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Movers and Shakers in LA Poker Classic
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
How the tables were to turn as everything shifted in day 4, in preparation for the penultimate day of play at the Commerce Casino, Los Angeles. Day 4 had a plan; the plan was to play down to 18 or through 5 levels, and it got off to a roaring start with nearly 10% of the field eliminated within the first 10 minutes of play, but ultimately in one way or another neither part of the plan would be realised. By the time the 3rd level was played through 30 out of the 67 had gone to the rail, but things were to slow down, to an intense pace in the fourth round, which would also play host to one of the most exciting turn a rounds of the day. The deep–stack levels were taking their toll and at 9 p.m. an extra level was added making this a 6 level day.

Back to level 4 however, the biggest hand of the day; Chris Ferguson had come into day 4 in 9th place, Kofi Farkye as run away chip leader. The two met on a Farkye bluff to which Ferguson went all in; his pairs were enough, he doubled up and it wasn't long before Farkye was saying his farewells.

The last elimination of the day was that of Nancy Todd Tyner, the last woman in the tournament; she walked away in 21st place with $44,433. Enough was enough for a great day of play, and a night was called. 20 will return today for day 5, in which their number will be reduced to just 6. The top 10 going into day 5 are as follows:
  1. Chris "Jesus" Ferguson – 1,721,000
  2. Payman Arjang – 1,488,000
  3. Chris Karagulleyan – 1,146,000
  4. Xuan Nguyen – 1,130,000
  5. Binh Nguyen – 1,040,000
  6. Nick Schulman – 850,000
  7. Matt Woodward – 771,000
  8. Patrick Walsh – 766,000
  9. Dan Lu – 662,000
  10. Mike Sowers – 626,000

The Boys (and Girls) Are back in Town – NBC Heads-Up Championship List Released
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship is just around the corner and the excitement is virtually tangible as the list of participants hits the public domain. The event will be held at Caesars Palace between March 6th and 8th, and the 64 people on the list are enough to make you mouth water. Not just poker players, there will be actors and sportsmen taking their chances along with quite literally some of the most impressive characters in professional Poker. Both Don Cheadle and Orel Hershiser, who took part last year, have been confirmed as taking part, and the full list of participants includes no less than 12 World Champions!

The tournament will run in a bracket-style single-elimination format, only the last game of which will break this mould. The final heads-up play will be a best-of-three spectacle in which the winner of 2 will win $500,000 and the runner-up half that amount. The draws will not take place until the night before the tournament begins, however the list of participants has now been released and here it is! The sheer prestige of the list requires the entire list to be read, and so here it is, in alphabetic order:

David Benyamine, Andy Bloch, Chad Brown, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Don Cheadle, Glen Chorny, Allen Cunningham, Ivan Demidov, Annie Duke, Tom Dwan, Peter Eastgate, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Sam Farha, Chris Ferguson, Scott Fischman, Layne Flack, Ted Forrest, Brad Garrett, Jamie Gold, Clonie Gowen, Barry Greenstein, Gavin Griffin, Bertrand Grospellier, Joe Hachem, Gus Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Phil Hellmuth, Orel Hershiser, Jeffrey Ishbia (Caesars qualifier), Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Gabe Kaplan, Phil Laak, Howard Lederer, Erick Lindgren, Jonathan Little, Mike Matusow, Dario Minieri, Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, David Pham, John Phan, Greg Raymer, Vanessa Rousso, Ilari Sahamies, Huck Seed, Vanessa Selbst, Erik Seidel, Mike Sexton, Gavin Smith, Jennifer Tilly, J.C. Tran, Kenny Tran, Paul Wasicka, David Williams, Jerry Yang, Leon Yanovski (online qualifier). There will also be 3 further players from online qualifiers and one from a further Caesars qualifier.

LA Poker Classic Going Into Day 4
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The place, the Commerce Casino; the day, Day 3; the event, the $10,000 LA Poker Classic Main Event. With 163 hopefuls starting out on day 3 there was much blood, sweat, and tears as the first 100 fell penniless as the 63 money-bubble, and the conclusion of the day loomed. Last year's winner Phil Ivey was to fall along the way, as did Liz Lieu, and Antonio Esfandiari who had started the day as chip leader.

Responsible for Esfandiari's final demise was Mike Sowers who had a great day finishing amongst the biggest stacks of the day. Esfandiari's exit was in 65th place, leaving just one more until the bubble would reached.
Simultaneously Patrick Stemper was going all in on one table, and David Daneshgar was already all in on another. Stemper turned up a Qd, 7c on a 10h, 9h, 10d, 5c, 3d board, loosing out to a pair of sevens. Daneshgar had considerably better luck, not only ensuring his survival into day 4 but bringing himself back from the no-chip brink; So, Stemper was the unfortunate bubble boy, and Daneshgar got to live another day.

Kofi Farkye who has been strong throughout this tournament was able to increase his lead as the close of play approached, and Chris Ferguson caught some attention when he pretty much doubled up in the closing minutes of the day. The chip leads at the end of day 3 are:
  1. Kofi Farkye: 837,500
  2. Mike Sowers: 741,500
  3. Donald D'Auria: 666,500
  4. Jeremy Kottler: 574,500
  5. Chris Karagulleyan: 543,000
  6. Dan O'Brien: 534,500
  7. Anthony Venturini: 508,000
  8. Dan Lu: 507,500
  9. Chris Ferguson: 468,500
  10. Matt Woodward: 420,000
Day 4 play will get underway at 12 noon today, and the 63 returning players are guaranteed to walk away with a minimum of $23,052.

19-Year Old Fin takes EPT Scandinavian Open
Monday, February 23, 2009
Europe is known as the growing-fields of poker, giving under 21s an opportunity to play in the big leagues before they're eligible to play State Side; The EPT Copenhagen leg has proven to be yet another fine example of youth power in the poker world.

The European Poker Tour Scandinavian Open was a 5-day show case of fast play poker creating some incredible moments and some fantastic action. 462 players made up the field, over half of which came from the Nordic countries, and entrants included the likes of Gus Hansen, Bertrand Grospellier, Annette Obrestad, Thor Hansen, Dario Minieri, and Isabelle Mercier, and the full prize pool was €2,976,465. The final day of play was to turn out to be the shortest of the 5, lasting a mere four and a half hours. Going into final table play, Anders Langset was leading the pack with 1,119,000 followed by Rasmus Nielsen with 1,031,000; the shortest stack was that of Eric Larcheveque with 221,000.

First to be eliminated from final table play was Jonas Kausen who was sent to the rail by Peter Hedlund; he was to be followed by Larcheveque at the hands of Rasmus Nielsen, who was the next to be sent to the rail after going all in against Langset. Next to go was Petter Pettersson, another victim of Hedlund who then went on to win a huge pot from Jussi Nevanlinna and Jens Kyllonen, the former of which would not survive the rumble. Three handed play therefore consisted of Langset, Kyllonen and Hedlund, the former of which would go out in third place. Heads-up play didn't last long as Kyllonen went all in on a 220,000 raise; Hedland called and he couldn't hold up to a pair of jacks. Hedlund of Sweden took the runners up prize of €497,069, whilst 19 year old Kyllonen of Finland took the trophy, the title, his seat at the Grand Final in Monte Carlo, and €878,057.

Jorgensen Beats Hansen on Judge's Decision
Monday, February 23, 2009
The opening of the EPT Scandinavian Open was marked by the Scandinavian Poker Awards, and the end was marked as no other poker tournament has ever been marked before – with a boxing match! We reported last month that Gus Hansen and Theo Jorgensen were both in training to meet each other in the boxing ring, and Saturday night was the night!

Jorgensen in black headgear with some rather fetching black shorts with white strips stood against Hansen in his blue headgear and one-tone black trunks; it was only to last 3 rounds, but what a three rounds it was. The deal was that if Jorgensen was to win Hansen would pay $35,000, and if Hansen were to be victorious Jorgensen would pay $25,000.

Both "fighters" had taken professional trainers in the lead up to the fight and their influence was very clear. Hansen seemed to have the upper hand in the first two rounds, but the third saw Jorgensen come out fighting, and it was ultimately a panel judge's decision that made Jorgensen the winner. Whilst most fans believed that Hansen would prevail, the odds makers were mostly correct in their predictions that the Joregensen would be the winner. Neither player incurred any physical damage during the fight, and a good time was reportedly had by all, including the 30,000 or so spectators. The fight came about after Hansen received some "friendly" criticism from him pal regarding his shadow-boxing antics at the poker table; only time will tell if this real boxing experience will change his poker table behavior.

LAPC Main Event Update
Monday, February 23, 2009
Saturday saw the $10,000 L.A. Poker Classic Main Event get off to a cracking start filling up the tournament room of the Commerce Casino causing an overflow room to be used in an outside tent! Up on last year's numbers by 31, 696 was the final figure for registration creating a prize pool of $6,681,600, a first place prize of $1,686,760, and the smallest possible prize being $23,052, which will go to the 63rd place winner. This is the second biggest field yet to be seen at an L.A. Poker Classic Main Event, just about beating season IV which had 692 players, but falling quite short of season V's 791 players.

The 696 got knocked down to just 412 in the course of day 1; included in the losses along the way were Erick Lindgren, Kathy Liebert, David Benyamine, Shawn Buchanan, Robert Mizrachi, John Juanda, Bill Edler, Chino Rheem, Mike Leah, Scott Montgomery, and Scotty Nguyen who won the H.O.R.S.E. event here just days ago. Amongst the most notable players to survive day 1 were Phil Ivey, Eric Hershler, Antonio Esfandiari, and Michael Mizrachi.

Day 2 saw that number whittled down further in a very fast paced day of action in which the 412 survivors of day 1 were reduced to around 170. Two stars of the day were Antonio Esfandiari and Kofi Farkye, the latter of whom sent Phil Hellmuth packing. After 11 levels of play these were the chip leaders from day 2 of play:
  1. Antonio Esfandiari, 405,000
  2. Kofi Farkye, 391,000
  3. Mike Sowers, 338,000
  4. KJ Nam, 209,000
  5. Bertrand Grospellier, 190,000

Rajkumar Heads-up the Heads-up
Saturday, February 21, 2009
To continue a theme – as one door closes another opens; in this particular case that is the door of the L.A. Poker Classic Heads Up Championship ending, just in time for the Main Event starting.

12 players assembled yesterday for the final day of play in the $10,000 Heads Up Championship at the Commerce Hotel, having survived scads of games in the previous 2 days, all already in the money following a four-way 13th place tie the previous night including Michael Pesek, John Conkright , Scott Seiver and Peter Feldman each of whom walked away with $20,000. A brilliant day was had by all, not least the spectators, who really felt that they had seen a treat; so much edge-of-the-seat poker, at one time. The final results and payouts from the loser's bracket were:

Tie 9th: David Paredes, $25,150
Tie 9th: Owen Crowe, $25,150
Tie 9th: Ryan Hughes, $25,150
Tie 9th: John Racener, $25,150
Tie 7th: Steve Sung, $35,000
Tie 7th: Amit Makhija, $35,000
Tie 5th: Evan Roberts, $50,000
Tie 5th: Steve Billirakis, $50,000

Vivek Rajkumar was the bulldozer of the day, despite an earlier loss he had a great run taking down Ryan Hughes, Amit "amak316" Makhija and Evan Roberts along the way. After 3 hours of play Rajkumar beat David Oppenheim, and then James Mackey who he had had lost to earlier, and was then left with just Chris Moore to get through. Moore had hitherto been unbeaten, but a first game win by Rajkumar soon changed this reality; after much going back and forth and the clock striking 5 a.m. the game did finally go to Rajkumar: The top four results and payouts were:

1st:Vivek "psyduck" Rajkumar, $350,000
2nd:Chris Moore, $190,000
3rd:James "" Mackey, $100,000
4th:David Oppenheim, $75,000

This is Vivek Rajkumar's 3rd WPT win.

EPT Copenhagen, hotter than hot
Friday, February 20, 2009
The EPT Copenhagen stop has been a little chilly on the outside, but hot, hot, hot inside – the 50,000 DKR no-limit hold'em tournament drew 462 players from across the globe with a lot more than a little local talent represented. The first day one ended with a very clear victor; local boy Thor Hansen, whilst day 1b was the domain of Andrea Benelli who ended the day with over $100,000 to Hansen's $74,700. However, whilst the Italian had all the personal attention, there was one table that no-body could take their eyes off of; that of Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Annette Obrestad, Jesper Hougaard and Gus Hansen. Of that motley crew however, it was only to be Obrestad that would make it to the second day of play.

Day 2 saw 184 players return, and the plan was to play to the bubble, and this was assured a quick passage as the quick fire play that had been seen before continued into day 2. Lost along the way were Annette Obrestad, Trond Eidsvig, Isabelle Mercier, Arnaud Mattern and Luca Pagano. Having a considerably better time of it was Martin Wendt and Andrea Benelli who finished amongst the bigger stacks. Thor Hansen also had a fantastic day, not only making it into the bubble, but setting himself in a good position too. The chip leader at the end of day 2 however was Anders Langset of Norway, with an enormous $357,000, to second place chip holder, Rasmus Nielsen's $254,000.

All players returning for today's day 3 are guaranteed a minimum payout of €8,929 but of course every-one is hoping for the considerably larger first place prize of €878,057. Day 3 will play down to the final table which will reconvene tomorrow to determine the winner by tomorrow night.

Neither Gus Hansen nor Theo Jorgensen made it through to day 2 of this tournament, but let's not forget that we will be able to catch the two of them facing off against each other on Saturday night – in the boxing ring!

LA Poker Classic Update Part I
Thursday, February 19, 2009
It's all been happening at the LA Poker Classic, as the H.O.R.S.E event comes to an end, and the Heads Up Championship got under way.

The $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. event got started at 4 pm on Tuesday, with 96 entrants creating a prize pool of $921,600. This prestige-play tournament got off to a bit of a slow start with only 2 players getting knocked out before dinner, and just 26 going to the rail before the end of the first day of play. Chino Rheem was well clear in the chip leader board going into day 2, and despite having a close shave at around 3 hours in, he managed to play his way back and finished day 2 in 3rd place.

If day 1 was a little slow, day 2 was anything but. A sense of do or die certainly prevailed as everyone was painfully aware that only the final 8 end in the money. The number 2 position was filled by Matt Graham at the end of day 2 who hadn't had a dissimilar day to Rheem; getting dangerously close to going to the rail at one point. The chip leader however, Jeff Madsen had experience no such thing and had sailed his way through the day, and led with 50% more than Graham by the end of day 2. As play got underway yesterday, 16 returned but the final table was not to include the likes of Howard Lederer, Gavin Griffin, or Kenny Tran, and the first to fall from the final table was John Monnette. As they were dropping however, it was Scotty Nguyen who charged forward, and when he eliminated Matt Graham in 5th place his excitement couldn't be contained. Following a gentle warning from the tournament organizer, Nguyen did settle down. Not to be left behind however, Rheem wasn't to be forgotten about and he was responsible for both the fourth place elimination of Chris Tsiprailidis and the third place elimination of Jeff Madsen, which left Rheem and Nguyen virtually neck and neck. If however, you are were hoping for a final battle, you are to be sadly disappointed: a gentlemen's agreement was reached between the two, the money was split and the title was awarded to Nguyen!

LA Poker Classic Update II
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Whilst crazy things had been happening at the H.O.R.S.E table, we didn't have too much time to ponder them as, like they say, when one door closes another opens, and in this case it was the very exciting door of the $10,000 Head-Up Championship which has been a show case of some crazy poker and some crazy poker player prepared to play it; the ultimate winner of this championship and its $350,000 first place prize will have to have made 10 straight wins. This was no off-put however as the cap was increased for this event, from its original 64, and a total of 111 people registered. Amongst those still in the game and are Alex Keating, Chris Moore and Steve Sung.

Tomorrow final day play will get underway at 3 pm.

There'll Be a Welcome in the Valleys
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
It's not often that one get's to say, "It was a good weekend for the Welsh", but be it rugby or be it poker, this was certainly what had to be said of the weekend just gone. The Welsh Rugby success came in the form of a triumph over England, and the Welsh Poker success came in the shape of Welshman, Roberto Romanello winning the European Open V.

72 hopefuls entered the $7,000 buy-in tournament, amongst them Annette Obrestad, Roland de Wolfe, Surindar Sunar, Barny Boatman, Vicky Coren, Ciaran O'Leary, and of course Roberto Romanello of Swansea. An unusual structure to the tournament; heats were played with the winners proceeding through to the next round. There were twelve six handed heats all together, with the winners going through to the semis and the runners-up competing in 2 turbo tournaments, creating a total semi-final of 14 players. Romanello made it through to the semis as a runner-up, and having faced Daly Hoy in a heads up battle that lasted over 100 hands, he triumphed and became the first "runner-up" to win an European Open.

Once through to the semis the survivors were split between 2 tables, the 3 left standing of which went on to make up the final table. Going into final table player, William Taylor was ahead with 351,000 and Romanello was pulling up the rear with just 143,000. Things were about to change dramatically however, as Taylor went to the rail in sixth place, and by the time the 5th place elimination occurred, that of Neil Channing, Romanello had the majority of the chips on the table. Going into heads-up play it was Mark Goodwin vs Romanello and it could have been anyone's game, by the chips, but a Goodwin all-in saw Romanello laughing and claiming his biggest cash prize to date. Congratulations to Romanello, and congratulations to Wales!

European Poker Tour Heads North
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
All eyes are trained on Scandinavia as it becomes the centre of attention on the world poker stage. Last night the Scandinavian Poker Awards proved to be lucrative for Peter Eastgate who picked up the Best Performance of the Year and the Rookie of the Year titles, following his $9 million World Series Of Poker Main Event win, which also made him the youngest winner ever, and his Caribbean Adventure win last month. The awards were presented by Thor Hansen and Annette Obrestad, and other winners included Patrik Antonius for Best Live Player. This was the third annual Scandinavian Poker Awards event; during its existence it has served well to honour and celebrate poker talent in the area, of which there is a substantial amount.

After all the excitement of last night however, it is today that the poker hopefuls and pros will be buckling down to work as the Copenhagen stop of the European Poker Tour gets underway. The main event, held at the Hotel Copenhagen, is a €6,700 buy in no limit hold'em tournament, with a 10,000 chip start off, 25-50 starting blinds, and 60 minute levels. There will be two days ones, each of eight levels, and the entrance cap is at 500, up from last year's 460. Day 2, on Thursday February 19th will be either 8 levels or down to 32 players, Friday, Feb 20th, will see play down to the final eight, and the final table will be played on Saturday February 21st, with all days getting started at 12 noon local time.

Last year, the event was more expensive at €9,750, and it was Tim Vance of the USA who won the €834,964 first place prize.

Bad 2008 for Vegas
Saturday, February 14, 2009
As we reported earlier this month, Word Series of Poker organizers have gone to great lengths to ensure that this year's series will be as big, attractive and successful as it has been in previous years; and with the look of the latest figures released from Nevada gaming, they were right to take the precautionary measures that they did.

The final figures for gaming revenue from Nevada for December 2008 have now been released, giving the final picture not only of that month, but also of the entire of 2008. In a state that has seen only 2 previous annual declines in gaming revenue in the past 53 years, 2008 saw an enormous 10% decline over the entire year with each month showing a fall in revenue. Of the whole year, it was the fourth quarter that showed the poorest results, with a 19% drop in revenue over the previous year. In addition to the decline in revenues the physical number of people visiting Vegas also dropped between 2007 and 2008, with over 4% less visitors in 2008

In actual numbers this drop means a loss of $1.2 billion across the year, however some experts are warning not to make too much of these figures, arguing that that just like all business have ups and downs, so does this one, and so long as the overall industry looks robust, one shouldn't pay too much attention to individual figures.

At large the city already started to adapt to the new financial situation towards the end of 2008, offering an expansive number of deals and offers. The city was buzzing over the holiday period, giving rise to a sense that Las Vegas is a city that people just can't stay away from: let's hope, for all of us that this turns out to be the case.

Mike Sexton Speaks up for Poker
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Following on from our earlier report discussing various legal actions across America that are currently making ripples in the legislative world, it was yesterday, Mike Sexton's turn to take the stage in the battle for skill sport recognition. Sexton, host of the World Poker Tour and dubbed by many as the Ambassador of Poker spoke out yesterday in a South Carolina court as a witness for the defense in an "illegal gambling" case.

The case being heard was that of Bob Chimento who is one of 5 poker players being charged with illegal gambling following a police raid in 2006. The 5 were taking part in their weekly game when the raid occurred, and the five despite having options to pay nominal amounts in fines chose to take the to case court and file to have the criminal case dismissed. When the case for dismissal was lost in the lower court it went to trial and it is in this case that Mike Sexton stepped in as a witness.

The outcome of the case has not yet been returned; however Sexton reported that the judge will be writing a ruling that will be released towards the end of next week that will indicate that poker is predominantly a game of skill rather than one of chance.

61 year old Sexton has been playing poker since 1977 and whilst he can not play in many tournaments anymore due to his commitments to various poker websites and institutions, he has made over 20 final tables in his time, and more than $3,000,000 in winnings from the sport.

The Times They are a'Changing
Friday, February 13, 2009
These have been days moving and shaking in the area of poker legislation, and the tremors have been felt across the United States with some interesting outcomes, and some even more interesting predicaments.

In Greeley, Colorado small-stake poker players, Mary Paiz, Kevin Raley, Jim Vaughn, Tim Ouellette, and Braden Waddle were arrested last year despite great efforts gone to, to ensure that their "basement-game" was above board. None-the-less when their game got raided and the 5 were arrested they decided to stand up and fight on the basis that they could argue poker being a game of a skill which according to Colorado law is the difference between a game being illegal gambling and not. As the court date neared the charges were lowered, and the PPA was providing support for the players. The trial of the first of the defendants to be selected, Kevin Raley, saw Dr. Robert Hannum give expert testimony on poker as a game of skill, and it saw a "not-guilty" verdict. Following this verdict the charges against the other 4 were dropped, and all involved considered this a triumph, not just for those involved but also for the fight for poker as a game of skill.

Pennsylvania at more or less the same time saw a judge rule that poker should be considered a game of skill, and in Massachusetts moves are being taken to remove anti-online poker language from the Acts Establishing and Regulating Resort Casinos in the Commonwealth act, or HR 3954. This bill which aims to set up 3 resort-style locations in the Atlantic City area included the criminalization of online gaming and poker with very heft punishments; these elements of the act are currently under discussion, and may be removed from the bill.

Meanwhile, the much published Kentucky domain confiscation case has seen further movement as the commonwealth has now requested 30 additional papers from the State Supreme Court, which would take it above and beyond the usual 50 pages allowed in a brief. In the event that the extra pages aren't granted, an extra couple of days to prepare have been requested; time to trim the argument.

Argentina Gets Place in LAPT
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
After a successful first year, and with a second season, three quarters of the way done and looking to be just as successful, an extra stop has been added to the LAPT– they apparently just can't bear to let this South American dream end.

When this tour got started in November of last year there were four scheduled stops; namely Costa Rica, Mexico, Chili, and Uruguay; however following the premature end of the Mexico event when the gaming authorities shut it down, or maybe be cause of the unprecedented popularity of the tour, organizers have added an extra stop, a grand final stop.

The hitherto unplanned grand final stop will mark the end of the 2008-2009 Latin American Poker Tour and will be hosted at the Casino Central in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The casino is able to hold up to a capacity of 600 players which could make this an enormous stop for this tour. It looks like the main event buy in will be $5,200 and the finale will be running from Thursday, April 16th through Sunday, April 19th. Whilst it is as of yet unclear what the turn out is going to be, there are ripples of excitement running through the poker world, and it is being suggested that this may be the biggest prize-pool seen to date in a LAPT event.

So, next stop Punta del Este, in just over a month for the Uruguay stop, and then we're carrying on south, because Argentina here we come!

Back Down Under
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Last month saw the Aussie Millions series pull all eyes to the southern hemisphere, and this month they were drawn again as the 6 event Australia New Zealand Poker Tour ran from February 2nd to 7th. The highlight of the series was of course Event # 4: the $1,960 Main Event.

The three day main event attracted 215 players who all in made a prize-pool of $586,950, one of the biggest fields to ever be seen in a first round first season event. As the final day and the final table emerged however it was very much Karl Krautschneide of Melbourne and American Tony "Bond_18" Dunst who were leading the pack and that's the way it was going to stay.

The final table was dominated by Australians, but it was to be an Aussie American heads up battle, after Krautschneide managed to send half of the first six eliminations to the rail himself. It was Krautschneide, Dunst and Daniel Noja in three-way play but Noja's chips were spread thin and ultimately it was Dunst and Krautschneide who quite literally battled it out. It was a good show that in the end Krautschneide came out of victorious. The final table payouts in AUS Dollars were:
  1. Karl Krautschneider: $170,215
  2. Tony Dunst: $111,520
  3. Daniel Noja: $64,565
  4. Mike Stecker: $52,825
  5. Dean Nyberg: $41,085
  6. Julius Colman: $29,345
  7. Celina Lin: $23,475
  8. Bruno Portaro: $17,610
  9. James Broom: $11,740
This was the inaugural year of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour, and the Adelaide event was hosted at the SKYCITY Casino. Largely to the numbers involved, and the running of the series, industry insiders are hailing it a success. The Tour will next be seen on April 23rd in the Star City Casino, Sydney where the buy-in for the Main Event, beginning on April 30th, will be AUD $2,200, and participation will be capped at 500.

WSOP Respond to Economic Crisis
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Sometimes we pack our bags, and head for Vegas and it's like we drop into a new world, with all our old worries left behind. In today's economic climate WSOP organisers aren't taking anything for granted, however, and with the sad state of the US economy, they are taking measures to make sure that the 2009 WSOP will be as big and as beautiful as ever.

The WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack has reportedly commented that the economy is likely to have an impact on the turn out for this years World Series of Poker which will be getting underway in a little over 3 months from now. However, there is certainly reason to remain optimistic as the 57-event schedule includes some extras which are designed especially to attract the lower-roller masses.

The series will get off to what organisers hope will be a flying start with a $1,000 Stimulus Special which may even break last years 3,929 record. In addition the 2009 series will have 2 extra events with buy-ins of under $2,500, that's 39 to last year's 37. However, this isn't to say that the series is being "cheapened", because the same sort of expansion is being seen at the other end of the spectrum with 2 extra $10,000+ events being added, and of course the 40 year commemoration event; a $40k No-Limit Hold'em tournament.

Thus the lesson to be learnt? Not to worry, what ever is going on around us, those 2 months of poker paradise will adapt, will modify, will change what it needs, but it will continue, and it will in all its majesty – see you there!

Sad Days for British Poker
Friday, February 6, 2009
British Poker fans will be mourning the loss of one of the greatest poker tours of its aisle, the Gala Casino British Poker Tour which will not be returning in 2009. The 6 stop tour which traditionally zigzagged across the country travelling from Edinburgh, to Nottingham, to Bristol, to Liverpool, to Teesside and to return south again for its Grand Final in Bristol, saw its last winner last December, as Alan Vinson won £83,000 at the Gala Casino Harbourside; he also won a 2009 WSOP package.

The tour only ran for 2 years, but was dubbed the "People's Tour" and attracted a lot of attention and players with hundreds taking part in the various events. The Tour's Manager Mark O'Donnell commented:
While we've have had two fantastic years running the 'Great British Poker Tours', we've now decided to look at a number of new events and promotions for 2009 that will not only excite our players but are of great value and are accessible to poker players of all levels.
No reason was given for the termination of the tour; however some in the field believe that it may be in order to concentrate on online interests or as a response to the economic crisis that is gripping Great Britain.

There had been high hopes amongst some that the Gala Casino British Poker Tour would help to decentralize the major poker tournaments in the UK and give more attention to non-London locations.

From Russia with Love
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Not quite the multi-stop schedule of the European Poker Tour, the latest addition to the European poker calendar is the Russian Poker Tour, and with one of the stops already over and done with, let's have a quick look at the newest event for poker pros and part-timers alike.

The two part inaugural Russian Poker Tour was to take in two of Europe's oldest and most beautiful cities; St. Petersburg and Moscow. With temperatures floating around the minus twenty mark, these historic cities saw a new type of history being made. The first leg ran January 25th and came to its conclusion on February 1st at which point the tour will take a break until February 22nd when it will move to Moscow and play there through February 28th.

The St. Petersburg $5,000 no-limit hold'em tournament attracted a total of 201 players with a large Russian contingent., and created a prize-pool of nearly one million dollars. Some of the best known players to be spotted included Alex Kravchenko and Ivan Demidov, both playing on home turf, and Vanessa Rousso; not that it was the big names that made the grade in this particular event. Over two thirds of the final table was Russian, and Moldavian Dimitru Gaina who went into the final table as chip leader but was eliminated in eighth place was to leave Vadim Markushevsky of Belarus, the only non-Russian standing. Markushevsky embraced the role however as he went to heads up play against Oleg Suntov. Sunstov had finished day 1 in the chip lead position, but had fallen to one of the shortest stacks by the beginning of final table play. The Belarusian wasn't to have all the luck though, as Suntsov became the first, and so far only Russian Poker Tour champion. Suntsov walked away with approximately $294,955.

Arce Wins Philippine APT
Monday, February 2, 2009
In one of the shortest finals seen in a long time, Neil Acre of the Philippines won his home leg of the APT. From a 262 strong field, Arce retuned yesterday to play the final field, in third place on the chip leader board, and less than three hours later he was the only one standing.

Play got under way in Level 19, and the very first hand saw a huge Arce win and the elimination of Cicurel Didier. The next hand saw Vesa Leikos eliminated and it was clearly going to be a fast day.

Steven Yea was chip leader going into final table play, and seemed to be simply getting stronger and stronger, getting up to 850,00 and then getting an extra 100,000 from a Liz Lieu re-raise on pocket twos that sent her packing in seventh.

As the players got stuck into level 20 it was most certainly Yea and Arce setting the pace, using their large stacks against all who were unfortunate to get in their way. Hence Ron Kluber found himself all in on 120,000 against Yea and taking home the $30,000 sixth place prize. Susumu Toge was to follow the same fate, except his payout was $36,000 leaving four left in the game. Four-handed play lasted the grand total of around 5 minutes as Cicurel Didier went out in fourth.

As 3-handed play got underway, Yea was far ahead of Casey Kastle and Acre both of whom were in the half million region, where as Yea was on 1.4. Kastle's elimination gave Arce the push he needed however, so at the beginning of heads-up play Arce was just half a million behind Yea. The two day one chip leaders proved their worth, as Arce went all in on several hands forcing Yea to fold and thus eventually going ahead. On the final hand, Arce went all in and Yea called on a Ad, Kh; the 4s, 6c, 7h, Qh, 6h, board gave Arce's Ks, Qs, the upper hand and he became the APT Philippine champion, a vast improvement on his 35th place position in this event last year.

Boxing Rounds?
Monday, February 2, 2009
It's not often that poker sites get to cover boxing, but with thanks to the antics of Gus Hansen and Theo Jorgensen there are poker journalists across the world breathing a sigh of satisfaction at being able to do just that.

Hansen and Jorgensen are both big players who carry a lot of weight, and few have not-noticed their amicable rivalry which certainly makes an appearance at the felt, and when not playing cards then on the squash court. However, it seems that squash is no longer enough for these two super-stars, the two are now branching out to boxing.

The inspiration for a boxing match apparently came from 2 sources. Firstly Hansen was reportedly getting too good at squash, but also Hansen's famed shadow-boxing antics caused Jorgensen to comment:
Gus was such a pathetic boxer that I was pretty sure I could beat him… Forget about the money, this is all about the glory…The loser of this fight will definitely hear about it for many years to come
Big words, but as one might expect from gamblers of this caliber, there are a couple of dollars riding on this match: $35,000 to be exact if Hansen wins, $25,000 if Jorgensen wins: obviously Hansen does not agree about the "pathetic" nature of his boxing style!

Set for February 21st, the match will be held in Denmark at a currently undisclosed location. This does of course fall in with the European Poker Tour's Copenhagen stop, and so there will be plenty of people around to see the glory of the victor, and the humility of loser.

So far the rumors are showing Hansen as the favorite; Video footage has already been released showing Jorgensen in practice, and Hansen has reportedly started training with Olympic medalist, Johnny De Lima.

The match will have Mikkel Kessler as commentator, who commented:
This fight is going to be incredible…These guys are crazy. It is going to be a fight to the death. Neither one is going to surrender, but only one of them will survive.

Yea Still Leading
Sunday, February 1, 2009
It's not often that a chip leader retains his position, but that is exactly what day 1b chip leader of the Manila APT, Steven "joonhee" Yea, did. 262 hopefuls turned up for this event and after 2 day ones 69 returned with Yea at their head, all painfully aware that only 27 would make the money, and that play would go until the final 9 were determined.

The day got off to a quick start as there were 3 bust outs in the opening minutes of play, and the first real surprise of the day came just 15 minutes into level 11. David "Chino" Rheem was called from a late position raise, only to bet 3,000 on the flop which was check raised by Norihito Suzuki which Rheem called. On the turn Suzuki checked and Rheem bet, a pattern that would repeat itself on the river, except for now, Rheem was pushing Suzuki and he check-raised all in. It wasn't to be Rheem's day however as Suzuki flipped over the nut flush and Rheem went to the rail. Rheem wasn't alone however in the big name eliminations, as last year's winner of this event, David Saab was sent to the rail in the middle of level 12 having had a disastrous tumble with Kim Tae Hyung and eventually falling by the wayside down to Cicurel Didier.

Yea on the other hand went from strength to strength, creating by the end of level 13 a stack of 212,000. It wasn't entirely plain sailing however, as he did loose his chip lead for a while to Susumu Toge but by the end it was back with vengeance. The money bubble was passed and they started falling quickly. The final table was set, and the tables and chip counts for today's final table play look like this:
Seat 1: Ron Kluber, 310,000
Seat 2: Cicurel Didier, 182,000
Seat 3: Steven Yea, 754,000
Seat 4: Vesa Leikos, 94,000
Seat 5: Neil Arce, 377,000
Seat 6: Kim Tae Hyung, 168,000
Seat 7: Susumu Toge, 102,000
Seat 8: Liz Lieu, 144,000
Seat 9: Casey Kastle, 503,000

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