Friday, February 17, 2012

Bodog and Bovada - A rose by any other name...

Bodog has long been a favorite among the sports betting public.  They recently made some changes that some have found confusing.  They split their USA business off into a separate domain, Bovada.LV - Why they chose the Latvia domain extension is curious to say the least, but it doesn't really matter much.  Here are some important details:

What is different about Bovada?

Nothing really, except the domain name and the fact that it is a USA only site.  The site and software function the same way as they did before when USA players were logging into Bodog.com.  The same old login/pass that you had on Bodog now gets you into Bovada.  Morris Mohawk Gaming Group is still the sole operator.

What is new about Bovada?

There have been some upgrades to the casino side of things.  There is a new flash powered lobby and the cashier has had an upgrade.  It is easier to purchase and cash out chips, view account history and wagering history, etc.  One of the frequently asked questions about the change is why they chose the .LV extension (which is generally reserved for domain names registered in Latvia!).  Bodog/Bovada notes that they hope the "LV" extension will remind their users of "Las Vegas"...  the obvious Mecca of gaming.

Why the change to Bovada?

I suspect that by splitting off their USA player base, the Bodog.com brand will have a much easier time, legally, of entering various gambling regulated markets in Europe.  There are also some rumors swirling that possibly the attempt at the "LV" extension connection to Las Vegas, might be in anticipation of favorable online gaming legislation in Nevada.  There has been no official statement as to "why", that I am aware of.

Any special Bovada promos?

The deposit bonuses and such as all pretty much the same as they were on Bodog.com.  The VIP program functions the same.  Bovada launched the "Black Diamond Poker Open", which is a 52 event tournament series to be played out in March and April of 2012.  Total prize pools will be over $750,000, with the main event being a $50,000 guaranteed pool of cash.

Finally, the popular Bodog free bankroll that was open to USA players has been migrated over as well.  For $25 on the house to get a bankroll started, USA players can register to receive a Bovada Free Bankroll - No Deposit Bonus  (USA players only, and must be a first time, new account!)

Final note.  I have accounts at pretty much all of the popular USA facing poker sites.  Bovada and America's Cardroom (previously Doyles Room), have had the best cashout times by far.  This can change day to day, week to week though.  Lock Poker (on the Merge network) recently launched a stand alone cashier and is bragging about faster cashout times and better deposit options.

Final note II - The USA legal situation is still murky, even though the legal momentum is heading in the right direction.  It is advisable to never leave a huge balance in an online poker account if you are a USA resident.  

Friday, December 09, 2011

Anna Nicole Smith posed naked for Golden Palace Casino

Golden Palace online casino has always been known for outrageous marketing techniques and publicity stunts. Their latest is drawing mixed opinions from every corner of the globe. A nude, gold-painted Anna Nicole Smith.

Anna Nicole Smith was a spokesperson for Golden Palace prior to her untimely death in 2007. She had done a photo shoot with Golden Palace that featured her completely naked with GoldenPalace.com stenciled on her pregnant belly. She was pregnant with her, now, 5 year old daughter (Dannielynn). Right after the photo shoot, Anna Nicole's son died, and the planned release of the photos and a new online Anna Nicole Slot game was shelved.

While the release of the photos has brought as much negative opinion as it has positive, it is definitely bringing about what Golden Palace wanted. Lots of attention and traffic to their brand.

The nude photos are displayed at the Golden Palace Website

Related: Golden Palace Bonus

The New Poker Landscape - 2011 Comes to an End

For USA poker players, 2011 is by far, the worst year ever. Many of us have money still owed to us by Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and UB.com. Even worse, the events of April 15, 2011 and the months following cost many full time poker grinders their livelihood. Some estimate that as a result of the US Dept. of Justice moving against online poker, that over 50,000 professional online poker players were left without a job.

So where is the silver lining? For USA poker players, Bodog has been one of the most popular. They still accept USA players, though they plan to split the USA player base off of their main site at the beginning of 2012. That will likely result in a new USA poker brand. For now, USA players can still take advantage of a free Bodog Poker bankroll. $25 account, no deposit required.

AmericasCardroom (formerly Doyles Room) is another USA friendly site that is growing quickly. They are one of the best when it comes to speedy deposits and cashouts. They have launched some popular promotions to coincide with the time of year. Right now, players can participate in freerolls that award seats into huge guaranteed tourneys. The value of the freerolls come to a total of $45,000. Source: AmericasCardroom Holiday Freerolls

For poker players in other countries that do not have nanny-state governments, there are a host of options. Online poker continues as normal.

As 2011 comes to a close, USA poker players continue to hope for legal and regulated online poker. There is a great chance that 2012 might be the year. Many of the big name brick and mortar casinos are ready and waiting to enter the online poker industry.

So this blogger is crossing his fingers for a better 2012. May we all get our money back from Full Tilt, etc., and all have a nice, safe and regulated place to play cards soon!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

USA online poker thoughts for 2011

For anyone remotely involved in online poker, whether playing or affiliating, this has been a horrible year. Poker Stars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker / UB.com all leaving the USA online poker market was a kick in the nuts. Doyles Room and TruePoker following on their heels, as well as the closure of Quicktender (the last 'good' deposit/withdrawal option for USA players), was equivalent to spitting on us while we were on the ground gasping from the aforementioned ball busting. A few quick thoughts in light of all this, come to mind.

What is our current situation? Not horrible if you are a recreational player. Carbon Poker, Bodog and Cake Poker all still accept USA players. Cake and Carbon (Merge network), all have a ton of skins with competing VIP deals, bonuses and rakeback to choose from.

For those of us with money on Absolute/UB or Full Tilt, we are still waiting and hoping to get our money from the sites. Absolute and UB.com look pretty bleak. They are doing their best to stay afloat, it appears, and can't afford to pay USA balances with what little bit of liquidity they have. Full Tilt is in much better shape, and if one believes "TonyG" (owner of PokerNews.com and one of Full Tilt's biggest affiliates), then we could all be seeing payments arranged within a week or two.

For affiliates, it all depends on how much exposure you had to the 'big three'. In our case, it was a LOT. I'm still working though, and the bills are getting paid, so I should count my blessings.

Where are we going from here? I had a conversation with an affiliate manager within just a day or two after 'black friday' and he said that according to his 'in the know' sources, strings are being pulled behind the scenes that will result in legal regulated online poker very soon. "Months", not "Years". Sure enough, Nevada has passed an online gaming bill that will allow them to be regulators if gambling is legalized on a federal level. A new pro-online gambling bill was introduced on the GOP side of the aisle this month. The brick and mortar casinos have all magically changed their opinions on online gaming to "yes, we think it would be good for our land based businesses". Finally, Jon Kyle himself, the biggest stick in the mud when it comes to online poker, seems to have softened his stance against online poker.

Final thought? Though the words "legal online poker in the USA" gives me an instant surge of excitement, it is immediately followed by a surge of throw up in my mouth at how this country is ran. I'm not usually the paranoid type, but it sure does look like there are a few power brokers in the country who pretty well pull the strings.

There is a thread on twoplustwo forums that prior to April 15th, I wouldn't have given the time of day. Neither would most of the people who have replied in the 18 pages of posts. It's basically investigating who is behind the April 15th shut down of the big three, and why. I've been eating it up of late. It's long and you won't be able to browse naked websites at the same time, but if you have time, it's worth reading and considering: Ceasers and Wynn ties to organized crime.

So bottom line, whoever is running the show (and it dang sure ain't Obama), should have some dirty poker games for us to play very soon. Yay.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Sports Betting - I got smoked

So I was the first to lose my $100. Danno still has ~$50, and same for Bryan. I obviously did not follow my own bankroll management tips. After you get down to say, $50, then playing 5% per game is a whopping $2.50. Blah. I basically did a double or nothing strategy with my last $30 or so and lost.

That being said, I did learn a lot about odds, lines, and the sports betting industry in general. Fun stuff. I ended up loading some more cash on another sports site. (Carib Sports). The reason I didn't reload at Bodog is because they don't post their lines until Tuesday or later, and even then, they don't post lines for many games, no moneylines, etc. - It really bites to see a line that you feel you have a good edge, but you can't bet it because it's not listed. By the time Bodog lists it, the line has moved so that it's no longer a good bet.

The thinking is pretty simple. The sports book's goal is to have equal betting on both teams in the contest. So the opening line is set to do just that... induce betting on both sides. So if the game is a big mismatch in team talent or a very popular team vs an unknown, the line will usually be a bit inflated on the side of giving points to the underdog/unknown. If you can catch that line as soon as it comes out, you can usually take the underdog with points, and have a good shot at a winning bet.

Though sometimes the line can move favorably, in most cases this season, I would find myself annoyed at Bodog because by the time they had posted the game, the line had moved unfavorably, relative to the bet I wanted to make.

Anyway. Sports betting rocks. Maybe I'll get back to poker in 2011.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sports Betting Race

Bryan (bmetz), myself and Danno (atlantisdan) are going to do a sports betting competition for NFL / College. We will each deposit $100 to say, Bodog, and then bet as many college or NFL games as we want. Whoever has the biggest Sports bankroll at the end of the NFL/College season, wins. The two losers pay the winner $25 each, so another $50 for winning.

So what strategy to use? Obviously, there are the usual sports betting money management systems out there. The only problem is, small bets probably won't keep pace if one of the other two hit some lucky streaks with larger bets. The last thing I want is to be faced with dropping huge bets on any one game to catch up.

This almost reminds me of a blackjack tournament, where your bet size and position are the two main ingredients to success. Position won't matter here, because none of us will really know the games that the others are betting. We'll have to do a weekly bankroll report or something, so we know who is in the lead.

Should be fun. Betting horses, sports or playing craps is so much less stressful than poker. Casino games especially, you know you are behind on every bet and an underdog. You're just hoping to get lucky a few times. Compare that to say, consistently getting money in with a 60%/40% lead and getting sucked out on incessantly. Since you know you are supposed to win the majority of those, it's incredibly frustrating when you hit the run where every flip goes against you.

Moral? Play craps or blackjack at a 1% or less house advantage. You'll lose a buck for every $100 wagered, on average and if you win in a session, it feels great. If you lose, well, you expected to, so no harm done.

I'll get back to poker in the short term. I got top level Iron Man at Full Tilt in August (200+ points per day for the first 25 days), so I'm a bit poker burnt out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dinner with the Legend, Doyle Brunson!

No, I didn't get to have dinner with Doyle, but I did think the promotion up, so I get creativity points right? Evidently it made an impression on the OFC guys. I'll make a special place for those creativity points, right beside my sklansky dollars. I've got quite a collection of both!

In all seriousness, I just wanted to give a thumbs up and welcome home to Mike (MJCACE), who took down our Dinner with Doyle promotion and won a weekend in Vegas and dinner with the legend himself. Besides Doyle, there were other pros there, including Todd Brunson, Pam Brunson, and some Brunson 10 legends. Mike even came back with more money than he took. Who leaves Vegas "up"? Impressive!

You can read all about it on MJCACE's Blog. The Vegas Trip report is just south of the Summer Trip Report. Ahh, the life of a guy who earns his bill money fishing at Full Tilt, Cake and Absolute Poker!

Congrats again Mike and hope to see you in our next poker promo!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Paradise Poker - Bonus Bump

It's interesting to think back to 2002 when I first checked out online poker and Paradise Poker was the king. They and Pacific Poker were the sites I first downloaded and played the 'play money' tables. Over the years, Paradise really eroded as they didn't bother updating their software to include things like tournaments. Can you imagine a poker room not offering tournaments now?? That feet dragging plus events like the UIGEA really hurt their player base.

At any rate, Paradise is doing their best to reclaim market share. They joined the International Poker Network (IPN)a couple of years ago. This network is also referred to as the BOSS network by old timers. It's not open to USA players, but for non-USA players it's a good player population with loose games.

Their affiliate backend is undergoing some changes, and that is resulting in positive changes for the players. Paradise now offers our members and visitors a 200% up to €1000 plus 30% rakeback. That's a hard deal to beat on a network with such loose games.

If you haven't checked out IPN/Boss network rooms in awhile, they are growing. Start with the best bonus code: Paradise Poker Bonus Code