Weekly Poker Roundup: November 28, 2015
It has been Thanksgiving Week here in the United States and even though poker is very much an international pastime, there hasn’t been all that much going on in the poker world in recent days. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though – sometimes we just need a few days to kick back, relax, and spend some time with family and friends. Let’s see, though, what we did hear about in the past week:
Nevada AG Takes Nonsensical Stance on RAWA
Nevada’s Attorney General, Adam Laxalt, told Jon Ralston on his show, “Ralston Live” that he will be signing the pro-Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) petition that is making the rounds amongst his fellow state AG’s. RAWA, a bill spawned from the ashen heart of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, would make most online gambling, including poker, illegal in the United States. This means that Laxalt is actively working to eliminate his own state’s legal and regulated online gambling industry.
“….Congress spoke on this issue and had an existing Wire Act, ok? And then Attorney General Holder issued an opinion a few days before Christmas some years ago and changed that landscape,” Laxalt told Ralston. “He changed that landscape without gaming companies, without law enforcement, without all the parties that should’ve been involved to make sure that we can keep consumers safe and all this can be done properly.”
Laxalt added, “You know, you have, you need to know where the sources of money are coming from and you need to make sure you can police this area.”
It is curious that Laxalt would support such an initiative; Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Nevada Gaming Control Board Commissioner A.G. Burnett both spoke out against his decision. But his anti-online gambling stance makes more sense when one remembers that Sheldon Adelson was a major contributor to his campaign for Attorney General. Additionally, as Flushdraw reported in October, Laxalt’s sister, Therese “Tessa” Laxalt, is a lobbyist for j3 Strategies, the lobbying firm whose two biggest clients are the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
High Stakes “Dogs Playing Poker” Game
It’s not often (never, really) that art and poker combine to make news, but that is exactly what happened recently. One of the sixteen works in the famous “Dogs Playing Poker” series sold for $658,000 at Sotheby’s art auction.
“Poker Game,” painted in 1894 by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, was part of the series commissioned by the Brown & Bigelow cigar company, a series famous for its depictions of anthropomorphized dogs. “A Friend in Need” is the most famous painting in the series, but “Poker Game” is similar and, obviously, very highly valued. Two other paintings in the series, “Waterloo” and “A Bold Bluff,” sold together for $590,400 combined in 2005.
American Heritage magazine summed up the appeal of Coolidge’s paintings in 1973, saying, “His dogs fit with amazing ease into such human male phenomena as the all-night card game, the commuter train, and the ball park. His details of expression, clothing, and furniture are precise. Uncannily, the earnest animals resemble people we all know, causing distinctions of race, breed, and color to vanish….”
High Stakes PokerStars Players to Strike
Unhappy with PokerStars’ announced reduction in benefits for high stakes and high volume grinders, a group of online poker players is planning to boycott the world’s largest poker room in the coming week. The group, led by several Russian players and professional poker player Dani “ansky” Stern, has its eyes set on December 1st through December 3rd as the target days during which they will take their rake elsewhere.
“PokerStars/Amaya has announced an aggressive overhaul of the 2016 VIP system. They have deceived SNE players about benefits they would receive, are discontinuing the SNE program, and they have completely removed all rewards for high stakes (5/10+) cash games,” Stern explained on Two Plus Two.
“While PokerStars claims the changes are to provide relief to recreational players, there is no such change happening. They are telling their players outright lies, and we will not stand for it. Beyond that, it follows an ongoing trend that PokerStars/Amaya has been taking in recent years. A site that was once clearly for the players, has completely lost sight of that.”
Stern said he understands that a boycott – even one well attended by a couple thousand players – is not going to suddenly force PokerStars to its knees, but he feels that it is necessary in order to make a point. “No one has any illusions of sinking PokerStars stock with a 3 day strike, or bringing down the company. That’s not what this is about,” he said. “This is a demonstration of force, and an effort to show PokerStars that we are a body of players, and not just individuals. We have the ability to act as one, to make our voices heard, and to rally players behind a fair grievance.”
More U.S. Full Tilt Payments Made
Another couple thousand United States poker players received their long, lost money from Full Tilt Poker, more than four and a half years since Full Tilt player deposits were frozen on Black Friday. The electronic transfers were initially announced in October by Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas, who was communicating with the Full Tilt claims administrator, the Garden City Group (GCG). GCG itself confirmed the information shortly thereafter, saying that this seventh round of payments includes about 1,900 players and $5.5 million.
The people included in this payment wave are “….Petitioners who confirmed their FTP Account Balances, Petitioners who have disputed their FTP Account Balances and Petitioners designated by Full Tilt as ‘Professionals.’”
GCG says that about 92 percent of petitioners have now been paid. Approximately $109.1 million has now been paid out to former U.S. customers of Full Tilt.
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