Even with so much going on in the world, poker news keeps coming fast and furious. It helps that the World Series of Poker online edition is in full effect, offering all kinds of tales both ridiculous and sublime. But there have been some other developments in the poker world, online and offline, this past week that bear noting as well.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at all that went down.
Negreanu in the News
Poker fans have to be thankful for Daniel Negreanu for keeping us entertained these past few months. Most of the big names in the poker world have been out of the news cycle, which is what you would expect during this time. But Negreanu seems to be a lightning rod for attention.
This week has been a particularly newsworthy one for Negreanu. And, in both cases, what happened to him is actually relevant to most poker players.
First came his complaints on Wednesday that Bank of America was shutting down his account. While Bank of America didn’t give a specific reason in the verbiage that Negreanu tweeted out to his followers, you can guess that there was some sort of red flag that came up due to large sums of his money going to gambling.
Of course, the odd thing about this is that the sums that Negreanu is spending to get involved with the World Series of Poker are perfectly legal. But by the same token, Bank of America is completely within its eights to terminate any accounts that they see fit. It’s all right there in the documents that you sign when you open an account.
The lesson here is similar to the one learned the hard way by online casino players who don’t look at the funding options available to them when they sign up for a particular gambling website. It doesn’t seem to be a problem until it becomes one.
It’s doubtful that Negreanu will have a hard time finding a bank willing to accept his business going forward. But the incident does point to a disconnect between the way banks and poker players view the pastime.
Later on in the week, Negreanu suffered another headache when he was booted out of a hand in one of the WSOP events due to a computer glitch. Because everything that happens with him tends to go viral, a video of Negreanu’s explosive reaction to this made the rounds.
Of course, were any of us in the same seat, we likely would have had the same reaction. And it does highlight a bit of an issue that can crop up at any time in online play.
Even as everyone is quick to praise online tournaments as an alternative to the real thing, the chance of some sort of malfunction is a shadow hanging over the proceedings. We can only hope that an ill-timed breakdown doesn’t mar one of these events if it happens on a crucial, tournament-deciding hand.
Pennsylvania Poker Beefs Up
Pennsylvania is a somewhat underrated state when it comes to the gambling world. In fact, it was one of the first states to take the leap into casino gambling that had previously only been the dominion of Nevada and New Jersey for decades. On top of that, the success of Pennsylvania’s casinos is one of the main reasons to which experts point when they try to elucidate the decline of Atlantic City.
The odd thing about it is that all this has occurred in a state which has been generally slow to get gambling matters squared away on the regulatory front. That’s part of the reason why Pennsylvania online gamblers are out of luck for the World Series of Poker online events unless they travel to New Jersey or Nevada.
That could soon be changing, however. Party Poker, WSOP.com and 888 have all made inroads recently in terms of opening up their doors in the state. They would join PokerStars, which is the entrenched poker entity in the Keystone State.
With news coming out this week from several of the above organizations that soft launches could be coming up in the months to come, it seems a matter of time before there will be much more competition for the poker player’s action in the state real soon. More competition is always good for the player, since it means that you can pick and choose your game instead of being forced into one.
It also means, if the World Series of Poker continues to have an online presence next year, Pennsylvania could be one of the hubs of that activity. Casinos within the state could also become more of a destination, assuming we can get back to the point where crowds of people can gather without worry.
The Big, Big Blind
Pro poker players are usually the types who know how to deal with the loss of their buy-in money. Some Australian poker players got way more than they bargained for this past week, however, in terms of their losses.
It seems that Victoria, one of the states in Australia, instituted a crackdown on those violating any lockdown regulations. Caught within this sweeping takedown was a poker game inside a home that included 13 players. Each of these players were fined $1,652 in Australian dollars, which comes to about $1,150 USD.
Obviously, no such fines are being handed out in the United States. But it is still a good idea to practice common sense when it comes to large social gatherings nonetheless. These folks didn’t and paid the price.
One wonders if the pot was big enough the ultimate winner of that home game was able to offset their losses. As for the also-rans, well, they dealt with a serious double whammy—what they lost at the table and what they lost to the law.