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Archive for March, 2011

Arkansas anti-lottery machine bill fails

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

A bill that would have banned lottery ticket vending machines in Arkansas failed today in a House committee. Senate Bill 867, proposed by Senator Sue Madison, failed in the House for lack of a motion. That means the bill is dead, at least for now.

Madison is not a fan of the lottery and previously tried to abolish the lottery entirely. With this bill, her focus was eliminating vending machines that dispense lottery tickets. The state lottery purchased 100 such machines, but so far only eight are operating in stores across Arkansas. Madison believes that the machines are “very attractive to addicted gamblers” and don’t have enough safeguards to prevent minors from gambling. Though there are safeguards in place, Rich Huddleston, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, testified that the safeguards are inadequate and that determined minors could find a way around them.

Determined to prove Madison wrong, Bishop Woosley, director of procurement for the lottery, testified about how great the safeguards are. He said that players have to swipe an ID card in order to buy a ticket. I suppose it never occurred to him that a minor could easily borrow the ID of an older person. Since they don’t have to show the ID to a person, they don’t have to worry about being caught using someone else’s ID. Another safeguard is that if a store clerk suspects a minor is trying to play, they can use a kill switch to shut off the machine. The safeguard seems to take for granted that convenience store clerks pay attention to things going on in the store. That may be assuming too much.

Still, good idea or not, Madison’s bill is dead for the time being. Any further attempts to ban the machines will have to come at a later time with a new bill.

Tags: Arkansas gambling, lottery tickets, video gambling machines

Categories: Casino, Gambling News

Eugene Katchalov: Day Trader Dreams

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Despite coming from a family of card players and booking a seven-figure win in one of his first big events, newly inked Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov didn't always dream of being a professional poker player.

The 29-year-old Ukranian-born and Brooklyn, New York-raised pro once had Wall Street aspirations and picked up poker playing home games with friends while starting out as a day trader.

“When I first started playing I didn’t even know you could play online, so we just had home games with friends. Like 8-9 of us would get together and play like a $10 Sit and Go or some very small Limit Hold’em cash game, like $0.25/$0.50,” Katchalov told PokerListings.

“After a while I learned that you could play online and that No-Limit Hold’em was the most popular and interesting. So I started to play $5 and $10 Sit and Go’s on PartyPoker and was doing pretty well at those.

“Success wasn’t quick, but limited success was. I was probably making $20 to $30 per day playing in those days, which was good enough for spending money at the time. I slowly moved up from there and started to play much larger field tournaments. I remember winning like $500 in a $5 buy in tournament and from then on I was hooked.

“From there on poker was always a way for me to make side money while I worked as a trader.”

Modest success in the world of online poker didn’t force Katchalov to make any rash moves just yet. But they were certainly coming.

“I was a day trader at the time and it’s very difficult to make money right off the bat in that because there’s a large learning curve. So they tell you to not expect to be profitable for the first few years,” he said.

“I figured I’d play poker to pay the bills, and at the same time learn to trade. Even though I eventually became a pretty good trader and really liked it, poker grew on me a lot more.

“I really loved and enjoyed the game and was becoming consistently more and more successful at it. But I still loved trading and wanted to do both.”

Even after he booked a $2,482,605 win at the World Poker Tour Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic back in 2007, he continued to keep a hand in both games.

“About a year ago I realized I couldn’t do both since to be really good at either, I needed to concentrate and give 100% to only one,” he said

“So since poker was going great and I enjoyed the freedom and traveling, I chose poker.”

It appears he made the right choice.

In January, Katchalov booked another seven-figure win taking down the $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Event at the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Then, just days later, he finished runner-up in the $10,000 Six-Max High Roller for another six-figure score.

Within a few weeks, Team PokerStars came calling and the NYU grad signed on as its latest sponsored pro.

“I was always open to an endorsement deal, but at the same time the offer itself had to make sense to me,” he explained.

“As of a year ago, I realized that all I needed was to win one more major tournament to get a proper offer that I’d be satisfied with, and I believe the $100k at the PCA helped with that.

“I also like being part of PokerStars because they’re so respected and professional in what they do. And I love that I get to go back to my home country of Ukraine and represent them globally from now on when I play.”

Unlike many families of poker hopefuls, when Katchalov first started playing the game, his was fully supportive.

It turned out his Father and Grandfather had played cards professionally through their childhood – but it wasn’t exactly poker back in Mother Russia.

“Gambling was highly illegal in communist Russia, so they gambled in parks, beaches or each others’ homes in those days,” Katchalov said. “They played games I’ve never heard of… ClubYash. It’s pronounced like Club, then Yash.”

His mom didn’t fully understand how you could make a living gambling, but quickly became supportive when the results rolled in.

But regardless of the fact he’s now fully entrenched as a pro, with a big endorsement deal, $6,104,132 in career live tournament earnings and the full support of his family and friends, those day trader dreams are still there.

“I still dabble in trading a little, and may get back into it in the future if poker doesn’t seem appealing any more for some reason,” he said. “Although that’s probably not happening any time soon.”

– With files from Matthew Showell

Click here for the full transcript of this interview with Eugene Katchalov

Categories: Online Poker

Improved Road Trip Slot Released at Grand Prive Casinos

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

April 1 – Online casinos in the Grand Prive group were pleased to announce that they have launched a new online casino slot game, Road Trip Max Ways video slot.

The game is an upgraded version of the highly popular Road Trip slot game that is so sought after among players at these sites.

Road Trip Max Ways is so named because it features 243 ways to win (max ways).

This is the second game in the Grand Prive slots portfolio that carries this feature.

"Our first game to feature max ways was Football Fever video slot, which became an overnight hit," said a spokesperson for Grand Prive, Sonia Bradshaw.

"The max ways concept essentially replaces the traditional lines and pays out wins according to the timetable multiplied by the coins bet, offering players more ways to win."

The game’s theme is 100% American, with images such as diners, classic cars, Route 66 symbol and truckers.

Features include an expanding wild and the chance to win up to 20 free spins, which are triggered by blonde men symbols.

Bradshaw said that the group had received extremely positive feedback from players since the launch and looked forward to announcing their first winner on the new game in the near future.

Over the past year, the Grand Prive group, which incorporates sites such as Casino Grand Bay, Bella Vegas and Lake Palace, has released over 40 new games.

Categories: Casino

Federal judge shuts down Michigan casino

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

A federal judge in Michigan has issued an injunction against the Bay Mills Indian Community, preventing them from running its Vanderbilt casino. The tribe had until noon today to cease all casino operations at that location.

The preliminary injunction was issued by Judge Paul Maloney while a lawsuit is sorted out. The Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians, who also operate casinos within the state of Michigan, have sued the Bay Mills tribe, saying that they have no right to operate the casino in Vanderbilt because it is not on tribal land.

The Vanderbilt casino is located south of the Bay Mills reservation. According to the lawsuit, because it is not on the reservation, the tribe cannot operate a casino there. The Bay Mills tribe disagrees, though. They say because they purchased that land in Vanderbilt with land-claims settlement money with the state, that makes the land tribal land, which allows them to run a casino on it.

This case is not expected to be settled anytime soon. It has broad implications for tribal gambling in the state. The Bay Mills tribe wants to open casinos elsewhere in the state, such as on property that used to be a post office that they bought last year.

The case will eventually determine where the Bay Mills tribe can and cannot operate casinos, in accordance with their compact with the state of Michigan. Until then, according to the injunction, they are ordered to “case operating slot machines and other electronic games of chance or any other gaming activities currently offered on its property in Vanderbilt, Michigan.” The injunction was granted this morning, with a compliance deadline of noon today.

Tags: Bay Mills Indian Community, Michigan, tribal casinos

Categories: Casino, Gambling News

Gus Hansen Tallies $171k

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Gus Hansen added another victory to his impressive run in 2011 last night.

Hansen dragged $171k in 281 hands to take top spot on the online cash game leaderboard last night.

The Great Dane stuck mostly to $300/$600 Heads-Up PLO although he did play a brief session of $500/$1,000 PLO.

Hansen’s latest victim was Andreas “skjervoy” Torbergsen.

He picked off a $166k in just 89 hands of $300/$600 PLO against Torbergsen. Apparently Torbergsen had had enough after that because he called it a night.

Hansen moved on to play 150 hands against Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond but neither player could land a decisive blow.

Finally Hansen logged off when he reached 171k in profit for the night. Hansen continues to own the 2011 online poker leaderboard with over $4.7 million in profit on Full Tilt Poker.

The Great Dane wasn’t the only player to record a significant victory, however, as Galfond escaped with a $107k profit and on PokerStars Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky took down $136k.

Also of note were Tom “durrrr” Dwan winning $44k and trash-talking Londoner Luke “FullFlush1” Schwartz picking up $51k.

Schwartz, who famously said he was, “sending durrrr broke” in 2009, has not been particularly active over the last year on Full Tilt and prior to last night was down $139k in 2011.

Meanwhile Torbergsen was the night’s biggest loser dropping a total of $166k to Hansen.

Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, who lost to Daniel Negreanu in the SuperStar Showdown on Sunday, also had an unfortunate night on PokerStars losing $136k to Sauce123.

Other players to fall into the red last night were Van Marcus (-$129k), TheoJ (-$75k), ILoseSoWhat (-$74k) and urnotindangr (-$57k).

For information on the high stakes games from last night be sure to check our online poker stats section.

Categories: Online Poker

UK doctors to be trained for problem gambling

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Problem gambling has never been treated the same as any other type of addiction. Unlike the physiological addiction to things like drugs and alcohol, problem gambling is a compulsion to commit destructive behavior. As such, many people view it as being not as bad. Others think that the gambler should be able to control the problem; I mean, it’s not like being addicted to heroin!

While there are certainly differences, mental addiction can be just as strong as physiological addiction. The mind is a very powerful thing. A person’s own mind can mess them up much worse than any drug. Just stop by a mental hospital if you don’t believe me.

The point is that gambling addiction, or problem gambling, or whatever you want to call it, is a very real problem. It needs to be treated as such. A British charity is doing their part to help spread awareness about the problem and help those afflicted with destructive gambling compulsions to get some help. The Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF) has launched a campaign to train general practitioners across England, Wales and Scotland.

RGF is hoping to train 1,500 doctors in the UK within the first two years of the program.  Baroness Julia Neuberger, the chair of the RGF, said the problem is that “only a small proportion of people get the help they are looking for by going direct to specialist treatment services. We want to see them being identified earlier and helped to get access to services they need.”

The program will train doctors to identify patients with gambling problems or who are at risk to develop gambling problems. Doctors are already trained to identify physical or mental illness and this is only an addition to the current expectations. Dr. Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said that the program will “support patients and doctors by building the knowledge, skills and competence of GPs” to identify and support those with gambling problems.

Tags: Gambling addiction, problem gambling

Categories: Casino, Gambling News

Sazka – Czech lottery – filed for insolvency

March 27, 2011 Leave a comment

News from Prague breaking over the weekend is that the Czech lottery firm Sazka has filed for insolvency under pressure from creditors. The company notified interested parties of its situation in a public statement promising that further information would be released Sunday.

Chief executive Ales Husak had earlier revealed that the firm, which has been dilatory with payments to a range of creditors including bondholders, would likely seek reorganisation to avoid being wound down.

Sazka is owned by Czech sports unions. The Reuters news agency reported that a Prague court had already appointed a preliminary receiver and creditor committee for the firm earlier on Friday, pending a decision on previous insolvency claims by creditors.

Sazka had 10.5 billion crowns ($606 million) in debt as of September 2010, the majority of that amount in bonds. The company had delayed part of a payment on its 2021 amortising bond in January and lost its rating from Standard and Poor, but made the payment later.

The Czech Finance Ministry, which regulates the gaming industry, has been investigating Sazka after it failed to pay lottery prizes on time earlier this (March) month. Sazka said it had resumed making payments, and revealed that private equity group PPF, owned by billionaire Petr Kellner, took over part of claims earlier this week.

Reuters reports that Sazka incurred deep debt after building a 17,000-seat arena for the 2004 ice hockey World Championship.

Categories: Casino, Gambling News