Reviewing the Reviewers

It’s All Decidedly Dodgy, Says Casino Papa

by , Jan 29, 2016 | 3:56 am

There’s something rather odd going on right now with so many online casino review websites and services. Well, the term ‘odd’ might not in fact be appropriate as what we’re actually banging on about appears to be the new norm. Long story short, how can you trust casino reviews when you know they’re being engineered purely for sales purposes? Affiliations, brand partnerships and simple paid deals – all for the sole purpose of driving you in a certain direction, irrespective of the consequences.

Why are we on such a sizeable soapbox about all this?  It’s easy really, we’ve been borderline obsessed with online gaming ever since it arrived a couple of decades ago and would like to see certain standards maintained. But as that clearly isn’t going to be the case, we decided to set up Casino Papa instead!

Come to Papa!

So what on Earth, you are probably wondering right now, are we ranting about with all this?  Well, in the simplest of terms we thought it was about time a new name entered the game with the balls to tell the truth. We didn’t have any affiliations or ties with any casino brands, which basically meant we didn’t have anything to lose if we offended anyone…which we are quite sure, we probably have!

To be honest, Casino Papa was born of a collective hatred for the kinds of dodgy deals and bogus bonuses used to snare unsuspecting/naïve members of the public. “Join today and we’ll give you thousands of pounds simply for sitting there and scratching your backside!” “Credit your account with 45p and we’ll add to it a top up bonus of £45,000 out of the goodness of our hearts!” You know these kinds of deals, you’ve seen these kinds of deals and chances are you’ve fallen for one or two in your time.

But not anymore…at least, not if you first see what a bunch of seasoned experts/grumpy buggers have to say about things before diving in!


The rise and rise of online gambling in Southeast Asia

by , Dec 22, 2015 | 2:42 am

With 132 million current players within the South East Asia market, game developers are seriously considering porting their games over in order to make some serious cash. And in a few years the market is expected to double to 1.2 billion, and that’s if it doesn’t surpass that number beforehand. This includes areas in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. More hardcore players are signing up than ever before, and it may be due to the incredible growth of the smartphone market. The funny thing about the stat is that it doesn’t include client-based desktop gambling.

“Southeast Asia is poised for significant mobile growth by 2019 with smartphone subscriptions increasing five folds, and mobile data traffic experiencing 1000% growth rate,” said an M88 spokesperson.

So what is the ceiling for this growth? Well, there isn’t one. That became clear when Vietnam lifted its ban on new game licenses, a move that spurred growth in that particular area. Internet cafes are still all the rage in the South East Asia market and are enjoying similar success thanks to the rise and rise of online gambling. Out of all the regions mentioned, the one that is expected to grow the fastest is Indonesia. Their online gambling culture could potentially surpass all the others in the next 5 years, due to a combination of access and customer interest. Thailand is considered the most overpopulated market, with a lot of developers choosing to localize in Thai before any other language.

If you look outside the realm of online gambling and focus on online gaming, in South East Asia alone there are 85 million players that spent $661 million dollars last year. If some of those players can be converted over to the gambling market (some already do both) then it could really mark the fastest growth in a market to occur in history. But even if those players don’t get converted, the online gambling will continue to be a dominant fixture in the South East Asia economy. Expect more game developers to continue catering to the current market in order to get more players involved. This also includes better algorithms with the online gambling system to deter cheaters.

South East Asia is going to be the source of a lot of innovation when it comes to online gambling. This is not just the beginning of something good, it is the middle of something great.

Tips for playing – and winning – Omaha poker

by , Nov 24, 2015 | 8:40 pm

Texas Hold’Em is arguably the most popular poker variant out there today at the sports gambling websites. But while things are usually bigger in Texas, the one exception to this rule is Omaha Poker.

Much like Hold’Em, players must make their best poker hand from the cards dealt and the five community cards that are revealed in order. However, while Texas Hold’Em hands out two hole cards, Omaha Hold’Em gives players four cards to start out and must make their best hand with two of their cards and three of the common cards. 

Now that you’re familiar with the twist on the game, here are some tips and strategies to help you cash in the next time you play Omaha poker:


7 Interesting Random Facts about the WSOP

by , Oct 22, 2015 | 8:12 pm

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the leading poker tournament on the planet today. Any player who knows how to bluff their way to success has to do it on this stage before they do it anywhere else.

The WSOP has an interesting and intriguing history, though. In this article we’re going to take a look at some of the more interesting and random facts about it.

The Most Bracelets
Phil Hellmuth is the king of bracelets in the WSOP. As of June 2014, he has won a remarkable thirteen bracelets. He started his road of dominance in 1989 when he won the Main Event Championship.

These bracelets weren’t won in quick succession. Hellmuth has demonstrated how much he can evolve as he won his thirteenth bracelet in 2012 when he took first prize at the WSOP Europe Main Event.

As an active player, there’s still a chance that Hellmuth will add to his tally. In fact, many pundits are proudly claiming that this is a record that’s considered unbeatable.

Most Lucrative Player
Bracelets equal glory, but the person who’s taken the most money is Antonio Esfandiari. He has a mere three bracelets and a nice Guinness World Record to go along with it.. It doesn’t hide the fact he’s exceptional at what he does. He won the $1M Big One for One Drop in 2012, which gave him an eight-figure amount of $18,346,673. More…

What to look for in a five-card draw poker hand

by , | 8:06 pm

Poker has so many variants nowadays, it’s tough to keep all your strategies straight. So we’re going back to the fundamentals and returning to perhaps the most classic version of the game: five-card draw poker. Here’s how to build the best hands for five-card draw when playing in the best bitcoin casino:

When you first get your five-card hand, the first thing you want to scout for is connectivity. What that means is find ways in which your cards are connected in order to make the highest ranked poker hand. Now, this doesn’t mean chasing after some tougher hands to make, like straights and flushes, but players should have an idea of how their current cards connect and which ones to keep and which to discard.

Two Pair/Three of a kind
While poker players all dream to stunning the table for a big pot with a full house or straight flush, the truth is most pots are won by hands including two pair or three of a kind. Now, there is some design in building around two pair, meaning you shouldn’t go too far in with a low pair. But if you pull a pair of Aces and have a high card in your initial hand, that should be enough – even before the draw – to win the pot. As for three of the kind, this is a solid hand and will likely earn you a winner. However, you should always be conscience of just how high your triples are. You don’t want to get caught with your pants down going all in on three 2s.

How to bet
Depending on what you’re holding – a strong poker hand or a lower-ranked yet respectable hand – you want to bet accordingly. A mistake many poker players make is slow playing a strong hand. For example, you may make a high straight and decide to play it cool and see if you can milk as much from your opponents before springing a strong hand on them. However, sometimes not being aggressive can leave the pot light and you waste that sure winner. Strong hands should be played more aggressively – especially before the draw – forcing your opponents to pay up in order to get more cards.

Know the Probability of the Best Poker Hands

by , Sep 20, 2015 | 9:20 pm

Poker may take some number crunching, nerves of steel and a blank face but when it all comes down to it, poker is still a game of chance. That means that savvy players can figure out the probability of losing a hand, depending on what they’re holding. In a game like 5-card poker, if you are playing in online poker tournaments these are the probabilities of you landing a winning hand:

You aren’t storming the gates with two of a kind, but it’s better than nothing. And having two Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces will pack more than a little punch even though the probability of pulling a pair is 0.422569 – regardless of card value.

Two Pair
Everybody loves twins. Well maybe not poker players. Two pairs are pretty good, but not great and can sometimes lure you into a big pot, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath you. Probability of two pair, a sharp drop from a single pair to 0.047539.

Also known as “Three of a Kind”, this hand can get the job done if you’re playing at a smaller table. There are six hands that are going to beat the triple, so do a head check and bet accordingly. The probability of pulling out three of a kind drops significantly from two pair, to 0.021128.

High or low, the straight is a solid poker hand. But, much like the triple, you’ve got to size up your field and know the chances of an opponent pulling a better hand. The consecutive five-card sequence holds a probability of 0.00392465.

Getting five cards suited – but not in sequential order – holds a probability of 0.0019654, since there are just 13 cards of the same suit in a single 52-card deck. It’s a slightly behind the full house in terms of probability and rank, but stands well ahead of its cousin the straight.

Full House
Not just a great 80’s TV sitcom but also a tremendous poker hand. You’ve got three of a kind and managed to pull two pair along with it. Holding a probability of 0.001441, your opponents will need to pull out a miracle to beat the full house most hands.

Four of a kind
The mighty quintuplets are a Top-5 poker hand and if a miracle is needed to beat a full house, than you might need the Pope in your corner to top four of a kind, which holds a slim probability of 0.000240. If you’re not going all in with four on the floor, you’ve wasted a gift from the poker gods.

Straight Flush
You could play poker for years and years and never see this hand come up. It’s the unicorn of 5-card poker, with not only five cards suited but also those cards run in sequential order. The probability of a straight flush – excluding the Royal Flush – is 0.0000138517.

Royal Flush
This is the great white whale of poker hands. The odds of a common golfer scoring a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1. The odds of pulling a Royal Flush are 649,739 to 1 or a probability of 0.00000153908. Luckily, for you the odds of getting hitting by lightning are only slightly longer at 960,000 to 1.

Big Business for Online Casinos

In a world of regulated Internet gaming, complex deals can be par for the course

by , Aug 18, 2015 | 3:26 pm

The online poker and gambling world is changing. Business-wise, internet casino giants are shuffling the deck to position themselves for a shifting battle to dominate in the 21st century, while new players seek a foothold in the action.

One group determined to play for the top spot are 888, who have been offering sophisticated online gambling since the early days of the internet. The publicly traded parent financier 888 Holdings (888.L) have been making moves to stay in a powerful position. But buying and selling assets can be complicated in the world of international high finance and multijurisdictional regulatory oversight. In July, 888 thought they had won a bidding war to acquire longtime rival poker and casino powerhouse Bwin.Party (BPTY.L) for £900 million (US$1.4 billion). But not so fast! The rival suitor, whom 888 thought they had outbid, came back with a slightly higher offer and less corporate baggage.

Apparently, GVC Holdings (GVC.L) was hoping the third time would be a charm in their quest to land Bwin.Party assets, which include not just the poker site, but also bingo, casino, and sports betting operations. GVC made a bid in May, only to have 888 follow that with a bid of its own. GVC responded by declaring its intent to partner with Canada-based Amaya (AYA.TO), which had recently acquired poker behemoth PokerStars for US$5 billion. In June, Amaya had upped its stature by securing listing on NASDAQ stock exchange, too. And sure enough, in July, the new online gaming allies submitted a new bid to take over Bwin.Party.

(Their plan was to split the company, with poker going to Amaya, and the casino and sports-betting operation going to GVC.)


Canadian Senate Reports on Digital Currencies

by , Jun 18, 2015 | 2:18 pm

Lately, when many Canadians think of the Senate — our unelected upper house of Parliament — they think of the Senate expense scandal (or possibly other scandals) which may be an issue in the general election this fall. That’s unfortunate, as today the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce released its report on Digital Currency.

The Committee offers a number of welcome, measured, and moderate proposals.

The very first recommendation exhorts the Canadian government to “create an environment that fosters innovation for digital currencies and their associated technologies” and “exercise a regulatory ‘light touch.'” That’s certainly welcome given the innovation that’s taking place in the space in Canada and the cryptocurrency businesses that are being started and acquired here.


Tell Science

Setting a baseline for bluffability

by , Jan 23, 2015 | 1:27 pm


Can you spot the liar?

The New York Times asked that question — recognizing right out the gate this is supposed to be a poker skill — and presented an interactive exercise featuring video clips of people answering seemingly innocuous questions, to see, essentially, if you can spot a simple bluff.

(Apparently the body-language-reading techniques being taught at the TSA aren’t quite preparing their security agents for the WSOP.)

Booyah, I got 9/10 … so don’t even think about it. Phil Hellmuth can read souls, pshaw!

The one I missed was where the girl talks about boys playing a game in the library where they tried to scream the word “penis” as loud as they could. And I suppose my answer was biased as I had actually won that game several times in 9th grade.

888 “Gift Showers” Promise Special Prizes for All

A million bucks worth of coolness in play

by , Dec 29, 2014 | 5:30 pm

The holiday season isn’t over — at least not for players at 888poker. This venerable online poker site has a promotion that has been running all December — gift showers — and they’re still going for another six weeks.

A cool $1 million worth of special prizes is raining down on players. And we’re not just talking just leftover swag. Prizes being given away every day include new iPhone 6+’s, Go Pro cameras, Sony noise-canceling headphones, PlayStation 4s, and more!

All-In Gift Shower Tournaments are currently running twice a day, every day at 888poker. These are “all in” tournaments, so that means every player is automatically all-in on every hand until there is a winner. And there’s no such thing as unlucky here, because every player gets a prize. In addition to the awesome giveaways mentioned above, other prizes include hoodies, hats, and tickets into other tournaments — including the $5k Lucky Star Freeroll and $500 Starburst freeroll.

Find more details and official information here.


Ivey’s divided loyalty + other news

by , Dec 2, 2014 | 1:50 pm


Image by World Poker Tour 

Phil Ivey is not noted for his public endorsements. In fact he’s not noted for doing much in the way of publicity, period. So when the ten-time WSOP bracelet winner took to Twitter recently to offer his endorsement to an online gaming site it inevitably turned heads.

Ivey took time out this November to tell his Twitter followers to “check out” the newly launched But what makes the development all the more interesting is the back story – or back stories – that play into this seemingly low key moment in the public spotlight.

The place for sports betting and in-play wagers is Football, baseball, tennis, esports, and more!

First of all, Ivey’s ongoing legal issues are, inevitably casting their shadow over events. Ivey – along with his colleague Cheng Yin Sun is still in the process of trying to establish the legality of winnings derived from edge counting. Specifically, he is in dispute with the Borgata Casino who claim – in effect – that Ivey was cheating when he took them for $9.6 million playing Baccarat last year. That move follows on from a case in London, England where Crockford’s Casino refused to pay him winnings totalling $11.8 million on the same basis.

What makes these issues relevant is that that Borgata are the bricks and mortar guarantors for PalaCasino. In order to meet the requirements for its iGaming licence Pala recently formalised a partnership with the Borgata Casino and Hotel. New Jersey regulations require that iGaming operators affiliate with an Atlantic City-based brick and mortar casino.


California Dreamin’

Vegas Grinders say what?

by , Nov 25, 2014 | 8:30 am

So poker people are buzzing again about the promise of California for online poker. It’s true what RJ gaming reporter Howard Stutz says, that this market represents something of a holy grail for the liquidity dependent. But that’s also the reason I’ll stick by my assertions that California needs about half a country to go pro-poker before they get real about making a deal. Sorry for the buzzkill … but here’s a little Vegas Grinders outtake, recorded about three months ago, in which Andrew, Dave and I address whether or not online pokerers should be packing up their bags and setting up shop in the Golden State.

WSOP winner Naoya Kihara celebrates Japanese ‘patience’

by , | 3:15 am


Image by  World Poker Tour 

Poker is a minority sport in Japan at the moment, but it is growing fast. According to Naoya Kihara – the first Japanese grinder to claim a WSOP winner’s ring – it is a game perfectly suited to the Japanese mentality.

Kihara won his title in 2012 in a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Six-Handed event, and ever since he has been blazing a trail for poker in his homeland. In a country where the game is little played and even less understood Kihara’s $512,029 WSOP win earned him instant celebrity status, and he has not been slow to use that as a platform to promote the game.

The former Tokyo University physics student’s route to professional poker was unconventional, but it is one that he sees as a perfect model for his fellow countrymen. Having started out playing recreational games of backgammon, shogi and mahjong Kihara began earning a living from pro backgammon around 2005. From there, has admitted that once he was introduced to poker the move was a relatively straightforward one.

Online intensitity

But in the absence of real-life poker rooms in his homeland it was online poker at sites such as 32Red and Party Poker that provided Kihara with his competitive education. He has pointed out that the intrinsic pace of the online game combined with the ability to play multiple games simultaneously provides a fast-track education. Playing nine tables at a time, as he does, Kihara argues that it is possible to play up to 27 times as much poker online than in a physical poker room over an equivalent timespan. And as he says, playing his how you learn.

It’s an intense way to get to grips with the game but Kihara’s journey from novice to WSOP winner in the space of just five years shows what can be achieved. He is still an active online player under the user ID ‘nkeyno’.


Apache Gold Casino is giving players up to $300 a day in free play.

by , Nov 20, 2014 | 3:11 am

A little casino east of Phoenix, Arizona called Apache Gold is running a fantastic casino promotion until the end of this month. They are doubling or tripling any other casino’s offer up to $300. For example: If you have a valid casino offer for $50, they will give you $150 in free play, no strings attached.  They have full pay 3:2 video blackjack and full pay video poker (.25-$5 8/5 Bonus Poker) and plenty of slots so it’s well worth the drive. You can stay overnight nearby or in Phoenix and double dip too as its available once a day! Read the full details here.

While you are nearby, make sure to check out the fantastic poker action near Phoenix at both Wild Horse Pass and Talking Stick Resort.

Good luck!

Send me your tips on twitter to: @RobertGoldfarb


Aussie Dales Pushing On With Big Adelaide Prize

by , | 12:22 am

Australian poker player Andrew Dales has been on a hot streak of late, and that has culminated with a recent big money win at the Adelaide Champs 2014 Main Event. Dales scooped a solid $38,000 prize a couple of days ago at Adelaide Casino, and that is a welcome addition to anybody’s prize fund.

It was the second highest pot that Dales has won in his career to date. On February 21st 2013, he picked up a cool $64,000 at the No Limit Hold’em Main Event in Melbourne as runner up to Amjed Slewa. Slewa took $100,000 for his first place at Crown Casino.

More recently there was a $23,000 windfall in the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific No Limit Hold’em Terminator and, when combined together, they give Dales the best form of his career. His third spot behind Scot Calcagno and Nelson Maccini was very satisfying after some back and forth play. Dales came close on hand 97, going all in and the flop falling in his favour. The river card sent Dales packing though, and that would end his tournament, albeit with a steady third to his credit.