Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Break-In, a Brouhaha, and a Beginning

News Round-UpHugely busy these days, trying to get everything together before all the gift-giving, family-visiting, and food-stuffing gets going in earnest this weekend. As a result I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to poker -- either playing it or giving a lot of attention to the various news items surfacing in the poker world.

I did get a chance to skim through a few stories standing out from the most recent cycle, though.

Truly hated to hear about 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel being the victim of what sounds like a harrowing home invasion this week. Two men broke into his Montreal home, tied him up and physically assaulted him, threatened to kill him, then left with money and other items including his 2010 WSOP Main Event bracelet.

2010 WSOP ME braceletOf course, that bracelet is a pretty damned conspicuous item -- hard to imagine the thieves being able to pawn such a thing with ease. It sounds like they also made off with a lot of 500 Euro notes that are also rare enough to raise eyebrows, should they try to use them. Here is a report about the incident from a Canadian news outlet.

I also found myself a little distracted the last couple of days by this multi-way spat that has arisen involving I. Nelson Rose, the Poker Players Alliance, Mason Malmuth, and Rep. Joe Barton.

Barton, as we know, has proposed a federal bill designed to provide a means to license and regulate online poker in the U.S. He’s also appeared a couple of times before the House committee that’s been discussing the topic of online gambling, speaking in particular about poker and his desire to see his bill or something similar move forward.

I. Nelson Rose vs. Joe BartonEarlier this month, the gambling lawyer I. Nelson Rose attacked Barton in a piece for Poker Player Newspaper, primarily aiming at Barton’s previous record regarding votes to prohibit online gambling (including his votes on the UIGEA).

The Poker Players Alliance took issue with Rose’s article, sending out a rebuttal of sorts on Tuesday. And Mason Malmuth stirred the pot some more by starting a thread on Two Plus Two in which he shared the PPA’s statement, then jumped in to criticize Rose himself. Then following Rose’s appearance on QuadJacks Radio yesterday, Malmuth appeared on QJ Radio as well to further discuss Rose, Barton, and everything else.

The result is a fairly noisy, overlapping discussion touching on a number of different issues, including the prospects of Barton’s bill, Rose’s political leanings, the PPA’s effectiveness as a representative of poker players’ interests, the possible editorial stance of Poker Player Newspaper, Malmuth’s status as a firebrand, among others.

Finally -- and not unrelatedly -- today we’re learning of Nevada moving forward as expected to adopt intrastate internet gaming regulations. A vote today confirmed that Nevada has agreed to rules for allowing entities to apply for licenses to operate online poker sites.

NevadaIt sounds like this vote means that should any sort of federal legislation come to pass, Nevada will be a place to go for those seeking licenses to operate sites. It also sounds like Nevada may be ready to go forward with in-state-only sites, too, but work will have to be done to ensure they'll be able to pull that off (i.e., successfully limiting play within the state's borders).

I still need to read up more on this latter item in order to grasp the particulars. Here’s a Wall Street Journal piece from yesterday describing what was voted on today, which as mentioned did pass. (EDIT [added 12/23/11]: Here is a report from PokerFuse about the Nevada vote and its possible implications.)

Definitely appears as though movement on the state level is going to be happening a lot more swiftly than on the federal level, as far as the licensing and regulating of online poker in the U.S. is concerned. And while it is hard to say just yet what the significance of today’s move in Nevada will ultimately be, it does appear to be the beginning of something.

Speaking of beginning something, these gifts aren’t gonna wrap themselves. Better go get started.

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