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  • Archive for April, 2011

    Cake Poker WSOP seats

    Friday, April 29th, 2011

    The good news is that Cake Poker is still open to players from the United States. And the better news is that they want to help you “cut your own slice” of the WSOP 2011. Now, over at Cake Poker, they’re still expecting the WSOP to host more than 70,000 people. That’s where there might be some bad news. There is thought out there that the Black Friday Poker Shutdown may mean fewer players showing up at the World Series of Poker. But if you want to go, Cake Poker wants to help.

    There are two different prize offerings up for grabs at Cake Poker. One is a $2,500 Vega Spree Prize Package. You can win your way up to the Vegas Spree package by taking part in Sit & Go step tournaments that start at as little as $2.00, well actually $1.10 if you start with a satellite tournament. Now the $2,500 prize won’t get you a seat at the WSOP Main Event but it may help you get there.

    The big prize you want to go after is the $13,000 WSOP Main Event prize package. This one will get you a seat at the Main Event in Vegas. Though check the Cake Poker details because if you win, you still are responsible for your own registration, travel and accommodations. But $13,000 should help with some of that. You’ll need to play in the Multi-table tournaments to win your way to the Main Event prize, but satellites still start at as little as $1.10. So, can you win your way from $1.10 to $13,000? And then possibly take the WSOP bracelet home?

    Absolute Poker defies the DOJ

    Thursday, April 28th, 2011

    Sometimes I come across news that delights me. A little bit of information related to April 15th Black Friday Poker shutdown has come to light that is probably causing delight among those US poker players who think that the Friday shutdown was a ridiculous act. Because Absolute Poker and are working to make that point. At this point, they are claiming that for the US Department of Justice to prosecute them over conducting business that is legal where they are established is a violation of international law. Since Absolute Poker and operate out of Antigua, that government is supporting their claims and complaining about the action taken by the United States Department of Justice.

    Which would all be just a theoretical battle to be played out in the courts if it wasn’t for one action being taken by Absolute Poker and The two sites have moved from their old domain names which were seized by the FBI over to .eu domain names. And they are still allowing players from the United States to play in real money games. Now there’s a bit of a difficulty here in that players from the United States can’t deposit or withdraw money from their accounts. But if they have an existing account with or Absolute Poker, they can continue to play on the money in that account. This may be a small impact to a few poker players, but it is a clear sign that Absolute Poker and aren’t going to roll over and play dead where the US Department of Justice is concerned. They’re sending every sign that they’re going to take play out this battle until the end. Which could mean that the actual wording of the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) will finally be challenged in court. Since many believe the wording on the act is vague, there is a possibility that the law might not stand up to the challenge.

    Sportsbook waves good bye to the US market

    Thursday, April 28th, 2011

    Yet two more online casinos have announced that they’re leaving the US gambling market. Or perhaps I should say edging their way out since they aren’t closing completely to US players. Both and have decided that as of May 1st they will no longer accept players from the US. However, at this time it appears that players with existing accounts will still be able to access their accounts and play at the casinos, poker rooms and other offerings from the two companies. So if you don’t have an account with those sites today and think you might enjoy being able to play at them, you’ll need to sign up today or tomorrow to lock in your account. They are still accepting US accounts today or at least were 5 minutes ago when I signed up. I haven’t played with them before but in my position as a writer, I really do want to be sure I still have access to them to keep up with what they do in the future.

    I can’t begin to play at every casino I have an account with or write about, but sometimes an account is necessary to get into the casino and see what’s going on under the hood so to speak. But players generally have the opportunity to sign up with an online casino when an offer or a game catches their interest. But with online casinos pulling out of the US market or restricting taking on new players, now might be the time to sign up for accounts at various casinos you might be interested in playing at. You don’t usually have to deposit money to sign up for an account, just fill out an information form.

    Poker without dog racing?

    Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

    Okay, in the myriad of gambling headlines that I see every day, sometimes one just stands out. Sometimes because unless you really understand the details behind it, it seems like such a silly headline. The newest from Florida is that Florida may approve “poker rooms without dog races.” Because we know that nothing adds interest to a game of poker like dogs running around the room.*

    Now, for the explanation behind the headline. Florida currently allows poker rooms to operate at state-approved greyhound race tracks. But the games have to take place as part of the race offerings for the day. Which means that for a poker game to be taking place, there has to be some dog racing going on. Okay, perhaps that doesn’t make sense even after it’s explain. But then this is Florida. If you’re confused about the connection between dog racing and poker, we can also offer you parades featuring giant mice or roller coasters and a British prep school for wizards.

    But now the Florida legislature is actually considering changing the law so that greyhound race tracks could host poker events even if the dogs weren’t running around the track. A move that could potentially bring in more poker revenue and perhaps give the dogs a day off. Me, I still don’t understand why gambling is okay if animals are somehow involved but otherwise somehow suspicious.

    *Actually, dogs are considered bad luck in the poker room, so dog racing and poker together may not work for the suspicious player.

    PokerStars begins cash outs

    Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

    Some good news for online poker players in the United States today. At least one of the indicted poker rooms — PokerStars — has opened up for US players to begin cashing out their money. I say begin because PokerStars has already warned their former players to expect delays in processing the funds. The delays are to be expected in this case since all US players will be forced to withdraw their funds from the site in the near future. Processing all those accounts isn’t going to be good news for the poker room and I don’t want to think about what the drain on funds is going to do to their finances. But if they aren’t able to refund the money to their American players, they’ll lose their reputation with their European players. The online poker room has reopened for operation but in Europe and UK instead of in the US. News is that the loss of the American players dropped play by about a third and has been felt by the remaining players. I think they want the Yanks back.

    But another question has come up regarding accounts on the closed poker sites. Most of these sites offer player points that can used to purchase buy-ins for tournaments or redeemed for merchandise. These are loyalty rewards for playing on a site and some players are beginning to ask if they’ll get anything back for their points. And so far, there has been no answer from the poker rooms. So, a step forward today but yet more questions.

    Will online gambling continue in the US?

    Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

    It’s a question many people are beginning to ask themselves. We’ve seen the shutdown of major online poker rooms and watched as reputable online casinos pulled out of the US gambling market. Some of us may be quietly eyeing our favorite online casino game and wondering if we will be able to play it in the future. Or play it without making planning for a trip to a brick and mortar casino. Oh, it’s not that we don’t like land based casinos. It’s just that playing at one takes planning and costs some money. I have to drive about an hour and a half each way to reach the nearest casino. And even then — it’s one casino. I don’t have a Las Vegas like strip nearby and when it comes to casinos — competition is good for the players. Which means the Hard Rock near me doesn’t have to work that hard convincing gamblers to play there.

    But online casinos are always just an internet connection away. I don’t want to give up that convenience. And neither do other players. But there’s another part to this equation — Las Vegas and the big home grown US casinos don’t want to give up any potential money. I think we may have seen the future of online US gambling in the New Jersey bill that was defeated earlier this year. Now, that bill was doing well and was only brought down by a governor trying to judge his presidential dreams against the financial needs of his state. But look at what that bill proposed — that New Jersey would have legal online gambling provided it was run by casinos established within the state. The possibility probably had every land based casino in the state drooling and drafting job advertisements for technology experts. That bill can still be revived and big Vegas casinos aren’t going to want to miss out on what may be a trend. They’ve had a hint at what can happen — in a good way. And I think we’ll see them lobbying and pushing towards it.

    So, online gambling in the US will undoubtedly change in the future, but I don’t think it’ll vanish. Instead I think we’ll see the biggest changes in who offers online gambling. Instead of off shore operations, we may see the big casinos in the US becoming the online gambling kings. There will probably be some good points to that and some bad. But maybe they’ll let us win trips to Vegas.

    PokerStars event downscaled

    Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

    And the effects of the Black Friday Poker Shutdown just keep rolling in. Sometimes the news is big, sometimes small. But the US shutdown of 4 major poker rooms is going to have an effect on online poker for some time to come. Even if we do eventually get legalized online poker in the United States, the four poker rooms involved in the shutdown may never reach the status they had before. And a little event that shows that is the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker. Now the PokerStars SCOOP has been a huge online poker event in the past. After all, it was a poker tournament designed for online players and where they got a real chance to show off their skills and win prizes, including the prestigious SCOOP watch.

    Schedules had been released and if there was one sign of how big the tournament was in the US, the schedule actually had be created around the US players. Now with PokerStars unable to operate in the US, the schedule has been backed up three hours to make it more Euro-friendly. But that also means there will be fewer players and less money coming in to PokerStars.

    And right now, those 4 shut down poker rooms could probably use the extra money. The reality of their bank accounts being seized by the FBI is beginning to show through the cracks. Full Tilt Poker recently was unable to provide promised prize money to a poker tournament they were supposed to sponsor. And as for US players with money in the sites, well, we don’t know when those players will be able to get their money back. All the sites have pledged to refund money to players, but at this point that’s all we have — a pledge. With the bank accounts frozen, it seems that the FBI might have the money.

    Did the Black Friday Poker Shutdown clear the way for big casinos?

    Monday, April 25th, 2011

    I still can’t even glance at the online gambling news without seeing more articles and blogs about the big Black Friday online poker shutdown. The problem is that there really isn’t much new in the news on the shutdown. We know the four sites that have been shutdown - Absolute Poker,, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. We know that all four have now made announcements that they will work to ensure that players in the United States get back all the money that they have in their online poker accounts. And most of us have come to the realization that following through on that promise is going to take awhile. But that’s pretty much where we seem to be running out of verifiable news.

    So then we venture into the realm of speculation. But speculation can sometimes seem very on target. One thing being speculated on is the timing of the big poker shutdown with the recent push toward legalizing online poker. Many have already speculated that the part of the shutdown was to get the big business poker rooms that were skirting the online gambling laws out of the country before online poker becomes legal. After all, if the Feds didn’t act now, they might lose the ability to act.

    But there is another thought being discussed — that the shutdown of the major online poker rooms operating in the United States was to clear the way for the big Vegas casino brands to move into the online poker market if it becomes legal. Now, I really don’t think the FBI acted based on the idea of saving Las Vegas. However, I can see that the big Las Vegas casino names wouldn’t be likely to support legal online poker if they felt it left them out of the picture. But if they way is now clear for them to support or run legal online poker rooms, the situation may have changed. Which might be a good thing overall for US poker players.

    Absolute Poker makes a statement

    Friday, April 22nd, 2011

    And I don’t mean that in a good way, like Doyles Room putting “U.S. Players Welcome” in big bold letters at the top of the online poker site. No, I mean makes a statement as in they’ve engaged legal counsel to handle their interactions both with the Attorney General’s office and what is said to the media. Okay, I can’t blame them. When the FBI starts seizing bank accounts and making arrests, it really is time to bring in the lawyers. In this case, Absolute Poker and have sought out legal counsel specifically in the United States since we’re the country going after them.

    Now, this is of importance to online poker players who may have had accounts on the Absolute Poker or site. While PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have already announced that they will work with the Federal Government to reopen their US domains so that players can withdraw their money, no news has been heard from Absolute Poker or until now.

    The two online poker rooms are speaking as one and have said that refunding money to players in the US is a priority, but they plan to work through their lawyers when taking steps to do so. And we all know lawyers check every little detail before moving forward. So while I’m sure players will eventually be able to withdraw their funds from the Absolute Poker or online poker rooms, it may take weeks or months for the situation to work itself out.

    Meanwhile the Full Tilt Poker and domains are up again, at least with information. But at this point, it doesn’t appear that they’re ready to start refunding money just yet. Well, sometimes poker is a game of patience. Just think of this as a big poker hand.

    Some Microgaming Casinos block US players

    Friday, April 22nd, 2011

    It’s now been a week since last Friday’s shut down of four major poker rooms in the United States. Two if the poker domains seized by the FBI have reached agreements that will allow them to reopen so that US players can withdraw funds. And the poker rooms are still operating in Europe. But it seems that the aftershocks of Friday’s shut downs are still being felt in both the poker world and the online gambling world.

    Right now it appears that at least some Microgaming online casinos blocking players from the United States. All Slots Casino now sports the US flag symbol with slash through it indicating that players from the US aren’t able to play on the casino. Both Villento Brand casinos - Villento Las Vegas and Rich Reels are showing only a contact message on their US facing web site. I can still access my Villento Las Vegas software in the free game mode but it doesn’t seem to be allowing deposits. I haven’t seen an announcement from the casino but players with accounts at Microgaming casinos might want to check to be sure they can access those accounts.

    I don’t know if I would advise withdrawing all the money from an account and closing it. There’s no indication whatsoever that Microgaming casinos are seizing player’s money. I’m not sure if they are closing to all US players or if some casinos will block new players from the US will allowing those with existing accounts to play, as some Rival Casinos have. Since last Friday so much has been up in the air, I’m not even sure the casinos know.