Archive for December, 2010

UB Canada Classic

Online poker powerhouse site UB.com is again partnering with the Poker Pro Canada Classic tournament. As part of the event promotion, the site will send more than 20 players to compete in the tournament.

The Montreal-based tournament will include a $1,500+150 buy-in No Limit Hold ‘em tournament. The event will be held at the Four Aces Poker Club from Jan. 27 to Jan. 30.

UB recently signed on for another year with partner Poker Pro Media, and from Jan. 2 to Jan. 16, the site will hold satellites and freeroll events to help players qualify. The big prize is a $2,500 prize package, which includes a seat at the tournament as well as $850 for travel expenses.

Super Satellites will run at UB on Jan. 2 and 9 at 4:05 p.m. ET, Jan. 5 and 12 at 9 p.m. ET, Jan. 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET and on Jan. 26 at 10:30 ET.

Residents of the Ontario and Quebec provinces in Canada as well as Americans living in New York, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire can also play in regional freerolls. The winners will also receive a $2,500 prize package.

In all, UB will send more than 20 players to the event, which will feature appearances by Team UB members, including Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon, who did well in the first Poker Pro Canada Classic in April 2010.

Nevada Gaming Phone App

The Nevada Gaming commission has taken one further step on the road toward legal online gaming. The commission recently approved the Leroy App, a phone application that allows users to place sports bets from their phones.

Only state residents can use the app to place bets, and while it’s been approved for use on Blackberry phones, app approval is still pending for Android phones.

“The approval of the Leroy’s App means the creation of a new market segment for sports wagering and I am proud to be a part of its creation here in the United States,” said Senior Vice President of Business Development and Public Affair for American Wagering John English.

The deciding factor in the commission’s decision was the app’s ability to determine if the user was in the state or not. According to experts in Nevada, the app is smart enough to determine if the user is appropriately situated to make a sports wager within the state.

Like New Jersey and California, Nevada might soon take up the issue of regulating online gaming. While Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was unsuccessful at getting his online gambling bill passed, many believe that in Nevada, the opposition won’t be as fierce and passage of a similar measure for state residents should be easier to pass.

How Blackjack Rules Determine the House Edge

Blackjack players both online and offline know that their payout is affected to a great extent by the house edge of the gaming portal or the casino in question. Smart blackjack players know that the blackjack house edge can be brought down to 0.5% with careful strategy. BetUS recently highlighted several others aspects that can determine the blackjack house edge and all of them have to do with the casino’s house rules.

One factor that affects the house edge that an online blackjack player faces is the number of decks used at the blackjack table. If the number of decks used is brought down from eight to six, players will be able to enjoy a good 0.4% house edge instead of the usual 0.5%.

The house edge is also affected by the rules for the dealer and players should look for rules that require the dealer to stand on a soft 17. If the dealer is allowed to hit on a soft 17, the house edge grows to 0.7% in a standard game.

The blackjack who gets a score of 21 on the first two cards also determines the house edge – depending on how much is paid. If the blackjack pays out 3:2 the edge stays at 0.5%, but if it pays 6:5 the edge will escalate to1.85%.

Cyprus Delays Ban

and other forms of gambling online, but is waiting for feedback from its European Union partners.

Word came this week that the feedback is delayed for three months, meaning that Cyprus can’t follow through with the ban until at least March.

Government leaders want a ban on all online poker games, online slots and other online casino games. Legislators say that more than 2 billion Euros are turned over each year in the country as a result of the online game play. The country would still allow residents to engage in online sports betting.

The Cyprus government sent its proposal to the European Commission and expected feedback quickly, but has learned that feedback from the EU and member states will be delayed until March 2011.

Government officials in Cyprus have said they oppose online gaming because it’s a “scourge” that encourages vice in the residents. While there are no land-based casinos in Cyprus, online providers can serve the residents of Cyprus as long as they are not based in the country itself.

New Jersey Poker Bill

Though the federal bill that would have allowed online poker failed this week, New Jersey is one step closer to allowing legal and regulated poker sites.

On Thursday, the bill that’s been moving through the new jersey state legislature received an approval from the state Assembly budget committee.

Though this is good news for New Jersey residents, residents of others states are still not allowed to play online poker unless they play at sites operated by offshore companies.

If the New Jersey bill passes, struggling Atlantic City casinos would likely benefit as the bill requires that the equipment that will be used to make the games available to players must be physically located in a secure facility inaccessible to the public but in Atlantic City, or it must be located on the premises of a casino hotel.

The bill is said to help secure jobs in the city; it’s also expected that the huge taxes on the revenue will help the state budget coffers.

The bill’s next stops are the state Assembly, where it is set to be sent to a vote on Jan. 6. Gov. Chris Christie, however, is urging the legislature to vote on a package of Atlantic City bills before Monday and delay heading out for the annual Christmas break. It’s unlikely that will happen, however.

PCA live telecast ESPN

For the first time ever, viewers at home will be able to watch a poker tournament live and unedited when ESPN2 and ESPN3 provide live coverage of the final table at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

The final table will be played Jan. 15. ESPN3 will kick off HD coverage with a one-hour unedited delay beginning at 5 p.m. ET. ESPN2 HD will provide simulcast coverage beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

Fans can watch either channel for live play; fans watching will be able to enjoy the excitement as a new PCA champion is crowned. This marks the first live coverage of a poker tournament ever.

“This is the most exciting announcement ever in televised poker,” said PokerStars.net North America Regional Marketing Director Joe Versaci, in a press release. “This is the first time people watching online or on TV will be able to see everything that happens at a poker table. So much happens in poker that never makes it to the final TV edit, but this will show exactly how top-level players go about winning a massive tournament. There’s so much money on the line – it’s going to be gripping.”

Matt Volk, ESPN manager, programming and acquisitions, agreed.

“For the first time, viewers at home will see a poker telecast from start to finish,” said Volk, “with all the strategy of world-class poker players playing in real time and completely unedited.”

The PCA will begin Jan. 7 at the Atlantis Hotel and Resort in the Bahamas. The estimate overall prize pool is more than $20 million and the final table winner is expected to take home more than $2 million.

Bellagio Robbed

It sounds like something out of a movie, but it was real life for employees and patrons of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino this week when an armed man stole $1.5 million in casino chips at gunpoint.

The Las Vegas casino went on alert after the man, who was captured on surveillance cameras pointing a gun, walked into the Bellagio just before 4 a.m. and robbed a craps table. He took chips ranging from $100 to $25,000 each. When he left, he was seen heading west on the city’s Flamingo Blvd.

Police say that they believe the same man might be responsible for a robbery a week before at the Suncoast Hotel and Casio poker room. There, the robber took off with $20,000 in chips before heading away on a motorcycle.

Gordon Absher, the spokesperson for the Bellagio, said that it’s unlikely the chips will hold much value for the robber, since he or she must cash them in and chips of larger denominations – generally those above $5,000 each – are thoroughly scrutinized. The loss to the Bellagio, then, likely isn’t as significant as it might first seem.

For some, this simply points up why playing poker and casino games online is safer. Players certainly can’t be robbed at gunpoint at their virtual tables.

Casino City Times top five list of the year

It’s that time of year when everyone looks back and creates best and worst lists of the year. This week, Casino City Times released its list of the top 10 poker headlines of the year.

Items six through 10 include Phil Laak’s 115 hours of consecutive poker playing which earned him a , and the many players who won their first World Series of Poker gold bracelets.

The top five items include both interesting and diverse items.

Number five is the debut of the North American Poker Tour.

The number four item is the breakout year for Michael Mizrachi. Mizrachi won more than $1.5 million in the poker Player’s Championship in Florida. He was also part of the November Nine, the final table at the World Series of Poker.

The number three item on Casino City Times’ top five list is Jonathan Duhamel winning the WSOP Main Event this year. In doing so, Duhamel was the first Canadian to ever win the World Series of Poker.

The number two item is the pullout of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker from Washington State, which came on the heels of a ruling from the Washington State Supreme Court that a statewide ban on internet gambling was not unconstitutional; that announcement was followed by the news that both poker sites would no longer accept real money players from that state.

Finally, according to Casino City Times, the number one poker headline of the year was Harry Reid’s online poker bill which is still pending in Congress and which would need to pass within the next week to find success.

New Jersey Online Gaming bill

While scrutiny surrounds the possible passage of a federal online poker bill that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is trying to get quickly passed, New Jersey has quietly taken a step toward legalizing online gaming.

On Thursday, the state’s Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee approved two bills. One bill would legalize sports betting and the other would bring online gambling to New Jersey.

If all goes well, both bills could be up for a vote in the Assembly next week. That would give New Jersey a decided advantage over California, another state that is in the midst of hearing an online gaming bill.

While it is looking good in New Jersey, officials are concerned that the bill could come under some additional legal scrutiny. The bill directly conflicts with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which went into effect earlier this year. But states can make their own laws, and some believe that the new law could be exempt from conflicting federal law, should it pass in New Jersey.

The bill was amended recently to disallow out-of-state betters from playing on the New Jersey sites. It also disallows international customers from playing on the sites. The inclusion of international players sparked concerns that the bill would violate international trade laws.

Smaller Casinos React to Reid Bill

The new online poker bill being that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is attempting to push through Congress could leave smaller casinos in a financial lurch.

Officials for the Bonanza Casino, the Peppermill brand and the Atlantis Casino Resorts indicated concerns about how they would fare if such a bill passed when they convened at a statewide tourism convention in Reno on Wednesday.

The bill, which Reid is attempting to get passed quickly before the lame duck session of Congress adjourns and the new congress is sworn in, would make instead of the land-based casinos and that the smaller casinos, which might not operate online, would suffer.

Ryan Sheltra, who is the general manager of the Bonanza, told a TV station in Reno that the bill could be a goldmine for international casino corporations based on the Las Vegas Strip would get the poker licenses, but would hurt the smaller casinos who have already suffer through difficult recession.