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Dutch News

by Peter Dalhuijsen |  Published: Apr 01, 2008

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Arno Weber Wins Dom Classics Main Event

In January, the Dom Classics tournament festival in Utrecht was held for the second time. The fields for the eight events were even larger this year, with a large number of international players vying for those coveted silver medallions. For the first time, a Dutch tournament outside of the Master Classics of Poker generated a first place prize of more than €100,000. The winner of the €2,600 buy-in main event would take home €100,200 to be exact. After beating Mickey Finn heads-up, Dutch player Arno Weber was the lucky one to be the last man standing in this event, which lasted a little longer than three days.

The €1,000 freezeout was a sell-out and saw Enschede-based Erkan Almaca win €71,610 for first, beating Pasi Heinanen from Finland, who took home €39,711.

Most impressive player of the week was Wendy Slot, who came fourth in the ladies event, third in the €300 limit hold'em event, and was the winner of the €100 limit hold'em with rebuys. It's nice to have a female MVP for a change!

Unique Event at Twentse Classics in May
From May 5-11, Holland Casino Enschede will once again be host to a great tournament week. The Twentse Classics will have six two-day events, with the main event having a €2,100 buy-in.

On May 6, though, a unique event will take place: a €550 buy-in team event. Players will team up with a partner and play in the same seat on alternating levels. The first player will play the pot-limit Omaha level while the second player will play the no-limit hold'em levels.

We are already looking forward to the atmosphere at the rail and the funny scenes where people will angrily shout at their partner for bluffing away the stack they have so carefully built up. It will also be the first tournament in Europe where players will have been knocked out of the tournament on the first level, without even playing a single hand.

This is definitely one not to miss. So hurry up, the field is capped at 150 teams.

Dutch Government Launches Own UIGEA, but Banks Won't Comply
Once again, legal issues dominate the Dutch poker news this month. In a busy week near the end of January, the long awaited new legislation on gambling was finally discussed in the Dutch parliament.

The biggest upset of this debate came when Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin announced that financial institutions, like banks and credit card companies, were no longer allowed to facilitate transactions between Dutch citizens and online gambling sites. These institutions are to receive a "black list" with all names of companies that are illegally operating on the Dutch gambling market, whose transactions should all be blocked. The minister even went as far as saying that he's willing to go to court in order to force the banks to implement his new rule.

The credit card companies immediately ceased their activities, but the banks won't bow down just yet. Spokesman Bob Goulooze referred to European law, and said that in order to get them to stop handling these so-called "illegal" transactions, the minister would need to do just that: get a court order.

The minister went on to announce the imminent launching of the only website allowed to offer Internet gambling to Dutch citizens: that of Holland Casino.

With this act of shameless arrogance the Dutch government clearly shows its true colours and that it willingly defies international rules on open markets and free trade, as established by the European Union, which Holland is coincidentally a founding member of. In the very same week the EU announced an investigation into the restrictive policies of Sweden and Germany, and after the "real" Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is under heavy fire, with the U.S. facing several claims from the World Trade Organisation, they have the guts to openly ignore all that and come up with this.

Hirsch Ballin proudly announced that reports have shown that close to half a million Dutch people place a small wager online every now and then, totalling up to €280 million in revenue for the casinos and sports betting companies.

Even to a blind man it is obvious that getting their hands on this money is the sole reason to try to get a monopoly for government-owned Holland Casino on the Internet as well, like it has for "live" gambling. Forget about it being the only party capable of protecting minors and to control excessive gambling. These excuses stopped being believable a long time ago.

To further stress their intent in relation to offline gambling, another poker tournament was raided in the city of Leiden that week, where about 80 people were playing a small tournament. No less than 26 people were arrested, because an innocent poker tournament is still being treated as a crime syndicate.

In the same debate, Hirsch Ballin said that from now on, only large commercial tournaments can expect a visit from the police, and small home games are to be left alone. But I guess that unless they plan to use a sophisticated network of spies, they will only be able to assess the commercial nature of a tournament once they are inside.

So, as this might have come as good news to some, I don't expect anything to change.

All in all, things are definitely getting out of hand here. If the EU can't put a stop to the outrageous greed of the Dutch government before the summer, we will soon either all be in jail, or playing no higher than €2-€4 blinds on a poker site created by CryptoLogic, which already signed the deal with the government some time ago.

I wonder what kind of games they have on the inside? If things go according to the government's plan, there might soon be some good action in there.

To be continued. Hopefully.

Peter Dalhuijsen is a professional poker player who writes for PokerCollege.nl.