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WSOP Set to Set Records
Thursday, May 29, 2008
They say there's nothing new under the sun, but Harrah's it seems would not agree. With the 39th WSOP Main Event only a day away, the organizers apparently are full of surprises.

The first cards will hit the felt tomorrow, that's the 30th of May, and they will keep flying until July 14th. During that time 55 bracelets will be fought over and won, with some of the largest and most prestigious events in the poker world, all at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. So far this does indeed sound like nothing new under the sun: exciting – yes, new – no.

The first event will be the first of the many firsts promised by Harrah's: for the first time at the WSOP there will be a $10,000 World Championship of Pot-Limit Hold'em event; a first twice over. The first is that this event has never before been on the WSOP schedule. The second first is that this is the first time that the current format of WSOP has started off with a $10,000 buy-in championship.

Speaking of $10,000 buy-in events, this year's WSOP will feature more of these than ever before. The 2008 WSOP will include 8 $10,000 World Championships! At the other end of the scale there will be equal representation with organizers this year putting in the same number of $1,500 buy-in events as $10,000 buy-in events.

Of course the biggest change to this year's WSOP isn't one of inclusion and exclusion, but one of fundamental change. Rather than the Championship ending with the grand finale of the WSOP $10,000 buy-in World Championship No-Limit Texas Hold'em event, it will in fact be only the battle to the final 9 that will be played out in the summer. The final table will not be played until November 9th, when like the tournament itself ESPN will be providing same day coverage.

Times they are a changing; and it's going to be exciting to see how they fare!

Binion's Begins Tomorrow
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Original long term host of the WSOP, Binion's is no stranger to major poker events. The World Series of Poker left when the "Horseshoe" left, but the show still goes on and in this case it's in the shape of the second annual Binion's Poker Classic.

The 43 event tournament will run over 41 days between May 28th and July 8th. Clashing with the WSOP at the Rio, the BPC is marketing to a different crowd. Most of the buy-ins in the BPC are set to be around 10% of what the WSOP buy-ins will be, meaning that entries will start from as low as $90+10. There are of course higher buy-in tournaments with the most expensive being the BPC Championship event with a $1,920+80 buy in, for which there will be satellite events. Here's the first week of the BPC Schedule

May 28th - 2PM - #1 - No-Limit Hold'em (Casino Employees)
$90+10 2,000 2,000

May 29th - 2PM - #2 - No-Limit Hold'em
$135+15 3,000 2,000

May 30th - 2PM - #3 - No-Limit Hold'em
$135+15 3,000 2,000

May 31st - 4PM - #4 - Pot-Limit Hold'em
$135+15 3,000 2,000

June 1st - 4PM - #5 - Limit Omaha 8 or Better
$135+15 3,000 2,000

June 2nd - 2PM - #6 - No-Limit Hold'em
$180+20 4,000 2,000

June 3rd - 2PM - #7 - Limit Omaha 8 or Better/Stud 8 or Better
$225+25 5,000 2,000

The Championship event will start on July 7th at 12 p.m. and run on to the following day. There will be satellite tournaments at Binion's for various events including the championship event:

June 8th, 29th and 30th - 5pm - $65+10 awarding seats to the $460+40 NLHE Events

June 12th - 5pm - $40+10 awarding seats to the $270+30 NLHE Event

June 26th - 5pm - $135+15 awarding seats to the $950+50 PLO Event

July 5th and 6th - 5pm - $200+20 awarding seats to the $1,920+80 NLHE Championship Event

Donald "You're Fired!" Trump does digital
Monday, May 26, 2008
The fact that poker is changing is not news to anyone: the dawn of televised tournaments and internet poker rooms without question bought the game into the age of technology and more importantly into the mainstream. Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City is set to help bring some of that technology into the land-based poker rooms with the introduction of automated poker tables.

Donald Trump and his board have agreed to test run 12 PokerTek automated poker tables and are now just waiting for permission of the State of New Jersey Casino Control Commission. These will be the first automated tables seen in the state of New Jersey whilst casinos in other states have already installed similar machines.

Automated poker tables have a screen in the middle on which a dealer and the community cards can be seen. Each of the 10 player positions around the table has a private monitor on which the player can see his or her own cards. In this way there is no need for a physical dealer and the program can record statistics of the game as well as running the play.

The perceived advantages of the automated poker tables are that they allow for faster dealing and therefore more play. Furthermore, the elimination of a human dealer allows the casino to take a smaller rake back. These types of machines have already appeared with success in casinos in Canada and also some states in the USA for example Connecticut where they have been accepted as the natural progression of poker technology.

According to Trump Plaza Casino General Manager, Jim Rigot, "The poker room at Trump Plaza is going to be a poker player's paradise… when you consider the increased hands per hour and mistake-free play, it becomes an obvious choice for even the most seasoned players."

Hungary beats USA for LAPT First Place
Sunday, May 25, 2008

398 players convened in San Jose, Costa Rica 4 days ago. Yesterday one left a very happy man. The second leg of the inaugural Latin American Poker Tour was everything that everyone expected, and for some that little bit more.

Hosted at the Ramada Plaza Herradura Hotel, the $2,500+$200 attracted more participants than organizers had originally expected with players coming in from 35 different countries to participate. Needless to say; the $965,150 prize pool event was a sell out.

The final day table began with Steven Silverman as chip leader. Silverman stayed in the game until the final 3 by which time Max Steingberg of USA was dominating the stacks with nearly double the chips of his closest rival; Valdemar Kwaysser. By 5.15 p.m however, Silverman had gone to the rail and heads up play began with the tables turned. Now Max Steinberg had 985,000 whilst Valdemar Kwaysser is running away with 3,004,000. Steinberg’s fate is sealed and there is little he can do to change it. By the time 7 o’clock strikes, 19 year old Steinberg has taken the second place position, and the 25 year old Hungarian has taken first. These were the results from the final table:

  1. Valdemar Kwaysser - $274,103
  2. Max Steinberg –$144,773
  3. Steven Silverman – $106,167
  4. Alexander Soderlund - $77,213
  5. Alec Torelli - $57,909
  6. Pawel Sanojca - $38,606
  7. Ashton Griffin - $28,956
  8. Joe Ebanks - $19,303
  9. Steven Thompson - $14,477
Six of the final nine competitors were from the USA. The next and final stop of this first season Latin American Poker Tour will be Punta del Este at the beginning of August.

Pros head to Asia
Saturday, May 24, 2008
With South American eyes turned to the second leg of the Latin American Poker Tour, and North America awaiting with baited breath as the 2008 WSOP Main Event gets closer and closer; many pros are heading to other side of the globe for the inaugural APT event in Manila.

This first event of the Asian Poker Tour will begin on May 27th and run through June 1st at Dusit Thani Manila hotel in Makati; around 450 players are expected to partake in the event. The competition has a guaranteed prize pool of $1,000,000, making this the biggest guaranteed prize pool thus seen in Asia. The buy in for the no-limit Texas Hold'em event is $2,500 but there are several satellite tournaments running prior to the event offering a seat and travel to the Philippines. Poker has experienced an explosion in popularity in Asia just as it has in Europe and America in recent years; hence the Asian Poker Tour is an opportunity for locals to partake in an tournament the type of which are rare in the Pacific Rim. For others however, this event will provide a great opportunity for a last minute practice before the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas. As such players expected to be spotted in Manila include the likes of Brandon Cantu, Tex Barch, Marsha Waggoner, Steve Sung, Nam Le, Quinn Do, Brad Daugherty, Roy Winston, Layne Flack, Evelyn Ng, Michael Gracz, Michael O'Malley, Monsour Matloubi, Huck Seed, Paul Darden, Chip Jett, Karina Jett and Isaac Galazan.

The Manila event is to be the first of four legs so far scheduled in the Asian Poker Tour which will be the largest live poker event to be held in the Pacific Rim. Seoul, Macau and Singapore will be playing host to the other 3 - the dates of these events are yet to be announced.

18-21 Year Old Poker Players Welcomed
Friday, May 23, 2008
The chances are that if you live in the Midwest and are under 21, the only live poker experience you will have had will have been in your friend’s basements. This seems set to change however as tribal officials are changing their current position and will be allowing under 21 year olds to play some forms of casino games in the self-policing Meskwaki Casino, in Tama, Iowa.

In a release dated May 19th the casino hotel announced:

Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel is proud to announce that persons 18 (eighteen) to 20 (twenty) years of age will be allowed to play Class II poker in the Meskwaki Poker Room beginning Sunday, June 1st, 2008 at 12:01 a.m. A person, ages of 18 to 20 will be required to wear an approved security ID bracelet. The wrist band will allow them to use the Food venues and to traverse through the Casino without an escort as long as they do not stop and loiter on the Casino gaming floor.

Included in “Class II Poker” are game such as Texas Hold’em. Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel is able to traverse Iowa’s 21 gambling age minimum because the games that are being included are games that have their jackpots provided by the players in the form of a buy in, rather than by the casino itself. As Larry Lasley Jr, the tribe’s Executive Director stated, "It's a non-house-banked game."

Harrah’s Heads-up Play Sends Ceci to Vegas
Friday, May 23, 2008
Yesterday saw the final table of the final WSOP circuit event get off to a great start with the first 7 of the 9 remaining entrants after 2 days of play being eliminated in under 50 hands. The first two of these seven didn’t even see the second hand of play; Marc Fratter took home the $29,933 ninth prize, and Ed Jatho left with the eighth position prize of $35,900 on the very first hand. Their loss wasn’t in vain however as their eliminator, Timothy “TK” Miles, went all the way to take second place.

After such a fast moving start, play did slow down at the Bayou Poker Challenge WSOP circuit event held at Harrah’s New Orleans, when the heads-up play commenced. Here the spectators really got their money’s worth; and the players really earned theirs. Nick Ceci, a demo contractor from Georgia, entered the heads-up play with a close on 2:1 chip lead, but it still took over 70 hands and two and half hours play, for him to finally see off Timothy “TK” Miles; but see him off he did, to take the first place cash prize, a gold circuit championship ring, and of course entry to the looming WSOP main event in Vegas. These were the final table results and payouts:

1. Nick Ceci - $382,928
2. Timothy Miles - $210,610
3. Floyd Vanderford - $107,699
4. Gabriel Costner - $83,766
5. Jeff Tims - $71,799
6. Lou Esposito - $59,833
7. Chuck Kelley - $47,866
8. Ed Jatho - $35,900
9. Marc Fratter - $23,933

Day 2 Bayou Poker Classic kicks off with everything still to play for
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
As they say; when one door opens, another closes. As such, yesterday marked the beginning of the end of the 2007/2008 WSOP Circuit, which of course means the immanent approach of the 2008 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas.

Yesterday the final tournament of the WSOP circuit kicked off with a whopping 249 players coughing up the $5,000 buy-in, creating a prize pool of $1,196,650. The first place prize for the tournament is $382,928, a gold ring, and of course, a seat at this years WSOP main event. The Bayou Poker Classic at Harrah's New Orleans is in it's fifth year, and this year there were many a familiar face including last years winner Lou Esposito and Doug "Rico" Carli who has already seen 19 WSOP circuit final tables. Other familiar faces included T.J. Cloutier and Gavin Smith both of which were seen out before dinner, with the likes of Steve Dannenmann following after the dinner break.

Play continued into the night until the 249 were whittled down to a mere 69, and a surprise chip leader position. Going into day two of the tournament, the chip leader position is split between David Fox and Lou Esposito, with Mike Brown snapping at their heals. They are not the only close calls in the top 10 chip holders going into day 2; there is very much everything to play for. The top 10 cheap leaders, going into the second day are:

David Fox: 102,100
Lou Esposito: 102,100
Mike Browne: 96,000
Senovio Ramirez: 88,900
Ed Jatho: 81,600
Purvis Blake: 80,600
Chuck Kelley: 80,200
Timothy Miles: 78,400
Marc Fratter: 75,400
Matt Stout: 63,900

Today, day 2 will see the player field reduced to the final 9, ready for the final day of play, and the final day of the 2007/2008 WSOP circuit tomorrow.

Poke with a different type of club!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Whilst it is usually the hand that determines a poker game, today the Paiute Golf Resort in Las Vegas saw the betting determining the game. That’s right, the WSG! If the ‘G’ and the location wasn’t enough of a give away; WSG stands for, World Series of Golf, and it is exactly what it sounds like.

Was it Winston Churchill or was it George Bernard Shaw who claimed that golf was a wonderful way to spoil a good walk? Either way, there were 80 participants today who would surely disagree. The second of what organizers hope will become an annual event, saw 80 players teeing off and throwing in the $10,000 buy in. Organized into groups of fours, each player was given a stack of chips to start with – the aim; for each to eliminate his opponents. The ante was $100 and paid before each teeing off; the ante was doubled after every 3 holes. Each subsequent shot would then come with a betting round with the options of bet or fold. The winner of each hole was determined by either the one with the least strokes, or when applicable the only one not folded out.

The five players to make it to the final round was Andy Johnson who won the $250,000 first prize, Erick Lindgren who took the second prize of $60,000, Allen Cunningham, Bill Spencer, and Dee Tiller.

36 year old Andy “AJ” Johnson hails from Davison, Michigan where he’s a car salesman by profession.

Porter Rallies Poker Community
Saturday, May 17, 2008
"He taught me how to play… That’s why I’ve been successful. He’s always there on the rail to sweat me." These were the words used by Devin Porter to describe his father’s ongoing support of him at a time where his father now needs his support. Devin’s father, Dean Porter has been diagnosed with B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a type of cancer that has now spread throughout his body putting him in very grave danger; danger that Devin believes, with the proper treatment, can be stalled if not averted.

Devin “TranquilChaos” Porter has racked up 8 cash finishes in live poker tournaments since October 2005, and now hopes to draw on his connections from the poker world to help his father. PokerStars will be playing host to a $30+$3 tournament set up by Devin. The money winners of the tournament will be asked to donate 50% of their winnings to the Porter family and the medical costs of Dale Porter’s treatment.

A phenomenal response has already been seen within the online poker community with James “P0KERPR033” Campbell pledging 100% of what ever he wins, Jonathan “Wein” Wein committing $500 to the fund no matter where he finishes, and Shawn Rice promising 2% of his WSOP winnings to the cause. In response to the scale of response, Devin commented: “I can’t believe the response I’m getting from the community, and even complete strangers…It’s overwhelming and greatly appreciated.”

The charity tournament will be held at PokerStars (in the “Private” tab), password: (case sensitive) pocketfives, on Monday, May 19th, 2008 at 20:30 EST. If you don’t wish to partake in the tournament you can also make a donation online or directly to Devin's player name in the following poker rooms: )Contributions are tax deductible and can be written off with the retaining of the receipt)
PokerStars: Tobias Fuke (location: Halloweentown)
Full Tilt Poker: TranquilChaos
UltimateBet: TranquilChaos

Washington Judge Rules Against Lee Rousso
Friday, May 16, 2008
As reported earlier this month, yesterday was the day that Lee Rousso would stand in court and claim that the State of Washington's online poker playing ban was unconstitutional, whilst a PPA rally would take place outside the building.

The rally consisted of around 50 participants including professional poker players Andy Bloch and Barry Greenstein, and commenced immediately following the hearing, with several media outlets represented.

Unfortunately, the rally turned out to be in support rather than celebration as the judge ruled against Rousso meaning that the current state law classifying online poker player as a Class C felony still stands. The law places the playing of poker online in the same category as such offences as being in possession of child pornography, threatening the governor, heroin possession, drive by shooting, grand theft auto, and stalking.

Supporters of the ban maintain that it is simply what is necessary in order to bring state legislation in line with the Federal Wire Act, an act that prohibits the use of telecommunications systems in sports gambling. Rousso, former gubernatorial candidate, lawyer, and PPA region director for the State of Washington, rebuffs these claims arguing that far from bringing Washington State in line with the Federal Wire Act, the state ban primarily protects the thriving land-based gaming industry present in Washington. These land-based casinos and card rooms, he claims, contribute to state revenues and therefore it is in the state's interest to quash opposition i.e. online alternatives. On this basis Rousso has been arguing that the state law acts in violation of the Commerce Clause included in The Constitution which stipulates that no state may enact any law that is discriminative against interstate business.

Rousso commented to Phyllis Fletcher of KUOW NEWS that should the outcome not be in his favor he would appeal the verdict. No such statement came after the delivery of the verdict, however Rousso did state, “Even though it was a loss today, I still think some good things will come of it.”

The Advent of PKR Magazine
Wednesday, May 14, 2008, champions of their unique 3-D poker room technology is set to enter into another dimension – the real one. The online poker room has announced a 12 month contract with Dennis Publishing with whom they will produce a top-range poker publication. Dennis Publishing is already highly established in the gaming world as the producer of numerous of the best known poker magazines.

The name of the publication is not to be announced until the magazine itself is launched in June 2008. It is understood that the publication will be distributed as a benefit for's premium players only. As such, the print magazine will be targeted specifically for advanced poker players and will cover advanced strategy, news, advice, and related information.

Simon Prodger, Marketing Director, stated, " has been a great success in the digital world, and we are pleased to offer our online players more content with this new print magazine. This partnership is a good opportunity to enhance the relationship our brand has already formed with our loyal players and to build on the huge success of our online output."

Watch out Lads; the Ladies are coming to town
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Ladies poker is nothing new; or at least nothing that new; and to prove it the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas will play host to the second annual World Series of Poker Academy ladies only event on June 6th and 7th.

The event will be open to only 100 participants and the cost for each will be $1699.00 plus hotel fees. The two day event will start with registration and breakfast at 8a.m. on the Friday and run a packed program of seminars and live demonstrations until the closing remarks at 17.30 on the Saturday. Under the tutelage of Annie Duke, Joe Navarro (FBI ret.), and Alex Outhred the ladies will cover aspects of poker skills, strategy, and application. However, possibly the most attractive part of the two day event will be the closed WSOP Academy No Limit Hold'em tournament to be held on the Friday night. Only open to participants, the winner of this tournament will receive a seat at the 2008 WSOP Main Event, whilst 2nd and 3rd places will be rewarded with free Academies in the future. All the top 5 finalists will be granted entries to the $1,000 buy in WSOP Ladies World Championship event on June 8th.

One area that will have particular attention paid to it in the course of the event will be Joe Navarro's recent work on female specific non verbal behavior. The recent increase in female only poker events is reflective of the increased interest than women are showing in the sport. However it is also a response to the fact that the two sexes create very different atmospheres when playing, largely due to differing typical personal interactions. This is a large contributing factor to the rarity of finding a female at a non-gender specified event final table. There have been to date 16 women with money finishes in WSOP events: Let's hope that we'll start to see a whole heap more and more from non-women-only events.

European Divide over Online Gambling Deepens
Monday, May 12, 2008
If you’re Dutch and an online poker player, your life may be about to get a lot harder. The Dutch Justice Ministry seems to be taking a leaf out of the controversial American UIGEA’s book, and is enlisting banks to aid it in its crusade against online gambling.

The only online gambling permitted in Holland is the Dutch state lottery. However, online poker and gambling companies that are based outside of Holland, in EU countries that have no or limited anti-internet gaming laws, continue to offer their services to Dutch users. In order to deal with this problem, the Dutch Justice Ministry hopes to curtail Dutch online gambling by requesting Dutch banks to refuse services to these companies. A list of between 30 and 50 online gambling and poker sites located in EU countries where online gaming is legal has been compiled in order that the banks will be able to enact the request. Unlike the UIGEA this move is not being passed into law, but will be highly encouraged.

This comes after recent slams by peers in the UK’s House of Lords against the French stance on online gambling. According to current French law, a French national could face up to one year’s imprisonment for placing a bet in an online site run out of a country where online gambling is legal. Lord James of Blackheath called attention to the fact that this is the same punishment as one may receive for downloading child pornography!

France along with Holland have received strong opposition from the European Commission regarding their protectionist practices which stand in contrast to EU directives that grant EU-based gaming and poker operatives free reign of services between EU member countries. Should a resolve not present itself, the issues of both countries may eventually end up in the European Court of Justice.

Full Tilt to Run Biggest Ever Heads-Up Tournament
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday May 24th and Sunday May 25th will mark online poker history as Full Tilt Poker will be running the highest buy-in heads up event ever to be run either online or on land.

With a maximum of 64 places being available, the $25k buy-in event is going to be incredibly competitive to get a seat at, and as such Full Tilt will be using a “no byes”, perfect-field structure. This set up will aid the securing of seats well in advance with late registries facing the possibility of a buy-in refund if the next level of the field is not filled up.

Going by the less than imaginative, yet fantastically descriptive name, $25k Heads-Up World Championship, the event will be hosted by Chris Ferguson. Other Full Tilt Team Members such as Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer and Jennifer Harman have already voiced their desires to partake. The event will be recorded and aired on the site in a live stream; whilst post event commentary and play analysis provided by Chris Ferguson and Ali Nejad will be added later.

The tournament will begin at 15.00 ET on May 24th, but for those are aren’t quite ready to cough up the $25k buy-in you can find your way in through two qualifier sessions. The $500 + $35 Heads-Up World Championship Qualifiers will be held on Thursday May 22nd at 15.00 ET, and on Friday May 23rd at 21.00 ET.

Gaming Up or Down?
Saturday, May 10, 2008
This month has proved to show a mixed barrel when it comes to growth, or not, in the online gaming industry. 888 Holdings who are the parent company of Pacific Poker presented their key performance indicators this week which showed a 38% increase in its net gaming revenues in comparison to the same quarter last year. The trend seen in the first quarter of this year seems to be following on from where the 2007 fourth quarter left off which 888 CEO Gigi Levy described as “unusually high”. Levy added that the company is “confident in delivering future growth during 2008.” Whilst the net revenue from poker increased by only 5%, the overall casino performance looks like it will continue to excel expectation going into the second quarter. Although the second quarter is usually deemed to be a low season for online gaming, early indicators are already showing a 7% rise in 888’s average net gaming revenue, and an increase of nearly 20% in first time deposit casino and poker players.

News of 888’s success came just days after World Poker Tour Enterprises published virtually opposite statistics. During 2008’s first quarter WPTE suffered losses of almost 25% more than those recorded for the same period of the previous year. In real terms, this meant a loss of $2.83 million or $0.14 per share in the first quarter. Several factors have been identified as the source, with lower television revenues due to the move from the Travel Channel to the Game Show Network ranking very high amongst them. In addition however, online gaming revenues were down 50% on the same period last year. In order to combat this trend, WPTE CEO Steve Lipscomb vocalized a plan to promote the site through regionally televised events with specific emphasis on Canada and he UK. For the most part, WPTE executives are not worried about the future, but rather see the remainder of 2008 and 2009 as a time for building strength and expansion.

Anti-online poker supporters slammed every which way
Friday, May 9, 2008
At opposite ends of the country, those who are in the know are speaking out against bans on online gambling.

In Washington State, with the lead up to Lee Rousso’s 15th of May court hearing, the PPA has taken steps to show support and organize a rally to be held outside the courthouse. Rousso, a recent candidate for State Governor, has filed suit arguing that the state’s ban of online gambling is unconstitutional and benefits the state’s land-based casino industry. This, Rousso wishes to argue, violates the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause. In previous hearings, Rousso has found some favor amongst the presiding Judges. The Rally organized by the Poker Players Alliance will be held outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center, on Thursday May 15th between 10.30a.m. and 11.30a.m.; Both Barry Greenstein and Andy Bloch have committed their presence to the rally.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the country, the PPA State Director of Nevada, Ken Illgen, responded to recent comments by Senator Jon Kyl that the implementation of the UIGEA is slow and frustrating, by commenting in a letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Frankly, the confusion regulators are dealing with as they develop the regulations to enforce the law is a direct result of how this act was written and sneaked into a must-pass port security bill in the dead of night, allowing no time for review and debate.

Illgen goes on to call to lawmakers to “start looking for workable solutions to truly regulate this growing online industry”.

Watch a Great Tournament; Win a place in your own – WPC provides it all!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008’s World Poker Crown has provided online players with 2 months of exciting play and competition. Yesterday, the off-line final began in Barcelona’s Peralada Castle where it will be hosted until May 10th.

Thousands of hopefuls have been involved in the inaugural World Poker Crown online tournaments which started in February of this year; all hoping for a piece of the guaranteed $3 million prize pool. The final event is being filmed and will be aired on May 8th at 15.30 CET online. Whilst the tournament itself is exciting; it is the opportunity available to the spectators that some may argue is the most attractive element.

The internet audience is being provided with the opportunity to vote for the player they believe to be the most likely to take home the World Poker Crown Title. 4 of those that guess correctly will win packages worth $17,000 to this year’s WSOP. The package will include:

• $10,000 buy-in for the World Series of Poker Main Event 2008 in Las Vegas.
• $2,500 travel package
• 10 days’ accommodation in the Palazzo – the newest tower of the Venetian.
• $2,000 spending money for your trip.

Dutch Youth Wins LAPT
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
For Julien Nuijten, the inaugural Latin American Poker Tour turned a bit of world traveling into a lot of world champion making. The Dutch young man, not yet 20 years old, was traveling with a friend in Argentina, when he decided, because he “was in the neighborhood”, that he should drop by Rio and give the LAPT a go.

Not new to championships, Nuijten spent much of his early and mid teens involved in role playing games and fantasy tournaments where he was part of the Dutch national team, and took a world championship position in 2004. Yesterday however, was Nuijten’s poker champion debut – his first cash finish, and what a cash finish. With 314 players beginning the tournament the 2008 LAPT was the biggest poker tournament yet seen in South America, and with a $2,500 buy-in, Nuijten walked away with $222,940.

Going into the final 9 yesterday, Nuijten was the clear leader from the outset with the second place chip leader trailing by 580,000. Final table play lasted for the best part of 8 hours, but the first to go to the rail was Severin Walser of Switzerland who saw only 20 minutes of final table play. Next to bid farewell was Juan Carlos Burguillos of Venezuela and then Colombian Rafael Pardo, diminishing the Latin American contingent by half. Kugler was next to go, followed by the Brazil-football-shirt-clad Eduardo Henriques, the only Brazilian representative in the final table. And then there were four; with Julien Nuijten and Vitaly Kovyazin running away with the stacks. After a last wave of bravado, Alex Brenes who started the day in third position finished in fourth, whilst Nikolai Senninger took third place, leaving Julien Nuijten and Vitaly Kovyazin who had already spent day 2 playing against each other, to fight it out. As it turned out, youth beat experience, but not without a good heads-up match, making Julien Nuijten the first ever LAPT champion.

A First for Rio; The LAPT hits the ground running
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Yesterday, May 3rd, represented a landmark in South American Poker history as the first event of the first ever Latin American Poker Tour kicked off. Hosted in the Intercontinental Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the inaugural event attracted a very respectable starting pool of 314 players; all with a $2,500 buy in, creating a prize pool of $785,000, with the money bubble opening at position 32.

The three-day Texas no-Limit Hold’em tournament, saw several surprise exits in its first day including the entire pokerstars pro team with the sole exception of Victor Ramdin. When play ended a little after 1 a.m. local time, only 103 players remained. Those players returned today at 1 p.m. local time and will be whittled down to the final table of nine during the course of the day. The chip leaders going into today’s 2nd day play are Spaniard Carlos Alberto Lopez Neira with 121,200; 18 year old Julien Nuijten of Holland with 92,750; native Brazilian Cyril Thierry Bernard with 84,650; Alex Brenes from Costa Rica with 77,425; and USA pokerstars qualifier Ronnie M. Bardah with 69,775. Of these it is the fourth and fifth place holders who are the most familiar to tournaments. Bardah has had 12 cash finishes in the last 3 and half years including 1st place at the 2007 Empire State Hold 'em Championship, whilst Brenes has put 27 cash finishes under his belt amounting to total earnings of $645,382.

10 Support anti-UGIEA Bill
Saturday, May 3, 2008
HR 5756 was introduced as a bi-partisan bill by Democrat Barney Frank and Republican Presidential Candidate hopeful, Ron Paul on April 10th in the hope of limiting the implementation of the UIGEA.

The new bill has thus far gained the support of 10 congressman, 9 Democratic, 1 Republican; all of whom have already put their names to HR 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act.

In a letter dated 21st the two co-signers of the bill along with Luis V. Gutierrez, Chairman of the Subcommittee of Domestic and International Monetary Policy, and Peter King, member of the Committee on Financial Services, called for support of the bill. In the letter they state that the UIGEA’s failure to define “unlawful internet gambling”, leaving the financial institutions to navigate their way through the various conflicting laws on the subject, is a severe problem with the Act. Furthermore, they reminded members of the House that “representatives from the regulatory agencies themselves admitted that there are substantial problems in crafting regulations to implement the UIGEA in a manner that does not have a substantial adverse effect on the efficiency of the nation’s payment system.” Furthermore, they urge the members of the House to join them “in this effort to prevent these vague, burdensome, and confusing regulations from being implemented”.

If the bill were to pass it would prohibit the Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve System from implementing any regulations set forth by the UIGEA thereby making the Act unenforceable. Whether enough support will be gained to bring the bill to the floor let alone to pass it is as yet unclear, however, lobbyists have stated that it will at the very least give a strong message to the federal regulators that the currently proposed legislation needs reworking.

WSOP Final Table To Be Delayed
Friday, May 2, 2008
What a few weeks ago was just a rumor was announced yesterday as fact. The World Series of Poker Main Event is going to follow a new schedule this year with the final table being played 16 weeks after the main bulk of the tournament.

The 2008 WSOP Main Event will begin on July 3rd and run through to July 14th at which point the final 9 will be determined, and each of those nine will be given the ninth place cash prize. The remainder of the prize fund will be put in an interest earning account until November when the final table will be played on Monday November 9th and the heads-up play on November 10th. The whole of the final two days of the event will be edited and put together into a special 3-hour ESPN broadcast which will air on November 11th at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Both the main bulk of the event and the final table will be hosted at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The move for delayed final table play was approved by the WSOP Player Advisory Council and has met with tentative approval by most. The arguments for delayed final table play are several fold. It is believed that with a four month gap the event can be advertised better; drumming up more interest in the event and thereby contributing to the already growing popularity of the game in general. Furthermore, with the final table players decided the public will take a more personal interest in the characters partaking in the final table, and will want to know who will win rather than simply discussing who already won. In addition to this, it is believed that the delay will grant the final 9 players time to prepare more thoroughly, having also had time to recuperate from the rigorous first stages of play. It is precisely this point however that has also caused some to be cautious believing that the players will simply get coached on how to beat their opponents, as Greg Raymer, former WSOP Champion commented, the players will “become completely different people between the time they make the final table and when they play it”.

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