Archive for the ‘online poker’ Category

Online Poker Casinos for US Players

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

play poker online with real moneyPoker is extremely popular worldwide these days. Sure, we’ve all probably witnessed the slot games that players that just can’t seem to get enough off either. But let’s not compare apples to oranges here. Unlike other casino games, poker does not come with a house edge attached to its proverbial swagger. Online poker casinos and land based poker rooms make their income off of the rake, which is typically a small take from the combined wagers generated from each hand played. What’s more, poker is a game where highly skilled players can make a good earning with relatively little risk. While being a constantly successful poker player or pro requires the commitment and restraint of a pro athlete, this is not a casino game void of potentially earning you sizable winnings.

And unlike many other casino games that have come and gone, poker doesn’t seem to be fading into the sunset. You’ve seen it played in movies for decades; You can now follow huge pro events online and in physical casinos alike, generating some of the highest earnings throughout any casino event ever witnessed; Your local charity even hosts poker shootouts and tourneys to help raise money for very important causes.

Whether you enjoy the uber-popular Texas Hold’em or Omaha, low stakes or high stakes tables, there is a poker game perfect for your playing needs and bankroll.

However, you will see a difference in specific game availability between online poker sites and land-based casinos. Texas Hold’em is found most anywhere at both types of casinos. While Omaha Hi/lo or Seven Card Stud can be found online, they typically are not found at brick and mortar casinos. At online casinos, especially those that focus on poker, you will likely find different versions of poker that include Three Card, Caribbean Stud and Let it Ride.

Consider the following when you play at online poker rooms: Caribbean Stud Poker poses players against the casino, and features a progressive jackpot that players have a chance at winning. There’s an intricate strategy involved in Caribbean Stud that many players find compelling. Let it Ride pays out through qualifying poker hands, so a player is not playing against the casino or even other poker players.

Whatever your interests are in poker, if you have an inkling to gamble at online poker casinos, there are many options for you. In fact, those options are ever increasing thanks to new legislation signed into law in many regions of the world, not to mention the explosion of online casinos on the cusp of regulation in a handful of US states. Heck, Nevada’s first online poker casino, Ultimate Poker, is now live, with more coming in the very near future. While Nevada’s online poker rooms will be open to Nevada residents only, there are a few highly accredited online casinos catering to US players, such as Club USA, which has a handful of Caribbean poker varieties, a Let it Ride style game, and Three Card Poker options. Another great US player option is Drake Casino (a few states are prohibited), where 3D gaming software creates an amazing, innovative online gaming experience like nothing else we’ve seen, technologically speaking. While Drake carries several slots in 3D at this time (using the BetSoft Gaming platform), be on the lookout for 3D effects coming via BetSoft’s software Poker3 soon.

Depending on your personal skill level and location, there will be certain online poker casinos that will be more accommodating than others. Some cater more towards the VIP player, while others look to provide a haven for newbies. But whatever your level of game-play, there will always be a sign up bonus involved – it’s overall value dependent on your bankroll. Always look for poker rooms online that offer guaranteed payouts, 24/7 action and tournaments, and of course, a large member base. Let’s face it – an online poker casino with a huge player cache must be doing its job above and beyond. Sites with less than stellar reputations will lack major player traffic, and frankly, should not make the cut.

As we’ve mentioned, the US market is opening slowly but surely, and is about to become a burgeoning market. You should know that many of the online gaming sites that were involved in the major US federal driven smack-down UIGEA (who formerly left the sector) have been effectively and lawfully taking bets elsewhere. As of late, many have even begun (some completed by now) to revamp and meet all the required licensing requirements in order to introduce themselves back into the fray of the burgeoning US casino market.

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to understand that online poker sites – sites that are focused on poker versus slots and other casino games – will be the best places to find tournament-style games like Texas Hold’em. Be patient in the US, as there’s more to come where online poker casinos are involved!

Federal Judge Rules Poker Isn’t Gambling

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Poker advocates were dealt what might be a winning hand regarding their ongoing battle to see Internet poker legalized when a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled this week that the popular card game, according to federal law, did not constitute gambling.

Judge Jack Weinstein, on Tuesday, rejected a jury verdict from July that convicted Lawrence Dicristina of conspiring to operate an illegal poker club.  Dicristina had not been accused of participating in any other organized criminal activities, and so the judge focused on whether poker truly qualified as gambling under current federal law.

In his decision, the judge wrote, “Because the poker played on the defendant’s premises is not predominately a game of chance, it is not gambling.”

This is an argument that poker advocates have been making for years.

Weinstein seemed to place great significance on various studies that have been conducted in order to prove whether skill is more of a determining factor than chance in the game of poker – specifically, Texas Hold’em – the type of poker that was played at Dicristina’s club.

Weinstein referred to one study in which approximately three-quarters of all hands that were played never involved any cards being shown.  In these hands, the winner was able to induce the other players to fold through skillful betting.  And since the study analyzed over 100 million hands of poker, the judge must have concluded that it accurately represented the true nature of the game.

It will be interesting, moving forward, to see what effect this ruling will have on efforts to legalize Internet poker in the United States.  One can imagine that advocates will often point to the decision written by Judge Weinstein when making the case that poker is a game of skill.

Last December, the Department of Justice opened the door for state-by-state legalization of online poker when they ruled that the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 does not prohibit online gambling.  The DOJ instead stipulated that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.  This was a significant reversal of their previously held position that the Wire Act did in fact apply to all forms of online gambling.

In addition to efforts happening on the state level, there are attempts being made to federally legalize online poker as well.  Those arguing in favor of legalization often point to the benefits of regulation while making their case.

Another popular argument is that legalization would lead to an increase in tax revenue.  Proponents suggest that additional revenue created from taxing online poker could be applied to important areas of the federal budget like education and healthcare.

But the argument that seems to be most popular amongst poker enthusiasts is simply that poker is not gambling – it is a game of skill – and thus it should not be illegal.

It seems that Judge Jack Weinstein has been convinced.

Now we will have to wait and see how helpful this one ruling by a federal judge in Brooklyn will be to the larger effort to legalize online poker.  One thing is clear though – it can’t hurt.

Sources:  Huffington Post

Poker Stars Acquisition of Full Tilt Rumored

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

full-tilt-poker11Following reports last Friday that online poker room, Poker Stars, has been in serious talks with the US Department of Justice regarding a buyout of the seized poker room, Full Tilt, a wave of optimism has come over many former American players still waiting to cash out their accounts.

Not just any rumor, the news has come straight from respected legal consultancy firm, Eolis International Group. Wendeen Eolis herself reported, “…without giving away the identity of a consistently impeccable resource, it is now safe to say announcements for public dissemination are in the works. At this point, I am ready to go out on a limb….Full Tilt customers will see their monies well in time for Christmas shopping.”

And while the majority of these players are more likely to re-deposit their earnings into an active poker account rather than use it to purchase Christmas presents, there is solid weight to the claims made by Eolis. Two other independent and highly regarded resources confirmed that the allegations made by Eolis are indeed true.

Those players who remain skeptical about the rumor still have a bad taste in their mouth’s due to a recent “false alarm” that had many believing Full Tilt was to be bought out by the acquisition group of French businessman, Bernard Tapie. Allegedly in the final stages of negotiations with the USDOJ, the deal fell through when a repayment plan could not be agreed upon.

While the same could befall a Poker Stars acquisition, there certainly is more light at the end of the tunnel, considering Poker Stars wherewithal and resources to pay out players. Let’s face it, Poker Stars was able to do it under the guise of flowers and jewelry for several years before the DOJ reversed it’s stance on what it deemed illegal online gambling activities. Executing a solid repayment plan before the year is out shouldn’t be difficult. At least that’s the hope of thousands of players awaiting what amounts to $390 million in frozen funds.

Back to Drawing Board for Online Poker in Cali

Monday, June 18th, 2012

california-flag-bear2The race to become the first U.S. State to legalize online poker has taken a detour in California. One of the more likely States to be able to sustain a formidable online poker network, California still has some kinks to work out in the legislation – the Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2012 (SB1563) – that was introduced earlier this year.

While there is no denying that Californian’s support online poker, the problem in California is that there simply are too many interests. With both private companies and tribal gaming operators seeking a cut of what is estimated to be a $13 Billion industry, generated in annual wagers by California’s 2 million online poker players, it’s been very difficult to make everyone happy.

Trying to make this happen is California Senate Policy Committee Chairman, Roderick Wright, who introduced the current bill on the table, along with Senate President pro tem, Darrell Steinberg. It was Wright who also pulled the bill before it’s first committee hearing scheduled tomorrow, commenting that, “the bill needs more work”.

Largely opposed by California gaming tribes who have exclusive rights to offer gaming on video devices, SB1563 has a lot of language that opens the door for the private market – namely, the California Online Poker Association, whose coalition of 46 casino operators, including the popular Hollywood Park Casino, have been pushing hard for regulation. But Indian tribes, like the Morongo and San Manuel bands of the Mission Indians, are also members of the Coalition, and have been pushing just as hard.

The coalition as a whole has made nearly $8 million in political contributions and gifts to lobbyists in Sacramento. In the last year alone, California casino operators have made over $1.3 million in contributions to the Democratic State Central Committee, which Senator Steinberg will heavily rely on for his campaign to maintain control of the California legislature.

Needless to say, it’s going to be difficult to make everyone happy in California. Perhaps the next draft of SB1563 will do a better job at it.

PPA Advises Full Tilt Victims

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

full-tilt-poker11As news continues coming in that makes Full Tilt Poker look worse and worse, people in the online gambling community are distancing themselves from the disgraced poker company. Poker pro Phil Ivey publicly bashed the company and is suing them. Congressman Barney Frank said he is disappointed in them and that he will return the campaign contributions of the three indicted executives if they are found guilty. Poker players and online casino owners are throwing Full Tilt under the bus, angry that a seemingly bad apple is giving the entire industry a bad name. And now the Poker Players Alliance is piling on.

The powerful U.S.-based poker lobbying group has issued advice to American Full Tilt customers who have been unable to get refunds from the company. In a statement issued Friday, the PPA urges those players to “contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s office and ask that you be afforded the rights of a crime victim.”

This comes on the heels of the Justice Department adding to the charges against Full Tilt, alleging that the board members and executives were taking money from the accounts of players as payment. One U.S. attorney said that Full Tilt Poker was less of a legitimate business and more like a “Ponzi scheme.”

If those allegations prove to be true, it’s something from which Full Tilt can never recover. The problem is that it will also stain the credibility of other poker rooms that are legitimate. Full Tilt was one of the biggest names in the industry and they were trusted by many. For that reason, it is wise for PPA to distance themselves from the company. In the past, they had received contributions from the Interactive Gaming Council, a group funded by Full Tilt.

Barney Frank’s Reaction to Full Tilt

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

barney-frankOn Tuesday, U.S. federal prosecutors added to the charges facing Full Tilt Poker, one of the poker websites whose indictment was unsealed on Black Friday. In addition to the previous charges of money laundering and wire fraud that the company allegedly engaged in to avoid UIGEA, the justice department dropped another bombshell. The poker company had been ripping off its own customers, with board members allegedly taking money from the accounts of players as payment. One prosecutor described the Full Tilt business model as a “Ponzi scheme.”

The association of online poker and a Ponzi scheme is the last thing the industry needs and many gambling opponents have jumped on the association. Barney Frank, the U.S. congressman most associated with the push to regulate online poker, has been put in the crosshairs, but he is not backing down.

It has been reported that Frank received $18,600 in campaign contributions from the three Full Tilt executives who have been indicted and are accused of running a Ponzi scheme, Howard Lederer, Rafael Furst and Chris Ferguson. When criticized for his ties to the company, Frank said that if the three are convicted he will return their campaign contributions, but he will not return money contributed to him by other parties at Full Tilt. Frank has received tens of thousands of campaign dollars from Full Tilt and others in the community connected to Full Tilt, such as the Poker Players Alliance Political Action Committee.

Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics has said that with Frank taking campaign money from an industry he would regulate “there’s certainly the potential for conflict of interest here.” Several Republicans have echoed that sentiment, but Frank insists that the Full Tilt scandal only proves that he is right and that the government needs to regulate the industry. Frank also seemed to trivialize the scandal, saying that the Full Tilt investigation is a waste of resources. “The U.S. attorneys haven’t done enough about mortgage fraud. They should be spending less time on full houses and more time on empty houses.” Frank’s close relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has also been criticized as one of the reasons for the mortgage crisis.

Rheem Is First Epic Poker League Champion

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

rheem-pokerDon’t tell Daniel Negreanu, but the inaugural Epic Poker League event was rather exciting. Though there were some notable names missing, as promised, the league offered a matchup of the best professional poker players in the business. In total, 137 of the best poker players competed, with David “Chino” Rheem coming out as the first EPL Champion.

“I am proud to be the first Epic Poker League main event champion,” Rheem said. “This league is setting a new standard for poker players.” By winning the main event, Rheem won $1 million in prize money, though due to his money troubles, he’s still broke.

As foretold by EPL organizers, including owner Annie Duke, the main event featured a table of some of the best poker players around. Rheem went up against Erik Seidel, Jason Mercier, Hasan Habib, Huck Seed and Gavin Smith. In the end, it was just Rheem and Seidel, the number one player in Epic’s Global Poker Index, going head to head. Rheem started with a small chip lead and then the two repeatedly changed leads. Rheem then went on a streak of winning 24 of 38 hands before finishing off Seidel with an Ace-King against Seidel’s Ace-Queen. Rheem told the EPL that “the cards really fell my way in the heads-up match.”

By finishing second, Seidel won $604,330. Jason Mercier won $360,970 for third place. Hasan Habib and Gavin Smith rounded out the top five, winning $237,560 and $154,260 respectively. The next Epic Poker League event will take place from September 2 to September 9. The first season of the Epic Poker League will be televised on CBS and Velocity Network.

Negreanu Speaks Against Epic Poker League

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Epic-Poker-LeagueThere is a certain arrogance to using the word “epic” in your product. While arrogance isn’t bad in a businessperson, you had better back it up. Such is the case with the new Epic Poker League, which is the brainchild of poker pro Annie Duke.

The Epic Poker League was designed to be like golf’s PGA Tour, where only the best players can enter the events, so viewers are always able to see the best of the best. The qualification rules make sure that Joe Schmo off the street can’t simply win a satellite tournament or pay his way in and play with the big boys. The question is, does anyone care about having a professional poker league for the best players?

The inaugural Epic Poker League event is underway at the Palms Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. It is a tournament that has featured 137 poker pros and will have a grand prize of $1 million. The poker community has been buzzing about it, but there are a number of stars who have not entered. One such poker star, Daniel Negreanu, recently told the world why.

In his blog, Negreanu said that he doesn’t think the league will succeed due to a bad business plan. According to Negreanu, the league depends on creating a band that can then be used to create a U.S. licensed online poker site if and when the federal government decides to regulate the industry. He believes, though, that the league won’t generate enough interest from the public to do that.

“While the TwoPlusTwo crowd may love a featured table with online pros they adore, the mainstream public wants to see Sammy Farha bluff Phil Hellmuth and watch him go on a tirade!” Negreanu went on to say thathe doesn’t think the public will have interest in this and therefore, it won’t “bring in enough revenue to survive.”

Professional US Online Poker Players Heading Out

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

The biggest impact of the Black Friday indictments this past April was the notion that the ten million online poker players in the United States really had nowhere to play. There was a scramble and an increase at land casinos. Other players tried to move to another site. Others just gave up. But there are other further reaching impacts that perhaps we have not really given much thought to.

“It is not often that the federal government shuts down the only means of income for hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans,” as Matt Villano reported in his piece for Time back on May 10th. And this is what happened. Granted not all ten million American online poker players were professionals, but for the hundreds of thousands who were professional the question is what do they do now?

There really is not much they can do. They can either try to find jobs in a shaky economy or they can move. As in move out of the country. “Ultimately, it does not really matter where I end up. So long as I can get myself to a country with good Internet connections, a country that allows me to earn a living again, I am there,” said Isaac Haxton. Haxton was a full-time online poker professional who is now out of a job. And he, like other professional players, are looking to move to countries where they can use their skill to earn a living again. On the surface many might shrug such moves as nothing, but the impact is far more reaching.

Online professional poker players play hundreds of hands of poker in an hour. They are dealing with thousands of dollars at a time. They actually make quite a decent living, and they turn around and take all that money and plunk it into larger ticket items, nice restaurants, entertainment and other goods and services that much of the working class is avoiding the last several months in the current economy. So here we have hundreds of thousands of bigger spenders who are injecting more money into the economy who are now moving to other countries. All so that they can make a living with their poker skills. At this point the US not only is losing its citizens, it is also losing fuel for its economy.

This situation is another reason why the US federal government needs to regulate online poker and online casinos in the US. There a millions of Americans who can inject more than the average working class consumer all because they are making more money playing poker in online casinos. Should the federal government regulate online poker and online casinos they will infuse a set of professionals with the means to contribute more to the American economy and help give it a push to turning it around. Just something to think about.

California Online Poker Bill has Tribes Facing Off

Monday, August 1st, 2011

There is a lot of good that could come out of California’s SB 40 bill. For one thing there could be the creation of 1,300 jobs. There is the initial profit to California of $250 million with another $1.4 billion that could be brought in from profits from online poker and online casino fees. All that money would make add to the $7.5 billion that is already being earned by the tribal casinos and other land casinos. Considering that millions of California residents play online poker every day, it only makes sense to create an infrastructure that would give them safe and regulate online poker.

This is the thinking of the California Online Poker Association (COPA) as well as the viewpoint of state Senator Lou Correa, the author of the online poker bill for California, SB 40. The bill originally was to allow only five top online casino companies to obtain a license but they would have to pay an upfront licensing fee of $50 million. But that $50 million would give them exclusivity to the California online poker market as other online casino companies would not be able to apply for a license until 2016.

However, in one of the few occasions in history where the California Sovereign Nations do not agree, there are some tribes who are not fans. Several tribes have joined the California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA). If California were a chess board, COPA would be white and CTBA would be black. Or vice verse depending on your color preference, but the point is that while COPA finds the limit to five initial online poker companies to be acceptable, CTBA does not. “We think that the bill is tailored to benefit COPA. We want it to be an open, fair process—we’ll compete against anyone if and when it comes to that, but we don’t believe preferential treatment should be given to any particular group,” said Chris Lundstrom, the Executive Director of CTBA.

The sentiment is true to traditional tribal approach to most legislation that does not provide the tribal casinos with an equal footing to compete with non-tribal card rooms. Originally the online poker bill limited California’s capacity to only the first five top online casinos to be awarded a license. But in July Correa rewrote a portion of SB 40 so that in 2016 more operators would be able to apply for license. He cites the wait time to allow those who originally applied to have time to recoup their investment. But it is that wait time that has CTBA so upset. And understandably so. That is a potential four years for the original five online casino operators to get a foothold in the California online poker market. New sites in 2016 would have to try to draw traffic away from them, hence the sentiment that SB 40 would provide an unfair advantage.

We here at will continue to keep an eye on the situation in California and let our readers know when new developments occur.