Sunday October 15, 2017 at 1:41 am
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Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, worked out a shared player pool agreement with Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Governor John Carney of Delaware. The three states will share the same player pool for online poker and online slots progressive jackpots. This new compact should boost revenue and encourage more online players to join the mix. For many Americans frustrated with local legislative igaming legalization efforts, this news out of New Jersey is a step in the right direction.

GovChristie
Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey) helping move online poker one baby step forward

Baby steps. One yard a time. Rome wasn't built in a day. Patience, grasshopper. All of those cliches have been used to explain the frustrating slowness of change in online gaming legislation. In a blink of an eye, the federal government shut the door on online poker, but it's a glacial process to get online poker back. The igaming battle has been on a state-by-state basis. Only three U.S. states offer legal online poker: Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. But it's the dawn of a new era. Say hello to a new era of shared player liquidity!

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey announced an agreement with Delaware and Nevada. All three governors will allow shared player platforms for their online gaming rooms, which includes slots and online poker. The exact date is still being discussed, but this is amazing news for American poker players. It's the first step in a long journey back to the halcyon days of online poker. We've still got a long-ass way to go.

In a press release, Governor Christie said, "New Jersey has been a pioneer in the development of authorized, regulated online gaming, which has been a budding success since its launch in late 2013. Pooling players with Nevada and Delaware will enhance annual revenue growth, attract new consumers, and create opportunities for players and Internet gaming operators. This agreement marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for online gaming, and we look forward to working with our partners in Nevada and Delaware in this endeavor."

The combined population of New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada is less than 13 million and active online gambling segment significantly smaller. The new trinity of American iPoker is still nothing to sneeze at, but it's the first step in a grueling journey that seemed like it might never happen. It's been a while since we saw some positive light. The hard part will be trying to stay patient while more states complete the glacially-slow process of legalizing online gaming and poker. But it's a simple math thing. The pool gets larger and larger as more states embrace the future of internet gambling.

New Jersey currently has 23 authorized igaming websites, but the WSOP.com will the big winner. The WSOP.com has a presence in all three states and the brand is still the most prestigious in all of poker. Expect the WSOP.com to be sending a ton more players to the WSOP via satellites.

The suits at the WSOP couldn't contain their glee. They issued a formal statement, "We applaud the government leadership and the regulators in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware for reaching this meaningful agreement. We will immediately begin efforts to take our existing Delaware-Nevada compact and add New Jersey to the mix by following the requirements established by the regulators so WSOP.com can share liquidity with all three states."

Applaud, indeed.

Every American online poker player remembers exactly where they were in April 15, 2011 when Black Friday hit. I happened to be covering the Latin America Poker Tour in Lima, Peru when Humberto Brenes' son broke the news to me. "Is it true? No more gringos can play online poker in America?" It's one of the darkest days of my life. I lost my business and livelihood over night.

Of course, we knew the day of reckoning would be coming. We got the first kick to the nuts several years earlier when the UIGEA went into effect in October 2006. That spineless coup by smarmy politicians snuck Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 onto the same piece of legislation known as the Safe Port Act. The twisted masterminds behind the UIEGA picked the perfect opportunity to pass a piece of anti-terror legislation without a single word of debate. Heck, 99.999% of all Americans had no idea that the future of online poker would be at stake. Unfortunately, the Safe Port Act passed along with the UIGEA, which went into effect in October 2006. While a handful of online poker operators, like Party Poker, pulled from the U.S. market, the other big dogs –PokerStars and Full Tilt – stood their ground. The two squared off in a virtual arms race as both sites fought to win the hearts and minds of Americans during the peak of the poker boom. After a sensational run of 4.5 years, the feds came down hard that gloomy day in April 20015. On Black Friday, the government shut down PokerStars and Full Tilt. From that moment on, American pros had to make a decision... move overseas to continue grinding as an online exile, or move to Vegas (or AC or SoCal) to grind live poker, or hit the road on the nonstop carnival of global poker tours.

Since Black Friday, online poker returned to America on a state-by-state basis. A mere drop in the bucket compared to the gravy days. For a while, there seemed like a glimmer of hope in Nevada and New Jersey. But once the (flat) numbers came it... it was obvious that single-state poker could not thrive unless it was one of the more populated states such as California or New York. The future of online gaming in California is currently a shit show due to the potential involvement of bad actors like PokerStars and their impasse with local Native American tribes. Meanwhile, the budget in fiasco in Pennsylvania put the future on online poker in limbo in the Keystone State.

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This week, Americans finally got a bit of hope in an utterly hopeless year of politics. New Jersey opened the doors for multiple-state liquidity, which means it's the first step in a long road toward returning to a world in which Americans can come together in harmony and unity to play online poker together. Obviously, this is a precursor to add future states as the slowly legalize online poker. With Michigan and Pennsylvania on the cusp of bringing back online poker, many more states with fascial troubles have seeking out means to generate revenue. Online gaming seems more and more like a plausible avenue every day.

Chris Christie, sworn in as Governor of New Jersey in 2010, is serving his second and final term. Gov. Christie has been the butt of jokes for the last two years after numerous political scandals, but he bottomed out when his lofty Presidential aspirations fizzled out. Christie became a quick and easy target of Donald Trump during the Republican primaries, yet Christie quickly jumped on the Trump bandwagon and began stumping for Trump. Baffled Politicos quickly noted that Christie was kissing ass to get on the presidential ticket as Vice President. When Trump picked Gov. Pence from Indiana, Christie continued to support Trump, while politicos lampooned Christie as he kissed even more ass to secure a cushy cabinet position, such as Attorney General. Alas, Trump stiffed Christie once again and he went back to New Jersey with his proverbial tail between the legs.

With Christie's big-time political aspirations crushed to a pulp, he returned to governing New Jersey for his final term. Christie has been an avid support on online gambling and legalized sports betting. If Christie had his way, race tracks and casino in New Jersey would be allowed to accept bets on professional sports. Unfortunately, there's no legal online sportsbetting in America, and Nevada is the sole state where you can legally wager on sports.

Christie worked out an important compact with two fellow governors that would allow his home state of New Jersey to share player pools with Delaware and Nevada (which both had a shared-pool agreement). It's a baby step, but a step forward nonetheless.

Now, which states will be on deck to legalize online poker? We can really get excited as soon as the biggest states come aboard, like New York and California. Who knows when the actual tipping point will happen when the majority of American states get on board. I mean it's 2017 for Christie's sake! And we have driverless cars, but no online poker.

Americans will eventually get a glimpse of the old days... but how long will it take?! Unfortunately, politics in America is an incremental issue. In 2015, during an hour-long interview on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast, President Barack Obama explained that it's impossible to make overnight changes in America due to the complexities of the government.

According to President Obama, "Sometimes the task of the government is to make incremental improvements or try to steer the Ocean liner two degrees North or South so that 10 years from now, we're in a very different place than we were. But, at the moment people may feel like we need a 50-degree turn. We don't need a two degree turn. You say ‘well, if I turn 50 degrees, the whole ship turns. And you can't turn 50 degrees."

Steer the ship two degrees. Baby steps. One yard a time. Rome wasn't built in a day. Patience, grasshopper. New Jersey opened the door, and the American online poker community is eager to take the first major step forward in almost 6.5 years.

The exact timeline for the NJ-Delaware-Nevada shared pool is still being worked out. Stay tuned for more updates... incremental updates.

Latest news
Saturday November 11, 2017 at 2:26 am
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WSOP Europe: Marti Roca De Torres from Spain wins Main Event for €1.1M score

We had early fireworks at the final table of the WSOP Europe Main Event during a double elimination that knocked out two of the favorites: Maria Ho and Niall Farrell. Ho busted in sixth place and 25K High Roller champ Farrell was knocked out in fifth place during a three-way hand against Marti Roca De Torres' pocket Aces. The finale came down to a heads-up battle between Italy and Spain. After a grueling match, Spain prevailed when Marti Roca De Torres defeated Gianluca Speranza heads-up for the victory. Marti Roca De Torres shipped €1.1 million for first place, plus the coveted Main Event bracelet. Italy's Speranza earned a runner-up prize worth €689,246.

Thursday November 9, 2017 at 11:30 pm
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WSOP Europe: Maria Ho lead final table; Niall Farrell still alive

And then there were six! The 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event is down to its final table of six players. After five days of action, American Maria Ho leads the final table with 7.8M, followed by Spain's Marti Roca De Torres' 7.2M. €25K High Roller champ Niall Farrell is still alive, along with Gianluca Speranza, Mathijs Jonkers, and Robert Bickley. First place pays out €1.1M. Who's gonna ship the Main Event?

Thursday November 9, 2017 at 5:11 am
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WSOP Europe: Maria Ho leads Main Event with 12 to go

Who is going to win €1.1 million and the bracelet? The field has been narrowed down to the final dozen players still alive at the 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event. American pro Maria Ho ended Day 4 with the big stack worth 3.8M. Scottish pro Niall Farrell, fresh off his €25K High Roller victory, is right behind Ho with 3.5M. 2015 WSOP Europe Main Event Champion Kevin MacPhee is one of the short stacks, but he's still alive and attempting to win back-to-back WSOPE Main Event titles. Among those still alive... Jack Salter, Marti Roca De Torres, Robert Bickley, Stepan Osinovski, Luis Rodriguez, Andrei Boghean, Mathijs Jonkers, Gianluca Speranza, and Marc MacDonnell.

Wednesday November 8, 2017 at 12:15 am
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WSOP Europe: Robert Bickley chip leader with 46 remaining in Main Event

The 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event is down to 46 players. The event began with 529 runners and only the top 80 places paid out. The money bubble burst in the middle of Day 3. Robert Bickley is the chipleader with 1.4M and Jack Stalter is right behind. Also still alive... Kristen Bicknell, Kevin MacPhee, Maria Ho, Rainer Kempe, Vlad Darie, Mike Leah, Anthony Zinno, David Peters, and Evgeny Kafelnikov. First place pays out over €1.1M.

Monday November 6, 2017 at 6:23 am
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WSOP Europe: Dominik Nitsche wins €111,111 buy-in One Drop High Roller for €3.4M score

Ship it to Dominik Nitsche! The German pro earned his fourth bracelet for winning WSOP Europe Event #10 €111,111 High Roller for One Drop. Nitsche faded a field of 132 entries to win a first-place payday worth €3,487,463. He defeated fellow German Andreas Eiler heads-up for the win. The One Drop charity raised approximately €978K for clean drinking water.

Sunday November 5, 2017 at 1:51 pm
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WSOP Europe: Watch live stream High Roller for One Drop

Only 10 players are still alive at the King's Casino in RozVegas for Event #10 €111,111 High Roller for One Drop. German pro Christoph Vogelsang is the chip leader going into the final day of action. First place pays out €3,487,463. Also still left in the hunt... Thomas Muehloecker, Steffen Sontheimer, Ahadpur Khangah, Mikita Badziakouski, Charlie Carrel, Kenny Hallaert, Dominik Nitsche, Andreas Eiler, and Martin Kabrhel. Watch a live stream of the final day of action and eventually the final table by clicking here.

Sunday November 5, 2017 at 12:23 am
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WSOP Europe: Albert Hoekendijk wins Event #8 €1,111 Little One for One Drop

Going into Saturday's action, only three more bracelets were up for grabs at the WSOP Europe. And Albert Hoekendijk secured one of them and became the fifth player in Dutch history to win a bracelet. Albert Hoekendijk took down Event #8 €1,111 Little One for One Drop for a score worth €170,764. The One Drop Charity earned €43,400 for this special event.

Saturday November 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm
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WSOP Europe: Watch final table live stream for Event #8 €1,111 Little One for One Drop

The final table is underway at the King's Casino in RozVegas for Event #8 €1,111 Little One for One Drop. Currently, five players still left in the hunt for the WSOPE bracelet and first-place prize worth €170,764. With five to go, Thomas Hofmann and Abdelhakim Zoufri are battling for the chip lead. Also still alive... Johannes Toebbe, Albert Hoekendijk, and Oleh Haisiuk. Click here to watch the final table live stream for the Little One for One Drop.

Friday November 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm
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WSOP Europe: Niall Farrell wins €25K High Roller and Matous Skorepa binks The COLOSSUS

Two more bracelet winners were crowned at the King's Casino in Rozvadov. The 2017 WSOP Europe 25K High Roller featured the usual high-balling crowd. Scotland's Niall Farrell defeated Benjamin Pollack heads-up for the High Roller bracelet and €745,287 in cash. After several near misses, Farrell finally shipped a bracelet after being a bridesmaid twice in Vegas. Farrell is now a member of the Triple Crown club. Meanwhile, Matous Skorepa from the Czech Republic outlasted a field of 4,115 runners to win Event #5 €550 NL The COLOSSUS. Skorepa earned a first-place payday worth €270K.

Friday November 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm
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WSOP Europe: Watch live stream of €111,111 One Drop High Roller

The One Drop is off and running at the King's Casino in Rozvadov. You can sweat the Day 1 feature table right now for Event #10 €111,111 High Roller for One Drop. Gus Hansen is the chip leader at the feature table, that also includes Manig Loeser and tennis legend Boris Becker. Click here to watch.

Thursday November 2, 2017 at 9:07 pm
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WSOP Europe: Watch €25K High Roller live stream

The WSOP Europe High Roller is down to its final table. Ben Pollack is the chip leader with nine to go in Event #9 €25,000 NL High Roller. First place pays out €745,287. Also still alive... Antoine Saout, Sylvian Loosli, Andrew Leathem, Niall Farrell, Ole Schemion, Claas Segebrecht. Ryan Reiss, and Stefan Schillhabel. Watch the final table stream here.

Thursday November 2, 2017 at 4:01 pm
Telex
WSOP Europe: Watch final table stream of THE COLOSSUS

THE COLOSSUS is down to its final table. WSOP Europe Event #5 THE CLOSSUS €550 NL has a €2,000,000 guarantee and €270,015 set aside for first place. Nine players are remaining. Jonathan Khalifa and Matous Skorepa are the big stacks with 8.5M each. Also still left in the hunt for a bracelet... Florian Fuchs, Roman Motovsky, Ivaylo Sivinov, Makarios Avramidis, Pascal Pflock, Gaetan Cauchy, and Nebojsa Ankucic. Watch the final table stream here.

Tuesday October 31, 2017 at 3:22 am
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WSOP Europe: Lukas Zaskodny wins Event #6 €2,200 PLO; Chainsaw Kessler runner up

The action continued at the King's Casino in Rozvadov for the WSOP Europe. Another PLO bracelet was up for grabs and one journeyman American pro was trying to break through for the first time. German soccer pro Sergej Barbarez final tabled Event #6 €2,200 PLO, but his run ended in fifth place. Allen 'Chainsaw' Kessler got heads-up for the bracelet against Lukas Zaskodny. However, it wasn't Kessler's day and he'll have to wait another tournament to win his first bracelet. The Czech Republic's Zaskodny picked off Chainsaw heads up to win the bracelet and €93,677.

Monday October 30, 2017 at 8:20 pm
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Breaking News: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signs gaming bill into law

It's official! Online poker will be coming to Pennsylvania after Gov. Tom Wolf signed HB 271 into law on Monday morning. HB 271 expanded Pennsylvania's gambling laws to help fund the $32 billion state budget. The new gaming bill permits online poker and daily fantasy sports. Pennsylvania is now the fourth state with legal poker in the United States.

Saturday October 28, 2017 at 11:27 pm
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WSOP Europe: France's Theodore McQuilkin wins Event #4 €1,650 NL 6-Handed

Ship it to France. The fourth bracelet at the WSOP Europe was on the line during a rambunctious Saturday night in Rozvadov. WSOP Europe Event #4 €1,650 NL 6-Handed attracted 240 players and Theodore McQuilkin, an amateur from Paris, France, was the last player standing. McQuilkin won €88,043, plus the coveted bracelet. McQuilkin defeated local player Jan Bednar heads-up for the win. Jesus Ferguson cashed in 26th place, which helped him maintain his lead in the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year race.

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