PokerStars, Caesars, Borgata, Showboat and Happenings in the State of New Jersey
By Wendeen H. Eolis
The application by Poker Stars for an Interim Casino Authority (ICA) license at the Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City appears to be in limbo for the moment. The Casino Control Commission (CCC) has yet to announce the next steps in the process, but the Communications office of the CCC has confirmed that the licensing deliberations take place in meetings open to the public.
AGA and PokerStars Are Subject to a Unique Bureaucratic Process
Here is a quick review on recent events and a primer on the bureaucratic process that pits the American Gaming Association (AGA) against PokerStars in a bid to delay if not deny the online poker company’s entry into the American-based gaming market.
The AGA has opposed PokerStars’ application for a license and has asked the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) for permission to participate in its license application hearing. PokerStars has shot back an indignant response to the DGE objecting to the AGA request. It has also leveled pointed accusations in the direction of the AGA and Caesars Entertainment as pots calling the kettle black.
The CCC which has responsibility for casino licensing matters received the AGA papers from the DGE. The DGE is the body that accepts petitions; the CCC has no authority to do so. The bifurcated duties of these two regulatory bodies are clear to them but murky for most of the rest of us.
The DGE may make licensing recommendations but it is the CCC that is charged with issuance, suspensions and termination of casino licenses. The DGE will be responsible for issuing online licenses to casinos qualified by the CCC. So now you’ve got the picture of the bureaucratic process.
In the matter of the PokerStars application for an ICA, the CCC has elected to take a step back after the warring parties rattled their sabers relentlessly at each other. It is reportedly studying the situation before proceeding further on the application.
by David “THE MAVEN” Chicotsky
There are certain things we need to remind ourselves about when we play. There are other things we need to try not to think or worry too much about. It’s always smart to remind ourselves to take our time and not to rush decisions. Some players naturally draw more attention to themselves; we wouldn’t want to over-focus on a single player when there are many players to concentrate on. What’s going on in your head at the poker table needs to be pointed towards the relevant and away from the irrelevant.
I like to try and do as much thinking about the players at the table as possible before the hand. Meaning, I don’t want to wait until I’m in the middle of a hand to determine things like how aggressive of a player my opponent is (or isn’t). I want to approach the hand with those facts thought through, already gauging the tendencies of the opponent. Otherwise, I’m forced to make complicated decisions on the fly. By taking care of several of the major factors that go into the decision, all future decisions become easier. By doing this we’re able to better concentrate on the actual aspects of the hand that are important. For all of us that are forced to wait while someone thinks forever during a hand – this kind of pre-hand analysis should speed up decisions to a tolerable level.
Too often, players feel the overwhelming need to raise prior to the flop. Surprisingly, many skilled players are guilty of this tactic. Sure, it’s possible to win and profit by making this move, but it may also jeopardize additional profit that could be acquired from weaker opponents waiting to act, who may be intimidated and not play their substandard hands.
Impressive. Prior to the flop, you only have two cards in your hand. Unless they’re superior, your next step is questionable. Yes, it’s acceptable to jump in with a raise before the flop. But, it isn’t something you’ll want to do on a regular basis, unless you’re in late position. When playing from an early position, you are at a distinct disadvantage. Your actions pre-flop will often influence your actions after the flop, and on remaining rounds.
by George “The Engineer” Epstein
The late poker guru Lou Krieger recently wrote an informative three-part column on Expected Value, “EV,” applied to drawing hands in Texas hold’em. This concept derives from probability mathematics to describe the long-term average outcome of a given scenario. To calculate Expected Value, take every possible outcome, multiply each by the probability of that outcome happening, and then add those numbers together. As an example, Lou calculated the EV where you hold four-to-the-nut flush on the turn. This involves the odds against catching the flush on the river (4-to-1 against); how much you lose if you call and miss (as will happen about 80% of the time), and how much you could win (about 20% of the time). The result determines whether the situation provides a positive or a negative Expected Value. Then call with +EV; fold with -EV.
I want you to think about poker in an all-new way. Imagine a world where poker isn’t about calling and betting. Instead, it’s about buying and selling. If you image that world, then you’ll understand poker as it really is. And you’ll probably make a lot more money at the tables. I’ll try to explain that in todays self-interview.
Question 1: Why does it matter how you define poker? It’s still the same game, right?
Right. It’s the same game.
Whenever you see a description of anything, you can say, “why does it matter? It is what it is.” Often it does matter, though. That’s because how you imagine something determines how you use or react to it. Take a television, for instance. It could be described as a container surrounding a window that glows. In that context, it would become a great nightlight or decoration. If you define a TV that way, its purpose is to destroy the darkness. But if you define it as the receiver of transmitted information and entertainment, it has a more valuable purpose.
By Barbara Rogers
Meet me in the poker room at Hollywood Casino—Don’t tell me the lights are shining, anyplace but there! Finally, poker room manager, Denise Taykowski, will get to take a turn at playing host to the Hollywood Poker Open regional tournament. Hollywood Casino in St. Louis, MO is the next stop for this very popular tour. The 28 event HPO regional tournament will play out from April 4th through April 14th. The 11 days of play will attract some of the top players throughout the Midwest as they compete for plenty of prize money and a $2,500 seat in the Guaranteed HPO Championship at the M Resort in Las Vegas. In addition to plenty of events, the Main one will start on April 12 through the 15th with a $1,620 buy-in. This is the last stop on the HPO Championship Tournament tour, with all roads leading to the highly anticipated event in Vegas on June 28-30th at the M Resort, with the big prize of a $500,000 payout, guaranteed.
By Barbara Rogers
History was made at Delaware Park Casino in Wilmington, with the announcement from the Guinness World Record officials confirming the world record for the “Longest Continuous Poker Tournament”. This was their second attempt at setting the record. Delaware Park’s 2012 Ironman Poker Challenge began on Saturday, August 25th, at noon. The tournament concluded after 36 hours 34 minutes, and 11 seconds. This feat of endurance ran without breaks, with a total of 192 participants. Three of the players were still standing, or actually slouched in their seats when the thirty-six hour mark was eclipsed. The prize pool totaled an impressive $100,608. It took a tough guy from the Czech Republic, Pete Konas to make it to the end. He was rewarded with the title, and $27,160.
by Wendeen H. Eolis
The battle for supremacy in the emerging online poker market, stateside, is in full swing with a series of gambits by the American Gaming Association (AGA). The AGA has effectively delayed PokerStars’ anticipated acquisition of the Atlantic Club Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City by its letter and legal brief in opposition.
PokerStars is perceived as a white knight among poker players but as a black sheep by members of the AGA.
The various bones of contention are coming into sharper focus but some relevant matters of fact are becoming more murky. Lawyers supportive of the AGA stance and of AGA members most likely to be affected sooner than later have become increasingly vocal in response to this reporter’s request for help in dissecting the issues—in plain English.
Questions and Answers
More than a dozen lawyers representing both sides of the issues contributed questions and comments last week. This week the AGA supporters (on condition of personal anonymity) reviewed their position and various documentation in an effort to flesh out the general consensus among them. One of the participants stepped up to provide a voice on behalf of the prevailing views of AGA supporters interviewed. PokerStars supporters in the group are expected to provide enhanced responses with references to legal documents, shortly. In the interim some of their initial comments are repeated to remind readers there are two sides —if not more— in this evolving story.
Note: For the avoidance of doubt, readers are advised that both PokerStars and the AGA declined to comment on the Q & A for this article through their respective communications offices and none of the responses reflect authorized comment by either organization.
1. Why did Poker Stars conclude affirmatively that their online poker fare was legal in America after enactment of UIGEA?
By Rhue R Reis
A total of 192 players entered the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em event in the 2013 Foxwoods Poker Classic with a total prize pool of $433,007 on the line. The final table’s two initial chip leaders maintained their positions to the end, and battled heads up for only a few hands. Ryan Eriquezzo of Danbury, CT realized 2nd place earnings of $69,541 while Justin Schwartz of Milford, CT captured the Trophy, Watch and the $112,582 Top Prize for the 2013 Foxwoods Poker Classic $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em Champion.
21-Year-Old College Student Wins First Gold Ring and $174K
WSOP Circuit’s Last Stop on Jersey Shore has concluded. Joseph McKeehen put on the most dominant display of the 2012-2013 World Series of Poker Circuit season on Monday, winning the Main Event Championship at Caesars Atlantic City McKeehen made a shambles out of the poker proceedings, scorching the hopes of each and every would-be rival in his shining path to victory. Consider that when play reached the final table, the 21-year-old college student had nearly half of the total chips in play. The old line about everyone else “playing for second place” gets overused in poker tournament liturgy. However, if ever there was an appropriate use for the aphorism, it was most certainly the final table of the Main Event in Atlantic City.
In fact, McKeehen was never in serious danger of elimination. Like an alley cat toying with its prey, the young semi-pro poker player from North Wales, PA made it rather obvious that the mice in the dispute had no real fighting chance. The rush of cards didn’t hurt McKeehen’s prospects either.