Poker News Round-up
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Poker News Round-up: Week #19
In November of last year the WPT announced that it was signing up to a partnership deal with Full Tilt for US tv broadcasts in an effort to turn around the repeatedly disastrous financial results it was posting. Having made a loss of over $12 million for 2008, the first quarter results for 2009 do appear more promising and whilst it is not yet showing a profit, a loss of only $521,000 shows that things appear to be moving in the right direction. It’s no surprise then that the tour is now going to be adding Pokerstars as another of its associates for season seven broadcasts in Canada, Germany, Italy and Holland. In fact the WPT seems to be placing a lot more emphasis on working in European markets this year, with several new additions for season eight. Venice and Northern Cyprus had been added in recent weeks to the now regular fixture in Barcelona, and this week Slovakia has joined the tour. Bratislava will host the biggest poker tournament the country has ever seen from 31st August to 5th September in what the WPT website describes as one of the nicest poker rooms in the world. The same website also reveals that the €4,000 main event will be preceded by a welcome party featuring “beautiful Slovakian girls invited through the biggest social website in Slovakia.” Take note Empire and Grosvenor Victoria.
The Pokerstars deal means that they have some involvement in just about every tour going but the main one for them still seems to be the EPT which has just finished another season with the grand final in Monte Carlo. Whilst the WPT grand final suffered from a poor attendance last week there were no such problems here in Europe. Last month’s massive turnout at San Remo demonstrated that there seems to be no recession in the poker market over here yet, and to further prove that a huge field of 935 turned up for the €10,000 grand final – up 11% on last year’s figure.
Following her stunning arrival on the live scene in 2007 it has been a pretty quiet couple of years since then for Annette Obrestad of Norway, but she looked as though she could be well positioned to make the headlines again after finishing day two with the second biggest stack. Further progress was made on days three and four but her hopes of another big score came to an end when she ran her pocket aces into the quad nines of Pieter de Korver for an eventual 13th place finish. That gave de Korver enough chips to make it to the final table as one of the shorter stacks, but some patient play enabled him to find multiple double ups when the time was right with four players left.
Americans have made a habit of coming over to Europe and winning this title in the past few years and that looked a distinct possibility to happen again when Matt Woodward eliminated Mikhail Tulchinskiy in third to face off against de Korver for the title. The Dutchman was having none of it though and his constant re-raises not only sent more chips his way but probably also got to Woodward by the time the final hand was played. Another re-raise all in by de Korver on a flop of 10 6 5 led Woodward to decide that enough was enough and he called off his whole stack with 4 6. De Korver was holding middle pair with a better kicker though and a safe turn and river handed him the title and a massive €2,300,000 for the biggest prize ever awarded in this continent.
It has become commonplace in recent times to host a high rollers event at festivals such as these and those with extra deep pockets were catered for in Monte Carlo with a €25,000 no limit hold’em event which attracted 79 entries. Andrew Feldman of England made the final table making €79,000 for his seventh place, but the big money was chopped up between Tony G, Randy Dorfman and Vanessa Rousso who made a deal when three handed. Each guaranteed themselves €420,000 then played on for the trophy and a further €150,000 on top which was claimed by Rousso who is having a great year so far, following up on her second place at the NBC national heads up championship.
It’s not been such a good week for another female player though. Former Full Tilt pro Clonie Gowen’s filed a lawsuit in November claiming breach of contract during her time as a member of Team Full Tilt, specifically naming all other 13 members of the team plus related companies. That claim has now been dismissed by a federal judge, who agreed that the likes of Phil Ivey and Chris Ferguson had no involvement in the agreement Gowen alleges to have had. Whilst a renewed claim against Tiltware and its owners may follow, the contentious issue of hauling many of the site’s big name pros into court is now finished with, leaving them to concentrate on the forthcoming World Series without this lawsuit hanging over their heads. For Clonie Gowen’s part, the case doesn’t seem to be going very well for her so far but with the claim she is making valued at around $40 million by her attorneys, it’s safe to say that they are not going to back off without pursuing every possible course of action.
There’s further contract trouble at the moment for former world champion Jamie Gold, who has parted company with Aced.com over allegations of non-payment by his sponsor. It was only three months ago that Gold signed up with the relatively low key website in a deal that was reputedly worth in excess of $10,000,000 but it hasn’t taken long for that to turn sour. It seemed a staggering amount of money for a site of that size to offer, seeing as it is a skin on a network which ranks as only the 18th busiest according to Pokerscout.com, and now it appears to have been a completely unrealistic offer. Still, the story of someone offering promises of huge riches only to baulk at the idea when the reality of it kicks in will be a familiar one to Gold who will surely be able to sympathise with their situation.
As promised, Barney Frank has now introduced the bill he has been working on for some time which will be called the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009. The act proposes that gambling sites including those offering poker would be permitted to accept custom from the USA after applying for a license and undergoing a strict vetting process. Operators would be required to demonstrate that their finances are in good order, they have the ability to guarantee fair play and that there are proper processes in place to deal with problem gamblers and underage players. As well as providing a much more reasonable approach to gambling than the murky “solution” provided by the UIGEA, the most obvious vote winner of a properly regulated industry would be the huge amount of taxes gathered by the state. This could be huge for online poker and the Poker Players Alliance chairman Al D’Amato was full of praise for Frank’s work. “Online poker is a legal, thriving industry and poker players deserve the consumer protections and the freedom to play that are provided for in this legislation,” he said. The bill has been referred to house committees for further discussion so we should see in the next few weeks just how the future of online poker looks set to evolve.
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