#2. Illinois state senator Terry Link proposed a new path to online gambling by amending SB1995 last week to allow the Illinois Lottery to offer online “draw-based games,” defined as “games where a series of numbers or characters are determined to be the winning numbers or characters by a mechanical or computerized random number generator at a drawing time specified by the Department.”
In the week ahead I’ll be watching the bill for additional amendments and also for opinions on whether online poker can be crammed into the above definition.
Here’s a quick little slice-of-life glimpse that, imho, is quite revealing … as two free-play online poker ops compete for my mobile attention. Zynga, whose marketing seems to be more and more about side-cleavage these days, is apparently hoping to entice me to their tables with an FYI that the ever lovely (and presumably unpaid) Danielle Ford is playing … while the WSOP, by comparison, relies on a semi-anonymous player-friend, a machismo-based poker challenge, and virtual trinkets to keep me from a pleasant walk in the park with two living beings I love. But notice the clock … you can see how if I worked a normal job in an office the decision of how to spend my time would actually be that much easier.
Social gaming giant Zynga Inc. filed an application for a preliminary finding of suitability with Nevada gaming regulators [last] week as the San Francisco-based company looks to break into real money online gambling.
The company, which makes free-play social games such as Words with Friends, FarmVille and Mafia Wars, has been hinting at finding a way to jump into the potential U.S. regulated online gaming industry. The company operates the free-play Zynga Poker.
Zynga Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle said in a statement that his company is looking beyond Nevada. Zynga recently signed a partnership agreement with European online gaming giant Bwin.party to provide games that can be played for real money online by the company’s customers in the United Kingdom. The first games are expected to launch next year.
It’s a fascinating tale, I swear, how the WSOP and their new mobile online poker app won over my free-time play … and actually got me to pony up cash for playable chips — a conversion the game-greats at Zynga Texas Hold’em could never achieve with me. (Though Scramble with Friends did get a few of my bucks once.)
Zynga Poker, apparently recognizing a decrease in my “Texas Hold’em” play, buzzes me mid-Omaha in a failed effort to win me back to their handheld digital tables.
A lot of you know the addictive nature of buying web domains. It’s a phase young web-maestros go through when we realize, heck, it’s just $8 … but then, after buying several dozen we realize, shit, unless we wanna get in on Dutch Boyd’s action, there’s not exactly much value in squatting on web domains with no plan for development. Then we go a year forgetting to click off the auto-renew before eventually we say “enough!” and decide to take our chance on life without possession of yet another (incredibly clever) URL.
GoDaddy has been a strong supporter of poker and poker bloggers with not-so-inexpensive domain-buying habits for years.
So I’m lettin this one go — WSOPolitics.com — it’s expired and I’m not gonna renew. It was a brilliant idea ahead of its time Not sure what I was thinking, duh … so let the bidding war begin? In lieu of an option to “buy-it-now”, I’ll consider trading the web property for up to $50k on Full Tilt or the magic green dice on Zynga.
UPDATE: Ooh, pokerishy.com is available, too! Who wants it?
Though I’m not expert enough to confirm or deny any validity, this video did give me pause. To the untrained eye, it sure does look like possible (if not certain) cheating software in play on ClubWPT, the World Poker Tour’s subscription-based non-gambling site — you know, the one Mike Sexton is heavily pimping on Poker After Dark (in commercial spots previously occupied by Full Tilt) as the safest American online poker alternative out there.
Interesting to see the code explained, visually, for a clearer understanding of how God-mode in the UB Scandal probably worked … then extra-curious to realize Jim Ryan, CEO of WPT-parent Party Gaming, was CEO of Excapsa Software, Ultimate Bet partner, during the heyday of cheating on their site.
And while some may think little of it, because hey, it’s just pretend money … we all know free-play online poker isn’t just about the joys of truly amateur poker … it’s about preparation for real-money online gambling. The WSOP is pushing their free Facebook-app game throughout the Amazon Room, after all, and Zynga takes a rake in their “cash games”. Do a Google search for “Zynga poker rigged” or “Facebook poker scam” … The screams of cheating and scandal are more outrageous than AP/UB/Cereus ever coulda had to cover up.
Whether the apparent security flaws at Club WPT are a matter of coincidence, ignorance, incompetence, or shenanigans, it does make you wonder who will be ready for American players when real-money online poker comes into play.
In many ways it’s a disheartening reminder of what Phil Hellmuth can never be … and possibly indicative of poker’s future direction. Say what you will about the struggling American family farm, clearly there’s more money in virtual harvesting than poker, and hence the biggest name in poker (as far as Google is concerned) — and the most powerful celebrity in the world thanks in part to a song talking about poker — has moved beyond Texas Hold’em to sign with Farmville — and the parent company of the biggest online poker site.
Implications are clear … Zynga is planning to take over American agriculture by introducing poker players to the concept that money can indeed grow on trees. It should play great with the kids (who love Lady Gaga).
At a minimum you can see how Zynga’s at least thinking along the similar lines as Caesars:
The Rabbit Hunt crew return after taking a week off to catch everyone up on the latest poker news. After discussing the recent legislation passed in Washington D.C. and Zynga Poker the host move on to discuss the WSOP rematch concept. Matt goes rants about how he does not like the concept, saying he would rather see a boxing match between Phil Helmuth and Eskimo Clark than the Helmuth vs. Johnny Chan rematch. To close out the show Matt continues on his rant party, this time he rants about the World Poker Tour and why it should not be considered a major along side the World Series of Poker. Take a listen to the show on either the Cardrunners site or download it directly from iTunes to listen to this interview.
Two Plus Two Pokercast:
Also coming off a week hiatus the Two Plus Two Pokercast returns this week with Scott “URnotINdangr” Palmer coming on to discuss his recent supersized SuperStar Showdown match. Starting off the show with a discussion on the recent big sporting events the guys confess their love for this time of the year, Hockey Playoff eh? Brandon Adams joins the show this week to discuss his trip to Augusta for The Masters before talking a little poker. At the 1 hour 54 minute mark Palmer joins in the discussing to give some commentary of his match against Blom to close out the show. You can listen to the show at the Two Plus Two Pokercast site or download it on iTunes.
If you are looking for interviews, interviews, and more interviews then you need to be listening to the Poker Static guys. Kagome Kagome, formerly known as IHateJuice on Full Tilt Poker joins the crew this week to discuss the meanings behind his names and the discussion he had with Full Tilt when they wanted him to change his username. You can either download the show from iTunes or watch the video below.