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Bridge Rules – Learn How To Play This Epic Card Game
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Of all the games played with cards, the bridge is easily the most complex one you'll encounter. Although the basic bridge rules aren't that hard to learn, the various strategies and conventions you'll need to memorize make things quite complicated. When played in the tournament format, the bridge card game is almost entirely the game of skill, even more so than Texas Holdem. The game is all about your ability to communicate the information to your partner and play your hand in the best way possible based on the information you have. If you have some experience with tricks’ games, you’ll have a good starting point at least, as you’ll understand some of the fundamental premises of the bridge card game. If you’re really intent on learning how to play bridge, you need to be prepared to put in some serious hours of studying. Unlike most other games like rummy, the bridge doesn’t make any sense if you try to play it “randomly.” In this article, you’ll learn bridge rules and some fundamental concepts of the game, which should give you a nice head start on your journey. You won’t be ready to sit down and play immediately, but you’ll at least have a good idea of where to go next. Bridge Glossary Bidding – the process of making a contract in bridge game, determining the goal that the partnership wants to achieve. Tricks – batches of four cards played face up. The number of tricks won determines if the contract is completed. Declarer – the player trying to make the contract. Defenders – players trying to prevent the declarer from making their contract. Dummy – declarer partner’s hand that’s placed face-up on the table after the bidding and before the play starts. Trump suit – the suit that’s been selected as the trump through the bidding process. NT – no-trump. A special kind of contract in bridge, where there is no trump suit. Game – a bridge contract of at least 3NT or 4 of any suit Small slam – a contract at the 6 level (like 6NT or 6c) Grand slam – a contract at the 7 level (like 7h or 7d) Conventions – special bidding systems used to exchange information between partners without actually talking. Bridge Game Preparation As far as logistics are concerned, the bridge card game isn’t particularly demanding. All you’ll need is a standard deck of cards and three more players. The game is traditionally played by four players and in pairs or partnerships. Players sitting across each other are partners and are designated by four sides of the world. North-South (N-S) East-West (E-W) While learning how to play bridge, it’s also a good idea to have a handy bridge scoring card. You can find these online, but they are also often included in the decks. You’ve probably seen these before but didn’t know what they were for. When playing in an official bridge tournament, you’ll also come across bidding cards. These are used for the bidding process, but you don’t need them when playing with friends. You can verbally announce your bids. Bridge Rules For most people, it will take some time to learn and understand bridge rules fully. The game is quite complicated, but you shouldn’t let this discourage you though. Give yourself enough time and learn at your own pace. The Objective of the Bridge Game Your main objective in the bridge game is to either make the contract that you declared or prevent the other partnership from making the contract. The side trying to make the contract is known as the declarers, and the other partnership takes on the defenders' role. To make your contract, you'll need to win tricks through a process similar to that found in the game of spades. But, how do you arrive at the contract in the first place? Bidding in Bridge: Making the Contract In the bridge game, the bidding process is probably the most important and the most difficult part. You’re trying to achieve the highest number of points possible between you and your partner, but avoid going too high as failing to complete the contract comes with penalties. In the simplest of terms, the contract defines the trump suit and the number of tricks you promise to win. There are three main types of contracts in the bridge card game: Minor suit contracts: where clubs or diamonds are trumps Major suits: where hearts and spades are trumps Non-trump (NT): there are no trumps But how do you go about making a contract? It happens through the process of bidding. It starts with the dealer, who can put in the initial bid of their choosing, or decide to pass, allowing the next player to make a bid (or pass), etc. An individual bid promises to win six tricks plus whatever the number is mentioned in the bid. For example, the dealer could start with the bid of one heart (1h). This means they're going for a contract of at least seven tricks (6 + 1), with hearts as the trump suit. The player left to the dealer can elect to pass or bid themselves. If they want to bid, the bid has to be higher than the original bid. In this particular example, the bid could be one spade (1s) or any bid on the second level (2c, 2d, 2h, 2s). When making the bid on the same level, you have to bid the higher suit. Unlike when playing poker hands, suits have a different value in bridge card game and are ranked as follows –  clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades (from the lowest to the highest). To arrive at the final contract, two partners need to work together. This is where bridge rules become tricky. Every bid you make sends a certain message to your partner, and based on that information, they'll decide their action. If North bids 1H and West passes, what should South do? How do they best support their partner and arrive at the most favorable contract? This is where various bridge game conventions come into play. These conventions explain what every particular bid means within that convention. I'll expand more on that concept a bit later in the article, although you need to know that this is a vast topic that countless books have been written on. Scoring in Bridge Much like the rest of the game, bridge rules for scoring are rather complicated. It will take you some time to memorize them, so you should probably print them out or have the scoring card around while still learning. The number of points won in a round depends on the kind of contract declared and whether the declarers make the contract, fall short, or go over the promised number of tricks. Standard contracts: 50 points for making a contract + additional points for any over-tricks (+20 for a minor suit, and +30 for every major suit over-trick). If your contract is no trump, you’ll also receive additional +10 points. Bidding the game: bidding at level 4 for major suits (4h), at level 5 for minor suits (5c), and at level 3 for NT: +250 points if you make the game, plus all the points described above (basic contract and over-trumps). Small slam: making any contract at 6 level (like 6c or 6NT): +500 bonus points Grand slam: +1,000 bonus points. If you fail to make your contract, you’ll receive -50 points for every under-trick. For example, if you end up playing 3h but only make seven tricks, you'll be two tricks short and will receive -100 points. During the bidding process, your opponents can also call doubles on your contract if they believe you can't make it. In that case, penalties for failing to make the contract are higher. If you believe the other side is wrong and you’re confident you can make the contract, you can redouble, which gives you the chance to win extra points when you make the contract. I won't explain the points' system for doubles and redoubles here in detail. When you're ready, you can easily find this information, but you won't need it when just starting with the bridge game. Going for doubles is an advanced play that you can only make once you develop a better understanding of how the whole bidding process works and how to figure out if you have enough key cards between you and your partner to prevent the opponents from making the contract. You should focus on learning basic bridge rules and how to play this game for the time being. When the time comes to expand on your knowledge, there are heaps of resources out there to help you. Dealing Cards in Bridge Everyone receives 13 cards, face-down, to start the round. Cards are dealt one at a time, starting with the player to the dealer’s left and moving clockwise. How to Play the Bridge Card Game Learning how to play bridge once the bidding is done is actually the easier part. While there is still a lot of strategy involved if you want to play properly, at least the bridge rules for this part of the game are fairly straightforward. Playing a Hand of Bridge Once the bidding is done, you’ll know who’s the declarer and who’s defending. At the start of the play, the player's partner making the final bid will put their cards on the table, face-up, for everyone to see. This is known as the “dummy” hand. Once cards are tabled, the partner no longer actively participates in the hand. The player seated immediately left to the declarer (the still-active player from the declaring partnership) will play the first card, face-up, on the table. The play then continues clockwise, so it's the dummy hand that goes next on the first play. Since the declarer's partner is no longer participating in the hand, the declarer decides what cards they want to play from the dummy. So, the declarer plays both hands for the partnership. The player who wins the trick is the next lead with any card from their hand, and the round plays according to the same rules. Winning Tricks in Bridge The first card to be played on the table is known as the lead. Once the lead is played, all players must follow suit, if possible. So, if the player leads with an Ac, all players must also play a club, if they have any clubs in their hands. The trick is won by the player playing the highest-ranking card of the corresponding suit (aces are high in bridge card game). If a player can’t follow suit, they’re allowed to play any card from their hand. If it is a contract with a trump suit, this includes any trump cards. In the event one or more trump cards have been played, the trick is won by the player playing the highest-ranking trump card. In no-trump (NT) contracts, there is no trump suit. This means that the trick is always won by the highest card in the lead suit. Calculating Points Once all 13 cards have been played, players will count tricks and mark down the scores. The scoring is done using the earlier described system. When all scores are noted, a new hand of the bridge card game can commence. Bridge Game Tips & Tricks Learning bridge card game rules is one thing, but learning how to play bridge well and make no mistakes in the process is an entirely different matter. Bridge strategies are so complex and detailed that it will take much more than reading a few tips to become good at it. However, you should still try to understand these common notions, as they’ll help you on your journey to becoming a great bridge player. Bridge Card Game Tip #1: What Are Conventions in Bridge? If you remember, we've mentioned conventions earlier in this text. These are very specific bidding systems that help players communicate with each other without talking to their partner. In bridge, you're not allowed to talk to other players unless you're making a bid. In official tournaments, special cards are used for this purpose, and players aren’t allowed to talk or exchange any signals at all. Any such behavior would be considered cheating. There are well over two dozen bridge game conventions, and it's up to you and your partner to agree which one you want to use. You also need to let your opponents know what convention you're using, but it’s not your job to explain how it works. If they don’t know, that’s on them. To give you an idea of how these conventions work, here’s an example of Acol, a fairly simple one quite popular with beginners. In Standard Acol, your opening bid promises at least 12 high card points. High card points (HCP) are counted as follows: Aces: 4 points Kings: 3 points Queens: 2 points Jacks: 1 point There are many special bids within this system. For example, when you open with the bid of two clubs (2c), you aren’t sending a message that you want to play in clubs. Instead, you’re letting your partner know you have a strong hand (at least 23 HCP) and are inviting them to the game (going at least to level 4 or 3NT). Based on your partner's response, you'll try to further determine what suit you want to play in or if you might be better at playing in NT. This is just a very small fragment of how bridge game conventions work. Once you’re done learning bridge rules, I suggest you spend some time studying Standard Acol, as you’ll need to know at least one convention if you want to play the game correctly. Bridge Card Game Tip #2: There Is No Shame in Passing New bridge players often feel compelled to make a bid, especially when they’re the first to speak. There is really no shame in passing, though. You should only open bidding if you have at least 12 HCP in your hand. This is the bare minimum to start looking for a contract between you and your partner. If you have fewer points, simply pass and see what happens. Enjoy All the Intricacies of the Bridge Card Game If you feel like all these rules and conventions are too much to handle, don't worry. Learning how to play bridge is no easy task, and this isn't a card game you can learn in a few minutes. Unless you happen to be very talented, you'll spend a long time feeling a bit lost while playing. That’s perfectly fine, though. Bridge isn’t the war card game or anything in an alight with go fish. It’s a complex game that will test your skills and your memory to the max. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you fall in love with it, bridge has a lot to offer. There is always something new to learn. If you find a partner who's equally enthusiastic about it, you can have loads of fun playing and learning bridge card game.
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Smiljkovic Leads Final 25 in the MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event
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The $1,100 MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event field is down to only 25 players and it is Daniel Smiljkovic who leads the way. Smiljkovic is one of two players who finished Day 2 with a stack containing more than 100 million chips, 133,639,726 to be exact. Smiljkovic has more than $3.4 million in online poker tournament cashes thanks, in part, to a near $50,000 score right here at partypoker. The Austrian won the High Roller One Shot in early February. Finishing fourth or betting in the MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event will best that impressive result. Hungarian Laszlo Molnar is the other player with a nine-figure stack, namely 127,876,651 chips. Molnar is best known for his high stakes cash game grinding, but he certainly knows his way around a tournament table. It would take a brave person to bet against Molnar going all the way now that he’s so deep stacked. Jamie O’Connor is another player to look out for when play resumes at 19:05 GMT on February 16. O’Connor won The Big Game on Sunday and now finds himself with enough chips for fourth-place when play in the MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event resumes. Some of the other players to keep an eye on include start of Day 2 chip leader Sebastian Henao (66,391,911), and Irish Poker Masters Main Event champion Will Kassouf (26,467,500). MILLIONS Online #01 Mini Main Event Top 10 Chip Counts Place Player Country Chips 1 Daniel Smiljkovic Austria 133,639,726 2 Laszlo Molnar Hungary 127,876,651 3 Leonid Orman Russia 69,596,672 4 Jamie O’Connor United Kingdom 68,136,629 5 Sebastian Henao Mexico 66,391,911 6 Jon De Antonana Malta 63,121,950 7 Francois Pirault United Kingdom 62,496,167 8 Justin Ouimette Canada 62,015,858 9 Rui Da Silva Croatia 60,684,243 10 Carlos Chadha-Villamarin Canada 60,478,888 Arikan Takes Down Mini Second Chance Event Murat Arikan took down the MILLIONS Online #02 Mini Second Chance Turbo and turned his $530 into $14,821. A field of 121 players took to the felt and only 20 of them saw a return on their investment. Sweden’s Andreas Berggren was the unfortunate soul who burst the money bubble, paving the way for the likes of Joseph Cheong, Roberto Romanello and Diego Cuellar to cash. High stakes guru Byron Kaverman was the first finalist to fall. Sarah Forbes, Kasper Juulsen, Arnaud Enselme, and Brener Vicente followed Kaverman to the rail. Rick De Boer and Alastair Smith crashed out to leave Arikan and Stoyan Kitanov heads-up. Arikan got the job done and collected the $14,821 top prize, leaving Kitanov to console himself with the $9,537 runner-up prize. MILLIONS Online #02 Mini Second Chance Turbo Final Table Results Place Player Country Prize 1 Murat Arikan Netherlands $14,821 2 Stoyan Kitanov Bulgaria $9,537 3 Alastair Smith United Kingdom $6,543 4 Rock De Boer Netherlands $4,626 5 Brener Vicente Brazil $3,433 6 Arnaud Enselme United Kingdom $2,474 7 Kasper Juulsen Denmark $2,322 8 Sarah Forbes Canada $1,974 9 Byron Kaverman Canada $1,637 What’s In Store On February 16? There’s plenty of MILLIONS Online action on February 16. First, the Mini Main Event plays down to its final table and we can’t wait to see who reaches it. At the same time, 19:05, some of the world’s best players will battle it out in the MILLIONS Online #03 6-Max High Roller, a $10,300 buy-in one-day event with $500,000 guaranteed. An hour later, at 20:05 GMT, is the MILLIONS Online #04 6-Max High Roller Turbo, a $5,200 buy-in one-day event with $200,000 guaranteed. Love poker? Join party! If you’re ready to jump into the action, then click here to download partypoker and get started! If you already have an account with us, click here to open partypoker and hit the tables!
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partypoker’s Patrick Leonard Looking Forward to “Special” MILLIONS Online
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February 16, 2021 Will Shillibier The MILLIONS Online on partypoker is underway! The Mini Main Event attracted over 1,000 entries this weekend to kick off the festival in spectacular fashion. If you missed the Mini Main Event, there will be plenty more opportunities to take part in what promises to be one of the biggest online festivals of the year. And there's one person in particular that is looking forward to the next few weeks - partypoker Ambassador Patrick Leonard. Head to the NEW partypoker HubWant to stay up-to-date on all the latest partypoker news right here on PokerNews? Why not try out the new partypoker Hub! MILLIONS Online is "Special" Leonard is no stranger to success in partypoker online events, having previously final-tabled the WPT World Online Championships Micro Main Event last September. Now it's time for another huge online festival, and Leonard says the MILLIONS Online is "always exciting." "Poker players have been spoiled over the last 12 months with online festivals," said Leonard. "But the MILLIONS Online always feels that little bit special. There were over 140 people satellited into the Mini Main Event on the weekend. The fields are always incredible." Join the illustrious club of #MILLIONS Champions! There are now # 20 x $5,300 seats guaranteed # to the $5m Guarant… https://t.co/XU6KNa6ajp— partypoker (@partypoker) The MILLIONS has a strong history in the live felt, with events in Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, Nottingham and Sochi to name but a few. With the events now being held online, Leonard says that he is starting to miss the live scene more and more. "MILLIONS UK has definitely been a big miss for me at Dusk till Dawn. I do miss the local UK scene. I'm looking forward to being able to see everyone in person again. "Most of my close friends don't travel for live events, and I way prefer the online environment. But it's great that people who would normally travel to play all the live stops have had the chance to play these prestigious series online instead." Read More: partypoker MILLIONS Online Schedule Leonard Predicts Staples Success partypoker Ambassadors will be jumping into the MILLIONS Online over the course of the next three weeks, and we asked Leonard who he was picking as the most likely to win a MILLIONS Online title. "I think Jaime or Matt Staples might run it up this series. I predicted that Jaime would do well during WPT Montreal Online and I don’t think he got the title, so hopefully he doesn’t let me down again or I’m going to have to start going for Isaac Haxton every time!" With so many satellite opportunities to make your way into the MILLIONS Online, there is a high likelihood of an underdog coming through. Back in November, two players won their way into the Caribbean Poker Party Main Event for $0.01, and Leonard says he's hoping for an underdog win. "I'd love for an underdog to run deep," he told PokerNews. "I always try and get involved and coach a fans' favourite one way or another, so will have my eyes peeled for who it is this time around." Play in the 2021 partypoker MILLIONS Online You’re going to need a partypoker account if you want to jump into any of the partypoker MILLIONS Online tournaments. Head there right now if you already have an account, or download partypoker via PokerNews if you don’t have an account. Deposit $10 to receive $10 in tickets over the course of a week: Day 1: 2x $1 SPINS tickets + 1x $3.30 MTT ticketDay 2: 4x $0.25 SPINS ticketsDay 4: 1x $3.30 MTT ticketDay 6: 4x $0.25 SPINS tickets Deposit $20 and receive $30 worth of tickets over the course of a week: Day 1: 1x $5 SPINS ticket + 1x $3.30 MTT ticketDay 2: 2x $1 SPINS ticket + 1x $5.50 MTT ticketDay 4: 1x $5.50 MTT ticketDay 6: 2x $3 SPINS tickets + 1x$3.30 MTT ticket
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Win a Share of $1.5 Million in PokerStars’ Tetris® Spin & Go Games
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February 16, 2021 Matthew Pitt Tetris® combines with Spin & Go tournaments at PokerStars in a fun promotion that sees $1.5 million paid out between February 15 and March 28. Head to the Spin & Go lobby in the PokerStars client and you’ll see there are Tetris® Spin & Go games with buy-ins of $0.25, $1, $2, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, and $500. They all play out the exact same way as a traditional Spin & Go, meaning they’re three-handed hyper-turbo tournaments where the prize pool is randomly determined before the first hand is dealt. It’s still possible to win up to $1 million in some of these game, but there are a few notable differences. First, the virtual felt is made up of Tetris® blocks, which actually looks pretty cool. Also, the dealer button is now a Tetris® block too, and other blocks fall down the screen. The Tetris® part of the promotion comes in the form of leaderboards. There’s a separate leaderboard for each Tetris® Spin & Go buy-in level, so 10 in total. You need to opt-in and then fire up some Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments. Play your tournaments as you would ordinarily, but do so knowing the aim of the game is to clear lines, just like in Tetris®. The number of lines you clear depends on your Spin & Go multiplier and your finishing position in the tournament. Your level increases each time you clear five lines. This results in you earning even more points so you can climb up your leaderboard faster. The 2021 Guide to PokerStars Spin and Go Poker How Many Lines Do I Clear?  1st2nd3rd 2x432 3x321 Over 3x211 As you can see from the table above, finishing in 1st place in a Tetris® Spin & Go that has a 2x multiplier clears four lines. Just playing a tournament earns you points. How Do You Earn Points? The number of leaderboard points you earn is based on your finishing position and your current level. You start off earning 40 points for clearing one line when you’re at Level 0, but this increases to 840 points if you manage to climb to Level 20, which is the highest level you can achieve. It is possible to earn up to 25,200 points per Tetris® Spin & Go tournament, as you can see in this table. LevelPoints for 1 LinePoints for 2 LinesPoints for 3 LinesPoints four 4 Lines 0401003001,200 1802006002,400 21203009003,600 31604001,2004,800 n=40*(n+1)=100*(n+1)=300*(n+1)=1,200*(n+1) 208402,1006,30025,200 Tetris® Spin & Go Payout Table The leaderboards payout $33,000 every day throughout the promotion making for a combined total of $1,500,000 just for playing Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments. The $0.25, $1, $2, and $5 leaderboard payout the top 100 points earners, so you have a decent chance of walking away with a cash prize. The prizes don’t have any restrictions on them meaning you’re free to do with them as you wish.  $0.25$1$2$5$10$25$50$100$250$500 1$50$150$250$400$500$500$750$1,000$1,500$3,000 2$40$100$200$300$400$400$600$800$1,000  3$30$75$150$250$350$350$500$600$750  4$20$50$100$200$300$300$400$500$500  5$15$25$50$150$250$250$300$400$500  6-10$10$20$40$100$150$150$150$200   11-20$5$10$20$50$100$100$100$100   21-50$5$5$10$25$50$50     51-100$5$5$5$10       Spin & Go Your Way to a PokerStars Sunday Million Seat The Tetris® Playing Field – Avoid Hitting Game Over There’s an extra element to this promotion that you have to be aware of at all times. PokerStars calls it the Playing Field. Just like in a game of Tetris® where it is Game Over when the blocks reach the top of the screen, it can be game over for you if you go on a streak of out of the money finishes! Finishing in first place either improves your Playing Field status or makes zero change to it. Finish in second place, however, and your Playing Field status either stays the same or actually worsens, which is also the case when you finish in third place. Your table, or playing field, is green in color when your Playing Field is in a good state. It turns amber when it is worsening and turns red when you’re in big trouble. Failing to win when your playing field is red could see you reach Game Over which means you cannot earn any more leaderboard points until the next day! The changes to your playing field status depend on your current level.  1st place 2nd place 3rd place   LevelImproveNo ChangeNo ChanceWorsenNo ChangeWorsen  0-1100%0%100%0%100%0%  2-580%20%80%20%50%50%  6-960%40%60%40%40%60%  10-1340%60%40%60%30%70%  14-1720%80%20%80%200%80%  18-2020%80%20%80%10%90%  Get Involved in the Tetris® Spin & Go Promotion With $33,000 waiting to be won every day until March 28 there’s no time to waste if you want to win some free cash. Download PokerStars via PokerNews, enter the bonus code “STARS600” when making your first deposit and PokerStars will match your deposit 100% up to $600. In fact, your first three deposits in a 90-day window are matched 100% up to a combined maximum of $600. All you need to do then is opt-in and fire up some Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments and see if you can pad your bankroll with some of the $1.5 million that’s guaranteed to be won. That and try not to spend the rest of the day humming the famous Tetris® tune! The Stars Group is a majority shareholder in Oddschecker Global Media, the parent company of PokerNews.
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Thousands of jobs available at tribal casinos
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With millions of Americans out of work, the first sign of a recovery has to be in new jobs coming on the market. The tribal gaming industry is doing its part, with several operators posting new jobs in the past few weeks.Seneca Gaming Corporation has lots of jobs available at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo. The operator will be hosting a job fair for open positions on February 25 between 10:00am and 6:00pm.“Even with the changes and challenges everyone has gone through over the past year, Seneca Gaming Corporation has remained one of the largest employers in Western New York, and we are excited to be growing our team across a variety of departments,” said Meghan Smith, Seneca Gaming Corporation’s vice president of human resources. “We truly believe that the time we spend at work should be rewarding, fulfilling and fun. That’s how we approach our jobs every day. If people are looking an opportunity in that type of environment, we are ready to talk to them.”Attendees can check out what’s on offer in person or virtually, but should be ready for an interview at a moment’s notice.On the other side of the country, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians are also on the look out for fresh talent. That operator has more than 500 jobs to fill, with as many as 2000 coming for the rest of the year. They’ll be having their virtual career fair on February 18 from 9:00am to 4:00pm.“The expansion of San Manuel will offer an economic boost to the local job market at a time when it is really needed,” said Brigitte Saria, Chief People and Infrastructure Officer. “Our efforts to boost the local economy are guided by our commitment to ensuring our employment process and work environment follow leading health and safety standards.”The Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold, California are also hiring. The tribe is looking for 50 full-time and part-time positions, and will have a job fair on February 23 from 10:00am to 1:00pm.Add those jobs to the 150 that Oneida Nation Enterprises were offering as of last week, and there’s a lot to be hopeful for about the future of the economy, and particularly that of tribal gaming.Connecticut tribes close to new dealGovernor Ned Lamont wants sports betting in his state, and he needs a new deal with the tribes to get it done. He used his budget address to emphasize the push:“My administration has been in active negotiations with our tribal partners to bring the state’s gaming economy into the digital age. And I am submitting legislation which reflects what I believe to be the best bet in ending this stalemate of inaction in a way which is in the best interest [of] the entire state.”Construction resumes at Four WindsThe Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ contractor recently resumed building a hotel at Four Winds South Bend Casino. Construction slowed down significantly due to Covid-19.The new 23-story hotel was originally due to be completed this year. But with construction crews only working on the foundation now after a 10-month delay, maybe 2022 seems more accurate.
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GGPoker Adds More Variety to No-Strings-Attached “Daily Freebie” Promotion
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Verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day.One of the most popular promotions for low stakes players on GGPoker has been further expanded. During the software update on February 10, the Daily Free Spin promotion changed to Daily Freebie. Furthermore, UK players can now also claim the daily gift for a chance to boost their bankrolls. All players, both existing and new, just need to have verified accounts and log in each day to claim their gift, which lets plays play real money tournaments—and compete for real money cash prizes. The update has expanded what is given away. Now, there are Daily Freebie tickets for Flip & Go, the super-successful new format introduced in January 2021. It has also undergone some changes since its launch, with GGPoker increasing the frequency and adjusting the buy-ins as well as the maximum number of stacks for purchase. “GGPoker is happy to confirm that we’ve relaunched our Daily Free Spin offer as the Daily Freebie; verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day. All they need to do is log in and claim their daily reward!” said Paul Burke, Head of Public Relations at GGPoker. “We hope to continue to change up the rewards on offer in the future, giving all players the opportunity to try out GGPoker’s most exciting games, no matter their bankroll.” For existing players, Daily Freebie is available immediately—just log in and claim. If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so today and enjoy the promotion as soon as you have verified your account. You can also take advantage of all of GGPoker’s generous welcome bonuses. How the GGPoker Daily Freebie Promotion Works The operator has seen unprecedented growth in 2020 to become one of the leading online poker platforms for tournaments and cash games. GGPoker has achieved that with a plethora of promotions, innovations, and high-profile partnerships. Their continued success has led to a record $7.5 million in promotions given away in February 2021. One of several promotions for players with smaller bankrolls is the Daily Freebie formerly the Daily Free Spin. This was launched on September 7, 2020. It has given verified players the opportunity to claim one $0.25 Spin & Gold ticket every day ever since. The free ticket courtesy of GGPoker continues to be available under the new name three times per week—*but this rotates with other ticket types.* Players can see the next six upcoming Daily Freebies listed under the “My Promo” tab. A new daily gift becomes available after each daily reset at midnight Pacific time. Each ticket will continue to feature an expiration date of 24 hours once the Daily Freebie has been awarded. The current rotation of Daily Freebie is fixed for the time being. However, GGPoker hopes “to change the daily prizes on a semi-regular basis,” according to Burke. He also hinted at a strong possibility that the Daily Freebie will include the alternative currencies C$ or T$ sometime soon. Newly included as a prize in the Daily Freebie is a $1 Spin & Gold ticket, which can be claimed once per week. Furthermore, five $0.05 Flip & Go tickets are up for grabs three times per week, giving players the chance at trying the new tournament format free of charge. As a mixture between a Flipout and regular tournament, Flip & Go was launched on January 12, 2021. However, it only took a few days for the first tweaks to be made. Initially slated to take place once every hour, it was soon increased to once every 30 minutes. The buy-ins were also adjusted and the lowest available stake was increased to $0.05 with a guarantee of $50. Players can now take a shot at their own leisure three times per week and enter this lowest tier with five stacks thanks to the Daily Freebie. Upon launch, the Flip & Go featured a maximum of 10 entries for each of the four stakes. However, that number has been adjusted recently and the stacks for purchase are now capped at a maximum of eight. This makes the bonus stacks based on the holdings during the Flipout stage more valuable in comparison. The overall feedback for the new tournament format has been very positive, as outlined by Burke. “Players love it! We have been very pleasantly surprised by the positivity seen across almost all feedback, of course not all players are interested in a new game type but those who have tried it have mostly good things to say about Flip & Go. We’ve also received some constructive criticism, which is also valuable.” Further tweaks to the Flip & Go format may very well possible, as GGPoker is constantly reviewing and optimizing its schedule. One such adjustment was made with the expansion of the popular Daily GGMasters earlier in February. The changes to the Daily Freebie promotion went live on February 10. All verified GGPoker players in eligible countries can claim their daily gift under the “My Promo” tab after each daily reset.
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When I was 17 years old, I ran 100 km (62 miles). I trained for this for 8 months. Next goal is to run 3 marathons in a row. That’s 126.6 km (78.7 miles).
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Did the next Macau bubble just start two weeks ago?
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The entire concept of a “bull market in stocks” makes little sense. Sound crazy? These days, certainly, because we’re always hearing about a perpetual bull market in stocks. Valuations increasingly disconnected from economic reality, asset bubbles in one class or another, armies of speculators moving like zombie hoards descending on the next fad and blowing it up to infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear-like.Why is the whole concept of a bull market generally, nonsense? Because if the value of everything is going up simultaneously, then nothing is going up. If everyone is a superhero, nobody is. If, in an imaginary economy, absolutely everything costs, say, $5, (labor, land, capital whatever) and then the next day everything costs $10, then what’s changed? The answer is absolutely nothing.The only thing that matters is relative valuations between asset classes. Let’s divide them into three of the most basic ones. Equities (stocks), bonds (debt), and commodities (consumer goods). If all three are going up in tandem, then there is no “bull market” in anything. If commodities are going up faster than stocks and bonds, you have inflation, or even hyperinflation. Ask anyone in Venezuela whether they care that their stock market is doing great, nominally. They don’t. They’re looking for their next glop of gruel or morsel of moldy bread to survive the day.But if stocks and bonds are rising and consumer goods are static to falling, you have a bull market in financial assets. This is where we are now. And boy are we really hard and deep into it now. Below is the ratio of the S&P 500 to the CRB Commodities Index.And I’ve got news for everyone. This bull market in stocks relative to consumer goods in dollar terms is already over. It ended almost a year ago. On April 20, 2020 to be exact. Red circle blowoff top above. That was when oil crashed to negative $35 a barrel and we all lived in an alternative financial freakhouse universe. But I have more news than that. This entire “bull market” in stocks has been one gigantic illusion from the very beginning. Stocks aren’t going up. They haven’t gone up for 21 years. Money is going down. Here is the graph of stocks relative to the prime monetary commodity, gold, over the same timeframe above.We can see here that from 1990 to 2000, we had a real bull market in stocks. Equities rocketed in gold terms and in terms of consumer goods generally. Everyone felt richer. Portfolios up, expenses down. But since that time, money has been dying at an accelerated pace and the standard of living has fallen.The bull market in stocks over the last 21 years has been an illusion, a tiny echo of the bull that ended at the turn of the century. We have spent the last 21 years trying to reinflate it, but gold has exposed the lie. We are now at the point where the illusion is about to collapse completely. In my view, we have only a few months left until it all hits the fan. Until then, the bubbles will keep coming in staccato frenetic fashion, moving from one asset class to another faster and faster, until we all get so dizzy we can’t follow it anymore. Last week I speculated that maybe the next target for the zombie hoard will be in penny gaming stocks. I was close. It’s in Macau stocks. It may already have started two weeks ago. The frenzy has started over news about China opening up again. I mean, just look at this crazy chart of the Macau proxy ETF:That last surge higher is just since February 1. We could be at the beginning of a crazy but brief ride higher in Macau stocks right now. New all time highs again, and Macau isn’t even fully open yet. The latest full month statistics for December show a 78.6% drop in visitors year over year. And yet we’re at new all time highs in these stocks already. It’s just completely crazy. I can understand the Macau opening up again trade, but to argue that this factor is being priced in at these levels, at new all time highs? As if none of this full year shutdown hurt any of the casinos fundamentally at all? That’s just totally bonkers crazy. It’s a reflection of the value of the currency these stocks are priced in, not the stocks themselves.What’s happening is that the zombie hoard of bubble chasers is reading the headlines regarding China starting to open up again, and they’re slamming buy orders and call options like they’ve been doing with tech stocks and Gamestop and BTC and all the other fads. We just got news out of Bloomberg that China’s Imax had a face-ripping rally due to exploding ticket sales. China is, indeed opening up, and the zombie hoard of speculators is now going to spray their money hoses at anything Chinese. Macau might be at the center of it.How high can this Macau bubble go, if that’s what we just saw start two weeks ago? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you get into it, you’ll get hooked and keep levering yourself up, counting your paper gains, unable to separate from them until you get caught in a vortex. At some point, my view this year, it’s all going to come crashing down when all the damage from 2020 is finally revealed all over the world. You can’t paper it over forever. The damage to Macau casinos doesn’t just go away. It festers in the form of more and more debt, and a damaged consumer base that can no longer patronize casinos in the way it once could. Festering wounds need the paper bandage removed and they need to be operated on. That is painful. And it’s coming.When we think of the word “bubble”, what are we really talking about? A bubble is something that looks, from the outside, to be really big and stable. The shape of it, a sphere, is the most stable shape in the universe. It’s why planets, stars, moons, and possibly even the spacetime continuum itself, spontaneously shape themselves into spheres. The force of gravity equalizes at every point on the sphere, forming equilibrium. Nature always seeks equilibrium. And so bubbles take on the illusion of stability, but unlike a real sphere, there’s nothing inside them. When they pop, they are gone almost instantly. This one is about to pop. Macau appears to be the next victim sucked up by the bubble. Macau will survive and rebuild. The question is, in what form? I wouldn’t take a bet the depended on me getting the answer to that question right.
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Serena hurdles Halep test to reach Australian Open semifinals
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FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021. Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates winning her quarterfinal match against Romania’s Simona Halep. REUTERS/Loren Elliott MELBOURNE—Serena Williams came through a huge test of her Australian Open title credentials to reach the last four at Melbourne Park for the ninth time with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Simona Halep in a high quality quarterfinal on Tuesday. The 39-year-old went toe-to-toe with the Romanian second seed over 80 minutes on Rod Laver Arena before she was finally able to move to within two victories of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title. Williams hit some ferocious forehands and moved around the court with a freedom that she has not enjoyed for a good while to set up a semifinal meeting against in-form Japanese third seed Naomi Osaka. "It's so good to see someone [@naomiosaka] that is so inspiring on both things." 💙 Even 7️⃣x #AusOpen champion @serenawilliams draws inspiration from her #AO2021 semifinal opponent 🙌 pic.twitter.com/yzASWfp1Gn — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 16, 2021 “I think this was the best match I have played at this tournament for sure,” Williams said after celebrating her win to the accompaniment of canned applause as Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown kept the fans away for a fourth day. “I knew it had to be going up against the number two in the world. I had to be better and I was, so I’m excited.” If any match at this year’s tournament deserved a crowd, it was this. There were nine breaks of serve as two great competitors punched and counter-punched over lengthy rallies. Williams was always in front in the first set but needed to dig deep to wrestle back the momentum after Halep took a 3-1 lead in the second. Eventually, however, Williams broke for 4-3 after a 13-shot rally where she showed incredible athleticism to get to a couple of shots that would have defied most players. Seven minutes later, she wrapped up the contest with a huge forehand, her 24th winner. Williams has not landed one of the game’s major prizes since her seventh title at Melbourne Park in 2017, with Halep’s victory in the 2019 Wimbledon final denying her one opportunity to match Margaret Court’s record. After gaining a measure of revenge for that defeat, Williams has the chance to avenge another when she plays Osaka, who won the 2018 U.S. Open final between the two. “She’s a great player on the court and an inspirational person off it,” said Williams. “I feel this is a great opportunity for me just to do my best in the first Grand Slam of the year.” Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Meet America’s 63rd National Park
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As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.
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