Posted on: February 5, 2021, 12:59h.
Last updated on: February 5, 2021, 03:29h.
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) controversial appeal of the Wire Act may end with last month’s ruling by the First Circuit, according to gaming attorneys. They believe the DOJ will conform to January’s decision on the Wire Act with only a little additional comment or measures.
Attorney and former high-ranking Justice Department lawyer James Trusty, pictured in a 2018 Fox News interview. Trusty says federal prosecutors should not pursue gambling cases if states permit the activity. The comments come after an appeals court ruling on the Wire Act. (Image: Fox News)On Jan. 20, First Circuit judges in Boston sided with New Hampshire’s rejection of the DOJ’s controversial opinion on the federal law’s scope. In the ruling, the DOJ argued that the Wire Act applied to all wagers and betting, not just sports bets. The opinion threatened to end online sports betting and other forms of internet gambling involving multiple states.Casino.org spoke to four legal scholars about the future of the case and the DOJ’s action. Return to Status QuoJames Trusty offered his opinion on the recent ruling on New Hampshire Lottery Commission vs. Rosen. Trusty is a former chief of the DOJ’s Organized Crime Section who now practices at Washington, DC-based Ifrah Law.Trusty says the ruling negates the DOJ’s early 2019 midnight memo.“It would be wise [for the DOJ] to simply withdraw the 2018 memo and return to the status quo from the last 10 years — simply to be totally clear on the department’s position,” Trusty told Casino.org. “It would be surprising and shortsighted for DOJ to suggest that they would have different rules in the other circuits while abandoning the poorly-reasoned 2018 memo.”Robert Jarvis, a professor at Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad College of Law, further speculated on the New Hampshire case. Jarvis believes President Joe Biden will not have the DOJ file an appeal to the Supreme Court. Everyone knows that the 2018 OLC opinion was purchased by Sheldon Adelson and that its construction of the Wire Act made no sense,” Jarvis said.“This puts the case in a unique posture,” Jarvis said. “Normally, DOJ is defending a law passed by Congress. But here, it was defending its own handiwork, which it never believed in.”Still, it remains possible that the DOJ will feel the need for some closure, says Jarvis, the coauthor of Gaming Law and Gambling Law: Cases, Materials, and Problems (forthcoming Second Edition). If this is the case, Jarvis expects the DOJ to issue a one-page memorandum reinstating the 2011 OLC opinion. “With Trump out of office and [Sheldon] Adelson dead, there’s no longer any political reason for folks like [Republican South Carolina Sen.] Lindsey Graham to push for an amendment/expansion of the Wire Act,” Jarvis said. Adelson, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO who was also a strong opponent of online gaming, was a supporter of Trump and other Republicans.A.G. Burnett, a former chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board who now is a partner at Nevada’s McDonald Carano law firm, predicts there will not be prosecutions in the First Circuit’s jurisdiction, or likely elsewhere, based on the 2018 OLC opinion.“I think a formal revision of the 2018 memo by the DOJ to go back to the 2011 interpretation and move in line with the First Circuit’s guidance would be a nice endpoint. But ultimately, may not be necessary,” Burnett told Casino.org.DOJ May Abandon Wire Act Litigation“I suspect the Biden DOJ will quietly abandon the case and withdraw the 2018 OLC memorandum,” said Kate C. Lowenhar-Fisher, a Las Vegas-based attorney and chair of the gaming and hospitality practice group at Dickinson Wright. “That would be much less murky than publishing some kind of no-enforcement memorandum like President Obama did in connection with cannabis,” Lowenhar-Fisher told Casino.org.“The status quo post-2011 would be restored, and perhaps we could put an end to legislating gambling via memoranda.”Trusty: Feds Should Not Pursue Gaming CasesOverall, James Trusty suggests the easiest fix, from the DOJ’s perspective, “is simply to clarify that federal prosecutors generally will not pursue gambling charges — Wire Act or other statutes — when the activity is licensed under state law.”With the recent Wire Act appeals ruling in place, the DOJ is also “free to pursue off-shore sportsbooks operating illegally in the US, as well as any other criminal conduct that might be connected to otherwise lawful gaming, such as money laundering or organized criminal activity,” explained Trusty, who was presented the US Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in 2011.“This would take the emphasis on gambling prosecutions back to where it has always been intended to be — a tool to use against organized criminal activity, not a threat against today’s regulated, popular betting across the country,” Trusty said.
UK Betting and Gaming Council Warns about Dangers of Complacency as numbers of British Punters using Black Market Sites more that doubles
It comes as the Betting and Gaming Council warns of “the dangers of complacency” about the threat from unlicensed and illegal gambling operators.
The report commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council from PwC published in full today – ‘Review of unlicensed online gambling in the UK’ – is a brand new 66-page document based on data collected during November and December 2020.
It highlights a series of worrying trends, including a doubling of the money staked with unlicensed operators – a jump from £1.4bn to £2.8bn – compared to a similar study in 2019.
The new data also shows the number of customers using an unlicensed betting website has grown from 210,000 two years ago to 460,000.
The report also highlights worrying global trends that show the size of the black market in other countries.
The findings came as the Government conducts a Gambling Review, which has formally and specifically asked for information about the black market as part of its ‘Call for Evidence’, following widespread concerns raised by a number of parliamentarians (see notes to editors).
Fears have also been expressed, including from senior horseracing figures, that the ongoing Gambling Commission consultation on affordability risks forcing ordinary punters towards the black market if checks on their income are too intrusive and onerous.
The BGC, the industry’s standards body, continues to support further changes to the regulated industry, but is urging ministers to make sure any brought forward as a result of the Gambling Review are carefully thought out.
Michael Dugher, the BGC’s chief executive, said: “This new report by PwC is an impressive and comprehensive piece of work which demonstrates how the unsafe, unregulated black market is a growing threat to British punters.
“These illicit sites have none of the regulated sector’s consumer protections in place, such as strict ID and age verification checks, safer gambling messages and the ability to set deposit limits.”
Mr Dugher said that as head of the standards body representing the regulated betting and gaming industry he welcomes wholeheartedly the Government’s Gambling Review.
And he added: “It is important to stress that the big increase in the black market is not an argument against more changes to the regulated industry, but an argument that we need to get them right.”
On the number of British punters using black market sites, the report by PwC report says: “Based on our survey, the proportion of UK online gamblers using an unlicensed operator has increased from 2.2 per cent to 4.5 per cent in the last 1-2 years. This equates to an increase from c210,000 players in 2018-19 to c460,000 in 2020.”
It goes on: “A sizable and growing share of stakes is placed with unlicensed sites, growing over the last 1-2 years broadly in line with usage (ie doubling). Those that gamble with unlicensed operators still almost always gamble with licensed operators as well.
“Our survey found that share of online stakes with unlicensed operators had grown from 1.2 per cent in 2018/19 to 2.3 per cent. This corresponds to a doubling of stakes with unlicensed online operators from £1.4bn to £2.8bn.”
The new report also suggests that the size of the online black market is larger in countries where the regulated betting and gaming sector is less competitive.
It points to countries including France, Norway, Italy and Spain – which have tougher restrictions on licensed operators – as examples of nations where the black market share is bigger than in the UK.
The report says: “This analysis suggests that the UK has a more ‘open’ online gambling market and currently has a smaller unlicensed market share than our European benchmarks.
“Whilst it is not possible to isolate the impact of individual regulatory characteristics, the above assessment suggests that jurisdictions with a higher unlicensed market share tend to exhibit one or more restrictive regulatory or licensing characteristics.”
Mr Dugher added: “I know this evidence is inconvenient to those who seek to dismiss and play down the threat of the black market, but there is a real danger of complacency.
“The UK risks sleep walking into changes where the main beneficiary is the unlicensed black market. We all have an interest in getting future changes right, so must take heed of this latest evidence and look at what is happening elsewhere around the world.”
$100 Casino Hold’em tournament, 10,000 chips, 50 players. ~20 alternates. I got as an alternate in Round 2/3 and made it to Round 8.SB: 800BB: 1600 + 1600 BBAntePre Flop: Villain is SB and calls, Hero is BB with 8c Jc and checks. (rest of table folds, 2 players)Flop: (4000) 7c 4c Qh (2 players), Hero goes All-in, Villain calls shows 4d 4sTurn: 2hRiver: QdThis was my first in-person tournament, and I am not going to lie, I was very nervous. I screwed up a couple of times with things like throwing in chips in two moves, almost folding out of order, and one time I meant to call but threw in too many chips. I found myself trying to pay attention to my order and keeping up with the table more than keeping track of my chip count and other players in the tournament.All I can remember is I had a stack of what I think was 12,000 and this point, and realized I was very low compared to the others left in the tournament. I folded ~4-5 in a row until I was BB again and felt that I needed to make a move to stay in. The BB+BBante was really throwing me off because it was like 2 BBs at once. When the flop showed flush draw after the Villain call, I felt that I needed to make a move to stay in. If he would have raised pre-flop, I would have folded.Probably because this was my first time at a casino playing in person, but I keep second guessing myself and re-evaluating whether I should have done that or not. Regardless of the fact that he ended up with a Full House, which would have beaten me even if I caught the Flush, I keep thinking I should have been more patient, less stupid, and less aggressive at that stage of the tournament. Sorry if I messed up the format in the post. This has been replaying in head and was hoping for some opinions.
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That is a lot of people!© PokerNews
The 2014 WSOP introduced the concept of the “Monster Stack” tournament, which provides each player with a much larger starting stack than normal.
While it is a well-known fact among professionals that they have a larger edge with a larger stack compared to a smaller stack, the Monster Stack event was one of the largest of the series, attracting a whopping 7,862 players.
When I posted about my confusion on twitter, I was instantly faced with lots of people spewing blatant ignorance. Somehow over the last few years, amateurs got the idea stuck in their head that deep stacks are good for them!
In this blog post, I will explain why the Monster Stack event is bad for amateurs and what they can do to find events that give them the best chance for success.
Before I proceed, please know I am only trying to spread the truth. While it has become clear to me that countless people blindly believe incorrect concepts, if you are an amateur player who cares about money and you seek out deep stacked events consisting of a few professionals, you will quickly find your bankroll is gone.
Playing for Fun
The main reason most amateur players seem to favor deep stacked events is because they allow for “more play.” To them, this means they get to sit at the table for a longer period of time before going broke. This is, of course, correct, because they can lose more hands before becoming handcuffed by a short stack. Compared to normal $1,500 WSOP events, where you are often crippled after losing one marginally significant pot, having a larger stack in terms of big blinds will allow for longer periods of play at the table.
That isn’t a lot of chips!
I want to make it clear that sitting at the table for a long period of time should not be your goal when you enter a poker tournament, assuming you care about money. If you are only playing for entertainment, to complete a “bucket list” item, or for a story to tell your friends, this article is not for you. Those people value experience over money. There is nothing wrong with that at all. However, I try to help people who want to improve at poker, not those who blatantly do not care about knowledge and self-improvement.
In all aspects of life, you can usually find a way to trade money for experience. Most of the time for lunch, I have blended up spinach, kale, parsley, and other vegetables. Yum! However, on some days, I will go out to an overly expensive restaurant and eat fairly unhealthy (compared to raw veggies) food. When I go to a restaurant, I am voluntarily trading money, time, and health for a nice experience and pleasant tastes in my mouth. While I don’t do this too often, perhaps once per week, I enjoy it and will continue to do it.
This guy is clearly having fun. © PokerListings
I think most amateur poker players who are playing poker for the experience view the Monster Stack event similarly to how I view going out to a fancy restaurant for lunch. There is nothing at all wrong with that. Trying to teach me about nutrition and getting a good value when it comes to dining out at lunch is futile because both of those things are not my goals in the least bit, just like some amateurs’ goals are not to win money in the long run.
I am not on the same page as those players looking for an experience at the poker table because we have vastly different goals. If I want to save money, time, and health, I eat spinach. If I want to spend money, relax, and eat cake, I go to lunch. If you want to maximize your equity, especially if it is certain to be negative (the goal, perhaps, should be to lose less), you should play shallow stacked events. If you want to play poker with the pros, sit at a poker table for a long time, and not instantly go broke, you should play deep stacked events. However, you must realize that you are sacrificing monetary equity for experience equity.
Of course, it is possible to have the best of both worlds, playing deep stacked with an edge, which is what the pros do, but you must accept that you will have to spend tons of time away from the table studying and at the table practicing to develop your skills. Most amateurs refuse to study away from the table and do not have adequate time to spend at the table. If you care about money, you must be realistic with yourself about your goals and your commitment to the game.
My problem occurs when someone tells me “I am playing the monster stack because the deep stack gives me an edge” and also “I play one poker tournament per year.” It is almost impossible for that player to be good at the game. I am simply being honest and fighting ignorance. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Playing for Money
If you are playing with the intention of trying to not lose your buy-in, you must be perfectly fine with busting out at any point in a tournament. Some of my best days of the summer are when I bust out of within an hour because I get to take the rest of the day off. I would much rather bust one hour into a tournament than eight hours into it, assuming I am not in the money.
It is easy to make bad decisions with a huge stack. © PokerListings
Most amateur players use the extra time afforded to them by having numerous big blinds by waiting around for premium hands. The problem with this is that they often cultivate an overly tight image and fail to get action with their strong holdings. Waiting around for a nut hand is useless if you only win small pots. In order to succeed in deep stacked poker, you have to get at least a touch out of line and let your opponents know you aren’t playing with only the nuts. If they think you are capable of bluffing, you will get paid off much more often.
As an example, in the Monster Stack event, which I made a point to play due to my gigantic perceived edge, someone raised to 3 big blinds and a guy who had yet to reraise over the course of eight hours all of a sudden reraised to 12 big blinds from the button out of his 75 big blind stack. I looked down and found Q-Q. I folded it with little thought. If my opponent was even the least bit active, I would have happily doubled him up. Instead, I lost nothing. I was not surprised at all to see him turn up A-A. For the record, in tournaments with strong players who play at least marginally aggressively, I don’t think I have ever open folded Q-Q in my life. My opponent’s play cost him around $1,000 in equity and he didn’t even realize it. He was simply happy to win the pot.
Lots of other amateurs claimed they don’t like playing short stacked because they are forced to “flip”. While getting it all-in with around 50% equity is never ideal, you will find that if you can get all-in with around 55% equity or more you will crush the competition in the long run. Believe it or not, it is difficult to do once stacks get shallow.
I will demonstrate this concept using oversimplified, but hopefully enlightening, math. In these simulations, you are forced to go all-in every hand in a heads up match. Notice in an actual poker tournament, when you get all-in, it will frequently be against one player, which is a similar situation. You must recognize that if you are overly focused on getting your money in good, you will often be blinding off, making the math much worse for you because when you win, you will not bust your opponents. This gives them the opportunity to run their stack back up, occasionally busting you despite you initially winning almost all of their chips.
Hopefully you know that if everyone has a 50% chance of winning each all-in, in an eight-person heads-up tournament, everyone will win 12.5% of the time. However, if one guy has a 55% chance of winning his flips, meaning each of his opponents has 45% chance against him and 50% against everyone else, the player with 55% will win the tournament a 16.6% of the time, which provides a hefty 32% return on investment. This is because each of his opponents will only win 11.9% of the time.
If instead of only eight people, there were 64, the player with 55% will win 2.77% of the time, which might sound minuscule, but is huge compared to everyone else, who will only win 1.54% of the time. In that event, the player with 55% will have a 77% return on investment, which is more than most top tournament players expect to have in a tournament with many more people. Hopefully you immediately recognize that if you can consistently get your money in good, you will have a larger return on investment as the field size increases.
It is important to realize that when playing deep stacked, good players do not get all-in against an amateur without a hand that can reasonably beat good, but not amazing, postflop hands, such as A-A on 9-7-4-2. It might be hard to believe, but against someone who is a good poker player, you do not want to get all-in with most one pair hands in most situations when you have more than 150 big blinds.
To make matters worse for the amateurs, pros slowly grind up their stacks with minimal risk by stealing lots of pots that do not belong to them. This allows the pros to get all-in as a significant favorite with more chips than their opponents, killing the amateur’s chances in the long run. Notice in a 64 person flipping tournament, if a really good pro has 60% equity and everyone else is neutral, he will win 4.67% of the time with a gigantic 199% return on investment. If instead, all of the stacks are super short, perhaps the best a pro can hope for is to have around 53% equity on average, cutting his return on investment to 41%, giving the amateurs a realistic shot to win in the short run.
This is why deep stacks are devastating for amateurs, assuming they care about money. This is also why you see the same pros making deep runs in major deep stacked events on a consistent basis while they put up less than stellar results in short stacked events. The math is inexorable.
How Did the Amateurs Do in the Monster Stack Event?
If you look up all of the Monster Stack final table players on the Hendon Mob database, you will see that six of the nine players are what I would consider to be mediocre pros or complete pros in the $1,500 and smaller events. Two of the players, including the eventual winner, had almost no live results, but if you take a look at the events they were playing prior to this event, you will notice they were playing mostly high stakes European tournaments. This tells me they are almost certainly strong online players. If you are an online player who plays mostly on the internet and in Europe but you can find a way to come out to beautiful Las Vegas for the WSOP, you are probably excellent at poker. Only one of the players had relatively weak results and even then, he had some.
How did You Do in the Monster Stack Event?
I got lots of “hate tweets” when I lost, saying that if pros have such a large edge, why didn’t I win? There is a relatively large amount of variance in any poker tournament. How any individual pro fared in the event is entirely irrelevant. You must look at how we did as a whole. Considering that most likely eight out of the nine final table players were at least mediocre pros, we likely did better than average.
That being said, I doubled my 15,000 starting stack to 30,000 without going to a showdown within the first two hours. From there, I got all-in for a giant pot with A-K as an 85% favorite in a spot where I was fairly confident my opponent had A-K, A-Q, or A-J on an A-T-8 board. He had A-Q and got a Q on the river, putting me back to 15,000. I again ground up my stack with no showdown to get to 30,000, and then I lost with A-K versus A-J all-in before the flop to bust. Within a few short hours, I got my money in as an 85% favorite for a two starting stack pot, as a 73% favorite in a four starting stack pot, and I ground up two starting stacks.
I am entirely happy with my performance. The actual outcome (I lost) is irrelevant. Remember, if you are playing poker for a living, you only care about winning equity. Money will come in the long run.
Which Events Should Amateurs Play?
So, which WSOP events should amateurs play, if they are looking for good value for their tournament dollar? They should play events that have the highest variance because those lead to the most flips. This means the typical $1,000 and $1,500 events that have shallow stacks. The Millionaire Maker event is an excellent option for such amateurs looking to play a WSOP event because the stacks are short and the prize pool is huge. If you are looking to gamble hard with at least some equity, that is the event for you. Before buying in, realize you have around a .014% chance of winning, assuming you are a break-even player.
If they play a conservative strategy, they should play events that do not punish being tight with a deep stack. Since pot limit events do not have antes, those are the ideal events for amateurs. Despite this fact, pot limit events attract some of the smallest fields of the series. This is another example of blatant ignorance at work.
My books are a good place to start!
Notice that the WSOP Main Event, which is a giant $10,000 buy-in event, attracts loads of players, and proudly boasts the deepest structure of all events played around the world. This is the one event amateurs should not even consider playing. Instead, they show up in droves.
Of course, the amateurs could spend their time learning the game well before tackling fairly large buy-in events, whatever stack size they provide. That would certainly be a much wiser use of their time and money. Luckily for me, most people find studying to be boring. Poker is alive and well.
Once professionals stop being short-sighted and accept that whatever is good for the amateurs, whether they know it or not, is good for the game, they will fight hard to spread the truth. Sometimes you have to ruffle a few feathers and viciously attack ignorance along the way. I am willing to fight the fight.
Thank you for reading. If you have any comments at all, feel free to share them.
In Macau and prominent casino junket operator Tak Chun Group has reportedly announced that it is to premiere its latest VIP gaming club inside The Londoner Macao from Monday afternoon.
According to a report from GGRAsia, the firm is already responsible for similar high-roller lounges within some of the former Portuguese enclave’s most prestigious properties including the Wynn Palace Cotai, The Plaza Macao and MGM Cotai and will be debuting its newest at the same time as the first stage of The Londoner Macao opens to the public from February 8. The source detailed that this coming venture, which is to be eponymously branded, is subsequently hoping to take advantage of interest surrounding the city’s upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations so as to get off to a good start.
The Londoner Macao is reportedly a redevelopment of the 6,000-room Sands Cotai Central property run by the local Sands China Limited subsidiary of giant American casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corporation. This $2 billion transformation is purportedly due to see the Cotai Strip venue feature a façade recreating the architecture of the United Kingdom’s Palace of Westminster complex including its Elizabeth Tower complete with the iconic Big Ben clock.
Macau-headquartered Tak Shun Group had reportedly been responsible for a similar Sands Cotai Central VIP gaming club but was last year forced to temporarily suspend this operation owing to a coronavirus-induced drop in business. The firm has now purportedly committed to the new-look The Londoner Macao after earlier proclaiming its desire to maintain operations as the venue completes its ‘phased completion throughout 2020 and 2021.’
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I constantly hear immature poker players talk about how they hate poker and how they think it is intrinsically a bad game. In reality, poker is an outstanding game for numerous reasons.
I read very few weekly columns, but one I never miss is Mark Rosewater’s “Making Magic”. Although his articles are about Magic: the Gathering, a card game that is somewhat a mix between poker and chess, if you have any interest in game design, I strongly suggest you check it out as he is the premier game designer in the world.
One of his articles, “Ten Things Every Game Needs”, discussing the 10 aspects of a successful game, really hit home because, while there are aspects of poker I do not particularly enjoy, such as getting unlucky for huge amounts of money, I realize they are necessary for the game to thrive and survive in the long run.
In this blog post, I am going to go through his list and outline why I think poker is a superb game. My hope is that you see the game in a new light and appreciate it for the various nuances that make it amazing.
Before I get started, it is worth noting that Rosewater initially had 10 aspects of a successful game in his article. I will only be discussing nine of them because one of his aspects deals with selling a game to consumers. Seeing how poker is not sold in the traditional sense, I do not think it is worth discussion. Also, Rosewater mentions that in order to be successful, a game can be missing one of the 10 aspects. Interestingly enough, poker, in my mind, seems to be blatantly missing one of them although I bet quite a few people, particularly amateurs, would disagree.
I am going to briefly discuss a tic-tac-toe at the end of each section to contrast how poker, a good game, and tic-tac-toe, a bad game, differ. It is important to be able to look at all games and see why they work or why they do not. While those points will have nothing to do with poker, I think they are worth considering.
All good games must have a goal. If the players have nothing to work towards, they will lose interest and stop playing. The goal of poker is to win money. Tournaments are a particularly engaging form of poker because you often have multiple goals, such as getting your first double up, getting in the money, making the final table, getting heads up and winning the whole thing. Poker also allows for other non-game related goals, such as socializing with your friends or getting a gambling high. Poker definitely succeeds in this category.
The goal of tic-tac-toe is to get three of your symbol in a row. This is clearly defined and concise.
A Clear Set of Rules
The basic rules to poker are easy to learn and understand. Pretty much everyone who plays even small stakes poker understands 95% of the rules. The learning of the basic, and even advanced, rules is not a terribly difficult task. If the rules to a game are too difficult, people will not want to learn to play. I believe one of the reasons Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant of poker is due to its simple rules. If you compare Hold’em to other poker variants, you will see the rules of the other games are much more complicated. While I do not think the rules of any poker game are enough to stop a hardcore gamer from playing, I can see how a novice would not want to learn Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Baducey.
Quite a few players do not know around 5% of the rules of poker, such as the “oversize chip rule” and the somewhat new “first card off the deck” rule. There are various rules in place to deal with a player who acts out of turn or slow the game down. The Tournament Directors Association has done an excellent job in outlining these rules and implementing a progressive series of penalties for breaking the rules. They actually have a rules booklet that is 15 pages long. You can download it here.
When something happens at the table that is not covered in the rule book, which is extraordinarily infrequent, the floor man, who oversees each game, is given permission to use his judgment and make a rational ruling. While some less experienced floor men get some of these tricky decisions wrong, the best floor men in the world are almost always 100% correct and fair with their decisions. I think poker succeeds wonderfully in the “Rules” section.
The rules of tic-tac-toe take around 30 seconds to learn, allowing anyone to play with no prior experience. While having simple rules can be a good thing, the rules are so simple that the game quickly becomes stale.
For contrast, Chess and Magic: the Gathering both have fairly difficult rules to understand and master. Despite this, both games have a huge following because the price you pay by spending time learning the rules is more than paid back in the form of a lifetime of enjoyment. For example, the Magic rule book is currently a whopping 207 pages long. You can download it here.
That being said, almost no one actually “knows” all of the rules of Magic. The game is designed in a way such at most of the tricky rules are explained as the game progresses, allowing for clean, progressive accumulation of knowledge.
Poker is filled with interaction. Since both players have the same goal in poker, winning each other’s money, both players must fight hard to make sure they have a reasonable chance to win. You must adjust your strategy to beat whatever strategy your opponent is currently or expected to be implementing. When you have the nuts, you have to figure out how to make your opponent put in his money with a lesser holding. When you have nothing, you have to either fold or figure out how to make your opponent fold a superior hand. This can be done in numerous ways, such as talking to your opponent, throwing your chips into the pot in a particular way, or simply remaining stoic, using your overall game plan and bet sizing to force your opponent to make an error. Poker clearly succeeds in this category.
There is very little interaction in tic-tac-toe. There is nothing you can say or do to influence your opponent’s decision to play fundamentally sound. You simply make your move and hope your opponent makes an error. That being said, you usually converse with your opponent, mostly due to the game being so boring, which I suppose is a minor redeeming factor.
A Catch-Up Feature
Anyone who has been brutally bad beat can attest to the fact that poker has an excellent catch-up feature build into it. A game will quickly become unplayable when weak players think they have no chance to win. The saying “a chip and a chair” has become famous because you always have some equity as long as you have some money in front of you at the poker table. I have personally watched a guy go from one ante chip with 18 players left in a WPT event to taking home the title. I have gone from having half of the chips at a final table to out in 7th place. Anything can happen in poker, which is one of the reasons people keep coming back to play.
Tic-tac-toe has no catch up feature. If you somehow find yourself behind, you will quickly lose unless your opponent makes an error.
Inertia refers to something that drives a game towards completion. In tournaments, the constantly rising blinds ensure the game will end at a scheduled time. While everyone may start deep stacked and be able to play lots of hands after the flop, as the blinds increase, the game eventually evolves into a short stacked game dominated by preflop poker. Interestingly enough, deep stacked poker and short stacked poker require vastly different strategies.
Cash games are a bit different because they never end, assuming you are not playing fairly high stakes or at a casino that closes each night. High stakes games often break when the weak players quit. This unique dynamic often induces the good players to play way too many hands, hoping to win the weak player’s money before he quits for the day. Some players sit at the cash game tables until they are too tired to stay awake.
The best players are able to find a balance between always playing with weak players and playing while alert and focused. Sometimes the game is simply too good to pass up, forcing good players to play when they are overly tired and not playing their “A” game. This is a sacrifice they are willing to make. I think the total lack of completion is something that drives hardcore gamers to cash games because they can play as long as they want.
I think tournaments do an excellent job of bringing the game to a halt whereas cash games do a fairly poor job of it. For this reason, some poker players play exclusively cash games or exclusively tournaments. I believe this is a smart decision for the vast majority of amateurs as the games are totally different and appeal to different player types. There is no point in playing one variant of poker you don’t like as much as another, especially if you think you will have the same win (or loss) rate in both games.
Tic-tac-toe ends when someone gets three symbols in a row or there is a tie. This usually takes around one minute per game. Tic-tac-toe does a good job of ending the game quickly, although it likely ends the game too quickly.
Believe it or not, people enjoy not knowing what is going to happen next. Why do you think poker television shows spend time displaying how the flop, turn and river run out after two players get all-in? Most people want to see who wins. You will find very few professionals actually care who wins once the money gets all-in. They simply care about who has the most equity and if both players played their hands in a fundamentally sound manner.
Poker offers a huge level of surprise to someone who thinks they lost a huge pot only to find out they won. On numerous occasions, I have witnessed someone get up from a table, thinking they lost a huge pot, cursing and screaming, only to be told they actually won the hand. Poker makes some people lose their minds.
I personally enjoy the surprise of playing a hand and getting an unexpected turn or river card when playing deep stacked. It is extremely exciting to me to have a well thought out plan for a hand that is forced to change because I did not factor something into my thought process. This forces me to rethink my plan and reminds me to think of all possible outcomes on future betting rounds, which is quite difficult to do all of the time. Poker excels in the surprise category.
The only surprising thing that can occur in tic-tac-toe is when your opponent makes a huge blunder.
While there seems to always be a “luck vs. skill” debate raging in the government, I think everyone who has ever played poker for more than an hour realizes there is a huge amount of strategy involved. There must be a built in feature of a game that allows players to define and redefine their strategy as they become more experienced at the game. You must be able to use your experience from the past to learn to play better in the future. Poker allows for this perfectly.
When someone first starts playing poker, they typically learn some basic strategy, such as “only put money in the pot when you have a strong hand.” Clearly, this does not require much actual strategy or thought. Later, those same players have their eyes opened to the fact that they can bluff, which leads them to think about what cards their opponent is holding. From there, they start thinking about how their hand appears to their opponent. This proceeds until the player learns a somewhat game theory optimal strategy. From there, they learn to think one level ahead of their opponents, adjusting their strategy as they see fit. The layers of strategy built into the game are limitless.
There are mounds of tools available on the internet that you can use to improve your game. There are lots of articles and books available on all subjects pertaining to poker that can help you improve. Some of the best players in the world produce training videos, exposing the plays they make that weaker players do not. If you cannot find excellent poker training material, you are not trying hard enough.
Poker is an engaging game because, at the table, you have to figure out your opponent’s strategy then adjust your strategy to beat their strategy. This means you cannot have a default strategy that will win a huge amount all of the time. The best you can do is develop some sort of game theory optimal strategy, but this will always win significantly less than if you varied your play based on your specific opponent’s tendencies. While you can spend as much time as you want to study the game away from the table, you must be able to think soundly and implement your flexible strategy at the table if you want to make money in the long run. Poker is dense. Dense games require a huge amount of strategy.
Tic-tac-toe has an easily discoverable basic strategy that requires only a few brain cells to figure out. Once you master this strategy, you will be unbeatable.
“Fun” is a difficult thing to define because different people enjoy different things. While some people enjoy wild fluctuations of the money in front of them, others have no desire to have any swings at all. Some people despise losing money. Some people love even the opportunity to win money. According to Rosewater, the real way to figure out if a game is fun is to ask the players at the end of a game if they would play again. I have seen numerous players play marathon sessions of poker because they thoroughly enjoy it. I have seen players show up to their local casino at the same time every day to play a small, almost inconsequential, tournament. People love the act of playing poker.
Poker offers numerous avenues of enjoyment besides the act of playing poker. Some players enjoy conversing with other players at the table. Others like to get away from their “real” life and use poker to relax. Some people love to gamble and use poker as their game of choice. Others like to develop strategies and plays that allow them to push the boundaries of what is thought to be possible in the game, figuring out ways to run insane bluffs and make huge folds. While people use poker in different ways to have fun, they all keep coming back, at least until they are broke.
When you play tic-tac-toe, you frequently play for around five minutes then stop. This is because it is not a fun game.
Flavor refers to the theme or story of a game. Candy Land, for example, is a race between players to find King Kandy. In reality, players are rolling random dice and moving through a grid of squares with no skill involved whatsoever, but kids love the game. The flavor of Candy Land is sweet!
In my opinion, poker completely lacks flavor although I think most amateurs would disagree. I do not think many people think in terms of the pocket cowboys drowning the two red Aces when their brother rides into town to save them at the river. However, in the past, poker was played in the backs of bars and pool halls. Poker games would frequently get robbed or raided by the police. Fights would break out over bad beats.
While this is not the case in today’s casinos, some players think they are doing something risky by playing poker. Other players associate poker with the Wild West, thinking they are like the old cowboys who could win or lose the farm, given the right amount of luck. I think these people associate poker with being macho. Lots of kids watch their dads go off to play poker and think that if you play poker, you must be a real man.
For those who did not know, the best poker players are overly intelligent people who spend countless hours studying the intricacies of the game, not the guys who show up in muscle shirts and try to beat people up. In my eyes, poker is a math game where you have to make adjustments based on the mistakes you think your opponents are likely to make. I do not think of back rooms, cowboys, or proving my masculinity while playing. I simply show up and do my best to make the best decisions possible. However, I realize I see the game much differently than most people because I have played it for so long. Overall, I think poker fails in this category once players become the least bit seasoned but initially, the game has gushes with flavor.
To continue hating on tic-tac-toe, it has no flavor at all.
As you can see, I think poker passes these nine criteria with flying colors. While cash games may have a bit of problem with inertia and I believe the game lacks flavor, the other aspects of the game more than make up for these minuscule flaws. Seeing how poker continues to grow at a staggering rate, especially in locations where the game has recently been officially and legally introduced, you can bet on it being around for a very long time.
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Posted on: February 5, 2021, 02:00h.
Last updated on: February 5, 2021, 02:00h.
Read MoreSan Jose-based card room Casino M8trix is suing the city in a bid to have a ballot measure that was overwhelmingly approved by residents declared invalid, The Mercury News reports.
What is the M8trix? It’s a card room in San Jose, Neo. And it wants more table games. (Image: Casino M8trix)In November, 73 percent of San Jose voters approved Measure H, which proposed hiking taxes on the city’s two card rooms, Casino M8trix and Bay 101, in return for allowing them to increase their table-game capacity. Casino M8trix wanted to increase its current quota from 49 tables to 64.It was a win-win situation for the city and the card rooms, until the state intervened and made it win-lose.$1 Million Tax Headache Two weeks before the election, California’s Bureau of Gambling Control wrote to city officials informing them it would be illegal for the card rooms to add more tables. Under the California Gambling Control Act, a city is prohibited from increasing a card room’s quota of tables by one quarter or more than it had been on January 1, 1996.The city and the state are currently in disagreement about how many tables were in play in 1996.Meanwhile, Casino M8trix wants to ensure that it does not become the collateral damage and is taking pre-emptive measures.A lawsuit filed in the Santa Clara County Superior Court seeks to have the Measure H invalidated unless the tables are part of the deal. Otherwise, the card room could be on the hook for an extra $1 million annually with nothing to show for it.Tables TurnThe lawsuit argued there is “no evidence” that voters would have approved the tax hike – from 15 percent of gross gaming revenues to 16.5 percent – had it not been tied to the increase in tables. “The unlawful provisions of Measure H are not severable from the lawful provisions,” the lawsuit states. “… the evidence of voter intent indicates that it was approved as a full and comprehensive amendment to the city’s gaming ordinance.”Measure H was expected to generate $15 million for the city annually to fund emergency services, street repair, and to address homelessness.San Jose city attorney Nora Frimann told The Mercury News that she believes Casino M8trix can have the additional tables, despite the state’s contrary position. She declined to comment further, other than to say the state was working to make it happen.Casino M8trix has filed an application with the California Gambling Control Commission for the extra tables, which is pending. The card room’s lawyers said it had filed the lawsuit as a “preventative measure.”
The last quarter of 2020 brought some good news for Wynn Resorts, despite having to continue to deal with COVID-19. The company’s Wynn Macau operations saw an improvement in adjusted property EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) that saw it land back on the right side of zero. The figure was in the red in the third quarter, coming in at -$112.1 million, but Wynn turned things around and posted a positive adjusted property EBITDA of $39.4 million for the final quarter of the year. This was due, in part, to a greater focus on the premium mass gambling segment, a move that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The latest figures were made available through a company filing this week, in which Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox pointed out that improved travel and reduced COVID-19 restrictions helped with the recovery process. In addition, the premium mass segment gave the rebound “particular strength,” while VIP and mass-market gaming improved, as well. The quarter’s mass-market table drop was $1.29 billion, six times higher than the previous quarter, and VIP turnover from table games improved almost at the same rate, coming in at $4.58 billion. Still, both figures were nowhere near the number Wynn Macau had seen a year earlier, before the coronavirus upended Macau.The improvement in premium mass action was possible due to a shift in operations across the last six months of 2020. Wynn realized what was going to drive its growth and began implementing changes that would allow it to focus better on the premium mass segment. Maddox explained in the company filing, “It’s crystal clear that the growth drivers for Macau are really the sweet spot for our company, and that’s the premium segment, premium mass in particular.” He added, “The premium segment did better than the core mass segment – it was not down 50 percent as the overall mass was. We do not need 50,000 people a day walking through our facilities to get back to our EBITDA target. We require significantly less people because we cater to the higher-end customer … We are targeting that segment. We think we are going to get more market share in the premium-mass segment than we have in the past.”Wynn had predicted last year that VIP gambling was likely to take a hit as it began to shift gears. However, the changes don’t reflect a complete move away from the segment. The company knows that it still needs to give its high rollers a lot of attention and has indicated that it already has a number of whales ready to descend on its Macau properties during the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday period next week.It wasn’t clear how full Wynn’s properties will be for CNY, but there are still plenty of rooms available across the city. GGRAsia investigated the occupancy rates for area hotels and found that, of the 22 five-star hotels available, 21 had plenty of vacancy. The media outlet relied on booking availability that could be gleaned from company websites reception desks, and found that only Banyan Tree Macau in Cotai was completely full for the holiday.
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Gaming Innovation Group’s (GiG) first new partnership of the year will see its iGaming platform technologies power the launch of recently established online casino brand PlayStar Casino in the U.S. market.
Based on a revenue share model, the agreement between GiG and the virtual operator has a 4-year minimum duration with an expected launch in the 4th quarter of this year.
Commenting on the tie-up, Chief Executive Officer for GiG, Richard Brown, said…
“It is very exciting to be part of PlayStar’s inspiring and innovative plans for the expanding US digital gambling market. PlayStar has an extremely strong product vision backed by a very experienced industry team. This agreement further demonstrates and drives our ambition to be the platform partner of choice for operators in regulated markets. GiG is extremely proud to be supporting PlayStar as they establish themselves as a strong and innovative iGaming brand in the US and we are confident that it will be a successful partnership.”
Founded and operated by Joel Wikell and Adam Noble, PlayStar Casino announced earlier in the week its partnership with Ocean Casino Resort in New Jersey. Noble is the former Commercial Manager for Yggdrasil Gaming and former Head of Sales and Business Development – Platform Services for Play’n GO, while Founder and Chairman Wikell is the Founder of HexiGames, Readly, and Boss Media, and the Co-founder of Blinto AB.
Plans for NJ and beyond:
Co-founder and Executive Vice President for PlayStar Casino, Noble added…
“Gaming Innovation Group has earned a reputation for being a very formidable and trusted technology partner in Europe, so when we were assessing platforms for our market entry into New Jersey, we were very confident in selecting GiG as our platform partner. We are really excited to have them support our launch into New Jersey and also our future expansion into regulated states across the USA.”
“PlayStar Casino is setting out to offer an online casino experience with a difference that will stand out from the current offerings in the market. Our player experience focus, centred on a unique product offering, engaging frontend concept and personalisation will result in an immersive and entertaining experience for the player. We have big plans for New Jersey and other US states, and look forward to making our debut in the Garden State later this year.”
Sizzling sports betting market:
In related news, the northeastern U.S. state’s regulated sports betting market enjoyed its fifth consecutive record-breaking month in December after amassing aggregated revenues of $66.4 million courtesy of a monumental $996.3 million in combined handle.
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It’s About to go Down in the Wild West
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A Wild West Throwdown
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Wild Bronco X
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