World Series of Poker Ratings Fall 8%

ESPN’s ratings for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) are down 8% for the first two broadcasts this year compared to 2008 according to Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily has learned that ESPN’s coverage of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has experienced an 8% dip in television ratings through two weeks to 0.72. Last year, the mark was 0.78.

In addition to ratings seeing an 8% slide, household impressions also fell, albeit a modest 5%. The total number of household impressions through two weeks of the 2009 WSOP was 714,904, compared with last year’s tally of 750,315. Four one-hour episodes have aired so far, with 26 more comprising coverage of the Ante Up for Africa charity tournament and the prestigious $10,000 buy-in Main Event.

Things look bad, but the news isn’t “fall off the table” bad.

Figures released after the July 28th kickoff telecast revealed that viewers were up 2% among men age 18 to 34. The number of viewers age 25 to 54 was up a commanding 16% after the first episode of the 2009 WSOP debuted on ESPN and the number of viewers age 18 to 49 was on par with the 2008 broadcast. The first telecast of the 2009 WSOP on ESPN featured the $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament commemorating the 40th running of the WSOP. In the end, Vitaly Lunkin dominated the 201 player field en route to a $1.9 million first place prize. He defeated Isaac Haxton heads-up in a star-studded final table that also included Greg Raymer, Ted Forrest, Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo, and Alec “traheho” Torelli.

I’ve been watching poker on television for about 6-7 years now.  This is the first year in that time that I haven’t watched the WSOP.  There’s a lot of competition for my attention on TV, internet and real life.  Additionally, poker is on a wide array of TV channels, which dilutes the marketplace and lowers desire for many to watch.

I’m not very different then the rest of America in that my attention span is short.  I’m not watching many TV shows that I watched 5 years ago – if any.  ESPN noticed this was coming and changed the format of the WSOP last year and added a celebrity event this year.  They’re doing what they can to hold on to their viewers.  I’m just not one of them.

Ballys Sports Book to Open Soon

Bally’s sports book is set to open on August after being closed earlier this year.  The opening coincides with football season.

The Bally’s Race and Sports Book will reopen with an all-new roster of offerings just in time for football season. Beginning Aug. 26, the full-service sports book will celebrate the re-opening with an exclusive VIP viewing area, celebrity appearances by well-known sports figures, “text-to-win” promotions and drink specials galore.

The recently added VIP Lounge offers sports enthusiasts the ultimate opportunity to enjoy their favorite game in High Definition. Complete with comfy couches and sports memorabilia, the VIP area can accommodate up to 100 guests for an exclusive game day experience

The sports book opens on schedule after being closed for the slow sports betting period of the summer.  Now that football is back there will be demand for greater sports book capacity.

It’s nice to see that Bally’s was able to re-open the sports book.  It shows that there is a little stability in the economy.  I would be concerned if the sports book didn’t open again.  Alas, we can breath easier.  This is another sign that football season is getting closer!

Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer is one of my favorite times to bet on baseball.  By this time I can get a good gauge on which teams can hit and which pitchers are having a good year.

Lately, I’ve been looking to parlay my bets when I see two or more mismatches on the same day.  If you follow me on twitter, you can see when and who I bet.  I try to check the match ups every morning, but usually get side tracked from making picks by my fantasy baseball teams.

I’m bringing this up now because football season is upon us and for many the excitement of the season gets ahead of playing the match ups.

The beast weapon a sports bettor has is data.  I like to bet with strengths and against the weak.  This is a reminder to me and those that gamble like me to go after mismatches in baseball and to keep the excitement under control for football season.

If you frequent ECG, you know I do all of my sports betting from home on  It’s easy to start an account and easy to navigate as long as you stay away from horse betting.  I had an issue at the Preakness.  It was annoying, but I got paid what I was due.

Bet on Baseball at

The Government Wants You To Gamble

Legalized gambling has exploded over the past few years and there’s more on the way.  Various members of the government have discussed why they’re approving more gambling in their states with Bloomberg.  The simple reason is that there is less tax revenue coming into the states and gambling is a way to help.

Three U.S. states are pushing plans for video poker and slot machines as their legislators hope gambling income will compensate for declines in taxes.

Ohio lawmakers passed a budget last week that includes $933 million in projected revenue from 17,500 slot machines to be installed by May at horse-racing tracks statewide. Illinois legalized video poker in taverns to raise $300 million annually to support $31 billion in infrastructure improvements.

Pennsylvania would get a projected $550 million a year by legalizing video poker in bars, according to a bill awaiting consideration in the state’s House of Representatives.

I love to gamble, but for me part of the allure was that it wasn’t something I could just do anywhere.  I’m sure I’m different than most people that gamble and I don’t see myself changing, but at some point enough is enough.

This opens up quite a few questions.  What will payouts be for these casinos?  When will marijuana become legal?  When will prostitution become legal?  Where will it end?

Budgets never seem to get smaller and there will always be a need for revenue.  I’m not the moral compass for anyone but myself, but these are questions that can be asked.  I’ll just stick to gambling because that’s more fun for me.

Slot Machine Payouts – July 13

The latest slot machine payouts from Gambling Teachers was released on July 13th.  I missed June payouts, but it seems as if payouts are slightly less than the May reports.  These payouts include all machines: video poker, keno and slots.

I only post the areas where I visit, but you can find the full report on  The following are total machine payout %’s for all denominations.

Atlantic  City Payout %
Borgata         91.7
Trump Taj Mahal     91.4 *
Resorts         91.4 *
Harrah’s        91.3 *

Mohegan Sun        91.5 *
Foxwoods         91.4 *

Reno             95.1
North Las Vegas     94.0 *
Downtown Las Vegas     93.4 *
Las Vegas Strip     92.8 *
Lake Tahoe         92.3 *

* — Denotes change in casino rankings or areas since last reporting.

If you are curious to see where the best video poker pay tables are you can check vpFREE, which is my main video poker reference.

Atlantic  City     Payout %
Borgata         91.7
Trump Taj Mahal     91.4 *
Resorts         91.4 *
Harrah’s        91.3 *

Mohegan Sun        91.5 *
Foxwoods         91.4 *

Reno             95.1
North Las Vegas     94.0 *
Downtown Las Vegas     93.4 *
Las Vegas Strip     92.8 *
Lake Tahoe         92.3 *

* — Denotes change in casino rankings or areas since last reporting.

Video Poker: Random Until You Press Draw

I’m prepping for another trip to Atlantic City and noticed that the vpFREE2 databases haven’t been updated since my last trip so all pay tables remain the same.  I was hunting on the message boards for any updates and found nothing.  I did find a question that I’ve seen and been asked more than a few times and thought I’d answer for the first time on ECG.

Does the video poker machine continue shuffling after you hold your cards and before you hit draw?

The answer to this question is yes, after you hold your cards the remaining cards continue shuffling and your result continues to be truly random.  So it does matter when you hit the draw button.  So the hand you’re dealt changes every nano second you wait.

I’m a slightly superstitious type so if I’m dealt 4 cards to a royal flush I’ll kiss my fingers, ask a friend to hit draw, move a certain way, look a certain direction or wait and usually not get the card I want.  What do you do?

World Series Of Poker (WSOP) Turns People Away!

World Series Of Poker Logo
World Series Of Poker

For the first time ever the World Series of Poker (WSOP) sold out.  Yesterday’s “Event 4” was sold out and forced Harrah’s to turn away people who traveled from all over the world to compete in the event.  ESPN covers both the poker and the upset non-contestants.

Obviously Harrah’s expected to see a decrease in attendance this year with the hurting economy but there have been more people visiting for the WSOP.  I’m sure “A chip and a chair”, “A dollar and a dream”, and other clichés are on people’s minds right now.  This is tough for anyone that spent the time and money to make the trip out there.  If there were a lot of people turned away I’m sure that an extra day could have been added.  I would guess that there weren’t many effected.  The negative PR by a few won’t dissuade the masses.  Still – this is lame.

Betting On The NBA Draft

I was checking for some interesting sports bets this weekend and saw that had lines for the NBA Draft this week.  I’m a sucker for the NBA and NFL drafts and the prop bets are pretty interesting.

Below are the lines from

2009 NBA Draft – Blake Griffin – He will play his first NBA Regular Season Game for
Clippers -8000
Any Other Team +4000

2009 NBA Draft – Ricky Rubio – He will play his first NBA Regular Season Game for
Grizzlies +200
Any Other Team -300

2009 NBA Draft – Total ACC Players drafted in the 1st Round
ACC Players Over 5.5 (-135)
Under 5.5 (-105)

2009 NBA Draft – Total BIG East Players drafted in the 1st Round
BIG East Players Over 6.5 (-300)
Under 6.5 (+200)

2009 NBA Draft – Player to get Drafted First
Hasheem Thabeet (Connecticut) -300
James Harden (Arizona State) +200

2009 NBA Draft – Player to get Drafted First
Stephen Curry (Davidson) -170
Jonny Flynn (Syracuse) +130

2009 NBA Draft – Player to get Drafted First
Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) -300
Chase Budinger (Arizona) +200

2009 NBA Draft – Player to get Drafted First
Wayne Ellington (North Carolina) -140
DaJuan Summers (Georgetown) even

2009 NBA Draft – Player to get Drafted First
Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) -200
Wayne Ellington (North Carolina) +150

2009 NBA Draft – Player to get Drafted First
Brandon Jennings -110
Jrue Holiday (UCLA) -130

DaJuan Summers (Georgetown) – When Will He be Drafted (1st or 2nd Round)
1st Round -300
2nd Round +200

Wayne Ellington (North Carolina) – When Will He be Drafted (1st or 2nd Round)
1st Round -180
2nd Round +140

Darren Collison (UCLA) – When Will He be Drafted (1st or 2nd Round)
1st Round even
2nd Round -140

DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh) – Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th) -160
No (Picked 15th or Later) +120

Gerald Henderson (Duke) – Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th) -150
No (Picked 15th or Later) +110

Ty Lawson (North Carolina) – Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th) +120
No (Picked 15th or Later) -160

Jonny Flynn (Syracuse) – Will He be a Lottery Pick (Picked 1st to 14th)
Yes (Picked 1st to 14th) -600
No (Picked 15th or Later) +350

DeMar DeRozan (USC) – Over/Under Draft Position
Draft Position Over 11.5 (+110)
Draft Position Under 11.5 (-150)

Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) – Over/Under Draft Position
Draft Position Over 20.5 (-105)
Draft Position Under 20.5 (-135)

I find a few of these bets to be compelling, with a nice potential upside, but I don’t think I’ll be betting on the NBA Draft.  Here is the bet I find most interesting.

2009 NBA Draft – Player to get Drafted First
Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) -300
Chase Budinger (Arizona) +200

I’ve been reading a lot about Budinger as the draft closes in and very little about Hansbrough.  In the battle of future bench players I think Chase Budinger will be drafted first and will show a nice profit.

Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

Gambling Map of America

I was browsing my RSS feed tonight while watching the Yankees game and came across a link on The Die is Cast for this interactive map of gambling in America.

The map shows what forms of gambling are legal in which states.  Pretty cool info if you’re a curious person like me.  The chart is part of an article discussing why the NFL doesn’t want your bets.  As I’ve said before I’m sure this is all a dog and pony show by the NFL because they have to say gambling is bad for their game publicly because they don’t want participants in the league gambling on the games.  The more articles like this I see the more I see this being a big PR campaign.

Slot Machines & Video Poker: Slant Top vs. Upright

I’ve noticed a lot of incoming searches that are inquiries about slant top and about upright video poker machines so I decided to share my thoughts on each type of game.


Upright Machines

I see more upright machines at casinos than slant top models.  The machines are placed on cabinets to place the games at eye level.  It’s nice to sit upright and have everything right in sight.  These machines promote good posture because of the line of sight.  Because there is this direct sight line there isn’t a real desire or need to slouch.

Some will put their feet up and lean back while they play poker.  When I was a kid my mother made me nervous about falling down if I lean back, so I don’t do that.

I don’t mind these games, but if I’m drinking something I’ll typically have to stop playing to pick the drink up or put it down.  It’s a small thing, but I don’t like the pause while I’m playing.


Slant Top Machines

There aren’t as many slant top machines in casinos nowadays.  It seems to me that many of the slant tops are older games – specifically slots.  I stay away from the slots because most of them are old, although there seems to be some newer games coming onto the market.

The seats are lower to the ground because the games are set lower to the ground.  There’s a tendancy to lean foward to the game because of the arm rests.  I find these games to be have more room than the uprights.

The real reason I like slant tops is because I have easy access to the buttons on the game as well as my drink.  There’s little pause when I play these machines.  Specifically, I enjoy playing video poker on these machines early in the morning over a cup of coffee.

The type of machine doesn’t really matter to me.  When playing video poker the pay tables matter more than anything else.  With everything being equal, I would choose a slant top game.  I enjoy being lower to the ground and I don’t mind the posture as long as it gets me access to my drinks quicker.

What do you prefer?