Posts Tagged ‘Cereus’

Flashbacks, Memories, and Lessons Learned

Black Friday anniversary link dump

by , Apr 16, 2012 | 5:35 am

Yesterday marked the anniversary of online poker’s Black Friday. Anyone who ever clicked a raise button remembers the fateful day, and many are reminiscing about how their world changed on April 15, 2011.

Here’s a best-of list of links, tweets and general brooding from over the weekend:

The cold anniversary was, of course, trending on Twitter Twitter hashtag #BlackFriday … From Ben Lamb wondering if anyone would tweet about it to Dan Fleyshman posting this sad picture http://instagr.am/p/JcjU9BJT1C/

The legal landscape

Reminding people they really do represent the players (especially since Black Friday) the PPA urged them to continue to contact their political representatives. http://www.lvrj.com/business/poker-lobbying-group-marks-black-friday-anniversary-147424325.html

As legislators grapple with the future of online poker, Nevada officials want to host the first legal sites. http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/13127-black-friday-the-day-that-changed-online-poker

Poker affiliates reflected on lessons learned since being forced to admit that the whims of authorities are a legitimate risk for anyone doing business in a legally gray world. http://www.casinoaffiliateprograms.com/blog/black-friday-lessons-learned/

On the casino side, Frank Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, pushed for amendments to the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that would “unambiguously eliminate illegal Internet gambling.” http://www.americangaming.org/newsroom/press-releases/statement-on-the-anniversary-of-black-friday

And FairPlay USA has Greg Raymer reminding you to sign their petition while former FBI Director Louis Freeh cites the anniversary of Black Friday as a call for federal action and continue the fine worl of the DOJ. http://fairplayusa.com/blog/fairplayusa%E2%80%99s-judge-louis-freeh-statement-black-friday-anniversary

Meanwhile, lawyers of all stripes took note, with a new class-action lawsuit filed against Full Tilt filed just before any anniversary parties. 
http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/04/13/45602.htm

Thanks for the memories, DOJ

QuadJacks.com did a special anniversary live podcast, which included “original Black Friday audio.” Ah, the memories.
http://quadjacks.com/poker-radio/

Short-stacked Shamus gives a thorough write-up of the drama to that would befall so many in different ways. http://betting.betfair.com/poker/poker-news/black-friday-one-year-later-130412.html

The folks at Poker News compiled tweets from the dreadful day, including Doyle Brunson’s best tweet: “Now maybe we will see if these online ‘superstars’ can play real poker. Ante up suckers!”  http://www.pokernews.com/news/2012/04/black-friday-chronicles-twitter-reactions-12451.htm

Wicked Chops Insider talked with poker industry leaders about where they were when they heard the news for an oral history of that fateful day (worthy of free distribution). http://insider.wickedchopspoker.com/543/an-oral-history-of-black-friday/

Many pros, like Shane Schleger here, had to share their thoughts and perspective from a day they won’t forget. http://shaniaconline.blogspot.com/2012/04/black-friday-one-year-later.html

Like a moment frozen in time, here’s the original 2+2 Black Friday thread, which received more than 6,000 replies in the first 3 days: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29/news-views-gossip/reuters-full-tilt-poker-pokerstars-absolute-poker-charged-illegal-gambling-1020606/#post26050483

The guys at pokerfuse.com produced a bomb-ass timeline, tracking all the major events since that dark day, including their own birth. http://pokerfuse.com/features/in-depth/one-month-black-friday-timeline/

Michael Gentile, a former online pro, interviewed Poker Players Alliance board member Patrick Fleming to (re)assess the online poker legal landscape in the US. http://pokerfuse.com/features/in-depth/us-legal-landscape-one-year-after-black-friday/

Here’s another sharp timeline at PokerStrategy.com. http://www.pokerstrategy.com/news/world-of-poker/One-Year-Since-Black-Friday:-The-Complete-Timeline_58551/

And another by-the-minute timeline at PokerNews.com. http://www.pokernews.com/news/2012/04/the-black-friday-timeline-one-year-without-online-poker-12445.htm

Poker still has a future

A bunch of pros, like Matt Waxman, told PokerStrategy.com that this year’s WSOP Main Event should hold steady. “It’s like so prestigious and like world renowned, you know, so everybody’s gonna just make it out cause this is the one tournament that like if you’re the guy who plays the nightly home game for 100 bucks, you’re gonna splurge your 10k just so you can play in the main event,” he said. Like riiiight. http://www.pokerstrategy.com/news/world-of-poker/Daily-Rewind-Black-Friday-Anniversary,-New-Gambling-Film,-WSOP-2012-Thoughts_58570/

CalvinAyre.com looked at the companies “making noise” about bringing online poker back to the United States. http://calvinayre.com/2012/04/15/poker/how-to-make-it-in-america/

QuadJacks put out a new music video by Sonny Caine and Dennis Rybaczewski (DRybes) to inspire a little hope for the future.

And our own Dan Michalski summarizes it all as simply a “big, industry changing day” in All In – The Poker Movie, which is available April 24, 2012, on iTunes. http://mashable.com/2012/04/13/online-poker-black-friday/


Rabbit Hunt

11 May 2011

by , May 13, 2011 | 10:00 am

Gary Wise from ESPN fame joins the The Rabbit Hunt as their guest panelist of the week on an all-UB news cycle. We discuss the state of the company, the raids that occurred over the weekend, their recent deal with the DOJ, and the continued fallout their recently laid off pros might feel going forward. True to the subject matter, we had a lot to talk about, so we hope you enjoy!

download


Rabbit Hunt

May 5, 2011

by , May 7, 2011 | 10:45 am

Mark and Matt are joined by the man behind the pkrgssp blog, Jeff Walsh, to discuss the latest developments in the world of poker. AP is now looking at bankruptcy, and this throws player funds deeper into question. Also, fresh news about the FS+G league and the WSOP on this week's Rabbit Hunt!


Cereus Poker Network Sold

Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet under new ownership

by , Aug 26, 2010 | 4:13 pm

The Cereus Poker Network, home of Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, have been sold to “e-gaming entrepreneur” Stuart Gordon, creating Blanca Games to purchase the company previously owned by Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG.

The full press release appears below:

More…


Cereus Closing Down Kahnawake Offices?

Informed industry sources say yes; muckrakers say such is 2010

by , Jun 13, 2010 | 7:46 am

No details, and no confirmation … but who wants action!?!

CalvinAyre.com is saying that the Cereus Network — the beleaguered yet thriving online poker+blackjack collective — is shutting down their office in the Kahnawake territory. The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, of course, roughly 18 square miles located just outside of Montreal, has long been a refuge for online gambling sites operating literally outside the reach of US law. It has been the home of Ulitmate Bet (now UB) since 2001 and Absolute Poker since 2003.

No clue at present what this would mean if true, nor what might be the implications for representative players such as Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, and Trishelle Cannatella. Maybe it’s simply a matter of Cereus COO Paul Leggett just responding to Daniel Negreanu’s call for him and his business to take a hike?

It’s also possible, of course, that maybe their lease was just up, and they found a sweet new pad with a view of the St. Lawrence River?

We’ll surely see in coming days and weeks. But I’m at least 90 45 72 percent sure that such a move isbig deal in some capacity, and it coincides with more lawuits Pokerati hasn’t even told you about. I literally can’t keep up with all the shizznit heading toward various fans at this moment. I’m trying though … Stay tuned today, tomorrow, and in coming weeks to learn about more business and legal matters that may well affect operations at the 2010 WSOP and beyond.

UPDATE: Plausibly connected … @KevMath (of course) tips me off (and the folks at 2+2) to a letter from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, dated May 10, 2010, acknowledging a “memo of understanding” between them and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. Alderney is the small British dependency in the Channel Islands that currently licenses and regulates Full Tilt.

More…


The Poker Beats: Early Summer Anthology

Cereus security, the 2010 WSOP, a new-and-more teethy UIGEA, Mizrachi power, prop bets, and lots more

by , Jun 5, 2010 | 10:48 pm

Have fallen behind on The (Award-Winning) Poker Beat … So to get you caught up, here are 4.5 hours of the latest in Poker Beat power — enough for any WSOP-wonk to step into Week 2 fully prepared to understand what they’ll really be getting into.

The Poker Beat
6/3/10
TPB (and skilled technician John V) won’t let interstate technical snafus get in the way of award-winning deliverables. With BJ at the helm and Huff watching from the booth in LA, Jess and Wolfman discuss what may or may not be going on as the WSOP and the post-hardened UIGEA era get underway almost simultaneously … all while Michael Mizrachi takes down the first big bracelet of the Series, the Nevada Gaming Control Board clamps down on dot-net poker relationships, a thieving player tries to palm a stack of chips, and Joran van der Sloot allegedly kills again while hitting the Latin American poker circuit.

subscribe via iTunes[audio:http://www.pokerroad.com/download/the-poker-beat:66]

More…


More security issues with AP/UB

Cereus not so serious about their security?

by , May 7, 2010 | 3:10 pm

The scandal-plagued Cereus Network, home of Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, took another hit on Thursday regarding their encryption procedures. Poker Table Ratings issued a “security alert” advising players not to play at AP/UB as they revealed a major security flaw as Cereus was using XOR encryption rather than the poker industry standard SSL protocol for all network transmissions.

An example of what PTR found is in the video below:

Cereus COO Paul Leggett issued a response shortly after the PTR report came out Thursday evening and posted a status update just a few minutes ago stating that they’ve issued an update to their software earlier Friday and are working with PTR on the new encryption and the eventual release of a more advanced solution using the Open SSL protocol, scheduled to be available in one week.


UB issues another statement on UB software issue

by , Jan 2, 2009 | 11:54 am

On December 31, Ultimate COO Paul Leggett issued an update on previous software issues that happened earlier in December. It’s linked here, or you can click on the button below to read it in full:

More…


RE: More Problems at UB (2)

UB license in jeopardy with KGC?

by , Dec 22, 2008 | 2:52 pm

Reliable sources say Kahnawake Gaming Commission regulators are less than thrilled about the need for a special holiday session to look into these troublesome pot-shipping matters … but they are aware and already proceeding due-diligently with/against AP/UB=>Cereus. What this will lead to isn’t clear outside the Mohawk Nation (and probably not clear yet inside) … but there’s presumably some uneasiness about the prospect of three-strikes-and-out, as the KGC may or may not be inclined to pull the plug on servers for the troubled company bought by the former Kahnawake Chief.


Currently Listening to: PokerRoad Radio

Annie Duke on 60 Minutes, Washington Post

by , Dec 15, 2008 | 7:09 am

The new episode is a pretty good one … Joe, Gavin, Shronk (via robot voice), a hot girl, and the other guy Ali Nejad haven’t even gotten to the Annie Duke interview that I clicked over to listen to yet … but they’ve kept me thoroughly infotained talking about the Bellagio 5-Diamond blind structure, November Nine TV appearances, and a few poker hands.

Good stuff. Goes well with FoxNews in the background: PokerRoad Radio, with Annie Duke

UPDATE: OK, I listened … and though I’m not sure I cared to know so many details about Annie Duke-Joe Reitman sex, she does answer some questions revealing why she didn’t participate with 60 Minutes (her claims of their falsehoods to lure her into the story seem totally believable to me — media people do say these things — though I do wonder could they have gone with a more regulation-oriented storyline had she or Paul Legget gone on camera), why she is indeed so confident about AP/UB/Cereus’ commitment to running an honorable business, why she remains a loyal face for the brand (it’s not the money), and how she wants to see Russ Hamilton burn in non-Atheist hell.

She also dances around questions about her rumored appearance on the upcoming season of The Apprentice in a way that semi-confirms she has intimate knowledge of a show beginning in March with a finale in May.


This Last Month in Poker History

by , Dec 1, 2008 | 4:30 pm

A few people have asked me WTF I’m talking about saying that November 2008 will go down as an historical month where everything changes/d. To spell it out, you have:

The November Nine — historic simply as it pertains to the conclusion of a single not-so-little tournament that seems to be the barometer for all things related to the poker industry.

Midnight Rule-push for UIGEA Regs — we’re just one of 100 single-issues affected by the Bush administration’s attempts to party it up like frat boys and trash the joint before checking out … but regardless, it means we have a whole bunch of additional clean-up to do.

60 Minutes/Washington Post Exposés — whether it’s determined to be fair-and-balanced good-for-poker coverage or a damning hatchet job hacked with a double-edged blade of lies … the Thanksgiving weekend stories represent the official exposure of the online poker biz, hairy warts and all, to the non-poker world.

Clonie Gowen vs. Full Tilt Lawsuita loyal soldier turns on her poker-biz commanders, with attempts to air grievances in American court threatening to bring the multibillion-dollar operations of a super-private jurisdictionally challenged business into the public domain. While FTP reps actively petition the Feds to let them open these books but only if they can pay extra taxes, the former Full Tilt covergirl arms herself with a taser gun and takes aiming at a Red Pro.

Formation of Cereus — the two most scandal-ridden online poker sites officially join forces to create a recovering cheater supersite, flooding their own tables with “refund” money to keep the action moving.

Plug Pulled on PokerBlog.com — hardly the biggest deal in the bigger picture … but PartyPoker’s apologetic canning of Dr. Tim represents a new fiscal reality facing even the most legitimate of online poker sites and their workers.

Introduction of HB 222 in TexasTake 2 on trying to bring the game that had everything to do with the creation of an $18 billion industry (subject to all the hubbub above) back home where it belongs.

All this, of course, is going on in the midst of a major lawsuit related to internet authority in Kentucky — where unprecedented government action has shaken up/down the online poker industry, forcing noticeable shifts in business ops and resource allocation. Clearly:


RE: WaPo Story Now Online

Everything all better?

by , Nov 29, 2008 | 9:40 pm

OK, I just read Part 1 of the Washington Post story by Gilbert Gaul on cheating at Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. I thought it was great and on target and technically correct to the letter when discussing legal matters. I learned a bunch of stuff I didn’t know, too.

Two-and-a-half specific things caught my eye:

(The name of the alleged cheater has circulated widely among poker players on the Internet. The Post is not publishing his name because, even though he purportedly confessed to AbsolutePoker, the company did not release its records and would not discuss the matter. The alleged cheater declined requests to be interviewed.)

Maybe I just haven’t been following it close enough on the forums, but I’m wondering whom they’re referring to here.

The story also doesn’t reference the new formation of Cereus, after acknowledging that UB would likely lose its license and be out of business soon. Hmmm. But that’s really new, and this story was possibly put to bed a few weeks ago?

The other thing is the last graf:

The Kahnawake now say they operate one of the most secure Internet gambling operations in the world. Tokwiro says it has “established cutting-edge security systems that make us the safest site in the industry.” But Catania said he does not expect cheating to stop: “I’m sure there are people out there right now figuring out, let’s say, ‘Here’s a way we can do it again.’

Yikes, that last sentence leaves it open-ended as to how part two of the story will fall when it comes to legalization efforts.

I really like poker’s chances (because I sincerely believe despite our internal battles with shadiness, our industry is on the right side of legal issues here) … and from what I’ve learned in my rookie dabblings in poker (and strip-club) politics, the treatment this story is getting in Washington DC — a big investigative feature spread out over two days with lots of informative sidebars — now guarantees (I’m like 86 percent sure) that our issue is on the 2009 political agenda. I’m not totally comfortable yet, of course. Current feeling in my gut is comparable to waiting for the river when all-in against an 8- or 9-outer. A little unsettling. But hey, that’s what we came here for, right?

In addition to the story itself, the WP’s got a bunch of goodies for those who want to dig deeper, or just check their work:

So there you have it. It would hard to expect anything more thorough. Kudos to “special correspondent Gary Wise“, too, for playing poker-biz fixer for the WP investigative team turning over rocks.


Cereus Launches Today

by , Nov 25, 2008 | 6:23 am

Reminded via a Tiffany Michelle MySpace status update — “Excited about the Cereus launch this week!”:

The player pools, tables, tourneys, etc. from Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet magically merge today.

Trying to keep an open mind … because theoretically it is possible that the combination of two sites caught in the biggest cheating scandals in the nascent history of the online poker industry — having learned painful lessons firsthand — could become a paragon of integrity and security, a model for fully legal American online poker in the future.

But I just can’t help to think back to the Dallas underground … when a saturated market had rooms and games beginning to merge, two shady operators joining forces seldom led to anything good (save for some pretty juicy opening-weekend tourneys).

That’s my bias, I suppose … but with that in the back of my mind, I can’t help but think of how one of these sites seemed rotten at the core (with the exception of Mark Seif, I’ve yet to hear any former employee say anything good about Absolute), and the other … well, sure, they’ve changed management and have plenty of good peeps working for them (Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, Mean Gene, et al.) … but the top of the pyramid hasn’t really changed as far as we can tell. And with all due respect to those who are just trying to throw good poker times … the mysterious, closely-guarded nature of Tokwiro+Kahnawake+UB+Chief Joe operating on the protected lands of the Mohawk Nation (with offices in Costa Rica) … that’s the definition of shady! Sorry, it just is.

Still, with $22 million in refunds, the action’s gotta be good.


AP and UB Merge to Form Criminally Questionable Supersite

Bodog loses position as industry badboy

by , Jul 24, 2008 | 5:45 pm

Ah, it reminds me of the good-ole-days of the Dallas underground … when a bunch of rooms got ruffled every so often you’d see the merger of a few “bad guys'” games and would be kinda surprised but not really.

With an investigatory explanation due out in a few days, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet are merging to form a new site — now the third largest in the world — called “Cereus” — the name for a desert cactus that stands strong and stays prickly in even the harshest environments. A related species is the Cereus uruguayanus, which may or may not lend credence to Oliver’s prediction that very soon the WSOP will move to Montevideo we could see the WSOP in Punta del Este.

The name could also have been inspired by the night-blooming variety:

One of the strangest plants of the desert, the Night-bloomiing Cereus is a member of the Cactus Family that resembles nothing more than a dead bush most of the year. It is rarely seen in the wild because of its inconspicuousness. But for one midsummer’s night each year, its exquisitely scented flower opens as night falls, then closes forever with the first rays of the morning sun.

Aww, so sad, and yet so precious and sweet …

Another operation with a claim to the Cereus name is Bacillus Cereus:

an endemic, soil-dwelling, Gram-positive, rod-shaped, beta hemolytic bacteria that … is known to create heavy nausea, vomiting, and abdominal periods.

Supposedly, according to the first link in this post, this site is gonna be great — it’s the result of all sorts of innovative technology and customer service. The announcement says nothing about it being all cleaned up with the best security out there — and from a PR perspective can you blame them? — even though theoretically this company should have more knowledge than anyone else about how a site’s integrity can be compromised.