Are Daily Fantasy Sports The New Poker?

The money is moving to Fantasy SportsLet’s face it. Over the past few years, online poker has been on the decline. Since the infamous Black Friday incident where the DOJ shut down PokerStars, FullTilt and Absolute/UB, online poker has been losing popularity. Why?

Few legit choices for US players. Sure you can play at Bovada and Americas Cardroom, but these are nothing like the awesome times of FTP and PokerStars. Today regulation is snail crawling through at the state level with a few states with legal online poker. Nevada and New Jersey most specifically with legal online poker from a few operators.

But today, the excitement, the growth, the popularity of the daily style fantasy sports are growing. From NBA basketball fantasy games for cash to the new and exciting Masters Fantasy Golf 300k Contest at DraftKings for 2014, fantasy sports are here to stay. Also, since they are 100% legal (as long as you do not live in a few unlucky states) it is super easy to deposit and withdraw. Credit cards, paypal, check etc all are easy and legit.

Millions of dollars in investment are being pumped into this industry with growth at parabolic rates. Just do a bit of google searching and you will find current reports of the hotness of this industry. It’s red hot and 2014 is going to be the year that totally puts this industry on the map. Many could argue that 2013 NFL season was the year that DFS arrived, but I feel that 2014 is going to be gangbusters.

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Posted in Poker News, Sports Betting, What's New Blog |

Playing Limit Omaha Hi – Lo at Bovada Poker

So I recently fired up the Bovada Poker software. To be honest, I have became fairly bored of playing holdem. Omaha is what the players are getting into in the local game that I play at every now and then. The problem is that with so few choices of legit US online poker sites, finding a site to play Omaha Hi Lo, and especially the limit variation was not the easiest thing to do.

The good news is that our top ranked online poker site for USA players, Bovada Poker does indeed have some traffic at the Omaha tables. The bad news is I can not tell exactly how much traffic they really have because the way the Bovada lobby works. They hide the full tables.


The Bovada Omaha Lobby

Play Omaha Hi / Lo at Bovada Poker – Get A 100% to $1000 Poker Bonus

The full tables are hidden and do not show up on the list of games to choose from. You have to either find a table with an open seat or just hang out in the lobby until a table is listed.

I wish you could see full tables.

Playing Omaha at Bovada


You are anonymous. I like it. You do not know anyone and they do not know you.

  • All players are anonymous
  • You are “player 1, 2, 3 etc..” only. No names

  • They rabbit hunt every hand
  • They offer 6 person and 9 person Omaha Hi/Lo tables
  • Low limits to higher limits (15/30) seem to have games
  • Never any stat mining software collecting data on your play
  • All hole cards are visible 24 hours later (if you think players were colluding you can do some research. Send findings to their security team etc)

If you are wanting to play some Omaha Hi/Lo in it’s original format (limit) then if you are a US player Bovada poker is about the only site we can recommend where you will get much action. Good luck and I’ll see you at the tables (anonymously!)

Play Omaha Hi / Lo at Bovada Poker – Get A 100% to $1000 Poker Bonus

Posted in Online Poker |

More Plea Deals in Vadim Trincher Sportsbetting-Poker Ring Case

scales-justiceEastern District of New York Department of Justice attorney Preet Bharara announced on Friday that plea deals have been reached with two more defendants in the case of the “Taiwanchik-Trincher” sportsbetting and racketeering ring, which allegedly operated elite high-stakes poker games in New York City and other locations and funneled millions in sports bets through offshore poker sites.

The two defendants whose deals were announced this week, Kirill Rapoport and William Barbalot, were among the organizers of Trincher’s high-stakes poker games.  Each still faces a possible maximum five-year prison term when sentenced in December, though the actual sentence length will likely be much shorter.  The two were also fined, $250,000 and $150,00 for Rapoport and Barbalot, respectively.

Rapoport and Barbalot are the second and third Taiwanchik-Trincher indictees to plead out in the case, which included charges against 34 separate defendants connected to the sportsbetting, poker, and strong-arming/extortion operations used against a few deep-in-debt players.

The Trincher in the case is Vadim Trincher, who won a 2009 World Poker Tour event for more than $700,000 and was also in the news not too long after suing Trump Towers owners for $6 million over mold damage to his ritzy high-rise apartment, alleging faulty plumbing repairs.  Many of the exclusive high-stakes games were held in Trincher’s apartment.  Trincher’s sons Illya and Eugene are also named in the indictment.

“Taiwanchik” is the nickname given to Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, an alleged Russian mobster who received payment from the men (including Vadim Trincher) who ran the States-based operations.  Millions were allegedly sent offshore to Tokhtakhounov from the racket, who has also been alleged to be a part of international arms-smuggling operations.  Tokhtakhounov, who is also known as “Akim,” remains outside the United States and has yet to be arrested in connection with the case.

Tokhtakhounov has also been linked to the celebrity California card games that included many Hollywood A-listers, and that resulted in a civil suit against its participants by the victims of a investment fraudster who blew his stolen loot at those tables.  Those games were organized by California socialite Molly Bloom, who is another of the Taiwanchik-Trincher defendants and may have been operating the Cali games under Tokhtakhounov’s oversight and protection.

Numerous other poker figures remain as defendants in the case, including Abe Mosseri, Alexander Katchaloff, Justin “BooostedJ” Smith, Peter “Nordberg” Feldman, John Hanson, Eddie Ting and Bill Edler.  Most of those face charges comparative to what Barbalot and Rapoport faced.  Several of those noted players have been charged with accepting and relaying sportsbets which were then funneled through Trincher’s offshore connections.

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KickAssPoker.com Relaunches Original Blog

kap-emblem-color-200We’ve moved!  Due to SEO constraints, the long-running and ever-popular KickAssPoker blog is returning to its original Internet location, at http://kickasspoker.blogspot.com/.  We recommend that you bookmark this site immediately and add it to whatever service you use to read your favorite blogs — Feedly is one such service, now that Google Reader has moved to the Great Electronic Beyond.

And, hurry.  There are already several brand new posts up at KAP’s original Blogger site, including two new pieces connected to the “Full Tilt” name — one of interest to US players, the other for worldwide players, about the pending launch of the new Full Tilt Gaming.

And there’s a decent summary of this week’s US Senate hearing on online gambling, placed onto the agenda of a committee dealing with cybersecurity concerns.  One analyst called the hearing “brutal”, and when you read about the happenings, you’ll understand why.

Don’t worry about all the great stories here in the archives at kickasspoker.com; they’re going to be available, and we’ll be linking here frequently as well.  We may also be adding additional content here in the future.  But for now, see ya’ll at the KAP blog!

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Barton Drops New Online Poker Bill, Prospects Clouded

us-congress-buildingUS Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, has introduced a new Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 in Congress.  The bill was introduced yesterday and immediately referred to two separate House committees, Energy & Commerce and Financial Services.

Barton introduced a similar poker-only bill back in 2011, amid a much busier legislative look at online gambling that included multiple efforts by Barney Frank and the much-discussed Reid-Kyl effort, which failed late last year.

This bill is similar in many respects to Barton’s earlier effort though a handful of elements are worth mentioning here, even if the bill is unlikely to escape from committee.  I’ve skimmed the majority of the 102-page bill already, which references most preexisting legislation, including UIGEA, and also brings up the United States v. DiCristina judgment in favor of its proclamation that poker is a game of skill and thus deserves special consideration and protection from Congress.

Barton’s bill is notable in that it includes opt-outs for both states and tribal nations, with tribal sovereignty superceding state law in cases where they might conflict.  For example, if a state opts out, but a tribal nation within that state opts to offer online poker, then they would be allowed to include the residents of their reservation land in the area deemed open for marketing and use of online poker.

Also, all areas of the United States would be assumed opted in until and unless opted out in writing to the Commerce Department, under which Barton’s proposed Office of Internet Poker Oversight would fall.  Any site licensed at the federal level would then be able to offer online poker to all US citizens not living in jurisdictions which have expressly opted out.

The Barton bill does include a five-year “bad actor” provision for previous US-facing operators, but since the language in the initial bill currently goes into effect for those “convicted” of a crime related to online gambling, it’s toothless in its current form.  Major overseas operators such as PokerStars and PartyPoker would not be affected under the initial language as proposed.

One interesting aspect is that the bill includes a ban on credit-card processing in conjunction with online poker.  This is certainly a nod to both problem-gambling considerations and to banks, the latter connected to the high rate of charge-backs connected to credit-card use online in the past.  While some of the bill’s poker-industry analysts have already decried this inclusion, this may be a case where discretion is the battle part of valor, and that such an inclusion likely increases the slim chance a bill like this might have of garnering mainstream approval.

And those chances are slim.  GovTrack.us puts the bill’s chances at 11% of getting out of committee, and just 2% of becoming law, slightly lower than the 11% and 3% rates for House legislation on average.  Given such legislation’s previous poor track record and the fact that most focus on online-gambling laws has shifted to the states, this one probably represents an exercise in well-intended futility.

We’ll keep an eye on it, but it’s a heavy favorite to do what Barton’s 2011 effort did: Die quietly in committee.

Posted in Online Poker, Poker Culture, Poker News, What's New Blog | Tagged , , , , |

California’s Pala Nation Signs Deal with Phil Ivey and Old UB Figures

California’s Pala Band of Mission Indians has reportedly signed a deal with Phil Ivey and at least two people connected with the old UltimateBet, James Ryan and Uri Kozai.  The deal represents a resumption of planning eyeing a future California online-poker era, with the Palas being one of that state’s powerful tribal nation of Mission Indians — along with the Morongo, San Manuel and Pechanga bands — that have been at the front of CA tribal online-gaming efforts.

This deal’s a bit off the wall, since it includes the signing of Phil Ivey as front man, though Ivey, as a Nevada resident, would have to establish California residency — or have a special… ahem… VPN setup to be able to play on the site.

Then there’s the old UB connection, which involves James Ryan, the Canadian online-gambling exec who served as the CEO of UltimateBet parent Excapsa before leaving that role and moving over to the same post at PartyGaming.  Uri Kozai, a chief programmer for Excapsa as an independent contractor in the years prior to UB’s sale to AP, has also enjoyed a long and friendly business relationship with Ryan.  This deal with the Pala Band reportedly includes a role for Kozai’s firm RealTime Edge, which is expected to provide a poker platform for the Palas in the event California online poker becomes a reality.

There are some other interesting threads.  Kozai was the force behind Centaurus Games, the software firm that managed to acquire a legacy copy of the old UB software; Centaurus was later acquired by an entity affiliated with PartyGaming when Ryan was at that company’s helm.  This Centaurus/RealTime Edge continuation — it’s really all just Kozai and his programming staff, has been responsible for the old UB software re-surfacing (with a mild facelift) on the old ClubWPT subscription, as well as being planned for use on another Frankenstein appearance of the old code on a site called Spotlight Poker.

That Spotlight Poker concept seems to be dead, with the old UB software now more likely resurfacing as the backbone of this Pala tribal effort.

Few details are available as yet.  The original story appeared over at pokerfuse, but the PalaTribe.com site shows no releases on the purported deal.  As for Ivey, he’s a logical name to sign up for something such as this; and Ivey has shown a willingness to endorse just about anything that comes along.  He’s probably also in need of new income streams, since his tens of millions from the old Full Tilt days have dried up, and he’s still in an ongoing court battle with London’s Crockfords Casino over roughly $12 million in disputed punto banco winnings.

ScreenHunter_03 Apr. 12 13.24Ivey also has an old UB relationship.  In the days prior to his investment at Full Tilt, he was one of UltimateBet’s most privileged high rollers, and likely enjoyed a personal relations with James Ryan, Russ Hamilton and others.  In my own massive files from UB, I’ve discovered only nine special “wire only” accounts for UB players out of a couple of million accounts; two of those nine accounts were connected to Ivey, demonstrating his status as an early and prominent UB players.

All this stuff ties together and never really goes away.  That old UB software is another example: How a copy of it ended up in Kozai’s control is a curious, grey story, but it’s there, and it may resurfacing again soon, albeit with another facelift.

 

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Nominations Open for 2013 Poker Hall of Fame

phofAnother year, another call to the public for nominations to the Poker Hall of Fame!  WSOP parent Caesars Entertainment also owns the rights to the Poker Hall of Fame, which was acquired from Binion’s along with the WSOP itself.  In recent years, WSOP and Caesars officials have opened up the nominating process to the poker public, with the nominations then winnowed down to ten finalists and voted upon for final inclusion by a panel of existing HOF inductees and select media representatives.

The Poker Hall of Fame has fine-tuned its voting procedures in a way to ensure that the top two finalists are chosen in each calendar year, thereby creating a ready-made media event to go along with the “November Nine” resumption of the WSOP Main Event final table around the start of each November.

The question, as always, is who’s going to get the nod?  Last year’s election of Eric Drache and Sailor Roberts represented an exemplary case of poker’s old guard looking after its own, and that’s something that’s likely to be repeated in this and future years.  Here are the criteria for HOF election:

  • A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
  • Played for high stakes
  • Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
  • Stood the test of time
  • Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results

And here are the eight finalists from last year who weren’t elected, and must therefore be ranked among the favorites this time around:

  • Jennifer Harman
  • John Juanda
  • Scotty Nguyen
  • Tom McEvoy
  • Chris Bjorin
  • David Chiu
  • Thor Hansen
  • George Hardie

It’s anyone’s guess as to how many of those eight will even return as finalists, as for the next year or two, the HOF will be deepening a little deeper into the barrel for its enshrinees. The next wave of prominent names begins with Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu, who are eligible in three and two years respectively, and many of online poker’s biggest names are several years younger.

Of last year’s finalists, I’d think that only Harman, Juanda, and the two euros (Bjorin and Hansen) have a realistic shot of being elected this year, and I can’t think of anyone else who’s likely to be a first-time finalist and go on to be elected.

The nomination process is open now and runs through August 15th, after which the weeding of finalists will begin.

Posted in Poker Culture, Poker News, What's New Blog | Tagged , , , , , , |

PokerStars Inks New New Jersey Deal, Partners with Mohegan’s Resorts Casino Atlantic City

resorts-casino-logo-2PokerStars is trying again to crack the New Jersey online-poker and casino market, this time with a new partner in Resorts Casino Atlantic City.  The Mohegan-operated casino, which is actually New Jersey’s oldest, has agreed to a deal with Stars parent Rational Group in which Stars will supply an online gaming platform for Resorts Casino AC, pending regulatory approval by Jersey gaming officials.

It’s a sideways step for Stars, which continues to appeal its rebuffed purchase attempt of a different Atlantic City casino, the Atlantic Club.  Just a few days ago, a preliminary appeal by Stars and Rational was denied, leaving the cancellation of the purchase by original owner Resorts Casino International / Club Colony in place.

Before one gets too confused over all these different “Resorts Casino” brands, the Atlantic City casino by that name — the one that Stars has just signed a partnership deal with — is not part of the current Resorts International family.  That AC property reverted to bank ownership a couple of years back; despite being a Boardwalk property, the casino itself nearly closed a few years ago and has changed hands a couple of times since then.

Resorts Casino Atlantic City, thus not a part of Resorts International (despite the retention of the name), passed into the operational control of Mohegan Gaming Advisors last year.  And yes, that’s the same company which also operates the giant Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut.

So, assuming this partnership deal passes New Jersey muster, that puts a Mohegan/PokerStars alignment in play not only in New Jersey, where Resorts Casino AC is one of the 12 casinos that’s already applied for an online license, but elsewhere on the East Coast as other states warm up to the possibility of online gaming.

That could include Connecticut, where the Mohegan tribe already has a powerful presence, and it could also include neighboring states Massachusetts and New York, particularly Massachusetts, where online gambling is already under consideration and where the Mohegans are continuing to develop one of the new Massachusetts land-based casinos, at Palmer.

Add that all up, and there is at least a glimmer of hope for PokerStars to reestablish at least a regional presence in the United States.  While Stars remains persona non grata in Nevada and Kentucky, their fortunes are somewhat brighter in New Jersey and elsewhere in the Northeast.

While you wait for PokerStars to get up and running in the US again head to Betonline.com now for your poker!

Posted in Online Casino, Online Poker, Poker Culture, Poker News, What's New Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Slow Signs of Improvement for Kevin “phwap” Boudreau after AVM

A large cross-section of the poker community continues to send good wishes and contributions to a new fund set up to benefit Kevin “phwap” Boudreau, the notable high-stakes online player who fell victim to brain bleeding from an AVM (arterivenous malformationphwap-bracelet).  Boudreau collapsed at one of the WSOP’s tables and has remained in an induced coma ever since, even as the poker community has rallied to support him and help defray the medical bills he and his family are likely to face.

The good news is that Boudreau continues to show slow signs of improvement, and is in the process of being transferred to a facility in Colorado, where his family lives.  According to the most recent family update, he’s beginning to react to external stimuli, and also recently faced a close call after being exposed to one of those nasty superbugs that infect way too many medical facilities these days.

Even better news is that the fundraiser for Boudreau has topped its initial goal of $50,000 in just a few days, and here’s hoping that it’ll climb much higher.  Boudreau faces a long road to recovery that’s likely to dwarf the amount of donations already received.

What happened to the 26-year-old Boudreau, a well-liked 26-year-old and a member of the Ship It Holla Balla crew of players once featured in Bluff, is a reminder of the fragility of life for all of us.  Boudreau went from being young, normal and healthy to being stricken literally in a moment’s passing.  As an example, just a few days before his collapse, Boudreau was among the many victimized former players of Absolute Poker protesting against the blatant rewriting of history done by Ben Mezrich in Straight Flush, as one can see by Boudreau’s Twitter feed.

Boudreau has a reputation for being one poker’s good guys.  Here’s hoping that not too many months pass before he finds his way back to the poker tables.

Posted in Online Poker, Poker Culture, Poker News, What's New Blog | Tagged , , , , , |

Chad Elie Released, Picks Up Sponsorship Deal Outside Prison Gate

ScreenHunter_06 Jul. 05 21.42From the lighter side of the poker news comes the latest about Chad Elie, the erstwhile online-poker payment processor whose role in setting up the ill-fated SunFirst Bank processing scheme (along with indicted Utah online fraudster Jeremy Johnson), ultimately landed Elie a five-month stint in Club Fed.

The “lighter” side?  That would be Elie himself, who reportedly lost between 30 and 80 pounds during his stay at California’s Taft Correctional Institution, before being released on June 26.  Elie announced his return to the poker world by logging back in to his @BlackFridayChad Twitter account:

ScreenHunter_06 Jul. 05 21.37

 

This was followed by an odd Tweet mentioning Elie from a strange site called USPoker.co, which looks to be some sort of US-facing poker portal under construction, and then came a bit of unexpected news: Elie had been signed by another newish site, Attack Poker, and will apparently be sponsored by Attack Poker into the WSOP main event, which begins tomorrow.

This might be a case of both “who you know” and “what you know”, but it’s a flashy return for someone who was strictly behind the scenes before 2011.  The deal itself seems to be legit — the image from the top of the site includes a familiar shot of Elie that also now appears on the Attack Poker website.

Attack Poker boasts four other pros in its Team Attack lineup: Lisa Hamilton, Luke Schwartz, Eli Elezra and Billy Baxter.  Decent enough second-tier names all, but it ain’t Team Ivey.  Then toss in the Attack Girls — here you go, boys, here’s your link — and Attack Poker looks quite a bit like the short-lived Victory Poker, minus the overpriced martini logo.

Come to think of it, with the cheesy Attack Girls model shots, it looks exactly like Victory Poker, minus the logo.  Lowest-common-denominator stuff.

And how does Elie fit into it, exactly?  That part’s not so obvious.  But somebody’s forking over $11,000 or so to welcome Chad Elie back to the poker community.  Attack Poker is based out of Las Vegas and is one of those free-to-play sites, kind of like the old WPT and CardPlayer offerings, and someone named Robert Tassiello is listed as the officer of record for Attack Poker’s parent company, EMIL Interactive Games, LLC.

 

Posted in Online Poker, Poker Culture, Poker News, What's New Blog | Tagged , , , |