Portland Meadows Poker Room Loses to Oregon Lottery

Last fall, the Oregon Lottery terminated its contract with Portland Meadows, revoking the racetrack’s permit to house ten video lottery terminals because the place has participated in what the Oregon Lottery believes illegal gambling. Portland Meadows appealed the decision, but recently, the Lottery responded, denying the appeal and confirming its ruling from this past year.

State, City Treat Poker Differently

The issue stems from the poker room at Portland Meadows. The Portland poker scene has been flourishing for approximately a decade, with around a dozen poker room operating in the region. The town is fine with the poker clubs, but the country has been trying to shut them down for a while now; it is believed that the Lottery and tribal interests have been putting pressure on the state government to do so.

The Oregon House passed a bill last year to shut the poker rooms, but the Senate did not. Instead, the Senate Committee on General Government and Accountability attempted to come up with a compromise. While admirable, it was not something the poker rooms want at all, as it would have eliminated cover fees and made players self-deal. The former could cause the chambers to drop a significant part of their revenue, as they are not allowed to charge rake; food and drink would then be the two main ways to earn money. The latter is an issue mainly because having players cope their own games slows things down and makes cheating easier. Dedicated dealers already aren’t allowed to be paid by the poker rooms — they rely solely on player tips.

Working with undercover Oregon State Police officers who scoped out Portland Meadows, the Oregon Lottery decided that two things that the poker room was performing were against the law: taking a cover charge and exchanging money for chips. Because of this, Portland Meadows was not allowed to have video lottery terminals, losing out on about $350,000 annually.

Oregon Lottery Not Swayed

Portland Meadows appealed, presenting its case that what was doing wasn’t illegal. In the long run, the Lottery didn’t agree. In the Declaratory Ruling issued in late May, the Oregon Lottery reported that the $15 cover fee that players must pay to enter the poker room represents”house income,” which is not permitted. Portland Meadows states that since the fee does not come straight from poker games, it is not house income, but instead just an overall charge for entertainment like you might see in a comedy or dance club.

Another issue was that the Oregon Lottery states that since Portland Meadows exchanges players’ cash for chips and, consequently, holds onto that money until players cash out, the poker room is serving as a”house bank” and is therefore engaged in illegal gambling. Portland Meadows’ argument is essentially that the house is not gambling against players, in addition to the notion that it is less safe (not to mention more of a pain) for cash to be used at the tables. The Oregon Lottery didn’t buy it, saying that holding players’ money is pretty much the definition of being a”house bank.”

Portland Meadows can try one more time to win its case if it opts to file a petition for judicial review.

MGM Springfield Massachusetts Poker Players Face Road Blocks, Poker Room Itself Faces Intense Competition

The 20-table poker room going up at the MGM Springfield in Massachusetts is two months away from unveiling, and area poker players are undoubtedly itching to stack chips on the felt. But , gaming executives have some problem solving to perform.

MGM Springfield executives in Massachusetts are discovering that if you build it, they will come, but only if visitors (and several other) issues are ironed out first. (Image: Don Treeger / The Republican)

That because competition properties and accessibility problems could put New England’s first legal poker room at a disadvantage from the start.

In accordance with the plans, the $960 million casino and resort will boast a range of gambling provisions, including an”… expansive 125,000-square-foot gaming floor… 2,550 slot machines, 120 gaming tables, a poker room, and high-limit VIP gaming place…” reads a May MGM Resorts media release.

Not Looking for an Encore

Nevertheless, the brand new MGM poker room won’t be the only choice in town once Wynn Resort’s Encore Boston Harbor finishes its $2.5 billion project outside the nation’s capital (and most population-dense) city. After rejecting rumored buyout bids from rival MGM and Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Resorts stays on track and on schedule for its Boston Harbor casino complex, which promises”… private areas with… poker [for]… high-limit gaming.”

“Boston’s not up for sale. What Boston signifies for us is a fantastic development opportunity,” new Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox told CNBC on April 25.

With Encore Boston planning a much larger 90-table poker room, MGM Springfield will have to capitalize on being the first out of the gate if it wants to build a loyal following. That, however, has its own challenges, as recent reports suggest visitors might face serious traffic on approach to the site.

After a City Council Casino Oversight Committee meeting at City Hall on June 15, local officials are fighting to ensure congestion doesn’t spoil the August 24 planned opening. An MGM Springfield vice-president told local media outlet Mass Live the first few opening days will draw audiences that have”probably never been seen” in the region.

Vaping in Public: Yay or Nay?

City health officials also have their hands full before the grand opening. On exactly the same day traffic congestion was discussed at City Hall, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen R. Caulton-Harris said she would raise the issue of vape pens in casinos.

Smoking in public spaces is already prohibited under both state and local laws, but Caulton-Harris will discuss introducing the same coverage for e-cigarettes and vape pens.

In light of this news, a media release from MGM Springfield stated that the company has no immediate plans to ban vaping inside the casino. This could change, however, if local governments agree to implement a policy change.

The subject of vaping is one that’s become a subject of conversation for poker players over the past couple of years. In 2017, the WSOP clarified via Twitter that vaping wasn’t allowed at the table, but this rule isn’t universal.

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The Landscape For US Online Gambling Is Looking Good For 2019

Online gambling landscapeOnline gambling landscape

It was not very long ago that the notion of legal online gaming in the United States was the stuff of legend. But in 2018, it is not just a reality, it is spreading across the United States in many forms.

With momentum growing, states with legal online gambling could be the norm and not the exception in the not too distant future.

The present gaming landscape in the Usa

Up to now, four states have legalized online casino or online poker.

Nevada (poker-only)DelawareNew JerseyPennsylvania

Six states have authorized online lottery.

IllinoisMichiganGeorgiaKentuckyNew HampshirePennsylvania

Online sports betting is in the works in at least two states.

New JerseyDelaware

Setting aside the”is it gaming” debate, daily fantasy sports was legalized in no less than 19 states.

Furthermore, all manner of gaming laws is on the table in a countless number of nations.

Here’s how we got to this point.

Black Friday puts an end to the status quo

Without doubt, 2011 was the most tumultuous years in US online gaming history.

On April 15, the Department of Justice seized the domains of the prominent US-facing internet poker operators and indicted key executives. That ended the long-running game of cat and mouse both sides had been engaged in since the passing of UIGEA in 2006.

The DOJ action removed all uncertainty, operating an internet poker site wasn’t allowed in the United States and wouldn’t longer be tolerated.

The seizures also sent the house of cards tumbling down at Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet and Full Tilt Poker.

Full Tilt was not able to cover the $150 million in participant accounts, with Total and UB owing their customers tens of millions more.

Just PokerStars emerged relatively unscathed, and so were it the settlement it reached with the US, online poker players will probably have never seen their Full Tilt, AP and UB cash again — cash that’s taken years to reunite.

Following the momentous (dubbed Black Friday within the poker community) online poker, once widely available in the US, was virtually nonexistent.

For proponents of legal online gaming, the grief brought on by Black Friday turned out to be relatively short-lived.

Thanks to some 2009 online lottery query produced by New York and Illinois, their prayers were about to be answered.

2011 OLC Opinion: The spark that started the fire

In September 2011, New York and Illinois received their answer from the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel. The opinion issued by Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz decided that the 1961 Wire Act only applied to sports betting, and states were free to legalize online lottery, and by extension other kinds of online gambling within their borders.

Seitz concluded:

“Given that the Wire Act doesn’t reach interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a”sporting event or competition,” and that the state-run lotteries suggested by New York and Illinois do not involve sporting events or contests, we conclude that the Wire Act doesn’t prohibit the lotteries described in these proposals. In light of the conclusion, we need not consider how to reconcile the Wire Act with UIGEA, since the Wire Act doesn’t apply in this circumstance. Accordingly, we express no view about the proper interpretation or scope of UIGEA.”

As opposed to going down in the history books as the year online gaming died in the usa, 2011 lit the runway to legalization.

First mover states came from the gate at a full sprint

Several states jumped at the opportunity presented by the OLC opinion, and by 2014 online poker, casino and lottery had gained a foothold in the US.

Alas, the frenetic speed quickly subsided.

Overblown earnings estimates, some early technical problems and enthusiastic opposition were contributing factors.

After three years without a legislative victory,  online gaming was at a standstill. Until DFS forced legislatures into actions.

DFS helps normalize online wagering

In 2015 daily fantasy sports became a mainstream product. DFS advertisements were everywhere, so the mini-scandal in the autumn of 2015 all but forced legislatures into actions.

DFS laws breezed through legislatures that are normally resistant to gaming expansions. Less than three years after the scandal, no less than 18 states have legalized DFS.

The bad news was DFS pushed online gaming bills to the backburner. The good news is the proliferation of legal DFS has had a profound effect on the perception of internet gambling.

No more spoken of as a hypothetical scenario, states can now point naysayers to present examples of an online lottery, an internet casino and DFS. Placing wagers online is occurring across the nation.

As outgoing American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman stated in a recent interview,”DFS certainly helps to normalize all kinds of gaming — they can say it is not gambling all they like, but I think most people would lump it into that class.”

Sports betting is the new flavor of the month

Online gaming may have lost yet another year as state legislatures attention was drawn to sports betting, the new shiny object that fell in their lap. But like DFS, sports betting will further normalize all kinds of gambling.

Including online gambling.

Make no mistake about it, multiple states will be offering online sports betting in 2018 and 2019. And every additional state that offers mobile sports betting is yet another state tearing down the myth that online gambling is similar to putting a casino in everybody’s pocket.

What’s next?

Online gambling expansion is not likely to really pick up until 2019, when the second wave of states consider legalizing sports betting.

With 2018 legislative acts are coming to an end, and with a mid-term election in November, I wouldn’t expect more than a few stragglers to push a sports betting or gaming bill throughout the finish line.

When legislatures reconvene in 2019, expect a flurry of activity.

Over the course of 2019-2020. Some states will use sports gambling , especially online sports betting, as a foundation for an extensive gaming expansion package.

Here’s why:

The second wave will be less rushed than the states that rushed into legislation in 2018. There’s no logical reason to legalize online sports betting and not online casino, especially where there is crossover among stakeholders.States searching for earnings will have a comprehensive package of products to pack together — sports, casino, poker, lottery and DFS.States will begin to covet the earnings generated in other states.

WSOP 2018 $1,500 Stud Showdown: Anti-Royalty Music Titan Steve Albini Beats Poker Royalty Ferguson and Lisandro

Outspoken music producer Steve Albini — who has made no bones about dissing the practices of his own industry when it comes to exploitation of artists and refusing to take royalties from record sales — produced his own hit on Saturday night at the WSOP 2018 Event #31, $1,500 Seven Card Stud championship. 

Steve Albini WSOP 2018

Music producer Steve Albini outlasted former WSOP Player of the Year winners Chris Ferguson and Jeff Lisandro to win more than $105K in Event #31, $1,500 Seven Card Stud championship on Saturday. (Picture: CardsChat News)

Outlasting two Players of the Year (POY) who are equally six-time WSOP bracelet winners — Chris Ferguson and Jeff Lisandro — at the last table to win his first big poker name, Albini carried his fabled fearlessness directly onto the felt.

Albini — who’s repeatedly stated he believes it’s unethical for producers to earn continuing income off of artists’ album sales and walks his talk by simply working on a flat fee — continued to stand on his own two feet when he earned his paycheck on Saturday, taking home $105,629. His previous best win was for $40,694 at the WSOP 2014 Seniors event. 

Last night’s win puts his life tournament take at $164,228, so he is probably not giving up his day job just yet. But obviously it wasn’t about the money for a man whose net worth is estimated at the $10 million range: it was about the showdown.

Facing Down Jesus

Albini — who perfected his stud game in his hometown of Chicago with the aid of top poker pros like Brandon Shack-Harris — put on a clinic at the final table. Running well did not hurt his performance, either.

The music producer moved in for the kill with four players remaining in a hand against reigning WSOP POY Chris Ferguson. Jesus had already eliminated four opponents himself at the last table and had a sizeable chip lead.

After stakes and calls leading up to the final face-down card, both players had well-disguised monster hands-on street when Ferguson — holding an ace-high flush — re-raised right into Albini’s queens-full killer.

Recalling a similar situation against Ferguson on Day Two on Friday, where Ferguson had a disguised aces full, Albini chose to call the re-raise rather than four-betting. Regardless, he won a massive pot that moved him to the chip lead.

“I was hoping he made a flush,” 2000 Main Event winner Ferguson told CardsChat after the hand. “When he raised me on seventh street, I figured I was about to win a big pot. But that’s how it goes.”

Jesus — who is somewhat legendary for an expressionless face, regardless of what’s going on — didn’t appear tilted by the cooler position.

Sweet Music for Albini

Ferguson tried to regroup, but it wasn’t long until he ran his trip sixes on fourth street into Lisandro’s trip jacks for another major setback. He was finally eliminated in 4th place, missing out on his seventh career WSOP bracelet.

After Katherine Fleck busted her little stack in 3rd place, Lisandro had a golden opportunity to acquire his own seventh bracelet. All he needed to do was hold onto a 3-1 chip lead against a non-pro. But if that sounded like it should have been an easy task for a veteran, it wasn’t.

Albini, who was sporting a shirt bearing the name of his band”Cocaine Piss,” frustrated the 2009 Player of the Year through a lengthy heads-up match. After the massive chip lead was squandered, the duo went back and forth for over an hour before the now first-time bracelet winner eventually floor Lisandro’s stack down to the felt.

A Tale of Two Championships: WSOP Seniors Draws Largest Field Ever as $50K PPC Gets Underway

Seventy-seven of the most distinguished players in poker took their seats in the Amazon Room on Friday, in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. But you almost could hardly notice, as a listing 5,919 players descended on the Rio at the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship — for a day that in many ways captures what the World Series of Poker is all about.

Ron Miller, standing, contemplates calling an all-purpose wager from Chuck Decker, seated with arms folded.

It was the largest field ever for the Seniors, beating last year’s record field of 5,389.

In the Amazonian sea of gray and white, a black polo shirt rose from the green felt, considering calling an all round bet. Ron Miller, 55, furrowed his brow, clasped his hands behind his head, counted his stack and eyed his opponent as the rest of the table patiently watched.

“Do you have it?” he asked.

Seated with arms folded, 66-year-old Chuck Decker replied:”If you got it, you got it.”

Ultimately, Miller turned over a pair of red kings and tossed them into the muck.

Decker, revealed pocket queens.

“Recall that on Sunday at the final table,” Miller said, implying that he was unfazed by folding better hole cards. However, he quipped:”I should have known. It’s the seniors event.”

Special WSOP Experience

Even while padding his healthy chip stack, Decker held a more pragmatic outlook.

“I’ll be lucky to make the money,” he said. “It’s just poker. I got lucky a few times.”

The WSOP Seniors event, which restarted at 11 am Saturday and is open to players 50 and older, included those who celebrated half-century birthdays in the weeks and days leading up to the close of registration, as well as 97-year-old Herman Moonves, father of CBS president/CEO Leslie Moonves and the oldest player in the area.

Going into Day 2, 989 players stayed, with the money bubble just over the horizon at 888.

For many who showed up to play this tournament on Fathers Day weekend, the WSOP Seniors is unique, unlike any other event.  Seventy-year-old Bob Cain stepped past the rope after busting, but he wore a proud smile. Hanging from his throat was a sign that read:”Playing the WSOP Seniors in Honor of My Good Friend Dave Gomersall.”

The Cleveland guys had played last year’s WSOP Main Event together and had a blast. But Gomersall lost a battle with cancer around Easter, and Cain wanted to return to Vegas where they created poker memories.

“When he played, everyone just liked him a lot,” Cain said. “But being out here isn’t the same without him.”

As the area of 50-and-olders fell to less than 2,000, in the middle of the Amazon room, many of the players were content with chips and a chair.

“We can all say we did better than Phil Hellmuth,” one man said, referring to a recent tweet from The Poker Brat, who described busting quickly.

Can not make this up: over course of my last 7 Hold’em palms, I busted THREE @WSOP tourns! 7) my A-3, Q-5-3-7-3 to QQ, he checked behind me on turn-BUST! 6) fold: 5) KK limp UTG (lost minute ): 4 AK all in big blind, BUST: 2 & 3 ) fold: 1) raise w AJ, AQ calls in Big Blind, A-K-5, BUST

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) June 16, 2018

“That’ll teach him,” another player said. “I wonder if he wished to get to that $50,000 Poker Players Championship.”

With WSOP’s Most Experienced

Hellmuth hadn’t yet entered the greater buy-in tournament on Friday night. But the area in the eight-game mixed event was packed with a younger audience and some of the biggest names in poker — including 2014 winner John Hennigan, fresh off nabbing his fifth costume earlier the same day.

(Hennigan took down the $10,000 HORSE Championship for $414,692, boosting his career WSOP earnings to nearly $4.7 million.)

He appeared in good spirits as he laughed while texting with Phil Ivey, seated a couple of tables away.

The PPC drew 77 players on Day 1 — with registration open for four more levels on Day 2, which resumed at 2 pm on Saturday.

At one table, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow battled Daniel “Jungleman” Cates and Isaac “Ike” Haxton. While another table featured John Racener, David Peters, Daniel Negreanu, and Mike Leah.

For serious experts, winning the PPC bracelet, and getting their name etched on the Chip Reese trophy, is a top honor. And playing their high-stakes contemporaries makes this tournament one of the very special.

Nick Schulman, who said he’s played with the PPC since the first event in 2006, had high hopes.

“I have always wanted to win this one,” he said, eager to add to his pile when play resumed on Saturday. “It would mean a lot.”

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Doyle Brunson (Sorta) Clarifies Retirement Remarks:’Likely No Longer WSOP Events’

Poker media, such as CardsChat, reported earlier this week that 10-time bracelet winner Doyle Brunson would be retiring from the game after the $10,000 2-7 lowball draw event at the WSOP on Monday.

Doyle Brunson WSOP retirement

Doyle Brunson clarified his comments about retiring, saying he is not certain about his future in poker. (Picture: WPT)

However, the poker legend today says those reports were blown out of proportion — kind of — and that his retirement is not”set in stone,” taking a page from former NFL quarterback Brett Favre’s playbook.

I didn’t mean to make such a fuss over my”retirement”. I meant probably no longer WSOP tournaments. That is not written in stone however. When they begin the combined games on high stakes poker, I will be there. Probably not so much cash games but I appreciate all the nice thoughts.

— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) June 13, 2018

It ends up Texas Dolly has a great deal in common with Favre who, for years, couldn’t decide if he wished to retire or keep playing soccer until after the 2010 season when he finally called it quits for good.

The Brett Favre of Poker?

Poker is not as physically demanding as professional soccer and Doyle has continued to play at a high level into his 80s, unlike Favre who was forced to retire from his profession at age 41. But there are some similarities in how the two stars have handled the media in the late stages of their careers.

After each of Favre’s last years, the sports media would ask him if he is ready to retire to which he gave a non-committal reaction. Have a look at what the gunslinger told ESPN following the 2008 season.

“There are several things that went into the decision but most of all, the most important thing, was that , you know with my shoulder the last half of this year it hampered the way I play,” Favre said. “I am 39, I had several options to have surgery and to let it heal. How that would affect me in terms of playing I had no idea and it was not something I was going to risk.”

On Sunday, Brunson had similar comments on social media and to poker journalists. He posted on Twitter this message.

Going to the Rio to play 2-7 lowball tournament. Probably the last one I’ll ever play.

— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) June 11, 2018

He then told Poker Central, CardsChat, and other poker websites that he is planning to call it quits after the summer to spend some time with his wife of 57 years, Louise, whom he has suggested (without giving specifics, openly ) is facing serious health concerns.

He Would Be Back, or Not

Upon Brunson’s announcement, many poker players and fans sent him well wishes. After Favre”retired” in 2008, his head coach with the New York Jets, Rex Ryan, said,”I wish him only the finest in his life after football.”

Favre went on to play two more seasons in the NFL, much like it appears Brunson, to the delight of the poker community, may do despite reports of permanent retirement earlier this week.

Even ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt paid tribute to Brunson on SportsCenter Monday night.

Texas Dolly, also known as the”Godfather of Poker,” in reaction to a well-wishes tweet from 2003 WSOP Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker, explained that his supposed retirement was”taken a little out of context,” and said he will keep on playing but”probably no longer WSOP events.”

With Louise Brunson sick, the 84-year-old poker legend says he”feels guilty” when he leaves the house to play poker, and would like to spend more time with the woman he loves. And who could blame him?

But was his 7th place finish earlier this week at the $10k 2-7 occasion his final poker tournament ever? Can we see him again on a”Poker After Dark” cash game? Is he going to keep on grinding the nosebleed games in Bobby’s Room in Bellagio? Or, are his days as a poker routine over for good?

These were similar kinds of questions the media pondered during Favre’s last few seasons. With Brunson, the poker community is unsure the answers to these questions.

Perhaps, Texas Dolly will clear things up in the coming days. In any event, he is as much of a legend on the sensed as Favre was on the gridiron. He’s got the right to do it his way.

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Still Zero Applications For PA Online Gambling Licenses After Two Months

PA online casino applicationsPA online casino applications

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board began accepting petitions interactive gambling certificates on April 16. Nearly two months into the process the PGCB has yet to receive a single application.

“The PA Gaming Control  Board has not received any Interactive Gaming Petitions from casinos,” a PGCB spokesperson advised Online Poker Report earlier this week.

It is not time to hit the panic button, but the lack of applicants should be seeing. It also needs to make Pennsylvania reconsider some of those head-scratching policies it has put in place.

The three gambling licensing windows in PA

Pennsylvania is currently offering a comprehensive permit that covers online slots table games, and poker at a price of $10 million. Pennsylvania’s existing casinos have 90 days (from April 16) to use for this permit.

Here is the language that covers this by the gambling expansion law:

No later than 90 days after the date the board begins accepting petitions under this chapter, a slot machine licensee may file a petition with the board for an interactive gambling certificate. If the board approves a petition for an interactive gaming certificate under this paragraph, the board will authorize the interactive gaming certificate holder to supply any category of interactive gambling.

If Pennsylvania’s casinos do not apply within the first 90-day window, the 3 permits — slots, table games, and poker — are separated and cost $4 million each.

Licenses still unclaimed after 120 days will be opened to qualified outside entities at the same $4 million price.

Why haven’t applications been submitted?

There are concerning than others.

It takes time

The most obvious reason that the state’s casinos are not beating down the PGCB’s doors for an online gambling license is that the licensing process takes time and requires a whole lot of legwork.

There are pages and pages of documents that need to be filled out for vetting, and partnership arrangements to consummate.

As such, the lack of applications should not be too concerning… yet.

Casinos would rather pick licenses a la carte

Another reason that shouldn’t be too anxiety-inducing is if some casinos would rather pick and choose which online licenses they want.

Yes, there’s a nice discount if you purchase all three for $10 million over the first 90 days, but if a casino has no intention of launching an online poker site, it is cheaper to take a la carte approach and invest $8 million on an online slot and table game permit.

Uncertainty abounds

If the country’s casinos are getting cold feet that is more problematic.

There might be concerns about some of the policies Pennsylvania has put in place, and the general uncertainty that still exists.

There are overarching questions like how will the exorbitant online slot tax rate affect business? And, will the instant win games the PA online lottery offers harm online slot revenue?

There are also unknown regulatory issues that are almost certainly holding up online ventures:

How will skin sites be tethered to the main permit holder?How prohibitive will account creation be?

The policies combined with the uncertainty has led to a rather unfriendly setting to operate an online gambling site in.

As Aviram Alroy, vice president of interactive games for Mohegan Sun, said during the recently concluded GiGse conference, the company is having an internal discussion about the viability of the Pennsylvania online gambling market.

John Hennigan Keeps His Cool to Win WSOP $10K HORSE for Fifth Bracelet

John Hennigan, one of poker’s greatest gamblers and many interesting old-school players, beat David”Bakes” Baker on Friday heads-up to win the WSOP $10,000 HORSE tournament for his fifth bracelet. The win came as he was being mentioned as a longshot competitor for the Poker Hall of Fame, and occurred in a way that highlighted his superpower to stay off tilt.

John Hennigan 2018 WSOP

Cool head: John Hennigan won the WSOP $10,000 HORSE bracelet. (Picture: WPT)

Known as”Johnny World” round the felt, Hennigan held on to a 4-1 chip lead over Baker to get a quick finale on Friday. These last two players are considered some of the greatest mixed-game pros on earth, so it was no surprise that they finished heads-up.

On Day Three of the 10k HORSE occasion, however, Thursday, PokerGo livestream commentators Ali Nejad and Norman Chad were remarkably critical of players at the last table, particularly Iraj Parvizi, who played reckless throughout the evening.

WSOP Event #27, $10,000 HORSE Final Table Results

1 John Hennigan $414,692
2 David Baker $256,297
3 Laith Salem $179,216
4 Iraj Parvizi $127,724
5 Randy Ohel $92,808
6 Albert Daher $68,783
7 Dan Zack $52,016
8 Michael Noori $40,155

Cool Under Pressure

Parvizi, a routine in $400/$800 mixed money games, got caught bluffing numerous times and, on a few occasions, blind raised under-the-gun — a movement Nejad and Chad found unimpressive.

Hennigan, who is poker game is basically sound, has a knack for choosing the right places to bluff and knows how to get value out of his big hands. And as per usual, he didn’t let Parvizi’s reckless play to affect his game.

Consider it a Throwback Thursday, as Hennigan’s HORSE play was reminiscent of the 2004 WSOP, when he revealed how his calm, cool, and collected demeanor helped him stay off tilt and triumph.

It was a $5,000 limit holdCeltics occasion, and the late Elix Powers‘ unpredictable style of play was irritating the table — particularly author Jim McManus, who famously hero-called Powers on the river with queen-high just to learn his read was off as he lost a huge pot.

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Powers needled his opponent after winning the hand, laughingly crying, “he called me with jack-high! He called me with jack-high!” (It was really queen-high, but that misread didn’t make a difference). Powers delivered McManus on uber-tilt, but Hennigan was especially unfazed.

“This man is the nuts,” Hennigan said presciently at a time when people hadn’t yet even heard of Greg Raymer, let alone Jerry Yang. “He is good for poker.”

He would go on to win the event for his second bracelet on that day at Binion’s Horseshoe, at a time when ESPN was introducing the world to poker.

Johnny Five

John Hennigan’s Bracelet Wins

2002: $2,000 Seven Stud Hi-Lo ($117,320)
2004: $5,000 Limit Hold’em ($325,360)
2014: $50,000 Players Championship ($1,517,767)
2016: $10,000 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw ($320,103)
2018: $10,000 HORSE ($414,692)

Hennigan also won the non-bracelet $5,000 Ante Up for Africa event
in 2008, and donated his entire $136,860 prize money to charity.

What Cracked Johnny World

A former professional pool player, Hennigan is one of poker’s most legendary gamblers, on and off the felt. Not only is he a skilled mixed participant, he’s also an avid prop bettor.

Years before, Hennigan made a $30,000 bet that he could live in Des Moines, Iowa, for fourteen days. Full disclosure: I spent 30 years in Des Moines, and can attest that’s not as simple as it sounds.

His original plan was to pass the time playing golf. But after just two days in a casino-less prairie city, the ever quiet action junkie paid $15,000 to purchase out of the bet and return to city life in California.

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Oregon Lottery Declares Portland Poker Room Illegal, Oregon Racing Vows Fight to Stay Open

Just in case it was not already crystal clear, the Oregon Lottery is clarifying its position on a certain poker room in Portland.

portland poker

Portland Meadows racetrack couldn’t just lose its poker room, but its profitable VLTs, also. (Source: kristidoespdx.com)

The gaming body released a ruling this week reasserting the poker room at the Portland Meadows racetrack is breaking state gaming laws.

“The onsite poker games constitute illegal gambling,” Barry Pack, director of the Oregon Lottery, wrote in the conclusion .

The ruling may have significant implications for the racetrack. Not only could their poker room be shut down, but the facility could lose the contract because of its lucrative video lottery terminals (VLTs), also.

Clubs Both Legal and Illegal

Poker clubs in the state have been working in a hazy legal landscape for years. This past year, lawmakers passed a new bill trying to clarify what exactly constitutes a legal poker club, yet there is still disagreement on the topic, even among government officials.

The City of Portland itself takes the stance that poker clubs are legal, and it gives licenses for them to function. The state-run Oregon Lottery disagrees, however, and says the clubs are against the law.

The issue came to a head last year when lottery officials delivered in state police to investigate the poker club at the racetrack.

They took issue with the fact that there was a door charge, asserting that”charging a door charge for poker games violates the statutory prohibition on’house income’.” The ruling also claimed that the club was behaving as a”house bank” by”holding players’ money” when exchanging money for poker chips.

As a result, the Oregon Lottery decided to void the racetrack’s contract for 10 VLTs, the lucrative machines which generated some $1.83 million in annual revenue. Portland Meadows appealed the decision, taking the matter to a hearing in March. However, the meeting did nothing to change the minds of lottery officials, who maintained their initial ruling this week.

An attorney for the racetrack says the fight is not over. They will now take the case to the Oregon Court of Appeals in an attempt to conserve the VLTs and the 22-table poker room.

Phoning It In?

It appears that lottery officials would much rather see Oregonians on their phones than at the poker table.

The Oregon Lottery is in the middle of a significant push to create new gaming apps which people could play in their mobile devices.

“We have got to keep pace with what people need. It’s evolve or die for us,” lottery spokesman Matt Shelby told the Willamette Week, apparently unaware of the popularity of the poker clubs which his organization is trying to shut down.

The first state-sponsored mobile gaming apps could be available to the public as soon as this July.

Gaming income is a must for the state of Oregon. Next to personal income taxes, gaming generates more revenue than any other source in the state, with some $650 million in annual gains.

Along with the mobile apps, lottery officials also need to get into sports gambling, now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way by hitting down PASPA. State Governor Kate Brown has stated her support for sports gambling, and lawmakers are looking at rolling out new suggestions in 2019.

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Regulated US Sports Betting Creates New Opportunities for William Hill  

The start of legal US sports gambling out of selected states has helped at least one overseas bookmaker.

Las Vegas Lights William Hill

It was a natural match for the new Las Vegas Lights FC to partner with sports gambling app provider William Hill. (Image: Las Vegas Lights)

In the aftermath of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) being shot down, William Hill US executives claim they’ve been”inundated” with business opportunities.

Describing the state of play, CEO Joseph Asher told Reuters that the new legal landscape is already opening up some high-profile sponsorship choices.

“The leagues and the teams are interested in doing commercial prices. We’ve been talking to one of the most prominent franchises in the country,” Asher told Reuters on June 13.

Although he declined to say which US sports businesses are interested in working with William Hill US, the British gambling operator has signed a deal with Las Vegas Lights FC. Active in the United Soccer League because 2018, the Vegas-based soccer team will now count William Hill as its official betting partner.

New Opportunities Arise

Prior to the Supreme Court’s May 15 ruling, sports gambling was only permitted in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. Following a long-running battle against the federal law, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won the right to implement a state-based regulation.

As a result of the anti-commandeering doctrine, states can not be made to accept certain federal laws against their will. In cases like this, New Jersey wanted to regulate sports gambling, something that prompted Supreme Court judges to revert to the anti-commandeering doctrine.

With PASPA overturned, the Garden State accepted its first legal sports gambling since 1992 on June 14. At a special ceremony inside Monmouth Park racetrack, governor Phil Murphy made a bet and officially marked the start of a new sports gambling culture that is expected to spread across the US.

Transatlantic Trade Could Offset UK Losses

For William Hill, US sports gambling could be the perfect tonic to regulatory changes in britain. Following the government’s decision to decrease the maximum bet on electronic gaming machines from #100 ($132) to #2 ($2.65), betting shop operators are set to take a significant financial hit.

With a base in Nevada for over a decade, the British company will now look to build on its reputation and cancel its transatlantic declines by opening stores across the country. By forging deals with major sports teams, William Hill appears set to become one of the most visible brands in the US.

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