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Online Poker Black Friday

April 15, 2014 - 11:43am
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Haley Hintze

Poker News Brief: Hellmuth’s Continued Bracelet Gifting

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.

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Poker News Brief: Borgata Introduces UV-Stamped Tournament Chips

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.

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Poker News Brief: PPA Announces “Fight Back” Campaign

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-ban/

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Poker News Brief: More Full Tilt Refunds Issued

by Haley Hintze

The Department of Justice-appointed administrator for the Full Tilt Poker remissions process, Garden City Group, released a second wave of refunds in early April.  Almost $6 million in online-poker balances was sent to about 2,800 players whose banking information could not be verified in time for inclusion in the larger first wave of payments earlier this year.  All told, GCG has issued about $81 million in FTP payment to date, with two large categories still under review – online affiliates and former players who enjoyed some form of sponsorship relationship with the site.  The funds for the ongoing refunds came from the 2012 PokerStars settlement with the DOJ, which acquired Full Tilt’s remaining assets in exchange for the remission funding.

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Poker News Brief: Borgata Sues Phil Ivey for $9.6 Million Over Alleged “Edge Sorting”

by Haley Hintze

The “edge sorting” technique used by Phil Ivey in conjunction with his ongoing suit against London’s Crockfords Casino has again surfaced, this time in the form of an action filed by New Jersey’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa against Ivey and companion Cheng Yin Sun.  The lawsuit alleges that Ivey and Sun conspired against the Borgata by exploiting minor printing variations on the casino’s cards, with Ivey winning over $9.6 million during four 2012 high-stakes sessions.  The Borgata also named as a defendant the cards’ manufacturer, Gemaco, for the same amount, alleging defective cards that failed to meet the terms of the company’s card-supplying contract.  The nearly 60-page legal document accuses Ivey and Sun of an elaborate series of manipulations and requests, many of which were described as “superstitions,” but which the Borgata alleges were intentional ruses designed to tip the odds in Ivey’s favor.

Poker News Brief: New York State Online Poker Bill Introduced

by Haley Hintze

New York State Senator John Bonacic (R-42) has introduced a measure seeking to authorize intrastate online poker. The new proposal isn’t the first time online poker has been considered in Albany, after being considered in conjunction with a controversial casino-expansion effort that finally passed in 2013. Bonacic’s new bill would define poker as a game of skill and would create as many as ten online poker licenses, and would open the door to player-pooling compacts with other states also offering regulated internet poker, including neighbor states New Jersey and Delaware. The original draft language of Bonacic’s bill does include bad-actor language designed to block any online sites that serviced New York residents following the passage of the 2006 UIGEA.

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Poker News Brief: Illinois Legislators to Reconsider iPoker

by Haley Hintze

State regulated online poker will again be on the agenda of topics as Illinois legislators return to the topic of expanded gambling within the state.  Several different forms of expanded gambling have been proposed for the revenue-strapped state, including a proposed downtown-Chicago casino, the large, new Rivers Casino near O’Hare, the online sale of lottery tickets… and, of course, state-regulated internet poker.  Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton has indicated only tepid support, stating that the controversial downtown-Chicago casino question must be answered before plans for Illinois online poker can move forward.

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Poker News Brief: New Charity-Poker Measure Introduced in Michigan

by Haley Hintze

Michigan State Sen. Rick Jones has introduced new legislation in Michigan that would formally regulate standalone charity poker rooms in the state.  Michigan’s charity-poker offerings had proliferated in the past decade as unofficial gaming venues governed under the state’s 1972 bingo bill, but had evolved in many cases as independent operations with no bingo or other gaming evolved.  The rooms’ growing popularity had its drawbacks, however, including sometimes lax security that led to a spate of violent crimes, including armed robberies, and sometimes lax oversight that allowed some locations to operate far beyond legislators’ previous attempt.  State gaming rules modification issued last year addressed some of the existing issues, but Jones’s new bill, supported by a bipartisan collection of legislators, hopes to take additional regulatory steps for the charity-funding operations.

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Rift in California Tribal Negotiations over Possible PokerStars Software Deal

by Haley Hintze

Negotiations between competing California tribal-casino factions over differences in language in rival Cali intrastate online poker bills have fallen apart over allegations that PokerStars may be negotiating to at least one tribe and two major independent cardrooms. A 12-tribe group led by the state’s Pechanga and Agua Caliente bands issued a public statement against PokerStars and its parent Rational Group, demanding that a “bad actor” provision, designed to block PokerStars, be included in any California i-poker legislation. The rival Morongo tribal nation and the Commerce and Hawaiian Gardens card rooms have been named in media reports as negotiating with Stars for software services. PokerStars paid more than $500 million to resolve its federal “Black Friday” case but admitted no legal wrongdoing, and would currently be subject to approval by California gaming regulators rather than being blocked by a Cali i-poker bad-actor provision.

Poker News Brief: Harrah’s Tunica Plans June Closing

by Haley Hintze

The World Series of Poker Circuit Series will lose one of its venues next season, following the announcement by parent company Caesars Entertainment that the Harrah’s Tunica casino will close on June 2nd.  The Mississippi casino-report is the largest of three Caesars-owned properties in Tunica, but remained awash in red ink despite the success of the WSOPC Tunica stop.  Mississippi’s Tunica casinos have seen sharp revenue declines, with much of the region’s casino business shifting to the state’s resurgent Biloxi / Gulf Coast region.  The most recent WSOPC Tunica visit was in late January, with the stop expected to be removed or replaced on the tour’s 2014-15 slate.

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