16 January 2004

Ugarte sent me a kind email requesting I link to his blog, which has regular poker content. Happy to oblige:
Ugarte's Poker Grovel.

It's official: Poker Rooms are Booming. The Nevada Gaming control board has confirmed a revival in poker games, with a 32.6% growth from 2002, reaching almost $6 Million revenues. And what has fuelled the growth? You guessed it, poker on TV and online poker!
I reiterate my prediction that Internet pure plays will soon be looking at physical extension, taking over existing land based casinos to reinforce their brand and control the whole poker player experience!

It would seem that Vegas Keeps World Series of Poker, according to this Eyewitness news report.
"...the fate of the world famous World Series of Poker has been decided, and it's good news for Las Vegas. The World Series of Poker is going to stay right here in it's birthplace, in the casino where it all began -- Binion's Horseshoe."
I wonder how much Harrah's decision has to do with sheer simple practicalities, but it is nevertheless a good decision. And certainly good PR! Any poker blogger out there planning to be there to report?

15 January 2004

How much is a poker playing Monkey worth? About $600 000. Or at least that' what a canadian Multimillionaire is prepared to pay to get his macaque "Tarzan" monkey back:
"I am told, and have seen pictures, that he would play poker," he said. "I don't know if he's any good at the game."
Alberta tycoon sues over loss of family's exotic animals
I know which nickname I will take if I finally decide to create a new identity on Party!

Peer 2 peer betting and online poker, round 2: (a new Londonfroggy first!) CryptoLogic Announces Exclusive Online Poker Agreement With Betfair, The World's Largest Betting Exchange.
Cryptologic and or Betfair's management must have been reading this blog, where I recommended this strategic combination back in December. Well, I will know for sure when they add bettors dating to their service portfolio!
The $1 Million question is, will americans be allowed to play on the betfair/cryptologic poker platform?

Just discovered a new poker blog, and couldn't wait till tomorrow to post it. Poker & Devotion or "what I'm learning about life as a grinder". Seems intent on posting regularly, so welcome to the poker blogging club!

Poker blog link of the day is to yet another great blog which I have overseen for far too long: Decker's Journal. Go have a read.

With 1.7 million americans tunig in to watch Nicole Sullivan win the finale of the Celebrity poker showdown, Bravo has of course decided to produce a second season:
Huge numbers for "Celebrity Poker"
Actually now, my only hope is that they DO appoint Pauly as a consultant to choose the playing celebrities!

14 January 2004

As the ICE conference is aproaching, we should see the battle of the Press Releases starting. First Poker player entrace is from Tribeca, who are releasing new game variants on their poker network, as well as a buddy list.
Tribeca to launch new poker software at ICE 2004

The hammer challenge initiated by Grubby is in full swing. I have to make a correction to my previous post. It seems the grand prize is $10 + a copy of Positively fifth street offered by The Fat Guy . (TFG is a great blog by the way, which I should have mentioned and linked to much earlier. Sorry!)
Hdouble over at The Cards Speak seems determined to "throw the hammer". In the meantime, his post as follows gets down as best poker blogging quote of the week:
"My precious... the diamondses bad beats the hammer... we has the hammer in our handses, and they STEALS it! Precious... we takes the hammer and crush them! Yeeeeeeeeesss! Crush them! Gollum! Gollum!"

Hdouble is the official "lord of the hammer"!

Yesterday was the final episode of the Celebrity poker showdown on Bravo, and the best thing about this is definitely the word "final". I believe there is a resounding agreement in the poker blogging community about how bad this show is, but for some hard to comprehend reason most of my fellow bloggers seem to have watched it from start to end. Top feedback award goes to Pauly at the Tao of Poker, who has even issued a wishlist for the next instalment (May Bravo not hear him, please!):
"Table 1: Ozzie Osbourne, Paris Hilton, Screech from Saved by the Bell, Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart
Table 2: Jenna Jameson, Kirk Cameron, Bea Arthur, Jimmy Carter, Dieon Sanders
Table 3: Gary Coleman, Hunter S. Thompson, Liza Minneli, Al Sharpton, Hugh Grant
Table 4: James Lipton from Inside the Actor's Studio, Penn (but not Teller), Britney Spears, Minnie Me, Dennis Rodman

Ok, I'm going to stop now. I don't want to give Bravo any wild ideas for free... and the thoughts of Michael Jackson squealing the words, "I'm all in!" kinda freaks me out."

Oh, and don't miss Pauly's excellent instalments of his recent trip to Foxwoods.

"Mr. Moss, I have to let you go."
Nick "the Greek" Dandalos (after playing heads-up No Limit poker for 5 months at Binion's Horseshoe with the famous Johnny Moss. Legend has it that "The Greek" lost between two and three million dollars from their marathon game. This is equivalent to losing $50 million in today's dollars. The forerunner to the WSOP.)

It seems fairly obvious that Harrah's commitment to buy the Binion's horseshoe is strongly motivated by the acquisition of the WSOP brand. So it doesn't come as a surprise to hear Harrah's announce that World Series of Poker will happen but location remains undecided

Meangene has a good recap of the woes of the Binion clan, as told in McManus' "positively fifth street".

Despite this high profile closure, poker business is still booming. I suggested a couple of days back that the next big think for poker should be a combination of dating, peer2peer betting and poker playing. Well I hadn't realised that poker p2p betting is ALREADY big business, as reported in the Times:
Poker sharks circle Down Under
"More than £20,000 has so far been traded on Betfair, the person-to-person betting exchange, about the main event of the Aussie Millions poker festival at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, starting on Thursday."
And Phil "The Brat" Hellmuth is trading on 30-1!

Poker blog link of the day is Poker perspectives. Hasn't been updated for a little while, but there is some worthwhile content, if you dig around a bit.
[Just noticed there is a link back to this blog, with a little warning flag about popups. As far as I know, I have managed to get rid of the popups on my blog - they were due to a free traffic monitoring tool -, but if you still get some, please do let me know. I hate them as much as you!]

13 January 2004

Harrah's Entertainment says it's buying Binion's Horseshoe casino.
You heard it here first!
"Harrah's spokesman Gary Thompson declined to say how much the deal was worth, but said his company agreed to assume all the landmark property's liabilities. The deal includes the rights to the lucrative World Series of Poker tournament and the casino's legendary name in Nevada. Thompson couldn't say when the deal would be completed."

Poker Grub has launched The hammer challenge. LOL - open to poker bloggers only. It's a $250 challenge, (I think), with 8 simple rules:
"1) You must have an online poker journal
2) The game must be at least 1/2 online limit hold'em (no tournaments)
3) The game must contain a minimum of eight players
4) You cannot hold The Hammer in the blinds
5) The winning pot must be at least $5
6) You must show your cards, even if you are not called
7) In chat, you must type: "HAMMER!"
8) You must forward me the hand history, so you must play at a site capable of hand histories"

"There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about it. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a "flush". It is enough to make one ashamed of the species." Mark Twain

As Fed brunning writes in a "LONG" article in NYNewsday, "Beloved author of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," Twain died in 1910. He should have stuck around. Suddenly, poker is hotter than July on the Mississippi."
A few more cuts from this excellent and quite hilarious Piece:

"Online poker is a hit, and even in the snuggest suburban nooks, couch potatoes are forsaking naps and noshes for heart-pounding rounds of something called Texas Hold'em."[...]
"There's the competition, the gambling for fortune, and a game that takes some sort of skill", he said. "It gives you the best of chess, slot machines and touch football." [...]
"My name is Mark. I live in Lakeview, have a wife, 2 kids, a dog, 2 cats, 2 turtles and an iguana who all play poker. One has to sit out when we play stud. We love Hold'em, Omaha8, and Hi/Lo Stud"[...]
"I think the nature of the game is human nature."[...]
Americans are looking for new ways to put a little money on the line during a time of stock market uncertainty, and TV coverage of tournament poker has capitalized on the "cheap thrills" of the reality show craze.[...]
" One evening, the pals asked a young woman, also a student, to join them. Hours later, she walked away the winner. Her secret: she had watched TV poker all summer. "I cleaned them out," she said.[...]
"There is enough drama to treat this as if it was a televised sporting event," said Rick Rodriguez, general manager of the Travel Channel. "It isn't just a card game. There is much more here. These guys deserve as much attention as pro athletes."[...]
"When I sit down with men, new players, new men, all they want to get is my phone number, and go out with me," said Gowen, who added emphatically that she always says no. "They are distracted. I use it to my advantage." She may be glamorous, but, when talking about her game, Gowen, 32, sounds like a grizzled veteran conducting a motivational clinic for minor leaguers.[...]
On a recent Saturday evening in Sands Point, a couple threw a poker party. Dinner was catered and followed a steak house theme. "Big iceberg lettuce salads, steaks, a fish dish, creamed spinach, frizzled onions, mashed potatoes, really delicious," said Evelyn Bernfeld, who attended the party with her husband, Hal."

(The last extract specifically added for grubby...)

OK. There is quite a lot of poker news again, so let's dig out some links.

TV poker proves a ratings draw is yet another report on the "cultural juggernaut" that is poker on TV.
Is it getting too hot? Possibly, when Bravo and the travel Channel have to resort to ugly tricks to claim advantage on televised poker. Television week reports in "Flush with success"
"We are on fire," said Mr. Lipscomb, whose recent renewal deal with the Travel Channel is worth $40 million over six years. "We spend a lot of time on cloud nine. It will be very tough for anybody else to catch us." [...]
Mr. Lipscomb is even cloning himself-gearing up for the Jan. 25 premiere of his four-part spinoff series, "World Poker Tour: Hollywood Home Game," featuring celebrity players. If the concept sounds similar to Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown," Mr. Lipscomb said it's no coincidence.
"You want to know the real story?" Mr. Lipscomb said. "They completely ripped the idea off from us."[...]
Mr. Lipscomb licensed the patent from Mr. Orenstein, modified it, then patented his version of the card-table camera-a patent that he said will "attach" in a few months. Now Mr. Orenstein and Mr. Lipscomb are taking umbrage with shows featuring card cams sans licenses. "

But it's not only about TV business, and drawing large audiences. Some organisatiosn are starting to stick their neck out to warn that all this "poker show business" is creating more addictive gamblers.

Foxnews reports about the addiction risk created by poker TV in Vegas, Baby: TV Bets on Gambling.
"Anytime you glamorize a high-risk behavior, for some people that's going to be the kickoff to an eventual addictive disorder," said gambling addiction expert and neuropsychiatrist Dr. Lawson Bernstein."

Echoed in the NYNewsday in an aptly titled article: Poker Addicts? You Can Bet on It
"When the lure of easy money - pocket change or a pot worth megabucks - combines with the glitz and glamour of televised poker, some who shouldn't gamble are sure to begin, Maney said. "The more it becomes mainstream, the more people are going to get interested and develop problems.[...]Lately, Cooper said, clients in therapy have mentioned seeing ads for televised poker - the kind of "psychological pull" that could threaten some gambling addicts with relapse. "All they need is that stimulation."

In Wichita, it seems the local population has gone beyond addiction, and into complete obsession!.
Fans flock to new local card tourneys - A national obsession with poker has landed in Wichita. Local and state officials say they're looking into whether the games are legal.
Actually, the games are friendly and not for money. I have said it before, there is huge hypocrisy at work in the US when it comes to gambling and the laws. When are the lawmakers in the US going to do something about legalising the game within a framework? I would suggest that going after a few card players in Wichita who are having a bit of fun, socialisation and networking is not necessarily the best move.
Meangene, if you read this, please put up something about this in your presidential pledge! Wichita might be a good place to start your campaign :-)
By the way, so far, Meangene has already pledged the legalisation of Poker and a human settling on Mars so our descendants can play poker on another planet!- not a bad start :
"My fellow American (and, I hope, registered voter),

According to Gregg Easterbrook at The New Republic, a manned mission to Mars would cost about $28 billion just to get in the air. Getting the crew back and forth alive would cost somewhere around $300 billion. As President, I will also propose a manned mission to Mars. My proposal cuts costs dramatically by making this a suicide mission--the astronauts selected will have to fend for themselves once they get to the Red Planet. These flyboys will be VERY motivated to make Mars habitable for human, since they'll snuff it if they don't. This is the "compassionate conservative" portion of my platform.

I don't know how to fund this mission yet, but I'm trying to get an IPO going for a company I'm
going to call "PokerandPorno.com". Since these are the only two industries actually making money on the Internet, I figure to make a killing on the Street. If that doesn't work, I propose playing some no-limit with the European Union, gambling with the federal budget against those
sausage-suckers and cheese-eaters. No way some Belgian is gonna beat an American at

Hey, if you'd like to volunteer for the mission to Mars let me know.

The Future President of the United States of America,

Mean Gene"

Poker may be sweeping the whole country but Partypoker does not have enough players yet (only a mere 27000). This might explain their latest "desperate" move to sponsor the "lingerie Bowl": "PartyPoker.com General Manager Vikrant Bhargava noted, "PartyPoker.com has become the world's largest poker room in a short span of time through aggressive, distinctive and unconventional marketing. We are delighted to sponsor the Lingerie Bowl -- a truly unique, unconventional event with a strong mass appeal. It is highly likely to succeed in creating a following for itself, just as we have done in the online poker space."
No comment!

Time for the poker blog link of the day. Stick and move. Not exclusive poker content, but a very good read overall.

12 January 2004

A whole new string of links on the growing poker popularity, over the last few days.
Starting with Television alters poker, will improve it which argues the case of how TV poker will increase the level of play:
"TV poker ``is definitely going to raise the level of play,'' Ferguson said. More people will come into the game, with a better sense of strategy from the TV games, so that in a couple of years, the number of very, very good players could double."
I'm far from convinced here. There is only one way to really become a better player in my experience, and that's by playing and not watching. Sure, you can pick up tricks, ideas, interesting strategies watching the pros play. And I am certainly not going to argue that you shouldn't study and read as much as possible, but if all you do is watch and read, then there is just no way you will become a good poker player. [Add link to partypoker here.....]

Nice little article in the daily racing form:
Hottest new game is good ol' poker which reminds us that:
"A little more than three years ago, a headline on the front page of the business section of the Las Vegas Review-Journal read, "Poker Rooms on Strip Declining" and that "Harrah's Las Vegas, The Venetian become latest casinos to remove game; both properties cite lack of customer demand."

Talking of casino closure, "Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino, a Las Vegas fixture for 52 years and home to the World Series of Poker, has been closed indefinitely." What will happen now with the WSOP?

"South Coast today.com" joins the bandwagon of poker Boom reporting with Lights, camera ... POKER : "It is a new form of nirvana called TV poker and by cable television standards -- or anyone else's, for that matter -- its growth has been nothing short of phenomenal."

The Kansas City star, under the heading "sports", lists a few "top poker players", where Chris Moneymaker makes it next to Annie Duke and Phil Ivey. I know Chris Moneymaker made it big once, but still, he is not a pro, and it makes me cringe a bit to see him listed in the pantheon!
Also a list of some books, including positively fifth street, which had lots of very good reviews from fellow poker bloggers recently. Here is the link: MORE POKER.
And from the same online journal read Poker cashing in on TV exposure as its popularity keeps growing for yet another good recap of what has fuelled the poker boom.
"Quicker than you can say “all-in,” poker has raised itself from a back-room pastime for guys wearing 10-gallon hats to one of the hottest forms of entertainment for truck drivers, college buddies and Hollywood stars."

And finally, the poker blog link of the day, (blog discovered by the incomparable ): Knowing when to Hold 'Em. The only poker blogger I've seen who plays something else then hold'em (despite the title), which makes for an interesting new perspective. Hope he keeps posting.

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