View From The Rail: Crypto, Online Poker, And Weight Loss

January 12, 2018
View From The Rail: Crypto, Online Poker, And Weight Loss

Welcome to the very first View from the Rail; Your weekly look at the poker stories and news of the week that you probably missed while following every single crypto Twitter thread and checking your net worth.

In case you haven’t heard, you can breathe. At least a little. A representative of the South Korean government has come out saying the Justice Ministry’s position on cryptocurrency does not reflect that of the entire government.

So, while South Korea is getting their relationship with Bitcoin straight, here’s what’s happening in our world.

Quote of the week (and overall general good advice)

What’s one more buy-in?

What do you say when the fish at your table loses his buy-in and is deciding whether he should withdraw more money? You should try again, maybe your luck will change.

That’s what West Virginian’s are saying as democrats refiled HR 3067 that would end up legalizing online poker in the state. Oh, and sports betting is taking another shot, too.

What’s different now?

According to reporting by Steve Ruddock, supporters are optimistic they will have the time to rally support for passage. It doesn’t hurt that nearby Pennsylvania recently passed legislation legalizing online gambling.

It looks like the Northeast might become the online poker mecca of the U.S. Let’s hope this is a trend that continues and other parts of the country jump on board.

What’s your resolution?

We shared some resolutions from the poker community last week, and if you’re like 32% of the United States, you resolve to lose weight.

Well, PokerStars seems to be making a resolution of their own. Their sponsored pro list got a little lighter with the announcements of several pros severing ties with the online site.

The exodus started with Felipe Ramos in December 2017, followed by Vanessa Selbst and Jason Mercier shortly after. All three players cited different reasons for their split.

What does this mean?

Well, it’s hard to say for sure, but it sure seems like changes are afoot at PokerStars.

With the announcement of the PokerStars Poker Players Championship and the $9 million overlay they are advertising, it could be that they are just pinching pennies. Or maybe more surprises are coming down the pike.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the trimming continues.

Speaking of trimming down

How much weight do you think you can lose by sitting in the sauna all day? Just asked Adam Schwartz, the host of the long-running, extremely popular Two Plus Two Podcast.

On episode #450 of the podcast (at about the 1:43 mark), Schwartz was challenged to a $25k freeroll by Bill Perkins to lose 80 pounds in ten months.

On January 1st, Schwartz weighed in on Periscope at 149.2 after spending all day – literally all day – in the sauna. He started the day at 157 and at 11:07 p.m. he weighed in under the magical number of 150.

The money hasn’t exchanged hands just yet. And that’s because Schwartz will have to weigh in at 150 pounds or less for eight weeks to collect.

Perkins was quick to congratulate and remind Schwartz of this fact.

That sort of sounds like a needle to me.

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is the average weight-loss resolution lasts eight days. The good news is this isn’t a New Year’s resolution.

You can follow Adam’s weigh-ins on Twitter. He’s @PokercastAdam, and he’s using the hashtag #150freeroll.

Go, Adam, Go.

[i15-table tableid=20717][i15-table tableid=19346]

The student sends everyone to school

It’s the stuff of Hollywood movies. A student sets out to learn a craft from a master. Student slowly climbs the ladder of success. Student wins at craft and life.

Welcome to Maria Konnikova‘s story. Well, except it wasn’t slow climb, she went from novice poker player to champion in just ten months. And to be honest, she was already winning at life. She’s a doctor of Psychology and a celebrated author and journalist.

But how often is it that someone researching a story actually becomes the story? Not often.

In the ten months that she’s been studying the game under the tutelage of Erik Seidel, she’s accrued $116,204 in live tournament earnings. And in true Seidel fashion, he gives credit where credit is due.

As Konnikova continues to take players to school with another strong showing, Seidel tweets this:

Our advice to Seidel is turn off your phone; you’re about to be besieged. And to Konnikova, maybe the book can wait.

And finally … ICYMI

What happens when you think you can? Well, you can.

In December, PokerNews tournament reporters, Aleeyah Jadavji and Adam Lamers became something of live streaming phenoms while raising money for charity.

Jadavji explained, “I had the idea [for the live stream] since the summer. I wanted to do this to give back because I’m so grateful to have had a great couple of first years in the poker media industry. I’m lucky to have found something I love to do, and I missed the charity work I did when I was younger. What better way to do some good than within the community itself?”

Lamers was inspired when covering WSOP Main Event champion, Martin Jacobson in a tournament. “After meeting and getting to know Martin Jacobson in Punta Cana, I wanted to give back in a way that he does. I signed up with REG charity and then got to talking with Aleeyah about this charity stream idea. We came up with a plan to have a little fun.”

They definitely had some fun. The A-Team Charity Stream kicked off a week of daily streams with the dynamic duo of Daniel Andersen and Jamie Kerstetter. It was all uphill from there.

Other guests included:

  • Martin Jacobson (thanks to his new connection to Lamers)
  • Jason Sommerville
  • Ryan Laplante
  • Kristin Bicknell
  • Jen Shahade
  • Eric Wasylenko
  • Patrick Serda
  • Ari Engel
  • Philipp Gruissem
  • Andrew Barber
  • And frequent visits by fellow poker reporter, Shirley Ang.

The A-Team Charity Stream crushed every goal Jadavji and Lamers had for it, goals they didn’t want to admit out loud.

When all was said and done, $25,000 went to Raising for Effective Giving (REG). And thanks to a matching pledge by Martin Crowley, Tom Crowley, and Dan Smith, that $25,000 became $50,000 worth of help for those in need.

Lamers is grateful for the experience, saying, “I learned so much about the poker community and how generous they are.”

Jadavji had this to say, “This experience changed me in ways I can’t accurately describe. It was really eye-opening and heart-warming to see this community come together and raise so much money for an organization such as REG. it makes me want to continue this in the new year and find bigger and better ways to raise even more money.”

What does the future hold?

“Charity stream 2.0 is definitely a go,” said Lamers.

Jadavji echoes that statement, saying, “There were a lot of people that helped with the stream, purely out of the goodness of their hearts. It made me believe that this could turn into a bigger project and I hope to bring them all on for 2.0 later this year.”

She continued, “Seeing other people do good things, no matter the cause, makes me want to do the same and I can only hope this continues to have a ripple effect. We all work incredibly hard in life, and as much as we want to improve our own lives, it feels great to help others along the way.”

I’m in. What about you?

On a personal note. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with both Jadavji and Lamers this past summer at the WSOP in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I stand in awe of their accomplishment and witnessing them create this little bit of magic was the perfect way to end the year and start the new one with hope.

Congratulations, my friends, I’m honored to know you.

And that’s my view from the rail for the week of January 12, 2017.

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