Poker News

2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 4 – Sean Perry Leads Final Table with Ryan Tosoc, Mike Del Vecchio in Pursuit

Poker News Daily - Sun, 2017-12-10 16:39

The penultimate day of the 2017 World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic is set for play on Sunday afternoon at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. After almost a week of play Sean Perry, the son of poker professional Ralph Perry, sits in the first slot on the leaderboard, but Ryan Tosoc (making his second consecutive WPT Five Diamond final table) and Mike Del Vecchio (who has been around the top of the leaderboard all tournament) in pursuit.

The final 18 players came back to the felt on Saturday to work to the final six. At the start of action on Saturday, Ajay Chabra was looking down at those in pursuit. It was quite a list of players in pursuit of him, with high stakes cash game player Lauren Roberts, ‘Big One for One Drop’ champion Dan Colman, Perry, Tosoc and Del Vecchio all arranged on the board behind Chabra. With plans to play until the final six were determined and the players decently stacked for battle, the players, floormen and rail all settled in for battle.

With the WPT “Action Clock” running on the tables (each player would have 30 seconds to make their decision unless they use one of their “time bank” chips to add another 30 seconds), the players wasted little time getting the chips moving. Chabra opened an early hand from under the gun, only to see Jerry Humphrey hammer all in over his bet. Chabra made the call and was behind, his Big Slick looking up at Humphrey’s pocket Aces, but the Q-9-J flop provided a bit of excitement. The Queen on the river and the nine on the turn, however, were less than exciting for Chabra as he sent a sizeable stack of chips to Humphrey.

The news wasn’t as good for another participant looking to make a move. Roman Korenev pushed out a bet and Foxen moved all in immediately following his bet. Korenev made the call once the action returned to him and it was the classic race, Korenev’s Big Chick (A-Q) against Foxen’s pocket fives. A 9-9-5 flop left Korenev basically drawing dead and, after a trey on the turn, it became officially drawing dead. After the meaningless river card was dealt, the chips were counted and Foxen was found to be the one with his tournament life on the line. It was a slim margin, however, as Korenev was left with only 2000 in chips after the count; he would depart on the very next hand.

After Satish Surapaneni was dispatched in 17th place, the players were redrawn to two tables. Chabra, who had been quiet to this point, suddenly came to life with a bet and a Tosoc call. Humphrey, looking to get in the game, pushed all in for around 500K in chips and sat back. In the big blind, Michael Ruane simply made the call but Chabra wasn’t content with that. He would move all in himself and force Tosoc and Ruane to a decision for their tournament lives. Tosoc got out of the way, but Ruane stuck around and made the call.

When the hands were turned up, it basically had played itself:

Humphrey:  pocket tens
Ruane:  pocket Kings
Chabra:  pocket Aces

A monochrome 4♣ A♣ 8♣ flop hit, giving Chabra a set but giving Ruane a draw as his King was of the club variety. A J♦ on the turn left Humphrey drawing dead, leaving the remaining drama to Chabra and Ruane. Ruane had a momentary flash of happiness when he saw the river J♣ that gave him a flush, but it quickly disappeared when he realized it also gave Chabra a full house. In that one monster hand, Humphrey was out in sixteenth place, Ruane in fifteenth and Chabra sat on a 6.65 million chip stack.

The double knockout seemed to open the floodgates for the players to start hitting the rail. Colman was knocked out in fourteenth place by Foxen, while Perry would take down Day 3 chip leader Blake Bohn in thirteenth. By the time that Mel Wiener was eliminated by Tosoc on the unofficial final table bubble (tenth place), Tosoc and Perry were atop the leaderboard and driving to the final table.

There was the little factor of determining which three players wouldn’t be a part of the official six-handed WPT final table. First out was Ray Pulford, who felt confident pre-flop in taking his pocket Queens against Perry’s baby Ace (A♣ 3♣). His Queens were vanquished on the A-J-10 flop and he wouldn’t find a King (for a Broadway straight) or a Queen on the turn or river to depart in ninth place. Roberts fought valiantly in her effort to best her seventh-place finish in this tournament last year, but she was crippled by Del Vecchio’s quad deuces before leaving in eighth place courtesy of Chabra. With only one more knockout to ending the evening’s action, Del Vecchio delivered in taking down Daniel Zack, A-K versus A-Q, to send Zack out in seventh place and set the final six combatants.

1. Sean Perry, 7.65 million (Seat 2)
2. Ryan Tosoc, 5.105 million (Seat 3)
3. Mike Del Vecchio, 4.97 million (Seat 1)
4. Ajay Chabra, 3.065 million (Seat 4)
5. Richard Kirsch, 2.62 million (Seat 5)
6. Alex Foxen, 955,000 (Seat 6)

Perry has the potential to be one of the youngest champions ever on the WPT. Turning 21 the very day the WPT Five Diamond began, he has a chance at a historic achievement that will be difficult to duplicate. With Tosoc and Del Vecchio in shooting distance and on his right (Del Vecchio) and left (Tosoc), he’s going to have to tread lightly (or get hit with the deck). It would be a mistake to count out Chabra or Kirsch, although they need a double to really get back in the action. About the only player who is a “long shot” is Foxen, who needs a lot of help to get his chip stack back to health.

The final table of the 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic will kick off at 4:30PM (Pacific time) this afternoon and can be viewed over the streaming network PokerGO. At stake for the players is the $1.958 million that will go to the eventual champion and the seat to the 2018 WPT Tournament of Champions next spring.

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2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 3 – Blake Bohn Takes Over Lead Short of the Money Bubble

Poker News Daily - Fri, 2017-12-08 15:00

Day 3 of the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas is in the books and, for the first time in the tournament, Brandon Meyers isn’t atop the leaderboard. While he does lurk down the ladder a bit, Blake Bohn has taken over the lead with the money bubble looming for Day 4’s action.

With 316 players remaining from the 812 entries that came in, it was a given that the money wasn’t going to be reached on Thursday. That didn’t mean there wasn’t some work to do as players looked to garner chips to get in the best position to drive deep in the event. Meyers was best situated for making that deep drive, starting Day 3 with a stack of 388,100 chips, while Daniel Strelitz (310,900) joined him as the only players above the 300K mark.

Day 3 was the longest day of the tournament so far, with seven 90-minute levels on tap for the assembled players, and they didn’t tiptoe into the waters on Thursday. A short-stacked Mike Wattel was taken down by 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner (but zero-time WPT champion) Phil Hellmuth moments into the start of the day, while a short-stacked former Super Bowl champion in Richard Seymour went in the other direction. Seymour would use pocket tens to outrun Joshua Ladines’ A♦ Q♦ on a nine-high board to get back in the race.

Wattel wasn’t the only notable pro who departed the Bellagio soon after the day’s play began. Jeremy Ausmus, Matt Berkey, Kathy Liebert, former WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja and WPT champion Pat Lyons all found a spot on the rail to watch the proceedings as Mike Del Vecchio took center stage. He was able to four-bet both Shawn Buchanan and Cate Hall out of a hand to pull close to 100K, then blew by that mark by getting just Hall to lay down her hand. Del Vecchio’s continued aggression would keep his stack fluctuating but moving upwards throughout the Day 3 action.

Del Vecchio’s high water mark came in eliminating one of the biggest names in the game in the evening hours. After a raising battle between him and Daniel Negreanu, Del Vecchio was able to get Negreanu to commit his final chips pre-flop with pocket Queens. The problem for Negreanu is that Del Vecchio had pocket Kings for the cooler; once no other Ladies showed on the board, Negreanu was out of the Five Diamond, one of his favorite tournaments of the year, while Del Vecchio stacked up 345K in chips.

After being hit with the deck for the first two days of the tournament (by his own admission), Meyers had a day where he simply attempted to survive. It wasn’t until the early evening hours that Meyers was able to eke over his starting day stack to 395K, but it seemed to get his engines going. Meyers would push Andy Frankenberger to the brink before Frankenberger folded a hand and Meyers scooped up the chips to move to 483K.

As the dinner break arrived, 113 players were still alive in the tournament with two 90-minute levels left to play. Strelitz had moved to the lead at this point with 828K in chips, but he would go no higher on Day 3 and instead gave back a few chips. Bohn was the man who made the moves late in the evening in a hand against one of the top “High Roller” players in the game.

After an opening bet from Bohn, Kempe would move in for his remaining stack. Everyone else would get out of the way, but Bohn was steadfast and made the call. It turned out to be the correct decision; Bohn’s Big Slick was better than Kempe’s Big Chick (A-Q) and, after a King was in the window on the flop, the German was left drawing extremely thin. A blank on the turn meant that Kempe was now drawing dead just short of the money bubble.

Bohn would add onto his 815K stack as the players crept closer to the money. Just short of the time when the WPT “Action Clock” (the 30-second “shot clock” used by the WPT one table from the money bubble) would be activated, the last 90 players reached the end of Level 17 and bagged and tagged their booty. Bohn was the man who bagged the most, 871,000, to seize the lead heading to Day 4.

1. Blake Bohn, 871,000
2. Daniel Strelitz, 791,000
3. Sean Perry, 758,000
4. Matthew Moss, 748,500
5. Artem Markov, 674,500
6. Brandon Meyers, 638,000
7. David ‘Chino’ Rheem, 592,500
8. Chance Kornuth, 586,000
9. Matt Giannetti, 549,000
10. Satish Surapaneni, 541,000

Day 4 action at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic kicks off at noon today with some important business to take care of. Nine players must be eliminated to get to the 81 players who’ll earn a min-cash of slightly more than $19K from the tournament. The WPT “Action Clock” will be employed from now until a champion is crowned, with that champion walking off with a $1,958,065 Christmas present.

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2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 2 – Brandon Meyers Maintains Lead as Prize Pool Determined

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2017-12-07 18:02

Continuing to hold court over the throng of players still in the tournament, poker professional Brandon Meyers continued to hold the lead as Day 2 of the 2017 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic concluded. At the same time, those that are left in the event found out what they were playing for once late registration/reentry closed.

Out of the 600-plus entries that were received on Day 1, Meyers was the one who drove the tournament. He would finish the day with an impressive 152,750 in chips but, as the poker adage goes, you can’t win a tournament on the first day. You also can’t win it when there are still players to enter the event, which was the case here with late registration/reentry (the $10,000 tournament was an unlimited reentry tournament) lasting until Level Nine (the next to last level of the night on Day 2).

Undaunted, Meyers continued to work much like he had done on Day 1. He would flop trip Aces against Ray Quartomy to add to his stack early in the day’s action, then eliminate his fellow pro later in what was a cooler of a hand. The raises went back and forth for several beats until Quartomy was all in. When the hands came up, it was predictable; Quartomy’s pocket Kings were looking up at the only hand that could beat them, Meyers’ pocket Aces, and the board didn’t bring another Cowboy to save Quartomy. With the chips from Quartomy firmly ensconced in his stack, Meyers eclipsed the 200K mark (213,000, to be exact) for the tournament.

While Meyers threatened to run off and make the tournament a mockery, the entry numbers kept climbing. 792 entries were confirmed during Level 8, breaking the record for the event (791) set just last year. And as the clock clicked down to the start of Level 9 and the end of the late registration/reentry period, it became apparent just how big the 2017 WPT Five Diamond was going to be.

Once the final entries were counted, the prize pool and the final payouts were stunning. Of the $7,876,400 prize pool built by the 812 entries in the event, 81 players will eventually earn a cash from the WPT Five Diamond. The minimum payout of $19,691 leads up to a final table that will see each player earn a six-figure cash from the event. At the very top, the eventual runner-up in the tournament will receive $1,134,202 for his (or her) efforts, while the next champion of the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic takes home a $1,958,065 payday and a seat at next spring’s WPT Tournament of Champions.

With their goals now set, the players began to mix it up a bit with varying degrees of success. Gus Hansen, who was wafting between a table in the Five Diamond tournament and a high stakes cash game running in Bobby’s Room, became a contender during the last level of the night in getting his stack up to 118,700. As the first ever champion of the WPT Five Diamond (and the first ever champion in WPT history), he will bear watching as the tournament enters Day 3 on Thursday.

There were other players that didn’t see success on Day 2 of the tournament, however. Players like Ronit Chamani, Mike Shariati, Toby Lewis, Jordan Cristos, current Player of the Year leader Bryn Kenney, Shankar Pillai, and Anthony Zinno (among a wealth of others) will not be receiving cards from a dealer in the WPT Five Diamond anymore. There’s still a large contingent of players left in the tournament – 320 players from the 812 entries – who have a dream of winning the championship yet.

1. Brandon Meyers, 388,100
2. Daniel Strelitz, 310,900
3. Todd Hovenden, 230,300
4. Anthony Gregg, 225,600
5. Darren Elias, 214,700
6. Kenny Nguyen, 214,000
7. Rory Young, 213,000
8. Rainer Kempe, 200,000
9. Alex Foxen, 181,700
10. Matthew Moss, 180,000

Other players bubbling under the Top Ten include former WPT champions Taylor Paur (166,000), Mike Del Vecchio (155,100) and Kevin Eyster (136,700), and poker professionals Eddy Sabat (148,000), high stakes cash game player Lauren Roberts (148,000), Anthony Spinella (138,000), Blake Bohn (137,500) and former ‘Big One for One Drop’ champion Dan Colman (137,000).

We’re still a good distance away from anyone getting a bite out of the pie that is the prize pool. In fact, Thursday’s action (five levels of 90 minutes each) will probably only serve to bring the pack closer to the money. The bubble should pop on Friday, at which point the WPT’s “shot clock” will enter the game and the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic will start handing out the cash from the bounty that had been built.

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Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $1.14 Billion

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2017-12-07 06:18

Caesars Entertainment Corporation has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell Harrah’s Las Vegas to VICI Properties for $1.14 billion. If this sounds rather shocking, you may be relieved to know (or not really care, as the case may be) that it is all part of a plan.

In mid-November, Caesars announced that it will acquire Centaur Holdings, LLC for $1.7 billion in cash. Centaur owns Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Indiana and the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville, Indiana. The sale of Harrah’s Las Vegas is being used to finance the Centaur deal.

It will also continue to be business as usual at Harrah’s, as Caesars will enter into a 15-year lease for the property, paying VICI an initial annual rent of $87.4 million, a number which will increase as the years go on. Caesars will continue to operate Harrah’s. When the lease term is up, Caesars will be able to extend the lease for up to 20 years in four five-year extensions.

On top of that, Caesars is acquiring an 18.4 acre plot of land adjacent to Harrah’s from VICI on which it plans to build a 300,000 square foot convention center. The development “is expected to feature the largest column-free ballroom in the United States and to be outfitted with state-of-the-art technology.”

“The transactions we are announcing today demonstrate our commitment to pursuing growth opportunities while maintaining balance-sheet discipline,” said Mark Frissora, President and Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment, in a press release. “We expect the sale and leaseback of Harrah’s Las Vegas will allow us to acquire Centaur and develop the convention center without increasing leverage. The sale and leaseback transaction is our first post-emergence transaction with VICI and maintains Harrah’s Las Vegas’ connectivity to our network, which will create value and provide benefits to our guests. The acquisition of the adjacent land and development of the convention center allows us to develop another important destination right in the middle of our center-Strip footprint.”

That center-strip footprint includes, from north to south on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip: Harrah’s, Linq, Flamingo, Cromwell, Bally’s, Paris, and Planet Hollywood. Caesars Palace is across the street from Harrah’s. The company also owns the Rio just off the Strip, which is the home of the World Series of Poker.

The deal stipulates that once the convention center is completed, Caesars can actually require VICI buy the property and lease it back to Caesars, like it is doing with Harrah’s. If Caesars does not exercise that option, VICI can decide for itself if it wants to do it, anyway.

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2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Day 1 – Brandon Meyers Takes Early Lead

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2017-12-06 23:06

The World Poker Tour is back in action as the Season XVI WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,400 Main Event kicked off Tuesday. A very stout 600 entries were tallied on Day 1, setting the tournament up to potentially break last year’s Five Diamond record of 791 entries.

This tournament does not have multiple starting flights, so most of who will participate likely already showed up on Day 1, but there is still a ways to go before the final registration numbers will be known. Registration closes at the beginning of Level 9, which won’t happen until Wednesday night (there were five levels played on Day 1). The Five Diamond Main Event is also an unlimited re-entry tournament, so those who are knocked out on Day 1 or Day 2 can keep trying, even as I write this, provided they have the funds to do so.

That the Five Diamond is a re-entry event has generated some controversy. As my colleague Earl Burton wrote recently, poker pro Allen Kessler posted a poll on Twitter to see what format people wanted for the tournament and of the 623 votes, half were cast in favor of the traditional freezeout, one buy-in per person format. Unlimited re-entry only grabbed 11 percent of the vote, while 39 percent of voters preferred just a single re-entry.

Many don’t like unlimited re-entry tournaments because it gives the deep-pocketed pros an advantage. It is hard enough to outlast these fantastic players, but it can feel nearly impossible to beat them several times over when they get to keep buying a new stack of chips. Of course, the big argument in favor of multiple re-entry tournaments is that the prize pool can grow larger.

Those that like the compromise of the single re-entry favor that because while it doesn’t give an overwhelming advantage to the richest players, it also allows for a $10,000 mulligan of sorts if someone runs into awful luck early. It might not be fun to have to knock out someone like Daniel Negreanu more than once (I’m not picking on Negreanu – just using him as an example of a player who could and has re-entered expensive tournaments), but it is less fun to pay $10,000 and then hit the rail 30 minutes later when your Kings run into Aces.

Back to Day 1, Brandon Meyers emerged from Tuesday’s action as the chip leader, growing his initial 30,000 chip stack five-fold to 152,750. Gregory Back is second with 130,400, while Jonathan Kamhazi is third with 120,000 chips. Meyers is going for his second $10,000 event cash of the year. He previously had a wonderful finish in the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, coming in 42nd for $176,399. His lifetime earnings amount to $1.23 million.

2017 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic – Day 1 Chip Leaders

1. Brandon Meyers – 152,750
2. Gregory Back – 130,400
3. Jonathan Kamhazi – 120,000
4. Eric Baldwin – 114,700
5. Ray Pulford – 109,000
6. Kenny Nguyen – 103,500
7. Sam Stein – 98,000
8. Eric Bunch – 85,000
9. Ravi Raghavan – 85,000
10. Ray Qartomy – 82,000

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Chengdu Pandas Win Inaugural GPL China Championship

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2017-12-06 05:39

The Chengdu Pandas came back from near elimination to advance through the playoffs and win the inaugural season of the Global Poker League (GPL) China. The team won one million Yuan – approximately $151,000 – and donated five percent of it to charity.

The twelve teams participating were as follows (listed alphabetically):

• Beijing Great Dragons
• Chengdu Pandas
• Guangzhou Pioneers
• Hangzhou Legends
• Hong Kong Treasure Ships
• Kunming Phoenix
• Macau Lions
• Shanghai Golden Tigers
• Shenzhen Eagles
• Taiwan Black Bears
• Tianjin Guardians
• Xi’an Warriors

It was a long road to the title for the Pandas, as the team had to survive the early stages just to make it to the playoffs.

First was the Online Knockout stage. Here, the GPL China was divided into three groups of three teams. Two representatives from each team were selected to compete, each playing in separate four-handed Sit-and-Go’s against players from the other three teams in the group. Points were distributed based on order of finish, with first place at each table receiving 3 points, second place getting 2 points, and third place receiving 1 point. The first player knocked out at each table did not win any points for his or her team.

Next was the Live Knockout stage. It was similar to the online portion, but instead of one player from each team at each table, there were two. Additionally, there was one extra Sit-and-Go, for a total of three eight-handed tables. The top four players at each table earned points for their teams: 16 points for first, 11 for second, 8 for third, and 5 for fourth.

The point totals from both stages were added up and the top two teams from each group automatically advanced to the playoffs:

Group A: Taiwan (86 points) and Shanghai (71 points)
Group B: Tianjin (84 points) and Xi’an (69 points)
Group C: Kunming (71 points) and Hong Kong (60 points)

As you can see, the eventual champ, Chengdu, was not one of the automatic playoff qualifiers. As such, they and the other four lowest scoring teams played in a Resurrection round, with the top two points earners gaining the final two spots in the playoffs.

Round 1 of the Resurrection stage had three players from a team sit at a nine-handed table against players from two other teams. Four tables were in play simultaneously. Scoring was the same as in the Live Knockout stage.

Round 2 consisted of three six-handed tables with one player from each team at each table. First place earned 15 points, second place earned 10 points, and third earned 5 points.

Round 3 consisted of interesting two-versus-two heads-up matches in which pairs of teammates shared hole cards. Each team played against just one other team, three tables total. Heads-up winners got 15 points, the losers got 5 points.

In the end, Chengdu earned 88 points in the Resurrection stage and Beijing earned 77 points to clinch the final two playoff spots.

In the playoffs, the eight teams were split into two groups, competing in similar matches to the preliminary rounds. The online matches were four-handed as they were before, while the live rounds had the same eight-max, six-max, and two-versus-two heads-up matches as there were in the previous rounds.

Chengdu, Hong Kong, Kunming, and Shanghai advanced to the semi-finals where the same match formats were again featured. Chengdu dominated, scoring 88 points, and faced off against Hong Kong – which earned 55 points – in the finals.

The finals featured got rid of the four-handed online matches and swapped in a traditional heads-up match for the eight-handed game. This time, though, the points across all games weren’t added up to determine a winner, but instead, it was a sort of double best-of-three.

The team that won two of the six-max, two-versus-two, and heads-up matches would win a round. Win two rounds and you’re the champ. Hong Kong took the first six-handed game, but Chengdu stormed back to win the two-versus-two and heads-up matches to clinch the first round. In the second round, Chengdu won the two-versus-two and Hong Kong won the heads-up, so it came down to the six-max to either nail it down for Chengdu or keep Hong Kong alive.

In crazy final hand, one Chengdu player was all-in against two Hong Kong players, who also both shoved on an 8-A-2 flop. The Panda had A-3, virtually dead to rights against one of the Treasure Ship player’s A-T (the other player had just 9-4). But a 3 fell on the turn and a Queen landed on the river to give the Panda the best hand, knocking out both rivals, and earning the inaugural GPL China championship for Chengdu.

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Viejas Casino Customer Wins Aston Martin in Casino Promo…But Nah?

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2017-12-06 05:22

When I was a freshman in high school, won the botany division of my high school’s science fair and advanced to the city-wide/regional competition. I didn’t win top honors, but there were other, independent awards handed out; I was fortunate enough to win one, called (and I’m probably not being quite accurate here, as this was 25-ish years ago), the Army Achievement Medal. I walked on stage to receive my award, but they didn’t actually have it ready to go. Instead, I was to receive it in the mail. It never came. I still have the satisfaction of a job well done, but to this day, I still think about that medal once in a while and wish I had it. That’s nothing, though, compared to what Merida Manipoun has not yet received for winning a prize drawing at California’s Viejas Casino & Resort in May 2016.

Viejas held a contest called the “Dream Machine” in which patrons could earn entries into a drawing based on their play in the casino. The grand prize: a 2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT valued at $134,000.

Manipoun – also known previously as Anoma Sengvixay – had her name drawn and was celebrated on stage at the casino. Of course, as these things go, and as people sometimes lament when winning a big prize, Manipoun was also going to have to fill out a tax form and eventually pay taxes on the value of the car. But hey, it amounted to a relatively cheap luxury car, so let the good times roll, right?

Wrong. After winning, Manipoun – according to a lawsuit she has filed – was pressured by Viejas managers to accept a much smaller cash payment instead of the car. There was no violence involved, but the coercion was strong. The text of the lawsuit spells it out:

After receiving her public congratulations and posing for promotional materials, Ms. Manipoun was escorted into a back room, by one or more Defendants, and subjected to a high-pressure sales pitch in which she was strenuously encouraged to forego her entitlement to the Car and, instead, accept a relatively de minimis sum of cash compensation, on the apparent theory that such would afford her appreciable tax benefits.

Ms. Manipoun resisted the subject sales pitch and, instead, demanded that she be given the Car she had rightfully earned.

Oh, and Viejas still hit Manipoun with the tax form for the full value of the car, even though they wouldn’t give it to her.

Manipoun then went to the Aston Martin Dealership in San Diego that had provided the car for the promotion, but “she was informed that it was not in possession of any paperwork indicating her entitlement to the Car and, to the contrary, that she would not be receiving the Car.”

So there she was, no cash, no car, but a hefty tax bill. Lawsuit time!

What’s interesting here is that because Veijas is on tribal land and therefore has sovereign immunity protection against many lawsuits, Manipoun has gone after the casino staff. The lawsuit names casino operations manager Lou Dibela, manager of gaming activities Chris Kelly, and casino host Linda Carr, as well as twenty “John Doe” defendants and Aston Martin of San Diego. All but the car dealership are being sued for fraud, breach of unfair competition law, and twice conspiracy to defraud. The dealership is being sued for breach of unilateral contract claim.

One would think that Ms. Manipoun has an extremely strong case, especially considering that she won a very visible promotion and was “awarded” the car in front of casino customers, but the law can be an ugly thing, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

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NJ State Sen. Ray Lesniak Introduces Bill to Expand Online Gambling Internationally

Poker News Daily - Tue, 2017-12-05 06:17

One of online poker’s most fervent supporters in the political world, New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak, has one more trick up his sleeve before he retires. Late last week, Lesniak introduced a bill that would effectively allow New Jersey to enter into agreements with other countries in order to share player liquidity.

The bill, S3536, amends the portion of New Jersey law that legalizes online gambling. Most of the bill is what already exists, detailing the history of gambling in the state, the benefits of gambling (as well as regulation) for the state, and the legalization of internet gaming.

One of the key points of New Jersey’s online gambling law is that the gaming servers must be located in Atlantic City:

….all hardware, software, and other equipment that is involved with Internet gaming will be located in casino facilities in Atlantic City or in other facilities in Atlantic City owned or leased by a casino licensee and thereby considered to be part of a casino hotel facility that are secure, inaccessible to the public, and specifically designed to house that equipment, and where the equipment will be under the complete control of a casino licensee or its Internet gaming affiliate.

But then comes Senator Lesniak’s amendment. He starts by explaining that online gambling has been of great financial benefit to the state and that the market for internet gaming internationally is growing quickly:

In the coming years, the global online gambling market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate, and the largest share of online gambling revenue comes from Europe totaling nearly $15 billion a year and growing at a faster rate than the rest of the world; and

Since its inception under P.L.2013, c.27 (C.5:12-95.17 et al.), Internet gaming has resulted in economic benefits to Atlantic City and to this State, and is estimated to have produced, within the first three years of implementation, approximately $998 million in economic output, over 3,000 jobs, $219 million in employee wages, and $124 million in tax revenues, of which $84 million derive from Internet gaming revenue alone. The provisions in this act, P.L. c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), permitting Internet gaming equipment to be located outside of the territorial boundaries of Atlantic City if necessary to facilitate the conduct of international wagering, would increase the economic benefit of Internet gaming to Atlantic City and to this State.

And then, right near the end of the bill, comes the kicker, “The division may permit Internet gaming equipment to be located outside of the territorial boundaries of Atlantic City if the division deems it necessary to facilitate the conduct of international wagering permitted under this section.”

Thus, if this bill passed, poker players located in New Jersey would presumably eventually have the ability to play on sites not based in New Jersey. One would assume the New Jersey regulators would have to approve of individual operators and come to agreements with regulators in other countries. When this happens and the player pools of international sites merge with those of New Jersey, player traffic would jump, hopefully attracting more and more players and, in turn, generate more tax dollars for the state.

The current New Jersey legislative session ends January 9, 2018, so Lesniak has a month if he wants to see the bill passed while he is still a Senator.

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Categories: Poker News

Debate Over Tournament Format Cloud Beginning of WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event

Poker News Daily - Sun, 2017-12-03 19:36

One of the most prestigious tournaments on the World Poker Tour calendar, the Five Diamond World Poker Classic Championship Event, is set to begin on Tuesday. But that start will have a cloud over it as players – from the elite professionals to the Everyday Joe – have made their displeasure known regarding the format of the tournament.

The $10,000 buy in tournament is already one of the biggest by price on the WPT Season XVI schedule. The reentry rules that the tournament is being conducted under are also quite lax, allowing players to re-enter the tournament up until Level 9 of the tournament. This would allow players to get back into the event – with a 30,000 chip stack and at a point where such a stack is still quite workable – at nearly the end of DAY TWO.

Naturally, these liberal unlimited reentry event rules seem to have irritated many in the poker community. First up was noted cantankerous pro Allen Kessler, who at least had democracy to prove his point for him. Out of 623 people who voted on a poll Kessler posted on Twitter, 50% of the respondents wanted the traditional freezeout format for the WPT Five Diamond. There wasn’t a huge uprising against a re-entry, but it was resoundingly a solo re-entry (39%), while the unlimited re-entry option received 11% of the voting public.

While the public vote on Kessler’s Twitter page was dominated by the freezeout vote, there were some pros who took Kessler to task in advocating for the freezeout over the unlimited option. Matthew Waxman criticized Kessler in Tweeting, “You play plenty of re-entries that are within your financial comfort zone. You complain about this one because it’s not. If I were an elitist, I would just ignore you. You are being hypocritical and I’m just trying to show you that.”

David ‘ODB’ Baker took another tack in answering Kessler’s question. “Poker tourneys can be like golf courses. Some set up better for some than others. Sit this one out if you don’t like it. I don’t like it I’m sitting it out,” Baker stated over Twitter to Kessler. Dominik Nitsche added in his two cents on Twitter, chirping, “I actually do agree with you in general that single reentry (or freezeout) is better. Just think it’s too late for this one (to be changed).”

It is one of the debates that has raged across poker for the last few years. Originally, the tournaments were called “rebuy” tournaments in the mid-2000s and those tournaments were routinely dominated by those whose deep pockets weren’t impacted. In the 2006 World Series of Poker $1000 No Limit Hold’em event with rebuys, Daniel Negreanu reportedly made 46 rebuys during the tournament. Along with the two add-ons he could take, “Kid Poker” spewed $48,000 in tournament buy-ins; in 2007, the WSOP banned the “rebuy” events.

But all that has happened to the old “rebuy” event is they have been rebranded as today’s “re-entry” events. Offering multiple Day Ones and/or allowing for a re-entry/late entry period that stretches deep into the opening action of the tournament, players can still get that “rebuy” feeling in the renamed events. In some WPT tournaments, it is possible for a player to take advantage of every Day One and a solo rebuy (some even allow players to enter on Day 2) and spend upwards of $25,000 should they strike out in every attempt.

Some players dislike the re-entry tournaments because it does give a professional player with craploads of money a chance to play recklessly, offering no recompense for bad play other than having to enter again, and build substantial stacks (some would say elimination would be an apt punishment for those types of pros). Other players talk about how it pushes out the recreational player, who has but one shot in a tournament and has to potentially run through someone more than twice if they are to even cash. Those that are for the re-entry tournaments point out how it can build a prize pool to levels higher than it would should the tournament be a freezeout event.

While Kessler’s poll and the results have received some notice, don’t expect a change anytime soon in the re-entry phenomenon. The casinos enjoy it because the extra juice goes into their pockets and the tours themselves like it to build big prize pools and award big payouts. The only way for the players to vote further on this issue would be to use their wallets and not play the tournaments.

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Categories: Poker News

Floridians Could Decide Future of Poker, Greyhound Racing in the State

Poker News Daily - Sun, 2017-12-03 16:39

As debate regarding the industry rages on, a proposed constitutional amendment could put the decision on the future of greyhound racing – and, by extension, live poker – in the hands of the voters of Florida.

Florida’s greyhound racing industry has for decades been a major draw for gamblers – and for the Florida government, a bonanza of tax revenues – but it has fallen on hard times of late. Deaths of racing greyhounds, drugging issues and other grievous injuries to the animals have been a part of the bad news that has affected those in the business. The Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which has the power to put different constitutional issues on the ballot for the 2018 midterm elections, is considering putting a resolution up that would let the voters have the power of whether to shut the lucrative but under siege industry down or not.

“This is, for me, a matter of conscience,” commission member and state Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican who is sponsoring the proposal, stated to the Florida Times-Union’s Jim Saunders. “Our society has changed. We are evolving as a people. We are becoming more sensitive to those who occupy this world with us, regardless of their species, and to those who are going to follow us for generations to come. And that’s a good thing.”

The General Provisions Committee decided on Thursday to put the potential resolution in front of the entire Executive Committee. Called Proposal 67, the resolution would ban greyhound racing effective December 31, 2019. According to Saunders, the original plan was for the ban to be slowly phased in with an effective date of July 21, but the General Provisions Committee moved up the date. “We should do this as quickly as we feasibly can,” commission member Brecht Heuchan said to Saunders.

There is a lengthy history of greyhound racing in Florida, dating back to the 1930s. With the advent of horse racing and, to some extent, casino gaming, the greyhound racing industry has had difficulties. That was changed when, in the mid-2000s, the greyhound and horse racing tracks could start offering live poker at severely restricted limits.

Within time, poker became a major part of the greyhound tracks. In 2010, the restrictions on poker were lifted and the industry exploded, bringing many of the major poker tours to the state. Cash games, once limited to just limit games, became plentiful and lucrative at the greyhound tracks. But there has always been one problem with the linking of poker to the greyhound tracks.

By state law, the only way that a greyhound track can offer a poker room is if they offer a significant racing schedule and pari-mutuel betting. There have been discussions for several years about separating the greyhound tracks and the poker rooms, but they have been unable to separate the two industries. If Proposal 67 were first to get on the ballot in 2018 and then be voted through by 60% of the citizenry of Florida, there would be significant issues because of the linkage.

If the Florida Legislature had to decouple the racetracks from the poker rooms, they would have to revise their gaming laws. That has been extremely problematic for legislators in the state, who also must contend with the powerful Seminole Indian tribe and their sovereign rights to casino gaming in the Sunshine State. It is unknown what path would have to be taken to get the poker rooms to be able to stand alone from the racetracks, especially if the Seminoles objected to gaming being offered in a free-standing situation (something that breaks the gaming compact the tribe has with the state).

The proposed constitutional amendment isn’t necessarily looking at gambling or poker being offered at the tracks. Many of the members of the constitutional committee are more concerned with the perceived issues that have plagued the racing industries for years. As Lee stated to Saunders, “As we’ve evolved, we’ve banned all sorts of activities that have been considered cruel to animals: bullfighting and cockfighting and all kinds of things. To me, this is just the next step on that plane of becoming more sensitive to this kind of inhumanity.”

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Categories: Poker News

Dan Smith Defeats Daniel Negreanu in $100,000 Super High Roller at Five Diamond

Poker News Daily - Sat, 2017-12-02 19:38

In one of the final preliminary events (if you can call a tournament with a six-figure buy in a “preliminary”) before the start of the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event next week, Dan Smith vanquished fellow poker pro Daniel Negreanu to win the $100,000 Super High Roller on Friday night.

While there has been plenty of action around the Bellagio leading up to the WPT Main Event, the $100,000 Super High Roller pulled plenty of eyes to its action. 39 entries would pony up the $100,000 entry fee to build a $3.9 million prize pool. Of that bounty, only six people would be walking away with any money, making the competition fierce.

By the time Thursday night arrived, the money bubble was still intact as seven players battled it out for the right to get a return on their investment. Stephen Chidwick was the unfortunate “bubble boy” in the tournament, taking away $0 for his seventh-place finish. Before the action would be called on Thursday, serial High Roller player Bryn Kenney picked up some more cash (and, perhaps as importantly, precious Player of the Year points) when he was knocked out in sixth place.

The five-man final table on Friday was headed by Isaac Haxton, who held 1.8 million of the chips in play at the start of action. Behind Haxton was Negreanu, who wasn’t too far back at 1.47 million. Stefan Schillhabel, Sergio Aido and Smith were lagging far back and not considered much of a threat for taking the championship.

Smith was able to start his charge by getting a double up through Haxton, which would then set about the latter’s fall. After Aido was dumped in fifth place, Haxton departed the scene to bring the three-man battle of Smith, Schillhabel and Negreanu to the fore. Negreanu gave running commentary across his Twitter feed to those who couldn’t be in the Bellagio and the battle was entertaining.

Negreanu seemed to be content to sit back and let Smith and Schillhabel battle it out, and they swung for the fences. Smith eventually would start to get the better of the German, however, and on their final hand of combat Smith’s pocket Aces was leading pre-flop against Schillhabel’s J-10. That situation completely changed on the flop, coming down J-10-10, pushing Schillhabel into an unlikely lead. Left with only two outs in the deck, Smith saw one of those rescuing Aces fall on the turn to return the lead to him. Schillhabel, looking for the case ten to deliver another suckout, instead saw a blank as he left in third place.

Perhaps Negreanu should have paid a bit of attention to his opposition as Smith entered heads up play against him with a sizeable chip lead. That chip lead would eventually translate into a championship as Smith, holding Big Slick on the final hand, was able to make it stand against Negreanu’s Q-10 once the final board rolled out.

1. Dan Smith, $1,404,000
2. Daniel Negreanu, $936,000
3. Stefan Schillhabel, $624,000
4. Isaac Haxton, $390,000
5. Sergio Aido, $312,000
6. Bryn Kenney, $234,000

With this tournament in the books, players can put their attention to the WPT Five Diamond Main Event on Tuesday. The $10,000 buy in tournament will wrap up the 2017 calendar year for the WPT and it should be hotly contested. Last year the tournament brought in 791 entries, with James Romero eventually walking off with the championship and the $1.9 million first place prize. Expect a similar turnout for this year’s event as the calendar year ends.

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Categories: Poker News

Vegas Casinos and Government Officials Meet Over Marijuana Guidelines

Poker News Daily - Sat, 2017-12-02 16:03

After initially stating that there would be a ban on any marijuana usage in casinos and on casino grounds in Las Vegas, a meeting between government officials and Las Vegas casino honchos under the auspices of a resurrected committee on Wednesday examined the problems that are confronting the issue.

With the passage of laws in the Silver State that opened Nevada’s recreational marijuana industry in late 2016, there was one place that wasn’t open to marijuana – the casinos. In September, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issues a directive that firmly spelled out that, even though it was legal to purchase and consume marijuana in the state, doing so on casino grounds was still verboten. Citing the current legal status of marijuana (it is still considered a Schedule I drug by the U. S. Department of Justice and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions has looked to toughening laws rather than softening them), the NGCB didn’t flinch in making their decision to ban pot on casino grounds.

It wasn’t just the consumption of marijuana that the NGCB ruled on in September. The NGCB also ruled that there could be no marijuana dispensaries or “smoking zones” on casino grounds nor could a casino promote the product. Furthermore, the casino industry could not host any cannabis-related conventions nor could someone in the casino industry invest in the marijuana industry or vice versa.

The one thing that the NGCB didn’t do was codify any of their above directives into any concrete law that could be enforced. That’s where Sandoval stepped in, bringing back a long-defunct government group that would be able to hammer out some firm direction for the casino industry and the marijuana industry to coexist.

Sandoval has revived the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee, a 12-member group that was defunct prior to the Governor’s call to action. The NGPC had not met regarding any casino issues since November of 2016, but Sandoval felt that this was an issue that required the Committee to come together. On Wednesday, that committee met for the first time to discuss the issue and, after many voices were heard from, it became apparent the difficulties of resolving the marijuana issue for the casinos.

In the five-hour meeting featuring several prominent members of the casino industry and government officials from the Nevada General Assembly, it was constantly expressed that it was important to protect the licenses of the individual casinos. In trying to improve the marijuana industry, Sandoval himself stated that he “(didn’t) want to make a decision that puts (our) licenses at risk.” For marijuana advocates, the testimony given during the hearing wasn’t exactly helping their cause.

Several attorneys testified that, if the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, then the casino industry in no manner could cohabitate with the marijuana industry. Attorney Brian Barnes stated that, under “virtually every aspect of federal law,” any marijuana business is illegal. Barnes said that any marijuana business in a casino “would be considered racketeering or money laundering.” Furthermore, any marijuana advocacy conference or convention – even if there wasn’t any product present – would fall under the same viewpoint.

This committee isn’t meeting to allow for usage of marijuana in a casino. What this committee seems more interested in would be allowing for either conventions regarding the industry or even dispensary sales on casino grounds. Nevada has 47 licensed marijuana dispensaries across the state, which drew in $27.1 million in sales in July 2017, the first month that those dispensaries were opened, and those types of earnings are something that everyone wants to get into. Also, the lifeblood of Vegas isn’t in its gaming, it’s in conventions across the myriad of halls that every casino has. By maintaining a ban on marijuana-related conventions, the Nevada convention industry is putting itself at a significant disadvantage and, once again, losing money.

The resurrected Nevada Gaming Policy Committee will be having several hearings regarding this issue. By July 2018, Sandoval is hoping to have guidelines set in place to regulate marijuana in the state’s casinos. While it isn’t expected to allow for partaking of the legal (in Nevada) product, it will probably allow for conventions and, perhaps, sales when the committee’s work is done.

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Categories: Poker News

2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule Announced

Poker News Daily - Fri, 2017-12-01 18:55

While many may be prepping for the upcoming holiday season, the folks at the PokerStars Championships are getting things prepared for 2018. That’s because pretty much as soon as the hangovers wear off after New Year’s Eve, the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will begin. Now we know the schedule for what has become one of the premiere events on the tournament poker calendar.

It seems that the authorities at the PokerStars Championships have learned their lessons from last year’s experiments. Instead of lopping the PCA in with the PokerStars Championships (last year’s tournament schedule was called the PokerStars Championships Bahamas), the original moniker has been returned while keeping it on the roster of events for the PokerStars Championships. There have been some other changes also that should be more “player friendly” than the 2017 version was.

First up is the Championship Event of the tournament schedule. Despite dropping the buy in for the tournament down to $5000, player numbers plummeted for the 2017 version of the tournament (in 2016, 928 players turned out for the PCA Championship Event; in 2017, only 738 runners came to the line). For 2018, the PCA is going “back to the future” in reinstating the $10,000 buy in for the Championship Event. By getting back to the $10K entry fee, the PokerStars Championship staff is looking to rebuild the prestige of the event.

Second, the 2017 PokerStars Championships Bahamas was widely panned because of the number of events that were run. More than 90 official events were a part of the schedule, something that the players thought was a money grab by the PokerStars Championships staff and the owner of the tour, Amaya Gaming (now The Stars Group). For 2018, that number has been pared down tremendously.

Kicking off the festivities on January 6, the $100,000 Super High Roller event will be the first to hit the felt. By January 14, 31 tournaments will have taken place for the 2018 roster of events, cutting the schedule from 2017 by two-thirds in an emphasis of “quality over quantity.” The shortened schedule will not only be easier on the players’ wallets, but it will also allow for other action outside of the PCA schedule itself.

If a player isn’t up for the tournaments on the official schedule, PokerStars Championships officials will be operating a host of sit-and-go events with buy ins starting at $120. There will also be cash games running 24/7, with stakes starting out at $1/$2 and going up to $200/$400. Pretty much any discipline of poker – be it No Limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hold’em, Seven Card Stud or even Chinese poker. The Texas and Omaha Hold’em tables will also have a High Hand bonus paid out hourly.

Finally, there is the locale of the tournament. The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort has been the home of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure since its inception and 2018 will be no different. The amenities of the hotel – plus the player adventures that PokerStars is looking to set up, including exclusive player parties – are world renown and should give those that are looking to soothe a beating at the tables with some of the sun of the Caribbean – hey, who doesn’t like being in the sun when winter has its icy grip on half the planet?

Players outside of the States of America can participate in online qualifiers at PokerStars, where packages worth $14,855 will be earned. Those packages include the $10K seat to the tournament, hotel accommodations, $1000 cash (presumably for travel expenses) and more benefits. Last month, PokerStars NJ offered to players in the state of New Jersey a satellite for the PCA, but it isn’t known if there will be any more run on the regulated site of PokerStars in the U. S.

For more information on the official schedule for the 2018 PCA, be sure to visit PokerStars for all the details. With some of the revisions done by PokerStars Championships officials, the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure may return the event to its once lofty perch as one of the preeminent tournaments of the year.

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Categories: Poker News

France, Portugal, Spain Eyeing Early 2018 for Shared Liquidity, Italy Trails Behind

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2017-11-30 06:12

In July, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain agreed to merge their online poker player liquidity finally doing something positive for poker players after years of each country being ring-fenced from the world. It now appears that Italy may be lagging in its ramp up toward shared player pools and the other countries may start without it.

We don’t know why the four countries decided to separate their players from each other and the rest of world, though one might guess it was something to do with lawmakers thinking their regulations are superior to everyone else’s, so letting players from other countries play in their market would…I don’t know. Whatever.

When the four countries signed their agreement in July, they issued a brief statement:

The 6th of July the French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian online gambling regulatory authorities signed an agreement concerning online poker liquidity sharing.

This agreement aims at improving cooperation and information exchanges among the authorities to allow the liquidity sharing between licensed online poker operators, fighting the illegal market and fraud, guaranteeing player protection and the respect of the anti-money laundering prescriptions.

The concrete implementation of the sharing will depend on the regulatory requirements of each jurisdiction.

The authorities commit to make their best efforts to enable effective implementation by the end of the year.

As you can see from that last sentence, it was hoped that player pools would merge by the end of this year, but that isn’t going to happen. It now looks like early 2018 is when the borders will open, but it very well may be without Italy for a while.

The problem, according to CasinoNewsDaily.com, is that Italy has not even opened the license bidding process yet. Neither operators seeking to renew their licenses nor those looking to finally gain entry to the Italian online poker market have been able to submit bids and there is no way the process will be completed in time for early 2018 launch. The application process was expected to have opened in September.

Italian poker news site AssoPoker reported that ARJEL, France’s gambling regulatory agency, is definitely pointing at early next year as the target for shared liquidity and that ARJEL president Charles Coppolani has been reaching out to his counterparts in the other countries to see where they stand.

Reports say that France and Spain may launch shared liquidity together first and then Portugal would follow close behind. Italy would hopefully come onboard sooner rather than later, but it needs to get its house in order first.

As one might expect, PokerStars will be involved. In a recent earnings call, Financial Director Brian Kyle said that the world’s largest online poker room plans on being one of the shared liquidity operators. It is currently the only online poker operator that is licensed in all four countries.

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Categories: Poker News

Bellagio Poker Cage Robbed at Gunpoint

Poker News Daily - Thu, 2017-11-30 04:05

Las Vegas police are still searching for a man who robbed the Bellagio poker room cashier cage at gunpoint Tuesday afternoon. In a brief news conference, Las Vegas Metro Police Capt. John Pelletier said that his department is “comfortable and confident” that they have enough information that will eventually lead to the thief’s capture.

Other than the basics, there is not all that much of a story here, as the robbery was not dramatic. The robber simply went up to the cage, showed a small handgun, demanded the money (presumably), and was given the cash. Cashier staff did not try to resist or stop the man, but instead handed over the money in order to avoid escalating the situation.

Poker aficionado and not-retired actor James Woods was playing poker at the Bellagio at the time and was impressed with how everything was handled.

Bellagio Poker Room Robbery Suspect
Source: Las Vegas Metro PD

“@Bellagio staff were fantastic. They surrendered the money quietly, so no customers would get hurt. Nobody even realized it was happening. Excellent staff, cool under pressure,” Woods tweeted.

After receiving the money, the robber left through the north valet, where he had a silver Chevrolet Cruz parked and waiting. Poker legend Doyle Brunson was playing at the Bellagio’s high stakes “Bobby’s Room,” posting on Twitter that the crook would’ve been smart to hit the game:

“The guy that robbed the cashier cage at the Bellagio should have walked south 10 yards and took our money in Bobby’s Room. He got 35k and we had about 200k in cash waiting to put it on deposit. Waitress said she could have hit the guy as he slowly left.”

Las Vegas Metro has since issued a press release with two pictures of the robber taken from security camera footage. He is described as a white male, 30 to 40 years old, between 5’ 7” and 5’ 9” tall, and weighing 160 to 170 pounds. He appeared to be wearing a disguise of black rimmed glasses, a blonde wig, and some sort of partial bandage or mask on his face.

Bellagio Poker Room Robbery Suspect
Source: Las Vegas Metro PD

A man was in the silver Chevy sedan (Nevada plates 37D147) during the robbery, but Capt. Pelletier told the press that it is believed that the man was being held against his will and was not an accomplice. The unidentified man was able to leave the car before the suspect drove away and is safe. Capt. Pelletier was not willing to classify his presence as a kidnapping yet, as police are still figuring out exactly what happened.

As mentioned, Capt. Pelletier said that he is confident that investigators have enough clues when combining security video, eye witness accounts, the information about the car, and more, that the suspect will be apprehended.

“Those that would commit crimes like this on the Strip will be hunted down and whatever amount of cash he got is not enough to face a lifetime in prison,” Capt. Pelletier said.

Anyone with information that could be helpful is encouraged to call the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Robbery Section at 702-828-3591.

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Categories: Poker News

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Still Wants Sports Betting Legalized in U.S.

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2017-11-29 22:17

As two Senators renew a quest to ban online gambling in the United States, another prominent figure is supporting the all-out national legalization of sports betting. On Monday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke with ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic and Trey Wingo on the aptly named “Golic and Wingo” show and addressed, in part, his desire to see sports betting finally legalized and regulated on the federal level.

Silver has been a proponent of legalized sports betting for a while now, first making his feelings known publicly in a November op-ed in The New York Times, just a few months after he took the helm of the NBA. His attitude is essentially that people like to bet on sports, so might as well let them do it in a relatively safe, regulated environment.

In the piece, he talked about how there was “an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events” and how the publication of betting lines is commonplace.

“Outside of the United States,” he added, “sports betting and other forms of gambling are popular, widely legal and subject to regulation. In England, for example, a sports bet can be placed on a smartphone, at a stadium kiosk or even using a television remote control.”

He said he wanted the federal government to legalize and regulate sports betting, with operators required to have safeguards and technology in place to prevent abuse and monitor betting activity.

On Monday, he reiterated these same points with Mike Golic and Trey Wingo. He said he is not “pro” or “con” sports betting, but rather that he’s a pragmatist and that regulation just makes sense.

“It’s legal in most other jurisdictions in the world, particularly in Europe, where people bet on their smart phones throughout soccer games, it’s closely regulated, they can monitor if there’s an irregularity activity, something we cannot do right now because it’s largely all illegal,” he said.

Silver does not believe, though, that states should come up with their own regulations, like they currently do for gambling. Instead, Silver told Golic and Wingo, “….I think there should be federal policy, it should be consistent from state to state, I think states should be able to elect whether they want to be in or out, if a state doesn’t want to have legalized sports betting they shouldn’t be forced to do it, so I agree it should be a state decision.”

He added that he is surprised that things have advanced so quickly in the three years since his op-ed, as the New Jersey sports betting case is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

“And I think even if the Supreme Court leaves in place the existing federal law, there seems to be a lot of interest in Congress in favor of addressing the issue. And I think in part because states see that this exists, and they figure they might as well regulate it and collect tax money on it, frankly.”

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Categories: Poker News

Senators Graham, Feinstein Once Again Ask DOJ to Ban Online Poker

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2017-11-29 04:29

It has been a while since we heard from Senator Lindsey Graham (R – S.C.) about trying to ban online poker in the United States, so I suppose it was about time for him to try to revive his dead horse. Last week, Graham and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) sent a letter to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, asking him to reverse the Wire Act clarification issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2011, a decision which would effectively make online gambling completely illegal in the U.S.

As readers may remember, the Wire Act was designed more than 55 years ago to curtail organized crime by making sports betting over phone lines illegal. For whatever reason, decades later, the Department of Justice interpreted it to include all gambling over the internet. In late 2011, the OLC clarified that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting, thus officially opening the door for states to launch their own online gambling industries.

Sen. Graham has introduced billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) multiple times, trying to get the OLC’s ruling reversed, but it largely hasn’t been taken too seriously by lawmakers. Thus, it’s time for another approach.
As one would expect, the letter is mostly bullshit. For example, one paragraph states:

The DOJ opinion had the practical effect of repealing legislation Congress carefully and thoughtfully enacted in 2006 to ban internet gambling – legislation developed over seven years and crafted based on assurances from DOJ at that time that internet gambling was barred by the Wire Act and other federal criminal laws.

I’m not going to bother parsing every word, but suffice to say that the UIGEA – the law referred to there – was not “carefully and thoughtfully enacted.” It was, instead, attached to a must-pass SAFE Port Act and snuck through in the middle of the night with virtually no debate.

The letter goes on to use the “won’t anyone think of the children” scare tactic that we have heard a million times and again cites an old FBI letter that states, “[o]nline casinos are vulnerable to a wide array of criminal schemes” like money laundering. Of course, that letter is always misrepresented, as the concerns it addresses have to do with unregulated gambling, not legal, properly regulated online gambling.

Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas skewered the letter in a statement, saying:

If they were handing out awards for Congressional letters, this one would win “most misleading” in a landslide. Aside from the statement that Pennsylvania authorized online gaming and other states are considering it, there is nary a fact contained with the letter’s five paragraphs. Congress has given express authority to states to regulate igaming, a detail that Senators Graham and Feinstein repeatedly ignore. Moreover, they continue to misrepresent and almost decade old FBI letter that does not address the realities of regulated online gaming. I suppose it’s easier to conflate reality with their own bias to continue making the same points, than actually own up to the fact that regulated igaming is responsible public policy.

The PPA posted the entire letter, which can be read here.

The post Senators Graham, Feinstein Once Again Ask DOJ to Ban Online Poker appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Categories: Poker News

William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair Competing to Acquire CrownBet

Poker News Daily - Wed, 2017-11-29 03:53

Gambling industry consolidation talks have started up again, this time with Australian bookmaker CrownBet as the acquisition target by both William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair. CrownBet is 62 percent owned by Crown Resorts – Crown Melbourne is the host venue of the popular Aussie Millions poker series – which is itself part of James Packer’s gambling empire.

The news of William Hill’s interest in CrownBet broke late last week and a William Hill spokesperson confirmed to financial media that there were “very preliminary discussions” going on between the two companies.

That spokesperson, though, cautioned against anyone getting too excited over a possible deal, saying, “This industry is undergoing consolidation and people in the sector talk to each other all the time. Don’t look too much into this as a firing gun.”

William Hill got into the Australian sports betting market several years ago, when it bought Sportingbet and TomWaterhouse.com. It has not done well in Australia, though. Canaccord Genuity analyst Simon Davies told The Telegraph that the move has been “fairly disastrous.”

Fortunately, Australia only comprises about six to seven percent of William Hill’s sports betting business.

Not long after the word got out about William Hill’s talks with Crown, Reuters reported that Ireland-based Paddy Power Betfair was also courting the Australian company. No further details have been forthcoming.

Both Paddy Power Betfair and William Hill have been involved in the gambling industry’s consolidation in recent years. Paddy Power and Betfair, once rivals, agreed to a merger in August 2015. Paddy Power owners controlled 52 percent of the company in the deal. It was one of the rare combinations in which the two companies had a strong understanding of the other before the merger took place, as Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran was once COO of Paddy Power.

Edward Wray, co-founder and Chairman of Betfair, told The Financial Times of Corcoran back then, “He knows both businesses inside out. Often when you do a merger, it is 25 per cent known and 75 per cent unknown. This is the other way around.”

William Hill has been very active in the M&A arena. In 2015, the company was thought to be one of the suitors for bwin.party and before that, it attempted to acquire 888 Holdings. William Hill was in talks to merge with Gala Coral, as well, in 2015, but nothing ever happened there. Gala Coral eventually joined up with Ladbrokes.

Last year, in a reversal, 888 Holdings attempted to acquire William Hill, teaming with The Rank Group to do so. William Hill rejected multiple bids by the duo, rankling 888 owner Eyal Shaked, who tweeted, “Pure ego made #WilliamHill reject #Rank and #888 £3.16bn bid and that will be their downfall.”

Also in 2016, William Hill and Amaya Gaming – now The Stars Group, parent company of PokerStars – were in talks about a “merger of equals.” Mads Eg Gensmann and Edoardo Mercadante, co-founders of Parvus Asset Management, William Hill’s largest shareholder, hated the deal, writing to the William Hill board, “We strongly encourage that the board and management stops wasting valuable time and shareholder resources pursuing this value-destroying deal.”

Eventually, talks were canceled. Stay tuned to find out if William Hill finally finds a merger partner.

The post William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair Competing to Acquire CrownBet appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Categories: Poker News
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