Posts Tagged ‘poker’

Poker Legend Doyle Brunson Enters Another Hall of Fame

 Poker Legend Doyle Brunson Enters Another Hall of Fame

Although he has had a tremendous career as a legendary poker player, Doyle Brunson wasn’t always known for his abilities on the poker table. His exploits in another area – athletics – have also brought him great renown, including his recent induction into another organization’s Hall of Fame.

Brunson, now 83 years old, was inducted into the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame at the end of April for his exploits on the basketball court. The Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame honors great athletes from a 19-county area (remember, Texas is a pretty big state) for their achievements in athletics. Brunson was a standout basketball player while in high school at Sweetwater High School, being named All-State in the sport, while also winning the mile in 1950 at the Texas Interscholastic Track Meet in a time of 4:43. Brunson would then move on to greater things after going to college.

While attending Hardin-Simmons University, Brunson was named the Border Conference Most Valuable Player as a junior in 1953 after averaging 15.3 points per game in leading the school to the NCAA tournament, where they would lose in the first round to Santa Clara. The then-fledgling National Basketball Association noticed the 6-foot-5 Texan and his achievements, with the defending champion Minneapolis Lakers (then with the dominant center in the game, George Mikan, and fellow Texan Slater Martin; both men would go on to the Basketball Hall of Fame) indicating that they would draft Brunson in that summer’s NBA draft.

There is an old saying from the wise sage of the Beatles, John Lennon, however: life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. Working in a factory, Brunson attempted to stop the shift of a forklift full of sheetrock by extending his leg in front of the massive weight, breaking it in two places and essentially ending any athletic career that the NBA was offering. Brunson would spend the next two years on crutches and still has mobility issues because of the unfortunate accident.

Brunson, contacted by the Abilene Reporter-News writer Evan Ren, was quite pleased with his latest Hall of Fame induction. “I’m honored, because the (Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame) is from where I grew up and I know the names of most of the people who are in it,” Brunson noted to Ren in a telephone interview. “Most of the people in it who I knew personally have died. But I’m very honored because it’s from Texas.”

This is just the latest Hall of Fame to honor Brunson. His exploits in the poker world – a back-to-back World Champion by winning the World Series of Poker Championship Event, a ten-time WSOP bracelet winner overall, a legendary road gambler and recognition as the “Godfather of Poker” from his seminal tome on the game (Super/System) – earned him induction into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988 and, due to his exploits on the basketball floor, he was inducted into the Hardin-Simmons University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. The induction into the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame is the third organization to honor Brunson with enshrinement.

The list of notable athletes that Brunson is joining are numerous. Football players Sammy Baugh (Washington Redskins), Bob Lilly (Dallas Cowboys), Don Maynard (New York Jets) and Colt McCoy (former University of Texas quarterback) are all members of the Hall. Brunson was inducted with fellow members Mary Bolden-Washington (track), Jimmy Carmichael (football), Tey Forkerway (baseball), Steve Lineweaver (football coach), Jack Turner (Golden Gloves boxing) and Larry Wartes (baseball). Congratulations to Doyle Brunson for another well-deserved accolade in a life that has been replete with such awards!

Poker News Daily

Oregon House Passes Bill to Shut Down Portland Poker Rooms

 Oregon House Passes Bill to Shut Down Portland Poker Rooms

A bill that would amend Oregon poker laws to ban the “for profit” industry that has sprung up has passed through the Oregon House of Representatives and now is waiting for the Oregon Senate’s review and vote.

The legislation that would ban Portland poker rooms, known as HB 2190, passed through the House by a prohibitive majority of 39-16. In that legislation, the current laws would be amended to state that only “social” poker games could be conducted and that those gatherings would have to be “operated and controlled by a charitable, fraternal or religious organization” such as the American Legion or Knights of Columbus groups. At this time, Portland is home to a thriving, for-profit industry, with 13 poker rooms that exist in the city limits for the past decade and another seven that are within the county.

Over the past year, the focus of law enforcement has been on the Portland poker scene, looking for violations of the law as it is currently written. Several of the most popular outlets have been targeted by Portland police for employing dealers – the games are supposed to be self-dealt – and, once they were found to be in violation of the law, were fined significant amounts of money and closure for up to two weeks. The new bill, if implemented into law, would completely remove these types of businesses.

When the Oregon legislature passed gaming regulations back in 1973, poker was allowed as “social gaming” in businesses and private clubs. Although there are regulations prohibiting “gambling” in the state of Oregon and after several challenges to the way the law was written, Portland became a thriving hub of poker rooms. Those rooms, however, didn’t open until 2007, and they have become an integral industry in the city.

Now, however, there are opponents that would like to see Oregon (and particularly Portland) tighten up those laws. In the state of Oregon, Indian tribes operate eight different casinos, including the Klamath Tribe, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Those casinos are losing about $ 10-$ 15 million per year to the Portland poker room industry and, with a strict law stating that only certain organizations can offer poker events, would stand to recoup a great deal of that money.

The tribal casinos aren’t just talking a big game, they are putting the money up to take in the patrons of the Portland scene. In La Center, WA (about 20 miles north of Portland), the Cowlitz Tribe opened Ilani Casino, a state-of-the-art casino in late April. Consisting of 378,000 square feet of entertainment and gaming space (including 2500 slot machines and 75 table games and a 20-table poker room, according to the World Casino Directory. The new casino is expected to draw in 4.5 million visitors per year, employ 1200 people and bring in $ 200 million annually in revenues.

Currently there are no efforts in the Senate regarding the Portland poker rooms, which has saved the industry in the past. There have been efforts for the past four years to close the poker rooms in Portland, but every year they have died due to no corresponding bill to reconcile and send to the governor. Current Governor Kate Brown‘s position on the subject of Portland’s poker rooms and/or the Oregon casino industry aren’t known should a bill come to her desk.

For now, the Portland poker scene is still in existence. The rooms are abiding by the laws as they are written – not charging a rake on players (the players instead pay a fee to play), not paying the dealers (the dealers are tipped) and making their revenues through food and drink sales. Should the Oregon Senate come up with legislation – and should it be reconciled with the already-passed House version of the bill – then the tension regarding the future of Portland poker rooms will ramp up.

Poker News Daily

Patrik Antonius Wants to Open Poker Room in Monaco

 Patrik Antonius Wants to Open Poker Room in Monaco

Patrik Antonius was one of the kings of poker before Black Friday. He was a successful player before poker exploded, but it was the poker boom that really helped him rise to fame, as it did with many poker players. One of the most prolific online players of all time, his success at nose bleed stakes plus stunning good looks (and I mean that when judging on a regular attractiveness scale, not just a poker player attractiveness scale) propelled him to superstar status.

His former online poker home, Full Tilt, gone and online games tougher than ever, Patrik Antonius isn’t as active in poker as he used to be, but he is still playing and having a good time. Now living in Monaco, he is currently competing in the PokerStars Championship sponsored by Monte-Carlo Casino. It is there that PokerNews found him and asked him how things were going.

“I’ve been very good,” Antonius told PokerNews. “I’m very happy with my life situation, I can’t complain. You know, I haven’t been traveling for the events. Life changes a little bit and my lifestyle has changed as well.”

“I’ve been here in Monaco with my family, my kids are growing and I don’t really want to be months and months away from home anymore,” he added. “I wished we would have more, bigger and regular games in Europe.”

Hey, makes sense. While there are certainly places to play poker in Europe, Antonius prefers cash games and the best ones are in Las Vegas and Macau, neither of which is ever arguably convenient to Monaco. And while there are a bunch of major tourneys every year in Europe, the United States is still where it’s at.

“I can’t say that I’m a very experienced tournament player anymore,” Antonius told PokerNews. “I was playing a lot of tournaments in 2005 and 2006, but for the last eight years or so, I’ve played fewer than 10 tournaments a year.”

So, since finding a good game locally is a problem and Antonius isn’t very keen on traveling to hell and gone for one, he is doing something about it. Antonius is working on creating his own land-based poker room right there in Monaco.

“I can’t share any details yet but if we could get a nice poker room in Europe, that would be good for a lot of people,” he said.

Oh, but he did share some details. Antonius believes that Monaco could support a poker room because he knows of enough poker players who are interested in playing “decently high stakes” cash games and who would also be happy to make a short trip to Monaco, rather than, say, Las Vegas or Macau.

“People would fly here from all over the world. It would be very easy to organize good games here. We just have to get proper rake so it’s reasonable.”

Poker News Daily

Editorial: Poker Doesn’t Need More “Characters” Like Salomon Ponte

 Editorial: Poker Doesn’t Need More “Characters” Like Salomon Ponte

If you’ve been away from your television for the past few days, then you’ve missed the latest in uproars in the poker community. On this week’s edition of Poker Night in America from the Choctaw Casino in Durant, OK, the poker world was introduced to arguably the vilest creature that has ever been seated at a poker table. Going by the name Salomon Ponte – but loudly and crassly telling everyone to call him the “Hashtag King“ – this stain on the poker condition hit the felt in the PNIA cash game, a $ 25/$ 50 where the usual minimum buy-in is around $ 5000. Before he left, he had made a dubious impression on the program.

Over the course of an hour of play, Ponte proceeded to insult pretty much every player that was at the table, which included Shaun Deeb and Doug Polk. This wasn’t your garden variety, Mike Matusow “you’ve got little balls, I’ve got big balls” needling, these insults went into areas that no one should enter (hell, even professional basketball players KNOW NOT to do these things). Ponte proceeded to insult Deeb’s WIFE, saying “I’d rather be dead than have your fucking wife,” said that Deeb was a “fucking retard” and said Polk was “one of the biggest bitches in poker.” It was particularly sad to see Ponte, after spewing his vitriol, try to borrow money from the people he had disparaged (like they were going to give him money?).

Congratulations, poker world, we’ve finally found the point – poker doesn’t need more “characters” like Salomon Ponte.

Looking over the history of poker, there have been men – and some women – who have contributed to the game because of their larger than life personalities. You don’t think that the riverboat gamblers who traversed the Mississippi River during the 1830s and 1840s didn’t have a colloquial charm about them? What about such men who conquered the West as “Doc” Holliday, Wyatt Earp, “Wild Bill” Hickok and scores of others? The ladies were well represented by “Poker Alice” Ivers and Lottie “Poker Queen” Deno (born Carlotta Thompkins) in the late 1800s. Even into the 20th century, there were men like “Titanic” Thompson and, yes, even the man considered the “Godfather of Poker” Doyle Brunson. These people were THOSE personalities that made the game better and, as an added benefit, helped their wallet get fatter.

As the latter part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century began, however, those “characters” became fewer. Potentially because of the effect of online poker, the visage of the soulless hulk of flesh, sitting at a table in a hoodie with headphones clasped around his head, sunglasses removing the last vestiges of humanity, there are few players who capture the attention of those casual poker fans. The aforementioned Matusow attempted to carry the banner (taken out by a bad back that limits his sitting time), as did Antanas “Tony G“ Guoga (taken out by becoming a married man and a politician).

Since there is a dearth of entertaining personalities in the poker community, the poker programs in existence have little but (gasp!) skillful poker play and educational and technical points to be able to talk about during their broadcasts. They really want to talk about the art of poker and the psychological battle that is going on in front of those with a rudimentary knowledge of the game, but they also want to see the blood sport, the sparring, that one gets with mano y mano showdowns for huge piles of money. Thus, these shows try to create a “bad guy” for the fans to hate.

ESPN and the World Series of Poker have been the worst offenders in this field. Going back to Matusow in 2004 against eventual World Champion Greg Raymer, each year there’s been that “player you love to hate.” In 2006, Jamie Gold all but twirled a moustache at the final table as he won the World Championship; 2007 brought the “bulldozer” that was Hevad Khan (and who brought about the “Hevad Khan Rule” against overly exuberant celebrations at the WSOP); just last year, it was William Kassouf and his incessant table talk that drew the ire of the community.

But there was a difference in these famous “bad guys” that separates them from the embarrassment that Ponte was at the table. For the most part, there was no malevolence (Matusow? OK, maybe questionable there) involved in their actions. They were stretching the rules of the game of poker, seeing just how far out on the edge they could go while they garnered attention from either the poker press or (perhaps more importantly) the cameras of ESPN.

In Ponte’s case, there was venom in the words he spoke. This wasn’t an attempt to get into someone’s head while at the table, this was verbal assault that could have gotten out of hand and become physical. There’s no place for that at the tables and the producers of PNIA should have put the kibosh on Ponte’s actions before they got out of hand. The problem is that Ponte wouldn’t have given a damn; he was later ejected from the Choctaw Casino and, over Twitter, proudly stated he had been kicked out of about a dozen casinos, not something to wear as a badge of honor (really, how shitty do you have to be to get tossed out of a casino?).

Maybe it’s time the poker community learned something. You don’t have to be a dick to be a “personality” at the tables. You just have to be able to halfway carry a conversation, maybe be a little self-deprecating, and ensure that the people playing against you – and those watching on whatever outlet – are entertained. THEN you’ll be asked to every event where a telegenic personality is needed.

Sure, poker needs to have some colorful characters in its mix. Sometimes they even need to have the proverbial “bad guy” to get the fans riled up against. What we don’t need in the game are people like Ponte, who is simply a punk off the street who happens to have a bigger mouth than a bank account and no idea how to handle either. To put people on the air like that is a huge mistake and one I am sure that PNIA has learned from. Hopefully the poker community has learned from it also.

Poker News Daily

Might U.S. AG Jeff Sessions Kill Online Poker?

 Might U.S. AG Jeff Sessions Kill Online Poker?

Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on multiple occasions in the last few years and even had a couple hearings in the House, but in the end, even Republicans saw it for the blatant crony capitalism that it was. The threat of a gambling ban was over. Unfortunately, the poker community is starting to get a bit worried again as the rumors have started that the Trump administration may look to get a ban going soon.

According to GamblingCompliance (sorry, there’s a paywall), “Gambling lobbyists in Washington, D.C. are abuzz with speculation that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is on the verge of announcing plans to overturn the 2011 legal opinion which cleared states to regulate internet gambling.”

Sessions, who was considered too racist in 1986 for a federal judgeship (too racist in the eighties!), shared his brief thoughts on internet gambling during his confirmation hearing for his Attorney General position. He was asked about online poker by his buddy Senator Lindsey Graham, the Senator who did Daddy Adelson’s bidding and introduced RAWA in the Senate:

Lindsey Graham: About the Wire Act, what’s your view of the…Obama’s Administration’s interpretation of the Wire Act law to allow online video poker, or poker…gambling?

Jeff Sessions: Senator Graham, I was shocked at the memorandum – I guess – the enforcement memorandum that the Department of Justice issued with regard to the Wire Act and criticized it. Apparently, there is some justification or argument that can be made to support the Department of Justice’s position, but I did oppose it when it happened and it seemed to me to be an unusual….

Graham: Would you revisit it?

Sessions: I would revisit it and I would make a decision about it based on careful study and I haven’t gone that far to give you an opinion today.

And now, if the “buzz” is true, it looks like Sessions will be revisiting the 2011 clarification of the Wire Act. Remember, the Wire Act specifically prohibits sports betting over telecommunications lines, but that’s it. For whatever reason, it was interpreted for years to include all gambling, but finally at the end of 2011, the Office of Legal Counsel set the record straight. That clarification cleared the road for states to legalize intrastate online gambling. So far, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have regulated online poker, while a few other states offer internet lottery purchases. A reinstatement of the old Wire Act interpretation would presumably kill all of this.

The odd part about the possibility of Sessions overturning the 2011 clarification of the Wire Act is that the Wire Act still says that it is only sports betting over telecommunications lines that is banned, so it seems like it would be a strange situation where the legal enforcement of the Act would clearly be based on an incorrect interpretation.

The sad part is that Sessions could easily get away with doing this, as with all the bullshit that Trump and his band of dunces are making us put up with every day, barely anybody would notice – and thus put up a fuss – if online poker was stomped out.

Poker News Daily



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