Play online poker and other games in New Jersey

poker dealer

New Jersey has been in the news quite a bit lately, as we’re seeing the underbelly of one of the most corrupt states in the country. Louisiana is another, but there’s something about New Jersey strong-arm tactics that set it apart.

Still, there’s plenty to like about New Jersey politicians as well, particularly when they tell the politically correct suits in Washington to go to hell. There’s been all sorts of controversy through the years as the feds tried to stop people from enjoying themselves by playing poker and other games online. Then we had a court explain that federal law didn’t cover games of skill like poker, and now we have a bunch of states led by New Jersey making it clear that they’d like to control how people entertain themselves in their state. The state of New Jersey is now allowing its citizens and people in their state to play online.

The latest news has Richard Branson’s Virgin Group getting involved as they have teamed with the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City and online game maker Gamesys. They will offer online poker, blackjack and slots this week. The state hopes to bring in $1 billion in casino revenues this year by imposing a 17% tax. Finally, something that makes sense.

Of course people have been playing for years and this industry is growing like crazy. Everyone accepts online poker as a new and fun form of entertainment, and many new poker champions started by playing online. There are tons of poker sites for American players and there always will be, but now we have states getting in on the act and that should make things even better for consumers.

Hopefully, this push from the states will finally get Congress to adapt consistent rules and regulations, or at least make it even easier for states to innovate. Poker has become such a popular game and it seems silly to deny people the right to enjoy it in their pajamas. Sure, real casinos are fun, but sometimes staying home and playing on your own is even better.

Nintendo versus other gaming companies like Zynga

The gaming world seems to change faster than most industries these days. Several years ago Nintendo was on fire with the Wii, and now everyone seems down on the company and Wii U. How did things change so fast? Well, it shouldn’t be surprising in a world where cheap apps are flooded onto the scene, offering new options daily for gaming fans, and online gaming options seem to expand exponentially as well, with everything from slot games at Sports Interaction, massive multiplayer games and then games like Minecraft that seem to turn conventional wisdom on its head. The console makers seemed to rule the world just several years ago, and then social gaming companies like Zynga suddenly became powerhouses, but now we’ve seen how quickly things change. Wii also will be facing the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in coming months, so even in its own console space the competition is fierce.

But many still have faith in Nintendo. Oddworld Inhabitants founder Lorne Lanning recently made the bold statement that Nintendo would be around for another 100 years, while Zynga would not. Casual observers might be startled a bit by this statement, but when you look more closely at the history, the man has an excellent point. Nintendo is a 124-year-old company that was founded in 1889 as a producer of playing cards. The concept of innovation has been ingrained in this company and its financials are very healthy. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has made it clear he won’t be laying off development staff to deal with short term problems, as that would destroy the company long term. He understands that the key to long term success involves consistently producing great products. He shouldn’t let the short term analysts distort his thinking.

While this culture is ingrained at Nintendo, a young company like Zynga has less to fall back on in tough times. Their games exploded in popularity off of Facebook, but then reality set in when the landscape was changed a bit. Now who knows how they will react to adversity? I wouldn’t make a long-term bet on them.

So when you look at the landscape out there, it’s clear that games will come and go, and so will gaming companies. But I think a company like Nintendo with a tradition of innovation should be able to ride out the highs and lows.

Why Playing Poker is Better Online

Poker has been steadily gaining in popularity for years, and the number of people trying their luck at casino poker tables has grown. These days, people have options when it comes to playing casino games. When given the choice or playing poker online or playing in person, playing online has its advantages.

Learning Curve

When you play poker at sportsbook.com, you do not need to be a World Series of Poker professional to get involved. One of the main advantages to playing poker online is that you can take all the time you want to learn the game before you start playing for real. The websites offer tutorials and training games that you can use to figure out what is going on and what you need to do to score big.

Distractions

If you have played poker in a casino at all, then you know about the audience that can sometimes develop around a good game. Even if the game is not good, there is always the chance that someone will plant themselves right behind you and make you feel uncomfortable. When you play poker online, you do not need to worry about these distractions, which allows you to focus on the game at hand.

On Your Schedule

An online casino never closes, no matter what. If you want to play poker at 3:00AM on a Wednesday, then you will always be able to find people online who are interested in a good game. Online poker allows you to play on your schedule, and not on someone else’s.

Convenience

If you do live near a casino, then it can sometimes be inconvenient to get dressed, get in the car and drive over to the casino just to find a poker table you can play at. If you do not live near a casino, then your problems at finding a casino-caliber poker game are obviously much larger. With an online poker website, you do not need a casino to play poker. You also do not need to spend time finding a parking spot and then walking around the casino just to find an open table.

Poker is an exciting card game that requires skill and a complete understanding of all of the different elements. If you want to play the game at your own pace and on your own schedule, then you will want to check out the many convenient options available for online poker.

IGN writer takes a lashing for his Dead Space 2 review

Reddit Alien.On any given day I’ll spend about 20 minutes on Reddit. There’s a lot of crap there, and a lot of good stuff goes overlooked (just check the ‘what’s new’ tab of any subreddit and you’ll see what I mean), but there is so much good, so much funny, so much interesting that it’s always worth my time, even if that time is shared with a certain porcelain throne.

Today, one post in particular caught my eye – ‘DAE think a middle school kid reviewed Dead Space 2 for IGN?’ As someone who writes about video games for a living, I had to check it out and, honestly, I found myself wondering the same thing. I’ve seen sites run guest posts from aspiring youngsters for big debuts. The perspective is usually refreshing but still relevant, even if some of the more complex critique is missing.

In this case, though, it was just a bad review. I feel a little guilty writing that. The internet can be a cruel place, as Greg Miller, the writer, surely knows. He’s receiving a lot of crap for it. Check Twitter for #HireMeIGN and you’ll get an admittedly funny look at Greg’s world right now.

That’s the part that’s so interesting to me. The review was poorly written, there’s no way around that, but people are trolling this guy in ways I rarely see. I’ll be taking a deeper look at the situation later in the week on our parent site, Bullz-Eye.com. Stay tuned.

Holiday cash to burn?

Playwithme.com

Are you sitting on a pile of holiday money with nowhere to spend it? If you’re an avid gamer with cash to spend, you could check out a web service we wrote about a couple days ago, Playwithme.com.

It might not be for everyone, but it is a way to spend some money if you are interested in games. Playwithme.com lets you play Flash games and console games against hot young gamers. You pay for credits and use those credits to buy game time with the girl of your choice. If she’s online, you can play games until the money runs out.

The system at Playwithme.com lets you chat with the girl gamers as you play. It’s easier to chat if you’re playing a Flash game because those usually have turns. Console games will require more attention on the game and less time chatting with the girl you chose. You get more from your money for playing the Flash games.

Play games against hot girl gamers

Playwithme.com

They say you can find anything you’re looking for on the internet. As the days go by this seems more and more true. I never would have thought I’d be able to log online and play video games against hot girls in an instant, but it turns out I can do just that.

As Jeff mentioned in an earlier post, social sites are popping up to give gamers a chance to play their favorite games against hot young ladies. The latest site to join the industry is PlayWithMe.com. It has a variety of games and ladies set to team up against you. The system is simple. You buy credits and choose your lady and then challenge her to a game. The site has a selection of Flash games, but it’s also possible to play console games against the girl of your choice.

Your best bet is probably choosing a flash game. You are there for a little female company, right? Flash games give you the best chance to chat up the ladies and won’t require as much focus on your play.

Like I said earlier, anything can be found on the internet. If you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket and an eye for a hot gamer, PlayWithMe is out there. Just remember, the more you play, the more you pay.

Can videogames be art? The discussion continues

Jackson Pollock.You may recall an article by Roger Ebert this past April in which he claimed video games could never be art. The question has become sort of synonymous with the collision of tech and culture, and it serves as a rallying cry for people trying to justify their gaming addictions. The big problem with Ebert’s stance, though, is that he’s not a gamer. The New Scientist wanted the perspective of people who actually game, but who are still well respected in intellectual circles. The responses the magazine was able to elicit are disappointing, mostly mundane sidesteps of a question that I think people should take a harder stance on.

Here’s what Nick Montfort, a professor of digital media at MIT, had to say:

People tend to mean several things by this question. First, can video games be sold by art dealers, appear in galleries and museums and be an accepted part of the art world? They already are: just look at the creations of Cory Archangel, Mark Essen and Eddo Stern. Second, can video games tackle difficult issues and sensitively present us with different perspectives? They already have: see the work of Terry Cavanaugh, Jason Rohrer, Molleindustria and Tale of Tales, and commercial games such as Bully (also called Canis Canem Edit) and Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit). Finally, can video games present an experience of aesthetic beauty that is particular to the medium? Indeed they do: see Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Rez, a game dedicated to Kandinsky and which I first discovered and played in the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York. It’s a great time for those interested in this question to see what work is already out there.

I think he gives the best response of the bunch, but he gives it in that snide, I-know-things-that-you-don’t kind of way. Those are the questions people are asking, but why do we want the answers? To justify the amount of time that gets dumped into games and gaming?

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that gaming is a less thoughtful narrative medium that the others we have available to us. Very few games that get made are telling an interesting story or challenging the player’s view of the world in any significant way, likely far fewer of them than books or movies. Games, for the most part, aren’t being designed with story in mind. They are designed directly for a consumer, and they come out of a booming business. If you’ve ever heard the saying “art from adversity” then you know what I’m getting at here. It’s not difficult to throw billions of dollars at a project and market it to expectant masses. There is no struggle, other than the struggle to meet artificial deadlines so you can hopefully keep your job at a top developer instead of packing up and moving your office ten or fifteen miles to the closest competitor. For the most part, video game design is a pretty cushy environment, so it becomes less and less likely as the world gets more and more enchanted by gaming that we will see Sophie’s Choice from someone like Activision.

It’s entirely possible that smaller development houses are turning out some good stuff, but I can’t honestly say that I believe development will reach a point that the smallest, most artistically minded pieces of work will be discernible from the crap like that Columbine game. That game has likely been the most contentious where the art debate is concerned, and I think it’s a good example of why games aren’t art now, and why they might never be. As much as that game wants to be a social commentary, wants to draw the audience in to what the Columbine shooters were feeling, it’s still a game, which is where games will fall short. As long as there is an objective to be met, a quota to reach, a number of infiltrators to be dispatched, games will be no more than a skinner box with an overpriced script, providing gamers with the thrill of objective completion instead of the challenge of a real story. That’s not a slight against games, it’s just the nature of interactive fiction. As soon as the reader has to be pandered to, has to be asked what decision to make, the story has been compromised by the intent of the audience. That’s not what art is about. It’s not about trying to please a viewer, trying to appeal to the artist’s desired protagonist. It is about creating something with which we can can resonate, something that makes us feel about the world that which we may never have felt on our own. The moment a game provides the player a choice, that decision is gone, lost in a player’s desire to “win” the game, to beat the system. Granted, that may change over time, but for now, games can’t be art, because games are designed to be beaten or, even worse, to siphon money out of the consumer. That’s not art. That’s as far from art as we can possibly get.

10 Kick-Ass gadgets coming in 2010

Kick-Ass gadgets.I don’t know if you’ve seen the trailer for Lionsgate’s upcoming Kick-Ass but it looks funny in that quirky, charming, kid-movie kind of way. We decided to put together a list of this year’s gadgets that will also kick some serious ass and put it up on our parent site, Bullz-Eye. The best part about the list is the fact that it does not include the iPad. Yes, Apple haters, if you want to enjoy a gadget list for the upcoming year without the world’s flavor of the month, this is your chance.

I tried to cover a wide range of products so everyone could have something to love. Obviously Project Natal and Playstation Move are the big video game releases for the year, and though I didn’t use the iPad, the iPhone 4 is on there (sorry guys, iPhone OS 4 looks great). I’m also looking forward to the nPower PEG and MagicJack’s upcoming femtocell. On the whole, it’s going to be a pretty solid year for gadget geeks.

Get the Word Out With Online Printing

While it’s true that in this internet age of ours we can send out instant messages to thousands of people with just the click of a mouse, there is something to be said for the personal touch. Being able to hold an invitation or business card or postcard still matters to a lot of people. Whether you’re trying to attract customers or throw an amazing party, you should consider getting the word out with products prepared through an experienced online printing company.

Online printing means you can provide the basic text or graphic images of your material to a professional printer, and let them handle the rest. This could mean a new line of unique business cards that are sure to attract attention. It could also mean a series of fun, retro type postcards to promote your neighborhood business by providing printed discounts. Or even something as simple as baby shower invites. The goal with any online printing project is to create that personal touch. It will say so much more when you can put something into a person’s hand rather then sending out an “e-vite” or cyber flyer that might get lost in the spam file.

The source material for any online printing project will come from you, but that doesn’t mean you need to have a PhD in photoshop. A qualified online printing operation will have experienced and talented graphic artists standing by to turn your ideas into reality. It could start with a simple photo you snapped on your cell phone or a company logo you sketched out on a napkin. When the online printing graphic artists take over, they can reimagine your idea into a tangible piece of art. Think of the business cards or postcards you’ve held onto over the years. Wouldn’t you want the same idea to last as long? It can…by turning to online printing.

Lonely? Pay some girls to game with you

Game Crush logo.There’s a new “social networking” service aimed at male gamers. When you’re feeling lonely or would just like to hear a woman’s voice on the other end of that headset you can pay for that special touch at Game Crush. The site offers pay per session interactions with attractive female gamers. You can play anything from console shooters like MW2 to a casual Flash game – just keep those hands visible, friend.

The site launched today and is already down from the amount of traffic it received. That’s probably not interested gamers as much as it is people curious about what this sort of thing looks like. My guess? A train wreck. If anything, I hate to think of the things the poor girls working for this will be subjected to.

Interested gamers can pay $8.25 for 500 credits, which the company says is about the price of buying a girl a drink. Not if you’re buying her PBR. That’s right, we keep it classy. Each session runs 400 credits, after which you can leave a 100 credit tip. Those sessions will typically last 10-12 minutes, less if you’re playing a Flash game. It’s a pretty stiff way to enjoy the company of a lady, but I guess getting your ass whooped in some Halo by a hot chick might fulfill someone’s wildest fantasy.

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