Archive for July, 2014

The Loss of a Legend: What the Death of Chad Brown Means to Poker

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Anyone who has ever had an interest in poker knows who Chad Brown is. The news of his death on July 2nd, 2014 sent shockwaves throughout the poker community. As an experienced poker player, Brown had faced heavy odds many times before and come out on top, but his three-year struggle with cancer was one he could not overcome.

Who was Chad Brown?

The man from the Bronx, born in 1961, was a man of many talents and a strong work ethic. He spent his teenage and early adult years as a minor league baseball player as well as an actor and model.

Poker didn’t seriously enter Brown’s life until he was 32 and had his first taste of success competing with the best in the game. He is one of the most accomplished World Series of Poker (WSOP) players, cashing a total of 38 times with 2 runner-up awards. You also might know him from several strong finishes on the WPT and EPT.

For all his efforts and success, Brown won more than $3.6 million in registered events. There were few that weren’t happy for him when he was named the 2006 Bluff Magazine Poker Player of the Year.

Sickness for Brown

The bad news started to come for Brown in February of 2011. Despite his reputation for being one of the fittest and healthiest poker players, regularly exercising and competing off the poker table as well, he was diagnosed with a rare cancer called liposarcoma. Over the years he suffered through chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and even had five surgeries.

Despite this constant torture, Brown displayed the positive attitude and spirit that he always had, and continued to play and succeed on the poker table. He was able to come 2nd in a side tournament at the WPT Borgata Winter Open, and even had a solid run into the Main Event.

It’s surprising to many to learn that Brown was never able to capture an elusive WSOP bracelet, despite his consistent and strong performances. A classy gesture by the WSOP director, Jack Effel, was seen at the WSOP in 2014, just before Brown’s death. Effel awarded Brown with an honorary bracelet, a prize that we all know would have been won in the future if not for this tragedy.

There are few in the poker community who have not been affected by the passing of Chad Brown. He returned back to medical care in the Bronx, the same place where he spent so much of his life. Brown passed away with all his many close friends and family on the morning of July 2nd.

From Brown’s last blog post:

“I’ve had tremendous support from family and friends who have been in the know from the get-go on every aspect of my illness…Anyone wondering if I’m going through a hard time, the answer is no. This is just part of life and I’m okay with everything. I accept it. And right now I’m just looking forward to the next hand.”

Look like a Pro: Fun and Useful Accessories for the Poker Table

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

While not all players can pull them off, wearing and using accessories can increase your chances of winning at live events, and often at least add a bit of fun or humor to the occasion. You can opt for a ridiculous outfit or makeup, but try the following more practical accessories first.

Card Guard

A card guard does exactly what it sounds like it does: it protects your hole cards. Some players opt to use a chip as a card guard, but if you want to keep your chips separate so you can keep track of your stack size, you might want to invest in a card guard. You want something easily visible that is heavy enough to not be blown away or easily knocked aside. Most players typically use large weighted coins or a similarly sized good luck charm. The point is to prevent the dealer or other players from accidentally grabbing your cards, especially on a crowded table.

Sunglasses

It may look ridiculous on some players, especially considering that most games are played indoors in fairly modest lighting conditions, but sunglasses can be a great aid to your game. There are a few tells that even excellent players can’t fully eliminate, and your eyes are a source of many of them. For example, when a new card is dealt, most players can’t help but look to their chips with a quick glance if it helped them.

If you are worried about giving away any tells with your eyes, you can cover them with any pair of sunglasses. You don’t necessarily need to always wear them, but having them nearby will allow you to have some extra protection when the action heats up.

Black Hoodie

Anyone who has ever watched a poker tournament on television knows about the black hoodie and sunglasses combo. A hoodie is used for mostly the same reasons: to cover up tells. A loose hoodie will cover up shaking arms to a degree, as well as hide a good portion of your face. These are two areas that many players have difficulty controlling, even if they have past live experience.

Music Player and Headphones

Are you the type of player that gets distracted or thrown off by chat at the table? If so, you might want to bring a good set of headphones. Music is a great way to calm down if you’re not having much luck and can help you stay in the zone when you are focused.

In some cases, you may just be stuck at a table with a chatterbox you can’t stand. A good set of noise-cancelling headphones will not only block out a lot of what he or she is saying, but even without music they indicate that you don’t really want to converse.

There’s no right or wrong way to accessorize at the table, but if you have personal preferences that help you play better, accessories are one way of fulfilling them. Finally, don’t use accessories as a crutch, relying on them will establish bad habits over time.

Is the $4.9 Billion Acquisition of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker Good for Poker Players?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

The big news on the morning of June 12th was that the owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, Rational Group Ltd., had been bought out by Amaya Gaming Group, Inc., along with other companies in the Oldford Group umbrella.

Adding these two poker juggernauts to other gambling properties, Amaya Gaming Group has just become the biggest online gaming company by far, gaining an approximately 85 million new players in this deal.

Could this be the Answer for American Players?

Due to events leading up to and following the day known as Black Friday to online poker players, it has seemed like poker in the United States may not return. However, with new ownership that has a stellar track record of being transparent and following proper procedures to meet regulations, there may just be a bigger hope now than before.

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) fights for the rights of poker players and the availability of online poker in the U.S. Executive director of the PPA, John Pappas was optimistic about the big deal, saying, “Amaya’s acquisition should remove any perceived impediment for this popular brand to once again be available to players in regulated U.S. jurisdictions.  This is a positive development for poker enthusiasts and the potential return of the PokerStars brand will grow our game.”

Now despite that optimism, the CEO of Amaya Gaming has claimed that this acquisition was not dependent on obtaining a license in the U.S., although that may be a possibility in the future. For now, the company is set to license their industry-famous software to New Jersey online poker platforms.

Amaya and the Rest of the World

Amaya Gaming has extensive experience and presence in many major global markets across the world. The CEO has already stated that the primary goal of this acquisition is to grow the already over $1.1 billion in revenue these two massive poker sites generate on an annual basis.

Plans to accomplish this include introducing casino games and sports betting. With a new customer base of over 85 million customers, these new introductions could have a profound effect. While that $1.1 billion in revenue may seem impressive, making up about a quarter of the online poker industry, the casino games industry comes in at a hefty $25 billion a year. Gaining a substantial portion of that market could take the two online gambling sites to previously unknown heights.

Amaya’s Background

Rational Group was always based in the Isle of Man, not exactly the most regulated “country”. This contributed heavily to the stigma and wariness of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.

Amaya Gaming on the other hand is based in Montreal, Canada. This instantly adds a significant amount of trust and credibility to these tarnished giants, that suggests a more legitimate organization. Most of Amaya’s business is not online, but physically based in casino and lottery solutions. This is the first major only foray for Amaya, and it promises to be an interesting one.

The deal should be completed by September, so stay tuned for further developments and details.