Thursday, January 30, 2014

Technology and Poker in the 21st Century - post Borgata

In light of the recent Borgata Counterfeit Chip sage, this article is timely...and nice to see that while the major focus is on cards, the same idea works for chips

Does anyone remember SAFEJACK?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Busted - Bad Borgata Chip Caper!

Ruh-roh!  We discussed the Borgata Winter Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee counterfeit chip story here and here.  And today, there's been an arrest.

Nice job.  Read more here courtesy of PokerNews.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Super Bowl, Super Bet

Well, here it is, the biggest football game of the year, and everyone wants to know – who is going to win?  Well, actually, most fans already know who is going to win.  At least they think they do.  And many are willing to back it up, putting their money where their mouth is.

For more money is wagered, legally or not, on the Super Bowl, and this year provides a classic case for a variety of reasons.  It’s the top defense against the top offense, the #1 seed vs. the #1 seed, etc. etc. etc.  By any standard, it should be a helluva game, even if it’s played in New Jersey.

But to me it’s a classic already in that it proves positive that betting lines have little to do with which team is better, and everything to do with the money.

If you were an eager beaver on Sunday and couldn’t wait until Richard Sherman took a Valium before learning the point spread on the game, you would have learned that the Seahawks opened as a 1-point favorite over Denver.  If you waited until the next afternoon to check the line, you would have a different take entirely, as almost every sportsbook shifted dramatically, making Denver the favorite by a point, or even two!  And today the line sits at 2½ points, where it will probably stay, give or take another half-point.

When the NFC Championship game was half over, I figured Denver -3 if Seattle won, and Denver -7 if the Niners came back.  Even at the end (just before Sherman’s tip leading to the clinching interception) I thought those numbers were pretty solid, so I was surprised to see Seattle with that early -1.  Now the line is about where I figured…but how did it get there?  Why the big move?


Apparently the “wise guys” took one look at a favorable line and bet a ton and a half on the Broncos.  It is in the sportsbook’s best interest to balance the money bet on either side, so they can pay off the winners with the losers’ money and keep the “vig” (their commission for handling the bet) and make oodles of money on the game.  Sometimes they set the point spread in a fashion that looks wacky, but it’s to balance the money, honey, and for no other reason.  Sometimes they need to toss a extra point or three out there to attract money for the other side (obviously the case here) and sometimes it’s because future bets made months earlier are tipping the scales toward one team or the other (Auburn was a long shot for the National title and books faced a major deficit if they had won, as several punters had a bunch of cash on War Eagle at long odds).

One thing the books want is a close game – not to add to the excitement, but because they could cash in both ways.  If the game winds up 23-21 Denver, early bets where Seattle gave a point or Seahawk backers who only got a point or two lose (ties lose).  Later Denver bettors who gave 2½ lose.  Statistically, anything less than 3 points is going to go down to who actually wins the game, period…but for the sportsbook, it’s much, much more than that.

If you like Seattle, bet ‘em.  If you like Denver, bet ‘em.  Don’t sweat the points…much.

PS – in previous Super Bowls where top defense meets top offense, remember that offense makes for a great show…and defense wins championships.  Just sayin’.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pic of Borgata Bad Chips

 Here's a pic of the bad chips and a real one, courtesy of Card Player Magazine:

A Black Eye for Poker Today

The news first came on Friday and it wasn't good - there was a suspicion that counterfeit chips had been "added" to the tables by one or more entrants in the Borgata Winter Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee event.  At that point the tournament was suspended.  Today the casino and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement made it official - with the final three tables (27 players) still to play, the tournament has been cancelled.  You can read more about it on Poker News.

I have seen a picture of the real tournament chips and the phonies, and...jeebus, it's not even that good of a job.  Color is close but no cigar, and the molds are different to boot.  This is just plain ugly.  No word as to whether Governor Christie's staff called the chips into play because the casino failed to support his re-election bid (that's a joke).

But this is no laughing matter to poker players.

First off, one must remember that gambling doesn't have a pristine reputation to begin with.  Poker is not seen as the better part of that rep.  Poker is not a big money maker for casinos.

I think you're going to see a major decline in casinos inviting live poker action.  Too much can go wrong (this isn't the first problem, but certainly the largest in a good while).  The casinos COULD add procedures and such to make cheating harder, it worth it to them?  Maybe not.  It's still early and it's hard to see what the overall fallout will be, but I see only one bright spot.

If live tournament action is seen as both problematic and unprofitable, there's always online poker.  I can see a movement to say, "Look, we want to provide poker but there's a better way, and it's online.  Let us do it that way."  Naturally, laws would have to be changed, but if the tide is turning for gay marriage (a fait accompli by 2016 in my opinion), perhaps this can be a good thing for poker.

Though, I gotta admit, it doesn't look like it now.

Another good source of info and rumors is the 2+2 Forum on this subject.  Have fun!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Old Folks, and Home

Two quick news bites for poker fans.  First, there is a new Poker Tour in the USA, and it’s the Senior Poker Tour, and it kicks off this weekend at Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, MS.  The five day event has something for everyone, with big and small buy-ins, Hold ‘em, Omaha and H.O.R.S.E, and a final day “main event” championship.

Does poker need a Senior tour like golf, bowling, tennis, Gaelic football…OK, you get the idea.  It seems as if darn near every athletic endeavor has a senior league or senior tour, and since poker is most likely “less athletic “ than all of the others, why not?  Besides, I can tell you that there is a world of difference in how 50+ fellows play (that’s what people 50+ call each other, fellows, or the informal "fellahs") versus those young whippersnappers who seemingly go all-in every other hand.  Anyway, I hope it takes off and is still going strong once I hit 50. 

(laugh track goes here) – read all about it from Poker News.

The other poker tidbit I share comes from a new start-up venture called “Friend’s Poker Club.”  Maybe you’ve seen their Facebook ads or stumbled upon their website.  If not, I urge you to go there and sign up for their newsletter.  Not that there’s anything there yet (just the sign up page and the promise of things to come, or as they say, “Your poker game at home reimagined!  But they’re doing it right.

How do I know?  Well, one thing they’re doing is a comprehensive survey of what players WANT from the site (imagine if MySpace has done this years ago…Mr. Zuckerberg would be eating Skittles and drinking Jolt Cola instead of champagne and caviar).  No promises that you’d get the call to do the survey if you signed up, but if you do, they’ll reward you (Amazon gift card for me, thank you!).  And a better site to serve you, too (since that’s the whole idea).  Since I’ve got a new book on Home Poker coming out…soon (maybe by the Spring?)…it seems as if there’s some synergy going on here.  Hope so.

Or, and a reminder to go review one of my books on Apple iTunes (iBooks), Nook, Kindle/Amazon, wherever.  Or do ‘em all if they’ll let you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review Deadline is Near – Don’t Delay!

I thought if I headlined a request for some book reviews (on my books, silly) as a deadline it might shake a few loose.  Doesn’t it remind you of school, or your last paper-intense job?  Oh, you always waited until the last minute, huh?  Should have known.

Seriously, if you’ve purchased any of my books of late, it would be a help if you went on Amazon or wherever you bought it and popped your 5-star evaluation on there.  Sales have been very good for the new “ABC’s of Craps” in its first month, and a couple of nice reviews from you will be a plus (since most of the other eBooks on Craps have printed copies and they share reviews so it looks like people have reviewed the eBook but it’s really for the printed copy and since I don’t have that luxury…well, y'know).  Anyway, get off your lazy butt and write something.  If you need me to tell you what to say, I’d be happy to – just let me know (I can lie with the best of ‘em).

Speaking of nice reviews, I did get a favorable online review in the Gambling blog.  Al Moe gave it 4 stars out of 5, which I’ll take (not many of his reviews get all five stars, so I’m happy with it).  The areas he was critical of I’d like to address here (though it won’t change the rating). 

He says he would have liked some examples as to why the game is so much fun.  Well, talk is cheap – experience is priceless.  I could have told stories about some of the characters I’ve met on the tables (I did here in this blog) but Craps is to be experienced, and I’d rather spend the (limited) pages of the book instructing people so they feel empowered to try the game – and then, the experience will take care of itself.  Besides, the best “fun” one can have is winning!  On that subject Mr. Moe wondered why I didn’t offer any “systems,” and y’all know how I feel about that.  Oh, if you didn’t, read the book.

Finally, he said that I didn’t “go into some things that beginners might want to know, like how to shoot the dice…  Sigh.  See Chapter 13 of the book, “Craps Etiquette.”  As in “yes, I did!”  It’s in the middle of the chapter.  And besides, it’s not that difficult (given you follow the four bullet points I illustrated in the book).

In rebuttal, I wanted to find an online video to link to show how NOT to throw the dice, but all I came up with was THIS.  Weird.

Now go write a review.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

(Poker) Lessons from the BCS

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and in the East and Midwest, that would be a very frozen rock), you’re aware that the very last BCS Championship Game has been played1 and Florida State is the new champ!  Despite being an overwhelming favorite, it took a gutsy comeback and a last-minute touchdown drive to seal the victory2.  And even then, there was time for Auburn to make another miracle finish and capture yet another crown for the SEC3.

But as it turned out, the Seminoles were able to shake off a shaky start and overcome a 21-3 deficit for a 34-31 victory.  And can we learn anything from this game (perhaps the best BCS game since Texas/USC in this very same stadium 8 years ago)?  I mean, besides the fact that Musburger is a colossal dipshit and sometimes doesn’t even know who he is? (re:

Never give up.  Never, never, never, give up.

Sure, this sounds like a Jimmy V promo on ESPN, but the man was right.  Never give up.  Sure, it looks bad, and you’re low on chips and can’t seem to get anything going.  But…don’t just toss ‘em in on a 9-6 offsuit and hope for the best.  Wait.  Be patient.  Pick your spots.  Aim for the low hanging fruit (lousy players) to rebuild your stack.  Set a trap.  Be aggressive with the nuts.  Don’t give in, don’t give up.  Battle until you win, or lose, but battle to the end.  In poker as in life.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve got to the final table and been low on chips, seemingly overwhelmed by monster stacks, and…fought back.  No, I don’t win ‘em all (or I would have written another book about it), but I usually made a better finish than if I had just quit and gone all-in on seven-deuce.  Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston struggled throughout the first half, yet he finished with a better quarterback rating than Auburn’s Nick Marshall4.

And he also got another trophy at the end of the game(MVP), as did the Seminoles.  Because they never gave up.


1.  And thank goodness, too - although the new 4-team format only means a different level of bitching come next season.  Once we get to a true 16-team playoff, then, maybe, most of the bitching will go away.  But not all.

2.  Now would be a good time to remind everyone that Vegas makes the point spread not on who they think is better/worse and by how much, but by the amount of money being bet on each side, so they can “even it out.”  What this should tell you is that there was some very serious money on Florida State (perhaps even some future wagers) that caused a potential shortage because of so much bet on FSU, hence, the need to give point…lots of points…to attract Auburn wagers to even things out.  Best (easiest) bet on Monday might was Auburn and points. The over got middled5.  Bummer.

3. Brent Musburger actually presented the trophy to Auburn at about 8:43 in the second half.  Twit.

4. No doubt this will end the “SEC is superior to all other leagues” discussion.  Yeah, right.

5.  Most places had it at 65.  34+31 = 65.  Pisser.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are YOU Missing $300,000?

Here's my first post for 2014, and it isn't even my post.  Well, I've been thinking about it, and didn't have enough info to comment.

You've no doubt heard the story about the Las Vegas cabbie that found a bag with $300,000 in his cab, and turned it in...turns out it was some lucky poker player (understatement of the year) who left it there.  I've been tempted to make a comment or a post...but Dan Katz nails it so perfectly that I don't have to.

Just go read the whole thing here: