You are here: » Home » News

Online Poker News

Possible AGA Support for Online Gaming
Saturday, November 29, 2008
There seems to be a strong chance that the land-based casino industry will come out en mass in support of the legalization of online gaming. With the combination of a change in political winds and the less than cheerful economic outlook, it seems that the American Gaming Association is considering lending its support to online poker in America.

The AGA’s CEO, Frank Fahrenkopf has made comments to this effect, which is understood to be a response to the changing economic climate which will see a drop in gambling-travel, and an across the board drop in revenues for land based poker venues. The Las Vegas Sun reported this week that there are 3 major problematic elements within the AGA membership that could potentially prevent an across the board consensus of AGA members. The 3 elements are as follows:
  1. A number of AGA members are already involved in online gaming; they are associated with sites that are run and licensed outside of the USA. Some of these companies support US regulation of online gaming.
  2. Some members are in favor of state regulations, meaning that each state is responsible for the availability of online gaming in its territory, taking it off of the national agenda.
  3. Some members do not consider that online options associated with land based casinos will aid their positions.
The AGA’s position therefore is not yet set, but a group has reportedly been established to research relevant bills introduced to the topic, and the association supports investigation into what the possible implications of nation wide regulated online gaming would be. It is believed that the coming months, may be a turning point for online-offline gaming relations, and with the change of presidential office, may come a new approach to online gaming in general and online poker in particular. If this be the case, some argue that a change in land-based casino attitude is an act of damage control rather than a shift in position per se.

Online Poker is Favorite
Saturday, November 29, 2008
It was reported last week in the Las Vegas Sun that the legalization of online gaming would be a top choice of all online gambling games to legalize. These conclusions came following the Global Gaming Expo in which experts in the field of online gaming, made these observations. The experts claim that when it comes to online gaming legalization, Poker is the best choice and would be the best accepted.

The question of legalization of online gaming has lead to heated discussion over the past couple of years, and accounting giants, PriceWaterhouseCoopers earlier this year concluded in a study of the potential financial benefits of federally regulated online gaming, that over $9 billion could be raised over 10 years, for the public coffers through taxes and fees.

Support for federal regulation isn’t one of just finances however, but will also provide a manageable format for control and safety, whilst also providing a framework in which the entire nation wouldn’t be required to reflect one uniform attitude.

All of these elements were taken into account at the Global Gaming Expo, and thus we can but hope that the conclusions become reality.

WPT Changes
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Last year saw Gavin Griffin win the WPT Borgata Winter Open, beating the 507 playing field to claim his $1.4 million plus first place prize. He will not be getting the opportunity to defend his championship this year however, or at least not as part of the World Poker Tour.

There are traditionally two stops at the Borgata in the WPT; the Borgata Poker Open and the Winter Open. The Borgata Poker Open ran in September with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool, however only attracting 516 players left the Borgata a little short who had to chip in $50,000 to make up the figures. It is largely due to this downfall in participation along with the current financial trends that the decision has been made to drop the Winter Open, traditionally a $10,000 buy-in championship event, from the Season VII schedule. What will happen in Season VIII is still undecided.

All is not lost however, whilst the Winter Open will not be a WPT event it will still run with a severely altered set up. Rather than a $10,000 buy in, it will be a $3,000 buy in, with 75 minute levels, and a starting stack of 50,000. There will be a guaranteed prize pool, but exactly what it will be is still unclear; most likely it will be in the $1-$2 million range.

Other changes to the WPT season VII schedule are as follows:

Southern Poker Championship at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi: Jan. 14-17

Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC) at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California: Feb. 21-26

WPT Celebrity Invitational at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California: Feb. 28-March 2

Bay 101 Shooting Star at Bay 101 Casino in San Jose, California: March 16-20

Foxwoods Poker Classic at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut: April 4-9

WPT World Championship at Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada: April 18-25

Canadian Champ
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
There's nothing like winning on home turf, and this weekend Daniel Negreanu got to do just that. The BC Poker Championship held at the River Rock Casino close to Vancouver had a main event capped at 750, and maybe it was the news of the daunting competition that stopped it from being sold out – or may be not. The series included five events in total, but it was the main one that Negreanu made the trip for:
"Being Canadian myself, playing and winning the BC Poker Championships is extra special to me…The tournament was extremely well organized and my opponents were very good. It may have been a smaller tournament but I would say this has been the best $2,500 buy-in event structure I've ever played.”
It wasn't only native Negreanu who made the trip, but other big names to be spotted included Isabelle Mercier, Dennis Phillips, Mark Nampier, Tiffany Michelle, and Liz Lieu. This is of course, Dennis Phillips' first tournament following his WSOP final table appearance earlier this month, and he seemed very happy with his 30th place finish here.

The BC Championship had a great atmosphere, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The organizers got praise from every corner, and BCLC Vice President of Casino and Community Gaming, Darryl Schiewe, commented that:
This year's tournament has drawn the largest celebrity participation out of all B.C. poker events, confirming British Columbia as a hot destination for exciting poker.
Whether this turns out to be the case or not, only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, the BC Poker Tournament confirmed its place as a significant stop on the annual poker circuits.

The final table results and payouts of the $2,500 buy-in main event were as follows:
1. Daniel Negreanu: $371,910
2. Adam Croffut: $238,191
3. Warren Russell: $150,285
4. Vorakbotgh Eam: $118,335
5. Vincenzo Abate: $97,204
6. Tyler Patterson: $76,580

Steps for Wider Poker Accessibility in Texas
Monday, November 24, 2008
Few people doubt that Texas has played a major role through the history of poker, and it was indeed in this fair state that Texas Hold'em, today the most popular form of poker, was born. Thankfully, the proud relationship between Texas and poker is most certainly not a thing of the past, as we see Texas State Representative Jose Menendez introduce his Poker Gaming Act of 2009 which aims to increase the availability of this the great game in this great state.

This is not the first time that the Democrat of San Antonio has attempted such a feat, but his last attempt failed to make it out of committee back in 2007. His new version, HB No. 222, is aimed to address several different issues. The first of the issues that Menendez wishes to deal with through his bill is public safety, following a spat of robberies, including a fatality linked with underground poker rings which, if the legal sport was expanded would carry far less allure and thus power. His bill will call for a greater number of viable hosting locations for poker tournaments, including social clubs and bars, and even charitable organizations. Licensing would be dealt with by the Texas Lottery Commission who would provide an overall standard with the aid of law enforcement agencies for all institutions involved. Also included in his bill is the plan to use percentages of the revenue created by state poker for social improvement projects such as aiding the homeless.

Menendez is not suggesting that a Vegas appear in Texas and is not calling for the ability to run high-stakes games; what he does want however is for tournaments with buy-ins of up to $100 to be acceptable, and for the monies made to be put to use for the good of the wider Texan Community.

The precise date for hearing the bill by the Texas State Legislature is yet to be set.

Dutch Debate
Sunday, November 23, 2008
As the outgoing US administration pushes through difficult to carry out and potentially crippling legislation placing undue responsibility on the financial services sector, it's a welcome relief to see that madness has not taken a grip of the whole globe.

In Holland similar plans to the American UIGEA have been aired, suggested, and even more than that, with the Justice Minister, Hirsch Ballin at the centre of it. Ballin's argument is that a huge amount of money goes to foreign companies through online gaming, and by using the financial system already established in the country he can keep those Euros at home. However, representatives of the Netherlands Bankers Association have strongly opposed the plans to make the financial institutions essentially the policeman of the online gaming world, claiming that such action is impractical and illegal.

Not only is the issue one of unreasonable responsibility for those who should not be policing this area, but the EU actually requires member countries to engage with each other; thus prohibiting economic use of a company based in a member EU country is tantamount to illegal action under EU rules. It is for this reason the Netherlands Bankers Association has, some might say, challenged the Dutch government to bring an online gaming operator to trial; they believe that this will never occur in the Netherlands, and until it does the financial services institutions will continue to accept both companies and players.

In response to the Netherlands Bankers Association, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice stated:
Justice bases itself on Dutch law in fighting illegal internet gaming and there is no room for free choice on the side of the banks. European law has no influence on this.
Mr. Ballin wishes to move forward with his proposals and is claimed to be preparing to present his plan by the end of the calendar year. Some believe that this will not occur, and he will be delayed in this action.

New Hopes Lie With New Game
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The issue that many gaming authorities have with poker is that despite evidence to the contrary, they consider it to be a game of chance rather than one of skill, thus making it problematic under certain gaming laws. However, a new game devised by Shawn Riley of Kansas, may potentially circumvent such issues.

Kandu is the name of the game and it works like this: there are in existence now 2 forms of Kandu; there's Omaha Hi/Lo and Texas Hold'em. The games work just like the regular form of these games but with one very important exception; and this exception makes all the difference. Before the cards are cut and dealt, the dealer fans the cards out face up on the table and leaves them for a second or two – thus technically, the players have seen the cards. Why does this make a difference?

This makes a difference because the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission considers a game that has no chance involved in it, but is all skill to be a game, not gaming, even if it involves money. Thus, how can it be a game of chance if everyone's seen the cards, and if everyone's seen the cards, there's no gambling!

Kandu has been in operation in the Highland Gastropub and Cardroom for the last month or so, where four Kandu tables are running, and are apparently the most popular in the house. Inventor, Riley, has even had members of the law enforcement agencies in to have a look, and whilst not liking it, they have declared it legal.

However, it isn't just the Kansas Law enforcement agencies that need convincing; it's the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. Although the game has been running on a small scale for a few weeks it has not yet gotten the go ahead, but the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission are considering it right now. If they approve the game, then this may be a new lease of life for all areas with problematic laws regarding the classification of poker.

French Open Confirmed
Saturday, November 22, 2008
If you are going to be in a European poker tour, then The European Poker Tour is the tour you want to be in, and after 2 years absence France's position as a stop on the Season V tour has now been confirmed. Whilst the stop appeared on the tentative schedule, it was only last week that the full go ahead was given, and the event was confirmed as definite.

2006 was the last time that the French Open made up a part of the EPT schedule. Although technically last year was supposed to see a stop in Deuville, as a result of a shift in the French legislative position organizers were forced to cancel at the last minute stating that:
The European Poker Tour (EPT) regrets to announce that the 2007 French Open poker tournament due to be held at Casino Barrière de Deauville from 20-24th February, 2007, has been cancelled. This is as a direct result of last-minute intervention by the French authorities making it impossible for the Lucien Barrière group to run a poker tournament on their premises in Deauville.
One of the issues was the connection of the EPT with online gaming providers, but since then the EU has cracked down on member countries enforcing unfair legal restrictions in the area of gaming and today the French Government is reconsidering its position and laws making the country far more poker-friendly, and thus a viable stop again for the EPT.

The French Open will be hosted at the Casino Barrier de Deauville between January 20th and 24th. The buy-in for the championship event will be €5,000, and is capped at 700, making it the biggest capacity tournament so far of the season. The last time the French Open was played, in season 2 of the EPT, there were 434 players and it was Swede Mats Iremark who won the €480,000 first place prize.

EPT Warsaw Final Table
Friday, November 21, 2008
217 people rocked up for the 4 day EPT Warsaw Main Event at the Casinos Poland, and by the end of day 2 24 remained, leaving all in the money. The tournament was fast passed throughout and by the time that three and a half hours of day 3 play had elapsed, the final table had been decided. Seats and stacks going into final table play, were as follows:
Seat 1: Arnaud Mattern - 238,000
Seat 2: Ludovic Lacay - 296,500
Seat 3: Andrea Benelli - 100,000
Seat 4: Michael Muheim - 89,000
Seat 5: Joao Barbosa - 123,000
Seat 6: Dario Minieri - 359,500
Seat 7: Nico Behling - 343,500
Seat 8: Sergey Shcherbatskiy - 349,000
Seat 9: Atanas Gueorguiev - 186,500
First to go was Michael Muheim, followed by Ludovic Lacay. Next was Andrea Benelli thanks to a previously fairly docile Dario Minieri. Sergey Shcherbatskiy who had previously held the chip lead position went out in 6th place when Joao Barbosa called his all on. Arnaud Mattern who had been doing very well, lost 2 large pots virtually back to back which left him crippled and claiming the fifth place prize. Next on Barbosa's hit list was Atanas Gueorguiev; by this stage Barbosa was doing incredibly well and was using his weight well.

Following dinner it was indeed Barbosa who took out Dario Minieri leaving Barbosa and Nico Behling in heads up play. Barbosa was in the lead going into heads-up play, but play began tentatively. Finally however some big hands were played, and after hours of play, Barbosa emerged victorious.

This is Barbosa's third EPT cash finish of the season, having won $22,888 in the London event, and €14,900 in Barcelona. His Warsaw win of $462,596 is his biggest win to date, and first first place prize; to add glory to triumph, Barbosa, of Portugal, won this event on his 26th birthday!

UIGEA Rules Published
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Despite best efforts by House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Barney Frank and the people at the PPA, the US Treasury and Federal Reserve have succeeded in pushing through their controversial rules for the implementation of the even more controversial 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Following much objection in a committee hearing earlier this year it was hoped by many that a postponement would be granted in the making of these new laws, but sadly despite the very convincing arguments, the outgoing administration has managed to get the "midnight drop" done. Amongst the new legislation is stipulated that financial firms must take steps to prevent payments being made to "unlawful internet gambling" businesses. The laws will come into effect on January 9th, 2009, but businesses are given a year from the time of passing the law to fall into line. The make up of the 66-page document, pays tribute to many of the objections raised with the bill to start with – as the first 50 pages provides explanatory terms to make clear the confusing bill. The body of the laws is still under work, but some points have become clear:
  • Restrictions will be on making deposits to online gaming sites - withdrawals will not be an issue.
  • What exactly "unlawful internet gambling" is, is not clear; state laws will be referred to for definition.
  • It will likely take a million man hours and $88-million dollars to implement this law.
Arguments for poker not falling under this bill at all as it is a skill game rather than a game of chance, were not accepted and again local laws and legislation will be referred to in order to determine the classification of the game.

European Poker Tour Warsaw Stop
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Casinos Poland, Casino at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Warsaw today is simply buzzing with excitement and anticipation. In last season's WPT, the Warsaw stop held in March saw Michael Schulze, the stock trader from Germany win the more than half a million Euros first place prize. As first day of play is already underway in the Season V Polish Open, some of the biggest names seen around the floor today include Humberto Brenes, Luca Pagano, Priyan Demel, Joe Elpayaa, Albert Iversen, Katja Thater, Gavin Griffin, Dario Minieri, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, EPT Hungarian Open winner William Fry and Isabelle Mercier.

The five day no limit hold'em main event will run through to Wednesday November 19th, following this schedule, kicking off at 2 p.m. each day:
Saturday, November 15th: Day 1A - eight levels
Sunday, November 16th: Day 1B - eight levels
Monday, November 17th: Day 2 - levels 9-16 or down to 32 players
Tuesday, November 18th: Day 3 - down to eight players
Wednesday, November 19th: Final Table
So far, around 100 people have registered for day 1a, putting 12 tables into play. The tournament comes with a 20,000 zloty buy-in which equates to roughly $6,744, and whilst the numbers are capped at 400, if today's turn out is anything to go by, they won't be getting even close to that number.

This is event number 2 of the Polish Open, which in turn is the fourth stop in the season V EPT Schedule.

WSOP History Up For Grabs
Saturday, November 15, 2008
If you're feeling a void where the WSOP used to stand, don't worry, you can now purchase a piece of the World Series of Poker that can stay with you forever. The World Series of Poker and XP Events have together found a way to allow you to do just this. So be it for you, or be it as a Christmas gift; this might be worth your while.

WSOP and XP Events are together auctioning off all sorts of memorabilia from the Main Event Final Table the just finished last week. Amongst the artifacts you might be lucky enough to secure for yourself, could be a dealer button, a deck of cards, the felts from the table, or even the table itself – surely good karma for you home poker game! That being said, the bidding so far, is standing at $25,100, and is expected to go higher; so that karma definitely comes with a cost; it does come with free delivery though.

XP Events have been the merchandise provider for the WSOP, but this is the first time that such an auction has been held. WSOP Director of Marketing and Corporate Alliances, Ty Steward commented:
This is the first time that the public has had the opportunity to bid on authentic items from the World Series of Poker Main Event, and the centerpiece of the auction will be the Final Table itself. We have very passionate fans and we expect this auction to generate a lot of interest.
The auction will be running until November 24th, so you still have a little time to figure out which part of Poker History you wish to purchase, but don't take too long, who knows if this opportunity will ever come again!

Republican Push Before Departure
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The end of an administration can often turn into a frantic rush to get incomplete legislations done and dusted before the new government takes hold – this is precisely the case in America right now as the US Treasury Department is rushing to push through final regulations regarding the implementation of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

As the Republicans and President Bush see the end of their 8 year term looming, the idea is to push everything through before it's too late, but this "midnight drop" is not without oppositions. Both outspoken online poker supporter, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), and the Poker Players Alliance have spoken out against the moves.

A letter sent by Frank to Henry Paulson, Treasury Secretary, and Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Chairman, called on them for a postponement in the enacting of the regulations.
A congressional hearing in April bought to light several objections from across the board claiming that the UIGEA had deep rooted problems that could not be solved, and it was precisely these issues that he used to dissuade the acceptance of the move. In his letter he wrote:
I am deeply disappointed to hear that your agency is proceeding with what I consider to be unseemly haste in issuing regulations implementing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This midnight rulemaking will tie the hands of the new Administration, burden the financial services industry at a time of economic crisis, and contradict the stated intent of the Financial Services Committee…I strongly urge you to delay implementation of these major, and deeply flawed regulations to permit the incoming Administration the ability to review the consequences of such a significant policy decision, rather than unfairly being denied that opportunity.
The PPA have also gotten involved by calling all members into action: their aim is to have thousands of calls placed to the U.S. Federal Reserve objecting to the new regulations.

Think Not What Poker Can Do For You…
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
But what you can do for poker. As the U.S. Treasury Department is pushing through regulations for the UIGEA, the Poker Players Alliance is calling its soldiers into action. This is what, you can do for poker. The PPA is requesting that as many members as possible call the U.S. Federal Reserve objecting to the pushing of these regulations. The phone numbers are:
Board of Governors, 202-974-7008
Public Affairs, 202-452-2955
They PPA have also produced a list of poignant issues that could be used in any discussion regarding the enacting of the regulations, they are as follows:
  • Internet poker regulations are not the concern or jurisdiction of the federal agencies who are predominantly responsible for the U.S. economy at large. /li>
  • The financial systems currently in place are already under tremendous pressure; the passing of these regulations will lay extra burden on them; a burden that they may not be able to endure. /li>
  • The UIGEA deals with gambling games, games of chance. Online poker is not a game of chance, but rather a game of skill and thus should not be counted within the jurisdiction of this bill. /li>
  • There is simply no way to know what the effects of implementing this bill will have on the financial services of the country; it is owed to the financial sector to at least investigate the likely outcome before jumping into it. Without full studies, this could be the road to financial disaster. /li>

WSOP Records Broken!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The new format of the WSOP Main Event caused a stir this year; it threw tradition to the wind and instigated a change that may alter major tournaments for ever more. Last night as the final hours of the 2008 World Series of Poker drew to a close, it turned out that the tournament wasn't done with its record breaking.

Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov, both young European players managed to outplay over 6,000 entrants to the Main Event, many of whom were older and more experienced in live tournament play. Last night, the Penn & Teller Theater of the Rio was where it all came to an end. The evening got off to a wonderful start as Erick Lindgren was presented with a customized Harley Davidson as 2008 WSOP Player of the Year; and then the cards were in the air.

Eastgate started in the chip lead with 79,500,000 to Demidov's 57,725,000, but early on Demidov did well and even took the chip lead after taking down a 21 million pot. It took Eastgate an hour to retrieve the leader position, but this he did, and an hour after Demidov's spur forward, Eastgate was again in the lead, now 86,000,000 to 50,000,000, and just a few hands later, Eastgate took another important pot, taking his chip count to over 100 million. From there on in Demidov gave a good fight, but it just wasn't enough; a few turn cards working against him and Demidov was down to just 16 million. After the final break, Demidov went all in on the river with 4h,2h giving him two pair with the 2,K,3,4,7 board; Eastgate showed up an Ad, 5s however giving him the straight, the bracelet, $9,000,000 in prize money, and the prestigious title of being the youngest player ever to win the WSOP Main Event.

Congratulations to all involved, and don't forget to catch the action from the two days of final table play tonight on ESPN.

Why 2008 WSOP Main Event is Record Breaking
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We've been saying for a long time that this year's WSOP was record breaking – but how exactly is this true? Here are 5 reasons why the 2008 WSOP Main Event alone should be considered record breaking:
  1. Up until this year the longest play seen at a WSOP final table was the one in 2005 won by Joe Hachem. That final table played for just over 14 hours; this year the Final table played for over 16!
  2. Phil Hellmuth, the showman of online poker took the title of the youngest player to win the WSOP Main Event in 1989 when he took it from Johnny Chan. When Hellmuth took that title he was just 24 years old – that's 2 years older than Peter Eastgate is today as he snaps that title away from Hellmuth after 19 years.
  3. This was the first year to see a 1 million chip big blind.
  4. Ivan Demidov managed to reach two WSOP Main Event final tables this year; the World Series of Poker Europe in London, and here in the Rio, Las Vegas.
  5. This was the first year that players were able to get coaching and study their opponents before going up against them, all thanks to the new WSOP Main Event Format.
And that is why this WSOP Main Event is going to go down in history, not as the biggest, and not as the richest, but as the most exciting, and THE record breaking WSOP Main Event.

WSOP Main Event Final Table Update
Monday, November 10, 2008
After such a long wait, 117 days to be precise, the penultimate day of the WSOP Main Event was no disappointment; taking 14 hours of play, it wasn't until the small hours of this morning that the final two were left standing to return today, for heads up play.

Going into day 1 of final table play it was Kelly Kim who had the shortest stack, but managed to defy all expectations by not being the first to go. After an early double up at the expense of Ivan Demidov, Kim was able to stay in the game at least until after Craig Marquis was eliminated, after just over 50 hands; marquis went out in 9th place and Kim shortly after in 8th.

7th Place was to go to David "Chino" Rheem, who came off worse the wear for an all in with Peter Eastgate. Meanwhile Darus Suharto fancied his chances against a Scott Montgomery pre-flop raise – he came out worse for it and went out in 6th place, leaving Montgomery in a very strong position. His time in power wasn't to last long however as he lost a large pot to Demidov restoring the later to the chip leader position whilst the former was crippled. It was just a few hands later that Montgomery went all in against Eastgate – Montgomery left in 5th place.

A long stretch of short-lived hands followed in which little changed until after nearly 2 hours Schwartz and Eastgate had a tango, and Schwartz fell off the game; and then there were three. Philips who had started the day in the leader position but had been close to elimination at a number of points, and Europeans Demidov and Eastgate; the American was really watching the other two push the chip s around and thus it was the case that Phillips, after an excellent day went out in third place.

As the day's excitement came to an end in the Pen and Teller Theatre at the Rio, the hundreds of family, friends, and fans could not be disappointed with anything they saw – a great tournament and a great day's play, with more to come today.

WSOP Final Table Results Update
Monday, November 10, 2008
With the first of two days of the Final Table of this years 2008 WSOP Main Event done, we can report on the positions and prizes allocated so far, and the schedule for today's play.

3. Dennis Phillips: $4,517,773
4. Ylon Schwartz: $3,774,974
5. Scott Montgomery: $3,096,768
6. Darus Suharto: $2,418,562
7. David "Chino" Rheem: $1,772,650
8. Kelly Kim: $1,288,217
9. Craig Marquis: $900,670
Chip Counts
The chip counts as heads-up play begins are:
Ivan Demidov - 79,500,000
Peter Eastgate - 57,725,000
Today's Schedule
Play will get underway tonight at 10 p.m. Las Vegas Time.

There is everything to play for today, and of course it's not just the $9,152,416 first prize and $5,809,595 second place prize, or at least it's not only that. There is the prestige of winning this event that 6844 people entered into 4 months ago, but also in this years Heads-up play we will see the new generation play the new generation. There will be no old hands at the table tonight: Eastgate of Denmark is just 22 years old, and has thus far earned under $100,000 in live tournament wins. Demidov is 3 years older than his competition, and has earned a little over $650,000 in live tournament winnings; however having only started to play seriously 2 years ago, this may be the youngest and least experienced heads up play seen to date in a WSOP Main Event…And that may be what's going to add an extra excitement to an already exciting day.

Who are the November 9 - Part I
Saturday, November 8, 2008
With less than 24 hours to go before the cards get in the air in the most anticipated final table of the year, if not the decade, let's have a quick look at the players involved in this year's WSOP Main Event Final Table.

Going in as chip leader is Dennis "Fordman" Phillips. Aged 53, Phillips has been playing poker for only 4 years. He hails from St Louis, Missouri, where he's an account manager, and he found his way into the WSOP Main Event through a Harrah's casino satellite tournament near to where he lives. Thus far, his career has provided him with 2 cash wins which combine to a total of under $5,000; that's around 0.5% of what the smallest prize is going to be tomorrow. Phillips is well known for his involvement with charity and has expressed intentions to make donations to a variety of causes including charities concerned with Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer.

Ivan Demidov is trailing Philips by a little under 2 million chips, and unlike the leader is considerably more experienced. Aged 27 this Russian professional player is better known in the online poker world that the land based performances. That being said, this will be his third major tournament cash finish, and thus far he's earned over $70,000 including his recent £33,000+ third place finish at the WSOPE.

Scott Montgomery in third place on the chip leader board is quickly becoming a house hold name and may be one of the more familiar sounding names amongst the final 9. Also having been playing poker for 4 years, the 26 year old has an undergraduate degree in mathematics, and really hit the big time this year. 2008 has provided Montgomery with 5 cash finishes to date amounting to a total of $73,700 in tournament earnings.

Who are the November 9 - Part II
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Peter Eastgate, nicknamed "Isser" is the baby of the group aged at just 22; yet the Dane is deemed by many to be the man to watch. Coming up through the internet tournaments and poker rooms, he found his way to the WSOP with his own hard earned cash. Previous tournament cash finishes have rewarded him with the best part of $100,000 and his highest placing was 9th in last years Irish Poker Open.

Ylon Schwartz, in fifth place is probably the most experienced amongst the final 9 in tournament play, all be it not in tournament wins. The 38 year old New Yorker has put 30 live tournament cash finishes under his belt since 2004 amounting to a total of $302,950 in earnings. His highest finish to date was in the 2005 WPT Finals where he came 3rd, earning him over $49,000.

Darus Suharto in 6th place is an Indonesian born accountant who now lives in Canada. He has just one cash finish under his belt; the WSOP Main event in 2006 where he came in 448th earning $26,389. Suharto started playing poker seriously in 2005 and he won his entry to the 2008 WSOP Main Event through a $650 satellite tournament.

David "Chino" Rheem is the best known player of the Final 9; from LA he's been playing poker at a professional level for 10 years and has gotten 13 cash finishes in the last 3. His lifetime earnings amount to $616,403 the largest of which came from a second place win in the 2006 WSOP. Where ever he finishes in this tournament, it will be by far his biggest win to date.

Who are the November 9 - Part III
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Craig Marquis, just 23 years old, hailing from Texas is another online master, having experienced most of his success in that arena. However, he has managed 3 live tournament cash finishes, all of which were WSOP events, earning him a total of $35,759. Considering that he's only been playing for under 2 years; that's not bad going at all.

Definitely the underdog going into this final table is 9th place position holder Kelly Kim. Kim has just 2,620,000 chips, only 25% of what Marquis has. None-the-less the 31 year old Californian has everything to smile about. Since his first tournament appearance in 2001 he has collected 37 cash finishes amounting to over $350,000. His best finish to date was this year in the Legends of Poker where he came 4th.

With those, the personalities, looked at we can now briefly have a glance at the chip counts going into this final table, and see what it is that these November 9 are playing for.

Chip Counts
1. Dennis Philips: 26,295,000
2. Ivan Demidov: 24,400,000
3. Scott Montgomery: 19,690,000
4. Peter Eastgate: 18,375,000
5. Ylon Schwartz: 12,525,000
6. Darus Suharto: 12,520,000
7. David Rheem: 10,230,000
8. Craig Marquis: 10,210,000
9. Kelly Kim: 2,620,000
Payout Structure
1st Place: $9,152,416
2nd Place: $5,809,595
3rd Place: $4,517,773
4th Place: $3,774,974
5th Place: $3,096,768
6th Place: $2,418,562
7th Place: $1,772,650
8th Place: $1,288,217
9th Place: $900,670
Thus far the seating positions have not been announced. The cards will get in the air tomorrow, November 9th, at 10 am with 21 minutes and 50 seconds left in level 33 to play.

APPT Moves Forward
Friday, November 7, 2008
If there ever was a time when poker was associated with one place, that time is well and truly over. Today, poker is global game and whilst we're on a break from the Latin American Tour, and just as the WSOP Main Event Final Table will be over, we're going to be tuned in to the goings on the others side of the world – in Manila to be precise.

To be held at the Hyatt Hotel & Casino, next leg of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, a PHP 100,000 buy in event, will run from November 13th to 16th and rumor has it that it's going to be huge with players representing over 30 different nations attending. There's already talk that Lee "Final Table" Nelson will be in attendance along with Brett Parise, John Phan, Eddie Sabat, Celina Lin, Yoshihiro Tasaka, Neil Arce, Wally Sombrero, Ivan Tan, Bryan Huang and even some better known not for the poker like pro billiards player Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan. Last year 225 entrants turned up for this event, but organizers, convinced that this year will be considerably bigger, have put a cap on at more than double that amount; 500 players.

This is the penultimate stop of the second Asia Pacific Poker Tour that got started just over 2 months ago on September 1st and has thus far attracted 1010 players and a collective prize pool of $2,545,662.

UK Approves Major Gaming Licenser
Friday, November 7, 2008
As the world seems to be turning against poker players, the UK is a little haven for online acceptability, and now there's going to be even more online poker choice as Antigua and Barbuda is approved as a gaming jurisdiction allowed to advertise within the UK.

On September 1st 2007 the 2005 Gambling Act came into effect which allowed for the advertising of online poker and gambling sites through common media, including TV, radio, and billboards; however, the right to advertise was not unlimited and only sites deemed to have taken adequate measures to prevent children from accessing the sites, to avoid problem gambling, and to ensure absolute safe conduct and fairness of games, would be granted permission.

What has become known as the "White List" is a list of jurisdictions from which the UK accepts online gaming and poker sites; a list that just got bigger as the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda was added to it, with effect from November 20th of this year. Originally no license was granted, and their January application was rejected; however the UK Department of Culture, Media, and Sport have now accepted the application following further representations.

Antigua and Barbuda license some of the biggest names in online poker rooms, casinos and sportsbooks, and with this new strength is likely to attract many more. Antigua and Barbuda joins countries within the EEA, Gibraltar, Malta, Alderney, the Isle of Man, and Tasmania on the DCMS run White List.

LAPT On The Move
Friday, November 7, 2008
219 people turned out for the kick off of the second season of the Latin American Poker Tour, and as they crammed in, and quickly crammed out, of the Herradura Ramada Plaza, San Jose, the pace for this tour was already set.

The 3 day starter was a great opening tournament, and saw youngster Ryan Fee of Pennsylvania take the title and $287,773, after having beat Joel Micka, also American, who left with $148,993. However eyes are already looking forward, and in the case of the LAPT, they're jumping from Costa Rica to Mexico.

The Mexico leg will be the second of six parts to this tour, double that of the first season and is due to get underway in less than a month. The 3 day event will have a $2,500 + $2,000 buy in and will be hosted at the 5-star beachfront property of Marival Resort & Suites close to Puerto Vallarta; a beautiful resort on the Pacific coast in the Mexican state of Nayarit.

Already rumored to be in attendance are Humberto Brenes, Andre Akkari, Alexandre Gomes, and "Fossilman" Raymer, but organizers expect that there will be enormous turn outs throughout the tour. LAPT President Glenn Cademartori commented following the success of the San Jose leg:
… LAPT Season One was an overwhelming success, demonstrating the enormous growth and expansion of poker across Latin America and the appeal of these venues for international players…Moving the tour into Latin America's tourism high season will make it easier and even more enjoyable for players to travel to these exotic destinations for exciting live high-stakes championship poker. Players have a lot to look forward to in Season Two as we are doubling the size of the tour. It will now run from November to April visiting six countries in six months.
The Mexico stop is a new one for the tour and will run from December 5th to December 7th.

A Name to Watch
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sometimes big names sneak up on you, and they're big before you had a chance to clock them, but with others you get the opportunity to see a young player rise to glory, and when it happens it's a beautiful thing to watch.

In 2007, Steve "MrSmokey1" Billirakis, originally of Chicago, broke the World Series of Poker record for the youngest person ever to win a bracelet - he was just 21 years and 11 days old, which bearing in mind that you have to be 21 to play in America is quite a feat; he took that record from Jeff Madsen who had set the record the year before when he was 21 years, 1 month and 9 days. Since then, the record for youngest bracelet winner has been passed on again, to Annette Obrestad in her spectacular win in the WSOPE London leg last year. However, just because he is no longer the record holder, doesn't make him any less of a joy to watch.

As play got going in the WSOP Circuit Event Championship at the Horseshoe, Southern Indiana, early yesterday afternoon Billirakis had the chip lead, as he had since the end of day one; but 8 players, including Dustin Woolf, Jason DeWitt, and Thomas Koral were determined to stand in his way.

Woolf, nicknamed "neverwin" did in fact not win, and he was the first to fall in 9th place; DeWitt however provided probably the most breath-holding moment of the day. Billirakis had the biggest stack at the table, with DeWitt second; Billirakis went all in and DeWitt called. DeWitt showed AQ suited and you could have heard a pin drop - Billirakis flipped pocket queens giving him a huge advantage and sending DeWitt packing.

Heads-up play came down to Billirakis and Koral with the former starting with a 5-3 cheap lead. It only took 20 minutes or so to take Koral down, but that he did, and Billirakis pushed his all time cash wins to 1.2 million dollars, and of course he's won himself a seat at the WSOP Main Event next summer in Vegas.

LAPT II - See Who’s Heading South for the Winter
Monday, November 3, 2008
The first season of the Latin American Poker Tour earlier this year saw Julien Nuijten of the Netherlands making his first final table appearance, and win the $222,940 first place prize in Rio in May. The end of May bought the Costa Rica Leg and a $274,103 win for Hungarian Valdemar Kwaysser, his first significant cash win, and in august the tour travelled to Uruguay where Spaniard Jose Miguel Espinar also took his first ever cash finish.

Today, the second season will get underway and San Jose is the place. The $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 guaranteed prize-pool main event will be getting underway in just a few hours, and with satellites that have been running for days, there are dozens already on their way.

It was at this event in May of this year that Valdemar Kwaysser took the first place prize, and it will be interesting to see if he rocks up again today to try to defend his title. Last year saw the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Victor Ramdin, Isabelle Mercier and the "Godfather" of Costa Rican poker, Humberto Brenes all in attendance; this year is likely to be just as star studded. However, with the reputation that this tour has already received of being a playground for the amateurs, they may be scared off. It is rare that so many unknowns come through in one tour, and the relatively low buy-ins may be the reason for this. However, with a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize-pool, we’ll have to see if this tour will continue to be one for the up-and-comings, or if it will transform itself into being a playground for the big boys only.

The event will get underway at 12 noon local time today.

Fry Fries Hungarian Opponents
Sunday, November 2, 2008
It was the first time that Budapest was on the EPT trail, and it will surely go down as one of the most successful stops on this the 5th season tour, and certainly as the biggest poker tournament to ever be held in Hungary. It was four tough going days which kicked off with 531 hopefuls at the Las Vegas Casino, Budapest, but ultimately it would be an Englishman that outlasted the rest.

Yesterdays final table started off with local favorite Zoltan Toth in the chip lead position, but it didn't last long as he, Johnny Lodden, and Martin Jacobson got all-in in a huge pot that a saw Lodden departing in 8th position and left Toth crippled only to go out a few hands later and taking with him the last hope of a Hungarian win.

Gino Alacqua who had been instrumental in the demise of Toth was next to go to the rail, again in a huge 3-way pot, which rewarded Alacqua with the 6th place prize of €100,016 whilst giving Ciprian Hrisca, a 35 year old of Romania, whose only been playing poker for 18 months, the chip lead.

Finally, Will Fry came into action, having seen off Mario Serenelli in fifth place, he quickly moved on to eliminate Albert Iversen, leaving just 3 players and placing himself in chip lead position. It was Hrisca who sent out Jacobson in third place, and thereby creating for himself a considerable chip lead as he and Fry entered into the last stage of the game.

Heads up play wasn't to last long – it took around half and hour before Fry was able to flip things around and take for himself the chip lead and ultimately the first place prize of €595,839, leaving the Romanian with €342,608. Fry has been playing poker since he was a small child, but rarely enters tournaments – this was his biggest buy in to date.

And with that we say good bye to Hungary, and start the 13 day count down for the next stop – Warsaw, Poland.

News Archive 2009 | January | February | March | April | June |
News Archive 2008 | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December |