Archive for the ‘gambling’ Category

Feds shut down online poker industry

April 16, 2011

In a dramatic move, the FBI has seized the assets of three of the top online poker companies in the world and indicted their executives on charges of bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling. Three high-level officials from, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were busted and eight others indicted. The government is also going after three billion dollars of the companies assets.

When you log onto these internet poker sites, the FBI has posted the following:


The amazing thing is the entire online poker industry was apparently toppled by ONE guy. According to various Australian and U.S. media reports, “boy genius” internet entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff rolled over on his former employers Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. Tzvetkoff made those companies billions of dollars. According to Australia’s Courier-Mail, they were paying him $150,000 a day but Tzvetkoff got greedy. He allegedly stole $150 million from  PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

When Tzvetkoff was visiting Las Vegas last April, either PokerStars or Full Tilt “ratted him out.” Tzvetkoff was busted on the same fraud, money laundering and gambling charges the online executives recently arrested now face. As a foreigner with huge amounts of cash, he was deemed a flight risk and denied bail. Tzvetkoff faced decades in prison. So, he flipped. As put it,

“They ratted him out…and he turned the tables. No honor among thieves.”

Tzvetkoff is also the man who figured out ways for online betters in the U.S. to set up accounts to get around the 2006 law passed by Congress that bans internet gambling.

There have already been a wave of stories in various media outlets like the New York Times describing how Congress may re-legalize and tax online gambling as a source of revenue. Last year, the House Financial Services Committe approved such a proposal. However, it never became law. Instead, the feds are looking to go after up to $3 billion from PartyPoker, Full Tilt Poker and absolute Poker.

What happens to your money if you’re one of the thousands upon thousands of Americans with money in one of these poker company’s accounts? Good question. That remains unclear. However, the feds have claimed they’re only going after the $3 billion from the online poker companies. If those companies satisfy the government by eventually paying the $3 billion themselves, their customers’ accounts may be released. That’s what happened in 2007 when a company called Netteller was busted for setting up accounts for the purpose of gambling online. They were busted by the feds but most people ended up getting their money back. On the other hand, you could argue that the very act of gambling or playing poker for money online was made illegal by Congress in 2006 and betters have forfeited the money by participating in an illegal act.

Over 1.8 million Americans reportedly play poker online, spending over $6 billion.


January 17, 2011

Remember the line from the Kevin Smith movie Clerks – “There’s nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others”?

Well, why not make a profit off others misery as well?

Thanks to, you can now bet on whether disgraced former football star Lawrence Taylor will violate his probation for having sex with an underaged prostitute. That’s right, make money if LT goes to prison. Yay!


September 3, 2010

The Ugly Carpets of Vegas are Hideously Clever Social Engineering at Work has a piece today in which they interview numerous experts to determine exactly why the carpets in Las Vegas casinos are so amazingly ugly. Among the theories:

* to keep your eyes on the machines so that you will gamble more

* hide casino chips that fall on the floor

* easy cleanup from drunks spilling their free cocktails

Bonus: photos of ugly casino carpets

The Ugly Carpets of Vegas are Hideously Clever Social Engineering at Work

The Ugly Carpets of Vegas are Hideously Clever Social Engineering at Work

Wired magazine even ran their own gallery on the same topic.

Carpets in Las Vegas. Photographer: Chris Maluszynski /MOMENT

Carpets in Las Vegas. Photographer: Chris Maluszynski /MOMENT

Carpets in Las Vegas. Photographer: Chris Maluszynski /MOMENT

Carpets in Las Vegas. Photographer: Chris Maluszynski /MOMENT


July 30, 2010


Congress moved closer Wednesday to legalizing online poker. The New York Times has the story about the House Financial Services Committee approving a bill that would legalize and tax online poker and other “nonsports” betting. Congress passed an Internet ban on gambling just four years ago.

The Times article points out that taxing Internet gambling could provide the government with a huge source of revenue.


June 4, 2010

According to a study published by the College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists, 80 percent of the players in the World Series of Poker use drugs including amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine. The survey was brought to attention by the website SPORTSbyBROOKS.

The results of the poll were based on 198 poker players responding to a survey. Some 62% of those responding used amphetamines during extended hours of poker play to enhance their performance.


February 5, 2010

This weekend, when the Indianapolis Colts play the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV, it’s being reported that over 50% of all American adults will have money bet on the game.

However, remember, as you place your bets, that of the past 19 Super Bowls, Vegas has made money 17 times. Bettors have come out ahead just twice in that period. The Colts are 5 1/2 point favorites in this year’s game.

Most Las Vegas casinos are offering around 300 prop bets. You can gamble on ANYTHING related to the Super Bowl. You can bet on the coin flip, the number of times Reggie Bush’s girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, appears on camera during the CBS telecast (over/under 2.5), or the amount of time it takes Carrie Underwood to sing the national anthem (over or under 1:42.) Another popular bet is who will score more points, the Colts or NBA player LeBron James.

A special prop bet you can wager on this season is the color of the Gatorade that will be dumped on the winning coach. The odds:

Yellow is the favorite at even money. Clear Gatorade is the next choice at 8/5 followed by orange, lime green, blue and longshot red (at 25/2.)


January 8, 2010


In the entire long history of Las Vegas sports betting, nobody had ever won the Las Vegas Hilton annual football handicapping contest twice. Veteran sports bettor Steve Fezzik just won the contest for the second year in a row. Fezzik gets $196,000 for the victory. He also won $80,000 in the Leroy’s contest in December.

Fezzik (not his real name) is a former Los Angeles insurance company actuary who moved to Las Vegas a decade ago to become a professional gambler. He has been featured by the LA Times and once hosted a radio show on the Vegas Fox Sports affiliate.



December 7, 2009


Legendary LasVegas gossip columnist Norm! says sex may not be golfer Tiger Woods’ only vice. Woods apparently has a long history of wagering “large amounts” of money in Vegas casinos. Norm quotes one casino VIP host as saying Woods made “Jordan and Barkley level” bets-up to $25,000-a-hand playing blackjack in Las Vegas casinos.

In fact, Norm! says Woods was exposed to high-stakes Las Vegas gambling by Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. Barkley once claimed that he’s lost at least $10 million gambling over the years. Another golfer, John Daly, has admitted to losing between $50 to $60 million gambling.

The column also reveals that Woods was once caught playing blackjack with a fake ID while underaged.


November 16, 2009


Here’s a shocking stat. Going into this weekend’s games, Las Vegas oddsmakers had done a perfect job of setting the line for NFL  games this year. According to, once you throw out “pick ’em” games, favorites had won 63 times and underdogs 63 times based on the Las Vegas point spread this season.


September 30, 2009




With five days left in the 2009 Major League Baseball season, it’s time to look back at some preseason predictions. Who did a better job of forecasting? Was it Las Vegas sports books or baseball sabermetrician/stat geeks?

At least for this season, Advantage Vegas.

Before the season began, the Las Vegas Sun printed the projected win totals of all 30 MLB teams (as forecast by an actual Las Vegas casino.) Vegas got the easy picks right. They saw big years by the Yankees and Red Sox. The casino also correctly predicted that the Angels would win the A.L. West. In the National League, the only accurate prediction by this particular Vegas casino was that Philadelphia would make the playoffs (though they had them in as a Wild Card team.) Picking four of eight playoff teams isn’t exactly a banner season. However, the casino did better than the stat geeks.

For several years, the most accurate sabermetrics system for predicting where teams would finish has been PECOTA. The “Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm” was devised by Baseball Prospectus. It projects the statistics of every player on a baseball team then crunches those numbers to predict how many wins that team will finish with. Unfortunately, there’s nothing “empirical” about predicting statistics. They are completely made up numbers. PECOTA is simply an attempt to quantify the unquantifiable. It’s a guess (albeit an educated one.)

This year, PECOTA blew it. Take their American League predictions. Please. Sure, they nailed the Red Sox and Yankees, but in the A.L. West and A.L. Central the teams that PECOTA predicted to win the division are actually in LAST place! They forecast playoff berths by the Indians and A’s. That’s about as awful as it gets in terms of predictions. In the National League, PECOTA picked just one playoff team correctly (the Dodgers.)

Of course, if you would have followed OUR preseaon picks, we got as many playoff teams right (4/8) as Vegas.