Posts Tagged ‘Former’

Former PSC Champion Raffaele Sorrentino, Andre Akkari Head PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table

 Former PSC Champion Raffaele Sorrentino, Andre Akkari Head PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table

After battling through the 1682 player field, six men are left at the final table for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona, which will be played out on Sunday at the Casino Barcelona in Spain.

Sixteen players came back with the chance of making the final table on Saturday, with Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari in command of the field. Sitting with 6.16 million in chips, Akkari still had to contend with the likes of a past champion on the PokerStars Championship circuit, Monte Carlo champion Raffaele Sorrentino, and Alex Difelice. It was an international gathering as well, with 14 nations represented amongst the 16 men (only the United Kingdom had more than one representative, with three).

The players wasted little time in getting down to business. Yaron Zeev Malki was the first player to depart (and receive the final €61,400 payout from the prize pool), leaving 15 guys guaranteed €69,600 for their efforts. Andrew Hedley, Day 2 chip leader Mauricio Salazar Sanchez, and Rens Feenstra all went out for that payday as it seemed the day would wrap up quick in playing from the remaining 12 players to the eight-handed PokerStars Championship final table.

That was the point where the tournament hit a logjam. Although there was plenty of effort at knocking out players, it always seemed that the all-in player found an opportune moment and double up. Tsugunari Toma (through Lachezar Plamenov Petkov) and Aeragan Arunan (through Albert Daher) would be two players who survived such action, although Toma would depart in twelfth place at the hands of Petkov. When Donald Duarte Sierra was eliminated by Sorrentino in eleventh place, Sorrentino’s pocket Jacks standing over Sierra’s A-7, the final table “bubble” was within sight.

Sorrentino and Akkari would be the most aggressive players of the Day __ action, often bullying the players on their respective tables with their “power poker” play. The news wasn’t as good for Difelice, however, as he found pocket Queens to his liking for an all-in move. The problem was Arunan woke up behind him with pocket Aces and, after the board rolled out with no lady waiting, Difelice headed to the rail in tenth place and brought about a redraw to the nine-handed unofficial final table just before the remaining nine men took a dinner break.

Back from the evening meal, the players didn’t even get a chance to settle into their seats before a stunning hand brought about the end of the night. Albert Daher raised from under the gun and found Sorrentino ready with calling chips. The hand got more interesting when Mesbah Guerfi moved all in from the hijack and, after everyone cleared out of the blinds, Daher wasted little time in making the call. Sorrentino was still interested, however, getting a count of Daher’s all in (for 3.4 million) before making the call himself. The massive pot brought about strong hands from all its participants:

Guerfi:  pocket treys
Daher:  A-Q off suit
Sorrentino:  pocket Jacks

Although he came in with the worst of it, Daher immediately took over the lead on the Q-Q-10 flop. Sitting with trip ladies, Daher had to feel good until the King peeled on the turn. Now Sorrentino had an open-ender to the straight and, like a thunderbolt, the open-ender was closed when the river nine gave Sorrentino his straight. Covering both men (Guerfi out in ninth and Daher out in eighth), Sorrentino took over the chip lead.

There was still some work left as tournament officials pushed onward, trying to get the table to the final six due to the stack sizes in relation to the blinds and antes. Akkari, who was at the bottom of the table after the double knockout, finally found his stride and moved up the leaderboard. In fact, Akkari used his knockout of Arunan in seventh place to solidify his third place standing for Sunday’s final table:

1. Raffaele Sorrentino, 15.5 million
2. Lachezar Plamenov Petkov, 10.325 million
3. Andre Akkari, 8.15 million
4. Brian Kaufman Esposito, 6.475 million
5. Sebastian Sorensson, 6.125 million
6. Usman Siddique, 3.875 million

The final table for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event will commence at noon on Sunday (6AM Eastern Time in the States), with the six men chopping up the remaining prize pool. Although all are guaranteed a minimum of €252,000, they all have their eyes cast to the top of the ladder where €1,410,000 is awaiting the champion.

Poker News Daily

Former PSC Champion Raffaele Sorrentino, Andre Akkari Head PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table

 Former PSC Champion Raffaele Sorrentino, Andre Akkari Head PokerStars Championship Barcelona Final Table

After battling through the 1682 player field, six men are left at the final table for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona, which will be played out on Sunday at the Casino Barcelona in Spain.

Sixteen players came back with the chance of making the final table on Saturday, with Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari in command of the field. Sitting with 6.16 million in chips, Akkari still had to contend with the likes of a past champion on the PokerStars Championship circuit, Monte Carlo champion Raffaele Sorrentino, and Alex Difelice. It was an international gathering as well, with 14 nations represented amongst the 16 men (only the United Kingdom had more than one representative, with three).

The players wasted little time in getting down to business. Yaron Zeev Malki was the first player to depart (and receive the final €61,400 payout from the prize pool), leaving 15 guys guaranteed €69,600 for their efforts. Andrew Hedley, Day 2 chip leader Mauricio Salazar Sanchez, and Rens Feenstra all went out for that payday as it seemed the day would wrap up quick in playing from the remaining 12 players to the eight-handed PokerStars Championship final table.

That was the point where the tournament hit a logjam. Although there was plenty of effort at knocking out players, it always seemed that the all-in player found an opportune moment and double up. Tsugunari Toma (through Lachezar Plamenov Petkov) and Aeragan Arunan (through Albert Daher) would be two players who survived such action, although Toma would depart in twelfth place at the hands of Petkov. When Donald Duarte Sierra was eliminated by Sorrentino in eleventh place, Sorrentino’s pocket Jacks standing over Sierra’s A-7, the final table “bubble” was within sight.

Sorrentino and Akkari would be the most aggressive players of the Day __ action, often bullying the players on their respective tables with their “power poker” play. The news wasn’t as good for Difelice, however, as he found pocket Queens to his liking for an all-in move. The problem was Arunan woke up behind him with pocket Aces and, after the board rolled out with no lady waiting, Difelice headed to the rail in tenth place and brought about a redraw to the nine-handed unofficial final table just before the remaining nine men took a dinner break.

Back from the evening meal, the players didn’t even get a chance to settle into their seats before a stunning hand brought about the end of the night. Albert Daher raised from under the gun and found Sorrentino ready with calling chips. The hand got more interesting when Mesbah Guerfi moved all in from the hijack and, after everyone cleared out of the blinds, Daher wasted little time in making the call. Sorrentino was still interested, however, getting a count of Daher’s all in (for 3.4 million) before making the call himself. The massive pot brought about strong hands from all its participants:

Guerfi:  pocket treys
Daher:  A-Q off suit
Sorrentino:  pocket Jacks

Although he came in with the worst of it, Daher immediately took over the lead on the Q-Q-10 flop. Sitting with trip ladies, Daher had to feel good until the King peeled on the turn. Now Sorrentino had an open-ender to the straight and, like a thunderbolt, the open-ender was closed when the river nine gave Sorrentino his straight. Covering both men (Guerfi out in ninth and Daher out in eighth), Sorrentino took over the chip lead.

There was still some work left as tournament officials pushed onward, trying to get the table to the final six due to the stack sizes in relation to the blinds and antes. Akkari, who was at the bottom of the table after the double knockout, finally found his stride and moved up the leaderboard. In fact, Akkari used his knockout of Arunan in seventh place to solidify his third place standing for Sunday’s final table:

1. Raffaele Sorrentino, 15.5 million
2. Lachezar Plamenov Petkov, 10.325 million
3. Andre Akkari, 8.15 million
4. Brian Kaufman Esposito, 6.475 million
5. Sebastian Sorensson, 6.125 million
6. Usman Siddique, 3.875 million

The final table for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event will commence at noon on Sunday (6AM Eastern Time in the States), with the six men chopping up the remaining prize pool. Although all are guaranteed a minimum of €252,000, they all have their eyes cast to the top of the ladder where €1,410,000 is awaiting the champion.

Poker News Daily

Former Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov Trial Date Set

 Former Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov Trial Date Set

In a case that is now dragging on into its second year regarding a transaction from 2014, former Amaya Gaming Chief Executive Officer David Baazov now has a date set for his trial on insider trading charges.

In proceedings held last week in the Quebec Court, Judge Claude Leblond scheduled the start of Baazov’s trial for a November 20 start date. Counting in holidays, the lawyers concluded that the trial will take about 13 weeks as the prosecution plans an extensive case. The attorneys for the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the province of Quebec’s equivalent of the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission, have called the case against Baazov and two defendants the “largest insider trading investigation in Canadian history” and plan to call around 50 witnesses.

Other than the sheer number of witnesses (including some that potentially could testify via videoconference), there are other problems that are lengthening the potential trial. The trial will be conducted in French (Quebec’s provincial language) because, as explained by the Toronto Globe and Mail, the case is a penal proceeding under Quebec’s securities act. Leblond has stated that an attempt to seat a bilingual judge will be taken and that the case will have all proceedings translated as close to simultaneously as possible. The evidence in the case, strangely enough, will be presented in English.

There is no list of witnesses at hand, but employees from Amaya’s investment bank, Canaccord Genuity Securities, are expected to be called. Additionally, at least one “informant” not named previously in court documents will be called to testify, although there is no information as to whether than informant will testify anonymously or not.

The case dates back to 2014 in what was – and still is – the largest online gaming transaction in the industry’s history. The #1 online poker website in the world, the privately owned PokerStars, was approached by Amaya Gaming and Baazov early in the year about a potential buyout of the family ownership behind PokerStars, the Scheinbergs. Negotiations moved quickly and, by June, the $ 4.9 billion transaction was complete for the online operations and all other pertinent properties.

What the AMF were concerned about was the period prior to the actual completion of the transaction. In unveiling their case a year ago, the AMF alleged that Baazov and two other men, Benjamin Ahdoot and Yoel Altman, utilized the information they had regarding the potential deal to make stock trades “while in possession of privileged information.” Along with the trio, three companies – Diocles Capital, Sababa Consulting and 2374879 Ontario – are also charged with insider trading and attempting to alter the fair market price of Amaya’s stock. Baazov also faces a communication of privileged information charge along with the other two charges.

There seems to be at the minimum smoke where the alleged fire is located. Prior to the sale, Amaya Gaming stock was trading around $ 7.50 per share on the NASDAQ boards but, as the information emerged that the deal was imminent, the share price soared over $ 35, nearly a five-time increase. Even today, the stock for Amaya is still trading around $ 15 ($ 14.50, to be exact).

Baazov has had a tumultuous history since the allegations came out in 2016. Since the charges were brought against him, Baazov has looked to stay in charge at Amaya Gaming before eventually taking a “leave of absence” that became permanent at the end of last year. He has also entertained the notion of buying PokerStars from Amaya Gaming and taking it back into private ownership. In December, that potential deal fell through, even though Baazov and his investors were offering more than what the stock was worth at that time ($ 24 per share, a 30% increase over its board price).

Even with the trial date set, there is still the potential for the AMF and the defendants to strike a deal and avoid any court proceedings. This is a fact that isn’t being ignored by either side as the attorneys are not making any statements to the press regarding the case that could affect any deal discussions. If convicted of the charges they face, Baazov and company would face stiff fines and potentially lengthy jail time.

Poker News Daily

Amaya Eliminating Many Former Full Tilt Jobs

 Amaya Eliminating Many Former Full Tilt Jobs

In mid-May, PokerStars absorbed Full Tilt’s liquidity, ending the checkered existence of the once high-flying poker room, leaving behind just the carcass of the Full Tilt brand. On Friday, eGaming Review reported that Amaya, owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt, was eliminating “dozens” of jobs in its London office, the assumption being that these positions were related to Full Tilt operations.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. When two similar operations merge, there are bound to be employee casualties because of job redundancy. That was especially the case here, since Full Tilt’s poker software wasn’t going to be used anymore; Full Tilt is now just a skin of PokerStars, using the PokerStars platform.

When the “merger” of PokerStars and Full Tilt was initially announced in February, Amaya said:

This platform migration will allow Amaya’s development and technology teams to focus on improving one market-leading platform rather than two, leading to a better gaming experience for all; improvements and features will be delivered faster and more efficiently rather than doubling development requirements. For instance, rather than splitting resources developing Full Tilt Jackpot Sit & Go and PokerStars Spin & Go features independently, teams will be able to work together on delivering the best possible product on one platform.

Eric Hollreiser, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars, acknowledged that the job cuts were, in fact, happening, saying that they would be balanced out by “a few dozen new roles in several offices.”

He added that the company was making efforts to place employees whose jobs were eliminated in other roles within the company – perhaps at other offices – in order to avoid laying them off altogether.

Related, Joss Wood at OnlinePokerReport.com made an interesting observation on the decision of Amaya to keep the Full Tilt brand intact, even though the poker room as we knew it was eliminated. As readers will remember, and as Wood reminds us, not long after Rational Group brought Full Tilt back from the dead, the company made it so that players could transfer money between their own accounts on PokerStars and Full Tilt. The resulting information that Rational (and eventually Amaya) was able to gather on how many players remained active on both sites, how many moved money one way or the other, how many closed one account, etc., was likely quite useful when the decision was being made on how whether to shut Full Tilt down completely or keep it alive as a skin of PokerStars.

That the Full Tilt brand still exists, says Wood, is evidence that enough players were brand loyal that Amaya did not want to get rid of Full Tilt altogether. Keeping it as just skin, though, still allowed the company to enjoy the cost savings made possible by folding Full Tilt’s liquidity into PokerStars’.

Poker News Daily

Former Poker Professional Alex Jacob Captures Jeopardy Tournament of Champions Title

 Former Poker Professional Alex Jacob Captures Jeopardy Tournament of Champions Title

When he was on the popular television show earlier this year, he captured the attention of the poker community and the game show world with his talents. Now, after a two-week tournament, former poker professional Alex Jacob can lay claim to the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions title.

Jacob never seemed to be challenged during the run up to the Championship Match. In the quarterfinals and semifinals, he smoothly walked through the opposition. In fact, in his quarterfinal match last week, Jacob couldn’t be caught in winning that stage, holding $ 26,800 to his opponents’ $ 10,200 and $ 8400 to render Final Jeopardy a moot point.

On Friday, Jacob was able to easily outlast his two competitors, Matt Jackson (who would eventually finish in second place) and Kerry Greene (third). Over the two day competition that made up the Championship Match, Jacob would win both days to take down the $ 250,000 first place prize (to go along with his previous Jeopardy winnings of $ 151,802); Jackson earned $ 100,000 and Greene picked up $ 50,000.

In an interview with Variety following the completion of the tournament, Jacob gave credit to his poker background in preparing him for victory on Jeopardy. “The most challenging aspect was probably just dealing mentally with the high stakes and the knowledge that I could win the tournament if I played well. The one thing I had going for me is that I’ve played for a lot of money on national TV before,” Jacob, who won the 2006 United States Poker Championship in Atlantic City, said to Variety’s Whitney Friedlander. “The thing that makes Jeopardy different than poker, though, is that there’s always another poker tournament… you only get one Tournament of Champions.”

Jacob’s performance on Jeopardy is a rarity for people in the poker community – a player or former player who earned something for their appearance. Earlier this year, poker pro Vanessa Rousso was acknowledged by many to have played the “finest game in the history of” the television reality show Big Brother but, when it came down to the final three players in the contest, the manipulations saw her ejected in third place, short of the $ 50,000 that the runner-up would earn and agonizingly short of the $ 500,000 first place prize. It is arguable, however, that Rousso will be able to use the notoriety of that Big Brother run for publicity (and potential profit) in the future.

Previous to Rousso, such competitors/poker players as Tiffany Michelle and Maria Ho (The Amazing Race) and Garrett Adelstein and Jean-Robert Bellande (Survivor) have been on the “small screen” vying for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, they would all come up short in their efforts. In 2009, Annie Duke came within one slot of taking down Celebrity Apprentice, but was foiled by host Donald Trump and his personal friendship with Joan Rivers (any money won during that event was for charity, however). Even Daniel Negreanu and Beth Shak have taken part in The Millionaire Matchmaker, looking for romantic setups.

This list is going to grow as 2016 comes to the fore. In the next installment of the Survivor series set to begin in February, poker professional Anna Khait will be on one of the teams competing for a million dollar prize. The grueling episodes of that show are already in the can (recorded) and Khait has been very silent on the outcome of the competition, not surprising as contestants on these shows normally sign a confidentiality agreement before even stepping in front of the cameras. The show will take place in Cambodia.

Congratulations to Jacob for achieving such a difficult goal. While the $ 250,000 windfall might have some wanting to get back to the tables, it seems those days are gone for Jacob. He identified his profession as a “currency trader” for the entirety of his Jeopardy appearance and, when asked what he would do with the winnings, Jacob stated that he would use it to pay for his recent wedding and a big honeymoon with his new wife.

Poker News Daily



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