by Haley Hintze
Competing California Online Poker Bills Introduced – Two California intrastate online-poker measures were introduced in late February in the state’s legislature ahead of a deadline for 2013-14 consideration. Both bills are supported by competing tribal-casino factions. One of the two is the reintroduction of an earlier bill (now known as SB 1366) by State Sen. Lou Correa, with the backing of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. A newer and competing bill, AB 2291, offered by State Rep. Reggie Jones-Sawyer, is backed by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and other tribes. One possibly controversial element of the Jones-Sawyer bill is language that would make the playing of online poker on unlicensed sites a misdemeanor. Both bills were submitted as urgency measures, meaning two-thirds approval is required.
Florida WSOPC Event Winner DQ’d – Trying to pocket a large-denomination tournament chip proved to be a costly mistake for Chan Pelton, a former two-time WSOPC event winner whose apparent third ring-winning triumph doesn’t count. Pelton won a preliminary event in the WSOP Circuit tour’s February visit to Florida’s Palm Beach Kennel Club, but was disqualified after tournament staff observed him pocketing at least one “25,000”-denomination chip from the event, purportedly as a souvenir. The incident happened during heads-up play between Pelton and original runner-up Chris Bolek, who had reached an unofficial chop. The unauthorized chip removal cost Pelton a ban from Caesars properties, a $47,000 winner’s prize, and a Casino Champion’s automatic seat to the WSOPC’s year-end tournament in May.
Veteran poker-industry writer/editor Haley Hintze is the author of an upcoming book on the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet online cheating scandals, to be released later this year.