New Yorker mistakenly thinks she won $43m on Slots Machine

A New York woman was brought down to earth with a bump after she mistakenly thought she had won nearly $43m an eye-watering on a slot machine.

Katrina Bookman was playing a Sphinx machine at the Resorts World Casino (which is nearly an All Slots Casino), when the screen lit up with the words ‘Printing Cash Ticket’ accompanied by the eye-watering and life-changing eight-figure sum of $42,929,672.76.

After alerting security and being mobbed by other customers, Bookman took a selfie to document her “win”, but was denied the largest-slot machine jackpot in US history when she was told that she would have to return to the casino the following day to hear their decision on the incident.

When Bookman returned she asked the casino “What did I win?” and a representative for the casino replied “You didn’t win nothing.” In fact, according to Bookman the only thing the casino offered her was a complimentary steak dinner.

Bookman says that the first thing she thought about when the amount flashed up on the screenwas her family. She was raised in foster care, was homeless as a teen and has raised four children all by herself.

“The struggle I’ve been through, it’s hard to cope,” said Bookman.

“I can’t really describe the feeling [following her win], it’s like my whole body just went numb.”

She said that she instinctively had made plans for the money, with buying a barber shop for her son as well as giving back money to her community her top priority.

After the incident, Bookman is now planning to sue the casino. Her attorney, Alan Ripka says that Bookman should at least be able to win the maximum payout that particular machine could offer: $6,500.

“They win and the house doesn’t want to pay out. To me that’s unfair.”

“The machine takes your money when you lose. It ought to pay it when you win”

The New York State Gaming Commission explained that the slot machine had malfunctioned and the innocuous phrase “malfunctions void all pays and plays” is stated clearly on all machines.

The machine in question was pulled from the casino floor immediately after the incident. It was repaired and placed back out for future patrons of the Resorts World casino.

Online Slots Player Wins Record £4.5 million Prize

online slotsA record for the largest mobile slots jackpot won in the UK has been set by an unidentified librarian from Glasgow, who has recently scooped a prize of £4.5 playing the Jackpot Giant slot game on GalaBingo.

The winner claimed to have been casually playing the online slot game, spinning slot wheels on the app whilst watching television and was astounded to discover she’d stuck lucky. She told a local news source, “I picked up my mobile and started playing while I was watching TV. Minutes later I saw a huge string of numbers coming up and realised I’d hit the jackpot. I was simply blown away and couldn’t believe I’d won. It’s still sinking in and my family and I are still in a complete state of shock.” She had been a regular player of the online slot game for around three years but has never won any significant prize until now. Spending just £4 on the spin which allowed her win the huge prize, she has proven to be a lucky customer. Instead of spending her winnings immediately, she returned to work the following day.

The slot game was created by GalaBingo, a branch of the GalaCoralGroup which is owned by the online gambling technology provider Playtech, which owns several online poker and casino sites. The company claim that this latest prize is the largest sum of money ever won by a UK online slots player.

Playtech chief Shimon Akad warmly congratulated the new winner for setting a new UK mobile jackpot record while the brand director of Gala Coral Interactive, Alison Digges, hailed it as the biggest jackpot Gala Bingo had ever awarded on either mobile or desktop slot games.

Playtech made the announcement on its software that the GalaBingo jackpot had been won. As well as being the largest on a mobile slot game, it was the second largest prize handed out by the gambling provider on a Playtech progressive jackpot game.

US Casino Market Will Be Worth $93 Billion by 2020

US online gamblingA recent market research study has forecasted good news for the US casino industry by predicting it will experience a period of steady growth and be worth $93 billion by 2020.

Technavio – a leading global research company specialising in emerging market trends and opportunities – published its report this month, detailing a moderate growth rate for the casino industry, which has significantly recovered from the recession. They’ve said that the growth rate will be an average of 5% during the next four years.

The casino industry is fairly strong in the US at the the moment for a number of reasons. Many states have legalised casino gambling to increase tourism and attract visitors, which naturally is expected to have a positive effect on the industry. The main casinos in the US are located in popular destinations like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Pennsylvania has recently drafted legislation allowing for table games like poker at its land based casinos in a bid to encourage higher revenues. Casinos are popular spots for visitors and there are two major new casinos are due to open this year in the US. The National Harbour in Miami (which is worth $1.2 billion) is almost ready for business and the new addition to the Penn National Gaming casino group will be opening this summer in San Diego.

Some large scale casino companies are currently bidding to extend their chains by building venues in other states. Land based casinos are also implementing different methods to increase revenue, such as merging with luxury hotels chains to offer visitors entertainment options like live poker tournaments to expand their customer base.

The legalization of online gambling in these US states has undoubtedly contributed to the rising popularity of online casinos – which has been a key factor in the growth of the US casino industry. Since 2013, online casino gambling has been legalised in a number of US states, such as Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, and is expected to become regulated in more jurisdictions in the coming years.

The revenue of the online casino sector in the US rose by a massive 212% last year, indicating that online gambling is the future of the casino market in the US, according to Technavio. A spokesperson for the firm commented that, “Virtual online casinos provide more protection to user transactions than real casinos offer because they offer access after multiple verification procedures.” This encourages improved consumer confidence in online casinos, and will help build future revenue in the casino market. Industry experts have suggested that there is a possibility of enhanced growth in the sector, as more states in the US are expected to make progress in legalising online gambling in the next four years.

Since online gambling is widely considered the future of the casino market in the US, there are an increasing number of online casino sites for customers to chose from, offering a range of games and promotions for players. This has become a popular option for players to enjoy the experience of a casino from the comfort of their own home.

Online Gambling In Pennsylvania To Become Legal

Online Gambling In PennsylvaniaOnline poker has taken the first step to becoming legalised in Pennsylvania as the state’s Gaming Oversight Committee has recently passed the HB649 bill. This proposed legislation will effectively regulate iGaming in the state of Pennsylvania and many hope it will provide a model for other US states to follow.

The GO committee chairman John Payne sponsored the bill, which has so far seen a plethora of amendments added to it before the vote was taken, including provisions regarding memberships fees, extending liquor service in casinos and increased slot machine availability.

Many view the HB649 bill as being hugely beneficial in helping reduce the state’s vast financial deficit, as the revenue brought in by online gambling will be substantial. So far the budget discussions in Pennsylvania between the Republican-dominated legislature and new Democratic governor Wolf, have provoked considerable debate as both sides fail to agree on way to deal with the deficit.

What is the HB649 bill?

A version of the HB649 bill was initially proposed in Pennsylvania back in February 2015, but the bill that was passed by the Gaming Oversight committee on the 18th November was not technically the same due to the omnibus of amendments attached to it.

Essentially, the HB649 will fully legalize and regulate online casino and online poker games in Pennsylvania.

Now that the bill has been approved by the Gaming Oversight committee, there are two possible avenues for it to follow in its path to become law. Firstly, it could go the usual route of being endorsed by each of the two houses of legislature before the Governor signs it into law. It has been “laid on the table” of the state House this week. This option is usually a long haul, as every individual amendment added by the Senate must be approved by the House, forcing the bill to potentially yo-yo between the two legislatures for an extended period of time. If Senate chooses not to alter the bill, and approves it, HB 649 could move straight to the governor to sign into law.

Alternatively, there is the possibility that the bill could become part of Pennsylvania’s continuing budget negotiations as a compromise measure to bring in potential revenue for the state, which is currently over $2 billion in deficit. This is a fast-track option as the bill would grouped into the larger budget package, a huge time-saver in its bid to becoming law. In this scenario, it would be voted into law when the full legislature agrees on the state budget for 2016.

If the HB649 bill gets considered on its own, not as part of the state’s overall budget package, the timeframe could be pushed back much further in 2016.

John Pappas, the chair of the PPA (Poker Players Alliance) has spoken out in support of the HB649 bill: “this bill needs to become law. The safety of consumers and the fiscal health of Pennsylvania will be vastly improved when Internet gaming is appropriately licensed, regulated and taxed. It is our hope that the legislation will be enacted on its own or as part of the state’s 2016 budget by the end of this year.”

Pennsylvania currently has 12 existing land-based casinos across the state, whilst one or two are not likely to expand into online gaming when it becomes legalized, each of the 10 remaining casinos will be expected to bring $10 million to the state in 2016.

After 2016, the state will then collect 14% tax of gross gaming revenue from each online gambling operator from 2017 onwards.

With the increased licensing fees Pennsylvania stands to make over $100 million in 2016 from up-front licensing fees alone, a notable boost in revenue for the state.

Online poker in other US states

Online gambling in the USA has traditionally been mired in something of a grey area when it comes to legal status. While there is no overarching federal law prohibiting US players from making online poker accounts and playing online, state law tends to vary.

Nevada became the first US to officially legalise online poker in April 2013 and they were followed by Delaware in the same year. The two share an “Interstate Poker Compact”, which facilitates players in both state to play online poker with each other. New Jersey also legalised online poker sites in 2013. Some states, like California, are conflicted when it comes to definitive legislation regulating online gambling. CA online poker isn’t considered to be unlawful but so far there is not a state bill legalising the practice.

Only in the state of Washington is the act of playing online poker actually a felony.

The New Jersey online gaming legislation precess took around nine months to become law, a reasonable timeframe which many in Pennsylvania hope to emulate with the HB649 bill. Pennsylvanian officials have acknowledged that they’ll be looking to the the New Jersey model when implementing their own version.

 

Joe McKeehen Wins 2015 WSOP Main Event

 

The 46th annual World Series of Poker Main Event has been won by Joe McKeehen, in an exciting showdown which saw the professional poker player from Pennsylvania walk away with $7.7 million in prize money.

McKeehen, 24, dominated the entire competition in Las Vegas and sat down at the final table with over double the chips of his nearest rival. He did not relinquish this chip lead for the entire game. He fulfilled the expectations of spectators with a superior performance that propelled him to run away with the tournament title.

On the very first day of the WSOP 2015, poker’s new world champion succeeded in knocking out three other poker players, improved his starting stack considerably, as did beating Max Steinberg later in the tournament.

This victory awards McKeehen his very first World Series of Poker gold bracelet, and his first significant tournament win of his career. Previous notable wins include the 2013 WSOP Circuit event in Atlantic City, where he took away $174,147 in prize money. His combined poker career winnings thus far currently exceed $11 million.

Before the final game even started, it seemed as though McKeehen was going to triumph at poker’s most prestigious and most richly rewarded event, and any his competitors would be just playing for second place.

Blumenfield’s attempt at a bluff against McKeehen initially worked well, but the Pennsylvanian made a good call with a top pair of cards and knocked his rival to the bottom. Blumenfield couldn’t engineer a comeback and subsequently crashed out of the game in third place.

Overall, it took 184 hands of final-table play for McKeehen to seal the deal and walk away with the title.

Second place was awarded to Josh Beckley, with a prize of $4.4 million, and third went to Neil Blumenfield with a reward of almost $3.4 million.

And the Big One goes to Daniel… Colman?

wsop 2014It’s been a good year at the World Series of Poker for new crop of young, high stakes internet professionals. Jason Mo, Doug Polk, Dominik Nitsche… now, the latest guy you’ve never heard of to have put the live poker world on notice is Dan “MRGR33N13” Colman.

And boy has he ever.

Colman has appeared just about out of nowhere to win the Big One for One Drop, the highest buy-in event in the entirety of poker. His heads-up opponent? None other than Daniel Negreanu. Colman was a complete unknown in the world of live poker prior to 2014, his biggest cash being a measly $69,787 in the 2011 Bellagio Cup. In April this year, he exploded onto the scene by winning over $2 million at the EPT Season X Monte Carlo Grand Final. He then showed up in the $10,000 Heads Up event at the WSOP and came 3rd, for a six-figure score… and now this.

Negreanu was happy to give an interview after the event and discuss the fact that his second-place finish is enough to put him ahead of Antonio Esfandiari atop the all-time money list. Colman, conversely, seems to shun fame, quickly exiting the casino before any journalists could approach him.

There’s a good reason he doesn’t want the world to know much about him: his primary source of poker income has, until just now, been grinding hyper-turbo heads-up sit-and-gos on PokerStars. Although favoured by modern internet professionals because of the volume of play they make possible, heads-up hyper-turbos can offer only the slightest of edges, so it’s vital to find weak players to play against. Colman justifiably fears that having his name and screen name publicized would dry up his action.

Just how profitable is Colman online? Last year, he became the first hyper-turbo player in history to turn over $1 million in profit in a single calendar year… and he’d done so by August. He was taught the game by Olivier Busquet, who he’d been railling online back in 2007. Busquet saw Colman calling out his hands in the chat box and was impressed by his accuracy. Recognizing his potential, Busquet took Colman under his wing and staked him, starting him down the road to high-stakes play which has now led him to his platinum bracelet.

Colman’s win over the star-studded One Drop field really drives home an uncomfortable point that many would rather overlook, that poker celebrity might start to become a thing of the past. The online poker world is largely anonymous and evolves much more quickly than the live game. Although the top online players are usually too busy making their millions digitally to play much live, the high roller events can tempt them out of hiding. That means that these days, once there’s enough money in play, you never really know who the greatest threat at the table is.

Phil Ivey wins 10th bracelet, comes through on prop bet

wsop-bracelet2Phil Ivey has come out on top of World Series of Poker Event #50, $1500 8-Game, winning $167,332, his 10th gold bracelet, and most importantly, the joint bracelet proposition bet that he made in tandem with Daniel Negreanu.

Ivey and Negreanu’s bet has been the subject of much discussion both before the series kicked off and as it’s worn on. The two of them got together and decided to bet at even money with anyone interested that one or the other of them would win a bracelet this year. Opinions on whether the bet was a good one have been divided, but the general consensus seems to be that it was close either way.

49 events in, those who took the bet would have been feeling pretty good about their choice. Negreanu gave everyone a sweat in Event #13, but came up short against Paul Volpe and ended up finishing second. For a while, that seemed like it might have been the pair’s best shot at winning the bet.

Mixed games tend to favour the most skilled and experienced players, however, and so the 8-Game tournament was always likely to be a good chance for the two of them. Indeed, both Negreanu and Ivey made it through to the final day, Ivey standing in 3rd place and Negreanu 9th in chips with 14 players left. Although still far from a sure thing at that point, it was beginning to seem like destiny that one of them would come through.

Negreanu ended up falling in 9th, just shy of final table, first getting crippled and then busted in a single orbit of Pot Limit Omaha. Ivey, however, was running hot and was far and away the chip leader by that point. He never looked back, dominating all opponents at the final table and finally crushing Bruce Yamron in a few hands of Stud and finishing him off in Omana-8.

In winning his 10th bracelet, Ivey joins a rather exclusive club, which now consists of himself, Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson. Chan and Brunson also have exactly ten, while only Hellmuth has more, at 13. Fame and setting records have never been Ivey’s priorities, however; for him, it is likely all about the money. No one but Ivey and Negreanu know exactly how much action they got on their prop bet, but it is certainly a lot more than the $167k Ivey took home for winning the event, and, one would guess, is probably in the seven figures.

Having won their bet, Ivey and Negreanu can now relax for the remainder of the series and look forward to the Big One for One Drop, in which they’ll both be playing. Certainly, they’ll both be feeling much more relaxed about that million-dollar gamble now that this one has gone their way.

Alex Weldon is a game designer by day and poker tournament wizard by night. You can read more from Alex at www.benefactum.ca and follow him on Twitter at @benefactumgames

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Is this the worst bad beat in WSOP history?

Poker pro Melanie Weisner was cruising along in the $5k No Limit Holdem event as Day 2 was coming to a close when she took one of the more horrific beats I’ve ever seen or heard of in poker.

Here is how it went down according to the PokerNews.com live reporting team:

weisner

It’s certainly not the worst bad beat possible, as a runner-runner gutshot straight flush would trump it, but boy oh boy this is a sick way to go from potential chip-leader to one of the short-stacks in a World Series of Poker tournament with two dozen players remaining.

Had Melanie Weisner won this hand she would have been heading into Day 3 of the tournament with over 1.1 million in chips with her nearest competitor sitting on just 700k. Instead it is Margareta Morris who is sitting on the chip-lead, with Weisner now well below the average chip-stack, but far from out of the tournament.

Perhaps the only good thing about the beat was that it occurred at the end of the day, so Weisner has a full night to put it behind her.

Weisner has been one of those players who has made a bunch of deep runs in WSOP events (17 cashes since 2010) and is seeking her first WSOP bracelet; in fact, she is in search of her first WSOP final table.

 

Getting the most out of your winning hands with “Value Targeting”

graphIn this article, I will examine the topic of maximizing value through value targeting.  Value targeting is identifying the hand or set of hands from which you are attempting to get value.  Let’s look at a hand to discuss this topic:

Pokerstars $2.20Level 50/100 + 10

The villain in this hand was tight passive. His line was 15/8/0/0 26 hands.

EP1 EP2 MP1 MP2 MP3 CO Button SB BB
1,395 9,287 2,210 2,399 3,020 14,479 2,860 2,174 4,540
Villain Hero
7♦ 7♥
Preflop (240) 2 folds, villain calls, 5 folds, Hero checks
Flop (340) 7♣ A♥ 4♦ – Hero checks

This is the part of the hand that I want to focus on.  Hero flopped a big hand.  When you flop a big hand you want to grow a big pot.

In this hand, Hero decided to check.  He was attempting to slow play and make his hand look weak, hoping to get some value from the weaker part of the range that the villain may have in this spot.  In my opinion checking this flop is an error.

When you flop a big hand you should attempt to play a big pot.  You do not flop big hands too often in Texas Hold’em.  When you do, you should attempt to play a big pot.  When you want a big pot, you should put the chips in there yourself, don’t expect your opponent to do it for you.

You should set a value target.  When you flop a big hand, you should set a value target.  This is a range of hands you are hoping will pay you off.  The value target should be for the probable second best hand that your opponent can expect to have.  Hands that are just a few notches weaker than your hand.  In this hand, the hands are a few notches weaker include 44, A7, A4, 74s, and finally Ax hands.

Determine how many bets your opponent will pay off with a target hand.  With all of these target hands, we should expect our opponent to possibly pay us off for three streets of value.  The possible exception would be maybe the weaker aces may fold by the river, but we should get two bets out of even the weaker aces.

Ignore the hands not in the value target.  While it is possible that your opponent may have air or maybe something like a middle pair like 88 in this hand, we should ignore these hands for the moment.  When we slow play, what we are doing is attempting to get an opponent with these hands to maybe put a bet in the pot, where we may not get that bet if we play this hand fast.  However, the value that we miss when our opponent has one of the hands in the target range is exponentially larger than the small value we may possibly get with one of these weaker holdings.

You should size the bets for maximum value.  In this hand, taking note of your opponent’s stack is very important.  When you want to play for stacks, two important markers are 10% and 30% of your opponent’s stack.  If on the flop, you can bet 10% of your opponent’s remaining stack, you will be able to get all in without your opponents help if he calls your bets.

On the flop, your opponent’s stack is 2,100.  The pot is 340, so a bet of 210 is about perfect.  If he calls the flop, there will be 760 in the pot, and your opponents stack will be 1,890.  30% of 1,890 is 550.  If he calls that bet, the pot on the river will be 2,990 and his stack will have 1,360 left, making him pot committed for the river shove with showdown value hands.

Therefore, when you flop a big hand, your goal should be to build a big pot.  This reminds me of the old adage, big hands = big pots and small hands = small pots.  Too often, players flop big hands and check, which will result in small pots.  You do not flop big hands very often in Hold’em.  When you do, you should make it your standard plan to build a big pot.  Don’t expect your opponent to do it for you.

To get maximum value, you should target a set of hands.  These are the set of hands just below or a few steps below your hand.  Then ask yourself: how many streets will he call with the hands in the target range.  If the answer is three streets of value, then it is usually an error to slow play.

Joseph Pregler plays regularly in live tournaments on the East Coast and enjoys sharing his wisdom and experience to novice and intermediate players.  You can follow him at www.facebook.com/jjpregler 

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Danzer wins second bracelet of the year, leads for Player of the Year

wsop-bracelet2The German professional George Danzer has won World Series of Poker Event #38, $10,000 Stud Hi/Lo, taking home $352,696 and putting himself in a dominant position to be the WSOP Player of the Year.

Germany is having a truly remarkable showing at this year’s World Series of Poker, led largely by Danzer and Dominik Nitsche, both of whom now have two gold bracelets in 2014. Whereas NItsche’s first came in the World Series of Poker Circuit National Championship, Danzer has won both of his in the series proper, with his first coming in another $10,000 Stud event – #18, in which the game was Razz. Danzer confirms that Stud games are his specialty, asserting that there’s no doubt in his mind that he’s a better Stud player than Nitsche, while he would steer well clear of the latter in a game of Hold’em.

Two bracelets are only the tip of the iceberg of Danzer’s success at this year’s series, however, and with just a little bit more luck he could easily have had a hat trick by now. He’s been playing all the events he can cram in, and has three final table appearances and five cashes, making his performance a tough one to beat for anyone else with their eyes on WSOP Player of the Year. His closest competition is early frontrunner Justin Bonomo, but while Bonomo has been sitting stagnant at 413.63 points since his early scores, Danzer now has a staggering 726.20.

On paper, the $10,000 Stud and Mixed Game events are the easiest bracelets to get, due to low registration, but that’s partially compensated for by the high caliber of the players who do play. There’s been nothing easy about the fields Danzer has had to get through to score his two wins. His final table opponents this time around included five-time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro and 2010 Main Event runner-up John Racener.

What’s more, the final Stud championship event is still to come. Event #61 – $10,000 Stud Hi – starts up on July 1st, and it’s a given that Danzer will be playing. If he could win that as well and make it a Stud Triple Crown, it would likely be the story of the series, and an accomplishment you wouldn’t expect to see repeated any time soon.