Archive for August, 2017

PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

 PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

PokerStars has sent an e-mail to its Australian players that it will withdraw from the Australia market in mid-September following the passage of a new online gambling bill in the country. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) passed parliament on August 9th and effectively bars all internet gaming sites that are not licensed in Australia. PokerStars does not have such a license.

Now, one’s initial reaction might be that PokerStars will just apply for a license, eventually be granted one, and Aussies can start playing again. And that would be a reasonable thought, but unfortunately, that won’t happen. The bill permits online gambling, but only of the sports betting variety. As sports betting operators are the only ones, therefore, who would be able to apply for a license, online poker operators like PokerStars have no way of complying with the law. Well, no way except to get out of Dodge.

PokerStars had already announced that there was a high likelihood it would leave Australia, so this comes as no surprise, even though it is disappointing. The exact withdrawal date depends on when the law goes into effect, but it is expected in roughly the middle part of next month.

Online bingo site Vera&John was the first online gambling site to exit Australia, doing so in December 2016. 888poker was the first poker site to do it, leaving the country in January of this year.

Below is the entire statement issued to Australian players by PokerStars:

The Australian parliament on August 9 passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) effectively banning all online gambling sites that are not locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law. We’ve been aware of this day coming and have done our best to keep you informed, but we can confirm that we’ll be closing our real money poker tables to players in Australia, most likely around mid-September. We will contact you as soon as a firm date is confirmed.

Your funds are, and will continue to be, safe and available for withdrawal. Remember to open any unopened Stars Rewards Chests you have, and you can continue to spend your StarsCoin in the Rewards Store. A $ 1 Cash Rebate has been added to facilitate converting your StarsCoin to cash. Any tournament tickets and tournament money will be converted to cash for withdrawal, effective from the market exit date. We have provided a FAQ page here.

We’re proud to have seen the Australian poker community grow so strong over the last decade. We do respect the Australian Government’s decision in taking steps to protect consumers and hope that in time we’ll be able to serve real money poker to you again. In the meantime, we will continue to offer play money poker and we hope to continue to welcome many Australian players to our tables.

We’d also like to thank the Australian Online Poker Alliance for their campaigning on behalf of the game and suggest that you consider lending them your voice if you’d like to see a regulated return of online poker to Australia.

Poker News Daily

Martin Kozlov Wins 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship

 Martin Kozlov Wins 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship

It looked like it was going to be a long final table at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship (SHRPO) Tuesday as even though Aaron Mermelstein had a comfortable chip lead, almost everyone at the table had a fairly deep stack. And with nine players beginning the last day of play, there was a chance it could go on for a while.

And for a while it did. Only one player was knocked out in each of the first four hour and a half-long levels; by the time Martin Kozlov collected all the chips to win three-quarters of a million dollars, the final table had spanned 13 hours.

The SHRPO was also organized in quite a unique way, adding more emphasis to how slow the pace of the Championship final table really was. The tournament festival had what it called the “Big 4” events: the $ 1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Re-entry event, the $ 5,250 Championship Event, the $ 2,650 Freeze Out, and the $ 25,500 High Roller Re-entry event. Though the other three events began before the Championship, they were all scheduled in such a way so as to have all of their final tables play out in the same room on Tuesday.

Joe Keuther, the short stack at the Championship final table and the first one to be eliminated, was actually at two final tables at the same time, so while he was likely disappointed to finish ninth, he was able to just saunter over to the $ 1,100 No-Limit Hold’em final table and keep going (he finished eighth there).

Kozlov commented on the four final table arrangement and the pace of his table in his post-game interview with SHRPO officials, saying:

They had The Big 4, and after two or three hours all the tables of the other three were down to four or five players, and it took us six hours to lose two players. It was super slow, and you just had to play it one hand at a time. The structure was so good you could afford to take some beats, you could afford to lose some pots. Patience was the most important thing I guess.

He needed that patience, too, as he found himself very short stacked with five players remaining, holding barely more than 10 big blinds.

“The thing that affects my mental state the most is if I’m getting downward momentum, if I’m getting upward momentum it just kind of clears my mind to focus on the strategy,” Kozlov said afterward. “So when things are going right I’m thinking more clearly about what to do strategy-wise, if things are going bad I’m just steaming.”

“Five handed I didn’t have many chips at all, and I was a bit tilted on break. I was talking to my wife, and I was like, ‘What am I going to do now. There’s not much left, I’m going to have to win a couple of all ins.’ And then I came back and won every all in, and now I’ve won the tournament.”

What was that about a chip and chair again?

Kozlov entered heads-up play against Dylan Drazen with a 6 million chip lead, 16.325 million to 10.325 million. He never fell behind during the one-on-one match, though Drazen did pull within less than 1.5 million. Interestingly, it was when Drazen was at his closest that the whole thing ended.

Kozlov raised to 600,000 pre-flop and Drazen called. On the flop of K-Q-8, Drazen checked and then called Kozlov’s 400,000 chip bet. It was the same action on the turn when a 4 was dealt, this time for 2.6 million chips. And then again, when a 2 landed on the river, Drazen called, Kozlov moved all-in, and then Drazen called all-in. Kozlov revealed pocket Kings for flopped top set, while Drazen had just J-8 for third pair, almost a bluff call.

The win put Kozlov well over $ 2 million in career live earnings, increasing his total to $ 2,680,977.

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship – Final Table Results

1. Martin Kozlov – $ 754,083
2. Dylan Drazen – $ 528,322
3. Matt Berkey – $ 341,618
4. Yi Chi Li – $ 252,481
5. Michael Aron – $ 191,437
6. Aaron Mermelstein – $ 152,547
7. Adam Levy – $ 126,305
8. Luke Brererton – $ 100,408
9. Joe Kuether – $ 75,413

Poker News Daily

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 2: Aaron Mermelstein in Command

 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Day 2: Aaron Mermelstein in Command

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event is one of the few “major” live poker tournaments on the calendar not to be associated with a larger tour like the World Poker Tour, PokerStars Championship, or World Series of Poker. Yesterday was a busy day for the SHRPO, as the 266 players who made it through Day 1 were whittled to just 30 by the end of Day 2, crossing the money bubble in the process (“crossing”?). Aaron Mermelstein leads with 2.706 million chips, the only player above the 2 million chip mark.

Mermelstein’s biggest hand of the day and the one that really gave him his upwards momentum, came during Level 19 with 45 players remaining. Pre-flop, he raised to 27,000, only to see Ashton Griffin three-bet to 70,000. After the rest of the table folded, Mermelstein called to bring on a flop of 2-9-T. The action went check-check and a King was dealt on the turn. Mermelstein checked again, Griffin bet 115,000 chips, but then Mermelstein check-raised to 265,000, a bet which Griffin called. With a 6 on the river, Mermelstein bet 400,000 chips, more than what Griffin had left in his stack. Griffin made the call for his remaining 290,000 chips and turned over pocket tens for a flopped set. Mermelstein, though, had 8-7 suited for a rivered straight. Griffin was out of the tournament in 45th place, while Mermelstein grew his chip stack to 1.8 million.

Aaron Mermelstein has just over $ 2 million in lifetime live tournament earnings, according to TheHendonMob.com. Most of his cashes are in the four to mid-five figure range, though his largest is $ 712,305, which he achieved by winning a $ 3,500 No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2015 Borgata Winter Poker Open. He has a couple recent cashes in major events, including a 426th place finish in the World Series of Poker Main Event and a 39th place finish in the World Poker Tour Choctaw Main Event.

One interesting player left with chips is Joe Kuether, who made the final table of the $ 1,100 event at the SHRPO. Normally, that is just cool, seeing someone make deep runs in two events, but in this case, it could pose a problem for him (a good one). The final table of the $ 1,100 event has not been run yet – it will take place on Tuesday. So, if he makes it far enough in the SHRPO Main Event, Kuether might end up getting some exercise running back and forth between tournaments.

The plan for Monday is to play down to the nine-handed final table. Everyone beginning Monday’s action is already guaranteed at least $ 19,531, with the last player to be eliminated Monday afternoon or evening receiving $ 61,303.

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. Aaron Mermelstein – 2,706,000
2. Adam Levy – 1,960,000
3. Yi Chi Li – 1,816,000
4. Matt Berkey – 1,795,000
5. Samuel Bernabeu – 1,285,000
6. Odie Dardon – 1,154,000
7. David Sands – 1,044,000
8. Glenn Becker – 1,029,000
9. Michael Aron – 1,000,000
10. Diana Shirey – 923,000

Poker News Daily

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Final Table Set

 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Final Table Set

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) Main Event is down to its final table, as the field was sliced from 30 players entering Day 3 to just nine. Aaron Mermelstein entered the day’s action as the chip leader and exited in the same spot, sporting a fairly healthy lead holding 6.15 million chips.

Mermelstein’s cushion over Yi Chi Li is about 1.6 million chips, which amounts to 40 buy-ins, so that gap is not insignificant. After Li and his 4.555 million chips is Matt Berkey with 4.045 million. So despite Mermelstein’s chip lead and the fact that I just said it is “not insignificant,” we’re looking at a pretty solid battle at the top.

After those three, it actually gets quite interesting, as from fourth place to eighth place, there is just a 655,000 chip spread with all five players in the 2 million chip range. After Berkey is Adam Levy (2.675 million chips), Martin Kozlov (2.320 million), Michael Aron (2.200 million), Dylan Drazen (2.110 million), and Luke Brereton (2.020 million). The jockeying for position among those five players could be interesting.

Pulling up the rear is Joe Kuether with just 565,000 million chips. Don’t feel too bad for him, though, and not just because he is guaranteed at least $ 75,413. On Tuesday, he will have the enviable and exhausting task of trying to navigate two final tables, as he had already made the final table of the $ 1,100 buy-in event before the SHRPO Main Event had begun.

One has to wonder if Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open organizers foresaw this as a possibility when they created the schedule or if they just didn’t care. My guess is some of both. Part of what was hyped by the casino for the SHRPO was the “Big 4,” which consists of the $ 1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Re-entry event, the $ 5,250 Main Event, the $ 2,650 Freeze Out, and the $ 25,500 High Roller Re-entry event. They were scheduled to create somewhat of a spectacle, with the tournaments starting on different days, but all four final tables being played today in the same room, all streamed online.

Final tables occurring at the same time has happened before, most notably at the World Series of Poker, but when you have 60-70 events, sometimes that sort of thing is inevitable. The Big 4 was intentionally done; organizers likely decided to just take the chance that someone might make more than one final table.

I have seen players try to play in two tournaments at once – I remember Barry Greenstein once scurrying between tables at the WSOP (I think it was one final table and one tournament that was part-way through) – but two final tables simultaneously is a new one.

Said final tables are just getting underway at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. Should be a fascinating day of poker.

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

Aaron Mermelstein – 6,150,000
Yi Chi Li – 4,555,000
Matt Berkey – 4,045,000
Adam Levy – 2,675,000
Martin Kozlov – 2,320,000
Michael Aron – 2,200,000
Dylan Drazen – 2,110,000
Luke Brereton – 2,020,000
Joe Kuether – 565,000

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Introduces Usain Bolt Edition Zoom Poker Tables

 PokerStars Introduces Usain Bolt Edition Zoom Poker Tables

As PokerStars’ push to attract and retain recreational players forges ahead, it has launched a new promotion, featuring, for the first time, a celebrity-branded poker table. Just days after retiring from his legendary sprinting career, Usain Bolt has lent his name to the – appropriately – Zoom Poker tables with the “PokerStars Zoom Usain Bolt Edition.”

The new Usain Bolt tables are the same as any other Zoom Poker table, but with the addition of Bolt’s name and likeness. PokerStars has also added the cute feature of turning the table’s traditional padded rail into a race track.

For those of you who are new to Zoom Poker, the rules of the game itself are the same as always. The mechanics, though, are different. Rather than sitting down with a set group of players at a single table, players select the game type and stakes and are then placed into a much larger player pool. Players are seated and contest a hand, but when a player folds, he or she is immediately whisked away to another table with a new group of players to begin the next hand.

The benefit of this for the player is that the action is constant; there is no more twiddling thumbs while waiting for a hand to finish. The downside is that it is much harder to get reads on opponents, as the opponents keep changing every hand. It is also, naturally, easier to bust more quickly, as the hands are completed more quickly (at the same time, one can win faster).

With these Usain Bolt tables, PokerStars is offering Zoom Challenges every day and every week from now through September 24th. There are daily challenges, allowing players to win up to $ 5,000, and those players who complete the required number of challenges (per the player’s Challenge window) will see their reward tripled for the weekly challenge.

It appears that the challenges vary based on the player. For example, some people on Monday have been given the challenge to win 9 cash game hands (interestingly, they don’t have to be Zoom Poker hands) in 15 minutes with minimum stakes of $ 0.01/$ 0.02 (so really any stakes), while some just need to win 6 hands. In the examples I have seen, players have up to 20 chances to complete the challenge before a new one is issued.

If everyone’s possible rewards are the same, they are paltry, but still more than zero. There is a 68.499 percent chance to win 50 whole cents for hitting the daily challenge, a 30 percent chance to win $ 1, a 1 percent chance to win $ 2, a 0.5 percent chance to win $ 10, and a 0.001 percent chance to win $ 5,000.

As challenges vary person to person, it is possible that the prizes do, too, but my guess is that they are the same across the board, as PokerStars has explicitly stated that the top prize is $ 5,000. And again, the weekly prizes triple if a player completes enough daily challenges.

Poker News Daily



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