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    Leow triumphant at $100,000 Triton Super High Roller


    Ivan Leow made it to the final table of the Triton Poker $50,000 High Roller (HR) tournament in Sochi but fell before reaching the money. He didn’t let the defeat get him down and slid over to the $100,000 Super High Roller (SHR) tournament, emerging triumphant.

    Leow triumphant at $100,000 Triton Super High RollerLeow, who hails from Malaysia, overcame several big names, including Paul Phua, who finished fifth in the HR tournament, Phil Ivey and Manig Loeser. As the final table was set for the HR tournament, Leow was the chip leader—a fact that didn’t help him survive the game. This time, he held the chip lead as he met his heads-up opponent, Germany’s Abraham Passet, and he made sure to capitalize on it.

    In the final hand, Passet flopped two pairs. After the turn, Passet decided to shove and Leow, with pocket Aces and a straight draw, responded. When the river card was turned over, a 10 rewarded Leow with two pair to take down his opponent and win $1.134 million. Passet was given a consolation prize of $740,880.

    This was the fifth time that Leow has won a prize of $1 million or more at the Triton Poker Series, a tournament that has received a lot of attention among the world’s elite poker players. Besides Leow, high-stakes players such as Ivey, Tom Dwan and Patrik Antonius are routinely seen at Triton events because they feel that the overall environment of the games is better.

    The Triton series has also seen an increase in players coming from countries such as South Korea, China and the Philippines. Part of the attraction is the current restricted online poker market in the United States. This has resulted in a number of operators seeking out fresh ground elsewhere, giving rise to a number of regular tournaments outside of the U.S.

    India, often touted as the region that should experience a significant amount of growth, is currently embroiled in an internal battle over the legitimacy of poker. Because of this, other areas around Asia have become much more popular, as they have regulations that are more relaxed and inviting for the poker industry. Triton has been particularly successful and is now seen as the go-to for poker players around the region.

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    ICS strengthens service offering ahead of Premier League season


    Sports content and digital media specialist to provide written, audio and visual content across all 380 games, including new video blasts and an Amazon Alexa Skill 

    10 August, 2018 – Leeds: Independent Content Services (ICS), the sports content and digital media specialist, is warming up for the start of the 2018/2019 English Premier League season during which it will deliver its most comprehensive product and service offering to date.

    ICS strengthens service offering ahead of Premier League seasonICS will be providing written, audio and broadcast content to online bookmakers and affiliates across all 380 Premier League games. This includes up-to-the-minute football news, match reviews, text and off-tube audio commentary, as well as video previews and live broadcasts.

    ICS also offers a comprehensive translation and localisation service spanning 65 languages including German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Swahili.

    For the first time, operators and affiliates will be able to take advantage of video blasts that can be fired out to punters during key moments in games, such as a goal being scored. The service also delivers team news and match previews along with half-time and full-time reports.

    The videos include commentary, rich graphics and animations, and can be tailored to individual bookmaker brands, formats and styles.

    ICS has also spent the off-season developing an Amazon Alexa Skill, which will allow operators to unlock the power of voice for the first time. The Skill is 100% customisable and can be used to send team and match information, as well as betting tips, to consumers.

    Warren Ashurst, ICS Broadcast Manager, said: “The start of the Premier League season is critical for both operators and affiliates when it comes to signing up new players and re-engaging punters.

    “Content is the most effective way of doing this, and operators and affiliates fully understand the need to offer punters the information they are seeking across all platforms and formats in order to be competitive.

    “For the 2018/2019 Premier League season we have strengthened our squad with video blasts and an Amazon Alexa Skill, both of which provide operators and affiliates with yet another touch point to engage with consumers and deliver even more high-value content.”

    About ICS:

    Independent Content Services (ICS) is an international content and digital media specialist. We create and supply hundreds of daily stories, features and previews, many hours of live and recorded audio services, video, marketing, translation and more in over 65 languages.

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    World Chess Championship match names first betting partner


    World Chess announces Unibet as the official betting partner for the FIDE World Chess Championship Match London 2018.

    WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH NAMES FIRST BETTING PARTNERLondon, August 7, 2018 — World Chess has appointed Unibet to be the first official betting partner in the history of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match. The 2018 tournament will be held in London from 9th to 28th November and sees defending champion Magnus Carlsen face American challenger Fabiano Caruana. Unibet makes Carlsen the overwhelming favourite at 3/10, with Caruana out at 12/5.

    Fans will be able to make quick and easy bets on a range of categories – ranging from outright winner through to a player’s next move. Unibet will also offer fans exclusive promotions on the championship rounds throughout the match.

    World Chess and Unibet will produce additional digital content for this year’s tournament in order to reach the 600 million chess enthusiasts around the world. As part of the partnership, Unibet will receive a full suite of exclusive rights, including digital advertising, the use of exclusive photo and video content and the opportunity to take part in a round of the First Move Ceremony.

    The 2016 championship took place in New York and saw Carlsen win his third world title. The tournament drew around 6 million viewers from around the world. For the first time in decades, the World Chess crown may return to America in 2018 after Brooklyn-born Caruana won the Candidates Tournament in Berlin and earned the right to fight for the Championship title against Carlsen. In 1975, Bobby Fischer was stripped of the title, and since then an American player has not come close to being crowned world champion..

    Ilya Merenzon, the CEO of World Chess, says: “World Chess is proud to announce this exclusive partnership with Unibet. We’re enabling fans to be even closer to the action in this tantalising match. The tournament is the highlight of the chess calendar and millions of people around the world will follow every move.”

    Richard Østrøm, Country Manager for Unibet Norway says: “Since Magnus Carlsen became world champion, we have seen a large and growing interest in betting on big chess tournaments. As the leading online bookmaker in Europe, we want to be a part of and contribute to big sporting events, and we are very happy to be the preferred betting partner for World Chess both before and during the World Championship. We believe that this year’s World Championship showdown between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana in London will establish chess as a permanent fixture in betting.”

    About FIDE

    The World Chess Federation or Fédération Internationale des Echecs, (FIDE), is recognized by its members and the International Olympic Committee as the international federation in the domain of chess, the supreme body responsible for the sport of chess and its Championships. FIDE has the sole rights to organize the World Chess Championships and the Chess Olympiads.

     About World Chess

    World Chess, exclusive official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), is the owner the World Chess brand, the most intellectual brand in the world, as well as commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle. Rights include media, branding and publicity, giving the organizer full control over brand presence at the venue during all Championship cycle events until 2022.

     About Unibet

    Unibet provides a platform for sports betting, casino, games and online poker. Unibet has 9.5 million customers in over 100 countries and over 650 employees. Unibet is a member of the EGBA, European Gaming and Betting Association, RGA, Remote Gambling Association in the UK and is audited and certified by eCOGRA in relation to responsible and fair gaming. www.unibet.com

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    Study: 'Medicare for all' projected to cost $32.6 trillion


    Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to a study by a university-based libertarian policy center.

    That’s trillion with a “T.”

    The latest plan from the Vermont independent would require historic tax increases as government replaces what employers and consumers now pay for health care, according to the analysis being released Monday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia. It would deliver significant savings on administration and drug costs, but increased demand for care would drive up spending, the analysis found.

    Sanders’ plan builds on Medicare, the popular insurance program for seniors. All U.S. residents would be covered with no copays and deductibles for medical services. The insurance industry would be relegated to a minor role.

    “Enacting something like ‘Medicare for all’ would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government,” said Charles Blahous, the study’s author. Blahous was a senior economic adviser to former President George W. Bush and a public trustee of Social Security and Medicare during the Obama administration.

    Responding to the study, Sanders took aim at the Mercatus Center, which receives funding from the conservative Koch brothers. Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch is on the center’s board.

    “If every major country on earth can guarantee health care to all, and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same,” Sanders said in a statement. “This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers response to the growing support in our country for a ‘Medicare for all’ program.”

    Sanders’ office has not done a cost analysis, a spokesman said. However, the Mercatus estimates are within the range of other cost projections for Sanders’ 2016 plan.

    Sanders’ staff found an error in an initial version of the Mercatus report, which counted a long-term care program that was in the 2016 proposal but not the current one. Blahous corrected it, reducing his estimate by about $3 trillion over 10 years. Blahous says the report is his own work, not the Koch brothers’.

    Also called “single-payer” over the years, “Medicare for all” reflects a long-time wish among liberals for a government-run system that covers all Americans.

    The idea won broad rank-and-file support after Sanders ran on it in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. Looking ahead to the 2020 election, Democrats are debating whether single-payer should be a “litmus test” for national candidates.

    The Mercatus analysis estimated the 10-year cost of “Medicare for all” from 2022 to 2031, after an initial phase-in. Its findings are similar to those of several independent studies of Sanders’ 2016 plan. Those studies found increases in federal spending over 10 years that ranged from $24.7 trillion to $34.7 trillion.

    Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy professor at Emory University in Atlanta, authored one of those studies and says the Mercatus analysis reinforces them.

    “It’s showing that if you are going to go in this direction, it’s going to cost the federal government $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year in terms of spending,” said Thorpe. “Even though people don’t pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous. There are going to be a lot of people who’ll pay more in taxes than they save on premiums.” Thorpe was a senior health policy adviser in the Clinton administration.

    The Mercatus study takes issue with a key cost-saving feature of the plan — that hospitals and doctors will accept payment based on lower Medicare rates for all their patients.

    The study found that the plan would reap substantial savings from lower prescription costs — $846 billion over 10 years — since the government would deal directly with drugmakers. Savings from streamlined administration would be even greater, nearly $1.6 trillion.

    But other provisions would tend to drive up spending, including coverage for nearly 30 million uninsured people, no deductibles and copays, and improved benefits, including dental, vision and hearing.

    After taking into account current government health care financing, the study estimated that doubling all federal individual and corporate income taxes would not fully cover the additional costs.



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    New Jersey residents can now gamble on the run thanks to DraftKings


    New Jersey fantasy sports fans now have the ability to bet while on the go. Major fantasy sports provider DraftKings announced last Wednesday the release of a new mobile app, becoming the first company to introduce mobile sports betting in the state.

    New Jersey residents can now gamble on the run thanks to DraftKingsThe app, DraftKings Sportsbook, allows users to place sports wagers from any point within the state’s boundaries during an initial invite-only period. Anyone in The Garden State can sign up directly through DraftKings’ website.

    This is certainly only the first mobile app of many that will come to market. Sports gambling is going to prove to be a highly competitive industry, and many casino operators, bookmakers, technology companies and even professional sports leagues are looking to capitalize on the excitement. Those that can offer the most access with the least amount of barriers will pull ahead of the pack early on.

    The introduction of mobile sports betting is also seen as key to help propel legal betting ahead of off-shore betting, which has reportedly attracted as much as $150 billion in bets. The push by New Jersey to legalize sports betting, in part, relied on this argument when presenting its case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately agreed with the state’s position.

    While several states have already worked feverishly to introduce legalized sports gambling, some aren’t as anxious. Rhode Island, for example, adopted legislation in June to authorize sports betting, but isn’t expected to introduce any platforms until October at the earliest. Even then, there have been no provisions to allow either mobile or online gambling. Only West Virginia, after New Jersey and Nevada, is preparing to allow mobile sports gambling across the state in the foreseeable future.

    DraftKings was able to introduce its mobile platform through a partnership with the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Per New Jersey law, mobile gambling providers must be tied to either a casino or a racetrack in the state that currently operates a sportsbook. The initial DraftKings Sportsbook invite-only period fulfills a requirement by New Jersey’s Department of Gaming Enforcement for operators to conduct a soft-launch period prior to receiving full regulatory approval.

    Current DraftKings users can log onto the mobile platform with the same registration information used for the company’s other offerings. The mobile app includes different types of betting and allows users to exit a wager if they change their minds.

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    Ravens betting favorites in NFL Hall of Fame game


    First off, let’s be clear: What a team does in the preseason has absolutely nothing to do with how it performs in the regular season barring major long-term injury in an exhibition game. Want Ravens Betting Favorites in NFL Hall of Fame Gameproof? The 2008 Detroit Lions were the first team in NFL history to finish a regular season at 0-16. They were perhaps the league’s most dominant team that preseason in going 4-0. Last year, the Cleveland Browns joined the Lions in 0-16 infamy. What did Cleveland do in the preseason? 4-0, naturally.

    Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

    All that said, NFL bettors are going to wager on the preseason simply because football is back. And the exhibition slate begins as usual with the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio, on Thursday night. This year the participants are the Baltimore Ravens, who are 2.5-point favorites on the NFL odds, and the Chicago Bears. The league tries to schedule teams that will have someone inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that weekend. Baltimore will send in Ray Lewis and Chicago will have Brian Urlacher, two legendary linebackers.

    Because the Ravens and Bears will be the only teams to play a fifth preseason game, they were allowed to report to camp earlier than the other 30 clubs in the NFL. In all honesty, though, the Hall of Fame Game is largely a throw-away event for the teams participating. It’s unlikely most starters will play and if they do it will be briefly.

    Perhaps the two biggest storylines entering Thursday are that it’s the head coaching debut of Chicago’s Matt Nagy and the (presumed) NFL debut of Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson. Nagy was the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator last season and replaces John Fox. Jackson was an electric, record-setting player at Louisville and won the Heisman Trophy in 2016. The Ravens traded back into the end of the first round of this year’s draft to take Jackson as Joe Flacco’s eventual replacement.

    Rookies like Jackson and backups should see most of the action. Chicago first-round rookie Roquan Smith, a linebacker from Georgia, will not play, however, due to a contract holdout.

    It’s the Ravens’ first time playing in this game, while the Bears are 4-0 all-time in it. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is an astounding 28-12 (27-13 ATS) in his preseason career with his team on an eight-game exhibition winning streak. That’s likely why Baltimore is favored.

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    Senate confirms Robert Wilkie for Veterans Affairs secretary


    The Senate on Monday confirmed Pentagon official Robert Wilkie to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, charged with delivering on President Donald Trump’s campaign promises to fire bad VA employees and steer more patients to the private sector.

    Wilkie won approval on a bipartisan vote of 86-9, securing the backing of many Democrats after insisting at his confirmation hearing that he will not privatize the government’s second-largest department. It was a moment of respite from the sharp political divisions engulfing Trump’s other nominees in the final months before congressional midterm elections.

    Wilkie is Trump’s third pick for the job in 18 months. The longtime public official says he will “shake up complacency” at VA, which has struggled with long waits in providing medical treatment to millions of veterans.

    In a statement released by the White House, Trump applauded the confirmation vote and said he looked forward to Wilkie’s leadership. “I have no doubt that the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to make strides in honoring and protecting the heroic men and women who have served our nation with distinction,” he said.

    Trump selected Wilkie for the post in May after firing his first VA secretary, David Shulkin, amid ethics charges and internal rebellion at the department over the role of private care for veterans. Trump’s initial replacement choice, White House doctor Ronny Jackson, withdrew after allegations of workplace misconduct surfaced.

    Wilkie, a former assistant secretary of defense under President George W. Bush, has received mostly positive reviews from veterans’ groups for his management experience, but the extent of his willingness to expand private care as an alternative to government-run VA care remains largely unknown.

    Trump last year pledged he would triple the number of veterans “seeing the doctor of their choice.” Currently more than 30 percent of VA appointments are made in the private sector.

    Under repeated questioning at his hearing, the Air Force and Navy veteran said he opposed privatizing the agency of 360,000 employees and would make sure VA health care is “fully funded.” When pressed by Sen. Jon Tester, the top Democrat on the panel, if he would be willing to disagree with Trump, Wilkie responded “yes.”

    “I have been privileged to work for some of the most high-powered people in this town,” said Wilkie, currently a Pentagon undersecretary for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “They pay me for their opinions, and I give those to them.”

    Wilkie’s main task in the coming months will be carrying out a newly signed law to ease access to private health providers. That law gives the VA secretary wide authority to decide when veterans can bypass the VA, based on whether they receive “quality” care, but the program could face escalating costs.

    Some Democrats have warned the VA won’t be able to handle a growing price tag, putting it at risk of budget shortfalls next year. Major veterans’ groups want full funding for core VA medical centers, which they see as best-suited to veterans’ specialized needs such as treatment for post-traumatic stress.

    As VA secretary, Wilkie also will have more power under a new accountability law to fire VA employees. Lawmakers from both parties have recently raised questions about the law’s implementation, including how whistleblower complaints are handled and whether the law is being disproportionately used against rank-and-file employees rather than senior managers who set policy.

    “The tone has been set by President Trump on the direction of VA reforms,” said Dan Caldwell, executive director of the conservative Concerned Veterans for America. “There have been a tremendous number of bills passed in the last year and half, and all will require a lot of work to make sure they are properly implemented.”

    Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, praised Wilkie as “eminently qualified,” saying he will “bring stability and leadership” to VA.

    Wilkie served as acting VA secretary after Shulkin’s firing in March, before returning to his role as Pentagon undersecretary.

    He will replace current acting VA secretary Peter O’Rourke, who clashed with the VA inspector general after refusing to release documents relating to VA whistleblower complaints and casting the independent watchdog as an underling who must “act accordingly.” Under pressure from Congress, the VA agreed last week to provide documents to the IG.



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    College football Heisman Trophy odds update


    Here’s something you probably can’t remember seeing: A player as a co-favorite on the Heisman Trophy odds who might not even begin a season as a starter on his team.

    Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

    College Football Heisman Trophy Odds UpdateSaid player is Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is +700 on the futures odds to win the Heisman along with Stanford senior running back Bryce Love. With all its tradition, one might expect Alabama to be among the leaders nationally in Heisman Trophy winners, but the Tide have had just two and only since 2009: running backs Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. Of course, the most famous former Alabama QB is a guy named Joe Namath.

    Tagovailoa barely played last regular season as a freshman but rescued a struggling Alabama offense by taking over for Jalen Hurts in the second half of the national championship game against Georgia. Tagovailoa, from Hawaii like former Oregon Heisman winner Marcus Mariota, threw one of the most memorable passes in NCAA history in that game: a walk-off 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith for the 26-23 overtime victory.

    Nick Saban has yet to reveal whether Tagovailoa or Hurts will be his 2018 starting quarterback and Saban has no reason to reveal that before the team takes the field Week 1 against Louisville. Better to keep the opposition guessing, and if Saban makes a choice too early the loser might decide to transfer. Or, he could play both guys as Tagovailoa is the better passer and Hurts the superior runner. Hurts is not available on the Heisman prop currently, but Tide running back Damien Harris (+4500) is on the board.

    There’s another young quarterback among the Heisman favorites who might not start for his team, either: Clemson true freshman Trevor Lawrence, who is +1500. He’s battling senior Kelly Bryant, who had a fine 2017 season until struggling mightily in the College Football Playoff loss to Alabama. Lawrence obviously has no collegiate experience but has a much higher ceiling and was the No. 1 rated prospect in the country by some services. Bryant is +4000 on this prop, with Tigers running back Travis Etienne at +7000.

    Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was a first-round pick by the Oakland A’s in June’s Major League Baseball amateur draft, but he’s putting off baseball full time for at least one college football season. Murray is +2000 to give the Sooners their second straight Heisman-winning quarterback after Baker Mayfield last year. Oklahoma also has running back Rodney Anderson (+4000) as a Heisman option.

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    Fernando Habegger challenges Doug Polk to a boxing match


    While the feud between poker’s William Kassouf and Shaun Deeb has remained strictly verbal, an on-going argument between Doug Polk and Fernando ‘JNandez’ Habegger could be taken to the next level. Agitated for what he perceived as unfair treatment as part of Polk’s Upswing Poker organization, Habegger took to social media to vent his frustrations, to which Polk was only too ready to respond. The battle has been heating up and now Habegger has challenged Polk to a boxing match.

    From verbal to physical jabs: Fernando Habegger challenges Doug Polk to a boxing matchThe two have been going at each other in a series of videos and interviews, which has included Habegger accusing Polk of owing him money for his stint with Upswing. Habegger, who was the site’s Pot-Limit Omaha coach, left Upswing after a year. The battle began before that, however, after Polk suggested that Habegger was not the best business partner and accused him of stealing customers to use on his own training site, JNandez Poker.

    This past Sunday, Habegger published a video that included a number of allegations launched toward Polk. He said that Polk owed him as much as $100,000 for his Upswing involvement. Polk fired back in a video of his own, detailing his business and the contract Habegger had signed.

    On Monday, Habegger put up another video, extending a challenge to Polk. He said, “I’m challenging you to a $50,000 boxing match. If I win this boxing match against you, Doug Polk, I’m going to spend the $50,000 that I’ve won and get as many people as I can into the Colossus event of next year’s WSOP. I’m trying to protect the poker industry, and I’m trying to create justice for the situation others have encountered and myself.”

    Later that day, Polk made an appearance on Joey Ingram’s Poker Life Podcast. After shooting the breeze for all of ten minutes, the two began talking about the fight. He said that “nothing proves that you’re right like challenging people to a fight,” subsequently adding, “I’m going to disappoint a lot of people here, but I am not going to accept the JNandez challenge. I know I’m letting some of you down, but I care more about my business and my name in this community than fighting someone.”

    What a shame – that could have been an interesting battle. Nonetheless, there is still a possible battle brewing. Polk has indicated that Upswing is considering taking legal action against Habegger. Habegger has indicated that he had contemplated some type of legal action, but changed his mind. Ostensibly for a pugilistic preference.

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