Here’s the Deal - Frank Bill Passes, Bots Get Caught

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Here’s the Deal presents a week’s worth of poker news - the good, bad, and sometimes ugly - in one place. Between the poker tournaments, player happenings, and political updates, there is a little something for every poker enthusiast.

Poker Events

Just after the end of the summer full of World Series of Poker, the PokerStars-sponsored Australia New Zealand Poker Tour was ready to kick back into action with its Season 2 stop in Queenstown, Australia. With several starting days and locations, the grand total of players was 119 and the prize pool set at $267,750. When it finally played out, Julian Cohen was able to defeat Andrew Watson, claim the ANZPT title, and walk away with the trophy and $73,630. The next stop on the tour will be in Gold Coast on August 11.

In the United States, one of the few tournament series that got underway soon after the WSOP was the Guaranteed Million Dollar Summer Tournament at the Commerce Casino. Many players traveled to Los Angeles for the tournament with Matt Savage as its director and $1 million as the guarantee. Over the course of several starting days, players bought in for $335, and when registration closed with 3,300 of them in the field, Commerce added money to make the guarantee. Some of the players who participated included Archie Karas, Shannon Elizabeth, john Phan, David Pham, Nam Le, and Miami John Cernuto. It all ended with Rick Bakovic defeating Nathan Che to take home the first place prize of $173,500. 

Poker Players

They’re not so much poker players as computerized bots, but a group of 10 of them were discovered on PokerStars recently. As far back as April, though, allegations came to light on the German website Intellipoker, and the 2+2 forums picked up the story from there, adding data to the findings as observers went along. Finally, the online poker watchdog site Poker Table Ratings picked up the story, performed a detailed investigation, and produced evidence to show that 10 accounts seemed to be bot-controlled due to their similar betting, raising, and folding patterns. Ultimately, PokerStars did respond with the closing of those accounts and noted that their security team had those accounts under surveillance but wanted to ensure there were no other accounts attached before banning the bots. No further information has come to light about the origin of the bots.

Tom Dwan is playing his high stakes online poker games again on Full Tilt Poker. And the action has heated up enough between “durrrr” and “jungleman12” that discussions have ensued about possibly running the “Durrrr Challenge.” Dwan has been on the losing end of matches with the player thus far to the tune of nearly $200K, but the action piqued Dwan’s interest enough to challenge “jungleman12” to the game. The two took their talks private to see if they could come to terms on a time, as Dwan said he would like to start the challenge prior to traveling to London for WSOPE and other events there in September.

Andy Bloch also kept himself busy after the WSOP, though instead of high stakes poker, he chose to participate in a panel at Netroots Nation, a conference in Las Vegas centered around internet rights and freedoms. “Protecting Rights in the Digital Realm” was the panel, and his contribution to the discussion included disseminating information about the UIGEA, new laws that would ensure internet freedoms through regulation, and statistics about the number of poker players affected by such laws. He represented the Poker Players Alliance, one of the sponsors of Netroots Nation. Others on the panel spoke of internet neutrality and the importance of the internet to migrant communities.

Poker in Politics

The poker industry has been abuzz with news from Washington D.C. over the past days, as Rep. Barney Frank’s pro-gaming bill was finally moving forward after being somewhat stagnant for over a year. The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act first went up for a hearing in the Financial Services Committee on July 21, but the big step came when it was announced that mark-up on the bill would take place the following week. On July 28, that mark-up took place, with amendments thrown around but nothing attached that changed the basic premise of the legislation, and a vote was taken. The committee passed the bill by a 41-22 margin, meaning that it can now be presented at any given time for a vote in the House of Representatives.