See Trailer for Molly’s Game, Hot Poker Movie of 2017

Molly's Game Trailer

A trailer for the movie Molly’s Game was released by STX Entertainment on Tuesday. The film features the exploits of Poker Princess Molly Bloom. (Image: Pinterest)

In what might be the most anticipated poker film since Rounders, the public got its first glimpse of the coming Molly’s Game, a dramatization of one of the greatest private poker games of the current Texas hold’em era. STX Entertainment, released a trailer of the upcoming movie on Tuesday, and revealed November 22 as the date of its nationwide premiere.

The film is about the life of Molly Bloom, dubbed the “poker princess,” and is adapted from her book, “Molly’s Game: High Stakes, Hollywood’s Elite, Hotshot Bankers, My Life in the World of Underground Poker.”   Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who penned the scripts for A Few Good Men and The Social Network, authored the film.

The movie marks Sorkin’s debut as a director. It follows Bloom’s exploits as the former Olympic skiing optimistic’s move from Colorado to Los Angeles, and her participation in the illegal card games that attracted not only A-list actors, like Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire, but also wealthy businessmen and athletes.

She was detained by the FBI in 2013, but avoided receiving jail time as she was sentenced to a $125,000 fine and a year’s probation.

The public will get its first chance at seeing the full-length feature at the Toronto Film Festival in September. Some footage was shown in March at Cinema Con, a conference held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for its global motion picture theater market.

Hollywood Drama

Throughout the movie’s production odyssey there was significant drama occurring off the screen. The first was the rumor that Sorkin was having an affair with Bloom. Leaked emails from a hack of Sony Pictures with a suspected North Korean group calling themselves The Guardians of Peace showed that Sony Pictures Co-chair Amy Pascal hinted at a possible affair between the two.

The movie was dealt a more severe blow when Sony decided to pull out of the project once filming was underway. Sorkin went to Cannes in May to store the film around and luckily found a buyer in STK Entertainment.

That did postpone the release, however. Production wrapped in the spring and was supposed to hit screens by summer, but has been held back until autumn, which might ultimately benefit the film.

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Star Power, Award Buzz

In addition to Sorkin, who won an Academy Award for The Social Network and has been nominated for Moneyball, Jessica Chastain, who portrays Bloom, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Help and Best Actress in Zero Dark Thirty. Golden Globe winner Idris Elba plays her attorney and Kevin Costner, who won two Oscars for his Dances With Wolves, plays her father.

It’s no coincidence the release is just in time for awards season. Motion Pictures that make their debut in November and December usually have a better chance at consideration for not only the Oscars, but also for the Writers Guild of America Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Directors Guild of America Awards.

Whether Molly’s Game gets any of these honors is determined by Sorkin’s skill as a director. He has revealed his adeptness at screen writing, but directing needs another skill set, industry insiders said.

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PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

PokerStars has sent an e-mail to its Australian players that it will withdraw from the Australia market in mid-September after the passage of a new online gaming bill in the country. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) passed parliament on August 9th and effectively bars all online gaming sites that aren’t licensed in Australia. PokerStars doesn’t have such a permit.

Now, one’s first reaction might be that PokerStars will just put in an application for a permit, eventually be granted one, and Aussies can start playing again. And that would be a reasonable thought, but unfortunately, that won’t happen. The bill permits online gambling, but just of the sports betting variety. As sports betting operators are the only ones, therefore, who would be able to apply for a permit, online poker operators such as PokerStars have no means of complying with the law. Well, no way except to get out of Dodge.

PokerStars had already announced that there was a high likelihood it would leave Australia, so this comes as no surprise, even though it’s disappointing. The specific withdrawal date depends on when the law goes into effect, but it’s expected in roughly the middle part of next month.

Online bingo site Vera&John was the first online gaming site to exit Australia, doing this in December 2016. 888poker was the first poker site to perform it, leaving the country in January of this year.

Below is the entire statement issued to Australian gamers by PokerStars:

The Australian parliament on August 9 passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) effectively banning all online gaming sites which aren’t locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law. We are aware of this day coming and have done our best to keep you informed, but we can confirm that we will be shutting our real money poker tables to gamers in Australia, most likely around mid-September. We will contact you when a firm date is confirmed.

Your funds are, and will continue to be, safe and accessible for withdrawal. Remember to start any unopened Stars Rewards Chests you have, and you can continue to spend your StarsCoin in the Rewards Store. A $1 Cash Rebate was added to facilitate converting your StarsCoin to cash. Any tournament tickets and tournament cash will be converted to cash for withdrawal, effective from the industry exit date. We’ve provided a FAQ page here.

We’re proud to have seen the Australian poker community grow so powerful over the last decade. We do respect the Australian Government’s decision in taking steps to protect consumers and hope that in time we will be able to serve real money poker to you again. In the meantime, we will continue to provide play money poker and we hope to continue to welcome many Australian players to our tables.

We’d also like to thank the Australian Online Poker Alliance for their campaigning on behalf of this game and recommend that you think about lending them your voice if you want to see a controlled return of internet poker to Australia.

Want the latest poker news in your twitter feed? Follow PokerNewsDaily on Twitter.

See Trailer for Molly’s Game, Hot Buzz Poker Movie of 2017

Molly's Game Trailer

A trailer for the film Molly’s Game was released by STX Entertainment on Tuesday. The movie features the exploits of Poker Princess Molly Bloom. (Image: Pinterest)

In what might be the most anticipated poker movie since Rounders, the public got its first glimpse of the coming Molly’s Game, a dramatization of one of the biggest private poker games of the current Texas hold’em era. STX Entertainment, published a preview of the upcoming film on Tuesday, and revealed November 22 as the date of its nationwide premiere.

The film is about the life of Molly Bloom, dubbed the “poker princess,” and is adapted from her book, “Molly’s Sport: High Stakes, Hollywood’s Elite, Hotshot Bankers, My Life in the World of Underground Poker.”   Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who penned the scripts for A Few Good Men and The Social Network, authored the movie.

The film marks Sorkin’s debut as a director. It follows Bloom’s exploits as the former Olympic skiing hopeful’s move from Colorado to Los Angeles, and her participation in the illegal card games which attracted not only A-list actors, like Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire, but also wealthy businessmen and athletes.

She was arrested by the FBI in 2013, but averted receiving jail time as she was sentenced to a $125,000 fine and a year’s probation.

The public will get its first chance at seeing the full size feature at the Toronto Film Festival in September. Some footage was shown in March at Cinema Con, a conference held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for its worldwide motion picture theater market.

Hollywood Drama

During the film’s production odyssey there was significant drama occurring off the screen. The first was the rumor that Sorkin was having an affair with Bloom. Leaked emails from a hack of Sony Pictures by a suspected North Korean group calling themselves The Guardians of Peace revealed that Sony Pictures Co-chair Amy Pascal hinted at a possible affair between the two.

The film was dealt a more severe blow when Sony decided to pull out of the project once filming was underway. Sorkin went to Cannes in May to store the movie around and fortunately found a buyer in STK Entertainment.

That did delay the launch, however. Production wrapped in the spring and was supposed to hit screens by summer, but was held back until autumn, which may ultimately benefit the movie.

[embedded content]

Star Power, Award Buzz

Along with Sorkin, who won an Academy Award for The Social Network and was nominated for Moneyball, Jessica Chastain, who portrays Bloom, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Help and Best Actress in Zero Dark Thirty. Golden Globe winner Idris Elba plays her attorney and Kevin Costner, who won two Oscars for his Dances With Wolves, plays her father.

It’s no denying the release is just in time for awards season. Motion Pictures which make their debut in November and December usually have a much better chance at consideration for not just the Oscars, but also for the Writers Guild of America Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Directors Guild of America Awards.

Whether Molly’s Game gets any of these honors depends on Sorkin’s skill as a director. He has shown his adeptness at screen writing, but directing requires another skill set, industry insiders said.

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Oakland Raiders Attracting More Super Bowl Bets than Any Other Team

The Oakland Raiders won’t be migrating to Las Vegas until 2020, but sports bettors in Sin City are already in love with the silver and black. No other NFL team has received more bets to win the Super Bowl than the future hometown favorites.

Derek Carr Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has Las Vegas sports bettors seeing a Super Bowl season, even before the city has gotten to really know him. (Picture: sportsnaut.com)

With the NFL season three months away, the bettors in Las Vegas are gearing up for what they expect is a Super Bowl championship season in Oakland. According to ESPN.com, numerous sports books in town, including Caesars, William Hill, and Westgate, have reported that more money was wagered on the Raiders than any other team.

At William Hill’s 108 Nevada sports books, nearly twice as many bets have been placed on Oakland to win the Super Bowl than on any other football team, including the defending champion New England Patriots.

Ed Salmons, Westgate sportsbook’s assistant manager, told ESPN.com that as of August 15, Westgate had taken 43 bets on Oakland to win its season opener against the Tennessee Titans, and just four picking the other side.

Local Favorites

Oakland is set to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020, following the city builds them a $1.9 billion state-of-the-art stadium. Buzz around town, three years beforehand, has already started. However, is the anticipation why for the Raiders getting so much love from the bettors? Salmons doesn’t think so.

“I don’t believe it’s anything to do with the Las Vegas angle,” Salmons told David Purdum of ESPN.com. “Last year, the Raiders played really high-scoring games, and they started covering spreads. That’s just the dynamic of a public team.”

Coming off a 12-4 season and Oakland’s first playoff appearance since 2002, a year they made it into the Super Bowl but lost, the Raiders return a boat load of talent, including a potential MVP candidate at quarterback Derek Carr. Oakland also plays in what figures to be a reasonably weak division, the AFC West. These two factors are among the reasons the soon-to-be-moving-south squad checks in at 6-1 odds to win the Super Bowl.

The New England Patriots (3-1) is the only team that oddsmakers currently consider more likely to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February.

Wishful Thinking?

The Raiders’ Super Bowl hopes will again rest on Carr’s health status. He’s been medically cleared to play following a severe December leg injury that sidelined him from the group’s lone playoff game last year, which turned out to be a loss against Houston.

If Carr can remain healthy all season, Oakland has a legitimate MVP candidate in the most important position on the field. Behind him in the backfield, the Raiders added “Beast Mode” aka Marshawn Lynch to strengthen an already strong running game.

Lynch, a former star and Super Bowl winner with Seattle, hasn’t played since 2015, however. He is now 31 and it is unknown yet how durable he’ll be.

The offense in 2016 was not a problem. In actuality, it was one of the best in the NFL, averaging 373 yards per game. However, the defense, well, that is a different story. The Raiders gave up 375 yards a contest, seventh worst in the league.

If the Raiders are going to make the bettors happy by winning the Super Bowl, they will have to tighten up that Swiss cheese defense.

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NJ Tries To Make Atlantic City Casinos Even More Favorable For Skill-Based Games

NJ ability game copy

Skill-based games have found a home in Atlantic City, as several GameCo names are introduced at Borgata and Tropicana.

Regulators are now trying to make AC casinos an even more welcoming place for skill-based games. They are doing this by easing restrictions on a certain subset of those products.

Since the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement first released its temporary regulations regulating skill-based games, it’s lumped games with a skill element in with games which hinge entirely on ability. In doing this, all skill-based games are required to meet the minimal return-to-player (RTP) requirements in place on all New Jersey slot machines: 83 percent.

That might be about to change. A new amendment to the current regulations has been circulated by the DGE.

Some ability vs. all skill

The intriguing aspect of the draft regulations is its clarification of the rules for games based entirely on ability. They apply to both  physical and online games.

If the new regulations are adopted, these games won’t need to offer a minimal return to the player.

The draft of the regulations reads:

“Skill based games mean any Division accepted casino or online game where the theoretical return to player (RTP) cannot be determined by a precise mathematical model based on chance, but is instead determined by participant’s physical dexterity and/or mental ability. Such games aren’t required to achieve a minimal theoretical RTP. Skill based games are different from slot machine games which are expected to attain a theoretical RTP of 83%.”

Compare that language to the current regulations:

Slot machine games with an ability based component shall be required to theoretically pay out a mathematically demonstrable percentage of all amounts wagered, which will not be less than 83 percent for every single wager available for play on the device; and

Games that rely entirely on skill or don’t utilize an RNG aren’t required to achieve a minimal theoretical hold percentage.

What players will see

These games will also have to disclose this information to potential players:

“Skill based games accepted pursuant to this section shall be clearly identified through the use of a Division approved logo that inform the patron that the game is a skill based game, is not a slot machine, and doesn’t offer a minimal RTP.”

The regulations also require the logo to be continually visible either on the game cabinet or inside the gameplay.

The regulations state the information disclosed to the player include the following language:

“This game is a skill based game and the outcome and payouts for this game are directly determined by your level of ability. To learn more regarding how this game operates and how payouts are determined, please review the help displays”

One example of a pure-skill game

The regulations would cover names like GameCo’s Nothin’ But Net.

Nothin’ But Net is a basketball game which needs players to stop a moving slider (like the popular bar and arcade game Golden Tee) at certain moments to be able to sink shots. The game is 100 percent skill-based. It can yield over 100 per cent to the player, depending on how the game is configured.

Some GameCo skill-based games which have random elements throughout. (One is Danger Arena, a first-person action game where some maps have more robots than others.) But the only random element in Nothin’ But Net occurs before the game when players discover how much they can potentially win. When the game starts, it’s in the hands of the player.

The regulations, if adopted, would allow these games to payback zero percent to the player. Developers would not need to add some form of bonus which brings the RTP over 83 percent for all players.

At North Carolina Harrah’s Cherokee, Four Los Angeles Poker Buddies Cash Big and Win Bling

The World Series of Poker Circuit for the 2017/18 season kicked off last weekend at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina, and it was four amigos from Southern California who made their presence felt as an L.A. earthquake.

Mineral water mogul Harry Arutyunyan walked off with a $283,597 top prize, but three of his good friends from the City of Angels also flew to the top of the pack and picked up some bling of their own.

Harry Arutyunyan celebrates with his friends after winning the first Main Event of the 2017/2018 World Series of Poker Circuit season. (Picture: WSOP)

Going for the Gold

The 33-year-old Arutyunyan earned his first gold ring and a chair into the 2018 International Casino Championship, becoming only the second person to do this after Todd Mercer won the stop’s Casino Champion title. The $1,675 Main Event drew 1,022 entrants.

It was fitting given Arutyunyan only traveled to Harrah’s Cherokee to cheer on his buddy Sean Yu at this year’s International Casino Championship, which was a $10,000 buy in for people who had not won their seat during the last season, which Yu had.

He took down the WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Main in September 2016 to get a $170,286 top cash, so Yu’s having a good 12-month run.

Arutyunyan and his posse had even more to celebrate when friends Gregory Armand and Scott Stewart, also from SoCal, both won rings at the stop.

“We got bracelets, rings, a worldwide cash, a main cash,” Harry Arutyunyan told WSOP officials while pointing to his friends on the rail. “We are taking it all back to L.A.”

As soon as the last 19 players return to action on Day 3, Arutyunyan sat second in chips. He quickly snagged the chip lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish. In the last hand of the tournament, which was Hand #170 of the last table, the Los Angelean was combating Atlanta’s Randy Lowery with the blinds at 50,000/100,000/10,000.

Lowery increased to 325,000 and Arutyunyan defended to see a 9♠8♣5♣ flop. Arutyunyan check-called a bet of 300,000, and then assessed the 10♠ turn. Lowery bet 500,000 and then called when Arutyunyan check-raised to 1.3 million. When the 2♣ finished the plank on the river, Arutyunyan moved all in and Lowery called with the 10♥8♥ for two pair. Unfortunately for him, it was not any good, as Arutyunyan had flopped a straight with the 6♥7♣.

“It’s very hard for me to leave work for too long,” Harry Arutyunyan said when asked if he’ll be playing more event as a result of his win. “I have businesses to run, two children, a wife. And to just travel the circuit, I have to pick and choose carefully what to perform.”

Aside from playing poker when he can, Arutyunyan imports mineral water from Armenia.

Other notables to cash the event were Ryan Mcallister (13th for $18,365), Brandnon Fish (24th for $10,608), Dean Rutledge (35th for $5,948), former WSOP National Champion Jonathan Hilton (51st for $4,752), and Alex Rocha (80th for $3,618).

Final Table Results
1 Harry Arutyunyan (Glendale, CA) $283,597
two Randy Lowery (Atlanta, GA) $175,345
3 Norman Mckeldin (Chattanooga, TN) $130,305
4 Kindah Sakkal (Lynnwood, WA) $97,959
5 Scott Ryder (Acworth, GA) $74,488
6 Marshall White (Boone, NC) $57,302
7 Joshua Vizcarra (Elgin, TX) $44,595
8 Danny Lawson (N/A) $35,106
9 Brian Feck (Charlotte, NC) $27,962

Five Golden Rings

Scott Stewart, another of Arutyunyan’s friends, captured a ring at the stop, which was actually his fifth. He conquered a field of 114 runners in the $2,200 High Roller for $68,399. The win came just weeks after he finished 13th in the 2017 WSOP Main Event for $535,000.

“The heater was happening for a while,” he told WSOP officials. “10 months or so. The Main Event was an unreal experience. I don’t think I have ever been as physically or emotionally tired from a poker tournament in my life, but there was also adrenaline. It was unbelievable.”

The WSOP Circuit will now head to Foxwoods in Connecticut where they will host 12 rings events between August 17-28. From there, it is on to IP Biloxi from September 7-18.

Here’s a look at those who won rings at Harrah’s Cherokee

Event #1: $365 NLH Re-Entry won by Todd Mercer for $121,495
Event #2: $365 PLO won by Trey Walton for $24,569
Event #3: $365 NLH Turbo won by Nikhil Gera for $40,534
Event #4: $580 NLH won by Jordan Meltzer for $36,072
Event #5: $365 NLH 6-Max won by Ryan McAllister for $40,793
Event #6: $365 NLH won by Matt Kerr for $27,526
Event #7: $365 Monster Stack won by Robert Messer for $63,101
Event #8: $365 NLH won by Greg Armand for $33,156
Event #9: $2,200 High Roller won by Scott Stewart for $63,399
Event #10: $1,675 Main Event won by Harry Arutyunyan for $283,597
Event #11: $265 NLH Turbo won by Steven Ruighaver for $33,792
Event #12: $365 Double Stack Turbo won by Collin Wilson for $29,429

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Paul Cross Puts Finance Manager Skills to Work, Wins Largest Entry Field Event in Minnesota Poker History

In the past month, the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) has set new records in a number of states. Most recently, last weekend’s MSPT $350 Regional Event at Canterbury Park became the biggest tournament in Minnesota poker history.

Local Paul Cross went from amateur participant to MSPT champ over the weekend, which entailed winning the largest tournament in Minnesota history. (Picture: MSPT)

Shattering Records Across Midwest

The first-ever MSPT $350 Regional Event held at Canterbury Park attracted 1,169 entrants over four starting flights. That bested the previous state record of 1,114 admissions in Canterbury’s 2015 $115 buy Ultimate $100K, which was put in eight flights.

It comes on the heels of July’s 2017 MSPT Iowa State Poker Championship, which drew 496 entrants, a state record for tournaments featuring a $1,000 buy or more. Carter Myers won this event for $115,109.

The week before that, the $350 buy MSPT Regional Event at Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Casino attracted 1,658 runners in three flights, which made it the largest poker tournament ever held in Wisconsin. The previous record was 1,272 entries determined by the World Series of Poker Circuit in four flights back in February. Local attorney Matthew Vignali took home $70,240 for winning this event.

Another record set this season from the MSPT was for largest poker tournament by presence in Colorado history. March’s $350 Regional Event at Golden Gates Casino watched 893 entrants take to the felt. Likewise, May’s 1,066 admissions in the MSPT FireKeepers became the largest poker tournament in Michigan history.

Topping it all off, the summer’s MSPT Venetian, which catered to 3,273 entries, became the largest poker tournament in both MSPT and Venetian history.

The hottest record-breaking event came less than four weeks after the MSPT set the record for largest-ever significant tournament in Minnesota poker history. The 13th MSPT Main Event ever held at Canterbury Park attracted 475 entrants and was won by 56-year-old business development director Mark Wadekamper.

Among those to money Minnesota poker’s largest championship were MSPT Season 5 champ Ken Pates (28th for $1,458), Todd Melander (48th for $1,108), MSPT Season 7 Running Aces champ Luke Arora (73rd for $848), Aaron Johnson (87th for $814), and Jon Kulkay (108th for $678).

New Minnesota Poker Champ

Fittingly, Paul Cross, a 32-year-old fund manager at Thomas Reuters, took down the title for $61,911. Cross is a well-known recreational participant in the Minnesota poker arena, so winning such a prestigious event meant a lot.

“It is humbling and overwhelming,” Cross told MSPT officials after the win. “I really got pretty emotional. I’ve been grinding these tournaments for a long time and have made a few final tables, but a MSPT final table was a big goal for me. It’s the most prestigious tour that arrives through Minnesota. So, to make my first and proceed on the heater of a lifetime was unbelievable.”

In the final hand of the tournament, MSPT Season 7 Meskwaki champ Heine got his short stack all in preflop holding the K♣4♣ against the 10♣10♠ of Cross. The 10♥9♥7♣ gave Cross top group, and Heine was drawing dead after the 4♠ appeared on the flip.

The silver lining for Heine, who made $37,988 for his runner-up finish, was that he received 567 points toward the Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year Leaderboard. Thanks to two other final table finishes earlier in the year, he now sits in first place with 2,767 points with his next closest competitor being Keith Block with 2,500 points.

“Keith just gets it,” Cross said of his heads-up opponent. “He is an inventive poker player that likes to talk and I love that. I had never played him with him before and I was really impressed. It was a great match that is something you don’t get to do often.”

Season 8 of the MSPT continues next weekend with the 2017 Indiana State Poker Championship at Tropicana Evansville.

Final Tables Results

1 Paul Cross (Minneapolis, MN) $61,911
two Keith Heine (Hillsboro, MS) $37,988
3 Loki Abboud (Mendota Heights, MN) $28,186
4 Mark Bloomberg (Mound, MN) $21,402
5 Riley Stahley (Las Vegas, NV) $15,941
6 Nate Fair (Brooklyn Park, MN) $12,210
7 Tyler Brackey (Fairmont, MN) $9,497
8 Mark Anderson (Robinsdale, MN) $7,462
9 John Alexander (Minneapolis, MN) $6,105
10 Jarrod Blackwell (Milaca, MN) $4,749

Editor’s Note: CardsChat and MSPT discuss a cross-promotional alliance. Chad Holloway is Media Director for MSPT.

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‘Poker After Dark’ Reboot: Bellande Bluffs, Esfandiari Gets Smacked, Durrrr Lucks into $700K Pot in Triumphant Return

Monday night’s return of “Poker After Dark,” which aired live on the subscription app PokerGO, went rather easily for unofficial guest of honour Tom Dwan. But for the show’s production crew, the yield of broadcasting high-stakes money games came with a couple early hitches.

Negreanu's starting stack for Poker After Dark

Seven Magic Mountains?  Daniel Negreanu artfully shows his starting stack on Twitter, prepared for the relaunch of Poker After Dark in the Aria in Las Vegas. (Picture: Twitter)

For one, the show started late. The PokerGO feed did not turn on until about 5:08 pm PT, eight minutes after the scheduled start-time. But when the video feed finally started, there was no sound. Explanatory images also were missing.

Everything made the show rather difficult to watch for the first hour. Viewers buzzed on Twitter with their discontent, complaining to @PokerCentral about the pains of watching commentary-free poker without the advantage of images indicating bet and pot size.

Finally, poker tv’s top production company, Poker Productions, overcame the challenges of a new live broadcast, adjusted the issues, and the show ran smoothly.

Back on track, play continued. Dwan was joined by Antonio Esfandiari, Jean-Robert Bellande, Daniel Negreanu, Lauren Roberts, and Bill Klein in a $200/$400 cash game table at Aria in Las Vegas.

Show host Ali Nejad also returned to the small screen in fine form, reminiscent of his critically acclaimed commentator stint from 2007 to 2011. As he did on the “older” Poker After Dark, Nejad let the characters in the table to control the banter, leaving him to only occasionally fall in with pointed explanation and commentary.

Welcome Back, Durrrr

From the old series, Tom Dwan always appeared to have the rungood going. And at the new Poker After Dark, that did not seem to have changed.

Early in the session, ‘Durrrr’ ran into every poker player’s dream scenario: Facing a three-bet pre-flop, he checked his cards to find pocket aces.

Dwan re-raised all-in and got a call from Negreanu, who had been holding pocket queens, and Esfandiari, who unfortunately was looking at pocket kings. The sick cooler created a $700,000 pot with the best hand holding up. Welcome back to TV poker, Durrrr.

For Esfandiari, that hand could turn out to be a microcosm of his unlucky day. A few miserable hours and about $500,000 after, a noticeably frustrated Magician said to his luckier opponents, “I only need to hit middle-pair.”

Triple-Barrel Big Time

Jean-Robert Bellande added insult to injury to Esfandiari’s rough day by executing arguably the day’s sickest bluff. Bellande even later said he felt bad picking on Esfandiari.

Holding J♦10♠,Bellande check-raised on a flop of Q♠9♥7♠. He had an open-ender, but Esfandiari still had the best hand with A♦Q♣. He called. When a nothing 5♥ fell on the turn, Bellande again bet out, and Esfandiari still was not a believer.

Moving into the river, the pot stood at $119,400. The 5♠ followed, missing both players entirely, but possibly completing a represented flush draw. Knowing his only chance to win the pot was by gambling big, JRB fired out $125,000. Esfandiari tanked for approximately two minutes before letting the best hand go.

The first session of the new Poker After Dark is in the books. As an unedited live broadcast, the session lasted till just after 11 pm, which makes for the sort of poker viewing that just was not possible before.

The series returns on Tuesday at 5 pm PT, with another live $200/$400 cash game on PokerGO. Replacing Negreanu and Esfandiari in episodes 2 and 3 will be Doyle Brunson and Andrew Robl.

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Las Vegas Cop Shoots Down Unclothed Man Who Cashed for $25K in WSOP 2017 Main Event

25-year-old Minnesotan Jason Funke, who completed  490th at the 2017 WSOP Main Event for $24,867, was identified as the naked man who was ultimately shot by authorities in the arm on August 5 after a bizarre interchange in a Las Vegas-area church.

Body camera footage Jason Funke shot in Las Vegas naked

Las Vegas Metro police officer Mark Hatten, seen here from his own body camera shooting Jason Funke on August 5, has had prior controversial interactions while on duty. (Picture: Las Vegas Metro)

Police released a video of this incident on August 8, but the guy shot was only identified late last week as Funke.

In that two-minute movie (see below), which was captured outside Life Springs Christian Church on E. Warm Springs Road, Funke stood in the center of a courtyard outside the church with a gun in his hand, completely naked.

Officers, aware the man had a weapon, kept their distance while yelling at him until he dropped the gun, put his hands over his head, and proceeded to walk away from the firearm. But after attempting to take him into custody, Funke took off running, getting to within 8 yards of the gun he had formerly released, leading a cop to take him in the shoulder from a distance.

Funke hit the ground and was immediately arrested.

What Happened Prior

According to the police report, Funke was sitting naked outside the church when he was approached by an employee, Kevin Mosher, who had met the poker player in the past, along with an unnamed church elder. Funke had allegedly previously donated money to Life Springs, which lists itself as a “multi-cultural, outreach oriented, grace oriented, Bible-based church” on its website.

“Funke was suicidal and told Mosher that he was using LSD, alcohol and marijuana. A few days prior, when Mosher saw Funke, he said he felt better and was fine,” the arrest report noted, according to a story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Church employees told police Funke was meditating naked. According to the report, young kids were inside the building during the incident.

He was arrested and detained at the Clark County Detention Center and was charged with one count each for possession of a dangerous weapon in a school or child care property, and indecent exposure. He has since been released from custody while awaiting trial.

Funke has 10 recorded poker tournament cashes since 2013 on his Hendon Mob page to get a lifetime winnings total of $92,951. His main money in 2016 for $35,558 for first place in a $1,100 buy-in Deep Stack Extravaganza event in the Venetian.

The Main Event WSOP money was his third of the summer in the World Series.

Officer Involved in Controversial Tactics Before

Meanwhile, the officer who shot Funke was identified as 42-year-old Mark Hatten, who’s been with Las Vegas Metro for a decade. Hatten was placed on paid leave after the shooting, but according to some other R-J report, this wasn’t his first such engagement with a taxpayer, and the last time, it had deadly consequences.

Hatten had used a stun gun on Anthony Jones back in December of 2010, and Jones later died at the hospital. His death was attributed to a combination of drugs, alcohol, and what was later determined to be the effects of Hatten’s 10 stun gun firings, along with another officer’s, who had fired his twice.

Jones’ death was instrumental in Metro altering its stun gun use policies.

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Bill To Legalize International Player Pools For NJ Online Poker Will Drop Next Week, State Senator States

NJ international online poker pool

New Jersey state Sen. Ray Lesniak plans to introduce legislation to allow people outside of the state to place stakes at NJ online casinos and poker rooms on Aug. 25, the senator told Online Poker Report.

The news represents the first step for the possibility of interstate and international player pooling, a move that could drastically increase the ceiling for NJ online poker websites.

But those efforts likely face an uphill climb this year.

New bill will experience hurdles in 2017

Lesniak’s effort faces a number of hurdles. The most serious one will be gaining attention and momentum for a bill during an election year for New Jersey. Senators and assemblymembers will be campaigning for their chairs, and the state will also opt for a governor to succeed Chris Christie.

The bill, while it would help NJ’s gaming business, isn’t always a hot button issue. But certainly there are both politicians and gambling industry interests that wouldn’t mind seeing NJ become the “Mecca of Internet gaming,” since Lesniak has put it.

Needless to say, reelection won’t be a problem for Lesniak as he works to move the bill forward.

Lesniak’s final hurrah for NJ gambling?

Lesniak plans to retire from the Senate at the end of the year. His bid to become governor came up short.

When Lesniak steps from the political realm, the NJ gambling business and online gambling in particular will lose one of its greatest champions. After all, he is one of the main reasons why New Jersey has online gambling at all, when the state enacted a law in 2013.

Since that time, the online casino business has been nothing short of a success, generating $600 million in revenue since launching. (The state has made more than $100 million from taxing it at that time.)

If Lesniak can’t muster support for the bill this year, someone else will have to take up his mantle.

Lesniak declared earlier his intent to push forward a bill that would try to completely redesign New Jersey’s sports gambling ban. It’s not clear if this effort will proceed right now, since the situation is now being taken up by the US Supreme Court, A decision on whether New Jersey will win its case against the federal ban on sports gambling is very likely to come in 2018.

While New Jersey is looking into gambling law…

A better bet for changes to online gambling law would be 2018, after election season is over, although the effort is not dead on arrival in 2017.

The state could, sooner or later, to go back into the sports gambling law that court challenges have held up so far. Federal law currently prohibits single-game sports betting out of Nevada.

The NJ sports gambling law that is currently the topic of the situation in front of SCOTUS would allow for what amounts to unregulated sports gambling.

Either prior to the Supreme Court judgment — or after a potential success — the state would almost certainly prepare to rewrite the law to provide for regulation by the NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement. (That is if SCOTUS declares the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional.)

The law was meant to allow sports gambling at the country’s land-based casinos and race tracks. But the possibility of allowing online sports gambling can’t be ignored. Debating the merits of worldwide play at NJ online gambling sites while also considering the future of legal sports gambling in the state would make a good deal of sense.