Posts Tagged ‘WSOP’

WSOP November Nine is No More, Final Table Returns to Summer

 WSOP November Nine is No More, Final Table Returns to Summer

When it was announced a decade ago that the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table would be moved to November, rather than directly following the preceding days of the tournament, many jaws in the poker community dropped. To many, it was an intriguing idea, meant to allow ESPN to build up the excitement leading up to the final table, but to others, it was sacrilege. We have grown accustomed to the November Nine, though, which is why it may come as a shock to hear that it is no more. Starting this year, the Main Event final table will be contested in July following a two day break once the composition of the final table is determined.

This sudden change is the result of a deal between ESPN and Poker Central which sees Poker Central acquiring both the television broadcast and digital media rights to the World Series of Poker. ESPN will air the WSOP Main Event semi-live with a 30-minute delay, including the final table. Before this deal, the only portion of the Main Event that ESPN broadcast live was the final table in November. The rest of the Main Event was shown in weekly edited episodes leading up to the November Nine.

ESPN will also air a number of “original episodes” during the year.

“ESPN has been our home since 2002 and we’re delighted to extend the relationship into the next decade,” said Ty Stewart, the executive director of the WSOP. “Having every day live coverage of the WSOP Main Event is truly a huge commitment on behalf of ESPN and Poker Central and we look forward to delivering to our faithful audience wall-to-wall action from the outset for the very first time.”

The bulk of the WSOP Main Event will remain the same. Days 1A, 1B, and 1C will be July 8th through July 10th. The survivors of Day 1A will participate in Day 2A on July 11th; likewise, the Day 1B survivors will meet on July 11th for Day 2B, though in a separate field from those in Day 2A. Day 2C will be on July 12th. Starting July 13th, the remaining field will be unified through Day 7 on July 17th.

For the last decade, the tournament was paused at that point and then taken up again in November. No more. The November Nine is gone. Now there will be just a two-day break to allow the final table members to get some rest (and presumably do some interviews). The final table will then begin on July 20th and play down to six players. Those six will play down to three on July 21st and the champion will be determined on July 22nd.

Just like it did for the November Nine, ESPN will broadcast the entire final table semi-live. The rest of the live coverage of the Main Event will only be a few hours each day on ESPN and ESPN2.

Coverage that ESPN does not broadcast on television will be streamed by Poker Central online.

Poker News Daily

WSOP Alters “Calling Clock” Rule

 WSOP Alters “Calling Clock” Rule

The World Series of Poker has implemented a new rule for 2017 regarding how things will be handled when a player wants to “call clock” on an opponent. For those of you who are new to poker, “calling clock” or “calling the clock” is a formal process by which a player asks that a floor person force another player to make a decision on a hand if that player has taken too long to act.

The tricky part about calling clock has always been that it is very subjective. Who is to say, exactly, if a person is taking too long or is stalling? In one hand, protracted thought may be appropriate while it is not in another. Maybe someone who looks like they are stalling is really thinking hard. And how much time should be given by the floor?

The changes are not really much more concrete than they were, but they do seem to take into account tournament situations and give the floor leeway.

Previously, the rule gave all players a “reasonable amount of time,” which was defined as at least two minutes, to act in a hand. If the clock is called, the player in question gets one minute more to act, the final ten seconds of which are counted down by the floor person. If the player still hasn’t acted, his hand is dead. The floor person could also shorten the time if it is deemed that the player is intentionally stalling.

Here is the new rule:

Once a reasonable amount of time has passed and a clock is called, Floor People, in their sole discretion, may give the participant an additional 0 up to 30 seconds to make a decision. If action has not been taken when prompted by the Floor Person, there will be a 10-second countdown followed by a declaration or stopwatch alarm. If a participant has not acted before the declaration or alarm sounds, the hand will be dead.  Rio, in its sole and absolute discretion, reserves the right, at any time, to invoke a clock or speed up the amount of time allotted for a clock. Any participant intentionally stalling the progress of the game or unnecessarily calling the clock will incur a penalty in accordance with Rules 40, 113, and 114.

As you can see, there is no two minute minimum applied to the “reasonable amount of time.” Additionally, the clock time is shortened from one minute to anywhere from zero to thirty seconds plus a ten second countdown.

The new rule also gives the Rio (and by extension, the floor person), the flexibility to call clock without a player asking for it.

One point of interest from the WSOP’s notes about the new rule is that the floor person can also decide to not start a clock on a player, even if someone at the table asked for one. There are plenty of situations where tanking for several minutes should be permitted and if an impatient player wants clock called, the floor can easily deny the request, ruling that the hand is a crucial one in a key spot in the tournament, so those involved should be granted all the time they need.

Poker News Daily

WSOP Circuit Champion Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

 WSOP Circuit Champion Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

Instead of facing a trial that could have sent him to prison for 20 years, a champion of the World Series of Poker Circuit and smaller tours plea bargained his way down to only an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty.

Poker player Travell Thomas stood in the courtroom of U. S. District Court Judge Katherine Polk Failla on Thursday and received his punishment after pleading guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges in November 2016. According to U. S. News and World Report, Thomas tearfully stood in front of the judge and spoke about how his “gambling was out of control” as he operated the $ 31 million debt scam. “I would spend days at the casinos,” the site reports him as saying, “I wouldn’t even change my clothes.” He also said that federal authorities “saved his life” when they arrested him because he couldn’t gamble anymore.

The story, as well as Thomas’ clean record, had an impact on the sentence, but Judge Failla stated that Thomas “preyed on financially distressed people.” “A lot of the money that was taken went to him and his enjoyment,” Failla stated in court as she handed down the sentence. Assistant U. S. Attorney Edward Imperatore added in more evidence, citing greed as the factor that saw the profits from the business go to benefit Thomas, including season tickets to the Buffalo Bills, trips, jewelry, cars, gambling and other casino entertainment.

Failla did go easy on Thomas with the sentence, but stated that she needed to “send a message” to others who might want to try the same tactics. He could have faced up to 16 years because of the plea bargain with prosecutors, a slight reduction from the 20 he could have faced if he had gone to trial. Instead of the maximum, Failla sentenced Thomas to eight years and four months.

Where Thomas and his company seemed to have gone astray was in the methods they employed to get people to pay off their debts. Thomas taught his employees to threaten them with lawsuits or other crimes that the customers had allegedly committed, even lying to the customers by saying they would be federally prosecuted and that “their conversations” on the phone could be used as evidence. Additionally, according to court documents presented during Thomas’ arrest, he told employees of the company not to show their scripts to anyone outside the office as they “weren’t legal” to use.

It is a rather sorry end for one of the more colorful characters who ever came to the poker tables. He first struck on the tournament poker stage in 2006 in a $ 100 tournament at the Seneca World Poker Classic, but by 2009 he was playing on larger stages. At the 2009 United States Poker Championship, he made two $ 500 tournament final tables. With that success in his pocket, he moved up once again.

In December 2009, Thomas earned his first cash on the WSOPC in Atlantic City, which drove him into more events in 2010. Thomas won a Heartland Poker Tour preliminary event in May 2010 and, in August, won a $ 500 preliminary tournament during the Empire State Hold’em Championships. 2010 was also significant because it was, according to law enforcement, about the same time that Thomas’ company began employing their questionable tactics and Thomas began taking chunks of money that eventually totaled $ 1.5 million out for his personal usage.

In 2011, Thomas would win his first WSOPC ring in taking down an event in Atlantic City and captured his second in 2013 in Las Vegas. Those two victories surprisingly were the largest wins on his resume despite being only five-figure cashes. All totaled, Thomas cashed 87 times in his tournament poker career, earning slightly more than $ 510,000 (thanks to the Hendon Mob for the statistical information). Now, Thomas is a convicted felon who will head to prison in September and, perhaps the least of his concerns, a tournament poker career in shambles.

Poker News Daily

2017 WSOP Europe Schedule Announced

 2017 WSOP Europe Schedule Announced

The schedule for this fall’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe was published last week; it features 11 events, five of which have a combined €17 million in guarantees. Hosting the festival will be the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, a venue that has risen quickly in the poker world as one of poker’s premier tournament venues.

Last October, the WSOP agreed to a long-term deal with the King’s Casino that will have the WSOP Europe held there this year and in 2019. In 2018, the King’s Casino will host one WSOP Circuit stop in the spring and one in the fall and the one each spring in 2019 and 2021.

For those wondering where WSOP Europe will be held in 2018…it won’t! While the WSOP Europe was originally and annual event, it was decided in 2013 to hold it only every other year. In even-numbered years, the WSOP festival outside the United States will be the WSOP Asia Pacific.

“I’m so proud that that the WSOP Europe is coming to King’s,” said Leon Tsoukernik, the casino’s founder, owner, and CEO, in a press release. “I started off with a dream and my dream has come true and I hope poker players have their dreams come true too when they see the sheer size and facilities of King’s. With the awarding of WSOP gold bracelets, we have brought a huge piece of Las Vegas to Europe and we aim to deliver Vegas standards with this event too.”

Tsoukernik bought land in Rozvadov, a small town on the German border, in 2002, and in 2003 opened King’s Casino. An avid poker player himself (he won the 2016 EPT Prague Super High Roller Event), Tsoukernik took his casino into the direction of poker full-bore in 2009. It now has the largest poker room in Europe with 160 tables.

“WSOP Europe has struggled to find a permanent home since debuting in 2007 because we could never really find the venue or partner to replicate what we have in Las Vegas,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said in the same press release. “But I truly believe in Leon’s vision, his passion and King’s Casino to execute the best WSOP Europe to date. We are bullish in this becoming the European equivalent of the WSOP in Las Vegas, something we have always dreamed of doing when we first began our foray into Europe a decade ago.”

2017 WSOP Europe Schedule (dates indicate starting flight days)

Event #1: October 19-21 – €1,100 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold’em – €500,000 Guarantee – re-entry next flight
Event #2: October 23-24 – €550 Pot Limit Omaha 8-Max – re-entry
Event #3: October 25 – €1,100 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em – re-entry – €500 bounty on every player’s head
Event #4: October 26 – €1,650 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed – single re-entry
Event #5: October 27-31 – €550 Colossus No-Limit Hold’em – €2,000,000 Guarantee – two starting flights per day – one re-entry per flight
Event #6: October 28 – €2,200 Pot Limit Omaha 8-Handed – unlimited re-entry
Event #7: October 31 – €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better – re-entry
Event #8: November 1-2 – €1,100 Little One for One Drop No-Limit Hold’em – €500,000 Guarantee – re-entry
Event #9: November 1 – €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller – re-entry
Event #10: November 3- €111,111 High Roller for One Drop – €10,000,000 Guarantee – re-entry (111 player cap)
Event #11: November 4-5 – €10,300 WSOP Europe Main Event – €4,000,000 Guarantee – single re-entry

Poker News Daily

Maurice Hawkins Ties Record, Wins Ninth WSOP Circuit Ring

 Maurice Hawkins Ties Record, Wins Ninth WSOP Circuit Ring

I have a great life, no doubt about it, but damn if I’m not looking at Maurice Hawkins right now and feeling a bit envious. Hawkins may not be a household name in the poker world, but few players can match what he has been doing over the last few years. On Monday, Hawkins tied the all-time record by winning his ninth World Series of Poker Circuit ring, taking the title in a $ 365 buy-in event at the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Hawkins is now tied with Alexandru Masek for the all-time WSOP Circuit ring lead, but Hawkins dominates in prize money, $ 1,366,228 to $ 711,761.

Hawkins is also the kind of poker player that people either love or hate. He is a talker at the tables, to put it lightly. He’s the kind of guy that would be perfectly cast as a character in a poker movie. But he doesn’t care what people think; he is who he is and he loves playing poker.

“I’m a good dude,” he told in an interview after his latest win. “Most people are pompous assholes. And I really don’t give a damn if they like me or not. We’re from two different places. I’m not taking anything from them, but I’ve earned everything I’ve gotten in my life. If they don’t like me, they can really kiss my ass. I would rather be under-respected and overpaid than over-respected and underpaid.”

Damn, man. I need to live my life by that last sentence. That’s some insightful shit right there.

He continued, “People didn’t like (Charles) Barkley on the court. People didn’t like Dennis Rodman on the court. I’m not here to be your friend on the felt. Now if I catch you at a bar, it’ll be a different scenario, you know?”

This isn’t the first record Maurice Hawkins has set, either. He has been on a sick roll lately. In 2016, he became the first person to win three WSOP Circuit Main Events in a single year.

In April of last year, he won a $ 365 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold’em tournament at the WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Council Bluffs (Iowa) stop, earning his fifth ring. He entered the Main Event the next day and won. That same month, he won the Main Event at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina. Then, in November, Hawkins won the Palm Beach Kennel Club Main Event for his third Main Event victory of the year and eighth overall WSOP Circuit ring.

Only two other players have ever won three WSOP Circuit Main Events, but they didn’t do it all in the same calendar year: Blair Hinkle and Chris Ferguson.

Hinkle won his in 2010, 2013, and 2014, all, interestingly, at Council Bluffs. Ferguson won two Main Events in 2005 and one in 2007 and against much smaller fields than Hawkins did.

Hawkins and Ferguson are also the only two players to have earned more than $ 1 million on the WSOP Circuit.

In Maurice Hawkins style, Hawkins explained that no write-up of his third Main Event win was necessary, saying afterward, “We don’t need to explain who won. We all know when he got to the final table he was going to take it down.”

Poker News Daily

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