FantasyHub Players can’t access Funds

February 25, 2016

fantasy-hub-player-fundsDoes the daily fantasy sports (DFS) world have its first UltimateBet (UB)? FantasyHub suspended its operation on Feb 19th, and players have been unable to access their funds ever since. Upon visiting the site, you get the following message:

“FantasyHub has temporarily suspended operations. Further updates have been made via email. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are currently in discussions with a strategic 3rd party regarding the future of FantasyHub & its players.”

FantasyHub has been in trouble ever since opening in 2013, when they immediately began experiencing financial problems. The iTEAM network saved them during this rough period, but it doesn’t seem as if FantasyHub has done any better since.

The obvious fear here is that we have another “Black Friday” situation on our hands, where the site won’t be able to honor player funds. Black Friday (April 15, 2011) marks the time when the U.S. Department of Justice went after the online poker industry’s four biggest sites: Full Tilt, Absolute, PokerStars and UB Poker.

Only PokerStars had ring-fenced their operational money from player deposits, with the other three sites closing down afterward. Luckily PokerStars bought Full Tilt and repaid player deposits there. Unfortunately, Absolute and UB players (on same network) lost out on a collective $20 million in deposits.

It’s highly doubtful that FantasyHub has anywhere near this kind of money floating around on their site. But their closure and potential non-repayment of player funds will no doubt leave a scar on the DFS industry.

Speaking of which, lawmakers have been arguing that DFS sites should be forced to stop operating in the U.S. because there’s no regulation. And the current situation at FantasyHub will only give politicians more room to call for the ousting of daily fantasy sports in the U.S. until there’s regulation.

Dan Bilzerian, Bill Perkins make $1.2m Bicycle Prop Bet

February 17, 2016

dan-bilzerian-bill-perkins-betWe haven’t seen a prop bet this big in the poker world in a long time! High stakes poker pro Dan Bilzerian and hedge fund manager Bill Perkins have reportedly agreed to a $1.2 million prop bet that will see Bilzerian bicycle from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

In case you’re wondering, that’s 269.5 miles in a car. Given that the average person can only go around 20 mph on a bike, it would take him about 13 hours to reach the destination – not counting fatigue of course.

Bilzerian hasn’t rode a bicycle in 18 years according to his Twitter account, which will no doubt make the journey harder. But if there’s any solace here, it’s that he’ll have two total days to cover the distance.

Poker pro Samantha Abernathy says that Bilzerian offered her the exact same prop bet recently, however, she would have 72 hours to make the trip. The longer time limit is offset by her only receiving $10,000 if she is successful.

As for Bill Perkins, the poker player and businessman is worth an estimated $500 million. Considering that Bilzerian is worth $100 million, it makes sense that these two could collaborate on such a massive wager.

This is only the latest big prop bet that Perkins has made. The last wager he made was with Antonio Esfandiari, where the latter had to lunge everywhere for 24 hours, made national headlines. Esfandiari got kicked out of the PCA Main Event for peeing in a bottle at the table, which sickened many players in attendance. But on the bright side, at least Esfandiari did all his lunges and won the $50,000.

A.G. Schneiderman on why he’s hunting Daily Fantasy Sports

February 9, 2016

eric-schneiderman-daily-fantasy-sportsNew York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been after daily fantasy sports (DFS), labeling them “illegal gambling” and launching a state lawsuit against the activity. Just recently, Schneiderman did an interview with Frontline on exactly why he’s so adamantly against daily fantasy sports. And much of his state’s investigation has to do with insider information that DraftKings/FanDuel employees had access to.

“I think DraftKings and FanDuel spent something like $31 million in the first week of the NFL season alone,” Schneiderman said. “Then the stories started to break about employees of these companies using non-public information to get a competitive advantage to win money on other sites. At that point, we launched our investigation.”

One argument that’s been commonly trotted out in defense of DFS is that it’s not actually gambling. However, Schneiderman certainly disagrees with this and refuses to buy into the skill-game argument.

“It’s clear to us that what they’re doing is gambling, and there are people who have gambling addiction problems,” Schneiderman explained. “And for them to contend that it’s not gambling, you can almost lure people who know they have gambling addiction problems into getting back involved in betting. And gambling addiction experts have come forward to say this is a particularly pernicious form of gambling.”

As many poker players know, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 made it illegal for financial institutions to accept transactions related to online gambling. Season-long fantasy sports leagues were excluded from this, and DFS sites have tried to argue that they too belong under this umbrella. However, Schneiderman is pretty certain that DFS isn’t protected by the UIGEA.

“No, the 2006 federal Internet gaming statute is not ambiguous. It does not prohibit gambling on fantasy sports,” Schneiderman said. “Now in 2006, of course, the technology for DraftKings and FanDuel didn’t exist. All that exists were the season-long rotisserie baseball leagues and things like that, where traditionally, the sites made money from administrator fees and advertising. They weren’t online gambling enterprises here, where FanDuel and DraftKings described themselves with poker terminology. They take a rake, they take a portion of each betting pot. These are not a new version of traditional fantasy sports. This is just a new version of Internet gambling, more in common with Internet poker than with traditional fantasy sports leagues.”

The legal battle between DraftKings/FanDuel and the state of New York will conclude in the near future. And when this happens, we’ll have a much clearer picture on the legality of DFS.

Assuming you want to see Schneiderman’s entire interview with Frontline, you can check it out here.

Poker’s Anna Khait picked to win Survivor

February 4, 2016

anna-khait-poker-survivorThe last poker player who appeared on CBS’ Survivor, Garrett Adelstein, didn’t fare so well as he was the second contestant voted off out of 18 participants. But poker already has a new Survivor hope in Anna Khait, and one expert has tabbed her to win “Survivor: Kaoh Rong.”

Rob Cesternino, a former contestant who’s become an expert on the reality show, likes Khait’s chances for two reasons:

1) She’ll be underestimated, being a part of the “Beauty” tribe.
2) Her poker-playing prowess shows that she’s more than just a pretty face.

Furthermore, Cesternino thinks that Khait could have a solid long-term strategy that’ll allow her to keep surviving eliminations and eventually take home the $1 million top prize. You can find Cesternino’s podcast here, where he gives complete analysis on Khait’s chances in the 32nd season of Survivor.

As for Khait’s poker career, she has earned just over $10,000 in live tournaments. Her cash game career is a bit of a mystery, but I’m assuming she must have done something in this space. Where she’s really made her mark is by being one of the best-looking women to sit down to the felt. But in a 2014 interview with PokerListings, Khait made it clear that she didn’t just want to be a good-looking poker player.

“My ultimate dream, is to become a PokerStars pro,” she said. “If not, then be a pro who’s respected in the game. I can’t wait for the day for me to prove to everyone that I’m not just a cute face, you know. I love poker. Because I get judged on that all the time.”

Assuming Khait can win Survivor and live up to Cesternino’s prediction, then she’ll no doubt have an easier time getting a sponsorship deal – however increasingly rare these are becoming. Or, she might choose to go down a different path and expand on her reality-TV star potential.