Former Champions Christoph Vogelsang, Brian Rast Selected for 2018 Super High Roller Bowl; Fedor Holz, Bryn Kenney Left Out

 Former Champions Christoph Vogelsang, Brian Rast Selected for 2018 Super High Roller Bowl; Fedor Holz, Bryn Kenney Left Out

We’re a couple of months away from the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl and, just like previous years, the number of players wanting to take part is more than what will get in. Last night, former SHRB champions Christoph Vogelsang (the defending champion) and Brian Rast were selected to participate, but High Roller regulars Fedor Holz and Bryn Kenney so far are left out.

The 2018 SHRB will begin on May 27, but there are only 48 players being allowed into the tournament. Thus, officials associated with the tournament (the tournament is the creation of and sponsored by Poker Central) and ARIA, the host casino for the tournament, had to make the tough decision on who would get to participate. Just like last year, the decision was made to have a blind draw for 30 of the seats that were available. And, just like last year, there was a bit of hubbub over who made it in and who was excluded.

By far dominating the 30 players who made it in were first time selections for the event. Players such as Adrian Mateos, Sergio Aido, Stephen Chidwick, Nick Petrangelo and Kahle Burns (among others) will take their first steps into the ARIA tournament room in one of the biggest events in poker. It will be an especially sweet trip for Mateos, Aido and Chidwick, who were up for the blind selections last year but were not picked for the event.

There are several more familiar names that were among the 30 players selected for the tournament. 14-time World Series of Poker champion Phil Hellmuth, all-time leading money winner Daniel Negreanu, Igor Kurganov, Koray Aldemir, Andrew Lichtenberger, Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, Poker Central money man Cary Katz, Isaac Haxton, Dan Shak and Justin Bonomo all were among the fortunate individuals that will take part. Businesswoman Kathy Lehne ensures that there will be a female player at the felt for this year’s SHRB (and a formidable one at that).

For those players who are happy they were selected, there are seemingly an equal number who were probably not very happy about being snubbed (in total, 61 players had put their payment in for a seat). This counts two players who were runners-up in this event previously, Jake Schindler and Holz, while former SHRB champion Rainer Kempe was also left out of the selection process. They were joined by Kenney (who has feasted on High Roller events in the past two years), Doug Polk, Dominik Nitsche, businessman/High Roller donator Bill Perkins, former World Champion Joe McKeehen and many others.

While the blind selection process is a fair way to make the tough decision of who plays or not, there should be some credence given to the former champions and runners-up. Instead of subjecting the runners-up to the blind selection process, perhaps a guaranteed slot in the next year’s event (if they, of course, pony up the $ 300,000 buy-in) would be a proper reward. And there should be no reason that former champions of this tournament aren’t playing (once again, unless they don’t buy in); former champions have a five-year entry pass after their victory, provided they can come up with the ducats.

As it is now, there are only two more ways for some of these players to get into the event. ARIA has 16 players that they can select to play in the tournament and, it could logically be figured, some of the names that are on the list of players who failed to be selected in the blind draft will be chosen. The very last way a player can get into the 2018 SHRB is through a $ 10,000 satellite that will be held the day before the $ 300,000 buy in tournament starts; two seats will be given out in that satellite event.

With the first 30 players chosen, the appetite of the poker public has been whetted for the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl. When the event begins on May 27, it will crown another champion who will walk away with a massive payday. The only question now is the next champion among these 30 players or will it come from the ARIA selections or the satellite event.

The post Former Champions Christoph Vogelsang, Brian Rast Selected for 2018 Super High Roller Bowl; Fedor Holz, Bryn Kenney Left Out appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Station Casinos Pays Bad Beat Jackpot After Dispute Then Ends Promotion

 Station Casinos Pays Bad Beat Jackpot After Dispute Then Ends Promotion

Station Casinos has decided to discontinue the bad beat jackpot promotions at its casinos a month after the Nevada Gaming Control Board ruled that the company had to pay out a disputed jackpot.

The controversy dates back to July 7th, when a $ 120,000 bad beat jackpot was hit at the Red Rock Casino, one of Station’s properties in the Las Vegas area. Len Schreter had the top end of a straight flush while Avi Shamir had the low end. This would normally spell disaster for Shamir, but they were in a bad beat jackpot game, which meant that Shamir won about $ 60,000 for having such an amazing hand lose and Schreter. The more than 80 players active at bad beat jackpot tables at Station’s other casinos also stood to share in the rest of the jackpot.

Red Rock management, though, ruled that because Schreter had, in his excitement, accidentally revealed his cards out of the turn on the river, the jackpot was nullified. Part of the promotions rules states that “discussion of hands during the play by players, at the discretion of management, may void a Jumbo Hold ‘Em Jackpot,” which is what management believed happened.

Everyone who witnessed the hand agreed that Schreter’s actions had no effect on the outcome of the hand, but management wouldn’t budge. Schreter, Shamir, and a couple other players filed complaints to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. An NGCB investigator agreed with the players and the Board ruled in December that the casino must pay the jackpot, but Station appealed the ruling.

In February, the players won the appeal and Station Casinos opted not to appeal to the Clark County District Court and just pay the jackpot.

“The player-funded bad-beat jackpot had always been ready for payment pending the GCB’s decision,” Station’s Lori Nelson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The three players who filed a claim were paid in accordance with standard Gaming Control Board procedures. Additionally, we have been distributing jackpot awards to all of the qualified poker players who participated, not just the three who filed a claim.”

Many – including yours truly – wondered why Station Casinos would go to such lengths to avoid paying out the jackpot. As Nelson said, the bad beat jackpot was player-funded via additional rake, so Station was out no money. The one possibility that might exist is that the six-figure jackpot attracted a lot of poker players hoping to get lucky and that if it was reset, poker room traffic would decrease. Conventional wisdom, though, has been that the bad publicity from challenging the jackpot would hurt Station.

And it seems like it has. Nelson wouldn’t tell the Review-Journal is player traffic has changed. Michael Bluestein, one of the players who filed the complaint, said he isn’t playing at Station casinos as much as he used to and the Review-Journal added that other players have said that it looks like the poker room isn’t as busy as it was. Then again, that could just be because the jackpot is no longer over $ 100,000.

The post Station Casinos Pays Bad Beat Jackpot After Dispute Then Ends Promotion appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

PTP, GameIntel Report: CoinPoker Player Traffic is a Sham

 PTP, GameIntel Report: CoinPoker Player Traffic is a Sham

A few weeks ago, one of the latest cryptocurrency-based online poker sites, CoinPoker, had its real money tables go live and to celebrate, the site is running a couple of generous promotions. Unfortunately, according to GameIntel Managing Editor and writer Alex Weldon, it appears that those promos are contributing to artificially-inflated player traffic at the site.

At most online poker rooms, a great promotion usually leads to boosted player traffic, so on the surface, the situation at CoinPoker might look normal. But when Weldon checked out the CoinPoker tables for an article topic for GameIntel, he thought the place looked even busier than expected. He ran it by the Gameintel’s owner, Dan Stewart, who agreed something was amiss.

Writing his full story at PartTimePoker, Weldon said that CoinPoker’s traffic patterns aren’t following the norm for the industry. Typically, a poker room will see its traffic peak at night in the time zone(s) where it has the most customers, when players are home and have time to play. CoinPoker’s peak, suggestive of players concentrated in southeast Asia, is stretched out and “makes sudden jumps of 100 seats or more, upwards or downwards, often with very little change in between.”

He added:

These jumps also coincide with drastic changes in the percentage of full tables, from a fairly normal 80% or so, down to less than 50%. During those periods when the percentage is high, all the full tables have significant waiting lists. During those periods when it’s low, most of the partially-filled tables have the same number of users, which is often 5/6 seats filled during peak hours.

Looking more closely at the tables, Weldon observed that most of the tables were occupied by the same small group of players. He thought this might be normal, as those interested in playing at CoinPoker were also likely very dedicated players, so seeing them multi-table as much as they were could be explained.

But then he saw that they were all playing at least 20 tables at a time, which is…a lot. One player with the screen name “1st” played at 42 tables for at least eight consecutive hours. That’s basically an impossible feat.

It appeared to Weldon that this bizarre traffic pattern was explained by CoinPoker’s promos. One is that all games are rake free. The other is a leader board race with three stake tiers and weekly and monthly giveaways of CoinPoker’s proprietary cryptocurrency, CHP. Five million CHP are to be awarded, an amount that is worth about $ 125,000. To have their hands counted, players must voluntarily contribute to 10 percent of pots.

The players Weldon observed played at the minimum stakes for each of the leader board levels and each level had the number of players at the tables (though different names). The betting patterns of the massively multi-tabling players seemed to indicate automated decision making. The players also always bought-in for 40 big blinds and rarely let their stacks get above 200 big blinds. This reeked of soft-play, as the players could just move chips around the table to each other, without fear of getting whittled away by rake, while contributing the required 10 percent to qualify for the leader board promo.

These players are bots.

Weldon got in contact with CoinPoker to ask about the players in question, but received little to no response. He also asked about what security measures were in place to detect and stop bots and collusion and received no response. It does not appear that CoinPoker is doing anything to stop what’s going on and whether the site wants to or not is in question.

Weldon goes on to discuss why this is even more of a problem that it otherwise would be because of CoinPoker’s business model, but rather than elaborating here, we encourage you to read his piece in its entirety.

The post PTP, GameIntel Report: CoinPoker Player Traffic is a Sham appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

California Poker Pro Indicted for Defrauding Investors in Ticket Resale Scam

 California Poker Pro Indicted for Defrauding Investors in Ticket Resale Scam

I am an alum of the University of Virginia. As such, I was quite excited to see how my school’s men’s basketball team would fare in the NCAA tournament after completing such a dominant regular season (even if one of our best players was injured). Prior to the tournament, I purchased tickets for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in Atlanta, fearing they could increase in price, as the top seeds in the region all had strong fan bases in the area. At $ 311 a pop after fees, they weren’t cheap, but I was excited. My team historically failed in the first round, but on the bright side, I was able to resell my tickets at a slight profit (and prices have plummeted since). Now, I wasn’t trying to profit – I really wanted to watch my team march toward a championship – but I am relieved that I wasn’t one of the people who tried to profit from ticket resales by giving professional poker player Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli money in the last couple years.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced that Fazeli has been indicted on wire fraud charges for bilking ticket “investors” out of $ 6.2 million. Fazeli operated a ticket selling business called Summit Entertainment and from May 2016 through May 2017, allegedly promised people that he would use their money to buy tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and 2018 World Cup, tickets which he would flip for a profit, making investors money in the process.

According to the indictment, Fazeli never handed out profits to any of his investors, telling them that he was unable to resell the Super Bowl tickets because the NFL prohibited such an activity. He claimed he was working on a settlement with the league.

The thing was, Fazeli never even bought any Super Bowl or World Cup tickets, according to the indictment. Instead, he used the money largely to pay for buy-ins into poker tournaments at the Bellagio and Aria. Sure enough, if you look at his live tournament results on, Fazeli cashed exclusively in the frequent $ 25,000 buy-in tournaments at Aria in 2016.

It would be interesting to know why he has no more results after 2016 aside from a couple $ 200+ buy-in cashes last summer (he has two listings on, one under Ali Fazeli and one under Seyed Fazeli). As the site only lists cashes, it is possible he went on a cold streak in 2017 and ran through is investors’ funds, which would also explain why he made no effort to pay anything back. One would think that if he had any smarts (and perhaps he doesn’t), he would have tried to pay some of the money back, using the same story that he wasn’t able to resell the tickets, at least not for a profit. Seeing as he didn’t, it stands to reason that he may have completely run out of money (or he’s just THAT greedy).

Fazeli was arrested five weeks ago by the FBI and released on $ 120,000 bond. He is scheduled for an arraignment next Monday. He faces up to 40 years in prison if he is convicted of the charges.

The post California Poker Pro Indicted for Defrauding Investors in Ticket Resale Scam appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

UKGC Publishes Advice on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility

 UKGC Publishes Advice on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility

On Monday, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) published its formal advice to the government regarding its review of brick-and-mortar gaming machines and responsible gambling measures. The 97-page document focuses on how to best make sure customers, especially those vulnerable to the risks of gambling, have an enjoyable and safe experience.

One of the most significant portions of the report has to do with the Commission’s recommendations on fixed-odds betting terminals, or FOBTs. FOBTs are computerized gaming machines like slots that many of us have seen at casinos. Other games that can be played include simulated horse racing, bingo, and roulette. They are “fixed-odds” in that they are programmed to return a certain percentage of the total wagers over the long run. Obviously, players can have sessions where they don’t receive a single penny in payout, but over the long haul, the odds are supposed to hold true.

FOBTs are in betting shops all over the United Kingdom, though even with their ubiquity, the UKGC says that just 1.5 percent of the population plays them each month. As it stands now, the maximum bet on FOBTs, known formally as Category B2 gaming machines, is £100, with a top prize of £500. Games are programmed to last a minimum of 20 seconds (presumably so players can’t plug £100 into the machine every second or two). Those who want to play at the highest stakes – £50 and above – must register or “follow an over-the-counter process.”

Gambling opposition groups have lobbied to have the maximum bet lowered to just £2 and that is almost exactly what the UKGC has recommended. The Commission wants the maximum stakes for slots to be decreased to £2, while the maximum bet for non-slots games should be lowered to £30.

Clearly, the goal here is to limit the risk of ruin for players, which is no doubt admirable, but gaming companies are not going to like this at all, as should the government change the stakes (remember, this is just a recommendation), revenue expectations for gaming firms will take a hit. In fact, when GVC Holdings agreed to buy Ladbrokes Coral Group in December, part of the deal included a contingency that would pay out if the FOBT stakes remained unchanged.

Also in the report are policy recommendations for online gaming operators. The UKGC suggests that because age verification technology is strong, operators should verify customers’ ages before they can deposit money and gamble, rather than be allowed as much as 72 hours from when the player signs up. Additionally, ages should be checked for play money games. Similarly, customers identities should be verified earlier on, rather than just when a player requests a cash out.

And, as we have reported on previously, the UKGC is working with the Competition and Markets Authority, as well as some specific operators, to ensure that online gaming promotional terms are fair and easy to understand. Of particular concern are deposit bonus promotions that have unrealistic playthrough requirements and harsh cash out restrictions, often not allowing players to withdraw their own money before completing any requirements.

The post UKGC Publishes Advice on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily