In this week’s Calling the Clock we get you up to speed with all the political manoeuvrings in the American poker scene, a look at the three people attempting to win three bracelets in this year’s series, and more.
It’s been an important week in the lifespan of online poker in America.
First the good news, and on Wednesday, California’s Appropriations Committee, rubber stamped the progress of Assemblyman Adam Gray’s online poker bill. AB 2863 is now heading towards an Assembly vote where it will need a two-third ‘aye’ vote for the bill to end up in front of the State Senate.
Several members of the committee decided to keep their powder dry. One voted ‘no’. Several made it clear that they could change their mind if their concerns aren’t suitably addressed in future iterations of the bill – namely how to deal with the ‘PokerStars problem’.
Leading up to the vote the tribes that are against the progress of the bill released survey results showing that 52% of those polled said they did not want to see a fully regulated and licensed online poker market in the state.
Yeah, we believe you.
Now to the bad news, and progress of a fully regulated and licensed online market in the state of New York stuttered this week after Assemblyman Gary Pretlow failed to present it to the Assembly for the thumbs up.
Pretlow, who was also sponsoring the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), Bill, went with the strategy of picking off one eyesore at a time. The DFS Bill passed, and will now almost certainly become law by the end of the year; the online poker bill will not see the light of day until later in the year.
Speaking with PokerNews, Pretlow basically said that he didn’t have enough time to convince the Assembly that poker is not a game of chance, whereas it was a much more straightforward deal with DFS.
And on to Pennsylvania where the States House of Representatives passed an amendment that threw a variety of online gambling reforms into the same nappy sack including online poker.
HB 2150 is the brainchild of Representative Rosita Youngblood, and it passed the vote by 115-80. The next stage is for the bill to be passed to the House Appropriations Committee, and I have no idea when that will happen.
From American politics to European politics and former poker player turned saviour of European laws and policies, Tony G, upped the ante in the betting stakes connected to UK remaining a part of the European Union (EU).
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Nigel Farage, who is hoping the UK will leave the EU, even went as far as to place a grand on the outcome at a local Ladbrokes store. Tony G, who also wants to see EU Reform, but wants the UK to be a part of that reform, doesn’t believe the UK will make a Brexit, and went as far as to challenge Farage to a million pound bet with the money going to charity. Farage didn’t have time to respond (his family were being chased out of a pub by an angry mob), but TonyBet did see an increase in punters heading to the site in the wake of the timely marketing ploy.
World Series of Poker Round Up
At the time of writing, there are 40 bracelet events either assigned to the record books or in full swing, and the stars of the show have been Jason Mercier, Benny Glaser, and Ian Johns.
Before the WSOP began, Mercier was so confident of his ability to collect more bracelets than Mr T he took on a lot of side action. Rumour has it that Mercier will pick up close to $2m if he can win three bracelets, and with two already in the bag, you could say that most of the hard work has already been done. Mercier has cashed six times and made five final tables to put him at the top of the WSOP Player of the Year (POY) leaderboard.
Hot on the heels of Mercier is Benny Glaser. The man from the UK is not a name you commonly see etched in poker headlines, but his back-to-back victories in the baby and the daddy Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 or Better tournaments has changed all that. Glaser has now won three bracelets in two years.
The third man to win two bracelets is Ian Johns. He won the baby H.O.R.S.E event, and the daddy Limit Hold’em Championship event. At the time of writing, Johns is at the right end of the chip counts in the $3k Six-Handed Limit event with 44 players remaining.
Who, if anyone, will have a spare bracelet with no wrist to slap it on by the end of the tournament?
Not much else happens in the poker world during the WSOP. However, PokerStars kicked up a little bit of a stink after withdrawing NL2 games from the Belgian market without telling anyone they were going to do it. Discussion between players and PokerStars revealed it was a trial. But what was the purpose of the trial?
The answer from PokerStars spoke like a true politician.
“We’re running this trial to learn the effects on both the overall ecosystem and the individual player experience within a controlled environment. We think it’s important to learn and study what would happen in a situation like this?”