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Will Amaya Acquire PokerStars’ Midas Touch?

by Wendeen H. Eolis

Now that Amaya Gaming has completed its purchase of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg and his son Mark, for whom he founded the company, are totally out. Daniel Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya, and the architect of the PokerStars deal, is totally in.  And today, U. S.  gaming companies are better positioned to compete against the online behemoth, than ever before.

Not coincidentally, the management change has put PokerStars  back in line for prompt licensing consideration by regulators in New Jersey. Less expected, however, are  the kind words a Caesars executive bestows on the Amaya CEO.   But, before a relationship between Amaya Gaming and American poker players moves forward in earnest, with plans to hook up online gaming in America from shore to shore, the Company  will need to go through more than a few hoops. 

PokerStars Train Rolling Across America

Things are  looking up  in New Jersey as PokerStars prepares to settle down, "suitably," in  Atlantic City. The PokerStars partnership with Resorts is the talk of the town. New Jersey regulators are reportedly convinced that Poker Stars now deserves a welcome mat and are all but drooling over $$$ projected for the State. Wise casino executives, from the marina to the boardwalk are past their frustration over the anticipated competition; looking instead for the silver lining.  Only die-hard naysayers are still warning, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings!"

In contrast, California is an unending battleground  in the igaming world.  Should PokerStars be admitted to the gaming party or should Poker Stars be excluded by a "bad actor clause;" that is the ongoing question.  Casino industry lobbyists and legal experts at opposite ends of the pole have been opining on how to proceed with online gambling legislation.  One side of the legal argument revolves around  the Constitution.  The other side invokes states’ rights that may effectively trump the Constitution.  For lawmakers it is a classic case of Fiorello’s song,   “Politics and Poker.”  One online poker bill has just died on the vine. A second one threatens to face a similar fate, likely to push the debate down the road into 2015. 

California, here we come—maybe

Earlier this month, longtime Whittier law professor and gambling law expert I. Nelson Rose took on Constitutional scholar and Harvard Professor, Lawrence Tribe.  Rose rebutted Tribe’s legal opinion concerning the two online poker bills pending in the California legislature. Tribe challenges the “bad actor” clause in proposed legislation. Rose defends it. Tribe is advocating for a client.  at Rose is engaged in  an intellectual exercise .  

Tribe relies on the Constitution  to assail the “bad actor clause.” He says it is a pointed effort to cut out his client, PokerStars, from the re-emerging industry in the U.S.   Proponents of the California-based  bills, generally, make no bones about seeking to bar Poker Stars from entering the U.S market, anytime soon. And California lawmakers seem have plenty of like-minded company from Nevada to Pennsylvania. But Rose’s article sidesteps pointing fingers. He looks at the subject matter academically. He zeroes in on states’ rights, and police powers that provide for a state to protect its citizens, to make  his argument that the bad actor clause is legally justified. 

Rose’s Grandstanding Makes Sense!

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

Will Amaya Acquire PokerStars’ Midas Touch?

by Wendeen H. Eolis

Now that Amaya Gaming has completed its purchase of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg and his son Mark, for whom he founded the company, are totally out. Daniel Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya, and the architect of the PokerStars deal, is totally in.  And today, U. S.  gaming companies are better positioned to compete against the online behemoth, than ever before.

Not coincidentally, the management change has put PokerStars  back in line for prompt licensing consideration by regulators in New Jersey. Less expected, however, are  the kind words a Caesars executive bestows on the Amaya CEO.   But, before a relationship between Amaya Gaming and American poker players moves forward in earnest, with plans to hook up online gaming in America from shore to shore, the Company  will need to go through more than a few hoops. 

PokerStars Train Rolling Across America

Things are  looking up  in New Jersey as PokerStars prepares to settle down, "suitably," in  Atlantic City. The PokerStars partnership with Resorts is the talk of the town. New Jersey regulators are reportedly convinced that Poker Stars now deserves a welcome mat and are all but drooling over $$$ projected for the State. Wise casino executives, from the marina to the boardwalk are past their frustration over the anticipated competition; looking instead for the silver lining.  Only die-hard naysayers are still warning, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings!"

In contrast, California is an unending battleground  in the igaming world.  Should PokerStars be admitted to the gaming party or should Poker Stars be excluded by a "bad actor clause;" that is the ongoing question.  Casino industry lobbyists and legal experts at opposite ends of the pole have been opining on how to proceed with online gambling legislation.  One side of the legal argument revolves around  the Constitution.  The other side invokes states’ rights that may effectively trump the Constitution.  For lawmakers it is a classic case of Fiorello’s song,   “Politics and Poker.”  One online poker bill has just died on the vine. A second one threatens to face a similar fate, likely to push the debate down the road into 2015. 

California, here we come—maybe

Earlier this month, longtime Whittier law professor and gambling law expert I. Nelson Rose took on Constitutional scholar and Harvard Professor, Lawrence Tribe.  Rose rebutted Tribe’s legal opinion concerning the two online poker bills pending in the California legislature. Tribe challenges the “bad actor” clause in proposed legislation. Rose defends it. Tribe is advocating for a client.  at Rose is engaged in  an intellectual exercise .  

Tribe relies on the Constitution  to assail the “bad actor clause.” He says it is a pointed effort to cut out his client, PokerStars, from the re-emerging industry in the U.S.   Proponents of the California-based  bills, generally, make no bones about seeking to bar Poker Stars from entering the U.S market, anytime soon. And California lawmakers seem have plenty of like-minded company from Nevada to Pennsylvania. But Rose’s article sidesteps pointing fingers. He looks at the subject matter academically. He zeroes in on states’ rights, and police powers that provide for a state to protect its citizens, to make  his argument that the bad actor clause is legally justified. 

Rose’s Grandstanding Makes Sense!

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

Las Vegas Bellagio Resort Robbed

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Details are sketchy concerning an apparent robbery at the Bellagio Resort located on the Las Vegas strip.  Las Vegas Metro police are not releasing any details about the incident but a Bellagio spokesperson did confirm that a robbery did occur.

Bellagio employees are reporting that rumors around the property concerning the robbery say a man with what appeared to be a weapon was seen at the cashier cage early Friday evening.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

2014 WSOP November Nine - Chip Leader Jorryt van Hoof

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Another first at the 2014 WSOP.  For the second consecutive year we have a Dutchman at the WSOP final table and he's sitting in seat #3 behind almost 20% of the events total chips in play.  Holding 38,375,000 in play money is Jorryt van Hoof of Eindhoven, Netherlands.  The 31-year-old Dutch poker professional has 5,600,000 more chips than Felix Stephensen, second on the chip leader board.
 

Following the lead of fellow Dutchman, 2013 November Nine player and seventh place finisher, Michiel Brummelhuis, chip leader Jorryt van Hoof makes it two-in-a-row for the Netherlands.  Jorryt van Hoof arrived atop the Main Event chip leader board after a rocky start following Day 1B.  
 

On Day 2 he bagged less chips than he had at the start of the day.  Day 3 saw him add to his total play money but once again, Day 4 had him showing another loss and bagging less.  Day 5 showed a significant gain in chips.  Day 6 had van Hoof adding even more to his stacks and finishing the day among the chip leaders.  Day 7 belonged to Jorryt van Hoof when the WSOP Main Event starting field of 6685 runners was trimmed down to nine players.  They were assigned seats at the World's most famous poker table, the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table.  Jorryt van Hoof stands above the November Nine as the chip leader.
 

Like many of today's younger players Jorryt van Hoof  began his journey into gaming playing “Magic, the Gathering.”  Following the path of his peers he began playing poker.  Jorryt van Hoof found he had a knack for the game and in particular, Pot Limit Omaha.
 

Jorryt van Hoff is no stranger to the WSOP and has cashed three times for a total of $27,956.  He has career earnings of $358,580 which does not include the $730,725 ninth place money each of the November Nine have already received.
 

Jorryt van Hoof will lead the November Nine into the Penn & Teller Theater located in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on November 10, 2014.  They will play until only two remain.  The following day, November 11, the two will play heads-up until one is eliminated and a 2014 Poker Champion of the World is crowned.  The winner will receive $10,000,000, a very special gold and diamond bracelet and perpetuity in the history of poker.   

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Mike Caro: Today's Word is... REVENGE

“I waited all night, but I got even with that idiot!” Tony announced at about 5 a.m., as he was leaving the poker room.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, as we strode side by side toward the parking lot. It had been a great night for me, so I was in a tolerant mood, willing to play along with Tony’s peculiar and perpetual need to always share his poker exploits as if nobody else mattered.

“So, I start at noon,” Tony began. “and everything’s going fine. After about an hour, this guy I’ve never played with sits down and bluffs me three hands in a row! He shows the hands. And he’s gloating. I can hardly stand it.”

He paused and walked in silence for about 20 seconds, then continued.

Worried

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Mike Caro: Today's Word is... REVENGE

“I waited all night, but I got even with that idiot!” Tony announced at about 5 a.m., as he was leaving the poker room.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, as we strode side by side toward the parking lot. It had been a great night for me, so I was in a tolerant mood, willing to play along with Tony’s peculiar and perpetual need to always share his poker exploits as if nobody else mattered.

“So, I start at noon,” Tony began. “and everything’s going fine. After about an hour, this guy I’ve never played with sits down and bluffs me three hands in a row! He shows the hands. And he’s gloating. I can hardly stand it.”

He paused and walked in silence for about 20 seconds, then continued.

Worried

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Saving Money on Your Poker Vacation

by Ashley Adams

I go to Las Vegas at least once a year – and have learned how to minimize my overhead while out there.  Less money for expenses translates into more money for tournaments.. Here’s how I save.

Let’s look at the four major cost components of a typical poker vacation:

1. Airfare
2. Hotel
3. Ground Transportation (taxi, buses, rental cars)
4. Meals

Airfare – Save $150

I live in Boston, Massachusetts.  My travel costs may be different from those of you who live elsewhere.  Even so, I think the process of saving money is the same, regardless of your place of departure.

Many of my friends have frequent flyer cards and use one airline exclusively.  I don’t do that.  I use a consolidator, an internet service that scans all airlines for the lowest fare.  Recently, I noticed a disparity of $150 between the most expensive seat and the cheapest seat on a round trip flight from Boston to Las Vegas.  The best site for this, in my opinion, is Fly.com.  It looks at all of the consolidators and finds the cheapest seat.  It also shows you the cheapest days to fly, allowing you to further cut your costs by leaving a day or two earlier or later to qualify for the lowest fare.

2. Hotel – Save between $420 and $1,940

First of all, you should decide what kind of a place you want.  Maybe you want to stay only in a first class place – five stars all the way.  Fine.  I just checked the rates through the site of a well-regarded 5 star hotel on the strip in Las Vegas.  Their least expensive room was $2,050 for five nights including a Saturday night.   I then went to my favorite internet site, Trivago.com – and booked the exact same room for $1,630 – for a savings of $420.  But maybe you’re a little more flexible than I was – and are willing to stay in another 5-star hotel – just not that particular one.  Using Trivago again, I found another popular, well known place, in roughly the same strip location,  for only  $750 for five nights including Saturday night – for a savings of $1,250.  Same quality, roughly the same location – and over $1,000 less!

Of course if you’re willing to go down slightly in quality you can save even more.  I found a well-known three-star hotel, near the northern end of the Strip for just $210 for those same five nights – for a savings of $1,840.  Believe it or not, if you want, you can do even better than that in Las Vegas.   I typically stay in a clean two-star place for $110 for those five nights – for a savings of $1,940.  If  you are a serious poker player like I am, you’re spending nearly all your waking hours in a poker room anyway.  You’re just using your room for sleep.  Who really cares how fancy the pillows and drapes are?  So why pay top price?

3. Ground Transportation: Save $225

Many people take cabs wherever they go in Las Vegas.  That can get expensive.  With a $3.30 initial charge, $2.60 a mile plus $.60 a minute “Waiting time” plus $3 or so to use your credit card – a typical ride from casino to casino or casino to restaurant typically runs no less than $20 a pop including tip.  Do that three or four times a day, five days in a row and you’ve out at least $300 to get around in Las Vegas.

Instead, consider renting a car.  If you go through Hotwire.com, my favorite site for rental cards, you won’t know what rental car company you have, but I really don’t care about anything but the rate.  Recently, I paid just $75 a week (including all taxes and fees) for an economy car –$225 less than using cabs.

4. Meals:  Save $300 -- maybe

You can get a room with a kitchenette and cook many of your own meals – saving the cost of going out to eat.  Groceries are a lot cheaper than restaurant meals to be sure.  I used to do that.  I saved a few hundred dollars.  But I found that it often wasn’t worth it, since I so enjoy the experience of eating out while in Las Vegas.

Total Savings:

All tolled, depending on the choices you make you could save from $795 up to $2,615 for your five-day vacation, airfare included.  With the money you save you could afford at least the entry into the Aria’s recently announced $565 tournament with a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool.  Not too shabby!  For my money, saving the money is worth the slightly extra effort.

For information about finding poker games while on vacation or traveling, check out my other article on PokerStrategy.com.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

James Garner Dead at 86

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Los Angeles Police reported today that actor James Garner was found dead from natural causes in his  Los Angeles home Saturday evening. 

When I was growing up I knew one for-sure fact about poker, 'Don't play with Maverick because you  would not win'. Years later when I first saw the remake of the “Maverick” movie with James Garner as  the father of the next poker playing Maverick I thought it was a parody of the early WSOP. 

Poker greats from all over the globe gathered to trade chips,lies and bluffs while determining who  could do it the best. While photographing the 2006 WSOP Main Event at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas  I was thrilled to see Maverick himself sitting at one of the tables with a few stacks of chips playing in  the greatest poker game of them all. 

James Garner was no longer the dashing young man but he was definitely the older version. He was  most kind and easy going that day. No, he didn't win and was eliminated that day. I did win and I  wasn't even playing. Getting to meet James “Maverick” Garner sitting at a poker table was quite a  thrill and for a few moments I was again a kid in Texas watching the great Maverick take them all. 

Thanks for the entertaining memories Mr. Garner. R.I.P.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

Calling Out Sexism in Poker: Beyond Maguire, Molly’s Game, and “The Mouth”

by Wendeen H. Eolis

The bloom was still on the rose of the poker boom when James (Jimmy) Woods strolled into the Commerce Casino, just outside Los Angeles. We met up for coffee and then walked over to a no limit hold’em game with “open seating.”

Tobey Maguire was in the game. So were Leonardo (Leo) DiCaprio and David Schwimmer. The rest of the players were a mixture of local pros and other recognizable regulars. There was no fanfare--no handlers holding court, protectively, no velvet ropes to keep gawkers at bay, no caviar on the side tables for the celebrities.

Except for the cast of Hollywood characters at the table, it was  a typical,  no limit hold' 'em game in  the country's biggest card room  The  blinds ware relatively small. the buy-in was uncapped, and thousands—not hundreds of thousands--of dollars  changed hands in the course of the night. Like the rest of the players at the table, the Hollywood pack seemed to care mostly about how people were playing their chips and the odds of a reversal of fortune on the turn of a card.

Way before Before Molly’s Game

In the mid 80s, when I first  sidled up to a poker table, the WSOP was the one tournament that meant something to any poker player worth his salt. In that era, poker players were accustomed to seeing the likes of Gabe Kaplan and Telly Savalas  at the World Series of Poker, but  generally, movie stars were not aficionados of public poker rooms. Very few women took seats at the tables. During the three week World Series at Binion''s Horseshoe; blue language and  vulgar comments were part of the game--except when a lady was at the table. Benny Binion, had no patience for such bad manners! Neither did Jack Binion. And good old Texans jumped right in if a guy got out of line when the fairer sex was present. But not so much in many other card rooms where  male players viewed women as intrusive on their boys' nights out.    

New York's Mayfair Club did better than most. In the mid 80's the Mayfair  began its evolution into the hottest underground poker den in America. There was an egalitarian spirit at the table.  Originally, a bridge and backgammon club, the Mayfair attracted some of the best and the brightest game players in the world; a slew of them were poker players; some  were women.  Once poker was an option at the Club, word spread like wildfire among local game players and sports bettors.

In no time flat, the Mayfair's ambience roped in low limit poker players from all walks of life. Pros, Wall Street whales and a smattering of celebrities were part of the Club's regular ebb and flow. There was one big no limit game; I decided to make high stakes no limit hold 'em  my game. Few women dared to take a shot at pulling down a four or five figure pot. Most of the time I was the only woman at the table.

Needling fellow players and "coffee-housing" (harmless trash talk) were  encouraged. Cursing was discouraged. The F bomb was never acceptable as a regular part of the conversation. Disparaging whispers about women and  fish were routine but down and dirty abuse   at the table was verboten.

And, Molly Bloom the poker hostess with the mostest, and author of a new book about high stakes poker games, in hotsy- totsy enclaves, was just a kid in Loveland, Colorado.

The 90s takes poker up a notch

In the 90s, screenplay writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien discovered New York’s Mayfair Club.  The Mayfair was the inspiration for their 1998 film,  Rounders, starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich. In the years that followed, increasingly, celebrities made their way into poker rooms.  Damon took a fancy to the game. His close friend, Ben Affleck also got into poker; first at Foxwoods, in small no limit games, later in Atlantic City’s high stakes mixed limit games--with Jennifer Lopez at his side. After their break-up, more often alongside Maguire, and DiCaprio  in California--the poker capital of the world. Woods, caught the poker bug, independently. He eagerly, made visits to tournaments and cash games on both coasts. and Schwimmer was a frequent player, too.

The movie stars generally behaved in poker rooms as they would in any other coed domain, where manners count and unwritten rules of basic etiquette frown on being disrespectful or making fun of women for sport.  As to the rest of the poker players, across America, they were as orderly as required by the game runners and poker parlors personnel; few public card rooms muzzled provocative  commentary.

The Poker Boom Years in the Oughts

With the advent of online poker, the average age and social skills of poker players dropped, dramatically, during the next decade of the "oughts." A small influx of  never-seen-before women of varying ages  began to take seats at casino card room tables. If they wanted to play poker, they wee forced to adapt to a new lexicon of acceptable curse words and more table chatter that portrayed women as nuts and sl---s . 

Of course, some women in the poker world  never have  looked upon a poker table as a place to be a prim and proper lady!   One-time poker star and runner-up contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, Annie Duke was among them. At one Ante Up for Africa charity poker event, the  outspoken Duke, came running to our table where Matt Damon was the center of the universe. Mugging for the cameras, she said to him in earshot of  the well-heeled crowd, “You are such an attention w---re!”  

The golden era of Molly Bloom’s poker games was on the horizon.

Molly’s Game: Beyond Imagination

The poker festivities described in the new blockbuster book, “Molly’s Game,” by Molly Bloom became  the hottest tickets in town in the latter years of the oughts.  Business titans mixed it up with movie stars and the occasional well-known poker pro.

Dubbed the “Poker Princess,” of Hollywood and New York,  Bloom operated  private, exclusive, high-stakes poker games until the Government shut them down. Her game got hit by a sting operation that  targeted big fish in sports betting businesses and organized crime.

This past spring Bloom resolved the criminal case against her with one year of probation.

Ms. Bloom’s games were always carefully laced with celebrities the likes of Maguire, Schwimmer, Di Caprio, and Affleck. Movie icons attract billionaire businessmen into the fold, she explains. Bloom catered to Spiderman Maguire because he was a regular who encouraged other A-listers to join the fun. And for a good while, Maguire helped to keep Bloom's  business a captivating affair.

According to Bloom, Maguire was a big winner and a poor tipper who messed big-time with her sense of dignity.  Showing him as a cad toward women,  she cited  an incident  in which Spiderman insisted she bark like a seal for the reward of a $1,000 tip. She found it in herself to decline. She got the tip anyway. It was not the first example of Maguire's penchant for humor at a woman's expense, in a poker room, nor the last.

Maguire is part of a sizable demographic of men who push the boundaries of “arguably acceptable” conduct outside , brothels, male locker rooms, and bedrooms--by mutual consent. 

“Mike the Mouth” Reflects a Popular Mindset

Your rating: None Average: 5 (7 votes)

Download and Read the Poker Player Digital Edition for July 14th, 2014 (Vol. 18 Number 2)

June 2nd, 2014 Issue of Poker Player NewspaperDownload the July 14th Digital edition PDF of Poker Player Newspaper.

Featured Articles:
Calling Out Sexism in Poker — Beyond Maguire, Molly’s Game, and “The Mouth” - by Wendeen H. Eolis

Featured Strategy - Mike Caro: Today's Word is Revenge

Tournament Results:
World Series of Poker Events 53 to the Main Event (#65)

AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!

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Wendeen H. Eolis

World Series of Poker


September 4, 2014 - 10:31am
August 28, 2014 - 9:45am
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