Michigan Online Gambling Sponsor On Governor’s Veto: ‘Incredibly Disappointing’

Michigan governor vetoes online gamblingMichigan governor vetoes online gambling

Michigan Rep. Brandt Iden, sponsor of the Online gambling bills vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday, called the vetoes a ploy to monopolize the money coming into the lottery for the state in a phone interview with Online Poker Report.

When it looked like Michigan had finished a four-year journey to legalize online gambling, and set up the chance of internet sports gambling , Snyder, that will not be returning as governor as he’s being termed out of office, pushed the inevitable back at least a year.

“The veto pen came out for my whole gaming package, which is incredibly disappointing,” Iden said. “We had no idea this was coming. We had all of the stakeholders supportive of this package and we’d alleviated any issues, so this is a really surprising outcome.”

Iden stated the reasons provided by the governor’s office for the veto included concerns regarding the potential revenue impact of online gambling, specifically that it would pull money from the state-run lottery, and a general expansion of gambling.

Neither were valid reasons based on Iden, who said he intends to reintroduce the internet gambling bills when Michigan begins the 2019 legislative session in January, in addition to his previous strategy of introducing a bill to establish the framework for lawful sports betting.

Scratch-off loser

Iden stated his understanding is that the primary reason for the veto was to protect the earnings of Michigan’s state-run lottery, a portion of which supports Michigan’s public school system.

“I think it’s unfair because you are taking a state entity such as the lottery and trying to compare it to the free-market system of other online gaming platforms,” Iden said.

Iden pointed out that New Jersey lottery revenue has improved with the presence of online gaming. However, there’s also the Michigan online lottery, and there are no countries with a history of internet lottery and iGaming to graph any effect.

Iden called the veto a”ploy to monopolize cash coming to the lottery,” which he takes exception to as a free-market Republican.

“If your problem is a concern for the lottery, you are never going to be comfortable with an iGaming bill because it impedes on the state’s monopoly on the lottery,” Iden said. “That is not a free-market approach.”

Gambling enhanced, not expanded

In response to the governor’s concern about iGaming being an expansion of gambling, stressing the ease of access to play online from one’s own home, Iden said it has always been his position it is not an expansion.

“With 23 tribal casinos throughout the state plus commercial casinos,” anybody can gamble in Michigan at any moment,” Iden said. “This is a new platform for people to play .”

Iden also pointed out that, if the governor were truly concerned about the expansion of gambling to the world wide web, he would not have approved of the lottery going online in 2014.

Efforts in Michigan

Iden stated he will reintroduce the internet gambling bills while continuing to work on a framework for sports betting. He noted that iGaming is in a fantastic position with all the stakeholders — Indian tribes, commercial casinos, the horse racing industry and the City of Detroit — on board at the moment.

“We have got great legislation, good bills that I worked and vetted for two years,” Iden said. “We have a bill that people agree on, that everybody feels they have a vested stake in. It’s a great place to begin from. All I can do is hope that all of the partners are willing to stick with the positive progress and bring it to fruition.”

Michigan will have a new governor in 2019, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. While her stance on online gambling is unknown, the transition can not be a negative given the veto.

There’ll also be many new lawmakers taking office, and Sen. Mike Kowall, that has led this issue for four years in his chamber, is being termed out of office. The turnover creates some doubt that the vote totals for the Lawful Internet Gaming Act — 33-5 from the Senate and 71-35 in the House — will still be there.

Iden expects it will take a while to educate the new legislators on the matter, so just because the bill passed the first time around doesn’t mean it will be moved quickly from the new session.

“I watched over the course of the past two years the time needed to educate people on these problems and get them up to speed on where we are,” Iden said. “I will have to do this again, but I’m fully prepared to do so and confident we will have a successful 2019. It took a while to get here, and this is a bump in the road, but I’m confident it will get done.”

Gov. Snyder Vetoes Michigan Online Gambling Bill

denied stamp on paperdenied stamp on paper

Only 1 week after Michigan legislators pushed through an internet gambling bill in a late-night legislative session, the bill is dead.

All it had was Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature. However, Snyder elected to veto the bill. This effectively ends Michigan online gaming hopes until the next legislative session.

Snyder vetoed 40 distinct new bills

After Michigan lawmakers burned all that midnight oil pushing around 400 new bills through to Snyder’s desk, he undid much of that work using a rash of vetoes.

The internet gambling bill was one of 40 bills Snyder vetoed, according to Detroit News. In fact, each gaming-related bill sponsored by Rep. Brandt Iden got the ax.

When asked why he acted against online gambling, Snyder claimed a lack of clarity regarding budgeting and earnings was the situation.

In a letter to the legislature, Snyder mentioned the potential cannibalization of existing land-based casinos and the state’s online lottery because of his key concerns.

It is worth pointing out that New Jersey has earned almost $1 billion in gaming revenue since launch in 2013. That number doesn’t include the nascent online sports gambling industry either.

Snyder said protecting the Michigan Lottery affected his decision making. Currently, Pennsylvania is the only state with both online lottery and online gaming laws on the books. However, only the PA iLottery is operational, so there isn’t any concrete numbers regarding how online lottery and online casino gambling impact each other.

What is next for online gambling?

The late December legislative session was a lame-duck one, and the final of this year. The new category of lawmakers kicks off the 2019 session on Jan. 9.

At that point, there will also be a new governor in office. Gretchen Whitmer will be sworn in on Jan. 1. The Democrat supported Michigan sports gambling during her campaign. However, her stance on online gambling is not as straightforward .

Iden, the driving force behind gambling expansion, intends to continue trying to push a bill into law. The newly appointed chair of the Ways And Means Committee told Online Poker Report that pushing the bill again will be a process. There are new lawmakers taking office that need to be educated on the matter.

With a 15-month moratorium prior to any online casinos can launch in the current iteration of the bill, that means it will likely be 2021 at the earliest prior to Michigan residents can play with online.

Aces and Eights: Magriel, Hansen, Farnood, Meehan Cash Out in 2018

Though poker players might scoff at the notion, taxes aren’t life’s only inevitability. For the poker lives that ended in death in 2018, there were sad passings of colorful personalities, and one standout who died under mysterious circumstances. While Paul Magriel, Thor Hansen, Sherkan Farnood, and Minneapolis Jim Meehan may not have been made-for-TV superstars, their presence had a discernible influence on the game.

Paul Magriel

Influential poker pro and backgammon expert Paul Magriel was one of those poker players who sadly passed away this year. (Image: Berlin Backgammon)

Backgammon Pioneer, Quirky Quack-Quack

For those present during the first poker boom, Paul Magriel became famous for his”quack, quack” catchphrase.

A leading backgammon expert and a regular on the poker circuit, Magriel was known for his mathematical if not a little quirky approach to the game. Since news of Magriel’s departure in the age of 71 hit the headlines, Erik Seidel was quick to offer his condolences and remind the community of X-22’s contribution to poker.

“Woke up to the sad news that backgammon legend Paul Magriel (X-22) has passed away. He changed the game with his book, was a generous and enthusiastic teacher, he changed my life and the lives of others,” Seidel tweeted in March.

Farewell to Norwegian LegendThor Hansen

Thor Hansen was a legend across Scandinavia, and a familiar friendly face across the US and European pro circuits. (Image: Pengespill)

Pulling up a chair next to Magriel in the big poker game in the skies was Thor Hansen. Called the Godfather of Norwegian poker, Hansen wasn’t just a bracelet winner and cancer survivor but an ambassador for the game.

A gentleman that played everyone from Stu Ungar to today’s online whiz kids, Hansen was loved by the community. The Norwegian pro remained active until the end, enjoying his final few hands of poker in the WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida, back in November.

After hearing of his departure at age 71 on Dec. 5, Phil Hellmuth joined the wave of condolences for Hansen, calling him a”good human being and a great player.”

Sherkhan Farnood

Sherkhan Farnood, creator of Kabul Bank, stood accused of grifting countless millions of dollars, and with $627,647 in poker winnings, he had been the most successful tournament player in Afghanistan history. (Image: Washington Post)

Top Afghani Player Found Dead in Prison Cell

Messages of condolence were ringing out across the community once again in August after WSOPE bracelet winner Sherkhan Farnood was found dead in an Afghani prison cell.

Farnood was the top tournament player from Afghanistan in history. As well as notching up 24 reside cashes, including an outright win in the 2008 WSOPE HORSE event, Farnood was a successful business man.

However, after some dodgy financial deals during his time as the head of Kabul Bank, the poker player was sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to the official report, the 57-year-old died of a heart disease but Farnood’s household think it was down to foul play.

“I spoke with my brother one day before his death. He was fine. We’ve got no idea about it, the government knows how he died,” Farnood’s older brother Sherin Khan told Tolo News on Aug. 25, 2018.

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Midwest Rounder Rides Away into Sunset

Minneapolis Jim Meehan became 2018’s final pre-poker boom pro to play his final hand this season when he died on Dec. 6. Active on the circuit long before the online generation took over, Meehan was an old fashioned grinder that was as gifted with his words as a deck of cards.

Frequently seen in the table wearing a leather bush hat, Meehan was a practicing attorney for 20 years before going into the poker scene. Earning his stripes and standing in Minnesota, the Midwestern pro goes on to feature in several WSOP broadcasts during the early noughties.

Despite taking step back from poker in 2005, Meehan was inducted into the Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame in 2015 and’d reside earnings of $1.4 million. In passing at the age of 66, Meehan left behind four sons and a wealth of memories for those who remember the growth of poker in the turn of this millennium.

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Best and Worst Life Hands Dealt to Poker Players in 2018

The role of luck in poker means that gamers are always facing ups and downs, as a couple good pitches can be the difference between winning a major tournament and breaking prior to the cash. Exactly like everyone else, though, poker players also have their fair share of highs and lows from the felt.

Poker Players fortunes 2018

Poker players faced a variety of good and bad fortune from the felt throughout 2018. (Pictures: Dan Bilzerian/Instagram, PokerTube, World Poker Tour, PokerStars)

Exactly like in our favorite game, sometimes players can’t help the cards they’ve been dealt, and sometimes, individuals play a major role in shaping their own destinies. Here’s a look back at some poker players who were dealt life hands that ranged from pocket aces to deuce-seven off-suit over the course of 2018.

Bilzerian Creates International Incident

Dan Bilzerian is no stranger to creating headlines by pulling outrageous stunts. But none of his previous shenanigans had nearly the impact of his visit to Armenia, where he was granted citizenship due to the Armenian legacy of his father.

As is his nature, Bilzerian made sure to fire off some heavy weapons while he was on his trip. The only problem: his shooting spree took place in a disputed territory that is internationally recognized as being part of Azerbaijan. Because of this, the Azerbaijani government filed criminal charges against Bilzerian.

For once, though, Bilzerian might be right in saying that this episode is more about politics than anything he did wrong: Armenia and Azerbaijan don’t have diplomatic relations, and officials might well have charged Bilzerian just for the headlines which were certain to come in the episode.

Poker Players vs. Taxista España

In March, Spanish professional baseball player Francisco Vallejo Pons made waves in the poker world after sharing that he had been facing a $500,000 tax bill from his home country for supposed poker winnings — in spite of the fact he wasn’t a winning player. However, when he played in 2011, Spanish law did not allow for losses to be offset against wins, meaning he could legally be taxed on every winning session he had, even though he had been basically a breakeven player.

That story didn’t stop with Vallejo Pons, or even within the borders of Spain. Over the summer, reports came in about players being tracked down in other European nations and getting letters saying they still owed money to Spanish tax authorities, suggesting that the country isn’t planning on giving up on collecting every cent it feels it is owed by poker players.

Hellmuth Unfazed by Heart Condition

Great players can find potential in even the worst hands, and that’s exactly what Phil Hellmuth failed in May, when he told the poker world which he has a heart condition known at atrial fibrillation (or AFib). Hellmuth took the news in stride, moving past it quickly on Twitter saying it was”just a lil AFIB.”

Some of his fellow experts were somewhat more concerned, with Linda Johnson informs Hellmuth that AFib can become an issue if it’s not taken seriously. But the Poker Brat didn’t allow the condition impact his poker schedule or alternative activities like golf, and for now, he seems to be in great health.

Liv Boeree Takes Poker Thinking Mainstream

There may have been few high-profile off-the-felt wins for poker players this season, but one expert who made waves in the world at large was Liv Boeree. The English professional gave a TEDx Talk in Manchester this March on how poker players rationalize the world through thinking in terms of probability. She followed up in April with a lecture at a TED2018 event in Vancouver, where she shared more about her decision-making process.

Those looks have established the highly intelligent Boeree among the leading intellectual ambassadors from the poker community, a person who can help show mainstream audiences that poker isn’t only a game of luck for degenerate gamblers — it’s a helpful tool for developing skills which could help us better live our own lives and understand the world around us.

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Popularity of Deck Poker Spreads Across Globe in 2018

Poker is a game that never stops evolving, as new formats rise in popularity to maintain the ecosystem fresh and intriguing when old versions begin to feel stale. Among the new variations that saw a massive increase in popularity this season was short deck poker, a game which uses the same basic rules as Texas Hold’em, but without the lowest cards in the deck.

Short Deck Poker

Short deck poker — also known as six-plus poker — had a massive surge in popularity in 2018 thanks to a variety of high roller tournaments which used the format. (Picture: PokerScout)

While brief deck poker has been around for a couple of years now, there is no doubt that 2018 was a breakout season, since some of the biggest tournament series in the world included the format one of their offerings. With more big hands creating more action, short deck poker should continue to draw new fans in 2019 and beyond.

Phil Ivey, Triton Introduce World to Short Deck Game

Heading into 2018, short deck poker had only ever been played as a money game structure, primarily among high rollers looking to elicit more activity between professionals and wealthy amateurs. But that changed in May, when the Triton Super High Roller Series Montenegro included the variation in its record of events.

The event proved popular, despite a very high price tag. While it cost KHD 250,000 ($32,000) to input, 61 players took part, with none other than Phil Ivey taking down the HKD 4.75 million ($610,000) top prize.

This was hardly the end of short deck’s ascendance in 2018. That exact same series in Montenegro featured a HKD 1 million ($128,000) buy-in brief deck poker event, which saw an impressive 103 entrants take part. That tournament would ultimately be won by Jason Koon.

The Triton series continued to offer short deck poker events during its later stops throughout the year, such as in Korea, where three of the five occasions in Jeju used the format. And with players responding favorably to the idea, it was only a matter of time before other organizers fell in line and started to offer the game themselves.

What is Short Deck Poker?

Short deck poker was played in 2014, gaining popularity in high stakes cash games in Macau and other Asian poker hotbeds. The game is played like Texas Hold’em, but with the twos through fives removed from the deck before play, meaning just 36 cards are used. Because of this change, hand probabilities are changed, causing a flush to be ranked above a complete house. Some brief deck games also rank three of a kind above a straight, though this was not true in the Triton tournaments held in 2018.

Short Deck for the Masses

A $10,000 short deck championship was included in the 2018 Poker Masters series in the Aria Resort in Las Vegas this September. The Aria also announced plans to determine how the format played a wider audience, declaring that on Dec. 2, the casino could replace two of its daily hold’em tournaments with brief deck events to find out if the version will prove just as popular outside of the high roller circuit.

Naturally, the format is also making its way online, with Americas Cardroom introducing brief deck money games in September. As PokerStars experiments with different formats, there are indications that the company could have plans to introduce short deck to its client in the near future also.

Only time will tell if brief deck is a flash in the pan, a permanent staple of nosebleed money games and tournaments, or the next big thing in the poker world. But as 2018 has revealed, there is still room for innovation in poker — meaning there is plenty of reason to stick to the sport even if you begin to get bored of Texas Hold’em.

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Michigan Online Gambling Bill’Model Legislation’ For Tribal Gaming States

Michigan online gamblingMichigan online gambling

When Rep. Brandt Iden took it upon himself to lead the push an online gaming bill in Michigan a couple of years ago, the job seemed monumental. As a tribal gaming country with commercial pursuits, creating legislation which satisfies all parties is odd — if not close to impossible.

“This is the first time this has gotten done in a country with both commercial and tribal interests,” Iden said. “And that is what I am most proud of.”

Tribes are involved with a few online casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, too, but those landscapes do not compare well to Michigan’s. Gaming tribes in those markets operate within the commercial structure.

In Michigan, tribes have their own individual compacts with the state. The patchwork landscape most-closely resembles authorities like California, where attempts to legalize online poker have stalled for more than a decade.

To be honest, California is more complex when it comes to competing self-interests of tribes, card rooms and the horse racing industry. But Michigan’s example shows that these parties may come to the table and make concessions when mutually tempted by profits from online gambling.

“Whenever there are this many stakeholders involved in legislation it’s an arduous task, and we showed we could get it done,” Iden said. “I feel this is model laws for the nation.”

Tribal and Business casinos compromise

Iden authored H 4926, the bill that was amended by the Senate and passed by both chambers on Dec. 20, the last night of Michigan’s legislative session. It is now awaiting signature in the governor to make it law.

Iden noted that he worked closely with Sen. Mike Kowall, tribes, commercial casinos and city of Detroit throughout Thursday to make sure everybody was on the same page. The tribal and commercial gambling interests had come to an agreement the previous week.

Commercial casinos made the concession of eliminating Sec. 16 of their House-passed bill, which stated that they may continue to run internet gaming even if a change in federal law prohibited tribes from doing this.

In return, the tribes waived their sovereign immunity for online gaming, allowing all the nation to license and regulate all casinos in precisely the same manner. The tribes had yielded sovereign immunity over liquor licenses.

“We were trying to make an equal structure so everybody felt that nobody was represented differently as it related to obtaining licensure,” Iden said. “It puts them on a level playing field, which is all they ever wanted. By everyone having to apply for a permit in precisely the same way, nobody has any benefit.”

Rock City or Block City?

Iden suggested that the last-minute changes needed to appease Detroit based around concerns over cannibalization of the brick-and-mortar facilities. Those concerns, of course, haven’t materialized in the maturing NJ online casino industry. Quite the opposite, actually.

Given that casino revenue affects Detroit’s credit score — which affirms the municipal bonds it sold to return from bankruptcy — the city wanted protection against any potential cannibalization.

“Brick-and-mortar casinos are going to continue to grow because of internet gaming,” Iden said. “We have seen this in New Jersey. But we had to make this change because it’s very important to be sure Detroit can service that debt it has taken on.”

One of the Senate amendments included a hold-harmless clause, promising those properties at least $179 million in combined annual revenue.

Launch still 15 months out

The legislation stipulates that the law could take effect 90 days after the governor’s signature. The new Division of online Gaming would then have one year to”promulgate rules governing the licensing, administration, and conduct of internet gambling under this act.”

That adds up to 15 months prior to online poker could start in Michigan. However, the”within a year” wording leaves open the possibility that the branch could complete the regulations and licensing earlier.

Iden cautioned not to expect an accelerated timeline, however. The sponsor believes the 15-month moratorium is needed for all casinos to get equally ready for launch.

“In case rules are ready earlier,” he said,”I still don’t think we will roll it out until the time set in the bill so no specific interest feels slighted.”

If everything goes to plan, look for Michigan online gambling sometime in the first half of 2020.

Players Fall In Love with Sports All Over Again in 2018

There has always been a strong overlap between poker and sports. If a poker room has televisions, you can be certain some sort of game will be on at all times, while some of the world’s most famous athletes have taken part in the World Series of Poker and other big events.

Poker Sports 2018

The Vegas Golden Knights captivated Las Vegas during their first season, with poker players lining up to support the NHL expansion franchise. (Image: Juan Ocampo/NHLI/Getty)

That relationship played out again in 2018, as the poker world found itself enthralled with some of the biggest sporting events of the year. From championship runs to prop bets, from upsets to controversies, poker players needed sexy takes on nearly everything that happened in sports over the last year.

Golden Knights Nearly Strike Gold

When Las Vegas got its first major professional sports team, everybody knew that it would only be a matter of time before the city — not to mention that the local poker community — rallied behind them. But few could have known that the Vegas Golden Knights would become a phenomenon in their very first season.

The Golden Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before falling to the Washington Capitals. On the way, they got some major support from expert poker players. Most prominent among them was Negreanu, a season ticket holder who aided in the effort to bring NHL hockey to Las Vegas.

Marc-Andre Fleury deserves consideration for Conn Smythe winner whether he wins the next round or not. 4 shut outs. 4.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) May 7, 2018

NFL Season Draws Strong Reactions

The Golden Knights may have raised hockey’s profile in Las Vegas, but when it comes to American sports, soccer is still king. Loads of poker players are both fans and bettors when it comes to the NFL, and that has resulted in strong reactions to a number of the most memorable moments during the 2018 season.

For Example, there was the shocking 27-6 win by the Buffalo Bills over the Minnesota Vikings back in September. Buffalo won despite coming to the match as a 17-point underdog, causing chaos at sportsbooks and crushing most of the area in a survivor pool organized by one Phil Hellmuth.

So much for my “Survivor pool!” Over 1100 Entrants from Poker Players at $300 a pop, 550 out already. I had six entrees, my last five selections are on Minnesota. In fact, 75% of the picks from the pool are on Minn! #Poof #UpInSmoke #DidntSeeBuffaloComing #16PointFavorites

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 23, 2018

Poker Twitter sometimes mirrored the rest of social networking, getting wrapped up in the craziest games of the year. One of the prime examples came in November, when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Kansas City Chiefs in a 54-51 Monday Night Football shootout that most, such as Doug Polk, counted one of the most exciting games they had ever witnessed.

This might be the greatest football game of all time

— Doug Polk (@DougPolkPoker) November 20, 2018

Monday Night Football frequently attracted plenty of attention from players. In an October conflict between The Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers, many poker pros criticized the time management abilities of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, such as Josh Arieh.

Also, nobody talking about SF throwing on 3rd n 3 with 1:10 left and GB with no timeouts. You have to run there https://t.co/YT5UsFern4

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) October 16, 2018

Poker Players Involved in Sports Challenges

However, the poker world did more than just get excited about sports in 2018. Sometimes, players threw themselves directly into the action — or at least announced plans to do so.

Among the more intriguing examples came in July, when Antonio Esfandiari announced that he would be battling Kevin Hart in a boxing match next year. The planned bout was apparently caused by a prop bet, with Esfandiari getting 35-1 odds from Hart on account of the comic athleticism and previous boxing experience.

Hellmuth also found success in regards to sports prop bets. In early December, the Poker Brat won $23,000 when he not only managed to return one out of 20 serves delivered to him by a tennis pro, but actually managed to score a point.

The moment of truth: my $23,000 return of serve, and point! [We discuss running it back] $7,000 I could not return 1-in-20 80 MPH serves from a pro + $16,000-to-my-$2,000 I could not score a point..Hello $23,000! #SlopCounts #Lucky #UnForcedErrorCounts #GoingWClutchShot pic.twitter.com/PiOlRCSXLw

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) December 6, 2018

There were also signs in 2018 that the poker world was getting some respect from characters in professional sports. Mark Cuban hired professional gambler and poker player Haralabos Voulgaris as the manager of quantitative research and development for the Dallas Mavericks, a sign that the innovative owner sees value in the way that poker players and sports bettors work to find advantages.

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PokerStars Spreads Holiday Cheer, Gifts $30K Platinum Card to Joe Ingram, Thankful Poker Player

In the spirit of Christmas, PokerStars is making dreams come true. The world’s largest internet poker site shipped $30,000 Platinum Passes into the coming PCA to Joe Ingram, Arlie Shaban, and a guy who had already obtained a poker dream gift from his wife earlier in the day.

Joe Ingram PokerStars PCA

Joe Ingram received a gift-of-a-lifetime for Christmas from PokerStars: a $30,000 Platinum Pass into the 2019 PCA in the Bahamas. (Picture: YouTube)

However, there’s always a Grinch on Poker Twitter looking to turn a positive into a negative. Ingram, who has been critical of the poker website previously, took some heat from a small portion of his fans for accepting the gift. But he is not fazed by those who called him a”sellout.”

PokerStars has given out over 300 free Platinum Passes to lucky winners this year. Joey’s controversial choice helped two others also have a Christmas to remember.

When Your Dream Christmas Gets Even Better

Randi Hilsercop of Tennessee established what turned out to be a viral video of her husband, Jeremy, starting a Christmas present any poker player would love.

I bought my husband a trip to the WSOP in Vegas for Christmas this past year. We have never been able to afford to go til this year. He was very surprised! @WSOP @RealKidPoker @phil_hellmuth @MagicAntonio @PhilLaak @PokerGO #poker #wsop pic.twitter.com/QTRHY4zNST

— Randi Hilsercop (@Randi_heatlifer) December 25, 2018

Jeremy, who works as a General Superintendent at Wood Group in Nashville, was gifted a visit to his first WSOP and will remain at the Rio in Las Vegas this summer. A present like that sure beats the clothing, video games, and toys most folks obtained, at least for a poker player. But that was only the start of what turned out to be quite the merry Christmas.

Ingram made it even better. Arlie Shaban, who had been required to conquer 12″labors” to get a Platinum Pass, needed Joey to take PokerStars’ offer to complete the challenge. The popular poker podcaster decided it was time to move all-in.

I will accept your $30k Platinum Pass provide now on XMAS @PokerStars @PokerStarsLIVE if we could also get Jeremy a Platinum Pass as well. I think him & his wife @Randi_heatlifer could use sunlight. @ArlieShaban wins his Platinum Pass as well. @erichollreiser

— Joey “Clause” Ingram (@Joeingram1) December 25, 2018

PokerStars snap-called that wager, responding with,”let’s make this a Christmas to remember for Jeremy and Arlie.” Ingram, Shaban, and Hilsercop will visit the Bahamas in January with $5,000 in travel money each and $25,000 tickets into the $8 million guaranteed inaugural PokerStars Players Championship at the yearly PCA.

Randi Hilsercop told CardsChat that her husband was playing poker”since he was 12″ but has”never actually had the opportunity to play in any big tournaments or games.”

“He’s managed to play in smaller money games, largely 1/2 and 2/5 making some pretty decent gains but his family always comes first.” she said. “Every time we have some spare time and a teenager, I’ll say’let’s go,’ and we are off to the nearest casino.”

Jeremy, with the Platinum Pass, now has an opportunity to finally play at a high-stakes event. And, who knows, perhaps he’ll win enough to quit his job and support his family through poker.

Moneymaker to the Rescue

Getting to the Bahamas could be a slight issue for the Hilsercop’s. Jeremy doesn’t have a passport but he wants one expedited. The PSPC starts January 6 and it could take over a month for a US citizen to be given a passport. That is the bad news. The fantastic news is Chris Moneymaker is here to save the day.

Bad news for @Randi_heatlifer @jhilsercop who only won a platinum pass from @Joeingram1 they don’t have passports!!!!

Good news if somebody can do the research on if it’s feasibly possible for them to get the passport by Jan 5 I will pay the fees to get done for them. #holidays

— Chris Moneymaker (@CMONEYMAKER) December 25, 2018

Jay Farber, the 2013 WSOP Main Event runner-up, shared some more great news. He advised Moneymaker that a passport can be obtained”overnight” for a nominal fee.

Haters Gonna Hate

Joe Ingram is learning that you just can’t win with everyone, especially not on Twitter. The”great game of pot-limit Omaha” promoter made some of his fans mad by even considering to take a Platinum Pass. That’s because he has been critical of the poker website previously. And those fans view it “selling out.”

“Many of poker’s biggest names are sponsored by some poker website,” he advised CardsChat. “And I don’t ever hear them being called sellouts.”

Ingram has a trusted voice . And he sees this as an opportunity to”establish some type of dialogue with PokerStars.” Instead of continuing to rant on YouTube and social media, he can now state his concerns directly to the poker website. And he also helped Shaban and Hilsercop input the PSPC. Therefore, even the haters must admit he’s doing some good.

“If you feel some type of way about what is going on in the poker world, make your voice known,” he said. Create videos, vlogs, blogs, etc.. Get your voice out there rather than criticizing those who choose to do so.”

Don’t expect Ingram to change his ways. Just because he’s competing in a PokerStars event doesn’t mean he’ll become a shill. He is simply doing what most would do: accepting a free $30,000 gift.

And he just might win a huge amount of money in the process. Well, if he can quickly learn how to crush the game he refers to as”two-card PLO” (no-limit hold’em).

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Best and Worst Poker Videos of 2018: Glory and Pain with Ferguson, Hellmuth, Triton, and Papi

Chris Ferguson, Phil Hellmuth, Kane Kalas, and Joe Ingram create our list of worst and best poker video moments in 2018. You’ll have to continue reading to find out which ones made the positive and negative categories.

Chris Ferguson WSOP Poker

Chris Ferguson made a 42-second apology to the poker community before the 2018 WSOP. (Picture: pokervision.com)

With so many great videos to choose from, it was not a simple decision. But we narrowed our worst and best of lists down to two.

Cringeworthy and ShameTwo Worst Video Moments in 2018

Let us get out the negativity of the way quickly. Our first worst poker video moment last year goes to Chris Ferguson for his”WTF” apology to the poker community.

Before the start of the WSOP, Chris finally apologized to poker fans for what went down at Full Tilt Poker through the Black Friday scandal in 2011. But few poker players felt he was contrite, especially considering he spent only 42 seconds apologizing…seven years later.

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To Ferguson’s credit, most FTP players eventually got paid back. Few still have outstanding accounts they never received. But many in the poker community still refuse to forgive the man they once loved.

Our next recipient of the Worst Poker Video Moment of 2018 goes to another poker boom era celebrity, Phil Hellmuth. The Poker Brat had a bratty moment in a hand at the WSOP Main Event.

In a three-way pot to the flop, Hellmuth had pocket sevens on a 4-3-10 flop set up. After it was checked around to him, he fired out a bet and then got check-raised all-in by James Campbell, who had the nut flush draw.

With Alex Kuzmin pondering his movement with a king-high flush draw, Phil vocally expressed anger towards Campbell for increasing. Acting out of turn is frowned upon by the majority of poker players as it can influence another participant’s decision.

In this case, it’s possible that Hellmuth did actually affect Kuzmin’s decision. Knowing that the Poker Brat was likely to fold given his verbal tells, Alex made the call from Campbell’s short-stack. He probably would have folded out of fear that Hellmuth would have come over the top to force him out of the pot.

Campbell was a favorite to win the pot but got unlucky on the river and has been removed. Had Hellmuth kept his mouth shut, he probably would have won the hand. To Phil’s credit, he apologized and made things right by sending his rival $10,000 to compensate for his buy-in.

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Big Hand, Viral HitTwo Best Poker Video Moments of 2018

Now that we have the negativity out of the way, let’s move on to the fantastic stuff. First off, we’re going to tell you about the largest pot in televised poker history.

Kane Kalas, son of legendary baseball announcer Harry Kalas, won a $2 million pot against Jason Koon. The sports broadcasting icon’s offspring hit a set of 10’s on the turn and got paid off from A-Q once an ace landed on the river.

Koon was unable to find a fold as Kalas effectively disguised the strength of his hand.

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Lastly, we have to give props to poker podcaster Joe Ingram for venturing out of the poker world to create a viral UFC video which has over 7 million views. The video in question researched what happened following the McGregor-Khabib MMA fight.

A brawl broke out at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas between Khabib and McGregor’s posses. Ingram, using various internet videos from different angles, broke down what occurred after the largest UFC fight in history.

Few poker-related videos on YouTube exceed 100,000 views. We have to give credit to Papi for expanding his horizons to be successful.

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Congrats to all of our winners. Well, perhaps not to Hellmuth and Ferguson.

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Michigan Online Gambling Is Coming, And So Are New Jobs

Michigan online gambling jobsMichigan online gambling jobs

Last week, the Michigan legislature passed an internet gambling bill in the eleventh hour of its legislative session. A pending signature from Gov. Rick Snyder is currently the only thing standing in the way of complete legalization.

Should the bill cross the finish line — something that looks likely — Michigan will become the fifth state with legal online gaming . And it is already one of those 11 that offers online lottery products. The Michigan online lottery is arguably the most powerful in the country.

So why are states increasingly turning to online gambling?

The top-line answer, naturally, is revenue. But as New Jersey and other early adopters have learned, the economic benefits of online gambling don’t stop there.

It’s not all about revenue

Direct revenue might be the primary driver of nations’ interest in online gambling, but it is just the tip of the economic iceberg.

While the NJ online gaming industry is on pace to generate close to $300 million in 2018, it has also:

These things are seldom mentioned in the talks surrounding online gambling.

Another one which is perhaps more valuable and receives even less attention is job creation.

Online gambling supports thousands of jobs

Any perception that online gambling is a job killer is simply wrong. According to a June 2017 white paper from iDevelopment and Economic Association (iDEA), it is a job creator.

The newspaper , entitled”Economic Impact of New Jersey Online Gaming: Lessons Learned,” came to the conclusion that the NJ online gambling business is responsible for 3,375 jobs and $218.9 million in employee wages. Keep in mind that the iDEA numbers covered 2014-2016 and don’t include the reopening of two casinos in 2018.

“These jobs weren’t created by legislative quotas but instead by human and capital resource investments in competitive markets,” Gene Johnson, executive vice president in Victor Plans and co-author of this white paper told Online Poker Report.

Tallies include 821 direct jobs with casinos and gaming providers, along with another 2,552 indirect and induced full-time equivalent positions.

What can Michigan expect?

Johnson expects to see amounts in Michigan that rival those from New Jersey.

“iGaming generated close to $1 billion in total positive economic impact over the first 3 years after implementation in New Jersey,” he said. “If iGaming is legalized and regulated in Michigan, the state should see similar benefits.”

While New Jersey’s early adoption brought some overseas businesses into the state, Johnson also noted that it suffered through growing pains as a completely new industry.

“Michigan can prevent those teething pains and benefit in the New Jersey experience,” he said,”borrowing the best aspects as a template for its own development.”

Online gambling will no doubt bolster Michigan’s land-based casino business and ship tens of millions of dollars to the nation. Those benefits will be apparent to all. But as it has in New Jersey, online gambling should also create thousands of new jobs for Michiganders.