Wednesday, April 20, 2011

U.S. Online Poker Players Will See The Money

Taken from Forbes;

"Federal prosecutors in Manhattan may have declared war against the world’s biggest online poker companies, but the two sides are working together to return funds belonging to U.S. players.

Under an agreement announced today, the government will allow PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to use their web sites to facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players’ funds held in accounts with the companies. The five-page domain-name use agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will also let the poker companies continue to use their domain names to offer for-money online poker games to players outside the U.S. In return the world’s two biggest online poker companies have agreed not to facilitate for-money poker games for U.S. players and to let an independent monitor verify their compliance with the deal."

Looks like things are looking up for us players outside of America, and won't have to worry to much of the 3 biggest online sites being shut down for good, and potentially losing our money.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Victory Poker Leaves The US Market & The Next Victory Poker Pro Contest

Victory Poker CEO, Dan Fleyshman announced yesterday that they are closing down access for American players. ”Don’t want to mess with the US government, they’re angry at the “Big 3″ for a reason,” the Victory Poker CEO declared on Twitter.
The newly taken decision won’t affect the current success of the poker site, as two thirds of the users are of other origin than American, according to Dan Fleyshman.

Victory Poker also ran a competition late last year to become The Next Victory Poker Pro, where you had to submit a video to there site and have visitors vote on those submitted, and the top voted videos would be chosen to go to Vegas and compete to become The Next Victory Poker Pro.

Orillia Ontario's own Jeff "AceTenBomber" Burnett came through with the most votes, and has won his way to Vegas to compete to be The Next Victory Pro. This was suppose to happen at the beginning of this year, but the last I heard was that is was going to start next month in May. With this whole "Black Friday" mess in The United States, Victory Poker leaving The US who really knows if this competition will actually take place now.

Just another thing we will have to wait and see...

Monday, April 18, 2011

New World Poker Order

With Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute/Ultimate Bet all pulling out of The United States market due to the American Government seizing control of their .com websites and over 75 bank accounts around the world, who will be the big winner out of all this? That has yet to be seen, and will probably take months if not years to answer that question.

There is lots of talk that online poker and for this matter online gambling will eventually become legal in The United States, and the speculation is that is why the government made a strong case against the big 3 online poker sites, and not only nailed them with illegal online gambling, but also with money laundering and fraud charges, and shut them down this past Friday.

With all these charges, I think Party Poker may be the one that will be the big winner out of this once everything is finalized. If the speculation is right and online poker will be legal in the states, I don't see the big 3 coming back into the game, because of the fraud and laundering charges. party Poker pulled out of the States back in 2008, when they were the number 1 online poker site. Party Poker has also just recently teamed back up with The World Poker Tour, and once online poker becomes legal in the states, then watch for Party Poker and The WPT do a major push top grab as many American players as they can and become the dominate online poker site again.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Guarantees Reduced In Online Poker Tournaments

With everything that happened on "Black Friday", "Cold Deck Friday", or whatever you may be calling it when The United States Government shut down the 3 major online poker site to U.S. Citizens on Friday April 15, 2011.

The 3 sites that were mainly affected by this, Pokerstars, Full Tilt, and Absolute/Ultimate Bet, have reduced their guaranteed tournaments by anywhere from 25% to 50%. As of right now the upcoming FTOPS on Full Tilt, SCOOPS on Pokerstars, and UBOC on Absolute/Ultimate Bet, have so far stayed the same with the original guarantees.

Those players that were hoping and counting on huge overlays, will just not happen now, with the reductions, but you still may get a good bunch of overlays in FTOPS, SCOOPS, and UBOC events

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Will Online Poker Players Ever See Their Money Again?

American online poker players were dealt a bad beat on Friday April 15, 2010, that is now being called the Black Friday of online poker, where 3 major online poker sites went dark to American Players. The sites that were affected are Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet. The question remain, Will they ever see their money that they have on these sites?


The following is taken from a report on businessinsider.com

After the three biggest poker websites in the U.S. were shut down on Friday, the big question that every gambler wants answered is: "What about my money?"

Thousands of players had money on deposit with these websites — money that had been won or not yet gambled, and still technically belongs to the customers.

With the websites offline, gamblers have now lost access to those accounts. According to posters on some poker forums, a few players were able to request a withdraw of their money before the sites went completely dark, but since that usually involves the printing and mailing of a physical check, no one knows for sure if they'll ever see that cash. [read more]

Black Friday - The Aftermath

As most of you are aware, the Federal Government in The Untied States dealt a big blow to Americans that play online poker by essentially shutting down the biggest 3 online poker sites which were Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute/UB, that is now known in the Online Poker world as Black Friday. Statements from the sites have indicated that they are pulling out of the United States market, and that players from other countries should not be affected, and it is business as usual for those players.

Things I have notice being a Canadian. Guarantees already started to be cut in half. Players in all countries seem to be having problems connecting to request any type of withdrawal, probably because so many players are trying to access their withdrawal method at the same time.

If you are Canadian or European and think this has no affect on you, then I do believe you are very mistaken. 75 bank accounts have been seized by the FBI in all countries. To me this means that if you want to get your money out you may not be able to get it no matter where you are from since these bank accounts have been seized.

I really do feel bad for all those affected, especially those that used online poker as their main source of income to survive, I hope they got their money off these sites and are not waiting in limbo.

To my American friends there is still some online poker sites that you can still play on and get your Rake Back, like Carbon Poker, Cake Poker, Players Only Poker, and Lock Poker, just to name a few.

This might in fact speed up the process of legalizing online poker in the United States of America, but only time will tell, and let's hope that those that have money on these sites will be able to get it in due time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

PokerStars & Full Tilt Update


When you try to log into Pokerstars this pic is what pop ups. So it looks like this is all happening to the players in the States, and us Canadians will be fine. At least us Canadians can breathe a little but easier right now on Pokerstars.

I would assume that Full Tilt is the same way, and they have issued a statement that is floating around the internet. You can check here for Full Tilts official statement.

More In Depth Look Into Daniel Tzvetkoff, The Man Who Took Down The Online Poker Industry Took Down

Courier Mail has a full story about this guy, who took down the online poker industry. As Courier Mail puts it,

IN ANOTHER era, Daniel Tzvetkoff would have been whacked - shot or garroted, buried in a shallow grave or sent to sleep with the fishes.

To read the full article from Courier Mail click here.

Poker Players Alliance Comments on Federal Action Against Online Poker Companies

Here is what The PPA has to say about the latest Federal action against the three major online poker sites.

Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, issued the comment below on today’s announcement on federal action taken against online poker companies.

“On behalf of the millions of poker players across the country, we are shocked at the action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice today against online poker companies and will continue to fight for Americans’ right to participate in the game they enjoy. Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such. We are currently gathering all of the information around today’s announcement and will offer detailed analysis when the full facts become available.”

As it seems to stand right now, American citizens are the only ones having problems registering for tournaments, cashing out, and transferring money from player to player. This being said there could be big overlays in the major Sunday Events if Americans are unable to play in them.

Meet The Guy Who Just Took Down The Online Poker Industry

Taken from Business Insider

The internet is still coming to grips with the huge online gambling bust that just took down the U.S.'s three biggest online poker sites.
But Australia's Courier-Mail already has the scoop on the one man who may have single-handedly built the online industry ... then handed it to the U.S. government on a platter.
According to this story, Daniel Tzvetkoff was a young Australian entrepreneur who set up the payment processing schemes used by the biggest poker sites to handle their (mostly illegal) transactions....read more

Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker, Charged With Fraud, Illegal Gambling ?????

While I went to all 3 online sites web pages, and they all worked fine except the above picture is what is in place of Absolute's site. I am not sure what is all going on but here is a link to a Market Watch article titled DOJ indicts founders of top US online poker sites.

Bussiness Insider - The FBI Seizes Major Online Poker Websites In Huge Illegal Gambling Crackdown

United States Attorney Southern District of New York - Department Of Justice

This is definitely BREAKING NEWS in the online poker world. If I hear anything else on this, I will sure to update my Twitter, Facebook, and blog pages.

Full Tilt Blocks Shark Scope

This was posted on canadapoker.com In an ongoing effort to fight data tracking sites, Full Tilt has blocked Sharkscope.com, the industry leader in sit’n go database. Data mining sites track and publish individual online poker player results and statistical information for other players to see and tied to poker nicknames.

According to Sharkscope’s blog:
“It is with great disappointment that we here at Sharkscope must report that our coverage of FullTilt is currently compromised due to an apparent change in FullTilt’s policy regarding data retrieval from their site,” a statement on the blog reads today.
“We are continuing to work on the problem and are still optimistic about restoring full coverage; but this may take some time,” Sharkscope informed, hinting that the site may intent to collect the data without the blessing of Full Tilt Poker.
SharkScope stated in an update on April 5th, “We respectfully request that all online players carefully consider the option of playing at sites other than Full Tilt and communicating to Full Tilt your opinions and rationale about why you prefer to play elsewhere.”

Sharkscope argue that other data mining sites still have access to the Full Tilt databases and that sharing information is common between high stakes regulars and lower stakes players should be able to benefit from this as well.
In March, Full Tilt blocked another data mining website, PokerTableRatings.com, a site that was recently acquired by Zynga Poker, after Full Tilt introduced a software update that affected the tracking ability.
Other poker sites like PokerStars are also in the process of blocking data mining sites from collecting data from their players.

I don't play a lot of online poker currently, most of my poker playing is at a Casino or Club. I have not used any software while playing online poker since I do not put in the volume to bother with any software. Lots of players swear buy 3rd party software, but I wonder if the majority of players use this type of software, will they leave Full Tilt and go elsewhere and will other online sites follow in Full Tilt's steps. Only time will tell.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Playground Poker Club

Since none of us made Day 2 of The Montreal Open we decided to go to Playground Poker Club for around 12:30pm to grab some lunch at The Rail Coal Fire Bistro, and to my surprise they have a small limo bus that they use as a shuttle to get to the club and back.

We arrive at the club, and this place looks amazing and will put some Vegas Poker Rooms to shame. They only have one 1-2 table running, and they tell us that if we don't mind playing 6 handed to start that they will open up another table for us. We tell them sure but we would like to grab some lunch first, which then we were informed that all food and drinks will be comped if we are at a table playing. So we got our chips and started playing, and ordered our food and drinks.

Dealers were knowledgeable and knew how to deal, suits made sure we had everything we needed, waitresses were easy on the eyes in their short red skirts and tight tops. At Playground Poker Club you can straddle, and also run it 2 or 3 times.

I didn't have a very good 7 hour session at all and basically lost what I intended to play with. Just couldn't get anything going, every time the money got in I was ahead and dominating but by the time the turn and/or river came I was dead in the water, oh well that is the way poker is sometimes. Even though I had a really bad session, I still really enjoyed myself, and must say that this is one of the best places I have ever played poker at.

Since I really didn't want to leave and go back to my hotel room so early a few of us decided to buy into Playground's $100 Deepstack Turbo Poker Tournament. event though this was a turbo with 15min levels starting with 25k in chips made it feel like it was just a regular tournament. When the tournament started sitting next to me was this real big guy that stood probably 6 foot 5. We got to talking and really hit it off, as we had similar thoughts towards the game of poker, and I found out that he does not live to far from me. It is not to often that you hit it off so well with someone you meet at a poker table, and since he lives so close to me I look forward to playing some more poker with him, as I think I can learn from him to improve my poker game.

Playground Poker Club is hosting a series of poker tournament from April 29th to May 16th, that includes a $500 heads Up Tournament, a $750 No Limit Deepstack Tournament, a $150 No Limit Shootout Tournament, and ending with a $3,000 Main Event Deepstack Tournament. I won't be able to get back to Montreal for all of these great events, but I am really hopeing to get back for a couple of them. If you want more info on this and Playground poker Club go to their webpage here. www.playgroundpoker.ca

The Montreal Open In Support Of The Miriam Foundation, Sponsored By Full Tilt Poker

I arrived in Montreal in plenty of time to check into my hotel, have a shower, and grab a quick nap, which was good considering I was up early that morning and didn't get any sleep on the bus/train ride there.

There was 4 of us that met up and made our way to The Windsor Hotel to register for The Montreal Open Charity Tournament. The registration process was very quick and very well done, and it was very easy for you to find your table assignment. I find my seat and wait for the cards to be dealt, but first we had to go through some speeches. First was about the cause and what The Miriam Foundation does, and the introduction of The Full Tilt Pros that were on hand for this Full Tilt sponsored event. The Full Tilt Pros that were there was, Gavin Smith, Greg Mueller, Andy Bloch, Marc Karam, and Erik Cajelais. Next we were introduced to Jeff "AceTenBomber" Burnett, a guy that has made his name with a gimmick, he has not even played in a WSOP Event. He went on about how he brought 35 members of his Bomb Squad to this event, which is great to support this great cause, but to my knowledge none of these players have done anything worth while in any major live poker events.

So the cards finally get in the air and the tournament has started, and I understand that this is a charity tournament and the charity makes most of it's money off of the rebuys and add ons, but for the first 4 levels this poker room sounded like a god damn auction house, with people on the mic trying to get players to go all in and rebuy to win a certain prize. One thing I liked was that Gavin Smith built his stack to 35k in the first two levels and they auctioned that off to the highest bidder which I think got to $1,500. The problem I had with this auction type styl going on is that I could not hear if a player announced raise and also could not hear what the dealer was saying either.

The dealers I had were good dealers, but I heard from others that they had horrible dealers. In fact I was told that one dealer accidentally exposed a card while dealing and instead making that card the first burn he cut it back into the middle of the deck. The chips that we used were very very cheap chips with the Full Tilt logo hot stamped on them.

The blinds were only 15mins long and man did they ever jump levels making this tournament go real fast and turn it into a bingofest very quickly. I undertsand doing this at the beginning stages since this is a rebuy tournament for charity, but once the rebuy and add on period is over, they could have just went to a proper structure without skipping so many levels that are in a normal poker tournament.

The level of play was what I expected for a rebuy charity tournament, and you really had to rely on a lot of for the cards to go your way, if you were going to have any chance to take a good stack to Day 2. With that being said none of the 4 of us made it to Day 2. I was the last man standing out of all of us, and the way I saw it was you wanted to go to Day 2 with at least 80k in chips. There was about 125 players left and the top 100 made it to Day 2, and we were probably on the last level before we made it to the top 100, and I had about 21k. I am in the small blind and look down at K 9 of diamonds. It is folded around to the button you puts in a raise for a steal, and I push all in, to my surprise the big blind also pushes all in, the big blind showed pocket 10's and I was eliminated from the tournament.

Don't get me wrong I had a great time at this event, it is no WSOP, but it was well organized and because of the loud auction and the annoying voice on the mic, it kind of turned me off of this event. I really do not know if I will go back next year for this or not, only time will tell.