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Weekend Side-Bet: Mortician Iced, £200k No, Welcome Back Affleck
The PokerListings Weekend Side-Bet is a quick roundup of the week's most notable and/or humorous off-the-felt happenings.
There's likely a poker connection in there somewhere, but you won't find the latest tourney results.
This week we find New York police bringing down a private poker game run by a mortician, a rich guy gets richer in London on a "yes or no" question and Ben Affleck clears up his card-counting confusion in Vegas.
1) Police Bring Down Another Poker Game
While online poker is slowly but surely making its way back into the US market the police still seem to think it makes good, practical sense to crack down on organizers of private poker games.
In New York City, for example, a mortician aptly named “The Undertaker” has been arrested because he hosted a game with a couple of friends and colleagues.
Apparently it took the police four years to carry out the operation. According to the New York Daily News they had known about the game since 2010 and infiltrated the group by an undercover cop. Really.
The police raided the building where the game was held and arrested 13 people, among them organizer Joseph Fumando, two firefighters and a former sergeant of the NYPD.
One of the dealers described the threatening game as one with “hot food, prizes and a waitress who gave shoulder massages to stressed out gamblers."
For offering illegal gambling in a publicly accessible building Fumando is now facing 12-16 months in prison. Really.
2) Gambler Wins £200k Betting on Scottish “No”
In case you missed it last week Scotland held a referendum to decide if it would stay a part of the United Kingdom or become independent.
As with most things in the UK, you could also bet on it. According to the BBC the London-based man invested a total of £900,000 - for a return of just under £200k - which he placed in a betting shop in Southwest London in four big chunks.
Far from a "feckless gamble," however, the anonymous trader considered it a very well reasoned guess based on a large selction of available polls and data.
As it turns out he was responsible for 30% of the £3m William Hill took in bets on the referendum - three times as much as the money wagered on the last general election in Britain.
It was also roughly the same amount people bet on the biggest football matches of the Premier League.
One of the big betting companies, Betfair, even paid out the winning money to the “No” bettors before the referendum because it thought the outcome was 100% certain.
3) Ben Affleck: We Still Want Your Presence
As you might have read earlier in the year, Hollywood star and new Batman Ben Affleck was banned from the Blackjack tables in several Vegas casinos -- mainly because he was winning.
Affleck was accused of card counting, which he readily admitted. Card-counting is not illegal but obviously very unpopular among casinos because it eliminates the house advantage.
"That is a true story. I mean, that took place. I took some time to learn the game and became a decent blackjack player," Affleck explains in a new interview in Details Magazine.
"And once I became decent, the casinos asked me not to play blackjack. I mean, the fact that being good at the game is against the rules at the casinos should tell you something about casinos."
Affleck did want to clear up, however, that he was not banned from any casino, as was reported, or that he's a compulsive gambler.
“There were a number of casinos that said, ‘Hey, you can’t play blackjack here. We know you count cards. But, you know, you’re welcome to come, do whatever you want, see a show, have dinner.
"'We’ll comp ya. Play Roulette, we know you don’t play craps, but hang out, we still want your presence and business.'"