Posts Tagged ‘Poker Players Alliance’

South Carolina Court: Poker Is a Game of Skill

Monday, October 5th, 2009

underbootMarking the first time South Carolina has been ahead of the curve on just about anything, a South Carolina court recently ruled that poker is a game of skill and therefore in the eyes of the law should not be painted with the same brush as other gambling activities like slot machines or roulette. The Poker Players association, who counts almost 10,000 of its members South Carolina residents, marked a solid victory in the eyes of the PPA and poker players all over the nation.

The executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, John Pappas said, “Poker is not a crime in South Carolina or anywhere else, and we are grateful to the court for compiling the overwhelming evidence that proves this case and protects the rights of players,” he said, “ This ruling is fully consistent with the declarations of other judges and juries across the country that Texas Hold’em is clearly a game of predominant skill and adults who play should not be criminalized.”

The ruling comes as a result of an appeal to a conviction of five players who were arrested during a police raid on a poker room. Defense cited poker as a game of skill which does not fall under the umbrella of gambling. The court ruled that the evidence proving poker as a game of skill was overwhelming and found the laws to be unclear and overly broad.

South Carolina State Director of the Poker Players Alliance said, “All poker players are well aware that the game is based on making the correct, informed decisions, not just mere chance, and games of predominant skill should not be classified in the same league as slot machines or lotteries,”

“We’re very pleased that the judge considered the overwhelming evidence and came to the same conclusion. This is a well deserved legal victory for the players, the American game of poker, and for common sense under the law.”

While such a thing is good news for the online poker industry as a whole, it isn’t telling the world anything it doesn’t know already. Further, beneath the surface of this is something more disturbing. The fact that the government has gotten so big that people cheer when they are told it is legal for them to play a game illustrates this. Instead of being enraged that the government is infringing on our rights by criminalizing games, we praise them when they say it’s Ok.

It’s a kind of Stockholm Syndrome that we’ve developed in this nation. The government has had its foot on so many of our rights that we have fallen in love with our captors and praise them when they let us do what free men and women should already be able to do. And the only time they let us do it is when it benefits the government itself. Gambling is bad, unless it is taxed and the government makes money. Prostitution is bad, unless it is taxed and the government makes money. The government says who we can and can’t marry, what sex acts we can perform in the privacy of our bedroom, how much alcohol can be in our alcoholic beverages, how fast we can drive, and pretty soon it will control our health care. You name it, the government controls it. So is this a victory for online and offline poker players? Or is it a sad reminder of how far we have come from a free society, to a nanny state?

Gamynia Buys World Poker Tour

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

You’ve got to spend money to make money right? Gamynia Limited has just purchased the World Poker Tour for a whopping $9.075 million plus a cut of future revenues. The acquisition also includes the complete library of World Poker Tour episodes and “the sponsorship of Seasons Four, Five, and Six of the World Poker Tour and Season One of the Professional Poker Tour by Party Gaming and the license of Season Seven of the World Poker Tour to PokerStars.”

The sale has still yet to be completed and awaits approval of the WPTE stockholders, of which 39% are already on board. World Poker Tour’s parent company plans to use the profits from the sale for business ventures that are not related to poker.

“The World Poker Tour as a stand-alone entity has struggled to find the appropriate place for its stockholders in this fast evolving market. The World Poker Tour brand continues to grow around the world and has managed to make casinos and online gambling concerns cooperate in unique and mutually beneficial ways. In Gamynia, we have found a partner that already understands and fosters a spirit of cooperation in the online marketplace.” WPT Enterprises President and CEO, Steve Lipscomb said, “After the transaction, WPTE will move forward under a new name and will employ our cash in a new venture by developing a new business or combining, through one or more strategic transactions, with companies that have significant unrealized value or growth potential.”

Gamynia has also acquired Hardway Investments whose client list is nothing short of impressive with names like Playtech, Casino Tropez, Titan Poker and Europa Casino. Gamynia plans to, “seek to exploit and develop the WPT brands with the goal of maximizing future revenue opportunities.”

The World Poker Tour is currently filming its 8th season for Fox Sports Net where its next tournament begins on August 22nd from Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.

Yes We Can or Can We? Will Obama Regulate Online Poker?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

President Obama’s campaign was built on change, but to online poker players, it seems like a lot more of the same. It’s no secret, if one were to look over my past articles, that I am no fan of the bloated, busy body federal government. And even if you only use the newspaper to wipe your rear end, you’ve surely seen a headline or two about the federal government growing like a baseball player on steroids that we’re not allowed to bet on. I never expected the government to get smaller under the leadership of someone as liberal as Obama, but I did expect his administration to be more respectful of personal freedoms. Silly me.

Sherman Bradley, gambling analyst for Online Casino Advisory has an even less rosy outlook when it comes to Obama’s change. “People who voted for change are disturbed to see the same old Bush policies, including deliberate dismissal of court interpretations of the Wire Act, disregard for due process in the bank seizures, and shady courtroom antics in the New Jersey and UIGEA cases to prevent honest justice from being accomplished.”

Liberal heavy hitters like Michael Moore were shouting in the streets when President Bush passed the Patriot Act, a gross infringement on the rights of all Americans and a, in my opinion, gross misuse of federal government power and disregard for our constitution. But for some reason, people go easier on the Obama administration when they restrict the rights of the people and states.

“The Department of Justice has seized bank accounts filled with money belonging to US consumers who legally play online poker, is fighting to preserve the UIGEA by denying the admission of recent evidence that would lose its case, is acting to deny New Jersey the right to determine its own state policy regarding sports gambling that four other states enjoy, and is pressuring Delaware to disavow its right as granted by Congress to employ sports betting,” says Bradley

Perhaps the most upsetting thing is that the UIGEA hurts Americans in two ways. First of all, it restricts the freedom of US citizens. Citizens who should be allowed to play a game if they choose and do whatever they choose to do with the money they have left after the federal government seizes its share. Secondly, Obama has been spending tax payer money like a Beverly Hills housewife to solve this economic crisis, but has done little to generate income through pursuing new ways to do so.  Ummm…regulated online gambling anyone?

“Even issues currently on the President’s plate, like health care, are affected by choices on the gambling issues. Over $3 billion in annual revenue would be available to help pay for some of Obama’s expensive programs, if he takes a stand to support Frank.” says Bradley

Obama himself is known for enjoying poker and actively campaigned to end censorship on the internet. Wouldn’t you think this would translate to online gambling, since it’s…online? As Obama himself has become a symbol of our country’s ability to change, it seems awfully hypocritical to stand behind a federal government that restricts online gambling for no other reason than that the people who don’t play poker online don’t like the idea. There was also a time when people like that didn’t like the idea of sharing the bathroom with a black man.

Howard Stern Joins PPA in Fight for Online Poker

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Poker Players Alliance, a special interest group that advocates for the rights of poker players, now has the official support of shock jock Howard Stern, who is now a member. Stern has a devoted following for his Sirius radio show and a loyal fan base that enjoy his lowbrow humor and political commentary. Alfonse D’Amato, former senator and current chairman of the PPA, is excited about the exposure Stern could bring to the PPA and their fight with the government over internet gambling rights, especially with National Gambling Week beginning on Monday. Capital Hill lawmakers are getting ready for a fight over online gambling, with Representative Barney Frank looking to repeal the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

 D’Amato thanked Stern for “supporting the PPA’s efforts to protect the freedom of American citizens to play the great game of poker at the time and place of their choosing – a freedom Congress voted to take away.” Personally, I can’t think of an advocate for the PPA’s cause with more credibility than the man who once appeared as Fartman at the MTV Video Music Awards. But despite his flaws, of which there are many, Stern is an influential man. After all, he was able to convince the nation to keep Sanjaya on American Idol, and that was no small feat. Besides, despite his controversial past, Stern can’t hold a candle to Barney Frank, with his gay prostitution ring and his role in pushing sub-prime mortgages and turning a blind eye to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s business practices. If online poker is going to be legalized in the United States, it will be the help of some very colorful advocates.

National Poker Week Begins Today

Monday, July 20th, 2009

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Ah, the ninth amendment. That vague “rule” written by the framers of the Constitution oh so many years ago. The ninth amendment is significant because it limits the size of the federal government. Unfortunately, over the past hundred years or so, the size of the federal government has increased and the significance of the words in our Constitution slowly chipped away for some. To the point where the federal government tells the people what games they can and cannot play. Still, our great country allows for the reversal of laws both silly and significant.

Today marks the start of National Poker Week 2009 and it’s not only a great time to get together with friends, drink a Shasta and toss some chips at your friends, it’s a great time to speak your mind. The goal of National Poker Week is to send a message to the President and the US Government as a whole that online poker and poker in general should be legal and licensed. The Poker Players Alliance has been working hard to raise awareness of the effort to do away with the UIGEA.

“We all have a right to play poker and taking away that right sets a dangerous precedent that no American should stand for,” stated Annie Duke, WSOP bracelet winner and UltimateBet consultant. “There’s a lot of work to do to ensure that poker players and the game get the respect they deserve but we’re getting there.”

This year is particularly important as Barney Franks online gaming legislation gains heat in the press and September approaches. A planned “fly in,” where pokers best and brightest plan to meet with delegates in Washington to promote the repealing of the UIGEA, is in full swing this week. Also, an online petition set to be delivered to President Obama is up to over 352,000 signatures with a goal of 500,000 signatures.

Online Trainers See Real World Winnings at WSPOP

Friday, July 17th, 2009

The expression “Those who cannot do, teach.” has just been proven dead wrong at the World Series of Poker. Poker VT, an online poker site that trains poker enthusiasts of all levels, showed the world that they can do more than just instruct others how to play…they too can deliver the goods.

Over the course of the WSOP the poker pros at Poker VT cashed for a combined total of $839,257. Poker VT Captain, Daniel Negreanu played for a total of $331,860 in winnings.

“Every year the World Series of Poker comes around and pushes every poker player that enters to the limit of their abilities,” he said. “Many players who throw down the cash to enter fail to even see a return on their investment, let alone a new piece of jewelry on their wrist, so it’s good to see our team proving that the skills we teach at Poker VT translate into real championship play.”

Jason “Jcarver” Somerville put his money where his mouth for Poker VT’s curriculum, making two final tables and three cashes totaling $311,786 in winnings. “It’s simple,” Somerville said. “Our strategies work. Online or at an actual table – when you play true to your strategy you can’t go wrong.”

Negreaunu wasn’t the only big winner representing Poker VT. Mat “Choppy” Kay came out bit with one final table and two cashes for a total of $25,809; Joshua “theNorfman” Norris had two cashes for $18,246 and Bryan “Devo” Devonshire had a pair of cashes for $7,945 while JC “PrtyPsux” Alvarado came away with one final table and two cashes for $143,610.

 

Joe Sebok to Sign with Major Online Poker Site

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Rumors are rampant that PokerRoad President Joe Sebok is on the verge of signing a deal with a major online poker site, though details as to which one and when something official will be announced are not known. At this year’s World Series of Poker, Sebok recorded three in the money finishes, 56th in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, 104th in a $1,500 buy-in No Limit-Hold’em tournament for $3,300 and 36th in a $1,500 buy-in Pot Limit Hold’em event for $4,800.

“There are always conversations going on. We maintain open communication lines with all of the sites continuously assessing the best fit for Joe. Joe is always looking at his options and he is excited about potential scenarios. We’re pleased that Joe has reached a point where he is considered a valuable asset to sponsors and their brand objectives.” said Sebok’s agent and 11Management President and CEO Matt Palmer.

Sebok has made a name for himself on the poker circuit as an accessible and media-friendly face. As President of PokerRoad, he regularly hosts a radio program with other regular hosts Gavin Smith, and Joe Stapleton. PokerRoad is a multi-media outlet, creating original radio and television programming.

Since professional play began for Sebok, he has accumulated winnings of over $1,700,000. Signing with a major online poker site will mean one more rung on the way to super-poker-stardom for this up and coming poker wiz. 

USA Online Gambling: Online Gambling Legal Despite UIGEA

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Bob Seger once said, “Knowledge is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don’t.” Such a thought can be applied to the many online casinos and poker websites that closed their doors to U.S. Citizens when the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) was passed. However, USA Online Gambling maintains that the UIGEA does not outlaw online gambling, but merely restricts the ways transactions took place between online casinos and players. Such a thing seems like a logical choice given Fedzilla’s insatiable appetite for seizing the funds of online gambling businesses. Still, many top online gambling sites have found a way to circumvent the giant lumbering federal government and continue their transactions.

USA Online Gambling, (usa-online-gambling.com), is a website dedicated to educating online casino providers and players alike on how to “read the fine print.” Founder of USA Online Gambling, Tracy Carter, states, “There is a long list of sites that have overcome the UIGEA regulations and an even longer list of supporters, which aim to get the act overturned. The list of 30+ supporters of online gambling includes prominent politicians and entertainment companies such as Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul, Harrah’s Entertainment, The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association and the World Trade Organization.”

The website provides a detailed analysis of what the UIGEA says and does not say. While the ultimate goal is to eventually overturn the act, but until that happens, the goal of the site is to let other know what the law “really says.”

“The fact that the government has attempted to make online gamling illegal is more than just an infringement on the rights of casinos to offer a service with massive entertainment value, but it is an infringement of the rights of players who want to enjoy online gambling from the comfort of their home. Overturning UIGEA would allow many casinos that left the U.S. Market to return, as well as increasing the number of payment and withdrawal methods. It is estimated that overturning the UIGEA and providing sites with a method of taxing sales would infuse the U.S. With over $50 billion in tax revenue within the next ten years. A number that would surely grow as online casinos were permitted to expand.” says Carter.

Facebook Players vs. Online Gambling “Laws”

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Welcome to what seems to be Facebook day on GamblingReview.com. If you put enough people in one place, it won’t be long before someone figures out a way to make money legally or otherwise. I say God bless America, others disagree.

Facebook is the most popular social networking site on the internet and has the good sense to offer users Texas Hold’em poker games. While there are no monetary stakes, some players have figured out a way to make them that way.

The players would win chips from the Facebook poker application and then sell the chips to other players wanting to be involved. Facebook picked up on the operation and, along with AlertPay, quickly put a stop to it. AlertPay agreed to put a stop to any operations in which poker chips are being sold for money.

“Facebook does not permit online gambling on its platform and some sellers attempted to convert the Texas Hold’em Poker application into monetized online gambling,” read a statement on AlertPay’s official blog.

AlertPay is concerned that these activities may have resulted in violating US online gambling laws. While online gambling is a bit of a gray area in the United States, it is certainly to do so when the government does not get their take of the pot.

“Site offering for sale virtual poker chips for use with Texas Hold’em Poker are in violation of AlertPay’s User Agreement and in potential violation of state and United States Federal laws prohibiting unlicensed and/or gambling,” read a statement, “as well as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.”

Company Challenges Federal Government Seizure of Online Poker Winnings

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

If there’s one thing that the United States Government is good at that isn’t war, it’s seizing money by force. Whether you call it “federal income tax” or “highway robbery,” there is nothing tastier to Fedzilla than money. Recently, over 30 million in assets was stolen frozen by the federal government.

Account Services Corp. of San Diego has requested that the federal government return $14 million that the firm says was illegally seized from online poker player accounts.

The Poker Players Alliance confirmed that the money is part of over $30 million in assets recently frozen by the federal government. The group told the Associated Press on Monday that it plans to file a motion with a court as well. “Any action contesting the government’s seizure of players’ funds will help protect the rights of U.S. Internet poker players and we will explore every legal avenue to ensure that out members’ voices are heard and their rights are protected,” said John Pappas, executive director of the alliance.

The filing by Account Services states that federal prosecutors seized $13.3 million from a Wells Fargo Bank account in Escondino California and an additional $1 million from a Union Bank in San Diego. Account services says that the Wells Fargo money seizure was accompanied by a warrant, the Union Bank funds were not. The warrant for Union Bank was issued two weeks later by U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman in New York City.

Account Services has said that if the money is not returned, it will most likely have to shut down. Such a thing would be ironic for the federal government, considering all of the money it has seized from taxpayers to keep failing banks and businesses from doing just that.

The Justice Department continues to maintain that online gambling is illegal, but Account Services disagrees. Jeff Ifrah, who represents the Interactive Gaming Council. “Poker players have been damaged significantly,” said Ifrah. “Some of the players face civil liability for bounced checks, some have had bank accounts closed.”

Estimates show that at least half of the $16 billion online gambling industry, though mostly hosted overseas, is funded by players in the United States.

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