Thursday, May 29, 2008

Steps in the Right Direction for Ultimate Bet

In a statement released by Ultimate Bet, they admit to finding evidence of former employees who had an "unfair advantage" while playing on the site. They also go on to say that they have fixed the possibility of the same kind of cheating from happening again and have closed all the accounts involved. They say they will be refunding customers who may have been affected by the cheating. Read more here:

It took them a few months to investigate, but it looks as though they have appropriately handled the issue IMO.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another Alleged Cheating Scandal Quietly Brewing

I find it very odd that there has not been as much media coverage of the current Ultimate Bet cheating allegations as there was with the Absolute Poker scandal. It appears to be a near duplicate. Read more here:

I think it is great that this article mentions the fact that these 2 situations are isolated to just one parent company and should not reflect on the online poker industry as a whole.

** Thanks to Wicked Chops Poker for finding this story.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Video: The Mint 400... Mesmerizing, IMO

I stumbled upon this video posted by "Wardy", who is a fellow member of "Robby's Uprising", the Robby Gordon (NASCAR driver) forum I belong to. The video is about 5 minutes long and shows some edited in-car camera shots of Wardy's ride in the Mint 400. I just found it extremely hypnotizing to watch. I think the music tops it off and I just thought I'd share it here. But non-racing fans will probably think it's boring.

The Mint 400 is an annual 400-mile off-road race that has taken place on the outskirts of Las Vegas since 1968. Originally meant to promote the Mint Hotel & Casino, the race has steadily grown over the years to become known worldwide.

One interesting fact: I found out that TV's "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter was a "Mint 400 Girl" in the 1970's and "Wheel of Fortune" hostess Vanna White was also one in the early 1980's (pictured here in a Mint 400 promo pic).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Book Review: "How to Keep More of What You Win: A Gambler's Guide to Taxes" by Walter L. Lewis

This is the first of 2 "gambling & taxes" books I read consecutively. They were both such short, easy reads for me that I decided to finish them both before posting reviews.

The first book I read is actually the 1997 edition of the more popular 2003 book with the name reversed and published by Lyle Stuart. I guess they found that "Gambler's Guide to Taxes" is better to lead with now. Although I haven't read the 2003 book, I'm going to assume it has been expanded and updated since it is 159 pages compared to my 85 page 1997 version. But I don't mind because I got mine dirt cheap at a thrift store last year.

The author is a CPA and I think his book gives any US gambler, including poker players, a nice and basic understanding of how to address their tax situation in regards to winnings and losses. Claiming "professional" or "hobby", keeping accurate records, and discussion of key US laws that affect gambling claims are just a few of the topics that should enlighten anyone who is just starting to realize that taxes are something that all gamblers should pay attention to. Though the book is 11 years old, the majority of the material seems relevant and can easily be verified with a software tax program (which is the way I do it).

It should be a very easy 1-day read for any average or above-average reader (took me a few days...LOL). The 85 pages read much like an appliance manual and has a good amount of pages taken up by sample forms. I'm glad I got a killer deal on this book since it helped me to better understand the next tax book I read, which was poker-specific. However, I wouldn't recommend paying full price for this 1997 book due to its simplicity and upcoming obsolescence. But like I said, it did help me for the price I paid. Also, I don't plan on buying or reading the 2003 version since I have a poker-specific book that will suffice. Review on that one coming next...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Great Results in April

With an overall profit of $189, April was pretty nice poker-wise for me:

In ring play, my start of the month was just mediocre (as opposed to bad usually). Then the month got better and leveled off calmly. Then things took off in my last 1000 hands (as opposed to my last 400-500 usually). Did I have some luck and some heater runs? Sure. But I could also feel my game improving this month. I could bounce back from being down at a table more easily. I had more patience. At the stakes I play, being passive can sometimes pay off, IMO. So this month, I felt like my timing was better with knowing when to just call & draw and when to get aggro. I'm surprised at how many of my "hero calls" were correct this month. That could be lucky, but I also think taking more time to think over the river helped. I have been too quick to act in the past.

My SNG/MTT results were pretty stale this month. I was running just below even for most of the month until I took 4th for $48 in the Cardschat Young VS Old Winners Freeroll near the end of the month. That gave me a +$5 for the month in tourney play. Looking back on my notes, I think I made a few bad bluffs at key times that hurt my results. I play against some pretty bad regulars and I sometimes forget this late in tourneys against them. Sometimes I give them too much credit since they made it to the final table and I mistakenly assume they might be playing with more purpose. But then when I try to bluff steal PF with a bad hand and they call me with some junk like QT offsuit, I then come back to reality and realize they haven't changed. My fault. I should know better than to bluff them. I know there are times QT could be a good hand to do that with, depending on stack sizes, player reads, etc. But trust me, the folks in question have no clue of that and I should remember this. Ah well. That's poker. I can still feel good in the fact that I know I'm the better player even though they cashed and I didn't. Blind luck can only take someone so far. No envy here.

Stay tuned for reviews of 2 books about gambling and US taxes. They are both short, so I figured I'd finish them both and post reviews at the same time for comparison.