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2017-2018 WSOP International Circuit Schedule Released

 2017 2018 WSOP International Circuit Schedule Released

As if the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event hasn’t been big enough news for the past week, the WSOP recently gave players outside of the United States something to look forward to, releasing the schedule for the 2017-2018 WSOP International Circuit.

The schedule consists of thirteen events, though the WSOP says that more stops are expected to be added for the part of the slate that will take place in 2018. The first stop will kick off shortly after the WSOP Main Event ends, August 2-8 in Iguazu, Argentina. Next year’s tour stops do not have set dates as of yet, but are rather listed as “January,” “March,” “Spring,” and “TBA.”

“Our partner casinos have done a terrific job bringing the WSOP brand and experience to their properties,” said WSOP Director Gregory Chochon in a press release. “The WSOP International Circuit is here to stay and we look forward to continually improving the experience and prize pools for the players.”

Just like with the United States “domestic” Circuit, each International Circuit stop will allow players the opportunity to qualify for the season-ending WSOP Global Casino Championship, and invitation-only, $ 1 million minimum prize pool tournament. The first qualifier from each WSOP International Circuit stop will be the person who win’s that stop’s Main Event. The second will be the player who earns the most points across of that tour stop’s ring events.

On the U.S. Circuit, there will be 50 “at-large” qualifiers to the Global Casino Championship, which are the top 50 points earners during the entire season (obviously, there may be overlaps with the automatic qualifiers). There are no at-large qualifiers on the International Circuit.

$ 1 million is guaranteed for the Global Casino Championship’s prize pool, but the top 100 players in the 2017 World Series of Poker Player of the Year standings will be permitted to buy-in to the tournament for $ 10,000, thus potentially increasing the prize pool.

The current released schedule for the 2017-2018 WSOP International Circuit is as follows:

1. August 2-8, 2017 – CASINO IGUAZU, Iguazu, Argentina
2. August 25 – September 2, 2017 – HOLLAND CASINO ROTTERDAM, Rotterdam, Holland
3. September 1-11, 2017 – CASINO CAMPIONE, Campione, Italy
4. September 27 – October 4, 2017 – BIENAL PAVILION, Sao Paolo, Brazil
5. September 28 – October 18, 2017 – KING’S CASINO – Rozvadov, Czech Republic
6. November 1-15, 2017 – SONESTA MAHO BEACH RESORT & CASINO, St. Marteen, Caribbean
7. November 17 – December 4, 2017 – CERCLE CLICHY MONTMARTRE, Paris, France
8. November 28 – December 18, 2017 – THE STAR CASINO, Sydney, Australia
9. December 7-17, 2017 – ENJOY CONRAD PUNTA DEL ESTE, Punta del Este, Uruguay
10. January, 2018 – CASINO DE MARRAKECH, Marrakech, Morocco
11. March, 2018 – CASINO CAMPIONE, Campione, Italy
12. Spring, 2018 – KING’S CASINO – Rozvadov, Czech Republic
13. TBA, 2018 – CASINO ADJARABET, Tbilisi, Georgia

Last year’s WSOP International Circuit schedule had 14 stops, though with the note that more stops are expected, one would think that the 2017-2018 schedule will end up topping that. This will be the fourth season for the WSOP International Circuit.

 

Poker News Daily

2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Set

 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Set

One of the most exciting days on the annual poker calendar has been completed, as the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event final table has been determined. Leading the final nine players into Thursday’s action is New Jersey’s Scott Blumstein with 97.250 million chips, followed by the UK’s John Hesp with 85.700 million.

Beyond the chip counts, this final table is historic, as it is the first time it features two players who have previously made a WSOP Main Event final table. Antoine Saout, currently seventh in chips, finished third in the Main Event in 2009, while Ben Lamb, in the ninth spot right now, finished third in 2011.

We almost had a third repeat final table member, as Michael Ruane just missed, bowing out in tenth place. Ruane made the Main Event final table last year and would have become just the second person to make back-to-back Main Event final tables. Mark Newhouse did so in 2013 and 2014, finishing in ninth both times.

But wait, there’s more. Saout’s and Lamb’s appearances at the final table are even that much more amazing considering that not only did they both make the final table in the past decade, but they also put together incredibly deep runs in other Main Events. Last year, Saout placed 25th, while in 2009, Lamb came a few breaths away from the final table, getting eliminated in 14th place.

The odds of two final table appearances in such large fields (this year was the third-largest Main Event at 7,221 players) plus making the final three tables last year are just astronomical. Even if neither Saout nor Lamb win the whole thing, they are players that I know I, personally, will remember for a long time.

From purely a chip count perspective, it will be very difficult for either man to make it all the way to the end. Saout has just 21.750 million chips and Lamb is the short stack with 18.050 million. In fact, after Hesp’s 85.700 million chips, the next largest stack belongs to Benjamin Pollak, who has 35.175 million. Everybody is looking way up at the two leaders. Blumstein and Hesp have more chips between them than do the other seven players combined.

Antoine Saout is also part of another first this week. Both he and Pollak are from France, marking the first time in WSOP history that two people from France have made the final table.

For those of you who want to watch the action at the final table, remember that it will play out this week, rather than in November, as it had done for the past decade. The players get a break Tuesday and Wednesday (well, a partial break, as they will have to do interviews for television and what not) and then come back Thursday for a three-day final table.

On Thursday, play will go until six players remain, on Friday, it will go until three remain, and on Saturday a winner will be determined.

The entire final table will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, starting at 9:00pm ET each night. ESPN2 will broadcast the final table on Thursday, while ESPN will have it Friday and Saturday. All of the action will be “semi-live” with a 30 minute delay.

2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table Chip Counts

1. Scott Blumstein – 97,250,000
2. John Hesp – 85,700,000
3. Benjamin Pollak – 35,175,000
4. Bryan Piccioli – 33,800,000
5. Dan Ott – 26,475,000
6. Damian Salas – 22,175,000
7. Antoine Saout – 21,750,000
8. Jack Sinclair – 20,200,000
9. Ben Lamb – 18,050,000

Poker News Daily

2017 WSOP Main Event Down to 27

 2017 WSOP Main Event Down to 27

The 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event is down to just 27 players from its original 7,221 as the action heads into the last day before the always anticipated final table. Christian Pham, who earned his seat in the Main Event via a $ 575 satellite, leads the field with 31.440 million chips.

As we all know, making a deep run in a tournament like this requires plenty of skill, but also one’s fair share of luck. Pham has clearly done something right in his life as the poker gods blessed him on Saturday’s Day 5 to keep him in the tournament and allow him to sit on his perch going into Monday. He was all-in on the turn with 5-3 suited and the board reading 9-7-5-8. Josh Tieman, though, had pocket 8’s, good for a set. Pham was drawing to only a 6 to chop the pot with a straight on the board. He got that lucky card, survived the bluff, and obviously continued on to the chip lead the next day.

Pham has one WSOP bracelet to his credit and that one involved a different sort of luck. According to Pham, he had intended to register for a $ 1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event in 2015 but accidentally signed up for the much different $ 1,500 2-7 Single Draw event. No problem – he just went ahead and won the whole thing.

That bracelet earned him $ 214,332, making up the bulk of his $ 563,439 in live tournament earnings. This Main Event already qualifies as his largest cash, as Pham is guaranteed at least $ 263,532 at this point.

One of the more interesting things about the remaining field is that there are a number of players who have made a WSOP Main Event final table before. Ben Lamb (4th – 25.685 million chips) finished third in the 2011 Main Event, Antoine Saout (15th – 9.945 million) finished third in 2009, Michael Ruane (16th – 9.340 million) is gunning for back-to-back final tables after finishing fourth last year), and Marcel Luske (26th – 2.990 million) finished tenth at the 2004 WSOP Main Event, which isn’t technically the official final table, but we’ll give it to him.

Saout also finished 25th last year, so he has quite a knack for the Main Event. Benjamin Pollack (17th – 8.870 million) finished 27th in 2013.

Day 7 will begin at 11:00am Las Vegas time and will continue (with breaks, of course) until the nine-handed final table is determined. Remember, there is no “November Nine” this year; the tournament will pause for two days and then resume on Thursday for the three-day final table.

2017 World Series of Poker Main Event – End of Day 6 Chip Counts

1. Christian Pham – 31,440,000
2. Valentin Messina – 28,590,000
3. Jack Sinclair – 27,535,000
4. Ben Lamb – 25,685,000
5. Pedro Oliveira – 22,540,000
6. John Hesp – 20,880,000
7. Randy Pisane – 18,370,000
8. Scott Blumstein – 18,125,000
9. Richard Dubini – 14,975,000
10. Bryan Piccioli – 14,500,000
11. Richard Gryko – 13,760,000
12. Jonas Mackoff – 12,050,000
13. Michael Krasienko – 11,430,000
14. Robin Hegele – 11,150,000
15. Antoine Saout – 9,945,000
16. Michael Ruane – 9,340,000
17. Benjamin Pollak – 8,870,000
18. Alexandre Reard – 8,580,000
19. Karen Sarkisyan – 8,105,000
20. Dan Ott – 7,815,000
21. Damian Salas – 7,800,000
22. David Guay – 7,400,000
23. Scott Stewart – 6,230,000
24. Florian Lohnert – 5,360,000
25. Jake Bazeley – 3,915,000
26. Marcel Luske – 2,990,000
27. Michael Sklenicka – 2,230,000

Poker News Daily

Calvin Ayre Negotiates Misdemeanor Plea Deal with U.S., Two Other Charges Dropped

 Calvin Ayre Negotiates Misdemeanor Plea Deal with U.S., Two Other Charges Dropped

After years of not being able to step foot in the United States for fear of being apprehended by federal law enforcement, Bodog founder Calvin Ayre, a Canadian national with citizenship in Antigua, is no longer a wanted man. According to CalvinAyre.com, federal charges of money laundering conspiracy and illegal gambling against Ayre, Bodog, and three other Bodog officials have been dropped. And while that is great for Ayre, his website doesn’t tell the entire story. Flushdraw’s Haley Hintze is reporting that one charge was not dropped. Instead, Ayre pled guilty to one count of criminal misdemeanor charge of accessory.

Calvin Ayre has been one of the most outspoken online gaming executives in the industry, keeping a relatively high profile even after the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland indicted him five years ago. He has just stayed out of the U.S. in order to maintain his freedom.

The charges stem from Bodog’s offering of online gambling services to U.S. players from June 2006 through January 2012. Even after Black Friday, when PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and UltimateBet either left the U.S. market or went under, Bodog continue to accept U.S. players and does to this day.

At the time of the indictments, $ 67 million in player funds that was on its way to customers in the U.S. was seized from third-party payment processors. Bodog will not get this money back. Fortunately, the company did repay affected players.

Bodog is also going to pay a $ 100,000 fine, but in exchange, it will receive the rights to its Bodog.com domain name, which was seized years ago.

What the CalvinAyre.com piece did not mention, but Hintze researched independently, was that Ayre did plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor accessory after the fact. As part of the plea deal, he is paying a $ 500,000 fine and is placed on probation for one year.

Thus, while it is definitely good news for Ayre and Bodog that the government dropped two of the charges, Ayre did not get off free and clear and still felt the need (under the advice of counsel, almost certainly) to plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge.

One thing I always found a little nuts was that Ayre was on the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “ten most wanted” list. Sitting on that list right now are human traffickers and child pornographers, yet ICE thought someone who let people play online poker ranked right up there with them. Ayre’s name has come off the list, so the jet-setting playboy can now touch down on U.S. soil if he would like.

Sounds like he won’t, though. CalvinAyre.com asked its namesake about it, to which he replied, “I don’t see this settlement changing anything, as I’m happy with my life the way it is. I’ll continue to focus on being an online gaming industry analyst, a tech investor and a philanthropist. But most importantly, I’m just going to continue enjoying life to the fullest.”

Poker News Daily

2017 World Series of Poker: Championship Event Money Bubble Pops, Patrick Lavecchia Tops Field

 2017 World Series of Poker: Championship Event Money Bubble Pops, Patrick Lavecchia Tops Field

Late Thursday evening, the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event reached its second milestone. After becoming the third-largest WSOP Championship Event of all time (the first milestone), the first players to take a bit of the more than $ 67 million prize pool (and get a new mark on their Hendon Mob poker resumes) have been determined with the popping of the money bubble.

That didn’t look like it would happen when Day 3 started Thursday morning. 2600 players were still in contention when the cards hit the air, leaving some wondering if they would be able to make it to the money during Thursday’s play. Leading the pack when they went off the line was Artan Dedusha, but that Day 2 overall lead and a $ 1.50 would get him a cup of coffee and not much more until the money was reached.

More than half of the field that came back on Thursday left the Rio tournament poker arena with nothing more than shattered dreams. Of those that didn’t even come close to the money bubble, former World Champion Greg Raymer was one of the surprises. Coming back from the dinner break with a healthy stack of chips around 300K and looking to drive deep in the Championship Event once again, Raymer would get gutted in back to back hands that led to his demise. First, Raymer’s pocket tens were clipped by a rivered set of sixes to take about 40% of his stack, then saw his pocket Kings get topped by an opponent’s pocket pair of nines that found a third on the flop.

Raymer had plenty of company to join him on the rail to watch the bubble pop. 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem, two-time World Champion Johnny Chan, 1983 World Champion Tom McEvoy, Brandon Shack-Harris, Brian Rast, Mike Matusow, Adrian Mateos, Pierre Neuville, Kristin Bicknell, Juha Helppi, Doug Polk (who will have much more time for commentary on the WSOP broadcasts now), Loni Harwood and Rainer Kempe all would be sent off before the money was in sight. They also weren’t part of the decision that faced WSOP players and officials late in the night.

The original plan for the day was to play five levels (at two hours each) and quit around roughly midnight, but tournament officials decided that, with only 18 players left to the 1084 players who would earn a cash, that one more level on the night would be enough. The players adjusted to this change and, befitting of the decision, battled it out through the two hours of the extra level with several players benefitting from the extra time.

Dominik Nitsche made his statement in the extra level, knocking off Jesus Maceira Gonzales to move his stack up to 745K, while Tom Cannuli aided the field in eliminating another player when his pocket Queens stood over his opponent’s Big Slick on an eight-high board. As the end of the level approached, there were two more players to eliminate to get to the money and WSOP officials decided to go hand-for-hand.

Just before that hand-for-hand process began, there was a particularly interesting hand between, surprisingly, two pros. On a Q-3-2-7-9 board and facing a 63K bet from former “November Niner” Antoine Saout into a healthy pot, Scott Seiver heard the tournament director call for hand-for-hand play as he made his decision. More thought didn’t seem to help Seiver as he could never find the reason for a call as he chucked his cards to the muck. Saout showed some larceny in his soul as he showed Seiver a J-4 for complete air as the table moved on to hand-for-hand action.

The very first deal of hand-for-hand action brought Day 3 to a close. Two players, former WSOP Championship Event final tablist “Tex” Barch and Jason Funke, were able to double up through their hands and stay in the tournament, but two others didn’t. Davidi Kitai rivered an unnecessary full house to eliminate Quan Zhou short of the money and, simultaneously, Roger Campbell couldn’t get a fourth heart on the board for his A as Kenny Shilh’s Queen-high flush eliminated him from the tournament.

With those two eliminations, the final 1084 were determined as a wild celebration ensued (Zhou and Campbell played one hand for a seat to next year’s WSOP Championship Event – Zhou would win that). As everyone celebrated the fact that they had $ 15,000 in their pockets, these players were looking to take much more than the minimum cash:

1. Patrick Lavecchia, 1.552 million
2. Pawel Brzeski, 1.546 million
3. Antoine Saout, 1.529 million
4. Jeremiah Fitzpatrick, 1.523 million
5. Derek Bowers, 1.376 million
6. Mickey Craft, 1.345 million
7. Edward Nassif, 1.345 million
8. Scott Blumstein, 1.34 million
9. Artan Dedusha, 1.288 million
10. Greg Dyer, 1.276 million

Bubbling under the Top Ten is one of last year’s “November Nine” combatants Kenny Hallaert (1.256 million, eleventh place), joined by such other notables as Kitai (1.116 million), Ben Lamb (1.016 million) and Andrey Pateychuk (1 million) over the million-chip mark. Sofia Lovgren (997K), Cannuli (990K), Nitsche (829K) and Jared Jaffee (811K) are all in good shape to make a long run.

Day 4 will begin at 11AM (Pacific Time) as the remaining players decide who gets what piece of the monstrous prize pool. While making it to this point is an achievement, all who are surviving – even Jeff Del Castilho, who sits with EXACTLY 2000 in chips to start the day – still have the dream of becoming poker’s next World Champion. That still is a long way away, however, as the 2017 World Series of Poker grinds onward.

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