The story of John Henry against the steam-driven hammer was an old insight into man’s eventual loss to technology. Theories on the dangers of AI have been raging for years, and we’re just now beginning to see the power that a self-teaching computer can possess.
This was on full display a few weeks ago, when an AI dominated a tournament playing against poker pros. The artificial intelligence’s gambling results were staggering, winning nearly $800,000 in just the first week.
Called Liberatus, this AI was created by computer science professor Tuomas Sandholm and his PhD student Noam Brown. To date, this has been the first AI to find consistent success playing against poker pros in a major tournament.
A poker playing AI making headlines for it’s incredible poker gambling results is not exactly scary, but what if this intelligence was used for more dubious purposes, such as a cyber attack? Many in the tech industry have warned about the ramifications of an intelligent machine, sometimes known as a singularity.
There are so many potential issues that could arise, it’s scary to even think about. As Sam Harris once said, an AI programmed to delete spam email may decide the best course of action would be to eliminate all humans using email.
Nonetheless, this AI winning thousands playing poker is impressive, and on one hand sheds light on a way that an intelligence like this could be used for good. Looks like we’ll have to wait and see what’s ahead for the human race.
In online gambling news, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma has been granted permission to launch and operate an online gambling site. Their online casino—which they’ve dubbed Pokertribe—will be the state’s first tribe-operated online casino. They hope to receive the final permissions soon so that they can launch the site in early 2016.
The site will be available to players in US states where online gambling is legal, as well as eligible countries around the world. Pokertribe will begin by offering different kinds of poker, and then will begin gradually adding other popular casino games like slots, baccarat, blackjack, and more.
Former Judge Charles Chapel—who was appointed as the arbitrator of the endeavor—ruled that “using technology to play covered games as a way to increase tribal revenues” fitted into the tribe’s compact with the state. The tribe had Chapel’s decision certified by a US District Court Judge, who confirmed that the Oklahoma tribe online casino did not violate gambling laws.
Throughout the process, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma had had the support of Oklahoma governor Mary Falling. Following news of the announcement, a spokesperson for the governor said that the ruling opened the doors for other tribes across Oklahoma to launch similar online operations.
A player from Canada is the seventh PokerStars millionaire during this Million Dollar Spin & Go promotion period.
Amaya’s world-leading online poker room produced six millionaires in a week, but there wasn’t another winner for a while until ‘Koovoon’ from Canada has become the latest PokerStars millionaire, gambling news report.
Koovoon needed no more than 39 hands to become a PokerStars millionaire. He bagged the $1 million jackpot actually in nine minutes. He was a strong chip leader during virtually the whole tournament and it wasn’t a surprise that it was that easy for him to beat AndyG1810 and Play2win$1kk, who are both from Russia and who both claimed a $100,000 dollar prize in the tournament that started with a $100 buy-in.
Koovoon’s million-dollar winning poker hand was an unsuited A4. The Canadian player moved all-in and AndyG1810 called with KJ unsuited. The flop was 2, A, 6, so Koovoon was in a winning position with a pair of aces. Turn produced a useless 3 while the river was a 6, so Koovoon won the tourney with two pairs, becoming the latest PokerStars millionaire.
— GMPoker (@GMellingPoker) November 21, 2015
Until the end of November, you also have the opportunity to become the next PokerStars millionaire in this quick tournament that has an easy structure. Spin & Go is a 3-Max Hyper Turbo tournament type, a really fast-paced contest. You start with 500 chips and every tournament has a random prize pool that generates a win that is 2 to 10,000 times your buy-in.
Don’t hesitate, check PokerStars’ latest tournaments and promotions and take advantage of the Pokerstars Million Dollar Spin & Go promotion where you can start playing on nine different buy-in levels starting with $0.50 . To become the next PokerStars millionaire, start playing with $100 and win 10,000 times your buy-in in a PokerStars Million Dollar Spin & Go tournament!
Karas was at his best in the early nineties. Back then he completed “the Run”, a hot streak when he started with a U$50 bankroll and ended up winning 40 million dollars. This happened between 1992 and 1994, and no pro poker player was able to stop him except Johnny Chan, who robbed him of 900,000 bucks in hold’em poker games.
The Greek blew it all in the next couple of years though and was never able to crawl back to those heights. He had decent poker results, completing shorter winning streaks and money finishes at the World Series of Poker. And he also became known as a serious blackjack player who sometimes crosses the line. And he did that quite too often.
Karas was first arrested in 1988 for cheating in blackjack. He was marking cards in Reno, and he was arrested several other times after that in Nevada. Last time Karas was caught selling his card marking trick in San Diego in 2013. He was always able to evade jail time, but 2014 saw the legendary poker player banned from visiting casinos in California.
And the Nevada Gaming Commission recently opted for that too. They included Karas into the GCB Excluded Person List, making the Greek the 33rd member of the infamous group. From now on, by Nevada gambling laws, he commits a criminal act only by entering a casino in the state.
This means that the sixty-four-year old is unable to participate at future WSOP events that is held in Las Vegas every year. He had seven money finishes in the history of the competition. His best result was a 4th place finish in 2005, when he picked up 30,120 dollars in a Seven Card Razz event. As the NGC had the poker player banned, this result is likely to be his last.
Darren Woods became a star in the poker industry after winning a world championship. Now he is accused of opening fake accounts on poker sites.
The 29-year-old from Healing allegedly used other people’s personal details to open fake accounts on virtual poker rooms. According to the latest gambling news, 13 fraud charges were brought against him between January 2007 and January 2012. Woods, of course, denied them all.
The court heard he not only used a false name when he signed an e-mail asking for proof of his supposed identity, but also submitted a copy of someone else’s passport as part of an alleged con. In other words, he tried to fool gambling operators running the poker sites, by pretending to be someone else.
His father, 56-year-old Morteza Gharoon, is said to be involved in four of these cases. He is now facing fraud offences, in addition to being charged with money laundering through credit billings, on behalf of his son.
Grimsby Telegraph: Claims poker star from Healing used other people’s identities to open fake accounts
Using 13 fake accounts gave Darren Woods an advantage, allowing him to gain benefits and commissions he wouldn’t have had access to by using just his own account.
He was made bankrupt in 2006 but made a fantastic financial recovery in July 2011, when he became a poker champion after winning a world series of poker game in Las Vegas. He took home $213,000 in cash for his efforts.
Woods’ father Morteza Gharoon, an Iranian national, was once a successful property investor. His impressive portfolio included several properties in the Grimsby area. The pair allegedly used the names and personal information of real people, in order to open fake accounts on internet gambling sites and virtual wallets.
The prosecution said Woods tried to open an internet poker account in 2010, using the name of Lloyd Stockley-Bond. But gambling laws require online operators to take measures to verify the identity of their users, so a Blue Square manager sent him an e-mail asking him to provide a copy of his identification, as well as proof of his address.
In order to “fool the systems”, the poker player allegedly bought private networks, as well as several computer, using them to disguise his online identity. The poker player is accused of fraud by false representation and the trial continues.
OnlinePoker: WSOP Winner Darren Woods Charged With Online Poker Fraud
UK WSOP winner Darren Woods appeared in Sheffield Crown Court after being accused of committing online poker fraud between January 2007 and January 2012. With a total of 12 charges brought against him, Woods went from a respected limit hold’em coach to an alleged fraudster.
In 2011, he was a coach at pokerstrategy.com, after having won $213,431 at the WSOP $2,500 Limit Hold’em Six Handed Event. His success also brought him a very lucrative affiliate sponsorship deal with online poker operator 888.
But the fame didn’t last long, because Darren ‘Dooshcom’ Woods was accused of colluding with another player who went under the username ‘Benkaremail’, to win hundreds of thousands of dollars against several high stakes online players.
His father, Morteza Gharoon is also accused of helping him on four occasions. Charges include money laundering, but the dad said his son has reassured him that his actions were perfectly legitimate.
An article published by the Telegraph explains: “Woods allegedly made money from the fraudulently opened accounts by playing at the same online poker table at the same time using different identities, giving him an advantage because he would unfairly know the hands of some of the other players.”
It’s unclear whether the alleged cheating formed the basis of the prosecution or whether the trial focuses solely on the accusations of Woods scamming 888 to gain $236,994 in affiliate commission.
PokerStrategy: Coach Darren Woods Accused of Collusion
In September 2011, PokerStrategy published statement on the allegations of collusion – at the Push-or-Fold tables at 888poker – brought against Darren ‘DooshCom’ Woods, who was a coach at the website. The company announced it was suspending him from his position.
A group of high stakes players had accused DooshCom and another player of sharing hole cards in 3 and 4-handed games to gain an unfair advantage. The pair was playing high stakes, at blinds of $500 or $1000.
Players became increasingly suspicious of Dooshcom and his “unknown” partner, which is why they started gathering information, compared histories and unanimously concluded that they were being cheated. Eventually, they wrote about it on forums, in an attempt to warn other players.
PokerStrategy decided to investigate the matter alongside 888poker, and after making it clear that it does not tolerate unfair play, decided to suspend Woods from his position as coach.
Ivey’s lawyers weren’t convincing enough when they argued that losing GBP7.7 million in just a few days was the casino’s “mistake”.
The court denied Phil Ivey his GBP7.7 million winnings, remained unpaid after a casino accused him of cheating to get the money. The professional poker player admitted he used a technique called “edge sorting” to win at the baccarat table, but claimed casino employees were negligent which means losing all that money was the company’s “mistake”.
After London’s Crockfords Club realized that Ivey had taken advantage of a flaw in the playing cards, the casino refused to pay out. Ivey sued the company to get his prize, but the latest gambling news announced he lost the case.
Irish Examiner: Poker player loses €9.7m casino challenge
The 38-year-old American poker pro won the money in august 2012, by playing Punto Banco, a version of baccarat. After four sessions where he won GBP7.7 million, the Mayfair casino returned his GBP1 million stake and said it would wire him the rest of the money. Phil Ivey returned to the US only to find that his money never arrived.
The Crockfords Club is owned by Genting Casinos UK, a gambling operator which has more than 40 casinos across the country. Company representatives said the technique used by Ivey was not a legitimate strategy, which is why they had no liability to him. Edge-sorting is used to give the player a “first card advantage”.
The lawyers who defended the casino said Ivey’s conduct defeated the essential premise of baccarat. Therefore, they argued, there was no gaming contract or cheating.
“Crockfords is pleased with the judgement of the High Court today supporting its defense of a claim by Mr Ivey,” a spokesman for the casino told reporters. “It is our policy not to discuss our clients’ affairs in public and we very much regret that proceedings were brought against us.”
Ivey said through a spokesman: “I am obviously disappointed with this judge’s decision. As I said in court, it is not my nature to cheat and I would never do anything to risk my reputation. I am pleased that the judge acknowledged in court that I was a truthful witness.”
The poker player’s lawyers were refused permission to appeal the decision. However, they can renew their application to the Court of Appeal directly.
London Evening Standard: Poker champion loses case against London casino over £7.7m winnings
Phil Ivey, who is known for his excellent poker results, said he would never jeopardize his reputation by cheating at a casino.
“We observe the unwritten doctrine: how do I find a legal way to beat the house? Any method that could amount to cheating would breach the doctrine and cause you to be ostracized by your fellow players – we are all very careful to stay the right side of the line and we discuss advantage play strategies at length,” he said.
“I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy and we did nothing more than exploit Crockfords’ failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability. Clearly today the judge did not agree,” Ivey added.
His counsel Richard Spearman explained to the court that edge-sorting meant using information found on the backs of the cards and making certain requests during the game, in order to gain an advantage. Besides, the cards were chosen by the casino and staff could have refused Ivey’s requests at any time. The poker pro said his integrity was “infinitely more important than a big win”, and added that he sued the casino to prove that he was “unjustly treated”.
On the other hand, Christopher Pymont, who represented the casino, argued that the casino did not regard Ivey as an advantage player at that time. Instead, they thought of him as an old VIP customer who they could trust.
The Guardian: Top poker player Phil Ivey loses court battle over £7.7m winnings
The judge mentioned in his ruling that the case turned on whether Ivey cheated or not, adding that the poker player was not entitled to his winnings if the obtained them in an unfair manner.
“What Mr Ivey and Ms Sun did was to persuade the croupier to turn some of the cards in the dealing shoe to permit them to know that they were or were very likely to be sevens, eights or nines, and in circumstances where she did not realize she had done so – and, if she had, would have immediately stopped play,” the court ruling said.
The judge said Ivey did not just take advantage of a simple error, but did it by using the dealer “as his innocent agent or tool”. Furthermore, the judge added, the poker player was aware that neither the croupier, not her superiors knew what the consequences of her actions would be when she turned the cards around, as per his request.
“This is, in my view, cheating for the purpose of civil law,” the judge concluded before dismissing the case.
Achilleas Kallakis will serve an additional seven years in jail unless he returns GBP3 million within six months.
After fooling bankers into loaning him money which he then used to buy property and build a super-yacht, 46-year-old Achilleas Kallakis was sentenced to jail at the beginning of 2013, along with his partner Alexander Williams, who helped him forge financial guarantees.
Now the judge ordered Kallakis to pay back GBP3 million within the next six months. If he fails to do so, he’ll be facing another seven years in prison. His partner in crime Alexander Williams also has three months to return GBP477,000, or else he will be forced to serve a three-year sentence.
Both of them were originally sentenced to jail in January 2013, after the court found them guilty of conspiring to defraud banks through deception and forgery. The biggest victim was AIB.
DailyMail: Poker player who stole £750 million in property fraud to fund millionaire lifestyle of private jets, yachts and luxury villas is ordered to pay back just £3million
A high-rolling poker player who committed a GBP750 million bank fraud so he could fund a luxurious lifestyle for himself has been ordered to pay back just GBP3 million of that money. Achilleas Kallakis, 46, conned two banks into advancing huge loans so he could purchase 16 landmark properties in the UK.
The buildings bought by Kallakis, the nephew of a Greek shipping magnate, included the GBP225 million London headquarters of the Daily Telegraph, as well as a GBP100 million Home Office building located in Croydon.
Known for his impressive poker results after winning $1 million in one game, Kallakis teamed up with “prolific forger” Alexander Williams, also 46, in his scheme to defraud two major banks: the Allied Irish Bank (AIB) and the Bank of Scotland.
The pair operated out of an office in Mayfair, calling themselves the Pacific Group of Companies. Lenders were tricked into advancing loans totaling GBP766 million, all backed by forged or false documents.
Using the money he got conning banks, The Don then spent millions of pounds on an extravagant lifestyle. The man claimed to be a San Marino ambassador and called himself “his Excellency”. He spent GBP27 million on a private jet, bought a helicopter worth GBP5.2 million, owned a yacht moored in Monaco, a fleet of chauffeur-driven Bentleys, as well as a villa in Mykonos.
Last year, the man was finally convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud banks and sent to prison to serve a seven-year sentence, but now he was ordered to pay just GBP3.25 million of the money he got his hands on. If he doesn’t return it within six months, he will serve a default sentence of seven years.
Irish Times: AIB fraudster told to pay £3.25m or face seven more years in jail
After being convicted and sentenced for defrauding AIB and Bank of Scotland for GBP61 million (EUR77.9 million) in 2012, two fraudsters have been ordered to return a total of GBP3.7 million (EUR4.7 million) by Southwark Crown Court judge.
His Hon Judge Andrew Goymer ruled that Greek businessman Achilleas Kallakis has to return GBP3.25 million within the next six months, or he’ll have to serve another seven years in jail. His partner Alexander Williams also has six months to pay back GBP477,000 (EUR610,000), otherwise he’ll be spending another three years in jail, on top of his current sentence.
In a statement published in Britain’s latest gambling news, Serious Fraud Office (SFO) chief Mark Thompson told reporters: “The SFO is committed to ensuring fraudsters do not retain the benefit of their crimes. We will take steps to make sure the order is satisfied but if he does not pay, he faces a further lengthy term of imprisonment.”
The confiscated money is supposed to go to Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service, which will then distribute it in accordance with orders issued by judges. The victims may also receive part of it as compensation.
During the trial, the SFO said: “This was an audacious, persistent fraud that enabled these defendants, Mr Kallakis in particular, to lead the lifestyle of the super-rich.”
Independent.ie: Judge brands AIB ‘careless’ as EUR920m fraudsters jailed
In January 2013, the judge handling the case of Achilleas Kallakis sharply criticized AIB for its practices during the boom. The judge said bank employees acted “carelessly and imprudently” when they decided to lend the fraudster money. Both Kallakis and his partner were jailed for the fraud they committed. Damages added up to EUR920 million.
The Greek businessman was sentenced to seven years in prison and Alex Williams was handed a five years sentence. The pair was found guilty of orchestrating a fraud in which fake documentation was used to obtain bank loans. The money was used to purchase a number of high-end properties across the UK.
The pair was found guilty by a unanimous verdict of the jury of conspiracy to commit fraud related to the loans, which were taken out between 2003 and 2008, mainly from AIB but also from Bank of Scotland. Judge Andrew Goymer said they had taken advantage of the lax standards in place at that time, but he added that bankers failed to act responsibly. The fraud was discovered five years after the first of 16 loans was approved by AIB.
The judge said: “The two banks, Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Scotland, have undoubtedly acted carelessly and imprudently by failing to make full inquiries before advancing the money. It is, however, quite apparent that both defendants took full advantage of the prevailing banking culture in which corners were cut and checks on applications were superficial and cursory.”
Expensive losses in court may cost state of Victoria $540m as they compensate poker machine operator for contract collapse.
A broken contract can lead to expensive litigation as the Australian state of Victoria is finding out. Tatts and Tabcorp once enjoyed a duopoly over poker machines beyond Melbourne’s Crown casino but following a government decision in 2009 altering gambling laws in Australia operation was given over to venues.
The legal action began by both companies in 2012 saw Tatts seeking at least $490m and Tabcorp asking for $686.8m. A ruling handed down by Victorian supreme Justice Kim Hargrave proved bad news for the state.
Whilst the government was ordered to pay $450m (plus interest) to Tatts, Tabcorp lost its attempt to gain compensation. The state instantly announced it would appeal the Tatts decision, which is now being used as a political football ahead of state elections five months hence.
“We will be appealing the decision with respect to this $540m, but the Labor party ought to apologize to the people of Victoria for their mismanagement of this process,” said state premier Denis Napthine
The Guardian: Denis Napthine says Victoria will appeal $540m payout to pokies giant
In what can only be described as a kind of legal side bet the three entities, state and two operators, are also at each other’s throats over 80 million dollar’s worth of health tax. This stems from the fact that despite having their duopoly removed the two companies were charged a health levy for the full year.
This, they claim, is unfair since they did not operate the machines for the full fiscal year concerned and thus are entitled to a refund for the portion of the year remaining. The Victorian supreme court ruled in their favor but in an interesting twist the Court of Appeal threw out that decision.
The Appeals court said the levy was a flat tax on gaming machines that was entirely within reason for the government to charge and that the revenue earnings of the machines, and the date on which those revenues were injected are neither here nor there in regards of a tax calculation.
Yahoo News: Vic Government wins appeal on repayment of health levy to pokies companies
The $42.6 million Tatts was charged, and the $42 million Tabcorp was levied has been spent on good causes around the state from schools to hospitals despite the Victorian state Treasurer having ruled its imposition was “unfair and unreasonable”.
Mr Michael O’Brien’s decision was overturned by Supreme Court judges Maxwell, Beach and McMillan who said the Treasurer’s decision was incorrect due to the wording of the law which means the “statutory language permits no other interpretation”.
“The Treasurer was bound to determine the tax payable in accordance with the prescribed formula,” they said. “Any unfairness which might be thought to have resulted was the inescapable consequence of the provision as enacted.”
Or to put it another way, the fact the operators only got 46 days where their machines were in use, they were charged for the whole year because the law doesn’t allow for anything else. If they were merely charged for 46 days it would still cost them $7m.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Tatts, Tabcorp could face $85 million in pokies levies after government appeal allowed
Of course appealing is going to keep this case running in the gambling news for a while longer yet. The two operators are likely to appeal the health tax levy, the state is going to appeal the decision against them (that’s costing the nearly half a billion) and that’s without the Auditor General’s two cents.
The Auditor General has found that the Brumby government that was responsible for the licensing of the poker machines in the first place made what can only be described as a complete pig’s ear of the entire thing costing the state almost $3bn,
The Brumby government breaking an agreement made by the Kennett government to pay compensation to the two operators should their licenses not be renewed in 2012 is now seen as political ammunition with the opposition spokesman laying the blame squarely on the liberal’s doorstep.
“It appears the contracts signed by the Kennett government with Tattersalls has provided a windfall gain.” He said, adding, “If the government is confident of its case, then it should strongly consider appealing.”
Herald Sun: Tatts to get up to $450m from Victoria’s coffers
In efforts to re-enter the US poker market, PokerStars agrees sale to Canadian gaming supplier Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion.
Amaya Gaming completes a deal to become the world biggest online poker firm after a $4.9 billion purchase of Pokerstars. Many observers see the acquisition as a way to re-enter the US market as they have previously had differences of opinion with certain government departments, namely with the US Department of Justice.
The DOJ claimed that PokerStars violated the codes of the Wire Act, which prohibits certain gambling activities. PokerStars eventually relocated its headquarters to the Isle of Man, off the coast of UK, but continued the legal battle with the DOJ.
The company enlisted the services of some insightful attorneys and law firms that challenged the decision by the DOJ. They claimed that PokerStars did not violate any US gambling laws.
Subsequently, PokerStars made its mark in the US by taking over the biggest online poker market in the world. Soon after President George W. Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which spelled the end for PartyGaming in the US. Nevertheless, PokerStars continued to operate in the US, while Full Tilt claimed the whole market.
Forbes: Amaya Gaming in Deal to Buy PokerStars for $4.9 Billion
In 2011, US federal prosecutors challenged PokerStars’ gambling operations in the country. US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, charged the founder of PokerStars along with 10 other relevant individuals.
The founder, Isai Scheinberg, was one of the people accused of money laundering, bank fraud and most importantly providing illegal betting services. PokerStars took in bets and staged online poker tournaments on a regular basis.
The US Attorney claimed that Scheinberg and others went against the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which makes it illegal for companies to accept bets online where it is not deemed legal.
Following the indictment, PokerStars relented in their legal battle in 2012 and agreed to pay a settlement fine of $731 million to the Department of Justice. Despite paying the hefty fee, the poker firm did not admit any wrongdoing to the charges brought against them.
Bloomberg: PokerStars Sale a Jackpot for New Online Billionaire Scheinberg
Gambling news reports that since the onset of the legal charges Scheinberg has been living on the Isle of Man. His son Mark Scheinberg makes regular visits to the US to keep track of further business and legal developments.
The Department of Justice has labelled Isai Scheinberg as the main “founder, owner and principal decision-maker for Pokerstars.” They also consider the mobile gaming founder as being “at large.”
Amaya Gaming disagrees with the statements made by the DOJ. The company has made an official announcement after the sale, stating that poker site was started and run by the son, Mark Scheinberg, and not the father. Mark also expressed his version by commenting, “I am incredibly proud of the business Isai and I have built over the last 14 years.”
The Guardian: Family behind PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to sell business for GBP 2.9bn
Amaya Gaming primarily deals with supplying betting equipment and hardware for other gaming firms, however the purchase of PokerStars will potentially see it become the greatest online poker provider. Currently, the industry is estimated to be worth a staggering $4 billion while Amaya seeks to hold a significant portion of that through PokerStars.
To help broker the deal Amaya has hired the financing services of several prominent banking institutions. Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Barclays Plc (BARC), Macquaire Group Ltd. and Blackstone Group LP were all involved in providing their expertise.
In order to make the purchase, Amaya had to take out huge loans from the aforementioned banks. Billions have been borrowed, however considering the future potential for online poker in some states it appears to be simply a matter of time before they make a substantial return on their investment.
Amaya Chairman and chief exec, David Baazov, indicated the importance of acquiring PokerStars for the US market. “Having this brand and this company in the US is going to be very significant for states.”
Baazov has been credited with transforming the company into what it is today. He joined Amaya in 2006, two years after it was initially founded, and after successful acquisitions of smaller firms he saw Amaya’s growth rise exponentially.
Baazov commented on the company’s effective business model. “Everyone had a very fragmented approach. We built it all on a vision of convergence. It’s a very large industry and it’s going to continue to grow.”
Bloomberg Businessweek: Amaya Soars to record After $4.9 Billion PokerStars Deal
Two of the largest online poker sites in the world, FullTilt and PokerStars, are both calling on players to help with relief efforts in Haiti, where a massive earthquake has taken the lives of thousands, and left many more without a home. All money donated will be matched by the sites, and then donated to the likes of Red Cross and UNICEF.
Mirror.co.uk: PokerStars sets up Haiti earthquake appeal
A devastating earthquake recently hit Haiti, and it is thought to have killed tens of thousands of people. Many around the world are wondering how they can help. PokerStars has been quick to facilitate come to aid during previous disasters, and once again the site has provided people with an easy way to donate money to relief efforts in the area.
Players at PokerStars have already donated thousands since the appeal launched a few days ago. All the money raised will be given to the Red Cross to help its relief efforts in the earthquake-stricken Caribbean nation. PokerStars has announced that they will match every dollar raised.
The appeal will run until midday on January 31. Here is how to get involved:
– From the PokerStars website, go to Tourney >> Special and enter one of the ‘Haiti Earthquake Relief’ tournaments listed there. ‘Buy-ins’ range from $1,000 all the way down to $1. These are not actual tournaments, and all of the ‘entry fees’ go straight to the relief fund.
– Another way to contribute is to make a “private player transfer” for any amount directly into to a dummy account called ‘Haiti Fund’. Go to ‘Requests’ in the site’s top menu and select ‘Transfer Funds’.
PokerStars is thankful for all who show their support.
ESPN: Tournaments created to help victims in Haiti
Poker players and online poker sites around the world are stepping up to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Through the poker sites Full Tilt and PokerStars, players can donate money by either transferring funds through the game software or by playing in a mock tournament.
“Anyone watching the news knows how important it is to get help to the Haitians as quickly as possible,” said professional poker player Phil Gordon. “Poker players can effectively double their donations through the mechanisms set up by Full Tilt and the generous matching program. This is a great chance to show the world how poker players can step up and help in a true humanitarian crisis.”
Full Tilt is currently offering two different ways for players to donate donate. First, players can register to play in “fake” tournaments at different buy-in levels. The tournaments won’t run, but instead money will be donated. The other option is for players donate their own specific amount through the “Aid for Haiti” account, which can accept any amount over $5 as a donation.
Things are happening pretty much the same way at PokerStars, which is offering “dummy” charity tournaments with buy-ins that range from $1 to $1,000. The site intends to match all donations, and the money generated will be given to the Red Cross. Additionally, players can donate to the PokerStars account “Haiti Fund”. PokerStars says that thousands have already donated, and the site hopes to do all it can to help to the people of Haiti.
If there ever was a time for the internet poker community to make a difference, these next few days are the perfect opportunity.
Chicago Now: Play Poker, Help Haiti
On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing tens of thousands of people.
The quake tore open the land not far from the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince, causing wide-spread devastation on a massive scale.
It is in situations like this when we see the best (and worst) that humanity has to offer, where unlikely heroes and villains emerge to show off either their sincerity or their cold-heartedness.
For this crisis, the online poker industry has emerged on the side of the heroes.
Both Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars, both huge sites in the online poker industry, are calling players to give aid to the people of Haiti.
Full Tilt and Pokerstars have organized several charity tournaments that players can participate in to help raise money for UNICEF, the Red Cross and Doctor Without Boarders in Haiti.
Both sites have vowed match every dollar raised. Full Tilt has even created a dummy player account called “Aid for Haiti” where real players can transfer their donations directly.
This humanitarian fund raiser is not operating without solid promotional backing. Both Full Tilt and Pokerstars have already made strong efforts to spread word about their Haitian earthquake relief appeal, even going as far as to announce it during live poker tournament broadcasts.
Poker pro Barry Greenstein once said that poker sometimes feels like a “hollow” profession, like a career that is all about taking without ever giving. Greenstein’s solution was to become involved with charity, and now poker players from around the world can follow his lead.
Cornell University Student, Kyle Siler, did a massive sociologic study based on 27 million hands of poker and the ratios of wins and losses which can also be attributed to everyday life. According to his results, the more poker wins a player has, the more he/she is likely to lose.
Time: How Winning Can Mean Losing — in Poker and in Life
One can learn a lot about gambling by analyzing 27 million hands of online poker. Cornell University’s Kyle Siler has done just that. His findings: the more hands you win, the more money you’re likely to lose — and this proves true well beyond a game of cards.
Siler wasn’t interested in just poker, but in the idea of how people handle risk, reward and payoffs. Gambling is perfect for studying these factors — and a rich pool of data can be found on the Internet, where millions can play at once and transactions are easy to observe and record.
To gather data, Siler used a software, PokerTracker, and made it collect and collate information on small- medium- and large-stakes games. While crunching the information, he found the strange, inverse relationship between the number of hands won and the amount of money lost. He also noticed that it was novice players who lost the most.
The reason: a majority of wins tallied were for small stakes. The longer new players played the more confident they got, and the likelier they were to lose one or a few big hands. “People overweigh their frequent small gains vis-à-vis occasional large losses,” Siler says.
Investing, driving, buying a house and merely crossing the street are all acts that involve discernible risks and uncertain rewards. The more small returns you get from small investments, the likelier you are to make, and lose, a big investment.
Walking away from a poker table can be easy, but walking away from life — and all the risks and rewards it presents you — isn’t an option. In both venues, the rule should be the same: gamble only what you can afford to lose — and know when you’re approaching those stakes.
USA Today: Poker wins often lead to bigger losses, study says
In a Journal of Gambling Studies report, Cornell University sociologist, Kyle Siler, observed 27 million online poker hands from the past 2 years, to find that winning lots of small stakes ends up losing to bigger losses. Siler analyzed data on 300,000 poker players playing styles to winnings, and found an, “increased proportion of aggressive players as one moves up stakes.”
Given the huge role of luck in delivering big payoffs and big losses, the best poker players must learn to keep winning or losing in stride. An amateur poker player, Siler says his study helped calm his play at the card table.
Science Daily: Online Poker Study: The More Hands You Win, the More Money You Lose
A new Cornell study of online poker seems counterintuitive: The more hands players win, the less money they’re likely to collect, especially when it comes to novice players. The likely reason, said Cornell sociology student Kyle Siler, is that multiple wins are likely for small stakes, but the more you play, the more likely you will eventually lose big losses.
Siler said, “people overweigh their frequent small gains vis-à-vis occasional large losses in everyday life.” In other words, players feel positively reinforced by their streak of wins but don’t understand how occasional large losses offset their gains.
The research not only examined poker, but also “speaks to how humans handle risk and uncertainty,” said Siler, whose look at online poker combines aspects of behavioral economics, economic sociology and social science theory. “Riskiness may be profitable, but also increases the variance and uncertainty of payoffs.
In online poker, a multibillion dollar industry, Siler concluded that the biggest opponent for many players may be themselves, “given the challenges of optimizing one’s mindset and strategies, both in the card game and the meta-games of psychology, rationality and socio-economic arbitrage which hover beneath it,” he said.
People must realize that their limits and understand that big losses offset multiple small gains when dealing with internet gambling and life in general.
Poker playing priest is the new nick name of a Catholic paint-ball playing Father Andrew Trapp who made big news recently for his appearance on Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge. Not only did the poker playing priest appear, but he almost made it through the last round. Though he didn’t win, he was able to raise $100,000 toward the construction of a new church in South Carolina.
St. Michael Catholic Church in Garden City Beach needs over $1 million to build a new church. Father Andrew Trapp made a dent in that figure by winning $100,000 in the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge televised poker tournament.
Trapp’s final episode aired Sunday, and was watched by he and dozens of fellow church members at St. Michael’s. Trapp said he hopes his brief television fame shows people that priests are normal people. “This is an opportunity, hopefully, for people to see a young guy that’s a priest, that’s normal, that can have fun, have friends and try to do something great for the church.”
Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge left audiences stunned in October when S.Carolina poker playing priest Father Andrew Trapp beat NBA Champ John Salley, Team Poker Stars Pro Vanessa Rousso and her teammate and four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu to win $100,000 and a chance to come back earlier this month for a crack at the $1,000,000 grand prize.
Fr. Trapp, the poker playing priest lost the final round of Fox TV’s “Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge” on Dec. 27; but he still won $100,000. The winner was a 9-11 first responder at the World Trade Center.
Known as “Father Rambo” for his paintball play, the poker priest held rosary beads in a hand against Salley. After beating the former Pistons Bad Boy, Trapp shocked Rousso, and took home the six-figure prize when poker star Negreanu misread the strength of Trapp’s cards.
Trapp immediately donated all winnings to the St. Michael’s Church in Garden City, SC, where he’s associate pastor. His goal was to win the million dollar prize to help St. Michael’s build a new church, which is currently $1.5 million dollars short of its goal. In an interview, Trapp said, “I think I represented the church and the priesthood well, which was my main goal…I think my parishioners will be proud of me.
St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Garden City, S.C., is in a four-year, $6.5 million fundraiser for a new church. “Our church family’s grown. We have over 3,000 [people] and 400 families,” said C. Griffith, a St. Michael’s member for more over 20 years.
Overcrowding isn’t the only issue at the Garden City church. Should a strong hurricane go through the area, St. Michael’s probably wouldn’t be standing in the aftermath.
As of Christmas, about $4 million was raised for building a church that’ll be at par with safety codes, hold over 900 people and bear hurricane-force winds. It’s a big upgrade from the old church. The project hopes to give new hope to worshipers at St. Michael’s.
Trapp’s played his role in bringing a new church to his parishioners. The poker playing priest appeared on the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge playing for $1 million wanting to break ground on the multi-million dollar construction project.
Trapp lost in the final round of the show to poker pro, Negreneau, but walked away from the competition with $100,000. The cash, he says, is going straight to who needs it the most — his parish.
The poker playing priest‘s winnings from Hollywood is putting quite the dent in construction costs for a new and improved St. Michael’s. There’s just $1.5 million to go, and those who gather at church each week say they’re more than thankful for such a generous donation to their future.
Poker playing priest went to take part in the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge on behalf of his parish on a mission to raise cash for a new church.
Gambling legislation is a point of contention all over the world today, specifically the new Belgian gambling laws which restrict online casino games. Many countries are changing their policies on the subject and organization, such as the European Union, are making very influential decisions with regards to all member states.
Despite wishes on behalf of the European Union that its mandates be acknowledged and followed, some countries still insist on going against the grain. A few such countries are France, Poland and most recently Belgium. Speculations indicate that these countries have crossed the line intentionally in order to test Michel Barnier, the new European Commissioner.
Belgium has stirred the subject to the brink of boiling by recently passing a law regulating online gambling that did not address several points of contention with EU rules, as found by the European Commission.
The European Commission gave an official Detailed Opinion to Belgian legislators which pointed out which parts of Belgian gambling laws needed to be amended in order to comply with EU law. Some of the points pointed out by the European Commission include: an unjustified limit on licenses, requirements of servers being located in Belgium, and forbidding citizens to participate in EU licensed and regulated internet gambling in Belgium.
Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association, Sigrid Ligne, condemned Belgium’s action saying that, “The law is not only highly questionable from a legal point of view, a high level of consumer protection can be achieved by specific and targeted legislation, not by protecting the operators with a vested interest in the current situation.”
On December 3rd, lawmakers passed Belgian gambling laws without taking into considerations concerns that were voiced by the European Commission. In doing so, the Belgian Government has subjected itself to infringement proceedings that may be held by the EC which believes Belgian gambling laws are illegal within the EU framework.
Pius Heinz, who hails from Cologne Germany, became a professional poker player only earlier this year, against the wishes of his mother, who wanted him to enter the Church. Pius, who enjoys female strippers, schnapps and recreational drugs just said no to the church, and instead spent his time hunting for online poker bonuses.
This year the WSOP Main event has 6685 of the toughest traditional and online poker masters, who each ponied up the $10,000 entry fee for a chance at eternal glory as well as the $8,715,638 first place prize.
The runner up, a Czech player walked away with a $5.43 million consolation prize, not that he will have to weep too much since that’s more money than his entire village made in a century.
The German world poker champion turned out to be an astute businessman, making a deal with the king of online poker – Poker Stars – where he can be found playing so anyone can see if they have what it takes to beat the current world champion of poker.
“I hereby proudly announce that I am the 2011 world series of poker Champion !! I did it for Germany,” shouted Heinze to be overheard above the roar of fans and the din coming from hundreds of encamped international reporters. Pius Heinz not only becomes the first German to win the World Series of Poker.
A 37 year old Danish poker player, Mr. Gus Hansen, has been on an incredible winning streak playing online poker at the Full Tilt Poker, winning $999,480 this week alone at ‘heads-up’ matches, bringing his five month online total to $5,000,000 won. Just in the first 54 days of 2011, Mr. Hansen, also known as The Great Dane, won $3 million playing Pot Limit Omaha and Draw Poker. He is currently in first place in overall winnings in online poker cash games in 2011, with his closest competitor, Mr. Patrik Antonius far behind, yet still a winner of more than a million dollars since the start of the year.
During the last week, Mr. Hansen played over 2,500 hands of draw poker against some of the most aggressive whales of the online poker rooms, including Mr. Tom Dwan and Mr, Phil Galfond, and still walked away with a cool million.
Not too long ago, things were not so rosy for Mr. Hansen , who almost permanently quit playing poker last year after losing $5.55 million by early fall, and finishing the year with an overall loss of $1.3 million. That was the beginning of the lucky streak which he’s been on for the past five months, eventually leading to this week’s amazing weekly win, playing thousands of pots larger than most people’s yearly income.
Gus Hanses was one of the founding partners of PokerChamps online poker room, which was sold 20 months later to Betfair for $15 million dollars.
Mr. Hansen has been a gambler all his life, first becoming a world ranked backgammon player and then discovering poker to eventually win the European World Series of Poker bracelet in the ‘No Limit Hold’em High Roller Heads-Up’ $15,000 buy-in tournament. Over his lifetime, Mr. Gus Hansen won over 9 million dollars in live tournaments and is a regular player in the biggest poker cash games in Las Vegas and online.
Microgaming bad beat poker jackpot occurred at Microgaming’s Network of inter-connected poker rooms, where the rare Bad Beat Progressive Jackpot was miraculously won twice within 20 hours. Normally the Jackpot is won once every 4-15 weeks. The Microgaming Network offers specifically created virtual poker tables throughout its network of 36 independent online poker rooms.
The special poker rooms only operate when at least four people are playing, and offer a progressive Microgaming bad beat poker jackpot when one player is beaten by another in a showdown where the looser has at the minimum quad eights (four cards that are all 8’s) or higher. For the Progressive Jackpot to be awarded, the winner and the looser must use all of their ‘hole cards’ to make their hands.
At 6am UK time, a player on Microgaming network called ‘4447470’ (who had pocket tens) got involved in a hand with ‘epohon’ who held the Queen and King of Hearts. When the smoke cleared, ‘4447470’ held 10-10-10-10-A against ‘epohon’ who held 10-J-Q-K-A, all of hearts and a Royal Flush. It took a moment for player ‘4447470’ to realize he won the Progressive Bad Beat Microgaming Jackpot.
According to the rules, the $558,296.27 jackpot was divided among all four players with ‘4447470’ winning $195,403.70, ‘epohon’ winning $97,701.85 (along with the $500 that he won in the hand), and the remaining two players, who were not involved in the hand, each received $48,850.92.
The Progressive Jackpot was reseeded and 20 hours later grew to $114,264.23 when it was won by a player called ‘papa45’ who lost with four Jacks to ‘zebro74’ who held a straight flush. ‘Papa45’ won $39,992.48, ‘zebro74’ won $19,996.24 and the four remaining players, not involved in the hand, each won $4,999.06.
The Bad Beat Progressive Jackpot was insantly reseedeed at $22,852 and the action re-started. Make sure you register with all three Microgaming poker rooms listed above, so you too can participate in the heart pounding action of live poker and perhaps you too can walk away with the Microgaming bad beat poker jackpott!
PKR Poker is an award winning online poker site with great software, innovative games, and a unique 3D poker platform that puts it at the top of many players’ lists. When poker fans sign up at the site, they get to create their own personal avatars, and as they explore the site they can use these avatars as a way to interact with other players. Of course, PKR Poker isn’t all about looks – they also offer great cash games, endless tournaments, and excellent poker sign up bonuses.
This week, the site announced the results of a site-wide effort among players to vote for the 2010 PKR Players of the Year. Members actually voted in three categories, and one place was chosen for each. Here are the results:
Tournament Player of the Year
Accomplishments: PKR Hall of Fame, $80,000 in online poker tournament wins, 12 major titles and 23 cashes of $1k or more.
Cash Game player of the Year
Accomplishments: PKR Team Pro member, first player to cash out $1 million in 2010.
Forumite of the Year
Accomplishments: Positive presence in PKR Poker forums, organizing Leeds Community Meet-ups.
PKR’s marketing manager Erika Schwartz Poole says, “Congrats to all our winners this year. These awards are a great way for our players to recognise the achievements of their peers and provide inspiration to others. We look forward to seeing you on the felt in 2011 for another prosperous year!”
Bad Beat jackpots are becoming a popular trend, both online and offline. They are progressive jackpots attached to online poker games that are distributed to all the players at a table when one player loses to another with a very high hand. At Carbon Poker, the winner of the hand takes 17.5% of the jackpot, while the loser walks away with 35%. The rest of the cash is distributed to the other players at the table.
This week, player dk2112 won $156,402 in cash at a Bad Beat table. He was playing $.50/$1 no-limit at a table with a pot of just $55 when he won the big prize. He entered the table with pocket 7’s, which turned into quad sevens by the end of the hand. His confidence was shattered when his opponent BlackOutBob dropped quad 8’s.
Since dk2112 lost with such a strong hand, the Bad Beat Jackpot was set off, giving him the $156,402 prize. In fact, quad 7’s is the lowest hand that can trigger the jackpot, making dk2112 doubly lucky! BlackOutBob won the $55 pot but also took home $78,201 from the Bad Beat Jackpot. The other five players at the table were rewarded just for being there, getting $13,033 each.
While this is a pretty big jackpot win, it is nothing compared to the Carbon Poker record. Their largest ever Bad Beat Jackpot was $1.2 million, won on a Friday the 13th! Carbon Poker execs hope this figure will someday be trumped, but in the meantime, the jackpot has been reset to $100,000 and will continue to grow until it is won once again.
A few years ago, 25-year-old Jack Ellwood was an economics and mathematics course at Bristol University. Today, he calls himself a professional poker player, and judging by his annual earnings, it seems that he is very good at his job.
Ellwood has won more than $1.4 million this past year playing poker, and about a million of that is pure profit. Originally from Newcastle, England, he now travels around the world playing in casino blackjack tournaments – this year alone he has played in Las Vegas, Barcelona, Cannes and Vienna. He also makes quite a lot of money playing at online poker sites, and is currently ranked the 12th best internet poker player in the world.
“I still can’t quite believe how well I have done,” said Ellwood. “It all changed last February when I came second in a tournament in Manchester and won £37,500. That was my big break, and it left me with more money to buy into tournaments with big prize pots.”
So far, his biggest win was $500,000 which he earned playing in an online poker tournament.
Ellwood doesn’t regret leaving university to peruse a career as a poker player. “It beats a nine to five job and being my own boss and jetting round the world is amazing,” he says. “When I dropped out to play poker I think my mum was a bit shocked though.”
Earlier this week, Jonathan Duhamel, the 26-year-old Canadian defeated 23-year-old American John Racener, winning a WSOP bracelet along with an $8,944,138 prize. Jonathan Duhamel is the first Canadian player to capture the coveted Main Event bracelet.
2010 World Series of Poker was the 41st annual WSOP tour. The tour culminated in the Main Event held at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The event stated back on 03 July, but after reaching the final table of nine players on July 17, the final table was delayed until 06 November.
PokerStars-sponsored Duhamel beat out 7,319 other players to capture the win. Of the nine players who competed at the final table last weekend, only Michael Mizrachi had ever one a WSOP bracelet, but the American only finished 5th this year.
After winning the 2010 WSOP Main Event, Jonathan Duhamel announced that he would be setting aside $100 000 of his winnings to the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation, purportedly the largest donation that the group has ever received from an individual.
“It’s an enormous amount,” said Canadiens spokesman Donald Beauchamp. “It’s quite remarkable, and this was completely his idea. We had nothing to do with it. So to do this for the foundation is truly appreciated by the entire organization.”
Jonathan Duhamel started his poker career just three years ago, with a $100 investment at an online poker site in Canada.