Archive for May, 2011

Phil Ivey Skipping WSOP, Suing Full Tilt

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Update: Poker media outlet Wicked Chops Poker is confirming the statement is real saying Ivey’s manager confirmed it.

Phil Ivey just posted the following statement on his Facebook page in a series of messages. We have condensed those messages. Here is the full statement from Mr. Ivey:

For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.

I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm.

I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot. I am doing everything I can to seek a solution to the problem as quickly as possible.

My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts. As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.

I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.

I sincerely hope this statement will ignite those capable of resolving the problems into immediate action and would like to clarify that until a solution is reached that cements the security of all players, both US and International, I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment.

Poker Pros Lindgren, Schoenberg Wed

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Poker pros Erick Lindgren and Erica Schoenberg got married yesterday in Santa Barbara, California. Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth were among several well-known poker pros in attendance. Hellmuth posted the following picture of the newlyweds on his Twitter account:

Lindgren posted today on Twitter, “I want to thank those that were there for the best day of my life and all the congrats from so many via text and on twitter.” Following the wedding, the two took a private jet to Vegas where they will both participate in the 42nd annual WSOP which starts today.

Five Myths About Vegas

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

With the WSOP just around the corner, poker players will be descending on Vegas by the plane loads. For those somewhat unacquainted with the city, here are five commonly proliferated myths about Vegas:

1. Vegas is cheap. Certain movies like Vegas Vacation have helped build up a myth that Vegas is rather cheap. All you have to do is gamble a little bit and your meals, hotel and maybe even your flight will be taken care of. This could not be further from the truth. In actuality, Vegas is a very expensive city. In order to get “comped” from your gambling, you have to wager a lot of money (thereby giving up a lot of EV to get those comps). Vegas can be cheap if you stay at run-down downtown hotels and eat fast food while you’re there. But if you want to live any semblance of a nice lifestyle in Sin City, it’s going to cost you. The top-tier hotels are always at least $150 a night, but usually a lot more. The nice restaurants are as expensive as a nice restaurant anywhere. One thing that is free in Vegas is drinks while you are gambling, but if you’re paying retail price, those are expensive too!

2. Vegas is ran by mobsters. Decades ago, this used to be the case. Vegas is famous for having been built by mobsters. But today, the mob has little or no influence on the day to day operations in Las Vegas. Almost every casino in the city is owned by a large, multi-national corporation. Many of these companies are publicly traded (WYNN, LVS, MGM). The days of a mob-controlled Vegas have been over for a long while.

3. [some random slot machine] pays out well. This is a commonly distributed myth by fishy gamblers trying to justify making another bad decision. There are some 200,000 slot machines in Las Vegas and not a single one of them pays out well. A machine that pays out well would give you back more money than you put in over a long sample size. There is not one slot machine in Vegas that does that.

4. There’s nothing to do in Vegas but gamble. One of the best kept secrets of Las Vegas is how entertaining the city is even if you take gambling completely out of the equation. There are a ton of interesting sites, great shows, fantastic restaurants, and high-end shopping in Sin City. There are also great outdoor attractions like hiking and skydiving. Vegas is not just a gambler’s city. It’s a city for everyone! If you or a loved one have been reluctant to go to Vegas on account of thinking there’s nothing to do but gamble, you’re missing out!

5. Prostitution is legal in Las Vegas. Again, this a total myth. Prostitution is as illegal in Las Vegas as it is in Topeka, Kansas. There are however some counties in Nevada that allow licensed brothels. These establishments are the only places where you can find legal prostitution in the entire U.S.! But you won’t see any of them in Las Vegas; prostitution is illegal in Clark County, home to Las Vegas. If you want to find legal prostitution, you’ll have to drive more than an hour of the city into a rural Nevada county.

Blue Monday Recap

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Yesterday was another landmark day for online poker that some are referring to as Blue Monday.

What happened?

Two businesses and three persons were indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland on charges of money laundering and conducting an illegal gambling business. Darren Wright and David Parchomchuk, both of Canada, were indicted along with their company ThrillX Systems, which does business as BetEd. A Costa Rican woman, Ann Marie Puig, was also indicted along with her company K23 Group Financial Services, which does business as BMX Entertainment. They face a maximum of 25 years in prison on the charges.

Along with these indictments, ten Internet domain names were seized: DoylesRoom.com, BookMaker.com, BetEd.com, TruePoker.com, 2Betsdi.com, Funtimebingo.com, Goldenarchcasino.com, Betmaker.com, Betgrandesports.com, and Betehorse.com.

DoylesRoom.com and TruePoker.com, the only poker-related domains that were seized, are both skins on the small Yatahay Network. According to PokerScout.com, the Yatahay Network ranks 31st in worldwide poker traffic with an average real-money cash game player base of 220 players. Incidentally, DoylesRoom.com namesake, Doyle Brunson, parted ways with the beleaguered site just last week.

How did it happen?

The most alarming aspect of the Blue Monday indictments were how they happened. According to the Baltimore Sun, Federal investigators set up a payment processing business through which they processed $33 million in gambling transactions over the course of two years in an effort to identify online gambling operators. The payment processing company, called Linwood Payment Solutions, had a website and a staff of undercover Homeland Security Investigations agents who gained person-to-person contact with top managers of gambling organizations. They processed more than 300,000 gambling payments during the two year sting.

An affidavit in support of seizure warrants states that Federal agents processed a multitude of payments for Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. They were apparently prepared to indict that company before prosecutors for the U.S. District Court of Southern New York did so in last month’s “Black Friday” indictments.

What does it all mean?

It is now apparent that yesterday’s indictments stemmed from an investigation entirely unrelated to the one that led to the Black Friday indictments. This was a different jurisdiction investigating different people using different methods. It is not clear if the Homeland Security task force working on this case were even aware of the FBI’s case against PokerStars, Full Tilt, and AP/UB.

One thing that is alarmingly clear at this point is that money is not safe for U.S. gamblers at any online gambling site. The editors of PokerTips have held this position since April 15th. Yesterday’s indictments give this opinion even more merit. Any person or website telling you otherwise probably has financial incentive to take that position.

The Merge Poker Network has seen a large increase in its player base since April 15th. They have capitalized more than any other site on the absence of PokerStars and Full Tilt in the U.S. market. At this time, sites on the Merge Network are continuing to accept U.S. players. It is unclear if they will continue to do so indefinitely. But whether or not they do, we have learned from Black Friday and Blue Monday that money is simply not safe at these sites for U.S. gamblers.

In a preemptive move to remain in business in the event that their domain name is seized, Bodog.com today moved all operations to their Bodog.eu domain. This is a pretty aggressive move by Bodog. Following yesterday’s indictments, some speculated that companies like Bodog would simply voluntarily leave the U.S. market. Today’s domain name change indicates that Bodog has no plans to stop servicing U.S. customers and will continue to do anything they can to keep player deposits rolling in. But the strength and reliability of an online gambling room is not graded on the ease of depositing. They are graded based on their ability to process cashouts. Moving forward, it seems undeniable that online gambling sites servicing U.S. customers will continue to face incredible difficulty in processing transactions for U.S. customers.

BOOM Documentary Trailer Released

Friday, May 20th, 2011

A documentary on the poker boom and Black Friday titled BOOM now has a trailer. The film is set to release sometime next year. Judging from the trailer, it will show how the lives of American players were changed by the poker boom and again by the Black Friday DOJ indictments. Once released, BOOM will the first feature-length documentary film made about online poker.

Stay Aware at the Poker Table

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

An often overlooked skill needed to thrive at the poker table is staying aware of what is happening to you and your emotions in the game. There are a few things you’ll want to be aware of at all times in your poker session:

1. Is the game good? What is a good game one minute can be a bad one the next. This is something you must constantly reassess. One hand might totally change the perception you have of an opponent. Allow this to happen. If the old man with a visor makes a great play, maybe your previous assumption of him as a poor player is incorrect. The work of profiling your opponents is never done. You cannot make up your mind about everyone at the table in the first 30 minutes and spend the next 6 hours operating under those assumptions. New information will unfold. Players’ moods will change. The players themselves will change! Think of your poker game like the tide; it is always changing. Notice when the game has changed for the better. Notice when the game has changed for the worse. Factor all of these observations into your decisions at the table, including your decision to stay or go.

2. Is your mind right? Sitting down to play poker in the right frame of mind is good. Continuing to play after your mind is no longer in the right frame is bad. Continually reassess your mental state in every poker session. How are you feeling right now. Are you in the flow of the game? Is your focus on what is happening immediately before you? Or is your mind wandering? Are your emotions fluctuating? What are you feeling? It is true that your decisions at the poker table will be more profitable when you are focused on the game and holding an objective, rational mind. When your mind begins to drift elsewhere or a negative mood sets in, that may be a good indicator of the conclusion of your session. If you are tired, go home and sleep. If you are sick, go home and rest. Poker is something that should only be done when you are feeling fresh and at your best.

Seiborg Music Video

Friday, May 6th, 2011

SrslySirius, the brain-child behind the music video making fun of Prahlad Friedman among other gems, recently teamed up with the creators of The Micros to produce a music video for his Erik Seidel tribute track, Seiborg.

Have a listen. It’s pretty epic. Lyrics below the video:

Listen. It ain’t easy being Erik Seidel.

You might believe that you knew Erik before.
But now he’s better, faster, stronger and he’s comin’ for more.
And you’ll be runnin’ for your life when you see Seiborg.

Came up from New York,
He was born the best
Cleaned out the Mayfair
Then he went out west

In less than 2 months he sacked the city.
How many milly did he make then?
“About tree fiddy.”

He hit up the strip to go catch some shows
Then dropped six figures, got fit for clothes.
The finest linen,
He’s duh, winnin’
The city of sinnin’
Seidel be swimmin’ in women
“Make it rain on ‘dem hoes.”

A prodigious ascent
The man would never relent.
He kept givin’ it a hundred and ten percent!
The world was his oyster, he felt content
’til he met his nemesis at the main event.

Chan limped with 9-Jack
Flopped gin, checked back
Sneak attack!
He made off with Seidel’s stack.
Consumed with rage,
He stormed off stage
And swore to get vengeance.
“I’ll be back.”

You might believe that you knew Erik before.
But now he’s better, faster, stronger and he’s comin’ for more.
And you’ll be running for your life when you see Seiborg.
Did you know?
Oh no…

He’s new and improved.
Lord Seiborg, rise!
Objective?
Your bank account’s demise.

Hall of fame,
and tops career money list,
Crushing donkaments with his iron fist

He has no need for PT3!
His positronic brain’s got a HUD!
He’s plus EV when he’s UTG.
You down with OOP?
“Yeah, you know me.”

For the almighty dolla,
Impossibly balla
Takin’ down the Main Event?
“Ship it holla!”

Wanna play high stakes?
Best bring the gusto.
Uh oh!
Andy Beal just went busto!

Oh my God, someone call the Guard!
He’s on a rampage ’cause he got Grimstarred!
It’s just one blind, you’ve too far,
let it go man!
“Too late. Axe in car.”

You might believe that you knew Erik before.
But now he’s better, faster, stronger and he’s comin’ for more.
And you’ll be running for your life when you see Seiborg.
Did you know?
Oh no…

Watch the **** out, Seiborg’s approaching!
No Jackals or Lions, he’s Eagle poaching!
Mops the pots up, you get copped, he flopped nuts
Ivey pops up, begging Erik for coaching.

Winrate’s infinite
Runnin’ a mile a minute.
Safe Port Act repealed, he just bought the Senate.

With the red tape cut,
Phase 3′s in motion.
No money heads up,
Erik boiled the ocean!

The rail overflows,
it’s a sight to see!
He’s murderin’ whales in the 3rd degree!
Straps on the jetpack,
flies overseas,
Bankrupts the Chinese,
Now it’s World War Three.

Move out the way!
Oh God, Black Friday!
The end is upon us, come what may!
Prepared to die, then I hear a hero say:
“Come with me if you want to live.”
Judgment Day!

You might believe that you knew Erik before.
But now he’s better, faster, stronger and he’s comin’ for more.
And you’ll be runnin’ for your life when you see Seiborg.
Did you know?
Oh no…