Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 WSOP Main Event Coverage Starts Sunday on ESPN

After a lengthy gap since the last 2014 World Series of Poker shows on ESPN, the Main Event coverage finally gets underway on Sunday night with the first two one-hour episodes of coverage, set to air at 9 p.m. ET.

My understanding is that coverage this year is only starting on Day 4 of the Main Event -- that is, on the day the money bubble burst. That of course means they’ll miss out on some of the potential hype that could have been created surrounding Phil Ivey carrying the overall chip lead into Day 3, as well as the other extracurricular fun that sometimes comes with the early stages of the tourney (like Paul Pierce playing this year).

I remember hearing about this plan back at the start of the summer and being disappointed by it, but now that it’s already the end of September and the shows are finally about to begin, I can understand it. Indeed, something about going back to the beginning and trudging through the thousands of knockouts over several weeks seems especially tedious right now, so I’m feeling more amenable to the decision to move ahead a little further into the event than usual.

That said, the other move from Tuesday to Sunday nights probably isn’t going to be such a good one considering ESPN’s target audience, since most everyone will be watching NFL football when these shows air over the next several weeks. In fact I anticipate that’s what I’ll be doing, too, although I’ll DVR the eps and watch them later.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Sunday, 9/28, 9-11 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10/5, 9-11 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10/12, 9-11 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10/19, 9-11 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10/26, 9-11 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11/2, 9-11 p.m.
  • Sunday 11/9, 9-11 p.m.
  • Monday, 11/10, 8 p.m. start -- Final Table (live)
  • Tuesday, 11/11, 9 p.m. start -- Final Table (live)
  • I’m a little excited to watch this year, probably because this is the first time since ’07 that I wasn’t there at the Rio when it was all playing out. I obviously followed it all very closely, but I’m curious to see it playing out, even if it’ll surely resemble in most ways what we’ve all seen many times before.

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    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    A Free-Flowing Conversation That Occasionally Touches on Mature Subjects

    I listen to a lot of sports talk radio. It’s kind of a default option for me when it comes to selecting some kind of ambient noise while doing barn chores, driving, or performing similar activities that aren’t intellectually intensive. I’ll still toss a few poker podcasts in that mix now and then. But for the most part it’s sports-related chatter that works as the soundtrack, say, when I’m shoveling stalls.

    There are really only two sports shows I tune into regularly these days -- Dan Le Batard’s daily show out of Florida (which I’ve found myself referring to a few times here over the last few months) and the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons (whom I’ve also mentioned here on occasion).

    After ESPN suspended Le Batard for two days a few weeks ago for his involvement in a humorous-though-ultimately-unrealized stunt related to LeBron James’s move to Cleveland, the network has now also suspended Simmons. Starting to think there might be a reason why I’ve gravitated toward these two among the huge roster of pundits at the network.

    Like the Le Batard suspension, the Simmons suspension is laughable, too, not just for its cause but for the length of time -- three weeks (!) -- that ESPN has decided to silence him from podcasting or writing or doing whatever else he does for the site via his Grantland offshoot.

    The press release from ESPN regarding the suspension offers no specifics, merely saying that “those engaged in our editorial and operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards,” and that since “Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast... we have suspended him for three weeks.”

    Simmons’s podcast always opens with a disclaimer that it’s “a free-flowing conversation that occasionally touches on mature subjects.” I guess from their action the conversation this week was too “free-flowing” for ESPN’s liking.

    The podcast was the most recent B.S. Report, one in which Simmons and “Cousin Sal” spent nearly an hour trying to guess the lines for the upcoming week of NFL games (as they do every week). It looks like ESPN has actually taken the episode offline, which strikes me as being as absurd as the suspension itself. (An extended excerpt of the show can still be heard here.)

    I enjoy listing to the guess-the-lines shows, not because Simmons has any special insight into sports betting strategy (he doesn’t) nor even because of his football knowledge (hit-or-miss, in my view), but for the passive fun of hearing a couple of fans shoot the breeze about different teams and how the season is going. There are usually lots of genuine grins mixed in, too, amid the prognosticating.

    There was a brief digression in the show wherein Simmons acknowledged the various unpleasant issues that have marked the start of this year’s season, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s cringe-worthy press conference from last Friday in which he mostly made things worse by his evasive handling of various questions. Not coincidentally, that press conference was followed immediately by a lengthy ESPN investigative feature that suggested a few more reasons to doubt Goodell amid its exposure of the Baltimore Ravens front office (the article’s primary target).

    Simmons’ negative comments about Goodell on the show weren’t at all surprising to hear. He’s said (and written) similar things for years about Goodell. In fact when I first read the quotes (prior to listening to this week’s show, and before it was removed) I actually thought they might have been from last week’s episode.

    On the show Simmons called Goodell a liar with regard to what he’s said about the Ray Rice suspension -- or suspensions, I should say. Simmons used profanity (bleeped out), including evoking the word usually intended by his own initials and used as the name of his show (not at all unusual to hear on the podcast). And he added a postscript showing that he was aware ESPN might not appreciate his comments, although he still felts editorially-unrestrained enough to have made them.

    “I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell,” said Simmons, almost as an afterthought (and also almost sounding like he had his tongue in cheek). “Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The Commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast.... Please, call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.”

    It seems obvious that it was this latter statement that earned Simmons his suspension -- not the profanity, his position regarding Goodell, or even his statement that he believed Goodell lied about his knowledge of the Rice case.

    “ESPN’s journalistic standards” were hardly compromised by the podcast. In fact -- and ironically -- those standards are instead called into question by the decision to suspend Simmons.

    I’m curious to see if Simmons does anything at all in response to his suspension -- e.g., speaks out in any fashion regarding it, or perhaps even begins some sort of preliminary way to fashion a break from ESPN altogether. Probably more likely that he won’t do anything, remaining silent for three weeks rather than risk further what had been a comfortable (and no doubt especially well provided for) spot within the ESPN empire.

    Am hoping also Le Batard says something about it all, although again it seems like it wouldn’t be in his personal interest to do so, being employed by ESPN as well. The suspension seems as though it would have to create an obvious “chill” which may affect others working for the network going forward with their commentaries -- either about the NFL or ESPN itself.

    Indeed, it’s a move that makes me think of what it is I’m shoveling out of the stalls. Sort of like what Simmons called Goodell’s actions.

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    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Talking Weight, Not Gravitas, With Hall of Fame Nominees

    After having had the honor of being part of the panel of “poker media” invited to vote in the Poker Hall of Fame the last few years, I’m not part of the process this time around. The WSOP wanted to rotate some new folks into the mix, something I think is a great idea and thus don’t mind a bit stepping aside.

    Since I’m not voting, I haven’t given that much thought regarding the list of 10 nominees (which I talked about briefly here a short while ago). I did notice, though, that two of them -- Ted Forrest and Mike Matusow -- have gotten back onto the gossip pages lately thanks to that weight loss bet from about four years ago won by Forrest.

    Matusow had won a different weight loss prop bet between the pair previously, picking up $100,000 from Forrest after managing to go from 250 to 181 lbs. in less than a year. Then the pair made a second bet that would require Forrest, then 188 lbs., to get under 140 lbs. I’m not sure of the exact terms, but if Forrest could manage it by a specific deadline -- less than a year away, I believe (perhaps just a few months) -- Matusow would owe him $2 million.

    Forrest achieved the feat, and then afterwards they agreed that Matusow -- who didn’t have the funds with which to pay his debt -- would pay Forrest $5,000 a month thereafter with the debt adjusted down to $1.8 million. That would still take over 30 years to pay off.

    Cut to four years later, and Matusow has apparently only paid Forrest $70,500 thus far. Forrest took to Twitter earlier this month, and Matusow now seems to be referencing the collapse of Full Tilt Poker (version 1.0), the fact that the pair had been drinking when the bet was made, and other factors as lessening his obligation.

    There are other details, but to be honest it took some extra effort for me just to get up the energy to look into it that far.

    In terms of tourney results, both players have built up impressive, lengthy lists of wins and deep finishes, which is how both made it onto the PHOF ballot. Even with these accomplishments, I wouldn’t have been too enthused to vote for either, however.

    I don’t say that because of these prop bet shenanigans, but just because when it comes to rating a super-select few above the rest, it’s hard (for me) to think of either as belonging to the toppermost tier of poker people.

    That said, it’s hard to imagine “hall of fame nominees” of any other sport sniping at each other on Twitter in such a fashion. Seems to lack a certain gravitas, doesn’t it? I’m sure similar things have happened, but it still feels like an “only in poker” kind of story.

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    Aggression to the Mean

    Feeling a little angry after the last two weeks’ worth of picking games in the NFL Pigskin Pick’em pool. Can be a heartbreak, that.

    After hitting 11 of 16 the first week (and feeling good that hitting two out of three ain’t bad), I slipped to only getting 8 right out of 16 during Week 2. That was a rough week for many, actually, as the overall average of all the people playing in ESPN’s game was only 7 correct picks.

    Then during Week 3 I only hit 9 of 16 (below the average of 10), giving me 28 of 48 so far. That’s six behind the current leader in our group and squarely in the middle of the pack, and four behind my earlier stated “two out of three” goal.

    Was my first solid week an outlier, and have I now “regressed to the mean” (as they say)? Could be, but mainly slipping back to the middle just makes me feel mean.

    Was on the wrong side of some close ones as usually happens, although I did pick Seattle to best Denver on Sunday, a pick that looked pretty iffy once the Broncos made that remarkable last-minute drive to tie the game. But Seattle won the coin flip to start overtime, then drove the length of the field for a winning TD which according to the new OT rules ended things right there.

    I joked on Twitter after the game following Peyton Manning’s clutch series of passes to tie the game in regulation that he messed up with his final call of the afternoon. “Peyton really choked at the end, calling tails,” I tweeted, referring to that fateful coin flip.

    Some wanted to complain about the new OT rules following that outcome, but I like the rules exactly the way they are. The relative difficulty of scoring a TD with one’s opening drive is significant enough to make it worthy of denying your opponent a possession, I’d say. And I like the pressure that comes with a team either failing to score or only getting a field goal with that opening possession, after which the game does revert to the “sudden death” format.

    In fact, that OT format best replicates the back-and-forth that tends to happen during regulation, where in so many cases those final possessions end up deciding games.

    Makes the games fun to watch, the way they always seem to get all of the way to the river card (so to speak) with the outcome still in doubt. But tough to predict.

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    Monday, September 22, 2014

    Ultimate Poker NJ Busts Out

    The Atlantic City story this year has been something else, with four of the 12 casinos on the Boardwalk having already closed and a fifth one -- the Trump Taj Mahal -- having announced that it will likely follow suit in November.

    When first hearing about the Taj possibly closing it did cross my mind that Ultimate Poker’s New Jersey site would have to find itself a new casino with which to align in order to continue in the Garden State. In New Jersey the land-based casinos get “online gambling permits” and can then partner up with technology providers who also are licensed to operate in the state. UP was the platform for Trump Taj Mahal Associates, meaning that without them Ultimate would need to partner with another casino in order to continue.

    That ain’t happenin’, obviously. Late Friday the news arrived that Ultimate Gaming was both terminating its agreement with Trump Taj Mahal Associates and ceasing operations in the state (while continuing in Nevada). Their press release cited “multiple breaches” by the Trump group precipitating the break-up, the declaration of bankruptcy by TTMA a couple of weeks ago and listing of Fertitta Acquisitions (parent company of Ultimate Gaming) as a creditor owed nearly $1.5 million suggesting an obvious one.

    Just two days later -- at 11:59 p.m. ET last night -- it was all over for Ultimate Poker as the New Jersey site stopped dealing hands. Players are now being told to cash out their funds, which represents one small silver lining when compared to the shutdowns of other, non-regulated sites in the past and subsequent troubles players have had retrieving their funds from them.

    Of course, there wasn’t a heckuva lot happening at the Ultimate Poker New Jersey site, anyway. A week ago I was writing here about the Party Borgata site and the snafu it had during the Garden State Super Series. That got me curious about how the NJ sites were doing, and so I visited PokerScout last week and saw that while the Party site and’s NJ site both had 300-400 cash players (or thereabouts), Ultimate Poker had practically no one playing at all -- like just a table or two, if I recall.

    Ultimate’s NJ casino site was apparently doing fairly well, earning half a milly per month in revenue. But nothing much was happening on the poker side, which makes the site’s swift closure decidedly less dramatic.

    UP is doing better in Nevada, although has been behind’s Nevada site since shortly after the latter went online almost exactly one year ago. And the traffic in Nevada is only a fraction of what’s happening in New Jersey at the moment, making all of the numbers there very modest all around.

    I have never played a hand on Ultimate Poker, having looked into it last summer while in Nevada but deciding not to bother with the hassles involved with getting up and running on the site. The fact that they still have no Mac-based client is kind of amazing, really, and has to be an obstacle that virtually ensures the site will never become more than a very minor player versus any competition whatsoever. (That screenshot is from the page that says -- just as it has for the last year-and-a-half -- that the Mac client is “in the works.”)

    Speaking of, as I mentioned last week PokerStars is poised to enter New Jersey via the Amaya Gaming Group who hold a license in the state -- possibly within the next couple of weeks. And expectations are the site should easily outstrip all others immediately in terms of traffic, and in fact will become an interesting test case to see just how well a single-state site might be able to thrive.

    In any case, the slow-moving start to “online poker 2.0” in the U.S. continues, moving much like a very slow-structured tournament with the stakes being almost trivial (relatively speaking). And, of course, the occasional bustouts.

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    Friday, September 19, 2014

    Talk About Table Captains

    There’s a short compilation of stories about U.S. presidents playing poker today over at the N.Y. Times, pulled together Michael Beschloss. All of the stories are quite familiar to anyone who has looked into the subject before, but for those who haven’t it serves as a quick introduction to some of the highlights.

    Actually anyone who’s read James McManus’s 2009 history of poker, Cowboys Full, will be familiar with almost of the stories in the piece, so much so that I’m kind of surprised Beschloss doesn’t at least acknowledge McManus (a former NYT columnist) in his article.

    For example, when rehearsing the story of the pre-Iron Curtain speech game of poker involving Harry Truman and Winston Churchill (something I’ve written about here), Beschloss includes all of the same details and even implies the same connection McManus does between the Americans’ good showing in the game and Churchill’s declaration of alliance with the U.S. in his speech the day after.

    He also echoes McManus’s connections between cold war politics and poker, although the discussion of the Kennedy-Khrushchev showdown over the Cuban Missile Crisis (and its interpretation as a poker-like confrontation of high-stakes raises and bluffs) has been explored by many other writers as well.

    The article-concluding anecdote about former Secretary of State George Shultz comparing Ronald Reagan’s bargaining with the U.S.S.R.’s Mikhail Gorbachev as “the highest stakes poker game ever played” is the only one included that is not mentioned in McManus’s book. Meanwhile, no mention of Barack Obama’s poker-playing seems a strange omission in the NYT piece.

    Anyone with an interest in presidential politics will find these stories interesting, though. Those interested in poker will, too. And if you’re like me and interested in both, you can’t get enough of this stuff, even if you’ve read it all before.

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    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    NFL Under Review

    I write here off and on about NFL football, of which I’m an ardent fan. Even though I grew up playing and focusing a lot more on baseball and basketball -- and continued to play hoops well into my adult years -- I now find football and specifically the pro game my most favored sport to watch and follow.

    Trying to pick the games each week in the ESPN Pigskin Pick’em contest adds considerably to my enjoyment, giving me a rooting interest in each game. And I’m a devoted fan of the Carolina Panthers, not quite living and dying with each game but being at least as invested as your average fan.

    Like everyone else who follows NFL -- and now many who don’t, too -- I’m now also following all of the off-the-field crises that are happening with regard to the criminal behavior of several players and the very poor handling of various cases by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as well as by the teams involved.

    I was scrolling through the top NFL stories on the ESPN app yesterday and saw how the first six were about these cases involving Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Dwyer, and Greg Hardy (of the Panthers), with a couple more after that focusing on Goodell and other related issues.

    It reminded me a little of several years ago when I first started this blog to write about a game I loved to play, then a few months later the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was made law and I found myself farther and farther afield when it came to my chosen topics. The actual game quickly receded into the background amid all of the legal wrangling, and then became even further obscured by the many controversies that cropped up soon afterwards involving cheating scandals at prominent online sites (Absolute Poker and UltimateBet).

    The stories of domestic violence, child abuse, drug infractions, and other offenses dominating the NFL coverage these days have risen to such a crescendo that even to try to talk about or focus on the games can be interpreted as imprudently neglecting the problems at hand. Some less committed fans are already turning away from the game, while the diehards are nearing the point of having to defend their continuing to stick with the league.

    In any case, the observation I wanted to share regarding the situation was just a small one, but something I hadn’t necessarily seen others making.

    I’ve complained here before about how the reliance upon replays had turned the experience of watching NFL games into something altogether different from what it had been even a decade ago. With every play potentially subject afterwards to being challenged and thus “under review,” there’s a hard-to-escape feeling of what I can only describe as distrust when watching a game live.

    That is to say, the spectator is better served not to get too excited about anything, because everything has a chance of being disallowed. “The NFL has turned into a game of do-overs and didn't-counts,” I tweeted a couple of years ago when watching a game full of penalties and overturned plays. “No play ever is as it appears.” Such remains the case today.

    An underlying pattern marking the NFL’s inconsistent responses to the recent series of off-the-field incidents, arrests, and legal proceedings has been kind of similar, really, with a lot of “do-overs” and “didn’t-counts” marking their attempts to rule. Players have been suspended, not suspended, and had their suspensions and/or status changed by both the NFL and the teams involved, with each change in course seemingly made in response to the level of outrage being delivered over social media regarding each case.

    Just like on the field, it seems with these off-the-field issues “no play is ever as it appears.” The league’s lack of clarity and consistency regarding its efforts to legislate the conduct of its players has greatly damaged both Goodell and the previously carefully-managed image the NFL had maintained as an important, valuable contributor to society.

    I remain a fan as well as someone who actually believes sports -- including big-time professional sports -- can contribute something worthwhile to our lives. But I suppose that’s under review, too.

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    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    You Downloaded, Too?

    The U2 force feed via iTunes of their latest, Songs of Innocence, has been kind of humorous to read about of late. Saw something saying 33 million users had already downloaded it (for free), which sounds like a heckuva lot in terms of traditional album sales (or “sales”), but less remarkable when compared to, say, the 500 million who downloaded Candy Crush Saga last year.

    The humorous part is related to people now wishing to delete the album. Apple has even developed a special site and tool for doing so.

    I was writing last week about my old iPod -- the “classic” that has now been discontinued. In fact I got myself a new one, deciding I’d become attached enough to the sucker to want a replacement.

    I’ve actually never had a U2 album loaded on there. I do own a couple of the old LPs, and in fact during that nostalgia tour of Live Aid I mentioned recently I stopped off to watch their performance of “Bad” which I think was probably a high point of their career and maybe Live Aid (aside from Queen, natch). I’m a huge Brian Eno fan, which gives me a tangential interest in the band, though not enough to have bothered tracking down much post-Unforgettable Fire. My comment on Dr. Pauly’s post about Rattle and Hum from last year pretty much sums up whatever else I might say about the band.

    So no, I didn’t download this new one. And yes, the thought even crossed my mind that the expense of effort it would have taken to do so -- and to listen after that -- was more than I wanted to spend. Kind of a faint echo of the old model of music consumption that has been thoroughly eradicated, the one which required a more conscious and thorough decision to purchase and listen.

    The offer actually made me think a little bit of downloading new online poker sites, something I haven’t done in a long while though used to do with great frequency. While I only ever played (for real money) on around a half-dozen sites, I’d guess I probably downloaded at least 15 or so over the years, maybe more. Kind of recklessly, too, given how some could be a great drain on CPU power or provide other kinds of unwanted bother to our systems.

    That was early on, though. Then as the online poker era proceeded we became more wary with our “purchases” -- be it with money, time, mental energy, or anything else that mattered to us that we’d have to trade away in order to play.

    Less innocent, I guess you could say.

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    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    It’s Something

    A quick post-post-post-postscript tonight to a long tale most have forgotten about.

    Federated Sports & Gaming, the parent company of the ill-fated Epic Poker League, announced its intention to file for bankruptcy on February 29, 2012. By then the EPL had staged three tournaments open only to eligible tourney players ranked highly enough to enter them according to the newly-created “Global Poker Index” (which managed to survived under new guardians post-EPL).

    It was an uncertain, poorly-conceived attempt to create a semblance of a “professional poker league,” a place “for the best players in the world to compete against the best players in the world,” as EPL Commissioner Annie Duke put it early on. One incentive to players participating in the high buy-in ($20,000) events being a $1 million freeroll to come after the completion of the fourth scheduled tournament.

    Alas, during its short existence expenses outran revenue at such a rapid clip the bankruptcy announcement came even before that fourth tourney could be held, and the freeroll never materialized. In the end the FS&G owed something like $5 million to numerous creditors (more than a hundred, I think).

    Those interested in a longer rehearsal of the FS&G/Epic story might read through a couple of older posts here -- “We Are Sorry, Cannot Be Found” (August 2012) (which also contains some links to other folks’ reporting on the final days of the EPL) and “Epic Anniversary” (March 2013).

    It’s a sorry story. Your humble scribbler ended up involved in a tangential way as one of a handful of folks recruited by the EPL to write occasional columns for their website (which, as noted, cannot be found today). Since I had one invoice covering a few columns in the system at the time of the bankruptcy, I got included as one of the creditors in the subsequent bankruptcy case.

    I wasn’t owed much, a small enough amount that after the first few months’ worth of mailings regarding the case I became thoroughly ambivalent about the prospects of ever seeing any of it, although continued to feel misgivings about a few friends of mine owed a heckuva lot more.

    I was surprised, then, to receive a letter today from the FS&G that wasn’t just another court summary, but note describing an enclosed check representing my share of the “Final Distribution” -- roughly 10% of the owed amount. Gotta cash this sucker soon, too, I’m advised, “preferably no later than 30 days after receipt.”

    “This will be my final communication to you,” concluded the “Plan Administrator” who had delivered to me this small slice of cabbage.

    I mean it’s a far cry from feeling my being turned with instinct and intellect balanced equally by the love that moves the sun and stars. But it’s an ending.

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    Monday, September 15, 2014

    Technical Difficulties

    We did end up making it out for a few hours’ worth of fun at Farm Aid on Saturday. Turned out to be a nice, mild day weather-wise with plenty of cloud cover and a lot of good tunes. Felt a little uncanny to hear “Seven Nation Army” on a Saturday afternoon and not be at a football game, but rather watching Jack White perform it.

    Got back to our own farm on Sunday where I spent a lot of it camped in front of the teevee for more football while also following various stories online.

    As any football fan well knows, the daily (or weekly) fantasy sites have kind of exploded in popularity of late, with two in particular -- DraftKings and FanDuel -- having emerged as the current Coca-Cola and Pepsi of “DFS.” Commercials for both are dominating sports radio and television these days, meaning even non-participants are becoming more and more aware of their existence.

    I couldn’t help but see from my Twitter feed during the hour leading up to the 1 p.m. kickoffs on Sunday that the FanDuel site had crashed, no doubt due to the heavy volume of folks entering contests and changing their line-ups at the last minute following injury announcements and other game-related news. I also noticed DraftKings swooping in to offer bonuses to the FanDuel folks should they want to transfer their balances over.

    Later in the day there was a similar theme being sounded in my timeline when partypoker’s New Jersey site froze up during the $200,000 guaranteed Main Event of its Garden State Super Series. I believe there were more than 700 players in the $200 tourney -- meaning there was a decent overlay -- when the problems occurred and all the ongoing tourneys had to be canceled. “Technical difficulties” said the site in their explanation afterwards.

    Both FanDuel and partypoker acted swiftly when it came to reimbursing players. I’m not sure exactly how FanDuel handled it, although I did see them tweeting to their followers that affected players could email them for refunds. Meanwhile I believe partypoker instantly paid back its players and then some according to their already established tourney cancellation policy, and from the comments of some who were affected it sounded like all was handled as well as it could have been.

    That said, just like FanDuel has DraftKings to worry about, the New Jersey partypoker site is bracing itself for a formidable competitor as well as word is PokerStars is coming to NJ sooner than later via its new owners, Amaya.

    Customer service is often more complicated than it looks, with the technical just-make-sure-everything-works side of things being as important (or more so) for a lot of people as being prompt with responses to queries, complaints, and the inevitable hiccups. The “online poker 2.0”-era in the U.S. has been a rocky one to say the least. Those who have tried their hand have been earnest with their efforts, I think, but have run up against many challenges that have worked against them.

    It’ll be very interesting to see if that changes soon.

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