Cuomo Drops The Mic On Seneca. Things Just Got Real.

1 Cuomo threatens to open new casino in Seneca territory
2 Seneca balks at idea of new casino After months of uncertainty about relations between Seneca and New York state, it is now very clear where both parties stand. That clarity did not come from a meeting between the two parties, unfortunately. Instead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a stand in the press. Now Seneca Nation and the state are playing a giant game of chicken. Cuomo threatens to open new casino in Seneca territory Cuomo attended an economic development meeting on Tuesday. He made his first public comments on the Seneca negotiations, which were not exactly friendly. Buffalo News reported Cuomo not only is not open to negotiate, he is ready to break the non-compete element of the compact. Cuomo and Seneca are at odds over what exactly the terms of the compact entail. Earlier this year, Seneca Nation announced it would no longer be making payments to the state from earnings of its three New York casinos. According to tribal representatives, their obligation to pay ended in December of last year. However, the state and the tribes mutually agreed to extend the compact through 2023. The problem is the extension did not include specific language indicating the tribe’s obligation to pay went through 2023 as well. Things got serious when Seneca missed its first scheduled payment in July. Once local lawmakers realized the tribes were not bluffing, they started worrying. Many of them reached out to Cuomo’s office begging him to talk with tribal leaders. After five months with no meeting between the two parties, Cuomo did not exactly take their advice. Seneca balks at idea of new casino A major component of the casino compact is exclusivity in the northernmost part of the state. The value of that exclusivity arguable dipped when Cuomo allowed commercial casinos to open upstate though. Competitors like Rivers and del Lago are already close to Seneca turf. Now Cuomo is ready to go after Niagara and Buffalo, homes of two of the three Seneca casinos. Seneca Nation President Todd Gates hinted at the new competition in his response to Cuomo’s new casino threat. “It will do poorly,” he said. “The market is saturated.” He also called Cuomo’s actions shameful, and said he was angry on behalf of his tribe. He has a point about market saturation too. Both Rivers Casino and del Lago revenues are not meeting expectations. As a result, many experts believe the New York casino market cannot sustain all four of the commercial properties upstate. More than the statement itself, tribal leaders are angry that Cuomo put off a meeting to negotiate with excuses, knowing he never planned to engage them. Meanwhile, local lawmakers are caught in the middle. They are also the people whose communities benefit most from the $110 million in annual payments from Seneca. Niagara Mayor Paul Dyster issued a statement about Tuesday’s events. In it, he acknowledges his preference is a negotiation, not this increasingly volatile standoff:

Local NY Communities Growing Impatient With Cuomo And Seneca Standoff

1 Niagara, Buffalo feeling the squeeze the hardest
2 Seneca still open to meeting with Cuomo Some New York communities are starting to worry about the ongoing stalemate with Seneca Nation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and tribal leaders still have not met to discuss the fact Seneca ceased payments from its three New York casinos. In the meantime, some communities are coming to terms with the ensuing loss of revenue. For some towns, it is an inconveniece. For others, it is a massive blow to their operational budgets. Niagara, Buffalo feeling the squeeze the hardest In March, Seneca announced no more payments from the casino were coming. In the tribe’s eyes, the compact with the state clearly stipulated payments ended after 14 years, even though the tribe and the state extended their agreement beyond that point. The tribes issued their last payment in March. Over four month later, several communities used to getting payments from Seneca are starting to worry. One place hit harder than the rest is Niagara Falls, home of Seneca Niagara Casino. The city previously relied on Seneca payments for over 15 percent of its operational budget. Now that those payments are gone, Niagara Falls is struggling. In fact, just last week, Standard & Poors downgraded the city’s credit rating from “neutral” to “negative.” The lack of income from Seneca is the chief reason the rating changed. For Niagara Falls mayor Paul Dyster, his inability to fix the situation is frustrating. “It seems unfair to us, that we have to worry about our bond rating potentially being downgraded in the future when the dispute basically has nothing to do with us,” he told local news outlet WGRZ. Buffalo is another big city hurting the past few months. Between the city budget and the Erie County budget, the Buffalo area is dealing with more than $10 million less than usual. Like Niagara Falls, Buffalo officials are hoping Cuomo and the tribes will reach a solution sooner rather than later. Seneca still open to meeting with Cuomo Local lawmakers are eager for Cuomo and Seneca representatives to meet. Cuomo and Seneca representatives do not seem in any hurry though. Seneca representative Phil Pantano acknowledged he hears these concerns when he spoke with The Buffalo News: Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopari was a little more aggressive in his statement to the paper. He plainly stated Cuomo believes the tribe is in the wrong. He also warned that legal action could be coming. Where does that leave Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and other communities desperate for a resolution? Not with many options, unfortunately. For now, all they cando is continually call Cuomo’s office and implore him to address the problem sooner rather than later.

The Moneymaker Effect: Eric Raskin’s Instant Poker Classic

2014 has been a terrific year for poker books. First I was pleasantly surprised by Dutch Boyd’s self-published contribution to the poker pantheon, and soon after finishing Dutch’s Poker Tilt I dug into Eric Raskin’s The Moneymaker Effect: The Inside Story of the Tournament That Forever Changed Poker, a continuation/expansion of his 2013 article When We Held Kings, which is the single best poker article I have ever read, and I have reread the entire thing multiple times. Both of these books (Poker Tilt and The Moneymaker Effect) are instant classics, and were immediately thrust into my Top 10 Poker Books of all-time list, right alongside Positively Fifth Street, Big Deal, Ghosts at the Table, The Biggest Game in Town, One of a Kind, Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything, The Professor the Banker and the Suicide King, and several other great tomes I’m probably overlooking at the moment. A Great Writer + A Great Story = Instant Classic If you haven’t gotten the message, let me be very clear: I did not like The Moneymaker Effect, I absolutely loved it. I tore through this highly readable book in two sittings, devouring the “stories behind the story” of Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 World Series of Poker victory. As I read through The Moneymaker Effect I could envision the ESPN broadcast of the 2003 Main Event that I have probably watched dozens of times appearing on the pages, and could vividly recount the hands that I haven’t seen in over five years unfolding on every page I turned. I could visualize the conversations in the hallways of Binions (a place I have never set foot in) between people (some I have never met) vividly, and that is a testament to Eric Raskin’s storytelling ability. Beyond being a page turner, the information in this book is an extremely important piece of poker history, and had Raskin not chronicled these behind the scenes missives and anecdotes I have a feeling most of it would have been lost to time, like so many other poker tales that live on somewhere between legend and reality. Seriously, who is going to approach Annie Duke and Howard Lederer in 2014 for their thoughts on the 2003 WSOP? Who had even heard of the name David Gamble before Raskin brought Moneymaker’s “other” backer to light in his Grantland piece? Who would think it important enough to track down the producers and A/V guys from ESPN and 441 Productions? Who would have had the foresight to not just interview Norman Chad and Lon McEachern but to make their journey to the 2003 WSOP an interesting plot line? This was the defining poker moment of our era (and perhaps the defining moment in poker history) and had Raskin not chronicled what happened behind the scenes and what the general feeling of the poker community was at the time it would almost certainly have fallen by the wayside. T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You) Reading The Moneymaker Effect brought me back to 2002/2003 when there was a certain charm and innocence to poker. When the poker world was little more than a small collection of players struggling to make it in a cutthroat world when suddenly a Golden Egg laying goose fell in their lap, with the apt name of Moneymaker. Moneymaker not only lit the fuse for the Poker Boom but he also bridged the gap between the familiarity and closeness of the live poker community pre-Internet poker and the globalization and anonymity of online poker. Sammy Farha was the known quantity, part of the clique, and Moneymaker was the unknown outsider. The unknown outsider won and poker was changed in an instant. The following year thousands of unknowns showed up at what had once been a private party, and the next year thousands more from every corner of the globe arrived, all set on becoming the next Chris Moneymaker. As someone who lived through that period in the poker world I think Raskin and the numerous people he interviewed captured it all perfectly: We all knew something important had just happened and that poker was about to change, but nobody anticipated just how important that moment was or how pronounced the change would be. Even as the 2003 WSOP was playing out in real-time the biggest story on the poker forums of the day was Dutch Boyd and the money he owed from PokerSpot. It wasn’t until Chris Moneymaker won that it even started to dawn on people what had just occurred. Every subsequent trip I took to Foxwoods I saw more and more new faces; anonymous faces. Faces that had that “sky’s the limit look on them.” I saw Limit Holdem and Stud tables give way to No Limit games; an unheard of cash game structure prior to 2003. It wasn’t overnight, but the floodgates had been opened, and slowly but surely, day by day, it dawned on everyone that the Poker Boom was upon us. To hear Raskin and the people involved with the 2003 WSOP tell their versions of what happened allowed me to relive this period in time (and it was a hell of a period for poker players) and if you weren’t involved in poker back then, if you were a product of The Moneymaker Effect and the Poker Boom picking up a copy of Eric Raskin’s The Moneymaker Effect will give you a chance to see what it was like to live through this time. You can purchase the Moneymaker Effect at in either paperback or Kindle format. And for those of you who got the T.R.O.Y. reference

Opinion: Railbird T-Shirts Highlight Poker’s Problems with Mainstream Sponsors

There was a strange incident at the World Series of Poker on Monday evening, as roughly 10 members of a player’s rail (Sean Drake, who was competing in the Monster Stack final table) were wearing shirts that said, “Play Like Drake and Rape.”, which is apparently a #hashtag he uses on Twitter. I don’t go in for a lot of the “rape culture” stuff (I’m not very PC at all), but I would be utterly embarrassed to wear that shirt alone in my own house let alone in public. I can understand that one or two people may not have the social wherewithal to realize why saying/wearing “play like Drake and rape” is unacceptable in polite society, but for a contingent of about a dozen or so people to put on those shirts without a single one saying, “you know maybe we shouldn’t wear these?” absolutely blows my mind. On a side note I also sort of feel bad for Sean Drake, who had to deal with an issue created by his rail while he was playing for a WSOP bracelet and life-changing money. Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I’m NOT going to call for his sponsors to drop him or anything like that, I think that’s an overreaction at this stage and doesn’t help anyone. He’s a young kid (I’m assuming) and deserves a chance to stop using the phrase now that it’s been brought to his attention. Although from his tweets it doesn’t appear he will stop using his signature catchphrase… But he deserves a couple days to sleep on it. We all have said and done regrettable things at one time or another so let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill just yet. Ok, here’s my problems with this incident… It’s a Bad Joke to Begin With First off, “chip rape” is an inside joke. It’s something a small segment of the poker population uses and not some widely used slang term. Walking around in public with an inflammatory word on your shirt as a joke that only a small segment of the population will “get” demonstrates how out of touch some of the people in the poker world are. Pro tip: If you have to explain the humor in something it’s not funny. While I personally would immediately put two and two together that “play like Drake and rape” has something to do with poker, most people wouldn’t understand that slogan in the slightest. And now imagine the woman walking the Rio hallways who has been raped and sees you wearing a shirt that says “and Rape” emblazoned across the back? Rape is just one of those words that can cause any room to go silent. It’s not the N-word but it’s not something you joke around about in front of your grandma either. It doesn’t pass the grandma test. To put it in context, a lot of people will use racial/ethnic/sexual terms to describe certain qualities in their friends. The intent is not to disparage said group, and I doubt many of these people are anti-Semites or bigots or anti-woman. BUT, what you won’t see these people do is put it on a T-Shirt and go out in public. There is something in their head that clicks in and says, it’s acceptable when I’m with a small circle of friends but not acceptable in the wider world where it will cause offense or truly hurt someone. Now, I doubt any of the people wearing these shirts had bad intentions or are mean-spirited, and in their circle the phrase may be completely normal (so it may be they are just desensitized to it), but sometimes you have to look beyond your circle. It’s not that anyone thinks you’re advocating rape by wearing the shirt, it’s that you’re being insensitive to the issue and to the victims of the actual crime of rape. There Is No 1st Amendment Issue Here I only saw one instance of this on Twitter (not that I read more than a couple of threads on it) but the First Amendment protects you from the government infringing on your speech – you know, coming to your house to arrest you because you criticized Obama, or confiscating your protest signs and things like that. It does not allow you to say or do anything on private property, which the Rio is. The Rio is allowed to remove anyone at anytime for virtually any reason, and wearing a shirt that says “Play Like Drake” on one side, and “and Rape” on the other is certainly more than enough reason to get the old heave-ho in my opinion. Kids are asked to remove shirts with different slogans at school all the time, restaurants have dress codes (as do casinos), people are denied access to airplanes, and on and on and on. If you wear a shirt with curse words or threats of violence on it people are well within their rights to complain about it and any private company (remember, the Rio is not the public square) can ask you to remove the shirt or get out. The intent of the shirt may be benign, but as I said above not everyone understands the intent and when you tell jokes in poor taste they can sometimes blow up in your face when people don’t see the humor in your remarks Ask Michael Richards (Kramer) what happens when you use a disparaging word and the audience doesn’t get the joke. Don’t Blame the WSOP When it comes to things like this it’s hard to fault a company for taking their time and being diligent. The shirts were removed (according to reports no more than two hours went by from the time the shirts were first seen and the time they were removed) and considering this is something that has to go up the corporate food chain they were probably dealt with as fast as possible. They would have to have the shirts brought to someone’s attention; that person would then likely have to go find their boss (who might bring it to his boss); then they would have to quickly see if the report is true and investigate what the shirts say; then they would have to decide on how to handle it. There is a lot going on at the Rio during the WSOP and it’s hard to say they didn’t react quickly enough. Basically, as much as we’d want it taken care of in 10 minutes it’s logistically complicated. I Don’t Agree With Keeping Things Quiet Though As some people have said on Twitter most companies would handle this quickly and quietly (as it appears Caesars did), but to me that’s not the right way to handle it all. A public showing by the WSOP, such as kicking out all the people wearing the shirts would show the world (and particularly the poker world) that this type of amateur hour trash talking has no place at this level, and will not be tolerated at the WSOP. It’s straight bush league stuff. You want to act a fool and make juvenile jokes do it in your basement around your homemade poker table or online. The World Series of Poker should command more respect from the players and the fans than to bring their silly little online taunts into the Rio. This type of crap needs to be stamped out by the WSOP and by the poker community. This game isn’t going to grow if a rail is wearing shirts anywhere near as insensitive as these. Say bye-bye to any mainstream sponsors if something 1/2 as offensive pops up on ESPN’s coverage Further reading: And of course the shirts: *Edit: This tweet has since been deleted.

Nevada Online Poker Review: Adelson Money Laundering, Chad Brown Honored and More

It’s been an exciting week in the Nevada online market for sure, but the really big news this week has been coming out of the state’s brick & mortar gaming industry. Obviously the biggest news has been the continued story lines developing at the 2014 World Series of Poker, where one of the game’s legends just picked up his 10th career bracelet, and will be going for #11 in the $1,000,000 buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament that began on Sunday. We’ll fill you in on both of these stories and do our best to get you caught up on all the latest action from the WSOP below. But the WSOP isn’t the only big story in this week’s Nevada Online poker Review, as we’ll fill you in on the latest potential legal troubles to besiege Sheldon Adelson (as he’s being investigated by another one of those pesky three-letter government agencies), who was inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, what Nevada online poker players can expect to find at Ultimate Poker after their latest software overhaul, and a whole lot more. Adelson getting unwanted attention from IRS Sheldon Adelson is no stranger to battling with the US government. The casino mogul and multi-billionaire has been on the wrong end of a $47 million settlement stemming from a money laundering investigation; has had to deal with bribery accusations in Macau; and now it appears the IRS is heading over to Macau to do some more snooping and look into more potential incidents of money laundering between Adelson’s foreign and domestic casinos. All of this comes amid the backdrop of Adelson’s crusade against online gambling, where not unsurprisingly the Adelson faction has stopped using money laundering as one of their talking points. Money laundering (and the potential to fund 9/11 attacks) was initially the bread & butter argument used by Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, but these have now been replaced with underage gambling claims. One Drop the redux Grab your seats and get ready for the biggest spectacle in poker as the biannual $1,000,000 buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament is about to begin. This time around the tournament will be capped at 56 seats (in 2012 the inaugural event was capped at 48 players), and the entry list is a veritable who’s who in the poker world, along with some very successful businessmen who have an affinity for the game and are ok with putting up $1 million of their own money. One player who bought into the tournament is 2012 champ Greg Merson, who posted some pics of his buy-in and the receipt for a $1,000,000 entry fee that appeared in the Washington Post. Jean Robert Bellande also famously took a selfie with his buy-in as well: Here is a full list of this year’s entrants at the break on Sunday evening:
Sam Trickett
Tom Hall
Vanessa Selbst
Brian Rast
Scott Seiver
Dan Smith
Guy Laliberté
Phil Ivey
Noah Schwartz
Phil Galfond
Rono Lo
Erik Seidel
Daniel Negreanu
Niklas Heinecker
Brandon Steven
Bill Klein
Paul Newey
John Juanda
Tobias Reinkemeier
Tony Gregg
Cary Katz
Gabe Kaplan
Christoph Volgelsang
Daniel Colman
John Morgan
Connor Drinan
Daniel Cates
Rick Salomon
Igor Kurganov
Jason Mercier
Greg Merson
Doug Polk
Isaac Haxton
Antonio Esfandiari
Jean-Robert Bellande
Erick Lindgren
Max Altergott
Stanley Choi
David Sands
Talal Shakerchi
David Einhorn #WSOP2014 Updates Ivey wins #10 On Friday night Phil Ivey won his 10th World Series of Poker bracelet, becoming just the fourth player to hit double digits in WSOP bracelets – Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Hellmuth are the others. In the process, he also won a substantial prop bet for himself and Daniel Negreanu, as the two had been betting big with anyone and everyone that one of them would win a bracelet this year. Chad Brown gets a special honor Poker pro Chad Brown is currently in hospice care fighting cancer, and despite Chad’s valiant fight the outlook is not good. Chad’s widely considered to be top-top in the poker world and the World Series of Poker did the absolute right thing by awarding him with his first and final WSOP bracelet on Saturday. A fitting tribute to a great player that you can see in the video below. WiPHoF adds two more The Women in Poker Hall of Fame added two more names to their list of honorees, as Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman and Deborah Giardina were inducted this past week in a ceremony at the Golden Nugget. Here is a look at the ladies that have been honored since the WiPHoF was founded in 2008.
The Class of 2008 – Marsha Waggoner, Susie Isaacs, Linda Johnson, and Barbara Enright
The Class of 2009 – Cyndi Violette, Jan Fisher, and June Field
The Class of 2010 – Kathy Liebert, Jen Harman, and Billie Brown
The Class of 2011 – Kristy Gazes, Margie Heintz, and Phyllis Caro
The Class of 2012 – JJ Liu and Kathy Raymond
The Class of 2013 – No one inducted
The Class of 2014 – Deborah Giardina and Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman Traffic trends in Nevada After watching cash game traffic tick up as high as 150 players at the Nevada market has reverse course over the past week, with dipping back down to about 130-140 average cash game players according to However, Ultimate Poker, with a slew of new promotions, has been on the rise, and is now back to within nearly 50% of’s traffic, with average cash game traffic of roughly 60 players. At one point just a week ago was outpacing Ultimate Poker 150 to 50. The word on the street Ultimate Poker gets a much needed software upgrade Welcome to the 21st century Nevada… As part of a massive software upgrade Ultimate Poker players in Nevada can now have their geolocation verified in two different ways: The conventional cellphone triangulation, or as they are doing in New Jersey, the more precise wi-fi verification, which should help players who were experiencing disconnects due to poor cell connection or if their phone battery died. Other new features in the Ultimate Poker Software include the addition of the following features:
Hand history
Player notes
Time bank
Tournament re-buy and add-on displays in the lobby
Auto bonusing

Rumors of a Sale Signal Potential Industry Shakeup

Forget partnering with bricks & mortar properties and getting approved for transactional waivers, that stuff is so 2013. In 2014 selling online gaming sites in multi-billion dollar deals is apparently the new hot thing this summer. The latest rumor of a potential blockbuster online gaming sale comes via Bloomberg, who is reporting that may be looking to sell some or all of the company according to two unnamed sources within the company. Bloomberg’s sources went on to say, that “has hired Deutsche Bank AG to consider its options,” and one of the sources added that a decision will be made “within two months.” For their part has stated they “have no plans to breakup or sell the company,” and are calling the rumors nothing more than media speculation. Where have these rumors come from? There are likely several reasons for the speculation surrounding The recent sale of PokerStars to Amaya Gaming has likely perked up’s ears, rekindling potential dollar numbers that were bandied about during the online poker IPO era in 2005. With the sale of PokerStars to Amaya, partypoker and the rest of the operators in the US should see the #1 online poker site in the world [PokerStars] join them in the US market by the end of the year. An absolute game changer. There is also the recent, and somewhat contentious board shakeup at, following Jason Ader’s purchase of 6% of the company, and subsequently being described as an “activist investor” when he called for many changes. Finally, the slow start in the US market (New Jersey) has almost certainly given executives and shareholders reason for concern. Not only has online gaming underperformed in New Jersey in terms of revenue, but online gaming expansion has also slowed in other states around the country, perhaps giving overseas companies pause about what the potential of the US market. The reentry of partypoker into the US was supposed to be a moment of resurgence for the company following the nadir period post-UIGEA, where partypoker was essentially lost in the wilderness searching for the promised land, but thus far it has done little to boost the company’s bottom line, and despite sitting atop the New Jersey market has not been dominant by any stretch of the imagination. Did the PokerStars sale create a precedent? I want to revisit the sale of PokerStars for a moment, as I feel the sale of PokerStars to Amaya Gaming could potentially kick off a period of mergers, consolidations, and sales in the industry, as companies in the different gaming sectors try to compete with the new Amaya / PokerStars, and may see creating their own super-corporation as the only option. We could be looking at the start of a period that will see brick & mortar casinos not just partnering with online providers but merging with them. We’re also likely to see B2B and B2C online providers do the same (as was the case with Amaya and PokerStars) creating mega-corporations capable of handling every aspect of a company’s gaming needs. The reason this could occur is that there is no longer a fear that online and land-based gaming will cannibalize one another; plus the current model is a lot like shooting yourself in the foot, as partners are essentially competitors in the US market. What I mean by this is that with the way the market is currently setup in the US we have (particularly in New Jersey) a situation where each partnership is running multiple, competing online gaming brands. So while they may not be cannibalizing their bricks & mortar casinos, they are in fact cannibalizing one another in the online sphere. For instance, the partnership of Borgata and has two online poker rooms on their network, and Yes, these sites share liquidity and for all intents and purposes are in cahoots with one another, but they also run separate marketing campaigns and are in direct competition for players and revenue. The better does the better it is for, even if that means taking players away from their partner In a perfect world they would like to take players from or Ultimate Poker, but it’s not a perfect world. The situation between another high-profile partnership, Caesars Entertainment and 888 Holdings, is even worse, as their online poker rooms, and, aren’t even on the same network. 888 and are closer to direct competitors than partners. Now, if Caesars was to purchase 888 (complete hypothetical) there would no longer be a need to run two separate marketing campaigns, or to compete with yourself for players, everything would be done in house, as there would be no direct competition between multiple brands on the site; all of the profits go in the same pocket.

Nevada Traffic Report: As WSOP Wears On, Online Poker Traffic Keeps Climbing

With the 2014 WSOP’s biggest tournament events still to come, the energy emanating from the Rio’s casino floor couldn’t be more electric. But now that nearly all the attention in Nevada’s poker scene is focused on the Big One for One Drop and the looming Main Event, how is the state’s regulated online poker market faring? The answer, my friends, is “Quite well.” With the novelty of playing online poker while stationed at the Rio wearing off, and WSOP NV’s most concentrated cross-promotional efforts a thing of the past, ring game traffic levels on the network have mostly stabilized. Yet overall, the numbers are still rising. And the reason as to why has little to do with In fact, it’s WSOP’s all but forgotten rival – Ultimate Poker – that’s driving the market towards its yearly high point. Who would have guessed? Nevada Cash-Game Trends Both ring game and tournament traffic in Nevada outperformed yearly averages. Current 7-day cash-game averages, according to PokerFuse Pro via PokerScout, with two-week differentials in parenthesis, as follows:
WSOP NV: 145 (down 2.7 %)
Ultimate Poker NV: 64 (rises 18.5 %) Nevada thoroughly outperformed the global market, which dipped another 4.8 % to 41,413. The drop-off saw international figures fall to a more than two year low. On a side, traffic on New Jersey sites also rebounded, surging 5.7 % since June 17. Is this a sign of things to come, where the U.S. regulated market regularly flourishes during the summer months while the rest of the industry suffers? Unraveling the Mystery Behind Ultimate Poker’s Resurgence While Ultimate Poker‘s gains are certainly not unfathomable (it is WSOP time after all), the fact that UP exhibited notable gains while lost ground is initially baffling. Compounding matters further, UP has not rolled out any new promotions of note over the past two weeks. And of its current promotional roll-out, the most lucrative (Chase the Dream) is geared towards tournament junkets, not ring game players. So what’s the deal? After further examination, the most likely explanation for UP’s resurgence has to do with it becoming a better, more accessible poker site – plain and simple. On June 17, UP Poker Product Manager Chris Danek announced on the network’s dedicated Two Plus Two forum that a new software patch would be launching in Nevada. The next day, volume began to rise. Coincidence? Probably not. Among the notable features implemented via the patch include:
Wifi Only Geolocation Flow – In other words, players no longer need to rely on their cell phone to connect. That in and of itself is huge.
Prepaid Card Option – Provides a much needed alternative payment processing option for those struggling with Visa/MasterCard transactions.
Time Bank – It’s about “time.”
Cash at the Casino option at Peppermill / El Cortez
Bug fixes You can find the full patch notes here. The most notable facet of the patch is that it encourages players who may have previously experienced difficulties creating an account and wagering real-money on Ultimate Poker to give it a second look. Compared to that, any aesthetic or bug fix seems largely inconsequential. Tournaments Also Make the Grade Nevada’s iPoker sites also performed admirably on the tournament front, with nearly every MTT of note surpassing its guarantee. WSOP NV‘s largest weekly Major, a $15,000 guarantee, would attract 106 runners in creating a $21,200 prize pool. The weekly WSOP Main Event satellite also eclipsed its minimum benchmark, drawing 55 players and awarding one ticket. Even last Sunday’s $27.50 R&A $3,000 guarantee would absolutely shatter the mark. Thanks to 111 re-buys and 62 add-ons, the total prize pool for the MTT would surpass $6,400. While Ultimate Poker’s nightly Friday and Saturday tournaments would beat their guarantees by over 20 %, the $10,000 Sunday fared less respectably, with 83 runners creating an overlay of $2,447. And for what seems like the umpteenth week in a row, Chase the Dream would also grossly underperform expectations ($9,252.30 overlay). On a more positive note, Sunday’s iteration still beat out last week’s abysmal showing by nearly two grand. launches Mini-Fest For the third time in nearly a month, has launched an exclusive tournament series in Nevada. Catered towards players on a somewhat limited budget, Mini-Fest – as the name implies – is for all intents and purposes the recently concluded WSOPOC’s little brother. A series of 16 tournament events with buy-ins ranging from a paltry $5.50 all the way up to a still affordable $109, Mini-Fest will run from now until July 7 and reward over $40,000 in guaranteed prize money. Thus far, Mini-Fest has outperformed the WSOPOC – relatively speaking of course. Here’s a quick look at the turnouts for the first three events:
Event #1: NLHE $2,500 Guarantee R&A, $16.50 buy-in: 163 runners, 201 re-buys and 122 add-ons created a $7,290 prize pool.
Event #2: NLHE $1,500 Guarantee R&A, $11 buy-in: 132 entrants, 124 re-buys and 79 add-ons – $3,350 prize pool.
Event #3: PLO $1,000 Guarantee R&A, $11 buy-in: 68 entries, 91 re-buys and 33 add-ons made for a $1,920 prize pool. It appears that in terms of tournament turnouts, size doesn’t always matter.

Still Time to Win a WSOP Main Event Seat Online

Some players in Nevada have the luxury of a poker bankroll that includes $10,000 set aside for their World Series of Poker Main Event buy-in. Most players do not. That is where comes in and gives the rest of us the option of winning a seat for much less money. Since most people only dream of playing the Main Event, which this year has a wild and crazy $10 million guarantee for the winner, it doesn’t hurt to take a chance online to win a seat and compete for that kind of life-changing money. Climb the Steps to a Main Event Seat The WSOP Steps are an easy and organized way to start with $11 and turn it into a $10,000 tournament seat. Start with that $11 and play a Step 1 Sit & Go on The first and second place finishers receive a Step 2 ticket worth $30. It goes up from there:
Play $11 Step 1 SNG to win $30 Step 2 ticket.
Play $30 Step 2 SNG to win $81 Step 3 ticket.
Play $81 Step 3 SNG to win $215 Step 4 ticket.
Play $215 Step 4 SNG to win $600 Step 5 ticket.
Play $600 Step 5 SNG to win $10,000 Main Event seat. Keep in mind that a player doesn’t have to start at Step 1. If your bankroll offers the opportunity to play a $30 SNG, start at Step 2 and work up from there. Players can begin at any step they wish and continue on until they win a seat. Also, players can take their steps in other directions. They can use a Step 5 ticket to play a satellite for a $1,500 WSOP tournament seat, of which there are still several events left to play at the 2014 WSOP. Or they can use the $215 Step 4 ticket to compete in the weekly $215 buy-in Sunday $15K tournament that takes place online each week. Main Event Less than Two Weeks Away! The promotion and ability to win that $10K Main Event seat ends on July 5, which is the first day of the Main Event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. That means less than two weeks remain in the WSOP Steps program. The good thing is that the SNGs run all day every day. For anyone in the state of Nevada, play can begin today, with plenty of time to climb the steps and win a seat. The WSOP $10K NLHE World Championship is called the Main Event because it’s the premiere poker tournament in the world. And this year, with the $10M first place prize guarantee, it’s going to be the largest in years. Be a part of it. Win your seat online and put your poker skills to work to win $10 million. Make your poker dreams come true!

WSOP Scramble for Nevada Could Open to New Jersey Players

It is no secret that in Nevada is offering numerous seats to the World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Players have been winning their seats to the $10K WSOP Main Event all month long. The big promotion that has players scrambling to get at the online poker tables right now is the 25 Seat Scramble. You read that correctly. There are 25 seats, each worth $10K, for the WSOP Main Event up for grabs now on The question is: Should New Jersey players have a shot at this as well? Nevada Players Like It Scrambled The 25 Seat Scramble is going to be big. The satellite will run on July 5 with 25 seats to the WSOP Main Event. Nevada players are already getting in on the action and playing the daily qualifiers for as little as $1.10. There will also be players who buy in on July 5 for $215. Those without the big bankrolls, like most of us, will be playing the qualifiers. The WSOP Main Event is the dream of every poker player, but this year, the dream got even bigger. The WSOP put a $10 million guarantee on the winner, so no matter how many players are in the Main Event, the winner will receive at least $10 million. Life-changing money, indeed. Should New Jersey Have a Chance, Too? Head of online poker, Bill Rini is asking that question. He wants to know if New Jersey players want a Main Event Scramble and has taken to poker forums to talk to players, many of whom have indicated an interest. The WSOPcom Twitter account is running a poll of sorts:
The best way to make this happen for New Jersey players is to retweet the @WSOPcom tweet from June 10 to let Rini and the others at know that there is sufficient interest for a New Jersey Scramble. It must run by June 28 in order to give players enough time to get to Las Vegas for the July 5-7 start of the Main Event, so urgent responses are encouraged. Main Event Potential With so many players winning their WSOP Main Event seats online this year, there could be a notable increase in the registration numbers for the “Big Dance.” Players from Nevada and New Jersey are playing satellites in record numbers, and there will be numerous players in the Main Event who won their seats online. It is a new age of online poker in the United States. While the market is still in its infancy, the is ready to prove that online qualifiers are back and making a difference. As mentioned, there is a new $10 million guarantee on the first place prize for the WSOP Main Event. If online qualifiers show up in force, that dollar amount could go even higher. It’s in the players’ hands.