Posts Tagged ‘Takes’
When it comes to legal news, the gambling world (or at least the gambling U.S.) has been focused on Pennsylvania this year, as it is expected that online gambling will be legalized in the Commonwealth before the year is up. Sneakily, though, a small move is being made to legalize and regulate sports betting in Pennsylvania, as well. On Tuesday, HB 519, a bill which would do just that, passed the House Gaming Oversight committee by a 13-1 vote.
That’s great news, but at the same time, it is a little bit misleading. Even if the bill goes all the way through the House and the Senate and then is signed by the Governor to become law, casinos in Pennsylvania won’t all of a sudden be opening sports books. This excerpt from page 10 of the bill should give a hint as to why:
The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall, when Federal law is enacted or repealed or a Federal court
decision is filed that affirms the authority of a state to regulate sports wagering, publish a notice in the
Pennsylvania Bulletin certifying the enactment or repeal or the filing of the decision.
Sports betting is currently illegal in most of the country, outlawed by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). At the time that law was passed, states that had licensed casino gaming for the previous ten years could have opted to be grandfathered into sports betting, but only Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware chose to do so. Nevada is the only one of the four that has true sports betting – the others have oddball sports lotteries. Thus, Pennsylvania can’t just up and start doling out sports book licenses.
HB 519 would essentially get Pennsylvania ready to launch a sports gambling industry if the federal government or court says that states are allowed. It might not be quite as simple as dropping the green flag and yelling, “GO,” but the competitors would at least be at the starting line.
As such, Pennsylvania will be closely watching New Jersey, which has been battling the federal government, claiming that it has the right to regulate sports betting in the state. The Garden State has gotten its butt kicked on the matter so far, but its case is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. As Pennsylvania is in the same Third Circuit Court of Appeals as New Jersey, it would make no sense for Pennsylvania to take up its own legal fight, as it would clearly lose.
Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Matzie, the lead sponsor of the bill, mentioned New Jersey’s efforts in a House Co-Sponsorship Memorandum he wrote in January:
As you may know, the State of New Jersey has tried, several times, to legalize sports betting. Although their initial attempts were denied, their final appeal was scheduled to be heard by the US Supreme Court on January 17. The Court, however, announced that it would wait until a US Solicitor General was confirmed to weigh in on the issue. This is encouraging, given that President Trump has addressed his stance on the sports betting industry – and his support for legalization – on at least two occasions.
Our Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting in all its forms, and should be ready to act should the federal ban be lifted. As evidenced by yet another record setting year of gaming revenues, our licensed facilities are thriving. Legalizing sports betting will simply enable Pennsylvania to regulate a multimillion dollar industry that already exists.
The next step for HB 519 is to go to the full House, but as we have discussed, even if it keeps going, sports betting in the state is far from a guarantee.
It has been a hectic week of poker at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL. Battling through more than 1200 entries, including one of the biggest money winners in the history of poker, Tony Sinishtaj emerged victorious in the World Poker Tour’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown last night.
The Showdown started the day with Dan Colman, ranked third in all-time earnings behind only Daniel Negreanu and Erik Seidel, heading the field with his 9.975 million in chips. Sinishtaj was close behind Colman at the start, holding 9.515 million in chips himself, while Darryll Fish held down the third-place slot with 7.525 million chips. The bottom three – Simeon Naydenov (3.115 million), Robert Mizrachi (3.1 million) and Eric Beller (2.96 million) – were not considered to be real threats to the leaders, but with the right combination of skill and luck could thrust themselves into that position.
Thirteen hands in, one of the bottom three was gone. As is his wont, Naydenov wasn’t playing to move up the ladder, pushing all in for roughly his starting stack. And, per his style, Colman wasn’t about to let such a dangerous opponent get any chips uncontested. It proved that Colman had the edge, his A-7 holding firm over Naydenov’s K-8 after Colman flopped an Ace and turned one, to send Naydenov to the rail in sixth place and increase Colman’s lead.
Another thirteen hands of play saw the second elimination of the day and, once again, it was one of those players who started in the bottom half of the standings. On the cutoff, Beller would move all in as he looked to steal some blinds and antes. Unfortunately for him, Mizrachi woke up on the button with a hand and made the call. Once everyone else got out of the way, Beller showed his A-7 off suit for the battle while Mizrachi popped up pocket Kings to defend his chips. It was all but over from the beginning; a King in the window gave Mizrachi an utterly dominant set to leave Beller drawing dead and, after the formality of the turn and the river, out of the tournament in fifth place.
After Beller headed to the Hard Rock cage to collect his winnings, the remaining four men hit the brakes on the tournament. There wouldn’t be an elimination for the next 80-plus hands, but there was action. Most of it was coming from Colman, who looked to play sheriff on the table and instead saw his chip stack dwindle precariously. After doubling up Sinishtaj for the second time, Colman’s scraps for chips went to the center on Hand 114 with pocket deuces. Although both Fish and Sinishtaj would look him up, Fish would get credit for the elimination as he made a pair of sevens to knock out Colman in fourth place.
Only 20 hands later, the next departure came. Mizrachi was probably pleased about moving into the final three money, but a poker player’s drive always comes from trying to win the tournament they’re in. Fish was the beneficiary once again, making a pair of Queens on the flop against Mizrachi’s pocket fours, to eliminate the hometown favorite (the Mizrachis hail from Hollywood) in third place.
Even though he had been fairly active, Fish was still facing a pretty steep climb in heads up play against Sinishtaj. Down by a 2-1 margin, Fish played masterfully in the early parts of the heads-up battle and, over the span of roughly 20 hands, had taken over the lead. After another ten hands, the lead for Fish would stretch out to its own 2-1 margin over Sinishtaj. For Fish, that would prove to be the final highlight of his time in the Showdown.
On Hand 168, Fish limped in and Sinishtaj raised the action to 1.4 million. Fish pondered what was on Sinishtaj’s mind before moving all in and without hesitation Sinishtaj made the call. It turned out he was right – pre-flop at least – as Sinishtaj’s pocket sevens were leading Fish’s pocket deuces. Once the board ran out Q-J-9-A-9, Sinishtaj could breathe again as he took a key double up and retook the lead from Fish.
Five hands later, it was over. After a raise from Sinishtaj, Fish made the call to see an 8♦ 3♠ 2♦ flop. After first checking his option and seeing Sinishtaj fire again, Fish check-raised all-in for his tournament existence. Once again with no hesitation, Sinishtaj called the bet and turned up a K♦ Q♦ for the flush draw against Fish’s A-3 off suit (pair of treys). The end came quickly when a 6♦ came on the turn to leave Fish drawing dead and, after the exercise of dealing the river (a 9♦, for the record), crowning Sinishtaj the champion of the Showdown.
1. Tony Sinishtaj, $ 661,283 plus seat in WPT Tournament of Champions
2. Darryll Fish, $ 453,185
3. Robert Mizrachi, $ 293,864
4. Dan Colman, $ 217,686
5. Eric Beller, $ 164,438
6. Simeon Naydenov, $ 132,889
After taking a day off for the end of the Showdown, the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale will step to the fore for its conclusion on Thursday. Surviving from the 349-player field are six men who, for their $ 10,000 buy-in, will be amply rewarded today for their three days of labor!
Leading the way will be WPT Champions’ Club member Alan Sternberg, who will hold a sizeable stack of 4.605 million in chips when the table comes together again. Sternberg, the 2011 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star champion, has some quality competition looking to take him down once the cards hit the air. Just behind Sternberg is former World Champion Ryan Riess, sitting on a stack of 3.09 million chips, and a member of last year’s “November Nine,” Cliff Josephy, a little further back with 1.855 million chips. Toss in other “grizzled veterans” of the poker wars like Tim West (1.995 million), Terry Schumacher (1.385 million) and Jason Koon (1.03 million) and the final table should be an exciting one.
The final table of the Finale will begin at noon at the Hard Rock and the live stream with former WPT champion Tony Dunst will begin at 12:30 on delay at WPT.com (the tournament is not a part of the television schedule on Fox Sports 1). It also will mark the final entry from Season XV champions into the WPT Tournament of Champions (which begins Friday) if someone other than Sternberg should win the tournament (Sternberg, as a former champion, must buy into the ToC unless he wins the Finale).
After five days of battle at the Solis Hotel, Spa and Casino in Panama City, the final six men have been determined for the second-ever stop on the PokerStars Championship circuit in Panama. When the final table plays out on Monday, Russia’s Denis Timofeev will continue at the helm as he did on Day 4, but he’ll be sitting atop a 3.905 million chip stack for the penultimate battle.
12 men came back on Sunday with the task of setting the final table for the tournament. Timofeev, as previously stated, was in the lead with slightly more than two millino chips and there were some notable names in the pack behind him. Of particular interest was 2015 GPI Player of the Year Byron Kaverman, who was in third place with 1.236 million in chips, and the man who was the chip leader through the first two days of the tournament, Igor Yaroshevskyy. Yaroshevskyy was on the short stack with 422,000 in chips, however, and needed to make an early move to get back to viability.
It would take less than two hours for the players to eliminate three men and set the unofficial final table. Yaroshevskyy was the man who would earn that dubious honor, pushing all in after Kenneth Smaron put out a raise and Harpreet Gill made the call. Smaron immediately made the call and, after Gill sheepishly showed a A-2 as he mucked, Smaron showed Big Slick. Yaroshevskyy was beaten by a pip, holding Big Chick, but the flop had a sense of humor in coming down K-Q-3. Unfortunately for Yaroshevskyy, he couldn’t find another Queen to best Smaron and headed to the rail in tenth place ($ 27,260) and Smaron took over the lead.
Now with nine men on the redrawn unofficial final table, Timofeev and Kaverman were seated with Kaverman on Timofeev’s immediate left. Although he was out of position to a tough player, the duo didn’t tangle much. Instead, Timofeev took out his aggression on other members of the table. He forced Jonathan Abdellatif to lay a hand down and slowly saw his chip stack inch upwards. As Level 22 began in the tournament (10K/20K with a 3K ante), Timofeev was slightly behind Smaron while Kaverman was having difficulties.
Kaverman never got anything started once play reached the final table, getting his final chips in against Smaron with K-J against Smaron’s pocket treys. A monochrome 6♦ 3♦ 8♦ flop left Kaverman looking for something that would provide a split pot, but that wouldn’t come when a Queen came on the turn. Once the irrelevant river was dealt (a second Queen), Kaverman was ousted in eighth place and Smaron’s chip lead got bigger.
With one player left to the close of business for the night, play tightened up considerably until one stunning hand between Smaron and Timofeev. On a 9-2-8-4-J board and with 935,000 in the pot, Timofeev pondered his action before checking to the chip leader, normally not a recommended action. Smaron played his position, moving all in against Timofeev, who this time went deep into the tank. After a five minute reconstruction in his mind, Timofeev made the call and saw Smaron had 10-8 for a flopped middle pair. Letting off a relieved sigh, Timofeev showed a J-7 for the rivered top pair and took down the 3.29 million chip pot.
The very next hand, Timofeev stayed active in pushing a bet off the button. James Salmon three bet his stack out of the big blind and, completely unlike his hand with Smaron, Timofeev immediately made the call. His A-10 might have been on the lower end of the call spectrum, but it was the correct move as Salmon only mustered an A-2 for battle. A flopped ten all but ended the proceedings and, after a trey and a four came on the turn and river, Salmon was out in seventh and Timofeev was off to Monday’s final table with the chip lead.
1. Denis Timofeev, 3.095 million
2. Robin Wozniczek, 2.87 million
3. Kenneth Smaron, 1.855 million
4. Jonathan Abdellatif, 1.155 million
5. Harpreet Gill, 735,000
6. Anthony Diotte, 465,000
Play will resume in Panama City at noon on Monday, with the first-ever champion of the PokerStars Championship Panama taking home $ 293,860 for their efforts.
Niall Farrell is the chip leader after Day 2 of the 2017 World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Main Event, finishing the day with 893,000 chips. Not only is he the only player above the 800,000 chip mark (nearly 900,000 at that), he is also the only one above 700,000. The closest competitor is Chuck Nguyen with 644,000; he’s the only other player that even has 600,000. Just 57 players remain of the original field of 421.
Registration was open until the beginning of Level 11 on Monday and those who were eliminated in either of the two starting flights were also allowed to re-enter one more time on Day 2, so tournament added 45 more players yesterday to get to that 421 total.
With the final numbers in, the prize pool added up to $ 1,347,200. The winner will take home $ 284,638. Just 53 players will make the money, so some near the bottom of the chip counts might not have gotten the best night’s sleep last night, as the beginning of Day 3 should be tense.
The chip leader, Farrell, has been one of the most successful players on the live tournament tour in the past year. Among other accomplishments, he won the partypoker WPT Caribbean Main Event in November, finished eighth in the 2016 High Roller for One Drop, and finished second at the 2016 WSOP $ 1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout Event. All told, he has more than $ 3.3 million in live tournament earnings and currently sits thirteenth in the Global Poker Index.
Farrell made his leap to the top of the leader board very late on Day 2 when he eliminated fellow WPT champ and good friend, Chris Moorman. Farrell raised pre-flop, Moorman re-raised, and then Farrell four-bet to 59,000 before Moorman decided to just call. On the flop of K-J-3, Farrell bet 52,000 and Moorman called. The turn was a Queen and Farrell checked this time, Moorman then bet 50,000, and Farrell called after some thought. On the river Deuce, Farrell checked again, Moorman pondered his decision for a bit before he decided to go all-in for 130,000. Farrell had baited him, instantly calling with A-T for the nut-straight. Moorman turned over pocket Tens and that was it for him.
Tweeting afterward, Moorman wrote, “Had heaps then bluffed it all off to @Firaldo87poker when he had the nuts and I had the blockers #howgooddoesherun.”
The tournament will get back underway at noon Pacific Time at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort.
2017 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders
1. Niall Farrell – 893,000
2. Chuck Nguyen – 644,000
3. Alex Foxen – 568,000
4. John Hadley – 471,000
5. Sorel Mizzi – 466,000
6. Steven Tabb – 462,000
7. Brian Altman – 358,000
8. Dan Harmetz – 332,000
9. Mohsin Charania – 321,000
10. Kevin Eyster – 314,000
The second of two starting flights of the 2017 World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Main Event drew to a close last night with 210 players deciding to give it a go on Sunday. That brings the combined field to 376 so far; registration is open until the beginning of Level 11 (Monday will start on Level 9) and those who already played are still permitted one more entry on Day 2, so we won’t know the final numbers until later today. The Day 1B chip leader was Ting Ho, whose 181,300 chips also barely edged those of Saturday’s leader, Dhaval Joshi, for the overall chip lead.
Ting Ho’s live tournament profile is interesting. She has $ 373,070 in earnings according to TheHendonMob.com; nothing incredible for a poker player, but still a very nice sum. She has a long list of more than 60 live cashes, but even with all those successes and her six-figure earnings total, the vast majority of her scores are in three-digit buy-in tournaments. Ho’s largest cash came back in 2012 when she won a $ 500 + $ 50 at the Wynn Classic for $ 51,876. More recently, she finished 16th at the 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship Event for $ 35,000.
Ho wasn’t necessarily planning on playing in this event, but she took a shot at a satellite at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort and won a seat, so here she is.
As Ho isn’t a “name” poker player, she was not featured in the live tournament updates until late, when she was at or near the top of the leader board. After the evening ended, she told WPT.com about her day, saying that early on, she was just “grinding,” slowly building her stack through small, uneventful pots.
“But then I had aces cracked,” she said, recalling a hand in which someone called her with 6-9 suited pre-flop and went on to river a straight.
She continued (courtesy WPT.com):
And then an orbit later I have pocket aces again. It was the same action, a person raised, another called, so I made it 4x [the big blind] again, and then fold, and I get a call. So I’m like, ‘Ah [laughs]!’ And then the flop comes queen-high board with three diamonds, and I have the ace of diamonds. So I lead, I think he wanted to just call, but he threw out one too many orange chips (5,000) so it had to be a raise, so I flat. The turn comes a brick, I check, and he just piles all in. I thought for a while, I would have still had 15 big blinds going into Day 2, and I just decided to call, and he had ace-king.
There are 197 players remaining from the two starting flights, but as mentioned, expect the field to grow a bit more today. Day 2 begins at 12:00pm Pacific.
2017 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders
1. Ting Ho – 181,300
2. Ben Barad – 172,700
3. Alan Bittikofer – 132,500
4. Kou Vang – 111,400
5. Ari Engel – 105,600
6. Tyler Patterson – 104,100
7. Alan Snow – 103,800
8. Dan O’Brien – 101,800
9. Eddy Sabat – 100,300
10. Bob Buckenmayer – 99,800
2017 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders
1. Ting Ho – 181,300
2. Dhaval Joshi – 181,100
3. Jon Borenstein – 173,800
4. Ben Barad – 172,700
5. Michael Tureniec – 146,000
6. Kelly Douglas – 139,100
7. Alan Bittikofer – 132,500
8. Eric Baldwin – 113,700
9. J. C. Tran – 112,900
10. Kou Vang – 111,400