NASCAR, meet WSOP.
Starting this year, it sounds like you'll be able to wear 32 different patches during the World Series of Poker if your heart desires. Harrah's has significantly reduced the restrictions when it comes to personal advertising. Here's what you can and can't wear:More in this Poker Blog! -->
CAN (it's a short list)
Also, any logo for a DOT NET website must contain a clear and visible DOT NET suffix that is at least the same size as the site name.
I'm still trying to figure out if online gaming sites that accept U.S. customers will be permitted to advertise their DOT NET sites. That would, of course, apply to sites like PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Ultimate Bet.
Regarding third-party registrations, the rules state this:
Third-party registrations for players are not permitted unless submitted by Official WSOP sponsors; Official WSOP promotions or product licensees, or civic, charitable, business, casino and other land-based entities officially licensed to conduct satellite tournaments for the 2007 WSOP. No third-party registrations will be accepted from online gaming sites conducting business with U.S. residents.
Does this rule make it harder for PokerStars and Full Tilt to buy their players into the World Series of Poker? I guess we'll have to wait and see.<-- Hide More
South Carolina state represenative Willian Scarborough, previously mentioned here for being the first Palmetto State legislator of 2007 to willingly beat his head against the poker wall, has cleared his first and likely last hurdle in his attempt to make South Carolina home poker games legal.
Scarborough, a Republican, introduced a bill this year that would make un-raked poker games a lawful activity. According to CardPlayer, that bill has made it out of subcommittee and will be presented to the House Judiciary Committee this week.
I'll refrain from all snark for the time being.
For the time being.
In case you haven't noticed, the "Up For" franchise has expanded once again. First, it was the world of poker. Then, it was the world of sports. Now, it is the world of entertainment.
Up For Hollywood delves into everything from movies to music and from television to pop culture. And you'll probably recognize a couple of the writers, too!
I don't think this is too subtle...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Say you're a kid and you've been playing ball in the same sand lot since you could hold a bat upright. All the kids in the neighborhood play, and though it gets a little loud sometimes, most of the neighborhood parents put up with it. First of all, it's America's game. Second of all, if all the kids are in one place, it's pretty easy to keep an eye on them. I mean, from a parent's perspective, it's a hell of a lot better than the kids running off to some other neighborhood where they might get rolled for their milk money.
Like any neighborhood, though, there is that crazy old dude who lives in the house that everybody believes is haunted. He's a codger and, when the mood strikes him, he stands on his front porch and yells at all the kids to stop being so loud. He's a frightening son of a bitch, but he generally stays in the confines of his musty old place and doesn't do any more than put a scare into most people.
Of course, there comes a day when Johnny Two-Ears fouls one off and the ball lands on the edge of the old guy's property. Making the matter worse, the old dude's dog runs up, grabs the ball, and drops it on the guy's front porch.
Without a ball, you're left with your bat and your gloves. Your parents aren't going to get you a new ball this year. And so, if you want a game, you gotta go get the ball.
After much gnashing of teeth, Paddy Pug-Snout says he'll go up to the porch and get the ball, but only if everybody will walk into the yard with him and back him up.
Paddy hasn't done much for the ball game. Everybody puts him in right field. He rarely gets a hit. Nonetheless, he evens up the teams and his mom will sometimes send him to the game with cookies. So, you keep him around.
It doesn't take long for people to start whispering.
Joey Two-Ears says, "Just send him to get the ball by himself. If he gets it, great. If not, well, then we're no worse off than we are now."
Lance "Marmoset" McGill says, "Why should we bother backing him up now? It's not like he's done anything for us before."
Sally "In the" Stands says, "No one has ever really given Paddy a chance to do anything. Now is his first real opportunity. All you have to do is stand behind him."
So, I ask you...
What do you do?<-- Hide More
Since the Wicked Chops guys seem to love alliteration so much, I decided to let the staff intern write the headline for this post. The post is inspired by a short trip to the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, LA. To be honest, there ain't much to see. Most importantly, there's no poker room. However, that doesn't mean there wasn't "poker" being played...More in this Poker Blog! -->
With the explosion of casino poker rooms in America, there's been a huge push to make a little extra money off the game. That means the introduction of table games with an element of poker. First, it may actually attract your average poker player who's either waiting for a table or steaming from a bad session. Second, it will attract those people who are still afraid of sitting down at a real poker table.
You've probably seen one of these games popping up in casinos in Las Vegas. It's called Texas Hold'em Bonus. The other one was new to me, and I've only seen it at this little casino in Kenenr. It's called Flop Poker. As most of you should know, there's no way these games could possibly be a good bet. The question, however, is just how much of an edge does the casino have? Thanks to the Wizard of Odds, I can answer that question for you.
Here's how it's played: Each player at the table bets the "Ante" and the "Pot." The dealer then deals each player three cards. After looking at your cards you can either fold (and lose your Ante bet) or bet the "Flop" (an equal bet to your Ante). The dealer then reveals the three community cards (for a total of six cards). You use all three of your cards and two of the community cards to make a five cards poker hand.
If you have a pair of Jacks or better, your Ante bet pays 1-1 and your Flop bet pays according to the strength of your hand (Jacks 1-1 up to Royal Flush 1000-1). Finally, the player at the table with the best hand wins the "Pot" (if there are six players who each put $5 in the pot, the player with the best hand wins $30).
Sounds simple, right? But can you win? The short answer is NO. In fact, apart from counting cards in Blackjack, you can't win at any table game. So let's take the bets one at a time.
The "Pot" bet has a zero edge. You put the money in and have an equal chance of winning the "Pot" as every other player. Theoretically, you should win the hand as often as everyone else.
The "Ante" bet is obviously a terrible bet. It pays 1-1 no matter how good of a hand you end up having.
The "Flop" bet is just a bad bet because the payout never approaches the actual probability of the hand hitting.
The Wizard of Odds tells us the house edge on your initial bet is 5.42%. However, because multiple bets are being made, the element of risk is only 2.91%. (The element of risk is defined as the ratio of expected loss to the total amount wagered.) For comparison, the house edge for Roulette is 5.26% (Roulette is one of the worst games in the casino).
Texas Hold'em Bonus
This game is a player vs. dealer game. You start by making an "Ante" bet and an optional "Bonus" bet (the Bonus bet is ALWAYS a sucker bet, in fact, the Wizard of Odds tells us the house edge on that bet is a whopping 8.54%). Each player and the dealer is then dealt two cards. After looking at the cards, you have option of making a "Flop" bet which is twice your "Ante" bet or folding.
Then the dealer lays out the flop. From there, the player can either do nothing or make a "Turn" bet equal to the "Ante." Then a turn card is dealt and the player can again do nothing or make a "River" bet equal to the "Ante." Finally, the river card is dealt and it's time for the showdown, using any 5-card combination from the seven cards available.
If the player beats the dealer, the "Flop," "Turn" and "River" bets pay 1-1. If the player's hand is a straight or better, the "Ante" bet also plays 1-1. If the player and dealer hands are equal, it's a push.
The Wizard of Odds tells us the house edge on the game is 2.037%. However, because the average bet on the hand is 3.81 units, the element of risk is a tiny 0.5335%. That's not so bad. For comparison, the house edge on Pai Gow Poker is 2.73%.
So if you're dying to hit the table games after leaving the poker tables, you may want to give Texas Hold'em Bonus a try. Just don't bet the Bonus!!!<-- Hide More
Two million chips magically appeared at the tail end of the 2007 World Series of Poker and, for awhile, it seemed like not a whole lot would be said about it. That's until Amy Calistri and Tim Lavalli did their best Sherlock Holmes and shined a bright light on either an unfortunate mistake or a horrible case of cheating.
It's been six months since they first blew the lid off this case and now they're back with a great update. It's a must-read.
Two Million Chips: Six Months After by Amy Calistri and Tim Lavalli
In silence, there is fear.
As players and veterans of the news business, we've never been ones to accept the old adage, "No news is good news." In the current online poker climate, players and industry types spend inordinate amounts of their waking hours waiting for something--anything!--that will lead them to some conclusion about what's really happening out there. What are the sites doing? What is the government doing? Something has to be happening.
We once had a boss who said, "There is no such thing as good news or bad news. There's just news."
And that's what everybody needs right now. They need something to think about. They need something to get their minds off the fact that they have way too much money tied up in NETeller. They need something to distract them from the possibility that their online games are going to dry up. They need something to make them feel like if they wait just long enough, everything will go back to normal and the bad dream will be over.
And thus began the rampant rumor that poker's godfather, Doyle Brunson, had been arrested.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Looking for a Martyr
Poker players, by and large, are not people who put a lot of stock into symbolism. Sure, there are poker writers like us. There are people who view poker as a life-mirror game. But, overall, poker players are pretty literal people. They know the pot size. They know the bet size. They know the odds. What they want is information and they will take it however they can get it.
Still, in this new climate of online poker uncertainty, there are a lot of symbols and ideas under attack. Personal freedom, personal privacy, a nation's view of its world, and world's view of its most powerful nation. All of these and more are on the block for review right now. Not many people would debate that Doyle Brunson symbolizes all that is poker. Chris Moneymaker may have kicked off the revolution. The balla crowd may be beating up the game from the bottom. But Texas Dolly symbolizes the game and any attack on him--real or imagined-- is going to draw more than a little attention.
It may be constructive, first, to figure out why. The obvious answer is, "Well, everybody loves Doyle." And that's true. A better answer is that Doyle's exit from the poker world in handcuffs would pretty much signal then end of everything. If Doyle were to die, he would be memorialized. If he were to retire, he would be roasted and applauded. If he were to be arrested (for anything involving the government's crackdown on online gaming, anyway) he would be martyred. That said, even in martyrdom, even Brunson would probably admit that his potential arrest would mean that the sky has, indeed, fallen.
Everyone's eyes on are the sky right now. Some people insist they see it falling. Others insist they are surrounded by a bunch of Chicken Littles. If Doyle went down, however, most people would agree, the shit would be on more than just the fan.
Even if you question that argument, ask yourself, what other rumor could spread as fast as that in the poker community? Even a rumor that an online poker company had gone to hell could easily be refuted by logging on and seeing if it were still running.
No, none of that would get alll this attention.
Doyle's rumored arrest was the thing.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
It wasn't at all hard to figure out where the first whiffs of the rumor began. Emad Tahtouh started everything off with a post to The Poker Network, an Australia-based site. In a post that was edited four times over the course of seven or so hours, Tahtouh claimed to have reliable but unsubstantiated information that Brunson has been arrested. Where he initially heard this rumor is unknown, but by 3:30pm on the day the rumor started, even Tahtouh was calling bullshit on himself. What he couldn't take back were the tons of blogs and forum posts that followed his initial cry. Most sites reported the story by way of a "Doyle Brunson Arrested?" headline with links to the offending forum post. It didn't matter that by 1pm Gambling 911 was reporting that the reports were all a bunch of "hooey." The seed had been planted. More importantly, the Google spiders had already started crawling.
Spiders, you say? Well, of course. It is no secret why Brunson's non-story spread as fast as it did. A story like this, even if it doesn't have even a lick of truth to it, is going to be searched on Google more times than we can all count on our digits. And that's traffic, baby. And traffic is the same thing as money in the online world.
While it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, consider the death of Anna Nicole Smith. The
star let died under mysterious circumstances in a second-rate casino in Florida. The ensuing news coverage eclipsed anything we would've seen if most members of Congress died. A one-time serious newsman, Wolf Blitzer dedicated the whole of his "Situation Room" program to live wall-to-wall coverage of Smith's demise. Where a sarcastic Jack Cafferty asked in his toss-back to Blitzer, "Is Anna Nicole Smith still dead?" (read: I just talked about a bunch of serious shit, now back to your fluff), Blitzer kept a straight face, as if Smith's death was in fact the international mystery he was making it out to be. Only one news person (not even really a news person) really fessed up about it. Court TV's Jami Floyd said (paraphrasing here) "Why did we give so much coverage to Anna Nicole Smith? Ratings, that's why."
We here are no exception, to be sure. We make SEO efforts like everybody else. In fact, it could be legitimately argued that what we're doing here is the same thing that fueled this rumor to begin with. And we wouldn't argue that. Regardless, it is an interesting foundation for a debate about the free exchange of information and the risk/reward of allowing citizen journalists to influence how we spend our days. All in all, this thing was up and down in less than 12 hours. The thing about the internet, though, is that, regardless of how quick it's up and down, it's here forever. If you don't believe it, just ask John Seigenthaler Sr. A lot of people still think there's a chance he killed Robert Kennedy.
In the end, what we have here amounts to the struggles of an industry and its players. Everybody wants some news to get them through the day. There are dark hours when many of us wonder if this hobby or our jobs will even be around in a year. When we are weary, we look to our forefathers and we look for information. Sometimes, we get on such tilt that we're willing to believe just about anything--even if we did hear it from a poker player.<-- Hide More
No matter where we play, the conversation always turns to NETeller. Like showing war wounds, players each talk about how much they have stuck in the one-time payment processing giant.
Though articles in U.S.A Today and less reputable sources had hinted at the possibility the United States government had seized NETeller's U.S. customers' money, we had yet to see anything definitive.
Until this morning.More in this Poker Blog! -->
NETeller execs have announced that the U.S. government has seized "not more than $55 million" in U.S. funds and that those seizures will result in ongoing delays in repaying customers what they are owed.
While NETeller continues to make efforts to find a way to repay its U.S. customer base, there is no timetable for payment.
NETeller's Ron Martin said, "The return of funds for our U.S. customers is a top priority for NETeller."
According to NETeller's statement, the U.S. Attorneys Office will likely employ a forensic accountant to start investigating the funds. It appears much of what was seized was in the process of being transfered to or from NETeller. Anyone who sees that static "pending" announcement in their NETeller account, it appears NETeller is talking to you...without really talking to you.
So, that's not good news.
Here is the whole of NETeller's statement:
NETELLER Plc (LSE: NLR), the leading global independent online money transfer business, today issued the following update with regard to its US business and criminal charges against two of its founders.
On 19 January 2007, at the request of the Group [Neteller], the Group's legal advisers met with representatives of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York ("USAO") to clarify the Group's position with respect to the complaints brought on 16 January 2007 against two of the Group's founders, Mr. Stephen Lawrence and Mr. John Lefebvre. Neither are current employees or directors of NETELLER.
In that meeting, the Group pledged to cooperate with the USAO, indicated it was prepared to begin document production promptly and discussed a potential mechanism for arranging an orderly repayment of funds to US customers.
The discussions between the Group's legal advisers and the USAO are ongoing. The Group is, under advice of its legal advisers, commencing production of documents and intends to cooperate with the USAO in its investigation.
Following upon the complaints dated 16 January 2007, banks in the US began declining to permit transactions involving the Group through accounts maintained at one or more automated clearinghouses in the United States. Additionally, the Group has been advised that the USAO has obtained court-ordered seizure warrants seizing funds pertaining to the Group's transactions.
To the best of the Group's knowledge, it believes that the amount of funds seized by the USAO or otherwise restricted by third parties does not exceed US$ 55 million. These funds were largely in the process of being transferred from the Group to its US customers or vice versa.
As a result of the restrictions placed by third parties, court-ordered seizures, and related legal concerns, the Group is currently unable to make payments to US customers.
Nevertheless, the Group is in discussions with the USAO to manage an orderly return of funds to US customers. As part of these discussions, it is contemplated that the USAO will engage a forensic accounting firm, at the Group's expense, to assist in this process and to examine the Group's financial position.
"The return of funds to our US customers is a top priority for NETELLER" said Ron Martin, Group President and CEO.
US customers wishing to withdraw funds from their NETELLER e-wallet accounts will experience ongoing delays while these discussions continue, and a further update will be provided by the Group once effective repayment mechanisms are determined.
To the Group's knowledge, no criminal action or proceeding has been brought against the Group, its current officers or directors by the USAO. Nevertheless, there can be no assurance that the Group will not be charged in a criminal action at some subsequent time. The Group intends to work with the USAO to seek a negotiated resolution of any allegations relating to its US activities. Any resolution of this matter may lead to potential sanctions against the Group including material financial penalties, fines and forfeitures.
It is emphasized that in line with the Group's standard business practices for all customers, funds held by the Group for US customers are held in segregated trust accounts. The Group's own cash position remains strong and the Group currently has sufficient working capital to fund all its customers' balances as well as ongoing requirements of the business.
NETELLER remains committed to developing its business in line with its stated strategic objectives including geographical and product diversification for all markets. The Group will focus on its continuing business and the opportunities available in the growing markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas outside of the United States. Since the Group's withdrawal from the US market on 18 January 2007, average daily new account sign-ups of new customers from non-US markets has been around 1,400. This compares to average daily sign ups of 3,303 for the year to 31 December 2006. Daily fee revenue since 18 January 2007 has averaged over US$ 200,000 per day (excluding any revenues from Netbanx, 1-Pay and interest income). These metrics demonstrate the resilience of the Group's ongoing business. NETELLER customers not resident in the US continue to be minimally affected by this withdrawal from the US market.
In view of the continuing uncertainty, the Group's shares will continue to be suspended from trading on AIM for the time being. Further announcements will be made as appropriate.<-- Hide More
February 7, 2007
On this day, I think back fondly on my favorite HAMMER. Here's just a taste:
So I calmly flip my HAMMER and lay it down right beside the three 7's on the board. Suddenly, half the table erupts. My fellow bloggers are out of there seats with exclamations of "Hammer!!!!" and "Oh my God!!" I raise my arms in victory.
You can read about my Hammer quads here.
And here are some other tales of the most powerful hand in poker:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Finally, this tidbit from G-Rob from a post in Dec. 2005:
I was playing over at Frank the Tank's last Wednesday, it was a $60 tourney where I played like crap, when someone dropped a huge hammer bluff. Weird thing about it was: a) I'd never seen this guy before and b) he called his hand "the hammer."
One of the players at the table, an older guy sitting to my right, asked him, "why do people call that hand 'the hammer'?" A third player, at the end of the table, another guy I'd never seen before, chimed in, "That's what it's always been called... like Big Slick... it's what all the pros call it."
I was stunned.
BadBlood, who was also at my table, chimed in with this nugget of truth, "Actually, it was invented by a friend of ours, a writer named "Grubby"."
The entire table laughed at what they obviously thought was a joke. BadBlood didn't bother to insist.<-- Hide More
Cigarette smoke hung like a see-through magic carpet over the room. The were no desks, no partitions, and no phones. In the 40 X 40 foot windowless space were eight bare banquet tables. Four people, bleary-eyed and smelling of two showerless days, sat at each table.
Half the room was on C&P duty. The other half, the more experienced and educated of the group, were on RP.
Mikail stood on an elevated platform at the end of the office with a filterless cigarette dangling from his lips.
Speaking in English, as all workers were required to do, Mikail shouted. "It's 3pm Eastern. Ten dollar time!"More in this Poker Blog! -->
Roman hit the keys on his key board with disgust. Just two weeks ago, he had been on RP. He was good at it. Mikail had even told him so.
"Three offices," Mikail had said in between drags, "and you are the most productive RP of the Syndicate."
Roman, not normally a prideful person, had taken some satisfaction in the distinction. He had enjoyed a profitable month and the bosses had been looking at him favorably. Roman knew that if he could maintain his earnings for another five or six months, he would be promoted to group leader. That is where the money was.
It had taken Roman six months to work his way up from C&P to RP. He worked double shifts, worked double stations, and worked faster than anybody in the room. At night, he would go home with arthritic fingers, bent and twisted, calloused on the ends. It would hurt to even dial a phone.
His output and earnings were superb. He had so many plans for RP. He'd created a folio of interesting characters and back stories. One was a 70 year-old man who was on a fixed income.
"My son just took away my credit cards," Roman had typed.
Another identity was a 33-year-old mother from Anderson. She loved sex, but she loved the game more. She promised pictures and web cams.
"Back to $5!" Mikail shouted, then returned to his skin mag.
Roman minimized his screen, pulled up the one marked "Five Dollars," and again slammed his fingers on the keyboard.
It had been so easy for so many months. He'd stuck to his plan. He'd been disciplined. He was creative without straying from policy.
Four nights ago, though, he'd gone too far. He'd pushed too hard. He had stayed too long.
Suddenly, Mikail stood over his shoulder.
"Roman, there is a problem with your accounts."
And that was that. The 70-year-old man was dead. The housewife was gone. All of Roman's Real People, the ones he loved, the ones he lived were now no more than sheets of paper in his three ring binder.
Now, Roman was back in the trenches. The chances of being on Real People again before the end of the year were slim. The chances of making Group Leader were gone.
Roman was back, like more than half of the other Syndicate pawns, to being on Copy & Paste.
Roman scanned the Five Dollar Page and picked the first template he saw. Frustrated fingers pushed Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V in time with the tapping of Mikail's foot. When Roman pressed enter, he saw the same words in the chat box.
SourBaby33 (Observer): hi all. may someone help
with $5, it be more then appreciated, i note to pay
back, if you can thanks so much, be greatful.
It was going to be a long winter.<-- Hide More