Poker News Round-up
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Poker News Round-up: Week #11
The inaugural EPT German Open proved to be the biggest EPT event yet as 493 players took their seats at Casino Hohensyburg in Dortmund. Once again a Scandinavian player emerged victorious in the 4 day main event as Norwegian Andreas Hoivold took top spot and a prize of 672,000 euros. Andreas had already made a name for himself last year in the Poker Million shown on Sky Sports when he had an impressive third place finish. Top Brit was Milky Bar Kid Ben Grundy who made sixteenth place.
Whilst this was taking place the largest poker tournament of all time (in terms of number of entrants) was being hosted on Pokerstars. To celebrate the anniversary of the big Sunday Million tournament, the guarantee was upped to $1.5 million although by the time a record 10,508 entrants had paid their $200 entry the prize pool stood at over $2 million. A deal was agreed when play was down to the last five and although officially finishing second, the biggest win was scored by nickym998 from the UK with $160,950.
A long running dispute came to a head this week when some of the biggest names in poker filed a motion for summary judgement against the WPT. Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Annie Duke, Phil Gordon, Joe Hachem and Greg Raymer have collectively taken issue with WPT Enterprises over claims that players have been forced to sign non-negotiable releases before they can sit down to play in WPT events. These contracts stipulate that all image rights of the players are passed over to the WPT which can then be sold or used to promote WPT products in return for no compensation to the individuals. Any player who does not sign one of these releases can be excluded from WPT events so at present players have no option but to sign away their rights if they want to play. There is also undisputed evidence that the WPTE and host casinos are conspiring to restrict tournaments which provide competition to the WPT by agreeing that the casinos are not allowed to sponsor any televised event that is not part of the World Poker Tour. The matter is now in the hands of the courts although it may be that the evidence supplied in the initial motion provides such clear proof of abuse of US antitrust laws that the WPT will be forced to desist from such actions without the need for a full trial.
Further collective legal action may be forthcoming from the Neteller Customer Coalition, which is lobbying for the release of funds frozen in Neteller accounts. Hundreds of thousands of US based customers are being denied access to funds thought to run into hundreds of millions of dollars, including the unfortunate Isaac Haxton whose money for his second place at the WPT Caribbean Poker Adventure in January was placed in a Neteller account. This $800,000 was then promptly seized by the department of justice, thus making America a safer place for all.
Still on the subject of the US online ban, Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank may introduce legislation that would repeal the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It seems there are no further details at present other than that Frank is considering a bill to overturn a one of the “stupidest” acts ever passed. Never mind that stupidest is not a real word – his heart is in the right place and it seems his intentions are not to be taken lightly as shares in PartyGaming, 888 Holdings and Sportingbet all rose on the back of this news.
The EPT has been a massive success this year and an additional day has been added to the grand final to be held in Monte Carlo to accommodate the huge demand from players wanting to take part in what will be Europe’s richest poker tournament. Meanwhile in Warsaw the penultimate event is underway already with the Hendon Mob taking part. Highlights and results will feature in next week’s news report.
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