Posts Tagged ‘Black Friday’

Europeans expected to continue thriving at WSOP

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The 2014 WSOP Main Event featured some interesting history on the European side. First off, Martin Jacobson became the first Swedish player to win the tournament, collecting a $10 million payout in the process. And with Jacobson, Norway’s Felix Stephensen (2nd) and Netherlands’ Jorryt van Hoof (3rd) taking the top three spots, this is the first time in WSOP history that Europeans have gone 1-2-3. But is this just a rarity, or something that we can expect to see more of?

There were pretty good odds that a European champion would emerge because van Hoof and Stephensen came on to the final table with the first and second-most chips respectively. However, for the Europeans to sweep the top three spots – with four Americans on the final table – is a new landmark in the game. And according to Aaron Todd of CasinoCityTimes, we can likely expect more of this moving forward.

Todd’s argument stems from the fact that much of Europe has easier access to online poker. After all, multiple nations throughout the continent have taken steps to regulate the online game. Meanwhile, the United States has seen less and less regulation, thanks to the 2006 UIGEA and Black Friday (2011). The latter was especially a big blow because it took away Americans’ access to the biggest sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt.

Taking everything into account, it would seem like Europe has a big edge moving forward in the WSOP. “Maybe Europeans have a small advantage because online poker is still widely available,” van Hoof explained. “I guess that makes us able to practice more, so I hope America gets (online) poker back soon, so they’ll get to practice more as well.”

“I don’t want to be mean to all the Americans,” said Stephensen. “But I definitely feel like Europeans are stronger right now. You get in a lot of volume, and when you play online, it’s usually against tougher opponents than you play against (in live games). I think that has a big impact on why it’s evolving this way.”

If one isn’t convinced online poker availability could be increasing the Europeans’ presence at the Main Event final table, then consider the following stats that Todd provided:

In the last four years, 33.3 percent of the final table players have been European, 55.5 percent have been American and 8.3 percent have come from outside of America and Europe. In the previous eight years, 73.6 percent of the final table players have been American, 16.7 percent were European and 9.7 percent were from other areas.

PokerStars Return to US draws Closer

Friday, September 12th, 2014

What once seemed like it was years away appears to be drawing very close as PokerStars is poised to enter the United States again. The world’s largest online poker site has been out of America ever since Black Friday. However, according to New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak, PokerStars should be in the US within the next few weeks.

Lesniak has been a catalyst behind New Jersey’s online gaming efforts all along, and he sees Stars as a major boon to the state’s operation. Furthermore, the senator envisions the Garden State as an international hub for internet gaming, with PokerStars playing a key role in all of this.

Assuming what he says is true, Stars could help out the ailing Atlantic City, which has already lost four casinos this year alone. Here’s a look at what Lesniak told PokerNews:

It’s going to be soon and it’s going to be huge. PokerStars is going to make a huge investment in Atlantic City, not just in Internet gaming but in their brand and in bringing attractions to Atlantic City.

Of course, one huge reason why Stars is suddenly being welcomed by the New Jersey government is because they were sold to Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion. Amaya brings a clean reputation to the matter since they had nothing to do with PokerStars’ pre-Black Friday operations in America.

The Garden State could definitely use a shot in the arm since their iGaming operation has only netted a disappointing $83 million through August. If they are to turn up the pace and generate more money, their iGaming will need better products, advertising and promotions.

Lucky for them, PokerStars figures to bring all of this to New Jersey. Additionally, Stars should cause other iGaming operations to step up or risk becoming obsolete. But first thing’s first, the Division of Gaming still needs to announce PokerStars’ acceptance into New Jersey.

Where have the Poker Fish gone…to your Local Casino

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Wondering where all of the online poker fish have gone over the past few years? A great place to check would be your local casino, at least according to The Atlantic, which wrote a great piece on the matter this week.

The article follows a poker pro, who goes by the alias “John Calvin,” around the Maryland Live! poker room. The article also adds some details about 2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson, who happens to be present when the writer is there. Here’s one excerpt from the story:

John Calvin (not his real name) swims somewhere in the middle. He is a grinder, a cautious type who doesn’t bluff that often or do anything hair-raisingly spectacular in tight situations, and who makes his living by doggedly adhering to the odds against lesser players. He got his start making a few dollars a hand on the Web site PartyPoker, then graduated to long weekends of live play at the Borgata before taking up residence at a casino poker room in Charles Town, West Virginia. These days, he commutes from his home, in Washington, D.C., to Maryland Live, where he feeds on fish who are happy to lose a few hundred dollars an hour playing No Limit Texas Hold ’Em.

The Atlantic piece also describes some of the other players at the Maryland Live! poker room – both sharks and fish. If you read it, you’ll get an in-depth look at how somebody like John Calvin spots the weaker players and takes advantage of the situation.

Anybody who plays online poker these days would certainly appreciate reading the article. The internet game seems to have fewer and fewer fish every day, making skilled players wonder if the pool is drying up. But it’s nice to see that there are still places where bad players are donating enough money that good pros can earn “$300 to $400 an hour.”

The only problem is that you’re going to have to visit your local casino to find a large population of fish. And this can be a problem for those who are short on time and/or really shy. But we have to say that this is preferable to grinding 12 tables of $0.05/$0.10 Hold’em just to make profits.

Poker Ban called for Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Earlier this month, well-known poker journalist Diamond Flush stated that Chris “Jesus” Ferguson and Howard Lederer are contemplating a return to the 2014 WSOP. Obviously this is controversial and something that would stir up a lot of emotions in the Rio this summer. So before that happens, one writer thinks a ban should be put on Ferguson and Lederer.

Lee Davy wrote an interesting piece on these two pariahs that suggests barring them from WSOP events, much like David Diaz (drunken behavior last summer) and Chan Pelton (stealing chip in WSOP Circuit event) have been.

One person whom Davy spoke extensively to about all of this is “The Voice of Poker,” Jesse May. Here’s one excerpt of what May told Davy:

On the issue of forgiveness. I am a very forgiving person and will forgive anyone. But Ferguson has said nothing about the Full Tilt issue and Lederer has denied any wrongdoing – so how can you forgive either of them if they don’t admit to doing anything wrong?

Where I come from – my gambling background – honesty and trust is a big thing, and I think personally, because I have been around for a long time, that there was a sort of unspoken agreement about Full Tilt that made it different.

That one of the things about them was they represented a certain ethic, an openness and a certain class of people in poker who stood for something.

I feel very disappointed personally about what happened, and as far as the poker world goes they both fell from grace fairly spectacularly and I don’t have the time of day for either of them.

Despite May’s feelings of distrust towards Lederer and Ferguson, he thinks they should be allowed to play in the 2014 WSOP if they want to. However, Davy concludes his piece by disagreeing, arguing that just the sheer appearance of these two could cause physical violence and a host of other negative emotions.

Maybe Davy is going a little too far in suggesting that somebody is likely to punch Ferguson or Lederer for their roles in Black Friday. But then again, these two did illicit some scumbag behavior while running Full Tilt. And like Davy argues, they basically damaged every brand in poker. So a lifetime ban from the WSOP and beyond certainly isn’t out of line.

Will $82m in Full Tilt Repayments give Online Poker a Boost?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

By now, much of the poker community has heard that the US Department of Justice has approved $82 million worth of Full Tilt Poker repayments. Over 30,000 players will be receiving money back that was previously locked up on Full Tilt.

With the US DOJ’s approval now official, the Garden City Group can begin distributing tens of millions of dollars to affected players. And now that people will finally be getting their money back, one huge question is if this is going to have a big impact on the poker community.

Most of those who are owed money didn’t have a significant amount on Full Tilt. It’s being reported that the majority of players are looking at getting back $200 or less. However, there are also a number of grinders who are going to receive a fortune.

Take Blair Hinkle, for instance, who won the FTOPS XIX Main Event along with a $1 million prize. Hinkle took this event down just weeks before Full Tilt stopped servicing American players due to Black Friday. Shortly after Black Firday, he wanted to cash out $48,000 of the winnings, but was given the runaround by Full Tilt’s staff.

This was just a precursor to what many other pros would experience in the aftermath of April 15th, 2011, when $82 million worth of American players’ funds were stranded on Full Tilt. And when the US DOJ took over following the site’s financial meltdown and PokerStars buying Full Tilt, it only delayed the process. But now, many of these pros are getting their money back, which could mean great things for poker.

With so much cash going back into players’ hands, we should definitely expect some more high stakes play. Furthermore, we can expect more players at all cash stakes and tournaments. This is $82 million that was taken out of circulation over two and a half years ago. So it’ll definitely be nice to see at least some of it returning to online poker and making the games more juicy.

Chris Moneymaker talks Possible Full Tilt Sale, Improving his Game

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Unlike some WSOP Main Event champions, Chris Moneymaker has really withstood the test of time. Once a little-known account from Tennessee, the 2003 Main Event champ has carved out a very nice poker career for himself.

Moneymaker recently sat down with PokerListings to discuss how he’s managed to stay in the game so long, as well as the possibility that Full Tilt Poker could be sold soon.

In regard to the latter, Moneymaker was asked if he thought Full Tilt was struggling. He certainly doesn’t believe this is the case after citing the poker room’s sheer size. But he did say, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Full Tilt is sold off eventually.”

As for the potential buyer, the poker pro believes that a major land-based casino could make the investment. “No, it would rather be a brick-and-mortar casino like Caesars.” He continued by saying, “Any big, affluent casino that can afford to pay $950 million or whatever it’ll cost. Personally, I think that buying Full Tilt was an ingenious move. PokerStars gets lucky in spots, but they also make pretty good decisions.”

Like we mentioned before, Moneymaker has been steadily improving his poker skills over the years. He’s recently received a boost after hiring fellow pro Calvin Anderson to coach him. “Yes, I’m actually speaking to him more than ever. Only the other night we had a five-hour conversation,” he said. “I’m very happy with my game at the moment, all I need is some results coming in. I didn’t get very lucky in coin flip or similar situations lately.”

Moneymaker also offered some advice for aspiring poker players. He said, “If you’re a recreational player, you’re probably better off with a training site that shows video and teaches strategy. But if you want to take it to a professional level, investing money to improve your game is definitely worth it. I know players who haven’t improved in 15 years and the reason is that they’ve never really tried.”

Even 10 years after winning a WSOP Main Event, Chris Moneymaker is still working hard and getting better. This being said, we can expect the famed pro to stick around for many years in the future.

Dan Cates and Viffer in Heated Argument over Side Bet

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Dan “jungleman12” Cates claims he’s made an agreement with Tom Dwan that will finally get the durrrr Challenge started again. It’s been a long time since both players have squared off against each other, and Cates hopes they can finally finish the 50k hands they set out to play in 2010.

An interesting side story that’s been developing lately is a feud between Cates and live cash pro David “Viffer” Peat. These two entered into a prop bet on the durrrr Challenge, whereby Viffer put lots of money on Dwan to win. Cates explained this by telling PokerListings, “I booked a 20% crossbook with Viffer for the durrrr Challenge. I also did a side bet of $50k to his $62k.”

The story took a big turn recently when Cates was playing a $2k/$4k cash game in Vegas. Viffer had a piece of Jungleman’s action, due to business he’d done with other guys that Cates knew. After the session was over, Jungleman paid Viffer his $160k stake, and the latter said, “By the way, I’m not paying you for the durrrr Challenge.”

Cates said Peat strongly believes that Black Friday incident was an “act of god” and like a “rain delay in baseball” where everything was a wash. So because of this, the cross bet between he and Cates should supposedly be off.

Jungleman countered by saying that nearly everybody in the poker community sides with him over Viffer. He cited a situation where nobody on TwoPlusTwo backed Peat’s argument after he explained his side of the story.

Cates ended by saying that he thinks Viffer is trying to avoid paying up in this bet and nobody should do business with him in the future. Considering that Cates is already commanding quite a bit of attention over this matter, it’s likely that people will at least think twice before making another prop bet with Viffer.

AGA to use “Runner, Runner” as Fuel for Poker Regulation

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Online poker and casino gaming insiders are worried that the upcoming film Runner, Runner will have a negative impact on the game. As the trailer shows, Runner, Runner deals with corruption and cheating within the poker world.

Justin Timberlake stars as a college student named Richie Furst, who unfairly loses his tuition through a poker site. He then travels to Costa Rica to convince the poker room’s owner, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), to return his money. Block instead makes Furst his righthand man which leads to a world of quick money and fast cars.

The overlying theme here is that internet poker is run by sketchy guys who’ll do anything for millions. This much is clear from the scene where Affleck pushes some bound guy into the alligator-infested waters below.

That said, you’d think organizations like the American Gaming Association (AGA) would fear the worst with this film. After all, the AGA is a casino lobby group tasked with convincing more states and the federal government that online gaming is a good idea. But the AGA is actually hoping to use Runner, Runner to fuel their lobbying efforts and send an even stronger message to Washington.

As Reuters reports, AGA President Geoff Freeman plans to argue that Runner, Runner is a perfect example of what can happen in an unregulated online poker environment. Assuming the federal government were to legalize internet gaming on a national basis, it could cut out the “seedy” offshore sites.

Runner, Runner hits theaters on September 27th and is expected to be a pretty big box office draw. The film seems to be a takeoff on sites like Absolute Poker and UB Poker, which were both rocked by cheating scandals. Eventually, these rooms went offline along with millions of dollars in player deposits following Black Friday.

Former Absolute Poker COO Paul Leggett back in Online Poker

Monday, May 6th, 2013

A sizable portion of the poker community have collectively raised their eyebrows over a big hire. Former Absolute Poker COO Paul Leggett is now going to be taking the same position with Canada’s Amaya Gaming. As both Pokerfuse and eGaming reported, he’ll replace former Amaya COO Paul Bertilsson, who will stay on with the company in another role.

Leggett is an interesting, if not controversial hire because he was Absolute Poker’s head man during Black Friday. This day started Absolute’s demise and saw them eventually go offline with millions of dollars in player deposits. So it’s quite strange that Amaya Gaming would want to bring on such a murky figure.

As for his role with Amaya, he’ll oversee the company’s newest purchase, the Ongame Network. Ongame is one of the oldest networks in the poker industry, and they’ve lost some major traffic in recent years. One of their largest rooms, bwin, joined Party Poker, which fueled Ongame’s drop from the fifth most heavily-trafficked network to the 18th most popular.

Leggett’s job will be to help Ongame regain some of their lost traffic and move back up the ladder. However, it’ll be interesting to see if his new role has any effect on Ongame’s new position in the regulated Nevada internet poker market. Last year Ongame signed a deal to provide software for Bally Technologies, which obtained an online poker license from Nevada.

Perhaps just as important as the licensing aspect is what players will think of Leggett’s hiring. The Absolute Poker name doesn’t exactly carry a good reputation because of all the player deposits they never refunded. So with Leggett now heading Ongame, players who were burned by Absolute might think twice about depositing with their Nevada-based poker room.

Father says Black Friday led to Poker-Playing Son’s Death

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Black Friday affected the lives of numerous US online poker players since they could no longer play at the world’s biggest sites or access their bankroll. Matthew “notnmyhouse” Roth was one of these players, and he unfortunately took his own life yesterday.

Roth, who suffered from depression and anxiety, shot himself in the head while sitting in his car outside Las Vegas’ Wild Wild West Gambling Hall. The 26-year-old had just been in his hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska two days earlier and had his dad, Bill, drive him to the airport.

Speaking of Bill, he blames Black Friday for the death of his son. The 45-year-old told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, ““The federal government two years ago shut down his site, took his money, and with that – they didn’t know it – but they took my son.”

He added, “They took his livelihood, self-esteem, drive. They took his focus. “Imagine all of a sudden your job is just not there. All of a sudden, your money is taken away and you’re struggling to find work.”

As Bill Roth alluded to, his son fell into a deeper depression when he couldn’t play poker at the largest sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars. Matt had previously been a very talented player who made a living through mid-stakes Full Tilt cash games.

His friend from Alaska, Josh Norum, attested to Roth’s impressive poker abilities. “He worked extremely hard to be the best at everything he pursued, but cards were his true passion,” said Norum. “He could read the cards and people’s playing ability unlike anyone else I know.”

Going back to Bill Roth, the LVRJ reported that he wonders if his son would still be alive had Black Friday not came. After all, Matt was a huge poker fanatic and became very distraught when the game he loved was essentially taken away.

Whatever the case may be, it’s definitely a tragedy that Matthew Roth took his own life, and may he rest in peace.