19. April 2011 12:08
There is huge turmoil in the world of online poker after three of the world’s major online poker sites were shut down by the FBI last Friday, 15 April, now labelled Black Friday in the online poker community.
US federal prosecutors filed an indictment charging the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, as well as nine other individuals, of operating illegal gambling businesses. Federal prosecutors also filed a civil lawsuit of $3 billion in money laundering penalties, accusing the online poker companies of disguising the money they received from US poker players as payments to non-related online merchants such as jewelers and golf ball suppliers.
The PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.com internet domain names were seized to stop the companies from operating in the US, and a federal judge enforced a restraining order against 76 bank accounts in 14 countries that are connected with these online poker companies.
The accused poker operators have maintained that they were not violating US laws, and that poker is a game of skill and not gambling, but have not commented since last Friday. Some legal land-based casinos have been in the process of setting up lucrative deals with these online sites. These deals will no longer go ahead.
The indictment still maintains that PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker “…used fraudulent methods to avoid restrictions and to receive billions of dollars from United States residents who gambled” and “…deceived or directed others to deceive United States banks and financial institutions into processing billions of dollars in payments”.
The above-mentioned online poker companies are not run in the US but are estimated to have made over $1.4 billion in revenue from US players.
16. February 2011 08:18
We’ve already spoke about Andew Dominik’s new poker movie currently in development, Cograns Trade. With a cast consisting of Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Javier Bardem, Sam Rockwell, Casey Affleck, Mark Ruffalo and a couple of others, the movie seems to be shaping up to be pretty impressive.
Just to add to the impressive cast list, it seems Ray Liotta is the latest actor to sign up to be a part of the cast.
“Liotta will play Mark ‘Markie’ Trattman, the unfortunate hustler who runs the game in a motel room and finds things only going downhill from there.”
Between Henry Hill and Tony Soprano, this is shaping up to be a new gangster classic.
8. February 2011 03:47
An online poker obsessive has pleaded guilty to stealing £7.4 million worth of chips and awaits sentencing.
Ashley Mitchell hacked into the Zygna online poker game and stole over 400 billion virtual poker chips before trying to launder them out through various Facebook accounts.
Before he was caught, Mitchell was able to sell around 30 per cent of his 400 billion chip stash. He charged £430 per billion chips and netted £53,000.
The incident happened in the summer of 2009 when Mr Mitchell pretended to be an administrator for Zygna games once he had hacked into their system.
However the poker game company quickly realized that something was amiss and set up a trap to catch him.
Having admitted that he has a gambling problem, Mr Mitchell pleaded guilty to the five charges of computer misuse brought against him in Exeter court, UK.
Mr Mitchell already has previous as he tried to hack into computers in a local council, an offence for which he was given a suspended sentence.
Now he has been remanded while a date for the sentencing is set up.
Speaking at his case Judge Philip Wassall said that Mr Mitchell would face the full weight of the law.
7. February 2011 06:01
Jack Ury, the oldest 2009 World Series of Poker player to enter, passed away last Tuesday. The aged WSOP player died in his home in Terra Haute, Indiana at 97 years old.
Ury made four appearances at the WSOP and made it to the second day of competition in each.
Ury was seen as an inspiration for others at the tables, especially the younger generation who admired him for his pioneering spirit, endurance and sharpness of mind, despite the fact that towards the end Ury needed help with posting blinds.
At last year’s WSOP Ury made it through to the third day of action but didn’t manage to attend on day three.
Poker prowess seems to run in the family; Ury’s grandson, Seth Harrold, is also a poker player who entered the tournament with his grandfather for the past four years. Harrold has not yet cashed in at the main event but will continue to enter.