The Nightly Turbo: Lisa Simpson Plays Poker, Betable Hires a Former Zynga VP, and More [News]

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In March, we told you that Jennifer Tilly was going to appear on an episode of The Simpsons that focused on online poker. The episode, “Gone, Abie Gone,” aired on Sunday, and we recap it in this edition of The Nightly Turbo.

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Lisa Simpson Goes All In


On Sunday, Season 24 of The Simpsons rolled along with Episode No. 4 “Gone, Abie, Gone.” The main theme focused on Abe, better known as Grandpa, and a mistress he encountered while performing music at various bars in Springfield during his 30s, but there was a subplot that focused on Lisa and online poker.

In the opening sequence, Homer is burned while ordering onion rings at Krusty Burger. He sues the restaurant, wins $5,000, then deposits the money onto an online poker site because Moe tells him it’s safer than keeping it in the bank.

This is ironic in many ways.

Homer’s online handle is “Lisa Simpson College Fund,” and he proudly tells Lisa where he’s invested her future. Naturally, she’s disgusted and becomes even more distraught when she finds Bart playing on the account. She shoos him away but then tries to win the $60 or so her brother lost. Lisa ends up flopping quad queens on the first hand she plays and becomes hooked.

Jennifer Tilly makes an appearance in the episode when Lisa watches her instructional DVD. Lisa also reads a few poker books, but rather than choosing classics like Super System or Harrington on Hold’em, she prefers Al Roker on Poker and Fold Yourself Rich. Lisa runs the $5,000 up to over $360,000, but eventually loses an $800,000 pot to Sideshow Bob with a full house aces over threes.

Sideshow Bob has two threes, winning the pot with quads.

In the end, we find out that Bart was actually playing under the Sideshow Bob handle, and that the site took away all of the winnings when they discovered that Bart and Lisa were both under the age of 18. Lisa’s account was credited with the original $5,000, however, making her very happy.

The episode received mixed reviews on TwoPlusTwo, but rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

No U.S. Legislation for 12 Months?

According to, International Game Technology doesn’t expect much progress toward legal online poker in the United States in the next year. CEO Patti Hart believes that social gaming is growing faster than expected, however.

“We don’t expect legislation in the U.S. to move significantly in the next 12 months,” Hart told Reuters. “[IGT’s gaming license is] for people who reside in Nevada, so the pool of potential players is not significant enough.”

In January, IGT purchased DoubleDown, one of the biggest providers of games on Facebook. The company had revenue of $35.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 — a 20 percent increase from the third quarter. Among the games DoubleDown provides are poker, blackjack, and slots.

Hart added, “We’ve been slowed down by the legislative process, there’s no question about it. Our reaction was to find a way to extend a gaming experience to the public that is not really encumbered by the legislative process and that’s what we’ve done [with DoubleDown].”

Hart, who left Yahoo Inc earlier in 2012, believes that the online gaming environment, “looks social for an extended period of time.” has more.

Betable Hires former Zynga VP

On Monday, reported that Ya-Bing Chu, a former vice president at Zynga, was hired by Betable, a London-based company that’s focusing its efforts on bringing real-money gaming to mobile phones. Chu served as general manager of Zynga’s mobile division, which is responsible for operating games like Words With Friends and Scramble With Friends. Prior to his work in the mobile division, Chu worked directly with Zynga Poker, FarmVille, and Petville.

“This is an opportunity to pioneer this business, and this was too good to pass up,” Chu said.

Betable’s servers are located in the United Kingdom, where the company is licensed, but Betable also has offices in San Francisco. Currently, the company does not offer gaming in the U.S. because it’s prohibited.

The company isn’t building its own games, rather they offer its services to third parties that are entering the real-money market. Betable recently announced a partnership with Big Fish Games that will result in a real-money version of its iOS title Big Fish Casino to launch in the U.K. They have also teamed up with Slingo, Digital Chocolate, and Murka Games.

Betable CEO and founder Chris Griffin added, “Every industry is being affected by the transition to mobile. It’s definitely here, but the only thing that’s holding back innovation is the license.” has more.

Germany vs. The EU

According to, Germany is close to passing The States Treaty on Online Gaming. Once North Rhine Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein sign the treaty, sports betting will be legalized in Germany, but online poker will remain illegal. The treaty will mandate a 5 percent tax on every wager, prompting Betfair to close its German sports betting operation.

Betfair will continue to offer online poker, as will, which is bidding to become one of the 20 licensed online gaming sites authorized by the treaty. Germany’s Commission policy is to refuse companies that offer illegal online gaming in other countries.

The European Gaming and Betting Association believes that the treaty is illegal under EU law, and has submitted a formal complaint to the European Commission. The EU Internal Markets and Services Commissioner Michael Barnier plans to step up legal and regulatory enforcement on countries who are in breach of EU law.

The EU Commission could potentially order changes to the German treaty, creating a regulatory format that has previously been rejected by every German State other than Schleswig-Holstein.

For more, head to

Final Episode of The Final Table

The sixth and final episode of The Final Table was released on Monday. In it, Russell Thomas and Jason Somerville discuss Thomas’ fourth-place finish in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

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