Poker Pioneers | Vegas Seven

In today’s Green Felt Journal, I look at a few of the personalities behind Ultimate Poker:

Online poker seems so … unearthly. Hands are dealt on a glowing screen. Cards are made out of pixels, not pasteboard. And yet it’s here, and it’s very real.

For now, there’s one company that offers online poker in Nevada: Ultimate Gaming. It’s headquartered in an industrial strip mall on Harmon Avenue, a few blocks west of the Strip. And it’s filled with an interesting mix of about 60 administrators, techies, creative types, marketers and casino veterans.

via Poker Pioneers | Vegas Seven.

Ultimate Poker has a great story–I’m hoping to write more about them and their competitors, once other sites go live. Fascinating to see history unfold.

The New Road Starts Here in Vegas Seven

Last week’s Green Felt Journal in Vegas Seven took a look at how the repurposing of a nondescript piece of commercial real estate just west of the Strip is full of significance:

The 20,000-square-foot converted warehouse’s history is just as interesting as its future. Before the new tenants started moving in, the building was the design center for the Cosmopolitan. The long, high-ceilinged expanse that is being reconfigured to host a few dozen work stations used to host mock-ups of the Strip’s last mega-resort’s rooms: The very space where customer-service representatives will soon walk online poker players through registration was filled with designers poring over Wraparound Terrace Suites and City Rooms.

via The New Road Starts Here | Vegas Seven.

Interesting to see the transition happening in front of us.

Poker’s Perilous Perch in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at where poker stands in September 2012. On one hand, live poker’s been on the decline for a few years. On the other, online poker is, some feel, going to transform the state’s economy. Here’s where we are:

Nevada poker is in an odd place. On one hand, poker room revenues have declined by 21 percent since 2007, and several casinos have downsized or closed their poker rooms, including the Tropicana on Sept. 11 . On the other hand, some are counting on online poker to revitalize Nevada’s gaming industry. As summer slides into fall and we get ready for online poker to go live next month, where is poker in the Silver State heading?

via Poker’s Perilous Perch | Vegas Seven

.I have a feeling that this is a column that, a few years from now, I’ll look back on and say, “If only you knew….”

In other words, I have a feeling that things are going to be changing in a big way, and it’s difficult to see exactly how the chips are going to fall.

South Point Puts It On (the) Line in Vegas Seven

When I heard that South Point Poker,, LLC, had been awarded the first license as an online poker provider in Nevada, I was immediately curious about the company: who were the people making this historic step? Everyone knows Michael Gaughan, but I had a feeling he wasn’t coding the site in his spare time. So I talked to SPP COO Lawrence Vaughan, and the result was this week’s Green Felt Journal:

On Aug. 23, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the South Point’s application to run a legal online poker room—the first Nevada casino to be granted such a license. We are on the cusp of writing history. So what’s really going on with the operation, which will probably start accepting real money bets on poker before Halloween?

via South Point Puts It On (the) Line | Vegas Seven.

This really is historic. I know that word’s thrown around too much in Las Vegas sometimes, but Vaughan and company are doing something that’s never been done before (in Nevada).

And I resisted rhyming or otherwise getting cute with “Gaughan” and “Vaughan.”

Fertittas, UFC, and Online Gaming in Vegas Seven

Yesterday I wrote a blog piece for Vegas Seven about the significance of Fertitta Interactive launching Ultimate Gaming:

The story here isn’t so much the debut of a new online gaming platform. It’s the way that Ultimate will be branded and marketed. The Fertittas will align their betting platform with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the premier mixed martial arts organization in the world, whose live shows, pay-per-views, and television broadcasts reach an audience of millions of men who happen to share

the same demographic profile as poker players.

via Fertittas Look to Leverage UFC for Online Gaming | Vegas Seven.

I’m probably going to write a column about this in the future, but I think that the advent of online gaming is going to change the business far more profoundly than is expected right now. There’s going to be some creative destruction and probably many unforeseen consequences, which will make it interesting to chronicle, if nothing else.

Words of Caution in the LVBP

I’ve got a new column in this week’s Las Vegas Business Press:

Nor is this kind of chicanery limited to poker. MF Global was, until last November, a large global financial derivatives dealer, making its money on its traders abilities to correctly speculate on the upward and downward movement of prices for bonds, commodities, and currencies. Risky, yes, but, as with Full Tilt, these guys were supposed to know what they were doing.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : In poker and business, be careful whom you trust.

Even though online poker’s had some issues, it’s nothing compared to the messes we’ve seen in financial services industries.

Prohibition lessons for Net gaming in the LVBP

In an opinion piece vindicated by last Thursday’s adoption of online poker rules for Nevada and the DoJ ruling that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting, I argue in the Las Vegas Business Press that politics won’t trump pragmatism when it comes to online gambling.

The opposition of Adelson, who has solid political connections, particularly within the Republican party, would seem to render that possibility moot.Or does it?

Politics is only part of the online gambling equation, and, despite current appearances, not necessarily the most important part. A comparison with Prohibition, which banned alcohol in the 1920s, is instructive.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Prohibition may offer lessons for Net gaming.

I wrote this well before last Thursday…a week before, to be precise. That’s when the echo chamber was reverberating with news that Adelson was morally opposed to online poker. The “consensus” was that online poker was dead in the water.

But, as we saw, the politicians haven’t had the last word on this–at least, Congress hasn’t.

I’ve been saying for years now that the best way to handle online gaming is to let states regulate it. As with horse racing, states can decide on their own if they want to legalize online poker, then figure out how to split the revenues among themselves. And it looks like that’s where we’re headed.

Poker, the Great Survivor in Vegas Seven

If you missed it last week, here’s my latest Green Felt Journal, a look at why poker isn’t going anywhere:

A lot of folks are surprised that the World Series of Poker isn’t doing so badly this year. So far, about one-third of tournament events have had record numbers of participants. Back in April, many thought the Black Friday indictments would translate into a bummer of a summer for Caesars Entertainment’s flagship poker asset, but the tournament—like the game of poker itself—has proved to be quite resilient.

via Poker, the Great Survivor | Vegas Seven.

I haven’t tied my historical studies to current events in a column like that in a little while. I think I’ll be doing it more often. Hopefully without making people’s eyes glaze over when they see history. I find that sort of thing fascinating, but book sales tell me that I’m in the minority.

Patriotic argument for legal ‘net poker in the LVBP

I found myself on a roll during the Focus Roundtable on online poker I participated in a while back, and decided to flesh out one of my ideas into a piece for the Las Vegas Business Press:

Surely it’s not just patriotism that tells me Americans would take more chips from their overseas counterparts than they lost. After all, we invented the game on the bayous of Louisiana, nursed it to maturity in small-town back rooms and wide-open saloons throughout the 19th century. America may not be the world’s leading manufacturer. We may not even be the world’s dominant economy for very long. But if there’s one thing we’re still good at, collectively, it is playing poker.

With so much concern over manufacturing and service jobs leaving America, wouldn’t turning loose the nation’s expert card players on the world be one way of restoring a positive balance of trade, so to speak?

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Legalize Net poker if not for logic, for patriotism.

I’d love to get some feedback from poker players about this–I don’t think I’m mistaken about the income-earning potential for American poker players. I’ll concede that there are a lot of very talented international players out there, but come on–if Americans aren’t confident in their ability to win at poker, we’ve really lost our swagger.

As you’ll see, it’s a half-joking addendum to many of the very sensible arguments for legal online poker that have, thus far, fallen on deaf ears.

Nevada’s destiny and online poker

If you’re not completely sick of opinion pieces about online poker, here’s my two cents, from the Las Vegas Business Press:

The recent Black Friday indictments in which federal prosecutors charged three of the world’s biggest online poker providers with fraud and violating the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act have rocked the poker world. In addition to the immediate questions the indictments raise about where the now-former American players of Ultimate Bet, Poker Stars, and Full Tilt will play, they suggest that the time has come, at last, for Nevada to lay its cards on the table and get serious about online gambling.

Online gaming will come; Nevada should lead it

I’d be really interested in hearing what other people thing about this: to me, Nevada-based companies should really be taking a more vigorous public role in the discussion of online poker. It’s certainly an issue that every Nevadan should be interested in.