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Dutch News

by Anthon-Pieter Wink |  Published: Jul 01, 2008

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New Dutch Poker Team Forming
There has been a lot of buzz on the poker forums lately involving the formation of a new Dutch poker association. For Card Player, I had an exclusive talk with Hans Ritburg, the main initiator of the new team, who explained the format but could not allow me to publish everything he said. For now, that is, as we'll keep you informed on all further developments.

The idea is to form a poker association with 40 members: professional, well-known poker players, a few Dutch businessmen with a knack for poker, and a group of 10 amateur players who will be able to qualify through a series of online freerolls. The members will compete against each other and represent the team in major live tournaments. As a first in the Netherlands, through an ingenious legal construction, the team is able to offer the qualifiers a real reward for becoming part of the gang, a prize that is potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The association will have its own website on which the crowd can follow the progress of its members. The series of tournaments, in which the members play each other, will be broadcast on national television. Amateur poker players in the Netherlands are being offered a chance to professionally compete with some of the famous Dutch players -- negotiations with A-list tournament players are currently being held -- and I can see this going really big, really fast. After a short while, the rest of Europe could just pick up on the idea, and it might even result in a European League of sorts. Keep an eye on Card Player magazine and CardPlayerEurope.com for additional news.

The Dutch Hunt for Overlay
Mention overlay in a Dutch bar these days and the first question is "Which poker room?", whereas it used to be "Which girl?" Times are changing, folks, but the Dutch spirit stays the same. And if an online poker room offers about $800,000 in overlay on a single tournament, you can count on the tables being swamped with Dutchies by the time it runs. The 888.com World Poker Crown had a buy-in of $1,050, a guaranteed prize pool of $3,000,000, and in the end only 2,200 players to participate, so it was more like a reunion of all the small live tournaments I've ever played in than it was an international affair. The final eight players were flown to Barcelona for the live finale. Among them were three Dutch representatives, an example both of the Dutch sense for a good deal and of the good form Dutch online players have been enjoying lately.

Another example of a Dutch player in good form is the mysterious ICallSoWhat, citizen of Tilburg, the Netherlands. Over the last six months, ICallSoWhat has won more than $3,000,000 playing high stakes pot-limit Omaha cash games on Full Tilt, wiping the floor with the likes of Gus Hansen and Ilari "Ziigmund" Salahies. The man has an amazing win rate over more than 60,000 hands, has been playing the very high stakes for only a few months, and has never played no-limit hold'em for more than a $50 buy-in.

The fact that the Dutchman has never revealed his offline identity only adds to the story, as the forums, newspapers, and gossip TV shows are trying to discover and reveal who ICallSoWhat is in real life. The fox hunt will inevitably come to an end as one or two online players and forum members know ICSW personally and will eventually sell their story for money or glory. Yet, being able to keep your identity a secret for so long while you take the cash of some of the most famous poker players in the world deserves some admiration in my book.

Poker Players No Favourite Guests at Holland Casino
In casino news, Holland Casino has issued its yearly financial report, and it's time for our review of legal poker in the Netherlands. The number of poker players visiting Holland Casino has risen again, bringing a new breed of gamblers into the casino. But, as an HC representative points out, the new clientele is generally losing less money -- or "spending" it in casino terms -- than their roulette- and slots-playing counterparts. In other words, poker players are hardly the preferred customers.

Obviously, a casino needs to make money to operate, and I'm not against that at all. But I think it's time that Holland Casino got with the program and turned itself into a real entertainment centre, aiming to please its customers by offering the games we want to play. For a state-owned institution that has as its only goal "to prevent gambling addiction" and makes a yearly profit of over €85 million, that would surely not be too much to ask?

Anthon-Pieter Wink is a professional poker player and freelance writer from the www.pokerinfo.nl forum.