by Wendeen H. Eolis
During the past week, since the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued its final order concerning the first event at the Borgata Winter Poker Open (“WPO”) last January, players have been arguing fiercely about the fairness or unfairness of the rulings. Chatter has turned into full on posturing. Tournament participants are communicating with friends, Borgata representatives, the DGE, poker tournament directors around the country, media and---lawyers. Movers and shakers far across the poker planet are also popping up with takes on the decision.
A Quick Review of the Borgata Counterfeit Chip Caper:
The opening event of the WPO was suspended and ultimately terminated by the DGE before the third day was to commence, after determining that counterfeit chips had been introduced into the tournament. The DGE order provides for the disbursement of the undistributed remaining prize pool (which was frozen during the DGE investigation), together with the revenues earned by Borgata in buy-in fees. The DGE determined that Borgata was a victim of criminal conduct, not negligent and not liable for any other payments, in this matter.
DGE Order and Borgata Statement
One fuzzy issue in the order relates to the distribution of revenues earned by Borgata ($288,000+). They are referenced in a “whereas clause” as monies provided to players “in consultation” with the Borgata. The Borgata statement references the inclusion of the buy-in fees in player distributions as a voluntary contribution on the part of the Company.
by George “The Engineer” Epstein
Recently, poker writer, Roy Cooke described a hand he played in a $40-$80 limit hold’em game. Frankly, I question his decision and rationale for playing that hand, and wonder how others would play it.
He was on the button with 8♥-8♦, seated to the left of a highly aggressive opponent. A loose-passive player, two off the button, had limped in. Mr. Aggressive raised. Now it was Cooke’s turn to act, and he re-raised to force out the blinds and create a three-handed pot, where his pocket eights had a better chance of holding up without improving. Both blinds folded, and both Mr. Loose-Passive and Mr. Aggression called. Now it was a three-way pot.
Did Cooke Play it Correctly? With two opponents, the odds are that one or both have at least one hole card higher than an eight, and will pair up on the flop. According to Tom Green’s Texas Hold’em Poker Textbook, when two opponents see the flop, and one has an ace in the hole, he will catch another ace on the flop almost 25 percent of the time.
by Barbara Connors
Be Observant. Poker players live and die by their ability to read opponents— their quirks, tendencies, patterns of behavior. In a live game, body language and tone of voice add more invaluable information. Put your opponent on the correct hands and no amount of bad luck can keep you down for long. Fail to put your opponent on the right hands, or, worse yet, don’t even try because you can’t be bothered to think about anything beyond your own two cards, and no amount of good luck will save you in the long run.
The power of observation is just as crucial in the real world. Whether the person sitting across the table from you is your boss, your customer, your enemy, or the love of your life—everybody has cards they don’t want to show. Only by reading people can you get a feeling for what those cards are. Is this a good time to approach your boss about a promotion? Is it a good time to ask the object of your affection to move in together? Will they be receptive and call your bet, or will they fold and walk away?
by Ashley Adams
It was Super Bowl Sunday morning, day two of my California poker odyssey. I’ve reported on my earlier visits to the California Grand, Casino Royale, the Limelight, Capitol Casino, and Cache Creek. Sunday I drove from Sacramento up through Colusa and Oroville to Chico and then back south again to Marysville. I played in four more rooms: Colusa Casino, 99 Casino (formerly Angie’s Place), Feather Falls Casino, and Casino Marysville.
The Colusa Casino (3770 Highway 45, Colusa, 530.458.8844) is a full service resort casino with a modest poker area on the casino floor typically running just $3/$6 limit hold’em. They rarely get no-limit, but they do have a fantastic mixed game on Wednesday evening. In it they spread Crazy Pineapple, Irish Hold’em, and Superflop. I had never heard of the last two games, and describe them to you here—perhaps for the first time in print!
Irish Hold’em is a variation of hold’em. Instead of getting two cards, you get four. You discard two before the flop. The rest is the same. Superflop is dealt the same as hold’em, but there are only two additional rounds of betting, both at the higher tier. The flop and turn are done together—with four cards being exposed initially. There’s a round of betting. And then there is a one-card river, making the board the same as a regular hold’em board. Watch for them soon at a card room near you—or travel to Colusa on Wednesday at 3PM to play them.
by Haley Hintze
The WSOP’s career wins leader, Phil Hellmuth, has resumed his practice of giving his victor’s bracelets to family and friends. Hellmuth recently gave the jewelry honoring his record 13th win to wealthy Silicon Valley venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya. Palihapitiya is also a part owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, whose games Hellmuth frequently attends. Most of Hellmuth’s other bracelets have gone to family members, except for his very first and his 12th, which was once publicly promised to UltimateBet co-founder Greg Pierson but went undelivered in the wake of revelations connected to the cheating on that now-defunct online site.
by George “The Engineer” Epstein
In Part One, we described a number of the responses to my column entitled, “How Do You Rule?” that appeared in the Feb. 10 issue of PPN. Today we will continue to present more responses, including one from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) vice president, and two from Australia. After studying the responses, I have drawn conclusions that I will share with you in Part Three.
Reminder: We described a hand where James bet on the river; then, after Bill called, James shouted, “Full-House.” Bill promptly mucked his hand. But, when James showed his hand, all he had was A-K high. An argument erupted. Bill claimed he had the better hand. James insisted that, having gone into the discards, Bill’s hand was dead. The floorman settled the controversy by retrieving what presumably was Bill’s hand from the edge of the muck and declaring Bill the winner with a better hand. More Response Highlights
• Rich Muny, vice president of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), likes Robert’s Rules of Poker, which he interprets: “The mucked hand should always be retrieved from the muck where clearly identifiable if the muck was caused by misinformation – intentional or unintentional. If unintentional, the best hand wins. If the miscall is found to be intentional angle shooting, the player who miscalled forfeits the pot.”
by Haley Hintze
January’s cancellation of the opening event of the Borgata Winter Open due the introduction of a large number of counterfeit chips has led to the casino’s introduction of new high-denomination chips incorporating UV stamping, detectable by security-camera filters. The expensive new chips debuted at the casino’s Spring Poker Open and are being made by Maine chipmaker Game On Chip Company, with the Borgata receiving conditional approval from New Jersey gaming regulators for their use. Final determinations in the cancelled January tournament have yet to be issued by the state’s regulators, while alleged counterfeiter Christian Lusardi remains in custody on related charges. More than $1.4 million in prize money had yet to be awarded when play was halted with 27 players remaining.
Local Kevin Elia from Baltimore took home more than $55k and the first-ever main event poker title to come out of the state of Maryland. Kevin battled a field of 131 players in the Maryland Live! Poker Classic $3,500 main event. Kevin played a solid 3 days of poker outlasting some great local talent along the lines of Christian Harder, Anthony Gregg, James St. Hilaire, Richard Smith, and World Series Main Event Champion Greg Merson. It was a roller-coaster ride for Kevin who found himself the chip leader at the final table when discussing an 8-way chop. When all the numbers were written down Kevin agreed to take home $50k for being the chip leader and then all 8 players agreed to play a $1k sit and go for the trophy and then title of Maryland Live! Poker Classic Main Event Champ. After all eight had taken their seats in the sit and go it fired off, dropping one by one until only Kevin was left standing. All 10 players who made the final table were locals from the Maryland and Virginia area. This was a great success for Maryland Live! Casino and poker in the state of Maryland. Be on the lookout for a repeat victory from Kevin when Mayland Live hosts another tournament series in July 2014.
by Haley Hintze
The Poker Players Alliance has announced a grass-roots campaign designed to put poker players directly in touch with federal legislators to protest anti-online-gambling bills under consideration in Congress. Called “Fight Back,” the new effort targets twin measures introduced by US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and US Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), that are backed and drafted by the Sheldon Adelson-CEO’d Las Vegas Sands Corp. While the twin bills have signed up about 20 co-sponsors, several legal and political groups have protested the bills, often as a violation of states’ rights regarding gambling. Among the groups opposing the Graham and Chaffetz measures are Democratic Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL). More at: http://theppa.org/fight-the-ba
The $1100 Main Event with a Guarantee of $150,000 had 204 players. We saw a variety of New England tournament players such as Tarun Gulati, Thomas Hogland, Raj Patel, Mark Epstein, Stacey Sullivan and many tournament players participate in the Spring Showdown’s main event.
On day 2, a total of 48 players remained and at closing we saw Linsford “Teddy” Geddes taking home the 1st place prize of $47,787.
Rebecca Carabino, Mohegan Sun’s Tournament Director, is working on the Summer Showdown series which will begin in late July 2014.