Posts Tagged ‘poker’

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open: Day 1A in the Books with Andy Philachack, Pablo Fernandez Holding Lead

 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open: Day 1A in the Books with Andy Philachack, Pablo Fernandez Holding Lead

The 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event is underway with an invading horde of top professionals looking to battle against the best that South Florida has to offer. With Day 1A in the books, pro player Andy Philachack is joined by Pablo Fernandez in sitting atop the standings.

The $ 3 million guaranteed event had a $ 5000 buy-in and, in a departure for most tournaments today, only featured one rebuy for the day’s starters (if eliminated on Day 1A, players could come back for two more shots on Day 1B). With 30,000 in chips and 60-minute levels (and late registration/re-entry available until Level 9), many in the poker community have chosen this tournament to “get back in the game” after the summer’s work at the World Series of Poker. This was evident from the stacked tables that greeted the players.

The four men who have previously won the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event – inaugural champion Blair Hinkle, 2014 champion Dan Colman, 2015 victor Omar Zazay and defending champion Jason Koon – each held court on a singular table, taking on the field as they looked for a second chance at championship gold. Not only did the former champions of this tournament take their seats, the current World Champion, Scott Blumstein, was also on the tables for action. Add in such notables as former World Poker Tour champion Tony Sinishtaj (2017 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown), Joe Kuether, Brian Altman, Maria Ho, Nick Schulman, Matt Stout, Ryan D’Angelo, Cate Hall, and a litany of other top pros amongst the 207 players who were there at the starting gun and the prestige of the tournament was obvious.

By the time late registration/re-entry ended after Level 9, the numbers were quite impressive. Seminole officials recorded 407 entries, with two players finishing with the exact same stack at the end of the evening. While Philachack was atop the standings for most of the day, Fernandez used a late evening double up while holding pocket Queens to sit alongside Philachack as Day 1A players take Saturday off:

1. Pablo Fernandez, 290,000
2. Andy Philachack, 290,000
3. Lahn Pham, 270,500
4. Alexander Turyansky, 263,300
5. Danny Schechter, 248,600
6. Jonathan Jaffe, 236,000
7. Oddie Dardon, 229,500
8. Nick Nieto, 226,300
9. Keven Stammen, 209,400
10. David Sands, 204,400

Add in players such as Paul Volpe (180,100 chips), John Hennigan (174,200), former World Champion Ryan Riess (159,600) and Ari Engel (145,900) and there are plenty of challenges still in contention.

Of the 407 entries on Friday, only 127 players will be ready to go with chips for Sunday. They will join up with the survivors from Day 1B of the tournament which, if it holds true for multi-Day One tournaments, should be a monstrous one. With less than $ 1 million to meeting the $ 3 million guarantee (less than 200 entries), the starting field on Saturday morning for Day 1B should eclipse the guarantee and potentially set up for a prize pool that may break the $ 6 million mark. It will be one of the things to watch for as one of the jewels of “The Big 4” – the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open final table will be contested on Tuesday as a part of “The Big 4” streaming broadcast on Twitch – continues the battle today.

Poker News Daily

Tom Dwan Makes Comeback on Revived “Poker After Dark”

 Tom Dwan Makes Comeback on Revived “Poker After Dark”

On Monday, Poker Central will revive the fan favorite Poker After Dark for its subscription service PokerGO. When the cards hit the air for the return of the show, it will also feature the return of a player who once held the poker world’s attention but has of late been a footnote to the game.

Coming back from the cash games in Macau, Tom Dwan (formerly known by his online moniker of ‘durrrr’) will be the featured competitor when the cards hit the air at 8PM on the inaugural episode of Poker After Dark on PokerGO. “I travel around a lot to play poker, and in Manila and Macau people ask me about those shows,” Dwan mentioned to Poker Central’s Remko Rinkema. “All over the world people liked watching those, and every time I get asked ‘When will they be back?’ I’m excited that now, after six years, they will be back.”

Dwan was one of the staples of Poker After Dark when it originally aired and the program brings back pleasant thoughts for Dwan as Monday approaches. “The shows were fun, they ended up being more interesting and more fun than I expected,” Dwan noted to Rinkema. “It also helped that I won basically every hand that I played. If I called they were bluffing, if I was bluffing they folded. I’m hoping that continues,” Dwan said with a chuckle.

Dwan has been an afterthought to many in poker after a stirring start. Storming the scene in the mid-2000s with an attacking style that caught many off guard, Dwan made his name in the high stakes online poker world and, particularly, heads-up poker. He attempted to have an impact on the live tournament world, including making several prop bets regarding winning World Series of Poker bracelets, but was unable to win any major championships. Still, the $ 2.2 million in career earnings from those games came in handy with one of his online endeavors.

The “durrrr Challenge” was a boast by Dwan that he was one of the best heads-up players in the world, with Dwan putting up a sizeable chunk of change to prove it. The challenge was for Dwan and an opponent to play 50,000 hands of No Limit Texas Hold’em or, in other cases, Pot Limit Omaha at stakes of $ 200/$ 400 over an agreed-on period. If Dwan were to emerge with even a penny of profit, his opponent would owe him $ 500,000. If his opponent were to come out ahead, however, Dwan would pay $ 1.5 million.

Two players stepped up to take the challenge (which wasn’t extended to poker professional Phil Galfond), Patrik Antonius and Dan Cates, with neither competition reaching a conclusion. In fact, the Cates/Dwan battle paused around “Black Friday,” with Cates ahead $ 1.2 million and Dwan showing absolutely no inclination to continuing the match. Instead, Dwan withdrew from the international poker community to concentrate on the lucrative cash game market in the Chinese gaming metropolis of Macau, where he’s basically been in action to the exclusion of the remainder of the poker world since around 2014.

The return of Poker After Dark will also see the return of another player that is considered a “living legend.” Doyle Brunson is said to be donning his cowboy hat for another run on the program, beginning on Tuesday night and continuing Wednesday night. Brunson has stepped away from tournament poker but is still holding court at Bobby’s Room in the Bellagio as a cash game player. His will be a welcomed return to a lineup that was already star-studded:

August 14 (Monday)

Tom Dwan
Daniel Negreanu
Antonio Esfandiari
Jean-Robert Bellande
Lauren Roberts
Bill Klein

August 15 (Tuesday) and August 16 (Wednesday)

Tom Dwan
Doyle Brunson
Andrew Robl
Jean-Robert Bellande
Lauren Roberts
Bill Klein

The game will be the usual that was originally on Poker After Dark:  $ 200/$ 400 Texas Hold’em, minimum buy in and a $ 400 button ante. The players will all walk to the table at ARIA Resort & Casino with a minimum of $ 100,000. Poker Central will live-stream the return of Poker After Dark over PokerGO beginning at 8PM (Eastern Time) on all three days as it continues to try to build an audience for their subscription service.

Will Dwan still have the same effect he had on top pros that he had on his first run on Poker After Dark? Or will he face a different poker world? Those questions and others will be answered starting on Monday.

Poker News Daily

MGM Launches Online Poker Site in New Jersey

 MGM Launches Online Poker Site in New Jersey

MGM Resorts International has beefed up its internet presence in New Jersey, launching a pair of online gambling sites last week: playMGMpoker.com and playMGMcasino.com. The two sites made their “soft launch” on August 1st, meaning they had limited uptime while the company and state regulators made sure everything was going fine. The sites are now running full-bore, giving players in the Garden State more options for both online poker and online casino games. MGM has partnered with GVC Holdings to use GVC’s partypoker software for the online poker room.

You might wonder why I said that MGM has beefed up its presence when the online poker sites/networks in New Jersey are PokerStars, 888/WSOP, and Party Borgata, but no MGM. That is because last year, MGM bought Boyd Gaming Corporation’s stake in the Borgata (they shared it 50/50 previously) to become the casino’s full owner. Thus, MGM is the company in control of the Party Borgata network.

Naturally, playMGMpoker.com will be a part of the Party Borgata network, along with BorgataPoker.com and nj.PartyPoker.com.

“We are thrilled to be entering the online gaming landscape in New Jersey with the expansion of our playMGM.com platform to include both casino and poker games,” said Chief Operating Officer of MGM Resorts International Corey Sanders in a press release last Wednesday. “The ability to effectively bring Las Vegas to New Jersey via an online experience is an exciting undertaking, especially as we continue to develop our presence on the East Coast with the recent acquisition of Borgata, the opening of MGM National Harbor and the pending 2018 opening of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.”

It is actually an interesting play here by MGM. It obviously already has the Party Borgata network, so adding another online poker room seems like a curious move. There is a real chance it could backfire and just cannibalize the other two sites on the network. Even if it is player-neutral, the added expenses in running playMGMpoker.com would make it a net negative.

At the same time, though, the idea here could be to use MGM’s brand name to grab some players from PokerStars and WSOP/888 as well as possibly grow the entire market by getting people who may have been interested in playing but never did to jump into the fray with MGM.

Additionally, playMGMpoker.com and playMGMcasino.com will be cross-promoting with MGM’s other properties, particularly the multitude of casinos in Las Vegas.

To kick it off, playMGMpoker.com is running a pretty solid promo for new players, offering $ 25 free with a real money deposit and virtually no playthrough requirement (there is one, but it’s minimal). $ 10 of the free money is just cash, while $ 15 is tournament money.

There is also a 100 percent deposit match up to $ 2,000. Now, while the percent is great, it is not as great. There is a fairly sizable playthrough requirement, the bonus is released in 10 percent increments, and players only have seven days to earn it. Those last couple parts make it tricky: deposit too much and the increments could end up so large that it is hard to unlock even one or two of them within a week.

Poker News Daily

Citing Early Demand, Guarantees at 2017 World Series of Poker Europe Increased

 Citing Early Demand, Guarantees at 2017 World Series of Poker Europe Increased

As anticipation builds for the event – as well as the demand from the players – officials from King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, and the World Series of Poker have announced changes to the guarantees for the upcoming 2017 World Series of Poker Europe.

The biggest announcement was regarding the guaranteed prize pool for the Main Event of the WSOP Europe. Instead of a €4 million guaranteed prize pool for the Main Event, another €1 million has been added to bring the total pool up to €5 million. The increased money will allow the eventual champion of the Main Event to walk away with a €1 million payday.

“We are encouraged by the number of early bookings for the WSOP-E, so much so that we have raised the total guarantee of the Main Event to €5,000,000 and now guarantee €1,000,000 to the winner,” said King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik, according to PokerNews.com’s Brett Collson. “My advice is to book now and secure your spot.”

The news regarding the increase of the Main Event prize pool was big, but further details regarding the biggest buy-in event at the WSOP-E continue to build the excitement. According to Tsoukernik, 90 players have committed to take part in the €111,111 High Roller event, scheduled to begin on November 3. Some of the players committed to the event include High Roller stalwarts such as Fedor Holz and Antonio Esfandiari and include others such as Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen and Antanas “Tony G” Guoga.

With the field capped at 111 players for the High Roller (and a guaranteed prize pool of €10 million), Tsoukernik has pledged to give up his seat should it be required. Tsoukernik, in an act of philanthropy, stated that should he walk away from the High Roller event, he would still allow his €11,111 deposit for his seat to be kept. The “juice” in the High Roller, that €11,111, will go to the One Drop Foundation, the organization founded by Canadian poker player/businessman/Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Lalliberte to ensure all people around the world have access to water.

The remainder of the WSOP-E schedule features nine other bracelet events, all with guaranteed prize pools from €500,000 to €2 million. The €2 million guaranteed prize pool will be “The Colossus,” a €550 buy-in event that would have to bring in 4000 entries to break even. Beginning on October 27, there will be 10 flights run to attempt to reach that magical figure.

There is a tremendous amount of history in the WSOP-E despite its short tenure. The inaugural WSOP-E Main Event saw the youngest ever WSOP bracelet winner, Annette Obrestad, pick up her first bracelet one day shy of her 19th birthday. In 2008, the final table of the Main Event featured Ivan Demidov, who became the first (and, so far, only) person to make the final table of the Main Event in Las Vegas and Europe in the same year. Demidov’s feat was joined by the crowning of John Juanda as the champion of the Main Event.

In 2009, a stirring battle between (now) Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu and CardPlayer Magazine owner Barry Shulman was the highlight of the WSOP-E. After five hours of heads-up play, Shulman was eventually able to defeat Negreanu to capture his second WSOP bracelet. 2010 would see the U. K.’s James Bord take down the WSOP-E Main Event championship in front of his countrymen.

In 2011, the WSOP-E decided to hit the road. Going from the Casino at the Empire in London to the Majestic Barriere Cannes and the Le Croisette Barriere in Cannes, seven bracelets were awarded as Elio Fox stopped Chris Moorman from taking his first WSOP bracelet. 2012 would be a historic year as Phil Hellmuth became the first player to win both the WSOP Main Events in Las Vegas and in Europe and, in 2013, Adrian Mateos picked up his first WSOP bracelet in defeating Fabrice Soulier for the crown.

At the end of 2013, it was announced that the WSOP-E and its international counterpart, the WSOP Asia/Pacific, would alternate years instead of being contested each year. The WSOP Asia/Pacific would take the even-numbered years and the WSOP-E would take the odd-numbered years. Thus, the WSOP-E would not be contested until 2015, when it was moved to the Spielbank Berlin in Germany. Kevin MacPhee defeated a 313-player field to win the bracelet that year.

What memorable events will be etched into the history books from the trip to the Czech Republic? It will all unfold beginning on October 19 when the World Series of Poker Europe starts.

Poker News Daily

New Team Poker Organization Attempts to Capture Poker Players’ Attention

 New Team Poker Organization Attempts to Capture Poker Players’ Attention

For at least the last couple of decades, there has been attempts at creating a poker system that would involve teams. While poker is, at its essence, an individualistic pursuit, casual fans and newcomers have stated in the past that “team” competition is something they also like. Several attempts have come in a live format and now one has started for the online world.

Team Gaming announced recently their “Team Poker” concept, which has been trademarked by its founder, Glyn Ottorfy. Citing previous efforts that present “no good team play option for online poker, partly due to the potential for collusion,” Ottorfy’s “Team Poker” system has created a system that allows for tournament competitions, team versus team battles and promotions, among other things. Also taken into consideration are team sizes, with a handicap process which allows smaller teams to compete on par with larger ones.

In the effort to combat collusion, the “Team Poker” concept employs what is called by the company a patent-pending “Seating Protocol” which “eliminates any potential for collusion between teammates in poker tournaments by never allowing teammates on the same table with opponents.” Few details are provided on this “protocol,” however, including how it would apply to final table circumstances.

“Our patented system brings a synergism and camaraderie to poker that only teams can enable,” said Ottorfy during the announcement of the new organization. “We plan to re-ignite the poker industry with team and league play in addition to the traditional individual performance and reward system. Team Poker is truly the new paradigm in poker.”

Ottorfy is looking to crowdsource the backing to get Team Poker up and running. Team Poker has been posted to Indiegogo, where the goal is to raise $ 50,000 within the next two months. Several award levels are offered to those who get involved, including subscriptions for play on the site and team waivers. The newly released Indiegogo campaign has had a bit of a time getting off the ground, however.

The “team poker” concept has been an idea that has been brewing since the early 1990s. Former gaming executive Robert Turner, in a discussion with this writer, recalled having an idea for a “team poker” concept as far back as 1991. “Marsha Waggoner and I took a team from the U. S. to Australia around 1992,” Turner commented. “Mike Sexton and Phil Hellmuth were on the trip, wish I had pictures!”

In 1999, Turner was behind the creation of World Team Poker, which he would spend the next decade bringing to fruition. “We signed 285 world-class players to contracts for the league,” Turner noted, which would be divvied up originally on a country status. In 2010, the first World Team Poker competition was held at the Bicycle Casino, with Team China (featuring former World Champion Johnny Chan and Maria Ho as key cogs) taking the inaugural championship.

A second World Team Poker event was set for play in Las Vegas at the South Point Casino in May 2011, but fates would intervene. “We were set for play, had Fox Sports 1 on tap for airing the tournament in prime time, but “Black Friday” caused a delay,” Turner recounted. “We’re still keeping hope alive (about bringing World Team Poker back), however, if online poker could make a comeback.”

In its own way, the inaugural Global Poker League also presented a “team” concept. Started in 2016, the GPL captured the attention of many in the poker world, but a second season has been a bit slow in its premiere. The GPL founder, Alexandre Dreyfus, has stated he’s trying to fix issues with the league, such as its length in 2016 that lasted from March until November, before moving forward with the league.

Whether Ottorfy will be able to develop “Team Poker” remains to be seen. Changing the mindset of the “lone wolf” poker player, however, is a difficult task. Even if it is only online, Ottorfy’s “Team Poker” faces an uphill climb.

Poker News Daily



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