Friday, March 28, 2008

Poker Stars - Unibet Appeal Denied in Netherlands Court, EU Action Looms

Unibet Appeal Denied in Netherlands Court, EU Action Looms
Ahead of a scheduled vote wherein Dutch legislators will consider UIGEA-style legislation designed to restrict access to the Dutch online gambling market for international court, a Netherlands Court has denied an appeal...

Hollywood Poker puts up WSOP packages

The premium package class package promotion kicked off this week with the first of two weekly satellites that will run through June 15. The first satellite was on Tuesday and they will run each week on Tuesdays and Sundays, awarding a $16,000 Main Event Package each time.

The Main Event Package includes:

  • $10,000 buy-in for the WSOP Championship
  • 12-day, extended accommodation at the Venetian Resort, Hotel and Casino
  • $2,500 for travel expenses
  • Transportation
  • HollywoodPoker Clothing and Merchandise

The satellites have a $300+$20 buy-in and begin play at 8 p.m. (EDT). For that same buy-in, players at Hollywood Poker can also take a shot at winning a $13,000 Side Events Package.

Starting Saturday, March 29, and running each Saturday through May 31, the poker site will host a tournament at 8 p.m. (EDT) during which players have a shot at a $13,000 prize package that includes:

  • $8,000 for WSOP side tournament buy-ins
  • Eight-day, extended accommodation at the Venetian Resort, Hotel and Casino
  • $2,500 for travel expenses
  • Transportation
  • HollywoodPoker Clothing and Merchandise

There are also plenty of qualifiers for the satellites, offering Hollywood Poker players a chance to get into the satellites for as little as $1+20¢.

Players can also trade in the bounties they win in the Celebrity Bounty Series through June 1 for qualifier tickets to get into the satellites, and the winners of the weekly Hollywood Poker Celebrity Classic will also win entry into one of the WSOP premium package satellites.

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Inside the Tour, #86 — Inside 'Sit'n Go Strategy'
Continuing our review of various works that I can recommend and think are useful for the professional player brings us to 'Sit'n Go Strategy' by Colin Moshman (Two Plus Two Publishing, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007). Of course, one does not...

Full Tilt awards more money to players

This week it was intergross who came out with the largest chunk of the prize pool after toppling a field of 94 players.

Each of them earned their way into the freeroll by accumulating 150 player points during the week prior to the freeroll. For intergross, that meant picking up $960 without having to shell out another dime of his own money.

The 34-year-old is a self-described professional gambler. Usually he's a backgammon player, but he said poker is his new interest.

He's been playing the game for about six months now, and was attracted to it because of the potential for big money. In fact, even though he says he's just a beginner in the game, his biggest win so far is $10,000.

Still, he said he was "very lucky" when asked how he achieved his win in the Full Tilt Poker freeroll. intergross is getting plenty of practice, though, which could also account for his win.

He says he plays poker online every day, and every day he's playing at Full Tilt Poker, which he considers one of the best poker rooms. He also checks out on a daily basis, and says he finds the best information online about poker there.

Now intergross plans to use his extra $960 to play in other tournaments and continue playing poker professionally.

The final-table results of the freeroll were:

Place Name Prize
1st intergross $960
2nd dglizda $585
3rd coke1978 $420
4th beloumi $330
5th Zephyr Indigo $240
6th tymmyk4 $180
7th stormin618 $120
8th sb007ck $90
9th SaintGabriel $75

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Josh Arieh taken out of blogger tourney by Abby17

Josh Arieh didn't get much of a chance to make any moves in the tournament however, as Abby17 took him out fairly early to collect the $100 bounty.

Abby17 found his chance to take out Arieh when the Team Bodog pro decided to make a move with pocket sevens. Abby17 called him down with A-Q and won the race when an ace hit the river.


Arieh went out in 47th place, and Abby17 put his chips to use to earn himself a third-place finish in the tournament.

Coming out on top of it all, however, was StinkyBritches, who won $156 plus T$109 for first place.

The final-table results were:

$156 + T$109
$104 + T$109
$62.40 + T$109
$52 + T$109
$41.60 + T$109
Not all the players outside the money walked away empty handed either. The five bubble players received their buy-ins to next week's blogger tournament as well.

The blogger tournament costs $11 to enter and takes place each Tuesday at 9:05 p.m. (EDT). The weekly tournaments make up the 18 qualifying tournaments of the Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series.

The first event took place in early February and the last one is scheduled for June 3. The top 30% of each weekly tournament will be awarded points based on their finish and ranked over the four months.

At the end of the series, the top 18 players will play in the Final Tournament June 10, in which the first-place winner will receive a $12,000 World Series of Poker prize package.

The prize package includes the $10,000

Related Article: Josh Arieh To Play in Bodog Blogger Event

Bloch speaks out on poker benefits, ban

Bloch, a former member of the team, sets the record straight on his Web site: He wasn't involved with the movie in any way, shape or form. He does admit to working on a blackjack script of his own with friend Jeremy Levin, but that project came to a halt when Bloch and Levin couldn't come up with a "creative, exciting, yet believable" conclusion for the story.

The writers of 21 solved the problem with an Ocean's 11-style plot twist that, according to Bloch, "reinforced the team ethic" and "ultimately won me over."

In a recent phone conversation, I asked Bloch how important that team ethic was to his and his fellow MIT card counters' success.

"It was very important that we trust each other," Bloch said.

"In most businesses you can pretty easily check up on your employees and figure out whether they're doing their jobs right and whether they're stealing from you. With (team) blackjack, we can test people and make sure that outside the casino they're playing well, but we can't watch everything that everybody does. So we really have to trust people. Feeling like you're part of a team really helps with that."

During his time with the team, Bloch only recalls the group having to discipline or ban two people because of trust issues.

"Given that there were dozens of people involved, that's a pretty low number. That says a lot."

Lessons from the games we play

#img: andy-bloch_17744.jpg: left: Poker is now Bloch's game of choice.#

These days Bloch's team is Full Tilt Poker, not MIT, and his main game is poker instead of blackjack. I asked him if there is any crossover in the skill sets required for success at each game. Bloch says there is, but the crossover is not so much in the specific skills as it is in good habits.

"The biggest thing you learn from blackjack is bankroll management," Bloch said.

"With the MIT team, we always figured out our bets in proportion to our bankroll at the time. In poker, you should always play according to your bankroll. You don't go jump into the biggest game in town where you might not have an edge and play against the toughest players. You want to know what your edge is and structure how much you risk."

So if we can take lessons from blackjack and apply them to poker, can we apply lessons from poker to other aspects of life? Could we even use poker as a teaching tool, in a manner such as that proposed by Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson and his Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society?

"I think there's a lot of things you can learn from poker, and most of them aren't being taught in other ways," says Bloch. "Poker is a simple game, but you're constantly faced every hand with having to make decisions based on imperfect information. We teach people in math class or your other subjects by giving perfect information. What do you do in a world where you don't know everything? How do you figure out what to play and what not to play?"

And then, of course, there is the human element of the game.

"(In poker) you're playing against a specific opponent - you're not playing against nature or the computer," Bloch said. "If you want to play your best you have to figure out how they play and adapt yourself to that. So it's a game of reading people and not being readable yourself, and that's very important in the world."

"There's definitely hope"

Despite all of poker's positive aspects and potential as a learning tool, the game's opponents are hell-bent on making it illegal for the public to enjoy the game on the Internet. Poker enthusiasts prone to believing the sky is falling, especially in the wake of the UIGEA, might want to take note of Bloch's expert opinion.

"There's definitely hope," said the ever-analytical Bloch. "I think things are going to change."

First, he says that most people who enjoy online poker play for either play money or small stakes because for them poker is "like going to a movie - with the chance that you might actually make some money." Having the majority of online players playing for relatively tiny sums of money could make any further limitation of the people's rights seem absurd.

#img: andy-bloch_1515.jpg: right: Most online players are there for entertainment, playing with nickels and dimes.#

"There's 10¢ buy-in tournaments," says Bloch. "How can playing in a 10¢ tournament be a crime? That just seems to me completely ridiculous that that would be a crime. That's something the federal government or state governments shouldn't be involved in. We have better things to worry about."

Bloch's second reason for hope is that the arguments for regulations to protect American consumers are compelling.

"The major sites are very careful, and are trying to be as responsible as they can be," Bloch says. "But if they detect someone with a gambling problem, that person can go play on another site." If there were a regulation scheme in place, he says, a person who needed help with a gambling problem could exclude themselves from every licensed and regulated gambling site.

With the Poker Players Alliance now boasting a membership of nearly one million and implementing a new grassroots organizing campaign, Bloch feels good about the chances of having online poker regulated and licensed within the United States.

Bloch's final argument is more philosophical. A game of poker, he says, is essentially a contract with others over a somewhat uncertain event, and any contract that isn't harmful shouldn't be banned.

"To me it seems to be one of the most basic rights of contract or business that the government is not going to look in and say, hey, this contract you have isn't valid because we consider this too much an act of luck."

"There are no externalities involved, other than the amount of money you win or lose," Bloch said. "That's true with any contract. So if they can make gambling illegal, they can make anything illegal. And I thought we had a constitution that prevented that."


Unibet appeal of Netherlands gaming act violation is denied
Unibet lost an appeal in a Netherlands court this week, in which the online sportsbook and gaming site was deemed to be infringing on the market of the Dutch state lottery, De Lotto. According to Unibet had been judged guilty of violating the Dutch Gaming Act ��...full article

netherlandsflag.gifUnibet lost an appeal in a Netherlands court this week, in which the online sportsbook and gaming site was deemed to be infringing on the market of the Dutch state lottery, De Lotto.

According to

Unibet had been judged guilty of violating the Dutch Gaming Act and infringing upon the market rights of the Dutch state lottery, De Lotto (The Lotto). The October, 2007 ruling called for Unibet to pay De Lotto €100,000 per day, up to a maximum of €3,000,000, plus legal costs, for continuing to serve the Dutch market in offering wagering on amateur soccer games in the Netherlands. The recent denial upheld the decision in favor of De Lotto.

One report notes that this is the 17th time that competitors to De Lotto’s market interests have been struck down in court rulings.

The ruling comes as the Netherlands considers legislation like the United States’ Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

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