Scratched up and worn out but still holding strong
As seen in the Rio casino poker room. Co-branding with Bravo, the player tracking system in just about every poker room and makers of the Bravo Poker Live App.
In April of this year, Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, released her report on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Modernization Plan. The report was prepared and made public in response to motions passed by the legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
The report is a sobering read for OLG, for the government, and for anyone interested in gaming in Ontario. The report suggests that OLG’s decision-making and plans were unrealistic, short-sighted, and subject to unstable leadership and oversight. The key question coming out of it isn’t, however, what went wrong. It’s where does OLG go from here?
People often teach beginners about Texas Hold’em by explaining the value of the various poker hands. They then move on to discuss the blinds, pre flop, flop, the turn, etc. It can all get quite confusing. BetClic have provided Pokerati with a comprehensive interactive infographic that breaks the game down into its various stages. Have a play with it below if you want to know more. Perhaps you have a friend you’ve been trying to get into Texas Hold’em? This could be a good way to teach them the rules and the phases involved.
The New York Senate considered legalizing online poker last year. They withdrew their proposal when they failed to gain support from lawmakers in the State Assembly. However, many senators are still committed to regulating online poker.
Sen. John Bonacic has recently introduced a bill that would allow gaming providers to offer certain types of poker games unlike the NJ online casino games offered by the garden state. Bonacic is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering. He intends to use his position to advocate for more liberal online gambling laws.
The state’s gaming laws list poker as a game of skill, rather than a game of chance. Bonacic’s bill would reclassify online poker as a game of skill, which would make it legal to offer within state borders.
The senator is using precedent from a federal case in 2012 to support his claim. Federal District Court Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that online poker was a game of skill, which meant that it doesn’t violate gaming laws. Weinstein’s ruling was ultimately overturned by the Appeals Court, but the court didn’t dispute his opinion that poker was a game of skill. This precedent gives Bonacic a strong argument that may encourage members of the Assembly to support his law.
Bonacic said that his new bill would help the state generate millions in new taxes. Gaming providers would need to pay $10 million to receive an online gaming license. They would also need to pay a 15% tax on all gaming revenue.
The bill also has a number of safeguards to limit the social risks of online poker. It includes a bad actors clause that would prevent any site that violated the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act from offering online poker in New York.
John Pappas, the head of the Poker Player’s Alliance, is encouraged by the new bill. However, he said that the Assembly hasn’t introduced a similar bill, which means that it may be difficult to pass it. Pappas said the gaming community shouldn’t be too optimistic until they see how other lawmakers respond to Bonacic’s proposals.
There’s a fair amount of research going on these days looking at that ever-fine line between gaming and gambling (Gainsbury, Russell, & Hing, 2014). This mini-documentary looks at the size and complexity of virtual gaming economies, and reveals how popular recreational online activities are vulnerable to cheaters and Chinese gold farmers (prisoners made to play video games for prison-guard profits) … which has some wanting regulatory oversight similar to gambling!
Who woulda guessed that online poker could provide a template for gamified digital consumer protections? (Really, it kinda-sorta is …)
I guess the real question is why not? If we are to move forward in modern technology than accepting the endless possibilities is eminent. Change isn’t always easy for many and sticking to the old fashion ways is to some safe. But sooner or later the rest of society comes around as it becomes more widely accepted and they are feeling a bit left out of the modern new age of advancement.
Bugsy Siegel Puts Las Vegas on the Casino Map
It’s envisioning what appears to be the impossible dream that turns ordinary men and women into legends, changing life as we know it forever. Bringing new ideas to the masses at first can be quite challenging as they are looked at like they have a third eye or two heads. But it takes perseverance to follow through and time to get the recognition that is finally deserved.
Imagine the ridicule Bugsy Siegel took with a brainstorm idea to build a luxurious Casino and hotel in the middle of the desert. Not only did the idea seem insane to build in the heat of the desert with no water supply available at that time, but a Casino? This was in the 1940’s folks and people at that time were not ready for any part of it, after all Casinos were not considered exactly a righteous upscale business.
Lest you weren’t sure about the relationship between lottery interests and slot machines in future regulated online gambling spaces, here’s a common ad getting served up to some of us on Facebook these days (for myVegas, an MGM joint). You do the math while I continue to get play-money slots game requests from Aunt Rita in Indiana.
While MGM has to wait (except in New Jersey) for real-money casino (or lottery) play, you can guess they are happy to be running various free point promotions where the prize is ultimately a trip to one of their real brick-and-mortar casinos, where the slot machines may or may not pay out the same way the they did for play money online.
We’re certain that you’re no stranger to Europe’s longest established poker tournament, The Irish Open.
Terry Rogers had become hooked on No Limit Holdem during a trip to Vegas, and upon Returning to Ireland, Terry established the Irish Open which became the catalyst in spreading this variation of the game throughout Ireland, and then across Europe.
Paddy Power Poker, proud sponsors of the Irish Open for almost 10 years, have put together this brief history of the tournament, which we are pleased to be able to share with you today.
This past week, two sources of information became available indicating how the Canadian government will increase its regulation and oversight of virtual currencies, including bitcoin. Through a combination of legislative and regulatory changes, Parliament and the Financial Reports Analysis Centre of Canada—Canada’s financial intelligence unit—will wrap “dealers” in virtual currencies into the current money services business regime. Conceptually, this is somewhat similar to the approach taken to exchange functions by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the United States. The federal government has clarified things somewhat but, at the same time, left us with many unanswered questions. We will have to wait for further regulatory guidance to see how the whole regime in Canada plays out, but I think things are looking very positive for FIU regulation of cryptocurrencies in Canada.
The Current Structure & Canada’s Economic Action Plan
FinTRAC is an independent agency that acts as Canada’s FIU to enforce the Financial Action Task Force’s 40 Recommendations. It does this primarily through the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the PCMLTFA) and Regulations (the Regulations). I have previously written about FinTRAC, its FATF-mandated role, and the PCMLTFA and the Regulations. As explained in the earlier post, FinTRAC has thus far taken the view that bitcoins are not “funds” within the meaning of the PCMLTFA and the Regulations. That means that FinTRAC will not regulate many bitcoin exchange functions under the MSB rules in Canada.
On March 14th, lawyers for four plaintiffs filed suit in Toronto against Mt Gox, the bitcoin exchange embroiled in ongoing scandal. Defendants include several corporations in the Mt Gox Group of companies and Mark Karpeles, a majority shareholder in those companies and Mt Gox’s CEO.
The notice of action for the lawsuit is here.
Among other relief, the plaintiffs are seeking certification of the action as a class action under the Ontario Class Proceedings Act, 1992; their appointment as representative plaintiffs for the class; and, C$500M in damages. The proposed class in the proceeding includes all persons in Canada that paid a fee to Mt Gox to buy, sell, or trade bitcoins and all persons in Canada that had bitcoins or fiat money stored on Mt Gox on February 7th of this year. The plaintiffs thus far claim that they’re owed anywhere from a few thousand dollars to 100 bitcoins (close to C$70,000 at today’s exchange rate).
With each passing year, more and more women are achieving notable success in the poker world. Many talented female players have broken through the glass ceiling of the once male-dominated game to win prestigious tournaments and become household names in the world of poker. This probably explains why the game of poker is becoming more and more popular among women both online, at rooms like Titan Poker, and in live poker venues.
Just who are the high profile women poker players who’ve risen to prominence in the game? Let’s take a look at this list (in random order) of some of the world’s best female poker players.
Ed Miller’s latest book, Poker’s 1% reveals the secret of poker’s most elite players. The book exposes this secret in one word: frequency. Ed states that the biggest winners in no-limit hold ‘em know that winning play requires playing each hand with the proper frequency. He demonstrates how playing hands correctly and applying this knowledge makes your opponents effectively beat themselves.
While the book touches on which hands to bet, raise, and fold in different scenarios, this isn’t a typical poker strategy book. It’s a book about poker thinking and poker learning. You will gain a fair amount of knowledge just from reading it, but the book is really designed to teach you how to go about determining for yourself what these frequencies should be. Don’t expect to read this book and magically win every chip on the table each time you play. To get the most out of Poker’s 1% you must be prepared to do a lot of work away from the table.
The first five sessions of $1-$3 no limit that I played immediately after reading the book were some of the most profitable and enjoyable sessions I have ever had. If you have the desire to improve your game and the willingness to do the work that is required, this book is for you. Ed presents the necessary steps in an easy to understand manner and it’s a great resource for anyone wanting to improve their game. Learn more about it at Ed’s website notedpokerauthority.com or on Amazon.
The Canadian finance minister, Jim Flaherty, presented the federal government’s 2014 budget plan to Parliament on February 11th. Cryptocurrencies played a small part in the budget, though still an important one for Canadian businesses in the sector.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are addressed under the heading “Strengthening Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime.” The relevant budget extracts are here. (The entire budget can be downloaded here.) The federal government has indicated that “virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin,” are “emerging risks” in the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing world. Specifically, the government is proposing to introduce anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations for virtual currencies, including bitcoin.
On February 11th, David George-Cosh broke the story of the release of an undated internal document produced by FinTRAC addressing the challenges of cryptocurrencies, primarily bitcoin. FinTRAC is Canada’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing watchdog. The document is a slide deck that was produced further to an Access to Information Act request. The WSJ blog post on the release is here.
A copy of the deck that was released to the public under Access to Information is here.
It’s important to remember that most of what is in this deck does not represent a normative policy position being taken by FinTRAC on cryptocurrencies. (Though note that pages 24-25 of the .pdf document fairly characterizes how FinTRAC views bitcoin vis-a-vis money services businesses under the current Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and Regulations.) I think the bulk of it represents an earnest and honest attempt to canvass available resources and learn about bitcoin. Many bitcoin aficionados might take issue with how some points are set out and the substance of others. However, I think it’s a decent overview and a good start at fairly covering a lot of ground. Over the coming months, we may see how FinTRAC uses this knowledge as they work with the Department of Finance to introduce anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations for cryptocurrencies, as promised in the recent federal budget.