Posts Tagged ‘poker’

Nevada AG Hates Online Poker and is Running for Governor

 Nevada AG Hates Online Poker and is Running for Governor

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced Tuesday via Twitter that he had officially filed the paperwork to run for Governor this fall. That he has thrown his hat into the ring is significant because he is extremely anti-online poker.

His stance on internet poker became known in late 2015, when he confirmed that he would be signing a letter with other state Attorneys General in support of Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill. Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., is a billionaire Republican donor and has stated that he will do “whatever it takes” to get online gambling banned in the United States.

One of those things that he has done is pen (or have his legal flunkies pen) RAWA, a bill which would revert the Department of Justice’s official interpretation of the Wire Act to the incorrect one and include all online gambling under its umbrella. The Wire Act, passed in 1961, specifically bans sports betting over communications lines, but for years, the DoJ interpreted it so as to make all online gambling illegal. In late 2011, the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) clarified its stance on the Wire Act, saying that it only applies to sports betting. The goal of RAWA, as mentioned, would be to turn back time and go back to the former, wrong interpretation, making online poker illegal.

And Laxalt, the Attorney General and aspiring Governor of the first state to legalize online poker, supports RAWA. Go figure.

Speaking with Jon Ralston on his Nevada Public Television show, “Ralston Live,” in November 2015, Laxalt tried to explain:

There’s a couple giant exceptions to this, alright? One is Congress spoke on this issue and had an existing Wire Act, ok? And then Attorney General Holder issued an opinion a few days before Christmas some years ago and changed that landscape. He changed that landscape without gaming companies, without law enforcement, without all the parties that should’ve been involved to make sure that we can keep consumers safe and all this can be done properly. So, I think obviously in this case we’re looking to return it back to what the status quo was, that Congress passed, and, you know, the other thing is obviously gaming is a different animal. You know, you have, you need to know where the sources of money are coming from and you need to make sure you can police this area.

He used the excuse at the time that Adelson, Steve Wynn, and Nevada Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller all supported RAWA.

Then and current governor Brian Sandoval, a big supporter of online gambling, said of Laxalt’s opinion, “….I am very concerned that anyone representing the state’s legal interests would speak out against current state law in our leading industry. At its core, this is a state’s rights issue and I disagree with the Attorney General that a federal government one-size-fits-all solution is in the best interest of Nevada.”

I don’t know who will be running against Laxalt, but here’s to hoping Laxalt loses.

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Female Poker Player to Play WSOP Main Event Undercover as Man

 Female Poker Player to Play WSOP Main Event Undercover as Man

From one story about a person in disguise to another. Card Player reported Wednesday that a female poker player who goes by the pen name Sia Layta plans to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event this summer dressed as a man.

Now, we have seen men dress as women at the WSOP before, but this is not like those instances. When men have done it, they have not tried to truly look like a woman, but rather entered the Ladies Event and dressed as women as a joke. I won’t get into all the reasons men are stupid and thoughtless for doing this, but suffice to say they are idiots for thinking it is sexist to have a women’s only event.

Layta is promoting her upcoming book, Black Widow Poker, detailing her experiences playing poker on the West Coast and how sexism and gender bias in the poker world hurts female participation. She intends to disguise herself as a man, facial hair and all, to illustrate how women are treated differently at the poker table.

From the Card Player piece:

Layta said women in poker encounter bullying, sometimes arising to the level where it makes it so “women aren’t able to play poker the way men are.” She also cited a strategy example, saying that most women are better off slow playing their hands in order to get action from men. “It’s really hard to win a tournament when you have to limp in,” she said. Her book is also part strategy guide.

Layta told Card Player that she will remove her disguise if she makes the money.

Phil Laak famously dressed in an “old man” disguise at the 2008 WSOP, a getup that ESPN commentator Norman Chad said made him look like Hume Cronyn in Cocoon (eh, that’s a stretch). It was a pretty darn good makeup/latex job, though he was eventually found out. That stunt, though, led to a rule being added to the WSOP rulebook:

Participants may not cover or conceal their facial identity. Tournament officials must be able to distinguish the identity of each participant at all times and may instruct participants to remove any material that inhibits their identification or is a distraction to other participants or tournament officials. Participants may wear sunglasses and sweat shirts with hoods, but may be asked to remove them if tournament officials cannot identify them.

It is entirely possible that if Layta is discovered, she could be disqualified from the tournament and lose her $ 10,000 buy-in. A spokesperson for her book told Card Player that they believe she would not be violating the spirit of the rule. She isn’t a ringer subbing in for a friend – she is playing as herself, just not looking like herself.

One could counter that argument by saying that if people can’t recognize her as SIa Layta, then she is at an advantage because anyone who might have otherwise recognized her from real life (as she does play poker on the West Coast) won’t know who she is and therefore can’t use their knowledge of her play to help them.

She doesn’t care, though, and has no plans to call off her effort. In her book, she describes several instances in which she has done the same thing in other tournaments.

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Women in Poker Hall of Fame Nominations Open – Who is Deserving?

 Women in Poker Hall of Fame Nominations Open – Who is Deserving?

The Poker Hall of Fame was created to honor the best there has ever been in the game. While honoring those who have, at best, been at the periphery of the game (“Wild Bill” Hickok?), the Poker Hall of Fame has pretty much gotten it right except for one area, female players. To this date, only three women – Barbara Enright, Linda Johnson and Jennifer Harman – have earned their induction into this pantheon. To be sure that women get the deserved recognition for their contributions to the game, the Women in Poker Hall of Fame was created.

Active since 2008, the past couple of cycles of elections have come at two-year intervals for the WiPHoF. As the last induction ceremonies were conducted in 2016, it is time once again for new members to be admitted to the Hall. To help facilitate this process, officials with the Women in Poker Hall of Fame have recently opened the nomination process to determine their 2018 inductees.

As with the Poker Hall of Fame’s process, the Women’s Hall allows for the public to nominate one woman for the select Media & Industry Voting Panel to consider. Unlike the main Hall, however, every candidate that meets the criteria for entry into the Women’s Hall will be put forth for consideration. The criteria for election into the Women’s Hall is as such:

A candidate must have been active as a player or industry leader for a minimum of 10 years prior to election and 35 years old or older.
Candidate must have contributed to the world of poker in a significant manner, either through winning major poker events or making other significant contributions to the industry of poker.
Candidate must be a proponent of women in poker.
Candidate must meet approval of the WiPHoF Committee and the current members of the Hall.
Candidate must agree to the terms and conditions of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.

Once the ballot is set, the Media & Industry Voting Panel and the Hall members will consider the list and vote for their selections. Once the vote is tallied, the highest vote getters are announced and eligible for induction into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. Those new inductees will be honored during ceremonies on June 26 at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas.

But here’s the big question…who deserves to be nominated?

Much like the Poker Hall of Fame, it is a long list of potential nominees that are available for the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. The following women should be considered for nomination by the public.

Betty Carey – This one harkens back before the internet days of the poker world. Heck, it even harkens back to when the World Series of Poker was but a struggling tournament poker series. But for those that remember the exploits of such men as Doyle Brunson, “Amarillo” Slim Preston, Puggy Pearson and many others who have gone on to the Poker Hall of Fame, Carey is one of the women who was able to keep up with them.

There is the legend that Preston and Carey played a heads-up match in which the effervescent Preston table-talked Carey for a $ 100,000 stake. Part of the problem, Carey realized afterwards, was that Preston’s incessant talking had forced her into a verbal tell that he discovered. Carey and Preston played again, this time with Carey wearing earplugs, and the lady broke the former World Champion within 10 minutes.

Carey’s exploits in the cash game arena saw her take on the best players in the game – almost always male – and do more than just hold her own. While she doesn’t have the tournament exploits that make one known to the public, her longevity in an era when women weren’t readily accepted at the tables should earn her a spot in the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.

Nani Dollison – From the late 90s through the early Aughts, Dollison was one of the most talented female players in the world of poker. She won back-to-back Ladies’ Championships (2000/2001), when the tournament was a split Limit Hold’em/Seven Card Stud event. Only Susie Isaacs can say that (Isaacs won when it was a Seven Card Stud event) and Isaacs was an original inductee in 2008. She is also tied, with Enright and Vanessa Selbst (who arguably will be a first-ballot Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee when she is eligible in two years).

Shirley Rosario – Not exactly a name that jumps at people but, if you’ve been around the game any length of time, you know who Rosario is. Known for her cash game skills and her prop playing at casinos in California, Rosario has advocated for women in poker since before the “boom” of the early Aughts. She has also been a successful tournament professional, earning nearly $ 500,000 in her career.

Karina Jett – Although she hasn’t been as active in the poker world in the past few years (choosing to spend most of her time raising her and husband Chip’s children), Jett has been able to amass a stellar tournament poker record. She’s been to the WSOP Ladies’ Championship final table three times, coming up fourth in back to back years (2003 and 2004) and the runner up to Marsha Wolak in 2011. Jett was also a part of some of poker’s best “made for television” programming, including Poker After Dark and Poker Night in America.

Annie Duke – Had to throw one controversial choice in.

Duke is, without a doubt, one of the most polarizing subjects in the world of poker. Being polarizing is not a ban on being honored for your play and your contributions to poker, however, and Duke has covered those bases in spades. Her victory in the 2004 WSOP Tournament of Champions – in which she tortured Phil Hellmuth before seizing the $ 2 million winner take all victory – and her WSOP bracelet won in Omaha High/Low in the same year might be enough to establish her playing credentials. Add in her 2010 victory in the National Heads-up Poker Championship, defeating Huck Seed and Erik Seidel on her way to the title, and those credentials are solidified.

While nowadays she tries to paint herself as a “business consultant” (Duke hasn’t cashed in a poker tournament since 2010), Duke’s work as an advocate for online poker (she once was a member of the Poker Players Alliance Board of Directors) and in what might have been good ideas that went under (the Epic Poker League) indicate someone who was, at the least, trying to make the game better. And who can say that every idea they’ve ever had have worked out to its fullest?

The Women in Poker Hall of Fame nominations are open until March 15 at the dedicated site on the Hall’s webpage. One vote can be registered per IP address and, once the votes have been screened, will be presented to the Jury Panel for consideration. Soon afterwards, the new inductees for the Women in Poker Hall of Fame will be announced.

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Las Vegas Poker Dealer Loses License for Stealing from Pots

 Las Vegas Poker Dealer Loses License for Stealing from Pots

Last Thursday, for the first time in a decade, the Nevada Gaming Commission held an evidentiary hearing to consider the revocation of a gaming employee’s license. And that hearing resulted in poker dealer Jesus Saucedo having his registration stripped for stealing chips from pots.

Saucedo was a poker dealer at the Bellagio, but it was what he did while a dealer at Bally’s that was the subject of the hearing. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Commission agent A. Alan Vaughn was questioned by Assistant Attorney General Michael Somps. Vaughn said that on June 17th, 2017, Saucedo took a $ 5 chip from the chips set aside for the casino’s rake and put it in his toke (tip) box. Vaughn said that video showed Saucedo “curling his fingertips around the chip and moving it near the rake pile before sweeping into a box used to collect tips from players.”

After looking at the tape, Bally’s called in regulators to investigate further, who saw two other hands from the same day where it appeared that Saucedo stole $ 5 chips. For his part, Saucedo claims he didn’t steal any money intentionally. He admitted that he did put one of the chips in the toke box, but it was by accident; with the others, he said he moved the chips to the rake.

“My mistake was not following the proper procedure. It was not my intent to steal from my previous employer,” Saucedo said at the hearing.

The commissioners didn’t buy it and Commissioner John Moran, Jr. let Saucedo have it:

I think you cheated the game. I think you cheated your employer and, consequently, you cheated yourself because I think you’re a very skilled and good employee except for the fact that you cheated. … I don’t think this was your first rodeo. I think you’ve been doing this a long time. I wish we had facts for that, but we don’t. But I don’t need anything else than your admission and what I saw on the affidavits. I’m going to believe what I saw.

The Bellagio suspended Saucedo Thursday and will end his employment since he has lost his registration.

It is somewhat interesting that Saucedo was able to get a job at the Bellagio after leaving Bally’s. Though a complaint against him was filed in October, he was able to maintain his registration until last week’s hearing. He apparently resigned from his position at Bally’s after he was found out, possibly a small favor from the casino in exchange for a) not getting fired and/or b) not taking a poker dealer job elsewhere. Obviously, Saucedo did seek poker employment elsewhere, but whether or not that was contrary to an agreement he had with Bally’s, we don’t know.

Saucedo does have the option to appeal the ruling and can ask for another hearing in a year, if he so chooses.

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Dennis Blieden Defeats Toby Lewis in “David vs. Goliath” Showdown, Wins WPT L. A. Poker Classic

 Dennis Blieden Defeats Toby Lewis in “David vs. Goliath” Showdown, Wins WPT L. A. Poker Classic

In a classic battle of “David versus Goliath” Dennis Blieden, who had only cashed twice in his tournament poker career, was able to vanquish poker pro Toby Lewis to win the 25th running (and 16th under the World Poker Tour banner) of the L. A. Poker Classic’s Championship Event.

Lewis led the six-man final table as they gathered together on Thursday afternoon to determine the champion. Blieden, for his part, was within shouting distance of Lewis’ stack (5.39 million to Blieden’s 4.125 million), while the remainder of the field looked to play catchup. Marc MacDonnell (1.695 million), Derek Wolters (1.52 million), Peter Hengsakul (1.065 million) and Manuel Martinez (985K) all had their work cut out for them if they were going to get in the mix for the title.

Blieden came out of the gates on a rampage, winning four of the first five hands, and would be responsible for the first elimination only six hands in. On Hand 6, Martinez raised the flop from under the gun and Blieden, out of position in the big blind, made the call to see an 8-8-2 flop. Blieden would then check-raise a Martinez continuation bet, which Martinez only called, to see a six on the turn. Blieden once again led out, this time for 230K, and after Martinez came over the top of his bet with an all-in move, Blieden was more than happy to call.

Martinez had a beautiful pair of ladies in his pocket, but the whims of fate had struck for Blieden. His 8-6 had found trips on the flop and filled up the boat on the turn, leaving Martinez looking for one of the remaining Queens in the deck to reverse his fortunes. Another six on the river gave Martinez three pair, still not good enough to beat Blieden’s boat, and send him out of the tournament in sixth place.

That hand would temporarily move Blieden into the lead, but Lewis would take it back with authority a few hands later. After limping into a pot, Wolters would call but Blieden would three bet the action. Lewis made the call and Wolters folded as the dealer fanned out the innocuous 8-3-2 flop. Blieden aggressively led out and, after a moment of thought, Lewis made the call. On a ten turn, Blieden fired again for 360K and, pondering for a moment again, Lewis made the call. A King came on the river and it was Blieden’s turn to pause, using up a Time Bank chip before firing his third bullet (of 785K) at the pot. Lewis didn’t hesitate this time, calling the bet and showing pocket fives for FOURTH pair. Surprisingly, it was good; Blieden was pushing air with his Q-9 off suit and, soon after he showed his hand, the 3 million-plus pot and the chip lead were pushed to Lewis.

Undaunted, Blieden went back to work in building his stack back up. He knocked out Hengsakul in fifth place, but it was another clash with Lewis that put him back into the lead. 25 hands after losing that big pot to Lewis, Blieden would turn a flush against Lewis to capture a nearly four million chip pot to rocket up to 7.05 million. Lewis wasn’t in bad shape with his 3.63 million in chips (good for second with four players left) but he – nor anyone else at the table – would get close to Blieden again.

Although Lewis would take down both MacDonnell and Wolters in fourth and third places, respectively, Blieden steamrolled the opposition so much that he held more than a 5:1 edge when heads up play began. On the second hand of heads up (Hand 79), the final battle would commence and the tournament would be concluded.

Lewis raised the betting pre-flop and, after Blieden three-bet the action, responded with a four bet of his own. Blieden just called and saw a 6-6-3 flop, which he also check-called after a 400K bet from Lewis. The Queen on the turn saw Blieden check again and pause after Lewis hammered in his remaining 2.2 million chips. Blieden tentatively called and showed his Big Chick (A-Q), Queens up, while Lewis sprung his trap one street too late in turning up his pocket tens. Looking for one of two tens to save his tournament life, Lewis instead made an inferior full house with the six on the river, giving the championship to Blieden.

1. Dennis Blieden, $ 1,000,000
2. Toby Lewis, $ 603,630
3. Derek Wolters, $ 430,210
4. Marc MacDonnell, $ 319,310
5. Peter Hengsakul, $ 244,430
6. Manuel Martinez, $ 186,235

There is no rest for the WPT and its players. As soon as the tournament concluded at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, the WPT workhorses packed up the circus and moved up the coast to the Thunder Valley Casino Resort for the WPT Rolling Thunder tournament. That tournament runs from today through March 6, with two Day Ones kicking off the action on Friday and Saturday. For now, however, Dennis Blieden is celebrating his first major poker title as the champion of the L. A. Poker Classic.

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