By Haley Hintze
ONLINE POKER MEASURE DROPPED FROM TAX-BILL TALKS
An effort by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) to attach an online-poker bill to a “must pass” payroll-tax bill under discussion in late February failed, leaving any such legislation less likely for 2012. The tax bill, briefly eyed by Reid, was designed to extend unemployment benefits and tax cuts. Despite its controversial nature, the bill was eyed by some as an omnibus measure to which some special-interest measures could be attached. The short-circuited move mirrored Congress’s 2006 passage of the UIGEA, which sailed through without opposition after being added to a needed port-security measure.
EVERLEAF DEPARTS US MARKET
The ranks of US-facing online-poker networks lost another player in February when the smallist Everleaf Network pulled out of France, Malta, and the US, following the seizure of accounts held by a Liechtenstein-based payment processor. Everleaf’s tiny skins included such sites as Everleaf Poker, Poker4Ever, LuvinPoker and dozens of others. A former Everleaf skin called Victory Poker, which featured a handful of prominent players including Antonio Esfandiari and Andrew Robl, previously folded after a planned move to the Cereus Network collapsed amid the “Black Friday” fallout.
JEWELL RETURNS TO WSOPC WINNER’S CIRCLE
The second ring’s as sweet as the first; just ask Kentucky’s Matt Jewell, who claimed custom Jewellry for the second time in winning the WSOP Circuit Tunica main event. Jewell’s short jaunt south to Mississippi proved a profitable trip when he won a race against runner-up Chris Thompson’s pocket pair to seal the $192,984 first prize. Thompson fell just short, but banked $119,415 for second, while Dan Blakeman’s thirdplace run was worth $87,586 in earnings.
DUHAMEL’S WSOP BRACELET RECOVERED
A French poker site, PrincePoker.com, reports the recovery of Jonathan Duhamel’s 2012 WSOP main event bracelet, though in a damaged state. The bauble was found by a street sweeper cleaning Montreal’s Villa- Marie Tunnel after an attempt to scrape Duhamel’s name and other engravings had seemingly been abandoned. Four people, including Duhamel’s ex-girlfriend, have been indicted for the home-invasion robbery in which the bracelet and other valuables and cash were taken. No word on whether Duhamel plans to have his mangled bracelet restored.
INDIAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE RECONVENES ONLINE-GAMBLING DEBATE
The pros and cons of federal versus state regulation of online gaming were up for discussion as the US Senate’s Committee on Indian Affairs resumed talks. As before, no official measures were reached. Hard-line tribal proponents condemned intrastate efforts, such as Nevadas, as an attempt to steal protected tribal revenues, while other interests pushed for a solution that would offer revenue streams to all interested parties. A third Indian Affairs Committee meeting on the topic remains to be scheduled.
SOMERVILLE OUTS SELF AS FIRST GAY MALE PRO
Young poker star, Jason Somerville celebrated Valentine’s Day in a unique fashion by choosing to post a lengthy, heartfelt, and personal blog, declaring himself as poker’s first “out” male poker player. While the stigma against homosexuality remains ingrained in Western athletic and competitive-pastime cultures, Somerville’s courageous statement was widely praised among his peers, and in the poker media at large. Somerville joins female player Vanessa Selbst as the only pros who have announced their alternative lifestyles.
CAESARS SECOND TIME AROUND IN IPO
Caesars Entertainment, Inc., parent company of the World Series of Poker, re-entered the world of publicly traded stocks after its recent IPO in which just over two million shares were offered for sale. Though the share price quickly jumped from $9 to $14, the shares represent only about 1 percent of the outstanding stock of the company, which was taken private in a 2005 leveraged buyout by Apollo Global Management and Texas Pacific Group.
Veteran poker-industry writer/editor Haley Hintze is the author of an upcoming book on the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet