Navy Officer Steals $2.7m for High Stakes Poker

January 12th, 2019

navy-poker-steals-moneyA Navy officer from Virginia Beach has been sentenced for stealing money to fund his high stakes poker career. Lt. Randolph Prince, 45, was sentenced to over four years in prison for stealing $2.7 million for poker, fancy cars, and a vacation home.

He directed his unit’s supply contracts for “inert training aides” to fictitious companies. He and his accomplices ran the fake businesses and profited from the contracts.

27 Year Navy Career Down the Drain

Randolph had a long and distinguished Navy career up until he was caught funneling millions of dollars to himself and buddies. He spent nearly three decades serving his country before turning to criminal activities.

“It’s a shame that he squandered an otherwise outstanding 27-year Naval career,” said Shawn Cline, Prince’s defense attorney. “He suffered from a terrible gambling addiction and abused a position of trust to fuel that addiction.”

The Navy Times reports that Clayton Pressley III (former sailor) and Lt. j.g. Courtney Cloman (flight officer) served as Randolph’s accomplices.

How the Plot Went Down

Prince, a member of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 2, made requests to buy military equipment for his command. He signed off on the phony packages once they were delivered.

The Navy never received any of the products that they were paying for. Instead, Prince, Pressley, and Cloman were dividing the money up. They were eventually nabbed on charges of wire fraud and creating a false 2014 tax document.

Pressley is already in prison for identify theft and awaits sentencing on the latest charges. He’s currently serving two years in prison for his initial crime.

Cloman will be sentenced on February 7.

Prince is the first to be sentenced in the case. His 4+ year prison stint doesn’t bode well for Pressley and Cloman.

Prince began his Navy service in 1991, when he enlisted at age 18. He spent 17 years in the enlisted category before getting a commission in 2008. He became a lieutenant in 2012.

888 Poker Buys Remaining All American Poker Network Stake

January 6th, 2019

888poker-leaving-australia888 Poker has purchased the remaining stake in the All American Poker Network, making them the lone owner.

888 previously claimed 47% equity in All American. Their partner, Avenue Capital, owned the remaining 53%.

888 Poker struck a deal to buy out the remaining 53% for $28 million. They’ll pay $10 million right away to Avenue Capital, with the remaining $18 million coming before April 2019.

888 Poker Takes Another Step Forward in US Market

It’s no secret that 888 Poker has been positioning themselves to be a leader in America’s regulated online poker market. They’ve gained licensing in every state with legal internet poker and have continued investing on this front.

Itai Frieberger, CEO of 888 Holdings, believes that buying the All American Poker Network moves them one step closer to their goals.

“[This deal is] an important strategic step towards 888 achieving its exciting long-term potential in the US,” says Frieberger.

“Taking outright ownership of AAPN gives 888 additional operational, technological and commercial flexibility to develop innovative and exciting new partnerships and launch in new states, through both B2B and B2C channels, as and when future regulation allow.”

History of the All American Poker Network

The All American network was launched in 2014 as a collaboration between Avenue Capital and 888 Poker. Their goal was to spread the network to as many states with legal online poker as possible.

Things have moved slowly over the past five years, though, with only four states currently offering regulated online poker. Pennsylvania, the fourth state to legalize the activity, won’t launch their market until summer 2019.

Avenue Capital may have gotten tired of waiting and decided to sell their stake. 888 Poker, on the other hand, appears content with waiting for things to materialize.

888 Poker and the All American Network are currently running in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. The network features a monopoly in Delaware, where they supply internet poker to the state’s three racetracks.

888 uses the All American Network to share liquidity between all three states. They’re likely to add their Pennsylvanian player pool to the equation when the Keystone State begins offering online poker.

Poker Pro Got through Dark Bathroom Bet with Meditation & Pushups

December 30th, 2018

rich-atali-pokerPoker pro Rich Alati recently won a prop bet where he had to live in a dark bathroom for 30 days. Alati won the wager when his friend, Rory Young, bought him out for $62,400 after 20 days.

This is definitely one of the most-interesting poker prop bets of all time. And it only becomes more intriguing after Alati shed some light on how he got through the bet. Here are some details he shared with The Action Network.

Alati Passed the Time with Pushups & Meditation

There’s not a lot to do in a dark bathroom by yourself. Therefore, Alati created various distractions for himself to pass the time.

“I created a routine. I’d wake up and take a bath and a shower, I would eat, then I would do yoga and meditate and eat again,” he said.

“I worked out too. I was pretty creative. I did a lot of planks and sit-ups and pushups. I actually did incline pushups over the bathtub and dips from the ledge of the bathtub.”

Alati Had Unknowingly Prepared for the Bet

Rich Alati wasn’t preparing to live in a dark room for any measurable amount of time. However, he did do some things that helped him prepare for the wager.

“Rory didn’t know this, but things that I was doing in my life were leading up to this moment,” he explained.

“For the past six years, I had gotten into yoga, meditation and prayer. I had gone to Bali to a silent retreat where you don’t speak. And when you don’t speak, it turns you inward. I knew how to act in that room when it went inward.”

The Bet Caused Alati to Suffer Hallucinations

Alati’s family was concerned for him going into the bet. They had ever right to be worried too, because living in the dark is no picnic.

Alati suffered the downsides when he began to hallucinate. He had to battle these hallucinations until the bet ended.

“It started with shapes and colors. Then I saw a train,” he recalled.

“And I just had to convince myself it wasn’t real. But that was probably my hardest moment because there was some fear to it.

“[…] One time, the room was filled with all these white bubbles. I said to myself, “I know this is not real,” but I’m going to go along with it and I had a fun bubble party.

“There were other times, I saw windows on the bathroom, I saw ceiling fans that weren’t there, and at one point the ceiling just opened up and I saw the stars and the sky. It was absolutely beautiful.”

PokerStars Wins Appeal Over Kentucky’s $870m Fine

December 23rd, 2018

kentucky-pokerstars-lawsuitA Kentucky appeals court voted to throw out an $870 million judgement against PokerStars. A three-judge panel reversed a 2014 judgement that awarded $870.7 million to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The fine stemmed from PokerStars (owned by The Stars Group) violating the state’s anti-gambling law from 2006 to 2010. It was was the biggest-ever fine leveled against a company in Kentucky history.

What Happened in the $870m Lawsuit

Kentucky State Cabinet Secretary John Tilly filed the $870.7 million lawsuit against PokerStars in 2010. The sum was shocking when considering that Stars only made an estimated $18 million off Kentucky residents from 2006-10.

However, the state argued that their citizens lost around $290 million over the five-year span. Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate agreed with the state’s assessment and ordered that PokerStars pay triple the amount for breaking the law.

Wingate added an additional 12 percent interest until Stars repaid the entire amount. All the money was supposed to go to the Kentucky government, rather than the players who lost.

The Rational Group, which owned PokerStars at the time, launched an appeal. This process has been carried on by the new owner, The Stars Group.

The Reversal

On December 21, a three-judge panel rejected the original ruling by the trial court. Judge Allison Jones believed that allowing the judgement to stand would do nothing for those who lost money at PokerStars.

“The Commonwealth is not bringing this action to collect the money and then return losses to the ‘losers,’” wrote Jones. “It is bringing this action to collect treble damages for its own benefit.”

State Cabinet spokesman Mike Wynn is disappointed over the ruling. He wrote “[the] decision doesn’t appear to even address the substantive issues in the case, but rests entirely on procedural questions.”

Kentucky has the option to re-appeal the case. They could even go all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court. But as it stands, the Bluegrass State is currently a loser in this case.

This loss ends a string of successes by Kentucky against online gambling. Partypoker paid $15 million to settle a lawsuit leveled by Kentucky. Full Tilt Poker paid $6 million to end litigation.

Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl V and $3.67 Million

December 21st, 2018

Isaac Haxton has won the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl V and a $3,672,000 prize. Afterward, Haxton spoke about how great it is to take down a poker tournament — especially one with this big of a prize.

“There is no feeling like ending up with all the chips,” said Haxton.

“I don’t think that really changes anything about the poker player that I am and my legacy or anything like that. But, damn it feels good to win a tournament.”

Recap of the Super High Roller Bowl V

The Super High Roller Bowl V was held Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. 36 players made the trip to the Aria and paid the enormous $300,000 buy-in. This created a prize pool worth $10.8 million.

Some of the early bustouts included notables like Daniel Negreanu, Fedor Holz, and Phil Hellmuth. The bubble boy was Mikita Badziakouski, going out in eighth place on Day 2.

The seven final table participants returned on Day 3 to compete for the $10,800,000 in prizes. Britain’s Stephen Chidwick held the chip lead, but Haxton still felt confident going into the final day.

“I came in with nearly a quarter of the chips in play, maybe 23 percent or so,” Haxton explained. “I had good position on the other chip leader, and it was a table where I felt confident.

“Obviously, I had 23 percent of the chips in play, so maybe if I’m the best player in the world I’d win 26 percent of the time. So I feel pretty lucky that things ended up the way they did.”

Haxton had a good start to Day 3, eliminating Ali Imsirovic in seventh place. Igor Kurganov and Adrian Mateos went out in sixth and fifth place, respectively.

This opened the way for Haxton (pocket 9’s) to knock out Talal Shakerchi (AT) in fourth. He was also able to eliminate Chidwick (AQ) in third place with his pocket jacks.

Super High Roller Bowl V Heads Up

Alex Foxen had 5.84 million chips compared to Haxton’s 4.97 million entering heads-up play. But a huge turning point is when Haxton won a big pot over Foxen (AJ) with his pocket 8’s.

From here, he jumped out to a 7:1 chip advantage and never looked back. The final hand saw Foxen go all-in with A-8. Haxton called with K-J and the race was on.

The flop came out A-Q-6, which put Foxen in the lead. However, a king and jack on the turn and river, respectively, gave Haxton a two pair and the win.

Super High Roller Bowl V Final Table Results

1. Isaac Haxton – $3,672,000
2. Alex Foxen – $2,160,000
3. Stephen Chidwick – $1,512,000
4. Talal Shakerchi – $1,188,000
5. Adrian Mateos – $972,000
6. Igor Kurganov – $756,000
7. Ali Imsirovic – $540,000

Lindsey Graham Still Trying to Ban Online Poker

December 17th, 2018

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is reviving his attempts to ban online poker across the United States. He wants to use the confirmation hearing of future attorney general William Barr to rail against poker and other forms of internet gambling.

According to Gambling Compliance, Graham will likely be the next Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He can therefore use this platform to get Barr to hear his thoughts on online poker.

“This will be one of the first things I will talk to Mr. Barr about,” says Graham.

Graham Wants an Update on the 1961 Wire Act

Lindsey Graham was infamously part of casino owner Sheldon Adelson’s attempt to take down online gambling. Adelson funded an effort to pass the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which sought to ban internet gaming on a federal level.

Graham, who’s received significant contributions from Adelson over the years, played a key role in trying to get RAWA passed.

The South Carolina politician has continued his efforts under the Donald Trump regime by working on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The latter lent Graham an ear but ultimately did little to reverse the Department of Justice’s 2011 opinion on the Wire Act. The DoJ believes that this 1961 law only applies to sports betting.

Another Futile Effort?

us-online-pokerNeither Graham nor any other Adelson-backed politicians have had any luck with pushing RAWA through.

Graham is currently the most-powerful politician standing who could get the law passed. However, it seems unlikely that he’ll have any better chance convincing Barr to join his futile quest.

Sessions was about as anti-gambling as a politician can get. But even he failed to act on helping RAWA pass.

The federal government as a whole is giving little credence to online gambling right now. They’ve instead left the matter up to the states.

With several states already featuring online poker, it’s unlikely that Congress wants to step in and ban the activity any time soon.

PokerStars Parent Company & NBA Sign Partnership Deal

December 15th, 2018

pokerstars-nba-dealThe NBA and PokerStars’ parent company, The Stars Group, have signed a partnership deal. Both sides will promote each other via gaming (Stars) and social media channels.

This agreement opens the way for The Stars Group’s BetStars to appear on NBA.com and NBA TV. Besides the advertising benefits, BetStars will receive real-time data.

NBA Head of Fantasy and Gaming Scott Kaufman-Ross has the following to say:

“This dynamic partnership will be another way to create authentic fan engagement with league logos and official NBA betting data, while leveraging Stars’ global expertise to further optimize the fan experience.”

BetStars Hoping to Capitalize on NBA Partnership in America

It’s no secret that The Stars Group has been eyeing expansion in the United States. They’re currently approved to offer online gaming in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

BetStars is licensed to offer sports betting in New Jersey. The hope is that Pennsylvania will feature internet sports betting at some point too.

Aligning with the NBA — America’s second-most-popular pro sports league — will definitely help The Stars Group’s presence in the US.

But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) could potentially threaten this with a bill that would allow the federal government to control sports betting. Hatch’s legislation calls for the U.S. Attorney General to approve legal online and land-based sportsbooks.

The legislation also calls on the federal government to deny any operators that accepted American wagers starting Oct. 13, 2006 and beyond. This is when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was signed into effect.

NBA Also Has Deal with MGM Resorts

The NBA formed a partnership with MGM Resorts International four months ago. They were the first major sporting organization to do so.

Since that time, the NHL and MLB have also inked deals with MGM Resorts. The NFL is the only major sports league to avoid entering into an agreement with a sports gambling related business.

Rich Alati Emerges from Bathroom Prop Bet with $62k

December 14th, 2018

rich-alati-pokerPoker player Rich Alati recently accepted a prop bet where he had to live in a bathroom for 30 days. He’s now walking out of the restroom $62,400 richer after just 20 days.

Fellow poker player and friend Rory Young bet Alati $100,000 that he couldn’t live in the bathroom for one month. Special conditions included that the lights had to be turned off, and Alati have no communication with the outside world.

Young felt that Alati was on his path towards winning the wager. Therefore, he bought him out for $62.4k.

Prop Bet Included a Contract

According to Forbes, both players drew up an 11-page legal document that defined the bet. They each placed $100,000 in escrow until the wager was finished.

Three judges were also brought in to make sure that Alati lived up to the bet’s conditions. He was only allowed to have a bed, shower, trash can, and refrigerator (no lights) in the bathroom.

Any device that could provide light or communicate with the outside world was removed. Alati’s food was delivered on an irregular basis so that he couldn’t tell how long he’d been in the restroom.

Alati Found to Be in Good Spirits

There was concern that Rich Alati could be putting his mental health in danger by staying in a dark bathroom for so long. His family even tried to talk him out of taking on the wager.

Rory Young delivered his friend’s food on the 20th day of the challenge. Rather than finding his buddy a nervous wreck, he was actually in good spirits.

Young initially offered $25,000 as a buyout after believing that he could no longer win. Some negotiating took place, causing both sides to agree to a $62,400 deal.

“At the last food drop, he was stronger than ever,” said Young. “I underestimated his mindset, his resolve. I’m not disappointed I made the bet, I thought I had the better side, but he has exceeded all my expectations.”

Phil Hellmuth Wins Tennis Prop Bet – Based on Returning Pro’s Serve

December 8th, 2018

phil-hellmuth-pokerPhil Hellmuth may be a great poker player. But he’s far from an athlete in the traditional sense.

Regardless, Hellmuth was willing to make a prop bet based on his ability to return a tennis pro’s serve.

He wagered $7,000 that he could return an 80 mph serve at least once in 20 tries. He bet another $2,000 to win $16,000 (8:1 odds) that he could win a point against the professional.

Hellmuth Does Better than Expected

Few gave the Poker Brat much of a chance to return a pro’s tennis serve. Even with the serve being maxed at 80 mph — rather than the 100 mph standard — he was at a severe disadvantage.

Nevertheless, Phil managed to get his racket on a few balls in the early going. Here’s a look at some of the attempts along with how he fared in returning them:

You can see that Hellmuth was just a few feet away from keeping the last shot in play.

Then the unthinkable happened: Hellmuth not only returned a serve, but also managed to win a point. You can see that he drops a short shot, and the pro muffs the return:

Hellmuth Successful in Another Prop Bet

Phil Hellmuth is no stranger to winning prop bets with fellow poker players. Last year, he made a $1,000 wager (10:1 odds) with Doug Polk on his ability to make a three-pointer in one shot.

Hellmuth may be 6’8″, but Polk wasn’t counting on the Poker Brat being much of a basketball player. His form doesn’t look great on the three-pointer. But it’s good enough to sink the shot and win $10,000.

Poker’s Rich Alati Locking Himself in Dark Bathroom for $100k Bet

December 8th, 2018

rich-alati-poker-prop-betPoker pro Rich Alati has been living in a dark bathroom since November 21. Assuming he can last until December 21, he stands to win a $100,000 prop bet.

Rory Young is betting the $100k against Alati’s  ability to last in the bathroom for 30 days. Making matters more difficult is that Alati only has a bed and bathtub to keep him company.

“The conditions are complete darkness, so no electronics, no light-emitting devices, no drugs of any kind,” Young explained.

Alati Has Some Luxury Perks Available

Having to live in complete darkness for a month with no entertainment sounds extremely depressing. However, Alati does have the use of a few luxuries.

“He has pretty lavish toiletries like Epsom salts, sugar scrubs, that kind of stuff,” said Young.

Alati’s food will be delivered irregularly, making it harder for him to tell the time. Young made this stipulation to ensure the challenge is more difficult to complete. The one solace, though, is that Alati will get whatever kind of food he wants.

Alati’s Family Is Worried

Rich Alati’s family and friends can check out how he’s doing via livestream. But Atali won’t have any communication with the outside world. This makes it perfectly understandable why his family is worried about the bet.

“They tried to get him to not do it but he doesn’t listen to anybody but himself,” Young said.

“She (Alati’s sister) tried very hard to get him to pull out and he wasn’t having it. She’s pretty worried.”

The poker player’s father is also wondering how his son will do.

“I’m definitely concerned,” said Mr. Alati. “But I chose to focus on the positive, wishing for a successful completion of the wager.

“I gave him a chance to talk me through it and hear him out … He’s in a profession where they do things that other people wouldn’t do.”

Alati currently has just under two weeks left to last in the dark bathroom in order to receive the $100,000.