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.


Poker Justice: 7 years for killing a cheater

by , Nov 19, 2014 | 12:32 am

We should probably be sadder because someone died and poker had everything to do with it. But at the same time … man hosts poker game, catches brother cheating, shoots brother in the chest and kills him, gets seven years. Seven-ish to be more exact. Seems about right, and arguably a +EV move — though future family Thanksgivings could be tough.

Read more here:

How to Begin to Win in Online Poker

by , Nov 14, 2014 | 3:46 pm


Image by lawrencechua

Poker is one of the most lucrative professional games in the world. In 2012, the World Series of Poker offered a mouth-watering 1st prize of over $12 million dollars. Whilst poker’s online counterpart has not yet managed to match such mind-numbingly high payouts, thousands of internet players are still raking in the cash in extraordinary amounts. The gambling industry is globally worth around $800 billion dollars with online platforms generating an increasing percentage of these profits. Between 2001 and 2005, online poker’s revenue sky-rocketed from nearly $83 million to over $2.4 billion. Therefore, it is unsurprising that big brands such as and Pokerstars pay out over $3 million dollars in prize-money every month.

Poker is one of the most lucrative professional games in the world. In 2012, the World Series of Poker offered a mouth-watering 1st prize of over $12 million dollars. Whilst poker’s online counterpart has not yet managed to match such mind-numbingly high payouts, thousands of internet players are still raking in the cash in extraordinary amounts. The gambling industry is globally worth around $800 billion dollars with online platforms generating an increasing percentage of these profits. Between 2001 and 2005, online poker’s revenue sky-rocketed from nearly $83 million to over $2.4 billion. Therefore, it is unsurprising that big brands such as 32Red and Pokerstars pay out over $3 million dollars in prize-money every month.


2014 WSOP: Year of the Young Adult?

by , Nov 10, 2014 | 1:32 pm

The latest incarnation of the November Nine gets underway in a few hours, and as per usual there’ll be talk of poker’s “young guns” dominating the big-money prize spots. The old man at the table this year is Bruno Politano, topping out the field chronologically at the crotchety age of 32.

However, while all the remaining players this year may be young, they’re not exactly kids … at least not the way they were in 2010 or 2011.

Maybe it’s just semantics, but what’s different this year is the absence of any player who’s already embarked on a fifth decade of life (a requirement to be in the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame, fwiw) thereby skewing the average. Also 2014’s population of young non-rookies makes for the first year where all competitors at the final table are of an age more comparable to what you’d see in more traditional professional sports.

Here’s a look at how the average age at the WSOP main event final table has changed over the years in the November Nine era. Additional data is below.


PokerStars’ New Jersey Launch In October?

by , Oct 31, 2014 | 1:14 pm

While there was speculation that PokerStars would launch in New Jersey on October 1st having received their license we’re long past that date and nothing was official. However, while we have heard no official word, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker could go live any day now. State evaluations are being still being conducted, remember this is for NJ customers only.

So if you are ready for the PokerStars’ return to the virtual felt, we’ve provided a breakdown of the rules and regulations for playing online poker in the Garden State. We also touch on how their return might impact NJ’s online poker market.

New Jersey’s Regulated Market

You must be 21 or older to sign up at PokerStars NJ or any regulated online poker room in the state. You don’t need to be a New Jersey resident to play online poker. Anyone located the state is eligible to play using geolocation technology.

Players can create a PokerStars NJ account from anywhere in the country. They can also fund their account regardless of their location. Logging in and accessing your account balance can also be done from anywhere in the US. However, they will only be able to play for real-money inside the New Jersey’s borders.


Online Poker on the Uptick?

Garden State Super Series marks a return to positive directions

by , Sep 13, 2014 | 6:08 pm

GSSS-partyBelieve it or not, I’m playing online poker again. I’ve bought in three times already, so yay, it works (and is super-easy to play for real money), but cannot yet report on the cash-out process, because you know … damn river.

But now that we have online poker in Nevada definitively running and here to stay, I’ve started paying a little more attention, and it seems a lotta eyes are on New Jersey right now. Not only do you have Gov. Chris Christie making an aggressive, courts- and DOJ-challenging push for fully legalized and legitimized sports betting inside his borders, but also you have poker-loving state senator Ray Lesniak committed to making the state a global leader in online gambling (sports betting included) and start welcoming international players into the virtual borders of the Garden State without having to show a passport. Sure, Atlantic City may be closing down casinos, but sometimes you gotta get rid of the chaff. And that’s kinda what we could be seeing as two big poker tournament main events in New Jersey — one live and one online — coincide with all the semi-related New Jersey casino-world buzz.

The live tournament is the WPT Borgata Poker Open — a poker-world stalwart that has been serving up big-time televised final tables since Season 2 of the World Poker Tour. (They’re now in Season 13.) This year’s main event is a $3,500 buy-in, with $3 million guaranteed. They expect a good turnout based on preliminary events and online qualifiers that have been running on partypoker in New Jersey as well as partypoker worldwide.

But also going on simultaneously is partypoker’s Garden State Super Series — an online event open to anyone within New Jersey borders that’s shaping up to be the largest online tournament series in New Jersey history, and for that matter US history of the licensed and regulated sort. Both main events kick off on Sunday, with the GSSS guaranteeing $250,000 in prize pool — it’s a $200 buy-in — and $50,000 minimum for the winner.


Education of a Poker Player Responsible Gaming Service Provider

A scholastic primer on problem-gambling research in an Internet age

by , Aug 4, 2014 | 4:51 pm

It’s Responsible Gaming Education Week, August 4-8, you probably know, or maybe not, because “responsible gaming” isn’t exactly something we celebrate in a culture that extols the virtue of being “All In”. And it’s not likely that poker is about to see any special prizes for best bankroll management or superior game selection or, say, excellent investment of tournament winnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

A man drops his wife off at the Palms Casino Resort, with a license plate educating his followers about a key tenet of responsible gaming.

So RGEW is an annual campaign from the National Center for Responsible Gaming, which is the AGA’s officially independent 501c3 that gets $25 million (a year?) from the casino industry to fund academic research in a transparent, peer-reviewed way that tries really hard to not look like Mad Men-era tobacco science.

This year’s theme: “Get to Know Responsible Gaming”. (A sensible revision to 2012’s plausibly oxymoronic “All In for Responsible Gaming”, no?) Anyhow, this new campaign caught my eye in part because I spent the better part of a semester last year doing research about gaming-related media and their connection to irresponsible gambling, particularly among those most vulnerable to manipulative messaging. Have a look if you like at 30+ pages of what is essentially just literature review on:

The Relationship between Digital Media and Gambling Behaviors
among Adolescents and Problem Gamblers

It’s riveting, I swear — delightfully long, dry, and unwieldy. I laughed, I cried, but mostly just committed follicular assault on myself while trying to grasp tenets of “academic writing” and APA style. (“Too much personality in your verbs,” my professor balked.)

Hey, it was good enough for a B. And if I learned anything from the process, it was that in a regulated industry there’s far more to the business of responsible gaming than a few glossy brochures in a dusty casino next to the taunting ATMs.

Happy Birthday, Sheldon Adelson!

Into his ninth decade, casino mogul has everything except poker's love

by , | 4:40 am

Sheldon Adelson turns 81 today, which makes him still just a kid according to my grandmother. We of course all know Adelson is a wealthy man, but I didn’t realize he was the richest person in Nevada (like by far). I mean sure, he woulda made my shortlist if you asked, but I didn’t really place his economic stature in context until seeing this bit of data porn showing who has the largest net worth by state.


So what do you get a man who has everything? OK, maybe Adelson doesn’t have everything, but he does have more personal wealth than the GDP of nearly 100 independent nations. He has so much money ($35.7 billion) that he could singlehandedly pay off ALL of Caesars’ debt and still have more than $12 billion left over — enough to still be the richest person in Nevada, as well as 34 other American states. Sooo … maybe just close your eyes and make a wish?

Chad Brown Memorial Tournament

Ode to a champion

by , Jul 9, 2014 | 12:54 pm

There are a few people who stand out in poker because they do things differently than most everyone else — in ways we all know we’d stand to benefit by emulating. Unfortunately, too often we don’t recognize that until these people are gone. Chad Brown will forever be attached to the Summer of 2014 for a bracelet he probably wished he didn’t have to win, and on Sunday is the farewell event open to players who want to remember poker is all about real life and real lives … and that’s what can make it so fun.

More at


The odds of being dealt a Royal Flush

by , Jul 3, 2014 | 11:41 pm

Even novice players know that a Royal Flush is the ultimate poker hand but even many experienced players might not realise just how rare getting the ten, jack, queen, king and ace of one suit actually is. Although movies like Casino Royale have made this most sought after hand seem within the realms of possibility the odds are truly stacked against you.

Of course, the chances of getting a Royal Flush no more difficult than getting any other 5 specific cards in a straight flush. A Royal Flush is 1 specific straight flush and there are 4 different ways in can occur, one for each suit. There are 2,598,960 different combinations in 5 card poker so there is a 4/2,598,960 or 1: 649,740 chance of getting a specific straight flush, including a Royal Flush using the formula (1/p) -1:1, with “p” being probability. The chances of drawing any straight flush, aside from a Royal Flush, are reduced to 1:72,192 since there are now 9 different hands which can be used to in 36 ways to make the hand.


Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez, the new ambassador of ‘888poker room’

by , Jun 18, 2014 | 1:49 pm


Luis Suarez, the Liverpool and the Uruguayan national team striker that is participating in the World Cup in Brazil, has been was named last month in Barcelona as the new ambassador of 888poker, one of the world’s leading poker rooms.

Recently chosen as ‘Best Player’ of the English Premier League by the association of the press and the competition itself, Luis Suarez is also a serious candidate to the ‘Golden Boot’ for this 2013/14 season. The Uruguayan sum 31 goals, the same as Cristiano Ronaldo (31), and three more than Leo Messi (28), his closest pursuers.

Suárez has said during the presentation that due to commitments with preparing the World Cup selection, he may not take part in events such as the WSOP, but has announced that in the near future he will appear in tournaments, both live and online.

The Uruguayan striker joins the 888poker team which already includes other athletes , although many of them are better known in the UK than in any other country.

“Luis is going to do a lot of very special things with our customers. He will bring exclusive content with him and users will be able to play online against him. That’s fantastic,” explained 888poker staff members.

In poker terms, the Uruguayan discovered it’s a game he really likes. “I love playing poker. It needs a lot of concentration and competitiveness that is exciting. I Like it. And everybody likes. I believe that to play for this home will be great fun.”

Poker’s Newest Fan?

On mai wai to Dubyooessopee

by , Jun 4, 2014 | 4:12 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to poker Mr. Dwight Hiward — someone with the clever foresight to have been named after what would become a plausibly convenient typo for a popular basketball player’s name. A couple clicks reveal @pokerati’s new follower is way into poker. And hey, if his actual tweets turn out to be some new style of poker metaphor, gotta say … a little rough, but I think I like where you’re going with that, kid!

Dwight Howard Twitter