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 the Tom Dwan's comments about The Lederer Files, Rafael Nadal's newest PokerStars promotion, and more.
Tom Dwan on The Lederer Files
When PokerStars completed the deal to purchase the assets of Full Tilt Poker in July, former FTP Team Pro Tom Dwan seemed ready to discuss his thoughts on the demise of his former employer. In fact, Dwan promised his Twitter followers that he would write a blog or do an interview to talk about the issue. Neither happened.
On Tuesday, though, Dwan discussed his views on Full Tilt Poker after watching The Lederer Files here at PokerNews.com and reading the recent Andy Bloch interview at DiamondFlushPoker.com. Surprising to many, Dwan said he believes most of what the two former FTP owners said, and that their comments lined up with independent information that he knew.
Still, Dwan admits that he made a mistake by not speaking up when he should have.
As we reported in Tuesday's Nightly Turbo, Howard Lederer will be joining the TwoPlusTwo PokerCast Wednesday for a follow-up interview to The Lederer Files. He'll also be speaking with Diamond Flush later this week.
Read all of Dwan's comments at his Twitter page.
Poker and Tennis with Rafael Nadal
On Tuesday, PokerStars announced an exciting new promotion that gives players the chance to play tennis and poker against Rafael Nadal.
From Sept. 24 through Oct. 21, PokerStars will run Rafa Dream Day freerolls five times per day, plus $1.10 qualifiers available on the hour, every two hours. The Rafa Dream Day Final takes place on Oct. 21 at 12:00 ET; the winner will meet Nadal in Spain, spend time with him on the tennis court, and receive poker lessons from his personal poker coach.
“It’s always an amazing experience when I meet my fans, but I’ve never done anything like this before," said Nadal, who signed with PokerStars in June. "I’ve spent time with (fans) signing things and posing for photos but here they will actually be trying to beat me. This is something totally new for me.”
“I’m a very competitive person, you know, so if I’m on court, playing computer games or playing poker, I just don't like losing and I always try to win. I’m still a beginner at this sport but I’ve got my poker coach so by the time I get to play against my fans I hope I'll be prepared. It’s going to be a lot of fun but I’ll be honest, I don’t want to lose!”
The Rafa Dream Day experience will be held on the Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 in Majorca. The prize will include flights and accommodation for winners along with all meals and refreshments during the trip.
For more information, visit PokerStars.com.
Howard Lederer Joins TwoPlusTwo PokerCast
After ending his 15-month silence in an exclusive interview with PokerNews this month, former Full Tilt Poker executive Howard Lederer joined the TwoPlusTwo PokerCast on Wednesday to answer follow-up questions from co-hosts Adam Schwartz and Mike Johnson, and the poker community.
Among the topics discussed during the four-hour phone interview were the lack of responsibility taken by the four-member board of directors; the role of CFO Gil Coronado in the financial downfall of the company; and the decision to continue owner distributions despite the knowledge of a nine-figure backlog.
Lederer also discusses the decision of owners not to return distributions after Black Friday. Lederer said the idea was brought up, but it was "never a possibility." Other than the $14 million Chris Ferguson lent to the company after Black Friday, not a single owner — including Lederer — offered to return distributions to the company.
"You have to realize we couldn't get members to return their loans," said Lederer. "So the idea of getting them to return their distributions was just a pipe dream."
Lederer said he considered repaying some of his dividends but didn't have a lot of cash on hand. When asked if he tried to liquidate assets, Lederer said he would've had problems trying to sell one of his seven homes in Las Vegas.
When Russian microstakes grinder "maratik" won the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event this week, it created one of the most inspiring stories poker has seen in recent years. At the time, little was known about the player who turned 40 Frequent Player Points (FPPs) into more than $1 million. But that changed on Thursday when the PokerStars spoke with the man behind the "maratik" moniker, Marat Sharafutdinov.
Sharafutdinov navigated a field of 1,825 to win the $5,200 WCOOP Main Event, outlasting a handful of world-class players along the way. It isn't often you see a microstakes regular playing with the world's best, but qualifying into PokerStars' flagship tournaments has apparently become one of Marat's talents over the years.
"I noticed that with enough luck you can qualify for just a small amount of FPPs so I began to play them often," he told the PokerStars Blog. "It was the same way I won a couple of seats in the $215 Sunday Million and in one of the nightly $150 tourneys."
Despite sitting beside some of the game's top talents, Sharafutdinov didn't shy away from playing big pots, as he explained in one key hand around the money bubble. "There was a hand where I had queens and the big blind three-bet me and then bet all three streets," he said. "It was not far from the money and I understood that it was a regular who was trying to push out a micro-limits player. He thought I would be afraid of elimination, but I called without much doubt. He had bluffed and after that sat out for some time."
From there, Marat was patient, playing a "maximum of five hands in four hours," and eventually approached the final table. It was then that he really started opening up his game. "I started using my rock image to start opening with bluffs," he explained.
Sharafutdinov's story is one for the ages, and he was kind enough to offer some advice for players wanting to following in his footsteps, saying, "Take risks, but remember about bankroll management."
To read the full interview, check out the PokerStars Blog.
Full Tilt Poker Repayment Plan
On Monday, PokerStars announced that it will relaunch Full Tilt Poker during the first week of November and detailed its plan to repay $184 million to former customers of Full Tilt Poker outside U.S.
PokerStars closed a deal with the Department of Justice to acquire Full Tilt Poker's assets on Aug. 6 and specified that it would relaunch FTP and repay players outside the U.S. within 90 days. Those plans have not changed according to Monday's press release.
Once the newly managed Full Tilt Poker opens, non-U.S. players will have different withdrawal processes depending on their jurisdiction. In segregated markets like France, Spain, Denmark, Estonia and Belgium, former Full Tilt Poker players will be repaid through the locally-licensed PokerStars platform. In all other non-U.S. markets Full Tilt Poker players will have full access to their accounts when www.FullTiltPoker.com re-launches during the first week of November.
PokerStars is still working with regulators in Italy and details will be released as soon as possible.
In the U.S., Full Tilt Poker customers are still waiting on the Department of Justice to provide details of a remission process for the estimated 1.3 million people in the U.S. who had money stuck on Full Tilt Poker. As of last month, the government was seeking help from a third-party "claims administrator" to oversee the procedure. Applications for the position were due on Aug. 31.
For more, read the article here at PokerNews.com.
BOOM Documentary Update
The highly-anticipated BOOM Documentary could be finished by this November, co-producer Jay Rosenkrantz wrote in his blog on Monday. Rosenkrantz says he doesn't know exactly when the film will be released, but he expects the final cut to be finished by the November deadline date for the South by Southwest Film Festival.
Rosekrantz is co-producing the documentary with former high-stakes poker pro Taylor Caby. The feature-length film, directed by Ryan Firpo, captures the growth of poker during the "boom" of the Chris Moneymaker era, and then the trials and tribulations of Black Friday. The film includes interviews with several poker pros who have long been involved with the game.
In his blog, Rosenkrantz touches on the steps that need to be taken in the final stages of production. He says there's still "a long road ahead," but the finish line is in sight.
"We have submitted an edit to Sundance, but we're still absorbing feedback, contemplating improvements, and polishing the rough edges," Rosenkrantz said on Monday. "When/where can you see our movie? We don't know yet, but stay tuned!"
Read Rosenkrantz's blog at JayRosenkrantz.blogspot.com.
ACEP Partners with Bally Technologies
Less than a week after American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC was a granted an interactive gaming license in Nevada, the company joined forces with business-to-business provider gaming Bally Technologies to provide online poker within state lines.
"We are excited about the opportunity to partner with a premier gaming operation and a globally recognized brand like the Stratosphere," said Bally Technologies' Vice President of Business Development John Connelly. "What makes this even more significant is the fact that ACEP is located in Nevada, one of the only approved and regulated markets within the United States."
Earlier this year, Bally became the first company licensed in the United States as an interactive gaming system manufacturer and service provider. Bally will provide its poker platform for all of ACEP's properties, including the Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas and the two Arizona Charlie's properties.
"We are pleased to be involved in the leading edge of this emerging segment in the U.S.," said ACEP CEO Frank Riolo. "This partnership with Bally will allow us to establish a play-for-free poker site by the end of the year, which we plan to use to further enhance our brands and enable us to be poised to launch a real money poker site at such a time as permitted."
Read the full press release at DailyFinance.com.
Bwin.Party Sells Ongame
After months of negotiations with potential buyers, bwin.party has reportedly come to an agreement to sell the Ongame Network to Montreal-based Amaya Gaming Group Inc.
Pokerfuse reported Friday that Amaya will pay between $6.5 million and $8 million for Ongame, an asset that bwin.party has been trying to unload for nearly a year. An announcement could be made as early as next week, according to the Pokerfuse report.
In February, gaming provider Shuffle Master signed a definitive agreement to buy Ongame for €19.5 million, but the company withdrew its offer in June because of declining industry conditions. Bwin.party had since been speaking with numerous companies interested in the poker network, including social gaming giant Zynga.
According to PokerScout.com, Ongame ranks fifth worldwide in real-money ring game traffic, trailing ony PokerStars, iPoker, PartyPoker and 888poker. The network, which hosts poker rooms like Betfair and Betsson.com, climbed past PokerStars.it and Winamax.fr in PokerScout's rankings but will lose Bwin's poker offering to PartyPoker.
Pokerfuse has more.
High Roller in London
While most of the attention of the poker world was on the World Series of Poker Europe and World Championship of Online Poker this week, a £100,000 buy-in High Roller tournament was held at Aspinall's private gambling club in London. The tournament wasn't publicized by many media outlets, but several high-stakes regulars made their way to London for the costly event.
According to co-organizer Jim Preston, there were 20 players to start, creating a prize pool of close to £2,000,000. Phil Ivey, Sam Trickett, Philipp Gruissem, JC Tran, Jonathan Little, Nam Le and Erik Seidel were among the pros in the field. However, it was the illustrious Asian businessmen who emerged as the top performers
After all of the top pros hit the rail, Richard Yong and Paul Phua battled heads-up for the £1,000,000 top prize. Phua ultimately took it down, and Yong collected £570,000 for his runner-up result. Winfred Yu (£300,000) and Terje Augdal (£200,000) placed third and fourth, respectively, to round out the in-the-money finishers.
John Juanda sent out his congrats to Phua, Yong and Yu via Twitter on Wednesday:
Global Poker Index Player of the Year Update
The Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings were released on Wednesday with Dan Smith again on top of the standings.
Smith maintained his lead for the sixth consecutive week thanks to his five major victories on the circuit this year. With 1,010 points, Smith leads his next closest competitor, Andrew Lichtenberger, by nearly 200 points. Lichtenberger, Marvin Rettenmaier and Kyle Julius round out the top four, respectively.
The only movement in the Top 10 this week came from David Baker and Jonathan Duhamel, who swapped places in the rankings. Baker jumped one spot to No. 5 after his 14th place finish in World Series of Poker Europe Event #1. Duhamel, who spent the first 13 weeks atop the GPI Player of the Year rankings, dropped to No. 6.
Others making moves outside of the top 10 were Roberto Romanello (up 13 spots to No. 17), Phil Hellmuth (up 16 spots to No. 29), Kyle Bowker (up 39 spots to No. 88), Govert Metaal (up 52 spots to No. 55), Vyacheslav Igin (up 30 spots to No. 63), and Micah Raskin (up 45 spots to No. 72).
Here's a look at the Top 10 of the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings:
|Place||Player||Total Score||Change in Rank|
The Global Poker Index Player of the Year, presented by PokerNews, honors the player who has the strongest performance in live tournaments during the calendar year, according to the USA Today Global Poker Index point system.
For the full GPI Player of the Year standings, head on over to GlobalPokerIndex.com.
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