Posts Tagged ‘Harrahs’

Facebook Confirms: 70%-plus of WSOP Fans Are Morons

The complete history of main event entry numbers + nifty charts!

by , Jul 5, 2010 | 6:42 am

History of the World (Series of Poker)

Yep, it’s now time for the WSOP main event numbers game … if entry numbers drop significantly, my ghad what a disaster … whoa is poker! A small drop, as we saw last year, no worries, Team WSOP can spin it accordingly … If they grow slightly, cool, we are right on track since the UIGEA … see, all is fine in the poker world. If they grow TREMENDOUSLY and come anywhere near Jamie Gold-year numbers, holy fugk, the entire world is a better place, starvation has been eliminated, and Osama bin Laden has been captured!

I’m going with “slight increase” … but wouldn’t be surprised to see “slight decrease” or even “slightly bigger than expected increase”. The WSOP’s official fan page on Facebook ran a poll — How many people will you have to beat to win the 2010 WSOP Main Event? — and here were the results:

under 5,000 – 5%
5,000-6,000 – 5%
6,001-7,000 – 25%
7,001-8,000 – 29%
over 8,000 – 36%

Guaranteed: unless we cross the 8k barrier, a super-majority will be wrong.

Fact: They didn’t have these kinda off-base poll results back in the days of Friendster.

From Moss to Moneymaker:
The Early Decades


Finding Value Outside the Rio

Alt-WSOP tourneys may be better bet for low-stakes players

by , Jun 30, 2010 | 1:43 pm

Jon Katkin

The Poker Economy


Brand names serve an important purpose in our society. For consumers, they offer a simple shorthand that let’s you know about a product’s quality – or lack thereof – while at the same time providing a quick way to flaunt your status or hipness to the unwashed masses in our burgeoning consumer culture.

For businesses, brand names are just as important. Let your quality slip or make your product too ubiquitous and your value – both real and perceived – begins to slip. Make your product trendy or limit its availability and you’ll have customers clamoring at your door to get their hands on it.

With 57 events on the calendar, the WSOP is hardly as elitist as it was in the past, but that’s OK with the folks at Harrah’s because when it comes to poker, there is no substitute for a gold bracelet. Win an event and you join a still exclusive club that includes some of the greatest players in the world. Play your cards right, and the WSOP is a golden ticket to the top of the poker food chain. Bust out before the final table and you’ll still leave town with a great story for your friends.

For $1,500 you can play one WSOP tournament and take your chances against a single field of 3,000, or for the same money you can play five Venetian Deep Stack events against a combined field of about 2,400.

And that’s what makes the WSOP the brand when it comes to tournament poker. Win or lose, playing a WSOP event carries with it an inherent coolness that other poker players innately understand and respect. But if you’re a serious low-stakes player looking for a big summertime score in Vegas, there are actually much better options to consider outside the Rio.


Vega$ Economy, Big Ca$ino Biz, $tate-Political $cuffling, Poker Ju$tice, Tribal Way$ and Mean$ + Courting Gay$ and A$ian$


by , Jun 22, 2010 | 12:08 pm

Some more links to catch me up on keep you clued in about what else has been going on that may or may not be of interest to folks at the WSOP. Some of these stories vaguely connected to poker could actually turn out to be important:

First of all, for a succinct recap of what Week 3 really was all about, chock full of well-organized important details, be sure to check out BJ’s WSOP Report. [Tao of Poker]

The Shaun Deeb+Annie Duke vs. Daniel Negreanu+Linda Johnson WSOP-Ladies tourney brouhaha made national news in Philadelphia. [Philadelphia Inquirerer]

Attack of the Math Brats – a non-poker magazine’s take on “the aggressive new players whose pushy online style of play has put the old guard on the defensive”. [Time]

Speaking of defensive, the player-turned-shooter at the deadly poker robbery near Dallas has turned out to be a journalist — a cameraman for Channel 11. [Uncle Barky]

The EPT-Berlin robbers went on trial in Germany last week … and they’ve apparently admitted to everything about the heist. Only €4k unaccounted for. [BBC]

At 4 pm PT today, the second episode of Wicked Chops’ This Week in Poker will be streaming live, in a way where you can call in, or at least email and tweet. Guests to include Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, and Sara Underwood. [This Week in]

Despite what looks like increased entertainment traffic on the Vegas strip, Nevada’s jobless rate hit 14 percent — making it highest in the nation. [Las Vegas Sun]

The Silver State now officially kicks Michigan’s ass when it comes to macroeconomic destitution. [Christian Science Monitor]

But Paris Hilton is back in Vegas to party it up for the first time in a long while. [Twitpic]

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has declared September 2010 “Poker Month”, to honor and support the charitable efforts of Mike Sexton, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and Lisa Tenner. []

With poker and other table games opening up in Pennsylvania and Delaware, New Jersey casinos are getting hammered. [Wall Street Journal]

In an effort to turn things around (and bring higher rollers to town) the Atlantic City Hilton is turning to performances by political rock stars — including Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, and a duet show with Ann Coulter and James Carville. Tickets range from $100-$350. [Press of Atlantic City]

Trump Taj Mahal is targeting a slightly different clientele, with Gay Bingo Night on Fridays. [Press of Atlantic City]

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers there are calling for a sports-betting and online gambling “summit” — an effort to bring together competing interests currently fighting over whose online gambling bill gets to move forward, and discuss how they can all get on the same page(s). [Press of Atlantic City]

In Massachusetts, they want more gambling+poker, but the fight is also over which bill gets to move forward, Senate or House … and where the new casinos get to be located. [Boston Globe]

In Rhode Island, a casino measure that would include poker, breezed through the House and Senate, and now awaits to governor’s signature before being sent to the voters for a referendum. [Boston Globe]

In Connecticut — Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun specifically — the Indian tribes are making a concerted effort to court Asians. [Hartford Business Journal]

Is that Bernard Lee?

Harrah’s is apparently struggling to find a good buyer for the Rio — despite entertaining multiple offers; reportedy, negotiations have included deals that would allow the WSOP to stay at 3700 W. Flamingo, and contingency plans that would move the series to Caesar’s. [Las Vegas Sun]

The WSOP parent is looking to go public again, but maybe sooner than initially anticipated? [Las Vegas Review Journal]

The Wynn just cut 261 jobs — a move that allows the casino to restore wages and salaries for 3,700 employees that had to take pay cuts earlier this year. [Las Vegas Sun]

Sands (Venetian) CEO Sheldon Adelson is in Singapore, opening his $5.5 billion casino project — the Marina Bay Sands Resort –and is looking to India next. Despite being rebuffed by the Indian government in 2008, the man who once took a risk on The Real Deal, is making a second attempt at convincing the billion-bodies nation that they need tourism — and he’s the one who can bring it to them with a Vegas-style Strip. [The Economic Times]

MGM Resorts (no longer MGM/Mirage) is apparently salivating over India, too, with a letter of intent between them and Indian developers to begin plans for a Bellagio-Mumbai. [DNA India]

The Wappo indians in California are fighting over land in Wine Country, and seeking to restore their tribal status with eyes toward opening casinos in Napa and Sonoma. [Napa Valley Register]

A new bill — by U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy (D-NY) — intends to clarify the UIGEA … making it easier to use your credit cards to bet on horses online. [Times Union]

WSOP Tournament of Champions top 20 vote-getters revealed

by , Jun 16, 2010 | 4:05 pm

This afternoon, the WSOP announced that the top 20 players receiving votes for their Tournament of Champions. The list is full of players (along with votes received) known by the casual poker player around the peak of the poker boom, circa 2005:

1. PHIL IVEY 16,267
7. JOHNNY CHAN 10,434
10. JOHN JUANDA 8,835
11. ERIK SEIDEL 8,802
13. HUCK SEED 8,180
15. T.J. CLOUTIER 6,281
16. SAMMY FARHA 6,085
18. GREG RAYMER 5,404
19. JOE HACHEM 5,272

These 20 will join Annie Duke, Mike Sexton, Mike Matusow, Joe Cada, Barry Shulman, WSOP Academy qualifier Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and online qualifier Andrew Barton on June 27th. In a change from the original schedule, the field will play four levels on the 27th, then play an additional four levels the following day. The remaining players will return on July 4th to play down to a winner with the final table of nine sharing in the $1,000,000 prize pool. The full press release is available here.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Believe it or not, less could be more at the WSOP

by , Jun 14, 2010 | 3:35 pm

Jon Katkin

The Poker Economy


We’re just two weeks into the 2010 WSOP and the Amazon Room is already filled with people walking around like zombies. Don’t believe me? Just take a good look at the players, the floor staff and the media the next time you head to the Rio. Everyone’s got a 1,000-yard stare and there are still five weeks worth of tournaments left to play.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love poker as much as the next guy, but I have to wonder if we’ve finally gone too far.

This year’s WSOP features 57 different events with price points ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. If you were rich enough — and crazy enough — to play every open event, that would mean plunking down more than $500,000 on tournament entries over a seven-week period. While this is unlikely to happen, there will certainly be some pros who drop close to this amount in search of the ever-elusive gold bracelet.

The WSOP is one more manifestation of our culture’s desire to “Super Size” everything from soft drinks to shopping malls. If it’s bigger, it must be better, right? That’s the Vegas way.

And while the majority of players will spend considerably less over the course of their WSOP visits, they still won’t be getting off cheap. With transportation, hotel, tournament fees and other miscellaneous “entertainment” expenses, most out-of-towners who come to Vegas for a week or two will find themselves going home with some great stories and at least 10 thousand fewer dollars in their wallets. Call it a vacation or the world’s most expensive lottery ticket. Harrah’s calls it a prize pool. And we know to them that also represents ever-important revenue.


Everest Poker Fires Second Bullet with New Harrah’s Lawsuit

Current WSOP felt dispute cause of streaming final table delay?

by , Jun 13, 2010 | 10:48 am

Former and/or current WSOP table sponsor Everest Poker has filed another lawsuit against Harrah’s … claiming the American gaming giant is infringing on trademark rights by playing the 2010 WSOP (and filming some of it) with Everest logos on and around all the tables.

This suit, filed in Las Vegas federal court, is the latest strike in a legal tit-for-tat between that adds to a list of matters on the table and off making 2010 arguably the most challenging WSOP year since Harrah’s took over.

Everest first sued Harrah’s on April 1, claiming breach of contract after the French ESPN affiliate electronically replaced Everest logos during 2008-09 WSOP broadcasts with “virtual signage” from Full Tilt, an Everest competitor. On those grounds, Everest refused to pay the final $8.4 million on a three-year contract, money the WSOP was expecting before this spring. That suit came, of course, shortly after the WSOP announced its $1 million “TOC” freeroll.

Buffering: So far the only live-streaming WSOP action has been from the WSOP-Academy sponsor’s exemption TOC sit-n-go, which took place on a single table with their own felt, not one bearing the marks of Everest Poker.

Harrah’s denied those claims, and followed with a suit of its own against Everest, alleging breach of contract and other infractions while seeking the promised Everest funds. And now, as mentioned, Everest has added further litigation to the Everest vs. Harrah’s docket, all of which is pending.


NAPT, Venetian Part Ways over Row in Carson City

by , May 28, 2010 | 1:45 pm

The first in a four-part series about Nevada Gaming wrangling with a new era of poker regulation as Harrah’s and PokerStars fight …

The inaugural NAPT-Venetian was by most accounts a smashing success. PokerStars announced the tournament in January, and less than six weeks later — at a time when big-money players usually would be heading to California for the WPT-Commerce — 872 entrants made it to the Venetian for a televised $5k main event in Las Vegas.

(The February event, and others from the fledgling North American Poker Tour, are currently airing on ESPN-2 and TSN, the leading sports television channel in Canada.)

But it wasn’t the field size, TV cameras, or $4.1 million prize pool that made the NAPT-Venetian special … it was that the Las Vegas tournament was “presented by PokerStars”. Dot net.

Perhaps surprisingly, because we see so much PokerStars on TV … this was the first time since the UIGEA that a licensed Nevada casino partnered with PokerStars (or any site like it) for a major open tournament.

Its success didn’t go unnoticed. And that may prove to be the problem for PokerStars and the North American Poker Tour, as the inaugural NAPT-Venetian will probably — almost certainly — be the last.


A Banner Year for Online Gambling Lobby

$5.2 million in Q1 2010

by , May 9, 2010 | 5:06 am

I can always count on the APCW to keep me updated about issues and shenanigans related to the affiliate side of the poker (and general online gambling) industry … and in this week’s episode of Perspectives Weekly, J. Todd gives what I think is one of the best, most concise summaries of the UIGEA storyline — from 2006 to 2010 — and where that leaves us today:

I agree with just about everything he says in his analysis here. If all stories have a beginning, middle, and end, you can see why he believes (as do I) that we are clearly in Part 3 … and that the law we’ve long bawked about really is on its way out by no later than October 2011.


The Poker Beat: Going Mental

by , May 2, 2010 | 7:45 am

The latest Poker Beat was a bit of a clusterfucky episode for us on the backend — computer breakdowns and internet snafus during a week where the only meaty topic we had for a full segment was David Williams’ stepping up to a new level of poker bad-assness by winning the WPT World Championship … and even that devolved into a Gary/Dan vs BJ spat about whether or not the mind coaching of Sam Chauhan has any tournament value or is just an Extenze-like sales success story for his brand of hypnotic snake oil.

But before we even get to that, we break down all sorts of poker buggerings … Daniel Tzvetkoff denied bail, poker recognized as a mind sport, Adam Junglen’s prosthetic leg, Cole South bowing out of CardRunners, PokerStars buying up abandoned poker blogs, Harrah’s selling the Rio, a new right-wing poker+politics show, and a study saying online gambling leads to jobs.

It was one of those episodes where so much was going wrong before we even got started that the crew just had to rely on shooting the shit about what we may or may not know … all while Huff attempted to keep the ship from running aground. I think it worked!

The Poker Beat

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Harrah’s Looking to Sell the Rio?

Reports circulating that home of the WSOP is on the blocks

by , Apr 26, 2010 | 2:17 pm

Our beloved Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. is currently seeking buyers for the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, according to Bloomberg-BusinessWeek. Supposedly bids are in the $500 million range for the largest property currently in the Harrah’s portfolio, which has been the home to the World Series of Poker since 2005 … and is considered by many “a dump” on par with Circus-Circus or the Tropicana despite its super-long hallways that make for top-quality scooter races and ridiculous Phil Hellmuth main event entrances.

Seeking confirmation and insight on reports from a highly respected business publication that line up with previous rumors connected to Harrah’s recent acquisition of Planet Hollywood on the Strip, we asked (for real) a WSOP spokesman:

  • If a sale goes through as desired, what would this mean for the WSOP?
  • What would be the most likely candidates for a new venue?
  • Would the WSOP ever consider hosting its summer event at a place that
    is not a Harrah’s property?

All he would say is, “The 2010 WSOP will be at the Rio. We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

Of course.

However, as a site that traffics in exactly that — and sees plausibly another sign of the impending implosion of poker — we know where to get the real scoop on private megabucks business decisions such as these.


Harry Reid to Push New Online Poker Bill?

by , Apr 19, 2010 | 8:52 pm

That’s the word from noted British investment analyst Daniel Stewart … And our sources in Washington DC (highly reliable sort) unofficially confirm that indeed, the beleaguered Senate Majority Leader is working on an online-poker-only bill. Might he be looking to pull a Bill Frist (his predecessor as #1 US Senator) and give a little gift to his Big Casino backers before he gets booted from office?


The stockbroker noted speculation that US Senator Harry Reid and his pro-legislation cohorts are preparing a Bill that could be introduced into the Senate within the next three months and ready for approval by the President during H2 2010.

Daniel Stewart believes that the proposed Federal legislation will encompass just online poker and exclude casino and sports betting services, which should ensure that it is easier to implement.

“The legalised US online poker market represents a massive pot of gold for the entities that can monetise a market we estimate to offer likely annual gross gaming revenue of >$8bn annually”. According to Daniel Stewart, the clear winners from the proposed US legislation will be the US-based gambling giants such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM, Harrah’s and Wynn.


Bluff Power 20 Released

by , Feb 4, 2010 | 6:44 am

Wicked Chops has the intro and the detailed breakdown … and they provided the actual list:

1. PokerStars
2. Full Tilt Poker
3. Mitch Garber
4. Howard Lederer
5. Ty Stewart
6. Doyle Brunson
7. Joe Cada
8. Barney Frank
9. Tony G
10. Daniel Negreanu
11. Phil Ivey
12. John Pappas
13. Mike Sexton
14. Mori Eskandani
15. Brian Balsbaugh
16. Lance Bradley
17. Joe Sebok
18. Barry Shulman
19. Matt Savage
20. Per Hagen


Harrah’s Closer to Buying Planet Hollywood

by , Jan 28, 2010 | 12:12 pm

In my mind this is all part of some master plan for Harrah’s to some day hold the final table of the WSOP main event smack-dab in the middle of Las Vegas Blvd.:

Harrah’s is moving forward on a plan to acquire Planet Hollywood. Harrah’s took over management of Planet Hollywood’s hotel operations and some of its restaurants and bars in January. Planet Hollywood continues to run its own casino, though Harrah’s has made it clear it wants eventually to own the entire operation. If successful, it would give the company control of all 126 acres on the east side of the Strip between Flamingo Road and Harmon Avenue. Adding PH’s 2,496 hotel rooms to Harrah’s inventory would give it nearly 23,000 rooms on or near the Strip.

How a Bill May or May Not Become a Law, Part 186

Pennsylvania swears it’s ready to expand gambling+poker

by , Jan 5, 2010 | 11:40 am

Man, things take a long time in politics. Remember Pennsylvania? We almost forgot about them too … it’s been more than three months since they “agreed” to move forward with more casinos in a way that would bring more legal poker to the state with “must pass” legislation to balance the budget … which was already three months overdue. Yet as these things go, there’s been one hurdle after another in pushing this through legislative halls.

Anyhow, they’re back at it starting today — with Gov. Ed Rendell creating a direct and immediate association between casinos (+poker) and jobs. Specifically, the governor has said pass this thing THIS WEEK or 1,100 state employees will be without work. The process of firing them begins Friday.

The nitty-gritty they’re down to is upping the number of licensed resort casinos from two to three (with an option for four in 2017), and increasing the max number of slot machines at each venue from 500 to 600. Fuckin-A. How ’bout three resort casinos, compromise on the slots numbers at 550 … all for a vote to be named later? Politics doesn’t have to be this hard … or maybe it does?


Meanwhile, the Rivers Casino, in Pittsburgh, seems to be getting ready for expanded table games offerings by hiring a bunch of Harrah’s executives to help them run the ship in new waters. David Patent will be the new big-big boss in Pa. His plans include opening a sports bar and running TV commercials. [Pittsburgh Business Journal]

A few other semi-related links:

The PPA plans to attend CPAC again this year — that’s the Conservative Political Action Conference, where all the GOP muckity-mucks gather to shmooze/grovel for money and power. Should be a feisty event, and @TheEngineer is trying to rally some conservative troops to turn against Spencer Bachus (R-AL), calling him out as a past-his-conservative-prime dimwit whom the party should abandon, or at least treat as ineffective and irrelevant. []

In South Carolina, a Catholic church rejoices over Fr. Andrew Trapp’s near-million-dollar run on the PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge. If only he coulda prayed as well as Jerry Yang! [WBMF]

Also in South Carolina, Attorney General Henry McMaster is appealing a court ruling that poker is a game of skill, and trying to take the prosecution of a busted home game to the state Supreme Court. [Charleston Post and Courier]

Toledo, Ohio, is getting ready for its first casino+poker to open. The pre-launch message going out: OK, we look forward to your money, but you better be damn good citizens. [Toledo Blade]

Although jobs and economic development are critical to the city’s recovery, Mayor Bell has to avoid the temptation to give Penn National Gaming a blank check as Toledo’s casino project takes shape. Gambling is not a panacea for Toledo’s ills.

Big score, btw, for Lyle Berman, who made a $4 million bet in October to help make Ohio casinos a reality, politically, and in return locked himself into 10 percent of Ohio casino profits. [Poker Player Newspaper]

Gambling gambling gambling seems to be the big buzz in cities, states, and regions looking to shore up their coffers. And to prepare for our gambling future, the National Center for Responsible Gambling is advising American universities to develop formal gambling policies for students. []

In Washington DC, readers are challenging editors on their usage of poker metaphors in stories about the Obama vs. Ahmadinejad heads-up match over nuclear proliferation. [Washington Post]

Live-Blogging a Relatively Minor Congressional Confab

by , Dec 3, 2009 | 7:23 am

I may or may not be talking about this morning’s House Financial Services Committee hearing on today’s episode of The Poker Beat … so that’s why I’m up listening/watching/clicking. It’s kinda a big deal, I think … we got our 6-month extension on the enforcement deadline, and now, here in Barney Frank’s committee, the good rep is basically (re-re-re?)-reintroducing legislation that could effectively undo the UIGEA.

Here’s what I’m watching. Follow along if you we can …

* Yikes, video is great – HD! – but audio sucks, like irritatingly buzzy and scratchy.

* Barney’s opening argument … personal freedom. On the internet.

* He quotes John Stewart John Stuart Mill.

* Holy shit, you can pause this video? Like even without Tivo … awesome. I’ll be right back … need to get a beverage …

* OK, I’m back. While I was gone a press release came over the wire … apparently something that will be introduced forthcoming: