When Amaya closed its blockbuster $4.9 billion acquisition of PokerStars in early-August, it was widely assumed that the online poker behemoth would gain entry into New Jersey sooner rather than later – sooner meaning sometime before the end of October. Yet here we are, a mere two weeks away from the other Black Friday, and there’s been no word regarding when, or even if, PokerStars will make its triumphant return to the United States. Online poker players previously set on the idea that PokerStars would already be a force in New Jersey are left wondering “what’s the holdup?” as they watch the state’s stagnant online poker industry struggle through another week. So what is the holdup? The answer may lie in a multitude of factors. A little history In the days following Amaya’s announcement that it had entered into an agreement to purchase the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, David Rebuck of the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) told Pokerfuse that he was “encouraged by this development and the expanded opportunities it might provide for New Jersey’s Internet gaming industry.” Later that month, it was announced that PokerStars’ application was up for review by the agency, effectively ending a two-year license application suspension forced by the DGE. Having more than satisfied the DGE’s demands that key personnel operating within PokerStars’ infrastructure be removed, PokerStars’ reentry into the U.S. market suddenly appeared imminent. Shortly after, rumors began circulating that PokerStars would launch in New Jersey sometime in October. These speculations reached a fever pitch when New Jersey State Sen. Raymond Lesniak indicated that an announcement from the DGE regarding Stars was only “weeks, not months” away. Optimism was at all-time high. But as October turned into November the Senator’s tone began to change, and since, credible news sources such as Pokerfuse have reported that PokerStars will not launch in New Jersey until 2015. Granted, delays in the U.S’s regulated iGaming sphere aren’t exactly uncommon – one needn’t look further than California’s six-year plight to legalize online poker to realize that – but given that New Jersey’s other poker rooms all launched within four months of receiving licenses, combined with the fact that PokerStars’ application had already been at least partially reviewed prior to the Amaya acquisition, it seemed quite reasonable to assume that PokerStars would be a presence in NJ by October. What caused the delay? Politics Based on Senator Lesniak’s recent Twitter exchanges, it can be concluded that politics are at least one of the underlying forces driving the PokerStars delay. On October 28th, Lesniak engaged in a rather frank interaction with another user indicating that it’s New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie causing the hold up:
But doesn’t the DGE have the final word on whether a license is approved? Technically yes, but based on Lesniak’s statement, it appears that the Division will not act without the Governor’s approval. This raises the question as to why Gov. Christie, who in the past has vocalized his commitment to revitalizing Atlantic City, would want to push off PokerStars’ entry. Clues were revealed on Tuesday, as part of a second Twitter exchange between the Senator, NJ poker players and members of the poker media, including OnlinePokerReport.com’s Chris Grove. The Senator went on to state that the aforementioned is his “opinion based on 37 years of political insight.” Based on the myriad of anti-PokerStars rhetoric that has filtered its way into major NJ-based publications over the past few months, it’s quite apparent that online gambling opponent Sheldon Adelson is vehemently against PokerStars returning to the United States. Not only will PokerStars’ launch in New Jersey likely inspire a revitalization of Atlantic City’s fledgling gaming economy, it could set off a domino effect where other states on the proverbial iGaming fence let down their guard and cash in on a suddenly prosperous new market. Should that happen, Adelson’s plight to institute a federal iGaming ban will invariably suffer, and as a result he may feel less inclined to support Governor Christie in his 2016 Presidential election bid. Considering that Adelson spent $92 million on losing candidates in 2012, it would behoove Gov. Christie to give the go-ahead to a company that was A) indicted by the DOJ in 2011, and B) has the ability to alter the face of the Garden State’s brick & mortar casino industry – at least not until Adelson has had ample time to systematically deconstruct all the progress iGaming champions have made during the past three years. Software Or maybe the New Jersey version of PokerStars’ software simply isn’t ready for prime time. PokerStars is all too familiar with the problems that plagued New Jersey’s other poker sites at launch, some of which continue to dissuade grinders from playing on regulated sites to this very day. For PokerStars to release a product riddled with bugs and server issues would be nothing short of a disaster. And while PokerStars does have experience operating in segregated markets such as Spain and Italy, New Jersey’s regulatory environment presents hurdles that the company doesn’t often encounter such as the Garden State’s geolocation model and the nonacceptance of features like peer-to-peer transfers. Then there’s the fact that the PokerStars client is in the midst of a transition. PokerStars 7, an extensive upgrade to the company’s already pioneering online poker software, has been available in Beta form in most markets for only the past several months. It’s conceivable that PokerStars originally planned to submit PokerStars 6 for review, but has since opted to launch PokerStars 7 in New Jersey, thereby extending the testing process. It’s for one or a combination of the aforementioned reasons that PokerStars may have opted to push back its launch date. Timing PokerStars has experienced its fair share of controversy in the past month, and in the entire Amaya era for that matter. Unpopular changes to the site’s rake policies have prompted resistance from players, most notably in the form of semi-organized sit-outs and forum rants. PokerStars has withdrawn from dozens of gray markets. Further changes to the site’s VIP program are expected in the newly regulated UK market in 2015. And players are becoming increasingly paranoid that Amaya will bring about Stars’ ruin. Maybe PokerStars is waiting until players regain confidence before embarking on a new journey. Either that, or PokerStars is holding back until traffic in New Jersey completely bottoms out, so that the company comes off as a sort of grand savior when it finally does launch its poker product. Admittedly, that’s a bit far-fetched, but given the company’s history, I wouldn’t entirely put it past them. Closing remarks In the case that PokerStars’ entry into New Jersey is being held up by the DGE’s testing process, or by PokerStars itself, then I’d fully expect to hear an announcement within the next several weeks. But in lieu of the Senator’s recent statements, I have to believe that the path towards reentry is more complicated than originally anticipated. If Gov. Christie views PokerStars as an impediment to his 2016 Presidential bid, it’s conceivable that PokerStars will not launch until the Republican presidential candidate is decided – although in my estimation, that’s a worst case scenario. Whenever politics are involved in a matter such as this, it’s the individuals who have their ability to choose stricken from them that invariability suffer. Delaying PokerStars’ entry because Sheldon Adelson wants to lead an ill-fated campaign against online gambling, and subsequently bring the United States one rung closer to becoming a police state, only hurts the players who have been unable to earn a living playing a skill-based game for the past 3.5 years. It’s shameful. Let’s hope, that at the very latest, we’ll be greeted by an announcement by the New Year. Otherwise, there is cause for concern. Previous Post Next Post amaya|online poker regulation|pokerstars|sheldon adelson About Robert DellaFave Robert DellaFave writes for a variety of online gaming sites and is also working on programming a poker simulation creative enough to beat the best. Follow Robert on Twitter @DivergentGames and on Google+

Episode 15: A Million Hours of Poker and Madness After months of waiting, the November Nine sit down at the Final Table to determine this year’s poker champion. Jorryt van Hoof starts the night out as chip leader, and don’t expect that to change for long during the next twelve hours. Ryan Riess gives his approval, and we begin. Let the Newhouse show commence It should be no surprise that the first portion of the night is entirely centered around Mark Newhouse. The first hand of the evening is Newhouse’s small loss to William Tonking’s two pair, Aces and Kings beating his Queen high, sets the tone for him. Newhouse will lose a similar hand against two pair held by Bruno Politano a short while later, this Newhouse actually holds a pair of Fours with a Queen kicker but his play-style is a bit surprising so far. Newhouse is playing in his usual manner, but he’s made enough comments during the months off about not wanting to finish ninth a second time that one would have expected to play a lot more passively than usual at least at first. Mark is down to 20.1 million when he is dealt pocket Jacks, and calls Politano’s 900K raise (the Brazilian is holding 8-7 suited.) Andoni Larrabe re-raises to 2.8M with A-Q. Politano folds but Newhouse calls. Sadly for Politano, the flop is 873. Newhouse checks, Larrabe bets 2.7M. Newhouse calls. 5 on the turn, and 2 on the river with both checking both times. Newhouse’s hand was not strong enough to bet bigger but the 13 million chips in the pot help put him back on track with almost 28 million. Larrabe drops from almost that same amount down to 22M. First elimination Jorryt van Hoof opens for a million and Newhouse calls with T-T. Small blind Tonking three-bets to 3.75 million, he has Q-Q. Jorryt loses interest but Newhouse wants this. J42 flop. Tonking bets 3.5M. Turn: 4. Another 4.5M bet. The river Jack puts two pair on the table. Tonking checks, and Newhouse feels the urge to take a chance here. He bluffs all-in. Tonking could easily believe Newhouse has a third Jack but he calls and Newhouse is out. It’s a shame for Mark Newhouse to go home exactly how he didn’t want to, but his back-to-back finals are certainly historic no matter what. With that saga done, there are eight players remaining. Most people expected the pace would speed up after the first elimination and play would become more aggressive. That is not what happens. Hope you brought a snack and a pillow. Tonking is now briefly in the lead with 48.45 million to van Hoof’s 45.47. By midnight on the east coast he’s up to 54M, but van Hoof quickly creeps back up over him again, taking pots off Billy Pappas and Larrabe. But at this point no one else is even close to touching Tonking or van Hoof. Another hour passes with no earth-shaking hands Politano and Pappas stay alive with a few all-ins that scare the sharks away, but both hover below ten million. Van Hoof passes 60M. Felix Stephensen finally calls an all-in from Bruno Politano: Stephensen has a pair of Sevens, Politano only has Q-T. 632K9. It’s been a dramatic run for Politano, a popular and likable favorite and the first Brazilian player to ever make the final table. He’s earned 947 thousand dollars. That guy in his section dressed as Scooby Doo will also be going home, I imagine. And we have seven left. Tonking is breathing down van Hoof’s neck, 60.8M to Jorryt’s 61.5. Hour 6: van Hoof has so many, many chips Van Hoof has so many chips, in fact, that he can call Dan Sindelar’s all-in with A-3 suited. Sindelar has pocket Jacks. 72A3Q, a pair of Aces will say goodbye to Sindelar, who takes 7th place and over $1.2 million. Jorryt van Hoof now has a sizable lead over Tonking, 75M versus just under 60. Billy Pappas still struggles in the short stack and drops under seven million. Martin Jacobson has Q-3 of diamonds, thinks he can muscle out Pappas and his K-J of spades. He raises Pappas all-in, but Billy calls. The flop is AQ2, giving Jacobson a pair, but Billy is one card from a flush. The 8 of diamonds on the turn means Jacobson also could river a flush. A King is crowned, Billy Pappas will double his stack to 13.1M thanks to the river pair. Jacobson drops from 16 million to 9.1. Van hoof losing a hand to Tonking, pulling his lead down to 4.5M. Billy Pappas goes all-in again with wired Kings. Larrabe calls with K-Q. Then three Aces flop! Pappas doubles again knocking Larrabe down to second place narrowly ahead of Jacobson. The crowd is going nuts for Pappas and his 26 million chips. Van Hoof eliminates another one Van Hoof has more than seventy million, he can call Larrabe’s all-in with K-5 suited. Larrabe had J-T suited. K838, Spain’s Larrabe is out in 6th with $1.62M. We’re almost at hour 8, van Hoof has 87 million chips. Hour 30. People are considering going all-in just so they can go to bed. There have been more than 150 hands. Jacobson determinedly climbs up to 26.2M. Stephensen is now short stack below 20 million (Pappas is not far ahead with under 22 million.) Van Hoof is closing in on 100M. Nothing happens in the hour and a half after van Hoof takes command of more than half the chips. He has dominated the table and everyone else has scrambled for position beneath him. Everyone is tired. Finally, Jacobson goes all-in with a pair of Fives against Billy Pappas with Ace-Jack. Q657, Jacobson doubles with a set and Pappas is in trouble. With only 50,000 chips left, Pappas is all-in. Meanwhile Stephensen bets over five million, and scurries away when van Hoof bumps that to 12. Pappas is simply hoping he can beat the odds and double up ten times in a row. Pappas has Sevens against van Hoof’s pocket Jacks. Luck is not with foosball champion William Pappaconstantinou: AQ2Q6. Pappas has had an amazing run for his first tournament, taking 5th place out of more than 6,000 competitors and is leaving with more than two million dollars. Day 47: Haven’t seen land in weeks. The Pequod is running low on water, and I fear we’ll need to resupply in an unfriendly port. Tonking, after having spent a good portion of tonight near the top (and a brief stint as chip leader) struggles in the short stack. Van hoof lingers above and below 100,000,000. Martin Jacobson, once nearly out, entrenches himself in 2nd. At least until a big loss against Stephensen. Stephensen is betting on nothing at first but manages to scrape up trips from the turn and river, and the win shoots him up to 57 million while knocking Jacobson down to the short stack under 15M. Jacobson gets back on his feet taking a handful of chips off van Hoof after scaring him away with a river all-in, so he’s not in such a weak position when he faces off against William Tonking. All-in preflop, Tonking has 2-2; Jacobson T-T. J456Q, Tonking is eliminated in 4th place, earning $2.6 million. With Tonking gone that’s the last of the American players, the question remains which European will take the bracelet. Space Century 3420: the heat death of the universe draws near as the million year Poker Wars rage on. We’re supposed to play tonight until only two are left, but I really don’t think that’s happening. Jacobson has crawled back up above Stephensen, but the chip counts are a lot closer now than before and no one is making any big mistakes. Yep, they’re calling the evening. The players are going to get to go to bed, these guys have been playing for 12 hours and they need rest to finish the championship. Final chip count of Day 8: Jorryt van Hoof – 89,625,000 Martin Jacobson – 64,750,000 Felix Stephensen – 46,100,000 Previous Post Next Post wsop About Ryan Ocello

California has proven to be one of the most turbulent gaming industries. Whether it’s their six year long trek towards online poker, the hundreds of card rooms and casinos that dot the Golden State, or the numerous competing interests, it’s never boring for anyone covering gaming in California. And it certainly wasn’t boring this past week, as there was big news on both the land-based and online fronts. On the land-based front, California regulators shut down a card room after it was discovered they lacked the proper funds to cover the chips in play. Obviously a major no-no. Meanwhile, a California tribe took a huge step towards launching an online gaming site… and no, I’m not talking about the “tribe who cried wolf.” The Santa Ysabel tribe and the launch of their online bingo site, which of course was followed by their insistence that online poker “is coming soon.” IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…Check out this ground-shaking news from earlier in the week: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Join PokerStars Faction in California. This could be a huge momentum boost for PokerStars fighting “bad actor” clause supporters in California. Pala Granted an iGaming License in New Jersey As I said, the big news in California online gambling last week wasn’t the launch of Desert Rose Bingo by Santa Ysabel. The big story actually happened far away from California, some 3,000 miles away in fact, as the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJ DGE) approved Pala Interactive for a transactional waiver which will allow them to offer online gambling in New Jersey. The license is almost a year in the making for Pala, as they applied before the industry launched last November; were approved for a transactional waiver; but never found a partner. Now a year later Pala Interactive has teamed up with Borgata in New Jersey (Pala will operate under Borgata’s iGaming license), but will not be part of the main Borgata/partypoker network in the state. It’s an interesting dynamic on a number of levels, as Pala’s New Jersey online casino is expected to launch within a couple of weeks, with their poker room expected to launch in early 2015, and both will compete directly with Borgata’s rooms. You can read more about Pala’s New Jersey license here: Can Pala Interactive Make it in an Already Crowded NJ iGaming Market? It’s also an interesting move by the tribe, especially considering the size (or lack thereof) of the New Jersey online gambling market, which is about to get even more crowded and competitive when PokerStars enters the picture. But perhaps Pala’s interest in New Jersey is with an eye towards California? Perhaps the tribe sees the NJ market as a chance to trial their product while they wait for California to pass an online poker bill, which would give them an experiential leg up on their potential competition in California. It also raises the question of whether or not Pala will now fight to remove any clauses that may be included in a potential California online poker bill that would disallow interstate compacts – thus far all online poker talk in California has been intrastate. Or, perhaps Pala simply sees an opening to get their foot in the door in a new market and help position themselves for the future; a future where iGaming may be legalized nationally, or interstate compacts readily available. Casino Royale Shut Down by California Regulators While Pala was busy securing an iGaming license, a card room in Sacramento was in the process of losing their license. In a scene reminiscent of what players went through on Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and UB following Black Friday, the Casino Royale card room in Sacramento, California was shut down by the California Bureau of Gambling Control after it was discovered the property didn’t have enough cash on hand to cover the “chips in play, the players’ banks, the player-funded jackpots and house-funded jackpots,” according to a report in the Sacramento Bee. Bureau officials were first alerted to the potential problem after a patron won $62,000 at the card room’s Pai Gow Poker tables, but was only paid $20,000 and told to come back later for the rest – An awfully strange request by a casino. When the Bureau investigated they found the casino to have a shortfall of over $268k , and after giving them 10 days to get their finances in order the Casino Royale was still short some $55k. The CBGC will now conduct a full audit of the property and a motion has been filed to revoke the licenses of Casino Royale owners James Kouretas, William Blanas and Faye E. Stearns. The shuttering of the small casino of just 15 tables likely signals the end of the Casino Royale, considering the club has had a tumultuous history since opening in 2008, including the owners suing one another according to the SacBee: The massive shortfall should also be the genesis of a serious CBGC investigation into all of California’s card rooms and casinos, of which there are over 100. But, considering the recent lawsuit filed by William Blanas against James Kouretas, this seems to be more of an isolated incident effecting only the Casino Royale. Previous Post Next Post igaming|pala About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including OnlinePokerReport.com, PlayNJ.com, USPoker.com, and USA Today.

I was recently talking with a friend about which card rooms that I frequently visit out west and it led into a discussion about what amenities we would like in a live card room. Thinking further on the matter, my ideal card room would really be a hodgepodge of rooms that I have played in around the country with a couple added amenities. Below are some of the features from my perfect live card room. Games You want to guarantee that I will seldom come to your casino? Spread only Texas Hold’em. I refuse to frequent casinos that only spread Hold’em. As a mixed games player, a casino has to have variety in order for me to be a regular. By variety, that means you must spread at least the following: • Limit AND No-Limit Texas Hold’em
• Seven Card Stud
• Omaha Hi-Lo
• Pot-Limit Omaha My ideal casino would spread the above games as well as Stud 8 or Better, and other varieties of games such as Badugi and 2-7 Lowball. H.O.R.S.E., 8-Game or mixed variants such as Mixed Hold’em or Triple Stud would be great as well. Furthermore, I prefer casinos that regularly offer tournaments in variants other than Hold’em. Tournament Director Johnny Groomes had a great philosophy for events he used to run at the Gold Strike in Tunica, MS. He said that he was going to always spread at least five variants of poker regardless of how well they drew. There is a market for mixed games and casinos that spread more than Texas Hold’em can tap that market. Dealers When it comes to dealers, I’m actually fairly lax on my requirements. In most cases, if a dealer is nice and works hard, I can look over mistakes. With that said, there are a few things that I like to see in dealers. First, I believe that dealers should have a solid command on the English language. I’m not saying they have to understand all our idiosyncrasies or our slang, but we should be able to have a basic conversation with a dealer. There’s nothing more frustrating that having a problem with a game and having to get a floor man to come to the table to handle the problem because the dealer doesn’t understand what you’re saying. Next, dealers should be able to deal all of the games that are spread in the casino competently. It doesn’t matter if it is spread or played regularly. If it is on the board, dealers should be able to deal it. Omaha Hi-Lo players understand the frustration of this, especially in tournaments. You get a dealer that has seldom, if ever, dealt a game and they slow down the game because of their lack of experience. Otherwise, I have few preferences on dealers. Male or female, it doesn’t matter to me. Just be fast and act like you like dealing to my table a bit. Food / Drinks / Service One benefit that every live poker room should offer is food and drink service beyond your typical cocktail server. The Bicycle Casino was one of my favorite places to play because of their table service. In addition to your typical cocktail servers, you regularly had food service that came around with a solid menu that you could order from. Whether you wanted greasy or healthy, they had options. However, my favorite option was actually the porters. The porters are the equivalent of your old school gophers. You want some food that isn’t on the food service menu? Get the porter to go order your meal and bring it. Want some candy or sodas from the gift shop? Porter! My ideal poker room would be similar to the bike with cocktail, food service and porters. To add icing on the cake, let’s have an option like what the Trump Taj’s room has in Atlantic City: go to the back of the poker room and take an elevator straight to the second floor snack shop. This would allow you to get away from the poker room while taking a break away from the restlessness of the casino. Tables / Chairs My ideal poker room would have upgrades over your standard room. First, auto-shufflers on all tables regardless of the limits. Everyone deserves to have the maximum number of hands possible. Next, I would prefer to have some extra large tables to allow for some of us players that belong to the Association of Broad Bottom Architects. You put three or four of us at one end of the table and that’s like stuffing sardines into a snuffbox. Also, how about we look at the poker room layout. Many poker rooms decide to put the table so close together that it can be difficult to get in and out without hitting players at other tables. Poker tables should have enough space between them for an old person to drive a motorized scooter between tables and not touch anyone. That would be proper table spacing. Let’s next look at chairs… Why must many poker rooms use these horrible stacking chairs with cushions that go flat when a cat sits on them? Let’s get some nice padded executive style office chairs with nice padding on them and wheels. Give your players some comfort at the tables. After all, most will walk away with nothing but a memory. At least make them comfortable while doing so. Rake Finally, let’s talk a bit about rake. First, my ideal card room would not take a dead drop in any form. Rake would also only start if a pot gets to the flop (or second round of betting in other games.) Next, if a room chooses a rake structure, I prefer a 5% rake structure. While this is considered a bit low compared to many live card rooms, it is better for players. However, if I have my true preference, I would prefer to pay a time charge to a rake. Essentially, each player posts the equivalent of the big blind as a time charge each half hour. In a $3-$6 game, you pay $3 every half hour. This would be a drop to the casino in lieu of per hand rake. For many games, this will be cheaper than standard rake. Higher limit games could offer a discounted drop to keep players happy or draw new blood. Previous Post Next Post About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has officially joined the PokerStars coalition in California, Joining the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Bicycle Casino, Commerce Casino, and Hawaiian Gardens Casino in partnering with Amaya Gaming to offer online poker in California when legislation is passed. San Manuel officially switches sides The San Manuel tribe had previously been part of a coalition of 13 tribes opposed to PokerStars being allowed to participate in California online poker if a bill was passed. By switching sides the San Manuel tribe has not only strengthened PokerStars position but has also weakened the opposition. “We are pleased to join this coalition,” said Lynn Valbuena, the Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in a joint press release issued today. “We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California.” Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Robert Martin was also pleased with the addition of San Manuel to their faction: Guy Templer, Group Business Development Director with PokerStars: Stay tuned for more information on the shifting power balance in California and commentary on what it means for a potential iPoker bill in 2015. The Full Statement Here is the full Press Release: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Joins with Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California’s Largest Card Clubs and Amaya to Offer Online Poker in California when Authorizing Legislation is Passed Addition of San Manuel reflects “new day” where gaming interests must work together in order to finally pass online poker legislation in California. Sacramento, CA, November 11, 2014 – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians announced today that it has agreed to join the existing business agreement between the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California’s three largest card clubs – the Commerce Club, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino and the Bicycle Casino – and the Amaya Gaming Group, which owns and operates PokerStars. These gaming operators will join together to operate a licensed online poker site in California once legislation is enacted to authorize iPoker. This coalition will also work together to advocate for legislation that extends California’s tough, long-established gaming regulations to include intrastate online poker. “We are pleased to join this coalition,” said Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman – San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California.” “We’re pleased to welcome San Manuel to our coalition. It marks a new day in our efforts to authorize online poker in California,” Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Robert Martin said. “We’re excited about the momentum and opportunities this new agreement represents in getting legislation passed. As tribes come together on this issue, the opportunity for success grows.” Speaking on behalf of the three card clubs, attorney Keith Sharp said, “We are very pleased to welcome San Manuel to our coalition. We look forward to working with legislators and our industry colleagues to pass a bill that provides strong regulation and consumer protection.” Guy Templer, Group Business Development Director with PokerStars said, “San Manuel is a strong, forward thinking operator and is a great partner to join our coalition in advocating for the development of an open and well regulated iPoker market in California. We are looking forward to working with the Legislature and with other stakeholders to help develop an industry that will benefit California consumers and the State alike.” ### About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. Since time immemorial, the San Manuel tribal community has endured change and hardship. Amidst these challenges the tribe continued to maintain its unique form of governance. Like other governments it seeks to provide a better quality of life for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development. Today San Manuel tribal government oversees many governmental units including the departments of fire, public safety, education and environment. San Manuel operates San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino. About the Morongo Band of Mission Indians The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is a federally-recognized Indian Tribe that operates the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa near Banning (Riverside County), California, under a Class III gaming compact with the State of California. The Tribe exercises governmental jurisdiction over the 34,000+ acre Morongo Indian Reservation. Since 2009, the Morongo Band has been in the forefront of efforts to give California’s online poker players renewed access to the online games from which they’ve been excluded since 2011. The Tribe’s California LLC, Morongo Internet Poker, is one of the members of the California Internet Poker LLC. About Commerce Casino Commerce Casino, the largest poker casino in the world, has more than 200 tables featuring about every form of poker: Texas Hold ’em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha, Pot Limit, Mexican Poker, Pineapple, Draw, Low-Ball and many others. Commerce Casino is recognized for its innovative “Bring Your Home Game to Commerce” program enabling poker fans to invite friends/family for a casual home game, bachelor party or birthday celebration with a professional dealer in a casino setting. Commerce Casino is located at 6131 East Telegraph Rd., Commerce, CA 90040, just off the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at the Washington Blvd. exit. For more information, go to CommerceCasino.com or call 323.721.2100. About Bicycle Casino The Bicycle Casino has been a premier gaming destination in Southern California since it’s opening in 1984. Located in Bell Gardens, it has historical employed nearly 2,000 people hosting daily customers, international visitors and poker celebrities. Under the leadership of General Partners Bob Carter and Hashem Minaiy, they are expanding their facility which will soon open a world class 100 room luxury hotel to accommodate their growing tournament business. Active participants in their community, the Bike (as it’s commonly known) contributes significant resources to the public safety and recreational needs of its Bell Gardens neighbors, provides 60% of the City of Bell Gardens annual budget, and through its Bicycle Casino Community Foundation, provides several thousands of dollars annually in college scholarships to deserving students. About Hawaiian Gardens Casino Hawaiian Gardens Casino has been an integral part of the City of Hawaiian Gardens for nearly 20 years. The Hawaiian Garden Casino opened with five tables and has grown to nearly 200 tables in our current 59,500 square foot facility. Hawaiian Gardens Casino is the second largest card club and ranks second in revenue in the world. Hawaiian Gardens Casino is presently constructing a new 220,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art casino. Scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2016, this new facility will include 300 gaming tables as well as a restaurant, lounge, VIP gaming section and event center capable of hosting 75 tournament tables. About Amaya Amaya is the owner of the Rational Group, which owns and operates gaming and related businesses and brands including PokerStars, Full Tilt, the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. These brands collectively form the largest poker business in the world, comprising online poker games and tournaments, live poker competitions and poker programming created for television and online audiences. In addition to operating two of the largest online poker sites, Rational Group is the largest producer of live poker events around the world. Amaya also provides interactive and physical gaming solutions to the regulated gaming industry. For more information please visit www.amayagaming.com. Previous Post Next Post pokerstars|san manuel About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including OnlinePokerReport.com, PlayNJ.com, USPoker.com, and USA Today.

It’s an argument that makes sense: Increased access to gambling should lead to an increase in the percentage of problem gamblers. However, a new study conducted by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) with the help of SUNY at Buffalo State painted a different picture. What gives this particular study so much weight is who performed the study, and how it was funded. The University of Buffalo received a $3 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to conduct the study into the rate of problem gambling over the past decade. One of the researchers, Dr. John Welte, PhD, is certainly not a shill for the gambling industry. In a previous study Dr. Welte concluded that people living within 10 miles of a casino are twice as likely to show signs of problem gambling. Therefore, the current study is in direct contradiction with his previous research, which makes the study difficult to simply dismiss by opponents of online gambling on the grounds of bias. What they found The study is over a decade in the making as the researchers, John W. Welte, PhD and Grace M. Barnes, PhD from the University of Buffalo along with William F. Wieczorek, PhD of SUNY conducted a telephone survey from 2011-2013 and compared the results to an identical survey conducted back in 1999-2000. What they discovered was that problem and pathological gambling rates remained consistent despite the rise of Internet gambling in the 2000’s and the proliferation of casinos across the country. Furthermore, the study found participation rates had decreased over that time period. “Our results show it is clear that U.S. residents are gambling less often,” Welte stated in a press release. This creates a juxtaposition with his prior research. If proximity increases the likelihood of problem gambling why haven’t the rates increased with the addition of online gambling? Welte speculated on two potential reasons: Other possible reasons Conjecture Alert! My argument against the theory that access leads to increased problem gambling has always been the same: The people who are likely to be problem gamblers are not deterred by a lack of access to gambling. These are the people that will seek out underground casinos and go to great lengths to gamble online even where it is prohibited. Let’s also not overlook that it’s far easier (both in terms of access and convenience) to burn through a couple hundred dollars playing keno or buying scratch tickets than it is to gamble online. So, as long as these basic gambling options are present in society, problem gamblers will always have an outlet, with or without Internet gambling. Another explanation for why problem gambling rates have not increased with the onset and rise of online gambling likely has to do with the logistics of gambling online. Gamblers cannot simply cash their paycheck and deposit that money to an online casino. It requires setting up an account, using some form of payment processing (be it credit card, eCheck, or online eWallet), and of course withdrawals are from immediate, and can take up to several weeks to process. This might also help explain why problem gambling rates increase when people live in close proximity to a land-based casino, but not when they have access to online gambling. Quite frankly, the logistical constraints of online gambling are not ideal for someone simply looking for the rush of gambling, especially if your winnings are going to be tied up for 7-10 days. Finally, online gambling is just different. Every bit of data we have indicates that the crossover between land-based gamblers and online gamblers is much smaller than anyone anticipated. Gambling at a casino, going to the racetrack or an off-track betting parlor, or even playing keno at a bar, are social activities, while online gambling is for all intents and purposes a solitary pursuit. Part of the allure for problem gamblers could be the ability to drown your sorrows with other people or have somebody to celebrate when you hit big. Previous Post Next Post igaming|online gambling|problem gambling About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including OnlinePokerReport.com, PlayNJ.com, USPoker.com, and USA Today.

Episode 13: Narrowing it down to 9 Norman wants to remind us all that he’s been saying from the beginning how Mark Newhouse has a serious chance to make it to the final table twice in a row. Despite being in a weak position to start the episode, Norman is very confident that Newhouse will be able to pull off some impressive moves and climb back up, because he’s always had strong faith in his favorite player. Episode 14: Newhouse We’ve only eliminated two players last episode, we have five more before we’re caught up to the present. But, as expected, the narrative is now all about Mark Newhouse and whether he’ll make history with back-to-back final tables. The crowd breaks into song about it. Tomorrow we’ll skip four months into the future for the final table on ESPN. Previous Post Next Post episodes|wsop|wsop.com About Ryan Ocello

On Wednesday, PokerFuse broke the news that former Victory Poker CEO and Who’s Your Daddy, Inc. owner Dan Fleyshman will be taking the reins as CEO of Ivey Poker. This, less than two weeks after Phil Ivey announced on Twitter that Ivey Poker will temporarily suspend its free-to-play (F2P) Facebook application. The poker app shuttered its door on Saturday, October 25th, as scheduled. All was not doom and gloom, however, as Ivey stated that the closure of Ivey Poker is “the first step in our evolution as we prepare to launch an even bigger and better gaming experience for you all in 2015.” It is likely that Fleyshman ordered the closure of Ivey Poker as part of a broader re-imagining process that will see both Ivey Poker and poker training site Ivey League receive a complete makeover, although Fleyshman was not available to confirm. A brief history of Ivey Poker Ivey Poker debuted on Facebook in July 2013. Although the market was already saturated with F2P poker apps, Ivey Poker attempted to differentiate itself by integrating a spectrum of training videos and through its stable of Ivey Poker Pros, of which there were many. Of course the brand association with arguably the most recognizable name in poker certainly didn’t hurt either. Ivey Poker followed up with a poker training site entitled Ivey League in 2014. But whereas the training site managed to find a niche among the myriad of like-minded services on the Internet, Ivey Poker was unable to compete against established names within the social poker space such as PokerStars and Zynga – which leads us back to the present. Who is Dan Fleyshman? The self proclaimed “youngest founder of a publicly traded company in history,” Fleyshman began his entrepreneurial career within the apparel industry. His Who’s Your Daddy brand would later branch out into the energy beverage market, where it would find marketed success. By 2009, Dan embarked on a new venture, this time within the burgeoning online poker arena. He became the CEO of Victory Poker in 2010. The site quickly established itself among online poker’s giants, largely thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign and its lineup of “Team Victory” pros that included big names such as Antonio Esfandiari, Jonathan Little and Paul Wasicka. That success was to be short-lived however, as days after Black Friday, Fleyshman opted to block US customers from playing for real-money. Shortly after, Fleyshman voluntarily shut down Victory Poker, and migrated its existing members over to Cake Poker. To this day VictoryCEO.com remains online, but it exists now as Fleyshman’s biography page. Fleyshman has also established himself as a formidable poker player, racking up more than $700,000 in live tournament winnings over the course of the past years. Expectations for the new Ivey Poker At the ripe old age 33, Fleyshman already has 15 years experience building brands from the ground up. His creativity, aggressiveness style of doing business and media-friendliness will likely prove invaluable assets to the Ivey Poker brand. How he intends to approach the relaunch is anyone’s guess. But if there’s one thing that’s a near inevitability, it’s this: the new Ivey Poker and Ivey League will be light years ahead of the old in terms of innovation and design. Previous Post Next Post ivey poker|popular About Robert DellaFave Robert DellaFave writes for a variety of online gaming sites and is also working on programming a poker simulation creative enough to beat the best. Follow Robert on Twitter @DivergentGames and on Google+

The World Series of Poker Circuit stop at Lake Tahoe, NV is winding its way to the Main Event. Through eight events, five events have been captured by Californians. Meanwhile, a legend of the game in California and Nevada earned his second career Circuit ring in this series. The WSOP-C Lake Tahoe stop kicked off last week with its typical 12 rings in 12 days schedule. Eight events have completed through Wednesday with the $1,675 Main Event to kick off on Friday. Frankie O’Dell Wins Second Career Ring in H.O.R.S.E. Event If you’re a mixed games player in either California or Nevada, odds are that at some time you have played Frankie O’Dell. Hailing from Henderson, NV, O’Dell has been a fixture in the Vegas and Los Angeles poker scenes for decades. He is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner and after Friday, he is now a two-time Circuit ring winner. O’Dell topped a field of 65 players to win Event #2, $365 H.O.R.S.E. to win his second career Circuit ring and $6,825. According to O’Dell, he only stopped in Lake Tahoe because H.O.R.S.E. was on the schedule. He decided to “see what happens” and ultimately walked away with gold. When asked what makes him such a good player, he stated, “It is a bunch of different games and I think I play every game solid. I don’t have any weaknesses. The key to playing an H.O.R.S.E tournament is that you cannot be weak at any game. That is why I like H.O.R.S.E.” O’Dell is considered one of the strongest mixed game players in the world. He has two WSOP bracelets, both in Omaha Hi-Lo. His other Circuit ring is in Omaha Hi-Lo. Two Times is a Charm for Foutty Steve Foutty finally broke through for his first career Circuit ring on Sunday after winning Event #5. A couple of days prior, he made the final table of Event #3 but fell in fourth place. This time around, the Mill Valley regular bested a field of 171 players to win his first ring and $13,850. This win was huge for Foutty on multiple levels. Not only did it give him his first ring, but also pushed him over $100,000 in WSOP related earnings. According to The Hendon Mob, Foutty has earnings topping $200,000. Earlier this year, he took down the WPTDeepstacks Main Event in Turlock, CA. He also finished 19th in Event #4 of the 2014 WSOP, a $1,00 NL Event. The Ladies a Champ – Donna Delfin Wins Six-Max Event for Second Ring The World Series of Poker in dewapoker Circuit has seen its share of champions and this week was no exception. Three women have taken down events so far this series but no win was bigger than Donna Delfin’s win in Event #7, the $365 Six-Handed NL Event. Delfin made it heads-up in the same event two years ago but fell short of the ring. This time around, she took the title but not without a bit of good fortune. She was all-in for her tournament life heads-up against Paul Kossluk with just a flush draw on the turn. Fortunately, she hit her flush to double-up into the chip lead and never looked back. This was Delfin’s second career ring victory. Back in 2012, she won a NL Event at Harrah’s Rincon in San Diego for her first ring. She said this victory was extra special because not only did she vindicate herself from her near miss a couple years ago, but also she won it on her daughter’s birthday. Two other women won events this week. Deva Crouch of Seattle, WA won Event #4, the $365 NL with ReEntry Event for her first circuit ring and $38,807. Debra Pulley of Camas, WA took down the $250 Seniors title. The non-ring event awarded Pulley $12,447 in prize money. Mankin, Aran and Murphy Enjoy Success Three other Californians took down Circuit rings this week. Sacramento real estate investor Earle Mankin won Event #1 after a grueling two-hour heads-up match against Tahoe resident Bob Donahue. Michael Murphy returned to poker this week after a three-year hiatus and won his second tournament back. He took down the Event #3 ring and $13,609. The Tahoe native used to be a regular but once a close friend moved away, he lost the desire to grind. This win could help rekindle a love for the game. Event #6, a $365 NL Hold’em Event, went to 29-year-old San Jose construction worker Daniel Aran. He survived a field of 194 players to take the ring and $15,132 in prize money. This was Aran’s second career ring. His other came at the same property in 2011. Previous Post Next Post wsop.com About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

Episode 11: Morning of Seven We aren’t wasting any time getting to Norman’s bets anymore; he promises to remarry his first wife and divorce her again after Mark Newhouse inevitably proves how wrong he has been all season. Even if I didn’t already know the future I would be certain Newhouse would make it based on how pompous Norman has been. Let’s start with assuming that this episode will be about half the remaining July eliminations, which is the $287K payout range: Dan Smith starts with pocket Queens, but Scott Palmer goes all-in for 685K with A-3 of diamonds. Billy Pappas has some huge towers of chips that justify calling with J-J.
98K of clubs flop. The turn is a 6, Smith bets and Pappas drops out. Palmer is rescued with a river Ace and stays afloat for a while longer. Starting out slow Lon takes a look at Brian Roberts with the lowest stack (1.3 million), but focus shifts to Kyle Keranen who is in a bit of danger himself with 4.4M. Keranen tests the waters with K-Q. Felix Stephensen in the big blind and his 7-7 is the only taker. 47QJT completes Stephensen’s set and gives Keranen top pair. Stephensen nurtures the pot enough to drop Keranen to about three million chips. Newhouse will pit 9-8 suited against Shawn Dempsey’s pocket Kings.
64Q5J, Newhouse hits the flush on the river. Dempsey bets a half million, Newhouse raises him all-in. Dempsey is our first elimination of the night. Tom Sarra, Jr. loses a modicum of chips to Oscar Kemps when Kemps catches river trips, which sounds like a disease you get from swimming in dirty water. Gradual climb Brian Roberts will go all-in with K-J off-suit. Eddy Sabat will call him with A-Q. Bruno Politano teases us with wired Tens but won’t go for it. 7AT7A, Roberts is also knocked out. Sarra has A-T and wants to recoup his small loss against Andoni Larrabe and his 8-8. Larrabe isn’t in the mood to play around and raises 4.4M, which would put Sarra all-in. Sarra goes for it, the odds are nearly even. QTT46, Sarra and Larrabe trade chip positions. Dan Sindelar’s 9-9 becomes a set on a 749 flop, disappointing Leif Force and his pocket Aces. Force bets anyway, and again after the Jack on the turn, and again with the 6 on the river. Sindelar just lets Force hand over money to him card after card, but scares his opponent off when he tries to push Force all-in. I feel I’m missing the opportunity for a Star Wars joke here. Amateur versus Amateur First timer Scott Mahin has K-J, first timer Billy Pappas has A-K. The flop is T8Q, Pappas has the advantage but Mahin can’t afford to back off so goes all-in. Pappas relents, so Mahin survives for now. But Pappas will show more courage with J-J against William Tonking with A-A. After the 28T flop, Pappas puts Tonking all-in. A 6 and a 4 later, Tonking doubles up to over ten million chips. Pappas declines to just under ten million himself. Bryan Devonshire goes all-in with pocket Tens, Max Senft thinks A-J suited is enough to call him. K2AQ6 and Devo heads home. Senft is in 11th place with 7.76M. Keranen departs Politano bets on wired Kings, and Keranen tries to find an opening with K-Q. Keranen will go all-in, the Brazilian calls. It’s a 9 million chip pot. 6T73, Kyle Keranen will be leaving us. With one of their most favored players exiting, ESPN will have to adjust coverage now. Reeling from this fact, they for some reason decide the eliminations of Yorane Kerignard and Iaron Lightbourne are not dramatic enough to show onscreen. Still no Force puns They do show us Leif Force going all-in with K-Q against the A-T of Chris “The Bassmaster” Greaves. It’s 9TT58, Force is gone. We are two eliminations from the next payout increase. Stephensen will bet with A-T of diamonds. Sabat calls with J-J. Unexpectedly, big blind Martin Jacobson also stays in with 7-5 of hearts. We see 239. Stephensen bets, Sabat calls and Jacobson folds. The turn is a 7 and both check. Stephensen gets his Ace and ekes some more chips from Sabat, climbing to 10.8 for Gentleman Jack’s “Right Move” of the episode. Dan Smith bets his A-K suited. Jorryt van Hoof raises with a pair of Fours. Smith re-raises up to 1.8 million. Van Hoof goes all-in for 6.45M. Smith calls. 238Q3, Dan Smith is suddenly out, to van Hoof’s benefit. That’s it for the tonight’s first episode. Episode 12: The Home Stretch begins Sarra is losing to Sindelar with nothing in his hand, but is willing to bluff for five million chips. Sindelar folds a superior hand but remains chip leader. One more elimination and we’ll reshuffle to the final two tables. Andrey Zaichenko feels like betting on A-5 of clubs. Newhouse with K-Q and Jacobson with 8-7 will both call. KQ8, Newhouse makes both pairs. Zaichenko bets exploratorily, Jacobson folds his low pair. Newhouse just patiently calls. Zaichenko bets another million after the 7 turn, Newhouse stays the course. With a 9 on the river Zaichenko finally checks. Newhouse bets big, Zaichenko scurries away. More Norman bluster Norman insists that Newhouse will not reach the final table in the next three thousand years. Lon takes the opportunity to start listing the stupid bets Norman has made so far, but Norman interrupts him to add one more: climbing the Eiffel Tower in a plaid toga while noshing on greasy fries. Norman goes further than his previous statements, now saying it has nothing to do with Newhouse: no one will succeed in back-to-back November Nine runs with more than six thousand players in the Main Event, it’s just too difficult. Scott Palmer shoves with 2-2 and gets called by Greaves with Aces.
93433, one full house loses to a better full house. Palmer is the final player to make 287K, and we’ll redraw the tables just as soon as Luis Velador finishes his hand with Billy Pappas. Pappas: 6-6. Velador: A-K of diamonds. The flop: 5J5. Velador bets. Turn: 3. River: 3. Pappas bets 700K, Velador calls despite having nothing. Pappas reaches 7th place. Redraw: Good for Newhouse Let’s see some new tables. Half of these players are going to make it now. Half will be going home today. Velador betting again, K-Q. This time he faces Newhouse, who bets with 8-6 suited.
84JT3. Newhouse takes a relatively small pot with his pair. Newhouse is in 5th place, Norman refuses to think about paying up. Newhouse will also call with A-Q against Stephensen with K-Q. The flop is 5Q2. Stephensen bets, Newhouse calls. Jack. Stephensen checks, Newhouse gets aggressive. River is a 6. Newhouse bets more, Stephensen calls and loses to a better kicker. Newhouse is now in 4th with 17 million. With two fairly satisfying hands in a row, Newhouse decides to bet with Q-3 of clubs. Velador with K-Q will call from the big blind. J9Q, once again two players have a pair of Queens on the flop but this time it’s Newhouse with the inferior kicker. Another King for Velador. After a river 9 Velador bets modestly, Newhouse senses he’s lost but the final bet is small enough it’s worth seeing. Of course they’re doing the hat Event #7 in the Side Action Championship is the inevitable “throw cards into a hat.” Hellmuth wins, I again fail to feign enthusiasm. Zaichenko goes all-in with A-J unsuited with 2.6 million against Sindelar’s 8-8.
23Q of spades. Zaichenko is one spade short of a flush. Turn King, now there is also a possible straight. The 9 of spades saves Zaichenko, it’s only a minor injury to Daniel Sindelar. Mahin bluffs a small pot away from Larrabe. He’s still the short stack at his table, so next hand he’ll bet on A-K. Newhouse throws his weight around, raising him to a million chips pre-flop. Mahin goes all-in, Newhouse rewards him with a fold. Newhouse bets with A-9 suited. Stephensen re-raises his A-K. Newhouse four-bets 5M, Stephensen goes all-in for seven million. Newhouse calls, no one knows why.
KQJ, very bad news for Newhouse. An 8 on the turn means his only hope is to both tie with broadway straights. But the final card is a 2, and the two players trade positions. A painful loss for Newhouse. A graceful exit Larrabe is in, he likes A-K of diamonds. The only taker is Mahin, and his T-8 is not confident. He shows no reaction to the 6T8 that appears and checks. Larrabe smells a flush draw and bets 550K; Mahin re-raises to 1.5. Larrabe puts Mahin all-in for 5M.
Larrabe is not pleased to see his Ace against two pair. That Ace becomes a pair on the turn, but the odds are still weak. But the 9 of diamonds completes Larrabe’s flush, and Scott Mahin is gone. Some people would remember this as a bad beat, but the third of a million dollars clearly softens the blow. Kara Scott interviews Mahin on the way out, with tears in his eyes he just looks grateful at the opportunities that have opened for his family as a result of making it this far in his first tournament. One last big hand Zaichenko sits pretty happy with wired Aces, but for some reason Jorryt van Hoof calls with T-6. Amazingly he flops a straight, 987. Zaichenko has no reason to suspect, he calls van Hoof’s 550K bet. A 4 of diamonds means Zaichenko has no chance, Jorryt placidly calls to lure Zaichenko into betting a million chips. After a brief leading hesitation van Hoof raises 5.86 million, putting Zaichenko all-in. Zaichenko takes the bait. We see the pointless King, Zaichenko is knocked out in 17th place. Van Hoof is now in second place with almost 21 million chips, only a tiny bit behind chip leader Daniel Sindelar. Amazing hand there, but the DraftKings.com “King of the Night” will be awarded to newcomer Scott Mahin for an amazing first-time run and for going out with class. There are sixteen players left, we’ll get rid of seven more next week when we finally wrap up July and catch up to the present. Previous Post Next Post episodes|espn|wsop About Ryan Ocello