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Poker News Brief: LV Sands Websites Targeted by Hackers

by Haley Hintze

The internet homes of prominent Las Vegas casino resorts Venetian and Palazzo were knocked off line for several days in February following attacks by internet hackers.  The attacks appeared motivated by the pro-Israel politics of LV Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, and text left by the hackers included a reference to an oblique recommendation Adelson made last year about bombing the Iranian desert as a show of strength supporting Israel.  The hacking included the publication of private information of LV Sands employees.  The LV Sands corporate website was also affected, as were the sites of its other casino properties, in Pennsylvania and Macau.

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Poker News Brief: Pro-Online Gambling Lobbying Group C4COP Debuts

by Haley Hintze

A new lobbying group favoring the regulated oversight of online poker and gambling has debuted.  The new Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP) is funded by MGM International with support from the American Gaming Association.  C4COP was created to counteract the anti-online push of CSIG, with C4COP immediately announcing a $250,000 media buy, primarily around Washington, D.C., to promote a pro-online political agenda.  Among the political figures already signed to front the group are former GOP Congressmen Mike Oxley and Mary Bono and former Obama administrative staffer Jim Messina.

Change Up Your Style

by David “The Maven” Chicotsky

Candy makers know that if they can get a person to like a certain type of candy as a kid, they’re much more likely to eat that brand of candy for the rest of their lives. Something similar occurs in poker - where players start out playing a certain style of poker and continue to play that style throughout their poker career. Just because something feels comfortable, doesn’t make it correct. In fact, in tournament poker, much of what initially seems correct is dead wrong.

The average poker player starts out overly tight, playing mostly semi-premium and premium hands. The sad truth is most of these players remain tight for years and years. It’s very important to be a chameleon at the table - adjusting to the table conditions (stack sizes, play of our opponents, time of the tournament, among other factors) on a constant basis. Other players start out loose (affectionately known as spewtards) and also follow along that path for far too long.

Playing poker is like driving a car; we go fast on the highway and slow in school zones. Just because we go fast on the highway, doesn’t mean we are a “fast” driver - it’s just part of the skill-set we need to efficiently get around town. Try not to mentally box yourself into a certain category of player. Let the game come to you and make the necessary adjustments along the way, since many other players won’t.

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Poker News Brief: Pennsylvania State Senators Seeks to Criminalize Online Poker Playing

by Haley Hintze

Pennsylvania Pols Announce Support for Online-Gambling Ban – Three Pennsylvania state legislators have announced support for a yet-to-be-introduced piece of legislation that would criminalize the playing of online poker and other forms of online gambling. The statements by State Sen. Mario Scavello and two others propose summary fines and misdemeanor penalties for playing poker and other forms of gambling online, and if enacted would make Pennsylvania only the second US state where playing online poker is regarded as criminal. (The state of Washington passed a felony law in 2006.) The LV Sands-funded Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) immediately hailed Scavello’s proposal; Scavello’s PA district, coincidentally, is adjacent to the one where the Sands-owned Sands Bethlehem casino is located.

Massachusetts Poker Future Bright

by Ashley Adams

As a Boston resident, I am regularly asked about poker in Massachusetts. Sadly, there are no casinos or other public poker rooms in this state. However, in 2011, the state passed a law that enabled full-scale casino gambling here. In 2012, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission was assembled; and in 2013, they accepted applications for casino licenses. Applicants have been investigated and their applications have been reviewed. Some have been rejected; some approved. Communities have voted, in accordance with the enabling legislation, on whether they will accept a casino. Some have rejected the projects; others have accepted them. One, Revere, will vote again on February 25th on a new proposal (the initial proposal included putting part of the casino in East Boston, who rejected the plan).

Here’s how the casino gambling picture in Massachusetts looks now, with my estimate of when poker will actually be available. There are three regions that have been given the right to have one licensed casino: Eastern, Southeastern, and Western/Central. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has been given first crack at a license for Southeastern MA—but they had to have both a state compact, approved by the federal government, and a “land in trust” deal – because they do not have any tribal land. As of January 17th, their requisite compact with the state has been approved. They still do not have a land in trust agreement, however. And the entire matter of preferential treatment is under challenge by a private casino developer, KG Urban. So it may be a while before this casino deal is squared away. My guess is that this will not be fully sorted out until the beginning of 2015, with no spades in the ground until the end of 2015, and with the casino opened up by the winter of 2016.

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Hunch-Drunk

by Barbara Connors

“I had a feeling.” This seemingly innocuous phrase, usually spoken in defense of a loose call after the hand is over, ranks right up there with, “I had to make sure” and “I’ll just play a little while longer until I get back even again” as among the most costly utterances in poker. And yet what red-blooded poker player hasn’t been tempted to play a hunch now and then? Sticking to clinical, strategically-sound, mathematically correct play all the time may be the most surefire way to make money at this game, but we’re not robots. Playing hunches appeals to the frustrated artist in all of us. It’s flattering to believe that maybe we’re a little bit psychic and it’s just plain more fun.

But is it always a bad thing to play a hunch? Well, it depends. Anytime you feel yourself wanting to make some unorthodox play that you would never make otherwise, based purely on a gut feeling, the important question to ask yourself is—where did that gut feeling come from?

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Mohegan Sun’s Showdown Promising Half Million

By Barbara Rogers

Get ready for a Showdown at the Mohegan Sun, in Connecticut! With a half million guaranteed in payouts, the Mohegan Sun Spring Showdown arrives on March 23rd. Expect an extremely well orchestrated event, good structures, and appreciative players because this team (headed up by Josh Zuckerman, Poker Room Manager, and Rebecca Carabino, the popular Tournament Director) works well together. Rebecca was highly anticipating Josh’s arrival to Mohegan Sun Poker Room, and he did not disappoint. Rebecca told me Josh has made her life much easier and considers herself, and the players at Mohegan Sun, lucky to have him. Josh’s arrival even allowed Rebecca to take a welldeserved holiday. When she phoned me from a ski trip in Vermont, Rebecca was pretty excited about the Mohegan Sun’s Spring Showdown. She and Josh have worked hard on this venue, including securing an excellent poker room player rate in the hotel. Sunday through Thursday, an almost unheard of $59 rate prevails. Since the Mohegan Sun hotel enjoys a 97% occupancy on Friday and Saturdays, the rate is $199 a night. And this is the result of negotiations for you. When calling for reservations use the group code Poker 14. Call 860 862 8000 to reach the Mohegan Sun Casino of the Wind in Uncasville, Connecticut.

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The WSOP is Back at Lumiere Place!

by Debbie Burkhead

The WSOP is Back at Lumiere Place!  By Debbie Burkhead After a one-year interruption the WSOP Circuit event is coming back to St. Louis. This is a brand new stop on the WSOP circuit; it was originally scheduled at the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland. The event is scheduled to kick off on March 20 and run through March 31. The 12 day event will award 12 rings and will offer numerous non-ring side events and cash games. They will also award two seats to the WSOP National Championship in Atlantic City in May.

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Mike Caro: Today’s word is... NATURE

Many poker players lose for a single, simple reason. They don’t grasp the nature of the majority of their opponents. Because of this common and fundamental misunderstanding of opponents’ natural state at the poker table, players pour profit down the poker drain trying to accomplish things that are impossible. What does that mean? Listen, and I’ll tell you.

Why they play

In order to take advantage of your opponents’ greatest weaknesses, you first need to understand why they came to play poker. No, really. Let’s examine that. Imagine that you’re a regular guy or gal with a regular everyday job. Maybe it’s standing all day long behind a used tomato booth at a secret black market for fruits and vegetables. Maybe it’s painting over minor scratches on the bottom of automobile mufflers. Just some common job. Okay. Now imagine that your job is only thrilling for the first seven hours each day and that, by the final hour, you’re bored and eager to get home. Fine. So, that’s where you are right now. Home.

Then a monumental thought bombs your brain: “Maybe I’ll drive to the casino and play poker.” Immediately, your pulse quickens. An adventure awaits.

So, now I want you to stop imagining and jump back out of the head of your pretend opponent. You’re you again, in your own head. And that’s the “you” to whom I’m posing this important question. Here it comes. Do you think, while driving to the casino, your opponent is thinking, “I hope I can just sit at the table and not have to play any hands,” or “I hope I get to play a lot of hands”?

Jonathan Gaviao Wins Harrah’s Tunica Main Event

Jonathan Gaviao earned his first gold ring along with $181,757 in prize money in the Harrah’s Tunica Main Event Monday evening.

Gaviao, a 23-year-old College Station, TX resident, bested 577 entries to earn his spot among the season’s most recent Main Event winners and secure his seat in the National Championship.

“It’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s always nice to win a ring and make a little bit of money. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The victory is just most the recent in a string of successes for the young pro. Barely two weeks ago he finished 14th in the record-breaking 1,428- entry Circuit Main Event at Choctaw Casino. He earned $24,098 for that performance, but came up well short of the gold hardware Circuit grinders play for.

With that deep run under his belt, Gaviao made the trip to Tunica to try his luck in another Circuit finale. Late on Day 2, it appeared the trek was paying off when he picked up pocket aces to knock out two players and take a sizable chip lead. From there, he still had a long way to go, but the stars were undoubtedly aligning.

“I felt really confident when we got down to fourhanded and I took over the chip lead,” Gaviao said of his run. “I felt like I was playing really well. I knew that whatever happened, happened for a reason and I was alright with that. Whether I won or lost; there’s more important things in life.”

Gaviao rode his confidence and laid back attitude all the way to the winner’s circle marking his second deep run in as many years at the Harrah’s Tunica Main event.

“Everyone’s got their special place and I guess Tunica is mine,” Gaviao said.

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