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Author: Ian Pope

On Late Night Poker…

Whilst reading ESPN the other day I came across a link talking about Phil Hellmuth Jr. winning yet another World Series of Poker bracelet and it started taking me back. You see many years ago I would watch a TV show called Late Night Poker, which was broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. It was the first time that Poker had been shown on TV in the UK and it quickly became a late night hit amongst young people.

The under the table cameras brought a unique insight into what was going on and it brought in a brand new wave of poker enthusiasts to the sport. Without these then it would be extremely difficult for poker to ever succeed as a spectator sport, who would want to watch several people sitting around a table and only know what was going on when the cards were turned over? There is a big difference between playing poker and watching it on TV.

Players who appeared on this show, which started nearly nearly two decades ago are still fresh in the mind. The aforementioned Hellmuth won Season 3 and was one of the big stars but people like Devilfish, Ross & Barney Boatman and Ram Vaswani quickly became names and faces that the casual fan would know.

What Late Night Poker did however was slow-play the way in which the viewer would find out exactly what cards all the players around the table had. Instead of just showing all hands on screen, which is the norm nowadays, the producer would only show one or two hands, putting the person at home in the position of trying to work out what they might do if they were in the position of the players whose hand we hadn’t seen.

In 2017, Josh Hesp, a 67 year-old man who runs a caravan park in Bridlington became the second biggest winner from the UK, having secured just over £2,000,000 for his fourth placed finish at the main event. Playing in the Main Event was part of his bucket list and it sure was a change of scenery compared to his local casinos in Hull. Wgilst he didn’t win, this payout is part of the legacy of the original Late Night Poker as its brand of poker, No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em wasn’t very popular in the United Kingdom before the TV show. Since then however it has become the bread and butter version of the card game played across these four nations.

It would help spawn a whole new group of people who would go on to create poker schools or get involved in the internet revolution that has enabled fans of card games, slot games and the like to play from the comfort of their own PC or laptop. One of these website is NetBet Casino. With several video poker options along with a variety of slot games and roulette tables, it is a one stop shop for the online gambler.

Late Night Poker helped create a poker school that I was part of in the early 2000s. The stakes weren’t high, maybe the winner won a bag of doughnuts or a pint from the other players but it was extremely enjoyable. The show was revolutionary and if Channel 4 wanted to bring it back, I’m pretty sure it would be a late night hit once more…

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On the top five fantasy football sleepers…

Take a look at the roster of any championship Fantasy Football team after the season is over, and inevitably you’re going to see a guy or two who was drafted way lower than his production should have warranted. The key to winning your upcoming fantasy league is getting upper round production from mid to late round draft picks.

Your fantasy football draft is right around the corner, and here are five players who have a chance to make a big impact from later draft position. If you haven’t set up your league yet, or if you’re looking for one more league before the season starts, sites like Playdraft are easy to use and offer great options for fantasy football.

1) Jameis Winston – QB, Buccaneers

This year, Jameis Winston is getting drafted with an average draft position of early in the second round, the 8th quarterback off the board. While Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr are the young quarterbacks everyone are talking about taking the next step, Winston is the guy who might surpass them both. Last year, Winston bumped his touchdowns thrown up by 6, and there’s no reason he can’t take another step this year. Meanwhile, his rushing touchdowns fell from 6 to 1 from 2015 to 2016 while his rushing attempts stayed the same. If he managed to tally a few more rushing TDs while improving through the air, Winston is a top 5 QB.

2) Joe Mixon – RB, Bengals

Mixon is coming off the board as the 20th running back selected, with an ADP of the 4th round. That’s too low for a guy who would have been a surefire first round pick had it not been for character concerns, and who finds himself the primary running back in a Cincinnati offense with some real weapons in the passing game. Mixon has a chance to be a top 10 running back this year.

3) Christian McCaffrey – RB, Panthers

Another rookie running back, McCaffrey is being picked as the 15th running back on average, with a 3rd round ADP. In other words, he’s being picked a full round later than a guy like Jordan Howard, who’s on a terrible Bears offense and will face stacked boxes all season long. McCaffrey, on the other hand, will benefit from defenses having to stop Cam Newton first and foremost, and his first round pedigree attests to formidable talent. McCaffrey has top 5 potential this year.

4) Josh Doctson – WR, Redskins

All the way down as the 64th wideout taken, with an ADP in the 14th round, Doctson is a deep sleeper who might pay big dividends in 2017. The Redskins lost Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson to free agency, so someone’s going to have to step up and catch passes from talented QB Kirk Cousins. Enter Doctson, the 2015 first round draft pick. The Redskins will give Doctson every opportunity to break out, and he could easily be a top 30 wide receiver this year.

5) John Brown – WR, Cardinals

Brown is being drafted as the 43rd wide receiver off the board with an ADP of the 9th round, which offers plenty of value for the explosive wideout. 2016 was a down year, but only a year ago Brown put up over 1,000 yards and 7 scores. Some early training camp injury woes put a bit of a damper on Brown’s fantasy luster, but a strong performance in preseason game 3 showed hes ready to go this year. As the number two wide receiver in a strong Arizona offense, Brown should put up big fantasy numbers, possibly cracking the top 20 wide receivers in value.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

On legality of online gambling in Canada…

When you are talking about the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, one of the important things regarding getting licensed with them is that the casino platform must be hosted on secure servers based in the land of Kahnawake itself and nowhere else. Although many have raised questions about the legality I often indulge in Royal Vegas online casino games in Canada, but of late have been wondering if online gambling is actually illegal or legal in Canada?!

As more and more people start to use the internet and online world every day, this is something I felt was worth clarifying. I looked up the length and breadth of the Internet, but couldn’t find a conclusive answer to that question! Some people say yes, some say no; eventually what I figured is that you can gamble legally in Canada only at places licensed by the government of Canada. Technically, that would mean gambling on the Internet is illegal in Canada, unless of course you play at Provincial casinos running on the Internet. Although majority of provinces in Canada are actively launching their own online casinos, they’re limiting their usage only to the residents of those provinces. Gambling on the whole falls in a fairly grey area in Canada as no specific law, allowing or disallowing has been written so far.

Can you get prosecuted?

Regardless, there is a very old Canadian law as per which its considered unlawful for a person to be present inside a ‘common betting house!’ This could possibly be used against anyone who indulges in gambling on the Internet, but no one in Canada has been prosecuted so far. If we talk about prosecution, even in the United States, where there are clear laws against online gambling, it’s pretty rare for a person to get charged. One of the cases to have come to light in that regard is that of a person who had to pay $500 in fine as he had won $100,000 playing poker on the Internet in US. US authorities have for long been targeting only companies and banks that facilitate online gambling transactions for the players from United States, instead of going after individuals.

Here in Canada, the attitude is comparatively relaxed. Apparently, provinces are taking things as they come and have opened their own Internet casino establishments to compete with others. There has only been one case of an online casino getting charged in Canada, which was way back in year 2001; and that’s the only one so far to do with online gambling.

About Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Quebec

Another interesting fact not many casino players are aware of is that a good number of online casinos are actually regulated and licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission based in Quebec, Canada. This commission has been involved in such regulation and licensing business for online gaming industry since 1999, much longer compared to any other gambling jurisdiction in the world. An important restriction placed by them on any casino of this gaming commission operating out of Canada, for so many years now, no action has been taken against it as yet.

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On the ‘special’ relationship between Trump and the UK…

Since Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th president of the United States and the rest of the world watched that hand-holding moment between Theresa May and Trump during her visit to Washington, it’s safe to say that there have been some awkward questions posed about the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US. As a country, it is safe to say that Britain has found it hard to come to terms with Donald Trump, TV personality and thin-skinned businessman, being elected for president. His win (not by popular vote, mind!) came as a particularly damning blow when there was repeated evidence that he did all manner of terrible things that would, in any other situation, be deemed completely unacceptable. So what does a future of working alongside Donald Trump look like for the UK?

One thing that has caught the attention of so many people is the similarities between UK’s Brexit and the US’s decision to make Trump president. It seems that there is a growing frustration amongst certain groups of people in both countries – mainly those from a working class background and who are white – that feel underrepresented and disheartened with their country. This begs the question of whether the US and Britain will find a common purpose and look to solve issues that have previously been ignored by other governments?

In fact, people seem to feel so disheartened with the election of Donald Trump, that there has been an abundance of online and offline mockeries regarding the President. Firstly, there are the memes found across social media on a daily basis, and then there’s a number of online games like the Ladbrokes Trump White House game where you can actually paint the White House and have an apocalyptic background – all created in ‘honour’ of the new President.

A vision of Trump's White House come 2020...?
A vision of Trump’s White House come 2020…?

Despite the May-Trump alliance however, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to snub Donald Trump during her visit to the US, and the UK has already created a number of mocking murals regarding the ‘special relationship’ between Trump and the UK Prime Minister.

Many people are also wondering what the special relationship between the UK and US will mean for the Special Forces, nuclear weapons and intelligence services in the UK. It is wondered whether the relationship between Trump and May will remain strong when it comes to something as tentative as nuclear proliferation and war, to name but a few. With Trump also being hinted as being in close communication with Putin and the Russian government, this could cause massive problems when it comes to developing improved relations between the UK and US.

Some are labelling the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US at the moment as a way of ensuring Britain’s security when it comes down to trade post-Brexit. Many people are fearing that the lack of definitive deal making between Britain and the EU when it comes to trade agreements means that the UK is fearing what this will mean when it comes down to our economy and place in the world when it comes to selling our goods and services. Uncertainty has proven to be a massively powerful tool when it comes predicting the future of the UK and, with the value of the pound falling, it seems we have more reason to cling on to America’s support than ever before.

Diving Into The Deep Unknown

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the special relationship between the US and the UK is that many claim that we are jumping into the unknown. All that we know about the President of the United States thus far is based from what he has said and what he had done in the last few months. As Trump is proven to be easily angered and erratic in his behaviour, it is difficult to know what steps Theresa May, for example, should be taking.

Ultimately, Britain needs to be keeping a close eye on its future, which gives rise to the significance of the relationship between Trump and May. It seems best, at least for now, to watch how President Trump goes about his presidency and watch his every move rather than disregard him entirely. As they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

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An ode to the Cheltenham Festival (10th – 13th March)

When the Cheltenham Festival begins on March 10th the excitable crowd of 75,000 spectators in the Grandstand will honour an age old tradition as the tape is cut for the opening Supreme Novices Hurdle. The normal, gentle buzz of noise will become a throaty rumble which is so iconic it has acquired its own name – the Cheltenham Roar.

The Cheltenham area has a long association with racing; the first event called the “Cheltenham Gold Cup”, now the name of the festival’s most prestigious race, was run in July 1819. By 1860 there was an established National Hunt Meeting at Cheltenham – the first direct precursor to the modern festival. However it wasn’t until the current course was established at Prestbury Park, in 1904, that the “Cheltenham Festival” was officially established. After a hiatus it returned in 1911 whence it has continued from strength to strength – save for 2 extended pauses rudely imposed by our German cousins.

Part of The Festival’s magic is that the 2 courses at Prestury Park (the “old” and “new” courses), are particularly challenging and can wrongfoot even the most powerful thoroughbreds. The new course, in particular, has a downhill fence and a gruelling run in for steeplechasers; while hurdle races have the majority of their jumps early – with only two fences in the last 7 furlongs. This requires that champion horses are able to jump well but also keep pace in a long final leg.

In recent years animal rights protesters have begun focusing their attention on the big festivals – particularly Aintree and Cheltenham. The tough courses and large fields at marquee events leads to a higher risk of serious injury for both jockeys and riders. In fact Animal Aid claim that 4x as many horses have died at Cheltenham as on any other British racecourse since 2007. Although this could be a statistical fluke, but it is unfortunately true that in the last several years horses have been put down at each Festival. It can be quite a disturbing sight to see a writhing horse covered by vets and destroyed – but for the moment the racing community is averse to significant change. Last year jockey Ruby Walsh received death threats after downplaying the significance of horse fatalities, so it seems the public may not agree.

Nowadays, The Festival is run over 4 days; which this year are 10th-13th March. During that time Cheltenham plays host to a circus of owners, trainers, jockeys, press, paparazzi, bookies and, of course, over 250,000 raucous spectators determined to get the most from this spectacular event. Bookmakers will swarm the tote pool at Cheltenham – where slatted chalkboard are only just being replaced by digital screens. Although plenty of cash will change hands there, most of the £600m wagered over the 4 day event will be online or at high street shops.

For British bookmakers Coral, preparations for Cheltenham start months in advance. Every race featuring a potential contender is methodically examined for information which could affect pricing – a fractional mistake in offered odds could take millions from the bottom line. Like several other bookies they also sponsor one of Cheltenham’s premier races – The Coral Cup.

The Festival is firmly rooted in tradition – not surprising as members of the Royal Family are frequent visitors. The Queen, who owns a stable of racecourses, has fielded entries to the Cheltenham Gold Cup and members of the family including The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made appearances in recent years.

We’ll also be treated to full page newspaper spreads after Cheltenham’s “Ladies Day” on March 11th. Racing takes a back seat to fashion as elaborate dresses and enormous (some might say ridiculous) hats take centre stage. However the day after, St. Patrick’s Day, has a completely different tone and becomes a raucous day long celebration of Ireland and the Irish!

The Cheltenham Festival is a peculiarly British event which soldiers on oblivious to changes in the social fibre or animal rights norms of the general population. Like it or loathe it, you’re bound to hear a lot more about Cheltenham as the big day approaches.

Another good festival away from Horse Racing is the Gŵyl Beaumaris Festival which is great way to spend a day in May. This year sees it celebrate its 30th anniversary.

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Looking at the rise of online activity in our lives…

Every so often we collaborate with partners on articles and today is one of those occasions. Here is a piece about the modern day world and how the internet plays an important part in our lives. It kinda hits home. I hope you enjoy…

I’m not the most social of people, let’s get that one out of the way. While I enjoy the company of others, I’m most certainly not averse to my own company – and without the internet, I must admit, I might have gotten all to used to my own company.

It is my lifeline to friends, the framework for me to work closer to understanding exactly what I want in life, and the canvas on which this blog sits; it is an incredibly important part of my life, as it is with everyone’s, but why? What has changed since the internet came into being, in people, that made it so instrumentally important? I think it’s largely to do with sociability.

Studies such as the one linked above suggest that people are becoming, in some cases, less sociable as a result of the internet. I counter this, with the thought that maybe what it means to be sociable has changed. Let’s have a look at what the internet offers in these terms.

The obvious candidates for increased sociability are the Facebooks, WhatsApps and skypes of the world, that reach over oceans and country borders, giving voices to millions of people who might not have had it before. The reach is outstanding. But these we know about. What about other kinds of interactivity?

The ever-increasing, exponential popularity of online, interactive games is a particularly illuminating facet of this new-social phenomenon. With the arrival of online gaming sites such as www.casinosagafans.com, social consciousness makes a very deliberate move from the literal world to this internet world, taking part in a shared interactive experience and ultimately socially benefiting from it, without tangible communication! There is a community, and you are voicelessly interacting within that community, sharing experiences not with language or communication but by a sort of interweb-osmosis.

What I mean to say is that with the advent of the internet and this new kind of social interactivity, the way we go about sociability in the first place is fundamentally altered. In some cases dsciability is mapped closer to the act of watching a film in a cinema than the conversations before or after: shared experience without necessary communication! Of course, this is a small drop in a big ocean of ultra-tangible communication, and not the complete and utter truth – indeed the world would be a lot sadder if it was the absolute case. But the mistake made when discussing our relationship with the internet, beyond our extended communicative reach to friends and family around the world thanks to Skype and Facebook, is the assumption that we are becoming more lonely, more introverted. And it couldn’t be further from the truth.

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