gamble on Revel and with the right management, win big. Don't be surprised to see the Showboat still vacant two years from now or with a non-casino entity.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:05:33 +0000 James Guill 3166 Georgia Lottery Joins Fight Against Adelson Coalition <p><span class="letter-big">O</span>nline gambling lobbyists have recently gained an ally in an unexpected place. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Georgia Lottery has joined the fight against Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.</p> <p>The Lottery is specifically lobbying against HR 4301, the Resolution of America's Wire Act. The bill seeks to reverse a December 2011 memo from the Department of Justice that stated that the Wire Act was only applicable to sports betting. Should this bill pass, the Georgia Lottery and other states offering online lottery tickets will be forced to cease online sales.</p> <p>That blockbuster memo was actually in direct response to an inquiry from Illinois and New York on whether the sale of online lottery tickets fell under the Wire Act. While the Wire Act memo has been responsible for helping to usher in <a href="">legal online poker in the United States</a>, lotteries were the initial stakeholders in this memo and the ones that it would initially impact.</p> <p><strong>Bill Could Cost Georgia Schools Millions</strong></p> <p>The Georgia Lottery started their online ticket sales in November 2012 and online sales have generated more than $6.6 million. Of that $6.6 million, almost $2 million has been allocated to the HOPE scholarship program and to pre-K programs in the state.</p> <p>Georgia Lottery Director Debbie Dlugolenski Alford sent a pointed letter to a top U.S. House attorney in April, claiming that the passage of HR 4301 would put an end to a revenue stream that <em>"continues to be critical to our success and our ability to grow revenues for education."</em></p> <p>Crunching the numbers, lottery officials estimate that the passage of this bill would cost the state $39 million in potential funding. That is equal to about 7,000 HOPE scholarships or 11,000 pre-K students.</p> <p><strong>Georgia Muddies the "Ethical Waters"</strong></p> <p>Sheldon Adelson and his coalition have been attempting to take the <em>"moral high ground"</em> in respect to online gambling since declaring war on the industry. Part of his attacks have centered on fear campaigns that claim that online gambling targets children and serves as a clear and present danger to their development.</p> <p>The Georgia Lottery is pointing to the thousands of young people that they have been able to help because of online ticket sales. HR 4301 would make education much more difficult to many deserving youths, leading to potential lifelong deficits in education and reliance on government subsidies.</p> <p>We're intelligent enough to realize that online gambling carries risks. However, the Georgia Lottery is a prime example of how <strong>online gambling can be used for the greater good.</strong> Adelson paints the face of online gambling as a youth sadly losing on his iPad. Meanwhile, <strong>in Georgia, the face of online gambling is a student moving into their college dorm thanks to money donated to the HOPE scholarship program.</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:48:01 +0000 James Guill 3165 Reginald Jones-Sawyer to Lead California Online Poker Efforts <p>The soft looking puppy dog eyes that are mounted below the hairline of the U.S. poker community are looking adoringly at Assembly member<strong> Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr.</strong></p> <p>The baton has passed.</p> <p>Jones-Sawyer has taken it from former <strong>Senator Lou Correa</strong> and it seems he is ready to run with it.</p> <p>In a recent press release, Jones-Sawyer expressed his desire to author a new California online poker bill. The new bill will be submitted at the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session.</p> <p>The decision comes a fortnight after his previous bill (AB 2291) was shelved because, <em>"the Department of Justice and the California Gaming Commission did not have enough time to review the language and make relevant recommendations on the regulatory structure of the bill."</em></p> <p><strong>Sen. Correa made three attempts</strong></p> <p>The decision to place AB 2291 back into the filing cabinet came days after Senator Lou Correa gave up hope of gaining a two-thirds agreement for his online poker bill (SB 1366). It was the third time Correa had failed in his attempt to legalize real-money <a href="">online poker in California</a>, but according to Jones-Sawyer, his work will not be in vain.</p> <p>There were only three weeks left in the legislative session when the two bills met mothballs, and with a full calendar ahead of him, you cannot believe there will not be some form of real-money online poker in California by the end of 2015.</p> <p>Jones-Sawyer proceeded to outline the tremendous headway that has been made behind the scenes when he said,<em> “Over the past seven months, we have seen tremendous progress regarding this issue. The California Native American Tribes, who have gaming compacts, and who presented language for AB 2291, are more united than ever before.”</em></p> <p>The Assemblyman also went on to state that the California card clubs and the horse racing industry have also indicated their desire to get involved.</p> <p><strong>Participation of horsemen and bad actor clause still to be resolved</strong></p> <p>It’s the involvement of the horse racing industry, along with the inclusion of the ‘bad actor’ clause, that many believe to have been the sticking point in previous discussions.</p> <p>One hopes that the acquisition of the Rational Group, by Amaya Gaming, and the decision by the Scheinberg family to jump ship, reduces the tension.</p> <p>Jones-Sawyer was keen to express his gratitude to Senators Rod Wright and Lou Correa for the work they had done on previous efforts and said, <em>"We have come a long way, but we have to be patient, so we can get this right. Setting a standard in California that will be an example for the entire nation is the ultimate goal.”</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:23:25 +0000 Lee Davy 3164 NCSL Approves Resolution Opposing Ban on iGaming <p>The <strong>National Conference of State Legislatures</strong> (NCSL) believes that individual states should have the freedom to choose whether or not to allow online gambling and have passed a resolution that opposes any such ban on the federal level.</p> <p>At a recent annual summit in Minneapolis, the NCSL discussed dozens of legislative topics including one that focused on the online gambling battle. That battle has found casino mogul Sheldon Adelson front and center as he pushes the agenda of the <strong>Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling</strong> (CSIG), an organization that he founded late last year.</p> <p>Adelson is pulling the strings behind federal legislation proposed five months ago by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz. The measures introduced by Graham/Chaffetz seek to overturn a 2011 DoJ ruling that found online gambling to be permissible on the state level under the 1961 Wire Act, with the exception of sports betting.</p> <p><strong>Abboud called on again on behalf of Adelson</strong></p> <p>While the NCSL debated the resolution, Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands VP on Goverment Relations &amp; Community Development, again served as Adelson's minion to state the case for the anti-online gambling crowd. Abboud, many will recall, has made several such appearances in the past that included testimony before a Senate subcommittee in 2013.</p> <p>Since the resolution of the NCSL passed, it is apparent that <strong>Abboud once again came out on the losing end</strong>. The scorecards of most who have been following the debate over online poker and gambling regulation have shown that Abboud has not been very effective as Adelson's designated hitter, even once being called a hypocrite by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois).</p> <p><strong>Resolution all about the sovereignty of states</strong></p> <p>The approved resolution makes a request of Congress that the NCSL be involved <em>"in any federal efforts that seek to reform the regulation of online gaming."</em> Furthermore, the resolution states that the NCSL <em>"strongly opposes any effort by the federal government to overturn"</em> the 2011 DoJ ruling, which the Graham/Chaffetz proposal, entitled the <em>'Restoration of America's Wire Act,'</em> aims to do.</p> <p>There are quite a few states that seemingly have no intention of getting into the Internet gambling game. That is entirely fine with the NCSL, who <em>"also requests that federal lawmakers be respectful of state legislatures that prohibit online gaming or other forms of gaming within their state."</em> It's all about each state having the right to choose their own path, as the DoJ's 2011 interpretation and clarification of the Wire Act allows.</p> <p><strong>Online gambling battle rages on</strong></p> <p>The war between pro and con forces in the online gambling battle appears likely to be fought for some time. Some states, Pennsylvania and California in particular, made considerable strides this year toward joining the regulated states of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. The future bodes well for one or both of those states to take the igaming regulation plunge in 2015.</p> <p>The NCSL is a good ally to have in the ongoing battle against the deep pockets of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. His attempts at banning online poker and gambling in the U.S. have been a thorn in the side of pro-Internet gambling forces. But those attempts have not been successful and the odds look good that such success will elude the 81-year-old billionaire.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:37:59 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3163 West Virginia Considers Online Gambling Expansion <p>Could online poker hit the Mountain State in 2015? According to a report in the <a href="">Charleston Daily Mail</a>, the West Virginia lottery is considering whether to expand into online gaming to combat competition from surrounding states.</p> <p>Preliminary discussions are already underway as revealed by state lottery director John Musgrave. He met with the state's Lottery Commission on Tuesday and revealed that a meeting was held last month between lottery officials and state casino executives to discuss the viability of online gambling expansion.</p> <p>Declining revenues are partially to blame for the sudden interest in iGaming expansion. According to Musgrave, <em>"We're still seeing a decline (in revenue). We still are experiencing competition as the new casinos are coming on in Maryland and some in Ohio. That hasn't plateaued."</em></p> <p>Moreover, declines are expected to escalate in one WV county. The Hancock County Board of Health passed an indoor smoking ban on Tuesday that will directly affect the Mountaineer Casino in Chester. According to casino executives, the new ban may result in revenue declines of up to 20%.</p> <p><strong>State May Be Able to Offer Some Online Gaming Without Legislation</strong></p> <p>If the WV Lottery wants to offer games such as poker or blackjack, then state gaming laws would have to be modified like those in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.</p> <p>However, the Lottery could move forward with putting certain lottery games online without the need for legislative approval.</p> <p>Musgrave believes that making Mega Millions, Hot Lotto and Powerball available through a smartphone app would not need legislative consent. Under the app, they could purchase tickets and collect their winnings online.</p> <p><strong>Still in the Planning Stages</strong></p> <p>Despite their interest to expand, don't expect online gambling this year. The next meeting between casino executives and the Lottery is not set until late October in Charleston.</p> <p>Musgrave shared after Tuesday's meeting,<em> “We’re still exploring (online gaming) because we feel that’s the way the industry’s moving, so we want to plan for it. We have not yet made any decision for how we’re going to implement it, but we are looking at it, studying it and seeing how our casinos in our jurisdiction can move in that direction.”</em></p> <p><strong>What Could iGaming in West Virginia Look Like?</strong></p> <p>The West Virginia Lottery released few details on their plans for iGaming in the state but one has to assume that we will see a similar setup as Delaware, including the potential for a single-provider setup.</p> <p>Should West Virginia elect to use a single-provider setup, <a href="">888 Poker</a> would immediately become a frontrunner due to their experience in operating <a href="">gaming sites in Delaware</a>. Using 888 would also help facilitate future online compacts with other states since the company has a footprint in every legalized market.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:55:24 +0000 James Guill 3155 America’s Dumbest Gambling Criminals <p>If you stole $200 from a casino, how much do you think you would be fined?</p> <p>If you live in Pennsylvania then the answer is ‘a lot.’</p> <p>A dealer, Matthew Eisenberg, 29, was charged with misdemeanor theft under the 2004 Gaming Act after sneaking $1 &amp; $2 chips off the table and into his tip box. He reportedly did this 108 times to the tune of $200 at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. The local court ordered him to pay $200 in restitution, sentenced him to one year probation, and handed a sledgehammer of a fine worth $75,000.</p> <p>To make matters worse, at the time of the penny-pinching, Eisenberg was a student and his girlfriend had a bun in the oven. His lawyer, Michael Santicola, called the ruling ‘draconian.’ It seems the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agrees, as they declared the mandatory $75,000 fine was ‘unconstitutional.’</p> <p><blockquote>The fine at issue here - both in an absolute sense and in a comparative sense - is strikingly disproportionate to the manner in which other crimes are punished in Pennsylvania,” said Chief Justice Ronald Castille.</blockquote></p> <p>The mandatory fine was handed out because an amendment to the 2004 Gaming Act - that came out in 2010 - stated that a mandatory fine of $75,000 would be handed out to anyone found guilty of theft inside a casino.</p> <p>Santicola argued that had his client stolen $200 anywhere other than a casino the minimum mandatory fine would have been $10,000. The young dealer pleaded guilty on July 19, 2011 and it’s taken three years for his appeal to be heard.</p> <p><strong>Don’t Ask a Croupier What Their Lucky Number is!</strong></p> <p>If you think the Eisenberg case is a tad excessive, then spare a thought for a former Roulette croupier at the Meadows Casino in Washington, Pennsylvania.</p> <p>Robert “Rudy” Valle is facing criminal charges of ‘conspiracy’ and ‘using illegal methods to win a bet’ after telling a customer that his {Valle’s} lucky number was four and he would try and hit it for him.</p> <p>The customer duly placed a bet on the croupier’s lucky number and of course it came in.</p> <p><strong>Jail Time For the Masterminds Behind Illegal Poker Room</strong></p> <p><em>“What are you in for?”</em></p> <p><em>“Running an illegal poker club.”</em></p> <p><em>“How much did you rake in?”</em></p> <p><em>“Around $26,000.”</em></p> <p>Not very sexy, is it?</p> <p>But that’s the conversation that’s going on between Thomas Rand and his fellow county convicts after being found guilty of running an illegal poker club out of the back of a Curves Health Club &amp; Gym.</p> <p>Rand, 43, of Williamstown, Pennsylvania, was one of six people to face charges. After pleading guilty, he received 270 days in county followed by probation. He was joined by Ryan Dion, of Blackwood, who faces 3 years probation and 364 days in county, and three dealers/cashiers also pleaded guilty with a sixth member yet to be charged.</p> <p>It’s believed the shady establishment had been in operation for eight years. Police seized $26,000 during the raid.</p> <p><strong>More Shenanigans in Minnesota</strong></p> <p>Forget the Great Train Robbery of 1963. Ronnie Biggs and the gang have nothing on the Minnesota Four!</p> <p>On July 4, 2013, four known gambling cheats made away with $200 in a mad 45-min flurry of activity at the Canterbury Park casino in Minnesota.</p> <p>The quartet won the money playing at a three-card poker table. One of the players would distract the dealer whilst two more switched cards, and the fourth man tried to block the view of the camera.</p> <p><em>“They just came in, made a quick hit and were gone,”</em> said casino spokesman Jeff Maday.</p> <p>Only one of the criminal masterminds has been caught. Duane L. Racle s being held in the Scott County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Also charged, but at large, are James P. Mineham, Wildred Sanchez, and Nicholas R.Crowder.</p> <p>All four gamblers are in there seventies!</p> <p><blockquote>Integrity is important,” said Maday when questioned on the urgency of finding the septuagenarians. “It’s important if you are another one of the players. You want to know that the game is legit.”</blockquote></p> <p>If you do see three suspicious old men hustling with their Zimmer frames then contact the Canterbury Park casino.</p> <p><strong>Invisible Ink Cheat Banned From all Connecticut Casinos</strong></p> <p>Rounding off our rogue’s gallery is Bruce Koloshi.</p> <p>The serial casino cheat has been banned from all Connecticut casinos after pleading guilty to cheating in the New London Superior Court in Connecticut. Koloshi was facing charges pertaining to a night in September when he used invisible ink to mark cards in a game of Mississippi Stud Poker.</p> <p>Koloshi was wearing specially designed contact lenses so he could identify the ink, but unbeknownst to him, the security teams in the loft were watching the action on black and white footage and could also see the ink.</p> <p>It’s not the first time that Koloshi had used this scam. In Feb. 2013, Koloshi used his magic ink to win over $10k in the Delaware Park Casino, but he couldn’t collect the money because he would have to provide identification!</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 23:30:08 +0000 Lee Davy 3154 Poker Makes an Appearance at the Primetime Emmy Awards <p>Guess who made an appearance at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards last night?</p> <p>Our very own superstar: Poker.</p> <p>It didn’t have to don a tuxedo. There were no awards for it to pick up. There wasn’t even a walk down the red carpet. But we were there.</p> <p>Antonio Villard Premium Electronic Cigars took over the Kari Feinstein Style Lounge to offer the celebrities in waiting the opportunity to have a puff on their e-cigars whilst getting stuck into a game of tournament poker.</p> <p>The Celebrity Poker Challenge was organized by Antonio Villard’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tristan McMurphy, who said: <em>“Our goal is not just give our e-cigars to the celebrities in attendance, but rather to do something unique that is fun and different. We want to give back, and to include our celebrity guests in doing so.”</em></p> <p><strong>Breaking Bad Stars Love Their Poker</strong></p> <p>Two celebrities who must have been interested in the poker were the <strong>Breaking Bad</strong> stars <strong>Bryan Cranston</strong> and <strong>Aaron Paul</strong>. Paul was recently snapped whilst railing a friend in a World Series of Poker (WSOP) Daily Deepstack event at the Rio All Suite Hotel &amp; Casino, and he was on hand to pick up the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.</p> <p>Cranston used to be a regular on Celebrity Poker Showdown. A celebrity game show that was aired on the Bravo channel and starred the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Jason Alexander and Kevin Pollak back in the early noughties.</p> <p>Breaking Bad won five awards in all, with Cranston picking up the award for Best Lead Actor, Moira Walley-Beckett picking up the award for Outstanding Writer for the ‘Ozymandias’ episode, and for the second year running, Anna Gunn picked up the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress.</p> <p>The night’s other big winners were the BBC mini-series Sherlock, with the show's stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman picking up awards, and Modern Family also picking up a raft of gold.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:15:15 +0000 Lee Davy 3153 Delaware Posts Gain in July Online Poker Revenue <p>The <strong>Delaware State Lottery</strong> released <a href="">revenue numbers for July</a> that show a gain of <em>$5,789.97</em> in online poker rake from totals reported the month before.</p> <p>Harrington Raceway, Delaware Park and Dover Downs took in a collective <em>$31,397.57</em> for the month, up from June's <em>$25,607.60</em>. While the figures generated in July by the<a href=""> online poker sites in Delaware</a> may seem paltry, keep in mind that the state's population is a mere 900,000 or so.</p> <p>Delaware state officials were well aware that revenue totals would not be overwhelming even before launching last November. The best month thus far in the nine months that The First State's online poker scheme has been up and running was December when poker rake and fees came to <em>$106,922.76</em>. The worst month was June.</p> <p>The poker site operated by Delaware Park continues to dominate the tiny market with more than 50% of the action. Harrington Raceway is the least favored by players among the three, pulling in only <em>$2,794.40</em> in July online poker revenue.</p> <p><strong>Online gambling revenue that includes casino games and video lottery tumbles</strong></p> <p>Delaware also hosts video lottery and online casino games for its residents. When adding the totals of that action with online poker, igaming revenue for July was a collective <em>$173,096.40</em>. June figures came in at <em>$187,332.18</em>, showing a month-to-month decrease of <em>$14,235.78</em>.</p> <p>For those who look for positive news while analyzing data, the overall revenue total for July was better than four of the nine months that igaming has been available. Also on the plus side were new player registrations, totaling 410 for the month. New sign-ups in July outpaced the totals in each of the last three months.</p> <p><strong>Regulatory success trumps low revenue totals</strong></p> <p>Anti-online gambling activists led by<strong> Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson</strong> relish the underwhelming igaming revenue numbers posted by Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey in recent months. The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) tends to make a big deal out of the fact that revenue expectations in the regulated states have been falling short.</p> <p>But those naysayers are failing to take into consideration the fact that the regulated industry has only just begun, and with the exception of Nevada, is not yet one year old. Also left out of any propaganda spewed by CSIG is the regulatory success found in each of the three markets, providing safeguards for consumers in a regulated environment that is likely to add more states in the future.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:39:14 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3152 PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager Join Forces <p>Are you a <strong>PokerTracker</strong> paramour, or has your heart been handed out to <strong>Hold’em Manager</strong>?</p> <p>Very soon your allegiance is not going to matter.</p> <p>PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager have been the George Foreman and Muhammad Ali of the poker analysis tools market for as long as I can remember. But the gloves have been racked after the pair announced plans to merge into a unified entity.</p> <p>According to information gleaned from the PokerTracker website, you soon understand that the decision to merge is one based on cost. Staff, management, intellectual property and any other resources the pair have on the books will be combined under one umbrella, and that will not be good news for some.</p> <p><strong>No Job Losses Reported…Yet</strong></p> <p>There are no official reports of any loss of jobs after the merger, but one assumes that will be standard par for the course.</p> <p>The two products will continue to be sold and supported separately, although there are plans in motion to cross-train support teams to understand both products, and this is a good example of where costs can be cut.</p> <p>The announcement came with the promise that players would see minimal changes and plans for the roll out of PokerTracker 5 and Hold’em Manager 3 continue as before.</p> <p><strong>Investment in Cloud Technology</strong></p> <p>It’s believed that the costs gained as a result of the merger will be used to invest into the cloud technology that is currently undergoing Alpha testing, and when complete will be available for both products.</p> <p>PokerTracker was the biggest name in the analytics business when it changed the face of online poker back in 2001, only for Hold’em Manager to eclipse them as the market leader after launching in 2007. The purists believe that you can flip a coin between the two modern day products.</p> <p>PokerTracker 4 signed a deal with PokerStars and the European Poker Tour (EPT) to be the “Official Poker Tracking Software” of choice for Seasons 10 &amp; 11, and both PT and HEM products are currently being used at <a href="">online poker sites in New Jersey.</a></p> <p>PT and HEM dominated the market place before the merger, but it now makes it extremely difficult for any competitor to cut a swathe through the poker analytics market.</p> <p> </p> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 23:45:24 +0000 Lee Davy 3151 Quickspin Inks Deal with Rational Group; FTP Remission Deadline Set for Sept. 3 <p>Ever since PokerStars paid $731 million to bring Full Tilt Poker (FTP) to life, it has failed to turn into the beautiful butterfly it once was.</p> <p>Things change.</p> <p>Time moves on.</p> <p>The businesses that can adapt to change grow stronger.</p> <p>The Full Tilt brand is in the midst of metamorphosis. The word ‘poker’ has been shed from the tail end, and slowly but surely, you can see the wings start to unfurl from their sodden slump.</p> <p><strong>Quickspin Join the Party</strong></p> <p>The Swedish outfit Quickspin has become the latest games developer to add their arsenal of amazing action to the Full Tilt Casino library, after the pair inked a recent multi-year deal.</p> <p>The Stockholm based team join Net Entertainment, Leander Games and Amaya Gaming as the fourth game development team to provide top class entertainment to the Full Tilt Casino product.</p> <p><blockquote>It is very exciting to take part in their casino journey at such an early stage, which I think proves the trust and confidence they have in our content,” said Quickspin CEO Daniel Lindberg.</blockquote></p> <p><strong>What a Year For the Swedish Outfit</strong></p> <p>It continues to be a very important year for Quickspin. They broke into the UK marketplace with quick handshakes, confirming partnerships with the likes of Gala Coral, William Hill &amp; Ladbrokes; and they walked away with awards for ‘Mobile Gaming Software of the Year’ and ’Social Gaming Supplier of the Year’ at the EGR B2B awards held in the Tower of London.</p> <p><blockquote>Their games have a proven track record of success and we are excited to offer them to our customer base,” stated Rational Group Director of Casino Sam Hobcraft.</blockquote></p> <p>The Rational Group - parent company of the Full Tilt branding - are set to roll out their casino product in both Italy and Spain, after its Reel Spain subsidiary was awarded licenses to operate real money roulette and blackjack table games in the market.</p> <p><strong>The Garden City Group Call Time on Full Tilt Poker Petitions for Remission</strong></p> <p>It’s been a long draw out process, but the legal administration team, Garden City Group (GCG), have issued the final date for any stragglers yet to submit their Full Tilt Poker petition for remission.</p> <p>The deadline for all petitioners is September 3, 2014, and that includes former red pros and friends of Full Tilt, who you remember were given the green light to start filing petitions at the beginning of the month.</p> <p>If you do not get your act together by Sept. 3, then your petition will not be accepted and you only have yourself to blame.</p> <p>The GCG managed process has already paid out over $90m to former US-based Full Tilt Poker players.</p> <p> </p> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:56:55 +0000 Lee Davy 3150 Real Gaming "Power Up" Promo Employs Social Media <p><strong>Ultimate Poker</strong> and <strong></strong> have been <a href="">fighting for market share</a> in <strong>Nevada</strong>, but the state's third regulated poker site is also aiming to be a player within the Silver State market.</p> <p><strong>Real Gaming</strong>, which launched softly six months ago, has increased its promotional efforts as of late with the goal of making its mark among the regulated <a href="">poker sites in Nevada</a>. A new promo entitled <em>"Power Up"</em> has been unveiled that allows players to earn a bit more cash by commenting on social media.</p> <p><strong>"Power Up" hooked to other valuable promos</strong></p> <p>The new promotional endeavor is tied in with previous promos at Real Gaming such as <em>"High Hand of the Hour"</em> and <em>"Quadzilla."</em> The former runs four times a day and awards players who obtain the highest hand during select times anywhere from $5-$100 depending upon the stake level played. The latter pays from $5-$50, also dependent on cash table stakes, to any player who hits four-of-a-kind.</p> <p>Players who win either the high hand or quads promo will receive a congratulatory email with instructions on how to earn more cash by giving a shout out on social media. A simple tweet on Twitter announcing your winnings coupled with a LIKE and comment on Facebook that tells others of your success will add even more cash to your account at Real Gaming.</p> <p>Real Gaming operates via the license of <strong>South Point Casino</strong> and developed brand new software before launching. Although a latecomer to the Nevada market, the site employs the latest technologies and was created with an eye toward players who enjoy online poker while mobile and on the go.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:52:51 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3149 EPT Barcelona Main Event: Record Field Down to 103 <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">A</span>lthough it did not come as a huge surprise considering that all the indicators were pointing towards it, predictions were confirmed on Sunday when the EPT Barcelona Main Event set the record for the biggest EPT event to ever take place on European soil. With a total of 1,496 entries before the end of registration, the tournament blew away the previous record held by EPT at a stop in San Remo in season six.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Star-studded Field</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This huge field naturally contained a great number of big time pros, the likes of <strong>Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier</strong>, San Remo winner <strong>Liv Boeree</strong>, <strong>Ole Schemion</strong>, <strong>Mike 'Timex' McDonald, Martin Finger</strong>, and the list goes on and on. The top 239 players will walk away with at least a min-cash of €8,050.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">When the players eventually came together to play Day 2, more than half of the field was still in contention as some 900 hopefuls took their seats. Although this somewhat complicated things for the EPT tournament staff, they quickly came up with the solution of spreading players across three different tournament rooms.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As Day 2 progressed, the pace quickened and numerous players made their way to the rail. At the end of six scheduled levels of play, only some 310 players still had chips to bag. Amongst those who would not be taking their seats at the start of play earlier today were <strong>Ivan Demidove, Liv Boeree, Daniel Negreanu, Ronnie Bardah, Jake Cody </strong>and many other big time pros.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Bubble Dilemma</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">At the start of play for Day 3, the bubble was on the minds of players with shorter stacks. Although bubbling a tournament is usually a bad thing, on this particular occasion finishing in 240<sup>th</sup> would not hurt as much since the bubble boy is awarded a $5,300 entry to the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open featuring a $10,000,000 guaranteed prize pool and a wicked-looking guitar.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">However, tournament organizers were not ready for the situation when five players busted in the same hand and were faced with the dilemma about what to do with the bubble boy prize. The decision they came up with was that the five players would play a sit and go while being guaranteed €6,440 in cash. For the first time in a while, players were actually competing for a bubble boy title.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">After about an hour of play, it was <strong>Charles Scapula </strong>who defeated the last obstacle in his way, Randal Flowers, and pocketed a bigger prize than the first thirty ITM finishers.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>103 Players Returning Tomorrow</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As this unusual bubble situation was being resolved, the Main Event continued and more players were sent to the rail, including <strong>Ole Schemion, Dan Shak, Maxim Lykov, Kitty Kuo, </strong>PokerStars Team Pro <strong>Andre Akkari, </strong>Italian <strong>Max Pescatori, </strong>and<strong> Ludovic Riehl </strong>to mention just a few.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The player on the completely opposite side of the spectrum is Belarusian <strong>Andrei Konopelko</strong> with nearly 1.5 million in chips. Not far behind him are <strong>Piotr Sowinski </strong>with about 1.3 million and <strong>Davidi Kitai </strong>with precisely 1,200,000.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Martin Finger </strong>is also in the million club with 1,038,000 in chips. Other notables who are still in with a shot include <strong>Marko Neumann, Mike McDonald, Rumen Nanev </strong>and <strong>Emil Patel. </strong>All the remaining players now have their eyes set on a single goal – the final table that takes place on Wednesday and will award €1,261,000 to the winner. Combined with the fact that everybody wants to be the one who takes down the record-breaker, this should provide for some really entertaining moments on the green felt in the days to come.</p> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 22:59:42 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3148 Richard Roeper and "Poker Night at the Movies" Filmed at PNIA <p><strong>Richard Roeper</strong> is a well-known writer and film critic who has often expressed his love of poker and gambling through his writing. As the author of <em>"Bet the House: How I Gambled Over a Grand a Day for 30 Days on Sports, Poker, and Games of Chance,"</em> it seemed a natural fit that the crew at <strong>Poker Night in America</strong> (PNIA) would invite Roeper to participate in its high stakes cash game in front of the cameras.</p> <p>The 54-year-old fim critic and avid poker player was on hand for PNIA's most recent filming at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. The cameras stopped rolling for that event a few days ago and fans of movies that pertain to poker will be happy to know that Roeper was part of a shoot entitled <em>"Poker Night at the Movies"</em> that will be aired at a later date.</p> <p>Roeper was joined by <strong>Jennifer Tilly</strong> and <strong>Phil Laak</strong> in discussing famous scenes in movies that centered around poker. The trio were shown various poker scenes and then engaged in discussions focused on the cinematic merits of the scenes shown.</p> <p>The Poker Night at the Movies segment will be broadcast at PNIA on an as yet unannounced future date. For those unaware, Poker Night in America can be seen on the CBS Sports Network every Sunday evening at least until the end of 2014.</p> <p>Roeper is no slouch when it comes to playing poker. Though much of his time is spent in dark movie theaters, his resume does include a 24th place finish in $3,000 NLHE at the WSOP in 2013 that was good for $7,384. The previous year, fellow players likely gave him a thumbs up when he final tabled a $1,080 buy-in event, finishing in 5th place for $3,594.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 23:35:30 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3147 Matias Ruzzi Conquers Record-Breaking Estrellas Main Event <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">T</span>he Main Event of Estrellas Poker Tour has done it. It broke the record and became the biggest ever live tournament organized by PokerStars. A total of 2,560 players paid the €1,100 buy in, creating a prize pool just shy of €2.5 million. <strong>Matias Ruzzi </strong>was able to outlast the other 2,559 players and claim the top spot worth €198,550.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Final Table of Eight</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">When the final table started yesterday, there were eight hopefuls looking to seize that beautiful trophy and the huge first place prize money. But there could only be one winner and that honor went to Ruzzi. Although this was the first Estrellas tournament for Matias, he is not new to poker as he finished 16<sup>th</sup> in the EPT Grand Final earlier this year.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Four-Way Chop</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The title went to Ruzzi, but he did not benefit the most from this tournament in terms of money. Players made a four-way chop that saw <strong>Vladislav Donchev </strong>from Russia take home the lion’s share of the prize pool in the form of €278,500. <strong>Nir Levy</strong>, who started the day as the chip leader, finished in third place but received €188,511 as a result of the deal. The fourth player that participated in the chopping festivities was Frenchman <strong>Hakim Guiton</strong>, who walked away €178,500 richer.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The only female player, <strong>Corrine Baucher</strong>, also from France, exited just before the deal was made. With her departure, dreams of the first lady winner of the Estrellas Main Event were gone. <strong>Andrew Chan</strong>, with three EPT final tables to his name, could not close the deal once again and finished in 6<sup>th</sup> place, earning €73,826.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Seventh and eighth places went to Spaniard <strong>Daniel Barriocanal</strong> (€56,639) and Hungarian <strong>Bela Toth </strong>(€40,849), respectively. All the players at the final table received a big return on their €1K investment due to a really huge field that gathered in Barcelona.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Breaking Records</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The big turnout was expected, so this does not come as a surprise. But it is still a proud moment to break records pertaining to the number of entrants and it is always good for poker. A big number of players means bigger prize pools and it creates a more positive environment for participating players.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The EPT Barcelona Main Event is also very likely to be a record breaker. Confirmation of the final number of players has not yet been released, but judging by the great interest for this event, another record seems likely.</p> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:29:24 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3146 Online Poker Player Traffic Update - August 22, 2014 <p><span class="letter-big">L</span>ast week, cash game player traffic fell a collective 1% following two straight weeks of positive gains. The loss was experienced despite industry giant <strong>PokerStars</strong> gaining 1.3% and reaching an average of 20,000 players after falling below that threshold in recent weeks.</p> <p><strong>PokerScout</strong> believes that PokerStars' Summer Daily Challenge promotion may be behind the uptick in traffic on the site. The promo requires missions to be completed and is set to give away a total of $500,000 upon its conclusion.</p> <p><strong>Traffic down in New Jersey and PokerStars' entry blasted</strong></p> <p>While PokerStars' players are being challenged on the cash tables, PokerStars' entry into the New Jersey market is being challenged by a state lawmaker. A <a href="">scathing op-ed</a> published by Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo shows that PokerStars continues to have its detractors despite the overwhelming likelihood that state gaming regulators have already moistened the ink pad and purchased a new 'PokerStars Approved' stamp.</p> <p>The New Jersey online poker market lost players last week, as the <strong>All American Poker Network</strong> and <strong>Party Borgata</strong> saw less action on the cash tables. <strong></strong> showed a gain and now averages 130 players, but it wasn't big enough to offset the losses at the other <a href="">New Jersey poker sites</a>. Many expect big gains to be realized when PokerStars makes its entry, while others have opined that the industry giant may not be a dominant force considering that the other sites have already established customers to a certain degree.</p> <p><strong>Ultimate Poker, EPN and Seals With Clubs see gains</strong></p> <p>At <a href="">poker sites within the Nevada market</a>, <strong>Ultimate Poker</strong> has been closing the gap on Just a few months ago prior to the start of the 45th annual World Series of Poker, doubled UP's traffic by averaging 110 players to the 55 of its rival. At present, the divide is 95 to 65.</p> <p>While UP is gaining ground in Nevada, other upward movers in the global market include <strong>Seals With Clubs</strong> and the <strong>Equity Poker Network</strong> (EPN). The Bitcoin-friendly SWC is back up over 100 players after spending quite some time below the three-figure threshold, now averaging 110 ring game players.</p> <p>EPN has reached an all-time high of 200 cash players in a seven-day average. The network launched in November at roughly the same time that New Jersey and <a href="">Delaware poker sites</a> began accepting real-money wagers. EPN has its eye on catching the nearest non-regulated U.S.-friendly network, the <strong>Winning Poker Network</strong>.</p> <p><strong> to launch in California next week</strong></p> <p>Player traffic may see a boost next week when <strong></strong> is <a href="">expected to launch for real-money in California</a>. Despite Internet poker legislative efforts falling short again in the Golden State this year, the <strong>Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel</strong> are of the mind that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) allows them to proceed.</p> <p> will be the first real-money offering among <a href="">California poker sites</a>. However, don't be surprised if the state's other gaming interests seek to block the launch with a temporary restraining order in a court of law. With billions of dollars at stake in a regulated market, odds are that a legal challenge is on the horizon.</p> <p><strong>Full Tilt gains among top ten while 2014 market still trails 2013</strong></p> <p>Jostling among the top ten poker rooms and networks finds<strong> Full Tilt</strong> in a tie for 6th place with <strong>Bodog/Bovada</strong> at 1,450 cash players. That's a mild improvement from <a href="">one week ago when Full Tilt occupied 7th place</a> with 1,400 players.</p> <p>The global Internet poker market remains 7% off the pace set at this time in 2013. The decrease would have been substantially greater if the launches in New Jersey and at EPN had not been added to the mix last November.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:01:13 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3145 PokerStars not Welcomed by All in New Jersey <p>While PokerStars' suitability to operate a <a href="">poker site in New Jersey</a> under the ownership of Amaya is likely welcomed by a large number of state officials who are hoping to see a boost in revenue as a result, the welcome mat has not been laid out by all New Jersey lawmakers.</p> <p>Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo recently <a href="">posted an op-ed in</a> that detailed his objections to PokerStars' likely entry into New Jersey's igaming market. Caputo held back no punches in tossing around phrases like <em>"disgraced online gambling giant"</em> with a <em>"history of bad behavior"</em> in reference to PokerStars.</p> <p><strong>Getting license too easy for PokerStars</strong></p> <p>Representing the 28th legislative district, Caputo also chairs the Tourism, Gaming and Arts Committee. He is quite perturbed that despite the shady past of PokerStars that includes a federal indictment of the site's founder that has gone unanswered, a public hearing will not be held in advance of the likely favorable decision expected from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).</p> <p>PokerStars' online gaming license, when granted, will be that of vendor. The vetting process to hold such a license is nowhere near as stringent as that of hopeful casino operators, who have quite a few more hoops to jump through to win approval. The reason for this, as pointed out by Caputo, is to keep <em>"unsavory characters"</em> out.</p> <p><em>"Poker­Stars’ hands may be the dirtiest,"</em> Caputo added, when taking into account all of the companies seeking to be part of the state's igaming scheme. The Assemblyman finds fault with PokerStars attempting to clean its hands through its sale to Amaya, but insisted that the $4.9 billion transaction cannot <em>"negate the company's checkered history."</em></p> <p><strong>Clean hands outside of U.S.</strong></p> <p>Though not in direct response to Caputo, PokerStars officials have repeatedly pointed out that no other company holds as many online poker licenses in jurisdictions throughout the world. That number is now near a dozen, which shows the strength, suitability, and perhaps respect that PokerStars has achieved on a global scale.</p> <p>Except, of course, in the U.S., where it may take years to shed the bad actor status completely. While much of New Jersey has rolled out the red carpet for PokerStars as evidenced by previous comments made by the likes of Sen. Ray Lesniak and even DGE regulators, there are those such as Caputo who have yet to be swayed.</p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em>"New Jersey officials, through the DGE, owe it to the residents to fully vet Poker­Stars, taking into account its past as well as its present, and not rush to usher in a firm with a tainted past simply to bolster the faltering online gambling experiment,"</em> Caputo said. Failing to do so <em>"would be an insult to everyone who has gone under scrutiny to work or do business in the casino industry over the past 30 years."</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:38:48 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3144 How Sheldon Adelson Helped me Become a Gambling Addict <p>Have you read, ‘Poker Face - How Washington Opened the Floodgates to Online Gambling. Ok, Who’s in?’</p> <p>As soon as I saw the front page I knew had I read it I would lose a valuable 10-minutes of my life. There is a picture of a child - looking no older than 7-8 years of age – who is holding an iPad exposing a Royal Flush.</p> <p>He looks like he has just been ordered to eat all of his vegetables.</p> <p>It’s a royal flush?</p> <p>The kid should have a smile like the Joker.</p> <p>I eventually got around to reading it, and it is as one-sided as everyone has told me. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the piece stands very proud at the top of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) website: home of Sheldon Adelson and the Hypocrites (what a great name for a band).</p> <p>But aren’t all of these articles biased?</p> <p>Aren’t they always more Leaning Tower of Pisa than Eiffel Tower?</p> <p>I’m a gambling addict.</p> <p>The germination of my addiction started when my father asked me to choose a horse in the Grand National. I was one of four children and so I never had much pocket money.</p> <p>A win on the horses would put that right.</p> <p>If I did win any money I would spend it on chocolates or the slot machines. I find it quite amusing to read a piece on the evil addictive properties of slot machines, and how they can turn our children into maniacs, and those same vigilantes allow their children to eat processed garbage at a dinner table that houses a fine bottle of vintage ruin my life.</p> <p>I used to steal money from my father’s trousers so I could play those slot machines. I didn’t play because I wanted to win more money, because every penny went back into the machine.</p> <p>It was that unexplainable buzz.</p> <p>So it was the brick and mortar slot machine that pushed me along the gambling road - those same machines that have turned Sheldon Adelson into one of the richest men in the world. That’s right. The money I stole from my father’s trousers is now a speck of dirt in the Venetian Hotel &amp; Casino.</p> <p>Now let’s imagine that there was no brick and mortar slot machine. Instead, I could only gamble online. As an 8-9 year old child, how exactly was I going to do that?</p> <p>One of my annoyances, as an adult, is the rigmarole I have to go through to prove my identity when I first join an online gambling site. Three forms of identification, proof of address, copies of passports.</p> <p>It’s enough to put anybody off even opening an account.</p> <p>Yet according to the information that Leah McGrath Goodman gleaned from her ‘reliable’ sources, it’s as easy as just nicking your parent’s credit card.</p> <p>It might not be a bad idea for people like Sheldon Adelson, Jason Chaffetz, or Leah McGrath Goodman to try and open an online account the next time they are in one of the three states grown up enough to allow their citizens the freedom of choice when it comes to gambling.</p> <p>Where are all of these children who are stealing credit cards, opening online bank accounts and spending up to $20,000 playing poker in just one month?</p> <p>I am going out on a limb here when I say, if a child is willing to go through all of that trouble to gamble online, then don’t you think they will do likewise in unregulated states, and that allowing them to try in a regulated market is a much better option?</p> <p>Just stick to stealing from your father’s trousers, it’s so much easier.</p> <p>My addiction really kicked in after a visit to Las Vegas. One of the venues where I spent my time playing Craps, Baccarat and Roulette was The Venetian.</p> <p>I came back from Vegas a slight winner. I thought I could make a living at it. I dived straight into it and it all went downhill from there.</p> <p>Sheldon Adelson helped make me a gambling addict.</p> <p>The anti-gambling argument that online gambling is a more dangerous place than brick and mortar is an argument that I support. The form of gambling that eventually killed my bank account (and my marriage) was the online ‘in-play’ sports betting market.</p> <p>Had ‘in-play’ only been introduced in the brick and mortar establishments, I would never have been able to blow as much money as I did. Online gambling made it so quick and easy that I didn’t know whether I was coming or going.</p> <p>I ran up £30,000 worth of debt through the ‘in play’ markets, so I understand the risks. I fell for every single one of them. At the height of my problem I would have found a way to gamble no matter what. What eventually helped me recover was the ability to ban myself from the online sites. Once again, this was done with the click of a button.</p> <p>Gambling is no different to pornography, alcohol, cigarettes and processed killer foods. They are all habits that can spin our pain/pleasure axis around like a bottle in that game where nobody ever wanted to kiss me.</p> <p>Banning it is not the answer.</p> <p>Regulating it is.</p> <p>Parents also need to stand up and be counted. There needs to be a greater awareness of what’s going on in our children’s lives.</p> <p>Would we ever consider banning EA Sports FIFA14?</p> <p>A few years ago a copy of that game would cost me £30…these days you are talking hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.</p> <p>The FIFA Ultimate Team model turned my 13-year old boy into an addict. There is no better way to explain it. The need to buy packets of players, like we used to buy Panini stickers, was insatiable for him.</p> <p>But he couldn’t rob me?</p> <p>He couldn’t steal my credit cards.</p> <p>Even if he did I would receive an e-mail telling me that the transaction had taken place, in the same way that I receive e-mail from PokerStars each time I deposit or withdraw.</p> <p>I have to trust my son that he won’t allow this FIFA14 addiction to go too far. This is mixed with my education and discussion on the matter as well as a severe reduction on the amount of money I will allow him to spend on it (which he must earn).</p> <p>Will this turn him into a gambling addict?</p> <p>No.</p> <p>I will turn him into a gambling addict.</p> <p>It’s a strong suit that he is likely to pick up after copying my traits, beliefs and values as he grows up.</p> <p>In the great book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, by Ann Dowsett Johnston, she says that the alcohol industry doesn’t have to advertise to children because the adults do such a great job for them.</p> <p>It’s the same for gambling.</p> <p>My son is more likely to gamble because I gamble. And I want him to gamble, because it is a fun pastime that also contains a whole host of lessons in life.</p> <p>Gambling is an education.</p> <p>There is a reason that PokerStars has over 85 million users. People love to bloody gamble, and to be told you can’t just seems so archaic.</p> <p>And why do we have so many concerned Americans all scratching their Abraham Lincoln style beards wondering how much damage online gambling is going to cause to children?</p> <p>HELLO!</p> <p>There are other countries in the world you know. Other places that exist that have a regulated gambling industry, and I am pretty sure they contain children. Just ask them what the figures are like for young 7-8 year old cyber hackers who are now destitute and in ruins.</p> <p>I can tell you that nearly 4,000 children were hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning in the UK last year, including 52 aged under 11. But I can’t tell you how many children blew their parents fortunes gambling online.</p> <p>Now does that mean we are going to ban alcohol in the UK?</p> <p>A freedom that exists that kills millions of people worldwide?</p> <p>Of course not.</p> <p>Do you remember what happened when you tried to ban it in America?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:39:12 +0000 Lee Davy 3143 Olivier Busquet Wins EPT Barcelona Super High Roller <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">T</span>he first event of the anniversary 100<sup>th</sup> European Poker Tour has concluded. The €50K Super High Roller trophy and first place prize money in the amount of €896,434 are now safely in the hands of <strong>Olivier Busquet. </strong>He was able to outlast <strong>Daniel Colman </strong>in a grueling heads up match. This comes as no surprise, as before his victory in the Big One for One Drop, Colman was best known as a heads-up specialist. This time, however, he was stopped by an also very experienced Busquet and had to settle for second place.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This did not hurt Colman financially too much. The final two combatants reached a deal and second place was good for €843,066. It was more a matter of pride between the two good friends, both of whom were able to prevail over the field of 58 elite players and get in position to play for the glory.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Tough Final Table</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The final table was reached today, on the third day of play, and seats were occupied by players such as <strong>Dan Shak, Sam Trickett </strong>and <strong>Scott Seiver – </strong>all experienced professionals who have been around for a while and have, pretty much, seen it all.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The first player to depart was <strong>Mustapha Kanit</strong>. The Italian got his money in the  middle with #ac#qd against German <strong>Sven Reichardt</strong>’s #as#8c, but could not hold his preflop advantage and was sent to the rail in ninth with €105,455 for his efforts.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Not Over Until It's Over</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">One particular hand that happened soon after Kanit’s departure did not see any players hit the rail, but it was certainly the hand of the tournament. It left everybody at the table stunned, especially the down-on-his-luck Reichardt. He moved in with his #kd#ks against Busquet’s #as#2s and his decent preflop advantage turned into a near lock after the flop came #8h#8c#kc. But alas, &lt;1% is still not 0%. When the dealer turned #ah, there was some commotion, but it still looked more like a tease. Lo and behold, the #ah showed up on the river, sending the pot to Busquet.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Despite losing that pot that appeared firmly his, Reichardt was not the next one out. Instead, it was Shak, who ran his #as#8s into the pocket Aces of Busquet. After the earlier hand, no one really expected any different development than to see Shak go in 8<sup>th</sup> with €138,600 to his name. <strong>Morten Klein </strong>met the same fate when his #as#qs went up against Busquet’s rockets. Sometimes it is just meant to be.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Reichardt<strong> </strong>hung on for a while, but it was eventually his time to go as well. His pocket Tens were no match for Colman’s pocket Kings and sixth place and a €225,000 reward simply had to be enough. After Colamn took that hand, Busquet took the role of executioner for the next hand that saw Trickett<strong> </strong>meet his doom. Sam’s #as#kc failed to improve against the American’s pocket Eights. Trickett earned €288,400 for his performance.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It was then Colman’s turn to add some chips and crush the dreams of another player. The short-stacked Seiver had the best hand going in, but Colman was able to outflop him and send him to an observers’ spot, albeit €364,200 richer.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Before the stage was set for heads-up action, <strong>Vladimir Troyanovskiy </strong>had to go as well. Once again, Busquet took care of that after yet another flip went his way. Troyanovskiy earned €437,200 and in so doing passed the $2.5 million mark in career earnings.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Playing for the Glory</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">After Vlad's departure, the two colleagues agreed to split most of the remaining money, leaving just €30,000 to play for. That relatively small amount (in high roller terms) went to Busquet after he was able to outplay Colman in a long battle.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Super High Roller Event is history but by no means is it the end of the festivities. The Main Event starts tomorrow in Barcelona and players will continue their battle for big money, trophies, and glory.</p> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:24:34 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3142 Amaya's Future Looks Blindingly Bright <p>What does the acquisition of the Rational Group, and all of their toys, mean to Amaya Gaming Group Inc.?</p> <p>For the remainder of the financial year you can confidently say about three times as much as they were expecting to pull in prior to the deal of the online poker century.</p> <p>The most talked about online gambling company in the world has just announced its financial results for the three to six month period ending June 30, 2014, and they also included a revised forecast that takes into consideration five months of consolidated Rational Group’s results.</p> <p><blockquote>The second quarter was a transformative period for Amaya,” stated Amaya CEO David Baazov.</blockquote></p> <p>The understatement of the year.</p> <p><strong>Acquisition shocks iGaming industry</strong></p> <p>Amaya Gaming’s $4.9 billion acquisition of The Rational Group not only made Isai Scheinberg one of the youngest billionaires in the world, but sent shockwaves through the entire online gambling industry.</p> <p>It’s still shaking today.</p> <p>The figures were a vast improvement on 2013 with a reported $2.9m net loss compared to the $11.4m that was lost this time last year. Revenue for the three months ending June 30 was up, though, with $42.5m representing a 14% increase year-on-year.</p> <p>The rise in revenue was due to an increase in gaming machines sold outright, and consolidating revenue from Diamond Game Enterprises, which was acquired in Feb 2014.</p> <p>Revenue for the six-month period ending June 30, 2014 was $83.65m, a decent climb from the $75.31m it earned last year. In even better news, revenue is set to triple in the remainder of 2014 with a revised forecast of between $669m - $715m expected to hit the books, and not the $193m - $203m that was forecast prior to the acquisition.</p> <p><strong>Amaya poised for further growth</strong></p> <p>In the commentary supporting the results, Baazov made it very clear that the acquisition of the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands gives them a decisive edge for growth in the sports book and online casino market.</p> <p><blockquote>The worldwide recognition of the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands, bolstered by being the largest producer of live poker tours and events across the globe and producer of televised and online poker programming, also provides Rational with an enormous opportunity to take advantage of adjacency opportunities in online casino and sports book, in jurisdictions where they can be offered -while growing in new geographies," Baazov continued. "Amaya is committed to supporting these growth initiatives. However, with respect to the new verticals, we are determined that they not provide any disruption to the core poker offering and that the new vertical offerings are as robust and enjoyable as Rational's online poker.”</blockquote></p> <p>The acquisition of The Rational Group stole the thunder from Amaya’s subsidiary, Cadillac Jack. The games and systems provider received approval from New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to utilize its Genesis DV1 slot machine platform in the state, obtained transactional waivers to ship machines over to Atlantic City, and also obtained approval to do business in Wisconsin and Louisiana.</p> <p>Lastly, Amaya also pointed to the integration of its Casino Gaming System as another crucial reason the numbers were up. With deals inked with’s European websites, Cherry AB’s websites, Ultimate Gaming in New Jersey, and Rational Group’s Full Tilt Poker.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:24:41 +0000 Lee Davy 3140 Readies Real-Money Launch in California <p>Online poker regulation has been <a href="">put on hold in<strong> </strong>California until 2015</a>, but the <strong>Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel</strong> believe the time is now to bring real-money online poker to residents of the Golden State.</p> <p>The tribe is preparing a real-money launch on its website at the end of this month and appears fully prepared to defend itself against any legal challenges that may arise. Citing the <strong>Indian Gaming Regulatory Act</strong> (IGRA) that permits Class II gaming such as bingo and poker but not house-banked games on Indian land, PrivateTable will begin a real-money roll out sometime around August 26-28.</p> <p><strong>Full speed ahead</strong></p> <p>That announcement came from Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission Chairman Dave Vialpando in a recent interview with Cardplayer. Vialpando was very forthright during the interview and indicated that all systems are go for the small tribe to blaze a trail regarding the legality of offering real-money <a href="">online poker in California</a> despite legislation to that effect having missed the mark for yet another year.</p> <p><blockquote>Our authority to offer class II gaming from our reservation is not prohibited by any statute," Vialpando said. "In fact, we believe it is covered by IGRA. Most of our regulations are public documents, so it’s pretty much full disclosure for us. We are moving full speed ahead."</blockquote></p> <p>Whether that full speed will be achieved or halted remains to be seen. Gaming interests throughout California that includes other tribes, cardrooms and racetracks will likely not take too kindly to any one tribe getting a head start in the nation's largest and potentially most lucrative state for online poker.</p> <p><strong>Other tribes may jump aboard</strong></p> <p>While Santa Ysabel is preparing to test the legal waters and go first, the tribe is certainly not aiming to be the only player in town for long. Vialpando expressed an attitude of 'the more the merrier' with regard to fellow tribes also getting in on the game and indicated that the tribe he belongs to is <em>"more than willing to assist others."</em></p> <p><blockquote>"We are encouraging other tribes to follow us because we feel our product is solid and economically viable," Vialpando added. "After two years of developing our enterprise, we have some knowledge to share with the state. It could be a model adopted by others."</blockquote></p> <p>That real money launch is now just a week or so away. Stay tuned, as however this plays out will certainly be interesting.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:14:33 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3139 EPT Barcelona Kicks Off – Stage is Set for 100th EPT Event <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="letter-big">A</span>fter Season 10 of the EPT had finished, we talked a bit about the 100<sup>th</sup> EPT event that was scheduled to take place in Barcelona. But then other things took the front seat and the European Poker Tour was somewhat forgotten. However, starting today, it will once again claim center stage.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Earlier today, Barcelona kicked off with the Super High Roller Event. It has become traditional for EPT events to start with Super High Rollers that naturally attract big name players. The buy-in of €50,000 with unlimited reentries guarantees a nice first place prize, but extremely deep pockets are a requirement of participants.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Ryan Fee takes early chip lead</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The likes of <strong>Jason Mercier </strong>and <strong>Daniel Negreanu </strong>are already there, together with <strong>Vanessa Selbst </strong>and a proud member of the November Nine, <strong>Martin Jacobson. </strong>In fact, Day 1 has just concluded and <strong>Ryan Fee </strong>grabbed the chip lead with 919,000. It's too early to speak of eliminations, since buy-ins and reentries are available until the start of Day 2 tomorrow.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A great turnout is expected in Barcelona. The first reason for that is the fact that it's the anniversary event. But this belief is only reinforced by the number of players participating in the preceding Estrellas Main Event. With Day 1C still underway, it has already eclipsed the 2,600-player mark. That means that the €1,100 buy-in event will have approximately the same prize pool as the €50K High Roller.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Plenty to do in Barcelona</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Of course, Barcelona is a big European city with a lot of things to offer. Those players eliminated from tournaments or waiting for the start of another will not be at a loss for entertainment. There are beaches, boats, and a great selection of food and drinks, so busting out of an event may hurt a bit less in Spain.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It being the anniversary and all, PokerStars is offering a lot of free stuff to participating players. That ensures great fun and enjoyment for all for the entire duration of the event. There are numerous tournaments and satellites scattered throughout the schedule, so there won’t be a shortage of activity on the poker front either. The Main Event starts on <strong>Thursday, August 21<sup>st</sup></strong> and the final table will take place on <strong>Wednesday, August 27<sup>th</sup></strong>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">We at PokerUpdate will keep you posted on all important developments and all the big winners that emerge from this festival of poker!</p> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:29:51 +0000 Ivan Potocki 3138 Full Tilt Offering Rush Week Promo <p><span class="letter-big">O</span>nline poker players who enjoy the quick action of fast-fold poker have an entire week devoted to their game of choice at Full Tilt's Rush Poker tables where a <strong>Rush Week</strong> promo kicked off today.</p> <p>Running from August 18-24, Rush Week offers up to <em>$250</em> in bonus money to fast-folders who opt in at 'My Promotions' in their individual online accounts. The last day to opt in is Thursday, August 21.</p> <p>Full Tilt has run Rush Week promos on previous occasions and the typical result is a spike in player traffic. PokerStars' sister site <a href="">dropped to 7th</a> in PokerScout's worldwide traffic rankings recently and the Rush Week offering may be an aim toward ascending back into the top five.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:35:45 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3137 Saudi Heiress Gambling Addict Loses Court Battle <p><span class="letter-big">A</span> wealthy gambler with a penchant for losing huge sums of money found no relief in a court of law upon arguing that the casino should have prevented her from continuing her downward spiral while playing punto banco.</p> <p>The Ritz casino in London prevailed in a lawsuit involving <strong>Noora Abdullah Mahawish Al-Daher</strong> after the woman lost £2 million one evening in 2012 and refused to pay half that amount. Al-Daher, who is married to Omani foreign minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Al-Busaidi, was ordered by Judge Anthony Seys Llewellyn to pay the casino the remaining £1 million with interest, the Daily Mail reported.</p> <p>The judge found Al-Daher's claim that casino staff <em>"took advantage of her gambling addiction"</em> ludicrous, noting that just two months after the debacle in London, Al-Daher and her family dumped £3 million more gambling in Las Vegas. The Saudi heiress claims the Ritz was at fault for extending her £1.7 million credit limit tied to paying by cheque and encouraged her to continue.</p> <p><em>"Mrs Al-Daher is a person of wealth unimaginable to the ordinary person and, I suspect, to many of moderate or substantial wealth,"</em> the High Court judge said. <em>"The enormous sums she gambled and the enormous losses she sustained were within her means."</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:50:27 +0000 Charles Rettmuller 3136 New Jersey Online Gambling Revenue Trends North in July; Equity Poker Network and Gear Poker Part Ways <p>So how are things doing in the New Jersey online gambling market?</p> <p>I would say ‘fair to middling’ is about right.</p> <p>But as the 1980s UK pop princess Yazz used to bellow from the top of her lungs, <em>“The only way is up,”</em> after Gov. Chris Christie’s expectations of a $180m tax windfall gave everybody completely unrealistic expectations.</p> <p>But things are starting to head in the right direction.</p> <p>Until July’s online gambling revenue figures were released, the state had experienced three months of downward spiral after revenue peaked at $11.9m in March.</p> <p>That’s since changed.</p> <p>In July, the six New Jersey online gambling partnerships managed to earn $10.1m in revenue - $600,000 more than in June - but still the second lowest tally since action began at the beginning of the year.</p> <p>Taking a knife to that $10.1m reveals that $7.9m (+5%) of it was taken from the online casino games, and $2.2m (+10%) of it came from the virtual poker tables. Total online accounts increased nicely with a 7.1% rise to 405,000.</p> <p>The ‘Hart Foundation’ of Atlantic City continues to be the Borgata/ tag team, whilst ‘The Bushwhackers’ are the Trump Taj Mahal/Ultimate Gaming effort.</p> <p>Borgata/ saw their earnings come in at just under $3.2m (-8.5%), with $2.1m (-12.5%) coming from the casino arm, and $1.1m (+3%) coming from poker.</p> <p>August is expected to be another lull, with players tanning those pasty white bedroom bodies on the beaches, but Borgata/ are expected to bounce back in a big way in Sept., with the launch of their inaugural Garden State Super Series (GSSS). The promise of $1m in guarantees, at the same time the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Poker Open is running, is sure to bring in the numbers.</p> <p>Gaining market share was Caesars Interactive New Jersey. July revenue numbers saw a $2.7m spike in total revenue (+4%), with $1.7m (+3%) coming from the casino business and $1m (+6%) coming from poker. + signs all round for the team.</p> <p>The Tropicana/Gamesys online casino only product continues to shine in third with a smidgen under $2m (+13%) going in