Random Thoughts: Ship It Holla Ballas Edition
It's time for another edition of Random Thoughts where each paragraph may have little or nothing to do with the one preceding it and following it!
It's been almost ten years since the Moneymaker-fueled poker boom. Did you know Chris Moneymaker was only twenty freakin' seven years old when he won poker's world championship in 2003? The guy was essentially from the class of young gun online poker players before such a thing even existed. Ten years later, we tip our hat to Moneymaker. Pictured here with his family, Moneymaker has been a consistent and reliable ambassador for the game having avoided the pitfalls of bad relationships and poor decision making that have bruised the image of several other poker professionals over the years.
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In a final pairing that surely left NBC producers salivating, Mike Matusow defeated Phil Hellmuth to win the 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. It was an overdue flash of relevancy for Matusow who hadn't recorded a six-figure cash in a poker tournament in nearly two years. It was good to see this made-for-TV event back in the poker world; NBC decided to relaunch the event after having canceled it in 2012. They were rewarded with one of the most entertaining possible final match-ups from the perspective of casual TV viewers. Gotta be rigged.
Is Chris Christie going to veto a New Jersey online poker bill again? Maybe. In a radio interview last week, Christie expressed concerns over a bill to legalize online poker in his state which awaits his signature in order to become law. Christie said that he's concerned the bill could create a whole new generation of addicted gamblers since it is much easier to gamble from a laptop in your bedroom than actually drive to Atlantic City. Christie used similar logic to veto a similar bill in 2011. Naturally, these concerns of Christie's are political bullshit. His real problem with this bill is that it might alienate key donors, such an anti-online gambling proponent Sheldon Adelson, who could fund his 2016 Presidential bid.
Speaking of American poker players being screwed over by bureaucracy, doesn't the U.S. DOJ still owe Full Tilt's American customers their loot? We haven't heard so much as a mouse fart of information regarding how and when players can expect to make claims on these dollars. Presumably, the DOJ has no intentions of compensating American players for the depreciation of their dollars from months (or years) of delay in processing payments. Disgraceful.
PokerStars may be less than enthusiastic about the reception to their relaunch of Full Tilt Poker. The site currently is in a dead-heat with Party Poker for rights to call itself the second largest online poker room. Prior to Black Friday, Full Tilt had a comfortable lead in this race. It appears the combination of Full Tilt's lost goodwill in the poker industry combined with the decreasing need to have an online poker account at anywhere other than PokerStars has limited success of its relaunch.
Recently, Betfair Poker jettisoned off the OnGame Network and moved their business to the iPoker Network. This caused a further slide towards irrelevance in OnGame's traffic. What was once a competitive online poker network with large MTT prizepools and healthy traffic sizes now has about as many customers as Svenska Spel, the online poker room ran by the Swedish government exclusively for Swedish players. OnGame's steady decline leads one to question why bwin.party, owners of the network, have not sought more aggressively to ditch the brand at wholesale price years ago. It may soon be the case that OnGame is viewed as being worth not much of anything in the online poker market.
Finally, we've been reading Ship It Holla Ballas, the tale of "How a Bunch of 19-Year-Old College Dropouts Used the Internet to Become Poker's Loudest, Craziest, and Richest Crew". Thus far, it's a great read that rekindles one's excitement for online poker. It's a much needed book for some Americans, yours truly included, who after nearly two years of poker prohibition in the U.S. have forgotten that there were indeed "good ol' days" in this crazy game. Reading the pages of Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback's Ship It Holla Ballas brings one back to online poker's days in Camelot when winning money seemed too easy and the game was unhindered by legal constraints. Keep an eye on our poker forums where in the coming days we will be giving away a few copies of this book to our readers.