A Sympathetic Ear for Two Slot Players – RGT Online

January 31, 2012

A Sympathetic Ear for Two Slot Players 24 January 2012 By John Grochowski

When readers share stories about their casino exploits, it’s usually about big wins. Let’s face it, the wins are more memorable and more fun to talk about than the more common losing sessions. Still, every now and then a reader looking for a sympathetic ear will e-mail me with a tale of a day when nothing went right.

Take Marcia. She loves the low-denomination video slots, especially ones with pick’em style bonus rounds.

“I don’t need to win big,” she wrote. “But when I go to the bonus, I like to win SOMETHING. If I get five free spins and they’re all losers, that’s not really a bonus, is it?”

She started with a Jackpot Party machine, but lost $20 on a penny machine without getting to the bonus event. On to Goldfish. Another $20, no bonus.

“I thought I’d change my luck and play The Hangover. Every time I looked, one of my neighbors was playing a bonus. Not me.”

With losses at $60, she was reaching her tolerance point. “Then I saw a slot called Kilauea. I figured it was fate. My husband and I got married in Kauai, cruised around the islands and saw Kilauea’s lava flow twice. Once on land, once at night from onboard ship. This had to be it.

“This time I did get to go to the bonus. But it was free spins, and I didn’t win anything. After that, I just walked around until my husband was ready to go. He broke even on video poker and had a good time. I didn’t break even, but that doesn’t bother me so much. It was just a little downer that I didn’t get to play the bonuses on the games I like.

“When the bonuses come, I have a good time.”

So it goes on video slots. The entertainment comes from the extras, the animation, the sights and sounds, and the bonus events. Even a losing session is fun if you get a good run at a bonus or two.

Marcia limited her losses on penny machines. Nick emailed to say he learned an expensive lesson on a three-reel, $5 game.

“I’d always heard that the $5 slots paid more than the dollars or quarters,” he wrote. “So I decided to take one big shot at the $5 games. Instead of going every week and taking a couple hundred to play the dollar slots, I decided to make one trip at the end of the month, and bring a thousand.

“I have to admit I was a little nervous, but I put five $100 bills in. It took that much to get the 100 credits that I like to start with. I bet two coins at a time. Betting $10 on a slot machine sure seemed like a lot, but I figured that if I hit the 7s, or even the triple bars, even once, I could win a few hundred dollars. I mean, the jackpot would have been nice. But a middle-sized win or two was really all I was looking for.

“Well, the win never came. It can’t have taken more than 15 minutes. I never got anything bigger than three mixed bars, and by the time I got that, I only had half my money left. When that first $500 ran out, I put in another $300, figuring again that one middle-sized hit would get my money back, and if I lost it, at least I had $200 left to go play dollars or quarters. If anything, my money went down the drain even faster. I hadn’t been there half an hour, and already most of my money was gone.

“I decided to get out of there with what I had left, and take it as a lesson that I’m not cut out to be a $5 slot player. At least I got a breakfast comp out of the deal.”

A couple of points. An $800 loss is a high price for a “free” breakfast. As for $5 slot machines paying more, they do tend to have higher payback percentages than lower-denomination machines do. But those percentages are compiled over hundreds of thousands of pulls, and short-term cold streaks are a normal part of play. If losing $800 in a session makes you queasy — and it would do just that to most of us — you’re better off sticking to lower denominations.

I wrote back to Nick and asked if that was the end of his $5 slot career.

“Probably. Maybe if I was way ahead sometime. But I’m sticking to the three-reel slots. Those are the games I have fun at, as long as they’re giving a little back.”

“Oh, of course I’ll be back. I lost more this time than I like, but it was only $80. It’s the price of the day’s entertainment. I just want to have some fun. That means actually getting to play the bonuses. Most of the time, it’s fun.”

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network, John Robison managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network.

A Sympathetic Ear for Two Slot Players – RGT Online

Washington County set to decide on Ebro slots

January 31, 2012

EBRO — When they go to the polls Tuesday, Washington County voters will be asked to decide if they support allowing slot machines at Ebro Greyhound Park, but those on both sides say the decision will mean more than the addition of electronic machines.

Proponents of the measure say a yes vote will mean more jobs and more funding for local governments. Opponents say a yes vote will mean increased crime, increased addiction and a potential reduction in government spending.

With voter approval, owners of the park intend to apply for a license that would allow for the installation of up to 2,000 slot machines at the facility near the Washington County and Bay County line.

The park now includes 36 acres, of which 18 are occupied. The facility includes greyhound racing, which has been in place since 1955, and a poker room that opened in 1997.

Plans call for more than just additional gaming. It’s part of a proposed expansion into a $300 million resort hotel and entertainment center that would include 300 to 500 hotel rooms, retail, restaurants and an entertainment venue, said Stockton Hess, owner of the park, and his son, Mark Hess.

Initially, a temporary expansion would allow for the installation of slot machines, and they projected the first phase of construction would create 400 to 500 jobs. They estimate the first phase of construction could be completed within a year and at the end of full build out in three to five years 1,200 to 1,500 jobs could be created.

Washington County’s unemployment rate is 10.4 percent, compared to 9.9 percent for the state.

The city of Ebro has endorsed the referendum; Washington County and the Washington County Chamber of Commerce have decided to take a neutral position.

State’s stance

There’s a chance Tuesday’s vote won’t matter.

Even with voter approval, it’s not likely the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulations Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering will issue a license to Ebro.

Earlier this month Attorney General Pam Bondi issued an opinion that the department cannot issue a slot machine license to a pari-mutuel facility in a county in which a countywide referendum is held without first obtaining approval through action by the Legislature or a constitutional amendment.

Though not legally binding, Ken Lawson, secretary of the division, said he intends to follow Bondi’s guidance.

If voters show their support and the license is denied, Mark Hess said they plan to legally challenge it. Something similar would likely happen in Gadsden County, where voters are deciding whether to allow slot machines at a facility near Gretna.


Despite the uncertainty, those in favor of the slot machines and those opposed are still campaigning.

Among those who oppose the addition of slot machines is Citizens for Positive Development of Washington County. The organization is known for their campaign against a recent movement to relax liquor laws in the county.

During a meeting Tuesday at the Sunny Hills Community Center, Alan English, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, said he believes the potential growth comes at too high a cost.

“Unless you’re from another planet, you know that Washington County is full of addicts,” he said. “They’re addicted to meth, marijuana, prescription drugs, and gaming would be just another addition for use to deal with.

“If I love my neighbor as I love myself, then how can I allow this to come into my county? I want to see Washington County grow as much as anyone who loves our county, but I believe they’ve erred in the method,” he said.

English said studies have indicated that slot machines are more addictive than other forms of gambling.

Mark Hess said he doesn’t think the addition of slots will have a dire effect.

“Gaming already exists. We’re simply adding another product at the track,” he said.

Stockton Hess pointed to the number of lottery kiosks as evidence that someone who wants to gamble will be able to find a way, whether there are slot machines at Ebro or not.

“This gives us a chance to change the face of Washington County,” Mark Hess said.

That’s one of the concerns of Tim Lanham, pastor of Live Oak Baptist Church. While Mark Hess believes the change will be for the better, during the meeting Lanham said he was concerned about a change for the worse.

“Any time I’ve heard that someone has a great deal but you got to act fast, it’s always ended in disaster,” he said. “I’m quite familiar with casinos and places of gambling in our various trips and vacations and fund that the majority of people who play on a regular basis live within a 50-mile radius. That’s our friends, family and neighbors, and I cannot in good conscience allow that to happen to the people I care about.”

‘Twisted half-truth’

The vote also has received attention from outside Washington County.

“Our opposition in Tallahassee is trying to confuse the voters,” Mark Hess said.

He said mailers sent out state that tax money generated from slot machines at Ebro would go to the state government and not to local governments.

While that’s true, Stockton Hess called it a “twisted half-truth.”

The state levies a 35 percent tax on win money or taxable revenue, which is equal to the amount of money put into a slot machine minus the money paid out.

That money would go to the state, but the Hesses plan to contribute an additional amount to local governments.

Signed letters of intent that Stockton Hess said are “legally and morally binding” that offer to share 2-3 percent of win money with Washington County, the city of Ebro and the Washington County School District have been signed. Mark Hess said the exact percent will be based on projected revenue, and he anticipates it would result in a combined $2 million contribution to the local governments.

The letters of intent have been signed, but a formal agreement would not be made until after Tuesday’s vote.

A number of voters already have made their decisions.

When early voting ended Saturday, the Supervisor of Elections Office reported 1,395 people had participated in early voting, and 968 had returned mail in ballots. Combined, they represent about 17 percent of registered voters.

Though the referendum coincides with the Republican presidential primary, it is open to all voters.

Florida Freedom Newspapers Writer Cecilia Spears contributed to this report.

Washington County set to decide on Ebro slots

De top 5 toernooispelers van 2011

January 31, 2012

In dit artikel bekijken we de beste toernooispelers van 2011, volgens de mening van PokerStrategy.com. Ook kijken we kort naar de voorspellingen voor 2012. Meer informatie in onderstaand nieuwsbericht.

5. Phil Hellmuth, $1.652.521 aan winsten uit live toernooien in 2011 De zelfverklaarde “beste No-Limit Hold’em-speler ter wereld” blijft spelers van het kaliber Elio Fox en Galen Hall net voor en verovert hierdoor de vijfde plaats.Hellmuth had in de jaren voor 2011 weinig gepresteerd in toernooien en kreeg veel kritiek te verduren voor zijn ondermaatse prestaties in tv-cashgames zoals Poker After Dark en PokerStars: The Big Game. Hij werd door het slijk gehaald door Tony G en zijn passieve manier van ‘small-ball poker’ werd door grote namen zoals Daniel Negreanu en Dusty ‘Leatherass’ Schmidt fel bekritiseerd.Tijdens de World Series of Poker van dit jaar was Hellmuth echter opnieuw een overheersende factor, hij wist maar liefst drie keer op de tweede plaats te eindigen. Alhoewel hij verscheidene bad beats te verduren kreeg, bleef hij vrij nederig toen hij in het $50k 8-Game Poker Players Championship het onderspit moest delven tegen Brian Rast.  Jason Mercier: wint casual alle chips aan tafel Ondanks het feit dat hij ook tijdens de WSOP Europe een finaletafel wist te halen, moest hij zich toch tevreden stellen met een tweede plaats in de Player of the Year race, na Ben Lamb. De enige speler ter wereld met elf bracelets, zal dus nog even moeten wachten op zijn twaalfde.   4. Jason Mercier, $2.389.246 Wie beweert er dat Amerikaanse pokerspelers hun hoogtepunt voorbij zijn?Mercier mag er dan uitzien als een surfer die net van het strand komt en nonchalant een potje poker komt spelen, maar vergis je niet – deze jongeman hanteert een erg agressief pokerspel. Cynici noemen hem “Mr Run Good”, maar Jason is nu al bijna vier jaar een van de meest dominante aanwezigheden op het pokercircuit. Een greep uit zijn vele indrukwekkende prestaties van 2011: Hij won het High Roller Bounty Event tijdens de NAPT Uncasville voor $246.000 en werd derde in het eerste Epic Poker League $20k Event voor $360.970. Verder veroverde hij zijn tweede WSOP bracelet in het $5k PLO event en eindigde het jaar in stijl door het $100k NLH High Roller Event te winnen tijdens de World Poker Tour Five Diamond Classic, waarvoor hij $683.000 in ontvangst mocht nemen. Hij en collega PokerStars pro ElkY zien we in de toekomst zo goed als zeker terug in de Poker Hall of Fame. 3. Sam Trickett, $4.598.038 De best presterende Europeaan,Sam Trickett Ook de Engelsen hebben een goed jaar achter de rug. Sam Trickett wist het grootste bedrag te winnen, maar ook onder andere Jake Cody en Chris Moorman wisten indrukwekkende prestaties neer te zetten. De weg naar het grote podium verliep voor Trickett met veel vallen en opstaan: hij had een beloftevolle voetbalcarrière, maar liep een ernstige knieblessure op, waardoor zijn toekomst een stuk onzekerder werd. Tijdens zijn prille carrière op het pokercircuit van het Verenigd Koninkrijk moest hij bovendien afrekenen met zijn blackjack-demonen. Dit jaar begon voor Trickett, net zoals bij Erik Seidel het geval was, wel erg spectaculair: hij wist eerst het $100k High Roller Tournament tijdens de Aussie Millions te winnen en deed dit meteen daarna nog eens dunnetjes over door tweede te worden in het $250k Super High Roller event van diezelfde toernooireeks. Hij werd ook nog eens bekroond tot kampioen van de Partouche Poker Tour, waar hij maar liefst $1.364.666 mee wist te winnen. Trickett wordt door zijn onbevreesde stijl wel eens vergeleken met Phil Ivey en hij is ook een gevestigde naam in cashgames. Toen hij hoorde dat hij in Macao tegen rijke Chinese zakenmannen kon spelen, pakte hij dan ook het eerste beschikbare vliegtuig, een beslissing waarvan hij geen spijt heeft gehad. 2. Ben Lamb, $5.532.970 Zijn 4-bet shove met KJ tegen Martin Staszko tijdens de eindfase van het WSOP Main Event zorgde voor heel wat discussie, maar dat doet niet af aan Ben Lambs goddelijke pokerjaar. Tijdens het WSOP 2011 leek het wel alsof niemand een kans maakte tegen Ben Lamb: hij haalde maar liefst vijf monstercashes en vier finaletafels. Hij werd tweede in het $3k PLO event, won het $10k PLO event, werd achtste in het $50k Players Championship en werd ook nog eens derde in het Main Event, waar hij $4 miljoen aan overhield. Wat is het geheim van Ben Lamb? Naar eigen zeggen is dat het zich onthouden van alcohol (neem snel pen en papier, Scotty Nguyen).Lamb kreeg zijn meer dan verdiende WSOP Player of the Year-titel en werd bovendien beloond met een plek in het Amerikaanse Caesars Cup Team. Zijn succes speelde zich uitsluitend af op Amerikaanse bodem, maar wanneer hij beslist om zich op Europa te richten, dan kan je maar beter niet tegen hem wedden. Seidels Nieuwe Online Avatar 1. Erik Seidel, $6.530.153 Erik Seidel kon in 2011 op geen enkel zwak moment betrapt worden, waardoor hij zijn opwachting mocht maken in de pokerseries ‘The Micros’ en de bijnaam ‘Seiborg’ meekreeg – een bovenmenselijk wezen met een bovenmenselijke kracht aan de tafels die alle wetten van variance leek te tarten. Alhoewel hij reeds voor 2011 bijna $10 miljoen aan winsten uit live toernooien bij elkaar had gespeeld, zorgde zijn nederige, bescheiden houding ervoor dat hij uit de schijnwerpers bleef. Tijdens de Aussie Millions behaalde hij de derde plaats in het $100k NLH Event en hij wist meteen daarna het $250k Super High Roller event op zijn naam te schrijven, wat hem in totaal drie miljoen dollar opleverde. Het succes in de high rollers stopte daar echter niet: tijdens de negende Annual Five Star World Poker Classic voegde hij nog een miljoen aan zijn bankroll toe. Na een meer bescheiden WSOP haalde hij ook nog eens twee EPL-finaletafels. Hij heeft nu $16.885.167 winsten uit live toernooien, wat niemand hem nadoet. Indien het feit dat hij in 2010 opgenomen werd in de Poker Hall of Fame nog niet voldoende was om voor eeuwig in het lijstje met meest indrukwekkende pokerspelers aller tijden opgenomen te worden, dan heeft Seidel dat met zijn prestaties van dit jaar meer dan rechtgezet.Haalden deze lijst net niet: Elio Fox, Galen Hall, Sam Stein, Chris Moorman, Eugene Katchalov, ElkY and Oleskii Kovalchuk Er zijn slechtere plaatsen omhet jaar te starten…  Tot zover de top 5 van PokerStrategy.com. Uiteraard hebben ook andere sites soortgelijke lijstjes gepubliceerd. Bovenaan de meeste ranglijsten (onder andere die van BLUFF) zien we Eugene Katchalov terug. Katchalov heeft vorig jaar een overwinning bij het PCA Super High Roller Event, een WSOP bracelet, een finaletafel bij de EPL en EPT en vele andere goede resultaten neergezet. Ook Ben Lamb wist verschillende prijzen in de wacht te slepen.Alhoewel spelers zoals Jason Mercier en David ‘Doc’ Sands al een fantastisch 2011 achter de rug hebben, lieten ze alvast weten er het volste vertrouwen in te hebben het in 2012 nog beter te zullen doen. De bookmakers geven Mercier alvast de grootste kans. Wanneer je Mercier als BLUFF Player of the Year 2012 tipt, kan je hiervoor slechts zeven keer je investering voor terugkrijgen.Morgen gaat het $100.000 Super High Roller Event van het PokerStars Caribbean Adventure van start. Katchalov wist daar vorig jaar $1,5 miljoen mee te winnen en legde zo de basis voor zijn vele overwinningen in de ranglijsten van 2011. Galen Hall wist tijdens het Main Event maar liefst $2,3 miljoen te winnen. Deze toernooireeks is dan ook de ideale kans om een voorsprong tegenover de competitie op te bouwen. Wie geef jij de meeste kans om dit jaar de beste resultaten te behalen in de live poker toernooien? Laat het ons weten in de comments. En hou natuurlijk onze nieuwssectie in de komende dagen goed in de gaten voor updates van de PCA die op het punt van beginnen staat.

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De top 5 toernooispelers van 2011

Mariner Top 5: Tradeable Assets

January 31, 2012

I love Top-5 lists. I think I’ve had an affinity for it since watching High Fidelity as a high school junior. Sure, I should probably have read the unadulterated book. But, I’m lazy and the ability to have John Cusak deliver me his own take on world transported from London to Chicago. 

Maybe, that isn’t quite roots for where this weird obessesion began. But really that’s not important. Today, I wanted to have a little fun and do my very own Top-5 tradable assets. Now, the out come took sometime to develop and while you might not agree with my personal conclusion that’s kind of what makes it fun.

5)  Adam Moore – Catcher

Regardless of whether or not you consider Montero a real catcher or not you can’t deny that Moore still has potential to be a regular catcher. At 27, turning 28 here soon, Moore embodies what life I have left. We’re barely two months apart and so part of me has a really hard time giving up on this guy.

But then again why should anyone give up on Moore? When has he pulled his Wladimir Balentine or Michael Saunders? I mean outside of those 250 plate appearances in 2010. The guy has consistently shown the ability to be an above average hitter at every stop in the minor leagues. Every stop.  It’s just really hard for me to believe that he can’t hit major league pitching or that he isn’t a major league back-stop. To be fair the guy just continually has gotten screwed by the farm system. First by Rob Johnson, then by his body and Miguel Olivo, now by Jesus Montero and John Jaso.

The guy is entering what should be his peak years physically but considering the fact that the organization took it’s sweet time with allowing him to be developed, I think it’s possible he has a bit more of an extended window.

Teams such as the Red Sox and the Marlins both have been connected to him in the past and considering the extreme lack of catching talent in the last few years around the league. He’s the one guy on this list that I’m not for moving but he’s one of the most forgotten about pieces around the league.

4)  Kyle Seager – INF

Let me tell you some of the buzz around June and July leading up to the trade deadline had a lot of teams interested in Seager. A lot. There were all sorts of scouts take in Seager and there were multiple teams that brought up his name during mid-season talks. I know that from being a good listener in the press boxes and knowing how to identify scouts and then sit/chat with them during games.

Seager may start the season at third base and could probably be a major league average (2+ WAR) third basemen. That doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t be better at second base. Nearly everyone I’ve ever talked to about him has mentioned the fact that he should be a second basemen or utility player. His defense is okay but what he really does well is drive the ball and drive it all over the place.

His freak out in AAA, where he batted .387/.444/.585 over barely 100 plate appearances, wasn’t in any way sustainable. But the guy still is going to be a solid offensive second basemen. There are a lot of teams that just need hitting in general and while the Mariners are one of them second base is a position they have solidified for the next …. 20 years.

This gives the front office a legit hitter to deal. Not only that but involved in the right package, Seager could possible used to return a valuable piece that fits our teams weaknesses.

3) Jason Vargas – Starting Pitcher

 Vargas is one of our most confusing assets. He’s good, he’s bad. He has had some really great games and other times they are… less than just forgettable. Then he made the additional “Felix” twist and he may have taken a step forward. But here is the thing we don’t really have an idea of how the league really views Vargas.

In general I believe that the league has caught up to the idea of pitching parks. Places like Safeco, Petco and the Colisuem all have started to come with a stigma. In the same way that we talk about guys like Michael Young and playing in the Ballpark in Arlington.

Vargas is a weird guy in that a lot of his value is tied up in how much stock opposing front offices place in his production away from Safeco. I think it’s possible that with all the upcoming prospects the Mariners have in their farm system that you could see them trade away Vargas for a needed piece or even farm system depth at a specific position.

2) Brandon League – Relief Pitcher

 I don’t really buy into the whole “he’s not a real closer” theory. The guy doesn’t strike out a lot of hitters but misses plenty of bats. Not to mention he gets plenty of ground balls and/or induces weak contact. Sure, he has had a few hiccups, not just last year but also during his combined time between Seattle and Toronto the over his past few years. There is the added fact, his pitches can and do flatten out at times and on other occasions he allows inopportune early inning runners that cause things to get a bit too interesting at times.

But despite that in my mind I believe he can be just as good of a “closer” as J.J. Putz, Joel Hannahan, John Axford or even Mike Adams. There are better, but he slides nicely into the upper echelon, middle of the pact. A team like Cincinnati, Detroit or even Boston could come calling in July to help either take over closing duties or even become another very strong arm to help anchor the bullpen. That’s just my opinion. But, the longer he sits in the “closer” role and continues to do pick up that key counting stat the more other teams are take him seriously.

I know there are people that think that we should have traded him back in November or even early December, but his value gets higher the longer we old onto him at this point. Yes, it’s a little bit like Russian roulette. You never know when an injury is going to strike. But Brandon has been pretty healthy over the years and has been pretty consistent. I can only contend that at this point the Mariners were dissatisfied with any offers they may or even may not have recieved and think they are better off paying him now and deciding what to do with him later.

It seems like they have some money in reserves and if they choose to go forward to get a better offer for him, and I think they will, I’m alright with that move. He’s clearly the best major league chip they have going into the season.

1) Nick Franklin – Shortstop

I like Franklin, a lot. I’ve seen him play in person and he is high effort, confident and extremely talented. He’s been ranked as high as the #6 shortstop prospect by MLB.com and ranked as high as #40 in all of baseball by Scout.com. Franklin is considered one of the best up and coming shortstops in baseball. This is also coming off of what many believe is a “down season”. While I don’t personally believe that, as many of the issues that affected him were purely flukish in nature, it’s going to be exciting to see him in AA for a full season.

 The asterisk that comes with him is whether or not he’ll stick at shortstop. His arm isn’t anything more than average and that’s part of why people consider him a true second basemen and his range is also average or even a bit below average. He makes up for it with his quick twitch like reactions and his pure grit or determination.  I personally think he could even slide over to third base, but considering the log jam that is quickly becoming third base between Alex Liddi, Kyle Seager, Franscisco Martinez and even Carlos Triunfel it seems unlikely that this time they would use him at the position.

I’m not among those that think he can’t stick at short. But it does seem to be a consistent question mark among even the most sincere prospect mavericks. Considering Dustin Ackley, as stated previously, while be at second base for the foreseeable future that could leave open an out of the box idea to flip Franklin for someone whose talent better suits the organization. I’m not saying they should but again it’s an out of the box solution that also takes into consideration the fact the Mariners already have the best defensive shortstop in all of baseball.

Brendan Ryan is a solid shortstop and one that borderlines the Gutierrez rule. That rule is one that I’ve kind of made up this past year but that goes something like like this. A player who is  in a defensive premium position and can produce such value defensively, regardless of how poor his bat production is, and still be considered an average major leaguer (producing a minimum of 2 WAR over 150 games) could very well still be a productive member of a starting line-up.

Ryan, however, does flirt with being an average hitter and the fact that he does so with the best defense in the league make him an extraordinarily valuable piece considering that he’s often overlooked across the league and his cost to retain his services would be minimal considering the demand.  So, should the Mariners make a move with Franklin it’s not as if they don’t already have a back-up plan already in place.

Even though Franklin isn’t the top prospect in the organization, considering the current climate of baseball and lack of bat first and yet still suitable defenders, he has the greatest trade value out of all the prospects. This of course could change depending on the organization considering teams like Maimi, Colorado or Chicago already have solidified the position long term.

Franklin is easily my favorite Mariner prospect right in front of Paxton and a good notch above Scott Savastano (don’t ask). But, there are guys out there such as Dominic Brown that could potentially be a nice piece and worthy of giving up Franklin if done in the right capacity. This is just me spit balling.

I’m not in favor of trading Franklin but considering his value and the amount of depth already in the system he’s the most valuable piece that we have right now.

Tags: Adam Moore, brandon league, Franscisco Martinez, Jason Vargas, Jesus Montero, John Jaso, kyle seager, michael saunders, miguel olivo, nick franklin

Mariner Top 5: Tradeable Assets

Casino Consultant Charged State $1.5 Million

January 31, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Invoices show the consultant helping Ohio develop rules and regulations related to its four new casinos charged the state more than $1.5 million in 2011.More than $1.4 million of the costs for Atlantic City, N.J.-based Spectrum Gaming Group came from fees of up to $375 per hour, The Columbus Dispatch reported after reviewing the documents. About $85,000 was travel-related as Spectrum representatives visited regulators and the first two casino sites in Cleveland and Toledo and went elsewhere to meet potential vendors and a developer.Spectrum’s services will be funded with fees from vendors, employees and the casinos, which pay $1.5 million to apply for a license, said Jo Ann Davidson, chairwoman of the Casino Control Commission.The billed expenses included nearly $200 a night for stays at a Columbus hotel near the casino oversight agency and round-trip flights between Philadelphia and Columbus that topped $1,000.Spectrum’s lead consultant for Ohio, who was overseas and unavailable for comment, referred questions to regulators, the newspaper said.The commission believes Spectrum is following its work agreements with the state, Casino Control Commission executive director Matt Schuler said.”What I have seen is, they stay very strict to the terms of the agreement and to the scope of the work that has been approved by the commission,” Schuler said. “We need to be good stewards of the funds and make sure they’re following the letter of the law and have it be transparent.”Davidson said consultants traveled more in the initial stages because the commission had a smaller staff. Regulators expect to spend less for outside reviews of applications for the planned casinos in Columbus and Cincinnati, in part because the same owners are involved, and rely more on commission staff as it hires more people.”If we can do it ourselves, that is exactly what is going to happen,” Schuler said.He defended the expensive price of Spectrum’s air travel. State contractors are prohibited from flying first-class and are asked to book the cheapest flights available, but Schuler noted that the charges depend on the going prices, especially when flights are booked under time constraints.”As we’ve been working through the licensing process, on many occasions we needed their attorneys to assist us with very little notice in our discussions with the casino operators,” he said.There are set government rates for hotels and food allowances, but a spokesman for the state Office of Budget and Management said there’s no limit on air travel expenses.Spectrum’s hotel charges were about twice the government rate, which some hotels won’t honor for government contractors. The $56 allotted for each traveler’s daily meals and incidental expenses was on par with the government rate.Ohio’s second casino consultant, hired to advise the state on how to get the best returns from its burgeoning gambling market, is expected to be owed much more than Spectrum because it struck a deal to get a percentage of casino revenue it helps generate. Los Angeles-based Moelis & Company is expected to earn $2.4 million in retainer fees through April and incentives worth up to $13 million, the newspaper said.

Casino Consultant Charged State $1.5 Million

What Do You Think of These Craps Strategies? – RGT Online

January 31, 2012

What Do You Think of These Craps Strategies? 28 January 2012 By Frank Scoblete

The following letter is from Michigan Mike and since it has several questions I have decided to answer them as they are given. — Frank

Where do I begin? I hope you are doing well. I have been an admirer of the game of craps since 1991,and have appreciated your first craps book over the years, never reading it all at once, just a chapter here and there, bits and pieces at a time. With all do respect, I learned the game from a friend, and will eventually do a straight read through, however, I have not read an entire book since I graduated from college in 1988. That year, I read my entire Asian Religion textbook the night before my final exam and did get a B for the course. To date, I have very little knowledge of Asian Religion, but do have exceptional knowledge of craps,(or at least perceive that I have exceptional knowledge of craps).

Start reading books, right now (well, at the very least, my books). A brain is a terrible thng to waste as the old commercial goes.

I have had many successful craps outings in the past, enough stories and crazy characters to write about, however life of course came in the way of fun and craps, with job/career, marriage, children, divorce (ouch, that one was a doosey), child support, or the divorced dad story, and the poster child for divorce. The divorce had nothing to do with gambling, as a matter of fact, I didn’t play craps much during my marriage, just different choices people make during the cruise ship of life. You can control what you do, just not what other people do.

Having been through a divorce myself many, many years ago, I know how awful that can be. It sometimes feels like the ultimate seven-out.

Now that a casino has opened close to home, the old flame has been rekindled, except I am on “The Child Support Limited Bankroll” so I have to be careful. The 5-Count is by far one of the best tools to use at the table, and now I have some interesting strategies that I would like your feedback on.

The 5-Count will eliminate 57 percent of the random rolls. For Golden Touch controlled shooters, it is a major weapon in our arsenal.

EX. 1 If you are waiting for the 5-Count, why not put your bet on the Don’t Pass, and hedge with an any seven bet to offset? Once the 5-Count hits, you can pick up the Don’t, then place the six and eight, ( most people at the table don’t even realize that you are even using the don’t), and continue on the Pass Line. If the point is hit, play the Any Craps to offset Pass Line bet. Yet you make money during the horrendous roles of seven-out in less than the 5-Count on the Don’t, instead of just buying time at the table.

The best way to understand how the house edge eats away at your bankroll is to analyze each bet separately, as if each bet were being made by different players (in fact, each bet you make is indeed a different game against the casino, even if all those bets are made at the same time).

So let us say you are a $10 “line” bettor. Before the 5-Count, you decide you want to go up on the Don’t Pass. You put your $10 down. It is that very first roll where the house establishes its edge over you. You only win three times (2, 3), push one time (12) and lose eight times (six times on the 7; two times on the 11). So using the Don’t Pass before the 5-Count is completed negates the positive effect of the 5-Count. The house has its edge over you and that edge is about 1.36 percent or a loss of about 14 cents.

Now, the point is hit and you decide to throw out an Any Craps to “protect” your line bet. The edge on Any Craps will range between 5.56 percent and 11.11 percent, depending on how the bet is paid off. So you want to protect your Pass Line bet and you bet two dollars on the Any Craps. As a one roll bet, you will lose between 11 cents and 22 cents every time you make this bet. Instead of protecting your Pass Line bet, you are merely adding losses to your bankroll. Your Pass Line bet doesn’t need any protection on the Come-Out roll as it has eight ways to win and only four ways to lose. Why throw out more losing money?

You are much, much better buying time at the table than wasting money on extra bets.

EX. 2 Play don’t, hedge with any seven bet, pick up the don’t if the point is a 6 or 8, after the five count, place the 6 and the 8( pass line/odds whichever one is point). If the point is 5,9,4,10, leave the don’t, place and take 2 hits on the six or eight, then bring them down, wait for seven to win on your don’t. If a point is hit (after 5 count of course), hedge pass line with any craps bet and continue on with hot roll playing point, plus placing the six and eight. The pass line bet, hedged with an “any craps 7-1 bet” has really worked well for me. It is amazing how many times 2,3,12, 7, 11 show up on the come out and I am guaranteed to win no matter which one shows up. I’m only on the pass once the 5-count is complete of course.

Again, playing the Don’t costs you 14 cents on a $10 wager. Throwing an Any Seven bet out there now adds to your overall loss since the bet comes in with a whopping 16.67 percent house edge. To “protect” your Don’t Pass Bet, you will have to bet $3 on the Any Seven and that will cost you (hold onto your hat) 50 cents each time you make the bet. A true waste of your money. Throwing out a “whirl” bet on the 2, 3, 7, 11, and 12 will come in with a house edge of 13.33. So you bet $5 and your expected loss is about 67 cents.

Now your thought that a hot roll will continue is a total misunderstanding of the real world of craps. There had been hot rolls but there is no future guarantee the rolls will continue to be hot and there is also no guarantee that the rolls will not continue to be hot. There is no predictive value in a random game except this: Going off numbers will lose you less so always feel free to go off numbers on random rollers.

I ask you this: why add so many losses to your play? Your strategy is doing just that.

These strategies don’t use the Come Bet as a tool, but why wait when you can Place the six and eight after the 5 Count? With the 6 and 8 placed, I am now in the power position.

The Placing of the six and eight are relatively good bets but they are not as good as Come bets. You place $12 on the six and $12 on the eight. The house edge is 1.52 percent so your loss on that $24 wagered will be about 36 cents. A $10 Come bet’s expected loss is 14 cents — a big difference. Sadly, you must bet in multiples of $6 for the Placing of the six and eight but you do not have to do that with the Come bet.

So, instead of being in a “power position,” your strategy just loses you more money.

I know it takes money to make money, but I did buy your book and would be extremely grateful to receive any feedback that you are able to offer. Fortunately, I have enjoyed the results of your book more often than not, and am humble knowing that we all can learn something new each day.

Let me recommend my newest and most complete work on craps, Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!

Sincerely in the sport of craps, Michigan Mike

Michigan Mike, I just put you on my private web site for 30 days free of charge at goldentouchcraps.com. You will get another email with your user name and password. These you can change if you like. Should you not receive it, check your spam file.

Please feel free to post. We have over 5,000 members and the conversations are great. Any future questions will be answered by our instructors and elite players on those message boards.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network, John Robison managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network.

What Do You Think of These Craps Strategies? – RGT Online

Big Brother Bingo

January 31, 2012

Whether you love it or hate it you can never get away from Big Brother when it airs on Channel 5 and it’s surprised us that it took so long for a Big Brother Bingo brand to be launched into the world of online bingo. However on 12th January 2011 that’s exactly what happened as the Joy of Bingo network added a sixth site to their ever expanding portfolio of impressive bingo brands. Already we have seen Wink Bingo, Posh Bingo, Tasty Bingo, RedBus Bingo and Bingo Street enjoy great success but is Big Brother Bingo going to be as impressive.

The home page of Big Brother Bingo looks as you might expect it to with the logo similar to that used on the television reality show of the same name. The main focus of the landing page is given to the welcome bonus with a few details at the bottom of the page about what other promotional offers Big Brother Bingo has.

It takes no time at all to register a new account with Big Brother Bingo and within minutes you are ready to login and play. From the bingo lobby you can see that there has been a lot of thought gone into the design as we have come to expect from the Joy of Bingo brands. The theme of Big Brother continues throughout the site but in more than just the graphics. Of the different tabs available from the lobby you have different rooms as you might find in a Big Brother house. There is the Lounge, the Garden, the Store Room, the Bedroom and of course no Big Brother Bingo house would be complete without the Diary Room!

Each of the tabs offer something different; the Lounge boasts the free bingo games (only open to depositing players) and one 75 ball bingo room. The Garden has a selection of cheap and cheerful bingo rooms with names like The Hot Tub and Get Clucky whilst the Store Room boasts a selection of pre-buy guaranteed jackpot games.

Big Brother Bingo has a lot to live up to when it comes to our expectations of the Joy of Bingo sites; let’s hope that it’s a winner and not up for eviction from the realms of online bingo sites!

Software: 888/GlobalcomNetwork: N/A – a standalone brand from the Joy of Bingo campDeposit Methods: Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron, Visa Debit, Mastercard, Neteller, Ukash, Wire Transfer and Paysafecard.

Free Bingo available?:

Free bingo is available at Big Brother Bingo but only to players who have made a deposit at the site.

Minimum Deposit: £5Minimum Withdrawal: £10New Player Welcome Bonus: Up to £20 free over four days in Stairway to Swag gameCash Match Bonuses: 200% on first deposit (£5 or more) – 50% on all others (£10 or more)

Wagering Requirements/Withdrawal Rules:

Wagering on all deposits at Big Brother Bingo is 4x the amount of deposit and bonus received but you can withdraw prior to meeting these requirements if:

a) You have deposited and played through £20b) You have at least £10 in real cash in your accountc) You are willing to lose some/all of the remaining bonus funds in your account

Big Brother Bingo

Tightly Rolled Loosies

January 30, 2012

As indie-prods go, I applaud a modest little pleasure called Loosies and its writer-star Peter Facinelli, the handsome, charismatic actor whose work as a regular in the Twilight vampire franchise and the Nurse Jackie TV series in no way prepared me for his considerable accomplishments here. The character he has invented for himself is Bobby, a New York City pickpocket who wanders through the city pretending to be a Wall Street stockbroker. He’s charming and witty, his widowed mother is on relief, and he has to make ends meet to keep her in enough change to feed her addiction to church bingo. Bobby makes a big mistake when he steals the badge of a ferocious cop (Michael Madsen), bringing a load of trouble to his fence (a shabby looking Vincent Gallo, playing to type). Stirring the stew even more, Bobby discovers his ex-girlfriend Lucy (Jaimie Alexander) is pregnant with his baby. With two worlds crashing like fun-fair bumper cars, Bobby becomes a moving target in a big city where he was once free to practice his skills incognito. After a lot of soul searching, he decides the time has come to re-evaluate his mistakes and assume some adult responsibility. Unexpectedly in love with Lucy and intrigued by the idea of becoming a parent, Bobby finds himself in the unprecedented position of an outlaw who wants to go straight with a fist aimed at his head from every direction. Bobby is indebted to the vicious loan shark played with such poisonous relish by Mr. Gallo because he holds a death threat over his head to pay off his dead father’s gambling debts. His goal is to break free. But first he has to pull one more heist that could cost him his life.

Loosies are single cigarettes sold at a bar of the same name where Lucy works, but very little seems loose in this small film composed of interesting, offbeat characters, energetic camerawork and brief, telling moments that reflect deeper aspects of Bobby’s relationship with the world around him—a little girl sees him robbing multiple dupes in the subway and gives him a knowing wink; Bobby teaching two Boy Scouts how to shoot craps. It all adds up to a three-dimensional profile of a loser desperate to fill in the gaps of a wasted life who discovers, in the process, an inner decency he didn’t know he had. Mr. Facinelli is a good actor with solid credits but no stardom. After Loosies, that could change. He’s also a careful writer, as this debut script proves. The film was directed by Michael Corrente, who adds a few visual touches of his own, like a clever montage of Bobby’s frenetic sleight-of-hand pickpocketing techniques. In  a surprise finish that turns the tables on his adversaries, Bobby finds an unexpected ally in his mother’s new lover, a dull, middle-class jeweler named Carl, played with subtle power by Joe Pantoliano. Not a great movie, but satisfying enough to hold attention and win your affection—a rare blue-plate combo on today’s overcrowded menu of movie chaos that sticks to your ribs and stays there.

Running Time 88 minutes

Written by Peter Facinelli

Directed by Michael Corrente

Starring Peter Facinelli, Jaimie Alexander and Michael Madsen

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Tightly Rolled Loosies

Online Poker: Legalize It and Tax It

January 30, 2012

If poker players are willing to pay a fee and pay taxes on their winnings, you will be hard pressed to find an elected official who will say no. In a time where education budget cuts and city services budget cuts are the focus of so many press conferences, finding willing tax payers is a jackpot for state and local governments.

The legalization of online poker will be a boost for every state and local economy. It will create jobs, through the operation of the sites, advertising, sponsorships, and branded items. All of these branded items could be tied to state licensing. Want to run a site in Texas for example, provide jobs in Texas, sell branded items made in Texas. Companies will line up to do whatever they have to in order to be a part of the online poker profits. The support system for these sites would further create local jobs.

Looking at this from every angle, I think the answer to simplifying the process is quite easy. MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express could simply issue Online Player Cards. An Internet Poker license if you will. The issuing company would charge a fee for the card, of which 100% would go directly to the state. The companies already have inplace the means to make this happen. These cards would then be linked to a bank account, taking cash completely out of the system.

The players then could choose the site he or she would want to play on. After registering at the site of their choice, the only option to load funds would be the state issued card. As money was taken out or transferred to other players the card company could charge a fee, pass on some to the state, and keep some for being the engine to run the whole thing. Instant taxation with a minimal amount of paper work.

All to often in our country we make things way too hard. This is simple math. We need money to operate our governments at our desired levels. Poker players are willing to pay reasonable taxes, there is a system in place that could do the job. Very simply, we should move forward, create the jobs, collect the taxes, regulate for fairness, and get on to something more important.

J. Brackston is a veteran of three World Series of Poker appearances, two World Series of Poker circuit events in Oklahoma and Louisiana, and an appearance in The River Poker Series in Oklahoma. Has won many local poker tournaments since beginning playing competitively in 2004.

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Online Poker: Legalize It and Tax It

Area man’s collections displayed in town setting

January 30, 2012

BLOOMSBURG – It’s an understatement to say Bill Morris collects antique and classic motorcycles.

He collects everything.

From 300 European carousel horses, toys and hand-carved slot machines, to cameras, car emblems and movie memorabilia, history fills his 40,000-square-foot Bill’s Old Bike Barn. He even has a 1948 Rolls Royce pickup that he restored; only seven of them were ever built.

Morris’ bike barn, along Route 11 in South Centre Township between Bloomsburg and Berwick, is adjacent to Bill’s Custom Cycles, a vintage motorcycle shop where Morris sells parts for old motorcycles, including Harley-Davidsons.

Bill’s does a big mail order business and much of its parts business is done through eBay, Morris said.

“We have bought out 28 Harley-Davidson and custom shops over the years,” he said about a key source of old parts. He also obtains parts through estate purchases and on buying trips to Europe.

Hang out at ‘Billville’

Morris, 72, has operated his Columbia County parts shop for 42 years; he built the Bike Barn about 13 years ago to house his massive collection, which includes 175 motorcycles. He has been collecting seriously since 1970, 10 years after he got out of the Army.

His motorcycles include classic Harley-Davidsons, Triumphs, BSAs, BMWs, Indians, Hondas and Moto Guzzis, among others. He also has a Moto Guzzi pickup truck, which looks like a three-wheeled truck until you open the cab door and discover it’s a motorcycle.

Instead of presenting everything in a standard museum setting, Morris built “Billville,” a replica town with a gas station, post office, smoke shop, camera store, mayor’s office and banquet room that includes the bar from the Hotel Berwick. It also houses Morris’ vast 1939 World’s Fair collection, which includes a bar from one of the fair pavilions.

“It’s my best hang out,” Morris said of the barroom.

It does have a touch of the 21st century: a large flat-screen television where he can relax and have a drink among his historic pieces.

Also along the streets of Billville is a player guitar from the 1930s. Showing a reporter around, Morris dropped a quarter in and the machine began plucking away.

“I wouldn’t have it if it didn’t work,” Morris said.

Of course, vintage motorcycles line the streets of Billville. It’s as if a visitor could ride off on a 1914 Triumph, owner’s manual included.

Morris notes that he doesn’t rope off the displays, allowing close inspection by visitors, including fellow restoration buffs.

“Some of the bike builders will come and take pictures of the bikes,” he said. “They can come and look at mine and see how it is done.”

Billville will be expanding in the near future. Morris is working on adding a fire house, general store, police station and cobbler shop. He hopes to have it done by November.

“I like when someone comes and sees it for the first time,” he said, noting there’s a lot to soak in. “You ought to see people from Europe when they come and see this.”

Morris still rides a motorcycle and, as one would expect, it is of the vintage variety: a 1930 Harley-Davidson VL with a side car. But the side car is for extra oil and tools, because, as Morris jokes, the VL stands for very leaky.

“You mark your spot wherever you go with them,” he said.

Bill’s Old Bike Barn is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Visit the website at billsbikebarn.com or call 570-797-7030. Admission is $6. Bill’s also does group tour groups; call to schedule.

Area man’s collections displayed in town setting

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