It’s time to say goodbye to 2014.
The end of December is everyone’s favorite time to reflect back on all the things we wish we had done differently over the last twelve months and say: tomorrow; I’m definitely starting tomorrow.
In that spirit, I’ve made a list of four things that you can start doing (tomorrow!) that will get your poker game off on the right foot in the new year. Some of them may take longer to master than others, but you can be sure that implementing (and yes, sticking with) them throughout the year will increase your profits for 2015.
#1: Change the way you study the game
PokerStars Team Pro Daniel Negreanu took to his blog on Monday to give his opinion on the use of “unlimited entry” format poker tournaments. He discussed the profitability of tournament circuit stops, the expected value of player travel, and the effect of the decline of cash game side action.
His post comes in the aftermath of criticism he received following a Twitter comment he recently made that he would “purchase a stack” during the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10K main event at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas.
Unlimited Entry Format Controversial
The ability for players to be felted multiple times while still remaining active in an event is currently a hot topic within the community. Many see the format not only as an unfair advantage to professional players with larger bankrolls, but also one that can be additionally off-putting to recreational players, generally. It also removes money from the poker economy faster than tournaments where players are only allowed to enter a single time.
Nevada gambling stopped a three-month losing streak while the Las Vegas Strip continues to struggle. Also, online poker in Nevada continued to slide in November but it appears that things are beginning to stabilize.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board released their figures for November gaming win. Overall, the state brought in $876 million, up .04 percent from the same period last year. Online poker continued its slide from the summer, pulling in just $641,000. This was a drop of 3.61% from last month and a 46.95% drop from the same period in 2013.
Statewide Gaming Posts Miniscule Gain But Strip Still Struggling
Despite miniscule gains for the state as a whole, the Las Vegas Strip continued to struggle in November, down 4% to $508.3 million. This is the fourth consecutive month of losses for the Strip.
BIG:Y;ears from now (and even today) when U.S. gambling historians examine 2014, they will quickly find that it was a terrible year for Atlantic City.
Four casinos closed, an eighth straight year of decreasing revenue, and an online poker and gambling regime in its first full year that went through considerable growing pains and continues to perform at revenue levels less than expected. The Showboat, Atlantic Club, Trump Plaza and Revel shutdowns put 8,000 employees out of work, while the future of the Trump Taj Mahal remains questionable.
It’s no secret that New Jersey officials are anxious to throw away that 2014 calendar and turn the page to what is expected to be a better year in 2015. How will it be better? Well, to borrow a line from John, Paul, George and Ringo, “it can’t get more worse.”
What can we expect?
As we continue to countdown the biggest poker stories of 2014, let us not forget that poker is a game played by mortals. Poker players are first and foremost people: fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, colleagues and friends.
With this in mind I’d like to pay homage to eight men and women who passed in 2014, and whose lives were intricately woven into the fabric of the poker world.
Mehmet Hassan 1958-2014
Mehmet Hassan, just 56 years old, was a well-known and well-liked cash game player from the UK who was the victim of a vicious robbery, orchestrated by the charms of a young woman. Hassan’s death is a tragic story, but one many poker players should take heed of.
The year is winding down with only a few days left before 2015 comes calling. Online poker players in Nevada and New Jersey have until the clock hits 11:59 on December 31 to take advantage of a generous Reload Bonus at WSOP.com.
The Reload Bonus is set at 100% up to $500 for players who use the bonus code “YEAREND.” Players in both regulated states are eligible, residents and tourists alike, as long as their physical location is within the boundaries of either New Jersey and Nevada.
This bonus has been available since the middle of the month, but will expire once 2015 arrives. A full 60 days are permitted in which to clear the Reload Bonus, but deposits must be made before the new year to participate.
First-time deposit bonus
“The Gambler” starring Mark Wahlberg is drawing some attention at the box office after its Christmas Day release, but is certainly not going to win out over other popular movies that are attracting fans to theaters over the holiday weekend.
A remake of the 1974 title of the same name that starred James Caan, “The Gambler” pulled in $5 million on Christmas Day, which projects to a four-day weekend total of $18 million. According to Forbes, the film was a low-budget project at $25 million, a fact that will likely keep Wahlberg up on the screen and in theaters into January at least.
“The Gambler” is competing with the likes of Walt Disney’s “Into the Woods,” the Angelina Jolie-directed “Unbroken,” and the limited release of the comedy that sparked an international incident, “The Interview.” “Unbroken” and “Into the Woods” both earned more than $15 million on opening day, while “The Interview” took in only $1 million, but was in far fewer theaters and was also released via Video On Demand.
Wahlberg plays the role of a literature professor and gambler, running into trouble when he borrows too much in order to place bets. Also starring in the film is George Kennedy, who film buffs will recall won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the 1967 classic, “Cool Hand Luke.”
It’s no secret that player traffic at online poker sites has been struggling. The latest traffic numbers provided by PokerScout reveal that cash game traffic is 19% off of last year’s pace.
As 2014 prepares to make its exit in a few days and 2015 will arrive, it’s time to make resolutions and perhaps express desires of what we’d like to see happen in the online poker industry in the year ahead. Since I am but one lone player and can only improve traffic by increasing my playing time and/or the number of tables on which I play, I have put aside resolutions of my own and instead propose some ideas for others to consider — those who have more influence on the online poker industry than I.
Here then, in no particular order, are 8 wishes for online poker in 2015.
#1 – DDoS attacks come to an end – The recent Distributed Denial of Service attack that caused cancellation of the Winning Millions $1 million guaranteed tournament on the Winning Poker Network, as well as other sporadic DDoS attacks that hit a number of other sites, are extremely harmful to online poker. Such incidents can cause players to turn away from the game.
BIG:T;he trial date for the father-son duo of high stakes poker player Wei Seng “Paul” Phua and Darren Wai Kit Phua has been postponed while a judge decides whether the constitutional rights of the pair were violated.
The elder Phua, 50, and 23-year-old Darren, were preparing for a January 12 trial date, but that date has been vacated without a new date set. The Phuas were charged with taking bets illegally during FIFA World Cup competition in July while staying at the Caesars Palace hotel in Las Vegas.
The case hinges on possible 4th amendment violations on the part of the FBI, who purposely cut off Internet access in the hotel in order to pose as repairmen and gather evidence in Phuas’ hotel rooms needed to obtain a search warrant. Those tactics certainly sound a bit shady, even to those of us who don’t possess a degree in law.
Law enforcement authorities contend that Paul Phua is tied to the 14K Triad, a Hong Kong-based crime syndicate that allegedly obtains a good percentage of its funds from illicit gambling endeavors. The attorneys for the Phuas have vehemently defended the pair on the gambling charges, pointing to the search strategy used by the feds as highly suspect.
BIG:T;he ongoing saga of the Revel casino continued this week with Glenn Straub revealing that he wants a discount on the property. In other news, the Revel tax lien that failed to sell at auction has been purchased by its primary debt holder, but at a discount.
The Press of Atlantic City revealed on Wednesday that Glenn Straub is looking to buy the Revel Casino for $87 million instead of the $95.4 offered back in September. Straub was the casino’s stalking horse bidder earlier this year when he offered $90 million for the casino.
He later became the backup bidder at $95.4 before Brookfield Holdings was awarded the property for $110 million. They later threatened to withdraw from the deal, citing unwillingness by the casino’s power company to negotiate over construction debt. Revel lawyers tried to salvage the deal, but Brookfield made extra monetary demands that the casino could not meet.
Straub Wants Credit for Being Stalking Horse
After three states launched online poker and gambling regimes in 2013, there was hope that 2014 would see more state legislatures join the igaming party. With only one week left before 2015 arrives, those hopes have been dashed and the party has fizzled.
With a new year on the horizon, hope is renewed that 2015 will see at least one state join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey in enacting Internet poker regulations. If the projections released earlier this year by the finance wizards at Morgan Stanley hold true, California will finally push through an online poker scheme that the state’s gaming interests can agree on, or at least live with.
Remember that study in September that anticipates 20 states to be operating regulated online gambling sites by 2020? Unfortunately, Morgan Stanley prognosticators find California to be the only state to climb on board next year, with a launch not happening until 2016.
Should that prediction hold true, that would mean that two calendar years will have passed without a regulated launch after Nevada broke the ice in April 2013 and the other two states followed in November of the same year. Two years.
BIG:W;hile the legislatures in California and Pennsylvania will seriously consider regulating online poker in 2015, a push is on to add New York to that list.
“Let NY Play” is the slogan behind the support and includes an online petition to sign for those in favor of legalized online poker in the Empire State. Part of the rallying cry behind the push is the fact that neighbors in New Jersey have been playing Internet poker legally since late 2013.
The campaign reportedly originated from the brain trust at MGM Resorts, who commissioned studies to determine how much revenue can likely be obtained for the state by approving ipoker legislation. Estimates indicate that New Yorkers currently wager $110 million on poker sites that are not regulated, the New York Times reported.
Additional estimates derived from the research show that New York can gain anywhere from $50 million to $80 million annually. License fees placed on the sites wishing to do business in New York can add another $80 million or so.
Mark your calendars, as we now know the dates for the granddaddy of all poker events. The 2015 World Series of Poker will run from May 27 through July 14, 2015 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. WSOP officials released a preview of what players can expect from the series, including the return of the $10 million guaranteed WSOP Main Event.
The World Series of Poker is the one poker series that has proven recession-proof and this year’s edition should continue that trend. Several annual staples have returned to the schedule, along with events that proved successful in 2014. Also, officials have added a couple of major events that should help the 2015 WSOP become the most successful in history.
The Colossus Could Produce Largest Field in Live Tournament History
The opening weekend will feature a “Flagship Event” that WSOP officials hope will produce the largest field in live tournament history. “The Colossus” will be a $565 Re-Entry NL Event with two starting days. The event kicks off on Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30 and will boast a monster guarantee of $5 million.
Astute online poker players can find a number of bargains in the form of Christmas promotions at various poker sites this time of year. And players in the regulated state of New Jersey who log on at 888poker will find several awesome deals available this holiday season.
From now until the end of the year, 888poker NJ is offering 50% rakeback on its cash tables and 50% of buy-ins back on tournament entry fees. That’s a Christmas gift worth unwrapping for New Jerseyans, as well as players who may live outside of the Garden State but are visiting friends or relatives there during the holidays.
Only a tiny $20 deposit is required
To be eligible for the 50% Holiday Sale at 888poker NJ, just make a small deposit of $20 and use the bonus code “HOLIDAYS2014.” And remember, the promotion runs through December 31.
PartyPoker will integrate a “waiting list” into its New Jersey online poker client, a company representative stated today in a post on the 2+2 poker forums:
Having spoken with our Product team today – we have a wait list solution planned to go live early 2015. I will feedback with more detail when possible.”
I have interviewed a lot of poker players, and invariably I am thrusting a camera into their face just after they have won something.
My most common questions are: “What are you doing differently? Where did this string of results come from?”
The generic response is: “It’s just variance.”
But is it really just variance?
Last week, PokerUpdate’s Steve Ruddock released his list of must follow Twitter accounts for the iGaming industry in 2015. While there are many out there interested in the ever-growing industry, many more of you are all about the game itself.
The poker world has embraced Twitter with open arms and it is regularly used as a way to disseminate news, report results, and even rib other players. This week, I present to you a list of ten “must follow” poker industry Twitter accounts for 2015.
In picking this list, I tried to find a proper balance between entertainment and information sharing. Being a popular poker player is simply not a strong enough criterion; otherwise, Phil Ivey would be tops on the list. If you want to keep on top of most things poker, these are accounts you should follow.
Kevin Mathers – Kevmath – If you’re a poker fan and aren’t already following Kevmath on Twitter, you’re doing it wrong. Kevin Mathers is Bluff Magazine’s “Manager of Poker Information” and may have the greatest breadth of knowledge of anyone in the poker media. If the story is important, odds are that it will be on his feed. Need an answer to a poker-related question? Ask him and chances are he can find the answer.
There may be 12 days of Christmas, but online poker players are likely more interested in the 10 days of Scramble Freerolls at Full Tilt that will pay out $100,000 from December 22-31.
$10,000 is on the line each day from now until the end of 2014 for players who opt in at their Full Tilt “My Promotions” page. There are a number of ways to gain entry to the Scramble Freerolls — five events everyday that feature a $1,000 prize pool and two more with $2,500 up for grabs.
Earning at least one Full Tilt Point in the six days prior to the $1,000 Scramble Freerolls will allow you to enter as many of those events as you desire. The Scramble Freerolls that offer prize pools of $2,500 require tickets for entry.
Your first ticket will be won simply by opting in by midnite on Dec. 30, while an additional five tickets can be gained by depositing $30 or more by the same date and time. Play a real-money Sit & Go or Jackpot Sit & Go via the mobile app at Full Tilt to earn five more tickets to the $2,500 Scramble Freerolls.
My wife believes I should be a politician. I can’t see it. Take the problem that the not so United States of America are having with the implementation of an online poker bill. During a recent interview with Marco Valerio at OnlinePokerReport, California politician Mike Gatto expressed his guess that since 2008 between two and six online poker bills have been submitted to the wizards who hide behind the curtain, and none of them have passed. I couldn’t accept that. I couldn’t work in an environment that reeks of that. I just don’t get that.
Creating an online poker bill is nothing new. If the U.S. politicians could pull their heads out of their asses for long enough, they will notice a whole world beyond their borders that manages to operate regulated online poker without undue fuss. The religious groups don’t seem to be hitting anybody over the head with their crosses, the parents aren’t complaining that their under age children are stealing all of their money, and the organizations designed to care for gambling addicts like me also seem to be fairly happy about the management of online poker.
Take the U.K as a prime example. I wouldn’t say that I am clued in to every single conversation that goes on about the difficulty and ease of a regulated online poker market, but my ear is pretty close to the ground. I think I would hear the disconcerted rumblings of anarchy. There is no noise. I can’t hear a bloody thing. Not one single complaint.
Why does it have to be so complicated? The speed at which these things move, and the time and effort that is ploughed into the creations of these bills – not to mention the millions of dollars that pass back and fore between hands – is incredible. I mean, talk about hypocrisy. American politicians worrying about the financial corruption that online poker could create, when those same people are probably taking a few backhanders themselves? Don’t make me laugh.
The future of the Trump Taj Mahal appears stable, at least for the next year. This past weekend, Carl Icahn agreed to provide $20 million in financing to keep the Trump Taj Mahal operational during bankruptcy. The casino was scheduled to close on December 20.
When the deal was announced, parties failed to reveal how long the financing would keep the property open. According to a report in Reuters, the financing package could keep the Taj Mahal open for the next year. The downside is that if the package fails to get the casino out of bankruptcy, there may not be a backup plan.
Heading into December, the future of the Trump Taj Mahal looked bleak. Trump Entertainment had less than two months of cash on hand and Icahn was unable to get any assistance in keeping the casino open. Now the company has pulled off a Christmas miracle and will keep the casino open for the next year.
The future of the Trump Taj is in the hands of the bankruptcy court. According to the Reuters report, should the financing be approved by January 9, the casino will likely stay open through the winter until business picks up in the summer.