Daily 3-Bet: US Poker = $3.3B, Texas Block'em, Top Chefmuth

Phil Hellmuth
Spreading the hat wealth.

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a bay leaf, baby corn and habanero pepper adobe-oven fritatta that somehow manages to win the afternoon poker news quickfire.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop a note or link in the comments and we'll take a look.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a new study suggesting a regulated US poker market would be worth $3.3 billion, a Palo Alto software entrepreneur tries to reinvent Texas Hold'em and a Top Chef winner does his best Phil Hellmuth impression.

1) Regulated US Poker = $3.3 Billion (Reportedly)

How much is the US poker market really worth?

So, how much is the US poker economy really worth? We've heard various numbers bandied around over the years, ranging from hundreds of millions up to $10B+ so it's always hard to pin a hard figure on it.

Before Black Friday hit, though, the United Staes did make up about 27% of the global poker market - definitely pushing it nearer the billions than the millions.

Since then, however, a long lockout and fractured, state-by-state legislation model has put a dent in the market for sure - and, long term, would hold it back from its full potential a new study from research institute Academicon suggests:

"Without a federally regulated online poker market, which appears unlikely, state-by-state markets will stay well below their potential," says Dr. Ingo Fiedler, author of the study.

"While a large state like California has a large enough player base to support an in-state market and even reach up to 80% of its market potential, smaller states like Delaware will not be able to maintain a market on their own."

Still, Fielder says, a full regulated U.S. online poker market would be worth "$2.2 billion in the first year of operation and up to $3.3 billion by year 10." The study is based on an analysis of 4.6m real-money online poker players in 2009/10. Read more here.

2) Plan D: Texas Block' Em

An ongoing theme of the US poker debate over the last few years has been, of course, skill vs. luck. Ie if the game is mostly luck then it's called "illegal" but if it's principally skill, then it's free and clear from "gambling" law.

Instead of waiting on US legislators to make up their mind a variety of ambitious inventors have, naturally, tried to solve the problem from the opposite angle - tweaking the game itself to make it undeniably 100% skill.

Winning Cards
I'll take the J4, please.

Yet another mathematician/software entrepreneur has taken up the task with his latest invention - Texas Block 'Em. His game, creator Arthur M. Pfeiffer tells the SF Examiner, is 100% skill because it lets you choose your own hole cards - not be dealt cards randomly.

Community cards are still dealt randomly but then players can pick any hole cards they want. If two players pick the same card both are blocked from getting it.

“In regular poker, each player relies heavily on the fixed laws of mathematics to calculate the probability that the cards dealt will give him a winning hand,” Pfeiffer said. “In Texas Block ’Em, each player relies heavily on his sense of human psychology in reading opponents to determine the probability that he can pick the right cards for a winning hand.”

Pfeiffer says he's raised about $500k from investors so far and income from his other poker apps - Hold 'Em Blitz and Hold 'Em Battle - could help push him over the $750k-$1m needed to launch.

3) Top Chef Season 5 Champ Hosea Channels Hellmuth

This has to be a gift, right? No one buys a PH hat. Do they?


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