Web poker Professional Mike Smith’s Offerings Get Attracts $1.five M

Web poker Professional Mike Smith’s Offerings Get Attracts $1.five M

Over the course of a stellar career that stretches back to 2008, poker pro Dan Smith has made a habit of hauling in seven-figure scores.

The former World Poker Tour (WPT) title holder has taken down more than $ 1 million on five separate occasions, but in doing so for a sixth time, Smith decided to share the wealth.

On November 14, Smith took to his DanSmithHolla blog to announce the return of his charity drive, which began last year alongside fellow high-stakes pro Dan Colman. In 2015, the pair pledged to match up to $ 70,000 in donations, a goal which was easily met and exceeded to send $ 210,854 in total to worthy causes.

This time around Smith upped the ante considerably, offering $ 175,000 in matching funds to create an eventual $ 350,000 pool if the drive’s donation goals were achieved. Smith set a deadline of January 1, 2017 and began spreading the word within the poker community.

Initially, Smith’s efforts were directed at raising funds for a diverse collection of nine different charitable organizations: 350.org, Against Malaria Foundation, Give Directly, Just City, Liberation Prison Yoga, the Lineage Project, MAPS (Zendo), the Massachusetts Bail Fund, and the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI).

The causes varied greatly across the board, including the provision of mosquito nets in places where malaria is rampant, therapeutic yoga classes to assist inmates in rehabilitation, bail payments to help people avoid unnecessary court fees, and supporting the global movement to address climate change. Two of the charities – Against Malaria Foundation and GiveDirectly – were recommended by the group Raising for Effective Giving (REG), which counts several top poker pros as board members and focuses on the concept of “effective altruism.”

On December 2 the drive received a significant contribution from an anonymous donor, who pledged to match $ 125,000 in additional donations to the Against Malaria Foundation, GiveDirectly, and 350.org funds once Smith’s original $ 175,000 target had been met. In sum, the anonymous gift raised the stakes to $ 600,000 overall, which seemed to get the ball rolling toward an even larger effort.

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) legend Martin Crowley, who regularly competes for the largest prizes on DraftKings and FanDuel, then stepped in on December 20 to make his own impact. Crowley had already matched $ 325,000 in donations at a 1:1 rate, but he decided to kick in another $ 200,000 in matching funds to push the goal to $ 1 million.

Crowley penned a blog post at DFS site RotoGrinders calling for his fellow players to contribute:

“Awareness is the first step towards transformation. Though I’d love to see each member of the DFS community step up and give, I’m grateful and humbled you’ve read this far. You don’t need to donate six figures to make a difference – in fact, simply acknowledging the need is a big step for many of us. So what can you do?”

Martin’s brother Tom Crowley, another DFS superstar, then added his own $ 500,000 donation once the $ 1 million mark was surpassed, bringing the total haul to $ 1.7 million.

On his blog, Smith revealed that 134 individual donors contributed to the effort, before providing a breakdown of the funds allocation:

Charity – Donation

350.org – $ 8,556
Against Malaria Fund – $ 287,535
Give Directly – $ 115,173
Just City – $ 9,750
Liberation Prison Yoga – $ 12,868
Lineage Project – $ 4,000
MAPS – $ 31,100
Zendo – $ 0
Massachusetts Bail Fund – $ 10,325
SCI – $ 13,131
GiveWell Unspecified – $ 7,670

Subtotal – $ 500,408

Dan’s Match – $ 175,000
Martin’s Match + Extra – $ 525,000
Tom’s Donation – $ 500,000

Total – $ 1,700,818


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Barista Pockets $900,000 for Lucrative Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest

Barista Pockets $900,000 for Lucrative Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest

For sports bettors who specialize in NFL football, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest is styled quite similarly to the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Both events take place annually in Sin City, attracting a healthy mix of professionals and amateurs alike, and for a relatively small entry fee, a player’s skill and hard work – combined with a little luck – can lead to life-changing six-figure scores.

And while the WSOP had its moment in the sun thanks to accountant Chris Moneymaker’s improbable Main Event victory back in 2003, the sports betting sector is hoping a barista’s big win in the SuperContest creates a similar “boom.”

When the last Week 17 game went final to conclude the NFL’s regular season, 32-year-old Starbucks worker and Las Vegas resident Damon Graham put the finishing touches on a 5-0 week picking against the spread (ATS). It was no fluke, as Graham’s entry “Pops2008” had gone 13-2 ATS over the last three weeks of the SuperContest.

When the final standings were tallied up, the “Pops2008” ticket stood atop the massive field of 1,854 entries with a 54-28-3 overall ATS record. For guiding his entry – one of two he had in the field – to the finish line sporting the season’s top record, Graham earned the first-prize payout of $ 895,482.

Since 2004, the SuperContest has invited football fans and casual bettors to join the fabled Las Vegas “wiseguys” – or professional handicappers – in a season-long competition picking ATS. Each entry must submit five picks for the upcoming week’s game, using lines generated by the Westgate sportsbook – which bills itself as the largest such venue in the world. By season’s end, a small percentage of the field (top-50 this year) earns a “cash,” with payouts ranging from double the buy-in to huge six-figure sums.

In the past, professional punters like the famed Steven Fezzik (2008 and 2009) have dominated the proceedings, but this year the amateurs made their mark.

Graham, a Maryland transplant living in Las Vegas since 2008, put the maximum of two entries into the field, and his “main” entry also managed to finish tied for 40th-place – good for another $ 2,217.38 in winnings. On top of that, by virtue of that aforementioned 13-2 run over the last three weeks, Graham’s winning entry also won the Mini-Contest title for another $ 10,000.

Week 17’s unpredictable slate of games, along with having a pair of entries tied for fourth place at the time, put Graham in a tricky spot when assessing his picks. In the end, he decided on Texans (+3) @ Titans, Bills (-3.5) @ Jets, Ravens (+2) at Bengals, Cowboys (+4) at Eagles, and Dolphins (+9.5) at Patriots for his primary entry.

On the “Pops2008” card, Graham simply went with the five opposite picks in an attempt to maximize his expected value. When the whistle blew on Sunday’s early games, Graham’s actual picks went 0-5, vaulting the “Pops2008” ticket to the top of the standings with a 5-0 finish.

Speaking with ESPN Chalk, Graham found humor in the fact that picking incorrectly propelled him to nearly a million dollars in winnings:

“I’ve never been happier to be wrong about anything in my whole life.”

The SuperContest field set a record this year with 1,854 entries, topping last year’s mark of 1,727. In 2010, the SuperContest drew just 345 entries, with the field expanding significantly every year since.


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Poker Rooms Across Nevada Collect $8.9 Million in Rake During November

Poker Rooms Across Nevada Collect $8.9 Million in Rake During November

Per the latest revenue report released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), the Silver State collected $ 8.92 million in rake from poker tables in November of 2016.

That number represented a slight dip from the $ 8.97 million raked by Nevada poker rooms in September of 2015.

This particular set of NGCB data concerns cash game poker tables only, as tournament tables are tracked using a different accounting method. Cash game rake constitutes a small percentage of every pot generated, which is removed from the pot and added to the casino’s coffers. For tournament play, on the other hand, casinos add entry fees to the total buy-in figure.

On a regional level, nearly 64 percent of the total poker room revenue was generated in the city of Las Vegas – representing another small decrease from last November’s 65 percent mark. Poker rooms located on The Strip or in outlying areas of Sin City hauled in $ 5.68 million in rake altogether.

The Strip area is by far Nevada’s most productive poker room locality, serving as the venue for 20 poker rooms which spread 275 tables. With 65 poker rooms scattered throughout Nevada, covering 625 poker tables, The Strip is home to just over 30 percent of the state’s poker rooms, and 44 percent of its tables.

On a year-to-year basis, Nevada’s poker economy generated $ 117.7 million in rake between November of 2015 and November of 2016. This figure is nearly identical to the yearly rake collected over the same 12-month span between 2014 and 2015.

Over the course of 2016, every month produced a poker rake between $ 8 million and $ 10 million – except for June and July. The summer months are when the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and other annual tournament series transform Las Vegas into a poker paradise, as thousands upon thousands of recreational players and professionals arrive en masse to compete in the game’s world championships.

Accordingly, the influx of poker players during those months results in monthly poker room rake rates doubling on average in June, while increasing by 50 percent in July as the WSOP schedule winds down.

Overall, the comprehensive gambling win posted by Nevada’s casinos totaled $ 930.4 million this past November, representing a drop of 1.47 percent from the previous November’s $ 944.3 million win rate.

But as Michael Lawton, who serves as senior research analyst for the NGCB, told the Las Vegas Sun in a December 29 interview, using month-to-month trends can be deceiving:

“The state was facing a difficult comparison. Last November, the state was up 7.8 percent. But the state has only recorded two decreases in the last six months. For the calendar year, the state is up 1.7 percent.”

The table below contains a full review of Nevada’s poker room rake figures on a monthly basis over the last year:

Nevada Poker Room Rake by Month
Month – Rake – Year-to-Year Movement
January – $ 9.5 million – Down 2.85 percent
February – $ 8.98 million – Up 5.44 percent
March – $ 9.68 million – Down 0.01 percent
April – $ 8.57 million – Up 0.86 percent
May – $ 8.88 million – Down 13.92 percent
June – $ 16.14 million – Up 1.88 percent
July – $ 12.33 million – Up 7.63 percent
August – $ 8.24 million – Down 3.23 percent
September – $ 8.44 million – Up 1.47 percent
October – $ 8.71 million – Down 0.23 percent
November – $ 8.92 million – Down 0.65 percent


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Betting Guide for College Football Playoff National Championship Game

Betting Guide for College Football Playoff National Championship Game

It’s only been three years since the College Football Playoff was created, but in that short time one team has staked its claim to supremacy over the sport’s postseason: The Alabama Crimson Tide (14-0).

Under the careful management of head coach Nick Saban, and powered by a steady stream of NFL-caliber players, Alabama has secured a spot in the four-team Playoff every year so far. And while the 2015 edition saw the top-ranked Tide upset by Ohio State, Saban’s squad prevailed over last year’s postseason bracket to become national champions.

As defending champs, Alabama strung together an undefeated regular season – including yet another SEC Championship Game victory under Saban’s tenure. Upon reaching their third consecutive Playoff, the Tide rolled over an outclassed, but fourth-ranked Washington Huskies (12-2) team in a 24-7 game that was never really as close as the score would suggest.

All told, Alabama is riding a 26-game winning streak across regular season and postseason play, putting Saban in position to win his sixth National Championship. That would tie him with legendary Crimson Tide coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, while making it five titles in his last seven seasons (’09, ’11, ’12, ’15).

The only thing standing in Alabama’s way is a Clemson Tigers (13-1) team that pushed them to the limit in last year’s 45-40 title game thriller.

Head coach Dabo Sweeney has made the Playoff two out of three years, but while Saban is the common thread in the Tide’s dominance, the Tigers have been powered by star quarterback Deshaun Watson over that span.

In the last two years Watson has finished second on the big stage twice, first in last year’s title tilt, and again this season when he was named runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting. After scoring three touchdowns, one through the air and two more on the ground, in last weekend’s 31-0 rout over third-seeded Ohio State, Watson will undoubtedly be looking to complete his college career standing in the winner’s circle.

Having combined to allow just 7 points between their respective defenses in the Playoff semifinals, Alabama and Clemson don’t appear poised to reprise their previous shootout. On the other hand, the Tigers ranked 13th in the nation by scoring 39.5 points per game, while the Tide were 15th at 39.4 per game, so the scoreboard operator may be busy after all.

The Bovada Sportsbook has installed Alabama as 6-point favorites for Monday’s matchup. If the score resembles that of last year’s instant classic, the Tide would win the game but the Tigers would narrowly cover.

Additionally, Bovada has bettors covered with a bevy of game wagers and prop bets, so take a look below to see a few of the latest lines:

Moneyline: Clemson (+185) / Alabama (-225)
Over/Under: 51 (-110)
First Half: Alabama (-3.5)
Team to Score First: Clemson (+120) / Alabama (-160)
First Team to 10 Points: Clemson (+140) / Alabama (-190) / Neither (+7500)
Will the Game go to Overtime: Yes (+700) / No (-2000)
Total Passing Yards for Watson: Over 269.5 (-120) / Under 269.5 (-120)
Total Passing TDs for Watson: Over 2.5 (-120) / Under 2.5 (-120)


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California Tribe Still Hopeful for Online Bingo and Poker Despite Setback

California Tribe Still Hopeful for Online Bingo and Poker Despite Setback

Just over two years after launching an online bingo platform as a precursor to an affiliated online poker room, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel was recently rebuffed by a federal judge.

On December 12, Judge Anthony J. Battaglia of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that the Iipay Nation’s fledgling online gambling enterprise violated terms of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. Specifically, Judge Battaglia found that the Desert Rose Bingo website was operating unlawfully by accepting players from outside of the tribe’s reservation boundaries.

The Iipay Nation, a California tribe located in northern San Diego County, launched Desert Rose Bingo in November of 2014. Despite the state’s current prohibition against online gambling, the tribe argued that the provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) permitted them to offer certain casino games for real money via the internet.

The website for the Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission offered the following explanation for Desert Rose Bingo’s legality:

“In offering online gaming through Santa Ysabel Interactive, the Tribe is exerting its sovereign right under the IGRA to regulate and conduct Class II gaming from the tribe’s reservation.”

The Class II gaming classification within the IGRA statutes covers both bingo and poker, and the Iipay Nation made it clear from the outset that its online bingo product was a proving ground for an eventual online poker room. That platform, known as PrivateTable.com, went live along with Desert Rose Bingo, but the poker room was limited to play money tables only.

Within days of the Iipay Nation’s ambitious launch, both the state of California and federal government filed lawsuits. Temporary injunctions were granted, halting all activity at both sites, and the two lawsuits were eventually folded into one, with the case presided over by Judge Battaglia.

In ruling against the tribe – which consists of just 700 members – Judge Battaglia’s primary point of contention was that Desert Rose Bingo could be played by anybody, including Americans living off reservation lands. The Iipay Nation claimed that all actual bingo play occurred on reservation lands, through a random number generator, while players participated via proxy.

In his ruling, Judge Battaglia took particular issue with that locational defense:

“When IGRA and UIGEA are read together, it is evident that the phrase “on Indian lands” was intended to limit gaming to those patrons who participate in the gaming activity while in Indian country.

Were the Court to give IGRA the broad construction Tribal Defendants urge, under no circumstances would the United States be able to enforce UIGEA where some portion of the activity originates from servers located on Indian lands.”

Within the same ruling, however, Judge Battaglia decided against California in the state’s efforts to declare the entire online bingo and poker enterprise to be a violation of tribal gaming compacts. According to him, the state has no authority over the tribe’s handling of either game, as both fall under Class II of IGRA.

Speaking with Online Poker Report, Dave Vialpando, chairman of the Santa Ysabel Tribal Gaming Commission, was cautiously optimistic regarding that secondary ruling:

“The legal issues are the same, whether it’s Class II poker or Class II bingo. With a favorable ruling from the 9th Circuit we will not only be able to launch DRB but Private Table.

We would definitely launch our bingo and dust off our poker and decide whether it’s good business sense to launch. We would not see any legal barriers.”


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Betting Guide for NFL Wild Card Weekend

Betting Guide for NFL Wild Card Weekend

After the war of attrition that is a 16-game schedule, the NFL’s 32 teams have been whittled down to the final 12 contenders, signaling the start of Wild Card Weekend.

This year the four-pack of first-round playoff games features a mixed bag of sorts, with several teams dealing with quarterback issues brought on by injury or ineffectiveness. With the status of Ryan Tannehill’s sprained knee ligaments still in question, Derek Carr definitely sidelined with a broken leg, and Brock Osweiler recently surrendering the starting gig to an untested Tom Savage, the Dolphins, Raiders, and Texans are all question marks entering the weekend.

On the other hand, with Super Bowl champion play-callers like Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and Russell Wilson in the mix, Wild Card Weekend could certainly be the start of a special run for several teams.

Oakland Raiders (12-4) @ Houston Texans (9-7) – Saturday 4:35pm ET

In the wake of Carr’s disastrous leg injury in Week 16, and the Raiders’ listless performance under backup QB Matt McGloin in a loss at Denver which cost them the AFC West crown, this game has lost a bit of luster.

Throw in an injury to McGloin, which could thrust rookie Connor Cook into the playoff spotlight, and Oakland – once a Super Bowl favorite – is actually a 3.5-point underdog at the Bovada sportsbook.

That’s despite Houston’s own issues in the pass game, with high-dollar starter Brock Osweiler benched in favor of an unsung backup in Week 16. Savage had his own struggles last week, including a concussion, so Osweiler is expected to take back the reins this Saturday.

The over/under is set at just 37 – a total the Raiders routinely threatened on their own with Carr under center – so football fans may be in for a snoozer as their postseason appetizer.

Detroit Lions (9-7) @ Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) – Saturday 8:15pm ET

The second Saturday game should liven things up, as the slumping Lions head into the Green Sea known as CenturyLink Field in Seattle to face the Seahawks.

All year Detroit has depended on QB Matthew Stafford to key comeback drives, to the tune of an NFL record-setting eight fourth-quarter comebacks, but the Lions lost their final three games after their star injured a finger on his throwing hand. That lull cost Detroit the NFC North title, stamping their ticket to the most hostile home field in the league.

Seattle has defended home turf like usual, racking up seven wins in eight tries, but the usually steady Seahawks have alternated wins and losses in their last six contests overall.

Even so, with the vaunted 12th Man on their side, not to mention a healthy Wilson leading the offense, Bovada tabs Seattle as big 8-point home favorites.

Miami Dolphins (10-6) @ Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Sunday 1:05pm ET

The Dolphins are this season’s surprise team, rebounding from last year’s 6-10 campaign under the leadership of first-year head coach Adam Gase to compile a 10-win season.

That was enough to secure the Dolphins’ first playoff berth since 2008, and they’ll be looking for their first postseason victory since 2000. Miami has overcome injuries to key starters like safety Reshad Jones and center Mike Pouncey, both Pro Bowlers, not to mention starting QB Tannehill. Even so, the team has persevered to erase a 1-4 start by finishing the season 9-2.

That run was sparked by a Week 6 home romp over the Steelers, a team that dug out of its own 4-5 hole with a seven-game winning streak to end the year. The trio of Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, and wideout Antonio Brown have powered the offense to at least 24 points in each game over that span.

Miami’s defensive struggles are well-documented, what with seven of their 11 original starters down with injury or ineffectiveness, so the Dolphins will hope for another breakout performance from RB Jay Ajayi. His 206-yard effort against the Steelers’ D sparked Miami’s resurgence, and if he can get it going once again, Pittsburgh’s offensive stars may not see the field enough to score in bunches.

The oddsmakers at Bovada don’t like Miami’s chances, however, installing Pittsburgh as big 10-point home favorites.

New York Giants (11-5) @ Green Bay Packers (10-6) – Sunday 4:40pm ET

The final game of Wild Card Weekend just may be the best of the bunch, with two Super Bowl champion quarterbacks meeting for yet another January battle.

Both times that Eli Manning has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy (2007 and 2011), his Giants have eliminated the Packers along the way. Back in 2007 Aaron Rodgers was still stuck behind Brett Favre on the depth chart, but he’s certainly familiar with Big Blue after 2011’s dream 15-1 season went down in flames thanks to Manning’s three-touchdown performance.

Rodgers is the talk of the town lately, after delivering on his now famous promise to “run the table” after the Packers plunged to a 4-6 start. Six wins later, and Green Bay is that streaking playoff team nobody wants to face.

The Giants defense is the star of the show in New York, surrendering just 17.8 points per game (second in the NFL). Manning and wideout Odell Beckham Jr. still have enough spark to connect on long completions, though, so Bovada has them as slight 4.5-point road underdogs.


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Betting Guide for Week 17 of the NFL Season

Betting Guide for Week 17 of the NFL Season

In the era of perpetual parity, the regular season’s final Sunday never lacks for drama.

This year is no exception. The NFC North will be decided in a de facto division title tilt, the AFC West crown will come down to the final games for a pair of age old rivals, and wild card round seeding in either conference remains fluid pending several pivotal finals.

In a coup for the “flex scheduling” model, the week’s most important matchup – at least from the standpoint of playoff implications for both sides – is slated as the last game of the year. When the Detroit Lions (9-6) host the Green Bay Packers (9-6) on Sunday Night Football, each team will enter knowing a win will send the North title their way – and a home playoff game along with it.

Conversely, should the Washington Redskins (8-6-1) slip past the New York Giants (10-5) during the early games, the loser between Detroit and Green Bay will miss out on the postseason tournament altogether. A Redskins loss, on the other hand, will send both NFC North members to the playoffs by default, removing a bit of drama from the proceedings.

Thus, the Packers and their ancient rivalry with the Lions takes on new meaning this time around. Both teams remain in full control of their own fate, and if the Giants rest their stars as is expected, a Redskins win would turn Sunday Night Football into the first playoff game of the season for all intents and purposes.

The Packers have reeled off five straight wins, and one more will complete quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ promise to “run the table” when his team sat humbled at 4-6. The Lions, meanwhile, were just destroyed in primetime to the tune of 42-21 against a Dallas Cowboys (13-2) team that presumably had nothing to play for.

The oddsmakers at Bovada like recent trends to continue, installing the Packers as 3.5-point road favorites. As for the Redskins’ chances to upset the Giants and stamp their postseason ticket, Bovada believes New York will use Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and other key contributors sparingly, so Washington has the 8-point edge at home.

Over in the AFC, the West will be won by the Oakland Raiders (12-3) if they can head to Mile High and defeat the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos (8-7).

Oakland will be without rising star quarterback Derek Carr after last week’s heartbreaking broken leg, while Denver is licking its wounds after yet another dismal offensive showing finalized their elimination from the playoffs.

With Carr no longer under center, the former Cinderella stories of the season are back to the underdog role, and Bovada lists the Broncos as 2.5-point home favorites.

If Oakland can’t get the job done, a win by the Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) over the San Diego Chargers (5-10) would be enough to bring an AFC West banner back to Arrowhead. The Chiefs will have to beat a frisky Chargers team in San Diego, and with QB Phillip Rivers vowing to give everything he’s got in a “meaningless” game, the consensus line favors Kansas City by just 5.5 points.

Both Oakland and Kansas City have already clinched playoff berths, but both teams have their sights set on winning the West.

Another AFC game that will determine playoff seeding takes place in South Beach, where the resurgent Miami Dolphins (10-5) host the New England Patriots (13-2). A win by the Pats is enough to claim the AFC’s top seed, and the accompanying first-round bye and home field advantage. For the Dolphins, a win coupled with a Chiefs loss would elevate Miami to the fifth seed, and an advantageous first-round road date with the undermanned Houston Texans (9-6).

The oddsmakers at Bovada aren’t on the Dolphins’ bandwagon just yet, posting the Pats as huge 10-point road favorites.


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