Posts Tagged ‘Paul’

Noted Gamesman Paul “X-22” Magriel Passes Away

 Noted Gamesman Paul “X 22” Magriel Passes Away

The poker, backgammon and chess worlds were stunned earlier this week when it became known that noted gamesman Paul “X-22” Magriel had passed away at the age of 71.

The news apparently first came from Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, who noted Magriel’s passing to his Twitter followers. “Woke up to the sad news that backgammon legend Paul Magriel had passed away,” Seidel Tweeted on Tuesday. “He changed the game with his book, was a generous champion and an enthusiastic teacher. He changed my life and the lives of many others.”

Magriel’s exploits in the gaming arena – not just poker – extend back to his life as a young man. Decades before his exploits in poker during its “boom period” made him a semi-household name, Magriel was a notable chess player. According to Nolan Dalla (who also knew Magriel well), Magriel was the New York State Junior Chess Champion only a couple of years after a player by the name of Bobby Fischer had claimed the title. Magriel would put those talents to good use, hustling other chess players through the chess “scene” of New York City and eventually landing at the legendary Mayfair Club.

Along with his chess exploits, Magriel put his prodigious mind towards the game of backgammon. He played high stakes backgammon for up to $ 1000 a point – an unheard-of wager in the game – and won the 1978 World Championship of Backgammon. There are stories of a legendary match (told by Dalla) of a 17-hour match that Magriel won against the European champion at that time, Joe Dwek, that is still talked about today.

While not playing backgammon, Magriel always had his thoughts in the game. Magriel’s book Backgammon is considered a seminal tome on strategies for the game and he wrote a backgammon column for the New York Times for a lengthy period. In fact, his nickname – “X-22” – came from a time when Magriel set up several backgammon boards to simulate a backgammon tournament of 64 players and each board was given a name (“X-1,” “X-2,” etc.). In his simulation, “X-22” was the champion and it would also become Magriel’s nickname.

Magriel dabbled in poker at first, his first cash in a poker tournament coming in a victory in a $ 1000 No Limit Hold’em tournament at the Grand Prix of Poker in Las Vegas in 1985. He would play in the World Series of Poker that year and make a final table ($ 1000 Limit Hold’em), but it would be another five years before the poker world would hear from him again. In 1990, Magriel reemerged on the poker scene in winning at the European Poker Championships and, after another four-year absence, in London at the 1994 Festival of Poker with outstanding final table efforts in Pot Limit Omaha.

Magriel’s celebrity in the world of poker didn’t really take off until the birth of the World Poker Tour and his further success at the WSOP. Televised poker and its audience took to Magriel (and his idiosyncrasies) like…well, a duck to water, as Magriel plied his game. Magriel would often open the betting action by uttering “quack-quack” as his chips hit the pot, adding further legend to the “X-22” nickname (pocket deuces are known as “ducks”). Although he would never win a WSOP bracelet nor a WPT event, his entry into any tournament ensured it would be entertaining.

If his exploits in the world of gaming weren’t enough, Magriel was also a mathematics professor who worked in the field of probability. That work saw him earn an award as a National Science Foundation fellow, one of the top academic honors in not only the U. S. but also the world. He graduated from Princeton University and taught at the Newark College of Engineering (now the New Jersey Institute of Technology) for four years.

Over the course of his poker career, Magriel cashed in 71 tournaments and earned over $ 527,000. His last cash came in the 2017 WSOP, where he finished 304th in the “Crazy Eights” event. But it is arguable that he made more from his career as a high stakes backgammon player and hustling chess than his poker earnings.

According to Magriel’s Wikipedia page, he is survived by his second wife, Martine Oules, and their son Louis Magriel. Poker News Daily passes along our condolences to the Magriel family on the passing of their loved one.

The post Noted Gamesman Paul “X-22” Magriel Passes Away appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event Day 3 – Paul Michaelis Remains in the Lead, 49 Players Remaining

 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event Day 3 – Paul Michaelis Remains in the Lead, 49 Players Remaining

Instead of letting the pack catch up to him on Day 3 of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event, Paul Michaelis instead extended his lead. When the 49 players come back for Day 4 on Saturday, Michaelis’ name will be atop the leaderboard with 1.27 million in chips.

140 players came back on Friday with dreams of the latest PokerStars Championship trophy still in their heads, but the start of the day would be cruel. With only 127 players earning a cash from the tournament, there would be 13 unfortunate souls that wouldn’t earn anything from their trip to the Czech Republic except a memory. With this thought in mind, the field headed off on a planned five, 90-minute level day of action.

PokerStars Team Pro Fatima Moreira de Melo had arguably one of the more interesting days on the felt and it started virtually from the first hand of the day. After Martin Staszko opened the action and de Melo three-bet him, Michael Koran decided to make his stand. After Staszko ducked out of the way, de Melo called Koran’s all in and it initially appeared that there would be little drama. Both players had Big Slick, but de Melo’s was A♣ K♣, which became important when the flop came J♣ 7♣ 5♣. Koran went from chopping to out of the tournament as de Melo improved to 525K.

It only took about 30 minutes to reach hand-for-hand play, but it would take three times that to actually pop the money bubble. With two shorties behind him, Thomas Mercier put in enough chips to cover both from the button and only Mihai Manole decided to look him up. Mercier had the goods, however, as his A-J off suit was in the lead against Manole’s A-4. The K-Q-K flop opened up some chop opportunities and the five on the turn added to them, but the ten on the river only improved Mercier to an unnecessary Broadway straight. Fortunately for Manole, he was eliminated while Andrzej Siemieniak was getting knocked off by Konstantin Farber, meaning that Siemieniak and Manole shared the min-cash of €8700 (hey, €4350 is better than zero).

After the money bubble popped, the cash out cage became one of the most popular spots at the Casino Atrium Prague. It seemed that de Melo was responsible for most of those players heading to cash out as, on two different occasions, de Melo came out on the right side of an all-in situation and knocked out three players between the two situations. Through those two double knockouts, de Melo has remained in contention in the tournament.

The first time around, de Melo was on an A-K and got Arnaud Enselme and Aleksandr Mordvinov to commit with pocket Queens and pocket nines, respectively. While she was covering Enselme, she was running behind in chips to Mordvinov, which made the Ace on the 6-4-A flop fortuitous for the PokerStars Team Pro. Looking to dodge a nine or a Queen, the turn five and the river deuce didn’t change anything as de Melo tripled up, Mordvinov was cut down to 372K and Enselme was out the door.

The second time de Melo double dipped, it took down two pros. After James Akenhead pushed all in and Martin Staszko responded with his own all in “over the top” of Akenhead, de Melo could have quietly walked away. Instead, she called both bets and tabled pocket Queens for battle against Akenhead’s Big Chick (A-Q) and Staszko’s A-10. Nothing hit until the ten on the river, way too little, too late as de Melo took the double knockout to move close to a million in chips.

While de Melo was charging up the leaderboard and finished the day in excellent shape with 723,000 in chips (good for 11th place), it was Michaelis who quietly expanded his lead. He would reach over 1.5 million in chips at one point and, although he had a couple of missteps late in the night, he still was only one of two players to have more than a million chips when the close of action for Friday came:

1. Paul Michaelis, 1.27 million
2. Michal Mrakes, 1.032 million
3. Jason Wheeler, 931,000
4. Navot Golan, 888,000
5. Anatolii Zyrin, 825,000
6. Serhil Popvych, 812,000
7. Gavin O’Rourke, 803,000
8. Assaf Ben Yosef, 793,000
9. Alex Foxen, 761,000
10. Daniel Barriocanal, 740,000

Action is set to resume at noon Saturday in Prague (6AM Eastern Time) and is set to have five more 90-minute levels of play. That could change if there is a mass rush for the door from the 49 players that are left. With €775,000 going to the eventual champion in the PokerStars Championship Prague, the remaining players won’t be in any hurry to depart the proceedings.

The post 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event Day 3 – Paul Michaelis Remains in the Lead, 49 Players Remaining appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Day 2 – Paul Michaelis Holds Lead, Money Bubble Up Next

 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Day 2 – Paul Michaelis Holds Lead, Money Bubble Up Next

The final “big” tournament on the 2017 calendar, the PokerStars Championship Prague, has completed its second day at the Casino Atrium Prague. While the leaderboard may be a bit bereft of top pros, there is a fairly heated battle for first place as Paul Michaelis’ 630,500 chip stack hold the edge over Omid Mojaverian (597,500) and Erik Walfridsson (536,500).

409 players returned on Thursday to work the field down more from the 848 runners who originally started the event. Local favorite Michal Mrakes held the edge with 202,700 chips to start the day. He was followed up by Day 1B chip leader Tsugunari Toma (181,600) and Xixiang Luo (174,900), but down the leaderboard were some more notable players. Defending World Series of Poker Europe Main Event champion Marti Roca De Torres (170,900), former “November Niner” and Czech poker legend Martin Staszko (133,100) and several PokerStars Team Pros headed by Marcin Horecki (110,400).

With the schedule set for six levels of 75-minutes each, there was plenty of chances for play amongst the horde of players remaining. There was also the chance at getting to the money bubble as, after the final entries were accepted and tallied up, 127 players would walk off with a cash from their trip to the Czech Republic. €8700 would be earned for a min-cash by those at the bottom of the table, with the top seven finishers all guaranteed a six-figure payday. All wanted the top prize, however, which came in at €775,000 when the final numbers were calculated.

As usual at the start of a new day, there were a flurry of early knockouts from players on the short stack looking to double up quick. Stefan Schillhabel, Stephen Chidwick, Gaelle Baumann, Tom Middleton, Christoph Vogelsang, Manig Loeser and Sylvain Loosli were all out of the event within the first two levels. But a couple of players bore watching as they made their moves during the day.

Noted psychologist/writer Dr. Maria Konnikova, who has been pursuing poker over the past year as part of a book she is researching, was all in and got a double up through Guillaume Pau Davy when her A-10 caught against his pocket Jacks on a 7-6-3-A-Q board. She then turned around and nearly doubled again against Hari Bercovici when, on an all-hearts board, she was able to induce Bercovici to come along with her to the river where her J played. By the end of the night’s action, the good Dr. Konnikova had held onto enough chips to move onto Day 3 as a very short stack.

Michaelis slowly was making a decent chip stack until one of the final hands of the night catapulted him into the lead. After raising pre-flop, Michaelis saw Romain Lewis three-bet him to 20K. After a couple of moments, Michaelis made the call and the twosome saw a 9-6-5 rainbow flop that both checked. After a four came on the turn, Michaelis popped another bet into the center, this time for 33K, and Lewis made the call. The river paired with another four, which seemed innocent but set off the fireworks.

Michaelis moved all in, forcing Lewis to a decision for his tournament life. With 115,000 chips in front of him (still a strong stack to head to Day 3 with), Lewis thought for a good amount of time before the clock was called on him. As the clock clicked down, Lewis eventually made the call and was unfortunately on the wrong side of the decision. Michaelis’ pocket fives have flopped a set and rivered a boat as Lewis could only muster a 7 6 for two pair.

That hand thrust Michaelis into the lead with 635,000 in chips and, by the end of the night, it was good enough to hold the overall lead:

1. Paul Michaelis, 630,500
2. Omid Mojaverian, 597,500
3. Erik Walfridsson, 536,500
4. Boris Kolev, 510,500
5. Daniel Barriocanal, 504,000
6. Dimitrios Kalaroutis, 417,000
7. Paraschos Stavridis, 414,000
8. Fatima Moreira de Melo, 406,000
9. Kalidou Sow, 405,000
10. Robert Heidorn, 394,500

140 players will return on Friday afternoon to the Casino Atrium Prague, where the first order of business will be to pop the money bubble. 13 players will walk into the Prague afternoon tomorrow with absolutely nothing to show for their efforts, which should make for a very tense early couple of hours in the tournament. Once those 127 lucky souls are determined, the €4.1 million-plus prize pool will begin to get carved up as the latest winners on the PokerStars Championship circuit are determined.

The post 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Day 2 – Paul Michaelis Holds Lead, Money Bubble Up Next appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

Ron Paul Scolds Rep. Charlie Dent for Sneaky RAWA Efforts in Op-Ed

 Ron Paul Scolds Rep. Charlie Dent for Sneaky RAWA Efforts in Op Ed

Regardless of what one thinks about former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, poker fans have got to appreciate the support he has given online poker over the years. And though he is no longer in the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul is still making his feelings known about the subject, calling out Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent in an op-ed for for attempting to sneak an online gambling ban through without so much of a debate.

In June, it was reported that Dent was going to attempt to add language to the House Appropriations Bill – a gigantic bill which authorizes government funds each year – that would nullify the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) clarification of the Wire Act from back in December 2011.

The Wire Act, originally passed in 1961, explicitly made sports betting over telephone lines illegal as a way to try to slow down organized crime. As online gambling and poker rose to prominence, the Department of Justice interpreted the Wire Act to include all online gambling, not just sports betting.

In December 2011, though, the OLC clarified the Wire Act, saying that it did only ban internet sports betting. Because of this correct re-interpretation, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have legalized and regulated online gambling and a number of states, including Dent’s Pennsylvania, are working on the same thing.

This got Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and one of the country’s biggest Republican political donors, riled up and since then, he has tried to push his Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) through Congress, a bill which essentially says, “Yeah, that OLC memo doesn’t count. The Wire Act bans all online gambling.”

He has used Republican Senators and Representatives who want to be in his good graces to do his bidding, one of the latest of which seems to be Dent.

Dent actually tried this last year, but his colleagues found out about it before he could submit his amendment to the Appropriations Bill and told him it wasn’t going to happen. He still submitted it to save face before withdrawing it. Here is how it read.

And now, as Dent gets set to insert RAWA-language into another Appropriations Bill, Ron Paul is spitting fire. In his op-ed, Paul says that Dent’s “….proposed ban on online gambling violates the principles of federalism and threatens the constitutional rights of all Americans, regardless of whether they gamble online.”

He goes on to outline how arguments against online gambling are mostly bullshit scare tactics and that “Criminalizing online gaming could also set a dangerous precedent that could be used to attack other rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.”

Paul adds that the sheer fact that RAWA supporters like Dent are trying to sneak this through is evidence that they know they are full of shit. Otherwise, they would let it be debated.

“Sneaking this bill onto the Appropriations bill is exactly the type of political ‘trick play’ that has made so many Americans disgusted with Congress,” Paul writes. “This is especially so given that it is an open secret that much of the support for this bill comes from one billionaire caisson owner who is also one of the country’s largest political donors. No wonder a federal ban on online gaming is opposed by political figures from across the political spectrum, from libertarians like myself to progressives like Barney Frank.”

Featured photo credit:

Poker News Daily

2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 2: Paul Volpe Pulls to Lead, Five Shooting Stars Remain

 2017 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event Day 2: Paul Volpe Pulls to Lead, Five Shooting Stars Remain

Day 2 of the World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose, CA, is in the books and it is shaping up to be an outstanding stretch run. Atop the final 44 players remaining is poker professional Paul Volpe, but there are plenty of challenges facing him. Not only are there five Shooting Stars left in the tournament, one of them is WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton, who is looking to take over the lead in the WPT Player of the Year race should he make the final table.

264 players came back for Day 2 play, greeted with the news that they wanted:  the prize pool information. The massive 806 entries for the tournament – a record for the tournament – built a prize pool of $ 5,722,600 (part of this prize pool was the bonuses paid out to the Day 1 chip leaders and the player bounties), with WPT and Bay 101 officials deciding that 81 players would receive a minimum piece of $ 13,660. The eyes of all those left in the tournament were easily focused atop the pay scale, with a whopping $ 1,373,000 reserved for the eventual champion.

Now knowing how many players would be paid, the audacious task was set for Day 2. First, the field needed to work down to the money – meaning slightly more than two-thirds (70%) of the field would be disappointed on Wednesday – then take on getting down as close to 36 players to keep Thursday’s action (to the official WPT final table of six) as short as possible. While one of those endeavors would be completed, the other came up a bit short.

There were plenty of Shooting Stars left at the start of the day and, if they were on the short stack, it seems they quickly found the exit. Shooting Star bounty Chris Moorman was the first to go at the hands of Stuart Tuvey, netting Tuvey a $ 2500 bonus for knocking out the British pro along with his Shooting Star medallion and a commemorative t-shirt. Former NFL star Richard Seymour soon followed Moorman (Seymour’s pocket eights couldn’t catch Tuan Mai’s pocket Kings), along with Jason Koon, Anthony Zinno, Cliff Josephy, Marvin Rettenmaier, Bruce Buffer, Tom Schneider, Joe McKeehen, and Tyler Patterson. By the start of Level 14, there were still 23 Shooting Stars remaining, giving players plenty to strive for.

The news wasn’t all bad for the Shooting Stars. Former World Champion Scotty Nguyen doubled early to get up to 220K in chips, while Rainer Kempe (360K) and Noah Schwartz (305K) were at the top of those with the bounties on their heads. Also coming up the ladder at the start of the new level was Volpe who, while not a Shooting Star, had quietly worked his way into the mix with a 305K stack.

The parade of superstars with the Shooting Star medallion hanging around their necks – at least until they were knocked out of the tournament – continued throughout the afternoon. Andy Frankenberger, Mohsin Charania, ESPN poker announcer Lon McEachern, Igor Kurganov, Pat Lyons, and Tim West all hit the door after their chips disappeared from their grasp. Just as quickly as he went up the ladder, Shooting Star Nguyen would also head for the door in a particularly painful hand. After catching trip Aces on the turn against WPT Champions’ Club member Brian Altman with his Big Slick, Nguyen got his final chips to the center on the river only to see that Altman had flopped a set of fives and, with the turn Ace, made a boat.

With Shooting Star Mike Matusow heading to the door before the dinner break, 99 players were left and the money bubble was looming. What wasn’t going to be made, however, was the goal of reaching the final 36 players. Still, the players surged onward and, as the bubble came closer, Dominik Nitsche, Jesse Sylvia, Todd Brunson, and Ryan Riess would miss out on making the money in losing their bounty. What would come next would be an extended hand-for-hand period, with nobody wanting to depart the event.

For almost two hours, there were no eliminations in the tournament but plenty of double up. Sexton himself would triple up during this process, using pocket Queens against Eduards Kudrjavcevs’ pocket eights and another unnamed player to stay alive in the tournament. It wasn’t until Eddy Sabat, using pocket Kings, vanquished Oscar Zarate-Ramirez’s K♦ J♦ that the money bubble was popped and the remaining 81 players could celebrate their min-cash payday.

Once the bubble was done, the march to the cage began. Matt Stout (Shooting Star bounty) and Jeff Gross (SSB) both took home min-cashes, while Noah Schwartz (SSB), Chance Kornuth (SSB), David Tuchman (SSB), Sorel Mizzi (SSB), and defending champion Stefan Schillhabel all earned a bit more. As Level 21 began (and the clock passed 2:30AM), Bay 101 officials determined that the action would end at 3AM, regardless of how many players were remaining from the 46 players that were left.

Only two players were eliminated over the last 30 minutes of action, but the story for most was the rise of Volpe. With only 108K after the money bubble popped, Volpe increased his stack to 1.7 million and did it without great fanfare in the tournament arena. He would close the day out by adding a few more chips in holding a decent lead over Dan O’Brien.

1. Paul Volpe, 1.749 million
2. Dan O’Brien, 1.339 million
3. Igor Yaroshevskyy, 1.19 million
4. Charlie Carrel, 1.042 million
5. Garrett Greer, 1.034 million
6. Matt Affleck, 1.018 million
7. Sergio Aido, 879,000
8. Sam Panzica, 814,000
9. Tom West, 804,000
10. Brian Altman, 762,000

Greer holds court on the five Shooting Stars remaining, with David Williams (685,000), Kempe (513,000), Christian Harder (385,000) and Sexton (391,000) still hanging on to their medallions.

Because of the late night of play, the tournament will resume at 1PM (Pacific Time) with the requirement that the players reach the final six players before action will stop. With 44 players left in the tournament, that is going to be a difficult task, but it needs to be done to set the final table for Friday’s championship day at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star.

Poker News Daily