Monday, June 26, 2006

Lie with a Straight Face

IF YOU’RE not into ball play (or worried how to spend your hours after the soccer World Cup wraps up in Germany), best start practising how to lie with a straight face because playing poker is becoming the hottest trend.

Thank the home of apple pie for the new card onslaught as a spate of TV programmes, from cable’s Celebrity Poker Showdown (which enjoyed the second-highest audience debut after Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for the Bravo Network) and The World Poker Tour (the most popular series in the history of the Travel Channel) to the new hit TV programme Tilt.

What is different this time around is that poker, which has been around in some form or another since the 1800s, has brushed off its image as a men’s club recreation confined to smoke-polluted back rooms.

These days everyone from teenagers to housewives is getting in on the act. In fact, the Pokerworld website reports that even university professors are using poker exercises to demonstrate deductive and critical thinking skills and probability calculation to their students.

So, if you don’t want to be seen as an ABC player (someone who plays predictably, in poker-speak), you need to brush up on the difference between a straight flush, four-of-a-kind and a full house if you want to make sure you’re the one who walks away with the pot of money.

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It’s a story that our wildest dream and fantasies are comprised off… A hedonistic blend on fast cars, easy money and gorgeous people. It’s a dream that a small group OF MIT students in the USA made a hair-raising reality.

Now by the time we reach early adulthood, most people have at least one good gambling story to tell. Whether it is a blind luck win at a roulette wheel, a hit on a slot machine, winning a World cup soccer pool, but none can pony up to the story of Kevin Lewis, who by the time he was a Junior at MIT, Lewis, along with a small group of like-minded MIT classmates master minded one of the largest and most scandelous card-counting scams in history. The high stakes plan would garner them in upwards in three million dollars in blackjack winnings from casinos across the USA.

A book by Ben Mezrich accounts this enthralling true story and describes how this group of inexperienced young students perfected a method of card-counting and signaling techniques to take millions of dollars from casinos without attracting attention from pit bosses and owners.
Using a relatively simple system-each face card and ten that is dealt counts as negative one point, each card below a six counts as a positive one point, sevens, eights, and nines are neutral-the team members would keep a running total of the cards being dealt, determining the probability of drawing a high hand (the higher the count, the better probability that favorable cards would be drawn). All of this of course, is legal, as Lewis and his teammates did nothing to change the outcome of the game. They just paid very, very close attention to what was going on.

To ensure their plans where not foiled, the group of mostly mathematical nerds, went on a wild goose chase from one casino to the next so as to not draw too much attention to themselves. Ironically they became VIP guest at most establishments and would often pose as children of wealthy business men spending dad’s cash. It also became apparent that the casino’s where less skeptical about young Asians spending large amount of money than they where about a group of white kids, so all these subtle nuances where used to their advantage. VIP treatment came with the territory and included complimentary suites, meals, tickets to boxing matches, and any other perk the casino managers could think of to keep the high-rollers coming back.

The Vegas lifestyle with it bright lights and superficial highs and lows can be all consuming and for the young MIT students living the high life did become all too overwhelming. This was not at all surprising and soon their head, Kevin, a self-described math geek, found himself reveling in the life of his high roller alter ego. It's not hard to get comfortable with the good times when your days and nights are spent rubbing shoulders with celebrities and professional athletes and dating an NFL cheerleader.

Ultimately, it wouldn't be the players themselves that lead to the team's inevitable demise. After their first hit at the Native American run casino, Mohegan Sun, the casino offices enacted several measures to protect themselves against card-counters including banning players from entering a blackjack game mid-deck, and introducing new cutting and shuffling techniques that made it harder for players to spot specific cards. Compounding this was a private investigation firm called the Plymouth Agency, who was hired by one Las Vegas casino to track the activity of its patrons and hound out the card-counters.

After the beginning of the end, extreme paranoia swept through the group of players once they began to discover that the agency had cottoned on to them. Eventually the lavish lives that these kids lead began to tear at the seams and soon officials cracked down and ultimately dissolved the group.

One can’t help be intrigued by this larger than life story. The pumping adrenalin, the high life, the intoxicating elixir of winning a fat wad of cash and the intricate plan that unfolded on the bright city street of Vegas. You may not be ready for all that drama, but you can still experience the thrill of Black Jack, Piggs Peak internet casino offers a large variety of the Black Jack games that can be played in the comfort of your own home.. and just think about it, there will be no geeky MIT student lurking around either.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Soccer World Cup 2006 set to sweep across the globe.

The countdown has begun and soccer fever is spreading faster than juicy news on Paris Hilton. It’s hard to believe that just seventeen years earlier the Berlin Wall still pierced the German landscape, however in 2006 a reunified Germany will throw open its doors to the world. In the spirit of the striking slogan chosen by the organisers: Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden which translated directly into “The world: at home with friends” the world now waits with eager anticipation as the nations take centre stage in the hallowed grounds of the soccer stadiums of Germany.

The 2006 tournament will be a vastly different affair. Thirty-two teams will have qualified, including five from Africa, all of whom now perform at a far higher level. The same can be said for Asian teams, who produced a semi-finalist last year, something which would have been unthinkable back in 1974! This is great testament to the growing popularity of the worlds most loved sport and the huge improvement for countries who do not feature in the Big 5 soccer giants of the world.

The fact still remain that the World Cup is the biggest soccer tournament in the world. It is held every four years in a different country. Billions of people watch the televised games as the national teams from countries around the globe battle it out for soccer supremacy.

This year will no doubt be just as exciting as any World cup and to get in the spirit Piggs Peak online Casino has geared up to ride the crescent of all the thrills that World Cup 2006 holds. If you long to hear the roaring anthems of a packed to capacity stadium as you swiftly kick a lightning-fast, match-winning goal into the posts, then experience the thrill of the worlds most loved game with Piggs Peaks fantastic new World Cup Mania Slot Game. It’s all about screaming fans and beer cans, red cards and shin guards, soccer balls and scoring more. So come and catch the world cup soccer fever that setting the world ablaze.

Soccer Mania has officially kicked off so make sure you are in the winning team, don’t just be a soccer mad hooligan, get in on the action and play Piggs Peaks fun World cup challenge game and become the next Beckham, Pele or Ronaldinho. CLICK HERE to play our soccer game then challenge all your friends just for the fun of it.

Did you know? – Interesting facts about soccer

  • Soccer has one-half to one-fifth the injury rate of football and also has lower injury rate than baseball and basketball for youth between the ages of 5 and 14.
    The first laws of soccer were drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848. Since then they have been rewritten and amended.
  • Soccer has been part of the Olympic Games since 1908.
  • In 1994, the United States hosted the World Cup. Brazil got the trophy. It was the first World Cup ever held in the US
  • Brazil played in every World Cups. It is the only country who could do that.
  • More than 40 millions soccer balls are sold each year world wide.
  • The best soccer balls have between 1400 and 2000 stitches hand made and need 4 hours of work.
  • The first goal in the first World Cup was scored by Laurent a French player in 1930. The 100th by Schiavol, an Italian player in 1934. The 1000th by Rensenbrink, a Netherlander in 1978 and the last one by Petit a French player in 1998.
  • The circumference of a soccer ball is between 68 and 71 centimeters. Its weight from 396 to 453 grams. The home team is the provider of the ball and only the referee is allowed to accept it and replace it during the game. In France, Soccer is called Football
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Friday, June 02, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

Think glitz, think glamour and a fast paced racy blends of hedonistic pleasure and the first thing to that is likely to pop in your mind is Las Vegas. After all the saying that has become synonymous with Vegas, “ What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is indicative of this exciting entertainment capital’s carefree culture.

Las Vegas was given its name by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party, who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 1800s, areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or Meadows (Vega in Spanish), hence the name Las Vegas

The bright city lights are a far cry from its humble beginnings of old Spanish trails and green meadows. Surrounded by a desert, this entertainment oasis boasts more fun per square kilometer than any other place in the world. Filled to the brim with Classy Casino’s, world class theatrical productions, fine dining, dusk to dawn nightlife and not to mention golf courses, luxury spa and amazing shopping experiences. With all this entertainment on offer, you can rest assured that boredom is not an option here.

There are two sections to the Las Vegas, downtown Vegas, where it all started and the booming strip. When the Mirage, the first mega resort opened in 1989, it started the trend that would lead to the Strip becoming the more popular of the two areas and would thus resulted in a huge drop in tourism to downtown Vegas, concerted efforts are being made though to revive the downtown and also diversify Las Vegas’s economy.

In the initial years of the Las Vegas Strip, "no" was a big word -- no cover, no minimum, no state speed limit, no sales tax, no waiting period for marriages, no state income tax and no regulation of gambling as it is known today. In modern times about the only "no's" remaining are no state income tax and no waiting period to obtain a marriage license. Nothing quite says “Vegas” like being married in a drive-through chapel at four o’clock in the morning with the taxi driver as your witness and a bad Elvis impersonator minister. Vegas marriages have become the institution they are as there is no legal waiting period or residency requirement – all you need is ID, a little cash and a lot of love.

The world's largest jackpot totaled $39.7 million and was won at the Excalibur hotel in 2003. This mammoth jackpot is on the surface of a multi billion dollar industry that turns the sandy desserts of Vegas in the city of a million lights.

For some of us Las Vegas is very far away and getting to this entertainment mecca can be tricky, but Piggs Peak feels that no matter where you are in the world, you should be able to experience the thrill of gambling. So, spin the roulette wheel, be dealt an awesome hand of cards, take part in exciting promotions and win huge jackpots. Online gaming has captured the imagination of many people and you too can enjoy hours of entertainment from the comfort of your favourite arm chair, with the best casino games only a click away. At Piggs Peak Internet Casino there are over 100 exciting slots games to choose from and over 20 top class tables’ games. Our 34 Video Poker games are also very popular and another 19 progressive slot machines are ready for your gaming pleasure.

So in the words of Elvis Presleys classic song Viva Las Vegas …

“Lady Luck please let the dice stay hot.”

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