California May Be Next to Legalize Online Poker

August 26, 2013

A newly amended legislation is set to legalize online poker in California. It is also poised to only allow licenses to existing card clubs and native American tribes that already offer California gambling. The amendments were presented by state Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana and they come just three weeks to the end of the legislative year.

The original gambling bill was introduced by the chairman of the state committee, Sen. Rod Wright, D-Los Angeles. This bill stalled in 2012. Wright has not released any word regarding the latest legislation.

There has not been any word from the sponsors of the Correa bill for months. However, speculators state that the measures taken would be a vehicle for an earlier online poker proposal. The proposals were made by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians near San Bernardino, as well as the Morongo Band of Mission Indians near Banning. It may also be as a result of a merger of proposals by the two tribes.

The bill does not have any mention of the cost of the licenses. It also does not specify the amount of poker revenue that the licenses would be expected to share with the state.

There have been other tribes that have come up with their own online poker proposals too. These include the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in the Coachella Valley, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians near Temecula, and the California Tribal Business Alliance.

Previous online poker legislations have been undercut by differences amongst the politically powerful gambling tribes in the state. At the beginning of the month, the Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg stated that there was little chance for the bill being enacted before the September 13 adjournment.

Gus Hansen Examines His Game

August 26, 2013

The Gus “The Great Dane” Hansen is down by $3,434,150 and is heading towards surpassing the huge drop he had in 2009 of -$5,575,624. Before sliding to the negatives in the last two years, the Full Tilt pro had made millions in profit, but is now suffering a -$9,845,422 in career losses.

Gus provided insight on his online poker roller-coaster ride in a recent interview expressing his frustration with losses he has incurred, and he feels he must be missing something in his game. According to him, he was the biggest winner of Omaha Hi/Lo high-stakes games, but within the last six months he has become the biggest loser on the same Omaha Hi/Lo tables. This has left him with a lot of doubts as he feels he may be outdated, rusty, and not good enough for the game anymore.

To gain a competitive edge over his opponents, Gus has had to adjust his game play. He says he is working on centering his focus and tightened up his game. For instance, he has stopped dropping million-dollar bets on a 50-50 chance win.

“So, I wonder: what happened in the mean time?” he asks.

Gus knows he’s had a bad run, but it hasn’t been that bad. He said that irrespective of his huge losses online, he is on a balance and doing well – you lose one round and win the other. He further explained how the large swings affect his approach to the game.

The 39-year old poker pro said he sleeps better after a big win than after a big loss. He added that he is used to the big swings, saying “it’s more fun to win than to lose.” He still admitted that winning or losing is part of his job description. Great Dane fans worldwide are hoping for the best for Hansen and awaiting a comeback of mass proportions.

WCOOP 12 to Kick Off Next Month

August 19, 2013

This September will see PokerStars’ 12th World Championship of Online Poper take place, with online poker players from all over the world assembling to try and win guaranteed prizes that amount to a total of $40 million.

The 2013 WCOOP online poker bonanza will kick off on Sunday, September 8 and will run for the following three weeks, drawing to a close on September 30. It is expected to be the largest WCOOP ever with 66 gold and diamond bracelet events in total. The series will follow custom and end with the $5,200 Main Event that unfolds over two days. This year’s guaranteed prizes are $3 million greater than last year, totaling at $8 million. The winner will bag $1.25 million.

The festival should have massive turnout for the $109 No-Limit Hold’em opener, as well as feature the popular $10,300 High Roller Heads-Up and 8-Game events. Players who find these fees too hefty can qualify to participate without spending a cent by taking part in the online satellites already underway. Each main event has a satellite qualifier and a most memorable story happened last year, whereby small-stakes, recreational Russian player ‘maratik’ finished first place in the Main Event to pocket $1 million after qualifying using only 40 Frequent Player Points through a satellite qualifier.

Top performing players will be awarded with lots of amazing extra prizes, like every other year. The highest overall point scorer will earn tickets for Spring Championship of Online Poker, 2014 Turbo Championship of Online Poker, and World Championship of Online Poker Main Event, as well as a 2014 PCA package. The combined value of these prizes is over $33,000. Depending on the positions they take, the other top ten finishers will get a combination of future Turbo Championship, World Championship Main Event, and Spring Championship tickets.

This year will also see a ‘Woman of the Series’ prize for the first time, awarded to the highest placed female player on the leader board. The prize will include $1,100 tournament entry plus travel and hotel expenses, amounting to a $3,500 PCA package.

Online Poker: The State of Affairs

August 16, 2013

Many people thought that the 2012 lame duck session of Congress was the best and last chance for the passing of the online poker bill presented by senate majority leader Harry Reid. However, a conflicting opinion has been aired by one member of Congress. This opinion will definitely carry some weight because it is held by Sen. Harry Reid.

There has not been any official word on the matter from Harry Reid’s office. However, reputable industry sources indicate that he is poised to reintroduce his attempt to bring federally regulated online poker into law.

Although speculative, it is said that Reid wishes to place a blanket ban over all forms of online gambling with an exception of poker and grandfathering that is regulated by the state. The federal government will require New Jersey and Nevada to operate a dually-controlled regulatory body for the poker industry.

Industry sources indicate that California would probably have a strong enough force to push for the legislation. Nevada casinos have the fear that California’s bill will lead to a traffic dip. If the federal government is able to make the bill legal before California does, the state will have lost its biggest opportunity for gambling expansion.

Other potential losers include Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, who would find themselves partially shut out of online gambling. Illinois, which was one of the states that requested for clarification on online gambling, would also lose out if the legislation was passed by the federal government.

Tropicana Partners with Gamesys for Real Money Gaming

August 12, 2013

Official confirmation has been made by Tropicana Casino and Resort of a deal with Gamesys that will see it enter the world of online gambling. The confirmation of this alliance was made on Wednesday, effectively ending month-long speculations. UK-based Gamesys specializes in software design and has become renowned because of the real-money gambling site This is an online game portal that poker lovers may not have heard of, as it offers only online bingo and casino-style table games. But now thanks to the deal, this is poised to change.

Following the acquisition of Virgin Games, the in-house development team of Gamesys set to work on the development of proprietary poker software. It is currently unclear whether this software can work by the time the operation goes live. However, the New Jersey situation is favorable. There are a reported 37 online companies that have submitted license applications for Internet gaming in New Jersey, and Tropicana is one of the 12 casinos that are considered eligible for housing gambling software.

Founder and CEO Noel Hayden said, “We have always sought ambitious partners and Tropicana Atlantic City is a great partner for Gamesys as Internet gaming comes to New Jersey.” Tropicana and Gamesys reportedly started working on their deal in June and Gamesys was able to complete the application process and beat the July 31st deadline. Other partnerships that have been confirmed are Ultimate Poker with Taj Mahal, bn with Borgata, PokerStars with Resorts, and the Golden Nugget with Amaya.

Ultimate Poker is already live in Nevada and even though it’s still unknown which gambling sites will be going live by the end of the year in New Jersey, it could be one of them. The seemingly most potentially productive partnership is that of Resorts with PokerStars as the online poker site stands to dominate the New Jersey market.

Hold Ups for Legal Online Poker in California

August 10, 2013

This year has been laden with much promise for online poker in the state of California, but many Californian politicians now believe there is little hope that any online poker regulations will be passed before the end of this year, despite the three pieces of legislation that have been placed on the table for such regulation.

The current session of the California General Assembly is set to dissolve on September 6, which means that any regulation hoping to pass should have already been approved by the committee and on the floor for a vote. At the moment, three bills on the subject of online poker regulation have been proposed or are in the committee, namely, SB 51, Senator Roderick Wright’s “Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2013,” SB 678, State Senator Lou Correa’s “Authorization and Regulation of Internet Poker and Consumer Protection Act of 2013,” and a draft bill from the California Indian tribes.

None of the bills are past the committee stage, which is just the beginning of the process. Barring a special session, these bills must then be reintroduced in the General Assembly come 2014.

The usual infighting is the major cause of the hold-up. Online poker legislation has been an ongoing bone of contention in the Golden State, with the California poker rooms, horse racing tracks, and powerful Indian gaming lobby unable to work out a plan that serves the interests of all parties. The highest point of the infighting was reached in May when the Indian tribes put together the previously mentioned bill in an attempt to circumvent the discussion stalemate between the warring parties.

If such a bill were to pass, California would become the crown jewel of US online poker. It has the largest population, of more than 38 million people, and its potential market dwarfs all the other states that have already passed legislation for online gaming (New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware). And if one of these states were to partner with California for an interstate compact, revenues for all involved would skyrocket. However, the Californian poker scene will only move forward when its warring factions strike an agreement.

Japanese Poker Player Caught in Spam Scandal

August 1, 2013

Masaaki Kagawa, a high-stakes Japanese player, has been arrested after being suspect of running a scam involving malware. Kawaga and eight other players were arrested in Japan by the Chiba Prefectural Police. The group has been accused of distributing spam via emails that included links to download Androis Enesoluty.

This download included a Trojan horse virus that could and did steal data from Android devices, sending it over a remote server. The malware is thought to have collected about 37 million email addresses from the 810,000 contacts lists it detected on infected devices. The whole point of the scam was to reroute users to a fake online dating site, Sakura, at which you could then sign up for a fee.

Kagawa participated in a Super High Roller Reload tournament in 2012 in Monte Carlo, a €98,500 NLH event. The 38 registrants were separated into two divisions, the whales and the pros. Kagawa was put into the whale group because of his wealth, but unfortunately, now it seems he may have come by all that money immorally. Fifty-year-old Kagawa had amassed a total of $1.62+ million in online poker winnings by 2012.

The other eight players are associated with his company Koei Planning. Vikram Thakur, Symanatec Security Response principal research manager, who discovered the scandal commented to the Japan Daily Press, “The mobile malware was just a step towards his real scheme, which was to send out spam about his dating site and get people to sign up over there and not really get any service.”