Archive for March, 2011

New Federal Gaming Bill

A new federal bill was introduced on Thursday that would make legal online poker in the United States. The bipartisan bill will establish federal rules for licensing and regulating online wagering, specifically poker and other similar online games.

This bill is co-authored by Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). It’s similar to a measure promoted by Frank that passed through committee last July but then died.

The new bill creates a system for vetting potential licensees and the creation of a list of illegal operators. There would be provisions for protecting minors from illegal play by using government and commercial databases to verify age and identify.

If passed, the measure would also establish requirements that operators set daily, weekly and monthly limits on deposits and losses. According to language in the measure, this would help identify people with problem gaming habits.

Frank’s decision to re-introduce the bill was a brave one, given that the House of Representatives is now majority ruled by Republicans who have historically opposed any online poker or online gaming regulations.

Adding Campbell’s support gives the bill a bit more traction in Congress.

Following the failure of the federal measure last year, several states introduced bills that will legalize online gaming. Bills are currently undergoing discussion or are pending votes in Nevada, Utah, Florida and California.

UB.com WSOP promo

Ultimate Bet is offering a prize package for players to make their way to the World Series of Poker this summer in Las Vegas. But in a break from the usual prize packages, UB.com is also offering players some motivation to support UB.com while they’re there.

Players interested and joining WSOP play this summer can win a $12,000 prize package to the events at UB.com. The site is offering the prize packages to players who qualify through step tourneys or multi-table satellites. The prize package includes $2,000 for travel expenses and $10,000 for a WSOP seats.

But UB is ratcheting up interest in the site by offering players $1,000 for simply showing up at the WSOP this summer. The longer players stay in the game, the more money they get. Players who simply show up will be awarded with $1,000, which they can collect at the end of the tournament. If players continue on to play in day two, their overall cash price increases to $2,000.

Cash in the main event and the bonus increases to $12,000 total. Any UB.com player who finds him or herself in the top 27 players will collect a total of $24,000.

Finally, UB.com is offering a $1 million sponsorship deal to any player they send to the tournament who makes the final table.

Qualifiers begin soon at UB.com

PokerStarsWynn.com Partnership

The efforts to get online poker legalized in the United States is heating up, thanks to a new strategic partnership between PokerStars (www.pokerstars.com) and Steve Wynn which will eventually be called PokerStarsWynn.com.

Wynn announced this week that he was partnering with PokerStars so the two parties could help to secure legislation that will legalizes online poker in the U.S

“We are convinced that the lack of regulation of internet gaming within the U.S. must change,” Wynn, owner of two five-star gaming resorts in Las Vegas, said. “We must recognize that this activity is occurring and that law enforcement does not have the tools to stop it.

PokerStars is the world’s largest online gaming company, but it operates outside the United States in the Isle of Man. Technically, online gaming is illegal in the United States, but American players often play at online casinos and in online poker rooms, all of which operate offshore

Wynn said that by partnering with an online poker room, the argument many legislators have shared that legalizing online poker would damage brick-and-mortar casinos will be put to rest.

SuperStar challenge with Negreanu

PokerStars’ SuperStar Showdown will truly feature two superstars when PokerStars pros Viktor “Isuldur1” Blom and Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu face off in the next challenge.

The idea behind the challenge was to allow players who have the bank to challenge Blom to a game of No Limit Hold’em. Blom, you might remember, was the player who, under the user name “Isuldur1”, won many online tournaments while keeping his true identity a secret. Once it as revealed that he was, in fact, Blom, PokerStars created the SuperStars challenge to allow online players to try their hand at beating Blom.

So far, five other players have challenged Blom and Blom has won all but one of the challenges. However, the game with Negreanu might present Blom with his biggest challenge yet.

The match will be played over two Sundays, March 20 and March 27. The players will play 2,500 hands each day of No Limit Hold’em across four tables with stakes that are no lower than $50/$100.

Each player must bring $150,000 to the table. The winner is the player who either shows a profit at the end of the match or wins their opponent’s bankroll.

Sports Betting more Addictive than Poker

A new study indicates that sports betting is more addictive than poker, contrary to many who believe that online poker is the highly addictive activity.

The study out of the University of Sydney reveals that the ability to make sports bets online has made that activity more accessible and easier to get addicted to.

The study indicated that online poker and casino games are addictive but are missing one crucial element that makes sports betting so addictive – the personal element. The study says that people become emotionally attached to athletes and teams. That attachment makes people who engage in sports betting become much more addicted to betting on certain teams and players and placing an emotional attachment in the results.

Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins said the results should come as happy news to those proposing legal online poker in the United States.

“It is clear from this study that online poker is not the threat that many lawmakers in the U.S. make it out to be,” Dawkins said in a press release. “A regulated system would ensure that Americans are protected by rules that would not allow their betting to get to an addiction level.”

Zynga PokerCon New Poker Pros Added

Zynga is raising the stakes for its first-ever major convention, adding a host of famous poker players and a chart topping artist to the guest mix.

Zynga PokerCon begins on March 18 and the company announced this week that a number of top players will be in attendance. Among them is Annie Duke, who will teach attendees tips from the pros in Zynga Poker University.

Other poker players who are expected to make appearances and play in games are Doyle Brunson, Gavin Smith, Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Rousso, Mike Sexton, Scotty Nguyen and others.

In addition, hip hop artist B.o.B. slated to perform.

“The goal of our first live poker event and tournament is to bring Zynga Poker fans from Facebook to the felt,” said Laurence Toney, Zynga Poker GM in a press release. “The two-day event encourages community members to turn their online connections into offline friendships, and enjoy playing the game that brings people across the world together. We’re really upping the ante with powerful poker pros and musical entertainment from B.o.B.”

North American Event at the Bike Casino

While it lost its North American Poker Tour title, the Big Event that just wrapped at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles provided plenty of drama and high-stakes action.

Taking home the big prize of $500,000 cash was Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin, who edged fellow pro and competitor Joe Hachem.

The NAPT was forced to remove its sponsorship of the event just a week before the tournament kicked off. The event also lost its ESPN television coverage.

Despite the rocky start, the event attracted some of the world’s top poker players including Justin Smith, Joe Cada, Jennifer Tilly and Daniel Negreanu.

The Big Event ended with Radmin and Hachem facing each other in a heads-up finale. While Radmin took the big $500,000 prize, Hachem took home a respectable $300,000.

“Had a great tournament, congrats to Victor, he deserved it, played his heart out,” Hachem told his Twitter followers.

Ramdin also threw his support toward Hachem, telling his Twitter followers, “Yippee it’s finally over thanks for all your support I beat world champion Joe Hachem (my buddy) to win 5K at the bike.”

Sunday Millions Underage Winner

A Dutch newspaper is reporting that the poker player who finished sixth in the PokerStars Sunday Million is a 17-year-old boy who was playing on his father’s account.

The Sunday Million awarded a huge cash prize and a Lamborghini to its top place finisher, but also awarded large cash prizes to other players in the top pool. One of those players was 17-year-old Jimmy Jonker who plays under the moniker “zeurr”.

According to the Dutch newspaper AD Sportwereld, while playing in the Sunday Millions Jonker was tweeting and commenting on poker forums while playing in the huge tournament, which attached nearly 60,000 players. When reporters were tipped to that fact and tried to get in touch with the boy, the boy’s 47-year-old father Jos Jonker told reporters that his son was playing on his account.

PokerStars requires that all players be at least 18 years of age.

While many believe that the boy was playing on his father’s account, there is a chance that the 17-year-old boy simply lied about his age during the registration process. In that case, according to site terms at Pokerstars, the site can withdraw the boy’s cash prize and suspend the account.

“Zeurr” won $518,204 for his 6th place finish.

Poker Stars Lamborghini

PokerStars made good on its promise to award one lucky player a Lamborghini and a huge cash prize.

Luke Vrabel from West Hartford, Conn., won not only the Lamborghini but also a cash prize of $671,093 after winning the PokerStars Sunday Million.

PokerStars (www.pokerstars.com) announced recently that it would celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Sunday Million tournament by offering a $5 million prize pool and a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 to one winner.

Nearly 60,000 players entered the fray by entering with $215, which made the total prize pool climb to more than $11 million. Of the nearly 60,000 players who entered the tournament, nearly 7,500 ended in the money.

Vrabel, who plays under the moniker “Bdbeatslayer” on PokerStars, is understandably excited by his win.

“I play a lot on Pokerstars,” he said in a press release, “but the year leading up to this win has not been that successful for me – I feel spectacular!”

The fifth anniversary Sunday Million event now enters the record books as offering the second largest prize pool ever, second to the 2010 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event, which offered a total prize pool of more than $12 million.

Though PokerStars had offered a guaranteed cash prize of $1 million to the grand winner, the nine players at the final table agreed to chop the prize money.

Heads Up Champion

While it won’t be televised until April, the winner of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship was revealed this week.

Erik Seidel continued his lucky streak when he defeated Chris Moneymaker in the best-of-three final table to claim not only the first place title, but the $750,000 cash prize.

“I have competed in the NHPC since 2005 and lost to Annie Duke in the finals at last year’s tournament, so my win today is truly special,” Seidel said in a press release. “It is always exciting to compete against my fellow poker players who showcased great skill on the tables this year.”

The NHPC won’t be televised until April on NBC, where it will run over six consecutive Sundays starting April 17. Many viewers might be interested in the final as it brought together Seidel, who has had a run of good (and big moneymaking) luck in recent weeks and Moneymaker, who has also had a good run recently. Moneymaker takes home a $300,000 cash prize.

The NHPC was loaded with high-stakes and well-known poker players, all of whom Seidel defeated on his way to the grand prize. In all, there were 64 top poker players vying for a spot at the final table.