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Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Blog, General Poker | 6 comments

Are Fish and Sharks Swimming in Different Tanks at PartyPoker?


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Imagine walking into a live poker room and signing up for a game.

You get asked, “Are you a beginning player or an experienced player?”

You answer, “I’m an experienced player.”

Based solely on that response, your name is placed onto a segregated list containing just the veteran players.  Beginning poker players have their own set of tables and games to chose from.  It’s like having adult tables and kiddie tables at a picnic.

If you encountered something like this, would you stick around and still play?

This is apparently really happening.  And it’s not taking at some tiny cardroom in the middle of no where.  Based on recent reports, PartyPoker — once the largest online poker site in the world — may very well be quarantining its players based on levels of experience.  READ THE STORY HERE AT POKERFUSE.COM.

If true, this news could be (and should be) devastating for PartyPoker.  Not only is such a practice deceitful.  It’s essentially telling players that if they become loyal devotees to the PartyPoker brand, they’ll eventually be assured of getting less table selection and tougher games. 

Gee, thanks for playing.

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Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Blog, General Poker, Las Vegas | 10 comments

The Reports of Poker’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated





The mainstream media often get things notoriously wrong.

Consider the case of Mark Twain’s “death” being erroneously reported in the (now-defunct) New York Journal daily newspaper in 1897, eliciting his famous quote in response, “the report of my death was an exaggeration.”

It seems mainstream media haven’t learned much over the last 116 years.  In recent months, major media have reported poker’s popularity is declining.  Last month, the Associated Press ran a national news story claiming the poker boom is over (See Feb. 28 article:  “As Trend Wanes, Vegas Casinos Fold on Poker Rooms”).  As evidence, the report cited a number of poker rooms closing down in Las Vegas — as if that’s really the metric of global popularity.  Hint:  It isn’t.  The AP article claims:  In Sin City, epicenter of the poker craze, at least eight rooms have folded in the past two years.  The trend is also playing out in Mississippi riverboats, Indian casinos and gambling halls near big cities from California to Florida.

Even usually reliable and more knowledeable sources in poker media are spreading the myth.  Since “Black Friday” in April 2011, numerous feature stories posted at various poker news sites have spotlighted the negatives — including (professed) declining popularity in some markets, the cancellation of poker programs on television, lackluster tournament attendance, and the demise of online poker inside the United States.

To be perfectly clear, poker does face serious challenges ahead.  However, this assertion that poker’s popularity is declining is not only demonstratively false, it grossly neglects plenty of evidence which suggests otherwise.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Poker has never been more popular than at this very moment.

Fact:  More people worldwide are playing poker today than ever before.

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Posted by on Mar 8, 2013 in Blog, General Poker, Restaurant Reviews | 1 comment

Thought, Laughter, and Tears: My Dinner with T.K. (and Jimmy V.)

T. K. Krauss


There are few people in the casino business I love and admire more than Mr. T.K. Krauss.

This longtime Atlantic City poker executive is a fountain of fascinating stories and useful information, especially when it comes to the East Coast poker scene.  If passion came in bottles, “T.K.” would be the Coca-Cola of poker.

T.K. has just taken over as the new Director of Poker Operations for the Atlantic Club.  Previously known as the Atlantic City Hilton, this outdated and long-neglected property located at the southern tip of the famed Boardwalk has long been the city’s stepchild casino.

Things are about to change — big time. 

Now, the Atlantic Club is at a pivotal moment — not just here in New Jersey — but in the history of U.S. gambling.  The casino-hotel is close to being taken over by — the world’s largest online poker website.  If successful, could gain a critical foothold inside what’s now the first state with a substantial population base to approve online poker.  In short, this beachhead marks the start of a coming battle front between powerhouse U.S.-based casino operators and the online giant based on the Isle of Man that could very well turn into high-tech trench warfare.

Given the gravity of what’s at stake, T.K. is the ideal peacemaker– a beloved Gen. Omar Bradley figure in the grand theater of what could become online poker’s World War 2.

I’ve known T.K. for 20 years.  From his earliest days walking the floor at the Taj Majal, to the Tournament Director position at the Atlantic City Tropicana, to the Head of Operations at the Hollywood Casino in Indiana, T.K. has made a powerful impression on everyone privileged to know him inside this business.  He’s run big-time tournaments, he’s brought World Poker Tour events to the Midwest, and now he’s quite possibly on the cutting edge of the next big thing — engineering the freight train that could help Atlantic City come roaring back from the dead.

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Posted by on Mar 6, 2013 in Blog, General Poker, Personal | 11 comments

Touched by an Angel: How I Borrowed $120,000 in Cash on a Freezing December Night



The Scene:  Atlantic City, New Jersey

The Date:  December 5, 2005

The Problem:  I need to raise $120,000 in cash by the following morning.


Sometimes, it’s a wonderful life.  Other times, it’s not.

If you want to discover who your friends really are — try to borrow money.  This is especially true in the poker world.

On a bitterly cold night in December of 2005, I was in a state of panic.  I desperately needed $120,000 in cash by the following morning.  The time was 7 pm.

At the time, I had about $150 in my pocket.  That left me $119,850 short — give or take a few coins.

A bad situation was made much worse by several problems.  First, this was a Monday night — the slowest time of the week in Atlantic City.  Second, it was 20 degrees and snowing outside.  Third, the Philadelphia Eagles were playing on Monday Night Football, which meant anyone I could conceivably shake down for money was busy watching the ball game.  Finally — this was the deadest time of year, early December on the New Jersey shore.  The place was a ghost town.

So, what does one do?  Where does one go to raise $120,000 in cash when you’re desperate and failure is not an option?

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Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in Blog, General Poker | 2 comments

Tumbling Dominoes: What New Jersey’s Decision Means to the Future of Online Poker in America


Falling Dominoes


If Nevada’s leap into the the abyss during the summer of 2011 as the first state to legalize online poker was the first domino to fall, New Jersey’s apparent decision to do the same thing yesterday should set off a tumbling progression of activity in states to follow which will eventually make American online poker a reality.

While measures to legalize online poker at the federal level remain firewalled due to continuing pockets of resistance and appalling legislative incompetency, some states are moving ahead independently without hesitation, preparing to implement their own ideas about how to deal with online poker issues.  The most progressive of these states now includes Nevada , Delaware, and New Jersey — with Iowa expected soon to follow [Footnote 1].

But the biggest prize and the ultimate lynch pin for what would be another poker explosion is undoubtedly California.

That said, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Footnote 1:  I’m intentionally omitting the District of Columbia which also legalized online poker, but remains stuck in a legal quagmire as to its future.


*     *     *

So, what do the latest developments in New Jersey mean, not just to poker within that state, but the rest of the nation?

It likely means that legal online poker (and much broader gambling options) are coming to New Jersey, and its nine million residents.  While Nevada was indeed the very first state to legalize online poker 18 months ago, no one is expecting web companies operating within the “Silver State” to initially to turn much of a profit.  With less than three million residents and intense competition statewide from land-based casinos, there simply aren’t enough poker players within Nevada’s borders to sustain profits, without the potential for wider expansion in the form of pacts with similar states.

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