by Wendeen H. Eolis
Last March poker aficionados attending the annual “ATLARGE” gathering in Atlantic City, were energized like never before. The buzz in the Atlantic Club and Casino and Hotel (ACC) poker room that weekend was all good news. PokerStars, a staunch supporter of the online poker community had announced its intentions to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel (ACC), the property at which they were meeting. New Jersey had recently legalized online poker. And the world’s largest and most popular online poker site was poised to obtain an Interim Casino Authorization (ICA). PokerStars had fast plans to take online poker forward in a big way on these American shores.
The ATLARGE revelers along with ACC personnel and associates of PokerStars celebrated together their expectations of a fast slam dunk deal. Steve Eisenstein, a member of the law firm Lum, Drasco, and Positan, LLC, and an avid poker enthusiast was one of the attendees at the ATLARGE festivities; he could not have imagined at that time what would come of the deal, all too soon. Two months later, the New Jersey law firm at which he practices was hired by PokerStars to sue the ACC in an effort to preserve its investment and protect its plans to purchase the ACC property. It was the Firm’s first engagement with Poker Stars according to Eisenstein, who was otherwise more circumspect than informative as to the possible next steps in this progressively messy situation. He is schooled in the ways of big companies. He offered up the PokerStars’ Director of Communications, Eric Hollreiser as the right man for media inquiries.
By Shari Geller
The World Series of Poker held its annual conference call at 1:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 15, with Executive Director Ty Stewart and Tournament Director Jack Effel sharing news and information about the upcoming series and took questions from the media. Stewart started out by telling the participants that the theme of this year's series is "To get it right and put on the best damned poker tournament series in the world."
The 44th annual WSOP will start on May 29th at the Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. "One of our big goals over the past few years has been to kick off the series with a bang," Stewart said as he introduced some of the special events set for this year.
by Haley Hintze
PENNSYLVANIA LEGISLATOR INTRODUCES ONLINE GAMBLING MEASURE
Pennsylvania State Representative Tina Davis has introduced a bill authorizing internet gaming, including poker, for the state’s residents. The bill, HB 1235, was immediately referred to the state’s Gaming Oversight Committee for evaluation. Eastern Pennsylvania, where Davis’s district is located, is an area of increased casino competition facing pressure from both New Jersey and Delaware, nearby states that have already approved forms of i-gaming. Davis’s measure would set an age limit of 21 and require the physical presence of both the players and prospective licensees, with license approval possible only for those entities already in possession of the state’s slot-machine licenses.
OBAMA AMBASSADORIAL CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS FROM CONSIDERATION AFTER CONNECTION TO BUSTED NYC POKER GAMES PUBLICIZED
by Wendeen H. Eolis
PokerStars' purchase agreement for the Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City has expired. In a public statement, this morning ,Michael Frawley, COO of Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel has confirmed that the purchase agreement is terminated. Nevertheless, it is too early to jump to conclusions.
There is nothing said thus far to suggest that the two companies cannot re-cement an updated agreement. If necessary, PokerStars could update its completed application which has been submitted to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
When it comes to online poker, machinations, twists, turns, and outcomes unfathomable at one moment have been known to become stark reality the next.
PokerStars May Still be Valued in New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie, a proponent of a full court press to revive Atlantic City, faces massive pressure to find the means to recovery from Hurricane Sandy. PokerStars' promise to bring jobs, civic commitment and 40 million dollars to the project cannot so easily be dismissed.
By Wendeen H. Eolis
While most of the country was glued to the movements of Boston area law enforcement agents immediately after the Boston Marathon bombings, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York had it sights set elsewhere on a sting against organized crime that was tied into a few game runners and players in high stakes poker games in New York. April has been a tough month for poker in New York City, more than once.
NY Poker Highlighted in Bust of Russian–Based Organized Crime Ring
At the crack of dawn on April 16, 2013, federal agents were on the march to pick up their prey in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami and California, as well as New York. They moved in with plans to break the back of an internationally based gambling enterprise rooted inside the Russian Federation.
The accusations made by the Government marry illegal gambling activities to organized crime and put some of New York’s best known nosebleed poker games in the hands of old school “Russian Mafia” with locally based operatives intertwined in their operations.
Arguably, the April 16th bust shone the brightest light over high stakes poker games in the underground world of New York poker—ever.
Well-Known Poker Pros Among Dozens Indicted in Federal Illegal Gambling, Money Laundering and Extortion CaseApril 16, 2013 - 7:15pm
By Shari Geller
In an unsealed indictment filed in the US District Court for the Second District of New York, a notorious Russian businessman is alleged to be the ringleader of a massive criminal enterprise involving sports betting and illegal poker games that brought in some $50 million. Poker pros Abe Mosseri, Bill Edler, Peter Feldman, Joe Mancuso, John Hanson, and Justin Smith were named in three of the twenty-seven counts of the 84-page indictment that reads like a movie script -- something like Rounders meets The Godfather. But the star of this real-life crime drama is defendant Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, most notable for having been charged with, but ultimately never tried for, allegedly attempting to bribe figure skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City
By Shari Geller
Today was already a newsworthy day for the poker community. April 15, 2013 marks the two-year anniversary of Black Friday, a day when online poker was taken away from U.S. players. It was also the day that former Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar was sentenced, pursuant to a plea agreement, to time served and the forfeiture of assets in the amount of some $40 million for fraud, money laundering and violation of federal gaming laws. Elsewhere, a popular player won a gold bracelet in the first ever WSOP Asia Pacific Main Event.
By Shari Geller
And that's a wrap. The first ever World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) came to a close after midnight local time on Tuesday, April 16th. The Crown Casino in Melbourne held the inaugural expansion of the WSOP to the land down under with five bracelet events, one high roller non-bracelet event, and, at its conclusion, the end of a nearly five-year bracelet drought for one of poker's most famous faces.
By Shari Geller
Phil Ivey added to his WSOP bracelet collection with a ninth win at the inaugural World Series of Poker - Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) this week in Melbourne, Australia. But he was not the only US player who found gold on the other side of the globe. Following on the heels of the WSOP's successful expansion into Europe, the WSOP APAC is awarding bracelets in five different events held at the Crown Casino Melbourne.
The first bracelet event, a No Limit Hold'em $1,000 buy-in, five-day event, was won by American Bryan Piccioli, who defeated Aussie Jonathan Karamalikis for the $211,575 top prize. It was a tough final table, boasting 2010 WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel and 2012 5th place finisher Jeremy Ausmus, who finished 4th and 5th respectively.
FLORIDA INTERNET CAFE CRACKDOWN PROMPTS LEGISLATION BANNING ELECTRONIC GAMING DEVICES
A $300 million scandal involving the arrest of 57 individuals and the resignation of Florida’s attorney general has prompted the introduction of a new bill which includes a sweeping ban on all electronic devices that can be used for gaming purposes. Florida’s new HB 155 measure swept through the state’s House on a 108-7 vote, following the disclosure that of $300 million netted by supposed charitable organization Allied Veterans of the World, which operates dozens of the video game-style slots parlors throughout the state, only $6 million went to the intended charities. The resulting move to ban such “internet cafes” includes language so broad it endangers almost all forms of electronic gaming, from arcade devices to the internet, regardless of whether skill or luck is involved.
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