Thursday, 29 December 2011

Poker News Year In Review – Part 4

Nearly there! Yes, dear Melted Felt readers, this is the last year in review post of 2011… well, unless I decide to do another post reviewing my year in review posts. It always feels a little strange reviewing the recent past – and just as we got used to the doom and gloom, the news started getting quite good.

Lets start at a point adjacent to where we left off – in October.

As storms in teacups go, poker fans worldwide made much ado about nothing this month – when a misguided support rep at William Hill mis-understood a Ts and Tc entry about shills being used in casino games and said something along about bots in poker games.
The resulting Chinese-whispers effect – combined with a generation of poker players who had no target for their teenage angst since UB went under – made the news cascading around 3rd rate news ‘portals’ amusing to say the least. While this storm was short-lived (much to the embarrassment of the most militant posters), the real scandal at this iPoker site was with the management of a company employed to do their marketing… who were fired after some dodgy dealing accusations involving stealing away players, maybe.

November

Everyone had to pretend to be interested in the World Series this month… suckered in by some mass delusion that everyone else was actually interested. Lets all be honest next year eh? It will save a lot of learning names of bracelet winners and talking about hands which are really exceptionally dull given the stack sizes and table dynamics.

Anyway a German Gentleman by the name of Pius Heinz won, and we are still enjoying the boom in German players which his victory bought. Strange how an unknown German was so well known by American, British and Canadian players for many years, strange indeed.

This month also saw speculation that Full Tilt had found a buyer turn to fever pitch, as Group Brenard Tapie got involved. This bid was immediately poo-pooed by the ‘experts’ on popular forums and blogs… the guy was dodgy and it had zero chance of getting past the DoJ, man. In fact, next time I’m on an empty stomach and feeling a little grumpy I might dig out some choice posts…. Or maybe life is too short.

December

Bodog went anonymous, Everleaf made it hard for both of their winning players to log on, all of the Melted Felt awards went to me… and then:

The DoJ gave us all a fantastic xmas present!

By declaring the wire act only applied to comedy sheep-races and jamborees involving grown men in ostrich costumes – poker has been freed to grow state-by-state. The best thing is, since the states can now do it for themselves… some very rich casino interests might just be digging deep to bribe *ahem* no, I mean, ‘Lobby’ up some Federal momentum.

Keep it locked to Melted Felt for the latest, erm, news.

Next my predictions for poker in 2012 – well, figured I can not do much worse than Calvin Ayre.

MF

Monday, 26 December 2011

Poker News 2011 Year In Review - Part 3

As the disappointment you are to your family fades into a boxing day memory of ‘but it was nice food’, I’m back to cheer you up with Part 3 of my 2011 Poker News Year in review.

This was the quarter of the year where Full Tilt was about to be back at any moment, until it wasn’t. The November 9 were decided. Then everyone went back to expecting Full Tilt to be back at any moment.

July

It was the hearings in London of the Alderney Gaming Council which not only grabbed the headlines in July – they became a symbol of our collective hopes. We scanned news for anything even slightly positive, anything which might indicate that Full Tilt would return (or return our cash, depending on which side of the Atlantic we sat).

When the hearing itself came about, the world’s poker press were present. Radios were primed, twitter hash-tags were defined and 3rd rate poker sites all over the world were preparing to publish badly written regurgitated pieces from the real news vendors and pretend they were providing an important service.

Then, after a few minutes in which some celeb so minor that we forgot his name walked out. The hearing was held behind closed doors. Then adjourned until September.
How would we feed our Rush Poker addiction now?

August

The reality for thousands of grinders over in the US hit home this month. The pseudo-excitement of following the really quite dull WSOP was over. Only Cake Poker and some scrappy small sites accepted US players, and it looked like dropping out of college to have a life of ‘freedom’ as a mouse-clicking machine had turned to dust.

People started escaping, moving North to Canada, asking questions on forums about what language they spoke in England and considering the tropical paradises of the East as great places to spend 16 hours a day in a darkened room.

For some it happened, most were forced to concede that they were not the ‘ big winner over a massive sample’ they pretended to be to their forum buddies after all… and with living off of rakeback so much harder now they were wondering whether you needed any formal qualifications to drive a taxi?

September

Relatively speaking a quiet month for poker. Bodog hit the headlines by announcing they would no loner tolerate data-miners – unsurprisingly starting a spat with datamining serive Poker Scout. This would later turn out to be a storm in a teacup compared to the fully anonymous tables and rebranding to sound like a meaty drink.

So, I’ll leave it there – the last update of the year will bring us right up to date… just in time for the exciting Melted Felt predictions for 2012!

MF

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Melted Felt 2011 Poker Year In Review - Part 2

Bugger, was supposed to do the year in review weekly. One for each quarter. Now I’ll have to speed up to fit them in with your busy xmas obesity schedules.
Ah well, at least the 2nd quarter was an *ahem* interesting one.

Lets start at the beginning with the bliss that was the online poker landscape during the first half of April 2011.


April:

Puppy dogs were playing, the sun was shining brightly, daffodils and crocuses were in full bloom as profits, the seemingly endless profits, seemed to seep almost gracefully from table to cashier to bank account. It was a time of hope, that poker really would fulfil the promise of freedom, that you would soon be able to swap a life of senseless career progression and working for the man for freedom to choose what hours you would work – blissfully extracting stack after stack from the donks.

Then *boom* the Feds got involved.

Within seconds the US sites were down, the flowers wilted back into the ground, the sun disappeared behind black brooding clouds. The games and their endless profits were gone, the boss was yelling and instead of telling him to stuff his job where the sun don’t shine all you could do is splutter ‘yes, sir’ and cower back to your cube.

No more freedom to grind, an attack on the very liberty which made America great, the fish would now get to play each other, you were going to move to Canada, no, to Mexico, maybe Europe… only you could not afford to, yet, if only the DoJ had stayed away you could have been a damn pro. You were good enough for fvcks sake, good enough… just a little unlucky that’s all.
When the smoke cleared, US poker was dead.

May

As the fallout from Black Friday continued, online poker players everywhere were desperately looking for someone to blame during May. After many players had clicked ‘like’ on various facebook pages, retweeted news about legislative efforts and ‘signed’ the odd online petition – and with them taking so much responsibility for their own future the real cause must be someone elses fvck up, right?

With UB / AP dead it was time for Joe Seebok, their ‘head of not being gay’, to get the pink slip this month. The final act in the story of a corrupt online poker room which had defined the life of countless online players. With no poker, no UB to hate and no social skills, you can still find these players wandering the streets of major cities – telling bad beat stories to anyone who would listen.

With Full Tilt soon following a strange monetary phenomenon occurred. Scouring the forums and adding up all of the claims of huge sums of money ‘locked up’ on sites which had closed, it seemed there was actually more cash in poker than what can be accounted for in the entire global economy…

June

Things started to stabilize in June, with Carbon and Cake poker taking up the slack of US players wanting to stay online.

Canadian and Mexican border police were forced to implement a shoot-on-sight policy as pasty-faced grinders left bedrooms all over the US and tried to emigrate to more favourable regimes.

Live poker took centre stage, with record numbers registering for the 2011 World Series Of Poker. The story of the year was 2nd-itus for one Phil Helmuth, who had a couple of runner-up spots in his quest to add even more bracelets, and a final table too. As we reported at the time, there were huge queues as 10,736,453 people tried to by first John Juanda, then Eric Rodaw a drink.

Tune in next week for my recap of an interesting 3rd quarter!

MF

Friday, 16 December 2011

Quick Fire Friday Poker News Roundup

It’s Fridayyyyyy! Bet you are all looking forward to feeling a little disappointed on Monday morning, that for all your excitement when it started out, the weekend turned out to be a little dull.

Anyway, no need for your mundane life to get in the way of a perfectly good Melted Felt post, is there now… With so much exciting poker news around, I just can not wait to get started on another Quick-Fire Friday!


Bodog Rebrand


Bodog, the big betting brand, announced that their US operation would be called Bovril this week. Naming their poker site after a meat-based spread which can also be made into a hot drink has baffled many commentators, as well as judges – both the legal variety and those who rate TV talent show finalists.

Personally I can not wait for the 1000’s of ‘affiliates’ out there offering Bovril poker rakeback, nudge nudge, wink wink. Speculation is mounting here at Melted Felt HQ that this could the first shot in a war of with Jack Links…. The poker world not being big enough for 2 meat-based products after all.


Epic Poker League Pinch The Pennies


Anyone remember the Epic Poker League? Vaguely… good. Well in a shocking development this week they offered none other than the godfather of poker – Doyle Brunson – a lifetime pass to their tournaments. Come on guys, we all know Doyle is already 117 years old, why pinch the pennies this way when you could have offered it to someone with a higher chance of being around in 5 years time. Erm, come to think of it… will the Epic Poker league last that long?

Jamie Effing Gold


It does not matter what the hell is in the poker news, or the world news for that matter. Every day at least one person is searching for some variation of ‘Jamie Gold Broke’ and finding Melted Felt. Still boggles my mind as to why anyone cares all these years after writing some decidedly unfunny satirical post on him.


Anyway, I digress, Gold is back in the news. He is representing the Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas. After reviewing his poker achievements since winning the world series, I think its best if I write to them first… just to confirm that he is not actually representing the bingo department.


Pokerstars 10 Million, erm, Million


Nothing shatters a dream of walking away with the $2 million first prize like a bad beat after 9 hours of solid, insightful and skilled poker play…. So I’d best stop writing and go play a satellite.

MF

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

2011 Melted Felt Awards

They are prestigious, they are relevant, they are shiny and new – and they are published today. Yes, dear Melted Felt readers, we reach the end of another year of opening every damn post with ‘dear Melted Felt readers’, oh yeah, and announce the results of poker’s most sought after accolade too – the one and only Melted Felt awards.

The competition was the toughest it has ever been this year. Which bearing in mind that these are the inaugural awards is not all that surprising… With no less than 3 categories of awards to fight for, the opening of the envelopes took place in my study, shortly after I had sealed them. With no champagne readily available, the ‘csssp’ of opening a can of lager added to the ambiance of the star-studded occasion.

So, without any more sh1te, here are the categories:

-1 The 2011 Poker Satire Blog Which Used To Be Funny Award.

This was a tough category, the poker satire niche being as crowded as it is. With, oooo, 10’s of poker blogs out there cracking the occasional pun – it was a matter of measuring the peak to trough, of setting the clap-o-meter on max, then scanning the horizon for the appearance of tumbleweed.

In the end there was only ever one winner. One poker satire blog which plumbed new depths this year – trying, desperately, to resurrect its past chuckle-filled glories. Yes the prestigious 2011 ‘Poker Satire Blog Which Used To Be Funny’ award goes to: Melted Felt

(applause mixed with cheers and the occasional whistle)

-2 Poker Player Of The Year 2011

Wow, this category could have so many nominations it would impossible to count. Pius Heinz for putting Germany on the poker map, Phil Ivey for taking a stand and not playing in the World Series, Chris Moorman for crushing online poker tournaments, Durrrr for probably winning a lot of money, maybe and so on…

When the cows had come home for long enough for the dust to settle, one play, which astounded the poker world stood out. It was made by your humble host in a $11 online tournament and involved the shocking tale of folding Queens before the flop after the worlds nittiest nit 3-bet… only to turn over aces. Yeah, well, alright, not exactly a heroic laydown… the thing is I managed to heroically resist typing ‘folded QQ’ into the chat box even when one flopped after the nit had turned up his aces… I went on to min-cash 4 hours later.

The small fact that I have not won a dime, let alone a tournament this year has nothing to do with it, the Melted Felt Poker Player of the Year award goes to: Planet Mark

(Cheers mixed with 'wow he really folded queens' and 'ooohhh' noises)

-3 Online Poker Site Of The Year

Just one small issue with this category. While these awards are undoubtedly one of the most prestigious in all of online poker… this is the first time though. This means the online poker sites will not have had the opportunity to *ahem* enlighten me as to why they should get the award, for example with expensive gifts or all-expenses paid trips.

I could pick an ‘Ironic’ candidate for this award, UB anyone? The thing is this just works almost as well as turning a Wordsworth poem into a poker satire post, I’d be as lonely as a cloud…
So, a holding category for now – just so someone gets the fantastic prize of a second can of lager, I’ll award this one to myself.

(deafening sound of poker site managers instructing their staff to make sute Planet Mark is 'well looked after' for 2012)

-4 Person Of The Year 2011

Time magazine have one, so why not Melted Felt. This is the toppest of top when it comes to award categories, and so some serious consideration of the candidates needs to be made before I continue with the lame gag of awarding everything to myself.

Many people have shaped our lives in various ways this year, and some big-cheeses have died too. I mean, it’s a tough choice between Jackson and Jobs as to who made more people happy overall during their slightly twisted lifetimes. Political heavyweights and finance chiefs might be the subject of your hate, while sports-stars and slightly stupid celebrities balance this with your love. However one awesome person stands a head-and-shoulders above the crowd when it comes to person of the year.

After donating small sums to charity no less than twice, once being nice to a random dog and generally not p1ssing too many people off. I feel the prestigious person of the year award (which comes with a pizza (topping of your choice) in addition to the 3rd can of lager) – goes to none other than Planet Mark. After all, nobody has done more in the world of poker satire blogs that used to be funny, and nobody ever will.

Remember, you will have forgotten that these awards were not funny long before I do the 2012 version… look forward to seeing you back online then!

MF

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Shock As 250,000 Everleaf Players Claim EUR750 Cap Ruins Their Life

We applaud those poker sites who are trying to become ‘fish friendly’, dear Melted Felt readers. As a dedicated fish, your humble host thinks that we should be recognised more often for the vast contribution of cold hard cash we make to the poker economy.

Yes, while you were busy berating us for that call which will win you money over time. A change in the Everleaf network has occurred, which means that anyone winning more than 750 Euros in a week gets barred from the tables, at least until they log on with their ‘sisters account’.

Everleaf – a network with 3 trillion ‘skins’ who each contribute 0.007% of a player have announced that this is to better reward the sh1t poker players who actually contribute cash to their coffers by depositing, and to restrict those selfish nasty winning players who do nothing but withdraw withdraw withdraw.

The server resets on Sunday, which means your little sister can log off and you can log on again…. All the way to another 750 Euros.

What shocked us the most is the apparent disconnect between the number of players claiming this as a personal disaster on various blogs and forums, and the statistics released by the network themselves.

According to Everleaf, only 0.04% of players are affected, a negligible amount by any measure. While a quick scan of 2+2, P5s and other forums seems to indicate that more than 250,000 players just lost their livelihood – including Tim, 19, whose post before his ‘devastated’ rant was on the subject of their been ‘too many suckouts’ in the daily 1000 player $5 freeroll.

Of course, this is not the first site to make a big to restrict winners for the greater good of crappy players everywhere. Bodog have been doing it for ages by hosting one of the ugliest poker software clients online and announcing they will pull out of their core market to stop people there bothering to deposit. OnGame also punished the winners with their essence rake system, making it so complex that an experiment is scheduled at the Large Hadron Collider to try and determine how it works.

We sympathise with the 250k people whose HUGE Everleaf winning days have come to an end. What I suggest is that you stop showering, grow your hair (and beards as applicable), create some banners and go occupy somewhere – after all, you have the 0.04% to blame.

MF

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Melted Felt Poker Year In Review - Part 1

December is a month of reflection, and one of hope, dear Melted Felt readers. We can look back at the year that was, swear blind never to do *that* again, and look forward to next year – where miraculously, with no effort or study at all, we will start winning tons of money at the poker tables… proving once and for all that we were naturally talented all along – just a little unlucky.

This will be the first of 3 ‘Poker News Year In Review’ posts. I’ll do one per quarter, and post them each week during December. This particular post looks fondly back at the first quarter, pre Black-Friday, when the poker world was a dreamy place with plenty of profit for everyone… well, except for the 90% who lost at it.

Poker News Year In Review – 1st Quarter Highlights

Jan 2011:

January saw Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth leave UB.com. While at the time I speculated that this was due to unsatisfactory xmas presents… hindsight can be a wonderful thing. They must have had insider knowledge of the Feds April moves and simply acted rationally to protect their assets. No, wait a moment, erm, I’ll get back to you on that one.

Pokerstars also launched their homegames, which might be still going, though as I pointed out at the time were hardly a realistic representation – well not compared to the home-games I have been too anyway.


Feb 2011:

That cold, miserable month when you did not get a single valentines card (again) was thin new-wise. WSOPE announced they would move to Cannes, and Stars Dropped their Double or Nothing SNGs in favour of the new-fangled 50Fifty format.

This was the month where Sunday schedules, grinding the mid stakes cash games and FTOPS (or was it Mini-FTOPS?) just drifted by for US players. The approach of a dark cloud on the horizon went un-noticed. 100’s more dropped out of college to pursue the ‘freedom’ of clicking a mouse for a living for a couple of years before going broke and becoming a cab driver, and, hell, anyone who raised an eyebrow to question the long-term sustainability of this lifestyle was simply called a hater!

I came up with a rewrite of ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’, damn it, now that song is stuck in my head once again…

March 2011

Unparalleled optimism, huge numbers online… and record profits – at least based on what 1000’s on online players later claimed they lost when AP / UB / FTP disappeared… Spring was in the air and poker legislation efforts were underway in DC and in many individual states. Barney Frank had a new bill and life was good – it was just a matter of time before the glory days of online poker would return. Turkeys reflecting on just how great life is a week before xmas springs to mind.

One particular Turkey, called Full Tilt Poker, launched the Onyx cup – tournaments with millions in prizes for the high rollers. In addition to reminding the average player how pathetically small and insignificant both their poker bankroll and whole existence was, this could be great for TV… In fact it feels like announcing the biggest tournament payouts ever has become pretty popular as the year went on.

Yes, life was great in Q1, and was set to get better and better… Come back next week for part 2, when I look at how much fun we all had in April.

MF

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Slowly Sizzling Sunday - Poker News Summary

Quick Fire Friday is all very nice, dear Melted Felt readers, but like the tired old poker pro who still raises 3x + 1 per limper, its days are coming to a close. Instead I present the all new super slowly sizzling Sunday roundup of poker news. This summary is so fresh and new that while I am writing the intro paragraph for it, the rest does not actually exist yet.

Anyway, lets get straight on with the news which is causing a stir in the world of online poker.

First Up UB.com Data Leaked.

This item really got people hot under the collar, the poker site which used to be the target of hate for grinders enjoying their 'freedom' in darkened rooms everywhere might be gone, but they managed to sink one little notch lower still...

What happened was the hand history data covering thousands of players and millions of hands was leaked online – ready for anyone to mine it for competitive advantage. Such was the shock and indignation, the outpouring of disbelief mixed with pure rage and the torrent of '+1' posters looking to increase their coolness level with bigger post count scores on their favorite forums – that people actually forgot that this data, combined with billions more hands from other rooms is available at a large number of paid data mining sites.... and has been for years, oops.

Next, Today's World Record

Today some 200,000 people will play in the worlds biggest poker tournament at Pokerstars.com, aiming to beat their previous world record of a 150,000. Since no other poker site gets anywhere near 150k, we have to ask a couple of questions as to why bother in the first place? Is this spite? Is it just poking fun at the other sites? Is it the online poker equivalent of climbing a step-ladder, pulling down your pants and taking a giant dump on the heads of your competitors?

Probably just a great way to get more people playing all those other games while they chuckle about their huge piles of rake.

$100 Million Tournament Rumors Quashed

No big tournament in Macau next year... it turned out to be a rumor. Fortunately the Melted Felt $3 Trillion Guaranteed will go ahead next June. This will be a $1 entry game with a field capped at 250, and will guarantee at least $1 Trillion for the winner. The only condition is that I find a poker site willing to sponsor the event between now and xmas. Watch this space.

Thats about all this Sunday, I'm pretty sure some people won some big live tournaments around the world... and I'm also pretty sure you do not really give a shit.

MF

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Bodog Anonymous Software Goes Too Far

Grinders have always been in the cross-hairs of the poker arm of betting giant Bodog, dear Melted Felt readers. Restricting the number of tables per player, reducing rakeback for winning players and using sh1te-looking software have all been effectively used to put off the online poker pros in the past...

Yesterday a brand new front opened in the war against the spotty nerds whose idea of 'freedom' is to sit in a darkened room all day clicking a mouse – the Bodog Poker tables have gone totally anonymous!

Instead of your really cool poker name like TeddyKGB173 or NateDog98345, you now just get a number, a dull and boring single number for cash games or a number which could potentially run to 3 whole digits if you enter a tournament.

Anonymity is designed to stop data-mining software which the grinders love building histories of players which might then be used to mathematically exploit them.

All very well, I hear you cry in unison, we never played there anyway...

That is only the official version.

In reality there are some very strange effects happening all over the world as some of the powerful code leaks out of the new client and into the real world...

In Houston, Texas, Bill White sat down for his usual crafty half-hour slightly losing session while he was supposed to be collating the month-end sales figures for his boss. After standing up it quickly became apparent that he had become anonymous. Not only did his colleagues not recognize him, despite his pleading and shouting, 'but its me - Bill!', they eventually called security and had him escorted out of the building.

That, dear Melted Felt readers was just the start.

James McCruft of Toronto, Canada was making sweet love to his girlfriend when a particularly troublesome hand from the Bodog tables crept unwanted into his mind. While maintaining a steady rhythm, James desperately tried to figure whether he could have got a few more BBs of value by leading small on the river with his set of 7's – rather than opting for a check-raise against an aggressive opponent.

At that moment the anonymity kicked in, turning him into a number – much to the distress of Katie, his long-suffering lady.

Examples of contagion have already been reported as far apart as the UK and Brazil, with suddenly anonymous players infecting their entire families – leading to some very confused mealtimes and evenings in front of the TV.

Meanwhile, grinders who never played on Bodog in the first place are busy slapping each other on the proverbial shoulders and saying 'yeah, I'm not playing there any more either' in their usual forum bonding rituals... only for some reason the minute they look away from the post they can not recall what the damn site was called.

We asked a spokesman for a statement, only he had apparently never heard of Bodog Poker and was not sure if it was his job to even pick up the phone...

MF

 
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