SkillBet.com launches “legal” online poker room
By now you may have heard of the new online poker site Skillbet.com, where players compete against one another in game of “Duplicate Poker” where each player is given the same two hold cards and the person who plays them the most skillfully (wins the most money or loses the least money) will be rewarded. According to a recent press release that landed in my inbox, Skillbet has been deemed legal under 28 different states’ laws in the US –this was determined by legal experts ostensibly hired by Skillbet; the states in question have not deemed Skillbet, and Duplicate Poker to be legal at this time.
The lengthy Press Release does an excellent job of explaining the ins and outs of Skillbet.com’s poker games, as well as the legality of the game, and how Skillbet has come to the conclusion that the game is in fact legal in over half of the states in the US. Below you’ll find a copy of the press release, and I have reached out to the company and will be asking some follow-up questions of Skillbet.com CEO Paul Behrman in the near future.
Skillbet.com is still in Beta-testing mode, but the company has already hired a very high-profile spokesperson, none other than poker celebrity Lacey Jones, whose image graces the homepage of the website.
One thing I have already noticed that differentiates Skillbet.com from other online poker sites is the transparency; all of the principals in the company are listed by name and job description in the “About Us” page, and the site clearly indicates how Skillbet differs strategically and legally from standard online poker sites.
Here is a look at the Press Release I received from Skillbet on Friday:
BY ENHANCING THE SKILL OF GAME, SKILLBET.COM BRINGS AMERICA’S GREATEST PASTIME BACK ONSHORE!
LAS VEGAS, NV — (July 8, 2012) — The online poker industry has been on shaky ground since Black Friday, April 15, 2011, when PokerStars.com, FullTiltPoker.com and others were seized by the Department of Justice. Despite having a pro-Poker President in the White House, promising Legislation has dried up. SkillBet.com is changing all of this. Real money online poker is back – at least if you are lucky enough to live in the 28 states in which SkillBet.com current offers it’s games of No Limit Texas Hold’em! SkillBet is legal in 28 US States
How Does It Work?
In SkillBet.com Poker, you and your opponent are dealt the same cards while sitting at identical tables. You both play against the same five computer players. If, for example, you win $20 with your Ace Queen of clubs, but I play better than you and win $30, then I’ve out played you to the tune of $10 and you owe me $10. The only factors that determine who wins are the players’ decisions: Which player earns the most money from the same hand? Which player folds, bets or raises at the correct time? Who is able to master the identical hand against the identical players? During Skillbet Live games, if you fold a hand — but your opponent plays — then you can watch (and even trash talk) your opponent in real time. If you are still playing the hand, then you cannot watch your opponent. If you select “Auto View Opponent,” then your view will automatically be switched to your opponent’s table so you can watch him (and back to your table for the next hand).
Why is SkillBet.com Legal?
This set-up makes it a game of skill and 100% legal. In most US states, gambling is defined as risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest predominantly of chance. SkillBet.com takes No Limit Texas Hold’em and adds more skill, making it legal. Do you have the skills to take home the money? SkillBet.com’s legal opinion was provided by Marc Zwillinger, a Harvard lawyer who was previously the head of internet gaming enforcement for the US Department of Justice. Four other lawyers favorably assessed the legality of SkillBet.com, and one (a Partner at one of the largest and oldest law firms in the world) is now an investor in SkillBet.com.
Artificial intelligence Levels the Playing field; Poker Skills Determine the Player’s Payout
The computer opponents have been modeled after specific real human online players. Many of these computer players are using amazing artificial intelligence that would beat the vast majority of online poker players today. However, other computer players have significant weaknesses (e.g. are too passive, are too aggressive, defend their blinds too much, etc). It’s up to you during your match to try to figure out how each plays and exploit them (e.g., if one raises too much, then you should raise and call more against them). The computer opponents will also be trying to figure out how you play to take advantage of you! At the beginning of each match, you will not know them and they will not know you.
You Play Friends. SkillBet Pays the Winner
Often you hear that real money poker sites have done a poor job of social media and viral marketing. SkillBet.com hopes to change that! The first viral marketing promotion “You Play Friends. We Pay the Winner” allows anyone to challenge any or all of their friends (via Facebook, email or Twitter), and the winner gets $5.00 from SkillBet.com (see www.skillbet.com for terms and conditions).
Easy to Pay, Fast to Play: PayPal, Visa, MasterCard
Even before the U.S. government shut down the US-focused operations of global poker companies, payments, deposits and billing was a problem. But SkillBet.com promises poker players a way to earn real money via PayPal, Visa and MasterCard — putting their finely-honed poker skills to the test for real money. NOTE: Participation is restricted to individuals 18 years or older in specified jurisdictions.
SkillBet.com’s official launch date is July 8, 2012 during the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. SkillBet.com is the world’s first 100% legal real money Poker offering in the United States. Lacey Jones (Poker Pro, Fashion Model, and International TV Host, is the Spokesperson for SkillBet.com). Please visit www.SkillBet.com to see our brief introductory video on our home page. We are offering media tours of the website and game upon request.
SkillBet.com boasts a world class investor base including:
Craig Jones is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Ticonderoga Capital.
David Shladovsky is general counsel of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors.
Larry Coben is CEO of Tremisis Energy Corporation and a board director of NRG Energy.
Leo Vogel is CEO of e2 Communications an internet marketing company. M
ark Marney is the co-founder and former CEO of TGW.com, the world’s largest golf e-commerce company. Mark is also a board member of the Company.
Michael Targoff is the CEO of Loral Space & Communications.
Peter A. Leidel is founder and General Partner of Yorktown Partners, LLC and was previously a Partner at the Venture Capital Group of Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.
Tom Mendell is the former co-head of Goldman Sach’s Principal Investment Area and former Partner at The Beacon Group.
To follow events and updates surrounding SkillBet.com and the 2012 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, go to SkillBet.com.
About Lacy Jones
Lacey Jones is the #1 Poker Spokesmodel in the world. In 2008, Lacey was the CoHost of The Real Deal! at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas while also gracing the cover of Bluff Magazine in their November 2008 issue. This was 1 one of only a few covers in Bluff circulation history to feature a woman. Today, Lacey continues to be a force in the poker world. In 2009, she was a Borgata Poker Spokesmodel for January and September’s Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City. Lacey has also hosted interviews at the 2009 WSOP for ESPN 360, wsop.com, and Bluffmagazine.com. For more background on Lacey Jones, check out http://www.laceypoker.com/.
Tags: Behrman, Beta Testing, Black Friday, Game Poker, Graces, High Profile, Ins And Outs, Job Description, Lacey, Legal Experts, Online Poker sites, Pastime, Poker Games, poker players, Poker Room, Press Release, Principals, Shaky Ground, Spokesperson, Transparency, Vegas Nv
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