The reels are always spinning in the gambling industry, and “The Double Down” is here every Friday to catch you up on all of the week’s biggest news. Sports Handle’s “Get a Grip” rounds up everything on the sports betting side, and US Bets provides the best of the rest: brick-and-mortar happenings, online casino developments, poker headlines, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.
Hero call confirmed (ish), WSOP schedule set
Poker requires a combination of skill and luck, and the poker news cycle consists of a combination of the scheduled and the unscheduled. Whether playing the game or covering it, you do what you can to prepare yourself for success, but those unpredictable elements often determine your fate.
I was the editor-in-chief of a poker magazine for the better part of 10 years, so I know of what I speak. You had your tournament calendar, which gave you a decent sense week in and week out of what you were likely to be covering. And then you had those weird, wacky stories that popped up without warning and forced you to shuffle your editorial plans.
The poker news gods have delivered a prime example of each type of story in the past week.
First, the predictable one: The bedrock of the live tournament poker calendar, the annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, announced its key 2023 dates on Monday. The series, returning for its 54th year and its second at Bally’s (soon to be the Horseshoe) and Paris on the Strip, will run from May 30-July 18, with the Main Event starting July 3.
The full schedule isn’t out yet, but perhaps the most notable new tourney is one starting June 7 called “Gladiators of Poker,” with the lowest buy-in ever for a live WSOP tournament, $300.
The biggest story in the poker world in 2022, however, had nothing to do with the WSOP and wasn’t in any way a scheduled event. It was the livestreamed cash-game hand that launched a million debates, in which amateur Robbi Jade Lew made an unorthodox call with J-4 against pro Garrett Adelstein, leading to cheating allegations and all manner of spin-off stories. Well, the controversy neared a possible conclusion on Wednesday, when Hustler Casino Live released the findings of a purportedly thorough, independent investigation into the hand.
The short version of the upshot: Lew made a legit, cheating-free, don’t-try-this-at-home hero call. Or at least there’s no evidence to indicate otherwise. In the investigators’ words, “no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing related to the Sept. 29 hand was found.”
Adelstein seems to have accepted the results of the investigation, more or less …
1/2: I was heartened reading the details regarding several security measures HCL has implemented. Security vulnerabilities are THE existential threat facing the poker livestreams we all love, and thus these updates are a win for everyone in our industry. https://t.co/BSLw4MST3i
— Garrett Adelstein (@GmanPoker) December 14, 2022
… but not to the point of publicly apologizing for accusing Lew of cheating or indicating he’ll return her money.
So maybe this bizarre chapter hasn’t totally finished its run through the poker news cycle just yet.
This week on Gamble On …
Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s welcomed Simplebet co-founder and CEO Chris Bevilacqua, who analyzed the present and future of microbetting and explained the tech concepts behind the constant setting and resetting of these play-by-play markets:
How does #microbetting work — how is a new betting market for every pitch of a baseball game created and graded in seconds? @SimplebetHQ CEO Chris Bevilacqua breaks it down on the latest episode of the Gamble On podcast: https://t.co/WPy4JhIWVQ pic.twitter.com/MMQEHmXx0r
— US Bets (@US_Bets) December 16, 2022
Every twist in this story is innnnsaaaaane
Keystone State scores a Wynn
Start spreadin’ the reve-news …
Jump in, the water’s warm
You won’t be ‘oh so bored’ reading this
Gotta hand it to them
It’s a go in Chicago
Spin like an Egyptian
“What a shock to see that money in my account,” Marley noted in a BetMGM press release. “My family is going to be in for a treat on Christmas.”
The Egyptian-themed online slot is based on the popular IGT brick-and-mortar casino game.
“BetMGM congratulates Marley on her incredible win,” said Alex Limesand, the director of VIP Casino at BetMGM. “We’re thrilled to continue to give players great experiences and the opportunity to win big prizes like this.”
— Jeff Edelstein
Virginia casino (singular) revenue report
It won’t last forever, but for now, the Virginia Lottery has the easiest job of any regulator in any state when it comes to monthly casino revenue reporting.
Since it opened its temporary facility on the site of the former Bristol Mall on July 8, Hard Rock Bristol has been the lone casino operating in Virginia. So Hard Rock revenue figures and total Virginia revenue figures are one and the same.
In November, the casino’s 870 slots generated $10.4 million in adjusted gross revenue, while its 21 table games produced $2.2 million in AGR. Those numbers are down from $11.3 million and $2.9 million, respectively, in October, resulting in a total AGR decline of 10.5% from the previous month. The state collected $2.28 million in taxes from Hard Rock Bristol in November.
— Eric Raskin
More from around the gaming biz
FUELING HIS FIRE: Lawmaker targets gas station gambling in Missouri [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
INVESTING IN NY CASINO OPPORTUNITY: Bet on Gaming Holdings, LLC launches brick & mortar casino fund [press release]
HOLD’EM HOLD UP: ‘Scared me to death’ — North Carolina man charged for poker room robbery at Beau Rivage, police say [WDAM7]
SEASON OF GIVING: California: Sycuan Casino Resort donates $187,000 to San Diego charities as part of holiday program [CDC Gaming Reports]
CHANGE THE STATION: Station Casinos looks to build 600-room hotel-casino in Henderson [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
ACCORD WITH CORDISH? Cordish unveils $1.4 billion plan for casino resort in Petersburg [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
ROCK UNSTEADY: Hard Rock hits pause on planned hotel adjacent to Northwest Indiana casino [The Times of Northwest Indiana]
Image: Blundell Design