Friday, October 31, 2008

Release: PokerPro Free Roll at Trump Plaza

Trump Plaza's 100% PokerPro(R) Poker Room will be hosting a $25,000 Freeroll No-Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker Tournament in December 2008. To qualify for a seat in the $25,000 Freeroll, players must play a minimum of 60 hours of cash/ring games in Trump Plaza's Poker Room between November 1st and November 30th.

The Freeroll will be held in Trump Plaza's poker room located in the East Tower and will begin at 10 AM onDecember 13th. Each player will begin with $12,500 in virtual chips. In the event that more than 110 players qualify for a seat in the tournament, there will be two rounds played on December 13th at 10 AM and 2 PM, with the final round to be held on December 14th at 10 AM. The first place prize is $10,000.

"By holding this tournament, Trump Plaza is rewarding their loyal players and providing incentive for newcomers to visit their poker room," said Randy Kiefer, PokerPro's Account Manager for Atlantic City. "The atmosphere is like no other in Atlantic City; once players are introduced to Trump Plaza's poker room, they are sure to become regulars."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Borgata Poker Scam Artists Plead Not Guilty

Maybe they think they did nothing wrong or perhaps they can get away with scamming people out of lots of money. Maybe it's a good thing that they try to get out of this mess. Personally, I find it stupid that anyone would leave the safer confines of a regulated poker room and go up to someone's room.

Here's the latest article from The Press of Atlantic City regarding the idiots who went up to this room and how the defendants have pled not guilty. Good for them.

MAYSLANDING — The last of four defendants indicted earlier this month for allegedly organizing a high-tech gambling scheme at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment hearing Thursday.

James Harrison, 42, of Duluth, Minn., is accused of renting a room at the Borgata to host private, high-stakes games of Chinese poker, backgammon and chess along with Joseph Ingargiola, 51, of Las Vegas; Stephen Phillips, 53, of Las Vegas; and Steven Forte, 52, of Las Vegas , authorities say.

They rigged a nearby room with surveillance equipment and computers to cheat a high-roller out of tens of thousands of dollars, according to the indictment.

But shortly before the victim was to arrive, State Police searched the two hotel rooms, arrested the four men and seized the equipment.

The men were indicted by an Atlantic County grand jury Oct. 2 on charges of second-degree attempted theft by deception, state Attorney General Anne Milgram said.

Harrison’s attorney, James Leonard Jr., waived a reading of the indictment Thursday and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf before Superior Court Judge Michael Connor.

Ingargiola, Phillips and Forte all pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment hearing on Monday. Ingargiola is represented by Jerry Elashmawi. Phillips is represented by Joseph Levin. Forte is represented by Stephen Funk.

Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 fine. Each of the defendants was released on bail after the June 7, 2007, arrests.

The indictment alleges the four men plotted to cheat a man, identified only as "J.H.," who was invited to participate in a tournament involving the high-stakes games in a Borgata hotel room. The four men allegedly rigged a second room with hidden surveillance cameras, audio equipment, computers and other high-tech devices that would be used to cheat the victim out of more than $75,000, according to the indictment.

The defendants allegedly intended to use the equipment to secretly monitor the games from the second room. The victim was to play an opponent who was part of the alleged scheme. The defendants allegedly planned to use marked playing cards for the Chinese poker so they could identify the victim's cards and transmit instructions to the opposing player, who would be wearing a concealed earpiece.

They also intended to use the equipment to monitor the games of backgammon and chess so computer programs could be used to calculate the countermoves that offered the best odds of winning, authorities said.

Deputy Attorney General Kerry DiJoseph of the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau - Casino Prosecution Unit, is handling the case for the state.

The attorneys are scheduled to appear in court Nov. 17 without their clients for a management conference, Connor said. The defendants and their attorneys will all appear in court together Dec. 1, he said.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Casino News: MGM Plans on Hold

There is more news coming out of atlantic City today about its potentional casinos. Now, MGM has decided to be its plans on hold because of sagging economy. Can't say I blame them because reports from a few people I know in the business have said the last couple of week have been horrendous.

Poker rooms have had few tables going and ones that are going, are short. Not fun times.

Here is the article from The Press of Atlantic City.

By DONALD WITTKOWSKI, Staff Writer, 609-272-7258
Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gaming giant MGM Mirage Resorts Inc. said today it is halting plans for a $5 billion casino complex in Atlantic City until the sagging economy picks up.

The announcement comes as no surprise and reiterates what the company told The Press of Atlantic City in August. At that time, MGM said it would postpone the start of construction at least until 2009.

MGM did not state how long it would delay the project in today’s announcement, which was made as part of the company’s report on third quarter earnings.

“We continue to believe Atlantic City represents an important market for further development,” Terry Lanni, MGM’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We intend to resume development at such time as economic conditions and capital markets are sufficiently improved to enable us to go forward on a reasonable basis.”

MGM planned to build an estimated $4.5 billion to $5 billion megaresort in the Marina District next to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which it co-owns with Boyd Gaming Corp.

Economy hard on Trump too

The economy has been rough on all of us. Donold Trump feels the weight of it too, agreeing to lower the sale price of the Trump Marina by almost $50 million. That's like a jet or two Trump won't be able to buy now.

Maybe that means there will be no poker room if Margaritaville ever comes into existence. Here's the story from the AP:

AP - ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. Sometimes the art of the deal calls for it to be redone.

That's what has happened to an agreement between Donald Trump and a former protege of his who's buying the Trump Marina Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.

Due to the worsening economy, both sides agreed to reduce the purchase price for the casino-hotel to $270 million, down from the $316 million they set as the price back in May.

Trump's company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, can also scrap the whole deal if it doesn't go through by the end of May.

Developer Richard Fields is teaming with singer Jimmy Buffett's business arm to re-brand the casino as "Margaritaville."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tropicana hosting holiday free roll

The Tropicana is hosting a $25,000 Holiday Free Roll Tournament on December 22.

To gain entry players must accumulate 120 hours of live poker play starting October 1, 2008 to December 13, 2008. Bonus Hours will be given Sunday thru Thursday from midnight to 8 a.m.

First place is a guaranteed $10,000.

With 1 to 299 players, winners will be awarded for 1st through 10th place and for 299 or more players, 20 places will be awarded. Players will receive $10,000 in tournament chips to start, with 30-minute rounds.

For more information contact the Tropicana Poker Room at 609-340-4000.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Commerce Trip Report

I’ve only been playing poker for three years. In this day, the learning curve is a lot quicker than it used to be with the amount of books and access to online poker. Me, I’m not one that’s big on theory. It may sound strange to someone who is an avid player, but I rely more on instincts and reads.

I do the whole pot odds things and calculate. I make certain knowing I am going to get paid off in the end, but I’ve always been more interested in the history of the game. Poker evolved from a back room, hustler’s game to a mainstream pop culture reference, which I am now a statistic.

While in Los Angeles, I had to take the opportunity to play poker. There are hundreds of card rooms in this great state and hearing the stories and history behind these places, I had no choice.

The tiny poker player in me was calling, tugging me toward the Commerce.

It was dingy, musty and probably moldy from the looks from it.

It was perfect.

Poker came alive in that room. There was history there although many of the players on the lower limit side weren’t thinking about that. They were flinging their chips into pots with greater than I have ever witnessed.

Now, revealing I’ve only played for the last few years, I’m not a bankroll where I play in big games. I’m still at the kiddie table, playing $1-$2 NL in Atlantic City. I didn’t know what that translated into in the structure in California.

I chose the $200 buy-in game because I always buy in for $200 in A.C. Apparently, these games aren’t on the same level. Their $1-$2 NL was a $40 fixed buy-in. Even if I had known that, I probably wouldn’t have jumped into that game anyway. A $40 buy-in doesn’t give you much room to work with.

$3-$5 blinds. That was the game I was in. A little over my head and lots of loose player, who apparently don’t care about theory either. Pot odds? To hell with that too. These guys were just interested in getting as much money into the middle of the pot and stacking chips.

Normally, in this type of situation theorist say the looser the game, the tighter. I ended up beating these guys at their own game while following my basic rules. I didn’t get my chips into the pot with a bad starting hand just because that was their move. I started with a decent holdings, I just made my requirements a little lower.

I was stuck in the game for $400 and down to my last $50 before I got the hang of it. A lesson learned quickly, but expensively.

Good thing Bluffmaster Deuce (he was sitting in the two seat) sat down. This guy was the easiest read on the game. When he had a hand, he bet roughly ¾ of the pot. When he bluffed, he doubled the size of the pot. If there was $40 in the pot, then he bet $80.

I got back to even on his bluffs alone. My pair of deuces? Way good when he bet $40 into a $20 pot. My open-ended straight draw when he bet $80 into a $40? Money.

Finally, after four hours of play, I got back to even. I planned to leave when the blinds hit me. However, while under the gun, I looked down to black Kings. I raised $25 (standard) and four people called me.


The flop comes 4-K-5, rainbow. But being in early position and lots of people behind me, 6-7 and 3-4 are definitely hands I see these people calling with. I bet $60, I get one caller. The turn is an ace. I bet $150, he mucks. Missed his open-ender he says. Awesome.

I went home up $150 after being stuck $350. I felt like I won $1,000.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Little things make me happy

Revel is building. The construction cranes are on site and, despite all the attempts from the local union to mess with it, Revel just keeps on going.

Now, I know for a fact that it is going to have a poker room. That makes me even happier. I'll enjoy having new places to play. Here are the paragraphs from The Press of Atlantic City article that put a a little smile on face this morning (I'm in Cali., it's still morning).

ATLANTIC CITY - Kevin DeSanctis stood in the middle of a vast, hectic construction site and began talking about things as though they already existed.
"We're actually standing in the middle of the poker room," he said, gesturing to an empty space on the lower floors of a hotel tower that eventually will rise to a breathtaking 700 feet. "Over there is the theater. And that's the casino."

It's still years away, but it will finally be finished, you can go from Revel to the Showboat to the Taj. There should be a poker room to your liking in the mix.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My mission: The Commerce

I will be in Los Angeles until Thursday morning, so the plan is to get to the Commerce before I have to go home. There was time yesterday, but since I only slept for two hours before I had to catch my flight and I didn't stop working until I finally got to my room at 9 p.m. (ET), I passed out three hours, forcing myself to stay up that long.

Playing poker while tired is never a good idea. The plan is to head to the Commerce on Tuesday. Phillies and I have plenty of extra time. If we have to play a Game 5, Tuesday is still an off day and I will have plenty of time to get to the felt.

I haven't decided if I am going to NL Hold 'Em or Stud. Maybe, I will make a whole day of it and try a little of both.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The vote is in

Atlantic City Council votes to delay full smoking ban
Published: Wednesday, October 08, 2008

6:45 p.m. Update - ATLANTIC CITY -- An ordinance that would delay the implementation of a complete smoking ban on Atlantic City's casino floors passed on first reading by a 5-4 vote Wednesday. It must still pass on second reading, or the smoking ban goes into effect Oct. 15.
The casinos have been lobbying City Council to delay the full ban, arguing that it would further harm their bottom lines in a market already hurting from the state of the national economy. They say a full ban would send more customers to other casinos where smoking is allowed.
Public safety officials were limiting access to the council meeting earlier Wednesday after hundreds jammed council chambers to weigh in on the vote.


Wow, that's really disappointing. I hoped that the council would understand the need for workers in the casino industry and patrons to be able to breathe easy. This weekend, while in Milwaukee, I thought about playing a table game. Considered for a short moment when I couldn't get a seat in the poker room.

Besides hearing my boyfriend's voice telling me how stupid I would be if I played, the woman chain smoking next to the empty seat kept me away.

They think banning smoking is going to limit customers, but I know many who are going to come back to casinos because the smoking is gone.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I never even got on the felt

The Phillies altered my plan by losing on Saturday. With the sweep, I was going to spend my Sunday taking on the best player players Potawatomi Casino had to offer.

I got to the casino on Monday instead about six hours before my flight was supposed to head back to the East Coast. At noon, the lists were already at least 20 deep. The shortest was $4-8 limit, which was actually what I wanted to play anyway. I get my name on, I’m about 15 names down the list, and there is only one game. I ask one of the check-in people how long is the wait.

When she scrunched her face and gave the half shoulder shrug, I knew I was in trouble. Her answer: “it’s probably going to be a while.”

I don’t play other table games. At least I try not to because I want to keep my money. So, I walked around the casino for quite a while and reminded myself why I shouldn’t ever play table games. I watched people get snapped off left and right in three-card poker and blackjack. It’s a good lesson in saving your money.

After an hour, which I spent chatting with a friend on the phone, I went back to the room. My name was eighth on the list. There were several empty tables and no new ones had popped up since I was last up there. However, there were plenty more names on the board.

I am not going to argue how this poker room is run, but if someone can tell me why there are six or seven empty tables? Do they not have enough poker dealers? I didn’t understand it, and still don’t as I sit at Gate E-67 in the Milwaukee airport.

Another hour goes by of my aimless wandering. Now, I’m second on the list with four hours until my flight leaves.

One of the floor guys sees me staring at the board and asks if I want to go on the list. Well, I’ve been on the list for two hours and have seemingly gotten nowhere. To his credit, he was definitely nice and asked if there was another game he could get me on or if I wanted to play over someone on the $4-$8 game if they went to lunch.

While it was nice that he asked me if I wanted to play on another game, he was full of it. It was an empty gesture because every game had at least 20 names on the list. He wasn’t just going to jump me over everyone.

Instead of playing, I came the airport. That’s where I am now. No playing cards.

Hopefully, next week will be better. I’m headed to Los Angeles and the Commerce or another card room is in my sights.

Maybe the Phillies could do their job this time and take of the Dodgers in four. (Or Dodgers win in four)


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Casino smoking ban may be delayed (Atlantic City Press)

Casino smoking ban may be delayed
By DONALD WITTKOWSKI Staff Writer, 609-272-7258
Published: Friday, October 03, 2008

ATLANTIC CITY - Plans to make Atlantic City the first major casino market in the country completely smoke-free may be delayed amid warnings by Donald Trump and other gaming executives that it could devastate business.
City Council, at its meeting Wednesday, is expected to debate and possibly vote on whether to hold off having the smoking ban take effect Oct. 15. Mayor Scott Evans said he would be open to delaying the ban, but will leave the decision to council.
Evans noted that by postponing the ban, Atlantic City may be able to preserve jobs and protect the casinos from the nation's unfolding economic crisis. But he added that casino employees would continue to be exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Councilman Marty Small, whose ward includes five of the city's 11 casinos, said he has had discussions with gaming representatives about possibly suspending the smoking ban until the economy gets stronger.
"I have an open mind," Small said. "We have to do what is in the best interests of Atlantic City as a whole. Casinos pay 80 percent of our taxes and provide thousands of jobs for city residents.

"It is a sensitive issue on both sides," he continued. "We have to worry about the workers' health, but we also have an economic crisis in the country that has trickled down to this city."
Casinos are predicting the smoking ban will cause an additional 5 percent drop in gaming revenue on top of the 5.2 percent decline so far this year. The fear is smokers will flee from Atlantic City to Pennsylvania, Connecticut and other competing casino markets that allow gamblers to light up.
"The smoking ban will have a huge, negative impact on Atlantic City - beyond any competition, beyond anything," Trump said. "All we can do is to ask the council to reconsider."
Trump warned a decline in gaming business will translate into the loss of millions of dollars in state casino-tax revenue for social programs benefiting New Jersey's senior citizens and disabled residents.
"I just hope for the best. But the smoking ban itself will take tens of millions of dollars of taxes away and will take tens of millions of dollars of aid away from senior citizens and all of the things that we're doing," Trump told reporters Thursday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of a $255 million hotel tower at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.
Trump said he has already received about 15 calls from friends who complained they will no longer take gambling trips to Atlantic City because of the smoking ban.
"If you're a smoker, you have a problem," he said. "I hope the City Council is able to reconsider. This isn't for Donald Trump. This has nothing to do with me. But senior citizens and all of the big beneficiaries of Atlantic City are going to suffer greatly because of this ban. It's the only place in the United States with a full smoking ban, and it's going to be a disaster."
Evans, who headed a delegation of city officials attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony, seemed to agree with Trump.
"I believe that Donald Trump has a legitimate concern," the mayor said.
Although the ban prohibits smoking on the gaming floor, casino customers would be able to light up in lounges that contain no slot machines or gaming tables. Most of the casinos plan to build indoor lounges, but Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has said its customers will have to go outside to smoke in weather-protected enclosures.
Mark Juliano, chief executive officer of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., the company that operates the three Trump casinos, said the gaming industry is unified in its belief that the smoking ban should be delayed.
"I think the most devastating thing is, if they are still allowed to smoke at casinos in Pennsylvania, it puts us at a very competitive disadvantage," Juliano said.
Smoking is allowed on 25 percent of the casino floor under a local law that took effect April 15, 2007. Last April, City Council voted to completely outlaw casino smoking starting Oct. 15. The historic vote followed intense lobbying by anti-smoking groups and warnings from casino unions that gaming employees are constantly at risk of secondhand smoke.
Milton Rosado, who oversees political issues for the United Auto Workers union, which represents casino dealers, said the labor group will vigorously oppose any attempt to delay the smoking ban.
"It's about the health, welfare and safety of the workers. The right thing to do is to stay with the smoking ban," Rosado said.
Dennis M. Farrell Jr., a gaming analyst for Wachovia Capital Markets, said City Council may have to delay the smoking ban to allow casinos to adjust their business models to the economic slowdown. Otherwise, some casinos may go out of business, he predicted.
"We believe there is a high probability that the Atlantic City marketplace could see more than one casino close its doors in the next two years, unless the full smoking ban is delayed or state relief is provided to these properties," Farrell wrote in a note to investors.
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