Hit and Run: California Poker Bill Hearing Underway, Maurice Hawkins Goes Back-to-Back in WSOPC, Prime Time Poker Report on Poker Central

Alex Weldon : April 27th, 2016


The California Assembly Governmental Organization Committee will meet today to vote on the state’s first real bit of online poker legislation. Maurice Hawkins has become the first-ever player to win two consecutive WSOP Circuit events. Poker Central has a new news show featuring PokerNews’s Donnie Peters. Jungleman has a chat with Card Player. And more.

Is this the moment Californian poker players have been waiting for?

California has for a while now been the most likely state to become the fourth to legalize and regulate online poker, joining Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware if it does. A placeholder bill was passed last year to signal the state’s intention to do so, but there have been plenty of bumps in the road since, as even the various groups that would like to see regulation happen don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to the details, since each would like to ensure itself the largest piece of the pie. These include PokerStars owner Amaya, other online operators, the Seminole Indian tribes, and the horse racing industry.

It’s this last group that is responsible for the most provision in Bill AB 2863, which will likely be voted on today. In an attempt to simplify the situation, the bill’s authors have included a $60 million-per-year stipend to the racetracks in return for them agreeing to be excluded from the right to operate online poker services.

PokerNews has a detailed explanation of what will be going on when the California Assembly Governmental Organization Committee meets today. Speakers will include John Pappas for the Poker Players Alliance, plus representatives from the Seminole Indian tribes and the racetracks. One interesting thing to watch will be what is said about the charges laid against Amaya CEO-in-exile David Baazov by Canadian securities regulators, and what if anything that changes; there have been some indications that it might jeopardize the tentative alliance that’s been forming between the tribes and Amaya.

Hawkins makes it two in a row on the Circuit

Last spring, we saw Anthony Zinno make a spot for himself in poker history by winning back-to-back World Poker Tour titles. Now, just over a year later, Maurice Hawkins has repeated the same feat, but in World Series of Poker Circuit Main Events. He took down the WSOPC Council Bluffs Main Event early in the month, and then the Cherokee Main Event this week.

That alone would be impressive enough, but he made the feat all the more impressive by winning an additional $365 side event to start the month off on the right foot, and nearly doing the same at Harrah’s Cherokee, where he took 2nd in a similar event. Not only that, but after that first victory, he called his shot on Twitter, stating that he felt at the top of his game and sure that he’d win a second event in the same month. Three was probably a surprise even for him, and a feat that only two others have accomplished before him.

Hawkins now has seven WSOPC rings in total, and one more month like this would be enough to give him that record as well; the current frontrunner is Alexandru Mask, who holds nine.

Quick Hitters

- ICYMI, Daniel “Jungleman” Cates did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, in which he mentioned Tom Dwan losing a massive pot to set over set in a nosebleed cash game. Card Player reached out to Cates for an interview, but unfortunately most of what goes on in those games is a secret, and Cates wasn’t able to add much in the way of detail.

- Well, that was quick. Sweden’s “C Darwin2″ is back on top of the PocketFives leaderboard, retaking his throne from fellow countryman Niklas “lena900″ Åstedt, who had briefly displaced him. C Darwin2’s real identity is still unknown, but he’s certainly been making an impression in online tournaments these past few months.

- PartTimePoker writer and usual Hit and Run compiler Steve Ruddock is busy covering the aforementioned California legislation hearing, but an article of his went up at Online Poker Report this morning, discussing the importance of security code audits in regulated online gambling. This is a somewhat technical subject, but in a nutshell, it means legislators reading the actual computer code used to generate random results, rather than simply studying the output to ensure that it’s really random; the code audit is more intrusive for the companies in question, but catches some types of “backdoors” and security holes that statistical analysis can miss.

- Over at Legal Sports Report, Dustin Gouker makes some predictions about what the regulatory landscape for daily fantasy sports might look like at the end of 2016.

- Poker Central, the “24/7 poker channel,” will now have a general purpose poker news show called Prime Time Poker Report, featuring none other than Donnie Peters, the Editor-in-Chief of PokerNews.

- As someone who’s in the process of adjusting from online MTTs to live play, I’ve written a strategy piece in which I take a look the commonalities I’ve found between counter-striking in boxing and level three thinking in low-stakes live tournaments.

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