Daily Archives: June 4, 2021

2021 U.S. Poker Open Begins Thursday With First of 12 Events – PokerNews.com

Posted: June 4, 2021 at 4:17 pm

June 02, 2021Mo Nuwwarah

For the first time in more than a year, the PokerGO Studio will play host to one of its proprietary poker tournament series as the U.S. Poker Open returns on Thursday with the first of 12 high-stakes events.

For the following week-plus the USPO is scheduled for June 3-15 daily events with buy-ins of at least $10K will run, usually alternating between eight-handed (seven-handed after the end of registration) no-limit hold'em and a different game or format. At the conclusion of the series, the top points earner will be awarded an extra $50,000 along with a special trophy.

Remember, an annual subscription to PokerGO costs $99.99, but you can save $20 off by using promo code USPO21 at checkout. Sign up by going here.

The U.S. Poker Open begins with Event #1: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em, with the first livestreamed action kicking off the next day with the final table of that tournament. From June 4 on, a daily stream will be provided so PokerGO subscribers can follow the action on a short delay.

Tournaments on the docket include pot-limit Omaha, "big-bet mix," 8-game and short deck. Structure sheets and rules are posted here.

Everything builds up to the $50,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event, set to run June 14.

PokerNews will provide daily recaps of the play. Among those confirmed to be playing this year include Ali Imsirovic, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Sam Soverel, Chris Brewer, Dan Smith, Sean Winter, Alex Foxen, Kristen Bicknell, Jake Schindler, and Randall Emmett.

Past champions of the USPO were Stephen Chidwick in 2018 and David Peters in 2019. An archive of past coverage of the event can be found here, and PokerGO subscribers can go back and watch past streamed coverage here.

While this is the first big festival to be held by Poker Central since last year, high roller action has already returned to ARIA, with players getting back to their usual schedules competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars each month.

For the first time, though, poker fans can get a little sweat as well thanks to SuperDraft. PokerGO has partnered with the fantasy sports company to bring a fantasy poker offering, increasing the potential rooting interest of those who don't have the bankroll or willingness to pony up $10K or more for the tournaments themselves.

Adding poker into fantasy sports is an idea that weve discussed for years," said SuperDraft CEO Steve Wang in a press release. "Our innovative development team in partnership with PokerGO finally brought that idea to life. As the popularity of pro poker grows, this partnership will help us deliver what everyone immersed in the world of poker has been waiting for.

The plan appears to be for SuperDraft to offer fantasy poker for a slew of events going forward, including the World Series of Poker the company remains partnered with WSOP parent company Caesars as well.

They'll celebrate the opening of the PokerGO partnership with a $10,000 freeroll, according to the press release announcing the game. Scoring will be based on stats provided by PokerGO, including "player performance and chip stacks."

Speaking of player performance, another subplot attached to the USPO will be the continued race for points on the PokerGO Tour leaderboard.

Announced in late April, the PokerGO Tour will allow players to accrue points toward a year-long leaderboard with the goal of claiming up to $100K in additional prize money.

More than a dozen events have already been played out of the 150-plus promised by PokerGO, and Ali Imsirovic has emerged as top dog thus far with five wins and 12 cashes worth just shy of $2 million. Here's a look a the current top five:

A full list of the rankings can be found here.

All USPO events will count toward the leaderboard, so expect some big moves up the ladder when the dust settles at the end of the high-stakes series.

Interested in signing up for a PokerGO subscription to watch the USPO? Use the code "USPO21" to save $20 off a $99.99 annual subscription at checkout.

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2021 U.S. Poker Open Begins Thursday With First of 12 Events - PokerNews.com

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U.S. Poker Open starts this week in Las Vegas at the PokerGO Studio – World Casino Directory

Posted: at 4:17 pm

The PokerGO Studio welcomes back the U.S. Poker Open this week, with the series set to take place from June 3-15. There will be 12 high-stakes events taking place with buy-ins starting in the $10,000 range. The series kicks off with Event #1, the $10,000 NLH option, with PokerGO streaming all the action. Subscribers of PokerGO can easily follow along with the gameplay, with a short delay in place.

Tournaments on the schedule will be a mix of Texas Holdem, Omaha, 8-game, big-bet mix, and short deck. Several top players are expected to compete including Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Kristen Bicknell, Dan Smith, Ali Imsirovic, and more.

Details of the Series

Starting tomorrow, through June 15, the best of the best in the poker world will hit the felt at the PokerGO Studio within the ARIA to see who will claim the title wins. The Las Vegas Casino will feature the series, with one tournament set to take place each day of the schedule.

The first ten events all have $10,000 buy-ins. On June 13, a $25,000 tournament is on the schedule, featuring a No-Limit Holdem format. The final event on the schedule has the largest buy-in at $50,000. This event is also an NLH format.

All tournaments in the Open will have double re-entry except for the final event. The $50,000 tournament will have a single re-entry only.

PokerGO Tour

Each of the poker tournaments included in the U.S. Poker Open is part of the PokerGO Tour. During the tour, players earn points for competing and cashing out in events. The points also help to decide who wins the U.S. Poker Open Championship. The title includes $50,000 in added prize money plus a Golden Eagle Trophy.

Once the U.S. Poker Open comes to an end, the ARIA will host a High Roller event on June 15. This tournament will have a $25,000 buy-in and NLH format. On June 25, the Wynn Las Vegas will host the PokerGO Tour with the Wynn MILLIONS, which includes a $10,000 buy-in and NLH format.

Fast-forward to July and PokerGO will start the PokerGO Cup. The Cup will take place at the ARIA and will offer NLH events with buy-ins ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. On July 12, the ARIA will host the PokerGO Heads-Up Championship which has a $100,000 buy-in.

The schedule then continues throughout the year, moving down to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida then back up to Las Vegas, with events set at The Venetian and the ARIA once again.

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U.S. Poker Open starts this week in Las Vegas at the PokerGO Studio - World Casino Directory

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Bluffs, Tells, and Martinis: An Analysis of the Casino Royale Poker Scene – Film School Rejects

Posted: at 4:16 pm

Welcome to The Queue your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, were watching a video essay that looks at what makes the poker scene in Casino Royale so captivating.

Casino Royalecontains some of the most blood-pumping set-pieces in James Bonds long and illustrious cinematic run. Theres the scene where Bond (Daniel Craig) flips his Aston Martin, rolling the out-of-control vehicle down a dark windy road. In another scene, 007 pursues a bomb maker over the rooftops of Madagascar, jumping, scrambling, and maneuvering through laundry lines and scaffolding. This is to say nothing of the final sequence in the film, where a Venetian house sinks (!) into the sea.

And yet, in my opinion, for all its action-packed thrills, the most captivating, edge-of-your-seat scene in the film is the central, high-stakes poker game. The critical narrative puzzle piece of the film sees Bond enter a Texas hold em tournament at the titular Casino Royale in Montenegro. His mission: to beat the villainous, weepy-eyed Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), forcing the terrorist-assisting banker to seek asylum with the British government in exchange for information about his clients.

The sequence, which is broken up into three distinct scenes, is as dramatically engaging and bombastic as the rest of Bonds sweatier, high-octane exploits. For my money, its the highlight of the film, and a real tour-de-force from director Martin Campbell and cinematographer Phil Meheux on how to turn a simple card game into thrilling cinema, regardless of the audiences understanding of, oh I dont know, how Texas hold em actually works.

The video essay below breaks down how each poker scenes distinct visual language keeps us captivated while continually raising the stakes. By using staples of visual storytelling like movement, framing, and average shot length, Campbell and Meheux keep us engaged in the pivotal game.

Watch James Bond & the Casino Royale Poker Scene How to Turn a Simple Card Game into Gripping Cinema:

This video about the Casino Royale poker scenewas created byStudioBinder, a production management software creator that also happens to produce wildly informative video essays. They tend to focus on the mechanics of filmmaking itself, from staging to pitches and directorial techniques. You can check out their YouTube accounthere.

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Bluffs, Tells, and Martinis: An Analysis of the Casino Royale Poker Scene - Film School Rejects

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Basketball Legend Tony Parker Becomes First Known Participant In The 2021 World Series Of Poker Main Event – CardPlayer.com

Posted: at 4:16 pm

NBA legend Tony Parker is the first player confirmed to be playing in the 2021 World Series of Poker main event.

According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, the four-time NBA champion won a charity poker event run by The PM Group in January. By taking down the charity event, the former point guard earned a seat in the $10,000 buy-in event this fall.

He is very excited to play the main event for the first time, WSOP director Gregory Chochon told the San Antonio Express-News. Because of his career, he never had the time to participate but he is ready for the challenge. We always promote poker as a sport, so Tonys qualification is great news!

Parker played nearly two decades in the NBA, almost entirely with the San Antonio Spurs. He was a first-round draft pick of the Spurs in 2001 and played with the organization through the end of the 2018 season. He played with the Charlotte Hornets for the 2018-2019 season before retiring. He was an NBA All-Star selection six times and was the NBA Finals MVP in 2007.

While there is no official record of Parker playing poker at any competitive level and doesnt have a recorded tournament cash, the NBA is full of poker enthusiasts.

Golden State Warriors minority owner Chamath Palihapitiya is well-known for dipping his toes into high-stakes cash games and is good friends with 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. Palihapitiya has three cashes in WSOP events and was even gifted Hellmuths 13th bracelet.

Hellmuth also coached David Lee, a 12-year NBA veteran who spent a good chunk of his career in a Warriors uniform. In December 2019, Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson said that he got killed in team poker games and that the roster was filled with card sharks.

NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce has been a part of the high-stakes poker world for quite some time, as well. Pierce held the chip lead on Day 2 of the 2013 WSOP $10,000 pot-limit Omaha championship and fell just a few spots shy of a cash in the 2014 main event.

He recently lost his job as a basketball analyst for ESPN after he posted raunchy videos on social media from a home game.

The 2021 WSOP will be held this fall from Sept. 30 through Nov. 23. The main event will run Nov. 4 through Nov. 17.

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Video Poker Promotions – How a Card of the Day Bonus Works – BestUSCasinos.org

Posted: at 4:16 pm

I read an account of how a card of the day promotion works in video poker. I dont know if this kind of promotion is still available at major casinos on a regular basis, but these kinds of marketing schemes tend to roll back around given some time.

Also, this card of the day promotion illustrates some gambling concepts that I think casino gamblers should be aware of. Keep reading below to learn more.

The way a card of the day promotion works is actually simple: Every four of a kind of a certain ranking on a specific day gets a double payout.

For example, on Sundays, a four of a kind made up of threes might pay double. The card of the day for Monday might be a four, and on Tuesday, a five, and so on. On those days, a four of a kind made up of fours and fives, respectively, would trigger the bonus payout.

If youre playing 9/6 Jacks or Better at a casino offering this promotion, doubling that four of a kind payout on that one hand adds 0.44% to the expected return for the game. Since 9/6 Jacks or Better normally offers a 99.54% expected return, assuming you play optimally with this promotion in effect, the game offers a 99.98% expected return.

Thats the same thing as a house edge of only 0.02%. Its almost as close to a breakeven game as youll ever find in a casino.

If youre trying to make a living playing real money video poker, you still cant do it with this game even with the card of the day promotion. But if youre just wanting to earn comps and enjoy a vacation without spending a lot of money, a 99.98% return is great.

As luck would have it, there are other video poker games where such a promotion might make a negative expectation game into a positive expectation game. For example, a 10/7 Double Bonus video poker game already has a positive expectation for the player with its 100.17% return.

Even a 9/7 Double Bonus game has a 99.11% return. And since youre getting a bigger payout for four of a kind already because youre playing Double Bonus Poker, you get to add 1.37% to your return instead of just 0.44%.

This would turn either version of Double Bonus Poker into a profitable opportunity. You might not get rich playing these games, but you could show a long-term profit.

What would this do to your expected win rate? Assume a quarter game and a max bet per hand, and youre wagering $1.25 per hand. An average video poker player probably gets in 600 hands per hour, so thats $750/hour in action. With an expected return of 101.54%, your hourly win rate is $11.55.

Now, suppose that the casino has both a quarter game with the 10/7 pay table along with a dollar game with the 9/7 pay table. Which one should you choose?

Assuming a dollar game and a max bet per hand, youre wagering $5 per hand. At 600 hands per hour, thats $3,000 per hour in action. With an expected return of 100.48%, your expected earnings per hour are $14.40.

Even though the expected return for the game with the worse pay table is significantly lower, the fact that you can play for higher stakes makes it more profitable.

You should be able to do this calculation for any game youre playing where you have an edge so that you can calculate your most profitable opportunities.

The formula is simple: Take the average bet size and multiply it by bets per hour and by the size of your edge, which equals expected win rate per hour.

Even with a generous promotion like this, you must know how to play the game with optimal strategy to have a hope of getting any kind of edge over the casino.

How much does playing with an incorrect strategy subtract from your expected return?

It depends on how often youre deviating from the correct strategy, but a safe estimate is that a novice video poker player ignoring correct strategy is giving between 2% and 4% back to the house. This is assuming that you know something about poker to begin with.

If youre a complete novice and have never played poker, you have a little studying and practicing to do before you ever try video poker.

Youll notice that even in the best-case scenarios Ive used in the above examples, the size of your edge was never more than 1.54%.

If youre losing 2% in expectation because of strategy mistakes, youre back to playing a game where the house has an edge. Thats okay if youre a recreational gambler, but Im convinced that if youre going to do something, you should learn how to do it as well as possible.

This applies to video poker as well as any other endeavor you pursue.

20 years ago, it was hard to find an optimal strategy for most video poker games. There were a handful of books offering some strategies for some games, but nothing comprehensive.

For years, though, you could buy a software package called Video Poker for Winners that would generate the correct strategy for any pay table you fed into it. That software is no longer available, but you can find online resources that will do the same thing for you.

My favorite resource for learning the correct strategy for video poker games is the series of books about video poker strategy from Bob Dancer. He has six of these books available:

You can buy these for around $20 a book on his website, but you can also buy the entire set. He also sells laminated video poker strategy cards, similar to the kinds of strategy cards you can get for blackjack with color-coding and everything.

Something I havent mentioned yet is that when youre playing in a game with a promotion like this, the optimal strategy for the game changes. For example, suppose you have a have with four cards to a flush, but you also have a pair that matches the card of the day.

Normally, drawing to the flush would be the correct play, but what happens when youre getting twice as much of a payout for the four of a kind? Is it worth it to go for the four of a kind when you have a pair in that situation?

These deviations are derived by looking at the probability of hitting the hand multiplied by the payout for the hand.

Lets assume the payout for a flush is 7 for 1. You have a 9/47 probability of getting your flush, so the expected return for that playignoring other results for simplicitys sakeis 9/47 x 7, or 1.34.

Assuming that the payout for the four of a kind is 160 for instead of 80 for 1 because of the promotion, youd need to calculate the probability of getting that payout.

You have to get both of the cards of that ranking, so the probability of that happening is 1/47 x 1/47, but thats offset somewhat by being able to get another try on that third card youre drawing to.

As it turns out, the odds of making your four of a kind are still too low for this to be a viable change in your playing strategy. But its something to consider, and thats not the only dilemma youre liable to face either.

And the strategy decisions also change when the card is a different rank. For example, if the card of the day is seven, that has a different set of strategy implications than if the card of the day is four.

When you have a card of the day promotion, youll sometimes want to break a made hand like a full house to draw to the four of a kind instead. Youll also often want to draw to a pair even if you have four cards to an open-ended straight.

You might find a casino that offers you a double payout for the four of a kind of that rank AND gives you a free $5 bet on the roulette wheel. How much is that free bet worth?

If you lose, its worth $0. But if you win, its worth the probability of winning multiplied by $5.

On a standard American Roulette wheel, the probability of winning an even money bet is 18/38, or 47.37%. This means that the free roulette spin is worth another $2.37.

This also adds to the expected return to the game.

Being a savvy gambler means learning how to spot good promotions like a card of the day promotion in video poker, but thats not enough. You also need to know how to analyze that promotion to see what it does to your expected return.

Sometimes, it will turn into a profitable opportunity, while other times, it might not be worth it. Either way, the better educated you are as a gambler, the better off you are. Good luck on your gambling!

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Why Arent There More Women Playing Poker? – Casino.Org News

Posted: at 4:16 pm

One of the best things about poker is that itsa game available to everyone. Regardless of your age, profession, or sex, youcan learn to play poker and enjoy it online and live without any realobstacles.

At least, thats how things are in theory, but pokeris largely dominated by male players.

If you look at any open poker tournament,youll see that the ratio of men to women is easily 20 to 1 at best.

You can also clearly see this tendency when looking at the All-Time Poker Money List. Vanessa Selbst is the only female player to make it to the top 100, surrounded by 99 guys.

Given the fact there is nothing in the game rules to discriminate against female players, its only natural to wonder why there arent more women in poker?

Do women not find the game interesting enough, or is there some deeper explanation for this phenomenon?

The answer to this question is fairly complex, butIll do my best to break it down it today.

The first thing to look at when discussing thisissue is the history of the game.

Poker started as a male-dominated activity, andduring the early days of the game, it was played almost exclusively by men.Rare female players to hit the felt were definitely going against the socialnorms of the period.

Those who decided to break the unwritten (andsometimes even written) rules were branded with not-so-favorable labels bytheir contemporaries.

So, from the get-go, there was this aura of exclusivity surrounding the game.

Poker was a boys game, and girls, even iftolerated, were usually not welcome. Their presence would disrupt the usualsetup, and we can only guess that it could make men feel awkward oruncomfortable at that time?

Of course, things have changed quite a bit overthe decades, and were no longer living in the Wild West era, but the factremains that the game started off on the wrong foot for the inclusion of women.

There is no surprise that some men have no inhibitions, especially when theyve had a few drinks or when they go on tilt.

From unsolicited seduction attempts and sleazy comments, to straight-up insults, female players have to deal with a lot of unacceptable stuff.

You could say thats all a part of the game but is it really?

Its one thing to try to throw off and confuseyour opponents, but guys sometimes take it too far.

And were still wondering why there arent morewomen in poker?

If you find yourself in an environment whereyou dont feel welcomed or creeped on, wheres the motivation to keep coming back?

Most people who play poker arent exactlyprofessionals who make a living out of it, so its the overall experience thatattracts people to the tables.

When youre a woman in poker and have torepeatedly deal with these unpleasant situations, what it can affect theoverall experience.

Youre wont enjoy yourself, you dont feelwelcome, and at the end of a session, even if you end up winning, youll gohome with a bitter taste in your mouth.

Im not saying that this is the rule and thatit happens all the time, but its quite common.

Many prominent female players, like Selbst, LivBoeree, and Vanessa Rousso, have talked about these issues on more than oneoccasion.

And, if it happens at the highest level, whywould it be any different in smaller local cardrooms?

This is probably one of the biggest reasons whywomen even today tend to stay away from poker and find different hobbies toenjoy.

As fascinating as the game is, for some, its not worth all the additional abuse that comes with playing in a live setting.

Long gone are the days when you had to drive tothe nearest casino or cardroom just so you could play a few hands.

There are countless online poker sites out there, and they dont discriminate in any way. As long as youre of legal age, youre welcome to sign up and play.

Whether you are a woman or a man makes nodifference whatsoever.

Plus, your identity is hidden behind an alias,so other players at the table wont even know your gender if you prefer to keepit hidden.

So, with that in mind, is the number of womenin online poker any bigger?

Although there are no real studies to refer toin this regard, its safe to assume that many more women play the game onlinein a safe and protected environment.

The ratio is still heavily in favor of maleplayers, but the situation is much better than in the live scene.

But even so, there isnt the same level ofinterest for the game among female players, which indicates that there is moreto it than just the fact that women sometimes dont feel comfortable at thetables.

In the grand scheme of things, poker, just likeanything else, is a product. It wasnt by accident the game has become sopopular across the globe.

The 2003 Moneymaker victory was a great catalyst, but if it werent for heaps of money spent on advertising, the poker boom would be much smaller.

But a huge percentage of that advertising wastargeting a male audience.

Women were rarely featured in poker ads back inthe days, and not much has changed since.

Of course, we do have more women in poker whoare signing sponsorship deals and representing poker sites, but we dont seetoo many female poker players in the focus of advertising, as sad as it is.

That said, this approach does make some sense froma business perspective as its much easier and more cost-effective for pokersites.

You cant target and reach everyone, so roomspick their ideal customers and adjust ads to them.

It continues the idea of poker as a boys game and something to do to get away from your everyday life.

Also, in most countries, men generally have access to more disposable income, and more importantly, they are probably more keen to put that money on the line in the game.

If its advertising that sells, then itsreally doing a poor job of selling poker to women. If anything, its almosttelling them to stay away and do something else instead.

Things have changed for the better as of late,which is why there is an increase in the number of female players.

Poker sites now sign more female players asambassadors and we do have quite a few female players creating poker content,but there is still much work to be done.

Another big reason women arent so attracted topoker, even online, is the games very nature.

At the end of the day, poker is a verycutthroat game where you need to do whatever it takes to outsmart your opponentand take their money.

Its all fun and games on TV, but the look onsomeones face after a particularly painful bad beat isnt always easy to see.

Women and men are widely considered to differin terms of their emotions. Although things are never so clear-cut and thisstatement is pretty reductive, in general, men will find much moresatisfaction in crushing their opponents soul than women.

Despite being predominantly a skill game, poker still has an element of gambling.

Gambling means risk, and most men are much more so inclined when it comes to taking risks.

Many studies have shown that women are morerisk-averse, which isnt the best thing if you want to play poker.

Texas Holdem, the most popular pokervariation, is a game of incomplete information. No matter how good or observantyou are, taking some chances comes with the territory.

Players who have done really well have generally been the ones who werent trying to avoid variance but have rather embraced it.

Of course, this isnt a thing set in stone, andthere are plenty of women who arent afraid or reluctant to take necessaryrisks, but we have to speculate if we want to find the reasons behind thisdiversification.

This goes back to the overall appeal of pokerto women.

If a player isnt comfortable with whats oneof the fundamental premises of the game, theyre not going to enjoy it as muchand will not find as much enjoyment in playing it.

As hard as it often is for women to find theirplace in the male-dominated poker world, those who do make it often findthemselves in a rather favorable situation.

With so few female players, especially thoseplaying in a serious capacity, there are plenty of opportunities to be had.

Successful women in poker usually have noproblems getting sponsorship deals and endorsements from related companies. So,in this regard, female players do have it somewhat easier.

I love how Marley Cordeiro illustrates thiswith a bit of irony:

For men, the competition is very fierce, andgetting a good sponsorship deal is usually reserved only for the best of thebest or the lucky few who manage to luckbox their way into a major tournamentwin.

This isnt supposed in any way to justifydifferent types of issues women in poker have to deal with on a daily basis,but its at least one bright point in the whole discourse.

Over the past couple of years, theres been alot of focus on trying to attract more women to poker.

A large portion of the poker industryunderstands that this is very important, as it will help boost the overall playerpool and paint the game in a different, better light.

Sadly, there is still a long road ahead andmany obstacles to overcome before women could see poker as theirgame.

A couple of bad experiences can be enough toturn anyone off, and, unfortunately, women are much likelier to have suchexperiences at a poker table.

A different approach to marketing and campaigns led by successful female pros would certainly go a long way towards achieving this goal, so lets hope we will see this sooner than later.

Lead image: WSOP.com

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Why Arent There More Women Playing Poker? - Casino.Org News

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Poker player hedges bets on whether he saw UFO or bin bag in sky over Leicestershire – Leicestershire Live

Posted: at 4:16 pm

Professional poker player Mason Kanabar is hedging his bets on whether he saw a UFO or not.

The 23-year-old filmed a mysterious black object as it travelled across the sky above Leicestershire.

Mason, who lives in Anstey, said he videoed the strange sight in his back garden at 8.05pm on bank holiday Monday May 31.

I was just chilling in the garden having a smoke when this thing caught my eye.

It seemed to flicker so I grabbed my phone and filmed it.

I have no idea what it was but it was odd for sure.

I did not hear any sound. It just travelled weirdly across the sky.

Mason send his video to LeicestershireLive after he read the story on Tuesday of John Hall, who said he saw a UFO in the sky above Aylestone seven hours previously on the same day.

The 76-year-old said he was sitting in his back garden in Aylestone yesterday (May 31) when he saw the large black disc in the sky.

It was not a UFO as in a flying saucer shaped craft - it was the shape of a very large black penny stood up on its side, he said.

So it was an unidentified flying object but not in the traditional sense.

John, who used to run a company supplying the clothing trade with zips and other trimmings, said he saw the strange object as he enjoyed some sunshine at about 1pm.

The disc was travelling from the direction of Wigston in the direction of Braunstone. It was silent and it was going at a steady pace then it disappeared out of view.

But I saw it for about 8 or 10 seconds. I have no idea what it was.

Mason said he, like John, does not believe in aliens.

He said: Whos to say there isnt very advanced technology out there developed by another country that we dont know about.

I dont believe in aliens but UFOs could be craft developed here on earth by other countries.

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I guess what I saw was either a bin bag or a space-age craft. I guess it was a UFO because can't identify it.

Thats what all my friends and family said when they saw the video. Half of them think its a bin bag and half think it could be an unknown craft.

Im just not sure as since I filmed this thing I have been having real technology problems. It could just be a coincidence or there could be something more to it.

There have been other UFO sightings in the skies above Leicester and Leicestershire.

A strange 'bright object' was captured on camera as it hovered over Leicester and parts of the county in February 2019

Colin Saunders said he saw UFO in the skies above Barwell more than 20 years ago.

A recent nationwide survey revealed that 11% of the British public think they have seen a UFO, how 26% believe aliens exist and more than half agree that intelligent life exists somewhere in the universe.

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50 years in, the war on drugs is an unmitigated disaster – Politics.co.uk

Posted: at 4:16 pm

Theres arguably no piece of legislation in the modern era which has been more ineffective, needlessly cruel or morally insane than the Misuse of Drugs Act. Last week saw its 50th anniversary. And over the course of that half century it has maimed and mutilated countless lives, thrown hundreds of thousands of people pointlessly in prison, and accomplished the square root of absolutely nothing at all.

The facts speak for themselves. Dame Carol Blacks review of drugs for the Home Office last year found that 3 million people took drugs in England and Wales in 2019. Drug use has shot up since 1971, when the Act was passed. Less than 10,000 people took heroin back then, whereas over 250,000 do now. Cannabis use has gone from under half a million to over 2.5 million today. Around one per cent of adults had tried drugs in the 60s, compared to around a third now. Its fair to say that the legislation has not worked for that which it was intended to achieve.

The illicit drugs market is worth an estimated 9.4 billion a year, most of which is directed towards sustaining criminal gangs. In recent years, the county lines system has begun to supply drugs from an urban hub towards rural or coastal towns, displacing local dealers. One of its marked features is the exploitation of children, typically aged around 15-17, who are deployed as runners transporting drugs and money.

On any given day, a third of the prison population is there for drug related crime around 40% for convictions on the basis of specific drug offences and 60% for crimes related to drug addiction, like theft. In prison, they continue to use drugs. Random drug test data suggests 12,500 inmates about 15% of the total population are using drugs on any given day. Most users entered prison with a drug problem, but eight per cent of female inmates and 13% of males developed their problem with drugs while they were incarcerated.

These figures do not include the people who are given a caution for drug possession, many of them teenagers. We rarely talk about this, because it doesnt involve a prison sentence, and therefore seems fairly small-fry. But cautions involve an admission of guilt and therefore constitute a criminal record. They freeze countless thousands of young people out of many of the professions and kneecap their career before it has even begun.

Under any possible analysis, the war on drugs has been an unmitigated failure. More people take drugs, more people die of them, more people end up in prison, and more money is funnelled into criminal gangs. For half a century we have tried to accomplish something which cannot be done. We have legislated for what is inconceivable. And, in reality, we have fuelled the worst possible side-effects of drug use: broken lives, dead bodies and rich criminals.

If the world made any sense, the political class would accept that the legislation has failed. It would acknowledge that people are clearly going to take drugs regardless of whether they are banned or not. It would prioritise their protection rather than their criminalisation. It would read the data, recognise the endless wave of needless suffering it reflects, and do something to change it.

But the world does not make any sense and therefore the political class has done something else, which is actually quite startlingly insane. It has drawn the curtains, turned off the lights, and pretended that reality does not exist. It has closed itself off from expert opinion and the basic facts of narcotics use so that it can justify continuing with a demonstrably failed policy.

In many ways, drug policy was an early forerunner of post-truth politics. Anyone who tried to point out what was really happening was ignored, or, if they refused to keep ignoring reality, punished. In 2009, David Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, a statutory body which reports to the government on drug harms, contributed to a paper assessing the damage of various narcotics. His analysis of nine parameters of harm suggested alcohol was the fifth most harmful drug after heroin, cocaine barbiturates and methadone, but ahead of LSD, ecstasy or cannabis. The response of the then-home secretary, Alan Johnson, was to dismiss him.

This is the standard operating model which successive governments have used. For decades now, parliamentary select committees have called on the government to investigate drug law reform, only to be ignored by whoever was in No.10. And that approach remains in place today. Dame Carol Blacks review of drugs was explicitly barred by the government from considering changes to the existing legislative framework.

It makes no difference who is in power. The policy is the same under Labour or Conservatives. There isnt even any distinction within the parties. For all their differences, and the ferocious infighting that goes with them, you could fit a thin blue Rizla paper between the drug policy of Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer. The closest we ever got to sense was Tony Blair downgrading cannabis to Class C a decision that was soon reversed.

It doesnt even matter what politicians views were on drug reform before they took office. In 2002, David Cameron was part of the home affairs committee when it recommended a discussion on the possibility of legalisation and regulation. Ten years later, when he was prime minister, he ruled out a suggestion from the very same home affairs committee that there should be a royal commission on drugs. No matter who sits in No.10, the view never changes. People who saw sense magically became impervious to it when in power. And then, like former home secretary Jacqui Smith, rediscover their sense after they have left it.

The curtains stay down, the lights stay off, the war on drugs continues, and all evidence discounting it is rejected.

If we were going to be honest about drugs, we would admit the following six things.

First: you cannot stop people using drugs. People have used drugs for millenia. As far as we can tell, they have done it since the dawn of man. Wherever you find a human activity that cannot be stopped, you are best off trying to regulate it, so that you can minimise harm, instead of trying to outlaw it, which will merely drive it underground.

Second: we should not try to ban drugs, even if we did have a chance of succeeding at it. It is up to people to decide what they want to put in their body. Many drugs are harmful. Even relatively harmless drugs like cannabis can suck the dynamism and ambition out of people. Other drugs, like methamphetamines, are much more dangerous. But in every case, it is peoples right to choose to do it.

Some people find that opinion shocking. And yet they at the same time believe alcohol should be legal. This simply makes no sense. Alcohol can make people violent, damage the body, and be addictive. We respond by helping those who struggle with it, while respecting the decision of those who choose to consume it. The same applies to other drugs and there is no morally consistent position to claim otherwise.

Third: our moral duty as a society is to help people who decide to take drugs. That involves providing addiction services for those who cannot stop, advice for people experimenting, and regulating the market so that drug dealers are prevented from mixing dangerous ingredients in with the active ones.

Fourth: the war on drugs has created a ceaseless grind of broken lives, in which tens of thousands of people are funnelled into prisons for a non-violent crime, where they are brutalised all over again by an under-funded system, and then become more likely to take drugs and commit crime in order to buy them. Even the caution system, which devastates young peoples professional prospects, constitutes a cruel and needlessly vindictive response to a perfectly normal youthful curiosity.

Fifth: the war on drugs ignores the rich while punishing the poor. Look at the government. Around the Cabinet table, prime minister Boris Johnson and minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove have admitted taking cocaine, while foreign secretary Dominic Rabb has admitted taking cannabis. Why are they any different from the people currently languishing in prison? Why should they be allowed to treat drugs as youthful high-jinks, when others have their lives ruined by the police response? The answer is because of their class. Overwhelmingly, people from more elevated social backgrounds avoid the brutality of the system, while those from poorer backgrounds do not. As Barack Obama said: Middle-class kids dont get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do.

Sixth: the war on drugs is racist. It was from the beginning and it still is today. Black people are stopped and searched for drugs at almost nine times the rate of whites. They are convicted of cannabis possession at 11.8 times the rate, despite having lower rates of self-reported use. As a UN group of human rights experts said in 2019: The war on drugs has operated more effectively as a system of racial control than as a mechanism for combating the use and trafficking of narcotics.

The cruel irony is that the world around us is realising the insanity of the war of drugs, even as Britain stays trapped in its curtains-down, self-imposed blindness. In the US, state after state has experimented with drug reform. The pressure is now building at the federal level, with the House of Representatives voting to pass a bill to decriminalise cannabis late last year. In Europe, several countries are pursuing liberalisation to various degrees, including Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, the Czech Republic and Germany.

Britain stands increasingly alone, pursuing a deranged fantasy agenda which drives users into danger and money into gangs. The war on drugs cannot be won and it should not be won, even if it could be.

We cant put up with another 50 years of this deranged masquerade. The price in human lives is too steep. But where is the political leader with the bravery, the insight and the backbone to say so? At the moment they are nowhere to be seen. So instead, we stay in our self-imposed madness, keeping the curtains locked down tight, patrolling the light switch, and dismissing anyone who speaks the truth.

Ian Dunt is editor-at-large for Politics.co.uk. His new book,How To Be A Liberal, is out now.

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50 years in, the war on drugs is an unmitigated disaster - Politics.co.uk

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Bidens proposed budget keeps a block on recreational weed sales in Washington, DC – The Verge

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A rider that has effectively blocked recreational cannabis for years in Washington, DC appears in President Joe Bidens proposed 2022 budget, which may keep weed on the back burner yet again.

Even though residents of DC voted to legalize possession of recreational marijuana in 2014, the measure has been in limbo since then, derailed by a rider to DCs appropriations bill first introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), that prohibits the District from spending its local funds on commercialization of recreational cannabis, such as dispensaries. And Bidens proposed 2022 budget includes the riders language yet again.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said in a statement she was having a hard time reconciling the Biden administration's support for DC statehood with its budget that would prevent DC from commercializing recreational cannabis. With Democrats controlling the White House, House and Senate, we have the best opportunity in over a decade to enact a D.C. appropriations bill that does not contain any anti-home-rule riders, Norton said.

Asked if the president plans to remove the language from the proposed budget, a Biden administration official said in an email to The Verge that the president continues to strongly support DC statehood, under which the people of DC could make policy choices just like other states.

DC has long had a so-called gray market for marijuana, with medical cannabis legal, and recreational cannabis technically legal, but unable to be taxed or regulated because of the Harris rider. DC voters first approved medical marijuana in 1998, but it too was initially blocked, by the Barr Amendment, legislation that Congress finally overturned in 2009.

Biden, once a leading voice in the War on Drugs of the 1980s and 90s, said during the 2020 presidential campaign that it was time to decriminalize marijuana use, but so far during his administration theres been little action to do so at the federal level. Dozens of US states have legalized medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both, and public opinion supporting legal weed is at an all-time high. And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), have said they would work together to advance comprehensive cannabis reform.

In February, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed legislation to create an equitable adult-use cannabis program in DC, which would impose a 17 percent tax on cannabis sales. But its unlikely to take effect if the rider remains in Bidens proposed 2022 budget.

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Industry VoicesVaccines are pivotal in the war on COVID-19, but better treatments for acute COVID patients are critical – FierceHealthcare

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been cataclysmic for much of the planet, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes it, is far from finished with us.

After earlier good control of the pandemic, Taiwan, Singapore and other countries are experiencing a surge, and India is facing a catastrophe, with millions of deaths counted already and the nations healthcare system devastated.

In spite of the progress in suppressing the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., U.K. and some other countries, primarily through remarkably effective vaccines and non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as masking, social distancing, and good hygiene, it seems likely that COVID-19 will not in the foreseeable future completely disappear butwill become endemic, with seasonal variation, similar to influenza.

Because people will continue to fall ill, there will be an ongoing need for treatments, which are currently in short supply.Althoughsome moderately effective drugs are already being used, new treatments are needed to treat severe COVID-19 infections.

The anti-viral drug remdesivir, which binds to the viruss RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and inhibits viral replication, is currently the only drug that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19.It is recommended for use in hospitalized patients who require supplemental oxygen.

RELATED:Industry VoicesIn a time of need, hospitals must be able to transform

The corticosteroid dexamethasone has been found to improve survival in hospitalized patients who require supplemental oxygen, with the greatest benefit observed in patients who are on ventilators.Adding the monoclonal antibody tocilizumab to dexamethasone therapy was found to improve survival among patients who were exhibiting rapid respiratory deterioration due to COVID-19.

In outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for disease progression, anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody-based therapies may have the greatest potential for a clinical benefit during the earliest stages of infection. For these patients, apanel of NIH experts recommendsadministering monoclonal antibodies bamlanivimab plus etesevimab or casirivimab plus imdevimab, both of which are available through Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Other analogous approaches that via various mechanisms blunt the activity of the immune response are promising.

One of these attempts to therapeutically modulate the activity of an often-overlooked system called the lectin pathway, a part of the bodys complement system that helps the immune system respond to infection. When over-activated, as happens with severe COVID-19, it can lead to an uncontrolled cascade of inflammation, endothelial damage, dangerous blood clots, and cytokine storm, whichcan, in turn, lead to severe respiratory distress, organ failure, and death.

Once the coronavirus reaches the lungs, it soon infects the surrounding blood vessels. This triggers a response from part of the immune system called the lectin pathway. The lectin pathway releases an enzyme called MASP-2, which causes uncontrolled inflammation in the blood vessels, further damaging them and leading to thrombosis, or blood clots, in the arteries.

A monoclonal antibody called narsoplimab blocks the MASP-2 enzyme and is, thus, an inhibitor of the lectin-pathway.

It inhibits the binding of cytokine IL-6 to its receptor, and thereby modulates the excessive, damaging inflammatory response of the immune system to infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Narsoplimab has shown impressive responses in advanced clinical trials for several illnesses marked by endothelial cell injury, and because similar pathophysiology is found in COVID-19 infections, ithas been tested in a small number of infected patients, withpromising results.

The largest study, conducted in Italy in six severely ill COVID-19 patients,concluded: (1) [n]arsoplimabdown-modulates SARS-CoV-2-induced activation of the lectin pathway and endothelial cell damage; (2) [n]arsoplimab can reduce the thrombotic risk of Covid-19 patients; and (3) [a]ll patients treated with narsoplimab improved and survived without any drug-related adverse events. This was a far better result than would have been expected, based on retrospective control groups.

Narsoplimab is only one example of the frenzy of clinical research on various treatment protocols for COVID-19, including the use of drugs, new and repurposed.This is critical, especially if new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge that are not effectively combated by existing vaccines.

Henry I. Miller is a physician, molecular biologist and senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute. He was the founding director of the FDAs Office of Biotechnology.

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Industry VoicesVaccines are pivotal in the war on COVID-19, but better treatments for acute COVID patients are critical - FierceHealthcare

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