Judge Rules Phil Ivey Broke Rules in Borgata $10m Win – Judgement Coming

October 21, 2016

ivey-vs-borgataA federal judge has ruled that poker pro Phil Ivey broke New Jersey state gambling rules en route to winning $9.6 million at the Borgata Hotel & Casino.

While U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman said that Ivey and his accomplice aren’t guilty of fraud, he did say that they failed to follow state gambling regulations on four occasions in 2012. Specifically, they asked the dealer to arrange baccarat cards so that they could better win through a technique called edge sorting.

According to Philly.com, Judge Hillman threw out Borgata’s allegations that the pair committed fraud, but he did give Borgata 20 days to detail the damages that it suffered.

“Borgata and Ivey had the same goal when they entered into their arrangement: to profit at the other’s expense,” wrote Hillman. “Trust is a misplaced sentiment in this context.”

This case arose back in 2013, after Ivey launched a lawsuit against Crockfords, which withheld £7.8 million ($12.4m) from the 10-time WSOP champion in 2012. A judge sided with Crockfords in not paying winnings to Ivey, who used edge sorting in this case too.

Edge sorting involves spotting flawed card backs and using this information to determine card values before they’re flipped over. In Ivey’s case, he requested a special Gemaco deck that had a flawed design, then his accomplice, Cheng Yin Sun, asked the dealer to arrange the cards in a specific way.

The arrangement made it easier to spot the flawed card backs, which Judge Hillman believes were questionable.

Hillman wrote that he “view[s] their actions to be akin to cunning, but not rule-breaking, maneuvers performed in many games, such as a play-action pass in American football, or the ‘Marshall swindle’ in chess.”

The following excerpt from Hillman shows that, although impressed with Ivey and Sun’s skills, he still believes that they’re in violation of New Jersey state law:

“Sun’s mental acumen in distinguishing the tiny differences in the patterns on the back of the cards was remarkable. But even though Ivey and Sun’s cunning and skill did not break the rules of Baccarat, what sets Ivey and Sun’s actions apart from deceitful maneuvers in other games is that those maneuvers broke the rules of gambling as defined in this state.”

Carlos Mortensen, Todd Brunson Earn 2016 Poker Hall of Fame Nods

October 14, 2016

carlos-mortensen-brunson-poker-hofCarlos Mortensen and Todd Brunson will be the 51st and 52nd players inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. They were voted into the Hall of Fame by a 44-member panel that includes media members and living HOF inductees.

For Brunson, this is a very special honor because his father, 10-time WSOP champion Doyle Brunson, is also in the Poker Hall of Fame.

“It’s a true honor to be inducted by my peers into this prestigious institution,” Brunson said in a press release. “I literally grew up attending these ceremonies and have always respected and admired its members. To join their ranks is the honor of a lifetime.”

Mortensen, who was the most-obvious inclusion in the 2016 Poker Hall of Fame class, becomes the first European player to earn this prestigious honor.

“I have been playing poker professionally for more than 20 years. This game has given me so many things that I have come to cherish,” Mortensen stated. “I’ve always wanted to be included among the great players who make up the Poker Hall of Fame. To be included with the legends makes me very happy. I want to thank my friends, the poker fans, and all the people who vote for me. I take this honor very seriously.”

As always, there was heavy competition to gain a spot in the Poker HOF. Other nominees included: Chris Bjorin, Humberto ‘The Shark’ Brenes, Eli Elezra, Bruno Fitoussi, Chris Moneymaker, Max ‘The Italian Pirate’ Pescatori, Matt Savage and David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott.

But voters found that Mortensen and Brunson’s accomplishments trumped this group.

Despite not playing as many tournaments as most pros, Mortensen has almost $12 million in winnings with no high-roller earnings. His most-famous tournament titles include winning the 2001 WSOP Main Event and 3 WPT wins.

Brunson has almost $4.3 million in tournament earnings, but where he really drew voter interest is through his years of grinding in big high stakes poker games.

The Poker Hall of Fame has 6 pieces of criteria for players and non-players. Here’s a look at what nominees are judged on:

– A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
– Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
– Played for high stakes
– Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
– Stood the test of time
– Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.

Joey “ChicagoJoey” Ingram Playing Daily Fantasy Sports

October 6, 2016

Joey Ingram, better known as “ChicagoJoey,” has made a nice living through online poker – particularly PLO cash games. Ingram is also well known for doing the Poker Life Podcast, where he talks with top poker pros every week.

But lately, it seems that ChicagoJoey is deviating from the norm by playing a lot of daily fantasy sports (DFS).

We can trace this back to the Week 1 of the NFL season, where Ingram invited DFS pros Assani Fisher, Adam Levitan, and Jonathan Bales onto his podcast:

Maybe this conversation sparked ChicagoJoey to start playing DFS himself because since then, he’s had a one-track mind. As the videos below show, Ingram is enjoying DFS and talking about his results. ChicagoJoey’s goal is to increase his bankroll to $100,000 before the 2016 NFL season ends:

One more sign that Ingram is ingrained in the DFS world is his new show, Sunday Night Sweat Show. This show gives viewers the opportunity to sweat Sunday night football action with Ingram:

We doubt that Ingram is moving completely away from online PLO games. But like some other poker pros, he’s clearly interested in dividing his time between poker and DFS for the foreseeable future.

PartyPoker Goes Anonymous, Bans Seat Scripting

September 29, 2016

anonymous-poker-tables-party-pokerPartyPoker has announced two big changes to their site that will help recreational players. First off, their cash game tables will be completely anonymous, preventing players from seeing each other’s screen names. Second, seat scripting software has been totally banned from the site.

Popular at other online poker rooms, anonymous tables protect players’ identities so that pros can’t target them with Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) – third-party software that provides detailed statistics on opponents’ tendencies.

The ban on seat scripting ensures that players can’t use software programs to find the softest cash tables available. Players who get caught using seat scripting software will first be issued a warning, then have their account closed on a second infraction.

These changes will definitely benefit recreational players, most of whom don’t use complex software programs.

One more minor move that PartyPoker made includes allowing players to download hand histories again. They did away with this last year by only allowing players to download their own hand histories. But this small change will help skilled players in some manner.

Tom Waters, head of the PartyPoker operation, said that these changes will “offer a level playing field that allows players of all abilities to compete fair” and deliver “a fair and ethical product whilst still allowing them to learn and improve.”

PartyPoker is one of several major poker sites that have worked to make recreational players more comfortable. Given the slow decline in online poker traffic, sites are doing everything they can to encourage more signups and new players. And this means that pros aren’t as valued as they once were.

As for PartyPoker’s traffic, they currently sit fifth overall in the world, drawing 950 cash game players an hour. It remains to be seen whether the latest moves will boost their traffic.

A Closer Look at Vanessa Selbst’s Law Career

September 22, 2016

vanessa-selbst-law-pokerVanessa Selbst is the most-successful female poker pro of all time, having won over $11.8 million in live tournaments. But the 32-year-old is also a successful lawyer who specializes in civil rights cases.

In the midst of her professional poker career, Selbst still found time to attend and graduate from Yale Law School. Given that it’s tough enough to pass without playing in major poker tournaments, this is quite an accomplishment on its own.

“I’m a little bit weird within the poker world, in that I have these other passions,” she said. “For me, I’m never really just happy playing poker.”

The Bustle recently did a feature on Selbst and her acute abilities in both poker and law. And they found that her motivation for pursuing civil rights cases comes from things that happened to her in the past.

“In law school, I did actually get falsely arrested twice,” said Selbst. “Once I went to jail, and once I just had to get in the back of a police car, and both were completely bogus charges.”

In addition to helping people who may have had their civil liberties violated, Selbst has also been highly active with different foundations. Here’s one excerpt from the Bustle that explains this:

“Using that inspiration, Selbst has found ways to merge her seemingly unrelated passions of poker and law. In 2010 — the year she took the poker world by storm — Selbst created a private foundation called Venture Justice, through which she uses her poker winnings to fund socially conscious startups and entrepreneurs. “I knew that I wanted to do something with aspiring social entrepreneurs and people who want to make a difference, and I wanted to be able to put my money into helping them do that,” she says.

She also sits on the board of Urban Justice Center, an organization which provides legal advice to and advocates on behalf of vulnerable communities in New York City. “I just firmly believe that if you’re someone who has been given advantages in life that you have some sort of obligation to give back,” she says. As a native of the NYC area herself, it’s clear that those communities have grown close to Selbst’s heart.”

Despite being active with the Urban Justice Center, running Venture Justice, and being a lawyer, Selbst still finds time to cash in poker tournaments. That said, we can expect to see her grow in both poker and law in the future.

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