Re-printed courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.
A commentary by Christopher Cosenza
Garth Brooks has a song called Unanswered Prayers, and in it he thanks God for not giving him what he had prayed for in the past because if God had, then he wouldn’t have what he has now.
The online poker world almost had one of these moments last month. Harry Reid, the Democratic senator from Nevada, very nearly pulled off the Herculean task of getting an online poker regulation bill put to a vote as part of bigger, must-pass legislation during the lame-duck session. It would’ve answered a lot of poker players’ prayers, but as Garth would point out, that’s not always such a good thing.
When players heard online poker regulation might actually get introduced there was joy on Fifth Street. But upon further review this bill smelled as fishy as a postflop check from an under-the-gun raiser. Yes, we all want online poker to be regulated; no one likes legally participating in a game that’s thought of as an illegal industry. But at what cost, and at who’s expense?
For the uninitiated, everything that happens on Capitol Hill comes with a catch. In this case, Mr. Reid nearly snatched an opportunity to pay back his IOUs to MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment for their contributions to a re-election campaign that saw him squeak past Republican challenger Sharron Angle.
And wasn’t Reid an opponent of online poker once? Funny what money can do to a politician’s views, isn’t it? Once the big boys decided they wanted a slice of the Internet pie it suddenly became very important to Reid to get online poker regulated, and regulated just for his interests. But more on that later.Think back to when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was attached to the SAFE Port Act in 2006. Weren’t you about as livid as Phil Hellmuth Jr. after getting his kings cracked by 10-7 offsuit? How could these politicians attach something so clearly thoughtless and ineffective to such an important bill at the stroke of midnight during the last session before an extended break? Oh, wait, that’s how politics work. It’s disgusting, and it’s sad. And that’s exactly what Reid was trying to do. The old “good-for-the-goose-good-for- the-gambler ” strategy.
“You’re not going to believe this,” came the voice on the other end of the line, “I missed my bus”.
“You’re kidding?” Kirk Fallah, the creator and producer of Windy City Poker Championship, was distraught. His face fell. “Jerry missed his bus,” he relayed to the crew.
Jerry Yang was born in Laos, and escaped with his family to Thailand when his home country fell under Communist rule in the 1970s. Life didn’t get much easier, as his family spent four years in a refugee camp, where they faced more adversity than most of us can imagine. At the age of 13, Jerry came to the US, and the rest of his story began to unfold. In 2007, Jerry Yang won $8.25MM and the championship bracelet when he took down the Main Event of the World Series of Poker.
On this particular weekend, three years later, Jerry headed 2000 miles east to attend the Chicago Memorial Police Foundation poker event, and also to benefit the charities involved with Main Event Charity Games, and a number of upcoming episodes of Windy City Poker Championship.
When Kirk received the unfortunate phone call, Jerry had headed an additional 80 miles east, to the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI. The humble champ opted to take the casino’s complimentary shuttle, and while monitoring the return schedule, based his timing on “Chicago time”, not realizing that Michigan was an additional time zone east (later). Now the champ missed his ride, and the TV production was on hold.
Fortunately for all involved, a member of the show’s crew headed out to pick up Yang, and a couple hours later we were back in business. Later in the day, I got to sit down with the Champ. Here's what we talked about:
Do you win or lose at the electronic poker table? These days, the soft players are few and far between, and being a better-than-breakeven player is harder and harder.
Do you lose money over time? Break even? What if I told you that you could make a ton of money by breaking even online? How about if I told you that you could actually be a long-term loser playing online poker and still come out ahead? All for money online poker sites take a small percentage of every pot played in their electronic room. This fee is called a "rake". Chicago Poker Club has arranged for you to get some of that money back as much as 25%-30%, or more!) when you play online. Its called "Rakeback", and it allows breakeven, and even small losing players to come out ahead.
We, at Chicago Poker Club, don't necessarily advocate playing online poker. In fact, we know that it is illegal in some parts of the U.S. and in parts of the world, and the rules are constantly changing. So, we must first tell you to check your local laws before considering playing online.
Once you have done your diligence, and made the decision to play poker online, make sure you're getting some of that rake back, as rakeback!
Here's some other news about our Rakeback Offers:
Absolute Poker Reload Bonus
Absolute Poker is offering a 75% up to $250 reload bonus until December 8th at 11:59 PM ET. Use bonus code ACTIONDAY75 whe... more
Minted Poker Reload Bonus
Minted Poker, a US-facing Everleaf skin, is offering a 200% up to $50 reload bonus until December 24th at 11:59 PM ET. Pla... more
Carbon Poker- Version 5.0 Released with Mac Client, Reload Bonus
The 5.0 version of the Carbon Poker software has been released. Among other features, players will now be able to download... more
Absolute Poker Reload Bonus
Absolute Poker, a Cereus Network skin, is offering a 75% up to $250 reload bonus until December 4th at 11:59 PM ET. Player... more
Fortune Poker Reload Bonus
Fortune Poker, a Boss Network skin, is offering a 200% up to €1,000 reload bonus through the month of December. Rakeback... more
For Illinois lawmakers gambling expansion never seems to go away. With Illinois financial woes it’s no surprise with the current push for gambling expansion. In a 12/7 interview on WBBM-AM’s Noon Business Hour Gerald Roper President & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber OF Commerce discussed the advantages of Chicago’s Block 37 along with other possible downtown casino locations. Looking at Chicago’s landscape a State Street casino would benefit many downtown businesses. Forty million people from outside Chicago come to this area every year. Tourism would get a boost allowing more tax dollars received from out of state visitors
Block 37 located on State Street
Illinois politicians have put the Chicago area behind the eight ball when it comes to gaming tax revenues. According to the “American Gaming Association” the Chicagoland area is the third largest gaming market in the country. Taking a closer look northwest Indiana is receiving a large chunk of the gaming revenues. With gaming issues Illinois politicians say “they want to do the right thing for their citizens”. Unfortunately their votes end up turning into financial gains for Indiana.
Horseshoe Hammond with downtown Chicago in the backround.
For the poker player the most important part of the new gambling expansion bill is the increase in casino gaming positions. The current bill allows existing riverboat casinos to expand to 1,600 positions in 2013. With the exception of Hollywood Aurora and Harrah’s Metropolis casinos opened their poker rooms as other gaming revenues declined. The Des Plaines casino that currently is under construction has no plans for a poker room. This could change with this new gambling expansion bill. If this bill passes Harrah’s Joliet will likely to be operating the state’s largest poker room.
Politicians missed another opportunity to have poker rooms at Illinois horse racing facilities. Minnesota’s Canterbury Downs is a good example on how poker rooms can be a perfect fit for horse racing facilities. Florida was been successful adding poker rooms to their dog tracks. Pennsylvania and West Virginia have recently added poker rooms to horse racing facilities. Illinois and Indiana casino poker rooms had combined revenues over 70 million in 2009. Most Illinois race tracks could have poker rooms up and running quickly and economically. From a tax standpoint this makes a lot of sense, Unfortunately politicians have never considered having poker rooms at racing facilities.