Putting a 24-hour casino in every home comes with great responsibility. Ensuring a safe, responsible gambling experience should be of paramount importance. Online gambling companies talk incessantly about revenue, but it is everyone’s responsibility–from regulatory bodies to operators, from governments to the citizens themselves–to require that all proper consumer protections and safeguards are in place before online gambling can go live. It is imperative that all stakeholders in online gambling be well versed not just in its benefits but in its pitfalls as well.
Perhaps one of the most dramatic illustrations of what happens when a gaming company puts revenue before responsibility is the case of Terrance Watanabe who is reported to have lost most of his personal fortune recklessly gambling in Las Vegas. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal published December 5, 2009, “During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million. The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history.” While Steve Wynn is reported to have barred Watanabe from his casino for compulsive gambling, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. welcomed him and derived 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue from him that year.
This case showed such an egregious lack of sound business judgment on the part of Harrah’s, now Caesars Entertainment, that the company was fined $225,000 by New Jersey regulators in March of this year. Gary Thompson, Director of Corporate Communications for Caesars Entertainment said, “Because of the confidential settlement agreement we reached with Watanabe, neither he nor we can make any official comment.” However, he points out that Caesars hired an outside agency to investigate the situation and made procedural changes deemed necessary to prevent recurrences.
Caesars Entertainment Corp. reportedly offered to sell the off-Strip Rio and the World Series of Poker to PokerStars, a spokesman for the owner of the online gaming business claimed in an email Tuesday.
The statement by Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications for The Rational Group, came a day after attorneys for the American Gaming Association wrote in a legal brief that PokerStars had been a “criminal enterprise for many years.”
The Washington, D.C.-based trade organization wants New Jersey gaming regulators to reject PokerStars’ application to operate the failing Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City.
Caesars representatives declined to comment on any “assertions” made by PokerStars.
Hollreiser, who is based at The Rational Group’s corporate offices in the Isle of Man, said PokerStars “declined the offer because we had no plans to acquire another casino in the near term.”
A drunken fish plopped down in the uncapped $1-$2 NL game at Golden Nugget on a recent Saturday night, and before long, playing maybe 98 percent of his starting hands, he scooped an $800 pot thanks to an extremely fortunate flop. He threw the dealer a $100 bill for a tip.
The other players’ eyes widened, and the dealer even seemed reluctant to accept the 12.5 percent gratuity. But considering that I got to be the one who eventually stacked him (KK > TT) I couldn’t help but think that the dealer’s good fortune ultimately cut into my own profits!
Call me a life-nit or just a guy who chooses self-park over valet, but here in Las Vegas too many people want a piece of your bankroll. You can see it almost everywhere at the WSOP, and after awhile all that extra “optional” money can really add up.
We spoke to dozens of seasonal WSOP workers to find out what they really expect from decent players, along with the likelihood that you are going to stiff them.
Even without Pauly here, and Al skillfully holding down the Pokerati fort, I do show up at the Rio every once in a while for the free water and to work on my improv skills. Considering the Bluff Hedline Cam is pretty much just a way for @MartyDerby to pick up chicks, I feel priveliged that I hadn’t yet spilled anything on my shirt and the “air quotes” I added to the script made the cut … even if I do need to practice hand movement with a big honkin sizable microphone.
Oh yeah, and Hellmuth and Ivey continue to tear it up, “Philling” the final table in $10k HORSE. Boom, book it … that’s a wrap?
This was an easy one to predict. It’s still too early in the 2012 WSOP for investigators to conclusively determine what was behind Urinalgate. Was it a simple oversight, boys-club misogyny, or just an early-Series example of the heartless Caesars corporate empire at work, with suits looking at bottom line numbers — well fuck, women are only 3 percent of the field, so what’s the problem? — and forgetting that customers are more than just numbers in a database.
(And some of whom can get downright pissy on Twitter!)
Two men enter, one man leave.
The team from Caesars Interactive Entertainment, in alliance with the Rio Convention Center, reverted back to a separate but equal bathroom policy after an early morning executive confab yesterday. Nice spin about how responsive they can be. But did any of you go in the formerly ladies room? I did (how could I not? It was a chance to see part of the Rio that I had never seen) and I can tell you this wasn’t a hard decision for the WSOP. IF you took a pee in there (the left side) it became an obvious no-brainer as the men who walked into the ladies room, myself included, wandered toward the back only to briefly think, “Huh, where are the urinals?”
For those of you heading out to the WSOP, here are three other survival tips you might not otherwise think of. (If you have others, chime in):
Think Layers: Thousands of body heat-generating players come together each day to test their poker skills at the WSOP. To compensate for the pending crowd, the venue is super-cooled before each day’s play. As a result, there can be large temperature swings over the course of an event. A T-shirt, long-sleeved shirt and hoodie should be part of your daily clothing repertoire.
Go Smokeless: During event breaks, smokers have to coin-flip between a bathroom visit and a nicotine fix. Instead of opting for adult diapers, consider smokeless nicotine solutions like the patch or snus. Both offer an even distribution of nicotine over time, making sure you stay focused on your hand and not your nicotine Jones. Check out Dr. Snus for everything you need to know about this smoke-free tobacco alternative.
Find Your Ten-Pin Zen: Poker is a solitary endeavor. Bowling with friends is a near perfect yin to poker’s isolating yang. In close proximity to the Rio, both The Orleans and the Gold Coast have ample and cheaply priced lanes. And if you have a hankering for something on the campier side, consider a trip downtown to the newly opened Drink and Drag. The club has 12 lanes and is staffed by “America’s best drag queens.”
Dan and Dr. Pauly discuss the November Nine players, or rather, Dan’s lack of care to learn who made the final table. But Dan has a cheat sheet — the live chip count list — that appears on a big screen adjacent to the stage. A nice improvement to the WSOP set-up.
A lot of people have been wondering where I’ve been this WSOP. I’m ready to admit it — I suffer from an addiction … one that snuck up on me when I least expected, but I can no longer deny. I’m addicted to Zynga Poker. I’m at level 43.
Seriously, not lying when I say I’ve played virtually EVERY DAY of this Series, probably not going longer than 36 hours without logging on — at least to redeem a gift that expires in 1 hour. I’m too embarrassed to be seen playing at the Rio, which is why I stay home … But still, when I am playing, I can’t help but think about the World Series of Poker going on just down the road, on Twitter, on Facebook, on iPhones, via livestream … not to mention the personal text messages and deluge of PR emails … pretty much anywhere with wifi there is Zynga — er, I mean WSOP. To play Zynga you only need 3G.
2011 WSOP – Episode 16: Brickless Cash Games Reprise (3:22) – Dan and Pauly recorded a quick follow-up to their previous episode while they hang out on the rail of the high-stakes cash games. They spot Eskimo Clark, “Cowboy”, and other broke dicks lingering around seeking handouts from the high rollers.
Dr. Pauly and Timtern are covering the final table of a Donkament inside the Mothership. Here’s their story…
2011 WSOP – Episode 18: Mothership Stench with Timtern (2:43) – Pauly and Timtern are in the press section inside the Mothership, while sweating the final table of the Donkament. Timtern shares a story about a couple of railbirds who put him on mega-tilt, including the guy who took off his shoes. Pauly also describes the sketchy, yet pungent scene inside the Mothership.
I sparred a bit on Twitter with @TurboPokerOnlin about his belief that record fields in WSOP 1k’s would be a “major” story … and eventually conceded that it might-would probably come in at #9. (NOTE to self: Do a “WSOP Top Ten Stories” post.)
But what I didn’t expect as a top story that now is .. the non-bracelet daily “deepstacks” at the Rio — specifically the $235 2pm event. Say what you will about the value in playing in a tournament with 20 percent rake … this event has more people talking about it, multiple times a week, every week, consistently, probably moreso than any other at the WSOP. It started off with a few hundred players each day (nice), and soon began drawing more than 600 (kinda wow) … and then 800 (for sure wow) and then just a few days ago (OMG!) 1,100 — a record field size for such a non-bracelet event at the WSOP. The suits, we can suspect, are practically speechlessly giddy.
Rio Daily DeepStack Field Sizes
There’s an old axiom in poker room operations that “action breeds action.” To some extent, the whole World Series is testament to the concept … and these Venetian Deep Stacks Knockoffs show it in microcosm. No wonder Caesars eventually began catering to “smaller” customers wanting a low-cost taste of the WSOP while playing for more than just satellite tokens.
When all is said and done, more than a football stadium worth of people will have dropped a couple hundred bucks into mini-WSOP events that are becoming less and less mini … whether that be in spite of, or because of, all the similar such tourneys — Venetian Deep Stacks, Caesars Palace MegaStacks, the Golden Nugget Grand Series, Binion’s Somethingorother Classic, the WynnSOP Whatever … I think I’m even missing a few others — that came before what’s currently going on at the Rio.
Action breeds action. At the WSOP and all over Vegas … Click below for more detailed numbers about how the Rio’s 2p $235, 6p $185, and 10p $135 have grown by the day:
(Special thanks to Heath @WSOPIntern for the data help. Can you do 3-D graphs?)
Please forgive any apparent smugness of prescience … I didn’t know about the appeals court ruling when Pauly and I recorded an episode two days ago, where we addressed certain ironies about neither Clonie Gowen nor the people who may or may not have wanted to squash her being at the WSOP.
Pauly published yesterday, and even though we’ve got a fancy autofeeder here at Pokerati, I did not … but LOL(ish) … this episode was next in the queue:
Dan and Dr. Pauly hang out in the hallway and try to figure out what the 2011 WSOP is missing…
2011 WSOP – Episode 8: Eskimo Yes, Jesus No (4:22) – Dan and Pauly try to pinpoint which pros are noticeably absent (Clonie, Jesus, Howard Lederer), while Eskimo Clark sightings have been rampant. They also try to figure out where the old Bat Beat Bar and Lounge went and why its been replaced by a oxygen bar.
Glitz. Glamor. Excitement. So far, the 2011 WSOP has had none of these things, and honestly, I’m finding the whole thing kind of sad. It’s not the World Series of Poker we all know and love… it’s more like the World Series of Meh.
The thing is that after spending a number of hours wandering around the Rio during the first week, it’s hard to put a finger on what’s different about this year’s event. Maybe it’s fallout from Black Friday and the fact that sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker don’t have their usual suites. Maybe it’s the fact that the first week’s events were tailored more toward professional players and featured more mixed games and higher buy ins than the casual player is comfortable playing.
Or maybe I’m just jaded.
The halls feel emptier, the rails aren’t as jammed, and people just seem more serious than usual. Event numbers have been good, but no one appears to be having any fun.
Still, jaded or not, the fact remains that the Rio just doesn’t have the same excited vibe that I’m used to feeling during the first week of the Series. The halls feel emptier, the rails aren’t as jammed, and people just seem more serious than usual. What makes the feel of this year’s Series even stranger is that the event numbers have been good. People are playing cards, but no one appears to be having any fun.
So, is there anything that the Rio and WSOP staff can do to loosen things up and pump some more excitement into the proceedings?
Ahhh … though Vegas is crawling with poker-related license-plate culture on any given day, the World Series is when the finest work from the Nevada Department of Corrections really comes out.
Seen outside the Rio today, this high-performance Mustang either being offered up as a gift by someone trying to recruit WSOP exec Ty Stewart over to the WPT or it’s probably the ride of an appreciative WPT champion at the WSOP going after a different brand of bracelet.