Poker News Round-up
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Poker News Round-up: Week #46
GBPT Winner Joe Beevers (on the right)
Regular readers of this site will not need informing of the result of the big domestic tournament of the week, the Gala Great British Poker Tour main event in Bristol. For anyone unfamiliar with the result though, it was a £2,500 no limit hold’em event taken by storm by two of The Hendon Mob members. Ross was absent due to his acting commitments but Ram, Barny and Joe all sat down to play against some tough opposition. Making the journey from America to play were Jamie Gold, Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari, Jennifer Tilly and Robert Williamson whilst there were several notable domestic players such as Roland de Wolfe, Surinder Sunar, Neil Channing and Charalambos Xanthos. Ram fell early on but Barny and Joe steadily picked their way through the 100 strong field until they were sat together on the final table of eight. Both took their turn to be the short stack at the table but nevertheless both were still present when play was reduced to three on Sunday evening. Rob Akery had played a solid game all tournament and eliminated Barny in third place, giving himself a two to one chip lead with which to face Joe. With large blinds by this point a few called raises would create pots that would change things quickly though, and from this point on Joe had the upper hand. Joe had taken a slight chip lead when the final hand saw all the chips go in on the turn. Joe had two pair versus Rob’s flush and gutshot draw, and fifth street would pretty much decide the tournament one way or the other. A dramatic river card saw Rob complete his flush but it was made by one of the cards that gave Joe a full house, and a winner was crowned. Joe picked up £87,500 plus a package to the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio next month.
An honourable mention also goes out to www.thehendonmob.com employee Robert Butt who picked up second place in the £1,000 tournament which preceded the main event. He collected £11,500 for his efforts, which remarkably saw its way through the rest of the trip to Bristol unscathed despite constant courtship from the blackjack tables.
The major tournament taking place across the Atlantic this week has been the WPT World Poker Finals at Foxwoods Casino in Conneticut. Day 1a saw some high drama when a player (who requested to remain anonymous) made a big bluff by moving all in on a flop of 9 9 5. To his dismay, JC Tran turned over J 9 at which point the first player slid his cards across to the dealer’s tray face down, presumably embarrassed at how far behind he was. However, the dealer collected his cards (A 7) and returned them to the middle face up, and then dealt 8 6 to give him a straight. Tran protested that the hand had been mucked, but the floor ruling was that to prevent chip dumping players can not kill a hand in such a situation and that as the cards were easily retrievable the hand stood. Tran lost an infuriating pot but at least made it through to day two, which is more than can be said for the the outrageous bluffer.
Day 1b also saw craziness at the table when six players saw a board fill up with a Broadway straight, no flush possible. One player chanced his arm and moved all in for 25,000 with just 1,000 in the middle and remarkably was rewarded with folds from two out of the other five left to act (an ultra-tight move first pioneered on British television by John McCrirrick.) It would be rather uncharitable to name the two players who missed the glaringly obvious, so here they are – Teddy Adalis and Beth Shak.
By the time play was reduced to the final televised table of six, online cash game big hitter Tom Dwan aka Durrrr was chip leader, and the two previous winners of this event, Nenad Medic and Nick Shulman, were also still involved. It’s a sign of how much internet poker has changed young poker players’ development that the combined ages of these three is less than that of twelfth place finisher in this event, TJ Cloutier. None of these could hit the jackpot here though – that went to New Yorker Michael Vela who won his seat via a satellite and turned his money into $1.7 million plus entry to the WPT championship event in April.
Playing in casinos in America has attracted a new health warning after an Arizona television station ran a story highlighting the large quantities of lead found in some chips. It is Paulson chips in particular which are under scrutiny, identifiable by the top hat and cane design, and many Europeans will have come into contact with them as they are the brand used at the World Series Of Poker. Players tend to like the feel of dense chips in their hands over lighter ones but it seems Paulson has gone too far with the lead content in their brand. The US Environmental Protection Agency sets a upper limit of 0.06% lead content, but every chip tested by the television station exceeded this amount. The worst case seen so far was a chip used in Caesar’s Palace which was an incredible 45% lead.
Paulson claims that there is no health risk associated with using the chips for their intended purpose and that exposure to high levels of lead only occurs upon destruction of a chip as in these laboratory tests. For their part, Harrah’s has agreed to investigate the matter further and remove chips from play in its casinos if deemed necessary.
In Massachusetts, governor Deval Patrick would like to see more play live in casinos in the state. He has proposed a bill looking to bring three casinos to the area, but bundled up in the same legislation he plans to make internet gambling of any description illegal. Driving to the local casino is fine but playing the same game online could incur a fine of $25,000 or a two year custodial sentence. Governor Patrick and his team have so far declined to comment on the apparent hypocrisy, perhaps because there simply is no good answer to allegations that he is attempting to make casino licenses more lucrative by blocking competition from online operators.
The legislation surrounding online poker has been a hot topic in America recently and those in favour of proper regulation and legalisation have found an ally in the shape of former Labour MP Peter Mandelson. Mandy is EU Trade Commissioner these days and has become embroiled in the poker debate following the trade dispute brought about by the backtracking of America over World Trade Organisation agreements. Seeking to find a diplomatic solution to the situation, Mandelson has been meeting members of US Congress and proposing that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is overturned. Of course he has his own reasons for doing so and probably cares little for poker players’ rights, but nevertheless his support should be welcomed as he may have considerable influence in the matter if it affects the EU’s compensation claim in this dispute.
And finally, a quick update on the Absolute Poker situation. Another statement has been released from Absolute (again anonymously) which confirms the names of the accounts involved in the scam and what Absolute has done since finding out. It carefully avoids using the term cheating, instead referring to it as ‘unfair play’ and confirms that the accounts which have been identified as associated with the scam are potripper, graycat, steamroller, doubledrag, payup, supercard55 and romnaldo. Absolute claims that they have found hands where innocent parties have lost $800,000 to these accounts but also says that it has paid out around $1.6 million to those players affected to try and ensure all losses have been properly covered. Most interestingly of all, Absolute still insists that there was only one perpetrator behind this cheating and that the so-called superuser account (which allegedly observed the hole cards and passed them on to another player active in the game) has never existed at any time on their system.
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