Poker News Round-up
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Poker News Round-up: Week #49
This week sadly saw the passing of one of the game’s greats when David “Chip” Reese died in his sleep from pneumonia at the age of 56. Reese made a name for himself from an early age in Las Vegas and soon came to be regarded as one of the best poker players around, particularly so in seven card stud. When Doyle Brunson wrote the seminal Super System he wanted to draw on the knowledge of the greatest exponents of the various forms of poker, and when it came to stud Reese was the man even thirty years ago. Reese was renowned for crushing the toughest cash games, but also had tournament success and despite taking a break from playing at the WSOP for several years, still managed to pick up bracelets in three different decades. Often referred to as the best all round poker player, Reese was a popular and deserving winner when he confirmed his prowess at mixed games by taking the $50,000 HORSE event at the 2006 WSOP.
Reese was held in such high regard by the poker community that he became the youngest player ever to be inducted into the Poker Hall Of Fame in 1991 aged 40. To put that into context, Phil Hellmuth was both older and had collected a record 11 bracelets before he was admitted to the Hall Of Fame, and TJ Cloutier only made it in last year. However, poker was just one of his talents and he was also sharp enough to make vast sums of money from gin, backgammon and sports betting. Chip’s was a life full of achievement.
Following on from the stories last week that Chris Vaughn had been disqualified from the Full Tilt Sunday million tournament, Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi has confirmed that he was the culprit who took over the account in the closing stages. Vaughn and Mizzi have now released an interview in which they discuss the incident and as might be expected, they do their best to play down the idea that they have cheated other players. The damage limitation story claims that Vaughn was having connection problems and contacted Mizzi to temporarily take over his account while he went to play in another location. Apparently the conversation turned to actually buying the account outright and Vaughn ended up handing over control. For Mizzi’s part, he says that he bought control because he loves playing deep in a tournament, and of course he saw an opportunity to make some money. Although he has acknowledged that what he did was wrong and an apology has been forthcoming from Mizzi, the following comments will surely only serve to get some people’s backs up further:
“I’m not a cheater; I’m not a multi-accounter.”
Whatever people’s feelings about this, the upshot is that one of the most fearsome online tournament players has been banned from playing at one of the most prominent sites. Some have suggested that a major online player would find a safe account to buy and make a return under a different guise rather than see a dip in profits from having a significant resource denied to him, but Mizzi says he has other plans. This is of course what he has to say in public, but he claims that from now on he will be focussing his attention on live tournaments much more.
These days there are plenty of high stake live tournaments taking place and the Moscow Millions is the latest on the circuit to offer a $10,000 buy in event. The tournament lost its sponsorship with Full Tilt earlier this year and ended up not being as high profile an event as organisers would have liked, but nevertheless managed to attract a field of 53. That field consisted of 52 Russians and the man who once famously exclaimed “bring more Russians on” – professional irritant Tony G. The home contingent was led my Russia’s rising star Alexander Kravchenko who finished in third, but Tony G proved he meant what he said by taking first place for $205,000. Despite often seeming to take delight in rubbing his opponents up the wrong way, he showed that he is also the philanthropist by donating his entire tournament winnings to a Russian orphanage. It might have helped his decision that his pockets were bursting at the seams following a giant pot he won earlier on his trip to Russia. Playing pot limit Omaha, Tony managed to get all his chips in a three way pot with the worst hand and with his opponents holding several of his outs. However, fortune was with him and he hit one of six outs to make the nut flush and win the biggest pot of his life - $3,150,000.
An even bigger buy in event taking place this week was the National Poker League Tournament Of Champions at the Venetian in Las Vegas. The $15,000 entry attracted a host of famous players such as Allen Cunningham, Barry Greenstein, John Juanda and Chris Ferguson to name just a few. On day one Sorel Mizzi seemed determined not to let the drama surrounding him let it affect his game and ended up as the chip leader of 26 players who returned for a second day’s play. His good form looked set to continue as he made the final table, but once there he bluffed off his stack to bust out in ninth. A tv table of six was set for day three, headed by the formidable Allen Cunningham, but with only five places getting paid and a generous blind structure in operation the action was slow for the first few hours. Eventually the money bubble burst but as midnight passed, against the wishes of the remaining three players, a fourth day was added to the schedule. Early on day four Antonio Salorio was eliminated leaving Allen Cunningham to do battle with David Singer for the title. Singer started out with nearly a two to one chip lead and soon increased his advantage to almost double that. Cunningham turned that around though with a bumper pot just before the dinner break to take the lead, then won another big all in on the first hand back from the break to seal victory. The $325,105 for first place sees Allen Cunningham overtake Phil Hellmuth on the all time tournament money list as he approaches the $10 million mark.
Back in Blighty the Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour drew to a close with the final leg at the Victoria casino in London. The £3,000 main event drew 198 entries, creating a nice first prize of £197,600 which was collected by Londoner Michael Ellis. Heads up his opponent Sami Yusuf’s pair of queens flopped a set on the final hand but Ellis’ luck was in as he hit a gutshot straight on the turn to collect the win. A new season of the tour is set to start up again in a month’s time when it’s back to Brighton for the first of another ten legs on next year’s circuit.
Next week the last big tournaments in Europe before Christmas take place at the Aviation Club in Paris and the European Poker Tour visits Prague for a new leg on the tour which is bound to be popular. Tournament reports will appear here in due course.
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