Doyle Brunson Has Twitter Spat with Vanessa Selbst

September 24th, 2016

doyle-brunson-vs-vanessa-selbstIt’s amazing how the U.S. Presidential Race can get tempers flaring. Such was the case recently as Doyle Brunson got into a Twitter spat with Vanessa Selbst over Hillary Clinton, which eventually drew Liv Boeree into the argument.

Brunson, an ardent Republican and Donald Trump supporter, tweeted a comment about how many times Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has lied during her campaign.

“I’ll bet a lot of money I can name (and prove) twice that many lies Hillary has said. Maybe 10 times?” he tweeted.

This incensed Selbst and sparked the following comment.

“@TexDolly You’re just like the rest of the ignorant masses. Recycling talking points, making assertions, avoiding actual facts and logic.”

This prompted Brunson to not only ask Selbst to unfollow him, but also bash her for allegedly not paying Jason Somerville back on a poker debt.

“@VanessaSelbst Don’t know if you follow me but if you do, please unfollow me. You showed me your character when u welshed on Jason.#triedto”

“@TexDolly I haven’t followed you for a long time. And yeah, paying 100k = welching. I doubt u want to start a debate about ethics in poker.”

Boeree, who is Selbst’s friend, was quick to jump into this debate with the following comments:

“@TexDolly @Erik_Seidel Doyle, you are missing the point. Those were clear proven lies said by trump in just ONE DAY. Not over a lifetime.”

“@TexDolly @Erik_Seidel yup, thats fucking despicable. how hypocritical of you to shit on Vanessa about ethics.”

Eventually the trio stopped arguing on Twitter, but it’s clear that this will be another chapter added to the biggest poker feuds.

Perhaps none will ever top the feud that Daniel Negreanu had with Annie Duke. But it’s unlikely that Brunson will share hugs with Selbst and Boeree next time he sees them in a poker room.

New Online Poker Series “LUCKBOXES” Coming – Jason Somerville Involved

September 21st, 2016

luckboxes-online-seriesWhile much of America was struggling during the Great Recession, online poker pros were enjoying the fruits of a boom period that lasted until 2011/Black Friday. A new online comedy called LUCKBOXES will explore this period while injecting a little humor into the internet grinder lifestyle.

Ryan Firpo, who directed the 2013 poker documentary BET RAISE FOLD, is behind this upcoming series, which tells the tale of two struggling brothers who stumble upon the online poker world. The project also lists WSOP champion and noted poker streamer Jason Somerville as one of the executive producers.

Based on the trailer, this show has the same feel as the HBO series Silicon Valley, with these young poker players rising to live a wealthy lifestyle. LUCKBOXES includes some real elements of poker too, such as multi-tabling, grinders living together, and how much easier it was to make a living playing internet poker in 2009, as compared to now.

Given how well Firpo did with BET RAISE FOLD and the fact that a real pro like Somerville is involved, we can bet that LUCKBOXES will stay true to poker. And if the trailer is any indication, this show might just have enough flair to keep casual viewers interested.

Whatever the case may be, we hope that LUCKBOXES will be a success and give us an entertaining poker show to watch from time to time.

If you’d like to see the trailer, as well as watch other clips on the upcoming show, check them out here.

Also, the show doesn’t currently have a release date, so we imagine that Firpo is shopping LUCKBOXES around to see what interest he gets.

Sheldon Adelson Claims Poker is Gambling, Has No Skill

September 17th, 2016

sheldon-adelson-pokerWhile some land-based casino owners express fears that online gaming could cut into their revenue, few have been as bold about expressing these fears as Sheldon Adelson.

The Las Vegas Sands Chairman has railed about the evils of online gambling ever since regulation started being discussed in the United States. And based on Adelson’s recent comments about online poker, it doesn’t look like he’s softening this stance any time soon.

Speaking with Yahoo Finance, Adelson said that poker equates to gambling, no matter how much people try to present it as a skill game. Here’s a look at Adelson’s comments:

“Some say poker is not gambling. Poker is gambling. They say poker is a game of skill. I don’t know how skill can apply to somebody shuffling a deck of cards and randomly giving them out to you. You don’t have any control over it. Can somebody bluff and can somebody place bets better than somebody else? Yes. But that doesn’t make poker a game of skill.

“And look, I’m not against gambling, obviously. I know what’s gambling and I know what’s not gambling. And fantasy sports is gambling. I’m very much against it.”

These comments came up when Adelson was asked about daily fantasy sports (DFS) and their legality. And DFS is another activity that Adelson thinks is pure gambling, rather than having any sort of skill element to the matter.

But as his poker comments suggest, the 83-year-old has very little understanding of how either game works.

To say that you “don’t have any control over” poker’s outcome and that bluffing doesn’t inject any skill into the game is just ridiculous. It’s hard to know whether or not Adelson actually believes what he’s saying, or if he’s really this ignorant on the matter.

Whatever the case may be, Adelson is willing to say and do anything to stop regulated online poker and DFS, even if it means claiming that neither game has any skill involved.

Daniel Negreanu: Poker HOF Nominees Should be Judged on Accomplishments

September 16th, 2016

daniel-negreanuAlthough the Poker Hall of Fame has clear requirements for how players gain entry, there’s always some level of debate over player-contributor hybrids like Chris Moneymaker and Bruno Fitoussi. But Daniel Negreanu isn’t one for interpretation when it comes to the HOF; instead, he thinks that players should be judged solely based on their accomplishments.

Detailing his thoughts through a blog post on FullContactPoker, Negreanu begins by listing the actual Poker HOF requirements:

– A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
– Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
– Played for high stakes
– Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
– Stood the test of time

Negreanu goes on to write the following, specifically pointing out whether or not Moneymaker has done enough as a player to warrant HOF consideration:

“When you are done reading it… read it again. Does it say anywhere that a player needs to be a good ambassador for the game? Does it say anywhere that it matters how much the nominees donated to children’s charities? No. It doesn’t.

“If you are voting, and disagree with the criteria for entry, raise that issue, but please respect the rules and vote accordingly. This isn’t a popularity contest nor is it a place to just get people you think are nice guys in.

“A player should be judged based on the criteria designed for player inductions. A non-player should be judged for their work in the industry. So, a guy like Chris Moneymaker, for example, should be judged solely as a player. Which means that any of the great things he has done over the years as an ambassador for the game have no relevance. He is to be judged by the criteria designed for players.”

Based on the requirements, Negreanu writes that the only nominees he has down as clearly meeting the player requirements include Chris Bjorin, Todd Brunson, Carlos Mortensen, and Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott.

While Negreanu hasn’t decided how to cast his vote yet, he’s pretty sure that Mortensen is a good candidate to get in. After all, the Spaniard has won the WSOP Main Event, 2 WSOP gold bracelets, WPT Championship, and 3 WPT titles – all in a limited tournament schedule.

You can see Negreanu’s entire post here.

As for who else gets in besides Mortensen, Moneymaker seems like a strong candidate – despite what Negreanu thinks. After all, the former accountant was the face of the early poker boom after winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event.

Devilfish is another strong candidate, based not only on his play, which includes over $6 million in tournament winnings, but also on how his persona and TV appearances helped inspire many Brits to play poker.

Michael Cera To Be In Molly’s Game Poker Movie

September 12th, 2016

michael-cera-mollys-gameMolly’s Game, the upcoming film about a major Hollywood poker ring, has already attracted talented actors such as Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain. Now, it looks like Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim, Arrested Development) will likely join the cast.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Cera is in talks to play a character named Player X, “an elite celebrity player who develops a unique relationship with Bloom.”

Molly Bloom shot to infamy a few years ago, when she hosted underground poker games for some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities. Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Tobey Maguire were just some of the stars who frequented these games.

In June 2014, Bloom released a book called Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker.

It wasn’t long until elite Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin made it his mission to adapt this book into a film – one in which he’d make his directorial debut.

Mark Gordon will produce the movie and Amy Pascal (former Sony Pictures CEO) will co-produce it under her Pascal Pictures company.

Going back to Cera, it’s unclear how his Player X character will be handled. He could either be portrayed as a specific celebrity, like Maguire, or be a composite of different celebrities.

Cera has plenty of work in between now the filming date for Molly’s Game.

Fresh off lending his voice to Sony’s Sausage Party Warner Bros’ Lego Batman Movie (opens Feb. 10), he’ll also star in Captain Dad with Catherine Keener and Will Ferrell.

Doug Polk vs. Ben Tollerene: High Stakes Poker Feud Over Coaching

September 7th, 2016

doug-polk-ben-tollerene-poker-feudHigh stakes poker grinders Doug Polk and Ben Tollerene have issues with each other stemming back to a coaching arrangement that they made with each other.

As Polk describes on his YouTube channel, the two were originally friends after meeting and hanging out. With Polk being an NL Hold’em expert and Tollerene being a PLO expert, they decided to swap coaching sessions with one another.

Polk gave Tollerene a few coaching sessions in NL Hold’em, but Tollerene said that he could no longer offer the PLO coaching because the software that he was using had an NDA agreement.

This angered Polk because he said that the first few coaching sessions you do are the most valuable. And once Tollerene got these sessions, he suddenly broke the agreement over an arbitrary point.

Another problem that Polk has with Tollerene is that they discussed Cap NL Hold’em as friends. Then he tried to play Polk in $500/$1,000 CAP NL later after learning his strategy.

“To use that information and then sit me 6 months later after that convo – that is totally absurd!” says Polk. “You do not make friends with people, screw them over in a deal, and ask them how they think about poker just to sit them 6 months later.”

“There’s an understood thing in poker, where if you’re gonna coach players, and you’re gonna go into analysis with somebody, there’s inherit ‘I’m not going to play you later.'”

Polk goes on to call Tollerene a “vulture” and warns anybody to be careful when doing business with the high stakes pro.

One more topic that Polk discusses is his personal relationship with Tollerene, citing how the latter once yelled at him when they were drinking for little reason at all. Polk ends by saying that Tollerene has deep issues and is hard to get along with.

NY Post Details Decline of New York Underground Poker Scene

September 4th, 2016

new-york-underground-pokerThe New York underground poker scene has become the stuff of legend, even serving as the subject for the movie Rounders. But according to a recent feature by the New York Post, the city’s underground poker games are on the decline.

The article discusses the heyday of New York’s poker scene in the 1970s and 80s, when games were soft and players were plentiful. Of course, no underground poker room was as popular as the Mayfair Club, which started out on a floor at the Gramercy Park Hotel, then moved to a basement on East 25th Street. This is when players like Joe “Bagels” Rosenberg, who inspired the Rounders character Joey Knish, began popping up.

The Mayfair Club would be shut down in 2000, but the best for New York poker was yet to come as the Poker Boom took off in 2003. Suddenly, more players than ever were frequenting clubs like Play Station, Straddle, Aquarium, Brooklyn Players, and Diamond Club.

This is the same time that celebrities like former New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez could be seen playing in the underground scene.

Jamie Weinstein, a finance worker who now lives in Connecticut, recalled these days when speaking with the Post.

joe-bagels-rosenberg“The atmosphere at a place called Genoa was raucous. The owner showed hardcore porn on TV, the players were loose and there was an excellent marinara on the menu.”

Weinstein also described a club called Fairview by saying, “It was so easy to win that if you needed money, you went there for an hour and returned home with $300.”

Unfortunately, these days began to disappear when poker clubs started getting robbed. Criminals became so bold that they would even hit mob-owned joints.

“Genoa got robbed and that place was clearly owned by the mafia. It was scary that people weren’t concerned about robbing a mob-owned place,” said an anonymous regular at the club.

In November 2007, a nervous gunman dropped his gun while robbing a poker club on the corner of 5th Avenue and 28th Street. The gun went off and killed a 55-year-old math teacher, which put a damper on the scene.

Since then, poker clubs have become smaller and more discreet to avoid attracting attention. Unfortunately, this has also hurt the New York underground poker scene, which probably won’t ever reach the heights that it experienced from 2003-07.

If you’d like to read the entire New York Post article, check it out here.

No California Online Poker in 2016 – Latest Bill Dies

September 1st, 2016

california-online-pokerFor the eighth straight year, attempts to legalize online poker in California have failed.

The latest attempt – Bill AB 2863 by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) – didn’t earn the necessary two-thirds vote in the state assembly. Therefore, the bill isn’t eligible to be voted on in the state legislature before the year closes.

The key issue remains the inability of Native American tribes, racetracks, and major online poker sites to come to an agreement. Some tribes, and the state’s three largest card rooms, have sided with PokerStars, saying that the world’s largest online poker site should be allowed in the California market.

According to the IB Times, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, and the Barona Band of Mission Indians have opposed PokerStars’ entry into California. But they finally threw their support behind Bill AB 2863 once Gray added a provision that would’ve kept Stars out for the first five years.

This wasn’t good enough for Stars and its allies, though, and competing interests once again failed to come to an agreement.

“AB 2863 met the same fate of past measures because opponents once again attempted to unconstitutionally limit competition by effectively barring one operator in perpetuity from the California marketplace,” said Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin.

Gray, who’s also introduced a daily fantasy sports bill, isn’t happy about where all of this leaves California online poker.

“We can continue to endure the status quo,” says Gray. “where Internet gambling goes unregulated, untaxed and where no consumer protections exist, or we can try to bring some sense of order to the entire gambling industry in the state.”

Analysts believe that the California online poker market could realistically be worth $1 billion when it launches. Given the state’s population of over 37.6 million and rich economy, this could very well be true.

But it doesn’t look like we’ll get to find out any time soon because the bill has died out once again.

Gus Hansen Playing Online Poker Again – Lost Over $20.7m

August 29th, 2016

gus-hansen-pokerGus Hansen is legendary for his online poker losses, having dropped over $20.7 million in online cash games. That said, it’s understandable why he’s spent the past 19 months away from the virtual felt.

But Hansen was recently spotted playing online poker again for the first time in over a year and a half.

The Great Dane was seen on PokerStars playing under his name “broks!”

Hansen was playing in $200-$400 limit Triple Draw and limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8s or better games. The good news is that he made a five-figure profit during this session and avoided adding to his historic loss total.

Before this online session, Hansen was seen playing on the live tables in Las Vegas. He was grinding in a $1,500-$3,000 mixed game with famed pros like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey in the Bellagio.

Earlier this year, Hansen appeared on Good Morning Denmark to discuss what’s going on in his life. He said that the biggest changes in his life include moving back to Denmark and quitting his high stakes poker career.

Obviously this has changed, though, because he’s played high stakes games in both live and online settings this year.

As for Hansen’s poker career as a whole, he rose to prominence by winning three WPT titles in less than a year’s time. He was the first player ever to win three WPT titles, let alone doing it in the same year.

With over $10.25 million in live tournament winnings, Hansen is one of the best tourney players in poker history. This is particularly impressive since Hansen hasn’t played in many live tournament in the past few years.

Hansen has made millions through online poker sponsorships and business deals in his career. Much of this money was probably lost in internet poker games, but he continues to find a bankroll as evidenced by his latest online session.

Esports Looking to Rival Online Poker

August 26th, 2016

esports-online-pokerNot long ago, daily fantasy sports (DFS) were considered the next big thing to usurp online poker in the skill-based iGaming world. DFS has since stalled amid legal complications, but there could be a new challenger for online poker’s throne: Esports.

Having increased in popularity over the last few years, Esports are becoming more common in betting circles. Live competitions are also drawing more attendance, with over 200 million Chinese smartphone users saying that they’ve attended at least one live Esports event in the last year.

Forbes reports that the Esports market is currently worth $325 million, and it could balloon to $463 million by the end of 2016.

This isn’t quite up to the measure of online poker, given that PokerStars generates more than this in revenue by itself. But it shows that Esports are rapidly gaining popularity and should continue growing over the coming years.

But Forbes points out that Esports must overcome the challenge of little-to-no mainstream coverage. In contrast to poker, which is covered by ESPN, Esports are relegated to regional coverage and Twitch streaming. Here’s one excerpt from the article:

“Esports is similar to poker in that it has developed a culture that seems to accept the fact that spectators will place bets based on the outcomes of matches and possibly engage in fantasy sports-style play surrounding events. The industry has even started to see the development of competitors placing wagers on themselves prior to entering battle with controllers in hand.

“While poker may still be supreme, Esports is quickly catching up and displaying many positive signs that in some ways mimic poker’s successful attributes. It is only a matter of time until the Esports industry hits a total value of over $1 billion.”

It’s doubtful that Esports will ever force online poker into the background – at least any time soon. But what we probably will see is a balanced skill-based iGaming market that sees DFS, Esports, and online poker sharing the pie.