Scratching backs: poker and the law of reciprocity

Lee Davy talks about Robert Cialdini’s Law of Reciprocity and how poker companies could use it to forge better relationships with writers and avoid brand calamities.

You wouldn’t believe how many layers I am wearing. It’s February. You would think it was December; I swear it’s global warming. Donald Trump and his cronies don’t have a clue. But I don’t get it. If the world is heating up because of factory farming, car fumes and Port Talbot Steelworks then why am I so cold?

Scratching backs: poker and the law of reciprocityThe itch.

I can’t reach it.

It would mean taking off my backpack, my jacket, my fleece, my hoodie, my checkered shirt, and my t-shirt so my crusty warted finger could scratch. So I ask my wife.

You scratch my back.

I’ll scratch yours.

If you’ve read Influence by Robert Cialdini, you will be aware of the theory of reciprocity. If not, let me enlighten you.

Occasionally, online poker rooms invite me to attend live events. They pay for my travel expenses and accommodation. It’s savvy business for them because while I am there, I am thrusting their branding into my articles on a daily basis. But there is another subtle ploy at work. The online poker rooms understand the theory of reciprocity. They know that if they treat me well I am going to feel a psychological urge to help them pick up the apples once they flip over the cart.

It’s utterly brilliant, especially if you aren’t aware it’s happening.

A Day in the Life of a Writer 

I wake up at 6 am; meditate, stretch, make warm lemon water with apple cider vinegar, take my supplements, turn on the radiators and settle down to do some research.

I go through my Google Alert feeds, check my emails, drink my pre-made smoothie, have a poo, trawl some key social media feeds, and cut and paste potential stories into an excel spreadsheet.

At 7.30 am, I head to Coffee #1 and start writing the first of four articles that will appear on CalvinAyre. Some days are easier than others. It’s a delight to wake up to an inbox full of stories. More often than not there are no stories. The clock ticks. My journey to the edge of the night seems to take an eternity. I feel like someone has my eyelids held apart while someone else kicks the shit out of my eyeballs.

Outside of my work for CalvinAyre I have my other contracts, my Truth About Alcohol business, and a wife and two kids that I need to pay attention to if I want them to remain a part of my life for the foreseeable future.

In short, I am busy.

The CoinPoker Debacle 

I believe it’s essential for poker companies to understand how a writer thinks, feels and operates on a daily basis. They also need to follow the law of reciprocity.

Let’s take the recent CoinPoker debacle as a prime example.

Alex Weldon, who works for GameIntel and provides content for PartTimePoker, recently wrote an opinion/research piece suggesting that CoinPoker’s security was as tight a snail’s arsehole after a date with a donkey and that something very odd was going on regarding player numbers after spotting someone playing 42 tables for eight hours straight.

Before Weldon posted his piece, he approached CoinPoker about his findings.

CoinPoker ignored him.

Weldon posted his article.

I wake up at 6 am, do all of the things above, and read Weldon’s piece. Brilliant. I have something to write. I send a note to CoinPoker asking for a response. Nothing. I write a similar article based on Weldon’s hard work.

Another writer does the same.

Then another.

Now the poker community is buzzing with the news that CoinPoker is a den of thieves and buggerers.

The next day, CoinPoker respond in Medium refuting some of Weldon’s claims, and doing a half-arsed job of telling the public that something odd was happening, they are dealing with it, you should feel okay about using the site, but we won’t tell you what we found out during our investigation.

I received an email from CoinPoker.

PokerNews received contact with CoinPoker.

New articles emerge considering CoinPoker’s reaction by which time the sticks and stones have already battered the brand.

It reminds me of the Coronation Street star accused of rape who a judge later declared was innocent. Nobody cared. In their minds, he was guilty because the headlines said he was, and that’s all that flashed through the neocortex. By the time the judge delivered his verdict, we had forgotten about the whole incident.

Two years later, you see the celebrity in a bar.

You point to him and tell your mate – “That guy’s a rapist.”

The Point 

Scratching backs: poker and the law of reciprocityIf CoinPoker had paid Weldon some respect, and, recognising the gravity of the situation, spoke to him and promised him an angle before he published his work, I am sure they could have found a mutually beneficial way forward.

Ignoring him, and then trying to fix it later, is poor form.

I know it’s not easy, but if poker companies want to stop writers inking incorrect information and assumptions, then there needs to be more of an effort to forge relationships and open up instant lines of communication.

When you ask for a quote and receive the bog standard corporate response it’s not worth blowing your snot into.

The poker community is not a child.

It needs to be treated like an adult.

CoinPoker found a problem with it’s security. Why else would it close three accounts? Then tell us what the issue was. You have to earn trust, in the same way you want to earn writer reciprocity.

Be open.

Be free.

Be available.

Scratch our backs, and we will scratch yours.


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    PokerStars, GVC, Paddy Power Betfair join US casino lobby

    american-gaming-association-pokerstars-stars-groupAmerica’s top casino lobby group has welcomed six new members, including a company the group once called “a business built on deceit, chicanery and the systematic flouting of US law.”

    On Thursday, the American Gaming Association (AGA) announced that it had added six new companies as Board-level members, including BMM Testlabs, Oklahoma-based tribal casino operator Choctaw Casinos and Resorts, Nevada’s Golden Entertainment, UK-listed operators GVC Holdings and Paddy Power Betfair, as well as The Stars Group, parent company of PokerStars.

    AGA president/CEO Geoff Freeman said the newly “diverse membership reflects the interest of the casino gaming industry.” Freeman said the addition of these six “industry leaders” would allow the AGA to better serve as “an effective advocate for the industry as a whole.”

    The AGA announcement is proof that, if you wait long enough, the world eventually turns on its head. In 2013, the AGA actively campaigned against PokerStars being issued a New Jersey online gambling license, marking the first time the lobby group had ever felt the need to intervene in a licensing process.

    Stars, then under its original ownership, had sought to participate in New Jersey’s regulated online market after reaching a $731m settlement with the US Department of Justice to resolve its civil liabilities stemming from the 2011 ‘Black Friday’ online poker indictments.

    That settlement stated that the DOJ saw no legal reason why Stars should be excluded from future participation in US regulated markets. But the AGA insisted at the time that the settlement hadn’t “altered in any way” the rank odor of criminality wafting off the Stars brand.

    To be fair, the AGA was then under the command of Frank Fahrenkopf, who handed the reins of power to Freeman just one month after making those pejorative comments toward Stars. But it does vividly illustrate how much the US gambling landscape has changed since those days.

    PokerStars did eventually get licensed in New Jersey (as did GVC Holdings’ PartyPoker brand) and the AGA has since reversed itself on a number of other positions, including its recent support for overturning the federal ban on single-game sports betting outside Nevada.

    The AGA’s welcoming of online gambling operators into the fold will almost certainly revive concerns that Las Vegas Sands will withdraw its membership from the AGA. Sands boss Sheldon Adelson, who hates online gambling the way Donald Trump’s hair hates gusts of wind, previously threatened to withdraw his financial suppport unless the AGA reversed its position advocating for online legalization, which prompted the AGA to knuckle under.


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    Digitain ties up EGT’s interactive portfolio

    Leading provider integrates another exciting new suite

    Digitain ties up EGT’s interactive portfolio15th March 2018, Yerevan – Multi-channel casino platform and sports betting supplier Digitain is set to integrate the full suite of global gaming software and solutions provider EGT Interactive into its flourishing platform.

    The new agreement adds a high-quality range to Digitain’s existing portfolio, which recently shattered the 3,000-games mark on its casino platform, and continues to go through the gears.

    Among the games made available to their operator partners via the deal will be EGT Interactive’s latest release 40 Mega Clover, as well as popular titles like Almighty Ramses II and the classic Burning Hot.

    The integration brings extra muscle to the supplier’s casino platform, as it widens its sphere of influence throughout international markets, from CIS-facing territories to Asia and Africa.

    Suren Khachatryan, Digitain CEO, said: “It’s very pleasing to make this announcement. We have launched some fantastic content over the past 12 months on casino, with a wide variety of themes, features, and maths models to ensure improved gameplay. We hope they’ll readily become firm favourites with operators and players alike.”

    Todor Zaharief, EGT Interactive’s Manager, added: “It’s great news to partner with Digitain, which has progressed its global reach significantly in recent months. It’s a deal which also allows our products to be promoted via a thriving sportsbook station. EGT Interactive’s heritage is based on innovation and advanced gaming software which already powers some of the world’s top casino operators. So we can’t wait to see how our games perform across what in many cases are new markets for us.”

    Digitain has broadened its influence across Europe, central Asia and Africa over the past year, with its state-of-the-art sportsbook (offering odds on 65 different sports, 7,500 leagues, and more than 3,000 betting markets) gaining progressive traction.

    For more information, please contact:

    Square in the Air Communications
    Robin Hutchison, Director, 131-151 Great Titchfield Street, London, W1W 5BB | +44 (0) 20 3586 8272 |

    About Digitain:

    Digitain is a sportsbook and casino platform provider offering best of breed turn-key and white-label solutions. The company’s primary focus is on the regulated European market, with ambitious plans to expand its geographical footprint into the Americas and Asia. It employs more than 800 of the brightest minds and creative talents in the gaming industry, with the aim of providing a one-stop-shop for its customers. The multi-channel Digitain Gaming Platform allows operators to plug-in sportsbook, casino, live dealer and virtual sports modules, and includes an integrated payment gateway, bonus engine, CRM system and dedicated customer support. Its sportsbook product covers 65 sports, taking in 7,500 leagues, and offers more than 3,000 betting markets. It also offers odds on 30,000 live events each month, while its casino solution has 3,000-plus games from major casino suppliers.


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    The proliferation of the playwright poker player

    Inspired by a passage in Charles Bukowski’s ‘On Writing’ Lee Davy questions the decision to stick with the status quo in writing, in poker, in life.

    I’m sitting in a renovated attic. The wooden chair is taking the skin off my sit bones. I tower over my laptop, neck craning to see the words. When I slip down to eye level, my coccyx rubs uncomfortably against the wood. A man wearing glasses sits opposite me locked into a murder-mystery, fist embedded in his temple. Occasionally, he looks at me when he thinks I’m not looking. To be fair, I type with the grace of an elephant at a disco. I bet he’s thinking, “Why doesn’t this prick fuck off elsewhere?”

    I can’t.The proliferation of the playwright poker player

    I have to write this.

    I don’t know how to write. My wife laughs when I tell her I don’t understand the difference between a verb or an adverb. I have no clue what a noun is, how to use ‘was’ or ‘were,’ and I never know when to put a comma in a sentence.

    I never set out to be a writer. I wanted to be a professional footballer. I thought the only thing I needed to learn to write was my signature. I never made it. Alcohol got me. And now I spend most of my time in coffee shops worried that someone is going to send me a tweet saying, “I read your article, and it’s shit.”

    To help with this fear of not being good enough, I have been reading Charles Bukowski. I love the way he uses words and phrases like ‘hot fuck’, ‘toenail,’ and ‘cockroach’ in his poetry. A spectrum has two ends. At one, you have a thing like the Alchemist, stitched together by Paulo Coelho and twenty of the most common words in the English language, and then you have Bukowski pulling crackers out of his knackers (that one is mine).

    I’ve been reading his letters before my daughter starts snoring like a drunk, and one of them stood out like a holed sock in a posh person’s house. Bukowski wrote it in December 1965. Addressed to Gene Cole, Bukowski writes:

    I am afraid that the problems of our playwrights are the same as everybody else – that is, they are trained, they are TOLD the proper way to do a thing.” 

    He continued.

    “It can help bad playwrights become almost good ones, but how to do it will never create an art, it will never shake the old skin, it will never get us out of here.” 

    Bukowski doesn’t want to see an end to books and training course that improve the skills of playwrights – Let the people do as they please – but he’s not too enthusiastic about the success of student mass.

    “If they are able to create art and make a lasting theatre with these methods, I will be most happy to be called a liar.” 

    I’m not saying this gives me a free pass to be a horrible writer (blame Grammarly). But it injects confidence to take my colouring pens and venture outside of the lines, and poker players should do the same thing.

    Why Poker Players Should Stray Outside of the Lines 

    When I first learned to play poker, I knew that I had to seek out the very best in the game and ask him to teach me. A lack of belief prevented me from doing this. But I did seek out the best online training schools.

    Back then everyone was teaching the same way to play poker. Within no time, the weaknesses of unschooled poker players became history. The ABC of poker spread like the joy of children on Christmas Eve.

    Today, when I speak to the very best in the game, we talk about artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms and the right way of doing things. It has a playwright school feel to it. And who am I to argue with these people? They earn millions of dollars, and I’m sitting here, bony arse hurting like fuck because I stole a free cup of tea voucher.

    But where is the art?

    Where are the two fingers to the establishment?

    Who is drawing outside of the lines?

    I think this is why I’m attracting to the work that Matt Berkey is doing at the poker coaching academy Solve For Why. The very premise behind what he does begins by straying outside of the lines. For starters, he offers coaching on the live game, and very few people do that and do that well. But it’s his drive to teach people to think and act differently that ultimately turns me on.

    The man Berkey wants to scrub your bones clean.

    Tip the peroxide all over that mother fucker.

    We want to help people abandon the crutches of assisted learning – Matt Berkey. 

    And it’s the same with life.

    It’s the Same With Life 

    The proliferation of the playwright poker playerI’m writing a book.

    I’ve just finished the framework.

    It’s a combination of theories from Dr Melanie Joy, Robert Fritz and Jeremy Griffith combined with a large dollop of personal experience. But I can’t merely copy their methods verbatim as that’s called plagiarism. Add the experience into the field, and a wild stallion emerges. Different. Sexy. Ready to rock n roll.

    Yeah, seek out the leaders. It’s important. But use them as a way of independently thinking of ways to improve upon that knowledge. Climb underneath the wing, but don’t rip the fucker off and glue it to your body Icarus style.

    Try something different.

    Jump out of a plane.

    Invest in cryptocurrency.

    Tell him to get the fuck out.

    The world of the mundane is like a cross – we all hang there. There is so much agony in the crowd. It’s killing us softly. We are constipated. We keep our creativity, and our individuality congealed in our gut thanks to the fear of looking like the clear glass window in a church full of stained glass jobbies.

    The guy reading the murder-mystery novel has gone.

    Max Richter is sending me to sleep.

    I just nearly choked to death sipping the cold remnants of my free cup of tea.

    It’s time to go somewhere else and write something else.

    Set fire to the status quo and dabble your fingers in the ashes of mundanity one final time.

    Are you going to be a playwright poker player, or a fucking maverick?


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    Dragon announces strategic partnership with 7Luck

    Dragon is honored to announce another strategic partnership that paves the way across the ASEAN entertainment industry. Dragon will be partnering with 7Luck, South Korea’s premium gaming enterprise to bring Korea’s first Dragon blockchain platform to the entertainment industry with its sights firmly set on VIP Junket rooms.

    Dragon Announces Strategic Partnership with 7LuckWith key focus on the new paradigm of sales & marketing for the casino business based on the blockchain system with Dragon global chips and the Introduction of the 7 Luck Casino as a Casino owned and operated by GKL of Korea Government, which include 3 branch locations in the heart of Seoul ,7 Luck in Coex Intercontinental, 7 Luck in Millennium Hilton, 7 Luck in Busan Lotte Hotel.

    The marketing force behind the Dragon platform and Dragon Junket has been made possible through the collaboration of highly respected and experienced licensed junket operators from Macau and Thailand. They are now bringing this wealth of experience combine it with the hugely successful and world renowned Korean gaming scene.

    The newly operating Dragon VIP rooms will be adopting the Dragon Blockchain platform along with Dragon global Chips to increase speed, security, convenience while reducing fees for both the to Dragon operators and the High rollers. This will ignite interest from players around the world to choose South Korea and 7 Luck as the place enjoy prosperity and great fortune. Dragon will see many more strong and successful partnerships like this throughout 2018 initially in the ASEAN region but late 2018 will see Dragon secure a stronghold throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Dragon will hold several promotional events throughout Indochina from the mid to end of March to promote these partnership. The first of these will be held in Bangkok then Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao before expanding across the region to Japan and mainland China.

    7 Luck also shares Dragon’s social responsibility mission through charitable contributions, Grand Korea Leisure (GKL) which owns 7 Luck said: “As a government-owned company, we take our responsibility to the community very seriously, and are dedicated to helping those in need. We dedicate 2% of all pre-tax revenue to charity, which currently amounts to KRW 10,000,000,000 (approximately US$8,600,000). That’s not profits, it’s revenue”.

    Hospitality & Entertainment is an iconic economic stabiliser and makes up an important part of South Koreas vibrant and tech savvy pioneering innovation hub, coupled with its rich history and forward thinking Government, South Korea, is set to establish itself in the global marketplace by delivering Blockchain technologies not just to its people but far beyond, sending a strong message throughout the world that South Korea’s move towards new era of Fin tech and Blockchain technology is here and now.

    The Dragon Team are most honoured that our partnership brings a new era of Blockchain technology to the entertainment industry while increasing economic prosperity’s .

    Paul Moynan co-founder of Dragon added:

    “This is the ultimate game changer for both casinos and high rollers, using the cutting edge technology of Dragon blockchain platform we can enhance the entertainment industry, while supporting the increase of tourism and provide a path for many additional Blockchain innovations across South Korea. We look forward to the opening ceremony with Junket Agents and VIP players which is planned for April 2018”.

    Seven Luck Casino —

    Dragon Inc. —


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    Kansas, Xavier seek payouts on conference tournament odds

    For the ACC’s Virginia Cavaliers (28-2) and Big East’s Villanova Wildcats (27-4), top seeds in the NCAA Tournament appear locked up based on their regular-season performance. But for others such as the Big East’s Xavier Musketeers and Big 12’s Kansas Jayhawks, there is some work left to be done this week during their respective conference tournaments in order to prove they should earn No. 1 seeds as well.

    Odds courtesy of

    Kansas is favored to win the Big 12 Tournament at +200 while Xavier is the +325 second choice to win the Big East Tournament behind favorite Villanova.

    The top-seeded Musketeers (27-4) – who are also ranked third nationally – will play the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between the eighth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas (15-14) and ninth-seeded St. John’s Red Storm (15-16) in the quarterfinals on Thursday, and they might need to win the championship game to get a top seed in the Big Dance on Selection Sunday.

    The Wildcats are the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament and ranked second in the country with two winsKansas, Xavier Seek Payouts on Conference Tournament Odds over Xavier during the regular season.

    The Jayhawks (24-7) are the top seed in the Big 12 Tournament but ranked just ninth nationally after getting swept by the Oklahoma State Cowboys (18-13) in their regular-season finale. Kansas may meet Oklahoma State for a third time in the quarterfinals if the eighth-seeded Cowboys can get past the ninth-seeded Oklahoma Sooners (18-12) on Wednesday.

    A loss in the conference tournament, especially before the title game, would likely end any talk of the Jayhawks as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

    The Arizona Wildcats (24-7) are ranked 15th in the country with an identical overall record as Kansas, and they are the top seed and favorite in the Pac-12 Tournament.

    The Wildcats are listed at +175 to win the Pac-12 Tournament and will play the winner between the eighth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes (16-14) and ninth-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils (20-10) on Thursday in the quarterfinals. The Sun Devils may be a solid sleeper pick to win the Pac-12 Tournament at +850 considering they might need to win two games to get into the Big Dance, including an upset of Arizona.


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    WATCH: Learning resilience from Olympic athletes

    Transcript for Learning resilience from Olympic athletes

    ??? Time for the “Weekend download.” We’ve all been so impressed with the mental toughness. The olympic athletes. I spoke with Bonnie St. John author of “My crow-resilience to find out how we can get some of that toughness in our own lives. Bonnie, good morning. Thanks for being with us. Thank you. We want to know how can we have the toughness of an olympian? How do we do that? Having a ritual for focus was always one of the things that gave me an edge. Lots come physically prepared but the pressure of high winds and delays we’ve seen in Korea, you have to have the mental toughness so whatever you’re doing whether an exam like you said or coaching or a presentation at work, take time out to separate yourself from the chatter, from the texts, from all the distraction, focus, visualize what it is you need to do. Everyone can learn to do that. I found that incredibly useful in my own life. Once you’re doing the things that you’re giving a presentation, what if you make a mistake how do you recover. That’s what happened to me. I fell in the slalom. I was ahead in the first run and in the second run there was this dangerous icy patch and I fell but I got up, got over the finish line quickly and still won the bronze medal I’m wearing. The woman would won, she also fell, but she got up faster. She won by being the quicker getter-upper. That’s a skill. Practice getting up even when you don’t think you’re doing well. Get up faster. Quicker getter-upper. It’s not over when it’s over. What about the postgame? How do you exhibit strength? It’s not natural to have charm and act like a champion after a disappointment. So we have to learn to discipline our emotions. Lindsey vonn was great in the giant slalom when she didn’t win. She came back and with a smile and said, I did my best. I made a mistake. Bonnie St. John, I appreciate it. Great points. All of them. %-Pif you wanttohearmuchmoreof my conversation with Bonnie check out the 10% happier podcast wherever you get your podcasts and right back with

    This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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    Malta Blockchain Summit inaugural launch

    Inspired by the recent initiation of Malta’s Virtual Currency Act, the Malta Blockchain Summit will be held for the first time this year on the 1st to 2nd November at the Malta InterContinental.

    Malta Blockchain Summit inaugural launchBoasting over 2000 delegates, 100 speakers and 150 sponsors and exhibitors, it promises to be an innovative and momentous opportunity for global influencers to network, forge new connections and debate the potential applications of Blockchain across a myriad of industries such as health, entertainment, government, and banking.

    With the opportunity for custom built stands and packages at various competitive price points, exhibitors will be spoilt for choice. The pinnacle of which is the exclusive Platinum package which is cram-packed with tempting lures: such as a four-page interview with photo shoot and company profile in Blockchain Magazine, a double page advert and 20 hours of consultancy by Malta Blockchain Summit.

    There are also exciting sponsorship deals to be found from a WiFi Sponsorship package  to the Exclusive Main Entrance package, all offering an unmissable chance to get your brand seen by the people that matter.

    Delegates can expect their business to be sweetened with a much-anticipated Networking Poker Tournament, sumptuous evening meals, a decadent Champagne Brunch, and a Rum & Cigar Night –all scheduled on and around these dates.

    The agenda for the event will also include a Hackathon and a riveting ICO pitch. The pitch will see 10 start-up hopefuls pitch their projects, followed by an interactive question and answer session between audience and investors.

    Closing Night will offer a welcome opportunity to unwind, relax, and celebrate the culmination of a successful summit.  Delegates will have the opportunity to experience the limpid Mediterranean waters and ancient, craggy coastline through a Crypto Cruise followed by an enviously luxurious crypto party.

    An illustrious melting pot of global speakers has already been confirmed to take part, including prominent individuals such as: Carla Maree Vella , James Catania, Max Krupyshev, Gordon Einstein, Alex Lightman, Joseph Cuschieri, Sally Eaves,  Tugce Ergul, Karl Schranz, Pavel Kravchenko and Vince Vella.

    Peruse the floor plan to this event and check further opportunities when you visit

    Tickets are to go on sale early May, but with ticket reservations already generating a marked interest, it’s worth booking early to avoid disappointment.


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