The Raptors walked away winners in a double-overtime Game 6 slugfest with Raptors players exchanging heated words with Boston Celtics players as they left the court. Now, it’s a win-or-go-home situation for both teams with everything on the line in Game 7. Can Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum keep the Celtics’ title dreams afloat, or will Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors stun their heavily-favored foes and the world with a come-from-behind series win? We’re about to find out. Game 7 takes place at AdventHealth Arena in Wesley County, Florida with tipoff coming on Friday at 6 p.M. PT/9 p.M. ET on September 11 with a live broadcast on TNT.
• You can watch this Celtics vs. Raptors in Game 7 live for FREE with Hulu + Live (free trial) or Sling TV (free trial, promotional offers)
GAME 7 ODDS
Moneyline: Celtics (-160) | Raptors (+130)
Point spread: Celtics (-3) | Raptors (+3)
Here are other ways to watch and follow the game live:
What: The Toronto Raptors face the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of this Round 2 Eastern Conference NBA playoffs series.
When: 6 p.M. PT/9 p.M. ET on Friday, September 11.
Where: The NBA Bubble at AdventHealth Arena in Wesley County, Florida.
TV channel: TNT
How to watch live stream online: You can Watch this game live for FREE with Hulu + Live (free trial) or Sling TV (free trial, promotional offers), if you prefer those platforms and their pricing plans.
CHENNAI: Actor Shaam and 12 others were booked and released on bail allegedly for gambling.
The Nungambakkam police received a tip-off on Monday night alleging that actor Shaam and his friends were gambling every day with money and other celebrities were involved too.
“Based on the tip-off, we went to his apartment in Sterling Road in Nungambakkam. We found them playing cards and some tokens were also found. So, we took them to the police station,” said Inspector Siva Kumar of Nungambakkam police station.
Shaam and 12 of his friends were booked under sections 45 and 46 of the City Police Act and let go on bail.
“We did not find any money with them. We checked the CCTV footage and found that there was no large scale gambling involved,” said the inspector.
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across America and the globe, almost all of our preferred pastimes have been put on hold, at least when it comes to team sports. There are plans in place for all four major American team sports to resume fairly soon, although much uncertainty remains.
During this time, fantasy sports and betting enthusiasts are either looking to satisfy their hunger by playing daily fantasy golf or even dipping into the NASCAR pond, but we still can get our kicks by drafting season-long fantasy football teams in the form of best-ball competitions.
No roster adjustments are needed after the fantasy football team is assembled, and gamers can draft either the old-fashioned way or with a slow-draft format that notifies them when it’s their turn to pick within an allotted time (usually around four hours).
Many services offer these contests, and I recently drafted my first 2020 best-ball roster. I’ve done hundreds of these drafts throughout the years, but the cloudy outlook of whether we even will have an NFL season had me pumping the brakes this offseason. Rather than going all in, my current intentions are to draft a team or two per week until we have rock-solid confirmation the NFL season will go on as scheduled.
Benefits of drafting a best-ball team include practice in dozens of ways, scratching that sports itch, experiencing a number of draft placements, trying out new strategies, and — everyone’s favorite — winning money. There are so many advantages to practicing, and I’m a firm believer that gamers of all skill levels need to stay fresh. It’s rewarding to track your teams based on when you drafted them, which is why I name all of my teams by date. It is easy to then look back at how one’s drafting skills evolved over the offseason.
Usually, I’ve drafted dozens of teams by now, so this year’s test result won’t have quite as long of a runway for evaluation purposes. Even still, it is, in a sense, gambling on your own abilities to draft the winning roster. For anyone missing fantasy football and betting, combine them with a best-ball draft. Essentially, it is like placing the bet on yourself! Sure, it’s not the nearly instant gratification of DFS or actual betting, but there’s a risk-reward component that comes with a tangible prize for being right and, to a degree, it is much like NFL future wagers on things like the Super Bowl.
Unlike traditional leagues with inseason roster adjustments, gamers in best-ball setups are putting all of their eggs in one’s ability to draft. And make no mistake about it, drafting is vastly different from the spring to the middle of the summer and into the waning weeks before the season kicks off.Each fantasy football decision is a mini gamble
In the Tuesday, July 14, draft, I picked seventh in a 12-team, PPR format that requires 1-2-3-1 for skill positions, plus a flex, and no kicker. Each team drafts at least one defense. Being that it is best-ball, it’s wise to take two defensive units, but since they don’t get injured like an individual player, I’m not keen on taking more than two. Quarterback and tight end, however, are positions in which I enter the draft with three-deep in mind at each position. It doesn’t take much to be left without a QB or TE if bye weeks and injuries/demotions conspire against your draft plans. But there’s another gamble to be had in skimping on depth to build elsewhere.
Running backs and receivers, of course, require owners to draft for depth. And, since there isn’t any management beyond the selection of these players, it’s even more important to blend upside with proven playmakers than in conventional leagues.
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Since running back is especially thin this year, I made sure to grab one elite player at No. 7 (Derrick Henry) and then entered Round 2 with an open mind. This live draft had two absent owners, so autopicks were in play, and the AI did a good job of balancing both teams. I’m actually a little ticked that it sniped me on a few players. Anyway, you have to roll with the punches, just like in a regular draft. I then found myself looking at either Austin Ekeler or several other running backs with major questions (Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Leonard Fournette, Clyde Edwards-Helaire), so I pivoted to a position I almost never consider early and chose Travis Kelce.
In Round 3, my Henry-Kelce combination allowed for some flexibility. Since WR is so deep, I went back to entertaining the idea of a running back here. I tabbed Gurley or Edwards-Helaire. Of course, both went with two of the three picks before me. It then left me thinking it was time to snag the best receiver available, whom I valued as being Mike Evans, so that’s the route I chose. In the fourth round, running back was now a must, right? Usually, I’d have taken one, but now this team was unconventional for me, and I wanted to keep that ball rolling, so I turned to another receiver in Cooper Kupp.
Knowing that I was now thin at the thinnest position possible, my focus went to building running back depth over the next four rounds. Raheem Mostert‘s contract squabble doesn’t scare me, mainly because he lacks serious leverage. On to my roster he went in Round 5. The sixth round presented options to consider for positional versatility, which led to a “go big” mentality with the selection of Kyler Murray. He has a serious weapons cache and a coach who wants to prove his genius. Back to running back: I added James White and Ronald Jones in Rounds 7 and 8, respectively. Not great, but intriguing blends of reliability and potential.
The structure of the team after eight of the 20 rounds was 1 QB, 4 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE … back to looking at receiver. I snagged Emmanuel Sanders and Hunter Renfrow (a personal sleeper fave) in the next two rounds before taking a chance on Daniel Jones as my backup. Drew Brees was my hope here, if he had not gone four picks prior. The Murray-Jones combo gives me upside galore but questionable stability from a weekly perspective, so, in hindsight, maybe taking a passer one round earlier and waiting on Renfrow was the wiser decision. Those are examples of where gambling on my ability to draft the best players for the situation will either pay off or break my chances of winning the league.
To round out the rest of the draft, the aforementioned blending of safety and high-reward upside picks was the focus. Adding guys like QB Drew Lock, TE Jace Sternberger, WR Josh Reynolds and RB Reggie Bonnafon isn’t for everyone, but in the event my prognostication is right on even one of them panning out, I can live with it. Lock has top-10 potential. Sternberger is this year’s Mark Andrews in my eyes. Reynolds plays in an offense that may be forced to chuck it nearly 700 times, and Bonnafon is the primary backup to Christian McCaffrey and his league-high workload over the last two years. In all likelihood, Bonnafon never cracks my starting lineup in this format. But if CMC gets hurt, I have a possible RB2 as my sixth back coming out of the draft.
The same conceptual argument could be applied to choosing rookie RB Darrynton Evans as a handcuff to Henry in Tennessee. Instead, categorize it as a mixture of safety and upside. There’s risk, since he’s a rookie during a pandemic-shortened offseason and comes from a small school, but it’s also the easiest position to learn and in an offense dedicated to pounding the ball.
Adding veterans Kenny Stills and Kyle Rudolph to round out depth isn’t sexy. Consider their situations. Houston is counting on a mixture of underwhelming and injury-prone veterans to learn the offense on the fly and build chemistry with Deshaun Watson. Stills has both of those elements already down. And it’s tough to see the NFL disciplining him for being arrested while protesting a social cause. Rudolph gets a boost after the offensive coordinator change and loss of Stefon Diggs in the offseason. Sure, second-year tight end Irv Smith will cut into his time here and there, but in best-ball, behind Kelce, I’m only hoping for the occasional two-TD outburst or unlikely 10-catch game from a 16th-round choice.
I’ll be back next week to examine another draft and see which gambles will likely pay off once the real thing is back on the field. There’s definitely a correlation to sports betting, albeit less than in DFS, due to the timeliness of the pay-off. I’m confident anyone who hasn’t tried best-ball will enjoy it.
Get in on the action and draft your own! My preferred league platforms for these drafts are RTSports.Com and SportsHub’s “Best-Ball 10s” services. Neither company sponsored this article … I just like what they do in the space. Check ’em out, or look around the web to find competitors.
Slot game enthusiasts have witnessed a lot of advancements, occasioned by the growth in technology and the arrival of the internet. Games can now be played online and huge money won in the process. The amount of entertainment and level of engagement and interaction enjoyed from the online slot games are making it soar in popularity in casino websites and sites like Casimple make finding and comparing online casinos offering the best slots a simple process.
People are offered a very unique entertainment when slot machines flash their lights, deliver the amazing animations, and show video slips. These websites also offer demo or free play versions for players that need them. The free versions of the gaming software are meant to allow players to enjoy games just for fun. They may go ahead to bet money later on or may stick to enjoying the games for fun – after all, that was the original idea of casino games.
Below are the benefits derived from playing online slot games;You Have the Chance to Pick Low Betting Limits
Online slot games come in varying prices. There are many low limit games that you can enjoy, and they reduce your risk of losing money to the barest minimum. With the low limit games, you can easily control what you do and manage your bankroll properly. But in the brick and mortar casinos, you will always see bars that indicate how low you can ever go in betting on games. But it is only in online slot games that you can wager any amount you have, and still have the chance to land huge wins.You Can Access a Huge Number of Games
When you play slot games online, you enjoy the leverage of selecting from an avalanche of games. While the number of games available in online casinos is much more than what you can ever get in the land based casinos, the ones at the online casinos also come in different variants. So, you can have one game with up to four variants to pick from, plus the odds of the games are clearly stated, giving you the freedom to choose games based on the odds. The advantage of this is that you wager on games that you expect to offer higher payouts due to their odds. Most of the games available on the web are not found in the brick and mortar casinos, so you have the chance to enjoy them here.You Enjoy a Lot of Money from Free Bonuses
There are different bonuses in most of the online slots. Most of the online casinos allow players to sign up and enjoy some bonuses without any deposit. This is meant to lure them in because the competition in the industry is fierce. Those who opt in for the bonuses may go ahead to win huge money even when they have not made any deposit.You Can Switch From One Casino to the Other As You Deem Fit
There are numerous online casinos out there. When you are playing slots online, you can decide to switch from one casino to the other without qualms. You only need a click to make multiple wagers on many sites, and this gives you more opportunities to win more. There are different odds from different casinos. So, you are given the freedom to roam about, search, and pick the ones with higher odds that entail higher payouts and play with them.Increased Convenience
When you consider the fact that to place a bet in the and based casinos, you had to drive for miles, wasting your time, energy, and funds, and remember that all you need at the moment is to relax on the sofa in your sitting room, and place bets with your computer set or mobile device, you cannot but give kudos to the level of convenience that online slot gaming provides. Another thing is that there is no opening time or closing time for online slots. You can place bets all the days of the week and round the clock. Playing online slots does not change your schedule again, as you can even wager while on the go.Higher Payouts
It is also true that the percentage of payouts from online casinos is much more than what is obtainable in the land based casinos. For instance, when you play the Book of Dead slot online, you will have access to more profit due to the higher payout percentage, than what you will get when you play it in the land based casinos.
The Grand Victoria Casino is to reopen Wednesday for the first time in more than three months, but it won’t be gaming as normal.
The Elgin casino is one of 10 state casinos being allowed to welcome back customers, but it must comply with a list of state social distancing and safety requirements, including reduced capacity, fewer slot machines, fewer table games players and mandatory face coverings.
Grand Victoria’s reopening will mirror those they’ve already done at other casinos owned by its parent company, Nevada-based Eldorado Resorts, officials said.
“As we reopen, the health and safety of our team members and guests will continue to be our top priority and we have implemented new safety protocols and social distancing measures to keep them safe and comfortable on property,” spokeswoman Marilou Pilman said in an emailed statement.
The Illinois Gaming Board had casino operators submit a pandemic resumption plan in which they outlined how they would operate to ensure visitor and employee safety from the coronavirus. The board also issued a list of restrictions and protocols casinos must follow.
Initially, capacity will be limited to 50% and only every other slot machine will be available for use, per state regulations. Seating will be reduced at gaming tables, following guidelines from Eldorado Resorts.
Six-foot social distancing will be enforced at table games, slot machines, restaurants and other common areas. Under Eldorado’s plan, guests will not be able to gather behind players seated at table games.
All casino employees and visitors must wear some form of face covering and hand-sanitizing stations have beens set up throughout the casino, per state rules.
As is done at other Eldorado casinos, the Grand Victoria will undergo more cleaning and disinfecting, with a particular emphasis on high-touch items, surfaces and public spaces.
Grand Victoria’s buffet, valet parking and poker rooms cannot resume yet under state rules, but its Crave Deli will reopen Wednesday.
Grand Victoria is the second-to-last casino operated by Eldorado Resorts to reopen. Eldorado operates 23 casinos in the United States.
“The health and safety of our team members and guests remains our top priority and we have been working very hard over the last three months to prepare to welcome our guests back,” Anthony Carano, president/COO of Eldorado Resorts, said in a news release.
Several precautions are being put in place at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, including a reduction in slot machines and players at gaming tables, to provide safety for patrons and employees when it reopens for business Wednesday. (Rafael Guerrero / The Courier-News)
Prior to the closure of all Illinois casinos in March, the state’s 10 gaming facilities had generated $203 million in adjusted gross receipts through the end of February, according to Illinois Gaming Board records. Both months’ receipts totals were outpacing January and February of last year.
Records show that state’s casinos had brought in more than 1.6 million visitors in the first two months of the year, an increase from the same period in 2019.
The Grand Victoria Casino reported the third-highest adjusted gross receipt total and attendance among the state’s 10 casinos in 2019 and early 2020, numbers show.
The Denver Broncos are the first NFL team to sell an official sportsbook sponsorship. The Broncos and FanDuel announced Monday that the two had struck a deal that would make FanDuel an official sports betting partner of the team.
Last season, the NFL only allowed teams to sign deals with casinos. And for casinos that had sportsbooks, they were not part of the deal. Then in February, the NFL said that teams could start selling the designation and allowed them to start in May.
In order to welcome bettors in the state, FanDuel is offering new users a bevy of promotions, including Broncos at +30 on the point spread for their season opener against the Tennessee Titans (max bet $50) and the over/under of Denver’s 7.5-win total at +1600 (max bet $10). The book is also offering all users Week 1 odds boosts on the Broncos moneyline (-130 to +120) and on rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to score a touchdown (+250 to +400), with a max bet of $50 on both.
Betting in Colorado launched on May 1 with six mobile sportsbooks beginning operations quickly. A total of $25.5 million was bet in the state in the first month.
Other NFL teams expected to sign deals with sportsbooks include the Raiders, who will play their first season in Las Vegas; the New York Jets and New York Giants, who both play in New Jersey; and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Teams can only do deals if sports gambling is legal in their state, so the Dallas Cowboys have to stick with their casino deal with Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma until Texas has sports betting.
Matchday 30 of the 2019-20 English Premier League season concludes on Monday when Manchester City welcomes Burnley to Ethiad Stadium. Manchester City cruised to an easy 3-0 victory over Arsenal in its first game back from a long layoff caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the defending champions will be tested on Monday when they square off against Burnley at 3 p.M. ET. Burnley is unbeaten in its last seven Premier League fixtures, which includes victories over Manchester United and Leicester City.
The English Premier League odds from William Hill list Manchester City as a massive -850 money line favorite (risk $850 to win $100), while Burnley is going off at +2000. The draw is +800 and the over-under for total goals scored is 3.5. Before you lock in any English Premier League picks or predictions for Manchester City vs. Burnley, see what SportsLine’s proprietary soccer model has to say.
Created by two Norwegians — professional poker player and sports bettor Jonas Gjelstad, and economics and engineering expert Marius Norheim — the model analyzes worldwide betting data and exploits market inefficiencies, helping its followers cash in. Over the last three years, the algorithm is up an eye-popping 13,800 percent.
The model also made some huge calls in the English Premier League on Wednesday, correctly predicting the profitable draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United (+230), as well as Manchester City’s (-320) victory over Arsenal. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Now, the model has set its sights on Monday’s Premier League fixture and revealed its picks for Manchester City vs. Burnley over at SportsLine.Top English Premier League predictions for Monday
The model is leaning under 3.5 goals in Monday’s matchup between Manchester City and Burnley. Manchester City boasts the English Premier League’s most potent scoring attack, having scored 71 goals in 29 matches. Manchester City’s offensive attack is led by forward Sergio Aguero, who’s recorded 16 goals this season. In addition to a potent scoring attack, Manchester City features a dynamic defense that has recorded a shutout in five of its last seven games across all competitions.
Burnley also features a strong back line, giving up just two goals in its last five fixtures. In their 4-1 defeat against Manchester City earlier this season, Sean Dyche’s side registered two shots on target while maintaining just 24 percent of the possession. In addition, the Clarets have scored just two goals in their last five matches against Manchester City, one of the main reasons the model is leaning towards the under on Monday.How to make English Premier League picks for Monday
The model has also revealed a strong money line pick for Manchester City vs. Burnley. You absolutely need to see it before you lock in your own picks.
So who should you back in the English Premier League on Monday? And where does all the betting value lie? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Manchester City vs. Burnley money line has all the value, all from the proprietary European soccer model that’s up an eye-popping 13,800 percent.
Maria Konnikova is a New York Times bestselling author and contributor to The New Yorker with a doctorate in psychology. She decided to learn how to play poker to better understand the role of luck in our lives, examining the game through the lens of psychology and human behavior. This excerpt is adapted from her new book, “The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win,” which is available June 23.
For many years, my life centered around studying the biases of human decision-making: I was a graduate student in psychology at Columbia, working with that marshmallow-tinted legend, Walter Mischel, to document the foibles of the human mind as people found themselves in situations where risk abounded and uncertainty ran high. Dissertation defended, I thought to myself, that’s that. I’ve got those sorted out. And in the years that followed, I would pride myself on knowing so much about the tools of self-control that would help me distinguish myself from my poor experimental subjects. Placed in a stochastic environment, faced with stress and pressure, I knew how I’d go wrong — and I knew precisely what to do when that happened.
Fast-forward to 2016. I have embarked on my latest book project, which has taken me into foreign territory: the world of No Limit Texas Hold ’em. And here I am, at my first-ever tournament. It’s a charity event. I’ve been practicing for weeks, playing online, running through hands, learning the contours of basic tournament poker strategy.
I get off to a rocky start, almost folding pocket aces, the absolute best hand you can be dealt, because I’m so nervous about messing up and disappointing my coach, Erik Seidel — a feared crusher considered one of the best poker players in the world. He’s the one who finagled this invitation for me in the first place, and I feel certain that I’m going to let him down. But somehow, I’ve managed to survive out of the starting gate, and a few hours in, I’m surprised to find myself starting to experience a new kind of feeling. This isn’t that hard. This is fun. I’m not half-bad.
This moment, this I’m not half-bad making its fleeting way through my brain, is the first time I notice a funny thing start to happen. It’s as if I’ve been cleaved in two. The psychologist part of my brain looks dispassionately on, noting everything the poker part of me is doing wrong. And the poker player doesn’t seem to be able to listen. Here, for instance, the psychologist is screaming a single word: overconfidence. I know that the term “novice” doesn’t even begin to describe me and that my current success is due mostly to luck. But then there’s the other part of me, the part that is most certainly thinking that maybe, just maybe, I have a knack for this. Maybe I’m born to play poker and conquer the world.
The biases I know all about in theory, it turns out, are much tougher to fight in practice. Before, I was working so hard on grasping the fundamentals of basic strategy that I didn’t have the chance to notice. Now that I have some of the more basic concepts down, the shortcomings of my reasoning hit me in the face. After an incredibly lucky straight draw on a hand I had no business playing — the dealer helpfully tells me as much with a “You’ve got to be kidding me” as I turn over my hand and win the pot — I find myself thinking maybe there’s something to the hot hand, the notion that a player is “hot,” or on a roll. Originally, it was taken from professional basketball, from the popular perception that a player with a hot hand, who’d made a few shots, would continue to play better and make more baskets. But does it actually exist — and does believing it exists, even if it doesn’t, somehow make it more real? In basketball, the psychologists Thomas Gilovich, Amos Tversky, and Robert Vallone argued it was a fallacy of reasoning — when they looked at the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, they found no evidence that the hot hand was anything but illusion. But in other contexts, mightn’t it play out differently? I’ve had the conventional thinking drilled into me, yet now I think I’m on a roll. I should bet big. Definitely bet big.
That idea suffers a debilitating blow after a loss with a pair of jacks — a hand that’s actually halfway decent. After a flop that has an ace and a queen on it — both cards that could potentially make any of my multiple opponents a pair higher than mine — I refuse to back down. I’ve had bad cards for the last half an hour. I deserve to win here! I lose over half my chips by refusing to fold — hello, sunk cost fallacy! We’ll be seeing you again, many times. And then, instead of reevaluating, I start to chase the loss: Doesn’t this mean I’m due for a break? I can’t possibly keep losing. It simply isn’t fair. Gambler’s fallacy — the faulty idea that probability has a memory. If you are on a bad streak, you are “due” for a win. And so I continue to bet when I should sit a few hands out.
It’s fascinating how that works, isn’t it? Runs make the human mind uncomfortable. In our heads, probabilities should be normally distributed — that is, play out as described. If a coin is tossed ten times, about five of those should be heads. Of course, that’s not how probability actually works — and even though a hundred heads in a row should rightly make us wonder if we’re playing with a fair coin or stuck in a Stoppardian alternate reality, a run of ten or twenty may well happen. Our discomfort stems from the law of small numbers: We think small samples should mirror large ones, but they don’t, really. The funny thing isn’t our discomfort. That’s understandable. It’s the different flavors that discomfort takes when the runs are in our favor versus not. The hot hand and the gambler’s fallacy are actually opposite sides of the exact same coin: positive recency and negative recency. We overreact to chance events, but the exact nature of the event affects our perception in a way it rightly shouldn’t.
We have a mental image of the silly gamblers who think they’re due to hit the magic score, and it’s comforting to think that won’t be us, that we’ll recognize runs for what they are: statistical probabilities. But when it starts happening in reality, we get a bit jittery. “All these squalls to which we have been subjected are signs the weather will soon improve and things will go well for us,” Don Quixote tells his squire, Sancho Panza, in Miguel de Cervantes’s 1605 novel, “because it is not possible for the bad or the good to endure forever, from which it follows that since the bad has lasted so long a time, the good is close at hand.” We humans have wanted chance to be equitable for quite some time. Indeed, when we play a game in which chance doesn’t look like our intuitive view of it, we balk.
Frank Lantz has spent over twenty years designing games. When we meet at his office at NYU, where he currently runs the Game Center, he lets me in on an idiosyncrasy of game design. “In video games where there are random events — things like dice rolls — they often skew the randomness so that it corresponds more closely to people’s incorrect intuition,” he says. “If you flip heads twice in a row, you’re less likely to flip heads the third time. We know this isn’t actually true, but it feels like it should be true, because we have this weird intuition about large numbers and how randomness works.” The resulting games actually accommodate that wrongness so that people don’t feel like the setup is “rigged” or “unfair.” “So they actually make it so that you’re less likely to flip heads the third time,” he says. “They jigger the probabilities.”
For a long time, Lantz was a serious poker player. And one of the reasons he loves the game is that the probabilities are what they are: they don’t accommodate. Instead, they force you to confront the wrongness of your intuitions if you are to succeed. “Part of what I get out of a game is being confronted with reality in a way that is not accommodating to my incorrect preconceptions,” he says. The best games are the ones that challenge our misperceptions, rather than pandering to them in order to hook players.
Poker pushes you out of your illusions, beyond your incorrect comfort zone — if, that is, you want to win. “Poker wasn’t designed by a game designer in the modern sense,” Lantz points out. “And it’s actually bad game design according to modern-day conceptions of how video games are designed. But I think it’s better game design because it doesn’t pander.” If you want to be a good player, you must acknowledge that you’re not “due” — for good cards, good karma, good health, money, love, or whatever else it is. Probability has amnesia: Each future outcome is completely independent of the past. But we persist in thinking that its memory is not only there but personal to us. We’ll be rewarded, eventually, if we’re only patient. It’s only fair.
But here’s the all-too-human element: We’re just fine with runs when they are in our favor. Hence the hot hand. When we’re winning, we don’t think we’re due for a change in the least. If the run is on our side, we’re thrilled to let it continue indefinitely. We think the bad streaks are overdue to end yesterday, but no one wants the good to end.
Why do smart people persist in these sorts of patterns? As with so many biases, it turns out that there may be a positive element to these illusions — an element that’s closely tied to the very thing I’m most interested in, our conceptions about luck. There’s an idea in psychology, first introduced by Julian Rotter in 1966, called the locus of control. When something happens in the external environment, is it due to our own actions (skill) or some outside factor (chance)? People who have an internal locus of control tend to think that they affect outcomes, often more than they actually do, whereas people who have an external locus of control think that what they do doesn’t matter too much; events will be what they will be. Typically, an internal locus will lead to greater success: People who think they control events are mentally healthier and tend to take more control over their fate, so to speak. Meanwhile, people with an external locus are more prone to depression and, when it comes to work, a more lackadaisical attitude.
Sometimes, though, as in the case of probabilities, an external locus is the correct response: Nothing you do matters to the deck. The cards will fall how they may. But if we’re used to our internal locus, which has served us well to get us to the table to begin with, we may mistakenly think that our actions will influence the outcomes, and that probability does care about us, personally. That we’re due to be in a certain part of the distribution, because our aces have already been cracked twice today. They can’t possibly fall yet again. We’ll forget what historian Edward Gibbon warned about as far back as 1794, that “the laws of probability, so true in general, [are] so fallacious in particular” — a lesson history teaches particularly well. And while probabilities do even out in the long term, in the short term, who the hell knows. Anything is possible. I may even final-table this charity thing.
One thing is for sure: Unless I cure my distaste for bad runs and the sense of exuberance that envelops me during the good ones, I am going to lose a lot of money. And maybe if I lose it for long enough, I’ll eventually stop thinking that the cards owe me anything at all — whether that’s continued success or an end to a streak of bad runouts. Or that’s the hope. Otherwise I’ll be one broke poker player.
What’s next for Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) stock? Shares have skyrocketed in recent weeks. With casinos reopening after the novel coronavirus shutdowns, investors are betting on a quick rebound. But, who’s to say we’ll see a V-shaped recovery at the gaming tables?
Casino stocks offer high risk, but high potential returns. Yet, Penn National now trades where it was pre-outbreak. Even as there are reasons why shares aren’t such a solid bet.
Firstly, the company mostly leases the real estate under its casinos. This may have been a smart financial engineering move. But it leaves them fewer liquidity options relative to peers.
Secondly, shares trade at a premium to stronger rivals like Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) and MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM). This could make them better plays as casino stocks recover, as might VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (NASDAQ:BJK), which holds all four names in its 42-stock exchange-traded fund portfolio.
Also, it’s questionable whether casino revenues will bounce back to normal right away. Given the industry’s high fixed costs, even a 20% decline in revenue could mean bad news.
In short, it may be better to skip out on this “too hot to touch” regional casino play. Let’s dive in, and see why PENN stock isn’t your “best bet.”Penn National Post-Pandemic
Can Penn National survive the coronavirus? When the pandemic first hit America, Wall Street’s answer was a resounding “no” as shares fell from above $39 in February to as low as $3.75 in March. Yet, with its casinos reopening, shares have rebounded ten-fold, to prices just above $37.50 per share.
Will shares continue to climb? That’s debatable. On one hand, initial results indicate strong demand. On the other hand, most states are imposing strict social distancing guidelines. This could mean things won’t return to 100% for quite some time.
But, there’s another big risk specific to PENN stock. The company leases, not owns, most of its properties. In fact, the company was a pioneer in the casino REIT (real estate investment trust) trend.
In 2013, the company spun off most of its real estate as the first casino REIT, Gaming and Leisure Properties (NASDAQ:GLPI). This transaction allowed them to realize the underlying value of its property. But while this boosted valuation, it left them exposed to heavy lease liabilities.
As our own Matt McCall wrote back in April, Penn National carries $8.5 billion in lease liabilities on its balance sheet. In 2020 alone, the company must make $900 million in lease payments. This wouldn’t be a problem if their casinos were generating cash flow. But, what happens if casinos fail to see a V-shaped recovery? It’s easy to see how this company could fall short of Wall Street’s sky-high expectations.
Yet, enthusiasm over the company’s moves into sports wagering have sent shares to a highly frothy valuation. With this in mind, things don’t look so hot from a risk/return perspective.Sports Betting Catalyst More Than Priced Into Shares
The recent rally in PENN Stock has made shares richly priced. The company’s enterprise value/EBITDA (EV/EBITDA) ratio now stands at 15.9. That’s a premium to the EBITDA multiples of Las Vegas Sands (12.6) and MGM (14.3).
Why have shares reached such a premium valuation? Chalk it up to the company’s sports betting catalyst. As I wrote May 29, the company’s investment in Barstool Sports could help boost the prospects for their budding sportsbook operations.
By partnering with Barstool, the company can market directly to podcasting network’s sports-obsessed, millennial-aged fan base. In short, a viable means to grab market share from first movers DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) and Fanduel (OTCMKTS:PDYPY).
I agree this makes for a valid bull case for Penn National stock. Yet, this catalyst is more than priced into shares. Despite the pandemic closing its facilities for two months, this casino stock today has just about retraced its 52-week high.
In other words, the easy money’s already been made with PENN stock. Buying today out of pure FOMO may not be the best move. If tangible results in the next quarter or two don’t match up with today’s expectations, shares could fall back to lower levels.PENN Stock Is Not Your ‘Best Bet’
Casino reopenings, along with excitement over the company’s sports betting catalyst, have led investors to bid up this gaming company’s shares as of late. Should you join in, as the stock hits past highs?
Not so fast! PENN stock has more than priced-in its multiple catalysts. If you want to wager on a rebound, consider other casino stocks out there. But skip this one for now.
Thomas Niel, contributor to InvestorPlace, has written single-stock analysis since 2016. As of this writing, Thomas Niel did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
Maurice “Mac” VerStandig is the managing partner of the VerStandig Law Firm, LLC, and focuses his practice on representing poker players, advantage gamblers, and other industry professionals in all manner of legal situations. He can be reached at 301-444-4600 or [email protected]
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints, and official policies of PokerNews.Com.
There is not, in fact, one weird trick to having the government pay your mortgage; there is no one vegetable all gut doctors recommend be eaten daily; and there is most certainly not some prescient fail-safe stock insight from the lone man who predicted the Great Recession, the collapse of the USSR, and Appalachian State’s upset of Michigan.
Nor, for that matter, is there one weird trick that makes the online poker games raided by the Department of Justice in 2011 magically legal today.
With COVID-19 came the closure of every licensed live poker room in the United States.
Some are now flirting with reopening, and while this is surely not an apt forum for the dispensation of medical advice, such setups strike many as unduly risky, while their shorthanded layouts strike others as strategically unpalatable.
Thus, online poker has experienced a marked and rapid renaissance, with nascent mobile poker apps enjoying surges in traffic, offshore websites becoming predictable topics du jour for Poker Twitter, and even the World Series of Poker – our community’s mainstay summer camp destination forced into sabbatical – upping its online offerings.
Yet few of these options are actually legal, let alone reasonably protected from illicit mischief. And for many, those scarce lawful outposts are beyond the reach of respective state lines.The Clearly Legal Options
Let’s start, though, with safe havens: WSOP.Com, Borgatapoker.Com, and other licensed poker sites in Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are safe, regulated, secure gaming outlets.
Do we all periodically bemoan their mishaps? Sure. Is the pro-to-rec player ratio often undesirable? Absolutely. But chasing a Circuit ring online is lawful and generally secure.
A few other operators in the United States do tow the legal line.
This column is not an endorsement of any site or group of sites, but suffice it to posit at least one big-name poker operator has a domestic operation riffing off various states’ sweepstakes laws, and if that platform is available in your place of residence, you should be good to go.
It is normally easy to figure out which sites fall into this category – they tend to be the ones accepting credit cards, offering domestic mailing addresses, and inundating users with geofence checks.
Poker lawyer Mac VerStandig playing at the WSOP. The Gray Area
There is another lawful online poker option for some – but not all – American residents: unraked cyber “home” games.
In certain states, playing an unraked poker game for money is kosher. And if both you and your respective adversaries are all positioned in these states, you should be in the clear so long as no one is charging to run the game.
The problem, of course, is 50 states have 50 different laws, and not all are black and white on this point.
If staying on the right side of the law is important to you (and it ought to be), contact a lawyer before assuming the sanctity of your cyber club game. (I’ll skip the shameless self-plug; plenty of attorneys less familiar with gaming laws than myself can give guidance on this point. Just make sure you’re working with an actual attorney and not an out-of-work barista who took a few classes on ancient Greek law while chasing a philosophy degree in college.)The Problem Areas
One of the frustrating urban legends borne of Black Friday is that playing online poker is perfectly legal; it is merely site operators and banks handling monetary transfers that are running afoul of the law. This is, in many cases, completely untrue.
“Every state has its own laws. And they range from obliquely prohibitive to occasionally permissive.”
Yes, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (here) – the ill-conceived federal statute that beget Black Friday – does limit much of its application to financial intermediaries. But that is not the only gaming-centric law in America by a longshot.
Every state has its own laws. And they range from obliquely prohibitive to occasionally permissive. D
o you live in Virginia? Section 18.2-326 of the state’s code makes it a class 3 misdemeanor to play in a raked poker game. Whether the game is online, in an underground casino, or in your pal’s basement matters not – if there is a rake or an administration fee, and you post a wager while sitting in the Commonwealth, you’re breaking the law.
How about Minnesota? Section 609.755 of the state’s statutory scheme renders it illegal to “make a bet.”
Do you call Utah home? Section 76-10-1102 of the local criminal code makes it a class B misdemeanor to “participate in gambling… including any Internet or online gambling.”
To be sure, these are not the only states that make it illegal to play in an unlicensed card game – plenty of others fall in line. And while some do seem to exempt participants from anti-gaming laws, that does not mean gaming winnings are not subject to forfeiture, your telling a buddy about a game will not give rise to a charge of promoting gambling, or an overzealous prosecutor will not one day theorize that participants are part of a conspiracy to put on an illegal poker game.
Oh, and if you are breaking a state anti-gaming law, you are also in hot water with the feds: Section 1955(d) of Title 18 of the United States Code makes clear that all money used in games illegal under state law can be seized by your cranky Uncle Sam.But it’s a Game of Skill
Poker is a game of skill – no argument here. And, yes, numerous states do have statutory schemes that seem to differentiate games of skill from games of chance and, ergo, place skill-based ventures beyond the reach of some anti-gaming laws.
Oddly enough, this is why it is often OK to wager $3 against a giant teddy bear while a carnival barker insults your spouse’s unibrow. But do not rely on this distinction; it has fallen out of favor with numerous courts in recent years, and too many judges cannot look past the randomness that permits donks to scoop pots when a three-outer comes swimming up the river.
Moreover, some states are express that it matters not if the game is one of skill, chance, or antebellum French literary prowess: if you are staking money, you are violating the law.What’s the Realistic Outcome?
There has not been a notable online poker raid in the United States since Black Friday. Does that mean prosecutors stopped caring? Maybe. Does that mean we’re due? Maybe.
But here’s the thing: you aren’t going to know a bust is coming until it happens – neither the FBI nor its state counterparts tend to post their to-do lists on Facebook.
“Illegal games lack the sort of judicial security upon which we all have grown accustomed to relying.”
If there is a bust, does it seem likely large swaths of players will be serving prison sentences for playing $20 tournaments from their bedrooms? No.
But there is also no guarantee or assurance on this front – prosecutors can be a fickle group, circumstances vary wildly, and if it turns out a few people in that tournament were under surveillance for unrelated criminal conduct, you could end up in a lot hotter of water than you might think simply by virtue of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Moreover, illegal games lack the sort of judicial security upon which we all have grown accustomed to relying.
If a legal casino impounds your bankroll, you have legal recourse. If an online operator freezes your account and ghosts your customer service messages, you are largely on your own.
There was a time when poker was generally illegal and justice was meted out with ropes drawn from trees. As a community, we have come a long way from those Wild West days, and candidly, most of us are not nearly cut out to defend our honor in a duel.
The poker players of today tend to be better schooled in the ways of ketosis than marksmanship.
By playing online, you probably are not risking the integrity of your kneecaps. But you also are not being afforded the judicial safeguards that have pulled our community out of days of yore and into the modern era. And that, in many ways, is a bigger gamble than the draws we are all accustomed to chasing.