Professional poker player Justin “Boosted J” Smith will plead guilty in court for the charge of taking a payment from Internet gambling. Smith is not the only poker player involved. Fellow card shark Edward Ting will plead the same to charges of operating an illegal gambling business. Both of the crimes carry up to a maximum of 5 years in jail. Smith and Ting are only 2 of the 34 individuals indicted in this widespread case of illegal gambling activity where the proceeds ended up with the Russian mob.
Other poker superstars were also in the group indicted, with Smith being the best known. Peter Feldman, Bill Edler and Abe Mosseri are also world class poker players on the list. The crime ring, which was being watched by the FBI, was charged with numerous counts that stemmed from hosting illegal big-stake poker games for celebrities and other high class individuals. Money from the games ended up being laundered and delivered to Moscow Mobs. This is a gamble that the fellows should not have risked.
The qualifying rounds of the WSOP 2014 National Championship stopped by the beautiful Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT recently. After 5 levels of grueling play, one man was left standing out of the final round of 11 players. At the start of this tournament, there were 591 participants. Twenty-Eight year old Jason Strasser, from New York, took the grand prize of $186,600 and became the first entry in the 2014 championship field.
Early in the match, it seemed that Brian Leskowitz would be crowned king as he single handedly knocked several other greats out of the running. John Ting became the first match casualty when his King and Queen fell to Leskowitz’s pocket Jacks. Next to be knocked out was Forrest Mansur and then Frank Pezzullo. Keith Donovan ended up the next casualty at the hands of Leskowitz. All-in-all five of the 11 players were removed by him.
Leskowitz’s luck finally ran out head-to-head against the eventual winner, Strasser. Jason’s pocket Jacks were a bit too much for Brian’s 9 and 7 off-suit. This left Strasser to face Wes Wyvill for the win. After some great back and forth play, Strasser took the crown with a King 5 on-suit. All Wyvill could do at that point is show his Queen of Spades before tossing his cards to the table.
Looking for a sure sign that professional poker is becoming more and more main stream? Rush Street Productions has announced a new TV show that is in the works. Headed by the former boss at Heartland Poker Tour, Todd Anderson, the production company plans to show off the entertainment value and excitement of poker. “We’re looking to film the biggest and best poker events at premier venues.” Anderson said. He also stated “We think the world is ready to watch poker in a whole new way.”
Not only will the new project present great matches and tournaments from around the world, it will also give the viewers an interactive experience. Playing while you watch from home will lead to prizes and even the chance to appear on a future broadcast. The show will feature the cream of the crop when it comes to poker players and also include celebrity appearances. Slated to start airing early in 2014, the show will display poker in a whole new light. Anderson also said “I’ve been involved in poker and TV for the past 8 years and if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that this business is chalk full of fascinating people and stories.”
The Bitcoin Foundation recently met with members from several departments of government. According to the general council for the Bitcoin Foundation, Patrick Murck, the meeting was productive and encouraging. “It was a positive first step for the industry in creating an open and ongoing dialog. I left feeling very encouraged that we were able to dispel some myths and misinformation about how the bitcoin protocol works.”
The meeting, which was held at the US treasury building in Washington, D.C., was scheduled to discuss privacy laws, government involvement and law enforcement. The main fear of the foundation is that government control could put a choke hold on the industry before digital currency even gets rolling. The meeting included bitcoin supporters and fierce skeptics face to face in the same room. This is just the first round of this debate with the next meeting already lined up on Capitol Hill. At least they are talking.
After three years of battling, online poker players thought that maybe this time fate would turn in their favor. It doesn’t appear that the outcome, however, is going to be any different. September 13th is the end of this legislative session and the hopes of gamblers in winning this fight are pretty much dashed. State Senator Lou Correa’s amendments to his Internet poker bill isn’t supportive of the gamblers wishes but was met with approval by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The Band is a very powerful tribal gaming group that surprisingly seems to be on the wrong side.
Nobody seems to want to give any ground on this issue. It’s hard enough after the crash of online gambling back on Black Friday to make any headway with lawmakers. It’s also hard enough to bring online gambling back even when proponents agree. But it becomes mission impossible when the proponents tend to fight amongst themselves. Maybe next year will turn out better for the supporters that want to bring online gambling back into their homes.