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Payment Provider Ukash Unveils New Cash Out Service

Poker players or online casino gamers who use Ukash, the popular provider of secure online payments, will be pleased to hear of a new feature recently unveiled by the company.

The development is a new cash out service, which allows users to convert their Ukash credit back into physical cash at any Paypoint outlet or Bank Machine ATM in the UK.

If you have racked up some extra cash in your online poker or casino account, or just have some extra Ukash you'd like to withdraw, the new service will allow you to obtain a cash withdrawal code to take to any of the convenient Ukash outlets. The code is unique and 19-digits so you know you it will be secure and will work properly with your account.

Individuals who wish to perform a cash withdrawal must first perform an Identity Check with Ukash to verify. This will involve providing two forms of identification and is clearly explained on the Ukash website.

Just about all the major online poker rooms, including Full Tilt, Titan Poker, Party Poker, Poker Stars and many more, accept Ukash deposits. The service is perfect for players who might not want to enter their credit card information online in order to fund their account. (Or those who might not have a credit or debit card.)

Ukash is available at over 420,000 outlets worldwide, including shops, gas stations, kiosks and ATMs, and is really growing in popularity in Europe. The official website has a handy store locator to zero in on the spot closest to you.

It doesn't deal solely with poker and gaming, but that is one sector that has been used widely. Others include communication, dating, gaming, finance and shopping. Some of the features users like are its ease of use, safety and privacy. It's quite easy to

Ukash was founded in 2005 and has been expanding and improving ever since then. In 2011 the company earned a spot in the Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100 and has been awarded a Queen's Award for Enterprise (International Trade Category) by HM the Queen three years running.

The best place to keep up with their new services is on the Ukash Facebook Page. It's an active community where you can offer your opinions, stay informed, get support using the company's app, and even to enter to win prizes periodically. Whether you're an avid poker player looking for a new deposit option or just someone who could use a new way to pay online, Ukash is definitely worth a look.

Will Online Poker Be Legal Soon? Maybe at State Level

Lately I've been waiting for some good news on the online poker front but there hasn't been too much. My Full Tilt money is still hopefully tied up although the wheels do seem to be grinding slowly. If you played on Full Tilt, what are you thinking about all this?

Then there's the issue of legalization. If I had to guess, I think someone will soon put forth a bill to allow states to regulate the online game (Harry Reid ended up declining to do so last month during Congress's lame duck session) but even if that happens, it won't be the same type of poker with the limited player pool.

Don't get me wrong, good players would be able to win and there likely would be a big influx of soft money due to the newfound legality, but I'm still not too optimistic the games will be great. I hope it happens and I'm proved wrong!

In my opinion, budgets will only get tighter as we move forward in 2013 and I think it will be difficult to ignore the taxes that could be collected if online poker is legalized. We will all have to stay tuned.


Book Review: The Beginner's Guide to Poker


The Beginner’s Guide to Poker by Golden Riviera Casino delivers just what you’d expect and more: a thorough but interesting introduction to the game of poker, including its history, rules, variations as well as key strategies you’ll need to know before hitting the tables. It’s perfect for poker newbies, although there still is plenty to learn for players who already have some familiarity.

Before getting into the book’s content proper, I feel I must give some mention to its physical qualities. In today’s immediate publishing environment, it’s easy to quickly dash off an e-book without anything special in the graphics department. This one, on the other hand, is a joy to look at. Attractive layout and images, good use of color, and sidebars filled with quotes, interesting facts, and additional visuals all make the reading experience more enjoyable.

But never judge a book by its cover, they say; nor its pretty layout. And the content of The Beginner’s Guide to Poker delivers as well. After a brief introduction to the game of poker and its mathematical, strategic and emotional nature, it jumps right into its origins.

Despite being an experienced poker player myself, I nevertheless learned a few things from this section. I especially enjoyed the point that there are a couple of different versions of poker’s history and historians are not in complete accordance as to what went down. The history lesson quickly launches into the present day, explaining how the development of poker strategy books in the 70s and 80s, online casinos in the 90s, and televised tournaments in the 2000s have all revolutionized the game.

The author describes the poker boom as a journey from a game to a sport, and shows how the industry got to today’s staggering size. But in addition to telling tales of multi-million dollar prizes, the book focuses on business realities. Directly following the history is a section explaining how online poker rooms make a profit, which is key for all players to understand.

The book then shifts from historical context to actionable advice with an in-depth exploration of the actual gameplay of poker. This section is perfect for new players, as it starts from the very beginning, including betting structures and procedures. Due to the many different variations of poker, though, it quickly becomes necessary to explain the complexity and different rules. The author here comes up with an effective solution: presenting first the main categories of games and then the popular variations for each category. With dozens of different games, including Q-Ball, Spit in the Ocean, Crazy Pineapple and Chowaha, poker novices will certainly not run out of new variations to call during dealer’s choice anytime soon. The section also includes a popular but often ignored variation: video poker.

The next section is one of the most important for a poker beginner: the hand rankings. From one pair all the way up to a straight flush, each hand value is clearly explained and supplemented by a helpful illustration.
After this, the book gets into additional betting rules and some key poker concepts such as the game of bluffing and common tells. One thing to remember when reading this part is that any one of these ideas requires a book of its own (if not more) to fully describe it.

Readers should consider the section on signs to look for when your opponent is bluffing, for example, as a mere introduction to the world of poker psychology, not hard and fast rules to memorize and follow in every game. Snapping off a bluff solely on the basis of a physical tell may be a romantic and exciting conception of great poker play, but it doesn’t always happen that way in real life. These types of tells are also completely dependent on context, including the poker variation, the stakes of the game, the caliber of the opponents, and more. What may be the best play in $1/$2 Texas Hold’em does not hold true for $5/$10, and it’s in a completely different world than stud or draw poker. Beginning poker players in low stakes games would be much better served to start to learn how to observe their opponents’ betting patters and categorize them into tight/loose and passive/aggressive players rather than try to pick up on gestures. Nevertheless, the section is compelling and goes over most of the popular poker tells.

Since the vast majority of poker shown on TV and played in tournaments is Texas Hold’em, it’s likely that some beginners would want to launch right into that variety and start learning winning strategies. That really isn’t the point of this book, which gives equal weight to all the main poker types and goes over techniques that work in any poker game. Those who are interested in learning about the exciting history of this great game and how to get started playing it, The Beginner’s Guide to Poker is the perfect book.

Playing Poker on Sportsbook.com: Notes

Post-Black Friday, US players are naturally looking for places where they can still play poker. Sportsbook.com, on the Merge network along with PlayersOnly, is a top rated sportsbook that has made significant improvements to their poker software after upgrading to PlayAces software.

They offer a wide variety of different cash games, MTTs and SnGs and while the player pool naturally can't touch the former levels of Full Tilt Poker before its shutdown, there have been many active games every time I've checked. Unfortunately, as I just learned after doing a little research, Sportsbook.com has pulled out of the US market earlier this year, so no new US players can sign up for a real money account. This was a decision by the company that owns these Merge network properties as well as Superbook on the Cake network.

So if you already had an account on Sportsbook.com before May 1 of this year, you can continue to play. If you didn't, however, you're unfortunately out of luck.

The site is enjoying an influx of new players as former FTPers bounce flock to sites that are still available. So if you have an old Sportsbook.com account sitting there collecting dust, you might want to resurrect it. It's not perfect, but it does offer some quality poker.

Effects of Black Friday on the 2011 WSOP

Ever since Chris Moneymaker's win in the 2003, the WSOP fields have been growing at incredible rates: the 2010 main event featured over 7,300 players and the total prize pool for the series was nearly $200,000,000.

Many of these entrants win their spots via online satellites, many of which are run by Full Tilt and Poker Stars. Of course, these mega-sites have been shut down by recent US Department Of Justice indictments, announced on a day which has come to be known as Black Friday.

How is the 2011 WSOP being affected? So far at least, it seems to still be going just about as strong as would have been expected without the big shutdowns. The 2011 WSOP began on May 31st, and there are 58 events scheduled, one more than last year. Many of the online players are cut off from their bankrolls as Full Tilt especially is struggling to find the funds to pay them. Live satellites at the WSOP will most likely become even more hotly contested than ever before.

Other interesting areas to watch will be the number of players in the lower-stakes and major events, the sponsored products worn by players as well as the way the media covers the event in such an uncertain climate.

Home Game Report

I haven't had many opportunities to sit down for a home poker game recently, so when my roommate and a few friends were getting a game together yesterday, I gladly joined in. Little did I know, the game would end up teaching me an interesting lesson.

I’ve always thought about what it would be like to play ring games without thinking at all about the money. That is, if my only goal is to amass as many chips as I can, instead of focusing on winning twenty of fifty dollars, I figure I would make much better and rational decisions.

Turns out, this is exactly what happened to me in this game. When I joined in, the guy who brought the chips handed me my stack and said how much it was worth in total, but then told me the chips themselves would be worth 1, 2 and 5. Although this seemed rather odd to me, I guess those guys usually play this way and wait until the game is over to calculate who is up and who is down.

After a few rounds, I had no idea if I was up or down, and decided to just focus on playing good poker.

I’ve found that I sometimes get much more conservative when I have a small win going, and if I have a big stack, I tend to play looser and make more aggressive moves. Now of course, I don't do this consciously, but nevertheless, it happens.

Yesterday, however, I wasn't thinking about wins, losses or any dollar signs; just trying to get as many chips as I could. And I was able to make much better long-term decisions, instead of being affected by results-oriented thinking for the session.

When the game was over, I was happy to see that this philosophy worked out. I thought I was only up by a few dollars, but when I cashed out, I was happy to see I had almost doubled my buy-in.