Monday, January 31, 2005

WSOP Satellite in Hickory

There is a business owner in Hickory who is holding a $100 buy-in satellite. Sorry, but I don't have the guy's name or number yet. The winner gets an all-expense paid trip to Vegas for the WSOP 2005. A friend talked with him at length on Saturday (1/29) and he’s answered many questions to satisfy the curiosity about its legality. Now supposedly the way he’s getting around the legal aspect is that your $100 buys you a ticket to the buffet that he puts on each night.

His setup is a 10 night event; every Monday and Friday for the next 5 weeks (starts tonight, 1/31). He will have up to 100 players each night. The 1st place winner for each night will come back sometime around March 11 and play in a 10 seat final table. The winner of the final table gets the big prize. 2nd through 10th form the final table will come back the next night for a cash tournament. (he said between 5k and 7500).

If anyone has more information that they would like to post here, please leave a comment. Once the game has finished, I'd love to know the results as well.

Here is the ad text, complete with misspellings:
2005 Poker of ChampionsGrand PrizeEntry into the World Series of Poker. Held in Los Vegas, Nevada at the Rio Hotel & Casino. Air Fair & Accommodations included.Starting Mond. Jan 31st @ 8:00pm Hickory, NC10 nights of pokerWinners from each night will go to the final table.Reserve your seat for the buffet & you will have a pre-registered seat for the tournament.Call 704 860 9523 for details, directions & pre-registration.

Friday, January 28, 2005

More About Poker at Duke U.

For college students, poker is becoming a good 'deal'
By JON SCHNAARS, Special to the TimesIt's a Friday night at Duke University, and all books and calculators are packed away in exchange for some Natural Lights, a pack of Parliaments ... and a deck of cards.On any given night, the commons room is bustling as 11 guys crowd around a circular table.The clicking of chips and the rustle of cards are the only noises to break up the nervous silence. The smell of spilt beer mingles with cigarette smoke. Conversation is light or non-existent as the young men - the group is conspicuously male - utter only what is demanded of them by the rules of the game.The game is Texas Hold 'em, no limit.This scene has become increasingly common on college campuses. From Pennsylvania to California, poker has found a new breeding ground at the university level.A convergence of factors makes the game both popular and highly competitive. Students play to escape, to compete, to socialize, and to make money.Here at Duke, the popularity of poker has exploded.Starting in fraternity sections and off-campus houses, a game of Texas Hold 'em can be found in dorms every day of the week.Alex Guttler, a senior at Duke, has witnessed poker's jump in popularity."It's something the (fraternity) brothers had been doing for a couple of years. But then with the games on TV, the popularity of Hold 'em took off and now everyone wants to play," he said.Mike Guadano, also a senior, got involved with poker as a freshman. For him the game is a release from the stress of academia."People like to play because it's competitive. It's no different from kids playing pick-up basketball at the gym. Poker helps get that competitiveness out."At Bloomsburg University, senior Mike McGrath has seen Hold 'em attract a following."It's obviously growing everywhere," McGrath said. After learning Texas Hold 'em in the summer of 2003, McGrath returned to school to find a whole new poker scene."Games come together all the time. Usually just by word of mouth. There's a group of us who play a couple times a week, but you can find a game pretty much any night of the week," he said.The residential structure of college is conducive to poker. In apartments and dorms, people who might not otherwise socialize will sit down for hours to try their luck with the cards.At Penn State University, seniors Steve Schukraft and Aaron Goldfarb can always find a Texas Hold 'em game."We have about eight or nine guys who play together," Goldfarb said."The buy-in is never huge; we'll play for $5 or $10, and just have a good time," Schukraft said.The internet has become a resource for college students looking to play poker. At sites such as, or, players can log on and play against people around the country and the world. Fake money tables are popular, but with a credit card account, students can raise the stakes."I definitely play on-line the most," McGrath said. "You can log on and get a game in 30 seconds. It's a different game though; you have to play much differently. You can't see your opponent, so it removes a large part of the strategy of the game.""When you know you can get into a new game right away, a lot of people play different. Players will make different calls then they would if they were sitting at a table," McGrath said.Duke sophomore Jason Strasser plays on-line almost daily. He got serious about the game while working as an unpaid intern last summer."I considered (poker) as part-time work," he says. "I spent between 15 and 20 hours a week just playing on-line." Sitting at virtual poker tables on lunch breaks and at home after work, Strasser's winnings were in the thousands.Some students venture off-campus to the higher stakes realm of casino poker. At school in Pennsylvania, only a couple hours from the bright lights of Atlantic City, N.J., McGrath estimates that he plays casino poker six times over the course of the semester.With programming on ESPN, Bravo and the Travel Channel being marketed toward the college-age group, it is no wonder the game's popularity has taken off. Even the institutions of learning are getting on board with student governments, academic clubs and departments sponsoring tournaments. It's definitely become part of the fabric of college life.
* Jon Schnaars is a 2001 graduate of Penncrest High School and is now a senior at Duke University where he plays Texas Hold 'em in his spare time. He is the son of Debra and Doug Schnaars of Upper Providence.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Poker is safe on NC Campuses (within reason)

The following article appeared in The Chronicle (Duke’s campus paper). The gist of the article is that most universities in the Old North State take a pragmatic view of poker on campus. The administrations know it is going on, but as long as the stakes are reasonable, the games can continue.
January 26, 2005Hold 'Em: Duke won't restrict poker
by Saidi Chen

Breathe a sigh of relief, poker aficionados—your beloved games of Texas Hold ’Em are safe.
Although poker tournaments held as charity fundraisers at the University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University have been postponed or shut down because of concerns about the legalities of gambling, the administration at Duke seems to have no such problems. “My office is okay with it. I don’t see us taking a stance to prohibit fun, entertaining activities,” said Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs.
The Duke University Union-sponsored poker tournament last Friday at the Bryan Center was also free of administrative hassle. “We had no pressure from the University, we encountered no problems and we had no worries about legalities,” said senior Kevin Parker, president of the Union.
Though the Duke Bulletin of Information and Regulations states “it is against North Carolina state law and Duke University policy to gamble,” Moneta said the administration has not been active in enforcing the gambling statute and is not looking to tighten controls on gambling.
“We know that students just gamble for potato chips and raisins,” he said, laughing. “Gambling online with large amounts of money on overseas websites concerns me a lot more than somebody who might be losing $10 in a residence hall in a game of Hold ’Em.”
Duke’s policy seems to be similar to those at other universities where the administration is aware of the growing popularity of poker on campus, but where there are no plans to take regulatory action against the games.
“As far as I know, playing a game of poker is not a violation of law or of most college or university policies,” Dan Nelson, senior associate dean of Dartmouth College, said of local policy.
The definition of what constitutes gambling also varies from school to school and from state to state. “Our policy is that there’s no gambling because gambling is illegal in the state of Connecticut,” Yale Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said.
Dorm room card games, however, seem to be excluded under her definition of gambling. “Students may play cards, they may play poker, and they may play for some money. That would not bother me,” she said.
Still, there are schools that may join Tufts and UPenn in re-examining their gambling policies.
“We’re concerned, as any college might be,” said Ricardo Hall, associate dean and judicial officer at Wake Forest University. “It is something we’re going to be looking at as we revise the handbook this summer to come up with more specific restrictions on gambling.”
For now, however, Duke students can enjoy their poker games without fear of restrictions, as long as they bear in mind Moneta’s warning to “be reasonable and be responsible.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Barbara Boxer Attacked?

The following exchange took place during the confirmation hearing for Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza last week:
Boxer: "I personally believe — this is my personal view — that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth,"
Rice: "I never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It is not my nature. It is not my character." "And I would hope that we can have this conversation and discuss what happened before and what went on before and what I said without impugning my credibility or my integrity."
So, if someone were attacked here, the question is who attacked who?
According to Boxer, she was the one that was attacked. "She turned and attacked me," the California Democrat told CNN's "Late Edition" in describing the confrontation during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Mrs. Boxer yesterday called that response a "good debating technique. When you really don't know what to say about a specific, you just attack the person who is asking the questions," Mrs. Boxer told CNN.
Is it any wonder the American people have taken her and her party out of power?
A note to Mrs. Boxer: When you make up stuff like this, it looks like you think that people are too stupid or lazy to think about what really happened and that they (we) should just belive you. That is just insulting. It doesn't hurt Condi or the President. Don't insult the people that you claim to represent

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Celebrities and Tsunami Relief

I’m not a TV junkie and I watch very little ‘regular’ TV. But this week I’ve been thrown off of my usually pattern as I’ve been on a business trip to New York City. I end up watching bits and pieces of shows I never see when I’m home.
One thing that I’ve brought away from these bits is the different ways celibritites are contributing to the effort to help Tusnami victims. The first reaction came while watching Joan and Melissa Rivers on the Today Show on NBC. I watched the Today Show because I can see where they do the show from my hotel. Anyway, the interview was about the Oscars and some stupid competition with other broadcasters, nothing serious. Katie Couric asked the pair about their new multi-million dollar contract with TV Guide TV. As the interview was finishing up, Joan makes a point to mention that they were going to donate their dresses from the Oscars to tsunami relief. Their Dresses?!?!? Is that all? That may not be all they are doing, but if it is, they should be terribly ashamed of themelves. I’m glad they are thinking about others that are in need, but I want to know how big a check they wroye. They probably had some designer give them the dress and if not, they will deduct the cost of the dress as a business expense and then as a charitable donation. They are not giving so much as they are grandstanding.
Then I compare that with what I saw tonight. I was surprised to see George Clooney on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country. You never see the big time movie stars on cable news shows, but there was George talking about tsunami relief and a fundraising show that he is putting together. He seemed to know what is going on and was knowledgeable about how to help and what needed to be done. I got the impressions that had spent a lot of his time to put this thing together and was going to spend a lot more to make it a success. He impressed the hell out of me. The contrast between George and Joan/Melssa was startling.
Now I have never been a George Clooney fan. I probably enjoyed Joan Rivers more than George in the past. That has all changed. George is a good guy in my book and I hope he has all the success in the world. As for Joan/Melissa, I hope Star body-slams her onto the red carpet. That I will watch. Otherwise, I will turn the channel anytime I see one of the Rivers girls.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Bar Poker

Is bar poker going to be the wedge that legalizes poker in North Carolina or will the state crack down? I don't know, but what these guys are doing looks like fun.
By: Brett Tackett & Web Staff
Poker, which just five years ago was considered taboo by many, is fast becoming one of the biggest sporting attractions out there.
More than 150 of the best Triangle players met Thursday for a chance to play for millions in Las Vegas.
"Once I started playing online for play money it just dragged me in,” said poker player Douglas “Moose” Jones. “I haven't been able to stop since."
Jones is the number one player in the World Tavern Poker Tour. He's been raising and folding at poker tables for three years. For the past two he's seen a considerable jump in interest of this centuries-old card game.
“It's grown 100-fold,” he continued.
A prime example is the number of players at the champions tournament at Jillian's in Raleigh.
“We've seen it go from 20 people a night to over 100 people a night,” Jones said.
Many people see an unlimited potential for this game of chance and skill. But the real question is why?
"It started from a guy named Chris Moneymaker who won the World Series of Poker two years ago and was just sort of your average guy who played poker at a house and he won it,” explained Mike Matsinger of the World Tavern Poker Tour.
Players sas when a person sits down and feels the rush of winning or losing it all they're all in.
"Poker's unique among other games and sports in that anybody can sit down with the best in world and play it,”said poker player Ken Wexel. “You have to condition yourself for 25 years to challenge the pros."
In North Carolina it's illegal to gamble with money so instead of winning a big pot of cash, these players are eyeing card tables and poker memorabilia. The ultimate prize is a paid trip to Las Vegas and a chance to win millions in the World Series of Poker.
Jones adaded, “We'll worry about the millions I could win on TV once I get past tonight."
It costs $10,000 to enter the World Series of Poker. The winner of the Tavern Tour gets a free flight, hotel, and the $10,000.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Raliegh based Company offers Cell Phone Poker

From the News 14 site:
"Summus, Inc. is raising the stakes when it comes to the poker craze. The Raleigh-based company designs games and other applications for mobile telephones. What has put them on the map is a new version of Texas Hold'em by Phil Hellmuth."
The entire article is here:
Don't these people know Phil is the heel of the poker world (and I don't mean Tarheel).

Is Poker legal in Charlotte?

The popularity of poker on TV is not just spawning home games; it is also behind poker nights at Charlotte bars. But the big question now is are those games really legal?
Just about every night there is a poker game played inside one of Charlotte’s bars.
“We come out once a week, hang out with the boys have a good time,” said poker player John Kowalczik.
Poker has grown so much that bars started to get in on the action. A free tournament at Angry Ale's filled up in five minutes.
“Instead of sitting at the bar watching the game, you sit down for four hours and maybe play a free game and maybe win a free gift certificate at the end,” said poker player Brian Moran.
The problem is that bars can't get a clear answer on whether it's legal. The question apparently prompted Jillian's to cancel its poker night.
“It's sort of a gray area,” said Jeremy Kowlaski.
Kowlaski started Fifth Street Entertainment to help set up poker tournaments.
“It just looked like a great untapped market,” he said.
Kowlaski said it's not gambling because there's no money wagered. But some believe possessing the equipment needed to play the game is against the law.
“Meaning the table top, the chips and the cards,” Kowlaski said.
Legal or not, until the questions are answered some say they're nervous to get involved.
Lawmakers have debated permitting casino nights, which would clearly make the game and the equipment legal at least for a period of time. But the idea has yet to pass.
Until then deciding whether to play poker could just be one more risk involved in the game.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Another look at Poker in NC

This article starts off as if it will talk about poker in bars across NC, but quickly becomes a rehash of earlier articles about plans for poker at the Cherokee casino. It does go into a bit more detail on the tribe's political activities, which I find interesting.
Story is available on the web at
From the Ashville (NC) Citizen Times:
"It's nothing we're trying to hide. We're continuing to look at various options to allow us to diversify, especially in consideration to the job creation and unemployment rates we are addressing (through the casino) in Western North Carolina."
But state and federal laws regulating gambling conflict with each other. North Carolina allows poker, including in its video form, as long as there are no cash payoffs.
Cherokee casino officials said they would not take a cut of the poker profits.
"Basically, the house (casino) would get a fee and the players would play amongst themselves," Hicks said. "It's not a heavy moneymaker for the tribe. It gives clientele who don't have that option here in Western North Carolina a chance to play."
This is a major distinction in federal gambling laws. Poker is considered a nonbanked game, which means participants play against themselves for winnings. Blackjack, which is illegal in North Carolina, is a banked game. It means the house, in this case the casino, would be taking part in the wins and losses.
Banked games require state and federal approval. The legislature must pass a law to permit it in the state. The governor could also expand the Cherokee's contract witE"We're considering poker at this point," said Principal Chief Michell Hicks.
"It's nothing we're trying to hide. We're continuing to look at various options to allow us to diversify, especially in consideration to the job creation and unemployment rates we are addressing (through the casino) in Western North Carolina."
But state and federal laws regulating gambling conflict with each other. North Carolina allows poker, including in its video form, as long as there are no cash payoffs.
Cherokee casino officials said they would not take a cut of the poker profits.
"Basically, the house (casino) would get a fee and the players would play amongst themselves," Hicks said. "It's not a heavy moneymaker for the tribe. It gives clientele who don't have that option here in Western North Carolina a chance to play."
This is a major distinction in federal gambling laws. Poker is considered a nonbanked game, which means participants play against themselves for winnings. Blackjack, which is illegal in North Carolina, is a banked game. It means the house, in this case the casino, would be taking part in the wins and losses.
Banked games require state and federal approval. The legislature must pass a law to permit it in the state. The governor could also expand the Cherokee's contract with the state to allow the gaming. Once the state approves it, the U.S. Secretary of Interior must give the nod and the chairman of the National Indian Gaming must grant a gaming ordinance.
A Durham lawsuit is also challenging whether poker is a game of skill or chance. Games requiring skill are legal in the state while games of chance are not. That means that if the courts find that poker is a game of chance, poker could be illegal in North Carolina. But that's all a part of the chance one takes when playing poker, says Gentz.
Can't buy me influence
The casino earns "well over" $100 million a year, according to Hicks, and the tribe is using some of that money to bolster its political clout.
The Cherokee donated at least $1 million in the past four years to state and federal candidates and political parties and committees. That puts the tribe on par with the state's major corporate donors, according to an analysis by Democracy North Carolina, a campaign finance watchdog.
Contribution totals since 2001 include: $185,000 to the N.C. Democratic Party; $15,000, N.C. Republican Party; $8,000, Gov. Mike Easley; $5,000, House Speaker Jim Black; $50,000, National Republican Congressional Committee; $40,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee; and $25,000 to the Republican National State Elections Committee.
The tribe gave a total of $70,500 during the 2002 election cycle to 65 members of the N.C. General Assembly and one challenger, current N.C. Rep. Ray Rapp, D-Madison.
"They are a growing presence in North Carolina politics," said Bob Hall, research director of Democracy North Carolina. "They are being courted and are courting politicians because they are after changes in the law and politicians are looking to them for money. The gaming industry is a cash cow, and others want to tap into it."
Last year, the tribe hired Alexander "Sandy" Sands, a top- ranked Raleigh lobbyist who has represented corporate heavy hitters such as Kraft Foods and Phillip Morris, to push the tribe's case for changes.
"This (the casino) is the largest employer west of (Interstate) 77," Sands said. "They employ almost double the number of people Dell says they'll bring. They've been able (with casino profits) to build a school system, wellness programs, transportation and a system to take care of the elderly.
"People think it's just table gaming. But there's a bigger story to be told."
Hicks said conversations with the state to get table gaming have been "very candid." But Cari Boyce, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Easley, said the tribe has not made an official request for Las Vegas-style gaming.
The tribe also faces significant opposition from social conservatives like the Family Policy Council of N.C., who also oppose a statewide lottery, video poker and "casino night" fund-raisers given by nonprofits.
"The great concern we have is the rise in popularity of seven-card poker and Texas Hold `Em is the fact that people seem to be drawn to it significantly," said John Rustin, the council's director of government relations.
"Certainly, there have been economic gains the tribe has experienced in the region because of the casino," Rustin said. "But inevitably, individuals and families have been torn apart because of a gambling addiction. The expansion of gambling would facilitate and exacerbate that problem." Betting on the lottery
Another issue still brewing in Raleigh could affect the Cherokee casino. With the state facing this year a $1 billion shortfall and another $1.2 billion in anticipated needs, talks of a lottery are again heating up in the General Assembly.
Tribe members support the idea of state a lottery, claiming that lotteries in neighboring states sometimes drive would-be casino traffic there instead of keeping the money in North Carolina.
The state Senate is poised to pass legislation calling for a referendum on a statewide lottery. But it's unsure whether the state House will have the 61 votes needed to pass the measure.
"It's not just good for us, but for Western North Carolina," said Teresa McCoy, a former representative on the tribe council. "When the casino came here, it brought people to the area in months when no one was coming. Those people had to eat and stay in a hotel. I know the spin-off economy from the casino has helped the region."
If the state gets a lottery, it doesn't mean that Las Vegas-style gaming or poker will come to the Cherokee casino, said John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, a public policy think tank in Raleigh.
"A potential impact of the lottery would be to compete with the casino at Cherokee," Hood said. "That might well leave the Cherokee to seek additional kinds of gaming (like poker) to stay competitive. That also means that legislators voting for a lottery may feel an incentive to say no to the casino."
Contact Bolton at (919) 821-4749 or KBolton@CITIZEN-
Harrah's at a glance
Harrah's Cherokee Casino opened in 1997, creating 3,000 jobs for the main gaming operation.
The casino is the largest employer in North Carolina west of Asheville.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee oversees the general operation of the tribe and the money made inside the casino. The government also controls money enrolled members get from the casino. The payouts, called per capita payments, reached $6,000 for each member in 2002. The tribe has a trust fund for members younger than age 18 and has more than 13,000 enrolled members.
Tower One of Cherokee Casino Hotel opened in 2002, creating 100 jobs. Tower Two is expected to open this year. Another 100 jobs will be created.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Top 21 Gambling Trends in USA

Spectrum Gaming Group, an international gaming consultancy, has listed 21 of the most important trends that the global casino industry needs to monitor in 2005. Among the top 21 are three that may be big news in NC in 2005:
Poker’s growing popularity and use as a marketing tool.
Renewed popularity of table games.
Pressure to speed regulatory approvals.
The first two are expected and obvious. The last is one every poker player in North Carolina is hoping for.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Poker and Community Standards from Winston-Salem

The Winston-Salem (NC) Journal has published an editorial encouraging the state to do what it can to stop Harrah's Cherokee Casino from offering live poker. They claim that poker on the reservation will "constitute one more diminution of the quality of life in North Carolina." This is rich, coming from a town that would love nothing better than to see the return of big tobacco. RJ Reynolds is the reason that city exists. They still have a huge operation in Tobaccoville just north of W_S. Tobaccoville, pleeeease.
I'd like to see the results of a poll which asks "Which is more harmful, cigarettes or poker?"
This editorial is typical small town drivel. Don't get me wrong. I don't count Charlotte as the big time and some great stuff exists and has come out of Winston. Even this UNC alum respects the University of Wake Forest. I'm a member and regular attendee of my local Moravian Church for which the 'Home Church" is located in Winston (Salem actually). Ever been to Old Salem. That was a Moravian settlement from tehe 1760s. I even accepted my first real job at a TV station in Winston and was going to move there before a better offer came along. It is just that I know "small town thinking" when I see it.
North Carolina needs to grow up a bit but the W_S Urinal will hold us back by worrying that NC is going to become like Vegas. The acutal quote is "North Carolina does not want to mimic Las Vegas." Well, I don't think 24 (more) poker tables is going to lead to a new Vegas. It will have the same effect here that it has in Kansas City, Periora, Pheonix, San Jose, Milwaukee, Vancouver, St. Louis, Madison, and many other towns and cities that have live poker.
I'll admit that too much poker playing can have terrible consiquiences. But too much of almost anything can have terrible consiquiences. Too much gambling (playing poker when you don't know what you are doing is gambling) can wreck lives. So can too much drugs (legal or illegal), too much smoking, too much drinking, too much eating, too much TV, too much exercise, too much sun, too much internet, etc.
Poker is sport and should be allowed. I hope it starts soon. Judging by the hits to this blog, I'm not alone.