Archive for the ‘Online Poker’ Category

Jao Poker Closes – Player Funds Likely Gone

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

jao-pokerJao Poker, an offshore US-facing online poker site, has announced that they’re closing. And the worst part is that it doesn’t look like players will receive their funds back.

Concerns have been raised about Jao Poker for months, many of which are listed in this TwoPlusTwo thread. One of the initial complaints is that the affiliate program essentially amounted to scammy multi-level marketing. The affiliates, who frequently spammed poker-related Facebook groups, had to pay $250 to join. They then turned around and recruited others to become affiliates.

Some players also dealt with a site promoter named Tam Nguyen, who was extremely unprofessional. In a story where a tournament player complained about losing $27 after being disconnected, Nguyen him a “low life bitch” after refunding the money.

More recently, a TwoPlusTwo posted named “zxjaexz” posted concerns over not receiving their withdrawal:

“I requested a $1550 withdrawal via bitcoin on 2/3 and received an e-mail back saying it will be processed in 3 business days. Several e-mails later and 2-3 weeks have gone by with no bitcoin received nor any replys back.”

jao-poker-customer-serviceOnce the site announced their closure, Nguyen was very dismissive of the matter, noting that he “didn’t own the site” and didn’t “have anyone’s money.” He added that the promoters aren’t “the poker site’s bank, we just promote and get paid.”

While this may have been true, Jao Poker has all the signs of a classic Ponzi scheme. And it’s illegal to profit off a Ponzi scheme in many countries.

Unfortunately, Jao Poker operates in the world of offshore online poker sites. Therefore, those affected by this matter have little-to-no recourse to get their money back.

Jao Poker joins the likes of Lock Poker, Absolute Poker, and UB Poker and shutting down without refunding players’ money.

Poker Players Alliance on Brink of Extinction

Friday, February 16th, 2018

ppa-donationsThe Poker Players Alliance (PPA) was formed in 2005 to help legalize online poker across the United States. And the PPA has received funding from over 1 million members, along with online poker sites like PokerStars over the years. Unfortunately, it now seems that the PPA is struggling to make ends meet.

We covered how former PPA Executive Director John Pappas stepped down from the organization earlier this month. And vice president Rich Muny has now taken his place.

Through TwoPlusTwo, Muny revealed that the PPA needs funding badly or they’re in danger of shutting down. Here’s a comment he made when responding to criticism over the PPA fighting for sports betting:

“Thanks. TBH, though, I don’t see future corporate donations from poker-only entities and, without that, I don’t know that we have a path to continued viability. Even with me back to being an unpaid volunteer as of the beginning of this year, it’s a narrowing opportunity in terms of funding we need to continue operations.”

Specifically, the PPA needs $25,000 in funding by April to stay afloat. Muny is already an unpaid volunteer, so the $25k would simply go to the group’s lobbying efforts and expenses.

Is there a Need for the PPA Right Now?

One of the biggest issues raised in the TwoPlusTwo forum is whether the PPA should continue if it’s becoming an all-around gambling advocacy group. In other words, some poker players would rather see the group stop operating, rather than lose its identity.

The PPA has played a large role in helping get poker legalized in four states. But this process is much slower than people had hoped for. This is why poker sites have largely stopped funding the organization.

With just over a month left to gather enough donations, we’ll soon see if the PPA can continue as either a poker-focused organization or an all-around gambling lobbying group.

John Pappas Steps Down as PPA Executive Director

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

john-pappas-ppaJohn Pappas has been very influential in lobbying for poker players’ rights over the last decade.

However, Pappas will now step down as Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).

Pappas will officially vacate the role at the end of February, allowing PPA Vice President Rich Muny to take over.

Pappas Proud of His Work

Pappas is very happy with the work that he and the PPA as a whole have done to further America’s online poker scene. He also appreciates how the US is moving forward towards legal online poker, casino, and sports betting in various states.

“I am proud of the work I have done with the PPA board of directors and the amazing PPA staff to bring us to this point,” said Pappas.

“I will miss working for the poker community on a day-to-day basis, but I am confident that the PPA will continue its great work with Rich Muny at the helm.”

Pappas will still Work with PPA

While Pappas may no longer be the Executive Director of the PPA, he’ll stay on the D.C. lobbying group’s Board of Directors. This is a big help, because he can offer advice and recommendations using his wealth of experience.

Poker Hall of Fame member Linda Johnson is very appreciative of the work that Pappas has done for the poker advocacy.

“For almost a decade, he has been the political voice and face of the poker community and regulated internet gaming advocates,” said Johnson. “He leaves the organization in a strong position to continue to ensure that consumer voices drive the internet gaming debate.”

As for Muny, he’s very active on poker forums and continues to devote a full-time effort to legalizing online poker in more states. That said, he should make a fine choice as the new PPA Executive Director.

Daniel Negreanu Unhappy about Seating Scripts in Online Poker

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

daniel-negreanu-seating-scriptsDaniel Negreanu is mainly known for his live poker accomplishments. But he also plays online poker too. And Negreanu’s recent internet poker session had him angry about seating scripts.

Negreanu sat down at empty $50/$100 no-limit hold’em tables to work on his skills. And he noticed that players were joining his table, then immediately leaving whenever he left.

“As soon as I sat down, the table filled immediately, within three-quarters of a second,” Negreanu said via YouTube.

“Obviously with me, these guys have a big advantage, or at least a perceived big advantage, because this is their regular game and I’m not strong at those because I don’t play.”

Seating scripts are programs that online poker players use to track the most-profitable tables. When these programs find a good table, the user will join and play against inferior/less-experienced competition.

But seating scripts actually backfired for the players in this instance. Negreanu said that he’s been learning some new things from his coaches. He won $30,000 in his first session, and another $10,000 in his next session.

Nevertheless, he didn’t like how players were clearly using seating scripts to hunt him.

What’s being Done about Seating Scripts?

PokerStars has been trying to deal with their scripts problem since 2014. But they haven’t had much success in ending this practice.

Negreanu did discuss how PokerStars is doing some new things with their lobby seating to limit the problem.

“One of the ways that they’re doing that is a new system for seating tables,” he said. “So right now, you can go into the lobby and you can just see what game is going, 5/10 [for example], I wanna play in that game with that guy. That won’t be the case anymore.”

Hopefully Negreanu’s rant will help inspire a fix to something that’s plagued internet poker for a while. You can see him talk about seating scripts beginning around 18:30 below.

Boxing Champ Vijender Singh Signs with Poker Baazi

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

vijender-singh-pokerbaaziIndia has a budding online poker market on the brink of explosion. And this has boosted the number of celebrity signings within India’s internet poker market. The latest involves boxing champ Vijender Singh signing with the website

Singh has been famous ever since becoming the first Indian to win an Olympic boxing medal for the country of 1.3 billion. He earned a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and also won gold at the 2006 Asian Games.

Singh turned pro in 2015 and has since won the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight and WBO Oriental Super Middleweight title belts.

That said, Vijender Singh should certainly bring some name recognition to Poker Baazi. They’ve already put his picture on the front page of the website in an effort to capitalize on his likeness.

Official Statement from Poker Baazi on Signing Vijender Singh

Below, you can see a good portion of Poker Baazi’s statement after signing the Olympic boxer:

“ welcomes its new brand ambassador, Boxing champion Mr. Vijender Singh. The name Vijender Singh does not need an introduction. He is the pride of India and a gem of a boxer. He has not only won several national level gold medals but also proved his proficient boxing skills in the international rings. He has represented India at the prestigious Athens Summer Olympics in 2004 and Commonwealth Games in 2006. He bagged a gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games and brought the first ever Olympic medal to India for Boxing when he won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“He has been awarded with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award – India’s highest sporting award and Padmashri- the fourth highest civilian award. His performance in the ring has changed the picture and raised the levels very high for the realm of Indian Boxing.

“ is the pioneer of celebrity brand ambassadors for the online poker websites. Earlier, Sunny Leone was the brand ambassador of and now in 2018, one of the most revered personalities of the Indian Sports Industry, Vijender Singh, would be representing at large.”

RAWA Pens Another Anti-Online Poker Letter

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

sheldon-adelsonIt’s been a while since we’ve heard from the Sheldon Adelson-created Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). But Poker Players Alliance (PPA) vice president Rich Muny believes that RAWA is behind four Congressman writing a letter to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The letter asks Rosenstein to reverse the Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) 2011 opinion on the Wire Act. The OLC stated that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting, and not online casino games or poker.

Dated Dec 19, 2017, the recent letter has signatures from Republican U.S. Representatives Dan Donovan of New York, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Tom Garrett of Virginia.

The letter also bears similarities to a piece written by Senators Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein in December. This makes it very likely that RAWA is behind both efforts.

The Wire Act of 1961 makes it illegal to offer sports betting over communication lines. And Adelson wants this to cover all of online gambling, for the sake of his land-based casino enterprise.

Adelson has been unsuccessful in his efforts so far. But with a net worth of $39.4 billion, he has more than enough money to throw at his problem.

Official RAWA Letter Sent on Dec 19, 2017

Dear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein,

Two days before Christmas in 2011, the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel issued a legal opinion overturning 50 years of interpretation of the federal Wire Act and opening the door to online casinos.

sheldon-adelson-poker-losing-warWith the stroke of a pen, an unelected lawyer in an obscure office fundamentally changed our nation’s gambling policy – taking an activity previously confined to distinct, controlled, and monitored physical locations and permitting it to be offered 24/7 on mobile devices, laptops, tablets, and home computers.”

Internet gambling carries with it significant law enforcement implications, as the pervasive nature and anonymity of the internet makes it ripe for exploitation by criminals. The FBI has warned Congress that “online casinos are vulnerable to a wide array of criminal schemes,” and that it “may provide more opportunities for criminals to launder illicit proceeds with increased anonymity.”

The FBI also stated that “online poker could be used to transfer ill-gotten gains from one person to another, or several people,” and has testified before Congress that it has been investigating the use of online casinos by terrorist organizations. Other legal issues arise in preventing online casinos from targeting children and, since the internet knows no state boundaries, in protecting the rights of jurisdictions that bar the activity.

In advising Congress, the Bureau inferred it has higher priorities for its limited resources than regulating a legalized Internet gambling industry – specifically, “Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Cyber threats to critical infrastructures.” Considering how difficult and resource-intensive pursuit of Internet crimes can be, it is unclear from where the funding will come for law enforcement to police an online gambling industry.

These, and other law enforcement issues should have been fully considered before the Justice Department decided to stop fully enforcing the Wire Act against online casinos – but, according to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, law enforcement concerns were not part of the mix.

A decision of this import, and one which carries such law enforcement risks as this does, should only be made after a full and public debate in Congress. As such, we urge the OLC Opinion be withdrawn to stop the spread of online casinos across the country in order to give Congress the opportunity to work with your department, as well as state and local law enforcement, to establish a clear federal policy.

Felipe Ramos Departs from Team PokerStars

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

felipe-ramos-pokerJanuary has seen a lot of turnover with Team PokerStars. And Felipe Ramos is the latest player who’ll leaving the team. The Brazilian poker player broke the news via Twitter with the following:

“As I have announced in December my departure, now it is official and I am no longer with PokerStars. I could not have reached more success in and off the tables as a PokerStars Team Pro in these 2,5 years we’ve been partners. And I am very thankful.”

Ramos was Coming Off His Best Year

It’s interesting timing that Ramos is leaving Team PokerStars now. After all, he was having his best year as a pro, winning $762,265 on the tournament circuit. This helped pushed his overall winnings to $2,190,092.

Another recent score that increased Ramos’ winnings was a fifth place finish in the 2018 partypoker Caribbean Poker Party $5,300 Main Event. This earned him a $220,000 payout.

Another puzzling thing is that Ramos is currently rated as the top South American player by the Global Poker Index (GPI).

Whatever the reason is behind the departure, Ramos isn’t dwelling on it:

“We did not reach an agreement, and it is time to move on. The company’s priorities have changed. I am a poker ambassador. I build player bases, I inspire people to play poker and help them to start and keep going. That will always be my number one priority.”

Ramos signed with Team PokerStars in July 2015. He represented them for over two and a half years before leaving the world’s largest poker site.

Mercier and Selbst also Out

Jason Mercier and Vanessa Selbst also split with PokerStars in January. This makes more sense than Ramos, because they were having down years.

Selbst made just $8,231 in live tournaments last year. She left to work for the world’s biggest hedge fund in Bridgewater Associates.

Mercier had a better year with $1,144,367. But this still represents the third-lowest earning total of his career.

Bad Beat Jackpot Hit for $994k

Friday, January 12th, 2018

poker-bad-beat-jackpotIt’s been years since an online poker bad beat jackpot reached nearly $1 million. But this finally happened recently, with several players sharing in a jackpot worth $994,119.

BetOnine, which is on the Chico Network, was the site of the huge prize. And this is the largest bad beat jackpot they’ve paid out since the promotion started in 2016.

How the Bad Beat Jackpot Happened

Six players were sitting on a $1/$2 Texas hold’em table. Two players sat out the hand, while four others were dealt in.

“Tyrant” (Jd-Jc) and “pokerplayer4ever” (Qd-Td) got into a pre-flop raising war that made the other two dealt-in players fold.

The flop of 8d-9d-Jd gave pokerplayer4ever a straight flush, while Tyrant held a set of jacks.

A 4d and Jd landed on the turn and river, respectively. Both players shoved their chips into the middle on the river, creating a main pot worth $395.

Pokerplayer4ever won the hand and the $395. But Tyrant was the biggest winner (or loser) overall, collecting a $273,382 share of the jackpot. Pokerplayer4ever, meanwhile, earned $149,018 for winning.

The other two players who were dealt into the hand received $74,509 each. 93 other players who were currently at the Chico Network’s bad beat tables each pocketed $599.

The two players who sat out the hand have to be kicking themselves. After all, they could’ve shared in the combined $149k in winnings that the other two folders who were dealt into the hand shared.

Will We See Another Bad Beat Jackpot worth $1 Million?

Chico’s bad beat prize has been reset to $273,382, which is 27.5% of the $994k jackpot. And this is certainly a sizeable prize.

But this begs the question of if we’ll ever see a jackpot worth $1 million again. Online poker doesn’t receive as much traffic as its golden age (mid and late 2000s). However, it’s always possible that Chico gets another massive bad beat jackpot going again, especially on the heels of this payout.

Jason Mercier Leaving Team PokerStars – But Not Retiring

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

jason-mercier-wsopJason Mercier has represented PokerStars for eight and a half years. But this partnership has now come to an end, namely due to Mercier’s different priorities.

The 5-time WSOP champ now balances his poker career with his wife and three-month-old son.

He blogged about his situation, noting that he skipped the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this year for the first time in a decade.

Here’s one excerpt from his post:

“This is my first time missing the PCA since I started traveling to play live poker. Up until this year I had gone ten years in a row. It was at the PCA that I had my first taste of live poker. I also had played the $100k super high roller event every year that is has been offered there (seven years).

“My choice to skip the PCA was hard, however all the choices that eventually led me to that decision were quite easy.

“It all started in the summer of 2016, when I decided I was going to propose to my girlfriend. She said yes, and the next decision was when and where to get married. We had a short engagement, followed by an amazing wedding. We both knew we wanted to have kids right away, and luckily she got pregnant just two months after we married.

“Our baby boy Marco Henry was born October 6, 2017. My life was changed forever that day, and for the better. Becoming a parent brings about a complete transformation of who you are. I no longer let myself be so concerned with what I want, but more so the well being of my wife and my child (and future children). Serving and leading my family is of utmost importance.”

It should be noted that Mercier is by no means retiring from poker. I discussed how Vanessa Selbst chose to walk away from playing the game professionally this month.

Mercier, on the other hand, is still going to play in poker tournaments frequently. He just won’t have to adhere to his PokerStars travel schedule any longer.

The 31-year-old has immediate plans to play in the 2018 WSOP. Mercier is also planning on going back to the PCA next year.

Martin Jacobson Signs with 888poker

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

martin-jacobson-wsop-main-event-champ888poker has signed 2014 WSOP Main Event champ Martin Jacobson as a brand ambassador. The 30-year-old poker pro joins other famous members of team 888 like Chris Moorman, Dominik Nitsche, Kara Scott, and Parker ‘Tonkaaaa” Talbot.

After the signing was made public, Jacobson discussed why joining 888poker makes sense.

“888poker and I have a mutual interest to make poker great again in taking back the game,” said Jacobson. “888poker’s goal is to host prestigious events with huge guarantees affordable to anyone by providing a wide range of buy-ins along with satellites to all tournaments.”

The Swede also said that he likes 888’s commitment to charity, especially since he’s a big donor to Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) and Raising for Effective Giving (REG).

“888poker see the importance of charitable contributions and are looking to integrate it as a standard fixture in all of their LIVE events,” he explained. “This statement of intent is something I value highly, and therefore I’m incredibly excited to come on board.”

More on Jacobson’s Poker Career

martin-jacobson-pokerJacobson isn’t just some Main Event champ who lucked his way through a big field and quickly fizzled out of poker. Instead, he’s stayed very active on the tournament felt and has won far more money beyond his $10 million WSOP payout.

Jacobson has banked $1.3 million in tourney winnings this year alone, which includes a $641,382 cash in the $111,111 WSOP High Roller for One Drop. Overall, he’s earned more than $16.5 million in his poker tournament career.

Thanks to his rise from a little-known online grinder to a WSOP Main Event champ, Jacobson wants to help others reach their poker goals as an 888 ambassador.

“[I want to help players] realize their dream of starting from the bottom and eventually becoming a World Champion,” he said.