Sports Category

Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Shane Warne On Poker

WRITES Shane Warne: “My past week has been a different one. Playing in the Aussie Millions main event poker tournament has been an interesting experience.”

Warne, the former Australian cricketer, is tuning his arm to poker. And he will miss the start of the County season, where he turns out for Hampshire. Or not:

“I also want to clear one thing up. I am not missing the start of the County Cricket season because of poker; I will miss it as I have signed to play Twenty20 in the Indian Premier League competition and have taken up a role as an ambassador for the IPL.”

Hampshire will be relieved…

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Posted: 21st, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

Top Five Casino Film Bosses Ever

CASINO bosses have a stereotypically bad image in the movies.

Of course in real life casino owners are all good to their mums, honest to a fault and cleaner and softer than a Labrador’s freshly wiped backside, but the impression can sometimes be otherwise.

The Casino Anorak looks at Casino bosses in the films and forms an impression:

GILDA, 1946:
Ballin Mundson is the German owner of an illegal casino in Buenos Aires. He is also a misogynist in a sexually perverse film. He has a duelling scar on his face, naturally. He carries an ebony cane which conceals a stiletto dagger. He controls a profession gambler called Johnny Farrell:

Mundson: You’re sharp, Johnny, almost as sharp as my other little friend. But not quite so obedient.
Johnny: No?
Mundson: My other little friend will kill for me, Johnny.
Johnny: Well, that’s what friends are for. (He releases the catch in the stick’s knob – it snaps into a rapier with the blade exposed)
Mundson: (toasting) To us, Johnny. To the three of us.
Johnny: Three of us. [To himself in voice-over: “Makes me laugh now to think back. Me so sure it was just the three of us. I soon found out, all right.”]

Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, the iffy and cynical American who owns “Rick’s Café Américain”, a nightclub and gambling den frequented by Vichy French, Nazis refugees and thieves. He is a moody miserabilist with trust issues.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 17th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

How To Bust A San Francisco Poker Party

A POKER game is busted by the police in San Francisco.

Police in San Mateo County, California apparently first spent months investigating the small-stakes poker game. From this firsthand account, it looks like a couple of the officers were playing regularly for several weeks before sending in the SWAT team, guns drawn, last week. If California is like most states (and I believe it is), a poker game is only illegal if the house is taking a rake off the top. In this case, it looks like that “rake” was the $5 the extra the hosts asked from each buy-in to pay for pizza and beer.

Police also took a 13-year-old girl out of the home, away from her parents, and turned her over to child protective services. In addition to the charge of running an illegal gambling operation, the hosts are also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Good thing the poor girl was saved before slouching toward an inevitable life of crime.

A player writes:

Somebody jokingly said only the cops knock like that. Well, they were right. A grip of policeman come in with their guns drawn. Wowser.

They took pictures of all the players at the tables, all the rooms, the chips, the cards, the dogs – everything. They made us sit with our hands on the table and finally put the guns away. Somebody tried to take a drink of their beer, and was told there would be time for that later. That was good news at the time.

File under: sore losers

Posted: 17th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

Casino Executives And Political Donations, And Barry Manilow

CASINO executives and politics:

The relationship between Presidential contenders and the deep pockets of the gaming industry goes back to the days when the mob ran Las Vegas. Frank Sinatra was a stalwart campaigner for John F. Kennedy, and some say that it was Frank’s delivery of mob cash and ballot support in Nevada that drove Kennedy past Republican challenger Richard Nixon in 1960.

With the help of public records freely available via numerous database engines on the internet (we used, I’ve cobbled together a listing of Presidential candidate donations by some of the top executives in the gaming industry today. It’s is striking when looking at the numbers, how many of the executives who work together contribute to the same candidates.


Barry Manilow (Writes the Songs That Make The Whole World Sing)
John Edwards (D) $2,300
Barack Obama (D) $2,300
Hilary Clinton (D) $2,300
Joe Biden (D) $2,300
Ron Paul (R) $2,300

Source and more 

Posted: 17th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

Northen Rock And Bonus Casino

THE Northern Rock bank is in dire straits.

And the chairman of Newcastle-based outfit has told a shareholders meeting that the stricken bank can still be saved.

Says Bryan Sanderson, “with your support we can set the company on the road to recovery”.


But this is not gaming. This is serious money. Risks? Pah! This is all about security.

As Sanderson says, the bank could not engage in “high-stakes” poker with the Government and the Bank of England, which stepped in to support it when it was hit by the credit crunch in September.

Poker and banking? Who would you bet on?

Pretend to be banker and play the slots…

Posted: 16th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

Vegas Or Busty With Rooney and Ferdinand

ORDER the meat and crank up the roasts, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand are heading to Las Vegas.

News in the Sun is that La Roon and Archpuke Ferdinand are planning a joint Stag do. No – ho-ho – they aren’t marrying each other. Those kissed and cuddles on the pitch are as manly as it gets.

Both footballers marring women.

Of coruse, the boys could just stay in and get in the swing of Vegas by sticking up a poster of Thora Hird, burning money and playing casino online…
Play online casino here and Anorak will give you a bonus…

Posted: 14th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

The Ironic Earl’s Court Casino Show

THERE will be no casino at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Planning inspector Roger Brown denied the developer’s appeal, warning that traffic caused by the casino could have caused “unacceptable noise and disturbance for neighbours”.These are the people who live near Earl’s Court, a venue for shows like The Chemical Brothers in concert and – oh, do get this! – The International Casino Exhibition…

Who needs the aggro. Stay in. Play online…

Posted: 9th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

Shane Warne 20 20 Vegas Vision

SHANE Warne is going to the World Series poker championship in Las Vegas.

Sadly, for Hampshire cricket fans – yes, you Doris and Lester Biggins – Shane will not be available for the club’s Twenty20 Cup campaign.

Says Shane: “Now that I am retired from international cricket – in fact all cricket in Australia – I am gradually moving into other areas.”

More cameo appearances on Neighbours? More adverts for nylon hair?

Says Warne: “There is a deal in the pipeline with a poker company that will involve playing in certain events through the year. I can fit what I do around the cricket.”

But what of the cricket?

“The World Series takes place in Las Vegas at the same time as the Twenty20 Cup,” he says. “I definitely want to go to Las Vegas and I have not played Twenty20 for the past few seasons. It has always come at an ideal time to take a break. I am 38 and, after 20 or so years in the game, I need a rest at some point during a six-month campaign.”

A rest…in cricket? Isn’t that what English players call fielding?

Posted: 9th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

The Croupier As Entertainer

“THE gambler to be found regularly propping up the roulette table at 4am probably couldn’t care less about the quality of the croupier’s conversation.”

So says the Guardian. And it is wrong. At 4am, the lone punter may be hanging about with the sole intent of chatter. If you don’t want to talk to the croupier, play online.

But: “There has been a sea-change in the kind of people we are looking for,” says Kevin Graham, technical training manager for Grosvenor Casinos.

As noted: “Entertaining will therefore be very much on the agenda at the new National Gaming Academy, a venture just set up by three colleges. Its mission: to supply a rapidly evolving casino industry with a new breed of multi-tasking croupiers.”

Help! Who wants a croupier who can juggle, speak languages and boil an egg while dealing the cards and French polishing the chairs? What punter wants a croupier who looks smarter than them?

The Guardian goes on: “The new academy – a partnership between Blackpool and the Fylde, Greenwich Community, and North Warwickshire and Hinckley Colleges – will offer what is effectively a national curriculum for croupiers and other casino staff.”

Geoff Pine, Greenwich College principal, says: “They are looking for a rigorous quality-controlled country-wide training structure with qualifications that support the industry and with an emphasis on entertainment and social responsibility.”

Come again? Perhaps you need to be one of the new breed of croupiers to understand the plan, let alone how it translates in actual action?

“Students on the course will learn as much about the importance of customer service and keeping the punters entertained as they will about roulette terminology and spotting card-counting ‘cheats’ at the blackjack table,” says the paper.

Plus ca change. But what is this entertainment the paper speaks of, or threatens? We still do not know.

Colleen McLoughlin, the academy’s coordinator and a lecturer in casino operations management at Blackpool, says: “Roulette is like the maths and English of our curriculum, because all the skills you gain in learning to deal the game are transferable to all the other games.”

Speaking English and knowing all the numbers up to and including 36. Is this what passes for extra entertainment? Of course, the croupier’s job is much more. But does remembering a face and smiling constitute entertainment?

And isn’t a happy punter a winning punter? Your croupier stories, if you please…

Posted: 8th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

Casino UK Could Learn From Canada

THE vexed question of casino sites takes the Casino Anorak to Canada.

Residents of Brandon, a western Manitoba city, are expected to vote in March to decide whether they want a casino.

This sounds entirely democratic. Why not ask the locals what they want?  

If the city council approves it, citizens will be presented with the following question: “Do you support the establishment of a casino in Brandon?”

A report prepared for the province last September suggested Brandon could accommodate a casino run by First Nations.

In 2002, 56% of Brandon residents voted down a proposed casino in a similar plebiscite but Burgess suggested that may have had much to do with the fact an urban reserve was linked to the question.

Meanwhile, over in the UK, the Government sets up a committee, makes a decision, unmakes it and then reconsiders the original decision.

And the punters just wait and see… – Vote now and vote often (with Anorak bonus)

Posted: 8th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

Dancing On Ice: Who’s Who

THE new “stars” of TV show Dancing On Ice were unveiled today. So says the Manchester Evening News.

The register. Answer “Who?”, “Er?” and “Didn’t she used to be…”

Gareth Gates, Sarah Greene, Suzanne Shaw, Greg Rusedski, Samantha Mumba, Linda Lusardi, Steve Backley, Aggie Mackenzie, Michael Underwood, Chris Fountain, Tim Vincent and Natalie Pinkham.

That’s right. It’s Natalie Pinkham, the bird from the Poker Channel telly show. “The glamorous Pinkham, 29, is feeling the benefits of her training.” As was Prince Harry, who aided Pinkham’s rise to prominence by cupping her in a nightclub.

Says Pinkham: “It’s great – you can eat whatever you like. For the first time in my life I can have two puddings.”

[Insert joke about William and Harry here]

Anorak’s casino bonus – take advantage…

Posted: 7th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

Germany’s ‘Unconstitutional’ Ban On Online Gaming

CARSTEIN Frein, of German giant Tipp24, suggests Germany’s ban on online gambling is unconstitutional under German and European Union law.

Says he: “We consider the state treaty on gambling as clearly illegal and will take legal action if necessary. Reports by notable constitutional lawyers such as Professor Bodo Pieroth or Professor Hermes confirm that the treaty contravenes the German constitution and European law. The European Union and the German Monopolies Commission have also taken up a clear stance in this sense.”

Sixteen German states prohibit online gambling.

But you can play, play und play. For you the game is not over…

Posted: 7th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

C’est Un Cigar

TO a Portuguese casino on the outskirts of Lisbon, where Antonio Nunes, president of the country’s food standards agency, is smoking a cigar.

It is New Year’s Eve. The clock strikes 12, and the new law comes into force banning smoking in cafes, restaurants, bars and, yes, casinos.

Mr Nunes’ agency is responsible for enforcing the smoking ban. Says he: “We will have to look into what is in the law.”

More cigars…And a bonus 

Posted: 4th, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

Casinos Healthier Places Than Hospitals

TO the Daily News and news therein that: “If you have a heart attack, you’ve got a better chance of receiving quick lifesaving treatment in a casino than in a hospital, a new study says.”

“Nearly a third of hospital patients whose heart stops beating do not get a potentially livesaving shock from a defibrillator within the recommended two minutes, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“And a cardiac patient’s survival rate at a hospital is less than the 50% rate among people who collapse at casinos, airports and other locations where defibrillators are handy.”

To the casino…

Posted: 3rd, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

The Casino That Turned into A Cigar Bar

FROM the land that invited us to debate the meaning to “sexual relations”, comes a definition of smoking.

In Colorado’s mountain casinos smoking is banned. In Colorado’s mountain casinos, the players are smoking cigars.

Gamblers were still able to light up in the Wild Card Casino in Black Hawk on Tuesday, the first day the ban took effect in casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.
You see, the casino is not a casino. No, it is not. The casino is a cigar bar.

Gina Miller, a manager at Wild Card, says the casino has always operated a shop in sells tobacco products, including cigars and cigarettes.

“We’re operating under the law,” says she.

Stephanie Steinberg of Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado says: “The Wild Card Casino is clearly a casino and has always operated as a casino. If they think they are a cigar bar then they shouldn’t have slot machines or a gaming license for that matter.”

The cigar bar exemption was part of the original statewide smoking ban that took effect in 2006.

You can smoke when you like in your home/office/warship… A Casino Bonus on Anorak

Posted: 3rd, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment

Top Ten Poker Casinos

THE Top-10 casinos by poker tables.

No, not by the quality of the table – admire the wood; marvel at the green baize; smell the stains – but by the number of tables in any casino.

1. The Commerce Casino, California – 230 poker tables
2. Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Calif. – 130
3. Bicycle Casino, California – 115 tables.
4. Foxwoods Casino, Connecticut – 98 tables
5. The Borgata, Atlantic City – 85 tables
6. Trump Taj, Atlantic City – 71 tables
7. Hollywood Park Casino, California – 67
8. Bellagio, Las Vegas – 65 tables
9. Caesars Palace, Las Vegas – 63 tables
10. Pechanga Resort & Casino, California – 54

Or play online casino and qualify for a bonus

Posted: 2nd, January 2008 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

Star Trek Fan’s Poker Face

STAR Trek fans. Na-noo. Na-noo.

The Poker Anorak brings news from the world of fantasy, sci-fi and meals for one. A Star Trek fan who paid who paid $6000 for a poker-player’s visor worn by the android Data on the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation has sued Christie’s, claiming the prop is a fake.

Ted Moustakis, of New Jersey, says he began to doubt the authenticity of the visor he bought at auction 2006, after “he brought it to a convention in August to have it autographed by the actor who played Data, Brent Spiner”.

Try not to laugh. This is serious. A man who spends six grand on a piece of TV tat has every right to know he is buying the right piece of tat.

According to the law suit, Spiner told Moustakis that it was not the real deal. Moustakis had paid $200 to have his picture taken with Spiner.

He is claiming – get this – $7million.

As William Shatner said to Trekkies: “Get a life people! Look at you! You’ve turned an enjoyable little job I did as a lark for a few years into a colossal waste of time!”)
Says Moustakis: “When I approached, [Spiner] saw the visor, and he said, ‘That’s not my visor. You bought that at Christie’s’.”

The case continues…

Play casino – and have a nerd-free bonus on Anorak. May the force be with you. Shazzbat! Etc.

Posted: 31st, December 2007 | In: Sports | Comment

New Year’s Eve In Vegas With Paris Hilton

THE Palazzo, Las Vegas, is open.

What is The Palazzo? Why, it’s the newest mega-resort casino on the Las Vegas Strip..

And it’s open in time for a New Year’s Eve celebration.

On Freemont Street, The Doobie Brothers and The Bangles beneath the giant Viva Vision screen.

On the Strip, the theme of the show is “The Best is Yet to Come”. Fireworks will explode from seven hotel rooftops for 8 minute and 20 seconds.

For those of you who want to be indoors, it will csot you $250 to party in The Park, in The Bellagio, $200.00 to listen to what’s left of boy band The Backstreet Boys, and $200 to stand on the sticky carpet at the Luxor and gawp at Paris & Nicky Hilton kind of dancing…

Or stay in. And play online…

Posted: 31st, December 2007 | In: Sports | Comment

Bed And Bored At the Niagara Casino

sink.jpgAN advert for a holiday to Niagara. For those of you not cold enough, wet enough or bored enough, this is the trip of your dreams.

But this IS Niagara, you say. It rhymes with Viagra. It puts vim and added boost in our flagging life. Niagara is where people go down the waterfall in barrels. They walk over it on tightropes. It’s the top falls in the world of falls.

And then you get there. And it’s full of amusement arcades, sulky children and parents who know they shouldn’t have bothered.

But the Niagara tourist board presses on, presumably because to advertise a weekend break in Miami would be disloyal: “Niagara getaway packages offer ideal holiday excursions for families and couples.”

And: “From the Winter Festival of Light to New Year’s Eve Niagara Falls, there’s truly no place like Niagara for the holidays.”

But there is hope. There is the Niagara Fallsview Casino. From this venue you can look down on the falls – yes down. You look down on things you pity, belittle and squash beneath your plimsoll. At least your room has a telly.

And if you stay beyond New Year’s Eve you can catch – get this – Kevin Costner, along with his band Modern West.

Or stay in, run the tap on full and play Casino online  – with the Anorak bonus

Posted: 21st, December 2007 | In: Sports | Comments (3)

Censoring Casino And Poker Adverts Does Not Work

simpsons-poker.jpgWHAT would happen if a minor were exposed to an advert for online poker?

Very possibly, the child would ignore it, more interested in the surrounding adverts for sugar, toys and debt consolidation services.

But if the child is a 9-year-old girl watching The Simpsons in the later afternoon or early
evening, and her father is New Zealand’s Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive John Stansfield, there will be ramifications.

TV3, which broadcasts the advert, says it has done nothing wrong. The commercial was “vetted by the Television Commercials Approval Bureau which pre-screens all TV ads before they go to air, in line with the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines”.

As reported: “Mr Stansfield said the commercial encouraged young people to think poker was a game of skill, and that they could become stars if they practised enough.”

Is this wrong? Poker requires skill, if you are to win over time. Anyone can get lucky in one tournament. But to make a living from poker over a period of years requires know how and, dare we say. practice.

Says Mr Stansfield: “My daughter spotted it. She’s 9. She was watching The Simpsons. There were people with great ball-playing skills, and suddenly it switched to poker playing. We have been trying to get the Department of Internal Affairs to do something about it, but TV3 should pull it themselves.”

Right it is that protections are in place. But is there not an argument against banning things, something that can make the prohibited appear glamorous and attractive to the young and impressionable..?

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Posted: 20th, December 2007 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

Drew Carey On Poker In The US

POKER has a celebrity face. Says American actor and game show host Drew Carey: “Maybe Dallas wouldn’t be ranked as the 34th most dangerous city in America if Dallas police weren’t devoting precious resources to raiding friendly poker games played by veterans.”

Carey is speaking in Reason magazine. “In his latest video for, Drew Carey examines a paramilitary-style raid on a poker game at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1837 in Dallas, which has now been forced to close its doors.”

Says Carey: “Poker is about as American as baseball and apple pie. It was born here in America. Mark Twain loved it. He’s a great American. Until recently, Supreme Court justices had a monthly game. They’re great Americans. You’d think playing poker in a VFW hall would be about as American as anything you could do.”

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink notes: “As a favoured dish of the English, pies were baked in America as soon as the early settlers set up housekeeping on dry land.”

As for Baseball, that’s a British game of rounders, albeit with big gloves and spitting.

Which leaves poker, a card game adapted from French, Persian and British card games.

Cary makes a, er, good point. Poker is an American game, albeit one you cannot play online.

As one legendary American put it: “The British are coming.” And we’re bringing poker…

Posted: 4th, December 2007 | In: Sports | Comment

Casino Tycoon Stanley Ho Buys A Dog Truffle

truf-pig.jpg EVERY year Anorak keeps a close eye out for the giant truffle story.

Often it is filed under “Pig Story”. There are many tabloid pig stories, notably: British Pork Scratching Week; celebrity A adopts Vietnamese pot-bellied pig; Jamie Oliver; A Day In The Life Of Rebecca Loos; pig finds giant truffle, and so on…

But today’s pig/truffle story – a giant white truffle weighing 1.5kg (3.3lb) has been sold for $330,000 (£165,000) at an auction held simultaneously in Macau, London and Florence – turns out to a be dog story.

With pigs now passed off as pet, dogs are moving into pig work. Look out for “Dogs Are The New Pigs”.

This truffle-finding pig-dog belongs to a Mr Luciano Savini’s truffle dog. It’s called Rocco. It works the Pisa truffle manor in northern Italy.

Macau casino owner, Stanley Ho, has bought it, having outbid British artist Damien Hirst and Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi.

Says Mr Savini: “I thought we were going to beat the record, but not to really get to this amount. The biggest truffle of the century and the most expensive truffle of the century. There are no more words to say – it is all very beautiful.”

More truffle news next year…

Posted: 2nd, December 2007 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

UK Casino Wins Carbuncle Award

glasgow-town-casino.jpgANOTHER day and to another starry awards do – this one for Prospect architecture magazine’s Carbuncle awards.

And know that Coatbridge town centre, North Lanarkshire, is Scotland’s most awful place according to the Carbuncle awards.

And the worst building is the casino on Glasgow’s Springfield Quay.

With casinos often neon palaces of lights, stardust and singers of yesteryear, housed in brick and paste tributes to Venice, Olde England and New York New York, it is encouraging to see that in the UK you can still produce a quintessential British venue…

Posted: 26th, November 2007 | In: Sports | Comment (1)

Blackpool Loses Casino Bid And Sinks

donkey.jpgTHE Blackpool Citizen has news of a “town hall slanging match”. Council activities are often dull affairs. But Blackpool is out of season and the locals are making their own entertainment.

The argument is over the future of conference facilities for Blackpool.

As reported, Councillor Doug Green, leader of the Lib Dems, wants new facilities. But the idea was shot down by opposition groups.

Council leader, Coun. Peter Callow, says: “The whole motion is utter nonsense, the timing is ridiculous. For a start there are still two years to run on the Leisure Parcs deal [owners of the Winter Gardens arena], and the Government have said that Blackpool needs a tramway system, a museum and a conference centre, and that they are going to help us achieve that. I don’t see Gordon Brown reneging on that at the moment.”

No, of course, Gordon Brown never changes his mind. It’s more of a blame-shifting exercise followed by a period of consultation, and ultimately openness. But what has this to do with casinos?

Well, Mr Callow says of the Lib Dem group: “They tried to smash our super-casino bid, which would have included a new conference centre, by supporting Manchester. It is an outrage they are now bringing this motion forward.”

“Total rubbish,” says Mr Green, saying only one party member objected to the super-casino, and it wasn’t him.

But we are wasting time. In the Sun, Dr John Collins, of Lancashire Climate Change Partnerships, says: “If you look at the worst-case scenario for existing climate sea-level predictions, a huge chunk of the west side of Lancashire ends up underwater.”

So Blackpool goes under. Someone get the lights…

Posted: 22nd, November 2007 | In: Sports | Comments (4)

Anika Wins Casino Pole Dance Invitational

OVER at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, the dress close is strict: bikinis only.

Inside the casino’s JET nightclub 25 bikini-clad contestants are taking part on the Pole-A-Palooza championships. To the best pole dancer, the spoils. To the worst, a very nasty looking rash and a slipped disc.

The winner is Anika, who won the top prize of $10,000 and a lifetime supply of poles….

Posted: 22nd, November 2007 | In: Sports | Comment (1)