Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When Good Tourneys Go Bad - PokerStars Has Got Your Back

PokerStars Recovers Nicely from Major 'net Outage During Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament

Ever wonder what happens if the Internet goes Kaflooey (that's a technical term) in the middle of a big tournament? If you think that would be bad for you as a player think about a site operator like Poker Stars with over 50,000 players at 10,00 various tables and tournaments at various stages of play.

Well it just happened to me and, the waiting aside, it was no problem. The whole thing was taken care of in about an hour.

When I first got disconnected I thought it was a problem with my wireless router and/or DSL connection but then a message from Poker Stars support scrolled through the chat window about a major disconnection. That was it for about 45 minutes. I killed the time by working on a budget for a trip this summer.

When we came back we were able to chat for a while. There was the usual wondering what happened etc. For reasons I'm sure everyone will understand I won't reproduce it here.

In the end, we got messages in the chat window saying the tourney would be canceled as per the Poker Stars Cancellation Policies.

A few minutes later I got an e-mail telling me our tourney had been rolled forward with 50% of the prize pool divvied up between the remaining five players and the other 50% given out according to chip count. It was a $10 SnG and I ended getting almost $20 back.

Nobody's happy about these kinds of problems but it's nice to know Poker Stars was right on top of it and sorted it out quickly and fairly. Well Done Poker Stars.



Absolute Poker!

Indiana State Trooper Caught in Poker Club Bust

Journal and Courier Online - Breaking News: "


Indiana State Police will investigate a trooper who was ticketed during a raid on Northeastside poker club.

Trooper Kyle D. Freeman, 30, a seven-year veteran assigned to the Indianapolis post [of the State Police] was cited for unlawful gambling, a misdemeanor.

Freeman was put on administrative duties and an internal investigation will be conducted, state police announced today in a press release.

Indianapolis metropolitan police raided a club at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 3900 block of Pendleton Way after a year-long vice investigation into illegal gambling.

Police arrested three men - one who had a firearm in his boot - and issued summons arrests to 60 people – including Freeman -- for illegal gambling.

Players ranged in ages from 18 to 70, were males and females and reside in Marion, Hancock, Morgan, and Hamilton counties, police said.

About $6,000 was seized from the establishment, in addition to poker chips, computers, flat screens and other gambling paraphernalia."


Absolute Poker!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Internet Poker Ego Search

Sharkscope bills itself as "The Ultimate Tool For Increasing Poker Profitability"

It's a database of 28,210,434 online poker sit n' go tournament results from the PokerStars, FullTilt, CryptoLogic, Ongame, Pacific Poker and networks that offers 5 free searches per day to let you see who you're up against or analyze your own statistics.

I don't like giving away free information especially since this documents my long (and unprofitable in dollar terms anyway) learning curve as an Internet poker player and there's no way to hide this info completely.

N.B. Sharkscope uses some huge, convoluted Javascript scheme to run their site. It actually crashed Firefox at one point. I can't link to the page that allows users to block their own information. Go to the FAQ page and click on "Can I be removed from the database?"

That will tell you remove your tournament data from the prying eyes of free users.

"Paying subscribers will still be able to see your number of games played, along with your ROI data and form. All other statistics including average profit, average stake and total profit will be inaccessible, along with all the remaining graphs. Hence, once blocked in this manner, no one will be able to calculate your total amount won or lost."

I have to wonder if the tracked sites support this or not.


Absolute Poker!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bloggers There's Still Time ...

... to win your seat at the Aussie Millions from's Blogger Poker Tour.

You can also help me improve my chances of winning because we get 20 bonus points for every blogger we refer.

If you have a blog:

Get the software here

Then register your account and then

Register for the BPT here and make sure to put xScrewballx in the "Referred By" box.

Good luck,


Absolute Poker!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Event #7 - Poker Pub's Last Call

Today's BPT S2E6 saw me finish 16th. I figure to hang on to my 39th position in the tour but my chances of making it to the final event are dwindling. Because ... "the final event of the second season of Blogger Poker Tour will be hosted by imjusthere4thebeer from the Poker Pub.

To celebrate the release of the new games in the software this event will be Omaha Hi-Lo with regular 10 seat tables."

I don't play (or like) Omaha so I'm going to have to do some homework to give myself a chance. Apparently the other BPT'ers are less than thrilled and have said as much on the BPT forum.

Absolute Poker!

Friday, November 24, 2006

BPT Event #6 - Flopilicious's Where's My Flop BPT Tourney

Event #6 - Flopilicious's Where's My Flop BPT Tourney: "The penultimate event of the regular season will be hosted by [ZowieZ of]It's Flopalicious."

I had my best finish yet in this series - 11th in BPT Event#5 - but it was painful to get knocked out one position shy of the money and the points multipliers. Still, it's a fun series with a lot of banter and kidding around during the games.

I'm sitting 39th even with a 70th place finish in the 3rd event and a DNP in the 4th.

Full results are here: BPT Leaderboard

This weekend I hope to finish in the money. I need a top ten finish to put myself in the final event Dec. 23 the givces the shot at the Aussie Milions seat.


Absolute Poker!

Friday, November 10, 2006

World's Standard of Online Poker ( Raises HARRAH'S Bluff

World's Standard of Online Poker® ( Raises HARRAH'S Bluff: "is the headline of the latest salvo in a long-running dispute between the World's Standard of Online Poker® and Harrah's, the giant gaming conglomerate (12 brands and 80,000 employees) that bought Binion's Horseshoe (home of the World Series of Poker) in 2004.

The story timeline in point form:

  • 1970 - Benny Binion started what is now known as the World Series of Poker
    • In 1970, there were only about 7 entrants into the final event; in 1980, only about 73; in 1990, only about 194; and in 2000, only about 512.
  • May 7, 2003 - Mr. Schiavio received the domain registration for
    • " I immediately told Becky Binion Behnen about this registration and offered to transfer the domain name to Binion's Horseshoe," says Mr Schiavio. "Ms. Behnen told me "You keep it." as the Horseshoe was not interested in the domain name."
  • 1999 - January 2004 (the closing of Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino), Federico Schiavio (owner of wsop.cpm domain and World's Standard of Online Poker®) was a consultant for Binion's Horseshoe and acted as its IT Director. Negotiations to keep Mr. Schiavio on to help with the transition did not work out.
  • January 7th 2004 - The IRS places a federal tax lien on the Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino.
  • January 9, 2004 - Federal agents shut down Binion's Horseshoe and seized its cash and assets to pay some outstanding debts owed for health care and pension contributions. 1800 people lost their jobs.
  • March 2004 - Harrah's Entertainment purchases Binion's Horseshoe
  • March 11, 2004 - Harrah's Entertainment sells Binion's Horseshoe on to MTR Gaming Group. Harrah's retains the rights to the Horseshoe brand and the World Series of PokerWikipedia entry on Binion's Horseshoe)
    when it sold the casino and hotel, but sold the Binion's brand. (Source:
  • March 23, 2004 - Schiavio is sent a cease and desist letter from Harrah's lawyers demanding he refrain from using the WSOP wordmark, abandon his (then pending) claims for registration of the WSOP trademark filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and transfer ownership of the domain to Harrah's.
    • The letter further claimed that using the design and trademarks to identify "directly-competitive services is certain to result in substantial actual consumer confusion with Harrah's world-famous World Series of Poker and WSOP [trade]marks."
  • April 8, 2004 - Schiavio's lawyer's respond to Harrah's in a letter explaining Schiavio;
    • was not using, and had no plans to use, the WORLD SERIES OF POKER trademark
    • Binion’s Horseshoe Hotel and Casino never adopted or used WSOP as a trademark and never transferred rights to the trademark to Harrah's or MTR
    • Binion’s approved of Mr. Schiavio’s WSOP project at least as early as 2001, and never objected to the project or to the use of the WSOP mark
  • April 30, 2004 - Harrah's responds to the earlier letter citing the Horseshoe's use of WSOP as a service mark (not a trademark --PB--) as early as June 2000 and claiming possession of documentation proving transfer of the rights to Harrah's
  • September 04, 2004 - Schiavio's application to trademark WSOP is approved by the USPTO
  • September 16, 2004 and November 17, 2004 - Harrah’s files intent-to-use applications for WSOP
  • October 19, 2004 - USPTO decides there is too much similarity between WSOP and World Series of Poker and decides to revoke Schiavio's trademark rights
  • April 19, 2005 - USPTO withdraws its objections after a lengthy and detailed defence by Schiavio's lawyers
  • June 30th 2005, Stokes & Bartholomew the firm representing Schiavio merges with Adam’s & Reese a firm representing Harrah’s and Schiavio's attorney cannot get a waiver to allow him continued representation
  • September 6, 2005 - Schiavio's right to the WSOP trademark is affirmed and published in the official USPTO Gazette.
  • October 2005 - Harrah's files a trademark opposition action against Schiavio's application to register WSOP as a trademark for the World's Standard of Online Poker® online poker tournaments
  • May 30, 2006 - Harrah's files domain dispute over asserting Schiavio had no legitimate interests or rights in the WSOP mark, had registered the domain in bad faith and would get confused with the World Series of Poker. Harrah's law firm further claimed there were no other legal proceedings happening in this case despite being the same firm that filed the trademark opposition action the previous October.
  • August 2006 - Schiavio files suit against Harrah's in Los Angeles
  • August 22. 2006 - The Domain Name Arbitrator dismisses Harrah's claim to because the rights to it are being disputed elsewhere.
  • September 2006 - Harrah's file suit against Schiavio in Las Vegas despite "as part of the domain name dispute, [agreeing] to jurisdiction in Los Angeles to decide any issues related to the domain name transfer."
PB - I e-mailed Harrah's Media relations department yesterday and received an automated(?) reply thanking me for my inquiry and that "Your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate contact and processed accordingly" putting me in 'wait-and-see' mode for now.

Gary Thompson, the Director of Communications & Operations in the Sports & Entertainment Marketing department of Harrah's Entertainment Inc. replied today with the following;

"Thanks for your inquiry regarding the lawsuit over Your email was forwarded to me for comment.

I appreciate your interest in the story, but Harrah's has a long-standing policy of not commenting on pending litigation. Therefore, there is nothing we can say about it."

That is a standard response from a publicly-traded company involved in a lawsuit so, while we can't hold that against them, it doesn't help us decide who's right.

Your comments are welcome. Do you support Schiavio? Should he give it up?


Absolute Poker!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Thanks and Blogger Poker Tour!

I had to miss the Blogger Poker Tour (BPT) Event #4 because I was tied up with other commitments and was feeling down about that because that (and going out earlyish in BPT#3) dropped me to 54th position.

I feel a lot better after opening my gmail account today and finding this;


Dear Patrick,

As a valued member of the BPT Season #2, have given you a FREE $20 cash gift to let you hit the real money tables risk free.

Your cash is already waiting in your account and can be used to play any cash games or poker tournaments you wish!

You could even use your gift to buy-in to our satellites and win your way through to's next Grand Final:

Saturday 11 November @ 15:00 Time

Best of luck at the tables with your cash and hopefully we'll see you down under at the 2007 Aussie Millions."

Absolute Poker!