More Togel poker rooms going smoke-free

For more than a decade, nonsmoker Sylvia Reiter has played poker through a cloud of cigarette smoke at Palace Station’s poker room.

 

Reiter, whose husband and two sons work in Strip casinos, is used to smoky surroundings. Starting this month, things have been very different for Reiter during her regular poker game. Last week she sat cheek and jowl with other players in a smoke-free room — the only nonsmoking gambling area in the casino.

 

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Reiter, a regular casino visitor since 1961 who has lived in Las Vegas for the past 16 years. “Even the smokers I play with are happy about it.”

 

Palace Station, along with Station Casinos Inc. sister properties Santa Fe Station and Texas Station, this year started following a trend that began in earnest in 2001 when poker rooms at the Mirage and Bellagio resorts banned smoking.

 

Since then, nearly every major Togel hari ini poker room on the Strip has quietly gone smoke-free. Others including the Flamingo, Gold Coast and Aladdin have followed suit in recent months.

 

A few poker rooms like those at the Luxor and Sahara went smokeless when they decided to expand. In another sign that nonsmoking rooms aren’t hurting business, others such as the Bellagio and Bally’s are expanding already smoke-free rooms.

 

Signature properties Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Grand and Caesars Palace also are expected to open new poker rooms in the coming months that will be smoke-free.

 

It’s a trend that Weldon Russell says will spread off-Strip to include big and small casinos alike in the coming years.

 

“Other poker rooms will eventually go smokeless,” said Russell, corporate director of bingo, keno and poker for Station Casinos.

 

Several factors are contributing to the smoke-free trend.

 

Many poker players who flock to the Strip are from states such as California that have banned smoking in public areas, casino operators say.

 

“Personally, I thought it would never happen,” Mirage Director of Poker Operations Donna Harris said of smoke-free poker rooms. “But with players being from California and California’s restrictive laws, people had become accustomed to it.”

 

Customers who think this step will lead to entire smoke-free casinos or casinos with large nonsmoking areas will be disappointed: Operators say that won’t happen in the foreseeable future because a significant number of gamblers and other casino patrons still smoke and like it that way.

 

Operators say poker rooms are a different animal because they tend to be small spaces that are enclosed from the rest of the casino to keep out noise.

 

With the explosion of televised poker tournaments and online poker rooms, casino poker rooms in Las Vegas are bursting at the seams. Poker rooms that averaged a few full tables on weekends a year ago now have waiting lists of more than an hour long. Women and younger players are getting pointers from television and the Internet and joining games that historically have been dominated by older men.

 

More players means more smokers interspersed in the mix, making the air unbearable even for die-hard smokers.

 

“The rooms are too small and you can’t get rid of the smoke,” Russell said. “On a Friday night you could cut the air with a knife.”

 

Some smokers have resisted the trend.

 

Reiter said a fellow player told everyone that he would “never come back to this place” after Palace Station went smoke-free. “Needless to say, he came back the next day and has been here ever since,” she said.

 

Palace Station poker room manager Gary DeWitt said he was ready to fight the trend a year ago “probably because I’m a smoker myself.”

 

DeWitt, scanning a full poker room on a Tuesday afternoon, said the move has been good for business.

 

“This time I’m 100 percent for it,” he said. “The time was right.”

 

For players who still want to smoke, it’s a short jaunt to the casino floor, where smoking is allowed. Dealers save seats for players so they can eat, drink, smoke and take bathroom breaks during marathon sessions.

 

Reiter typically plays for eight to nine hours at a stretch while her husband works the swing shift. A friend she gambles with “smokes like a chimney” but has learned to live with the nonsmoking policy.

 

“She told me, ‘I won’t quit but I’ll smoke less,’ ” she said.

 

Russell said the move to smoke-free rooms has boosted business for Station Casinos, which still allows smoking at its Boulder Station and Sunset Station poker rooms as well as poker tables in the main casino at Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson. The two other poker rooms will probably go smoke-free because the experiment has worked so far, he said.

 

“We gained more customers than we lost if we lost any,” he said.

 

Santa Fe in January became the first Station property to offer a smoke-free poker room. Smokers and nonsmokers flocked to the casino to see the results and then requested smoke-free rooms at Texas Station and Palace Station, which adopted the policy this month, Russell said.

 

“They didn’t realize how smoky it really was” until they saw a nonsmoking room, he said. “A lot of smokers don’t realize how bad it can get.”

 

Harris said the Mirage and Bellagio went smoke-free at the same time so as not to pick up the other property’s smokers.

 

The properties lost some hard-core smokers to locals casinos that still allow smoking “but much fewer than we anticipated,” she said.

 

Whether smoke-free rooms have helped business is hard to determine because the popularity of poker has increased gambling volume exponentially, she said.

 

Bellagio, considered the most luxurious poker room on the Strip, will be adding 10 more tables by the end of April to meet demand. Sister property MGM Grand will open a new nonsmoking room with 25 tables by early April.

 

The nonsmoking policy has its perks, Harris said.

 

Players are gambling longer and “aren’t walking out of here smelling like smoke,” she said. The policy also means “no dirty ashtrays or burn holes” on the tables.

 

For Garrett Okahara, playing poker always meant being able to smoke.

 

“I’ve always believed that smoking, drinking and gambling go hand in hand,” said Okahara, director of poker operations at the Orleans. “But now we live in a more health-conscious society.”

 

Okahara, a smoker and poker player, grew up in Las Vegas and dealt games at the Primm casinos before managing the Orleans poker room, Las Vegas’ largest at 35 tables. The Orleans’ room is virtually smoke-free because it permits smoking only during the graveyard shift between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m.

 

“I don’t necessarily agree with it but it seems like a majority of people would rather have a nonsmoking room,” Okahara said. “We live in a more health-conscious society.”

 

These days, a majority of players appear to be nonsmokers, though some of the newer and younger poker players smoke, he said.

 

Russell said the nonsmoking trend will continue in part because of a dwindling number of poker rooms that still allow smoking.

 

People who still want to smoke will end up congregating at those places, making the air even worse for players, he said.

 

“They’ll eventually go nonsmoking or they will go out of business,” he said.

 

 

 

 …

Bola88 Risk Versus Reward

 

 

Weighing the upside versus the downside, what you stand to lose versus what you stand to gain, is pretty universal. It’s how we figure out what to do in any given situation, assuming the governing factor is logic. Poker, like many important life decisions, should be approached with a risk versus reward analysis.

 

Good poker players assess the risks they face in a given situation and the potential reward they may receive if the cards come their way. Of course, most poker equations have an effectively infinite number of variables, plus the decision is based on incomplete information, as you can rarely be sure of your opponents’ exact holdings. So, poker decisions are based on educated guesses, taking into account all of the known variables, the possibility of unknown variables, and your conceptual knowledge level. The greater your conceptual knowledge level and information, the better your decisions should be.

 

The game was $40-$80 limit hold’em. It was a generally solid group, with a couple of weak players in the mix. The field folded to one of the weak players, who limped in from three off the button. As a general rule, I do not like the play of limping to open a pot from late position. It can be correct when it is done as a “trap” play in order to induce players to make incorrect calls later in the hand, but that is the right play in fewer situations than you might think.

 

When you open the pot with a raise, you add the possibility of winning the Bola88 blinds without a struggle into the plausible scenarios. If there is little or no chance of winning the pot without a call, the play loses some value. But even when the raise won’t win you the pot right away, if you utilize good hand selection, the likelihood that you’ll have a better hand than your opponents who always call a raise from the blinds is great. Of course, a limper in front of you changes the scenario some, as it increases your risk and almost eliminates the chance to win without a flop.

 

After the weak player limped, the button (a solid player) called and the action was on me in the small blind. I looked down to see K-9 offsuit, not the best of hands by any means, but it had some potential. Still, the hand was very marginal. I could easily make a hand, only to find that it was second best.

 

In marginal hand-selection situations, I include other factors in the equation to define my risk-reward ratio. What types of opponent(s) am I up against? Are they easy to read? If I make a second-best hand, am I likely to be able to get away from it? Will I get good value out of my hand? Is my hand likely to get paid off? Can I likely bluff the pot or otherwise outplay my opponent(s)? In this case, the limping player was likely to call me down, as he had a tendency to pay off everything. The button would very likely play his hand correctly no matter what.

 

In this situation a major variable to consider was the likelihood of the big blind raising. He was a tight raiser, particularly when out of position, and I felt little threat of a raise from him. Since I already had half the bet committed, the pot was laying me 7-1 now, so I called. The big blind rapped the table and we took the flop fourhanded.

 

The flop came Q-J-3 rainbow, giving me a gutshot and an overcard draw. With the weak limper in the pot, I did not think that betting as a semibluff would be a strong play, as he called most everything and also had position on me. I checked, hoping to get a free card. The weak limper disappointed me and fired $40 into the pot. The button folded. The big blind, yet to act behind me, appeared to have lost interest in the hand. I was the only viable contender left.

 

The pot was laying me 5-1 ($200-$40). I was 43-4 to make the gutshot; 43 cards missed the straight and four completed it. That was not currently a good enough price to draw to the hand. Did any other factors add value? Would a king also be good? It might or might not be, but overall, I believed it had added value. Also, Mr. Limper paid off everything. If I made the straight, I should be able to extract additional bets out of him, and they would likely be bets placed in the pot with him having little chance of winning. Additional bets placed in the pot with your opponent stone dead have much more value than bets placed in the pot with your opponent having a chance of drawing out.

 

There was also the slight possibility that he would check the turn and I would benefit from a two-for-one sale: two cards for the price of one. The additional value that those factors added to my hand turned my hand from a fold to a profitable call. I flat-called the $40 and took one off.

 

The turn card was the Jspades, pairing the board and putting a two-flush up, also. I checked, once again hoping to get a free card. Once again, my opponent disappointed me and bet.

 

The price I was getting now was $360-$80, 4.5-1, which was not far off the price the pot offered me on the flop. But things had changed! No longer was there the possibility that I could see two for the price of one, as only one more card was to come. Also, the chance of my making my hand and losing had gone up. My opponent could already have a full house. And he could have picked up a backdoor-flush draw in spades, thereby reducing some of my outs. Add to that the fact that my price had gone down, and my hand had turned into an easy fold. I tossed my cards into the muck.

 

This hand is not the most interesting poker story, but most poker hands aren’t. It does speak to the concepts of adjusting your play based on the strengths/weaknesses of your opponents, how the hand plays, and how you must adjust your odds based on your likelihood of winning, not just improving.

 

With the turn of each card and each bet by my opponent, my risk-reward ratio changed. In poker, you have to make your decision based on the situation at the time — and if you don’t understand the way changing conditions have changed the situation, you’ll likely find yourself always taking more risk than the potential reward justifies. spades

 

 

 …

The Germans defend Luca Toni: It’s the Qq Poker Online Italians’ fault!

 

 

Luca Toni spent the whole European Championship without netting a goal, but his German fans know that it was down to the Italian’s negative tactics.

“What did the Italians do to Toni? He doesn’t score, he suffers and complains. Luckily, he shaved that dreadful moustache,” wrote Bild Zeitung in defence of the Bundesliga’s top scorer. “Here at Bayern he receives accurate passes from Ribery and Klose, while for his country he has to retreat in order to receive the ball, which come to him Qq Poker Online high and wide,” added the top-selling daily.

 

Munich Abendzeitung laid the blame on coach Roberto Donadoni. “Teams like Italy that sit and wait for penalties are few and far between.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine revealed an exchange of text messages between Toni and Klose. The Italian complained to his pal about his “best friend” having betrayed him. Klose asked if he could be of any help. Toni replied, “I mean the ball. It’s my best friend and now we are not at the best of terms.”

 

Spain and Portugal agree on joint bid for the 2018 WC

 

It is common knowledge that the 2014 World Cup will be played in Brazil, but where will it go next? The bids for the following tournament are being prepared and an irresistible bid is being made by neighbours Spain and Portugal. “If Spain hands its bid for the 2018 World Cup, it will be in alliance with Portugal,” said the Spanish FA president, Ángel María Villar.

Speaking for Antena 1, the Spanish soccer leader called the idea on the joint bid “brilliant,” praising Portugal as a “excellent partner, who fulfils all the conditions for a joint act.”

The elaboration of the “brilliant” idea is to follow, because it will have to be approved by both countries’ governments.

 

Joao Havelange clams two World Cups were fixed

 

Former FIFA president, Brazilian Joao Havelange, sensationally told the Brazilian media that the 1966 and 1974 World Cups, won by hosts England and West Germany, were fixed. Havelange, who took up office only in 1974, said the referees directly influenced the outcomes of the two tournaments. “In three games Brazil played in 1966, seven out of nine referees and linesmen were British, and two Germans, all part of the effort to help England and Germany reach the finals, as the English Sir Stanley Rous (then FIFA’s president) wanted. “The same thing happened 1974 in Germany. Our game against Holland was refereed by a German (Tschentscher) and we lost, while Germany won the Cup (against Holland). Although we had the best team in the world, the same that won the 1970 Cup in Mexico, it was planned beforehand that the home countries should win the titles.

 

Rummenigge furious at Real Madrid: Let United tell them ‘no’!

 

Bayern’s Executive Committee chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge rose against Real Madrid for their unlawful interference with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rummenigge, who is also the chairman of the European Clubs Association, an organization that replaced the infamous elitist G-14, wholeheartedly supports Manchester United in their conflict with Real, who brainwashed Ronaldo into pushing for a transfer to Santiago Bernabeu.

“The regulations are clear and Manchester United have a clear contract with the player for the next four years. Apart from this, I know Alex Ferguson very well and I know that his refusal is to be taken seriously,” said the German.

“The player and Real Madrid can reach any sort of agreement, but it’s United who have the last word and if they refuse the offer, there is nothing left to discuss.”

Madrid’s president Ramón Calderón indicated that he would be ready to play 85-90 million euros for the Portuguese wizard, while Real’s coach Bernd Schuster said that even one hundred million euros would not be too much for such a classy footballer.

 

Marcello Lippi: I am very, very happy

 

The new-old Italian national team coach, Marcello Lippi, has declared himself overjoyed with his return to the position he abandoned in July 2006.

“I am very, very, very happy. And very motivated. See you next week,” said Lippi to Gazzetta dello Sport.

These were his first words after being re-named coach two years after winning the ultimate prize in soccer – the World Cup. Ever since, he has been unemployed. The Italian football federation (FIGC) announced they would make an official presentation next week.

 

Beckenbauer slams Podolski: Why don’t you play so well at Bayern?

 

Lukas Podolski, the in-form German striker, has continued to baffle his employers at Bayern, where the international delivers only occasionally. One of those who would like to see the brighter side of Podolski a bit more often is Bayern Munich’s president, Franz Beckenbauer.

“Whenever I hear Podolski complaining about the lack of opportunities and trust by the coaching staff, say that nobody is stopping him from doing just as well here as he does for the national team. With such a form he would certainly be in the starting eleven,” wrote Beckenbauer in his column in Bild.

“When playing for Bayern, he is frequently inert, while at the Euros his body language says ‘pass me the ball, here I am.’ Podolski and Schweinsteiger have played so well as we have not seen them play at club level since 2006,” concluded the Kaiser.

“Poldi”, a naturalized Pole, came to Bayern two years ago and has yet to win a starting place, unlike in the national team, where he has been a regular since 2004.

 

 

 …

2010 Super Togel Hongkong Cup kicks off J. League campaign

 

 

Just as it was last season, the traditional season opening Fuji Xerox Super Cup will be contested by two J. League sides that have plenty of experience standing on the winner’s podium.

 

Kashima Antlers and Gamba Osaka will go head-to-head for the second consecutive year in the Super Cup, with Kashima looking for a repeat of their dominant 3-0 win last season.

 

Oswaldo de Oliveira’s all-conquering side have won three J. League titles in a row, but the wily Brazilian tactician has brushed aside suggestions that his team will lack motivation in 2010.

 

The Ibaraki giants have strengthened their squad with the additions of former Kyoto Sanga stopper Lee Jung-Soo and burly Brazilian full-back Gilton from Albirex Niigata, and the pair are expected to slot straight into the side to face Gamba.

 

The Osakans ended last season by lifting the Emperor’s Togel Hongkong Cup trophy at the National Stadium in Tokyo, and Akira Nishino’s experienced outfit will hope to taste similar success on another brisk afternoon in the capital.

 

The Kansai side will have to do it the hard way, with Satoshi Yamaguchi, Tomokazu Myojin and Sota Nakazawa all struggling with injury following Gamba’s bruising 0-0 draw away at K-League giants Suwon Bluewings in the Asian Champions League in midweek.

 

Kashima were also active in the Champions League in midweek, but they had an easier time of things at home to Chinese side Changchun Yatai, where a goal from Koji Nakata separated the two sides.

 

Former FC Basel man Nakata adds plenty of experience to Kashima’s star-studded squad, but the undoubted jewel in the crown is scheming playmaker Mitsuo Ogasawara.

 

The veteran midfielder looked unstoppable on his way to being crowned the 2009 J. League Player Of The Year, and Kashima’s mercurial captain will be desperate to showcase his talent in this marquee Super Cup match-up.

 

It may be considered little more than a glorified friendly by some, but with upwards of 35,000 fans expected to pile into the National Stadium to watch two of Japan’s most successful clubs do battle, there could be fireworks on show as the new J. League campaign kicks off.

 

With signings of this calibre it is evident that Sanchez’s dream does not stop at merely wining the Copa Libertadores but doing it in style.

 

As it turned out Corinthians were less than inspiring in their Copa Libertadores opener this week as they came from behind to beat Uruguayan minnows Racing Club at home. A capacity Pacaembu was rocked when the visitors took the lead in the first minute through Martin Cauteruccio.

 

Corinthians responded 10 minutes later when clever play from Ronaldo and Tcheco created an opening for Elias to stroke the ball home and level the scores.

 

Elias is generally known for his work in the engine room but it was he who popped again with what turned out to be the game’s winning goal 20 minutes from time.

 

With three points in the bag Corinthians have taken an early lead in Group 1 of the Copa Libertadores. Another huge step has been taken on the road to glory for Sanchez and his centurions.

 

 …

All hail the reign of the beautiful Qq Poker Online Spain

 

 

So dreams can come true. Even Spanish footballing ones. And they can even come true in a wondrous way.

 

The Cava is still flowing and rightly so. In winning Euro 2008, Spain ended a quest for silverware that at 44 years’ length, two more than England’s, had defied all sense of fairness or logic.

 

But that they laid their hoodoo to rest in such style makes them the toast of the soccer world. Not since the Netherlands in the World Cup of 1974, or the Hungarians in 1954, has a nation playing such dazzling football reached the final of a major tournament. Unlike Cruyff’s and Puskas’ teams however, the Spanish vaulted the Qq Poker Online Germans at the last hurdle. The heart has beaten the head at last and the Beautiful Game is new again.

 

Their 1-0 win was not as delightful as their earlier victories in the Alps, but there was still enough of their mesmerizing passing and movement to leave nobody in any doubt that in more ways than one, the best team of the tournament had triumphed.

 

Germany suffered from Michael Ballack’s woes; having missed Saturday training, he took a bloody wound to the eye and got himself booked in a frustrating first 45. Then Philipp Lahm, another key player, fatally hesitated to let Fernando Torres score before leaving the side at half time. In the second half, the Germans looked oddly jaded and unable to test Iker Casillas in Spain’s goal, but even had fortune been on their side, you suspect the Spanish would still have been too strong for them.

 

This was indeed a victory for football, if we believe the game at its best is about aesthetics and not just winning. The soccer world had believed for so long that strength, hard work and organisation were the keys to victory, that we had forgotten about the entertaining by-product the fans so adore.

 

Flair players are have been considered liabilities in the quest for results, so set against this background, Spain’s win comes as an refreshing counterblast to the prevailing consensus.

 

Watching them labour to a 1-0 win over the USA in Santander on the eve of the competition, I saw enough of a midfield loaded with attacking talent to know they would be a force at the finals, and I tipped a team from the Iberian Peninsula to win, though I still felt a fit and on-song Germany could edge them thanks to their superior big-game mentality.

 

I was wrong – Spain had that inner steel to balance their twinkle toes. Confidence, that most powerful yet elusive weapon a team can posess, stayed with them until the end. Where the Netherlands, the other truly impressive team from the first round failed, the Spanish succeeded. Their self-belief saw off the challenge of the impressive Russians, devastatingly so (3-0) in the semi-final, before their prowess prevailed once more when Vienna called.

 

A final is like a second home to a German Mannschaft, while for Spain it has remained terra incognita since General Franco was in power. But last night in the Prater, the conquistadors of fútbol sailed crossed their ocean of doubt to plant their flag in the winners’ enclosure. It is, one hopes, a new era for European football, a lasting challenge to the German-Italian axis which has scooped so many trophies, and an encouragement to coaches worldwide to teach a beautiful style of play to win.

 

Not that Spain set out to entertain, but their end-product was both victorious and dramatic. Dancing to a flamenco rhythm, their ball-to-feet midfield quickly became a joy to behold. Elvish little terriers like Xavi, Andres Iniesta and David Silva mastered the ball like virtuoso musicians, whipping it around with flair and a panache not seen in an international team for years.

 

That the country which contains club giants Barcelona and Real Madrid could apparently not produce a winning national team in almost half a century remains hard to explain.

 

Repeated exits from World Cups and European Championships left us so hoarse from repeating the old maxim that sooner or later it had to be Spain’s year, most of us had given up tipping a nation which seemed immune from success.

 

The return of silverware to their FA leaves England, with its last trophy in 1966 as Europe’s most under-achieving soccer nation, a depressing albatross of a boast for the game’s motherland.

In his masterful book ‘Morbo’, the first English-language dissection of the game in Spain, Phil Ball suggests the historic dominance of foreigners in La Liga and the cultural divisions of the nation could have rubbed off invisibly on La Selección.

 

Journalist Guillem Balague told me this week he thought Spain had never had a winners’ mentality because of repeated failure, so just needed a rub o’ the green to have a chance to prove they could be victors at last.

 

While England persist with blind optimism and a fighting spirit despite their poor record, Spain’s collective mentality has tended to wither more quickly. Take their 1994 World Cup quarter-final exit to Italy for instance. The Spaniards spurned several chances to win the game before Roberto Baggio finished them off. Valencia winger Vicente summed it up when he replied to a question about Spain’s Euro 2004 failure – “What do you expect? We’re Spain.” By 2006, most of us had given up tipping the Iberians for good.

 

Only two years ago, eight of the Euro 2008 winners took the field in the second round of the World Cup finals, facing an ageing French eleven. Spain took the lead through David Villa and had 62% of the ball, but France ran out 3-1 winners.

 

But then along came a saviour. More prosaically perhaps, we can ascribe the torn page in the record book to Luis Aragones.

 

The 69 year-old might hail from Madrid but his Spanish team have played more ‘Catalan’ than previous incarnations. Three Blau-grana players featured in the team – Iniesta, Carlos Puyol and Xavi; four if you count former Barça man Cesc Fabregas, while Real Madrid had only two – goalkeeper Iker Casillas and right-back Sergio Ramos.

 

The short-passing ‘tiki-taka’ style of Spanish play looked a lot like Barcelona to me, while the speed of midfield exchanges and player rotation called to mind the best of Valencia’s Champions League endeavours in recent years. David Silva and Euro 2008 top gunner David Villa play for that club.

 

Silva was one of Spain’s unsung heroes, as mobile and skilful an attacker as any in the team, while the excellent Brazilian-born holding midfielder Marcos Senna was for me one of the players of the tournament, an award which went in the end to Xavi.

 

The team was short by modern standards, which makes their triumph over the tall and muscular Germans even more pleasing.

 

Their goalkeeper was not perhaps the best in the tournament but was no slouch. And while centre backs Puyol and Carlos Marchena lacked a little speed, and full backs Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevila weren’t the best positionally, they defended stoutly enough to repel the best Italy, Russia and Germany could throw at them and kept clean sheets in the knock-out stages.

 

The statistics are staggering: Across the tournament, Spain had more than twice as many shots on target than Germany and made 900 more passes than them with an 81% completion rate, the highest in Euro 2008, just eclipsing the Dutch. They were No.1 for shots on target and with 12 goals, hit the net more than anyone else: End of story.

 

What a great time to be Spanish. Even die-hard Catalans, Galicians and the odd Basque have had to swallow their pride and join the fiesta. If the frail-looking 69 year-old Aragones can get the bumps, so can they enjoy the special moment, too.

 

All in all, a magnificent victory for Spain and a beautiful day for football. Olé!

 

 

 …

Premiership Bandarqq Betting

 

 

A new season kicks off this weekend and see’s the return of Walker’s Word. Another 10 months of non-stop top flight football action begins on Saturday with both the opening and closing matches ripe for picking a couple of shock results at great odds writes David Walker.

 

Saturday 19 August

 

Sheffield United vs Liverpool

Sheffield United make their Premiership return after a 12 year absence at lunch time, to kick off another 10 months of top flight action. The bookmakers are predicting a cakewalk for visiting Liverpool, but Blades boss Neil Warnock will have other ideas. During the 2002/03 Carling Cup, United beat Liverpool 2-1 at Bramall Lane, drew 0-0 at home in 1993/94 and beat the Reds 1-0 the previous year in the Premiership’s debut season. Liverpool may have one eye on their Champions League tie against Maccabi Haifa Bandarqq three days later which still hangs in the balance at 2-1 in the Reds favour.

Walker’s Word: A “shock” draw to go against the bookmakers @ 12/5 (Coral)

 …

The Return of Captain Golden Qq Online Balls

 

 

It is possibly the biggest shock in English football this year, perhaps even topping this season’s FA Cup shocks or England’s national sides failure to qualify from what looked like a do-able group. But when Fabio Capello took over the reigns as England’s head coach he told everyone he would do things his way, from the tatics down to picking a new captain after appearing disappointed with the job John Terry had done under Steve McClaren’s stewardship. Today his announcement to give David Beckham the armband he reluctantly released nearly two years ago is the biggest indication yet that Capello is a man of his own will and way. It may be a fairly meaningless friendly in the grand scheme of things but do not underestimate how much this will mean to Beckham, who had tears in his eyes when he stepped down Qq Online after England’s failure at the last World Cup.

 

Some had suggested he was pushed by then new head coach Steve McClaren who was looking to make a statement when taking over the side and they might not be far from the truth. Everyone knows McClaren was an unpopular pick who was seen as a number two rather than in charge. McClaren’s decision to drop Beckham was supposed to be a sign that no one was safe from this new age. But when McClaren back-tracked and recalled Beckham for England’s qualifier against Estonia it was a sign of weakness that could not be repaired and became just one of many nails McClaren’s coffin in the end.

 

Many sympathised with Beckham when he stepped down, it had been a poor World Cup for most of the England squad, although reaching the quarter finals was a decent enough effort for any realist who understands football. Those fools who believe England still has a god given right to win every tournament they are involved in it was seen as another epic failure and Beckham was made a scapegoat. His emotional speech in relinquishing the captaincy was meet with a large round of applause by those in the room in respect for all he had done for his country.

 

Whilst his achievements must be put into context, that ‘goal’ against Greece was seven years ago, his desire to keep going has obviously impressed Capello because after achieving his 101st cap against USA last week he is still in the squad and is still providing those pinpoint freekicks and passes that no doubt give England an extra edge on the international scene. Beckham is now 33 and you imagine that his time on the international scene is going to come to an end sooner rather than later. My only hope is Capello hasn’t picked Beckham as captain just to draw some Hollywood glamour to a game which everyone knows England are only playing to gain the vote from CONCAF for their 2018 World Cup bid, which will be pointless if America launches their own bid as that vote will go to the way of our Colonial cousins.

 

Head over to betting.betfair.com to keep up to date with all the goings on for England’s World Cup bid

 

So this takes us to Sunday night’s friendly in the Caribbean which will no doubt be a snooze fest which England will win by the odd goal with no remarkable performances from anyone, including Beckham himself. Some believe that Beckham is only being kept on to pass on his knowledge to those youngsters coming through England’s ranks such as David Bentley, who is tipped to take over from Beckham when he eventually retires. But there has to be the age old question over why Bentley isn’t being given a chance to gain more experience in one of these meaningless friendly’s. But again it’s a chance for Capello to see first hand how Beckham handles the role of being captain so as to make a decision over who will become a permanent captain before the World Cup qualifiers start up in September. I for one am happy to see Beckham back wearing the armband because he is one of only a few who demonstrates any passion when playing for their country.

 

 …

Aplikasi Judi Online24Jam Terpercaya 2021 Levski Sofia top European defences

 

 

There is no doubt now: the best soccer is played in countries where attack rules over defence. Only one club from the top-leagues – Chelsea – feature among the best defending teams in a list ruled by Bulgarian, Czech, Ukrainian, Romanian and Serbian squads.

By far the best defence this season is that of Levski Sofia, who have conceded just 7 goals in 26 games, 0.27 goals per game. The Bulgarian leaders also head the best goals difference chart with an amazing 79-7 (+72!) ratio.

 

Team Goals/games Per game

 

  1. Levski 7/26 0,27
  2. CSKA Sofija 11/26 0,42
  3. Sporting Lisbon 15/28 0,54

4.-5. Slovan Liberec 15/26 0,58

Shakhtiar Donetsk 15/26 0,58

  1. Salzburg 19/32 0,59
  2. Dinamo Bucharest 18/30 0,60
  3. Vojvodina Novi Sad 18/29 0,62
  4. Chelsea 23/63 0,63

10.-11. Hajduk Split 20/31 0,64

Porto 18/28 0,64

 

 

Joey Barton could leave England, and he should

 

Manchester City’s Joey Barton may be Aplikasi Judi Online24Jam Terpercaya 2021 offloaded to a foreign club in the summer as a consequence of the series of incidents perpetrated by the one-time capped midfielder. It is just as well and perhaps Barton should search a country without an extradition treaty with the UK.

His teammate Ousmane Dabo is considering pressing charges against Barton for causing him severe injuries to his eye, nose and lip during an altercation at City’s training ground last week.

“I thought it was over and when I wanted to turn away he hit me with a terrible punch that knocked me out. He acted like a coward, it wasn’t a fair fight.”

Dabo’s left eye has been taped closed and he has swellings and facial marks following hospital treatment.

“When I woke up this morning I looked at myself in the mirror with my face all swollen up and I looked like the Elephant Man,” he told The Sun.

City suspended Barton, an experienced troublemaker who has been fined a couple of times over incidents like putting out a cigar in a teammate Jamie Tandy’s eye during the 2004 Christmas party or fighting with a teenage Everton fan in Bangkok and then with his teammate Richard Dunne who tried to intervene. Last march he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a taxi driver.

According to Barton’s agent, there are plenty of teams interested in his client, whose price is set at 5.5 million pounds, not including insurance policies for his future teammates.

 

 

No double for Inter Milan

 

Roma hope to clinch its first trophy in its fourth successive Cup final against Inter Milan. Francesco Totti’s team thrashed the reigning champions, a resounding 6-2, edging closer to their eight Italian Cup, and first since 1991.

In the return leg next Wednesday Inter hope to repeat their own performance against the same rival in last summer’s Supercup, when they overturned a 0-3 deficit with four second half goals. Since 2005 Inter and Roma have met in two Coppa Italia finals and in a Supercup, with Inter winning every time. Inter’s coach Roberto Mancini holds the nickname of “King of Cups” having won six Italian Cups as a player and other four coaching Fiorentina, Lazio and Inter.

 

Sevilla: a treble or a collapse?

 

After Chelsea and Manchester United dropped out of the race for a treble, Sevilla is the only European team that retains the possibility of winning three trophies. In spite of losing 2-3 to Real Madrid in last Sunday’s big match in Madrid, Sevilla is within four points of a faltering Barcelona at the top of the league, while in both cups they have reached the finals. In the UEFA Cup, Juande Ramos’s team will defend the trophy against Espanyol on May 16th in Glasgow, while in the Spanish Cup they will meet Getafe on June 23th at Santiago Bernabeu. The remaining schedule for Sevilla is gruesome, as the Andalusians will have to play two games a week until the end of May.

 

Eto’o closer to leaving Barcelona

 

Samuel Eto’o has only a 40% chance of staying in Barcelona and just as much for joining Milan, claim the Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport. The same source believe that Arsenal have the remaining 20% of snatching the Cameroonian striker.

Although his playing contribution is doubtlessly enormous, Eto’o has become a liability in the dressing room after making several enemies. Barca, who is reportedly attempting to sign Thierry Henry and the Brazilian Alfonso Alves from Heerenveen, may be willing to sell Eto’o dear, although at a lower price than the 150 million euros, the amount of the player’s buy-out clause. After recovering from knee injury, Eto’o has been scoring at the rate of a goal every 102 minutes and shares second place among Barcelona’s scorers this season with a total of 12 goals, behind Ronaldinho with 20.

 

For Deschamps, Juve’s title dream is a “utopia”

 

Juventus are on their way to the Italian Division 1, but they are not going to win the league right away, says their coach Didier Deschamps.

“I’m an ambitious person, but it is important not to lose a sense of reality. Much will be down to next summer’s reinforcements, but for now I think that dreaming of an immediate scudetto is a utopia,” said the Frenchman.

As far as Inter’s championship win, Deschamps has been fair:

“Good for them, they won fair and square, but we’ll meet next season.”

Inter are the team that were awarded Juventus’s 2006 title after the exposure that Juve’s directors had maintained illegal contacts with match referees.

 

Nantes go down after 44 years

 

One of the French greats, Nantes Atlantique, have been mathematically relegated with two games to go in spite of beating Bordeaux away 1-0. Wins by Nice and Valenciennes have made it certain that the Canaries could not be saved, alongside Sedan, level on 36 points.

 

Nantes have won eight championships, the last time in 2001, just before Lyon’s six-year winning run. One of the traditional French powerhouses, Nantes have had a chaotic season, having used four coaches and continuously shuffling the starting lineup. Not even the legendary keeper Fabien Barthez, brought as a saviour in December, could help extricate the team from their plight. In fact, with his erratic behaviour and less-than-convincing displays, the former World and European champion contributed to Nantes’s downfall.

 

Dinamo Zagreb break all records

 

Dinamo Zagreb have retained the Croatian title ahead of Hajduk Split in a season marked by several new records which will be tremendously difficult to break in the future.

Coached by Josip Kuze until the 13th round and by Branko Ivankovic since the end of October, the Zagreb Lions have registered 28 wins in 31 matches played so far, including 18 consecutive wins, all of them under Ivankovic’s guidance.

 

If they collect four or more points in the remaining two games, Dinamo will also establish a new record regarding the percentage of points won, which currently stands at 90.9% and has been held by the same team since the 1996/97 season.

The team’s top player, the naturalized Brazilian Eduardo da Silva, has scored 29 goals, equaling Goran Vlaovic’s mark from 14 seasons ago.

How high Dinamo’s standards are is reflected by the fact that the board of directors dismissed Kuze despite losing only a single league game in the first 13 rounds.

 

 

 

 …

Klinsmann forced out by Data Hk Bayern’s past

 

 

As we approach the climax to the season with sides across Europe beginning to know where they are going to end up it always comes as a shock to see a manager depart with such little time remaining. Especially when that manager is former German international Jurgen Klinsmann and his tenure at his current club has only been eight months. The former Tottenham striker upset the football odds by being forced to leave Germany’s biggest club Bayern Munich following their 1-0 defeat to Schalke despite being only three points off top spot with five games to go.

 

The situation all seems a little odd, looking on from the outside, when you consider that the season isn’t over and to make a change this late on might not have the desired impact. Bayern’s owners crave success, the fans crave it and most German football fans expect it when you consider how many Bundesliga titles and European Cups the club has won. The record breaking total of 21 league titles will certainly place pressure on whoever is in charge but you get the impression that Bayern’s on the field form was used as an excuse to sack the former German national coach.

 

Defeat at the weekend was only their seventh loss this season and in what is an incredibly tight Bundesliga that still leaves them in third spot, three points off the top. The real reason for the sacking of Klinsmann appears to be the disapproval over his training methods and the way he handles the players. The 44-year-old is known to be Data Hk heavily influenced by the training methods he observed of athletes in America, especially the way they psychologically prepared before an event.

 

Unfortunately for Klinsmann the methods he brought to the club don’t appear to have sat well with the board and it has been reported that Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer disagreed with the way the manager was training the players. Those of you who know your history will already be aware that Beckenbauer had two spells as manager himself. It seems then that the two German legends clashed when it came to the methods being used off the pitch and when push came to shove there was only going to be one winner.

 

Klinsmann’s sacking is a timely reminder that the manager doesn’t always have complete control over matters on the pitch, a certain Jose Mourinho will tell you all about that. Klinsmann has paid the price for trying something different and despite Beckenbauer being a national legend perhaps he should have taken a step back and seen how the season finished before dropping the axe on a promising young manager in a difficult job.

 

 

 

 …