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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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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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2021 Australian Open: What to Watch on Tuesday Night
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Rod Laver Arena | 11 p.m. TuesdayAndrey Rublev vs. Daniil MedvedevAndrey Rubley and Daniil Medvedev secured the ATP Cup for Russia earlier this month, with neither player losing a singles match throughout. In their three meetings on the ATP Tour, Medvedev has come out on top each time, including in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September.This may be Rublev’s chance to finally overcome his friendly rival. He has looked particularly dominant, not dropping a set throughout the tournament. His match against Casper Ruud ended after only two sets when the Norwegian withdrew with an injury. Going into the quarterfinals, Rublev has led the field in both percentage of first service points won and second service points won, a sign of how hard it has been for opponents to break his serve.Medvedev has also been playing well, aside from a chaotic, disorganized third round match against Filip Krajinovic. He has now won 18 matches in a row, with his last loss coming in October at a tournament in Vienna. Although the fast surface fits Medvedev’s flat baseline shots, Rublev’s open stance is well suited in defense, and we’re sure to see many dynamic, aggressive point.Rod Laver Arena | 3:30 a.m. WednesdayRafael Nadal vs. Stefanos TsitsipasRafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, has moved smoothly through the first four rounds, no surprise for a player with 20 Grand Slam titles. Although Nadal won his only Australian Open title over a decade ago, he has reached the finals on four other occasions since, and is a clear favorite in his half of the draw to do so again. Nadal’s powerful topspin shots are well-suited to clay courts where he can drag opponents around with tightly angled shots. Nadal’s ability to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses with relentless pressure can break most players on their best days.Stefanos Tsitsipas, the ATP finals winner in 2019, is a study in unpredictability. The fifth seed has a capable all-court game, but lacks the consistency to execute match after match. The 22-year-old has worked to improve this aspect of his game, but needed five sets to push back unseeded Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. After receiving a walkover in the round of 16, Tsitsipas will be well rested and hoping for an advantage against one of the most mentally tough players on tour.
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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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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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In First Hint of WSOP 2021 Revival, WSOP Launches “Ultimate Poker Champion” Sweepstakes Promo
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In what is thought to be the first sign that Caesars is planning for a live World Series of Poker festival in 2021, the operator has put on a new free-to-enter sweepstakes promotion, the Ultimate Poker Champion Experience. Running from February 15 through April 30, 2021, the contest offers anyone in the United States a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of the WSOP Main Event. One lucky person will not only get their entry into the Main Event paid in full, but they will also be treated to an elite experience during their stay. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the form. With the coronavirus pandemic still causing mass disruption to live events and travel in the United States and around the world, the WSOP has yet to announce any schedule or plan for this year’s series. There is no information around the main event, for which the promotion is centered around. The Normal Ramp Up to the WSOP The WSOP is poker’s biggest event of the year. Tens of thousands of players descend on the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for more than six weeks of poker. Action culminates in the $10,000 Main Event, the most prestigious tournament in the game. The winner is crowned the year’s champion, poker’s highest accolade. However, last year, due to the coronavirus, the regular World Series of Poker 2020 was canceled for the first time in its 51-year history. In its place was an online series held half in the United States—on the official WSOP Nevada and WSOP NJ online poker rooms—and half outside the US on global online poker room GGPoker. WSOP.com USA: The world’s most recognizable poker brand is legal and regulated in Nevada and New Jersey!Massive Value100% deposit bonus up to $1000 + freeroll tickets.The only online poker network that spans across multiple states. Compete for real WSOP bracelets and rings in official online events from your own home.Frequent reload bonuses and lucrative monthly promotions.CHOOSE YOUR STATE:New Jersey »Nevada » In the winter, WSOP and GGPoker joined forces again for a hybrid online-live Main Event where players competed in tournaments online, then met for a live final table. The two winners of these met in a special heads-up match in Las Vegas. Normally by now, organization and marketing are in full flow. Online satellites are underway on official WSOP sites as well as partners internationally. Schedules are revealed, packages are offered and promotions are spread. However, nothing has yet been revealed for this year—understandable, given how no one knows how the next few months will unfold. That makes this promotion even more intriguing. Sweepstakes Package Details The winner of the sweepstakes promotion will win entry into the $10,000 buy-in 2021 WSOP Main Event. As noted, normally this is a multi-day tournament held live in the Rio; last year, it was mostly online. What it will be this year is unknown. The implication, however, is that Caesars wants to run this live in Las Vegas, given the other parts of the prize package. The winner and their guest will be flown to Las Vegas from anywhere in the continental United States. Once in the city, they will be treated to a dinner for two at a Celebrity Chef restaurant, a three night stay in a suite at Caesars Palace, a whisky and cigar night at the hotel’s Montecristo Cigar Bar, and $1,000 in spending money. The total prize package, including all the extra goodies, is worth $14,000. Prize Approximate Value (USD) $10,000 Seat to 2021 WSOP Main Event $10,000 3-night stay in a Suite at Caesars Palace $1,000 Round-trip airfare for two (from continental US) $1,100 $1,000 VISA Gift Card $1,000 Whisky and cigars at Montecristo Cigar Bar $400 Dinner for two at Celebrity Chef’s restaurant $500 Hotel Stay at the Rio, a Hint of the WSOP Finally Moving? Curiously, the stay is only for a three nights—which would normally not be long enough for a deep run of the WSOP Main Event. Last year, the tournament was spread over two weeks, with three Day 1s and two Day 2s then a Day 3, Day 4, and final table, with breaks gaps in-between. Also of note, the hotel stay is in Caesars Palace, not the Rio. Whether this suggests an anticipated location move or not remains to be seen. The Rio was sold back in 2019 though Caesars agreed to manage the property for two years. The 2020 event was scheduled to take place in the Rio, and the live Main event did go ahead in its convention center. However, no announcement has been made for the 2021 series—and with Caesars potentially coming to the end of its management contract, this could well be the first indication that WSOP plans to move it to another Caesars location in Las Vegas. How to Enter the WSOP Ultimate Poker Champion Sweepstakes Promo If you are a United States resident, just fill out this form. That’s it! You can read below for more details. The contest is open to anyone over 21 years of age, with the exception of employees and family of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Inc or Caesars Entertainment Services, LLC. The offer is only valid in the continental United States and void where prohibited. Entries are open until midnight on April 30, 2021 and the winner will be randomly chosen on May 6, 2021 from all the entries received prior to the closing date. In the event that the winner does not meet eligibility requirements, up to 5 alternate draws will be made to choose a winner. If no eligible winner is selected after the maximum 5 alternate draws, the prize will remain unawarded. Prizes are non-transferable, and not subject to change except at the discretion of the contest Administrator. The Administrator reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value if the above prizes are not available for any reason, and winners are responsible for all taxes and fees which may be associated with receiving or using the prize. There is no cash equivalent for this prize. The dates for the prize will be set once the Main Event is scheduled, but the trip must be taken before December 31, 2021. This gives the organizers a wide window to schedule the WSOP 2021 Main Event—whatever form it takes.
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House OKs Angelo Kouame, Bienvenido Marañon naturalization
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Bienve Maranon and Angelo Kouame near naturalization. FILE PHOTOS MANILA, Philippines — Athletes Angelo Kouame and Bienvenido Marañon’s naturalization bids have hurdled the House of Representatives, bringing them another step closer to gaining Filipino citizenship. During its Tuesday session, the lower chamber approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 8632 and 8631 which grants Filipino citizenship to Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Ivorian basketball star Kouame and United City FC’s Spanish football striker Marañon, respectively. Naturalization is a step required for the athletes to compete under the Philippine flag. Once a naturalization bid hurdles the House, it will be passed to the Senate before its submission to the Office of the President. Kouame was included in the 16-man lineup of Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain, but was not able to suit up due to his pending naturalization. The center from Ateneo was named UAAP Rookie of the Year in 2018. During the hearing of the House committee on justice back in December 2020, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio said that the Philippines eyes to progress in the international basketball ranking by excelling in different tournaments. “Almost every team has a naturalized player especially in our region because the Europeans are very big,” Panlilio said. “We are hoping with Ange here–He’s been here for four years. And I think it is an investment for the national team program of the SBP with Ange to be with us maybe for the next 10 to 15 years,” he added. Meanwhile, Manila Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez, who filed the bill for Maranon’s citizenship, said that Marañon “has shown exceptional skills complemented by commendable work ethics.” “He is known as one of the most prolific scorers in Southeast Asia,” Lopez said. “If granted the opportunity to play for the Philippines, Maranon will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset to the national football team, the Azkals, and bring pride and honor to our country,” he added. 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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หลังจากที่ Andrew Cuomo ผู้ว่าการรัฐนิวยอร์กยอมรับในที่สุดเมื่อเดือนธันวาคมว่าการเร่งกิจกรรมการพนันกีฬาใน Empire State จะเป็นเรื่องดีผู้สนับสนุนแนวคิดนี้ในช่วงสองปีที่ผ่านมาได้พบกับความหวังใหม่ในการบรรลุเป้าหมาย วุฒิสมาชิก Joseph Addabbo และ MP Gary Pretlow กำลังพยายามให้รัฐเร่งการหมุนเวียนของการพนันกีฬา แต่ Cuomo ทำให้เรื่องยากขึ้นหลายครั้ง ขณะนี้กำลังเผชิญกับแหล่งงบประมาณจำนวนมาก Cuomo ได้เปิดโลกทัศน์ของเขาสู่ความเป็นจริงและ Pretlow ก็มองโลกในแง่ดีว่าการเปลี่ยนใจของผู้ว่าการรัฐจะช่วยให้นิวยอร์กเห็นการพนันกีฬาปรากฏขึ้นก่อนสิ้นปีนี้ Cuomo ซึ่งถูกโจมตีซ้ำแล้วซ้ำเล่าสำหรับการตัดสินใจที่ดูเหมือนจะไม่อยู่ในความสนใจของนิวยอร์กซิตี้ยืนกรานว่าการแนะนำหนังสือกีฬามากขึ้นจะเป็นการต่อต้านและโดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งการพนันกีฬาออนไลน์จะต้องมีการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญ อย่างไรก็ตามเมื่อไม่นานมานี้มีการเปลี่ยนแปลงอย่างสิ้นเชิงเมื่อพิจารณาถึงการขาดดุลงบประมาณหลายพันล้านดอลลาร์ การพนันกีฬาและกัญชาถือเป็นวิธีการชดเชยความสูญเสียเหล่านี้และ Addabbo รู้สึกขอบคุณ เขาเพิ่งบอกกับ Casino.org ว่า: "ฉันยังคงมองโลกในแง่ดีว่าควรอยู่ในงบประมาณในวันที่ 1 เมษายนด้วยการริเริ่มเล็ก ๆ น้อย ๆ รัฐบาลของรัฐของเราสามารถนำไปใช้งานได้ภายในวันที่ 9 กันยายนซึ่งเป็นวันแรกของฤดูกาลฟุตบอล NFL นิวยอร์กสูญเสียเรือเมื่อพูดถึงรายได้ที่อาจเกิดขึ้นจากการพนันกีฬาสามารถนำมาได้ รัฐมีหนังสือกีฬาสี่เล่มซึ่งอยู่นอกรัฐซึ่งมีรายได้รวมกัน 3.6 ล้านดอลลาร์เมื่อเดือนมกราคมที่ผ่านมา อินเดียนาสร้างรายได้จากการพนันกีฬา 29.3 ล้านดอลลาร์ในเดือนนั้นและรัฐมีขนาดประมาณหนึ่งในสามของเมืองนิวยอร์กในแง่ของจำนวนประชากร เมื่อใดก็ตามที่มีการออกกฎหมายในนิวยอร์กเพื่ออนุญาตให้มีการพนันกีฬารัฐสามารถขยายจำนวนผู้ประกอบการที่ได้รับอนุมัติซึ่งจะใช้เวลานานในการต่อสู้กับผลกระทบของการแพร่ระบาดของโควิด -19 โชคดีที่นิวยอร์กยังไม่ถึงจุดอับโดยสิ้นเชิง Addabbo เชื่อว่าด้วยวิศวกรที่เหมาะสมสถานการณ์สามารถกลับมาสู่เส้นทางได้ แต่เสริมว่า "เราเป็นรถคันนี้อยู่ในเลนขวามีล้อสี่ล้อและเรากำลังขับผ่านไปและรถเร็วอื่น ๆ เช่น (นิวเจอร์ซีย์) และ "เพนซิลเวเนียกำลังเคลื่อนย้ายพวกเรานี่เป็นสถานที่แปลก ๆ ในการค้นหานิวยอร์ก" จากข้อเสนอของวุฒิสมาชิกซึ่งยังคงลึกล้ำในการเจรจาหนังสือกีฬาของนิวยอร์กจะจ่ายภาษี 10% การศึกษาก่อนหน้านี้แสดงให้เห็นว่าท้องถิ่น ตลาดอาจมีมูลค่าสูงถึง 1 พันล้านดอลลาร์ต่อปีซึ่งจะส่งผลให้รายได้ภาษีของนิวยอร์ก 100 ล้านดอลลาร์ต่อปีซึ่งในตัวมันเองก็น่าจะเพียงพอสำหรับฝ่ายนิติบัญญัติที่จะแก้ไขปัญหานี้อย่างจริงจังมากขึ้นโดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งเมื่อชาวนิวยอร์กมีอยู่แล้ว ข้ามพรมแดนเพื่อวางเดิมพัน แต่ Addabbo รู้ว่ายังมีงานที่ต้องทำและ อ้างที่ Casino.org ว่า "ฉันคิดว่าทั้งหมดนี้เป็นส่วนหนึ่งของการเจรจาเรื่องงบประมาณ จำนวนสกินและค่าธรรมเนียมใบอนุญาตและอัตราภาษีที่เป็นส่วนสำคัญของการเจรจางบประมาณ ทั้งหมดนี้เป็นส่วนหนึ่งของการอภิปรายที่เรากำลังจะมีและนั่นคือจุดที่เราต้องบรรลุข้อตกลงบางอย่าง "
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The Pros and Cons of Making a Living From Poker
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If you enjoy poker, making a living from playing this game seems like living the dream. Do something you love, and it will never feel like work. But, before you go all in, you should be aware of all of the pros and cons that come with playing poker for a living. If you’re considering getting more serious about your potential poker career, here are some of the most prominent advantages and disadvantages that come with being a professional poker player. The Advantages of Playing Poker for a Living You Own Your Own Time If you’re playing poker for a living, you’re effectively choosing your work hours. Being your own boss, especially in a career path such as this, means that you’re entirely free to tailor your own time and make the best of every day. The hassle of working night shifts or waking up early every morning to drive to work won’t be a problem if you gown down this road. Your “offices” are the online poker tables and live poker tournaments you choose to participate in. Just keep in mind that you must maintain great discipline in such a job, as not to lose yourself in the flexibility and freedom of your own time. No Salary Ceiling The biggest reason most poker players want to go professional is the unlimited profit available for those who dare to claim it. Although money shouldn’t be your primary motivator, it’s hard not to think about the multi-million prizes at the biggest poker tournaments in the world. Even if you are just starting out playing online on real money poker sites, there are still countless options with prizes significantly more extensive than what most working people can earn in their day jobs. Plus, the best part about this is that there’s no salary ceiling on how much you can bring home each month. Living and Traveling Anywhere in the World Another great advantage of playing poker for a living is that you can experience the feeling of always being on vacation while traveling for work and making money in the process. If you plan on becoming a full-time poker player, you can look forward to frequently traveling to some of the biggest and most exciting cities in the world. From Las Vegas and London to Barcelona and Monaco, you make your own schedule as packed or free as you wish. Moreover, as a professional poker player, you have unlimited freedom in choosing a location where you want to settle down. If you want to make your home in a sunny and warm place, you can select a popular poker destination such as the Caribbean. This will allow you to enjoy endless summers while still being very close to some of the most popular and rewarding poker tournaments. The Disadvantages of Playing Poker for a Living No Guaranteed Income The most significant benefit of a day job is that you know exactly how much money you’re earning every month. When you switch up your day job for a professional poker career, this safety net disappears. While it’s true that you’ll be able to win massive amounts of money potentially, there’s no telling when or even if this will come. Instability of income is a typical tradeoff in many careers that offer a higher profit ceiling. If you like playing it safe and can’t risk running a negative balance for a few weeks or months, pursuing a career in Texas Hold’em probably isn’t the best way to go. That said, if you’re ready to accept the swings and have the mindset to handle the pressure of unstable earnings, you can turn this disadvantage into your advantage. The Road to Success Can be Arduous Watching Daniel Negreanu toy with his opponents makes it seem almost effortless. But, most of us forget that we’re watching the end result of years of studying the game and the psychology of their competitors. All professional poker players have experienced great highs and lows throughout their long journey. Don’t go into it thinking that it’s going a smooth ride all of the time. Confidence is a must-have, but you should continuously work on your skills to back this up. Of course, some players have achieved great success in their first few years of playing the game, but these are outliers. If you’re aiming to make poker your lifetime career, you need to arm yourself with patience and always remember that you're in it for the long run, and variance will catch up with you eventually. Stable Budget Needed to Start Although poker offers you the opportunity to win a lot of money, you also need to have adequate starting capital before you even consider devoting all of your attention to the game. The lack of money is one of the more significant reasons why most players don’t commit to playing poker professionally. For many players, it can take years before they can get to a consistent level of winning in poker. If you don’t have the capital to start or a stable day job to cover your poker losses, you can quickly grow tired of the stress and grind. It’s crucial to remember that success isn’t guaranteed and that you should never risk the money you can’t afford to lose. Learning good bankroll management is a must! Are you Ready to Become a Professional Poker Player? The hard truth is that not everyone is cut out to be a world-class poker player. But, with enough patience and work, you can make a great living from playing poker. This is because, ultimately, the pros heavily outweigh the cons, and most players who truly commit to studying and learning the game can succeed in it. If you’re passionate about poker and ready to put your energy into it, nothing is stopping you from making a career out of it. To get some help on your path, check out the best poker training sites out there, as you’ll find plenty of great resources here.
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