Poker News

Are Today’s Online Poker Players Bereft of Ethics?

Poker News Daily - Fri, 2018-11-16 14:56

In the history of poker, there have been a plethora of instances where ethics haven’t been a part of the game. Look back at the early days, when sharps traveled up and down the Mississippi and worked the “rubes” with marked decks that allowed them to stack the deck. Fast forward to the days of poker in Texas and Las Vegas where teams would work together to fleece the unaware from their money. It may seem a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but are today’s poker players – and, in particular, today’s online poker players – bereft of ethics?

Interesting but Unofficial Polling Says Yes

If you were to look at a very interesting but completely unofficial (and unscientific) poll from a top poker professional, you’d be inclined to say yes. Team partypoker player Patrick Leonard asked a couple of questions of his nearly 10,000 followers regarding what course of action they would take on the virtual felt. The responses were surprising, but who they came from also was quite interesting.

In one question, Leonard asked this:

You're playing heads up in a tournament, your opponent disconnects, what do you do and comment why if you feel strongly either way.

— Patrick Leonard (@plenopads) November 3, 2018

As you can see, the results of the poll were stunning. More than 8 out of 10 players said they would aggressively and actively steal the blinds – in essence not giving the offline opponent a chance in the tournament. Furthermore, Leonard also found that a player up against an offline opponent in a heads up sit and go would seek out that player at other tables and attack there also.

Responses from Pros? Maybe Surprising…

Leonard’s unofficial polls had several top pros talking about the situation. World Series of Poker bracelet winner Bryan Piccioli responded to Leonard, saying that “it is a part of the game” to aggressively attack an offline player’s blinds (he did note that if he knew it was a “reg,” he might not be as aggressive). Longtime poker veteran Matt Stout, who has nearly as much earnings online ($3.8 million) as he does live ($4.1 million), stated that he “used to sit out and wait” but that nowadays you couldn’t guarantee that you would get that same consideration from your opponent. This, in Stout’s mind, made it justifiable.

For those that weren’t top professionals, there was a bit of a disappointing result. Those players chided the pros, stating that “they would steal because they want the money” or that “their opponent would do it if it were reversed.” Basically, there was a severe lack of ethical conduct on the part of poker players as a whole with the case presented.

Indicative of Today’s Society?

Ethics is allegedly important in society, but you wouldn’t know it from a look at some polls. In a survey from the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics, 43,000 high school students in public and private schools were surveyed as to their actions in education. The results showed some stunning results that demonstrate ethical behavior isn’t being learned or taught in the school systems.

Of those 43,000 students, 59% admitted that they cheated on tests during the last year and 34% admitted that they did it more than twice. One out of every three students stated that they plagiarized an assignment by using material from the internet. It is also prevalent in college; a Rutgers University study showed that 7% stated that they, nearly word for word, copied work from another source without citation.

There is also plenty of examples of unethical behavior in the business world. Former business “bad boy” Martin Shkreli was lambasted for hiking the price of a key drug to fight infection by 5000%, and he isn’t the only one. Marathon Pharmaceuticals did the same with a drug called Emflaza, taking the price for a year’s supply from between $1000-$2000 a year to over $89,000. And it is well known that companies have a “cost effective” analysis method that weighs the risks of violating the law – or even killing someone – versus what profits can actually be made before being held responsible.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by Leonard’s poll results. As can be demonstrated, there’s plenty of unethical behavior in many areas of life. Instead of taking the “high road,” perhaps poker is just reflecting the current standards and norms that we as humans are exercising.

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Categories: Poker News

Gordon Vayo Drops Lawsuit Against PokerStars, PokerStars Counters with Suit for Legal Fees

Poker News Daily - Fri, 2018-11-16 03:41

The long running battle between the online behemoth PokerStars and 2016 World Series of Poker Championship Event runner-up Gordon Vayo has apparently reached its end. With a hearing looming, Vayo has voluntarily dropped his lawsuit against the online poker site, but PokerStars isn’t done yet with the battle. According to court documents, PokerStars will be going after Vayo for their legal fees over the past couple of years.

You Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape…

For those that don’t remember what happened, Vayo won the 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) Main Event, taking down slightly more than $700,000 for the victory. That was before PokerStars began looking into the case, however. After investigating the entirety of Vayo’s time on the virtual felt on the site, PokerStars alleged that Vayo had played from an illegal proxy server in the States of America and, as such, he was playing in violation of the T&Cs (Terms and Conditions) as set forth by the company. The result was that PokerStars refused to pay Vayo and froze his account.

Vayo countered by saying that he played the tournament while in a rented apartment in Canada and presented documentation that supposedly backed up his contention. PokerStars, however, countered in documents filed earlier this week that Vayo’s documents presented to the court were the work of a document forger. Stating that they received information from a “third party,” PokerStars said that it presented the new evidence to Vayo. Vayo’s response was to drop his case in the U. S. District Court for the Central District of California.

You Don’t Pull the Mask Off the Lone Ranger…

PokerStars didn’t take the voluntary dismissal of the case by Vayo as a sign that the battle was over, however. In those legal documents from earlier this week, PokerStars countersued Vayo for their legal fees, stating that more than 346 hours of legal work had been racked up in the investigation and litigation of the case. At a neat $800 per hour, that totals up to $276,800 in fees for the barristers that PokerStars used in the case.

Citing the quick dropping of the lawsuit after being presented with the alleged evidence of forgery, PokerStars’ attorneys said that was almost an admission of guilt and that the case from the start was fraudulent. PokerStars also pointed out that, in the very T&Cs that establish that a player has to be playing legally on the site to be able to win money, it is within the rights of PokerStars to be able to sue Vayo for the repayment of legal fees.

But Everyone Leaves with a Black Eye

Even with the voluntary dismissal of the case by Vayo and the pending hearing on PokerStars’ countersuit, nobody is walking away from this cleanly. Vayo, who was the runner up to Qui Nguyen in the 2016 WSOP Main Event, has violated pretty much every rule that is in the online poker handbook – illegally playing on an international site, using a proxy server to mask their location and probably a couple of other instances along the way. Then there’s the actions outside of the online poker arena; hiring a forger to create documents that would show you were somewhere you weren’t (and badly too, if they were so easily picked apart) might have him in some hot water with U. S. authorities.

PokerStars, who should be able to walk from this clean, isn’t going to be able to do that either. Vayo planted the seeds of some thoughts – that players were allowed to play from the U. S. as long as they didn’t win TOO big perhaps being the biggest one – that aren’t going to go away. Then there’s also the methods that they utilized to determine that Vayo wasn’t playing from Canada as he stated; while geolocation technology is excellent, just how far did PokerStars go in trying to prove that Vayo defrauded them? Neither side is a saint in this situation, but the hearing on PokerStars’ countersuit on December 18 will help to put the finishing touches on what has been a rather sordid case.

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Categories: Poker News

Sports Betting Bill Introduced in Tennessee

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-11-15 06:36

It appears that the legalization of sports betting is something that may be up for discussion in the Tennessee legislature in 2019, as State Representative Rick Staples introduced HB 0001 in the House of Representatives last week, a bill which “authorizes sports betting in this state only in jurisdictions that approve sports betting by local option election.”

As that quote states, even if the bill passes, sports betting won’t necessarily be open to all Tennessee residents. Rather, each county would have to hold its own vote to permit licensees to operate within their jurisdiction.

A Few Details

Licensees would be taxed 10 percent on adjusted gross income. 40 percent of that would go to the state’s general fund and be subject to the legislature’s appropriations. 30 percent would also go to the general fund, but would be earmarked for “each Tennessee college of applied technology and community college.”

The remaining 30 percent goes to the general fund, but will then be distributed to the various local governments in Tennessee.

Rep. Staples’ bill would create a nine-member Tennessee gaming commission. The governor would appoint three of the members, the speaker of the house of representatives would appoint three members, and the speaker of the senate would appoint the final three.

Good Luck Getting the Bill Passed

Don’t count on the governor appointing anyone, though, as the governor is not likely to sign the bill even if it gets through the entire Tennessee legislature. In a gubernatorial debate, Republican candidate Bill Lee, who won overwhelmingly, 59.2 percent to 38.8 percent, answered a question comparing the state lottery to a potential sports betting industry:

“I think the lottery shows and has had the most negative effect on the lowest-income citizens in our state, and I think that would have the same effect with sports betting. That’s why I’ve been opposed to it,” Lee said.

As much as I am in favor of adults being allowed to place bets on sports, I can’t really argue with his reasoning in regards to the lottery.

Lee’s Democratic opponent, Karl Dean, was completely in favor of legalizing sports betting.

“Ultimately, we’re going to be there anyway if surrounding states are doing it,” Dean said, using neighboring state Mississippi as an example, as Mississippi has already legalized sports betting. As is always the case, residents of a state without gambling take some of their entertainment dollars to a nearby state that does have gambling.

Dean’s wanted to keep those dollars – and ultimately tax revenue – in the state, saying, “Memphis is going to need additional revenue to do what they need to do in schools.”

The Memphis reference is relevant because Memphis is right at the Mississippi border; many Memphians cross into Mississippi to gamble and with legalized sports betting in the southern neighbor, even more will in the future.

Dean noted that it would be up to Memphians to decide on sports betting, as the bill – as mentioned – would ultimately require local jurisdictions to decide for themselves if they want it.

Of course Dean is irrelevant to the issue at this point, as Lee will be the governor to sign the bill into law if it gets that far. Sports betting is gaining momentum around the country, so it should be interesting to see how much support the bill gets in the Tennessee legislature.

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Categories: Poker News

First Half of 2019 WPTDeepStacks Schedule Announced

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-11-15 05:54

When poker fans think of the World Poker Tour (WPT), they naturally think of the Main Tour and well-known tournaments like the WPT Borgata Poker Open and the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, and that makes sense. Oft overlooked, but quickly gaining a huge following is the mid-major division of the WPT, WPTDeepStacks (don’t know why it has to be one word). And it was this week that WPTDeepStacks revealed the first half of its 2019 schedule – a big one, with 18 stops in that first half alone.

“We are pleased to announce the first half of the 2019 WPTDeepStacks schedule, and provide the 18 events of what will be the most jam-packed six months in WPTDeepStacks history,” said WPTDeepStacks Executive Director Chris Torina in a pretty vanilla press release. “WPTDeepStacks is poker’s premier mid-major tournament circuit and we look forward to adding some great new events to our long-standing partnerships.”

Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for the World Poker Tour, added, “WPT® looks forward to expanding its global reach, and offer players around the globe a chance to play on the World Poker Tour stage at an attractive price point provided by WPTDeepStacks. Players from around the globe can look forward to competing for their share of the $3 million in guarantees in the first half of 2019.”

The schedule will begin in Germany with WPTDeepStacks Berlin at Spielbank Casino from January 11-14. The buy-in for the event will be €1,200 with a €500,000 guaranteed prize pool. And this is where the “mid-major” label comes in; the events are all in this price range, give or take, depending on the location and currency.

Most of the rest of the tour stops are at familiar venues, including Casino Sochi in Russia, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in Florida, Playground Poker Club in Montreal, Casino Barcelona, and bestbet Jacksonville.

The complete 2019 first half WPTDeepStacks schedule is below.

EVENT VENUE LOCATION DATE BUY-IN WPTDS Berlin Spielbank Casino Berlin, Germany January 11-14 €1,200 WPTDS Hollywood Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida January 17-22 $1,100 WPTDS Russia Casino Sochi Sochi, Russia January 24-27 $1,500 WPTDS Montreal Playground Poker Club Kahnawake, Canada February 1-5 CAD $1,500 WPTDS Brussels Grand Casino Brussels VIAGE Brussels, Belgium February 7-10 €1,200 WPT500 Barcelona Casino Barcelona Barcelona, Spain March 8-12 €550 WPTDS Jacksonville bestbet Jacksonville Jacksonville, Florida March 8-11 $1,500 WPTDS Barcelona Casino Barcelona Barcelona, Spain March 14-17 €1,650 WPTDS Johannesburg Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Johannesburg, South Africa March 15-17 RAND 10,000 WPT Vietnam Pro Poker Club Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam March 19-23 $1,070 WPTDS Maryland Live! Hotel & Casino Hanover, Maryland March 22-25 $1,500 WPTDS Amsterdam Holland Casino Amsterdam Center Amsterdam, Netherlands March 28-31 €1,200 WPTDS Sacramento Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln, California April 4-8 $1,100 WPT500 United Kingdom Dusk Till Dawn Nottingham, United Kingdom April 5-10 £550 WPTDS United Kingdom Dusk Till Dawn Nottingham, United Kingdom April 11-14 £1,650 DeepStacks Edmonton Casino Yellowhead Edmonton, Canada April 11-15 CAD $1,100 WPTDS Blackhawk Golden Gates Casino Blackhawk, Colorado May 9-13 $1,500 WPTDS Big Stax Parx Casino Bensalem, Pennsylvania May 17-20 $1,600 WPT New Zealand Skycity Auckland Auckland, New Zealand May 31-June 3 NZD $2,200 WPTDS Tampa Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, Florida June 13-17 $1,100

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Categories: Poker News

Penn National Gaming, VICI Properties Acquire Greektown Casino for $1 Billion

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-11-15 04:34

Penn National Gaming and VICI Properties announced on Wednesday that they have agreed to acquire the operations and real property of the Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit, Michigan for about $1 billion in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the middle of next year.

Two-Pronged Financial Deal

Penn National bought the operations part of Greektown for $300 million, while VICI Properties grabbed the land and real estate for $700 million. As has frequently been the case with VICI in recent years, there is also a lease agreement involved. VICI is turning around and entering into a triple-net lease agreement with Penn National where Penn will pay rent on the property for $55.6 million per year for 15 years with options to renew four times at five years a pop.

In a triple-net lease agreement, the tenant – Penn National – not only pays rent, but also takes care of the property taxes, maintenance, and building insurance (hence triple-net). This is obviously good for VICI, as VICI now has a more predictable stream of income, not having to worry about the up-and-down expenses that Penn National is taking over. Plus, the long term of the agreement adds to the certainty. For Penn National, a triple-net agreement works because the added expenses are baked into the rent, making said rent lower.

In a press release, Timothy J. Wilmott, Penn National’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural center, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists and employment to the downtown area. Greektown is the only casino in the heart of downtown, and we look forward to welcoming patrons from the many nearby attractions, such as Comerica Park, Ford Field, Little Caesars Arena, the city’s theater district, GM’s Renaissance Center and the Cobo Conference Center. We also look forward to working with JACK Entertainment and VICI to ensure a seamless transition for all of our constituents including customers, employees, vendors, local government and Michigan regulators.

Greektown is one of three casinos in Detroit, along with MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino Hotel.

Penn National Keeps Growing

Penn National has been active on the acquisition front, completing its purchase of Pinnacle Entertainment in October. The company now has 41 properties in 19 states. Some of its casinos in Nevada are names that should be familiar to many: Tropicana Las Vegas, The M Resort, and Cactus Petes. Elsewhere, it owns the Hollywood Casino chain, the L’Auberge properties, the Boomtown Casino brand, and both the Argosy and Ameristar brands.

JACK Properties, the company selling Greektown Casino to Penn National and VICI, is chaired by Dan Gilbert, the majority owner and executive face of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. He is also the co-founder of Quicken Loans.

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Categories: Poker News

Grey Snow Poker Launches With “FairPlay” Rake Alternative

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2018-11-14 06:19

Grey Snow Poker, the first real money online poker room owned by a Native American Tribe (Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma) is now open for business. Operated and licensed out of the Isle of Man, it is not open to residents of the United States. The site, called PokerTribe in a previous incarnation (the new name is cooler, if you ask me), has a long and odd history, but that is not what we are going to discuss today. Instead, let’s take a look at the site’s primary differentiator other than its ownership: its rake structure.

Fee Instead of Rake

On its homepage, Grey Snow Poker touts something called “FairPlay.” At first glance, it is certainly an attention-grabbing title, as “fairness” has become a focus of the online poker industry in recent years. Diving deeper, FairPlay is promoted by Grey Snow as a rake-free system for its online poker site.

Rake free? Though it has not worked when other sites have tried it, it is intriguing, since we would all like to play without having to pay the house. But alas, though Grey Snow Poker might technically not charge a rake, it is not a cost-free site.

Rather than take a rake from every pot, Grey Snow Poker uses a “service-fee model.” It is fairly simple: when a player leaves a cash game table, they are charged 3 percent of the amount of money they leave with. Thus, if a player sits down with $50, has a great session, doubles their money, and stands up with a stack of $100, they are charged $3 by Grey Snow.

Players who completely bust out are charged nothing since they have nothing when they leave the table.

An Attempt to Help Rec Players

The idea behind this is to add another obstacle that sharks need to hurdle to take advantage of novices or poor players. Grey Snow tries to put a scare into players in its explanation, talking about how “Artificial Intelligence” is used by pros against recreational players (we assume they are talking about HUDs and seating scripts are specifically mentioned), and while the site doesn’t explicitly say if third-party software is banned, it does use an auto-seat lobby, not allowing players to choose their own tables.

What the service fee aims to do is reduce the incentive for players to sit down, see that there are no “fish” to pick on (or conversely, see that there are a bunch of strong players at the table), and then leave. No matter how long a player sits, they are going to be charged 3 percent when they quit. People are incentivized to come to play poker, to stay for a while, as the longer they play at one table, the more value they get out of the fee.

Players are also refunded 1 percent of the amount of money they bring to the table once they leave.

It is an interesting idea and I definitely see what Grey Snow is trying to do, but I see a couple possible problems. First, the goal is to protect casual players, but casual players are generally going to want to play shorter sessions than pros. Thus, the fee could hurt casual players more than pros – something that Grey Snow likely did not intend. Second, it unnecessarily punishes players who get disconnected or who perhaps have to logoff sooner than planned (speaking from experience, dog pukes five minutes into my game). Third, it really screws over players who join a table only to have it break soon after they sit down.

Fourth and lastly, how does it work if someone busts and then reloads? If a player buys-in for $50, loses it all, then leaves, he pays no fee. But what if that player buys-in for $50, busts, then reloads for $50 and runs that stake up to $60 before leaving? He is still down $40 overall, but it sounds like he will be charged $1.80. I suppose it’s possible that Grey Snow took this into account, but there is no indication of that on the website.

The post Grey Snow Poker Launches With “FairPlay” Rake Alternative appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Categories: Poker News

Arbitator Investigating Ladbrokes Over Cancelled Online Bets

Poker News Daily - Tue, 2018-11-13 05:12

According to a pair of reports last week from The Guardian, UK bookmaker and online sports betting firm Ladbrokes may be in a bit of hot water. It does not seem particularly serious, but at least four people have alleged that Ladbrokes accepted horse racing wagers then later cancelled them for no apparent reason. The UK’s Independent Betting Arbitration Service (IBAS) is reviewing at least three of the cases and if it rules against Ladbrokes, the bookmaker may have to pay out on hundreds of other wagers.

The bets in question were specific cases and most customers have probably not run into this sort of situation. With the three cases that are being looked at, the bettors had their online wagers referred to Labrokes traders for final approval. No reason has been given as to why this happened, and while it’s not the norm, it’s also not unusual, so that part of it isn’t the issue. Bets that are sent for approval – if not approved – might be declined or they might be re-offered by Ladbrokes at a different price or odds.

No matter the reason, in the three cases being investigated by IBAS, all bets were declined. The problem, though, is that Ladbrokes issued the customers a bet number, which made it look like to the players that the bets had been accepted. Thus, after the horse races were finished and the bettors went to collect their winnings, they were very confused – and upset – to find out the bets had actually been declined.

A fourth player had a similar thing happen, but when he threatened to sue, Ladbrokes paid him. In Paul Glynn’s case, he made three bets for a total of £330 five days before the races. He received bet numbers for each, but within an hour of placing the bets, they were cancelled. He would have ended up winning £1,200 on one of them.

IBAS has not investigated Glynn’s case, but it might.

Again, we don’t know exactly why the bets were cancelled, but if we are being fair, it doesn’t look like it is intentional shenanigans on Ladbrokes’ part. It would look extremely suspicious if the bets were cancelled after the races concluded, as that would look like Ladbrokes was trying to get out of paying winners, but these were all cancelled fairly quickly, before any races occurred. Glynn’s happened nearly a week ahead of the races.

The main problem here is that Ladbrokes had almost certainly known about the bet cancellation issue for months and did nothing about it. The three IBAS cases were from bets made in December 2017 and Glynn’s bets were made in July 2018. There is a good chance that it is just a software problem – or perhaps a non-malicious human problem – but that Ladbrokes could never be bothered to remedy the situation is not good.

There have been many other anecdotal reports by customers of the same bet cancellation issue, so if IBAS rules against Ladbrokes, it may be on the hook for a lot more payouts. One reason bets get referred internally is that they are large and require manual approval, so it is possible that some of the potential payouts might be painful for the bookmaker.

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Categories: Poker News

PokerStars Covers Player After “Big Race” Result Goes Against Him

Poker News Daily - Sun, 2018-11-11 16:33

There’s plenty that people can complain about PokerStars for – their rake increases, the way that they messed up the European Poker Tour (don’t get me started) and other things – but every once in awhile they do get a situation right. Such a time arose recently in a PokerStars promotion which saw a competition result that wasn’t a fair one.

Why You Don’t Combine Results from Sports…

PokerStars runs a promotion called “The Big Race” that, in the past, had awarded seats to major European Poker Tour events based on the performance of the outcome of horse races. In this particular circumstance, “The Big Race” saw players assigned to drivers in Formula One’s Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrome that could earn the player a seat into the European Poker Tour’s stop in Prague, Czech Republic. A $2 buy-in poker tournament would take the top 20 finishers and randomly assign them a driver and, whichever driver won, that player would win too by getting a seat to the EPT Prague.

If you were one of those top 20 players, you could certainly hope that you’d get one of the “big guns” of Formula One racing such as the United Kingdom’s Lewis Hamilton or Germany’s Sebastian Vettel. Thus, when Romania’s Daniel Dohotaru, one of the top 20 finishers in the poker tournament, was assigned Finland’s Valterri Bottas, he probably wasn’t thinking that he had a shot at winning. As they say, however…that’s why they run the race.

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

When the Russian Grand Prix was run in September, Dohotaru was probably not expecting anything from the race. After Bottas qualified first and would start from the pole position, however, the chances for Dohotaru went up exponentially. As the race started and Bottas maintained his lead, Dohotaru could almost taste the thrill of victory, not to mention that special “Golden Ticket” of going to the EPT Prague for free.

Then the ugly head of sports reality brought about the agony of defeat. Formula One racing is arguably a very corrupt sport, with different scandals scarring one of the premiere racing series in the world. One of the worst things that often occurs in Formula One racing is something called “team orders” which dictates that, on a two-driver team, one driver and his performance is valued above the other driver. In the case of Team Mercedes, whom Bottas and Hamilton both drove for, Hamilton is the #1 driver, as earned by his five World Championships.

With Bottas running ahead of Hamilton slightly passed the halfway point in the race after both men had pitted, Team Mercedes ordered Bottas to allow Hamilton to pass him and take over the second place position behind then leader Max Verstappen. Verstappen, trying to wait for a course caution that would have held his position if he pitted, had to instead pit late in the race, at which point Hamilton took over the lead and would eventually finish the race first with Bottas second.

Making it Right

The “team orders” victory by Hamilton not only roiled the Formula One world (there is discussion about ending the practice), but it also had an effect on the outcome of the PokerStars “Big Race” promotion. Dohotaru, who in essence had his seat to the EPT Prague taken from him by situations he could not control (AKA the “team orders” that forced Bottas to give up what would have been the first place slot), was naturally disappointed with the outcome. But PokerStars would step up and make things right.

As a result of the “team orders” actions of Team Mercedes during the Russian Grand Prix, PokerStars gave another €7500 package to Dohotaru (his entry fee and travel/lodging expenses). When the tournament kicks off on December 12, Dohotaru will join Roberta Ban (who had Hamilton in the race) as the winners of the “Big Race” and both will be looking to challenge the crème of the European poker community in an event that has become one of the prestigious stops on the EPT schedule. Kudos to PokerStars for righting the wrong that had occurred and good luck to both Dohotaru and Ban as they head to the capital of the Czech Republic in December.

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Categories: Poker News

PokerStars Introduces Virtual Reality to Line of Offerings

Poker News Daily - Sun, 2018-11-11 14:13

As much as the world of poker stays the same, there are always those that are looking for the next great innovation. This leads to the creation of new and different games, like “Short Deck Hold’em” that is currently sweeping the poker world, and the innovation of the “big blind ante” instead of everyone putting up an ante. In the online industry, that innovation has extended to the way the product is presented, and the #1 online poker room in the industry, PokerStars, is stepping into some uncharted waters.

PokerStars recently introduced a virtual reality method of playing its games. Called PokerStars VR, it is available for download wherever PokerStars is available and through the Oculus and Viveport stores and the video game outlet Steam. Billing it as a combination of “live and online poker” PokerStars VR was developed with Lucky VR and, according to a press release from PokerStars, “provides the perfect mix of serious gameplay, fun interactivity and social engagement that adds a whole new poker realm for players and gamers to explore.”

“When we showcased the product, it was amazing to see people really enjoy and become engrossed in the game,” said Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations at PokerStars. “We wanted to venture into the world of virtual reality because we believe it is an exciting avenue of technology to explore and something that our players would appreciate. I highly recommend that everyone tries out the game as it can only truly be understood and enjoyed by experiencing it.”

Players can choose between a list of playing locations, such as Macau 2050, The Macau Suite, The Showdown Saloon, Monte-Carlo Yacht, and The Void. Through the controls of the VR device, they can also handle the chips and cards, pick up on tells from their opponents, and speak and interact with their tablemates as if they were actually playing. The game also has other features and can be integrated with Twitch broadcasting and media streaming on Oculus Rift for those who wish to play and stream.

A video on YouTube displays what the play of PokerStars VR is supposed to look like and, for some, it might take some time to get used to (or not be interested in at all). The video shows very stylish surroundings, with flashy lights and even fireworks in a “virtual” sky above players’ heads, but the actual components to creating the opposition looks problematic. In some cases, the opponents are torsos floating in the air with a couple of hands that just hang in the air with no arms to support them. Now, I’m no VR expert, but I would think that there would be a bit more development into that area to fill in the blanks.

The video also shows a very “herky jerky” movement. That is one of the main complaints of VR, however, is that you have to be controlled in your head movements (the VR devices enclose the eyes with a visor) to be able to control what you’re looking at. And, if it is a PokerStars product, it’s got to have Daniel Negreanu in it; he appears for a quick second on what looks to be a VR television screen to say something along the lines of “lots of action on that board.”

Is it something that will take off in the poker community? Well, poker players aren’t exactly known for their warm reception to new products. 3D technology has been tried by several online poker rooms, but it has failed to capture the masses attention. Interactive play would seem to be a natural thing for an online site to try – connecting players through headsets (to hear), microphones (to speak) and video cameras (to see each other) – but many players would rather be interested in concentrating on their games, not to mention there’s that “anonymity” thing that online players enjoy. If PokerStars has gotten behind it, however, then there might be some who will latch on to the new technology and make it successful.

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Categories: Poker News

Countries Taking Different Approaches to Legislating Poker

Poker News Daily - Fri, 2018-11-09 13:23

While the States of America recently went through elections – some of which had to do with gaming in the different states – many countries around the world have also taken a different tack with regards to poker. While those in the U. S. may believe that they have the market cornered on “misery” regarding the state of the game, a quick look around the world will reveal that there are spots where it is worse.

China Continues Crackdown on Poker in Country

In the past, China was a country who seemed to be allowing gaming and poker to thrive. The island gaming mecca of Macau has become one of the top gambling destinations for high stakes play, topping the venerable Las Vegas in the amount wagered. Of late, however, the Chinese government has been cracking down on gaming, especially that performed online.

Most recently, the Chinese government has banned several poker applications from access to the largest population in the world (over one billion people). These apps, from such businesses as Poker King, Poker Tribe and several others, have been targeted to prevent Chinese citizens from being able to access them. These are all apps that emanate from outside the country and follows up on a ban earlier this year that targeted those poker apps that were created by companies inside the People’s Republic of China.

In the past, the Chinese government has cracked down on gambling and poker in other manners. Back in 2015, a Chinese police task force shut down an Asia/Pacific Poker Tour event in Najning, China, and there have been several crackdowns in Macau for “high rollers,” including putting severe limits on ATM withdrawals and other activities. The World Poker Tour is owned by a Chinese company and, to this point, has yet to be affected by the continued attacks from the Chinese government.

Israel Slowly Changing?

The story might be a bit different in the nation of Israel. The country, long with a ban on casinos and gambling, has not exactly enforced these laws in the past. This has allowed for a strong underground poker market to thrive and, as evident by the success of Israeli poker players on the international stage, continue to bring new players to the game. If a member of the Israeli government has their way, however, this will change in the near future.

Reports from the Jerusalem Post have indicated that a member of the Knesset, the legislative body of Israel (think along the lines of the States of America’s Congress), named Sharren Haskel has introduced a bill that would officially remove the “gambling” stigma from poker and make it legal throughout the nation. The proposed law would see the Israeli Poker Players Association become the governing body of the sport in the nation and would serve as the organizer of any events in the country.

So why the change? As they say, “follow the money.” It could be the very fact that currently the Israeli government receives no money for the gaming activity that is going on. A couple of years ago, the Israeli government filed lawsuits against players stating that they weren’t paying their proper amount in taxes. If the Israeli government was to legalize poker in the country, it would then be able to tax winnings at the proper rate and ENSURE that they were getting the money (it would be likely as, much as in the U. S., the taxes would be removed before a player would be paid).

Australia Online Gaming Ban – No Concrete Evidence of Success

In Australia, the major advocacy group for online poker players has stated that the crackdown by the Aussie government on internet gaming has had little to no effect on the activity. This contention comes after rather glowing reports from the Australian government that it is “controlling” online gaming in the country.

According to Joseph Del Duca, the founder and leader of the Australian Online Poker Alliance, reports of the success of the Aussie crackdown by the Australian Communications and Media Authority are incorrect. Those reports state that “33 prominent offshore wagering sites…have gone out of circulation.” Del Duca counters that players in the country haven’t quit playing, they have simply shifted to unregulated sites that operate in the country against Australian law. Del Duca states that not only are people playing on these unregulated sites, there are even more in operation for Australian customers than there was previously.

The regulations in Australia were implemented in 2016 in a sweeping measure to eliminate offshore gaming operators. By forcing anyone who wanted to service Australian players to obtain a license, Aussie regulators were able to force out several major online poker operations like PokerStars and 888Poker. While it has been a couple of years since this law was passed, it is still unclear – even after the statements from the Australian Communications and Media Authority – whether it has truly had an effect regarding online gaming and poker in the nation.

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Categories: Poker News

Arkansas Voters Approve Casino Gambling

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-11-08 05:59

Might as well keep going with the mid-term election news. In Arkansas on Tuesday, voters approved an amendment which would allow casino gambling in the state. Issue 4, as it was called, passed by a margin of 54.07 to 45.93 percent with 87 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.

Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs and Southland Gaming and Racing in West Memphis are automatically issued casino gambling licenses as part of the constitutional amendment. There have already been allowed to offer electronic skill games, but this now permits them to build out full casinos. The amendment also permits a casino to be build in Pope County and Jefferson County, but operators will have to go through an application process first.

Interestingly, the residents of Pope County voted against the measure.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson reluctantly accepted the results of the vote, saying, “I did not support this initiative, and I continue to have great concern over the immediate and negative impact on the state’s budget. But the people have spoken, and I respect their will. Time will tell as to what this means for our state, and it remains to be seen as to whether the communities affected will consent to the gambling initiative.”

Governor Hutchinson thinks legalized casino gambling will have a negative impact on the state budget because the State Department of Finance and Administration projected that there would actually be a $36 million decline in tax revenue in 2020 and 2021 (fiscal year begins July 1st). The reason for this is because the both Oaklawn and Southland will be taxed at a lower rate than before. The Department also doesn’t expect the two other casinos to open until 2022. Supporters of Issue 4 refute these assessments, saying the casinos would generate more tax revenue than before.

The amendment also allows for sports betting.

Lawsuit Threatened Ballot Measure

There was some controversy over Issue 4, as two groups, Ensuring Arkansas’ Future and Citizens for Local Choice, filed lawsuits to try to stop it from being put on this week’s ballot. The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled against them about a month ago, so the measure was able to be added.

The groups did not argue that casino gambling was bad, though they are against gambling, but rather that the wording of measure was misleading and confusing. The entire measure is too long to post here, but the “popular title” was “Issue 4 – An Amendment to Require Four Licenses to be Issued for Casino Gaming at Casinos, One Each in Crittenden (to Southland Racing Corporation), Garland (to Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc.), Pope, and Jefferson Counties.”

“The petition is insufficient because the ballot title fails to convey an intelligible idea of the scope and impact of the proposed Amendment, is materially misleading to the voters, and omits material information that is essential for a fair understanding of the Amendment,” argued Ensuring Arkansas’ Future.

The ruling against one of the lawsuits was unanimous, while Justice Jo Hart was the lone dissenter in the other case.

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Categories: Poker News

Online Poker Foe Adam Laxalt Loses Race for Nevada Governor

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-11-08 05:19

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Sheldon Adelson ally and opponent of online poker, was defeated in his bid to become the next Governor of the Silver State, losing to Democrat Steve Sisolak on Tuesday night. Sisolak received 49.4 percent of the vote to Laxalt’s 45.3 percent.

Laxalt is a RAWA Fan

Nevada was the first state to legalize and regulate online poker and is still just one of three with an active online poker industry (Pennsylvania will join soon). But despite this, and the state’s position as the gambling hub of the world, Laxalt co-signed a letter in 2015 and 2016 with other Attorneys General in support of Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). RAWA, as we have discussed on this site numerous times, would effectively make online poker illegal in the United States by codifying the previous incorrect interpretation of the Wire Act.

Laxalt likely got connected to Adelson through lobbying firm j3 Strategies, for which his sister, Tessa Laxalt, works. Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. has contracted with j3 for lobbying efforts and Adelson hired j3 to help create his anti-online poker Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG).

Even His Family Didn’t Vote for Him

Throughout the gubernatorial campaign, Laxalt had a sizeable problem in that many members of his extended family not only supported his opponent, but publicly spoke out against him. In an op-ed in the Reno Gazette Journal last month, twelve of his family members wrote:

First, for those of us who were actually raised in Nevada, it’s difficult to hear him continue to falsely claim that he was raised in Nevada or has any true connections to Nevadans. The simple fact is that while he may have been born in Reno, he left as an infant and was raised on the East Coast, 3,000 miles away, in Washington, D.C., and moved here only in 2013, only one year later launching his political career. Aside from the occasional short visit, Adam never knew the state or its people. Perhaps if he had, he would stand for Nevada’s values rather than for those of his out-of-state donors.

They believed he was just using the family name to launch a political career. His grandfather, Paul Laxalt, was governor from 1967 to 1971, a U.S. Senator from 1974 to 1987, and was a close friend of Ronald Reagan’s.

His family also added that he was a crappy candidate:

Second, there is the simple question of whether Adam is qualified to head the executive branch in Nevada. His brief experience as a practicing lawyer was described as a “train wreck” by members of his own firm. His tenure in the attorney general’s office has been little more than a four-year publicity tour for his current campaign for governor — in fact, he outsourced jobs in the AG’s office to out-of-state lawyers who were given special exemptions to practice law in Nevada.

Laxalt was such a poor candidate that current Governor Brian Sandoval wouldn’t even given his fellow Republican his endorsement.

Laxalt was gracious in defeat, saying in his concession speech, “This was all of our campaign, not just my campaign. We can certainly take heart that we left it all on the field. We fought as hard as we could. To come up short is always difficult.”

He added that he would give Sisolak whatever help he needed in his ramp-up to inauguration.

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Categories: Poker News

Amendment 3 Passes in Florida

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-11-08 04:38

Future gambling expansion in Florida may have taken a hit on Tuesday as residents of Florida overwhelmingly passed Amendment 3, 71.44 percent to 28.56 percent. The measure puts decisions about casino gambling in the hands of Florida voters, rather than in the hands of state lawmakers.

Sounds Good, But It’s Bad for Poker

On its face, Amendment 3 sounds like a good thing. After all, the people of the state will now have control of future casino expansion. Any time “we the people” get to make the decisions is good, right? Well, not necessarily. Now, in order for any gambling measures to be enacted, a referendum first has to get enough signatures to get on the ballot and then it has to receive at least 60 percent of the vote to pass. That is a steep hurdle.

In an e-mail to members, Poker Alliance president Mark Brenner said, “Amendment 3 will make it very difficult — if not impossible — to expand gaming opportunities in Florida. If Amendment 3 passes it means there will be no new poker rooms, no chance to add new games at existing cardrooms, and, it forecloses on the opportunity for Florida to legalize internet poker and sports betting.”

The other problem is that it harms the ability of a specific county or municipality to have control over gambling in its area or jurisdiction. If, say, someone wants to build a casino in the Miami area, Tallahassee residents would have input on whether or not this happens.

“It’s really the fundamental loss of local control that bothers people, more so than any specific game or anything,” Isadore “Issy” Havenick, whose family owns pari-mutuel facilities told the Tampa Bay Times. “People in Pensacola shouldn’t be telling people in Miami-Dade County what they should do. And conversely, people in Miami-Dade County shouldn’t be telling people in Pensacola what they should be doing.”

Most major media outlets in Florida recommended a “No” vote on Amendment 3.

The Times, for instance, said, “While it would be good to make it harder to expand gambling in Florida, this amendment is unfair. It would allow casino gambling in Florida only if voters — and only voters — proposed a constitutional amendment, which would then, of course, have to pass. That cuts out the other two means of placing amendments on the ballot, through the Legislature or the Constitution Revision Commission.”

Backed by Corporate Money

A major clue as to whether or not this was good for gambling in the state was who was pushing the measure. Disney and the Seminole Tribe of Florida contributed nearly $45 million to a PAC called “Voters in Charge,” which advertised in support of Amendment 3. While they framed it as putting decisions in the hands of voters, think about why they would really want the amendment to pass. Disney wants less competition for entertainment dollars plus likely wants to keep up its appearance of a family-friendly entertainment company and the Seminole Tribe has a near monopoly on casino gambling in Florida. It doesn’t want more competition, so it would not be supporting an amendment which would help get more casinos built.

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Categories: Poker News

PokerStars Introduces Fusion

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2018-11-08 04:04

Back in the good old days, the days when I could play on the corrupt UltimateBet from the United States, I loved playing off the beaten path games. Crazy Pineapple was my favorite, a game in which you are dealt three hole cards and discard one after the flop. I was pretty darn good at it, mainly because this was back in the day where most people playing online poker didn’t know anything and as long as I had some semblance of strategy, I could clean up. This is all to say that I wish I could play on PokerStars right now, as the online poker room announced the launch of Fusion yesterday, a bonkers new cash game that I would have loved, even as it gave me fits.

As you might be able to tell by the name, Fusion combined two types of poker. Can you guess what they are? I bet you can. Correct! Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

The game begins like any other Hold’em game, as each player is dealt two hole cards. After the flop, though, everyone (everyone who is still in the hand, that is) is dealt yet another hole card. Three hole cards. Yikes. THEN…after the flop, everyone is dealt yet another hole card, giving everybody four pocket cards (the term “pocket” should be used more to refer to hole cards, not just when referring to a concealed pair).

At that point, the game is Omaha. At showdown, the winner is the one with the best five card hand using two hole cards and three community cards. Thus, in a way, the game is never really Hold’em, even though it begins as such, since hand strengths can change dramatically from street to street.

Thinking about it briefly, it feels like it is Omaha with limited information. In a regular Omaha game, you get all four hole cards at the outset, so you have a good idea what sort of potential your hand has. Obviously, things change based on the community cards, but you can plan accordingly from the get-go. If you are dealt A-A-K-Q, that’s great. If you are dealt A-A-8-3, that could still do something, but you know there’s a good chance someone is going to end up with something better, especially if neither Ace is suited.

In Fusion, if you are dealt pocket Aces, you know you have the start of an excellent Omaha hand, but that’s all you know. It could become A-A-K-Q or it could become A-A-8-3. You don’t have as much information as you would in Omaha, so you need to be much more flexible in your course of action as the hand plays out.

“We want to give our players games that they have never played before and bring a unique offering to the table,” said Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, in a press release. “Fusion mixes two well-loved formats together, giving an exciting twist to the game. We eagerly await player feedback and look forward to seeing everyone joining the tables and giving Fusion a try.”

Like PokerStars’ other novelty games, Fusion will be a temporary offering.

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Categories: Poker News

Patrick Serda Makes Hero Call to Win 2018 WPT Montreal Main Event

Poker News Daily - Tue, 2018-11-06 22:42

There are many tough things about being a new parent. The stress of not knowing what in the hell you are doing, the sleepless nights, lack of time to cook a proper meal, and, of course, kids are expensive! Patrick Serda certainly knows this, but as the father of a five-week old, he shouldn’t have to worry too much about that last item, as he just won the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event and CAD $855,000 (about USD $652,000).

I’ll also give Serda’s wife a ton of credit, as she actually had the courage to bring said five-week old on a plane across the country to see daddy win his big tournament.

“He is great, and mum is doing well. It was a little bit of a struggle to get them to come out here, but the doctor cleared them for travel. We discussed how good the stop would be. I really enjoy coming to Montreal and Playground. WPT events are great, so it was a must-play for me,” Serda told WPT.com after the event.

WPT Montreal is easily Serda’s most significant victory, though it is not his largest cash. About two years ago, he finished second in the European Poker Tour Prague High Roller Event for €719,000 (USD $750,216). Serda now has about USD $1.75 million in live tournament earnings.

Serda began Sunday’s six-handed final table as the chip leader with 8.260 million chips. Ema Zajmovic was second with 7.450 million and Upsehka De Silva was third with 6.800 million. After them, there was a clear gap to the bottom three.

It was a heck of a contest, as multiple players grabbed the chip lead at some point, with the top two or three spots frequently hotly contested with tight chip stacks.

Zajmovic, by the way, was gunning for some history. Last year, she became the first woman to win an open WPT Main Event, taking the title at WPT Playground. She was not only trying to become the first woman to win two open WPT Main Events, but one of the few to win twice at the same location. She does not have a long history of live tournament cashes, but what she has is impressive. In addition to her WPT title, she has two WPT final tables: one at WPT Montreal two years ago (she clearly likes the Playground Poker Club) and another with a runner-up finish at WPT Amsterdam this past spring.

It looked for a while that she might be well on her way to that second title, but Serda eliminated Sorel Mizzi in third place to go into heads-up with a slight lead, 16.150 million to 15.675 million.

It only took about a dozen hands for Serda to close the deal. Though Zajmovic quickly took over the chip lead, Serda just as quickly wrested it back from his opponent. On the final hand, Zajmovic raised to 500,000, Serda re-raised to 1.6 million, Zajmovic four-bet to 3.8 million, and Serda called. The flop was 7-6-T, all spades, and both players checked to bring on an Ace on the turn. Serda checked, leading Zajmovic to bet 3 million. Serda then called and the river was a 3. After Serda checked, Zajmovic pondered her move for a while before moving all-in for 8.5 million. Serda also tanked, using a couple time extension chips in the process. He finally called (obviously) with 7-5, good for only third pair. Zajmovic, though, had nothing. She was on a bluff with K-9.

Serda made what had to have been one of the best calls of his live to win WPT Montreal.

2018 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Final Table Results

1. Patrick Serda – CAD $855,000
2. Ema Zajmovic – CAD $556,000
3. Sorel Mizzi – CAD $410,000
4. Kauvsegan Ehamparam – CAD $305,450
5. Upeshka De Silva – CAD $230,250
6. Jiachen ‘Jack’ Gong – CAD $175,500

The post Patrick Serda Makes Hero Call to Win 2018 WPT Montreal Main Event appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Categories: Poker News

U. K.’s Jack Sinclair Wins First Major Title, Takes Down 2018 World Series of Poker Europe Championship Event

Poker News Daily - Sun, 2018-11-04 02:57

Denying the chance at history for a former World Champion, the United Kingdom’s Jack Sinclair wrote his own chapter in poker’s annals by becoming the second ever British champion by winning the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe Championship Event on Friday night.

Possibilities at History from the Start

At the start of action from the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, there was the chance for some player to make history. In the third slot on the leaderboard was 2013 WSOP Championship Event winner Ryan Riess, who was looking to become only the second person to ever win both the WSOP Championship Events in both the U. S. and Europe. In front of him were two relative newcomers to casual fans, chip leader Laszlo Bujtas of Hungary and Milos Skrbic of Serbia, but both players were well known as strong players to those well versed in the game. Behind Riess was Sinclair, who was looking to become the first British champion since James Bord in 2010, along with Bulgaria’s first ever Main Event final tablist in Krasimir Yankov and Ukraine’s Ihor Yerofieiev, who was that country’s second ever Main Event final tablist.

With more than a million Euros on top for the eventual champion, the players wasted little time getting to business. Particularly active was Yerofieiev, who was looking to build his short stack into one that could contend. He was able to shove a couple of times and pick up the blinds and antes, but that move works all but the last time. After moving in again, Yerofieiev saw Skrbic look him up and the duo flipped their cards:

Yerofieiev:  pocket sixes
Skrbic:  A-Q off suit

The classic race was done almost from the start. The K-A-Q flop hit Skrbic HARD, but there was still a chance for Yerofieiev to find one of the two remaining sixes in the deck. A trey on the turn and a five on the river weren’t what he needed, however, as Yerofieiev headed to the rail in sixth place.

With his newfound chips, Skrbic decided it was time to get a bit aggressive and that would turn out to be an unfortunate move. Skrbic, sitting on over 18 million in chips and in first place, first doubled up Yankov after his A-J missed against Yankov’s K-10 on a K-4-2-2-K board. Then Skrbic would hit a real cooler, calling Sinclair’s all in for over eight million chips with pocket Queens. There was one problem, however; Sinclair had pocket Aces, which rivered an unnecessary Ace for a set to put Sinclair into the lead and send Skrbic to the basement. Skrbic would depart soon after that in fifth place.

Riess’ Chance at History Goes Awry

Riess was arguably the one with the most pressure on him on Friday night. Having won “The Big One” in 2013, plenty of people had tapped him as the favorite to ride to the title in the King’s Casino. If he were to win in Rozvadov, Riess was ready to enter the rarefied air with (who else?) Phil Hellmuth as the only people to have won the WSOP Championship Event in Las Vegas and the Main Event in Europe.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. Riess could never find any traction on Friday and, when he did get the cards, someone had him outpipped. On his final hand, Riess was up against Bujtas and Yankov after limping from the button. Yankov, in the big blind, upped the stakes to a million chips and Riess pushed all in. Bujtas got out of the way, but Yankov immediately called and Riess’ facial expression said he knew what that meant.

Unfortunately for Riess, he was exactly right. Riess’ pocket sevens were crushed by Yankov’s pocket Aces and the nine-high board did nothing to change the fortunes for either player. As a deuce fell on the river, Riess rose from the table and headed off to collect his fourth-place money.

Sinclair Heats Up

Holding the chip lead after the double through Skrbic, Sinclair seemed to have a fire lit under him. He didn’t make a misstep the remainder of the way, but it could have been completely different if a three-way pot that resulted in a knockout didn’t fall the way it did.

Yankov made a button raise with pocket fives and Sinclair simply called off the small blind with pocket sevens. Bujtas, sitting with pocket deuces, didn’t want to miss out on the party and he called as well to see an improbable K-7-5 flop. Everybody checked to Yankov, who pushed out a bet only to see Sinclair raise the betting to two million chips with his set of sevens. That was enough for Bujtas to fold, but Yankov came along with a call.

Another King on the turn lit the wick. Sinclair checked his option and Yankov, in position, popped a 2.3 million chip bet in the center. Sinclair pondered for a short time before announcing all in and Yankov nearly beat him into the pot by calling off the remainder of his stack. He was stunned to see Sinclair’s better set as he turned up his pocket fives for a lesser set and, after a six came on the river, Yankov was out in third.

Sinclair never looked back from that point. Although Bujtas would take the first hand to slide out to an early lead, the cards dried up for the Hungarian as Sinclair continually pounded bets in the center. After an hour of play, Sinclair picked off a bluff from Bujtas to move out to a 2:1 lead and, after another hour, stretched it out to more than a 6:1 advantage.

Bujtas was a formidable opponent, but he just didn’t get the cards when he needed them. On the final hand, Bujtas moved all in and Sinclair made the call. Bujtas’ J-7 was live against Sinclair’s Q-9, but that disappeared on the K-Q-3 flop. A six on the turn ended it for Bujtas, rendering the seven on the river moot as he was drawing dead to the new WSOP Europe Main Event champion Jack Sinclair.

1. Jack Sinclair, €1,122,239
2. Laszlo Bujtas, €693,573
3. Krasimir Yankov, €480,028
4. Ryan Riess, €337,778
5. Milos Skrbic, €241,718
6. Ihor Yerofieiev, €175,965

With that, the 2018 World Series of Poker has concluded. Before you know it, however, the clarion call will once again ring out around the poker world. In just about seven months, the next great poker champions will convene in Las Vegas for the 50th anniversary of poker’s most celebrated event (in 1969, the “Texas Gambling Reunion” took place in Reno, NV; a year later, the event was renamed the “World Series of Poker” under the auspices of Benny Binion). And, in 2019, Jack Sinclair will be able to attend as a WSOP Europe champion.

The post U. K.’s Jack Sinclair Wins First Major Title, Takes Down 2018 World Series of Poker Europe Championship Event appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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