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Showing posts with label ultimatebet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ultimatebet. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2011

Online Poker to be Legalized by Tuesday! Obama Defies Gravity and Becomes Defacto Protector of Sector 2814

if there isn’t any real news we can make it up as good as everyone else!

barack-obama-green-lanternStill nothing much is actually NEW.  The excitement out on the street is that the bill co-sponsored by Texas representative Joe Barton could arrive as early as the end of this week, which the various news blogs and so on have morphed to “WILL ARRIVE THIS WEEK AND INSTANTLY REGULATE ONLINE POKER” which is not going to happen.  The fact of the matter is that the Nevada land casinos are already hard at work (don’t worry how I KNOW THAT land casinos, get back to it) on putting together the regulation infrastructure necessary for handle online poker.  If they work REALLY fast the soonest that’s going to happen is early 2012 so it really doesn’t matter much how fast the Federal legalization comes as long as it happens near the time Nevada casinos are ready to cash in on it.

Here’s the actual rundown so much as I know (and I’ve had my ear to many a door as of late):

Full Tilt Still Has Not Paid US Players: In fact, they haven’t even credited the accounts of most US players with the funds that they will eventually be paid.  An article on Subject: Poker on June 16th talks about a 60 million dollar shortfall they created by essentially giving players “loans” when the players deposited money on the site but Full Tilt didn’t have a payment processor to debit their accounts.  Since Black Friday this has sort of sealed the loss for Full Tilt and may be part of the accounting difficulties they are experiencing which of course are in addition that they just plain don’t have the money to pay US players.

The Joe Barton Poker Bill: He’s drafting it and they keep quoting him as saying online poker’s been legal but the bank funding has not, which is incorrect.  The DoJ clearly thinks that online poker is illegal (regardless of the truth) and the funding woes of all online poker sites trying to service the United States are due to the UIGEA which only applies if online poker is illegal.  So basically the DoJ is the bully which is saying they think it’s [online poker] illegal and if you’d like to try your luck funding it you might just disappear in a bleeping hole.  Obviously none of the other crimes like providing bank executive bonuses, funding player accounts with golf balls or providing hot oil massages to bank employees would be necessary at all if the banks weren’t 100% convinced by the DoJ that online poker is 100% illegal and therefore under the enforcement of the UIGEA in the first place.

Phew!  Having said that, online poker is actually legal, just no one wants to risk their life or freedom to prove that especially when state and federal bills which will effectively legalize the industry are so close.

UB.com and AbsolutePoker (Cereus Network) Payouts:  Honestly I think we’re all going to probably have to give up on this one.  The amount of business they are doing post Black Friday just isn’t going to be sufficient to generate money to pay back the US customers they owe.  Take a trip over to Poker Scout and check it out for yourself.  Maybe in the long run this is the best thing.  Cereus made some horrible decisions and they still refused to fix their infrastructure including customer support and fraud prevention.  I’m not saying they were actively cheating anyone in 2011, but they weren’t doing as much as they should have to be responsive to customers and to protecting their online interests.  Full Tilt Poker is also guilty of many of these issues especially with regard to poor customer service.  I sincerely hope that the next wave of online poker uses PokerStars as a model.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It’s Saturday So What the Heck Is Going On In the Poker World?

USA Catches Its Breath from DoJ Attacks

Justice Department DOJThe original DoJ indictments targeted four cardrooms: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. Of those cardrooms they have temporarily returned the .com domain names to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for the purposes of paying US players.  They also have an agreement with UltimateBet/Absolute Poker that those cardrooms will be allowed and able to return US player funds however the DoJ did not return their domain names.  Players can access them now at ubpoker.eu and absolutepoker.eu.
As far as returning funds goes only PokerStars has stepped up and actually accomplished this task so far.  It seems as though Full Tilt, UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are short on cash and looking to raise it either from the rake or (rumor has it for Full Tilt) by selling off part of the company.  In any case paying the funds owed to US players is a top priority for all these sites because they will lose the players in the rest of the world if they show they do not honor their player obligations.  There are other rumors and predictions that at least the beginning of a Full Tilt payoff for US players will happen by the start of the 2011 WSOP (that’s in just a few days so we will see).full-tilt-poker
This situation has also brought to light that Full Tilt (and possibly other cardrooms) does not segregate player funds from their operating capitol.  In the future having funds segregated until the cardroom actually “earns” the money through rake will be a must and hopefully a regulatory requirement which will eliminate these player payment issues.

Poker News Sites are Taking Advantage

I’ve seen several examples of poker news sites and blogs posting false news stories to make it look like their product is the one true cardroom and then blatantly post their affiliate link to this place at the end of their story.  Even news sites as large as www.cardplayer.com have been caught doing this with sites as lame as webcam poker or cardrooms on the Merge gaming network (which still serves US players).
I certainly understand the panic these places must feel in terms of paying their bills.  Right now almost 100% of all poker advertising income has ceased for the low limit poker sites that I own.  The big three cardrooms aren’t paying affiliates (yet) and once they do the player base won’t include US players which will reduce the amount of income for most US-based affiliates by anywhere from 75% to 95%.  I am  literally having trouble paying rent at the moment, but even so let’s have a little dignity and not mislead the very poker players we’ve always tried to help.  Ok?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Relentless Defense Writes “U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tilt”

us dept of justiceThe lawyers from the Relentless Defense website write an excellent article regarding the DoJ action against PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and UltimateBet on April 15, 2011 debunking many charges and clarifying the legal situation and parallel the thoughts of I. Nelson Rose, an expert on Gambling and the Law (read his articles on www.gamblingandthelaw.com).

United States v. Scheinberg, et. al.

It has long been axiomatic that criminal statutes should be written in such a manner that there remains no ambiguity regarding the prohibited conduct.[1] After all, a person has a right to know exactly what conduct he may engage in without running afoul of power hungry prosecutors. While it has never been quite enough, it is this maxim that has occasionally restrained Federal prosecutors from using the strong-arm tactics of a Mafia Don. But not today.

Relying primarily on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) (31 U.S.C. §5361, et. al.) on April 15, 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Manhattan brazenly seized the websites of Full Tilt Poker, Poker Stars, and Absolute Poker and unsealed indictments against eleven individuals, including the founders of the poker sites and four bankers, charging them with bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is seeking at least $3 billion in “civil money laundering penalties and forfeiture” from the poker sites and the defendants. Before moving on the poker sites, the U.S. Attorney’s Office secured restraining orders against at least 75 bank accounts allegedly used by the poker sites to process their payments.

For those who operated the sites and for those who played poker at their online tables, April 15th was characterized as “Black Friday.”

A criminal indictment is no small matter. The power to indict is the power to destroy. Those targeted today by the Federal government are unable to access much of their funds, making it difficult if not impossible for them to meet their obligations.  They stagger from the blows to their reputations, watch helplessly as their friends recoil from them, and awaken every morning to the crippling fear of incarceration. In our Federal courts the presumption of innocence is meaningless, for without a single conviction, these ruthless prosecutors have taken all these men have and threaten to confiscate whatever morsel they have so far missed. Even if exonerated, the damage done to these men is severe and very likely irreversible. Given this awesome power, one would hope that these prosecutors would not arbitrarily ruin the lives of their fellow citizens unless they were sure these individuals had violated a criminal statute.  Not so.

Read the rest of the article

Friday, May 13, 2011

“The Motley Fool” Argues for an End to Online Poker Shutdowns

motley_foolA few weeks ago, I questioned the FBI's decision to shut down a handful of online poker websites. The FBI correctly interpreted the law -- but that law didn't make any sense. Why ban online gambling when its negative effects are demonstrably less harmful than other perfectly legal evils such as obesity, smoking, or medical bills?

More importantly, this debate is about which businesses should and shouldn't be regulated. I believe that things need regulation when they can cause widespread collateral damage on innocent bystanders. Most courts have taken that test a step further, judging the legality of a game based on whether it relies on skill or luck. Skill is good. It's capitalism. Luck is bad. It ruins people -- or so the thought goes. The current ban on online poker rests largely on this skill-vs.-luck premise.

A new paper by Thomas Miles and Steven Levitt (the latter of Freakonomics fame) challenges it. The two economists used data from the 32,000 players who participated in last year's World Series of Poker to show, convincingly, that successful poker players are indeed skillful folks.

Read the rest of the story @ the Motley Fool

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cereus Makes Deal with DoJ Moving Toward Returning US Player’s Funds.


The Associated Press reported that a deal has been struck between Absolute Poker (actually the Cereus Network including both AP and UB.com) and the US Department of Justice.

An online poker company facing severe legal troubles says it has made a deal with the Department of Justice toward repaying deposits from players.

Absolute says its agreement says it can work with third-party payment processors to facilitate return of the funds. It says it plans to collect the funds from the processors, then establish proper ways to repay the players.

Unlike Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker they will not be regaining their original domain names (UB.com and AbsolutePoker.com) as part of their deal with the DoJ and will continue to use their new domains. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Absolute Poker and UB.com Fire Pros in Wake of Black Friday Indictments

Joe Sebok, Prahlad Friedman, Scott Ian and Trishelle Cannatella have all had their ties with the cardrooms severed.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The parent company of online poker websites Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet said Monday it laid off 11 sponsored poker professionals in the United States as two of its executives face charges of tricking banks into processing illegal gambling payments.

Antigua-based Blanca Games said it has severed ties to players including Joe Sebok, Prahlad Friedman, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and "Real World" reality star Trishelle Cannatella.

"This was a difficult task for Blanca's management, and we are very disappointed that we have been compelled to sever ties with our sponsored pros," the company said. "We are truly saddened that circumstances have dictated this course of action."

The company said the indictments unsealed April 15 mean the company can't pay players to play poker. The legal actions in federal court in New York targeted 11 executives and alleged associates of Absolute, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, including Scott Tom and Brent Beckley of Absolute.

The indictment said Tom and Beckley were stepbrothers who were principal decision-makers for Absolute.

Sebok, a former Ultimate Bet-sponsored professional who has cashed 16 times at the World Series of Poker since 2005, told The Associated Press that he learned about the layoffs a week ago. Sebok said he has been talking with upper managers at Ultimate Bet since the indictments became public.

"It was obvious that, regardless of what direction things went, that sponsored players in the USA were going to be unnecessary, or certainly far less necessary," Sebok told the AP. "It was pretty obvious, at least in my mind, that we would be let go."

Sebok, popular among card fans with nearly 1.1 million Twitter followers, said he's less concerned about his situation than with American players getting back funds deposited on the sites. He said he hoped it could get done despite hurdles.

"Everyone's way of life has just been uprooted," Sebok said. "(Players) are going to have to rethink how they plan on living, moving forward."

Sebok, a founder of popular poker news site PokerRoad.com where he maintains a blog, said he hasn't yet decided what he will do next.

Blanca announced last week that it significantly reduced its staff as it fully moved away from its U.S. business.

Full Tilt and PokerStars have announced agreements with the Department of Justice to return money to players, and PokerStars says its process has begun. But Absolute has said that while paying players is its top priority, it's reviewing the legal actions with its lawyers before moving ahead to make payments.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Professor I. Nelson Rose Talks About Current Black Friday DOJ Attacks on Online Poker

Federal Poker Indictments: Revisiting Prohibition

The timing is suspicious.

March saw Nevada regulators approving a partnership between Caesars and 888, and Wynn announcing a joint venture with PokerStars.  Now comes the indictments, three-billion-dollar civil suit and seizures of domain names by the feds.  Wynn immediately cancelled his plans.  Players were panicked.

Which was, of course, the goal.

If the allegations are true, the operators brought this on themselves, by lying and bribing bank officials. Of course, the prosecutors have the problem of convincing a jury that there is bank fraud when the "victims" are tricked into making millions of dollars.

And will this be the end of Internet poker?  Did Prohibition end drinking?

Prohibition created modern organized crime, by outlawing alcoholic beverages.  When people want something and it is illegal, organizations will arise to fill the demand.  How much more so when the activity, online poker, is not even clearly illegal?

Every action by the U.S. federal government makes it more difficult for it to go after the next operator.  The UIGEA, rammed through by the failed politician Bill Frist (R.-TN), can be seen as an anti-consumer-protection law, because it scared all of the publicly traded gaming companies out of the U.S. market.  Then prosecutors went after payment processors, making it more difficult for players to find legitimate ways to send their money to betting sites.

Now the feds have seized .com domain names and charged operators with bank fraud.  So, gaming sites are switching to .eu and .uk, and cutting off all physical contact with the U.S.  Even the present American operators can’t be extradited, so what hope is there for the DoJ to bring future foreign operators here to stand trial?

The Grand Jury has been meeting for at least a year.  The criminal indictment against PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute and their founders, was unsealed by the U.S. Attorney for New York on April 15, but bore a date-stamp of March 10.  So why now?

Besides the Caesars-888 and Wynn-PokerStars agreements, the Nevada Assembly Judiciary Committee recently approved a bill to regulate online poker.  And the District of Columbia actually made it legal.

The DoJ has been waging a war of intimidation against Internet gambling for years, successfully scaring players, operators, payment processors and affiliates into abandoning the American market.  Lacking the two essentials to any prosecution – a statute that clearly makes the activity illegal and a defendant physically present in the U.S. – the feds have announced showy legal action against easy targets about every other year.

Online poker is not an easy target, since a federal Court of Appeal ruled the Wire Act is limited to bets on sports events.  And tricking financial institutions into processing poker payments seems a technicality, especially since the banks made millions without paying a penny in fines.

But getting a bank to agree to process gambling transactions in return for a $10 million investment is an easier case, if true.  I can understand approaching a small bank – so small that the officer and part-owner who allegedly arranged the deal, asked for, and received, only $20,000 for his “bonus.”  But why would you do this in Utah, of all states?

There are lots of interesting nuggets in the legal papers.  The DoJ claims that one-third of the billions of dollars players deposited went to the operators through the rake.  That number seems high, but if true, it explains why everyone wants to operate an online poker room, with few expenses and no chance of losing to a lucky gambler.

Most of the activities cited occurred after the passage of the UIGEA.  This is a subtle acknowledgment that operators who left the U.S. in 2006 have nothing to fear.

Even if there was a bribe, the feds are still going to have to prove that the poker was illegal.  Since the Wire Act won’t work, prosecutors used 18 U.S.C. 1955, which makes it a federal felony if five or more people do more than $2,000 in business a day in violation of state gambling laws.  The indictment relies on "New York Penal Law 225 and 225.05 and the laws of other states." There is a “thank you” to the Washington State Gambling Commission, indicating that the DoJ is probably going to piggyback on that state’s 2006 law outlawing all Internet gambling, as well.

The Washington statute was upheld by the State Supreme Court.  Still, there are problems.  State laws are presumed not to reach beyond their borders.  And even if Internet poker is illegal in that state, it is quite a leap to seize domain names for the entire country and threaten bank accounts in places like Panama.

The only state with a law better than Washington’s is Nevada.  But basing this attack on Internet poker on Nevada law would look like it was motivated by the landbased casinos.  After all, who are the big winners here?

We will probably see the first attacks on the indictments from the two defendants who were arrested, the Utah banker and the Nevada payment processor who allegedly bribed him, when they fight extradition to New York.  And the poker operators will undoubtedly fight to get their .com names back for the rest of the world.

The operators will never stand trial.  The only U.S. extradition treaty I have found that covers illegal gambling is with Hong Kong.  Calling it bank fraud won’t work, since the defendants can show their local courts that it is based on gambling.  And it is fundamental to all extraditions that the activity be illegal in both countries.  No nation will extradite an individual to be tried for the very activity that that nation licenses.

There may not even be a settlement.  The DoJ accepted $405 million from PartyGaming and one of its founders and $100 million from Neteller and its founders.  But those companies had already left the U.S. gaming markets.  The DoJ will insist on a guilty plea to something, which might kill the operators’ chances of getting licensed when American laws change.  And no amount of money will buy them the right to open up again without a change in the law.  So what would these operators get from a settlement, other than not having to be worried about getting arrested changing planes?

It will be interesting to watch the fallout.  There are a lot of famous American poker players and others who are associated with the indicted operators.  They should be getting their affairs in order.

Meanwhile, like a raid by Elliot Ness on breweries and speakeasies during Prohibition, there are now wonderful opportunities for new operators to fill the vacuum.  Unless, of course, Americans are actually going to stop playing poker on the Internet.

© Copyright 2011, I. Nelson Rose, Encino, California.  All rights reserved worldwide.  Gambling and the Law® is a registered trademark of Professor I. Nelson Rose, www.GamblingAndTheLaw.com.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The morning after the US Department of Justice launched its weapons of mass destruction at online poker.

Where we are, where we’re likely to be going and what’s it all mean.

Right now the sites affected include PokerStars, UltimateBet renamed recently to UB.com, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.  As of this moment all of these domains are coming up with this DOJ web page:
4-15-2011 3-17-31 PM
PokerStars has blocked all US customers from playing on their site and Full Tilt Poker has reported that it will make a similar block sometime in the very near future.  There has been no comment from UltimateBet/Absolute Poker. 
It seems as though this insta-blocking of US customers is an attempt to dissuade the DOJ from going after all the poker rooms assets and using Interpol(!) to arrest the lead people from all four sites.  Obviously if this occurs it will mean a giant shakeup in the online poker industry not just for US players but for people worldwide.  Online poker will survive of course but the landscape may look very different in six months then it does now.
Obviously this affects a lot of people not the least of which is MellowYellow (the PokerStars player this blog tracked through most of last year and who finally achieved SuperNova elite status though hardcore 24-table poker playing). They are now unable to play in the US and may in fact lose all the value from their efforts last year.
We are recommending that if you disagree with this DOJ action you immediately contact your congressman and senators.

Friday, April 15, 2011

US Federal Government Lowers the HAMMER on Top 3 Online Poker Rooms


Full Tilt, Pokerstars and Absolute Poker up on charges

The United States Department of Justice created an indictment against the top 3 USA online poker rooms accusing them of fraud, money laundering and more.  This could effectively and immediately shut down the still thriving US online poker scene and rattle a nest of hornets that the DOJ may wish they hadn’t touched.

The full text of the indictments are here:


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Poker Table Ratings Uncovers Cereus Flaw and Then Makes Everyone Misunderstand What it Means

Ok, I’m out of the loop so I missed this issue that was bought up in May and then which circled sites like wildfire.  UltimateBet and Absolute Poker were using a simple custom encoding instead of industry standard SSL encryption (the kind your browser uses where you are visiting https:// sites like a bank, etc.)  The flaw is definitely something that should have been fixed (and was fixed a few weeks ago) but the explanation given by Poker Table Ratings (their article here) gave the impression that the flaw could easily allow an attacker to compromise your account, see your hole cards, etc.
Well… Yes.  IF you are playing UltimateBet on an unsecured and unencrypted wireless connection AND someone has a computer with a special wireless card that lets them sniff packets AND if they figured out the encoding they could see information sent from you to the cardroom (like your username and password) and from the cardroom to you (like your hole cards) AND they are sitting right next to you.
One minor issue—who plays poker (or does anything financial at all) on an unsecured unencrypted wireless connection?  ALMOST NO ONE.  Most online players, I’d dare say, play poker either from a single computer, or from a home wired network or from an encrypted home wireless network.  And instead of acknowledging that this is basically safe they say even wired networks could be compromised which goes beyond silly because it means that someone has to target YOU and then get a wired connection to your wired network which means plugging an RJ 45 into your switch/router/whatever which is probably right there sitting next to you and THEN they have to have a special network card that allows packet sniffing, the software to use that card and the ability to crack the encoding, and then somehow use that while you are playing online poker.  So… yes if your sister is a master computer hacker and lives with you there could have been an issue.  For everyone else in the world there’s NO way your account, hole cards, etc are going to be compromised.
Question:  If someone knows about this bug and sees my account playing poker can they hack me and see my hole cards?
Answer: Not unless they know who you are in real life and break the physical security at your actual physical network to intercept your information.  If they only know your poker Screen Name there is no way for them to target you.  They must actually get in close physical proximity to you in the real world.
Of course UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are now using industry standard SSL encryption so even this “in-person” attacks on your account won’t work anymore, but my point is that this was never a threat to most players at these sites and only a mild threat to the worst-case-scenario people who were logging in and playing real-money poker or an unknown and unsecured wireless network.  For those people, even though this issue has been fixed I sincerely recommend they stop doing that.  And stop accessing their bank and any other financial or sensitive information.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

UB Jackpot Hits Half Million


7-13-2010 5-44-47 AM 

Just saying… There’s an article on the Low Limit Holdem Strategy and Tactics site on Jackpot Table Strategy that is worth looking at especially at sites like UltimateBet where the entire limit gets a share of the jackpot (everyone sitting at a $0.50/$1 limit table will get a piece of the JP if it is won by someone at the table above for example)

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Annie Duke’s iPhone Poker Tutor

4-28-2010 5-37-00 PMOn April 15th (just in time for tax day?) Annie Duke debuted her free Poker Tutor software for the iPhone on the iTunes App store.  The program includes an Texas Holdem odds calculator, poker glossary and will soon include interactive quizzes to test your judgment in various poker situations.
You’ll also find links to Annie Dukes twitter account and to UltimateBet – the site that she endorses.
The odds calculator in the free version allows you to compare two holdem hands.  If you are willing to pay 99 cents you can get an expanded odds calculator which will compare up to 10 hands at a time.  In addition the 99 cent version will remove advertisements from the program.
To promote this iPhone application, Annie Duke is running a freeroll on UltimateBet.  To get the password for signing up you’ll have to download the iPhone app and look in the freeroll section on it, then sign in to UB and you can find the tournament here:
4-28-2010 5-47-30 PM

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Revenge of Cooler

This hand happened in a qualifier tournament on UltimateBet today.  Ouch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Other Cardrooms, why can’t you do what PokerStars does?

I guess I’m not a ‘put all your eggs in one basket’ kind of guy, so I like playing poker live at a few different cardrooms and I also like playing online at a few places.  When I’m playing live here in Southern California at the Bike or Commerce I almost don’t care about the room I’m in as much as the particular game I’m playing.  After all I can only sit in one seat live and I don’t have to work about cashout timing (I’ve always been able to convert my chips to and from cash at the live cardrooms without issue and most importantly, immediately!)

Online it’s a different story.  The way the different cardrooms handle multi-tabling support (playing one more that one table at the same time), customer support, funding and cashing out all vary quite a bit, but in the online world there appears to be one constant.  PokerStars is best.  I might be able to find a better table (one with worse players) at UltimateBet or Full Tilt Poker but seemingly without fail of there’s a quality comparison between the cardrooms like which site is it easiest to multi-table 20 tables or which site has the best player loyalty program or which site has (by far!) the best customer service then the answer so far has always been PokerStars.  Naturally that’s one very good reason to play poker there and I definite do that, but I particularly want to do that exclusively so this is a shout out to the top cardrooms to get your collective acts together.  YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG and POKERSTARS IS DOING IT RIGHT.  This is especially true in the realm of customer support where PokerStars actually gets back to you with REAL INFORMATION and they do it FAST.  It’s also true in terms of software features to help people play more than one table at a time.  I’ve found that I can play at least double the number of tables comfortably that I can play on any other site.  Note to other sites:  COPY OR IMPROVE ON WHAT THEY ARE DOING.  Is there not enough money in online poker?  Can’t you afford it Full Tilt?  I know you can…  So DO IT.  Arrrg.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jackpot Share

I won a share of the UltimateBet jackpot about a week ago. I was sitting at one of the $0.50/$1.00 Limit Holdem jackpot tables and someone at another table (but at the same limit) hit it so everyone not at that table got $260 and some change, which in terms of the limit we are sitting at is ... well it's 260 big bets. The bad beat of this story is that I wasn't sitting at more than one table (which I usually am) because you get a share for every table you are sitting at...

I've been playing quite a bit of low limit Holdem at UB the last few weeks and trying to improve my multi-tabling. So far the most I can do halfway reasonably is about six tables and that is without paying all that much attention to individual players. It just blows my mind that there are people out there that multitable 20 tables at a time. I'm wondering how that works, exactly, as I'd have trouble hitting 20 different buttons when it is my turn to act...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Am Legend

Continued from the previous entry I have been playing the jackpot tables at UltimateBet for the last four or five days. In the process I have accrued a surprisingly large number of RAI$E loyalty points and have gotten to the next-to-last loyalty level at UltimateBet (hence the title of this entry the name of the level is Legend). There are several benefits to this level including the ability to convert up to $250 worth of points directly into cash each month in as small as $25 increments (which cost about 3500 points). This is very doable since you receive 4 UltimateBet points for every RAI$E point at Legend level.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Roshambo? We Roshit you not.

UltimateBet has recently made the puzzling choice to put the popular human game of rock-paper-scissors on its poker/blackjack site. There's been some discussion on optimal rock paper scissors play, but simply having a computer generate a random number between 1 and 3, or rolling a regular 6-sided die and using 1-2 = rock, 3-4=scissors, 5-6=paper will eliminate any edge your opponents have over you. Of course UB, should they rake this game, will be getting an edge over every throw.

Players can sit heads up and play match after match of this game which, while there might be some purpose to playing it live, I can see little or no reason to play it online--except perhaps just to say that you did.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Texas Holdem for Fun and Profit

It's been a while since the last post on the Low Limit Holdem blog and certainly a lot has happened since last year. The biggest elephant in the room is of course the weasel-like ban on funding internet gambling sites from US sources that was tacked onto an unrelated port security bill.

Since that bill went into law late last year there are only a handful of reputable poker sites available to play at for US players Full Tilt, UltimateBet, PokerStars and Bodog Poker are among the best known sites still serving US players.and the major funding players (Firepay and Neteller) are gone from the US market. In their place are sites like Epassporte, MyWebATM, and Click2Pay.

The short and happy news is that online poker isn't going away, but the definite bad sucking news is that our legislators are engaged in some strange operation foot-bullet to make playing poker online less secure and less regulated. Take a cue from the UK and actually regulate internet gambling (including poker) and use the funds to improve the country and to provide help for the small minority of players who actually have gambling problems.

Rest assured, whatever happens with online poker lowlimitholdem.com will continue to exist and provide poker strategy, advice and discussion.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

UltimateBet Session Report

My main game at the moment is $10-$20 Limit Holdem at either UB or Party Poker. Today it's $10-$20 at UltimateBet. I'm using Holdem Hawk for fast pot-odds calculations and to keep me honest preflop.

A Holdem Hawk side note. They recently released a patched version which improves the stability and fixes a few bugs and also includes a not-documented feature in the options menu that lets you totally customize the pre-flop play tables. The default values arevery tight and don't help you take advantage of weak-tight play by opening with a raise with hands like medium pocket pairs in middle position. The good news is now you can tweak those settings yourself. The bad news is that the way the settings are defined isn't documented and the defaults in this new version seem to have some flaws (including the advice to fold QQ in an unraised pot sometimes). For example in the preflop configuration screen in middle position it has two tabs, one for what you'd do with a particular hand in an unraised pot and one for what you'd do with it in a raised pot. Of the actions you can take in a raised pot they included several options including "raise" and "reraise". Well since the pot is raised anyhow any raise you make IS a reraise, so the meaning of those two settings in this context is confusing. Next patch perhaps.

Where was I? Oh yes, the $10-$20 poker session.

Table conditions lately aren't ideal, however the mistakes of some of the players at the table are so extreme that the game is profitable. The best bet, no pun intended, at these tables is to play a mostly straightforward game. Avoid pre-flop domination and bad post-flop drawing.

One sample hand highlights some of the playing mistakes at the table:

I'm dealt TT in middle position. The player under the gun raises and is called by another early position player. I also call as do two players after me and the big blind. The flop comes 2h 3c 8h. The player UTG bets and is called and I raise for value and to hopefully eliminate some overcards. The next player folds and the late position pre-flop caller 3-bets. UTG calls and I call. The turn is a 6s and UTG checks and I bet into the late position player who raises. UTG calls, I call. The river is a 4c so the flush is dead.We both check to the late position player who bets. UTG folds and I call. The late position player shows 85o (rivering a 6 high straight) and wins the pot.

Worst hand and worst draw pumped the pot (I have to put the UTG player on a flush draw because of his river fold).

Besides that there were the typical people calling with bad unsuited aces especially in the blinds and people drawing with pocket pairs that were clearly beat to only two outs. Those are extremely juicy mistakes in the long run, but can be huge sources of tilt when they beat ones hand on the turn or river. Happily that didn't happen in today's session.

Here's the VP$IP% at the table right now:

Player 1: 44.7%
Player 2: 28.0%
Me: 16.8%
Player 4: 10.0%
Player 5: 21.0%
Player 6: 14.3%
Player 7: 20.4%
Player 8: 52.9%
Player 9: 24.3%
Player 10: 30.2%

As you can see there are a couple players seeing WAY too many flops, a couple people seeing too many flops NS one person playing excessively tight. I like my preflop percentage for this type of table (between 15-20% depending on how well I'm catching good starting cards).

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

I've been spending some quality time with the websites lately... Low Limit Holdem Strategy and Tactics, Low Limit Omaha Strategy and Tactics, and Low Limit Stud Strategy and Tactics have all seen updates this week (the most in the hub site which is Holdem. It should be decently viewable at 1024x768 now with some CSS help from my significant other.

I've also been playing quite a bit of actual poker lately, mostly ring games. My results have been extremely good lately at the semi-tight online tables (these online folks don't really understand what no-foldem-holdem really is!) one very nice product I've recently found and been using myself is called Holdem Hawk or Holdem Pirate (same product, different name) which grabs hand and board information from the online poker game you're currently playing (supports a bunch of cardrooms including Party Poker and UltimateBet) and makes preflop recommendations and shows all your potential draws and outs as the hand progresses. It's really a must have as it makes precise pot odds calculations that are all but impossible in the flow of a real game.
My low limit results for the past week are: Bought into Noble Poker for $50, cashed out for $333 4 hours late. Bought into Full Tilt Poker for $450 because they are running a promotion where if you get 300 points by the 14th of April they'll give you $100 or two items of clothing from their gear shop. I triple tabled $3-$6 holdem and cashed out for $649 after about 1.5 hours and up 400 points. When the $100 bonus came in I worked that up to $300 at the $3-6 table and I'm still going as we speak.

Obligatory bad beat: Me-AQo, Opponent T5 suited, Flop AQ5 rainbow, opponent was short so capped all in for him on the flop. Turn: 5, River: 5.

Of course in poker it's not all upswings and even in the sessions I described I lost some big pots when people completed their draws or when I didn't complete mine, etc., but overall a very tight preflop strategy and good use of position works well at these cardrooms, especially if you have good knowledge of hand selection when the pot does get especially multiway.

Oh, if you're into Seven Card Stud (high or high/low) check out Stud Strategy which is Heaven's Stud Advice central and of course my own Stud site listed above.

In other news we're looking for a new apartment so my almost-12-year-old son has a room of his own to sleep in (it's not THAT bad he lives with his mother, but when he comes here he gets the couch at the moment). Who wants to be a teenager and sleep in the livingroom?