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Record-Setting Female WSOP Champ Starla Brodie passes away

Starla Brodie’s $49,670 in live tournament winnings may pale in comparison to many famous poker players today. But after recently passing away, Brodie’s name will still be immortalized in the poker world thanks to her on-felt accomplishments.

The late Brodie was a true pioneer since she began playing in the 1970′s, an era where female poker players were about as rare as a one-legged gymnast. The New Jersey native continued blazing a trail when she won the 1979 WSOP $600 Mixed Doubles event along with her partner, Doyle Brunson. Brodie’s prize may have only been $4,500, but the victory was very significant because she became the first woman to win in an open WSOP tourney.

Although it took a while, Brodie struck again when she took down the 1995 WSOP $1,000 Women’s Seven Card Stud tournament. This time, her prize was much larger at $35,200, and she became a rare two-time female WSOP champion. She’d go on to rack up a few more tournament cashes, with her last one coming at the 2001 WSOP.

Aside from playing poker, Brodie was also really into investing. In fact, she once made $400,000 in a single year while trading options at Philadelphia Trading. Poker was more of a hobby to she and her husband, Ken, since they’d travel to Las Vegas once a year for the WSOP.

But hobby or no hobby, Brodie’s play and accomplishments inspired many future women players, such as Hall of Fame member Linda Johnson. So it’s only fitting that Johnson wrote the following after Brodie’s passing:

Starla was one of the first women I met in Las Vegas in the late ’70s. She was a role model to me and inspired me to enter the WSOP in 1980, which subsequently led to my moving to Las Vegas a few weeks later to play poker professionally.. There weren’t a lot of women playing poker when I first started. Starla welcomed me and others into the poker world and made us feel comfortable

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Posted in General, General Posts, Industry News, Poker News, Pro Players

A Look at Recent Developments in Online Gambling

By Gary Steveson

Research into robots and artificial intelligence has captivated imaginations for decades. Variations of bingo have been around for centuries. And cell phones have served as a gaming platform at least since the 1980s. So what brings these seemingly divergent topics together: gambling. As gambling bots become more and more proficient, they are threatening to disrupt the world of online poker. At the same time, online bingo and mobile gambling are leading a dramatic expansion of the online real-money gambling marketplace. This paper tackles all of these issues while also taking a look at the legal climate for online gambling in the United States and abroad.

Gambling Bots

The term gambling bots – as they are typically referred to by players – includes a variety of automated programs used to play online games such as poker without direct input from a human (Golle & Ducheneaut 2005). These bots may be acting based on a pre-programmed algorithm although newer bots using neural networks have shown the ability to learn new strategies rather than being tied down to a static approach (Eggert 2013, 12. Regardless of the specific technique, gambling bots rely on this artificial intelligence to play games previously considered the sole domain of human gamblers. The strategy behind these non-human bots is two fold. First, by allowing a larger number of hands to be played without personal supervision, bots can increase gamers’ winnings (Ward & Jennas 2012, 2). Second, these bots implement a strictly rational approach which is in marked contrast to the often emotional and ill-advised strategy employed by the novice gamblers prevalent in online poker (Golle & Duchenaut 2005). New developments such as utilizing neural networks rather than algorithms allow bots to simulate billions of hands and actively learn from the results of each hand (Eggert 2013, 12). This has led to bots which can bluff and detect bluffing rather than simply acting based on mathematical probabilities (Eggert 2013, 12). One of the most acclaimed bots – the Vex Bot developed by researchers at the University of Alberta – has actually defeated master poker players in a heads-up contest (Brunker 2004).

As expected, this improved ability to defeat human players has led to resentment from the online poker community. Poker is typically depicted as a game of skill, requiring players to assess an array of complex factors to make an intuitive decision (Golle & Duchenaut 2005). For some players the introduction of a non-human bot disrupts that ecosystem by giving an unfair advantage to the cool, calculating machine (Golle & Duchenaut 2005). However, gambling bots can actually be used to help players improve their strategy. Some companies explicitly market their bots to beginners as a straightforward way to gain experience playing hands while receiving feedback on their strategies (Eggert 2013, 13). In fact, bots are already used in a similar manner by chess and backgammon players to boost their game (Eggert 2013, 13). Perhaps the real reason players dislike bots is simply because they feel like there is an information asymmetry when players do not know they are facing a computer. This situation persists because companies are loath to announce when they detect bots utilizing their gambling platforms (Eggert 2013). Their reasoning is two fold: announcing how a bot was detected essentially gives programmers a blue-print for avoiding detection in the future (Eggert 2013, 15). At the same time, announcing the presence of a bot – even if it has already been dealt with – could undermine gamblers confidence in the provider and push them towards a competitor (Eggert 2013, 15). As a result, there are few accurate statistics regarding the prevalence on bots in online gambling.

The use of bots is not without its drawbacks either. To begin with, most gaming sites explicitly prohibit the use of such programs. As a result any deployment of a bot would constitute a violation of the Terms of Service and provide grounds for the forfeiture of any winnings accrued by the bot (Altman 2013, 13). A related risk is that of detection. Many players will utilize the online chat features in an effort to detect the presence of a bot in the room – a non-human player will not be able to converse naturally (Ward & Jennas 2012, 3). Of course, this method of detection is not foolproof as some human players may choose not to respond to chat messages in order to create the impression for other players that they are actually a bot (Ward & Jennas 2012, 3). Players may also report suspicious betting patterns indicating the use of a bot (Brunker 2004). However, this creates the possibility that an actual player could be falsely accused by rivals seeking to remover them from the room (Altman 2013, 23). As a result, gambling providers typically take into account the length of a player’s history and overall betting patterns before acting on such accusations (Altman 2013, 23). Although it seems unlikely, there is also the risk that a bot will lose money due to a faulty strategy (Altman 2013, 14). For that reason, some players actually embrace playing against a bot – believing that they can use its own strategy against it.

In terms of legality, there is some murkiness regarding the use of gambling bots. In the United States, there is a divide between state or tribal regulation versus Federal regulation (Eggert 2013, 4). Some consumer protection advocates have insisted that the issue of bots needs to be decided at the federal level in order to offer equal protection to consumers regardless of where they live (Eggert 2013). Two approaches suggested are forcing sites to detect these bots themselves and publishing a ratings system for all players (Eggert 2013, 14 & 16). In the case of the first option, experts admit that such an expectation is likely unrealistic for the reasons discussed above. The risk of players being removed due to false positives is also quite unpalatable for companies (Altman 2013). As for publishing a ranking system of each player to ensure that players know their opponents’ skill levels, many pros have publicly claimed that this will hurt the game by de-emphasizing the necessary skill of assessing an opponent’s abilities (Eggert 2013, 16). Additionally, actual prosecution of bot operators would likely prove difficult as the computers could be programmed to destroy evidence or even mimic human betting patterns (Eggert 2013, 13). House Resolution 2666 was introduced in 2013 with the goal of combating the use of gambling bots, but so far no concrete action has been taken (Eggert 2013). Meanwhile in Sweden, the state authorized gambling monopoly – Svenska Spel – is seeking the return of approximately $1.5 million from bot operators who it claims defrauded other gamers (Eggert 2013, 11).

Online Bingo

Bingo has long been a staple of retirement communities, but its online equivalent is proving to be a substantial source of revenue for gambling providers. In recent years, online bingo has blossomed into a big business and actually represents the fastest growing sector of the online gambling marketplace (KPMG 2010, 6). In the European gambling market, an independent assessment found that sports betting claimed the largest market share at 32 percent of total gaming revenue followed by online poker and bingo at 15.5 percent apiece (Gambling Data 2012, 4). Although poker, blackjack, and slots may be more recognizable gaming offerings, some companies generate as much as 70-80% of their revenue from bingo alone (Gambling Data 2012, 14. Bingo’s growth is driven in large part by the heavily social aspect of bingo compared to other forms of online gambling combined with the increasing comfort levels with internet gambling in general (KPMG 2010, 6). Due to the heavily social aspect of bingo, gambling operators emphasize the online chatting feature (India PRwire 2012). Chatting is designed to appeal to the major demographic base of online bingo operations – women between the ages of 23 and 40 with small children (Smith 2013, 6). Currently, the largest global market for online bingo is found in the United Kingdom (KPMG 2010, 6. However, markets such as Spain, South American and Eastern Europe are poised for significant growth according to industry observers (KPMG 2010, 6).

Another selling point for online bingo is its relative simplicity. Players can choose between flash games and download games. Flash games are usually hosted online and players can join games almost instantly from any internet connected device (Playmore Bingo 2014). Download games on the other hand require some type of gaming client to be downloaded from the specific provider (Playmore Bingo 2014). In terms of gameplay there are a variety of games and features offered. Many players participate with multiple cards simultaneously. As a result, bingo operators have introduced features like autodaub which ensure that a player does not miss out on prizes due to forgetting to mark their card (Haozous 2013). The two most common game types are 75-ball and 90-ball bingo. 75-ball bingo utilizes a 5×5 card with each column corresponding to a letter and number combination (State of Minnesota 2012, 84). Typically the combinations are B (1-15), I (16-30), N (31-45), G (46-60), and O (61-75) (State of Minnesota 2012, 84). The software’s random number generator chooses a series of these combinations and marks each player’s card accordingly. Depending on the specific game, players can win by forming vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines, filling up the entire card, or forming more complicated patterns such as chevrons (Texas Lottery Commission 2012). The 90-ball version utilizes a 3×9 card (Addagaming Ltd 2013). Players can win by filling one line, two lines, or the entire care – known as a full house – depending on the game (Addagaming Ltd 2013). Naturally, the highest payouts are reserved for the full house (Addagaming Ltd 2013). There are other variations such as 30 and 80-ball bingo, but they are less prevalent than the two versions previously mentioned.

Online bingo has failed to take-off in the United States due to legal restrictions on online gambling. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in 2006 to prevent Americans from participating in real-money gambling online. In a tactical move, the bill was inserted into the national security focused Safe Ports Act at the last minute to circumvent opposition (Rychlak 2011, 1241). The new law was modeled after the prior Unlawful Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 2003 as it focused on the transfer of money to online gambling services rather than on the provision of the gambling services or act of gambling itself (Conon 2009, 1159). That is, the law imposed penalties on banks and credit card operators who transferred money to the accounts of any online gambling provider (KPMG 2010, 7). In effect, this choked off the possibility of online bingo in the US as players were unable to deposit funds or collect winnings. Although the law allows an exemption for certain activities such as fantasy sports leagues due to the level of skill required to succeed at them, this loophole does not apply to bingo (Conon 2009, 1160).

Mobile Gambling

If the introduction of the internet revolutionized online gambling, the next revolution is likely to mobile gambling. Mobile gaming has been popular ever since people started playing Snake on their phones in the 1980s, and now gambling companies are poised to take advantage of that potential market (Chowfla 2010, 42). Instead of being tied to a computer, today gamblers can access some of their favorite offerings from their smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device (William Hill PLC 2014). This type of gambling appeals to the smartphone customer base comprised of younger, tech-savvy individuals (Smith 2013, 17).  With 3G networks abounding in many parts of the world, consumers already use their phones for online banking, stock trading, and other serious pursuits (KPMG 2010, 6). In light of that, it appears to be only a matter of time until mobile gambling experiences a similar widespread acceptance. In fact, mobile gaming is already the fastest growing segment of the online gambling market (William Hill PLC 2014). Since virtually everyone has access to a smartphone or tablet, it is easy to see why this mode of gaming has become so popular.

However, gambling on mobile devices is not without serious drawbacks. As mentioned earlier, one of the most important features of online gambling is its sense of communal interaction built through the chat function (India PRwire 2012). However, the limited screen space of mobile devices means that it can be problematic for players to simultaneously participate in chatting and gameplay (Smith 2013, 17). Another potential concern is the increased likelihood of a disruption of service compared to traditional online gambling (Jakobsson, Pointcheval, & Young 2011). Any mobile gambling platform must be careful not to either reward or penalize players if their gameplay is interrupted due to a loss of service (Jakobsson, Pointcheval, & Young 2011). This includes a method of returning players to the exact point in the game at which they were interrupted (Jakobsson, Pointcheval, & Young 2011).

Mobile gambling providers have also faced some pushback from the titans of the mobile application marketplace – Apple and Google. Until recently, Apple banned any sort of real-money gambling application from its app stores (McCarthy-Brain 2012). Apple has since reversed its position allowing companies like Big Fish Gaming to introduce consumers to their popular applications (MacMIllan 2012). At roughly the same time, Google reversed its stance and banned real-money gambling applications from its Google Play store (McCarthy-Brain 2012). This has led gambling developers to focus on iPhone rather than Android apps (McCarthy-Brain 2012). On the legal front, mobile gambling providers in the United States run into the same problems with UIGEA discussed earlier. In recent years, both Visa and Mastercard have cracked down on customers attempting to use funds for online gambling (KPMG 2010, 7). As expected, this has had little to no effect on the growth of mobile gambling outside the United States.

Like any other sector of the economy, the online gambling market is consistently faced with new challenges and opportunities. While gambling bots are almost universally dislike by players, improvements in the bots’ artificial intelligence is likely to thwart detection and deterrence methods. However, accepting their continued presence may transform the game in ways that end up protecting consumers such as published skill ratings. The growth of online bingo and mobile gambling offers similar promises but is unlikely to bear fruit in the United States without serious legal reforms. Either way, the development of the online gambling industry promises to be as full of excitement as the games the companies offer.

Works Cited

Addagaming Ltd. “Bingo Online Rules”. January 13, 2013.

Altman, Benjamin. “Hiding Behind Cards: Identifying Bots and Humans in Online Poker”. A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Science degree in Applied Computer Science from the University of Guelph. May 2013.

Brunker, Mike. “Are Poker ‘Bots’ Raking Online Pots?” NBC News. September 21, 2004.

Chowfla, Sangeet. “The Potential of Mobile Gaming”. 2010

Conon, Jonathan. “Aces and Eights: Why the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act Resides in ‘Dead Man’s’ Land in Attempting to Further Curb Online Gambling and Why Expanded Criminalization is Preferable to Legalization.”  The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 99 [2009]: 1157-94. Accessed July 16, 2013.

Eggert, Kurt. “Testimony Before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce Manufacturing and Trade”. At a hearing entitled ‘The State of Online Gaming’. December 10, 2013

Gambling Data. “European Regulated Online Markets”. July 2012. Accessed April 13, 2014

Golle, Philippe & Nicolas Ducheneaut. “Keeping Bots out of Online Games”. Proceedings of the 2005 ACM SIGCHI International Conference on Advances in computer entertainment technology. 2005. Accessed April 14, 2014

Haozous, Jeff. “Letter to Congresswoman Tracie L. Stevens”. National Indian Gaming Commission. August 26, 2013.

India PRwire. “Online Bingo Refer a Friend Scheme Exceeds Expectations”. September 4, 2012. Accessed April 14, 2014

Jakobsson, Markus, David Pointcheval, and Adam Young. “Secure Mobile Gambling”. Topics in Cryptology. 2011: 110-125

KPMG International. “Online Gaming: A Gamble or a Sure Bet?” 2010. Accessed April 13, 2014.

MacMillan, Douglas. “iPhones Become Mobile Casinos by Adding Real-Money Bets”.Bloomberg.com August 16, 2012

McCarthy-Brain, Paul. “The Future of Online Gambling Part 2”. The Social Gambler. June 30, 2012

Playmore Bingo. “Getting Started with Online Bingo”. Accessed April 14, 2014

Rychlak, Ronald J. “The Legal Answer to Cyber-Gambling. Mississippi Law Journal 80 [2011]: 1229- 46. Accessed July 13, 2013

Smith, Joe Saumarez. “Want to Make a Profit? Bingo!”. EGR Magazine. 2013.

State of Minnesota. “Chapter 6: Bingo”. Lawful Gambling Manual. 2012. Accessed April 14, 2014

Texas Lottery Commission. “Comprehensive Strategic Plan: 2013-2017”. July 6, 2012

Ward, Matthew & Paul Jennas II. “Hacking Networked Games”. April 2012

William Hill PLC. “William Hill Online”. Accessed April 13, 2014

 

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Posted in Poker News

The Borgata must have Sucky Lawyers on the Ivey Case

The Borgata is already off to a bad start in their attempt to recover $9.6 million from Phil Ivey, baccarat edge sorting extraordinaire. U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman pointed out a number of flaws in the Borgata’s lawsuit and said that they need to clean up the complaint.

The Borgata’s lawyers didn’t even list which state Ivey lives in, instead describing him as a “citizen of the United States currently residing in Mexico.” They make the same mistake with Ivey’s accomplice, Cheng Yin Sun, calling her a “resident” of Nevada, but failing to list which state that she’s a “citizen” of.

These types of mistakes might be acceptable if it involved a mom-and-pop store hiring cheap, local lawyers to sue somebody. But the Borgata is Atlantic City’s leading casino, earning hundreds of millions of dollars a year. So it’s fairly reasonable to assume that they’ve got high-powered and pricey lawyers on this case.

The Borgata’s legal team has until April 24th to amend their complaint and ship it back to Judge Hillman. From there, it’s anybody’s guess on how long it will take for the case to be decided. Ivey filed his £7.8 million lawsuit against Crockfords last May, and we’ve still yet to hear anything on how this matter is proceeding.

As we discussed a couple of days ago, the Borgata just settled the chip scandal that happened three months ago in a $2 million guaranteed tournament. But just as soon as they finish one legal endeavor, they’re off into another court case. And this time, it seems like there’s no end in sight.

As for Ivey, he’ll be busy with his legal matters and the upcoming 2014 WSOP. The 38-year-old will be looking for his 10th career gold bracelet and his second in the past two years. Ivey won a $2,200 Mixed Event at the first-ever WSOP-APAC last year.

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Posted in General, General Posts, High Stakes Action, Industry News, Poker News, Pro Players

Borgata to refund 2,143 Players after Poker Chip Scandal

Three months ago, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa suspended a $2 million guaranteed tournament after it was discovered that counterfeit chips were used. And this week, following a lengthy investigation by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), the Borgata has decided to refund 2,143 affected players.

They came to this decision after getting the NJDGE’s report on the matter, which says that the lone cheater, Christian Lusardi, played at tables with 2,143 players who finished outside of the money. So this means that the Borgata will be paying over $1.2 million in refunds to players who didn’t even cash. Another 2,143 players will not receive refunds because they couldn’t have been affected by Lusardi’s fake chips.

Joe Lupo, the Borgata’s Senior Vice President, explained the decision to the Press of Atlantic City. “Based on our documents and assessments, we know exactly what rooms Christian Lusardi played in. Therefore, we can determine where he may have unlawfully entered the chips into play,” says Lupo.

As for the players who finished in the money, places 28 through 450 have already received their prize money, so they won’t be getting any additional compensation. When the tournament was suspended, just 27 players were still alive, and these participants will all receive $19,323 ($522k total).

The NJDGE’s investigation concluded that the Borgata correctly handled the chip scandal, that ended with Lusardi trying to flush over $2.7 million in chips down one of the casino’s toilets. The NJDGE didn’t require the Borgata to refund non-cashing players, however, Atlantic City’s leading casino felt that it was the right thing to do. “As the premiere poker facility we are very unhappy about the inconvenience this caused so many of our local customers,” Lupo says. “It was only right to give back the revenue Borgata would have seen.”

The only loose end in this matter now appears to be the lawsuit that Egg Harbor Township’s Jacob Musterel filed against the casino. His class-action lawsuit not only demands that the Borgata pay back buy-ins to over 4,000 players – even those who weren’t affected by Lusardi – but also their travel expenses too. There’s no word on whether or not this lawsuit will be dropped following the Borgata’s decision.

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Posted in General, General Posts, Industry News, Live Tournaments, Poker News

Joe Hachem discusses Controversial “Poker is Dying” Interview

Less than three months ago, Joe Hachem captured the poker world’s attention when he discussed how “poker is dying” during the 2014 Aussie Millions. Hachem’s biggest point was that WSOP Main Event champs and younger pros aren’t doing enough to engage or interest general audiences. In the passionate interview, he cited bumhunting and frequent strategy talk for reasons why there are fewer recreational players around today.

Poker Asia Pacific recently caught up with Hachem and had an opportunity to interview the 2005 WSOP Main Event winner regarding his comments. Hachem says that he checked out a TwoPlusTwo thread on the topic to get some feedback about what he said. The Aussie points to how certain posters attacked him personally for the comments, however, he wasn’t overly worried about the criticism.

“That interview was a heartfelt, on-the-spot interview.” he says. “I didn’t mean to disrespect anybody, and I tried not to. I wasn’t having a specific go at anybody. It was just how I was feeling in the moment. Again, my passion for poker overrides my passion for the business of poker. I applaud those who do well to help grow poker. And those who don’t, should – I’m not going to give them applause. They should be responsible, but I can’t force them to.”

Hachem adds, “It’s just my opinion. Every other asshole has one. I’m just another asshole with an opinion, right?” Some players may agree with the asshole part of his statement – especially younger internet guys who don’t say much at the tables and feel like Hachem was specifically bashing them. But as Hachem explains, he had plenty of supporters, including younger guys, come up to him at the L.A. Poker Classic and tell him thanks for what he said.

The famed poker pro also says that he had a “very constructive” conversation with Phil Galfond over the whole matter. He specifically likes how Galfond said everybody should put their differences aside and work together. If you’d like to check out Hachem’s whole conversation, have a listen below:

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Posted in Aussie Millions, General, General Posts, Poker News, Pro Players

Phil Ivey in another Baccarat Edge Sorting Lawsuit – Borgata wants $9.6m

Almost one year after he launched a lawsuit against Crockfords for withholding £7.8 million (≈$12m) in punto banco winnings, Phil Ivey will now be sitting on the other side of the courtroom since the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is suing him for $9.6 million.

The Borgata contends that Ivey used a technique called “edge sorting,” or spotting tiny manufacturing defects on card-back patterns, to win $9.6 million during four baccarat sessions in 2012. The lawsuit, which also names card-deck manufacturer Gemaco Inc. and Ivey’s accomplice, Cheng Yin Sun, lists charges including breach of contract, civil conspiracy, fraud, racketeering and unjust enrichment.

According to the New Jersey Law Journal, Ivey made several special requests after making a $1 million deposit at the Borgata in the spring of 2012. He wanted a private pit, Mandarin Chinese-speaking dealer and an automatic shuffling machine. Additionally, Sun instructed the dealer on how to turn unexposed cards because Ivey is a “superstitious player.” In reality, edge sorting can be made easier when the cards are turned because a player can better spot manufacturing flaws and know what cards are coming.

The Borgata continued to treat Ivey just like any other customer, until the fourth high stakes session that he played. Borgata officials had seen the news of Crockfords accusing Ivey of edge sorting and confronted him about the matter. But unlike Crockfords, the Atlantic City casino had already made payment on his winnings. The poker pro contends that there’s nothing illegal with edge sorting or the means that he went about exploiting this flaw. Instead, he argues that it’s the casino’s fault if they can’t stop an advantage player. Here’s a statement that he released last May with regard to the Crockfords lawsuit.

I am deeply saddened that Crockfords has left me no alternative but to proceed with legal action, following its decision to withhold my winnings. I have much respect for Gentings, which has made this a very difficult decision for me…Over the years I have won and lost substantial sums at Crockfords and I have always honored my commitments. At the time, I was given a receipt for my winnings but Crockfords subsequently withheld payment. I, therefore, feel I have no alternative but to take legal action.

The Daily Mail’s explanation of edge sorting

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Poker’s Cyril Mouly escapes Deadly Knife Attack – Driver found Murdered

Cyril Mouly, a French high stakes poker player, escaped an attempt on his life this week. Two helmet-wearing assailants ambushed Mouly and his “chauffeur” in the lobby of his Paris apartment building. According to this Europe1.fr report, Mouly’s driver intervened while the poker pro rushed to the nearest police station. When they returned, the 60-year-old driver had multiple stab wounds to his chest and neck and died just minutes later.

At this time, Parisian police are still trying to figure out if Mouly or his chauffeur were the intended target. Both appeared in court last month on charges stemming from a 2011 fraud case. Court proceedings for the case, which involve almost 30 other defendants, were still ongoing at the time of the murder. It’s unclear whether the two assailants ambushed Mouly and his chauffeur because of the fraud case or if it was just a random act of violence.

Back in 2011, he was arrested and extradited from Morocco to France for “organized fraud and laundering the proceeds of fraud committed by organized gangs.” Mouly founded a company named IT Dealing and allegedly embezzled around 12 million euros from the business before he was caught.

As for his poker career, Mouly gained considerable fame as a participant in the “Big Game” at Bobby’s Room. He became a TwoPlusTwo sensation when it was rumored that he had difficulties folding top pair and often got caught on bad bluff attempts. TwoPlusTwo users also had lots of fun photoshopping pictures of Mouly during his 2011 embezzlement ordeal. One more thing worth mentioning about Mouly and poker is that he participating in the Sky Sports Million Dollar Cash Game in 2009.

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Posted in General, General Posts, High Stakes Action, High Stakes Poker, Industry News, Poker News, Pro Players

Carbon Poker brings back Bad Beat Jackpot – With Changes

We’ve brought back one of our most popular promotions from the past: the bad beat jackpot!

Anybody who’s ever dreamed of winning a massive pot like Tom Dwan or Ike Haxton – yet is playing with a small bankroll – can make these dreams come true with Carbon’s bad beat jackpot.

If you played on our BBJ tables in the past, you’ll notice a couple of big changes. First off, we now contribute 100% of the money for the prize. So players need no longer worry about contributing small amounts to the jackpot. Every minute, we add an additional $0.10 to the prize and there’s a rolling counter on BBJ tables to let you know how much the jackpot is worth.

Another change that many players will appreciate is the fact that bad-beat-qualifying hands have been lowered. The lowest qualifying hand is quad 2′s (2-2-2-2-3), meaning you can expect far more BBJ’s to be unlocked as compared to the past, when quad 7′s was the lowest qualifier.

If you’re looking to take part in the BBJ action, keep in mind that the big prize is offered through 6-max and full-ring No-Limit Texas Hold’em tables. So if somebody loses with four-of-a-kind 2′s or better, the jackpot is unlocked! You can check out the payout distribution of the BBJ below:

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Posted in CarbonPoker News, General, General Posts, Industry News, Poker News

Phil Hellmuth takes Second in ESPN Celebrity Bracket Challenge

Well, so much for that $1 billion that everybody was trying to win through the Warren Buffet-insured, Quicken Loans March Madness bracket challenge. It seems virtually impossible to think that anybody could’ve picked a perfect tournament bracket, given that an 8 seed, Kentucky, met a 7 seed, Connecticut, in the finals, with the latter winning 60-56.

Phil Hellmuth’s bracket certainly wasn’t good enough to take down the $1 billion prize either. However, it was good enough to place second in the ESPN Celebrity Bracket Challenge. The 13-time WSOP champ was runner-up to professional golfer Bubba Watson while beating a number of other prominent names, including Dick Vitale (8th), Reggie Jackson (10th), President Obama (T16th), Adrian Peterson (T18th), Stephen Curry (34th) and Jimmy Kimmel (T35th).

Hellmuth used a strong Round-of-64 performance, where he correctly picked 25 out of the 32 games, to get off to a great start. His Round-of-32 selection skills were a little subpar when compared to other top bracketeers, as he correctly guessed 9 out of 16 contests. However, he outdid many of the other celebrities during the Sweet Sixteen, where he chose 5 out of the 8 winning teams. In all, he finished with 790 points, just 20 behind the champion Watson. The Poker Brat placed 396,921 out of everybody who filled out a bracket at ESPN, which beat 96.4% of all other bracketeers.

As a sign of just how rough it was to choose the winner this year, former New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks was the sole celebrity who picked a NCAA Championship Game participant. Brooks, who finished fifth in the challenge, tabbed Kentucky to make the Championship, and amazingly, it happened. Below, you can see how some of other celebrities fared in the challenge:

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10 Ways how the Internet Drastically reshaped Poker

In its earliest days, poker became symbolic with the Wild West and Mississippi riverboats, where a cheating card sharp might suddenly find himself face to face with a six shooter. Over time, this image changed to that of a chain-smoking, overweight casino hack who may have sported a gold chain or two. Interestingly enough, this picture still stuck in the general population’s minds up until about 7-8 years ago.

As we all know now, poker is a far different place today that sees beginners get gobbled up if they don’t understand the most basic of concepts like value betting and implied odds. Better yet, beginners should know range merging and analyzing opponents’ 3-betting range if they want to survive right away. Yea, poker is still a tough place…just not in the gun-toting, western saloon type of way.

So why has poker changed more in the last decade than in its entire history? We’ll give you a hint, it’s not solely because Chris Moneymaker was an accountant who won the 2003 WSOP Main Event, like some still lead us to believe. Instead, as TheRichest.com recently explained, it all has to do with the internet.

TheRichest, which always seems to do a good job with their poker pieces, offered 10 different reasons why the internet has reshaped poker. Some of the reasons include Individual Player Statistics, Strategy Forum Discussions, Online Training Videos and Multi-tabling. You should check out the article yourself for the entire recap, but here’s one that I particularly like on 3-betting:

So, the internet didn’t invent three betting, it’s been around for as long as poker has existed. But it certainly revolutionized it.

Firstly, by three-bet, I mean specifically a pre-flop reraise; Someone raises to $30, you reraise them to $100 when everyone only has the cards in their hand.

Before online poker, 3betting was something that was basically done with big hands like Aces and Kings, and occasionally as a bluff. A rare few aggressive players in brick and mortar casinos would use it more often. As online poker boomed, people realized both how strong and how dangerous 3betting could be, and the name of the game changed, so to speak. 3betting became a staple strategy for many players, who would do it with a vast array of hands to ‘balance’ or make yourself harder to play against, while generating more action for yourself.

However, it’s undoubtedly a complex animal. Without a comprehensive strategy to 3betting, it can go horribly wrong, and leave yourself open to a host of counterstrategies. Those who fell in love with the concept and ceaselessly mashed the raise button succeeded only in hurling their money into oblivion. One thing is for certain now, though. Internet poker turned three-betting from a rare sight of aggression into an everyday occurrence. It’s not a coincidence that nowadays you’ll see two pasty kids in the WSOP main event reraising each other incessantly as the cameras watch in horror and Norman Chad rants in his commentator booth.

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