Archive for the ‘Poker World Commentary’ Category

Best Poker Tumblr

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Looking for the best poker tumblr on the web? Look no further than Life With Face Cards.

Life With Face Cards is a series of animated GIF images that each capture an emotion one feels playing poker. They’re hilarious.

Here are a couple of our favorites:

when I suckout to stay alive in a tournament:

when I get dealt Aces and try to look calm:

when I stay patient and bust a clown in one hand:

Have a look at the rest of these great poker GIFs. Be warned, however. They’re addicting and will likely vacuum away 15 minutes of your day. Kudos to whoever put this great Tumblr site together!

Woohoo I Guess?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In a very not surprising turn of events, Barack Obama won the presidency last night. Additionally, Democrats performed well in the Senate but were not even close to retaking the House.

It was very clear that Mitt Romney would be no friend of poker. The GOP made outlawing all online poker, even legal state online poker part of its platform, and Romney publicly came out against any federal legalization effort.

Under a Romney presidency, Harry Reid or Joe Barton would have next to no chance of successfully pushing a federal legalization effort (which would be the most ideal, even if it’s likely to be flawed). Of course, in the first four years of Obama, it’s not like anything came close at the federal level either. The most action was the DOJ interpreting past laws. It used the UIGEA and other laws to create Black Friday, but then also publicly stated that legalized state poker would not violate any federal laws.

How much did Obama have to do with either of these DOJ actions? Next to nothing. In fact, Obama has so far been a big nothing in regards to online poker. At least you can say he isn’t a major Frist-style negative nancy like Romney though.

With Obama, the poker world has some outs. The most likely occurrence that also has the least overall benefit is the continued expansion of intra-state legal online poker. Nevada will be launching soon, and it’s only a matter of time until states like New Jersey, California, and others have online poker within its borders. I think it’ll by the time 2014 or 2015 rolls around, we’ll see significant instra-state online poker, though most people in the US will still be left in prohibition.

The poker world has some federal-level outs. With the Democrats still firmly in control of the Senate and a friend with Harry Reid, he may be able to tack on some online poker legalization rider to a bill, just like Frist did the UIGEA in 2006. Again, I think this would likely happen sometime in 2014, perhaps just before the midterm elections (just like what Frist did).

There is also the possibility that Barton/Reid get some bill pushed through both houses of Congress, like most traditional legislation are pushed. It’ll be a long slog and is unlikely to happen, but at least it could happen.

There is also the possibility that Obama has a come to Jesus moment where he suddenly embraces and pushes for online poker, similar to how he did for gay marriage this past year. Perhaps Obama just gets the itch and wants to play or perhaps he just wants to show his range in terms of flip flopping, but there is a remote possibility of this happening.

All in all, I don’t expect miracles in regards to US legalization efforts soon. Our best hope for something significantly positive occuring  is likely in the 2014-2015 range. With Obama instead of Romney in office though, at least we don’t have some muppet that will veto any break we get.

Black Friday Defendant Chad Elie Launches Scandalous Twitter Account

Monday, November 5th, 2012

One Black Friday defendant is done holding his tongue in protection of others associated with Full Tilt Poker. Chad Elie, who was one of eleven men indicted during the U.S. government’s attack on online poker operations on April 15th, 2011, has created a Twitter account to air some of the dirty laundry associated with Full Tilt Poker and its lawyers.

As a part of Elie’s agenda to take a dump all over anyone associated with Full Tilt is to uncover a lie told by Howard Lederer in his interview with PokerNews during which he claimed to have not met with payment processors. Elie was indicted on Black Friday for his role in helping online poker sites like Full Tilt Poker process payments with its U.S. customers. The first tweet from Elie’s account, which was created last Friday, read, “”I never met with a payment processor”-Howard Lederer. Interesting Howard,do you not remember the MEETINGS we had?What about NYE?5hr meeting.”

Elie’s tweets include pictures that provide an idea of just how connected top Full Tilt officials were. Here are pictures of Lederer, Ray Bitar and poker primadonna of the century, Phil Ivey, taken meeting with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

Elie also uploaded to Twitter several screen captures of documents from Full Tilt lawyers through which they claim that payment processing related to online poker is completely legal. Whoops! It turns out the DOJ disagreed with that assessment.

Today, Elie announced that he is doing an exclusive interview with “Diamond Flush”, an anonymous poker journalist who came to prominence through aiding the grassroots journalism done by now-closed poker news site Subject: Poker.

Our friends at QuadJacks have a nice recap of more highlights of the Chad Elie Twitter dump.

Greg Merson Wins 2012 WSOP Main Event

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then nothing needs said beyond this picture of Greg Merson taken by Joe Giron on behalf of PokerNews about what it must feel like to win the WSOP Main Event and $8.5 million:

Merson prevailed at the 2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table following an epic 10-hour three-handed battle with Jesse Sylvia and Jake Balsiger during which the chip-lead changed ownership on multiple occasions.

On the final hand of action, Merson min-raised on the button to 4 million. Sylvia three-bet to 9.5 million and Merson moved all-in putting Sylvia to the test for his remaining 69.3 million chips. Surprisingly, Sylvia made the call with Queen-Jack of spades. Merson was pleased to find himself ahead with King-Five of diamonds. Although Sylvia picked up a flush draw on the turn, the board bricked out to make Merson’s King-high enough to become the 2012 WSOP Champion.

The 24-year-old Merson has had a roller coaster year and a half. Following Black Friday when his career was taken away from him, he suffered a drug relapse. Merson refocused on his poker career in 2012 and won WSOP Event #57, the $10,000 six-handed no-limit hold’em tournament. Days later, Merson sealed his place among the “Octo-Nine” and was considered a favorite by many to win the tournament despite being out-chipped by Sylvia coming into the final table. Merson is now comfortably a poker millionaire eleven months following his decision to gain sobriety.

Commented Merson on Twitter following his win, “Thanks to everyone that supported me it was an overwhelming experience.” Judging from the above picture, it sure looks like it!

Congrats to Greg Merson, 2012 WSOP Champion!

Here is a rundown of the final table finishers and prize payouts from the 2012 WSOP Main Event:

1st: Greg Merson – $8,531,853
2nd: Jesse Sylvia - $5,295,149
3rd: Jake Balsiger – $3,799,073
4th: Russell Thomas – $2,851,537
5th: Jeremy Ausmus – $2,155,313
6th: Andras Koroknai – $1,640,902
7th: Michael Esposito – $1,258,040
8th: Rob Salaburu – $971,360
9th: Steve Gee – $754,798

Johnny Chan Reality TV Show

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

After years of uninspiring results on the poker felt, legend Johnny Chan has turned to reality television. The ten-time WSOP bracelet winner appears, along with Doyle Brunson, in a “sizzle reel” for a new poker reality show called Full House with Johnny Chan. And it looks… atrocious.

Have a watch. But be warned, this sets new record highs on the Douchiness Meter. We can’t promise you’ll be able to handle it.

“Hi. I’m Johnny Chan. I am the most famous poker player in the world.”

Was this even true in 1990?

Full House with Johnny Chan must be on a pretty tight production budget if this is the best they can do in terms of female* sex appeal on the show. There have to be 50,000 women in Vegas who would be easier on the eyes.

Newsflash to Johnny Chan and producers of this show: you’re about five years too late trying to capitalize on the Vegas douchebag bubble.

The trailer for this show gets so bad that it becomes unwatchable. One is left to wonder if this show is even real or if Johnny Chan just lost a clever prop bet? Chan himself has not shown his hand one way or another; his Twitter account hasn’t been updated in months. Doyle Brunson chimed in on Twitter regarding role in this “production” saying, “I have no clue about this show. Chan asked me, we are friends so I said ok. I didn’t even know what the taping was for.”

It appears at least one person is trying to distance themselves from this show already. Our advice for everyone else involved would be to do the same!

*It’s debatable, right?

PokerStars Will Not Pay Money Owed To Former FTP Affiliates

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

In a somewhat surprising move, PokerStars has made a decision not to pay money owed to former Full Tilt Poker affiliates.

Most affiliates are small website operators who promoted Full Tilt in order to bring in players ( made the decision to stop running Full Tilt advertisements long before Black Friday hit due to the risks FTP was taking by serving the US market after the UIGEA).

It’s unclear how much money was owed to FTP affiliates, and if there are other factors at play in this decision. This move will likely create a lot of hostility between PokerStars and a major part of the poker world. Since affiliates stiffed by FTP (and now PokerStars) likely won’t wish to promote FTP once it goes live, this strategy may backfire on PokerStars, since affiliate advertising has traditionally been a major driver of traffic to online poker sites (though not PokerStars as much).

PokerStars is  still fully repaying both US players and non-US players (though US players have to go through the DOJ). It seems since affiliates were not covered under the DOJ agreement, PokerStars may have made the decision that they simply did not feel liable for that money owed and did not wish to dig into their pockets to make affiliates whole. They may also not want to sever all previous rakeback deals and this is one way to go about it. Perhaps there are some other factors in play, but these are the sorts of bad things that happen to an industry when one company has a near monopoly.

New Full Tilt Signs Viktor Blom Explaining Release from PokerStars

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

In August, PokerStars inexplicably cut ties with one of its most famed sponsored pros Viktor ‘Isildur1′ Blom. At the time, it was hard to imagine the reasons behind the severed sponsorship. After all, Blom is one of the biggest legends in online poker history who attracts a sea of rail-birds wherever he goes. How could PokerStars let Blom slip through their fingers?

It now appears that question has an answer.

This week, Full Tilt Poker added Blom and fellow online high-stakes legend Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan to its stable of ‘The Professionals’ that already included Gus Hansen. Hansen and Dwan were two former members of Team Full Tilt whose reputations emerged from the site’s meltdown mostly in tact or even strengthened in Hansen’s case. As the new owners of Full Tilt Poker, it now appears PokerStars had a strategy in mind when they “released” Blom in August.

Step 1: Release Viktor Blom
Step 2: Wait a couple of months
Step 3: Sign him under the new site we just acquired
Step 4: ???
Step 5: Profit!

It’s a pretty slick marketing move by PokerStars, but one should expect nothing less from them. The largest online poker room has proven over the years that they know what they’re doing when it comes to marketing. Recently, the site signed tennis star Rafa Nadal and shortly thereafter used his likeness to release the best poker TV commercial ever produced.

While one does not begrudge PokerStars the right to do as they please from a marketing standpoint with the two sites they now own, it does seem dubious to act as if PokerStars and Full Tilt are two distinctly different operations. It would be nice if they would rename Full Tilt Poker to PokerStars Too. Get it? It’s a linguistics maneuver. In speech, it sounds like “PokerStars 2″ but in text what the name indicates is “yes, this site is PokerStars also.”

We’ll be here all week, folks.

Poker Boom 2.0?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Ok, let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not about to be set for another poker boom, but  there are some nice changes that we can look forward to.

First, we have a date for the Full Tilt relaunch. Within a month, over a hundred million dollars will flood the poker economy. Just think about that. It’s a sort-of stimulus plan for the poker world. Tens of thousands  (if not more) people will suddenly have a significant cash infusion in their pocket. That should certainly create some gamble in people and interest in poker.

Second, the date of for legal poker in the US is officially coming. Within a few months, legal online poker will be played in Nevada. It’s only a matter of time before it spreads to a few other states. So not only are ex-Full Tilt players suddenly receiving over a hundred million dollars to play with, Americans will soon be able to once again open their wallets and play (at least in a few states and at a few sites).

Neither of these circumstances were a given. The poker world has  hit a few outs for the better for once. Before we all celebrate like it’s 2005 again, I hope we have all learned from the mistakes of the past and can perhaps use this bit of good news to reinvigorate poker.

No, this isn’t a lecture about not playing at sites that illegally accept US players. I think everyone’s learned that lesson. For this boom to catch on, we need to hope the poker rooms have really learned what killed online poker in the first place.

Difficult games.

Poker’s a negative sum game. There’s nothing that can change that. One man’s gain is another man’s loss and considering everyone has to pay rake, most people will end up losers. However, in the past, by letting players multi-table and use HUDs and tracking notes, poker rooms have essentially allowed the sharks to gobble up the fish quickly. Yes, the fish were going to lose anyways, but it’s one thing to lose 2 big blinds an hour and another to lose 10. The loss rate was simply unacceptable for most casual players, which is why they left in droves.

It’s not like the poker rooms didn’t see this coming. Back in 2003, one could hardly find a game above $1-$2 no-limit and a lot of sites restricted player notes and multi-tabling. Eventually, the short term greed of the poker rooms took over and the need to generate as much rake as possible to impress potential investors sewed the seeds for allowing rampant multi-tabling and the eventual destruction of easy games.

We have one good shot at bringing poker back. Between a huge surge of cash and a renewed US market, there’s a chance poker can really be mainstream again. However, for that to happen, it needs to be fun for the masses….and fun means affordable. Protect the fish. Use anonymous tables if needbe. Do whatever it takes so that the sharks have the least advantage possible.

In the long run, this works best for everyone in the poker industry. Since the recreational player sticks around, the shark can gently sheer him instead of skinning him and having to constantly play against other tough players since that’s all that’s left. The poker rooms may make less rake in the short term but certainly more in the long term. In short, casual players will stick around and lose their $100 or so a month at poker instead of blowing that on sports betting or other vices.

The next twelve months may set the stage of poker boom 2.0. Let’s just hope we all learned our lessons from the first boom and bust.

Poker Pro ‘BoostedJ’ Tweets Picture with President Bill Clinton

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Poker pro Justin ‘BoostedJ’ Smith recently tweeted a picture of himself with President Bill Clinton along with a cheeky comment aimed at the President’s history of extramarital relations. Or maybe it was an innocent comment merely meant to suggest Clinton is fearless. Either way, it’s a great (and rare) photo collaboration of a poker pro and a President.

Related: Phil Hellmuth gets friendly with George W. Bush.

It is unclear exactly what poker tournament Smith is referencing. Smith’s previous tweet was from three days prior and makes no mention of any Presidential poker games. A Google news search from the past week of “Bill Clinton poker” also yields rather little. Clinton was, however, recently in Las Vegas for a fund-raiser. One would imagine this was when Smith was schmoozing with the President.

Update: Smith was kind enough to oblige our inquiry regarding where he encountered President Clinton.

There remains scant information on Google about Bill Clinton’s presence at a poker tournament. However, a Las Vegas Review Journal article from earlier last week quoted U.S. women’s soccer star Hope Solo as being excited to meet President Clinton at a charity poker tournament in Hollywood this weekend.

It seems that the charity behind the poker tournament preferred to keep a low profile regarding their special guest.

PokerStars Rafa Nadal Mobile TV Spot

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

PokerStars served up an ace with their latest TV commercial featuring tennis superstar Rafael Nadal being following by a crowd of fans while playing an online poker game on his mobile phone.

Have a look:

This is one of the better strokes of mainstream advertising we’ve seen from an online poker room. PokerStars seems intent on back-handing the competition into oblivion.

Okay, that’s all of the tennis puns we could come up with for now.

Related: PokerStars Lands Rafael Nadal as Ambassador