Sunday, February 27, 2005

Bar Poker in Charlotte / Pineville

An unsubstantiated rumour has it that Bailey's in Pineville (Hyw 51) has a free-roll texad hold'em tournament every Tuesday Night starting at 7:00. If anyone knows or finds out before I do, please post a comment.
Update: This game is up and running every Tuesday night. Signups start at 7:00 and the tourney starts at 8:00. I was talking with Zack from 5th Street and he still feels that the tournaments are legal and wants to fight the charges from the Greensboro bust at Ham's. More to come on that fight in future posts.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Bar Poker in Lumberton

Story in the Myrtle Beach Sun News
Poker tournaments take taverns by storm
The big attraction these days at the local tavern isn't karaoke night, a mechanical bull, pool tournaments, tight Levis, jumpin' to the jive of the jukebox or $1 brews.
Brace yourself, parents: The newest craze is tournament poker, Texas Hold 'Em style.
And with a luck and a bluff, you could win a spot in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It's an all-expenses-paid trip with $10,000 to wager against the best card sharks from ocean to ocean.
Scooby's is hosting World Tavern Poker Tournaments every Wednesday.
The overall winner of the tournament - which uses points and chips, not real money - will advance to Raleigh for the state finals. There, someone will earn a spot at the high roller's table in Vegas.
Place winners each night collect points toward seasonal standings, which are recorded on the Internet.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Poker more popular than Sex - but size matters

Survey Reveals America’s Poker Dreams
Over 50% of Americans would abstain from sex for a year in exchange for a big online poker win. The average win required, according to a recent national survey, is $2.3 million.Conducted by StrategyOne, an independent public opinion research firm, on behalf of, the scientific nationwide survey of American adults also found that men are more likely than women to exchange sex for super-sized online poker winnings, with 61% of adult males going on a year-long sexual furlough versus only 47% of women. Another 17% indicated that they would need to win between $1 and $50,000 in online winnings to give up sex for a full year.When it came to the pot needed to win, size mattered to men. The average cash amount men cited they would require to live sex-free for 365 days was $2.1 million; women were willing to sleep solo for a lesser $1.9 million.The survey also asked respondents who they would most want to ante up with in a game of online poker. Americans selected President George W. Bush as their most-preferred celebrity poker competitor, followed closely by Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton. Oprah was also the favorite celebrity among women and hotel heiress Paris Hilton was the celebrity of choice among Gen-Y respondents.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Gator's in Rock Mount, NC offers free Hold'em Tourney

According to the Rocky Mount Telegram, Gator's Sports Pub is now offering twice a week Texas Hold'em tournaments. The winner gets $100 and risks nothing. Look for many more bars (Sports Bars in particular) to start offering these.
The full article can be found here:
Here is the text:Poker fans play intensely at a local tourneyBy FRED MARION, Rocky Mount Telegram
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Twice a week, the balls are cleared off the pool tables at Gator's Sports Pub.
People pull up chairs and rest their forearms on the rails. They set their beers in the corner pockets, and they play cards.
They're lured in by the possibility of winning $100.
Gator's started hosting Texas Hold 'Em poker competitions about 10 weeks ago. To play, participants must preregister and be Gator's members, which costs $5 a year. Admission to the tournaments is free, a necessity to comply with state anti-gambling laws, said pub co-owner Linda Long.
The competitions are held at 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday at the club at 1171 Jeffreys Road in Benvenue Plaza in Rocky Mount.
There are 30 slots for competitors, and the sign-up sheets are often full days in advance. Players who sign up late are added to an alternate list, giving them dibs on a spot if someone doesn't show.
Many of the players are diehards. They've already got nicknames like the Carolina Kid and Stealth.
Tony Howell, 29, is known as the Possum because of his tendency to sleep on his cards until he gets a really good hand. As of last week, Howell had won the competitions three times — more than any other player. Does he think Texas Hold 'Em is a game of skill?
“Some people have won a couple times, so there must be something,” he said.
That something is usually patience.
“I think it's kind of tough not to get excited and start trying to play every hand,” Howell said. “If they're not good to start with, I just get rid of them.”
It's a trait he picked up playing the game online, where players who knows statistics — not how to read bluffs — usually win.
Reading other players and their bluffs can be tricky.
“There's a couple of them (at Gator's) that have dead giveaways,” Howell said. “They don't even realize it, so I'm not going to tell them.”
Howell, who usually plays with sunglasses on so others can't see his eyes, admits that he probably has giveaways, too, but he doesn't worry much about it. He's there primarily to have fun, he said.
Televised tournaments have generated interest in the game — to the point where it's almost become a pop culture phenomenon. There's the "World Poker Tour" on the Travel Channel and "Celebrity Poker Showdown" on Bravo. There are also dozens of Web sites, which let players compete online.
Part of the game's appeal is its simplicity. Players are dealt two cards, which only they can see. An additional five cards are dealt face-up in the middle of the table. Players can combine their two cards with three cards of their choice in the middle of the table. Players are able to "bet," pass or fold as new cards are dealt in the middle. Everyone starts with chips notionally worth $750, and the winner is the player who manages to capture everyone else's chips.
The amount of skill involved is debatable.
“The people who get down to the end are cautious at the beginning,” Long said. “The smart players.”
Colleen Gardner, 23, often works as a dealer for the pub.
“A lot of it's luck of the cards,” she said.
Still, Gardner said she could never join in and play with the guys.
“I can read every single player on that table,” she said, during a tournament last week.
If she's able to do that, she might know whether a player is bluffing or whether he or she genuinely has a good hand.
Some players' facial expressions change if they get a good hand, Gardner said. Their eyebrows may go up, or their hands might shake.
Noticing little things like that is the sign of a good player. If a player can do it, Gardner said, he or she doesn't need to know what's in an opponent's hand.
There's a three-day waiting period to become an official member at Gator's. Guests cannot play during that time. The club is in the Benvenue Plaza shopping center.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

NC State Legislature May Take up Poker Bill

I found this little tid-bit in the Ashville (NC) Citizen-Times. On January 26, they published an article outlining the top 10 areas of legislative interest to western North Carolina. Number 10 went like this:
10) Indian gaming: State lawmakers could weigh in on whether poker is legal in North Carolina. If state lawmakers permit live poker games, then it increases the chances that such games could come to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel.
More to come on this for sure. The whole article is here:
Update from the Durham Herald-Sun Feb 17, 2005:
"A court bid to legalize poker by branding it a game of skill rather than chance was postponed Thursday until March 10."
Complete article here:

Joker Club Hearing in Durham Postponed to March

Here is a story in the Durham Herald-Sun that updates the lawsuit that is trying to force a ruling that Poker is a game of skill and thus legal in North Carolina:
Poker club in Durham is at stake
By John Stevenson : The Herald-Sunjstevenson@heraldsun.comFeb 12, 2005 : 11:57 pm ET
DURHAM -- A state attorney will put his cards on the table this week when he asks a judge not to allow a commercial poker club to open in Durham.
The Joker Club filed a lawsuit against Durham District Attorney Jim Hardin Jr. in November after Hardin said he would tell police to crack down on anyone who tried to open a gambling business in Durham.
These are the stakes:
Since betting on games of chance is a misdemeanor criminal offense in North Carolina, the club wants a judicial declaration that poker is a game of skill rather than chance. A hearing on the suit is scheduled this week, with the state Attorney General's Office representing Hardin.
The Joker Club also argues in court filings that the law prohibiting poker wagering is unconstitutional.
But the Attorney General's Office showed a strong opposing hand in recently filed court documents.
Assistant Attorney General David J. Adinolfi II said it is well settled in the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court that "poker is a game of chance, hence illegal."
"It is axiomatic that a Superior Court cannot overrule the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals ... ," Adinolfi wrote.
There is no statute, case or any other authority in North Carolina law that says, or even implies, that poker is legal, he added.
"It simply is not legal, and there exists no controversy on the subject," he wrote.
Durham lawyer Marcus Hill and Raleigh attorney Allen Powell represent The Joker Club.
"I think the attorney general's position is mistaken," Hill told The Herald-Sun. "Poker is not against the law. It is not gambling because it is a game of skill."
The Joker Club leased a building on Ferrell Road in November. It hopes to operate "a business that allows adult persons to play poker against one another and whereby [the club] will retain a portion of funds which are wagered by the players," court documents say.
But everything is on hold until a judge decides the chance-versus-skill question. ...
The entire article is available at

Another Sign that Poker is Growing

Here is an excerpt of an article in today's LA Times titled "The game's afoot with high-end tables":
People make millions playing poker now, and millions watch them on TV. We envy the sunglasses, those piles of chips -- and that cool poker table.
You want one, and furniture makers are listening.
What they're hearing, though, is that style is as important as function.
Game tables also must be stylish, able to blend with upscale furnishings, or convert from game table to regular table.
And, as befits an era of entertainment centers with $10,000 plasma TVs and Surround Sound, many of the offerings are priced to match.
Fedde Furniture in Pasadena, Calif., for example, carries large game tables by Maitland-Smith in the $3,000 to $5,000 price range, with matching chairs at about $500 each. Smaller tables are closer to $2,000.
As manager Melinda Kinney explained, Maitland-Smith, based in High Point, N.C., makes collector-quality pieces. Customers who have spent thousands on a room for entertaining want furniture of equal quality, and price is not a factor, she said.
For people seeking quality and function but who also must weigh price, I.M. David Furniture offers tables for about $1,000, with matching chairs for about $500.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported that 65 companies planned to show game tables at a trade show in 2004 in North Carolina, compared with just seven in 2000.

The entire article is available at

Billiard Tourney in Rocky Mount, NC

Here is an article from the Rocky Mount Telegram where the WPBA is holding the Mueller Recreational Products Carolina Classic this weekend. In case you are in the area and interested, it is being held at the Nash Community College. It is a shame that they don't have an event planned for Charlotte.
Billiards or poker?By Jeff Gluck, Rocky Mount Telegram
Saturday, February 12, 2005
It would have been natural for the billiards community to panic when ESPN picked up the poker craze.
Texas Hold'em could have left the Women's Professional Billiards Association out in the casino lobby, but pool insiders insist there's room for both.
Poker isn't about to knock pool off ESPN. In fact, 2004 was the WPBA's best year yet in terms of televised hours of the sport, and the interest seems to be growing exponentially.
"Our popularity doubled from 2003 to 2004, I know that," said Tony Davis, the creator of The Spider teaching tool.
Davis knows because the fees to advertise his product have risen dramatically, a by-product of increased exposure.
Peg Ledman, a Tour organizer, said the WPBA's ESPN contract calls for 24 hours of original programming.
"With re-runs, that's more than 100 hours last year," she said. "That's more than we've ever been on."
Helena Thornfeldt has been playing billiards for 23 years, and said the sport has only touched the tip of the pool cue.
"We're only at the beginning," she said. "Everywhere we go, people know us and are getting excited. This is our first year (in Rocky Mount), and there's already a lot of people. You can imagine what it'll be like next year.
"I mean, we really put on a good show."
Besides, pool and poker don't have to be competitors. The tournaments for both activities are usually played in casinos. Pro player Kelly Fisher said there's potential for a combined event.
"The two would combine quite good, to get someting infused," said Fisher, a North Carolina resident. "They go hand-in-hand. There could be a possibility."
Davis said pool is a sport that everyone can appreciate, regardless of skill level.
"This is a sport for all ages, all shapes and all sizes," he said. "You don't have to do the 100-yard dash in 9.3 (seconds) or jump high. You just have to have great hand-eye coordination."

Saturday, February 12, 2005

TSA is banning Lighters

I was flying back from Colorado on Wednesday and heard that the federal government (the TSA to be exact) is banning lighters on commerical passenger aircraft starting February 15.
This brings up a couple of questions. First, why are the banning lighters? Presumably, the answer will be to keep terrorists from lighting explosives. But the explosives are already banned. If they can get a bomb that is banned onto the plane, a lighter should not be a problem. I suppose that matchs will still be allowed.
The second quesiton is more obvious: If lighters are so dangerous that they must be banned, why wait until February 15? Why not ban them NOW?
This is a case of the Feds fighting the last war. Hijacking jets and flying them into buildings only worked for about an hour. Once passengers found out what was happening (Flight 93), the plan failed. Innocent people died, which is tragic, but the plan failed then and will fail now.
I'm not going to write where I think the next attack will take place. Why tell the enemy what they may not know already. But it is not too hard to figure out and that is where we need to put our efforts. Airliners are no longer hijackable.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

How illegal is Poker in North Carolina?

Actually, poker is not illegal in North Carolina, but exchanging money on the outcome of the game is. That is according to a newspaper article by Adam Linhardt and Roselee Papandrea that appeared in the Jacksonville (NC) Daily News on February 7, 2005. Here are some excerpts of the article that appears here:
North Carolina law doesn't split hairs on the legality of poker. If money changes hands, those in the game are breaking the law, district attorneys across the state say.
Still, poker arrests are rare.
In Jacksonville, the last one was about five years ago, said Paul Spring, deputy chief of the Jacksonville Police Department.
"Capt. (Gary) Dixon made an arrest regarding several subjects who were gambling and part of that was poker," Spring said.
Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown didn't recall the last time a poker arrest was made in the county, but, he said, he knows that people are playing poker for money. It's a crime that's difficult to catch while it's happening.
"The arrests don't happen very often," Brown said. "But there are still people who get together at people's homes or in common areas and play poker for big money."
While the activity is illegal, it doesn't get reported to authorities very often.
"If it doesn't become suspicious and get the attention of someone who might call law enforcement, they can normally operate a long time without something happening," Brown said.
Seeing the money is the key to making a poker arrest, Spring said.
"Playing cards doesn't constitute gambling," Spring said. "You are going to need to see the money on the table to know that they are, in fact, gambling."
Catching poker tournaments is a problem for police, but Gaston County District Attorney Mike Lands cautioned that those who play poker often forget it's illegal.
"It's kind of like speeding - a lot of people speed - and they say, 'Well, you caught me today,'" Lands said. "How many other times did officers not catch them?"
Let that be a lesson to all you card game hosts - Don't put the money on the table. Seriously, don't let it become a problem. Too much of anything is bad. Let's have fun and look out for each other along the way.