Archive for February, 2011

New Jersey Online Gaming Bill

Although it looked like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was supportive of the online gaming bill that’s been sitting on his desk since January, rumors are that he will veto the bill.

Adding to the drama, the New York Post is reporting that the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, will not try to overrule a ban if the bill isn’t signed into law.

All eyes have been on New Jersey since the bill, which would legalize online gaming and poker for New Jersey residents, was passed easily in both houses of the state legislature. At the time, many believed that Christie was supportive of the measure, which could help both the state’s budget and struggling Atlantic City casinos. But now, it seems, Christie might veto the bill.

According to some reports, Christie has been strongly lobbied against the bill, which has led the governor to consider vetoing it.

Originally, Christie promised movement on the bill on Feb. 24, but has decided to wait until March 3 before either signing the bill into law or vetoing it. Many online gaming advocates were carefully watching the New Jersey bill because if passed, New Jersey would be the first state to allow online casinos and poker playing for its residents.

New Full Tilt Pro

Full Tilt Poker has added a new pro to its roster and she’s a solid pro hailing from Australia.

Jackie Glazier, a math teacher, is the first woman to join Team Full Tilt Red Pro. According to Full Tilt, Glazier discovered online poker in 2008 and since then has become a major Australian tournament player. Her overall earnings are estimated to be nearly $10,000. She became a full time poker player in 2009.

In 2010, Glazier seemed to come into her own and placed 427th at the WSOP Main Event, bringing her a $32,000 payday. She was the third last woman and the second last Australian to complete the WSOP.

Often Full Tilt offers promotions that allow regular online players to play against the pros. Anyone interested in getting a taste of Glazier’s action should sign up at Full Tilt so they can be ready to take on any one of the pros, or just play for fun. Currently, Full Tilt is offering a 100% bonus for new players; the bonus is worth up to $600 in free play money.

WPT Celebrity Invitational Final Table

The World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic carries on this week, with the $10,000 buy-in Main Event starting Friday. The big news this weekend, however, was the fun-to-watch Celebrity Invitational.

Six players are set for the final table of the celebrity tournament, among them two international chess pros and one poker pro. The final table will resume play on March 2 at 4 p.m., when it will be recorded on back-to-back days with the final table of the WTP Poker Classic.

There was a fun mix of actors, singers, sports figures and various VIPs playing in the celebrity tournament this year, which attracted more than 480 players overall and which raised $95,000 for charity.

The six finalists include internationally-ranked chess players Dinara Khaziyeva and Almira Skripchenko. Also at the final table is poker pro Dan Heimiller, who finished third at the WPT Borgata Poker Open a couple of seasons ago.

The final table also includes Damon Schramm, who has the chip lead, George Rechnitzer and Davidi Kitai.

Bruno Mars Arrested for Drug Abuse in Vegas

Bruno Mars, a widely acclaimed singer nominated for the Grammy Awards, was caught for possession of cocaine in one of the restrooms of Hard Rock Casino.

The police nabbed Bruno Mars last September in Hard Rock Casino, Las Vegas and found 2.6gms of cocaine in his pocket. Online casino news websites report that the Las Vegas District Court took pity on the famous singer and also considered the fact that the casino was embarrassed about the entire incident before sentencing Mars to 200 hours of hard service, fine worth $2000, and a year in probation. The only way for Mars to stay out of prison after that is to maintain a record free of drugs.

Famous for numbers such as “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade,” Mars told a Las Vegas cop that he had never abused drugs in his life and that he had behaved very foolishly at the Hard Rock Casino. Without these statements, the 25-year-old singer would have ended up with 4 years in prison. He would have been better off if he had stuck to the blackjack tables instead of slipping off to the toilets to snort cocaine; what’s more, he might have even won a Grammy Award.

LAPT Chilean Dates

After a year’s hiatus from the country, the Latin American Poker Tour is returning to Chile this year. In 2010, the LAPT cancelled its Chilean stop and instead, Pokerstars.net, the host of the LAPT, sponsored a charity event called Poker for Chile that raised $200,000 for earthquake aid.

But this year the LAPT will head back to the Chilean seaside city of Vina del Mar for the LAPT Chile National Poker Championship. The event will be held March 17 through 20 and will feature a $1,100 buy-in.

The LAPT season kicked off in Brazil earlier this week and in a press release LAPT president David Carrion said he is looking forward to the Chilean stop.

“It feels great to be returning to Chile,” he said. “Poker has grown since we were last here and we look forward to helping it grow even more.”

The Vina del Mar Hotel & Casino will host the Chilean stop of the LAPT. This poker tournament is expected to be the largest ever held in Chile. A few side events have been added to the Chilean stop including a high roller tournament.

Poker Stars will begin holding freeroll satellites on Feb. 25.

Party Gaming Deal with Las Vegas Casinos

There are reports that Party Gaming is in talks to supply a gaming platform for online poker to at least two – and possibly more – Las Vegas casino operators.

Rumors are that the MGM Grand, Caesars or the Las Vegas Sands which owns the Venetian could be some of the casinos involves in the deal.

Party Gaming suffered a business setback when the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act became a law.

The gaming giant was levied a huge fine by the Department of Justice and agreed to stop doing business in the United States. If online gaming is ever legalized in the U.S., it’s likely the site would return to the country, but for now, and after merging with Bwin, an Austrian gaming company, it’s possible that the company will provide an online gaming platform for already established casinos.

Online gaming is still illegal in the United States, but many states are individually considering legalizing online poker. New Jersey currently has a bill heading to the governor’s desk for a signature; once the bill is signed, the state will be the first to legalize online gaming.

Other states that are considering similar bills include California and Florida. If online poker becomes legal, Party Gaming, with its longtime experience in the online gaming world, is well poised to become a provider for software platforms.

PokerStars Big Game

PokerStars is running qualifiers to find contestants for its national TV game show, the PokerStars.net Big Game. Qualifier tournaments are running now and until the end of the year. Players who qualify will head to Las Vegas to play in the Big Game.

Players who are selected as Loose Cannons will win a seat to the high-stakes cash game. They will also be given $100,000 to play with. Any profits players make during game play they get to keep.

The $100,000 ensures that players can play on equal footing with some of the game’s biggest players.

The PokerStars.net Big Game allows a Loose Cannon to sit alongside some of the great stars of poker to play for thousands of dollars. The first time you win during TV game play, you’ll be invited to play in the next episode.

In order to qualify, players from the U.S. and Canada can play in the round one qualifiers that are running four times a day. The top 300 players from each round will head to round two. Players who end up as one of the top thousand players will head for the finals.

Only players who finish in the overall top 200 will be invited to send in a casting video explaining why they should be a Loose Cannon and head to Las Vegas. If producers are impressed with the casing video, players can head to Las Vegas where they’ll have the opportunity to play against some of the bigger names in poker, including Vanessa Rousso and Daniel Negreanu.

November Nine Reuinte

The poker world was abuzz this week when the November Nine reunited for a $15K freeroll at the World Poker Tour’s Connecticut stop.

In all, 30 players competed in the freeroll at the Foxwoods Resort Casino including the nine final table players from the World Series of Poker, 18 Foxwoods raffle winners and other poker pro and famous names in the poker world.

Buzz surrounded the fact that it’s the first time in the history of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table that all the members of that table reunited for a future event.

Each of the three tables in the tournament featured three members of the November Nine and although the small prize pool was nothing compared to the nearly $9 grand prize that the WSOP offered this year, many of the players made last-longer bets.

Joseph Cheong was the first member of the November Nine to exit the $15,000 freeroll, but Michael Mizrachi, Matt Jarvis and Jonathan Duhamel, who won the 2010 WSOP Main Event, each made it to the final table. In the end, Duhamel placed fifth and Jarvis went on to play Ben Hopkins, a player who won his spot by winning one of the Foxwoods raffles. In the end, it was Hopkins who took the win.

Casino Vacation Giveaway

Players looking for an exotic vacation need look no further than Casino.com, which is offering two winners a six-day trip to Dubai or Las Vegas, each worth over $10,000.

Players interested in entering the promotion need to register at Casino.com and click on the advertised promotion. Players can amass VIP points by playing any of the games at Casino.com and accumulation of those points will result in players being entered into the giveaway.

The prize package includes a six-day trip to Dubai at a five-star hotel and winners will also receive dinner at a Bedouin camp, a safari tour, a Dhow dinner cruise and a gourmet lunch, which will feature as a backdrop the Dubai skyline.

Players not interested in the Dubai vacation can instead go to Las Vegas where they will be treated to champagne helicopter rides over the strip, trips to both the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon, and dinner atop a hotel.

Casino.com offers more than 200 different casino games and offers software in a number of different languages as well for players throughout the world.

Spain to Legalize Online Gaming?

The Spanish government is looking to follow in the footsteps of some other European governments who have considered legalizing online gaming.

The Council of Spanish Ministers recently approved a draft bill that would regulate online gambling. The bill will include casino games, sports betting and poker and will regulate each of those forms of gaming separately.

The bill would also create a regulatory body within the government’s State Administration Services division and that regulatory body would be responsible for issuing licenses and monitoring the compliance of various operators who are granted licenses.

Online betting in Spain is not currently subject to tax and the government has estimated that in 2010, regulated online gaming and taxing could have brought the Spanish government a profit of €315 million.

The Spanish government has said it would like to submit the bill to parliament within the next few weeks. Once it passes parliament, it will head to the Senate and then to the European Commission (EC). If it reaches the EC, it will do so around July 2011 and enactment could occur as quickly as the end of the year, if approved.