Poker News Round-up
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Poker News Round-up: Week #34
A couple of weeks ago it seemed that the WPT was set to be sold to Gamynia Ltd but a question mark hangs over that sale now as WPT Enterprises has received an alternative acquisition proposal. On Tuesday WPTE informed the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it wished to delay filing a statement which would have pushed through the originally agreed purchase. It may be that this is just due to an amendment to the original purchase terms but there is strong speculation that there has been a last minute bid from an alternative buyer. Unfortunately there is also speculation by the more suspicious minded that this is a ploy to either squeeze some more money out of Gamynia or manipulate the share price for some insider trading. Following Doyle Brunson’s previous claim in 2005 that he was going to buy the WPT (never followed up on) and the subsequent steep rise then fall of the share price, it’s no wonder some are so sceptical when it comes to the sale of the WPT.
Whilst this is going on there are no changes to the tour planned by WPT owners, although the Borgata casino has taken the decision to reduce the buy in for the WPT event at next month’s Borgata Poker Open. When their Winter Poker Open in January was dropped from the WPT roster, Borgata bosses reduced the buy in from $10,000 to $3,000 and found that they had twice as many people turn up compared to previous years. Now they have followed suit with their big autumn tournament which becomes a $3,500 buy in and represents the cheapest WPT tournament entry for many years. Seeing as the non-televised non-WPT January tournament attracted over 1000 entrants for a similar buy in, it looks a good bet that next month’s tournament could be the biggest WPT event ever seen.
Meanwhile Brunson himself has been causing a bit of a stir on his blog when he decided to offer counter nominations to the recent Poker Hall of Fame voting with his own selections for a Hall of Shame. Hoping to avoid making too many enemies Brunson has only selected people who are now dead but some of the most successful players of all time make his list of six. Despite the unsavoury antics of Nick Simpson who urinated on a dealer’s leg under the table, or Nigger Nate Lanette (Doyle’s words) who bit a dealer’s ear off, neither of these manages to qualify as the most offensive person Brunson has ever seen at the poker table. That title belongs to former three time world champion Stu Ungar who amongst other things would apparently spit on cards he didn’t like the look of. Not the sort of thing you would expect to see from Jerry Yang in this day and age but it seems dealer abuse was a much more accepted part of the game a generation ago.
The Coral British Poker Masters has been struggling to generate the same sort of interest as the GCBPT did, despite essentially being the same tournaments under a different name, but even so few could have predicted the sort of turn out seen at the Nottingham leg last weekend. Just 82 players turned up for the £500 main event which was a bit of a shocker seeing as there were 224 at GCBPT Nottingham in 2008. The difference would appear to be a case of timing as the GCBPT was in April whereas last week’s event had to compete with both the opening weekend of the Premiership and the Adam Noone stag do, and it seems that when forced to make a decision people chose football and strippers over poker. Of the relatively small entry list, there were a few recognisable faces such as Neil Blatchly and Sam Trickett who both made it to the final table, but it was Chris Brammer who took top spot for a £14,000 win. Next stop for the British Poker Masters is Liverpool in September, and for a tour which has been struggling for numbers this year it could really have done without competing with the WSOP Europe which starts on September 17th. It seems that planning ahead and getting the timing right can really make or break an event. At least the final leg of the tour in Bristol only has EPT Warsaw, the Irish Winter Festival in Dublin, the APAT championships in Bolton and a London Poker Circuit event to compete with over the exact same three days.
And finally for this week, we don’t actually have Hypocrites’ Corner as a regular feature here but if we ever were to start one then the American state of Pennsylvania would be pushing hard for a spot as inaugural member. This week a 65 year old man from a town near Pittsburgh was found guilty of illegal gambling after local authorities became aware of two poker games he had been running. A key element of his trial was the Pennsylvania law defining gambling as something whereby a payment is made, there is the possibility of reward and the outcome is determined by chance. Not denying that he had organised poker tournaments, the defendant pleaded not guilty on the basis that poker does not fit the definition of gambling as it is a game of skill. University professors testified in his defence but the local jury knew better and came up with guilty verdicts on all charges.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania lottery proudly announced that it had signed up partnership deals with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles in an effort to further boost sales of its scratchcards. Now even the most one eyed zealot would find it hard to disagree that with scratchcards payment is made, there is the possibility of reward and the outcome is determined by chance i.e. gambling as defined by state’s own law. The difference is of course that one of these forms of gambling is state run and must therefore harmless (despite numerous studies which show that scratchcards are most popular amongst the socio-economic groups which can least afford them) whilst the other is the devil’s own game and must be stamped out. Last year total lottery sales for the state came to $3.09 billion, so with money like that up for grabs it’s no wonder the authorities feel the need to protect their interests so fervently even if it is just some old guy running a small poker tournament. We have a lot to be thankful for over here that we don’t also live in the “land of the free.”
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