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  • Archive for August, 2011

    A Tale of Two Poker Rooms

    Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a time of unregulated online poker in the US. And the FBI looked out on the scene, shook their heads and said “this just won’t do.” So, a massive sting operation was devised that snared four online poker rooms in its net. This is a tale of two of those online poker rooms and where they stand today.

    First, let’s take PokerStars. PokerStars was a top site for players in the US and doing well in the EU and UK, though PartyPoker (not available in the US) reigned in the EU markets. When the FBI seized their domain names and bank accounts, PokerStars was quick to enter negotiations to be able to pay out on money owed to US players. By doing so, they kept the trust of their UK and EU markets. The PokerStars news today - well, they’re just a few days from the 2011 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). Now, with US players unable to play (unless they go out of the country for the tournament) PokerStars is offering lower buy-ins for the tournament than they have in the past, but the tournament is a sign that the poker room is still in a healthy state.

    No so for Full Tilt Poker. Full Tilt was a force to be reckoned with until the FBI shut down. After that, the sites true problems showed up. Eventually the Alderney Gambling Control Commission suspended their license because they weren’t paying out money owed to player. Though Full Tilt seems to want to blame these problems on everyone else. So far this week I’ve heard the following: Players actually owe Full Tilt money because they essentially gave loans to players by making deposit money available before checks cleared the banks. But the site neglected to claim the money after the checks cleared. So, players still owe money to Full Tilt. Full Tilt lost money because a payment processor stole $42 million from them. True and unfortunately they can’t report it to the FBI because they’re blaming the FBI for shutting down their worldwide operations. Now that one isn’t quite true. While the FBI did seize the domain Full Tilt used worldwide, we know they were up and operating under another domain name shortly after that, just as PokerStars was.

    Here’s what it comes down to for me. The FBI doesn’t seem to have done anything different to Full Tilt Poker than they did to PokerStars. PokerStars survived. Full Tilt is in serious trouble. So it would seem that the problems have to be internal to Full Tilt’s operations. Now the poker room says it’s still committed to paying money it owes to players. Perhaps because the poker world has made one thing clear — pay what you owe or you don’t survive. That’s always been the one main rule of poker.

    Nevada works to get ahead on online poker

    Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

    It’s a bit of an unusual take on regulations. The Nevada Gaming Control Board is already reviewing a draft of potential guidelines to regulate online poker in the state. The proposed rules will be discussed in public meetings and revisions made before they are well… not put in place? See, that’s where the story takes a twist. Nevada isn’t working to regulate online poker within the state on its own. Instead, the state is preparing regulation in advance of potential federal regulations licensing online poker. So, the rules proposed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board won’t be put in place unless we see federally legalized online poker.

    So, why is Nevada working on legislation for an industry that technically (despite the obvious existing online poker rooms) doesn’t exist in the United States? Well, they want to be ahead of the game if and when we see legal online poker. It’s potentially a wise business move since it would leave casinos in Las Vegas poised to take advantage of newly legalized online poker before other locations could get up to speed. And Nevada isn’t shy about wanting to cash in on the name recognition that the big casinos will have. Essentially this could be a big boost to the Las Vegas market even without a surge in tourism, and we all know that Nevada will want to collect taxes on any newly established online poker rooms.

    It’s plans like these that have many in the online gambling world speculating that the recent crackdown on online gambling sites was planned to force some businesses out of the US market and clear the way for US casinos. After all, if we do get federally regulated online poker, the Vegas casinos won’t have to compete with names like Full Tilt, PokerStars, PartyPoker, Absolute Poker and others who either left or were forced out of the market.

    Super Size Me returns to Lucky Red Casino

    Monday, August 29th, 2011

    Welcome back! How was your weekend? If you’re on the east coast of the US, I hope you made it through the storms all right. I’m in Florida and we were lucky this time, but I know I have friends in Virginia and further north who lost power and are going thru some flooding. Stay safe, gang!

    But it’s a new week and I have good news. Lucky Red Casino is going to have another round of their Super Size Me bonus. Now, some things to keep in mind for this bonus. It’s specifically for slots games and keno games. (They don’t mention scratch cards so I’m checking on that). Ah, wait yes, according to the Terms page, the Super Size Me bonus is also good for scratch cards. (They seem to have a little problem with their text display right now. For some reason, they’ve got black text on a black background. To get around this just use your mouse to highlight the text. Lucky Red - you need to pay a little more attention to what you actually have on the site.)

    So, back to the Super Size Me coupon. The coupon code is SUPERSIZE (something else in black on black) and this is a bonus geared to larger deposits. For the first $100 you deposit, you get Lucky Red’s standard 65% bonus offer. But for every dollar over $100, you get a 130% bonus deposit. Now, keep in mind that to take advantage of this, you have to deposit more than $100 in one deposit, and you have from Tuesday, August 30th to Thursday, September 1st to take advantage of this offer. So, if you were planning on making a couple of smaller deposits, you might want to consider making one larger deposit instead. You can redeem the SUPERSIZE coupon a total of 5 times during the promotion period.

    If you miss the promotion this week, keep an eye on the Coffee Gambling Blog because I check for Lucky Red offers on a regular basis.

    Lucky Red Weekend bonus

    Thursday, August 25th, 2011

    Happy Thursday and we’re almost to the weekend. Now, if you live along the Southeast coast like I do, you know you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time indoors this weekend. I’m in Florida and we’re already waiting for the first bands of Hurricane Irene to tap our shores. We’re lucky - she’s going to stay off shore from us, but we’re still expecting lots of rain. My friends up in the Carolinas are already battening the hatches for the big wind. Having been through oh, about 5 hurricanes, I know to prepare for long stretches of time indoors. So I’m already checking out the casino news because this weekend I could really use some extra playing money. And Lucky Red Casino may be my lucky casino this weekend.

    Beginning tomorrow, Friday, August 26th Lucky Red Casino will be offering 5 bonuses worth up to $5000 which means plenty of bonus money to spend on spinning the slot reels. Now, this is one of their high roller bonuses which means that you must deposit at least $100 to qualify for the 100% match bonus up to $1000. The coupon code for the bonus is GIFTS4U1 and you can use it 5 times for a total of $5000. Keep in mind that this bonus is to play slots, keno and scratch cards.

    If you want to play blackjack, Video Poker or table games, you can take advantage of the ongoing 55% bonus offer by using the code OTHERGAMES55. Or if you want to play slots, keno or scratch cards but don’t want to deposit $100, you can still take advantage of the SLOTS65 offer for 65% back on your deposit starting at $25. But remember, if you deposit more, you can get more with the GIFTS4U1 offer.

    Pocket Kings and Full Tilt

    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

    I think last week I went all week without having to write about Full Tilt Poker. But this week seems determined to make up for it. So, a couple of news bits coming out of Full Tilt and neither of them promising. First, the chief marketing officer of Full Tilt Poker has announced that he’s resigning on September 13th. And it seems Lothar Rentschler isn’t leaving quietly. But then again, after a couple of years with Full Tilt poker, he may feel like he needs to defend himself. According to Rentschler, marketing’s hands were bound when it came to the spiraling downhill situation at Full Tilt. Rentschler isn’t the only one leaving. A sponsored pro, Erich Kollmann, has announced that he’s ending his contract with the company. Other players haven’t ended their contracts but they’ve been spotted playing on other poker rooms. Well, they sort of have to since they can’t play on Full Tilt.

    And in other bad news for Full Tilt players, the company has announced that they’ve ended the exclusive negotiation period with the mysterious European investors who people were hoping would step in and rescue the company. Now, this means they’ve now entered negotiations with other investors, but it sounds like the first investor group may be pulling back on the idea of buying Full Tilt Poker and paying off the money they owe to players. In order to keep Full Tilt up and running, any investor will have to pay off the money the poker room owes to players all over the world. While players are hoping for a rescuer to bring the company back from the brink, it’s going to be a big investment from an investor’s perspective.

    Cashback week at Lucky Red

    Monday, August 22nd, 2011

    Welcome to Monday. Yes, let’s get the groaning over. But while you’re doing that, remember that today is the last day of the LUCKYRED500 promotion. To take advantage of this slot promotion, you’ll deposit $150 and and get another $500 to play slots on. So, if you are a slots lover, this is your last day to take advantage of this bonus offer to keep you spinning the reels.

    Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, August 23, until Thursday, August 2011, Lucky Red Casino is offering a 20% cashback bonus. Now, cashback bonuses are actually the bonus that you don’t want to collect — even though they are great bonuses. So, why am I telling you about a bonus that you don’t want to collect? Because to take advantage of this type of bonus, you have to lose money, and I know we’d all rather win money while playing. But let’s face reality — in gambling losing is always a possibility. But Lucky Red has you covered if you lose.

    Here’s how it works. Play on Lucky Red from Tuesday to Thursday and if you don’t make a profit, the online casino will give you a 20% cashback bonus on Friday. So all you have to do is play and if you lose money, send a message to the casino promotions department for 20% cashback.

    And you can always take advantage of the 65% slots, keno and scratch card bonus. Just use the code SLOTS65 for more money to play those games with. Or if you like video poker, blackjack and table games, just use the code OTHERGAMES55 and for a 55% cashback bonus on your deposit. Now, as always, you’ll want to read the terms and conditions before taking advantage of any bonus offer. A wise gambler is a good gambler.

    California ad campaign for online poker

    Friday, August 19th, 2011

    Many people are saying that the first form of legal online gambling we’ll see in the United States is online poker. There are a variety of reasons for this and I could argue that it’s because online poker is a game of skill, not a game of chance. But it really might be because poker has a bigger publicity force. Poker is organized, and players will put money behind forces that support legalizing online poker.

    And we can see the effects of the poker force over in California where the Online Poker Association (OPA) is campaigning for online poker. They’ve started a ad campaign that presents online poker as the force that can save the state’s economy and are urging legislators to pass “senate bill 40″ which would make online poker legal in the state of California.

    Now, the ads point out problems that the state of California will face if it can’t find more funding by December and states that the results of not allowing legal online poker could be cutting firemen, polices officers and other positions in the state. (On a side note, online poker would give the firemen something to do when not trying to put out the state.)

    Now, the new campaign is backed by two of the state’s Native American tribes, the Morongo and San Manuel and by many of the states land based poker rooms. But other Native American tribes are opposing the bill saying it would cause competition for their businesses. While, I sympathize with them, I’m not sure that having the state itself go bankrupt is a good thing for their business either. They might want to look at what Las Vegas and Atlantic City have discovered — when the economy goes down the tubes, people stop driving to gambling locations, even if there isn’t competition. When the economy is good, people have more money to spend.

    Super Size starts at Club World Casino

    Thursday, August 18th, 2011

    Welcome to Thursday! I know, it’s not Friday yet. Just one more day, so hang in there and I’ll give you something to help you be excited about on a Thursday. It’s the start of a new Supersize Bonus over at Club USA Casino. The Supersize Bonus is running today (yay Thursday) through Sunday, August 21st, so you have a good four days to take advantage of this bonus. Now, though you can take advantage of the Supersize bonus 5 times, the aspect of this bonus that you want to keep in mind is that you get the most advantage out of this bonus if you deposit one big deposit instead of five little deposits. Because with this deposit, you get a 65% bonus on the money you deposit up to $100. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a nice deposit, but the goal here is to make a deposit over $100. Why?

    Because here’s what happens with every dollar over $100 - you get a 120% bonus on that amount! You’ll use the coupon code SUPERME1 when you claim this bonus. And once again, this code is available for five uses.

    Now, if you can’t deposit over $100 or if you use up your five SUPERME1 coupons, you can still take advantage of the ongoing deposit bonuses at Club USA Casino. Just use the code SLOTS65 for a 65% match bonus to play Slots, Keno, Video Slots or Scratch Cards. Or if those aren’t your favorite games, use the code OTHERGAMES55 to play blackjack, video poker and other games. Because whatever you like to play, you’ll find great play at Club USA Casino.

    Will budget woes force the online gambling issue?

    Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

    We’ve all seen the stock market go up and down like a Six Flags roller coaster this last week or two and many people are warning everyone to keep hands and arms inside the vehicle and hang on because this is going to be a bumpy ride. There are days when I think slot machines are less of a gamble than the stock market. At least with slots, I know the bad odds I’m facing. But these days it’s not just individuals who are struggling to pay the bills and balance the budget. It’s governments. And as strange as that seems, this could be a good thing for gamblers because the budget crisis may be the one thing that forces governments — from federal to state — to reexamine online gambling and the potential income.

    Now, why might online gambling be particularly attractive right about now? One word - taxes. See, no one wants to raise taxes on the American people. And certain groups will tell us we can’t raise taxes on business because they’ll stop making money. So, regardless of political affiliation, it seems taxes are a bad work. Except when it comes to gambling. Oh, gamblers may fuss, but by and large, the American public really isn’t going to get all flustered over the idea of taxing online gambling. After all, it’s a tax anyone can avoid playing simply by not gambling online. Because, let’s face it folks, online gambling is a form of entertainment, not a need. And for governments, there’s also the potential revenue from licensing fees and other fees from online casinos. And the US is a big enough market that the casinos will pay because they know they’ll make money in the end.

    Look, for me personally, I’d rather see online gambling taxed and regulated than an increase in taxes on what I make. I don’t make that much. So, bring in the casinos and give the current tax payers a little breathing room.

    Multi hand Video Poker

    Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

    Video poker is my “go to” game at the casino whether I’m playing at a real world casino or an online casino, video poker is always the game I tend to gravitate to. Sometimes after I’ve been frustrated by losing money elsewhere. If I play a bit at the roulette table and find I’ve lost more than I want or if I try a slot game and find I’m not getting payouts, I’ll drift back to video poker. Today, I’m playing a 3 handed game of video poker, so I want to talk a bit about multi hand games in video poker.

    Now, when you’re learning to play video poker, I recommend staying with the single hand games. First, they cost you less money per hand, which means you’ll probably last longer if you’re learning strategy. And secondly, if you are learning strategy, a single hand at a time lets you focus more on what you are actually doing. It’s just less confusing for a new player. But once you’ve become experienced with video poker, you may want to try out some of the multi hand games.

    Now, what’s the advantage to the multi hand game? Well, really they’re just a way to speed up the game. They don’t actually change the odds, they just make the game move faster. But since video poker is a hunt for the elusive Royal Flush, dedicated players will use the multi-hand games to help them get through more hands in a shorter period of time to reach the royal flush sooner.

    Now, you’ll want to take your bankroll into account when deciding whether or not to play a multi-hand video poker game because while it can increase your chances of hitting a good hand, it also means you’ll hit more useless hands in a faster period of time. And keep in mind that strategy also plays a hefty part in a multi-hand game since you aren’t dealt 5 or 10 different options. How to explain this? Part of it is the magic of computers. In a five hand game, you’ll be dealt 5 hands and one hand will have the cards turned over. You choose the cards you want to hold in that revealed hand. So, say you hold 2 Aces. The computer “holds” those same two aces in all 5 hands and reveals new cards around them. So if the best you have is a pair of threes to hold, you’re holding a pair of threes for all five hands - so none of those 5 hands will be a royal flush. Sometimes I just think of multi-hand video poker as video poker for the impatient player.