Poker Hall of Fame

February 20, 2015 Category :General Off

The Poker Hall of Fame was created in 1979 and is located in Las Vegas, where else? Originally owned by Binion’s Horseshoe, the current owner is Caesar’s Entertainment. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the aim for all top poker players, whilst many recreational and online poker fans can only dream of such success. Whilst poker is, of course, primarily about winning money – and of course having fun too – there is no doubt that the prestige of being added to the list of great names already on the roll of honor means a great deal.

The legendary gambling icon and mobster Benny Binion, who passed away in 1989, created the Hall of Fame in 1979. The Dallas-born owner of the iconic (Binion’s) Horseshoe Casino established the Hall of Fame partly as a marketing ploy to attract tourists and gamblers to his casino (another stunt was to create a display with $1m in cash on the casino floor). It was also, of course, a fitting monument to the great players of the time and the concept proved an instant hit.

Seven players were inducted in 1979, including the first World Series of Poker winner Johnny Moss, aka The Grand Old Man of Poker. Nick Dandolos, much better known as Nick the Greek was also added, whilst the wonderfully named Felton McCorquodale (Corky) also got his name on the list, partly for his roll in bringing Texas hold ‘em to Vegas way back in 1963. One of the more interesting inaugural members was Wild Bill Hickok, a man who was born in 1837 and had been dead for more than 100 years when he received this honor.

Since 2004, when Caesar’s bought the rights to the WSOP, they have, through the WSOP, effectively owned and controlled the Hall of Fame. Prior to that poker luminaries such as Doyle Brunson (1988), Binion himself (1990) and Amarillo Slim (1992) were added to the Hall of Fame, whilst more recent additions have included Stu Ungar in 2001, Johnny Chan in 2002, Binion’s son Jack (in 2005) and in 2007 the Hall got its first woman inductee in the shape of Barbara Enright. Daniel Negreanu was among the 2014 intake, whilst Scotty Nguyen and Phil Hellmuth have also been inducted.

Best Poker Books

February 6, 2015 Category :General Off

Poker is one of the world’s most popular games and in recent years the popularity of the game, and Texas hold ‘em in particular, has really soared. Much as we have a wealth of information right here, there is simply too much to say, too many theories to discuss and too many great tales to tell for us to cover everything. But if you know someone who loves poker or you like the game yourself then read on as we take a look at some of the best books ever written on this beguiling, frustrating, magnificent game.

Super System by Doyle Brunson

This classic focusses on the strategy of poker and was published in 1978. It enlightened people on the concept of “power poker” and what Brunson wrote almost 40 years ago is still very much impacting the game today. His brand of super-aggressive play still dominates at the top tables and this book is a must-read for any serious player.

Shut Up and Deal by Jesse May

The only fictional entry on our list, Shut Up and Deal was published in 1998 and is a great, character-led book about Mickey, a slacker with a great appetite for the game. With brilliant prose and a style that grips you from the off, if this doesn’t get you in the mood for a game then you don’t like poker!

Super System 2 by Doyle Brunson

Okay, we might have a soft spot for the legendary Texan, a two-time WSOP main event winner, but his “sequel” gets its place on this list on merit and is a brilliant choice for players who play a variety of poker variants including limit games (although the revised information on no-limit hold ‘em is also well worth a read).

The Biggest Game in Town by Al Alvarez

If theory and strategy are making your head hurt then this brilliant book will provide a little respite, focusing as it does on the history and characters that have made the biggest poker tournament in the world, the World Series of Poker, so compelling. Alvarez is an English poet and essayist who went to the 1981 tournament and, despite sticking out like a sore thumb, managed to capture the magic of the times and the hard-to-believe tales that poker’s finest recite like the alphabet.

UK Poker Player Jailed for Fraud

January 23, 2015 Category :Legal| Online Poker Off

Playing online poker should be fun and if you make a few bucks along the way then even better, but for Darren Woods of Healing, England, it was an activity that allowed him to accrue huge profits… by cheating.

Woods, 29, denied 13 fraud offences that took place between 2007 and 2012 but was found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court in South Yorkshire. He was jailed for 15 months but could face a further six years in prison if he doesn’t comply with a confiscation order that demands he pays back £1m (approximately $1.5m) within six months.

It is thought he “won” considerably more than the amount he is being forced to pay back, with some of the money being used via the online poker site to recompense players it is proved he cheated. Woods has assets worth more than £1.4m and it is thought the vast majority of this fortune, equivalent to more than $2m, was obtained by fraudulent online poker activities.

Woods, whose father also admitted to money laundering charges, “rigged” online poker games by fraudulently playing as multiple players at the same time. Effectively he was colluding with himself in order to cheat other players at the table whilst also accumulating commissions and cashbacks from the poker sites themselves.

He used private online networks to disguise his multiple identities and the judge said, “In individual games, other people playing against you stood to lose money because the odds had been rigged in your favour by the creation of multiple identities which were undisclosed to other players. Cheating undermines confidence in the recreational gambling industry.”

Woods was declared bankrupt in 2006 but bounced back to win $213,000 in a World Series of Poker game in Las Vegas in 2011 but rather than continuing to play fairly he thought he had found a way to scam other online players without being caught.

However, both the authorities and the online poker sites are well aware of the risk of such activities and have various methods of combatting them, including algorithms that spot unusual playing patterns and investigations into suspicious poker accounts.

Woods’ father was given a six month suspended prison sentence and will be forced to pay back around £19,000 he is thought to have personally gained from the money laundering.

Poker is “Solved” by Super-Computer

January 9, 2015 Category :General Off

Scientists from the University of Alberta in Canada have reported to respected journal Science that they have devised a computer program that cannot be beaten at poker!

Before you get too excited and head out to access the program before cleaning up playing online poker, the program – for the time being at least – has only mastered fixed limit, head-up Texas hold ‘em. That said, with many programs already out there for playing more complex variants of poker, it may not be too long before the two technologies meet which could have serious ramifications for online poker and possibly even casino multi-player poker.

The researchers have created an algorithm based on the research their computer did whilst playing a staggering 24 trillion hands of heads up EVERY SECOND for two months. That’s a lot of poker! The computer was able to learn what plays worked and what didn’t and so create a methodology so close to perfect that “it can’t be beaten with statistical significance within a lifetime of human poker playing”.

It has played more hands of poker than have ever actually been played out in the history of humanity and, moreover, unlike most poker players it has recorded exactly how those hands panned out in order to be able to play as close to optimally as is possible in a non-perfect information game.

Previous strategies and computer programs had been designed for perfect information games – where all players know all information – such as chess and blackjack but this is a first because in poker there is unknown information – such as what is in the opponent’s hand.

Michael Bowling, the lead researcher on the project said “Our model has spent two months playing poker again and again… more poker hands than all of humanity – so in some sense it’s not surprising that it has developed the perfect strategy.”

It remains to be seen how casinos and online poker sites will react to the breakthrough but the poker genius program is available online for players to test and play against and it is sure to be of interest to a wide range of companies, both in the gambling industry and the wider world. Whilst we may be hoping we can crack the game and clean up at the table, it is thought the technology may have uses in the fields of security and statistical analysis.

Poker at the Movies

January 2, 2015 Category :General Off

Poker is a great game however you choose to play it, and for many people their first contact with it is via Hollywood’s portrayal of this sensational card game. Here we take a look at some of poker’s biggest and best moments on the silver screen and whilst the action isn’t always portrayed with 100% accuracy, you can be sure that these films will get you hungry for some action.

Rounders

Released in 1998 and starring Edward Norton, Matt Damon and John Malkovich, Rounders is a classic poker film. Featuring high stakes games, Russian gangsters and some elements of both Rocky-style movies and typical “buddy movies”, Rounders is fast, frenetic and fans are eagerly awaiting the sequel. Rounders 2 has been touted since 2012 but now we’re in 2015 and there is little sign of it… though our fingers are crossed that it will materialize before too long!

Casino Royale

Casino Royale was released in 2006 and was the first movie to star Daniel Craig as Bond. Unsurprisingly, given the name, there is a strong casino and gambling element to the film, which, in this most modern adaptation of Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel, centers on poker, as opposed to baccarat that is Bond’s traditional game of choice and which was part of both the book and the earlier 1967 movie. The thrilling poker scene sees Bond thwart the principle villain by drawing a straight flush to his full house and for fans of the game this action makes an already-great movie even better.

The Gambler

Kenny Roger’s country ballad The Gambler is a song just about everyone knows and can sing along to and this made-for-TV feature was a huge hit in the 1980s, staying true to the song and seeing Kenny befriend a younger stranger whom he helps on his way through a variety of scrapes with a range of Zen-like poker advice.

The Cincinnati Kid

If younger poker fans will love Rounders, players of slightly more advancing years will remember this 1965 extravaganza starring Steve McQueen just as fondly. As Eric Stoner, McQueen is, well, typical McQueen: cool as hell, steely and one of life’s winners. The movie features loads of great poker action but there’s plenty in this stylish depression-era drama for non-poker aficionados too.

Different Types of Poker Online

May 5, 2014 Category :General Off

Poker is one of the world’s most popular card games and certainly one of the biggest that is played online and also the one that is most commonly gambled on. However, “poker” is not one single game but a collection of many, many games with a common theme and here we take a look at some of the most popular poker variants that are available at the top online poker sites (US friendly of course!) that we work with.

Texas Hold’em is by far and away the most commonly played form of online poker but here four other games that you’ll often find at poker sites, as well as the most popular option too.

Texas Hold’em

The Daddy of them all, Hold’em is the game that you see in all the movies and TV shows and the one you probably play with your buddies, or at least hear them talking about. Like Omaha below, it’s a community card variant of poker in which every player receives two personal (hole) cards and then shares five community cards with the other players. Every single poker site in the world will have Texas Hold’em!

Omaha Hold’em

Omaha is known to fewer players but has its hardcore fans who won’t play anything else and Omaha is also available at virtually all online poker sites. In this game you get four hole cards and five community ones and must form your best hands using two of your own and three of the shared cards.

Five Card Draw

Draw poker is a simpler version of the game and five card draw, sometimes known as Cantrell draw, is the most popular variant, although still reasonably rare online or in land casinos. Each player receives five cards, facedown and can swap any (often no more than three or four) for alternative cards to try and form a better hand.

Five Card Stud

In Five Card Stud poker players get five cards with one face down and the rest face up, betting taking place as each card is dealt. This is an old-fashioned form of the game and hasn’t been played in the World Series of Poker since the 1970s.

Seven Card Stud

The same as the above but with two cards face down and five face up, Seven Card Stud is more popular than Five Card and is offered by many casinos, both off and online.

Play all of these games at our recommended USA legal poker sites. USA poker players are welcome at the sites we recommend and all the sites do a good job getting USA deposits approved.

Why We Play Poker Online

April 11, 2014 Category :Online Poker Off

Playing poker with friends is a great way to have fun and hone your skills while playing in a real-life casino adds a certain glamor to the occasion. But playing online poker has so many benefits that neither of those can match and while all three have their pros and cons, we love playing online poker for the following reasons.

First and most obviously, you don’t need to leave the house! Call me lazy or whatever you will but when the Polar Vortex was freezing the East coast the choice of “stay inside in front of the fire or head round to my buddy’s” was a simple one: sorry Brad! Why not crank that heat up real high and play in your beach wear?!

Another major advantage of playing poker is that most offer a great bonus to help you get started. I’ve played poker at a friends house a lot of times and never once when I walk through the door has someone just give me a thousand bucks. A warm beer sometimes, maybe some chips if I’m real lucky but never a thousand dollars – which is exactly what Bovada offers!

A further benefit of playing poker online is that you can always be guaranteed action. The online casinos and poker rooms never close, never have better things to do and never cancel a game at the last minute. Anytime of the day or night you can be assured of a game if you play online and with many of our featured USA legal poker sites now available on mobile, you can even play on the move or slip in a few hands when waiting around with nothing to do.

Finally, playing online is quick and hassle free, with no concerns about cheating, funky dealing or other people seeing your cards or touching your stack. In addition, you can also find some easy action and really cash in: after all, that heating bill isn’t going to pay itself!

Check out the many great USA poker sites we recommend, all of which welcome USA players. Sign up to claim a huge bonus and enjoy playing online anytime the mood strikes.

Play Poker at BetOnline

April 1, 2014 Category :USA Poker Off

BetOnline PokerThere are a growing number of online poker rooms that accept USA poker players, but, as with everything on the internet, some sites are a whole lot better than others. The good news is we only feature the best USA legal poker sites here, and BetOnline Poker is certainly one of those.

The company itself has been in business since 2001 and so they have a wealth of knowledge about how to run a successful gaming site. And though the poker room itself has only been up and running since 2011, they have followed the same principles which made their sportsbook a big success: dynamic, cutting edge software and products, a good mix of promotions and top notch customer service.

Touted as the “fastest growing poker room in the US”, BetOnline is based in Panama where they are licensed and regulated. They welcome US customers with open arms and have a good range of payment options including credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express), while Western Union and Money Gram are decent alternatives. Withdrawals can be made by Western Union or a Fed Ex delivered check. A great feature at BetOnline and another reason so many players are flocking to the site, is BetOnline pays fast. Request a Western Union withdraw and have your money in as little 48 hours.

The welcome bonus, which varies from time to time, gives new poker players a 200% bonus on their first deposit (which must be between $50 and $2,500 to qualify). The bonus is then released in five stages based on how much you play and you have 120 days to complete the bonus play-through requirements.

Once you’ve signed up to BetOnline Poker you will find a good number of ongoing and one time promotions and bonuses to keep the cash flowing your way. These come in a variety of forms including guaranteed prize pots, with up to $250,000 in prize money up for grabs, jackpots available when you get bad beats or specified good poker hands (four of a kind being worth a bonus at the time of writing) and free seats at some big money tournaments.

With great graphics and a slick interface (powered by their propriety software), BetOnline Poker is certainly one of the best options for USA players. Give them a try today and see if you can win yourself a tidy stash. For more information see our BetOnline Poker review and use any of our links to be taken to site and qualify for the bonuses offered.