The battle to outlaw poker has been raging in the Netherlands for at least a decade, and the main issue was that the courts considered poker a game of skill and not a game of chance.
A court in Amsterdam recently ruled that regardless of the skill of the players, there is still an element of luck, therefore it is now considered a game of chance, which means anyone who wants to organise poker games needs a permit.
In 1998 the Attorney General had ruled that poker was a game of chance, giving as an example that playing several tables at once online, ‘multi-tabling’, is much more about strategy and relies a lot less on chance. This means that the lower court rulings of 2010 and 2014 that had taken the ‘game of skill’ side of things have now been overturned.
The case that went before the Amsterdam court was about Texas Hold’em poker games going on in a café in Bussum, North Holland where a permit wasn’t necessary because they didn’t need one for a game of skill. Now that the court has decided after 10 years that poker is a game of chance, both tournament organisers have been given a suspended fine of 1250 euro each and the bar owner 500 euro. The court went for suspended fines because the case took a long time to sort out.
The court found a way to choose the version of poker that profits the state monopoly of Holland Casino. I disagree that poker is a game of chance because without skill you’re just a donkey throwing your money away.
Tags: Bussum, poker
On 16 January, the Arcade hotel in Amsterdam will open its doors, the country’s first gaming hotel, where the Aalborg hotel in the De Pijp district used to be. The idea of a gaming hotel came from Montréal, Québec (where I’m from), and the owners promised to serve poutine, although I wonder how they will get the cheese curds for it because nobody makes that kind of cheese here.*
The rooms offer a lot of retro games, some that gamers can’t find as easily from Nintendo, Sega and Microsoft and they’ll be at least 10 kinds per room. And if that’s not enough, the lobby will also feature comic books as reading material, another favourite of new manager Daniel Salmanovich.
“Hotels always claim that they want to be a home away from home, but that’s nonsense. People want something different than what they have at home when they’re travelling. There’s enough hotels that offer pay-per-view and Netflix to their guests, and I wanted a hotel for people like me who relax with gaming.”
Salmanovich also says he’ll be offering poutine, Québec’s world-reknowned fast food dish, which newspaper Het Parool got wrong by saying it had ‘grated cheese’ (cheddar bits would have been more accurate), but called it a ‘unofficial national dish’, which means that the journalist has a better grasp of geopolitics than food.
*The Québec Delegation in Brussels, who represents the Benelux worked very hard to get a Belgian cheese maker to make 40 kg of cheese curds for the Québec national holiday parties on 24 June a few years ago.
Tags: cheese, game hotel, Montreal, poutine, Québec
Designed by Dutchman Oskar van Deventer, the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube, known as the Over The Top 17x17x17, was solved last November by American Kenneth Brandon.
Besides solving puzzles, Brandon also shoots time-lapse videos and made a six minute one of his solution here below. He also mentions that he has a 7.5 hour version floating around for his hardcore fans.
The Guinness World Records awarded the ‘largest order Rubik’s magic cube’ to the 17×17×17 cube made by Van Deventer in 2011. Van Deventer has all kinds of puzzles for sale, made with 3D printing technology.
(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl, Photo: Rubik’s Cube knockoff)
Tags: 3D printing, Guinness World Records, puzzle, Rubik's Cube
In a fashion/IT edition of ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’), it wasn’t Apple’s new Apple Watch, iPhone 6 or even the band U2 that stole the show at its latest product launch in Califormia, but Dutch IT designer Tommy Krul’s tube scarf, earning him the nickname of ‘Scarf Guy’. Dutch-born Krul is founder and CTO of Super Evil Megacorp in San Francisco and was presenting the new game Vainglory, specially developed for the iPhone 6.
Apple’s on stage presenters are reputed for being casually dressed, and Krul was no exception. For reasons that only the Internet understands his purple ‘infinity’ scarf took on a life of its own on Twitter and Facebook during the presentation. Fake Twitter accounts such as @scarfbro and @purplescarfguy have started up and comparisons to other scarf-wearing celebs such as Gavin Rossdale and Lenny Kravitz (and I would add Benedict Cumberbatch, as himself and as Sherlock) have been made. People want to know if he’s single, but Krul hasn’t provided an answer. All he has said apparently is “I often wear scarves, it’s funny.”
(Link: www.rtlnieuws.nl, Photo of men’s scarf by smittenkittenorig, some rights reserved)
Tags: Zoek de Nederlander
The City of Amsterdam subsidized a free educational game entitled ‘Road to Freedom’ that was 1.5 years in the making to teach children about Dutch slavery in Suriname. It was produced by the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy and designed by Pepergroen to mark the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
The Afro-Surinamese community in the Netherlands wasn’t thrilled with the game, but neither were the Americans at Apple who called the content ”slanderous and insulting”. A quick Google search shows that Apple is not a fan of anything with slaves in it, like this sweatshop app.
On the one hand, anything too culturally confrontational makes many people from countries with unresolved colonial pasts uncomfortable and on the other, anything that is presented in a game format already downgrades the importance of historical relevance. If I were at school today and someone gave me a flee from a Russian labour camp game, I’d have a real problem with it and so would my parents.
I do get what the makers were trying to do, but unfortunately they have managed to trivialize something that deserves a much better platform. A Dutch friend of mine would say, ‘het idee is goed, maar de uitvoering is klote’ (‘The idea is good, but the execution is crap’).
UPDATE The video we had up yesterday introducing the game has been pulled offline.
(Link: www.joop.nl, www.volkskrant.nl, Screenshot of the game before it was yanked offline)
Tags: Apple, apps, slavery, slaves, Suriname
On Tuesday April 29 crowdfunding website Kickstarter now features a page for the Netherlands. Before then, Dutch residents with good ideas had to register their project through another country like the United States. Since then, about 30 new project ideas have popped up on the Dutch page, while the rest are projects that were around when they had to circumvent the country issue. And just like in other countries, Kickstarter takes 5% off the top when and if projects achieve their financial goal.
One of them was more fun than anything else: the ‘Fish on wheels’ (on Kickstarter). Other projects include lots of board games, music, tech, film and inventions.
Tip to the lightbulbs: please let someone check your English if you want to be taken seriously.
(Link: www.bright.nl, Photo of Lightbulb by Emil Kabanov, some rights reserved)
Tags: games, inventions, Kickstarter
In Enschede, Overijssel, a slot machine player has won almost 3 million euro (2,960,221,50 euro to be exact) with the ‘Mega Millions’ slot machines at the state-run Holland Casino last Saturday, making it the highest amount ever won at a Dutch casino. The player, who has chosen to remain anonymous for now but is 30 years of age, only spent 7,50 euro. The more people play these specific slot machines that only cost 0,10 euro per try, the higher the amount. According to an employee at the casino, the new millionaire was taken aback by all of this and has not yet made themselves known to the media.
In April 2013 another person from Enschede won 1,600,000 euro.
(Linsk: www.welingelichtekringen.nl, www.hollandcasino.nl, Photo of Slot machines by rusticus80, some rights reserved)
Tags: casino, Enschede, Overijssel
Two guys from Utrecht, Rami Ismail (25) and Jan Willem Nijman (23), created the game app for iPhone and iPad Ridiculous Fishing that has been chosen as Game of the Year 2013 by Apple. The game was based on a film they saw about overfishing tuna. The main goal is to avoid catching fish on your line. If you do catch some fish, then you have to reel them all in and eventually you get to shoot them in the air.
They had months of struggling with other game studios copying and remaking their originally free game, but after eating noodles for four months and going for gold, Ridiculous Fishing took off and both guys are now rich, making 12,000 euro a week, and sometimes 30,000 to 50,000 euro a week. The game costs 2,69, it is selling like hotcakes and there will be an Android version one of these days.
(Link and screenshot: www.ad.nl)
Tags: app, Apple, iPad, iPhone, Utrecht
Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Amsterdam, known internationally for projects such as his building to be built using a 3D printer, has designed a house with a 360 degree view (video).
Inspired by the Russian game Tetris, Ruijssenaars thought up a row house made of blocks placed in such a way that every room has a different view of outside instead of just being able to see out the front or out the back. His idea was based on a building contest in Peru in 2009 which was about increasing density. By having more people use the same space, he was able to increase the density as well as the quality of the residences.
It remains to be seen who will be the first to build these houses. And although different, they do remind me of Habitat 67 in Montreal by Moshe Safdie.
(Link: www.telegraaf.nlPhoto of Tetris cookies by Rakka, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, Janjaap Ruijssenaars, Tetris
Ruzzle is a simple word game in which you have to tap a series of connected letters on a randomized grid to form as many words as you can in two minutes.
Here is a video by a guy called Flupkees who can guess 136 Dutch words in a single session (of the 302 possible words). He is going so fast I cannot even follow what is going on: pot, poter, poten, po, pon, ???, pik, pikt, pikte, prik, prikt, prikte and so on.
(Video: YouTube/Flupkees. Link: Marc van Oostendorp)
Tags: language, word games, words