Posts Tagged ‘Than’

Rep. Charlie Dent Retiring from Congress Earlier Than Expected

 Rep. Charlie Dent Retiring from Congress Earlier Than Expected

You know that feeling when you are around a person and you think to yourself, “Why won’t they just go away already?” Well, I’ve never been around him, but I’ve had that feeling about Rep. Charlie Dent (R – Penn.) for a while now. And guess what? He’s actually about to go away! Last fall, Dent announced that he would not run for re-election, but recently, he decided he wasn’t even going to wait for the end of his term and would walk away within the next few weeks. Though he is not my representative (mine is actually worse), I will not miss him.

Dent has positioned himself as a moderate Republican, serving as co-chair of the Tuesday Group Caucus, which is supposed to be a counter to the continued shifting of the party to the far right. But despite this positioning, Dent took up an extremely conservative stance on online poker, looking to ban it completely.

But it’s not even his objectively stupid stance on internet poker that I despise about him. It’s that he tried to get the game banned in an acutely unethical manner. See, he’s another one of those Sheldon Adelson jock-sniffers in Congress who will do the billionaire Republican donor’s bidding even if it goes against the best interest of his constituents (Pennsylvania, remember, legalized online poker and will see sites launch this year). Though Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) hasn’t done much on Capitol Hill and has been widely seen, even by most Republicans, as crony capitalism, Dent tried at least once to sneak RAWA language into an appropriations bill. The idea was to tack it on to a bill that was sure to pass without anyone noticing, then viola! No more online poker.

Here’s what the language looked like. Dent tried it in 2016, then was supposedly going to do it again last year, but I do not believe he ended up doing so:

The Memorandum Opinion for the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, dated September 20, 2011, and pertaining to the lawfulness of proposals by Illinois and New York to use the Internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to in-state adults (including the applicability of the Wire Act (18 U.S.C. 1084) and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (31 U.S.C. 5361–5367) to such proposal), does not carry the force of law and shall have no force and effect for purposes of interpreting or applying section 5362(a)(10) of title 31, United States Code.

Fortunately, some of Dent’s lawmaker colleagues saw what he was doing and disapproved, so he only submitted the amendment then immediately withdrew it.

From various interviews, it seems like part of why Dent is leaving Congress early is that he’s simply sick of Donald Trump and his administration. While he hasn’t completely come out and condemned Trump, he has admitted that he is tired of all the childish tweets and insane behavior coming from the White House, that it all gets in the way of what he and others are trying to get accomplished (even if some of what he wants to accomplish is crap). He was going to be done at the end of the year anyway, so he figured, might as well end the headache and be done now.

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Jackpot Digital’s Jake Kalpakian: “Jackpot Blitz is Different than Other Automated Tables”

 Jackpot Digital’s Jake Kalpakian: “Jackpot Blitz is Different than Other Automated Tables”

In the business world, one of the key things to have is a leader that not only knows his product and audience but also has the vision to move forward in that industry. Jake Kalpakian, the Chief Executive Officer of Jackpot Digital, is arguably one of those people. Through his vision and leadership, he has moved Jackpot Digital from mobile phones into the casino gaming industry and, by extension, into the poker arena.

Jackpot Digital’s major offering for the poker world is its entirely automated table known as Jackpot Blitz. The Jackpot Blitz table will be making its debut in 2018, but it has roots that stretch back a decade. With Kalpakian helming the company, the Jackpot Blitz table may make more of an impact on the live poker world than its predecessors did.

Poker News Daily had a chance to speak with Kalpakian recently, where we learned more about the Jackpot Blitz table and Jackpot Digital’s work in casino gaming.

Poker News Daily: How did Jackpot Digital get into casino gaming and, in particular, automated poker tables? 

Jake Kalpakian: Jackpot Digital bought PokerTek, the company that created the PokerPro tables, in 2015. Those tables have been so successful that they are still in use today in many areas. We believe, however, that we have a second-generation table that will take automated gaming to new heights.

PND: Yes, the Jackpot Blitz tables are amazing. I remember with the PokerPro tables it was like each player had a little monitor in front of them. The Jackpot Blitz table, though, is almost like a real table setup.

JK:  That’s correct. We’ve put years of software development into this product and, although we knew that the PokerPro table was a warhorse, it needed freshening up. The way games are going today, people are looking for more of a “touch screen” experience. We thought, however, that while the touch screen was a nice idea, we wanted to try to keep as much of “poker” alive as possible.

Even though the cards are digital, you can still peel them like you would in a live game. The table is more of a social simulation, to be as realistic as possible. The table is really a giant iPad!

JackpotBlitz2 1 Jackpot Digital’s Jake Kalpakian: “Jackpot Blitz is Different than Other Automated Tables”

PND:  It is obvious from looking at the table that there has been a great deal of thought about the player. You’ve even included other games, such as blackjack, to give players something to do while not in the hand. Why include things like that?

JK:  If you go to a poker room, many times you’ll see players sitting out a hand. You’ll see those players on an iPad or iPhone, playing online. They’re playing multiple games while at the poker table. Poker players are a very special creature, they like to be engaged. They don’t like sitting around doing nothing. They always want action, so we’re just providing them what they might want.

PND:  Where are these tables going to be? The cruise industry was big for the PokerPro tables, I remember.

JK:  The cruise industry is our #1 customer, so they are going to be on the Jackpot Blitz tables first. Then we’ll start to roll them out to casinos across North America, probably between January and March 2018. But there are multiple cruise lines that will have the Jackpot Blitz tables onboard to start with.

PND:  What is the big draw of the automated tables for the cruise and casino industries?

JK:  You don’t need to pay a dealer, you don’t need to have chip runners. You don’t have to staff the tables or the poker room, unless you want an overall manager who monitors things, because the table does everything itself.

PND:  What do you say to those who scoff at the idea of automated tables? What would be your suggestion to these players to push them over to the Jackpot Blitz tables?

JK: Look, we know most poker players prefer the “live” dealer, the cards, the chips. With the Jackpot Blitz table, the difference between live and automated is shrunk to nearly nothing. The Blitz table is much faster, getting more hands in to maximize play per hour. There is no dealer “mistakes,” no tipping.

While those things make it great for the operators, we also are looking at making it great for the players. We are trying to make this as close to the “real thing” as possible. The fact you can bend your cards, cover them, play with your chips, we’re trying to give the same feel as if you were playing live. Add in the fact that the Jackpot Blitz table offers total engagement to the player whether in the hand or not and we think we’ve got a good product.

We’ve found that, when we use the Jackpot Blitz tables in a tournament format, it breaks through that initial reluctance to play on automated tables. The players naturally migrate to the Blitz tables in a cash game. We’re positive it will be an enjoyable experience for players and they’ll come back for more.

The Jackpot Blitz tables will be coming out in 2018 and they may very well be coming to a casino (or cruise ship) near you.

The post Jackpot Digital’s Jake Kalpakian: “Jackpot Blitz is Different than Other Automated Tables” appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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2016 WPT Borgata Poker Open: Farid Jattin Holds Lead at Final Table with More Than Half the Chips in Play

 2016 WPT Borgata Poker Open: Farid Jattin Holds Lead at Final Table with More Than Half the Chips in Play

The final table has been determined for the World Poker Tour’s stop at the Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City, NJ this afternoon and, from all appearances, it might be a quick one. Farid Jattin is the overwhelming leader of the final six, holding more than half the chips in play when the cards hit the air today.

30 men came back on Thursday to whittle their way down to the traditional WPT six-handed final table. At the top of the heap to start the day was WPT champion Matt Waxman with his 2.791 million chips, but Simon Lam (2.268 million), Jattin (2.16 million) and Phong Vip Nguyen (two million even) all joined him in the two million chip club atop the leaderboard. Lurking down the leaderboard were such dangerous pros as Paul Volpe, former “November Niner” Jesse Sylvia and John Racener.

On the very first hand of the day, Chris Limo would knock off Shawn Daniels (Limo’s pocket Aces were never threatened by Daniels’ Big Slick on a seven-high board) in 30th place and the knockouts kept coming. Waxman would improve on his leading stack in eliminating Carl Leckner in 29th place, while Jattin attempted to keep pace in taking out Joseph Chaplin in 27th place. Jattin would move into the lead after about an hour of action with a hand that was strangely played from the start.

After Robert Castoire raised the action, Jattin three-bet him out of the small blind and Castoire made the call. It was checked through by both men on a Q-8-7-5-A board, at which point the strangeness began. Castoire could only show K 10 for absolute air, but Jattin showed an A-8 that, after flopping a pair, improved to two pair by the river. The strangeness of the hand – Castoire’s lack of anything and Jattin not betting out for value at least on the river – had many on the rail talking.

Waxman wasn’t pleased about giving up the lead and demonstrated that in cutting chips out of Sylvia’s stack to break the four million chip mark. Instead of going away, however, Sylvia made a comeback of his own, chipping up with a double through Aaron Overton. By the time play was down to the final 18 men, Waxman and Jattin were atop the standings with Racener in pursuit.

Jattin took a hit when he gave up a pot to Zachary Gruneberg, dropping under 2.5 million in chips, but this seemed to be the last time he made a misstep. He used the double elimination of Tong En Zhang and Castoire in 15th and 16th places, respectively, to climb to nearly five million in chips and Jattin wouldn’t look back. Jattin cracked the five million mark in using a set of Jacks to beat Gruneberg, but it was at the unofficial final table where he did his biggest damage.

Only 11 hands into the unofficial final table with nine players remaining, Jattin and Racener entered into a raising war that eventually saw Jattin all in and Racener nearly to that point. From the betting pattern, it was easy to discern the hands; When the cards were turned up, Jattin’s pocket Aces were in great shape over Racener’s pocket Kings and, once the Queen-high board ran out, Jattin rocketed over the nine million chip mark while Racener was left on fumes.

Jattin kept moving forward as the evening hours rolled along, moving over 11 million in chips when Jattin took a pot off of Lam. It would be Jattin who called the end of the night’s efforts when, in a battle with Aleksei Vandyshev, Jattin caught an eight on the river of a J-10-7-3-8 board to quash Vandyshev’s Big Chick. By eliminating Vandyshev in seventh place, Jattin burst through the 15 million chip mark to hold a dominant lead heading to this afternoon’s play.

1. Farid Jattin, 15.735 million
2. Zachary Gruneberg, 5.39 million
3. Taha Maruf, 4.405 million
4. Chris Limo, 3.46 million
5. Simon Lam, 3.23 million
6. Jesse Sylvia, 3.035 million

It does look like it is Jattin’s championship to lose as he has more chips than the other five table members combined. If there is a challenger it would be Gruneberg, who has $ 840,645 in career tournament earnings and 174 online tournament cashes that total almost $ 2 million (under the screenname ‘HustlerGrune’). Outside of Gruneberg, Limo and Lam have no documented tournament cashes and Maruf has about $ 360,000 in tournament cashes since 2008.

The final table will not only be taped for broadcast of the Season XV schedule of the WPT, it will also be streamed online. The final table will be streamed on and on beginning at 4:30PM (a 30-minute delay) and feature an all-star cast of commentators. Kane Kalas, Jamie Kerstetter, Michael Gagliano and Nick Binger will all take a seat in the commentator’s chair for the streaming broadcast, which should be an entertaining show for any type of poker fan.

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More Questions than Answers after Dreyfus Q&A about Global Poker League

 More Questions than Answers after Dreyfus Q&A about Global Poker League

One thing that cannot be doubted with Mediarex Sports & Entertainment’s Chief Executive Officer Alex Dreyfus is that he isn’t thinking about improving poker. From implementing the Global Poker Index and turning it into the premier metric for measuring poker professionals to creating the Global Poker Masters, Dreyfus has been able to demonstrate his vision quite well. When it comes to his latest effort, the Global Poker League, Dreyfus still leaves many more questions than answers.

In a three hour session on Twitch on Wednesday, Dreyfus put a little bit of meat on the bones of what he has been promoting with the GPL. The league would be built around 12 teams located around the world. Those 12 teams would be split into two conferences, the GPL Americas and the GPL EurAsia. The GPL Americas will tentatively feature teams in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Sao Paulo, Brazil; the GPL EurAsia tentatively will field teams representing London, Paris, Moscow, Barcelona, Prague and Hong Kong.

This was where one of the first questions arose. When asked in the lengthy Q&A session following his nearly 90 minute presentation, Dreyfus was not able to name any of the prospective owners for any of the teams in the GPL, even though he wants a two-year commitment (for several million dollars in team operation) from these prospective owners. Dreyfus did admit during the Q&A that a “notable sports owner” might be interested in purchasing one of the franchises and thought that the soccer great Neymar would make “a great owner” for one of the teams rather than as a “wild card” player. Dreyfus also saw such people as “hedge fund managers and businessmen” as potential owners in the GPL.

The situation as to who would make up the teams was where one of the next big questions came from. As to the construct of these teams, Dreyfus stated that there would be a player draft where each team would choose three players, with the qualifier being that the players had to be ranked in the top 1000 players on the GPI. Dreyfus was not able to state at this time how many of those 1000 players have committed to playing in the GPL. In addition, the teams would be able to sign two “wild cards” that wouldn’t have to necessarily be a part of the GPI 1000 and could very well be given their slot by an owner looking to make a big impact or using it as potentially a marketing tool (online satellites, anyone?).

Furthermore, Dreyfus was unable to indicate how much these players would be compensated except to say that “six figures” was an estimate (it was not designated during the Q&A whether that would be for the owner’s entire roster or per player). There was nothing said about having a “bench” in case one of the players on the main squad couldn’t make a “road game” or if they were to fall ill during the season.

There were some other issues raised during the Q&A that brought less than transparent answers out of Dreyfus. As to how events on the GPL would be made secure – there are three arenas the GPL players would compete in:  online, a “studio” setting presumably around the Mediarex headquarters in Malta and a “live” setting NOT in a casino – Dreyfus could not offer any insights into how it would happen. When it came to the “live” settings and people actually paying for a ticket to see the GPL teams play poker in “The Cube,” Dreyfus could only cite statistics from a survey that indicated 30% of those surveyed would buy tickets for a poker contest but did not indicate how much people would pay for the event or in what locations this was a popular option (currently, major tournament circuits such as the World Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker and other smaller circuits offer seating to fans on a first come, first served basis; sometimes there are plenty of audience members who came to the tournament disguised as an empty seat).

The one thing that might get the GPL and, by its success, Dreyfus through the initial problems of startup is the indomitable will of Dreyfus himself. Every time he has been told that he can’t do something in the world of poker, he seems to pull it off and make a success out of it. Dreyfus is also smart enough to recognize that this isn’t going to be an overnight thing; he may well be into the GPL for a five to ten year period before he can truly evaluate the situation to determine if it is a success or a failure.

Even with the dearth of answers regarding the GPL, there is still some time to see how everything shakes out with the burgeoning league. Dreyfus has indicated that the draft and the teams will be filled out between December and February (with the owners being introduced before that time) and the 12-week regular season will be concluded before the 2016 World Series of Poker begins in Las Vegas at the end of May. After the completion of the WSOP, then the GPL will gather the top two teams from each conference to crown Conference Champions and, eventually, the GPL’s first World Champion.

Can the Global Poker League be pulled off? Will the poker world care? The answers to those questions rest in the hands of Alex Dreyfus himself…and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Poker Central Debut Less Than Exciting Over Streaming Networks Rather Than Actual Television

 Poker Central Debut Less Than Exciting Over Streaming Networks Rather Than Actual Television

After hyping their product as “the world’s only round-the-clock poker TELEVISION network” (emphasis by author), yesterday’s debut of Poker Central was rather disappointing as it became painfully apparent that the new “channel” is nothing more than a streaming outlet, falling far short of the requirement for a TELEVISION station or network.

Visitors to the Poker Central website are sent to a specific area of their website that lists the “outlets” where Poker Central can be found. At this time, only the streaming devices Roku, Amazon Fire, Xbox One and offer the channel in their lineups, with the Xbox 360 being listed as “available soon.” Not listed in any of these offerings are such other popular streaming outlets as the Chromecast, the PlayStation 4 or Apple TV.

What is missing from this list also? How about any of the major cable carriers in the United States or the remainder of the world to broadcast the channel. On the Poker Channel website, visitors can leave their pertinent information – name, e-mail, ZIP code, cable or digital television provider – and Poker Central says they will “e-mail you when the channel is available in your area.” This goes against what the “powers that be” with Poker Central previously stated that it would be – a 24/7 poker “television network.”

Now that we’ve established that this isn’t anything other than a streaming network right now, the actual content of the channel leaves a great deal to be desired. Bringing the channel up on my Roku for a few hours, all I have seen to this point are broadcasts of past tournaments, none of this “exciting” new programming that has been promised by network honchos. Although watching some of the Season 7 Premier League from 2014 was interesting, Poker Central showed ONE episode of the Premier League, then dropped the viewer into a whole other broadcast of the 2009 PKR Heads Up Grand Slam (note to the programmers:  I don’t want to have to search around for the next broadcast of a long past tournament if I am watching it – your broadcast schedule isn’t exactly easy to find on the website or through promotion on the channel itself. Either play it all the way through or don’t do it at all).

On another aside to the executives at Poker Central, it might be a good idea to stay away from those shows that prominently feature some of the players from the old Full Tilt Poker. One of the staples of programming from Poker Central is the old program Face the Ace, where an Average Joe squared off in heads-up matches with players from the Full Tilt stable. You’re not going to win many fans to your network if poker aficionados have to sit down to watch Chris Ferguson or Howard Lederer, two pariahs in the poker world even if it is in the past (the Poker After Dark episodes might be OK, depending on who is playing in the event).

Poker Central does try to give the appearance of a traditional television network, actually running some commercials in their programming. They also run a promotional bumper – a man who accidentally eats a massive amount of wasabi and tries to play it off to his friend as if nothing has happened, with the tag line “Show Us Your Poker Face,” (not surprisingly a contest that the network is currently running) – that is funny the first time you see it, but wears thin really quickly. Unfortunately, this appears to be the only one that they took the time to create, so get used to it.

What is unfortunately evident is that there should have been more of an emphasis placed on creating new programming for Poker Central than finding filler to go in around two or three programs. There is little in what would be called “new” programs on the channel – tournament director Matt Savage is supposed to have what could be an interesting interview program, but no shows currently are scheduled and poker professional Maria Ho is supposed to be the head of another program, also not expected to premiere for some time – leaving…24 hours to fill with something until these shows (and hopefully others) are ready to be broadcast.

Yes, Poker Central is in its embryonic stage of its development. It will take some time to get a catalog built up so that the channel isn’t playing poker tournaments 23 hours a day, but it is something that needs to be addressed quickly. It also must be addressed that Poker Central isn’t an actual television channel but a streaming one. When you bluff, you have to be telling a convincing story…Poker Central’s leadership isn’t doing well on that front. Perhaps a few more months in development would have provided a better product; it will be tough to keep an audience if you are creating it on the fly.

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