Poker News

Three Casinos Receive Online Gaming Licenses in Pennsylvania

Poker News Daily - 11 hours 52 min ago

Looking to get their online gaming industry up and running before the end of 2018, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has officially granted approval to three casinos for online gaming operations.

Who Will Be First to Open?

In July, nine casinos in the 13-casino operation in the state of Pennsylvania applied for licenses for online poker, table games, slots and a separate license for sports betting. After review of these applications, the PGCB granted full licenses to three casinos – Mount Airy Resorts Casino, Chester Downs and Marina LLC, and Greenwood Gambling & Entertainment – for operations inside the state. Each of these operators are eligible to open their operations at any point.

These casinos are taking their time, however. Mount Airy Resorts Casino has partnered with PokerStars for their online casino, poker and sports betting operations. The Stars Group, the ownership behind PokerStars, has stated in earnings calls that the partnership with Mount Airy will not be fully ready for operation until after the start of 2019.

The other new operations? They have not indicated any partnerships with software providers that would give any indication as to when they would begin operations. It is also likely that they may go with a new entity in the game as a couple of other operators have already been spoken for.

Harrah’s Chester, owned by Caesars Entertainment, is supposedly going to be dealing with 888 Holdings, as they have done with their operations in New Jersey and Nevada (888 Holdings has a separate deal with Delaware to provide their online gaming operations). This has allowed to be able to work the compact between the three states – which Pennsylvania is expected to join – as they are the only operation that is IN all three states. If Pennsylvania does join the compact, would have a dominant edge.

Other segments of the Pennsylvania online gaming industry aren’t so clear. Parx Casino has partnered with GAN, who handles the online casino gaming for Ocean Resort Casino in New Jersey, for online casino gaming and sports betting, but they have yet to join with an online poker. One of the top online poker outlets in the business, partypoker, hasn’t announced any action in Pennsylvania, but they are expected to partner with Boyd Gaming’s outlet in the Granite State, Valley Forge Casino Resort, once they are licensed. Boyd Gaming and partypoker already have an agreement in New Jersey with the Borgata.

Why the Delay?

Although they have ponied up $10 million for the license, these casinos have a bottom line to look at. The taxation on online poker isn’t serious, so many of these casinos may be willing to dive into them. The casino gaming taxes, however, are severe – 54% – and the sports betting taxation is high also.

So why did they get the license? Much like a business that buys up other similar online domain names protect their assets, the casinos are looking at protecting their options by keeping the license out of someone else’s hands. Thus, there could be the case of many outlets buying the license with no intention of using it or using it on a highly limited basis.

Still Plenty of Action Left

There are still six casinos that have outstanding license applications awaiting the PGCB. Those applications will have to wait until September at the earliest, however, when the Board will meet again. By that point, there may be some other players in the game. There are also licenses left over for the non-casino entities to buy up, but there is general silence by any parties as to whether they are interested in the Pennsylvania market or not.

These actions won’t speed up the process any, however. Even for the three casinos that have been granted licenses, they aren’t in any rush to get their product to the market. There is hope that someone will come online with poker at the minimum, but in all likelihood,  there won’t be any movement on the Pennsylvania online gaming industry until after the start of 2019.

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Categories: Poker News

Borgata Files Motion Demanding Payment from Phil Ivey

Poker News Daily - 12 hours 33 min ago

Poker professional Phil Ivey has been battling legal issues for much of the last six years regarding his play in casinos on both sides of the Atlantic. In one case, the casino refused to pay his money and, in the other, the casino sued to get the money back they had paid him in winnings. Now that payment is becoming a part of their ongoing lawsuit.

The Borgata Isn’t Happy…

According to court documents filed earlier this month in federal court, the Borgata filed a motion for payment of the $10.1 million that Ivey won playing baccarat at the casino in 2012. Citing his return to the World Series of Poker earlier this  year, where Ivey cashed four times for roughly $140,000, the Borgata’s attorneys maintain that the continued appeals and delays from the Ivey side are infringing on the ruling issued in 2016. Ivey and his attorneys lost that case, with the courts ordering Ivey to return the $10.1 million in winnings from the baccarat sessions and some extra time in the craps pit with money that he won in baccarat.

The Borgata also brought in front of the court the fact that Ivey hasn’t exactly been living a pauper’s existence and that payment of the $10.1 million wouldn’t infringe on that lifestyle. The Borgata’s attorneys cited his winnings from 2018, which total over $2.4 million, as an indicator that he is able to pay the debt that is facing him. “This case is about money, nothing more and nothing less,” the Borgata’s court documents state. “Ivey already has Borgata’s $10 million and he is clearly not in danger of going out of business. Defendants did not and cannot demonstrate irreparable harm as a matter of law. They are not entitled to a stay pending appeal.”

…And Neither is Ivey

Attorneys for Ivey are making a similar argument albeit in reverse. Prior to the Borgata motion, Ivey’s barristers stated that paying off a $10.1 million judgment all at once would have a “devastating impact” on Ivey’s ability to work in the poker rooms of the world. They also make the argument that the Borgata, which had live revenues of $755 million and online revenues of $57 million to dominate the Atlantic City gambling scene, isn’t going to be hurting if they don’t receive their $10.1 million from Ivey.

Since losing the 2016 case, Ivey’s attorneys have been arguing for extensions and stays regarding the payment of the money won at the Borgata. Those attorneys have been trying to decide how far to take the case in appeals, which have also been held up by a suit filed by the Borgata against the makers of the cards used at that baccarat table at the Borgata, Gemaco. That case has put a pause on final decisions on a current appeal from the Ivey camp regarding the 2016 decision.

How Did We Get Here?

For those that aren’t up to date, in 2012 Ivey and an accomplice, Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun, took a tour of casinos in both Atlantic City and London. Making significant demands for the casinos to get their high-stakes play – a Mandarin Chinese speaking dealer, cards made by a specific company, Gemaco, and other requests – the duo first took on Crockfords in London. Over a four-session span, Ivey and Sun won an estimated £11.7 million playing punto banco, a baccarat derivative. Ivey and Sun then jumped “across the Pond” for a spate of baccarat at the Borgata. That is where Ivey and Sun were able to win the $10.1 million in question.

Crockford’s was suspicious about their sessions, so much that they refused to send Ivey his money after the session (Ivey had deposited a couple of million for playing). This sparked dueling lawsuits in the London courts, where it was determined that Ivey and Sun had technically “cheated” to achieve their winnings. While they didn’t come out and say Ivey cheated to win, the London court did say Ivey and Sun had broken a “contract” with the casino to play fairly. Soon afterwards, the Borgata suit was filed but, unlike Crockfords in London, the Borgata had paid Ivey in full his $10.1 million in winnings.

In both lawsuits, the judges determined that the usage of “edge sorting” – the act of identifying advantageous cards through printing errors and having them in some manner identifiable to the player – by Ivey and Sun was cheating. In the case, it was established that Sun would, in Chinese, indicate to the dealer that the advantageous cards would be turned 180 degrees (citing a supposed “superstition” that Ivey had), with the singular deck then allowing the turned cards to be noticed by the player, Ivey. This simple act allowed Ivey to shift the odds ever so slightly into his favor – to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

And How Does It End?

The Crockfords decision is already in the books – the British High Court has adjudicated for Crockfords, who never paid Ivey in the first place. The Borgata case, however, is the one that everyone is watching. A decision regarding these motions from both the Borgata and Ivey’s attorneys will more than likely be held up by the Borgata/Gemaco lawsuit. Once that lawsuit  is completed, the judge will probably process all the actions in the Borgata/Ivey case. Then it will be up to Ivey if he wants to push it any further up the appeals process.

The post Borgata Files Motion Demanding Payment from Phil Ivey appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Categories: Poker News

PokerStars Admits it Has Suffered DDoS Attacks

Poker News Daily - Sun, 2018-08-19 16:00

For the past few years, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have become the norm in the poker world. Just last week, partypoker admitted that they had been the target of such attacks that have hindered their operations. Now the #1 online poker site in the industry, PokerStars, admits that they have also been targeted by DDoS attacks that have shut down their tournaments.

PokerStars Cancels Tournaments, Reimburses Players…But Problems Persist

Last week, PokerStars issued a tweet that stated they had suffered site outages and had canceled tournaments due to the “series of DDoS attacks” that had targeted their offerings. Last Sunday night, these DDoS attacks had an impact on the weekly running of the Sunday Million as well as a platform of other smaller tournaments at the time. This continued on through last week and PokerStars, despite the best efforts of their technicians, has been unable to stop or even at the minimum curtail the impacts of the attacks.

One thing that PokerStars has done admirably well is quickly reimburse those players affected by the attacks. There has been some discussion, however, about just how much players have received from those refunds. PokerStars’ Terms & Conditions (T&C) clearly state that players will receive a prorated amount dependent on what their chip equity in the tournament at the point of disconnect was – in essence, how many chips a player had – and the percentage of the overall pool the chips counted towards – determined how much of the remaining prize pool said player was eligible for. Many have pointed out, however, that this would be difficult for players to dispute.

Because the attacks were random, there were areas that weren’t affected by the connection issues brought about by the DDoS attacks. As such, those players were able to rack up sizeable stacks by attacking those that saw their ability to play affected by the attacks. Also, players were unable to prove just when their “time of disconnect” was counted, leaving many not happy with the determination by PokerStars but unable to dispute the situation adequately.

We recently experienced a series of DDoS attacks causing site outages & cancelled tournaments. We apologise to affected customers & ask for patience as we issue refunds, resolve technical issues & work with law enforcement. Rest assured accounts are secure & player funds are safe

— PokerStars (@PokerStars) August 15, 2018

Connected to partypoker Attacks?

Whether it is just because of the timing or if there is truth to the subject, the attacks on PokerStars can possibly be connected to those at a major competitor. As reported by my friend and colleague Dan Katz, partypoker suffered from similar DDoS attacks prior to those at PokerStars. As early as August 9 partypoker admitted that they had been hit with a DDoS attack that knocked players offline, froze tournaments, prevented players from accessing the site and participating in the offerings from partypoker.

The problems at partypoker weren’t limited to just one day either. For several days afterwards, partypoker suffered from more attacks. The tech staff was just as harried as those at PokerStars have been as they attempt to prevent such actions from interfering with their business.

What IS a DDoS Attack? What Can Players Do?

Many aren’t quite sure of what a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is. Basically, it is an attack utilizing a blast of communications requests directed at a source computer, server or system. That system may have strong defenses but, faced with a blast of millions of requests simultaneously, the servers in the system cannot keep up and shut down operations to try to limit the requests. Normally these requests come from several outlets, making it difficult to both trace and respond to.

For those that are affected by the DDoS attacks, there isn’t much that can be done. Short of making a personal documentation – video on a cellphone, perhaps – there is little that a player can do to document the pause and/or termination of connections with the poker site servers. And as far as preventing the DDoS attack, not much can be done by players because it isn’t their system that is under siege.

As of this weekend, both partypoker and PokerStars are operating, but the specter of the DDoS attacks rearing their ugly heads will be out there. With the major sites, players don’t have to worry about their accounts as the DDoS attacks aren’t going after any money or information – they are just screwing with the sites and their operation. But it is something that players have to be vigilant against.

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Categories: Poker News

Winamax Boots Two Accounts for Botting

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-08-16 04:55

French online poker site Winamax has concluded an investigation into alleged bot play by banning two accounts, seizing the funds of one of them. In an interesting decision, the poker room’s management made the results of their investigation public.

The controversy started about two months ago, when players on ClubPoker, a French-language poker message board, presented evidence that two accounts (possibly four) that multi-tabled the €100 and €250 Expresso games were bots. Data showed consistent patterns of play over extended hours, with profits reaching into the millions of Euros. Two accounts under the microscope were named “Twopandas” and “VictoriaMo,” though VictoriaMo was changed to “mr.GR33N13” at some point. The two accounts also never played against each other, an indication that they may have been working together.

Winamax Tests the Alleged Botters

After completing its two month investigation, Winamax posted on ClubPoker it conclusions. Management actually invited both players to the Winamax offices to demonstrate that they were real players. Twopandas refused, but VictoriaMo did travel to Winamax and sat down for lengthy sessions, six-tabling the €100 and €250 Expresso games just as he did online.

Winamax said that the results of the playtest “tend to legitimize” VictoriaMo as a real player:

The VictoriaMo / mr.GR33N13 GTO score is average for its usual sessions and remains significantly better than other regulars in the format.
We did not see any deviation from its game statistics standards.
We noted some differences in reaction times compared to the usual numbers.

Because Twopandas did not comply with the in-person play request, his account was closed and his funds were seized by Winamax. Winamax is going to figure out as best it can who Twopandas victimized and issue refunds.

VictoriaMo did not have his funds seized, but because there was enough suspicion surrounding the account and its possible association with Twopandas, VictoriaMo was banned from Winamax.

Winamax added that it is going to get tougher on suspected botters and cheaters, essentially not giving them the benefit of the doubt. Translated roughly from French on the ClubPoker board:

Our policy has hitherto been based on the presumption of innocence for lack of evidence, and the conclusions of this thorough investigation have motivated us to question this approach by hardening the treatment of similar cases that may arise thereafter. We now reserve the right to apply a precautionary exclusion in order to restore a climate of trust that we consider indispensable.

Really, it is extremely likely that the two accounts in question worked together, as data showed that one would login right after the other logged out, in addition to all the other evidence that they had similar bot profiles. VictoriaMo was able to perform well enough, though, to instill reasonable doubt in Winamax officials as to his bot use. The slower reaction times could be an indicator that he had to think more than his bot, even though he had the playing style and patterns down pat. His botting couldn’t be definitively proven, though, so Winamax had to at least let him have his money.

The post Winamax Boots Two Accounts for Botting appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Categories: Poker News

PokerStars Launches Live Dealer Games on PokerStars Play App

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-08-16 02:50

PokerStars announced Wednesday that it has become the first online gaming company to feature live dealer games on a social gaming mobile app. The app is PokerStars Play, a free-to-play gambling app (featuring primarily poker) with optional chip purchases for real money. The two new games, War of Bets and Bet on Poker, were developed by

Though live dealer games are not particularly widespread, they have gradually become more popular in recent years. These types of games, like any other game in the app, are still played online with players from all over the world, except that instead of a random number generator shuffling and dealing the cards, an actual, real-life dealer is in control.

The dealer is located in a studio and uses over-sized cards at a physical table. Players view the game via a camera feed. The idea behind the games is to make the online gaming experience feel more like a casino, as well as make skeptics more comfortable that the game isn’t “rigged.”

I gave the app a whirl, though I soon found out I couldn’t play the two live dealer games until I reached “Level 7.” Thus, I was forced to play poker for a while and win enough hands or Spin & Go’s to gain experience points and move up levels. Didn’t take all that long.

War of Bets

I tried Wars of Bets first. This game is a variation of casino war, though the differences are actually quite stark. In War of Bets, neither the dealer nor the player are really competing against each other. It’s all about betting on who you think will win.

Before any cards are even dealt, you can bet on whether you think the dealer or player will win (or if it will be a tie). The game gives odds on everything. The player’s card is then dealt, the odds change accordingly, and you can then bet on who you think will win. The dealer’s card is then dealt and payouts are determined. Side bets can also be made on the color of the cards and the values.

Bet on Poker

Bet on Poker is not really a poker game, at least not one that you actually play. Again, it’s just a betting game. There are six player hands that can be bet on and, like War of Bets, betting can be done before cards are dealt. The dealer then deals hole cards, face up, to each of the six seats. Betting odds change and another betting round ensues. After the flop, the odds change again based on what the hand values are and those participating can bet some more. Same goes after the turn. After the river, the winning hand is determined and payouts are made. Side bets can also be made on the value of the winning hand.

All in all, the live dealer War of Bets and Bet on Poker are fine, if you like betting on stuff. You aren’t actually playing casino war or poker – just betting on the results of hands. Clearly, with a live dealer, the games are not fast (especially poker), but the live dealer does add an interesting dynamic, making the game feel more personal.

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Categories: Poker News

Three Companies Win $315 Million Judgment in Scientific Games Antitrust Lawsuit

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2018-08-15 04:44

It was a bittersweet victory for the “little guy” last week as a trio of gaming equipment developers and distributors won a lawsuit against gaming giant Scientific Games. A Chicago jury awarded the group $105 million, but because it was an antitrust case, federal regulations trebled the damages to $315 million.

Shuffle Tech Takes On Shuffle Master, Shuffle Master Throws Weight Around

I’ll be honest, I had a little trouble understanding all the details of the case, but I’ll do my best to give you the gist. In the early part of this decade, Shuffle Tech, which had previously only made automatic card shufflers for the consumer market, decided to develop one for the casino market, a market dominated by Shuffle Master. For the sake of the timeline, Shuffle Master was acquired by Bally Technologies in 2012, which was in turn bought by Scientific Games in 2013.

Shuffle Tech finished the automatic shuffler in 2012 and entered into a licensing deal with DigiDeals. DigiDeals also sub-licensed the product to Poydras-Talrick Holdings. Just ten days after the product, DigiShuffle, was unveiled to the industry, Shuffle Master sued for copyright infringement.

In 2014, DigiDeal took a look at Shuffle Master’s patents and, in a nutshell, determined that key artwork had been hidden and it was this artwork that Shuffle Master based much of its patent infringement suit upon. It also found that Shuffle Master had a history of filing similar lawsuits against smaller competitors in what looked like an attempt to just kill companies through litigation.

Underdogs Fight Back

Shuffle Tech, Poydras-Talrick Holdings, and Aces Up Gaming, a company that worked with DigiDeal, then filed an antitrust suit against Shuffle Master.

Shuffle Master filed a motion to have the suit dismissed and in October 2015, a judge dismissed five of the counts, but let one stay, an antitrust count.

“Plaintiffs have sufficiently shown that they ‘intended to enter’ the casino shuffler market ‘and [were] prepared to do so within a reasonable time,’” the judge wrote. “Because they have sufficiently pleaded facts alleging antitrust injury and supporting antitrust standing, plaintiffs may bring a section 2 claim for damages and injunctive relief pursuant to sections 4 and 16 of the Clayton Act, respectively. The Court declines to dismiss Count 2.”

Jury Burns Shuffle Master, Scientific Games

Thus, the case advanced and last week, a jury ruled for the Shuffle Tech group and against Shufflemaster/Scientific Games. The bittersweet part I mentioned at the top of the article was that while this was a great outcome for Shuffle Tech, Aces Up, and Poydras-Talrick (pending appeal), it is too late for Shuffle Tech. Shuffle Tech’s CEO, Rick Schultz, told Howard Stutz of CDC Gaming Reports that the cost of the lawsuits was simply too much and it old the DigiShuffle technology to another company so that it can focus solely on the consumer market. DigiDeal also stopped making the product.

For its part, Scientific Games said through a spokesperson, “The company believes the jury reached the wrong result and will seek review of both the finding of liability and the damages award both before the trial court and if necessary on appeal.”

The post Three Companies Win $315 Million Judgment in Scientific Games Antitrust Lawsuit appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Categories: Poker News

Brandon Eisen Wins Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship Event

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2018-08-15 04:35

Brandon Eisen nabbed his first recorded live tournament win since 2013 on Monday, emerging victorious in the $5,250 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship Event. He began as the chip leader at the final table and ended up defeating Jeremy Ausmus heads-up to win $771,444.

Here is a look at the chip counts to begin the nine-handed final table at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida:

Brandon Eisen – 7,330,000
Stoyan Obreshkov – 6,540,000
Marcos Exterkotter – 4,370,000
Jeremy Ausmus – 4,090,000
Jared Griener – 3,975,000
Ryan D’Angelo – 3,810,000
Adam Adler – 3,745,000
Ido Ashkenazi – 1,470,000
Joseph Cheong – 1,265,000

Though Eisen had a bit of separation at the top, it was still a fairly close race overall, as all but two players could have elevated into the chip lead with a double-up.

Stoyan Obreshkov overtook Eisen early on when he eliminated Marcos Extrekotter on the eighth hand of the final table. It isn’t often you see two of the largest stacks clash that early, but they did and Obreshkov upped his stack to 9.760 million chips.

Nine hands later, Joseph Cheong, the short stack going into the final table, was ousted by Ausmus in eighth place. Eisen, who was down a few chips, had now fallen to third, while Ausmus elevated into second place with just over 8 million and Obreshkov was up over 11 million.

On Hand 26, Obreshkov knocked out Jared Greiner in seventh place and on Hand 54, Eisen eliminated Ido Ashkenazi in sixth.

The hits came quickly after that. Ausmus bumped Adam Adler in fifth on lucky Hand 57: both men had A-K, but Ausmus rivered a flush to foil the probable chopped pot. He was also a heavy chip leader at that point with 14 million chips. Eisen was the closest with 8.900 million.

The very next hand, Ryan D’Angelo was gone, his A-K suited losing to Eisen’s pocket Sixes. Then, on the 61st hand Eisen eliminated Obreshkov in third place. Obreshkov paired a pocket Queen on the turn, calling an all-in by Eisen, but Eisen had pocket Kings which held up on the river. That run catapulted Eisen way into the chip lead going into heads-up with Ausmus, 23 million to 13 million.

Eisen extended his lead and it looked like he might just leave Ausmus in the dust, but Ausmus hit a monster hand to double-up. He flopped an improbable full house when the flop came down 8-4-4 and was able to extract maximum value as Eisen rivered a straight, holding 7-6. The chip stacks had reversed.

Ausmus had things locked down for a while, but after a break, Eisen made the hand of the tournament at the start of Level 30. Pre-flop, Ausmus raised to 400,000, Eisen re-raised to 1.4 million, and Ausmus called. The flop was K-T-9 and Eisen checked, Ausmus bet 1 million, and Eisen called. The turn was the 8, putting a possible flush on the board. Eisen once again checked called, this time for 2.5 million. The river was the 5 and again Eisen check-called, but on this occasion, the call was for all of his chips, as Ausmus shoved.

Ausmus revealed K-T for a juicy two-pair flop, but Eisen showed J-7 for a turned straight. Eisen was now the overwhelming chip leader, 30.350 million to 6.250 million.

After that, it was just a matter of time. On Hand 144 of the final table, Eisen moved all-in with Q-J and Ausmus, after a long consideration, called with just K-5. The King was ahead, but Eisen flopped two pair. A King was dealt on the turn to give Ausmus life, but the river bricked and Eisen took the pot and the tournament.

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open – Final Table Results

1. Brandon Eisen – $771,444
2. Jeremy Ausmus – $540,459
3. Stoyan Obreshkov – $349,889
4. Ryan D’Angelo – $258,615
5. Adam Adler – $195,491
6. Ido Ashkenazi – $156,215
7. Jared Griener – $129,308
8. Joseph Cheong – $102,843
9. Marcos Exterkotter – $77,132

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Categories: Poker News

DDoS Attack Hobbles partypoker

Poker News Daily - Tue, 2018-08-14 04:00

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have unfortunately become a fact of life in online poker. While they are not a regular occurrence in the industry, they do happen often enough where they are expected. How they affect the poker sites all depends on the intensity of the attack and the effectiveness of the site’s defenses. Late last week, partypoker was the latest victim of a DDoS attack.

The troubles began on Thursday, August 9th in the late afternoon ET, which would put it generally in the prime poker playing time in Europe. Party initially acknowledged the situation publicly at 4:12pm ET, tweeting, “We are aware of ongoing issues I can assure you our team are doing their very best to resolve and resume normal service. We apologise for the inconvenience and will update you all once resolved in full.”

To backtrack a moment, let’s explain what a DDoS attack is. With a poker site, communication requests are going back and forth between the servers and the players’ computers. These requests are what you would imagine: things like player actions (bet, raise, fold, etc.), chip movement, card deals, and more. In a DDoS attack, the attacker floods the poker site with bogus communication requests, so many and at such a steady rate that the server can’t keep up.

Sites have security measures in place to block attacks, but a successful DDoS attack overwhelms the gatekeepers. So many requests are sent that the security measures have trouble weeding out the shitty ones from the legitimate ones. And the “distributed” part means that the attack is coming from many different sources, so it is difficult to figure out which figurative doors to lock.

The end result is that players get booted from tables, have trouble logging in, tables lag, hands freeze, a general shitshow ensues.

A couple minutes after that first tweet, partypoker announced that it was, in fact, a DDoS attack that was causing issues, saying, “Apologies for the technical difficulties, we are working to rectify, the site has been targeted with a DDoS attack from third parties. We hope to resume normal business very soon and will keep you updated. Thank you for your patience.”

Partypoker tweeted close to 5:00pm ET and nearly an hour after that, still saying that the tech/security team as working on the problem and that refunds (for tournament entries and cash game hands that were borked, for instance) would be refunded on Friday.

At 10:00am ET on Friday (afternoon in Europe), partypoker said that some players were still experiencing issues and by about quarter to eleven, it announced that everything was fixed. Problem was, not everything was fixed. At about 1:00pm and even into Saturday morning ET, partypoker tweeted that a limited number of players were still dealing with lingering DDoS problems. In a follow-up tweet, the poker room added that refunds were taking longer than expected because of the extent of the problems.

On April 10th, partypoker Managing Director Tom Waters posted an apology for the situation on the partypoker blog, saying, in part:

The unfortunate events of 9 August were understandably frustrating for our players. After consideration, the decision was taken to pause and then subsequently cancel all affected tournaments.

Our team worked hard to try to resolve the key issues. As poker players ourselves, we fully understand how frustrating it can be when an online poker room suffers technical issues, and we fully appreciate the considerable patience and understanding shown by our players in light of these difficulties.

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Categories: Poker News

Golden Nugget Atlantic City Moves Poker Room to Make Room for Sportsbook

Poker News Daily - Mon, 2018-08-13 02:48

Reacting to the decision by the United States Supreme Court, the state of New Jersey – the state the brought the lawsuit that pushed the decision by the SCOTUS – has been quick to bring to life their sports betting industry. Casinos are having to make some moves also, such as the decision by the Golden Nugget Atlantic City to move their poker arena to make room for a spanking new sports book.

It Would Explain the Closure…

Back on August 1, the Golden Nugget closed the doors on their poker room, rather unimaginatively named “The Poker Room,” from the third floor of the casino to the fourth floor. Officials with the Golden Nugget felt that the new sports book would need to be closer to the main casino areas rather than the poker room, thus the change. The new room on the fourth floor replaces an area where a wine bar and Wi-Fi access were offered to customers.

From a look at the photos of the new room, the move was a good one. Excellent tables, plush chairs and a muted two-tone brown décor greet the poker players. It is a makeover that was completed pretty quickly, too; the new room opened up on Friday at 4PM and has proven to be very popular with the players.

All Because of One Law Change

The Golden Nugget, like many of the casinos in Atlantic City, are simply taking advantage of what politicians and attorneys in New Jersey have been working for over the last couple of decades. Back in 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which banned sports betting in every state except for Nevada. New Jersey had been offered a “grandfathered” spot on the program but, in a referendum, the citizens of New Jersey rejected a measure that would have legalized sports betting in the state.

Fast forward a few years and the people of New Jersey – not to mention the leadership in Trenton – began to notice the error in their ways. In 2012, the voters reversed their vote and approved a sports betting referendum, which was signed by then-Governor Chris Christie. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement put together regulations on sports betting but, soon after those rules were issued, the sports leagues struck.

The Empire Strikes

As soon as the regulations were posted by the DGE, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) jointly filed a lawsuit seeking enforcement of PASPA on New Jersey. The Garden State sued right back, seeking to have the law either struck down.

For the next six years, the leagues had the upper hand in the case. Both District and Appeals courts found in favor of the sports leagues but New Jersey, and in particular former State Senator Ray Lesniak, continued to rework their laws to figure out a way to make sports betting work with the New Jersey Constitution, which would then also make it pass muster under PASPA. After first being rejected for consideration in 2014, the SCOTUS decided to hear a second case in December 2017.

In that momentous case, the nine Justices of the Supreme Court accepted testimony from New Jersey attorneys and the leagues before coming to their decision in May 2018. In that decision, the Supreme Court found by a 7-2 vote that PASPA was unconstitutional, striking it from the law and allowing the individual states to make their own laws and regulations – or to outright ban the activity, as Utah has done – on sports betting.

Could Sports Betting Become THE Game in New Jersey?

The reason for the rush in getting a live sports book up – most casinos in New Jersey are quickly moving to do just this – is, of course, because of the money. With major population centers in New York City, Philadelphia and other cities nearby, there is a huge market for sports betting in the state. Especially with the NFL season only about a month away, these live sports betting operations for the casinos would love to be active, although they cannot accept bets on New Jersey teams if they are playing inside the state (this would count both the New York Giants and Jets, who play in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands), there would be tremendous action on the games.

How much action are we talking? In Nevada, with a tremendously smaller population than New Jersey, sports betting brought in $250 million in 2017. In slightly more than two weeks (17 days), the DGE reported that New Jersey’s sports betting industry brought in $16.4 million. Extrapolated out to a full year, the revenues would be close to $350 million, possibly making New Jersey the #1 sports betting state in the country.

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Categories: Poker News

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 1B: D’Antonio Brown Takes Overall Lead, $3 Million Guarantee Crushed

Poker News Daily - Sun, 2018-08-12 14:32

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $5000 Main Event is in the books and officials are elated. For the first time in a few years, there will be no overlay in the tournament, with the players crushing the $3 million guarantee with ease. Afte3r the carnage of Day 1B concluded on Saturday, there was a new overall leader in D’Antonio Brown and an exciting run to “The Big 4” play coming this Tuesday.

If You Build It…

By getting 419 entries in for Day 1A on Friday, officials with the Seminole Indian tribe felt they were going to be OK with making their $3 million guarantee on the event. With over $2 million already in the kitty from Friday, all they needed were a couple hundred entries to pass the guarantee on Saturday. They would get that and more.

By the time the late registration period ended on Saturday, a total of 495 entries had been received for Saturday’s play. Added together with the 419 that were gathered on Friday, a field of 914 entries were registered for the 2018 SHRPO. That set a prize pool of $4,432,900, besting the $3 million guarantee with ease, topping last year’s 887-entry and $4.3 million prize pool and bringing a great deal of relief to Seminole officials. The players were more interested in other numbers, such as the 115 players who will take a minimum payday of $7758 and the prize on top of $771,444.

Just Wasn’t Their Tournament

With everyone looking to get in good position for the Day Two festivities on Sunday, the chips were flying on Saturday. The usual result of such action is that a wealth of talented players aren’t going to be around with a shot of winning the tournament. Local favorite and three-time Poker Players’ Championship victor Michael Mizrachi took advantage of every entry opportunity (if a player busted on Day 1A, they could rebuy once; they also had the same option on Day 1B) but was unable to turn it into a stack he could carry forward.

Mizrachi’s situation was a particularly ugly one. After a player moved all in, Mizrachi moved his 50K in chips to the center to isolate from the small blind. Unfortunately, the big blind, who covered both Mizrachi and the original raiser, also came along for the ride. Once the cards were up, the hands explained themselves:

Original raiser – A-10 off suit
Mizrachi – pocket eights
Big Blind – pocket Queens

With a 60K pot that the original raiser could win and an equal pot on the side between Mizrachi and the big blind (with Mizrachi at risk), the A-9-4 rainbow flop hit squarely for the original raiser. The Jack on the turn and the river King didn’t change anything as the original raiser tripled up, the big blind scooped up about 60K in chips himself and Mizrachi reluctantly hit the rail.

There was plenty of company for him there. Ray Qartomy, David ‘Chino’ Rheem, former World Champion Scott Blumstein, Tom Marchese and Ankush Mandavia will no longer be a part of the Main Event. They will have to find solace in some other events still on the SHRPO schedule.

What Can Brown Do for You?

D’Antonio Brown was a dominant force through the play of the day. His work was entirely necessary, however, as Scott Vener kept pace with him throughout the day on Day 1B. These two men were able to eclipse Day 1A chip leader Nick Pupillo to have the overall lead in the 2018 SHRPO as it heads to Day Two:

1. D’Antonio Brown, 489,500
2. Scott Vener, 450,000
3. Nick Pupillo, 445,500*
4. Scott Wright, 392,000
5. Brian Green, 363,000
6. Kenneth O’Donnell, 358,500
7. Carlos Rodriguez Rojas, 355,500*
8. John Dolan, 342,500
9. Kenneth Fishman, 341,000*
10. Tanner Millen, 313,000*

(* – Day 1A player)

Bubbling under the Top Ten are such playe3rs as Phillip Hui (310,500, 11th place), Joseph Cheong (304,500, 15th place), Chris Hunichen (277,500, 16th place), Jeremy Ausmus (251,000, 24th place) and Loni Harwood (250,500, 25th place).

There are 310 players remaining from the 914 entries that were generated for the tournament, meaning that it is possible that the money bubble may pop on Sunday. It is all leading up to “The Big 4” on Tuesday, when the 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open will crown four champions in a day-long festival of poker. Right now, Brown has the inside track on the Main Event title, but there is a long way to go until Tuesday.

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Categories: Poker News

PokerStars Sponsored Player Maria Konnikova Featured in New York Times Interview

Poker News Daily - Sat, 2018-08-11 18:15

It seems of late that the “Gray Lady,” the venerable New York Times, has been paying a great deal of attention to the world of poker. A couple of weeks ago, the Times featured an article on “retired” poker professional Vanessa Selbst’s new life as a hedge fund manager. Now the Times is going the other direction with a featured article on psychologist/poker player Maria Konnikova.

How to Learn to Play World Class Poker

For those that haven’t been aware of what Konnikova has done over the past year, it is something that is pretty astounding. After doing books that analyzed the thinking process of Sherlock Holmes and how to apply it to general life and why we fall for the shams of confidence men (“con men”), Konnikova was at a loss as to her next direction. Konnikova, who earned her doctorate in psychology from Columbia University in 2013, finally settled on the world of poker and, in particular, the effects of luck and decision making.

As with any proper researcher, Konnikova didn’t waltz in and just start chucking chips. Studying under the tutelage of Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, Konnikova received a Ph.D. in poker from arguably one of the best of all-time before she even stepped to a poker table. Once she did, however, she demonstrated the skills of a player who had been at the tables for decades.

In January, Konnikova headed to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, where she proceeded to stun many in the poker community. She won the PCA National Championship Event for a nice $84,600 score, then turned around and ran deep in the Main Event before being knocked out in 42nd place (her win also earned her the first free $30,000 pass to the 2018 PokerStars Players’ Championship, which will be contested at the end of the year). Since then, Konnikova has tacked on another ten cashes on nearly all the major tournament circuits, including the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, the European Poker Tour, and the World Series of Poker. In fact, her run has been such a success that Konnikova has put the book plans on hold to ride the poker success streak out.

An Inside Look from an Outsider

Times writer Claudia Dreifus penned an outstanding examination of Konnikova and her efforts. But what was perhaps more interesting were Konnikova (remember, not a poker player but an outsider who is trying to learn what makes poker players “tick” in a way) and her commentary on the game and the people around it. Dreifus stated in the article that the interview took place over the span of a couple of hours and gave people more info on who Konnikova is and peeled back the door on the poker world.

After admitting that she had “zero interest…I hate casinos,” Konnikova admits to Dreifus that it was important for her totally immerse herself in poker. “(I was) going to have to dedicate myself to this like a career, because otherwise it’s just going to be a ‘writer dabbles in the world of poker,’” Konnikova is quoted by Dreifus. Konnikova credits Seidel with the transformation, studying “eight to nine hours a day, every day” with bringing her up to the level of a world-class poker player.

Konnikova is also adept at pointing out how, unfortunately, women are sometimes still treated in the poker community. After Dreifus asked if the “poker pros” were nice to her, Konnikova admitted that “she has been called everything at the poker table.” She also indicates that there have been inappropriate propositions on the felt, which Konnikova admits could be a ploy to get her to make bad decisions in the game but that she brushes off by calling the floor.

The entirety of the article is a brilliant interview with a person who doesn’t have to worry about kowtowing to the “poker world” for approval. Konnikova comes off as an excellent ambassador for the game, intelligent and objective with her analysis, and indicates she has come to love the game, warts and all, and that she might be around for a while. Check out Konnikova’s interview here, as the poker world could learn quite a bit about bringing new players (male or female) to the game and the approach to learning the game.

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Categories: Poker News

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $5000 Main Event Day 1A: Nick Pupillo Grabs Lead as $3 Million Guarantee Within Reach

Poker News Daily - Sat, 2018-08-11 15:00

The weekend of the 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open’s “Big 4” is upon us, coming from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. The $5000 Main Event (with a $3 million guaranteed prize pool) opened up action on Friday, with Nick Pupillo pulling out to the lead over the field and field numbers that should make the guarantee fairly easy to reach on Saturday.

Finding the Right Number

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open has become one of the most popular events for players after the siesta taken by the poker world following the World Series of Poker. In its inaugural year of 2013, the SHRPO shattered its $10 million guarantee, but things got a bit tougher after that. A few years of the field not meeting expectations – and the Seminole Indian tribe paying the overlay to ensure the guarantees were met – left officials trying to find the “right” number of entries for the tournament without reducing the buy in ($5000). For 2018, that number fell on $3 million for a guarantee and it appears that will be met.

On Friday, 419 entries came out to take their shot at winning arguably one of the most prestigious titles that doesn’t have any connection to a major tournament series. Those entries brought the prize pool over the $2 million mark and surpassed the number of entries that were received last year in the event (407). Historically Day 1B is replete with players trying to make their way into the field, so it is conceivable that perhaps more than 500 entries would be received and the final numbers land in the 900-1000 entry level, which would create a prize pool of $5 million and would dwarf the 887 entries from 2017 (and the $4.3 million prize pool).

Nick Pupillo Rules

It seemed as if Pupillo couldn’t make any mistakes as he worked his way through the action on Friday. Late in the day, Harrison Gimbel raised the betting and Pupillo, in the small blind, decided to three-bet the action. Gimbel called to see an A-K-6 rainbow flop hit the green baize and called a bet out of the out-of-position Pupillo. A five on the turn didn’t slow Pupillo down as he fired another bullet and Gimbel was happy to come along with the call. A Jack on the river brought the third bullet out of Pupillo and Gimbel hit the tank to consider his options. In the end, Gimbel chose to call and, once Pupillo showed him he had the goods from the start with his Big Slick, Gimbel’s cards found their way to the muck.

This hand shot Pupillo over the 300,000-chip mark into the lead, where he would end the night over the 147 players who would make their way through the minefield of Day 1A:

1. Nick Pupillo, 445,500
2. Carlo Rodriguez Rojas, 355,500
3. Kenneth Fishman, 341,000
4. Tanner Millen, 313,000
5. Phillip Hui, 310,500
6. Matthew Leecy, 305,000
7. Joseph Cheong, 304,500
8. Kyle Keranen, 262,500
9. Davian Santana, 262,000
10. John Andress, 250,000

The “Big 4” Begins

The $5000 Main Event isn’t the only game in town at the Seminole Hard Rock this weekend. In fact, the “Big 4” events are all going to be in action on Saturday as they work to their live broadcasts on Tuesday next week. This tournament, along with the $1 million guaranteed $2500 No Limit Hold’em event, the $500,000 guaranteed $1000 No Limit Hold’em event, and the $2 million guaranteed $25,000 High Roller (with re-entry) event, will all reach their conclusions on Tuesday. They will all be broadcast Tuesday as a part of “The Big 4” live stream, with one event concluding and the next starting almost immediately afterwards.

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Categories: Poker News

Has Omaha Hold’em Eclipsed Texas Hold’em as the “Game of Choice”

Poker News Daily - Fri, 2018-08-10 03:56

The world of poker is one that has been in a state of flux for some time. In its early days on the Mississippi riverboats where the game was arguably born, the 20-card pack (Aces through tens of the four suits) dictated that the game of poker was a four-player game. As the U. S. Civil War began, there was the need to have more players in the game (to allow for more action?), thus the 52-card deck was introduced and Five- and Seven Card Stud became the games that were played. This was the way it was…at least until the 20th century.

Sometime around the 1920s or 1930s – the exact date isn’t known – something called Texas Hold’em was invented. It changed the game literally in that, instead of receiving five or seven cards of your own, you now only received two cards but had five others on “the board” – the community cards used by all the players – to help build your best hand. It was a stunning switch from the previous incarnations of poker and quickly became successful.

Since those early days, Texas Hold’em has become the poker “game of choice.” When Benny Binion was looking for the Championship Event of his newly created “World Series of Poker,” Texas Hold’em was the game played. When online poker was created, Texas Hold’em was the game that the masses flocked to. As the 21st century gets into full stride, there’s a challenger on the horizon and it does make one ask if Texas Hold’em is still the “game of choice.”

Omaha Hold’em, Anyone?

The game that seems to be “sweeping” the community – if you can call a few decades “sweeping” – is Omaha Hold’em. Where the game exactly came from is unknown (much like Texas Hold’em, although Robstown, TX, has claimed its birth), but casino executive Robert “Chipburner” Turner is credited with bringing it to the casinos on or about the late 1970s/early 1980s. The late Bill Boyd offered it first in Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and the rest, as they say, is history.

While it was introduced in the States first, Omaha earned its initial inroads into poker overseas. Europe became the location to play the game primarily and it slowly worked its popularity back online with the high stakes crowd (anyone remember the “Dwan Challenge?” Omaha was a part of that). Slowly, Omaha began to work its magic on the U. S. poker crowd and nowadays it is a solid part of any tournament poker schedule and cash games are run worldwide.

So Why the Change?

When it first came out, Texas Hold’em was recognized for the psychological element that was brought to the game. With the Stud games, the information was pretty much in front of the players through the up cards, giving plenty of information to those players who were smart enough to remember the action and put the puzzle pieces together. When Texas Hold’em came about, it brought different nuances to the game.

With the lack of information, players could now employ different tactics and strategies in the game of poker. This psychological shift in the game – it arguably could be said that Stud poker was science where Hold’em was artistry – was enough of a catalyst to make Texas Hold’em the game for decades.

How Robert Turner came up with the simple idea to add two cards to Texas Hold’em and ramp up every aspect of the game needs to be etched in stone. By putting in the rule that ONLY two of the four cards in the player’s “pocket” could be played opened up untold options. And when you put in the Hi/Lo option of the game, you’ve added to the excitement even more.

And perhaps that’s the reason for the beginning of the shift to Omaha…

More Gamble?

Texas Hold’em, in its day, provided a great deal of action in that players would sometimes chase  those hands that, logically and statistically, they shouldn’t have been chasing. But this knowledge wasn’t readily available for decades (for those that hadn’t read Doyle Brunson’s Super/System). As online poker became bigger and players could play in a year what it took Brunson a lifetime to build in experience, then the gap between the “best” players in the world and the “gamblers” began to shrink.

Think back to 2001. Online poker was in its infancy and the game of poker, for the most part, was still the domain of a subculture of gamblers and professional cardsharps. A brief 17 years later, there are probably 15-year old’s that have played more total hands of poker than Brunson has played in his life. Wherever a poker tournament is played, the gap between the best player in the room and the worst is quite miniscule. The reason? Poker players have studied Texas Hold’em more, learned the odds and the proper plays to make, and there aren’t as many “gamblers” left in the game.

With Omaha Hold’em, however, there is a whole new world for players to discover. Four cards – especially if a player is skillful in hand selection – present so many more options when paired with the proper board. But those same four cards also present something to the unskilled player, the “gambler.” It offers a chance to get some “action” going and, with the increased four card pocket, there are a multitude of options available. Add in that there are still many players in poker that don’t fully understand the game of Omaha Hold’em (trust me, I’ve seen plenty of players try to use one or three of their hole cards in a hand) and it makes Omaha a gambler’s dream.

Who Has It? Omaha or Texas?

It’s a question that doesn’t have a definitive answer. Poker is a game that different people have different reasons for playing. For some it is the mental challenge, for others it is the opportunity to “gamble it up.” There is one question that all should be asking themselves, if not now then perhaps 30-40 years into the future…

What’s next?

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Categories: Poker News

Brady Holiman Wins 2018 WPT Choctaw Main Event

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-08-09 05:13

Brady Holiman went wire-to-wire as the chip leader at the final table of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw Main Event Tuesday to win his first-ever WPT title as well as a first prize of nearly half a million dollars.

Going into the six-handed final table, Holiman had a tremendous chip lead, more than the second and third place players combined. This is poker, though, and anything can happen.

Anything didn’t happen. Holiman rolled, eliminating four of his five opponents along the way. But, as I said, this is poker, and Holiman still needed a little luck here and there. On the 21st hand of the final table, he knocked out Timothy Doboski in sixth place. The two were all-in pre-flop (a bold move for Domboski with so many chips!), Holiman with A-K, but Domboski with a dominating K-K. An Ace flopped, though, and Domboski was suddenly gone.

It took a long time for the next elimination, but on Hand 85, three-time WPT champ and former Player of the Year Anthony Zinno finally hit the rail. He moved all-in pre-flop with A-4 and Holiman called with Q-T. The flop of Q-6-4 gave Holiman the lead, but Zinno grabbed it back with an Ace on the turn. Holiman got lucky again, though, with another Queen on the river to take the hand and knock out Zinno.

On the very next hand, Holiman went back to work calling a J-7 all-in by Tony Ruberto with pocket Queens. This time, nothing weird happened and Holiman’s hand held, taking his stack to 18 million chips.

If you are doing the math, you have figured out that the third place finisher was the only one that Holiman did not eliminate. That happened on Hand 105 when Christopher Smith shoved for K-T and Viet Vo called with A-T. Vo’s better hand won as expected and the heads-up match was on, with Holiman holding a 17.775 million to 12.425 million chip lead.

Vo made it a good competition, nearly pulling even after Hand 113, but Holiman never let him get over the top. Though Holiman widened the gap, the ending still came suddenly. On Hand 122, Vo raised pre-flop with K-K, Holiman three-bet with A-J suited, and then Vo four-bet after some thought. Holiman then pondered his move, going all-in for 20 million chips. Vo called quickly for close to 10 million in total.

The flop deliver two Jacks to Holiman and neither the turn nor river were of any help to Vo and that was that.

Prior to this tournament, Brady Holiman had won around $42,000 in live poker tournaments. Thus, winning eleven times that amount is quite the boost to his bankroll. The accomplishment of winning a World Poker Tour title isn’t too bad, either.

2018 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event – Final Table Results

1. Brady Holiman – $469,185
2. Viet Vo – $302,725
3. Christopher Smith – $223,370
4. Tony Ruberto – $$166,605
5. Anthony Zinno – $125,630
6. Timothy Domboski – $95,780

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Categories: Poker News

Former New York Knick Charles Oakley Pleads No Contest to Cheating in Casino

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-08-09 04:20

Former professional basketball player Charles Oakley pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge stemming from his arrest for cheating at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. He will not receive any jail time.

Oakley played for five teams in his NBA career, but he was best known for his decade with the New York Knicks. He specialized in defense and rebounding and was one of the toughest players in the league; his strength was his calling card and he was not afraid to mix it up with opponents. In the 1993-1994 season, he set a record for 107 starts in a single season, including playoffs.

The 54-year old was caught on security video cheating in three hands at the Cosmopolitan in July. TMZ first reported the details of the incidents. The hands took place at an Ultimate Texas Hold’em table. Not to be confused with a regular poker game, Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a poker-based casino game. To start, the player must place an ante and blind bet of equal size. The player and dealer are then each dealt two hole cards. If the player likes his cards, he can make a “play” bet of three or four times the ante. If he does so, that’s it for the rest of the hand. If he checks, he can then make a smaller bet on the flop. The turn and river are dealt together, after which the player can then make an even smaller bet if he checked twice previously. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of all the rules, odds, which bets pay out in which situations, the player wins if he has a better five-card hand than the dealer.

According to TMZ, Oakley allegedly pulled back a $100 chip after realizing he was going to lose a hand, clearly something that is not allowed. In the same session, Oakley twice added chips to his bet when he saw he was going to win. On those two hands, he upped his payout by $125.

Oakley was arrested by Nevada Gaming Control Board Enforcement agents at the casino and booked into the Clark County Detention Center. He was charged with “adding or reducing his wager” when the outcome of the game was already determined, which is a Class B felony in Nevada. Though it was only his first offense and for a relatively small amount of money, Oakley still would have faced one to six years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine had he been convicted.

Fortunately for Oakley, he was able to plea it down to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge and avoid any time behind bars.

Oakley “….appreciates the professionalism of the district attorney and the Cosmopolitan in resolving this event,” said Oakley’s attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld.

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Categories: Poker News

Phil Galfond Addresses Table Caps at Run It Once

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-08-09 00:17

Late last week, professional poker player Phil Galfond posted another update as to the progress of his upcoming real money online poker room, Run It Once. This time, the main topic was table caps, that is, the maximum number of tables a player is allowed to have open and active at once.

It seems like a pretty basic decision – most online poker rooms allow either unlimited multi-tabling or permit a large, but limited number of open tables – but Galfond is debating between permitting players to have only four or six tables active at once. He explains:

The primary purpose of a table cap is to improve average game quality. More often than not, those who play 8-24 tables are professionals, and those who play one table are more likely non-pros, which means that the ratio of pros to recreational players at each table is much greater than the ratio of pro to recreational active accounts.

The fewer tables each pro can play, the fewer seats per table will be occupied by pros, and this will positively affect win and loss rates for everyone.

Many of the decisions Galfond and his team have made have been to make the poker experience as fun as possible for recreational players, and this is no different. He also believes a low table cap can help deter bots, as botters usually need to have loads of tables going simultaneously to be profitable.

Galfond admits, though, that having a low table cap will result in less rake to Run It Once in the short-term. The benefits, though, should be seen long-term as players are happier with the site.

His summary of the benefits of the two different cap sizes are as follows:

Four Tables

• Increases the average game quality
• Slightly more of a bot deterrent

Six Tables

• Increases liquidity at launch – more tables will run.
• Increases short-term revenue for Run It Once, which means a higher chance of success and a larger marketing/acquisition/development budget.
• (Obvious but still worth mentioning…) Players who want to six-table are happy.

Galfond says his preference is a four table cap. That said, in an interesting move, he is leaving the decision up to the players. Run It Once has a page that registered players can go to in order to vote on which option they like best (it is free to register and anyone is permitted to sign up, even if they can’t play on the site). Whichever option gets the most votes is what Run It Once will use.

Galfond is also accepting feedback on design options. On the blog post, he showed possibilities for table backgrounds, card fronts, card backs, and player marking colors. He said that Run It Once will eventually give players the option to change all of these things to suit their own preferences, but as that is a low-priority task for the development team, there is a good chance that Run It Once will launch with just stock graphics. Thus, Galfond wants players to have input on what they will be staring at for a while.

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Categories: Poker News

2018 WPT Choctaw Final Table Set, Brady Holiman Holds Sizable Edge

Poker News Daily - Tue, 2018-08-07 21:42

They are down to the final table in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Choctaw Main Event, as just six players remain from the original 755 player field. Going into Tuesday’s deciding day, Brady Holiman will be in Seat 1 with a significant chip lead. His 10.840 million chips are more than the next two players combined.

For a more complete picture, here are how the chip counts stack up (pun not intended):

Brady Holiman – 10,840,000
Timothy Domboski – 5,300,000
Viet Vo – 4,770,000
Christopher Smith – 4,495,000
Tony Ruberto – 2,675,000
Anthony Zinno – 2,245,000

Though Holiman is well ahead, everyone still has more than a fighting chance, as the blinds are 50,000/100,000 with a 100,000 chip ante. Ruberto and Zinno, the bottom two stacks, will need to find a spot to make a move soon, but they aren’t in immediate all-in with any two cards mode. Both have plenty of experience in these types of situations, too – Ruberto has $3 million in live tournament earnings and Zinno is a former WPT Player of the Year.

Holiman began Monday as one of the chip leaders with 1.55 million chips. It took him a while to really get going, though he was fairly consistent, chipping up slowly. He made it up over 4 million before dropping back to 3 million about four hours into the day, but quickly elevated his stack past 4.5 million within the next hour.

One of his biggest hands came about five hours in when a large pot formed pre-flop with Ruberto. On the flop, Holiman bet 700,000 and Ruberto raised him to 1.6 million. Holiman moved all-in for 4.1 million and after the tankiest of tanks, Ruberto finally folded. Without even seeing the turn, Holiman increased his stack to 6.850 million chips.

After almost six hours of play and with just nine players remaining, Holiman was up to 8.550 million chips, double that of his closest competitor. Continuing to apply pressure, he forced a river fold out of Viet Vo in a sizable pot after 6:00pm (the day started at noon local time) to eclipse 10 million chips.

Upon eliminating Andrew Crookston in ninth place, Holiman was up over 12 million chips. He peaked at nearly 13 million before doubling up an opponent and settling into where he is now.

This will be by far Holiman’s largest live tournament cash, as sixth place is guaranteed $95,780. Holiman has won less than half that in his career, with total live cashes of about $42,000. With his chip stack, methinks Brady Holiman is eyeing a juicier prize, though. Perhaps the first place purse of $469,185 is more his style.

2018 World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event Final Table Chip Counts

1. Brady Holiman – 10,840,000
2. Timothy Domboski – 5,300,000
3. Viet Vo – 4,770,000
4. Christopher Smith – 4,495,000
5. Tony Ruberto – 2,675,000
6. Anthony Zinno – 2,245,000

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Categories: Poker News

PokerStars Debuts Unfold

Poker News Daily - Tue, 2018-08-07 04:44

You know what’s the worst? Folding trash hole cards pre-flop only to see that you would have had the sneaky best hand and a shot to scoop a huge pot. Well, I suppose the worst is having your Aces cracked or your opponent hit a one-outer on the river, but you catch my drift. Well, now PokerStars is giving players the chance to right a wrong. After a short bit of speculation that the game was on its way, PokerStars launched “Unfold” last week, which, as the name implies, allows players to snatch their cards back out of the muck and give it another go.

But alas, it is not quite as simple as unfolding whenever you want to and continuing with the hand. There are some rules and restrictions.

To start, players can only unfold when the flop is dealt, prior to the flop betting round. You get one chance, and that’s it. No waiting until the river to see that you have the nuts. Before the flop betting starts, everyone who folded pre-flop is given a few seconds to decide if they want to unfold.

Everyone dealt into the hand – unfolding or not – puts up an ante that goes into the “unfold pot.” Those who make the choice to unfold must pitch in an amount of chips equal to that unfold pot; the privilege to unfold is not a free one.

Looking at the cash game lobby, the stakes for Unfold games range from $0.01/$0.02 through $1/$2. Aside from the two lowest stakes, the unfold ante is one-third of the big blind (it is higher for those two stakes because the math dictates as much – it’s tough to have an ante that is one-third of two cents).

Once everyone who had folded pre-flop makes their decision to unfold or not to unfold (that is the question), the hand moves along. Those who did not fold keep playing as they always would in any hold’em affair and compete for the main pot. The players who unfolded, though they are back in the hand, do not play anymore. They just wait for the turn and river cards to be dealt – kind of like they are all-in – and then see which of them has the best hand. The unfolded player with the best five-card hand wins the unfold pot, which is completely separate from the main pot.

There are three instances in which all unfold antes will be returned to players:

• The main pot is decided pre-flop
• Fewer than two players fold pre-flop
• No players choose to Unfold

Those all clearly make sense, as with each situation, there is no unfold contest to be hand. That said, if only one player decides to unfold, that player automatically wins the unfold pot. It won’t amount to much money, but it’s more than zero. Additionally, at least four players must be dealt cards for an unfold ante to be collected and the unfold mechanism to be in play.

Unfold is slated to be a permanent addition to the PokerStars cash game lobby.

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Categories: Poker News

Rio Sale Rumor Crops Up Again

Poker News Daily - Tue, 2018-08-07 04:10

For a good part of the past decade, there has been the occasional murmur that Caesars was looking to sell the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, the home of the World Series of Poker. Late last week, the rumors kicked up again, this time via the Las Vegas happenings blog,

On Thursday, Vital Vegas (whose real-life moniker is Scott Roeben) tweeted, “WSOP out at Rio when new Caesars convention center opens.”

That was followed up with, “You know those persistent rumors of Rio sale? Next level chatter happening, Caesars seriously shopping this fixer-upper.”

The convention center referenced is the Caesars Forum, a $375 million conference center which will be located in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, behind the LINQ. It will be connected to Harrah’s and Flamingo via walkways. Ground was broken on the 550,000 square foot facility three weeks ago; the Forum is scheduled to open in 2020.

Naturally, with the sale of the Rio being a topic that has popped up several times over the years, many are skeptical of Vital Vegas’ brief tweets. On Friday, Roeben reminded people, though, that Vital Vegas has been correct on many similar transactions in the past:

Please don't make us recite list of…oh, all right:
Broke sale of Riviera.
Broke sale of SLS.
Broke sale of Hard Rock.
Broke sale of Las Vegas Club.
Broke sale of Fontainebleau.
Broke sale of Alon site.
Rio rumor is solid. Get ready to be a believer. ")

— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) August 3, 2018

Caesars, for its part, has denied the rumor, telling poker news site USPoker, “We have had no discussions to move the WSOP. We consider the Rio its home for the foreseeable future.”

Big Series, Big Building

The World Series of Poker has been held at the Rio since 2005, which by happy coincidence was my first year in the poker industry and my first year covering the WSOP live. Caesars (then Harrah’s) had purchases the long-time home of the WSOP, Binion’s Horseshoe, the previous year; along with that purchase came the rights to the WSOP.

2003 was the year Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event and from there, the Series – and poker in general – exploded in popularity. The move to the Rio in 2005 was made largely because the sudden growth in attendance required a larger venue. It is also possible (though this is just my speculation) that the Rio was chosen over other Caesars properties in order to enhance the off-strip casino’s stature in Las Vegas.

The first year that the WSOP was held at the Rio, the final three tables of the Main Event were still contested at Binions as a nod to the World Series’ history, but that was the last year for the WSOP at Binions in any form. In 2006, the entire WSOP took place at the Rio; this was also the year of the largest Main Event in Series history, the last WSOP before the UIGEA was passed in the United States.

I will admit that I haven’t covered the WSOP live since 2006, as once my first child was born, I didn’t want to spend two months or so away from home. But I very much enjoyed my time at the Rio and though there have been bumps in the road, it has served as an excellent host for the WSOP. I wouldn’t expect to hear any more about the Rio sale rumor in the near future, but it will be interesting to see if it has any legs as time marches on.

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