Welcome to my view from the rail, your weekly look at poker and gaming news you might have missed while watching hair flap in the wind.
Tweet of the Week
After Justin Bonomo continued his heater by winning event #1 of the U.S. Poker Open, he tweeted this gem.
Does anybody know if the Twilight Zone episode with the gambler who can’t lose has a happy ending? Asking for a friend
— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) February 4, 2018
It might not the happy ending Bonomo was looking for, but at least he’s not in another dimension.
Poker Community Reaction to Annie Duke
What do you say to the friend who has all the money in the stock market? Cut your losses.
That’s exactly what Dan Schawbel and CNBC should be doing.
Schawbel wrote an article this week about decision making and made the ultimate mistake, at least by poker’s standard, by featuring Annie Duke.
The article was published on CNBC.com. Schawbel made mistake #2 by tweeting “world poker champion” above a picture of Duke.
— Dan Schawbel (@DanSchawbel) February 6, 2018
Poker Twitter erupted.
Holy shit from a dude with 200k followers? God damnit man like five minutes of googling
— Aaron Jones (@aejonesleggo) February 7, 2018
Really setting a low bar for journalism.
A little due dilligence goes a far ways.
How about delete this article praising a scam artist and instead give a platform to someone like @CrownUpGuy.
— Ryan Laplante🏳️🌈 (@Protentialmn) February 7, 2018
A minimal amount of research would have revealed to you how terrible of a choice it was for you to give her a platform. Annie & her brother scammed the poker community for millions of dollars & are widely considered scum. There is really a low bar for journalism these days eh?
— Kevin MacPhee (@KevinMacphee) February 7, 2018
Those tweets pretty much sum it up, and there are plenty more where they came from.
Not much else to see here – moving right along.
Zynga and the WPT
Zynga, the video game developer specializing in social games, posted strong earnings for 2017 thanks to Word with Friends and, yes, even poker!
It looks like Zynga is banking on poker again for 2018 as company announced a new partnership with World Poker Tour.
From an article about Zynga’s earnings on Venture Beat: “In the second half of 2018, Zynga Poker will hold a partnership with World Poker Tour, an international brand in real-world poker tournaments. Zynga Poker will bring World Poker Tour inside the game in live tournaments.”
The more poker being played in mainstream America, even if it is for play money, the better for all us.
A High Roller Robbery
Gary Weaver had a feeling he was being followed on his way home after cashing out for $20,000 following a successful session at the craps table.
And sure enough, he was.
This week, Kevin Carroll was convicted of six felonies associated with the home invasion of Weaver’s $2 million mansion after using a GPS device to track Weaver and his winnings to his home.
It wasn’t until a few days later that Carroll and his yet-to-be-identified accomplice burst into Weaver’s home and tormented his children at gunpoint while demanding to know where the money is.
Weaver admitted in court that he knew Carrol after sitting next to him more than a dozen times at the craps table. “He was a nice guy. I liked him,” Weaver was quoted as saying.
Let this be a lesson to us all to protect our winnings and be aware of who we “befriend” at the tables.
The American Poker Awards
The list of finalists for the 4th Annual American Poker Awards was released this week. As you would expect, the list includes a who’s who of poker in the U.S. and Canada.
We already know the recipients of two awards. The 2017 GPI American Player of the Year went to Bryn Kenney, and the 2017 GPI Female Player of the Year was earned by Kristen Bicknell.
Among the 14 different awards being handed out this year is a new category – Poker’s Biggest Influencer. Daniel Negreanu, Cary Katz, Matt Savage and Doug Polk definitely qualify as industry influencers, but they each do it in different ways. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
All of the trophies, along with five specialty honors, will be awarded on Feb. 22 in West Hollywood, California.
Online Gaming Legislation News
PA Gaming Applications Now Available
We’ve been waiting patiently since the passage of the new Pennsylvania gaming law last fall for some movement. Well, that movement came this week with the opening of the application process.
Don’t get too excited, though. Applications may be available, but there are still a few months before applicants are due to submit the paperwork and the vetting process begins.
There are 12 casinos currently operating in Pennsylvania. Each of those casinos has the opportunity to purchase licenses. There are 13 online casino licenses and 13 online poker licenses available. Any license not purchased by existing casinos will be made public.
GiG Partners with Hard Rock Atlantic City
There were questions about who would be behind online gaming for Hard Rock Atlantic City now that it is giving new life to the former Trump Taj Mahal.
Those questions were answered this week when it was announced that Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) was entering into a strategic partnership with Hard Rock International, the parent company of Hard Rock Atlantic City.
Based in Malta and active in Europe, this partnership will be the first for GiG in the U.S. market.
With the expansion, new legislation making its way through the process on the East Coast, and the highly anticipated Supreme Court ruling on sports betting, it is likely that GiG is looking to position itself to expand its presence in the U.S.
Super Bowl Spurs the Sports Betting Movement in California
State Assemblyman Adam Gray believes California lost out on huge revenue numbers because the state is unable to regulate the significant amount of sports betting taking place on online.
“Many people are on online sites now, but their money is not protected,” Gray said. “There’s no regulation or accountability for those companies, so this will kind of bring it out of the shadows and have a legal regulated marketplace.”
Last summer, Gray introduced an amendment to legalize sports betting. California, however, is in limbo awaiting the Supreme Court ruling on whether sports betting will continue to be limited to the state of Nevada.
Gray wants to bring the amendment to a vote but is forced to wait and see, along with many states across the country.
And that’s my view from the rail for the week ending Feb. 9, 2018. Be safe out there and go influence something. Maybe you can earn yourself an American Poker Award next year.