Posts Tagged ‘David’

Marton Czuczor Leads EPT Prague Final Table, David Peters a Close Second

 Marton Czuczor Leads EPT Prague Final Table, David Peters a Close Second

The final table has been determined for the final event in the history of the European Poker Tour. Six players will come back to the felt at the Hilton Prague Hotel on Monday at noon local time (6AM East Coast time) with Marton Czuczor holding a slim lead over David Peters.

Peters, who ended Day 3 with the chip lead, didn’t hold that slot at the end of Day 4, but he was in second place at that time as well. With 18 players remaining, Jasper Meijer van Putten was at the helm of the ship with his 3.77 million in chips. Peters was lurking behind him with 2.985 million chips, while Czuczor was also in the debate in third place with 2.935 million chips.

The day got off to a big bang as Czuczor and van Putten decided to clash. After Andrew Hulme opened the betting pre-flop and van Putten called off the button, Czuczor pushed the action with a three-bet to 375K. Hulme got out of the way, but van Putten decided to stay around for a look at the flop. A K-J-6 flop greeted the duo and Czuczor was undaunted, putting out another 300K. van Putten also was still interested as he made the call and a five was dealt on the turn. After Czuczor laid out another 720K on the turn, van Putten decided discretion was the better part of valor, mucking his hand and sending the pot and the chip lead over to Czuczor.

It wasn’t long after this battle that Peters got back into the game. He raised pre-flop from the cutoff and only the small blind of Sergei Petrushevskii came along for the ride. A 4-Q-3 flop saw Petrushevskii check-call a bet of 145K from Peters and, after a ten came on the turn, he would do the same, this time following a 260K bet. A four on the river opened a couple of different options as Peters fired a third bullet of 370K at Petrushevskii. After some deliberation, Petrushevskii made the call and saw Peters toss pocket Kings on the felt. Whatever Petrushevskii had it wasn’t good enough; as he sent his cards to the muck, the nearly million chip pot pushed Peters back into the lead with almost four million chips.

Czuczor and Peters remained the story of the day’s play on Sunday, with one or the other at the top of the leaderboard for much of the day. By the time the last nine players were reached, it was Czuczor’s turn to lead the event with his 6.7 million in chips. Sam Cohen, the final lady in the tournament, was a bit behind in second place with her 4.88 million in chips, while Peters was located down the ladder with the second shortest stack after having run into some bad fortune.

Peters showed tremendous fortitude in forging his comeback. He took some chips from Czuczor to get back over three million, then capped another pot off Janos Kurtosi to top the four million point. When he knocked out Kurtosi in ninth place after turning a flush against Kurtosi’s air bluff, Peters was back up to 6.3 million chips and in the middle of the battle for the chip lead once again.

Not to be outdone, Czuczor took out a player himself. Instead of stopping with eight players remaining (the traditional EPT final table), action continued as Czuczor bumped off Kiryl Radzivonau off in eighth place, Czuczor’s pocket Kings holding against Radzivonau’s pocket nines, to push his lead back out to a comfortable level with 8.55 million chips. By the end of Level 28, Czuczor had more than a 2.6 million chip lead over Peters.

Both Czuczor and Peters captained the table as Level 29 began. It seemed that, if Czuczor wasn’t winning a pot, it was Peters, as the duo pulled away from the other five players on the table. Czuczor at one point cracked the 11 million chip mark before settling back to under 10 million by the end of the day’s play. Peters would be the one to bring about the closure of play, knocking off David Lopez Llacer in seventh place to firmly grasp the second-place slot for Monday’s final table.

1. Marton Czuczor, 9.71 million
2. David Peters, 8.88 million
3. Sergei Petrushevskii, 5.265 million
4. Sam Cohen, 4.52 million
5. Jasper Meijer van Putten, 3.815 million
6. Marius Gierse, 3.55 million

(Llacer in seventh and Radzivonau in eighth will both receive credit for making an EPT final table.)

Czuczor and Peters are going to have most of the attention for Monday’s final table, but it isn’t out of the question for someone from the remaining four players to make their mark. Cohen in particular has played a strong game and, should she win, she would join the sorority of Victoria Coren-Mitchell, Sandra Naujoks and Liv Boeree as the only women to have ever won an EPT Main Event.

Whatever happens on Monday it will be bittersweet as the EPT Prague – and the EPT itself – come to a close.

Poker News Daily

David Peters in The Lead at Final European Poker Tour Event in Prague

 David Peters in The Lead at Final European Poker Tour Event in Prague

It is said that if you’re going to go out, go out with a bang. The European Poker Tour is doing just that as, in their final Main Event in the illustrious tour’s history in Prague, Czech Republic, David Peters is holding the lead after Day Three with only 65 players remaining.

This will be the final EPT event ever because of changes instituted by the ownership of the circuit, Amaya Gaming. Instead of operating the EPT and various national sub-tours (the United Kingdom/Ireland Poker Tour and the Eureka Poker Tour, among others), Amaya Gaming has decided to close the doors on all of those and open “a new era” when the calendar turns to 2017 in a couple of weeks. Once the new year begins, there will be the “PokerStars Championships,” which will be huge tournament schedules located around the world, while the “PokerStars Festivals” will look to take the place of the regional tours around the world.

The players decided that, if the EPT was to be no more, then they wanted to be there for the final moments of action. Over two Day Ones (remember, the EPT Main Events offer only one shot), 1192 players came to the tables, topping the record for the event set back in 2014. Over the past two years, only the EPT Barcelona (which has been the kickoff for the season since 2014) has drawn in more players than the EPT Prague.

Day Two of the tournament was perhaps the most arduous for the players. Working their way down close to the money bubble of 231 players, tournament directors determined that, if there weren’t two eliminations before the end of the current level of play (Level 14, 1500/3000 with a 500 ante), then action would pause and everyone would come back on Friday with two people leaving with no money. If one person would be knocked off, then action would continue until the money bubble popped.

Of course, the obvious happened. One player, Espen Solaas, was eliminated by Apostolos Bechrakis rather quickly, ensuring another hour plus of play while the money bubble was popped. That came when Mike Brandau opened the betting and Attila Valentai three-bet his stack. Brandau made the call, showing pocket eights that were racing against Valentai’s Big Slick, and was rather unhappy when a King came in the window of a K-9-6 flop. A Jack on the turn kept Valentai in the lead, but the thunderbolt of an eight came on the river to give Brandau the set and the knockout, ending the day for the 231 players who earned at least a min-cash of €7560 from the event.

Friday’s play was a bit more rapid as the players looked to drive to the final table. Former EPT champion Nicolas Chouity (644,000) started off the day with the chip lead and the chance of another final piece of EPT history. In the 13-year history of the EPT, only one person – Victoria Coren-Mitchell – has ever won two EPT titles. With this being the final EPT, Chouity had the best shot at becoming the second person to pull off the feat.

The day belonged to Peters, however. After starting the day with only around 300K in chips, Peters never seemed to lose a hand throughout the day. In particular it seemed that Peters picked on Oleg Vasylchenko for chips as, during Level 16, Peters bet Vasylchenko out of a hand (with the board reading 8-2-A-9-5 with three spades) and picked up a nice pot. Their second clash would be much more dramatic.

In Level 17, Peters called a three-bet out of Vasylchenko to see another monochrome flop, a 9♠ 7♠ 6♠ arrangement. Peters would check his option and, after Vasylchenko pushed out 45K in chips, Peters moved all in over him. Vasylchenko considered his options for a moment, then called and showed a 10-8 for a flopped straight. Peters’ pocket sevens were good for a set, but he would need some help…which came in the 6♣ on the turn for a boat. Drawing dead, the meaningless K♠ sent Vasylchenko out of the tournament and catapulted Peters into the lead with 1.15 million chips.

Peters only kept climbing from that point, ending the action on Friday as the only player over two million chips.

1. David Peters, 2.036 million
2. Stoyan Obreshkov, 1.356 million
3 . Apostolos Bechrakis, 1.036 million
4. Janos Kurtosi, 1.026 million
5. Viteszlav Pesta, 1.025 million
6. Kyosti Isberg, 978,000
7. Andrew Hulme, 902,000
8. Marton Czuczor, 897,000
9. Hirokazu Kobayashi, 864,000
10. David Lopez Llacer, 862,000

With a win in this event, Peters would pass Fedor Holz for the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year award (Holz currently has 7058 points, Peters 6901). Peters would at the minimum have to make the final table to get by the German. On the other major POY race, the Global Poker Index POY, Peters is perhaps too far back to pass Holz, but he could pass Nick Petrangelo for second in the standings.

Action will continue at the Hilton Prague Hotel on Saturday at noon local time, with the plan to get the field down to the three tables. On Monday, the final champion in the history of the EPT will be crowned, with that player walking off with a €774,600 payday.

Poker News Daily

Ex-Amaya CEO David Baazov Makes $3.48 Billion Offer to Buy Company

 Ex Amaya CEO David Baazov Makes $3.48 Billion Offer to Buy Company

Amaya Inc., parent company of PokerStars, announced on Monday that it has received an offer from former CEO David Baazov to purchase the entire company. The offer price is CAD $ 24 per share, making the total deal valued at approximately CAD $ 3.48 billion.

Amaya’s stock price closed at CAD $ 18.34 on Friday, so Baazov’s offer represents a healthy 31 percent premium. Shares have leapt on the news, opening Monday morning at CAD $ 21. They are currently at CAD $ 21.50, a more than 17 percent increase from Friday’s close.

Baazov owns 17.2 percent of Amaya; his offer is not technically directly from him, but rather from a company that has yet to be created of which he will be the head. He also, as one might expect, will not be fronting all of the capital required to make the purchase. Four funds are contributing to the effort.

Baazov was the CEO of Amaya when the company bought the Rational Group, the firm that owned PokerStars, back in June 2014 in a stunning deal worth nearly $ 5 billion.

In March 2016, Baazov was charged by the Quebec’s financial regulatory body, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) with insider trading in connection with the PokerStars purchase. The AMF said he was involved with “aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya inc., and communicating privileged information.”

Shortly after the charges were filed, he took a leave of absence from Amaya. In August, he made that departure permanent, resigning from his post at the company. The news got worse for him in September, as the AMF accused he and others of putting together a kickback scheme to reward each other for insider information that led to trading profits. Kickbacks allegedly took the form of cash, checks, and even jewelry like a $ 13,000 Rolex watch. There is even evidence of an alleged 10 percent profit distribution to people involved in the 2014 PokerStars sale.

Amaya issued a statement on Baazov’s acquisition offer. It has been reprinted below:

Amaya Inc. (NASDAQ: AYA; TSX: AYA) confirmed today that it has received a non-binding all cash offer from its former Chief Executive Officer, David Baazov, on behalf of an entity to be formed to acquire Amaya at a price of CAD$ 24.00 per common share. Amaya also confirms that the offer provides for a USD$ 200 million deposit into escrow upon execution of a definitive agreement in respect of a potential transaction that would be converted into a one-year structurally subordinated, interest bearing debt obligation to fund a portion of the USD$ 400 million deferred purchase price for Amaya’s acquisition of the Rational Group in August 2014, such amount to be convertible into equity following the closing of such potential transaction.

The Board of Directors of Amaya, with the assistance of its advisors, will consider Mr. Baazov’s offer.  Shareholders of Amaya do not need to take any action with respect to any offer at this time. Amaya intends to provide updates if and when necessary in accordance with applicable securities laws.

As of the time of this release, there can be no assurance that Mr. Baazov’s offer or that any future bid or offer will ultimately result in a completed transaction.

Poker News Daily

AMF Documents Evidence of Alleged Insider Trading Kickback Scheme Involving David Baazov and Friends

 AMF Documents Evidence of Alleged Insider Trading Kickback Scheme Involving David Baazov and Friends

Hearings have begun in Quebec to discuss the insider trading case involving former Amaya CEO David Baazov and thirteen of his associates, which include family, friends, and business colleagues. According to CTV News Montreal, two days of hearings in front of a financial sector independent tribunal began on Monday. Baazov has been hit with a number of charges, including “influencing or attempting to influence the market price” of Amaya stock and “communicating privileged information.”

Quebec’s financial regulatory body, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), has documented an entire scheme in which it alleges that Baazov and others traded insider financial information in exchange for kickbacks. LaPresse made the AMF’s allegations public, which said that the scheme was of a “high level of organization and sophistication.”

The scheme, according to the AMF documentation, dates back six years, before Amaya acquired PokerStars’ parent company for $ 4.9 billion in June 2014. LaPresse wrote of the allegations (translated from French), “Several agreements were reached between the respondents to provide for the payment of dividends to be paid to [participants], and they were negotiated before the offenses.”

Kickbacks took many forms, from cash to checks to, in one case, a Rolex watch valued at $ 13,000.

The AMF says the scheme was clearly well-thought out and structured. For instance, the baker’s dozen involved allegedly rewarded each other with 10 percent of the net profits gained from any transactions in which they benefited from their information trading. The AMF estimates that the confidantes profited about $ 1.5 million from their insider dealing.

In late March 2016, David Baazov took a voluntary leave of absence his roles as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Amaya after he was indicted on the insider trading charges. At the time, he was supposedly working on a deal to acquire Amaya himself and take it private, so that was used as a partial excuse for his stepping away (he needed to “focus” on the acquisition package).

At the time, he said, “These allegations are false and I intend to vigorously contest these accusations. While I am deeply disappointed with the AMF’s decision, I am highly confident I will be found innocent of all charges.”

In August, he resigned altogether, saying, “I am proud of my contributions in building Amaya into the successful company it is today, and continue to be supportive of its strategy and management.”

David Baazov continues to maintain his innocence despite the evidence mounting against him. ““I want to reiterate that David Baazov is innocent, that he did nothing wrong and that he is eager to present his defense in court,” one of Baazov’s representatives said.

Poker News Daily

What Does Poker Businessman David Einhorn See in Amaya Gaming?

 What Does Poker Businessman David Einhorn See in Amaya Gaming?

The name David Einhorn is familiar to many in the poker community. The hedge fund manager who started one of the most watched companies in North America, Greenlight Capital, Einhorn has also shown a proclivity for poker over the past few years. He first struck poker gold at the 2006 World Series of Poker Championship Event, making it to 18th place before departing (then donating the entirety of his $ 659,730 in winnings to charity). At the inaugural Big One for One Drop in 2012, Einhorn worked his way to the show spot in earning a $ 4.352 million payday.

Suffice it to say that Einhorn knows his way around the poker table. So why would he take a shot at being a stockholder with Amaya Gaming, the biggest online gaming and poker company in the industry?

According to Gurufocus.com, Einhorn recently purchased more than 3.9 million shares in the company (3,962,684, to be exact), valued at roughly $ 60 million, prior to entering the final third of 2016. The purchase of the Amaya stock was in amongst other popular buys as Rite Aid (pharmaceutical sales), ARRIS International (communications) and Hertz Global Holdings (consulting and outsourcing), among others, but what was it that made Amaya so attractive that Einhorn pulled the trigger on a deal for a massive amount of stock?

Writer Bram de Haas of Gurufocus.com opines that the reasons for the Einhorn purchase range beyond just what Amaya has done with online poker. While noting that having the number one online poker site in the industry in PokerStars is a good thing, de Haas also details that currently online poker is having some difficulties. With individual countries enacting their own laws regarding online poker operations and/or examining ways to ban the activity, the “poker boom” that raged from the early Aughts through “Black Friday” has essentially ended (not a news flash to those of us in the poker industry).

De Haas believes that Einhorn is looking beyond just the potential of the poker product, in particular some of the ways that the poker product might be used to expand beyond just that game.

Amaya, which has been able to get PokerStars back in action in the U. S. in the New Jersey online casino industry, also has been providing a Fantasy Sports (DFS) product. StarsDraft, which was created last year, has been able to make inroads into the DFS world (but is staying on the good side of U. S. regulators, only operating in four states – Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts – that have authorized DFS games), using the massive mailing list that it compiled from its PokerStars days. Adding in BetStars, a sportsbook operation that is linked with the PokerStars branding, and Einhorn is betting that the Amaya stock will, in the future, be one of the top stocks in the industry.

There are three things that de Haas points out as being critical to the development of Amaya as a stock and, along with it, bring the financial windfall that Einhorn is betting on. “One, all U. S. states (have to) adopt clear poker regulations that at least allow Amaya into the market,” de Haas writes (something that, as seen in California, is going to be difficult to achieve). “Two, the U. S. (has to) arrive at a clear regulatory stance towards DFS (something that is already happening in that particular industry); and three, the Sportsbook’s expansion has to continue.”

Einhorn’s history in the business dictates that you at the minimum pay attention to his picks. Through running Greenlight Capital, Einhorn short sold Lehman Brothers stock prior to their eventual collapse and closure in the financial collapse of 2008 and has made quite a bit of money through this process with other companies. Greenlight Capital and Einhorn have also been on the other end, receiving a fine from the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority in 2012 for insider trading.

Charitable causes have also been very important to Greenlight Capital. Beyond Einhorn’s own philanthropy, the company has also contributed to such charitable causes as the Tomorrow Children’s Fund, the Center for Public Integrity and the Project on Government Oversight. Einhorn himself usually participates in one of Wall Street’s biggest charitable poker events, the “Take ‘Em to School” Poker Tournament in New York City, which benefits Education Reform Now.

Is Einhorn’s bet on Amaya one that will play out to a profitable close? Or has Einhorn backed the wrong horse this time? If history is any indicator…don’t bet against Einhorn’s instincts.

Poker News Daily