Thoughts on the New Downtown Summerlin Development

I live about two blocks away from Downtown Summerlin.  That is the new shopping district located just south of Red Rock Resort in the far west end of the Las Vegas Valley.  I went to go check it out on the first day it was open, which was Thursday, October 9.  I returned on Monday.

The opening of the mall symbolizes the end of the Las Vegas recession.  A steel structure of the project sat idle for about four years before construction started on it again.  It was a victim of the economic downturn that bankrupted the original developer.  It is great to see this massive project completed.

Great Marketing Plan by Downtown Summerlin

The people in charge of the grand opening marketing deserve recognition.  The event drew in every news organization in Las Vegas.  The social media campaign was impressive and interaction with guests was excellent.  There were activities throughout the weekend to help draw residents to the new development.  We also enjoyed watching the opening night fireworks show without even having to leave our house.

Major Restaurant Competition

The development has 125 shops.  About 30 of those will be restaurants or food related businesses.

That is a lot of new restaurants opening at almost the same time.  It is also not in an area that is conducive to lunch sales and many of the restaurants in the development are what I would consider lunch options.  There is very little in the way of office space in the area.  That will change as the Downtown Summerlin expands, but it is true for the near future.

The competition is going to be tough for these original tenants dedicated to food.  I visited one on opening day when Downtown Summerlin was nearly at capacity in terms of cars and people and the restaurant was nearly empty.  I visited the same place today and I was the only customer in there.  Hopefully this is not a sign of the future.

The existing food outlets in the surrounding area may also struggle.  Red Rock Resort seems to recognize this as it has nearly turned its restaurant selection completely over in the past year.

Retail Fills Void in Market

The shopping offers a wide selection.  Retail was a segment missing from Summerlin.  It is an affluent area that was underserved.  The highway access should draw people from the northwest part of town.  I would imagine that this area will boom with spending during Christmas season.

Traffic

The traffic generated from Downtown Summerlin has been overwhelming so far.  One issue has been the traffic signals at Sahara Avenue and NV215 and Town Center and 215.  These signals are setup poorly on timers.  The turn arrow off Sahara to go southbound on 215 goes twice per cycle but it runs very short.  These need to be fixed immediately as it causes backups that are unnecessary.

It is also quite shocking that nobody had the foresight to put a light at Pavilion Center and Griffith Peak at the side entrance of Red Rock.  There are 100 useless traffic signals in town and this intersection sits as a four way stop that was not efficient when Pavilion Center was a dead end, much less with 106 acres of new retail sitting on it.

The traffic pattern within Downtown Summerlin is a bit annoying as well.  For example, when you turn right into the complex from Sahara Ave the road dead ends into a service drive going one way the other direction within 500 feet. Obviously these are needed, but the location and lack of ability to drive through that way is poor planning.  The only way to get through it is to drive through a parking area.

Sidewalk and Crosswalk Connectivity Need Improvement

The layout of the sidewalks is terrible in the area I walked around along the Sahara Avenue entrance.  There is no crosswalk where the exit to Sahara is.  The sidewalks just assume that you want to leave.  This may not be that big of a problem except that the sidewalk on the other side of the road ends towards the west side of the entrance into nothing, leading to a bunch of rocks. I doubt this is an area of future development.  It isn’t demonstrated that way on the maps and it would obscure the existing tenant.

There is basically no way to walk from Trader Joe’s to the building where Moe’s and Five Guys are without walking through cactus and rocks even though they are within sight of each other.

Where Are the Bike Racks?

Downtown Summerlin offers no bike lanes, paths or racks that I saw.  They certainly are not in the restaurant or frontage shopping areas. People that arrived by bike either locked them to random objects or left them unlocked.  This situation was also noticed by this blogger.

There are apparently some bike racks in a hidden area of the parking deck and by the movie theater.  This does little for people riding bikes to the quick serve outlets that are forced to lock them up to handicap parking signs and outdoor tables.

It seems that being bike friendly was the type of image the property was portraying.  It is just across the highway from a popular bike path.  I would ride my bike up there for lunch often but it does not even provide a place to store bikes.  This was a major oversight that I hope is corrected.

All of this is meant to be constructive criticism.  I am sure some of the issues I presented are in the works.  The development was new and it is easy to understand that a few items did not make the initial launch.  I want everyone to succeed that invested in this property and wish them the best of luck.

 

Son Learns Driving Safety Lesson on 15th Birthday

Monday was my son’s 15th birthday.  While Nevada does not allow learner’s permits until 15 and a half, I decided it was time to start talking to him about driving.  He got more of a lesson than I expected.

I was driving westbound on West Charleston just after 5pm with him and my eight year old daughter in the car.  We stopped at a red light at Merialdo Ln in front of Boca Park.  A few seconds later the unthinkable happened. A white Toyota 4Runner entered the intersection heading north on Merialdo Ln and flips nearly completely over.  The momentum of the roll took it almost all the way or maybe completely to its roof before resting on its passenger side.

It was hard for my brain to process.  From my angle, I could not see any other car.  My view was obstructed by the SUV.  After a couple of seconds my brain computed that someone must have run the red light and the impact did this.

I was right.  A woman in a mid 2000’s Honda Civic heading eastbound on Charleston ran the red light.  The front of the Civic was lodged into the undercarriage of the SUV.

Can you imagine how fast she was going to roll a Toyota 4Runner with a Honda Civic?  The speed limit is 45.  I doubt that speed could have done that.

Bonefish Grill employees to the rescue

A Bonefish Grill is opening at this intersection next week.  About a dozen employees came running from the restaurant just seconds after the car rested.  Several ran into the road to give aid to the two women in the rolled 4Runner. It was as if they were trained in this, working together to help free the women from the smoking vehicle that gave the appearance that is was on fire or about to be.

Las Vegas drivers on the other hand…

This light runs on a split cycle where northbound Merialdo Ln, the direction the 4Runner was going, turns green first, then the southbound side goes.  The cars going southbound were so rude that when their light turned green they were trying to go around this rescue with this SUV smoking and rolled over with a Civic embedded in its undercarriage.  The same thing occurred when the light turned green for Charleston.  Eastbound cars tried to force their way through.

The accident was not obstructing westbound lanes, but I could not leave my car where I was in the clear travel lanes.  I also had a panicked eight year old in the backseat distressed about what she just witnessed.

I left my cellphone at home but my son had his.  We called 911 and I made a u-turn at the next median break and returned to the scene, parking at Bonefish Grill.

By that time, the Bonefish employees had pulled the women to safety.  The Civic driver got out of her car under her own power.  I left my kids on a sidewalk away from the chaos and walked across the street to see if I could help and let the victims know that I saw everything and would be waiting for the police and fire.

The women that ran the red light was having a panic attack.  A few people were trying to comfort her.  This left to the two from the rollover alone.

I talked to the women in the SUV to comfort them as we waited on paramedics.  They were sitting on a wall at the intersection.  They seemed to be in great shape considering what had happened.

They were clearly in shock.  They told me they were fine, but I encouraged them to allow the paramedics to check them out.

As the shock wore off it became apparent to them that they were more hurt than they thought.  One woman mentioned she may have bit through her tongue.  They both complained about feeling beat up from the seat belts. Both were in a daze.

Fire and rescue appeared a couple of minutes later.  I gave them space and went back with my kids to wait for the police to arrive. All occupants were put on stretchers and taken away from the scene by ambulance.

Metro took much longer to arrive, but when they did, I gave them a statement and we went on our way.

Lessons Learned by Son

My son got to learn a few life and driving lessons out of all this.  He learned about how to report an accident to 911.  He then learned that distracted driving and speeding can lead to serious accidents like this one.  He also learned how seat belts saved lives in this accident.

Bonefish Grill Obviously Has a Great Team of Employees

I believe Bonefish Grill is currently training employees.  The advertised open date is September 29.  This probably made it so that they could drop everything to rush to the accident scene.  They deserve a lot of credit for working as a team in what could have been a dangerous situation on a six-lane state highway.

If these employees work together in this type of crisis, just imagine how well they will keep their cool when faced with the opening week’s dinner rush.  I predict good things for the future of this restaurant based on what I saw Monday.

Some Thoughts on the New Jersey Poker Affiliate Crackdown

Several regulated online gambling industry members have expressed to me that the affiliate arrangement in New Jersey was not working. The main complaint is that some affiliates that are promoting New Jersey sites are also advertising offshore sites on the same pages and websites. Some in the regulated New Jersey online gaming market believe that this is unfair competition from illegal sites and want to put an end to it.

Gambling911 first reported what had been rumored for weeks. The New Jersey Attorney General’s office would start to enforce the promotion of offshore sites and affiliates could become targets of state law enforcement, according to this report. Online Poker Report obtained the letter sent to one large online poker affiliate.

New Jersey’s online gaming revenue numbers have fallen below estimates. One reason often cited for this is the existence of offshore sites still operating in the market.

Last week, the Winning Poker Network left New Jersey, as well as Delaware and Nevada. These three states are the only ones with regulated online gaming.

In emails to players, Winning Poker cited the existence of regulated online poker as the reason for leaving the market. A few players in these states quickly reported that they were advised by the network to change their state in the system. This would allow them to continue playing. There are still several unlicensed U.S.-facing sites that are happy to accept action from players in regulated states.

What Should Affiliates Do?

Promoting offshore sites in regulated states is becoming more and more risky. It is probably time to stop promoting offshore sites entirely. Affiliates with a New Jersey vendor’s license should seriously consider this action. The license application tells New Jersey law enforcement exactly who you are and where to find you. While you are at it, do the same for Delaware and Nevada.

Another idea is to create a New Jersey mini-site. Many successful affiliates have done this. These may not be giant moneymakers today but the investment will pay for itself in the long run.

What Should Affiliates Not Do?

Affiliates should not be optimizing sites for terms like “New Jersey Poker Sites” and then advertising offshore ones on it. Offshore sites should not be described as “100% fully legal” and pages optimized for legal poker site terms should only include sites that are licensed and regulated. To state otherwise is false advertising. It could also make you the target of comments from executives of regulated sites made at industry events, which actually happened in recent months. This could put an unnecessary and unwanted spotlight on your business.

There is another reputation issue to consider. If a site fails to pay players down the road and you advertised them as “100% safe and legal” then it reflects poorly on your business.

It is time to realize that regulated states and those operators feel that they have the right to those players without unlicensed competitors and are serious about defending this opinion. It appears that offshore sites are starting to recognize this and the shift in attitude will only continue.  Affiliates in this for the long term need to give serious consideration to how their strategy going forward may affect their future in the regulated online gaming industry.

Opinion on New Jersey Affiliate Action

I applaud the DGE for acknowledging this problem and taking action to correct it. I agree with the state’s stance that offshore sites should not be promoted alongside regulated ones. It is not in the best interest of the industry as it hopes to grow online gaming to other states. It is easy to see how a player could get confused about what poker rooms are licensed and legal when they are presented with offshore sites in similar context.

The affiliate licensing process left a lot of questions as to what was allowed and what was not. This clears up some of those questions. I feel that it would be a great idea for the DGE to create a fact sheet about what exactly is expected from affiliates and operators in the marketing of New Jersey sites to clear up any confusion that may remain.

There is one concern that I have. Some major affiliates may decide to dump New Jersey sites entirely as the offshore business is far more lucrative. This would be counterproductive as it would get fewer eyes on advertising by New Jersey sites. While not a perfect solution, geotargeting by state may be the best compromise here.

Disclaimer

None of the above is meant to be legal advice. It is simply the actions I would be taking if I were in the position of some of the affiliates that appear to be in violation of the order from the DGE. If you are unsure about how online poker regulations affect your business you should consult an attorney that specializes in gaming.

— John Mehaffey

Rediscovered Online Poker Fun with Ultimate Poker PLO8 SNGs

I was among the thousands of players that were affected by Black Friday.  I used to play Fixed Limit Omaha High/Low and Seven Card Stud High/Low sit and gos and multi table tournaments at PokerStars before Black Friday.  I played online poker professionally off and on for years before Black Friday, which affected both my ability to play and my profession writing content and handling support for Poker Affiliate Solutions.

While I disagree with what happened on Black Friday, it had to occur to bring regulation to the industry.

I live in Nevada where I have two regulated online poker choices; Ultimate Poker and WSOP.  I have tried both equally in terms of rake paid.  I started at Ultimate Poker, but left it for WSOP when it launched because I am not a Texas Hold’em player.  I enjoyed the Omaha High/Low and Seven Card Stud High/Low cash games offered by WSOP, but eventually went back to Ultimate Poker.

The main reason I went back to Ultimate Poker is because of its support.  It is located in Las Vegas and response times rival what I grew accustomed to when I played at PokerStars.  The quality also equals PokerStars.

While I never played Pot Limit Omaha High/Low on a regular basis, I have grown to enjoy the sit and gos offered by Ultimate Poker.  I am a far better tournament player than cash game player. The amount of rake paid is much lower at tournaments as well.

The Ultimate Poker PLO8 sit and gos that run on a regular basis have seven seats with a $2.50 and $7.77 buyin.

The $7.77 sit and gos have a promotion where a player that wins three between November 21st and December 31st will gain entry to a $7,777 freeroll that will be held on January 5th.  I am certain that I am dead money since it is No Limit Texas Hold’em, a game I do not enjoy and have never perfected. I am not playing at Ultimate Poker because of this promotion, but who knows, maybe I can luckbox a cash in it.

The Ultimate Poker PLO8 sit and gos are the most fun that I have had since I lost access to PokerStars and there is ample action, even late at night.  The only thing that would be more fun to me would be having Fixed Limit Omaha High/Low and Seven Card Stud High/Low sit and gos and tournaments.  I feel certain that will never happen with Nevada’s limited liquidity.

I do not give much action at the Ultimate Poker PLO8 cash games because I feel the buyin range is not ideal.  I am not a big fan of 20-50 big blind buyin cash games.  I am sure that Ultimate Poker has its reasons for this, which likely includes keeping players from busting in deep games, but it keeps me from being a regular cash game player there.  If I put myself in Ultimate Poker’s shoes, I feel they are making the correct business decision.

As I watch the success in New Jersey, I wish that I had access to those games.  Hopefully a liquidity agreement will be signed between the states in the near future.  In the meantime, I will probably spend my spare time grinding a few dollars a week out of the low limit PLO8 sit and gos spread by Ultimate Poker until Nevadans have access to serious action.

New Jersey Regulated Online Poker Launching in November

I have not posted much in the way of content on my blog recently.  That is because I have been busy writing news for a number of other sites.  The online poker industry is getting off the ground and it has been creating a lot of work.

It all started in Nevada with Ultimate Poker, which launched on April 30th of this year.  WSOP launched in September.  Both are only available to players located in Nevada when logging onto the site.  That is all about to change.

New Jersey will open online poker and casino games for real money to players located in the state next month.  The official launch date for New Jersey online poker is November 26, 2013.  There will be a 5-day soft launch that will be available only to invited players.  The goal here is to identify any bugs before the sites are live to the general public.

New Jersey is taking a different route in Nevada in two ways.  The first is that it will launch multiple real money gaming sites on the same day.  The exact number is not known, but industry analysts believe the number will be around three.  The other is that casino games banked by the house will be available.  This will include slots, video poker and table games that are available in Atlantic City casinos.

Borgata, Golden Nugget, Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, Tropicana and Optimal Payments have all been approved for licenses.  As many as 30 other companies are still waiting for approval.  Noticeably absent from the process are Atlantic Club and Revel.  These are the only two Atlantic City casinos that will not opt into regulated online gaming.  Atlantic Club entered into a failed acquisition agreement with PokerStars.  Revel entered bankruptcy just one year after its grand opening.  Its gaming revenue numbers are not showing much improvement.

New Jersey will not be the first state to launch online casino games.  Delaware, through its state lottery and three racinos, will launch online casino games on October 31st.  Online poker will also be available, although Delaware’s small population is not expected to be able to support much action.  Delaware hopes to network with other states to improve its online poker liquidity.

The next question is what states will discuss online gaming during the 2014 legislative sessions.  California, Pennsylvania and Illinois have all been mentioned as possible states that may may join one of the newest industries in the United States.  Most states will start their next legislative session in January.

New and Improved Nevada Anti-SLAPP Law Now in Effect

First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza and Governor Sandoval celebrate the signing of Nevada’s new anti-SLAPP law. Credit: Randazza Legal Group

First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza championed a groundbreaking law in Nevada that went into effect on October 1, 2013.  Journalists, bloggers, and anyone that believes in the U.S. Constitution should rejoice.  Any Nevadan that publishes a truthful article based on any topic of public interest is now immune from frivolous and vexatious lawsuits due to Nevada’s new anti-SLAPP law.  If a lawsuit is ruled by a judge to be a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) it is immediately tossed without ever going to trial, according to numerous articles published on the topic, including one from the Randazza Legal Group.

Marc Randazza published an article about his legal group’s road to victory in the Nevada Legislature. Others followed his lead to celebrate the news (examples are here and here).

The previous version of Nevada’s anti-SLAPP law may have only applied to political speech and the right to petition.  This meant that someone that successfully defended protected First Amendment speech might have to go through the hardship of a trial before being able to recover attorney’s fees and costs.  That has now changed since the scope of Nevada’s anti-SLAPP was expanded to include anything pertaining to “free speech in direct connection with an issue of public concern”, according to the points made in the above linked articles and other legal advice.

The new law now includes this language:

A person who engages in a good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition or the right to free speech in direct connection with an issue of public concern is immune from any civil action for claims based upon communication.

Speech related to the gaming industry should fall under a topic of public interest due to NRS 463.0129, which begins:

NRS 463.0129  Public policy of state concerning gaming; license or approval revocable privilege.

1.  The Legislature hereby finds, and declares to be the public policy of this state, that:

(a) The gaming industry is vitally important to the economy of the State and the general welfare of the inhabitants.

(b) The continued growth and success of gaming is dependent upon public confidence and trust that licensed gaming and the manufacture, sale and distribution of gaming devices and associated equipment are conducted honestly and competitively, that establishments which hold restricted and nonrestricted licenses where gaming is conducted and where gambling devices are operated do not unduly impact the quality of life enjoyed by residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, that the rights of the creditors of licensees are protected and that gaming is free from criminal and corruptive elements.

(c) Public confidence and trust can only be maintained by strict regulation of all persons, locations, practices, associations and activities related to the operation of licensed gaming establishments, the manufacture, sale or distribution of gaming devices and associated equipment and the operation of inter-casino linked systems.

(d) All establishments where gaming is conducted and where gaming devices are operated, and manufacturers, sellers and distributors of certain gaming devices and equipment, and operators of inter-casino linked systems must therefore be licensed, controlled and assisted to protect the public health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare of the inhabitants of the State, to foster the stability and success of gaming and to preserve the competitive economy and policies of free competition of the State of Nevada.

 

The immunity described in the new anti-SLAPP law means that if a judge determines that a defamation lawsuit is unlikely to prevail due to it being protected free speech, it immediately gets tossed.  There is no trial.  The entire process is over and the aggressor will pay the accused all attorney’s fees and costs related to the case.

The anti-SLAPP statute does not stop at just immunity and attorney’s fees.  Defendants that prove that they were a victim of a SLAPP suit can be awarded up to $10,000 in damages immediately, in addition to reasonable attorney’s fees.

The court may award, in addition to reasonable costs and attorney’s fees awarded awarded to paragraph (a), an amount up to $10,000 to the person whom the action was brought.

Government attorneys can get involved too.

The Attorney General or the chief legal officer may or attorney of a political subdivision of this State may defend or otherwise support the person whom this action is brought.

They may not choose to do so, but if they do:

The court shall award reasonable costs and attorney’s fees to the person whom the action was brought, except that the court shall award reasonable costs and attorney’s fees to this State or to the appropriate political subdivision of this State if the  Attorney General, the chief legal officer or attorney of the political subdivision or special counsel provided the defense for the person pursuant to  NRS 41.660

Once a SLAPP is dismissed:

The person against whom the action is brought may bring a separate action to recover:

- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages; and
- Attorney’s fees and costs of bringing the separate action

The law exists to discourage frivolous lawsuits and I cannot put into words how important this is.

It appears to apply to some federal cases.  Nevada’s anti-SLAPP law was applied in a New York Federal Court ruling earlier this week.  That case involved a Nevada party.

It is not that I want someone to be punished with these damages, I want these lawsuits to cease to exist.  Everyone deserves First Amendment protection without fear. I hope the potential damages and costs associated with lawsuits attempting to silence critics discourages this type of action forever.

Every person and company makes mistakes.  A simple apology goes a long way and countless companies have come out looking great by taking the proper route when their issues are made public.  In my opinion, this is what sets a great company apart from its competitors.  A company that chooses to threaten its critics will not go far.  I feel this is especially true in my industry where transparency is imperative.

The current US interactive gaming environment requires the licensing of all officers and companies.  This includes affiliates.  Groups that have operated unethically in the unregulated industry may have issues getting licensed.  Any company that manages to sneak in the back door could suffer a massive backlash.   We already saw this with iovation.

Nevada is a great state that believes in the First Amendment and all freedom associated with the US Constitution.  I am proud to be a resident.

Not a Lawyer Disclaimer

I am not a lawyer and this should not be taken as legal advice.  It is simply a celebration of free speech.  This article is based on other articles and discussions with an attorney about the law.  Always get legal advice from qualified legal experts.

Why did I write this? (Updated)

A month or so before the Anti-SLAPP went into effect, I busted a company known as 180Vita of publishing plagiarized content on its PokerUpdate site.  They decided that instead of removing the content they published word for word from other sources without attribution or permission, they would send a lawyer after me.  They didn’t delete the copied content until I called them out at Two Plus Two for it.

It is absurd to think someone would rather send a lawyer after someone than do the right thing, but that is how some people in my industry operate.  They have never apologized for their behavior, but tried to bully me into publicly apologizing to them for the articles I published about their company.  They even tried to get me to put in writing that I would never write about them again.

While I regrettably backed down because I did not have time for their behavior and the Anti-SLAPP was not live yet, I wasn’t going to sign my rights away.

Had they filed their lawsuit, it would have been a waste of time and money to defend.  Nevada’s Anti-SLAPP law should discourage them from using any such tactic in the future.

You can read more about the nonsense involving Jamie Nevin and 180Vita.

(Edited 10/4)

Trip Report: Plaza Electronic Poker Room

My wife and kids were out of town this weekend so I headed down to Fremont Street to have some fun.  I do not get much of a chance to visit downtown Las Vegas anymore with how busy I am with work but I needed a day away from the laptop.

I started by playing some old coin operated video poker machines at Las Vegas Club.  That got boring after a while so I headed across Main Street to check out the new Pokertek electronic poker tables at Plaza. There was one game running.  It was a $.25/$.50 No Limit Texas Hold’em game.  The minimum buy-in is $20.  Since I was only there to try it out I bought in for the minimum.  I do not usually play Texas Hold’em and my experience with Pokertek tables had not been positive (mainly because of where I played, not the machines) so I did not plan on being there long.  My plans quickly changed and I spent hours playing in the room.

The first impression the room made was great.  David Cardenas is the manager and he did a great job explaining the tables to me and other players that were interested in playing.  There are many features that would be missed without the quick tutorial.

The manager did more than just oversee the game.  He interacted with passersby that stopped to watch.  This drive helped get a few players in the game that may have otherwise moved on.  He also doubled as a host for players at the table.  His efforts went above and beyond what is expected from most poker room managers.

The drink service was fast and courteous.  There was rarely an empty drink.  The service bar is located right next to the poker room.

The game was full of friendly players.  Everyone was having fun and being social.  Few poker games are this friendly.  Not to tap the aquarium too hard, but the average skill level of this game was extremely low.  The game played more like a play money game before the flop than anything for real money.  The play tightened up after the flop but there were plenty of bad call downs.  Admittedly, I made several myself.  It seems to be easier to press a couple of buttons than toss chips into the pot.

I ended up playing for almost seven hours.  I played 260 hands during that time.  I ran my $20 buy-in up to $105 during that time.

If low buy-in games appeal to you then I suggest checking out the Plaza’s poker room.  It will not replace live dealers but it is a nice change of pace.

The End of Ultimate Texas Hold’em Machines in Las Vegas

A contact I had at Tropicana asked me several months ago what unique game the casino could offer to try and attract players.  I suggested a video version of Ultimate Texas Hold’em.  There used to be several in town.  When I moved to Las Vegas I found them at Riviera, Sahara, Binions and Las Vegas Club.  Sahara closed, while Riviera, Binions and Las Vegas Club removed all Shuffle Master multi player games from their casinos.

After these casinos removed the Ultimate Texas Hold’em machines there were no more in the Las Vegas Valley.  I found one in Indian Springs, which is out by Creech Air Force Base.  It does not have a players club for anyone but locals though so the game was -ev.

Weeks or maybe months passed and my contact at Tropicana sent me a text saying the machine had actually arrived.  My wife and I went down there and discovered the game had a $3 minimum, which is a bit steep for a game that requires a blind match and at least a 1x raise to play.  This meant that anyone that played would need at least $9 to play one hand and would actually need $18 if a 4x bet was required.  The machine was also in the back of the casino far away from the tables and where the poker room was once located.  The game also had no sign at first so nobody knew what it was by looking at it.

I mentioned all of these issues and eventually a sign was placed on the machine but its and poor location and high minimum bet were still an issue.

My wife and I continued to play it and racked up some nice comps.  We ate at Biscayne for free several times.  I also received several promotional mailers.

While I could grind the game out, passersby would never join in after stopping once they found out how much of a bankroll was required to play.  The game was then moved to an even worse location, if that was even possible.

I was at Tropicana last week and was told the machine would be converted to a video blackjack machine in the coming weeks.  On Wednesday, I was told it would be replaced the next day at 6am.  I gave it one last play on Wednesday night and a couple joined for hours.  Unfortunately, that play was too little too late.

The game can be +ev with the right comps, mailers and cash back.  It is just too much of a niche game to be placed in a poor location.

I think the game as a whole is dead in video version.  There were several during my last visit to Deadwood, SD.  That seems to be a place where unwanted slot machines go to die.  If you know of any in Las Vegas please leave a comment here.

Two Plus Two 2013 WSOP Party Trip Report

The Two Plus Two 2013 WSOP Party was held Saturday night at South Point in Las Vegas.  It started with a screening of Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Online Poker.  My wife and I did not make it early enough to see it.  We got there just in time to visit with a number of Two Plus Two members and eat at the poker buffet supplied by South Point. 

There were kiosks for players to sign up for South Point Poker, the company’s future real money online poker room.  South Point was the first operator to receive an interactive license in Nevada, but they have yet to launch.  According to the promotional material, the site will open upon approval by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

My wife and I have played Triple Flop Omaha High/Low at every Two Plus Two party and this one was no different.  We play the game with a twist.  The lowest river card kills the board so there will be no more than two boards.  If the lowest river card pairs then two boards will disappear, leaving just one board to play.  If all three river cards are the same then the dealer wins. 

For the first time in three years, we had the river card trip.  The lucky dealer scooped the pot because of this, as seen in the image to the right.  The far left cards are the river.  Since they were all 2’s the dealer took the pot down.

It was a fun group.  I did not get to know the names of everyone that played, but those seated at the table included Bobo Fett, Professional Poker, Buzz, Grasshopper8, R*R and Matthew Janda, the author of Applications of No Limit Hold’em.  His book was among the prizes in our splash pots. 

Marco from QuadJacks was also there.  He was interviewing a number of poker players and media.  I was interviewed during this segment. 

The pokerfuse group also made an appearance.  Unfortunately, after repeated attempts, we were unsuccessful in getting them to play our Triple Flop Omaha game.

The drink service was great and the dealers did a good job at dealing our confusing game.  One noticeable difference between this year and last was a lack of a chip tower contest.  That is because South Point’s poker room did not have enough $1 chips to sell.  The poker room was even using $1 slot tokens for rake.  It eventually had to start dropping $5 red chips as even the slot tokens were running out.

It was great to see so many poker friends and meet new ones.  I am already ready for next year’s party so that my wife and I can play our unusual Triple Flop Omaha game.  It is the only time each year my wife plays poker, at least until Triple Flop Omaha low card kills the board makes it into the local mixed games.

Greg Raymer Owed Public Apology From Several Media Members

Like most in the online poker industry, I read several stories about an unfortunate incident involving Greg Raymer on Friday.  First, I could not care less about what he may have done and what the Wake Forest Police Department has accused him of doing.  He is a grown man and his personal life is none of my business.  I do take exception as to how many in the media went out of their way to make the situation even worse for him.

Several media outlets jumped all over this (non) story.  In my opinion, it is certainly not a national story like it was made out to be by the likes of TMZ and many local media outlets.

It seems to me that too many in the media wanted to publicly embarrass Raymer for his alleged actions.  Some of these outlets even published the addresses of all of the accused men.  I have to wonder how any responsible media member could think that was necessary.

Misreported as Male Prostitute

Just as I do not care about the alleged crime that was committed, I do not care whether the setup involved an imaginary male or female prostitute.  I grew up in Georgia though and I can tell you that it does matter to many people in the South, which just happens to be where Raymer and the others picked up in this sting live.

This poor reporting can be especially damaging to people that live in conservative communities.  I have to think that many of the people that went out of their way to include the word “male” in their reports knew this would cause additional damage because otherwise, in my opinion, there was no other reason to include this irrelevant information.

A number of other media outlets, both poker related and more mainstream, took what was reported by North Carolina media, rewrote their reports, and made it even more damaging than it should have been just to sensationalize a point that turned out to be false.  I doubt too many of these outlets bothered to call the Wake Forest Police Department or find a press release from them before publishing their stories they later had to recant.  Now those same media outlets are trying to sweep their mistake under the rug.

If you have never lived in the South then maybe you do not understand why I am making this point and you may think I am making too big of a deal out of it.  We are talking about a state that still has sodomy laws on the books, ones that were used in this sting, where voters recently passed a state constitutional ban on gay marriage through a statewide referendum by an overwhelming margin.  If that vote is any indication, this type of thing certainly matters to a majority of people in North Carolina.  I would argue that most people that reported the false information knew that part of the story could be especially damaging to the accused men.

I am not defending these beliefs in any way.  My wife and I do not agree with them and they are a contributing factor as to why we no longer live in the South.

Example of Poker Media Completely Out of Line

One affiliate news site called PokerUpdate reported this on their Facebook page:

Greg Raymer Arrested in Male Prostitution Sting….

They do not know the facts, but still go on to say:

I am not sure if Raymer would be the “ideal” male prostitute. Just sayin’.

It is hard for anyone to defend that last comment in any way. Their erroneous reporting was later corrected in a comment in the thread, which they eventually deleted.

Updated

This type of behavior should come as no surprise from the people that own PokerUpdate.  This is the same company that owns PokerVIP, known as 180Vita.  This company published numerous plagiarized articles on its site and threatened me with a lawsuit after I exposed that unethical behavior.

Media Should Research Their Facts

I always make sure to research the facts before I report something.  I will not jump on the bandwagon of a potentially damaging story without trying to find out the facts myself.  That involves reading police reports, calling authorities, reading bills and researching laws.  It appears to me that some in the Raleigh, NC media incorrectly reported the facts in this case.  I suspect the information was given to them by police and later determined to be false. In my opinion, a media outlet that was given bad information by the police can be forgiven for this, but those that used their bad information without additional research cannot.

I respect the right of every person in the media to report the news as they see fit.  Some feel this was news and I disagree, just as I am sure I have published news others would consider not to be newsworthy or opinions that some feel are a complete miss.  If you are going to post a story like this then you better make damn sure what you are reporting is true, otherwise you can end up in a situation like this.

In my opinion, every media outlet that rewrote the story and failed to do their own research owes Raymer and anyone else they named a public apology.