Posts Tagged ‘poker history’

Lessons from the Insurance Industry

by , Jun 23, 2013 | 1:00 pm

I. Nelson Rose

I. Nelson Rose

Licensed gaming is slowly becoming just another legal business; which is a very good thing.

Many of the strangest restrictions in the law arose from centuries of gambling being seen by society, or at least by opinion-leaders and law-makers, as an activity that was simply not respectable.  Gambling debts were unenforceable, and courts would no more allow casinos to advertise than they would brothels.  A gaming license was similar to James Bond’s “license to kill”:  It merely protected the operator from being prosecuted for what was otherwise an illegal act.

In the past, other industries struggled with becoming respectable in the eyes of the law.  This usually took the route of trying to show they were not forms of gambling, even if they were.  They also knew they had to come up with arguments on why they were actually good for society.  The best examples are trading in securities and commodity futures, and insurance.

Insurance is, of course, gambling.

Insurance eventually overcame its gambling roots because it was seen as creating a benefit for the general public, as an efficient way of spreading and lessening risk. Hence, the introduction of insurance to the drivers who follow car seat laws in california.

Looking just at the required three elements, insurance has prize, chance and consideration.  After all, a policy holder is merely betting a small sum with the expectation of winning a larger sum if a certain contingent future event occurs.

Systems similar to modern insurance are at least 3,500 years old.  Shippers, merchants and financiers developed schemes to share the risk and spread unexpected losses caused by pirates and shipwrecks.

Insurance as a separate contract first developed in Genoa in the 14th century, and was again focused on marine shipping.  The long history of maritime insurance made it the least susceptible of being viewed as merely gambling in more modern times.


New Poker World Order [Maps]

by , Dec 17, 2012 | 5:44 am

The World Poker Tour made its Chinese debut this weekend at the MGM Grand in Sanya. That’s some 400 miles down shore from Macau, where PokerStars recently hosted the inaugural “Asia Championship of Poker”, and next month will hold something similar called the Red Dragon. These events come just as Caesars, unable to get properly licensed in China, is officially retreating from the Communist gamblers’ promised land.

Meanwhile, Stars is apparently trying to  get (back?) into North America by buying a distressed brick-and-mortar casino in storm-ravaged New Jersey — this according to an announcement that may or may not have been conveniently timed to steal buzz from a WSOP circuit event going on in Atlantic City.

Game of Risk: Live Poker in an Online Age
Redrawing the Battle Lines

Game of Risk: Live Poker at the Dawn of the 21st Century

Check out how the three biggest brands in poker (and the online gaming sites behind them) stack up against each other. I make no claims of these maps being to scale nor anything more than “pretty accurate, I think,” but look past my amateur cartography to see how three Poker World superpowers — the biggest American casino corporation, the biggest European internet gaming company, and the biggest “offshore” online poker operator — have been competing fiercely to corner your neighborhood tournament market.

 WSOP / Caesars / 888
 WPT / BwinParty / MGM Resorts /

See below to for some historical perspective on how the current live-tourney landscape took shape over the first decade of the 21st century.


Ode to the WPBT

by , Dec 4, 2012 | 1:00 pm

I was too drunk to remember my cards, but I remember for a fact (after a night at the Sherwood Forest bar in the Excalibur hotel) that I had laid a perfect trap with my flush (or maybe it was two-pair) and Bill Rini got lucky on the river to take my stack and send me home defeated … like literally with no more money.

That was at a cash game in 2005 (or maybe 2006?) during one of the earlier WPBT weekends.

The World Poker Blogger Tour held its 9th annual Winter Classic tournament this past weekend, at Aria. The $125 no-limit hold’em tournament (complete with lasts-longer bets, team competition, and inside-jokey booby prizes) is technically what brings everyone to town. But the WPBT is so much more — an event that spreads across the entire Las Vegas Valley for a long weekend. It’s the drinking, and golf, and this year hiking around Red Rock Canyon, and drinking, and fancy meals and dive bars, and mixed games, and more drinking, and gambling in the pits, and the occasional hookup of course, and more drinking … I think they’re mighta been a marriage or two linked to the WPBT, and even a couple divorces.


Harry Reid Supports Name Change at Vegas Airport

by , Aug 30, 2012 | 1:00 pm

Nevada’s most famous senator, Democrat Pat McCarran, liked to string up communists and oppress immigrant minorities.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Friday cast his lot with those who would like to remove the name of former U.S. Sen. Pat McCarran from Las Vegas’ main airport.

Reid acknowledged that he has no say in the decision – that rests with the Clark County Commission because the county owns and operates the airport. Nevertheless, Reid made his feelings clear in response to a question from the Las Vegas Review-Journal during a ceremony at McCarran International’s new Terminal 3.

“Pat McCarran was one of the most anti-Semitic … one of the most anti-black, one of the most prejudiced people ever to serve in the Senate,” Reid said. “It’s not a decision I am going to make, but you asked me to give you my opinion. I don’t think his name should be on anything.”

McCarran, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1932 until his death in 1954, authored the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, which set the airline regulatory framework for four decades, and pushed for the development of civil aviation. In recognition, the county named the airport McCarran Field in 1948.


The Nguyens Have It!

by , Jul 21, 2012 | 3:53 am

Spoiler alert: If you’re into bar trivia with poker players and/or students of transcontinental nomenclature , you might wanna close your eyes and squint with your hand covering the bottom part of the screen … because this post, just a few lines down, will reveal the answer to a rather fascinating list type of question, if not officially establish who is truly the First Family (Extended) of Poker:

What’s the winningest surname in poker?

A kind lady or gent at the Hendon Mob pressed a few buttons to confirm some of our guesses (and maybe yours, too) while revealing perhaps a few surprise names … and creating a list that, frankly, shows why making the November/October Nine really does matter moreso than pretty much any other final table in poker — even if your last name isn’t Heinz, Yang, Eastgate, or Staszko.

Most Winningest Last Names in the Database

# Last Name Number of Players Total Winnings
1st Nguyen 724 $58,486,178
2nd Tran 351 $32,706,817
3rd Smith 838 $32,665,771
4th Esfandiari 1 $23,245,828
5th Lee 605 $21,622,437
6th Le 240 $21,112,311
7th Mizrachi 8 $18,624,760
8th Hansen 116 $18,241,708
9th Williams 394 $17,857,169
10th Seidel 9 $17,009,914
11th Kim 386 $16,961,577
12th Ivey 10 $16,773,558
13th Trickett 3 $16,474,737
14th Negreanu 1 $16,199,968
15th Hellmuth 2 $16,129,852
16th Pham 165 $15,546,374
17th Chan 161 $13,091,677
18th Phillips 156 $13,065,410
19th Gold 45 $13,028,974
20th Phan 100 $12,479,193
21st Juanda 1 $12,419,828
22nd Hachem 5 $12,405,442
23rd Brown 442 $12,310,085
24th Schwartz 102 $12,246,152
25th Johnson 480 $12,067,495
26th Cunningham 69 $11,907,403
27th Mortensen 17 $11,570,325
28th Eastgate 1 $11,127,554
29th Cloutier 8 $11,046,507
30th Duhamel 2 $11,033,291
31st Wong 228 $10,324,102
32nd Miller 400 $10,281,188
33rd Grospellier 1 $10,024,924
34th Brunson 6 $9,862,132
35th Deeb 6 $9,802,789
36th Cohen 200 $9,744,700
37th Cada 1 $9,312,211
38th Mercier 16 $9,185,378
39th Binger 2 $9,151,708
40th Jones 402 $9,116,285
41st Chen 170 $9,101,035
42nd Ferguson 54 $8,952,334
43rd Heinz 2 $8,895,549
44th Yang 76 $8,833,236
45th Martin 294 $8,778,894
46th Lindgren 13 $8,754,310
47th Young 213 $8,344,999
48th Brenes 7 $8,324,683
49th Shulman 9 $8,209,621
50th Matusow 4 $7,995,344
51st Wasicka 2 $7,848,665
52nd Liu 133 $7,839,421
53rd Greenstein 4 $7,824,081
54th Davis 317 $7,785,865
55th Hall 186 $7,744,133
56th Chiu 18 $7,624,502
57th Fox 101 $7,590,048
58th Moore 194 $7,471,896
59th Racener 1 $7,399,133
60th Harrington 39 $7,385,910
61st Baker 176 $7,272,881
62nd Seed 1 $7,271,232
63rd Katchalov 1 $7,162,776
64th Raymer 3 $7,018,909
65th Forrest 15 $6,971,049
66th Clark 199 $6,897,689
67th Kelly 137 $6,872,539
68th Lamb 33 $6,859,875
69th Demidov 3 $6,821,514
70th Baldwin 40 $6,789,092
71st Jensen 101 $6,657,411
72nd Lederer 5 $6,585,143
73rd Carter 114 $6,565,006
74th Griffin 52 $6,557,616
75th Lam 102 $6,552,448
76th Habib 13 $6,497,663
77th McDonald 106 $6,450,391
78th Perry 97 $6,437,309
79th Keller 46 $6,367,012
80th Sexton 28 $6,341,341
81st Wilson 283 $6,297,913
82nd Benyamine 2 $6,251,579
83rd Ma 50 $6,127,353
84th Levy 96 $6,100,933
85th Roberts 161 $6,086,072
86th Arieh 2 $6,066,192
87th Taylor 297 $6,056,132
88th Cheong 14 $6,049,682
89th Ulliott 1 $6,011,126
90th Gordon 95 $6,002,862
91st King 175 $5,867,201
92nd Schulman 11 $5,859,777
93rd Liebert 3 $5,849,630
94th Corkins 2 $5,820,670
95th Rheem 1 $5,819,766
96th Ly 79 $5,669,412
97th Khan 62 $5,650,851
98th Thomas 240 $5,649,017
99th Staszko 1 $5,589,365
100th Scott 150 $5,568,693

5-year Anniversary of the UIGEA Becoming Law

by , Oct 13, 2011 | 3:42 pm

Many of our lives changed five years ago today, as George W. Bush signed the Port Security Act into law.

At the time, many wondered if this marked the end of online poker, which had been booming at a rate that woulda had virtually the entire planet + Jupiter playing by now. Ironically, what was supposed to be a death knell for online poker would actually be what made several of my friends and colleagues (temporarily) rich … and the principals of Full Tilt and PokerStars and Ultimate Bet (momentarily, in the scheme of things) extremely powerful.

Let’s have a little flashback, shall we … to slightly more innocent-til-proven-guilty times … commemorating this uber-significant day in poker history:

Poker Faces in the Crowd
October 16, 2006

Online poker is kinda-sorta illegal now. Pokerati wanted to know America’s thoughts … so we asked the question, How has the new law affected you?


Doyle Brunson to Skip Main Event

by , Jul 4, 2011 | 5:17 am

He said it on Twitter so it’s gotta be true …

Doyle Brunson@TexDolly
No main event for me.maybe the DOJ will stake me.
1:10 AM Jul 4th via Twitter for iPhone

Less than a half hour earlier Brunson tweeted:

Doyle Brunson@TexDolly
Busted… Total nightmare… Goodbye WSOP
12:42 AM Jul 4th via Twitter for iPhone

… which seems about as long as it might take to come up with such a jab at the DOJ.

UPDATE: He changed his mind.

Still looking to get confirmation on how many main events Brunson has missed before. Many seem to recall his sitting out for a few years in the ’80s — as do I — but have yet to find any definitive source on where he stands in the record books for total number of WSOP main events, consecutive or otherwise.

Brunson joins a growing list of prominent big-money pros who have publicly declared their intent to sit out the 2011 WSOP, along with big-money Full Tilters who have gone silent amid severe legal and financial difficulties and thus are expected to be no-shows.

Doyle Brunson
Phil Ivey
Tony G
Howard Lederer
Chris Ferguson

Am I missing anyone? I mean other than Russ Hamilton …

Give Harrah’s Some Credit

by , Jun 26, 2011 | 2:50 am

Johnny Hughes


At the World Series of Poker, they announce the event and coveted bracelet winners and then play the national anthem of the country they come from. Play stops at all the cash games and the players stand and remove their hats. When an American won, my table stood with their hands over their hearts and sang. I looked out over that vast sea of poker players and was overcome by emotion. The song always gives me tingles but there was also a love and astonishment at how wonderful the playing conditions have become for this sport. Yes, it is a sport.

The players’ manners are terrific today compared to the past. Johnny Moss was known for being abusive to dealers. Puggy Pearson was worse. He pissed on one once. Another Hall of Famer, Joe Bernstein, bit a dealer.

I cannot sing enough praise for the poker management of Harrah’s. I had long conversations with Bill Sattler, Director of Poker, and aslo Jake Reville, Cathy Klufer, and Carrie Jacobs. For twenty years, I taught management subjects at Texas Tech. The magnificent professionalism of Harrah’s management makes me wish I could go lecture on how great they are. I played in the cheap no limit where you only buy $300. I’ve never lost at the Rio, but only played there seven times. I’m not trying to beat the best in the world anymore. I’m too old.


Saturday Afternoon Singalong

Five Card Stud

by , Jan 22, 2011 | 7:59 pm

Watched Five Card Stud this afternoon (on Showtime Extreme) … a 1968 western starring Dean Martin and Robert Mitchum about a drunken poker game that turns into a lynching when the new guy turns out to be a cheat. But when the lynch mob starts dying off one-by-one, no one knows who’s seeking vengeance, nor which player will be the last man standing.

It takes place in Colorado in 1880 … the gold rush is on and the town of Rincon is fast becoming known for its juicy games and associated vice. And as much as I was intrigued by the role of black people and Christianity post-Civil War (as portrayed in the late ’60s) … what really stood out was how the players shuffled their chips.

Anyhow, the music is kinda country meets the Doors, with gambler’s lyrics sung by an old-school Vegas crooner. And with last month’s news that production of Rounders 2 is underway … well, Five Card Stud, a song about the game that was the great Uncle to contemporary Texas Hold’em, reminded me how much poker stories have changed over the years, and how much they haven’t.

Poker Hall of Fame Breakdown (Part Vier: The Final Battle)

by , Sep 28, 2010 | 1:36 pm

In the last article we looked at the last four candidates for Poker Hall of Fame. So now its time to break down the votes that each player would get depending on the criteria of the hall, as well as some other fairly easy to determine metrics. What I will do is look at each criteria and metric and see who has the “edge”, similar to how its done in sports matchup previews.

The Hall of Fame’s criteria are:

  • Player must have played against known top competition
  • Played for high stakes
  • Played consistently well, gaining respect of peers
  • Stood the test of time
  • Contributed to the overall growth and success of the game (this normally applies to non-players, but I think players should help in this aspect as well)

Some additional criteria to consider include:

  • Tournament Success
  • Cash Game Success
  • Depth of Poker Knowledge (NLHE specialist vs. mixed game master)
  • And..finally…public perception (because this is really important these days)

But, of course, there is a little battle to settle. While Dan Harrington and Erik Seidel cleared the hurdle, Barry Greenstein and Scotty Nguyen are neck-and-neck, so before we can do anything we have to settle a simple question, who (in my mind) is worthy of a vote?


Poker Hall of Fame Breakdown (Part Tres)

by , Sep 22, 2010 | 11:50 am

In this third part of the series, its time we go through the last four pros that are up for the Poker Hall of Fame. There haven’t really been any misses in this group thus far, sure, a couple people that have no chance given the current roster of nominees, but no complete misses. That said, we haven’t completed the list yet, and parts one and two are available if you need a refresher of what has been said so far. Here are the top three thus far:

  • Dan Harrington: 9
  • Barry Greenstein: 7
  • Phil Ivey: 6

But with 4 more people to go, none of these players are safe (well, three people need to get 10s in order to knock our Harrington, but you get the idea.) The last four are Tom McEvoy, Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, and Erik Siedel.


Poker Hall of Fame Breakdown (Part Deux)

by , Sep 20, 2010 | 3:24 pm

The Poker Hall of Fame voting is upon us, and with only two weeks until voting closes, its time to look at three more nominees for induction. Last time Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, and Jennifer Harman were analyzed and picked apart, ultimately resulting in a single number signifying my personal feeling toward that player’s admission to the hall. Overall, the three players received the following scores:

  • Chris Ferguson: 4
  • Barry Greenstein: 7
  • Jennifer Harman-Traniello: 2

This time around we look at Dan Harrington, Phil Ivey, and Linda Johnson, and you can see how they stack up after the jump.


Poker Hall of Fame Breakdown (Part One)

by , Sep 16, 2010 | 9:39 pm

With the 2010 Hall of Fame voting underway amongst readers of Pokerati, it makes sense to try and take an objective look at the players to see what their contributions have been and whether they merit entry into the Hall come November. Now, there are standards that all voters are expected to consider during the process, and I hope to reflect that throughout this series. With that said, it does make sense to put up some stats on each player before delving into the reasons for why I would/wouldn’t vote for them, so here are the categories I will look into:

  • Age (because I am a proponent of the Chip Resse Rule)
  • Time active in poker as a professional
  • Recognized Tournament/Cash Stakes played at both peak of performance and now
  • Tournament Accolades (WSOP/WPT/EPT Titles/Cashes, relevant important other tournament wins)
  • Contributions off the felt

At the end of each candidate I will add my own personal thoughts as well as how many points I would give a particular person (out of 10) if I felt like I just had to vote for the candidate on the ballot. Just for reference, I think I need to at least explain the “final score” a little bit. If a 1 is “Not Deserving” and a 10 is “Should have already been inducted”, and the other numbers are varying degrees between the two extremes. A 5 would be that they are deserving of entry in the hall, but not necessarily this year. So you can do the math to figure out where things far. At the end of this series, I will take the three highest point totals and use that to determine who I would vote for on my ballot for this year’s HoF class. I may not have a vote, but I might be able to help persuade others that may.

Because of the obvious length this would inevitably be if I did all 10 players in one go; I’ll be going in alphabetical order in a four part series. The first three, which you can see by clicking below, are Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, and Jennifer Harman(-Traniello).


Early Hall of Fame Voting

by , Sep 14, 2010 | 6:56 pm

Not that it means anything, nor that we’re gonna horserace this … but just a little indication how Pokerati’s early adopters see things. Results from the first batch of votes we’ve gotten in Pokerati’s Mock Hall of Fame selection process:

Harrington – 81
Seidel – 56
Ivey – 54
Johnson – 33
Greenstein – 30
McEvoy – 20
Nguyen – 15
Negreanu – 9
Ferguson – 12
Harman – 0

Click here to cast your mock ballot if you haven’t already.
Note: We’ve added a spot for write-ins and for you to leave your Twitter ID!

Of the 33 ballots tabulated, two had to be thrown out, which should be a bummer for Scotty Nguyen, since he had the most among the illegitimate points, and I don’t mean that in any sorta racist way.

You know, when Scotty does get in, you can imagine much will be made of his whole “Baby” shtick. That right there tells me something, as it would be much more “adorable” coming from a withering inductee in his 70s than an active player apparently getting paid in product for his sponsorship deal with Jheri curl.

With age always relevant in the Hall of Fame selection process, naturally, @BJNemeth and I couldn’t resist a Socratic dialogue competitively pissing in the wind about the meaning of the emphasized phrase this year:


This Day in Historyish: September 2001

A New Era of Poker Is Born

by , Sep 11, 2010 | 1:57 pm

On this day nine years ago — September 11, 2001 — cards got in the air for a new online poker site called PokerStars.

The best multitable tournaments, player loyalty rewards, stats, and seeing your own picture at the table were the vision unleashed on the world on September 11th. Click to look back at the site as it was then.

It was just for play money at first, but the timing would prove fortuitous. People seemed to enjoy the software and were telling their friends … as online poker seemed to provide a much-needed escape from the ever-more-difficult to swallow news of the day.