Posts Tagged ‘Down’

Two Day Ones Completed in PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event, Overall Numbers Down

 Two Day Ones Completed in PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event, Overall Numbers Down

The PokerStars Championships have made their inaugural swing to the Sortis Hotel, Spa and Casino in Panama City, Panama. The $ 3500 Main Event has booked its two-Day Ones at this point, but it is arguable that the overall numbers might be a bit low for the side tournaments and the Main Event.

On Day 1A, slightly more than 100 players would answer the bell for action, with a noted fighter emerging at the top of the standings. While Igor Yaroshevskyy reigned supreme over the Day 1A survivors with his 219,300 in chips, it was retired MMA champion Tito Ortiz who was drawing the lion’s share of attention. Ortiz, who has fought and won championships in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and most recently fought for Bellator MMA, was in second place behind Yaroshevskyy with his 182,000 in chips, setting himself up for Day Two well. Along with Jason Koon (175,500), Steve O’Dwyer (117,000) and former World Champion Ryan Riess (77,300), the day was replete with notables among the survivors.

Day 1B was expected to bring out a throng of players and it didn’t disappoint. 259 players came to the tables on Wednesday to bring the total number for the tournament to roughly 360 players. Of that number, 128 survived the minefields of Day 1B to join with their 43 counterparts from Day 1A to bring 171 players back to the fray on Day 2 Thursday. With his 154,300 in chips, Jiachen Gong emerged as the chip leader from Day 1B, but he will be down a bit in the overall standings.

1. Igor Yaroshevskyy, 219,600
2. Tito Ortiz, 182,000
3. Jason Koon, 175,500
4. Jiachen Gong, 154,300
5. Caufman Talley, 150,300
6. Martin Kus, 146,800
7. Kamal Abdel Bittar, 146,700
8. Luke Graham, 140,300
9. Vincente Delgado, 138,000
10. Pablo Fernandez, 133,700

What has been the bigger story of the PokerStars Championship Panama is the player numbers that have shown for the preliminary tournaments. Perhaps it is unfair to compare the player response to the Panama event against the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, but it is the only comparison that can be made currently for the “new” tour (the PokerStars Championships have taken over for the European Poker Tour and the “regional” tours that were once part of the PokerStars family). In looking at the comparison, it could be said that the Panama event isn’t drawing as hoped.

The Main Event of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas (itself formerly the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) saw a respectable crowd of 738 players turn out for the $ 5000 buy in tournament (and that was a low mark for the event – in 2016, 928 players came to the line). Although more than 350 players for a first-time event would be nice for most, for a PokerStars branded event it has to be considered a bit of a disappointment. If that doesn’t do it, then a look at some of the preliminary events – and a comparison to their counterparts in the Bahamas – might paint another picture.

For a $ 1000 “Win the Button” No Limit Hold’em Turbo tournament at the Atlantis event, 68 entries were received in the tournament; at the Panama event, only four entries were received. Another Turbo event, this one for $ 2000, only drew 19 entries from those amassed in Panama City. The $ 50,000 Super High Roller tournament, a staple of the old EPT, brought in only 21 players in Panama, very different from the 68 entries that came in for the Bahamas tournament. The “name” tournaments on the PokerStars schedule – such as their PokerStars Open (a $ 220 buy in tournament) – did draw equivalent numbers, but the PokerStars National Championship was different – a $ 1000 buy in event with re-entry for Panama, a $ 2000 single entry tournament for the Bahamas. Those tournaments saw roughly equivalent prize pools.

These numbers might not be quite as worrisome as it appears, however. The Panama stop is a first-time event, as will be the next stop on the PokerStars Championship circuit in Macau. It won’t be until May, when the PokerStars Championships head to Monte Carlo, where there can be comparisons made to tournaments that existed on the old EPT circuit. But it might be a bit concerning that player numbers are low as it might indicate players aren’t warming to the new “international” PokerStars Championship circuit.

The PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event will continue through the weekend. On Monday, the next champion will be crowned as the PokerStars Championships experiment continues onward.

Poker News Daily

Is the 24-Hour Poker Network Poker Central Shutting Down?

 Is the 24 Hour Poker Network Poker Central Shutting Down?

Since it was founded in late 2015, the television channel Poker Central has been trying to find their way in a very difficult broadcasting world. Now news is emerging that, by the end of December, the channel allegedly may shut down its cable network broadcasting outlet.

Per Kent Gibbons at Broadcasting and Cable Magazine, Poker Central has been having some difficulty getting on various broadcasting outlets around the country. The network had a partnership with Buckeye Broadband to broadcast the network in the Ohio region, but other outlets were either not willing to jump on board or were waiting until after the new year to go live with the channel (according to sources from Gibbons). Up to this time (and without the other programmers offering the network), the network had been doing decently reaching its fans through their Twitch channel and various streaming devices such as the Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

Apparently that wasn’t enough for those in charge of the network, including major investor/poker professional Cary Katz. The decision was made, according to Gibbons, by Katz to end the broadcast schedule on December 31 and it caught many of those in positions of responsibility by surprise. Gibbons could not even confirm the shutdown of Poker Central with the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Clint Stinchcomb (a former World Poker Tour executive), and many others were reportedly “disappointed” with the decision, according to Gibbons.

A press release from earlier in 2016 may have been the indicator that this move was coming. Back in September,  a press release announced the expansion of their digital (re:  online) product, partially because of their success on Twitch and partially to give their viewers what they want. “Poker Central is wildly popular with poker fans, who want the freedom to enjoy our content when, where and how they want” said Joe Kakaty, the president of Poker Central, during that press announcement. “We found an almost insatiable appetite for live poker and are investing in new studios in both New York and Las Vegas to feed it. Poker fans will love our full slate of live fast-action poker and our fantastic daily content offerings.”

Another member of the Poker Central hierarchy, Vice President of Content Sam Simmons, echoed Kakaty. “When our early access to the initial hours of the Super High Roller Bowl shattered Twitch records, we decided to embrace our audience’s preferred viewing habits,” commented in the press release.  “This means access to poker programming on the platforms of their choice, while expanding our live TV broadcasts by partnering with several fully distributed networks.”

Now it seems that those other “fully distributed networks” and the live television broadcasts are out the window. What will become of some of their broadcasting remains to be seen. In the September press release, it was mentioned that such programming as Pokerography (think A&E’s Biography, only about poker players) and the previously mentioned Super High Roller Bowl will be a part of their digital future. It was also mentioned that they would be mixed with “other live events, scheduled episodic web series, daily short-form news and edgy content that’s ideal for today’s consumption habits.”

What wasn’t mentioned expressly in the September press release or by Gibbons is the future of Inside Poker with Matt Savage or even Live at the Bike. The Savage program would delve into discussions with the major power brokers in the poker world (and some players would get in occasionally also), while LATB, the longtime cash game broadcast of live action from the Bicycle Casino in California, was looking to make its jump from just being an internet sensation to being broadcast across the country to fans. These programs may be a part of the digital future of the Poker Central offerings, but it wasn’t declared outright.

If the network is truly leaving, then it is unfortunate. Many attempts have been made at a 24/7 poker channel, both internationally and in the States of America, and it seems that there isn’t quite the audience to drive the bottom line for the programming. While having Poker Central as a digital outlet on Twitch or over the internet, it isn’t the same as sitting down in your chair to watch it in your living room on the HDTV.

Poker News Daily

DFS iTeam Network Shutting Down

 DFS iTeam Network Shutting Down

Another daily fantasy sports (DFS) site – or should we say sites, plural – bites the dust. The iTEAM Network announced yesterday that it is shutting down. Customers of the network’s sites should not have anything to fear, though, as a network representative confirmed to that player funds were kept separate from operating funds (as they should have been) and everyone will be able to cash out just fine.

This is just another example of a small DFS operator having trouble competing. DraftKings and FanDuel are the two monsters of the industry, owning more than 90 percent of the pie, so trying to push that rock up the mountain is not easy for just about anyone else except for maybe Yahoo!. When the two big boys have guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contests with total prize pools well into the six-figure and even seven-figure range, it is tough to attract players to contests that might max out in the low six-figure range, if that.

This writer personally has enjoyed the smaller sites, but of course, one that I played at went under and the other stopped offering services to most states. Small DFS sites present an interesting dilemma. For many players, smaller GPP’s don’t necessarily matter; just like in poker, not everyone plays big tournaments. The question for some in deciding whether or not to sign up with a small site is not so much player traffic, but the level of competition. On the one hand, small sites often have very soft competition, as the best players go for the top prizes at DraftKings and FanDuel. On the other hand, it is often only the most dedicated DFS players that hear about these sites (ever see one advertise on ESPN?), so the competition can sometimes be quite stiff.

DraftKings and FanDuel recently announced that they have agreed to merge, pending regulatory approval, in 2017. This sounds terrible for the smaller DFS providers, but they do have hope that a couple things could happen that would actually help them. First, the legal environment for daily fantasy in the United States is full of terrors and so far, it has been the two industry leaders who have fought the battles. Their combination could help clear the way for their competitors, who couldn’t otherwise afford the lobbying and legal costs. Second, a significant percentage of DraftKings and FanDuel customers have accounts on both sites. After the merger, they will need to seek out other sites if they want to keep some diversity in their play. Enter the smaller competitors to scoop up some of that action.

The iTEAM Network made headlines in early 2016 when poker pro Phil Ivey announced that he was going to launch a site on the network. PhilIveyDFS, as it was called, never went anywhere. Dan Bilzerian also had a site on the network.

The iTEAM Network looked like it was making inroads in the hardcore DFS community, as one of its sites,, has been involved in promotional partnerships with, the leading DFS hub and strategy site, but obviously any success it may have had couldn’t save the network.

Poker News Daily

Montreal Nationals Take Down Inaugural Global Poker League World Championship

 Montreal Nationals Take Down Inaugural Global Poker League World Championship

In a dramatic, winner-take-all final match that went the distance of its “best of 11” format, the Montreal Nationals’ Pascal Lefrancois defeated the Berlin Bears’ Brian Rast to take down  the inaugural Global Poker League World Championship.

The eight teams that showed up on Tuesday to determine the champion represented the top squads that survived from a long regular season grind. For the GPL Americas, the top seeded Nationals had to contend with the L. A. Sunset, the Sao Paulo Metropolitans and the San Francisco Rush (in their order of seed) if they were going to even have a chance at the GPL World Championship. On the other side of the bracket the Moscow Wolverines entered the tournament as the top seed, with the Hong Kong Stars, the Bears and the London Royals battling for the GPL Eurasia championship.

From the start on Tuesday, there was an intensity to the contests that arguably wasn’t there during the regular season. The Nationals and the Rush squared off inside “The Cube” and took the battle all the way to a climactic Game 7 in the “best of seven” series (four wins to take the match). With players such as the Nationals’ Mike McDonald, Marc-Andre Ladouceur and Lefrancois and Phil Galfond, Jonathan Jaffe and Faraz Jaka of the Rush inside the “Neon Box,” it would come down to a victory by McDonald over Jaffe to send the Nationals to the GPL Americas Finals and knock out the Rush.

The other semi-final didn’t let the crowd in the GPL Arena in Las Vegas down, either. Pushing their contest to a Game 7, the Sunset (with Olivier Busquet, Chance Kornuth and manager Maria Ho) and the Metropolitans (featuring Darren Elias, Joao Bauer and Thiago Nishijima) fought tooth and nail before Busquet eventually topped Nishijima to earn the other seat in the GPL Americas Finals.

As the top two seeds in the GPL Americas, it was expected to be another outstanding battle between the Nationals and the Sunset to see who would move on to the GPL World Championship Series. Instead, the Nationals seemed to have control of the event, moving out to a 3-1 lead before Ladouceur bested Ho and earned the Montreal Nationals a seat at the table for the GPL championship.

It was going to be tough to top the incredible action from the GPL Americas, but the GPL Eurasia decided to take a shot at it on Wednesday. The Wolverines (with manager Anatoly Filatov, Igor Yaroshevskyy and Andrey Pateychuk) made short work of the Royals (with a disappointed manager Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov and Justin Bonomo) in winning 4-1, while the Bears (with Rast, Sorel Mizzi and Bill Perkins) won three consecutive games after falling behind 2-1 to the Stars (Guo Dong, Randy Lew and manager Celina Lin) to earn their seat in the GPL Eurasia Final.

The GPL Eurasia Final turned out to be the most entertaining match of the GPL Eurasia bracket. Neither team could move ahead by more than one game, forcing the action to a Game 7 and the “winner take all” moment that makes sports so special. Rast, who could arguably have been called the MVP of the GPL Eurasia bracket, finished off his fifth win in five efforts inside “The Cube” on Wednesday by defeating Filatov to win the series 4-3 (a big upset as far as seeding) and the GPL Eurasia Championship.

On Thursday, both the Nationals and the Bears were primed for action, ready to determine the champion and the recipient of the $ 100,000 bonus for the eventual World Champion. In a slight change to the schedule, the GPL World Championship became a “best of 11” series (six wins) instead of the “best of nine” schedule (five wins) that had previously been scheduled. However many games the two teams would play, it would turn out that the battle would go right to the end.

Montreal seemed to be wanting to make quick work of the series, using victories from Lefrancois, McDonald and Jason Lavallee (originally scheduled to be a part of the early action in the GPL Americas but delayed by flight issues) to go up 3-1. The Bears would fight back, with Rast, Mizzi and Perkins pulling even at 5-5 after an impressive 4-2 run. Down to the last match, Rast and Lefrancois squared off on the felt and, on the final hand, provided the last moment of drama for the 2016 GPL season.

Holding pocket Queens, Lefrancois was able to get Rast (with 10-8) to see a flop with him and flopped the world. The 8-4-Q squarely hit Lefrancois but he played it cool, allowing the turn card to fully trap Rast when it came as a ten. Instead of having a sneaky two pair, Rast was drawing dead as he committed his chips against Lefrancois’ set of Queens to end the series with the Nationals winning 6-5.

Congratulations to Lefrancois, McDonald, Lavallee, Ladouceur and Xuan Liu (the only member not in attendance in Las Vegas) for winning the inaugural Global Poker League championship. Whether this same team will return in 2017 to defend their title remains to be seen, but it should be entertaining to see what innovations come for the second season of the league.

Poker News Daily

2016 WPT Caribbean Down to Ten Players

 2016 WPT Caribbean Down to Ten Players

The field of the 2016 World Poker Tour (WPT) Caribbean Main Event was pared from 75 to just 10 on Tuesday as the remaining players are on the brink of the televised final table heading into Day 4. Keven Stammen is the chip leader with 1.764 million chips.

From the looks of the chip counts, it should be a very competitive final day. Behind Stammen is Day 2 chip leader Troy Quenneville with 1.360 million chips, Niall Farrell with 1.300 million, Colin Moffatt with 1.249 million, and Anthony Augustino with 1.033 million. Duff Carette has 822,000 and the rest of the field has in the 500,000 chip range or fewer.

Kevin Stammen is an extremely accomplished live poker tournament player, currently ranked 68th on the Global Poker Index. He has one WPT title to his name and it was a biggie: the 2014 WPT World Championship. This was also the largest cash of his career, worth $ 1.35 million. Stammen has two other WPT televised final tables to his credit, plus two near-misses. He has 36 World Series of Poker cashes, including one bracelet, in the 2009 $ 2,500 No-Limit Hold’em event. All told, Stammen has nearly $ 5 million in live tournament winnings.

The gap between Stammen’s chip stack and that of Quenneville was largely the result of the 14th place elimination. Stammen had raised to 45,000 pre-flop and Roberto Vahlis (whose name my brain keeps wanting to equate to a shortened version of “Valar Morghulis”) moved all-in for 310,000 chips. Stammen called with pocket Tens and Vahlis revealed pocket Threes. Nothing overly dramatic happened the rest of the way and Vahlis had to exit the tourney.

One interesting note about this tournament is how it truly demonstrates the intersection of live and online poker. This tour stop, like several others, is sponsored by partypoker. Naturally, partypoker hosted online satellites so players could qualify for WPT Caribbean. Nearly half – 17 – of the 36 in-the-money finishers qualified via partypoker and 7 of the final 10 players won entry via a partypoker satellite. That doesn’t mean all of them are amateurs, as some people might assume – Stammen, for instance, was one such qualifier – but it is still a nifty stat to see.

Today, the field of ten will play all the way until there is a champion. Aside from a break after the seventh place elimination to get the live stream cameras setup, the tournament will play straight through to a winner.

2016 World Poker Tour Caribbean Main Event – Day 3 Chip Leaders

1.    Keven Stammen – 1,764,000
2.    Troy Quenneville – 1,360,000
3.    Niall Farrell – 1,300,000
4.    Colin Moffatt – 1,249,000
5.    Anthony Augustino – 1,033,000
6.    Duff Charette – 822,000
7.    Vishal Maini – 554,000
8.    Stephen Woodhead – 550,000
9.    Andrei Boghean – 455,000
10.    Yiannis Liperis – 323,000
11.    Jorge Arias – 244,000

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