Did you miss any of the top poker news stories this week? Well you've come to the right place to get caught up. We're covering news about the high stakes games running in Macau, the PartyPoker Premier League lineup, and much more.
Million Dollar Pots in Macau
It's been a while since we heard rumblings of Gus Hansen mixing it up in Macau. We were excited to learn this week that Hansen has returned to the Star World Casino and is playing in high-stakes games with Sam Trickett, Tom "durrrr" Dwan, and several locals. The stakes are rumored to be an astronomical $1,300/$2,600 with a mandatory $5,200 straddle.
Things seemed to be going well for the "Great Dane" before he bluffed off a huge amount to Dwan on Wednesday. Gus explained the action to Pokernyhederne.com:
I had planned it from the beginning: a continuation bet on the flop, followed by another bet on the turn, and when he called both bets would I give up on the river.
Durrrr called, but on the river it was my considered opinion that he was on a [flush] draw, and since I could not beat ace-high, I decided to send yet another bet going. A HK $ 1.7 million river bluff, but a quick call from durrrr sent all the chips in the wrong direction.
The good news was that durrrr actually had the [flush draw], but the bad news was that he also had a top pair. Oops: (
Trickett tweeted earlier this week that he won the biggest pot of his life during the game at Star World. He didn't post the details of the hand, but some reports believe the amount to be more than $2.5 million.
You can find more updates from the cash games in Macau over at Pokernyhederne.com.
PartyPoker Premier League V Lineup Set
The lineup is in place. The groups have been designated. Once the two winners emerge from this weekend's qualifying rounds, the PartyPoker Premier League V will be ready to go!
The highly anticipated event kicks off at the Montesino Casino in Vienna on April 4 and runs through April 10 alongside the World Poker Tour Vienna festivities. Fourteen players — plus two qualifiers — will post the buy-in of $125,000 and compete for a massive prize pool at the final table. The winner will also receive a $25,000 seat to the World Poker Tour Championship at the Bellagio in May.
The top three point earners from each eight-player group will advance to the final table, and the fourth and fifth seeds in each group will square off in a series of heads-up matches for seats at the eight-handed finale.
Here's a look at the groups, which were announced on Thursday:
|Group A||Group B|
|Tony G||Sam Trickett|
|Andy Frankenberger||Dan "Jungleman" Cates|
|Erik Seidel||Patrik Antonius|
|Luke Schwartz||Vanessa Selbst|
|Phil Laak||Yevgeniy Timoshenko|
|Eugene Katchalov||Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier|
|Tom Dwan||Scott Seiver|
|Qualifier 1||Qualifier 2|
The PartyPoker Blog has more.
Chad Elie and John Campos, two of the 11 men indicted by the Department of Justice on Black Friday, pleaded guilty to separate charges this week.
Elie, a payment processor for PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, was facing up to 85 years in prison on nine charges, including violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. However, after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy on Monday, Elie will likely serve up to a year in prison. His sentencing will take place on Oct. 3, 2012.
Campos pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge one day later, but a federal judge refused to accept the plea until the prosecution explained why it was walking away from the case.
U. S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ordered prosecutors to explain, in writing, “why they let former St. George banker John Campos plead guilty to a misdemeanor bank gambling charge rather than a felony.”
Elie and Campos are the fifth and sixth Black Friday defendants to enter guilty pleas. The others are Absolute Poker co-founder Brent Beckley and payment processors Ira Rubin, Ryan Lang, and Bradley Franzen.
We have more on the story at PokerNews.com.
AGCC's Actions Reviewed in Full Tilt Poker Debacle
On Tuesday, the Alderney Gaming Control Commission (AGCC) published an independent external review of its processes leading up to the suspension and eventual revocation of licenses owned by Full Tilt Poker.
The independent review was commissioned by the ACGG last December and conducted by Peter Dean, who found that the AGCC's actions regarding the actions surrounding Full Tilt Poker were "appropriate, timely and fair."
“Deplorable as the episode covered in this review has been, it is nevertheless an example of regulation working as it should," Dean said in his report. "As soon as plausible evidence of irregularities came to light the regulator acted promptly and proportionately. An investigation was instituted, findings made, a hearing held, judgment delivered and sanctions imposed. Due process was followed."
Dean also said that the AGCC has a lesson to learn from the incident, such as establishing a "proper direct relationship" with its licensees and not resort to intermediaries such as attorneys for information about the company.
We have more on this story at PokerNews.com.
Phil Gordon's Online Gaming Venture
Phil Gordon has turned his attention to a new online gaming venture.
According to a report by Geek Wire, Gordon's new company, Jawfish Games, is lining up investors to develop a new online gaming tournament platform. One of the games, Word Joust, hit Facebook last week. The game features 16 players in a head to-head tournament format solving anagrams as quickly as possible.
“We’re well on our way to proving that tournaments are sticky and fun for players,” said Gordon, who has more than $3 million in live poker tournament earnings on his resume.
Geek Wire reports that Jawfish Games recently received an $885,000 seed investment from Right Side Capital, and more funds have come in from other angel investors. In addition, the company named former Netscape engineer Kyle Stewart and Zynga co-founder Jon Mittelhauser to the board.
Read the full story at Geek Wire.
Ferguson Granted Extension
Last week, PokerNews reported that another extension had been granted to the respondents of an amended civil complaint in the case of theUnited States of America v. PokerStars, et al, filed last September. The series of filings included Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, Absolute Poker, Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar, Rafe Furst and payment processor Chad Elie. One name missing from the list was Full Tilt Poker board member Chris Ferguson.
On Friday, we learned that Ferguson has also been given an extension to respond to the amended complaint, albeit a week later than the other defendants. The latest Stipulation and Order was signed by Judge Leonard B. Sand on Tuesday, March 27, and stated the following:
"Christopher Ferguson's time to file an answer or otherwise respond to the Amended Complaint until 5/14/2012."
Ferguson's name was pulled into the Full Tilt Poker mess on Sept. 21, 2011, when the Department of Justice amended its original civil complaint, alleging that Full Tilt Poker and board members Ferguson, Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer and Rafe Furst defrauded thousands of online poker players out of more than $300 million still owed to them.
Ferguson reportedly funneled approximately $60 million of his FTP payments into his own bank accounts beginning in at least 2007 and withdrew or spent around $45 million of the funneled money.
The extension filing for Ferguson and the rest of the respondents can be found at Docs.Justia.com.
No Fun League?
It seems the National Football League has finally opened up to the idea of cashing in on advertising from brick-and-mortar casinos. The Sports Business Journal reported Tuesday that owners could vote soon on allowing casinos to advertise in NFL stadiums, team publications and on club radio broadcasts.
The NFL has long been one of the biggest antagonists of gambling even though sports betting and fantasy football have played a major role in the league's television ratings and revenue boosts over the years.
The league's opposition to gambling also applied to poker. Last February, around 30 NFL players attended a charity poker tournament at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, but the NFL got wind of the tournament and forced the players to sit back and watch.
Even if the owners vote to approve casino advertising, there will be restrictions. It's highly unlikely that companies will be able to use NFL logos, and all casinos with sports books will be prohibited from advertising.
“It’s an interesting situation, because that’s a great segment in which to develop relationships anyway,” New York Jets owner Woody Johnson told the New York Post. “But it’s also a delicate situation because you’d want to be sensitive to the league’s existing policy on gambling.”
Read more at the Post.
Illinois Launches Online Lottery Sales
Illinois made history last weekend by becoming the first state to offer games of chance on the Internet. Illinois Lottery officials said the first online lottery ticket was purchased online Sunday morning, and by the end of the day more than $15,000 in tickets were sold.
The move come a little more than three months after the Department of Justice changed its position on the Wire Act of 1961. On Dec. 22, the DOJ released a response to Illinois and New York regarding the Wire Act's effect on intrastate sales of lottery tickets via the Internet. In the memo, the DOJ found that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.
That statement has opened the door for states like Nevada, New Jersey, and California to introduce online poker bills with hopes of launching an online poker operation by the end of the year. Nevada approved online poker regulations last December, and more states are attempting to follow.
Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, recently told USA Today that at least 21 states and the District of Columbia are considering online lottery sales or other wagering such as poker. Washington, D.C., was the first jurisdiction to pass online poker legislation last year, but the measure was repealed in February.
Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The third annual Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) is less than two months away, and players can now get a glimpse of what the schedule will look like when the series kicks off on May 6.
PokerStars Releases SCOOP Schedule
PokerStars recently released a preliminary slate that features feature 38 events, each with three different buy-in ranges (low, medium and high), creating 114 tournaments for players to participate in. Among the variants on the schedule are no-limit hold'em tournaments, limit hold'em, pot-limit Omaha, no-limit Omaha, 8-Game mix, and Badugi.
The first event is scheduled to kick off on Sunday, May 6, and the series will likely culminate with a Main Event on Sunday, May 20. The Main Event features buy-ins of $82 (low), $700 (medium) and $7,500 (high). The schedule hasn’t been finalized, and PokerStars has requested that players send in questions and requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the schedule at PokerNews.com.
PokerStars' New Loose Cannon
If you're a fan of the PokerStars.net Big Game, you'll probably recognize the newest member of Team PokerStars Pro. Massimiliano Martinez, who finished as the biggest winner among the "Loose Cannons" in the shows second season, has signed on to represent PokerStars at tournaments around the globe and online.
Most Loose Cannons entered the PokerStars Big Game with little experience playing against top competition, but Martinez already had a pair of impressive wins under his belt, including a victory in a side event at PokerStars EPT San Remo last May. His total winnings on the live circuit exceed $300,000.
Martinez ran over his table during the PokerStars Big Game, and even owned the great Phil Hellmuth on a number of occasions.
Bet24 Pro Team Gets Stronger
On Monday, Bet24 added four news members to its growing poker team, increasing the number of players on the roster to 20. Paul Foltyn, Michael Schuerpf, Stjepan Jokic, and Mads Åmot are the latest to join the team that already includes former WCOOP Main Event champ Thomas Pedersen, Stefan Mattsson, and team captain Jesper Hougaard.
"As a team captain, I couldn’t have picked a better group of diverse players like this with pro live players, sports stars, TV stars, online poker super stars and rising poker stars," said Hougaard, who signed with Bet24 last December.
Foltyn, who hails from the U.K., is arguably the biggest name to join Bet24's pro team since Hougaard. The 27-year-old has more than $4 million in online tournament earnings to go along with nearly $1 million in live winnings. In 2011, he won a PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker event for $188,000.
Read more about the Bet24 Pro Team at Bet24.com.
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