Judge Orders Phil Ivey to Pay Borgata $10.1m Now

August 31st, 2018

phil-ivey-bellagio-2017-wsopEarlier this month, we discussed how Phil Ivey was fighting to avoid paying the Borgata $10.1 million in the near future.

Ivey argued that he shouldn’t have to pay right now, because doing so would have a “devastating impact” on his poker bankroll. He also used the excuse that Atlantic City’s Borgata makes so much money that they don’t need the $10.1 million any time soon.

These arguments have fallen on deaf ears, though, with U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman ordering Ivey to pay the full amount.

Why did Ivey Lose the Stay of Judgment Motion?

Ivey was seeking what’s called a stay of judgment, which would’ve allowed him to pay back the money slowly. However, he wasn’t able to sufficiently prove that he was in desperate need of the funds.

It also doesn’t help matters that the 41-year-old has resisted paying the Borgata back for over two years. He’s held the $10.1 million in Borgata casino winnings for a combined six years.

Ivey originally beat their punto banco games with a technique called edge sorting in 2012. The Borgata then sued for the $10.1m under the notion that Ivey “cheated” with edge sorting. They won in 2016 and have been entitled to the money ever since.

Ivey Suffers Yet Another Loss in Court

phil-ivey-baccarat-edge-sortingOnce considered the world’s top poker pro, Phil Ivey can’t seem to buy a win in the courtroom.

He originally lost two court cases involving edge sorting in 2014. The other one was a battle for $11 million against London’s Crockfords casino. He also lost an appeal against the Borgata in 2016.

Now, Ivey is on the hook for a $10.1 million payment. He seems to be out of chances in court and will be forced to finally repay the Borgata’s money.

Of course, Ivey is still an elite poker pro and should be able to continue winning enough to pay down the debt.

Doyle and Todd Brunson to Sell $149 Poker Training Course

August 28th, 2018

doye-todd-brunson-poker-training-courseDoyle Brunson is one of the most-legendary poker players ever, having won 10 WSOP gold bracelets and millions of dollars in cash games. His son, Todd, is also an outstanding player with plenty of his own successes.

The father-son duo are now combining to offer a poker training course that’ll retail for $149.

Dubbed the Brunson Poker Pro Training Course, this program will offer access to the brunsonpokerpro.com training site, a book, and an audio CD.

Here’s a synopsis from their site:

“This new Poker Learning System will not just teach you what professionals know about the game, it also will give you the knowledge much faster by using board templates, audio cd and flash cards. Your brain will absorb the knowledge in a short period of time so you can use it at the tables without playing for years.”

More on What the Brunson Poker Pro Course Offers

Below you can see every area that this course will cover, as per the website:

  • The visual aspects of the game
  • Board Textures
  • Early Straights Flops
  • Reconizing your Outs
  • Combos & Blockers
  • Push / Fold Charts
  • Players and their Ranges
  • Betting Patterns
  • Math & Probabilities
  • Winning Percentage and your Hands
  • Hand Strength Heads Up
  • Nuts Evaluation
  • Poker Thought Process
  • The Mental Game
  • Tournament Play
  • Tells
  • Strong Hand Bets
  • Weak Hand Bluffs
  • Balancing your Ranges
  • Plus 208 Professional Poker Moves displayed on Flash Cards

Is the Brunson Poker Pro Course Worth the Money?

I haven’t personally gone through the Brunson’s training course. But looking at all of the content offered, it seems that the $149 price may be a better deal than similar programs.

It’s also worth mentioning that Todd and Doyle are both active in Las Vegas’ biggest cash games. So it’s not like Brunson is simply dusting off his famed 1978 Super/System book and regurgitating the advice.

Only time will time on the value, though, as more players try the course and give their feedback. I’m guessing that it’ll at least offer some value to aspiring live cash pros.

Doug Polk Completes $10k Bankroll Challenge in 58 Days

August 24th, 2018

doug-polk-bankroll-challengeTwo years ago, Doug Polk started a personal bankroll challenge, whereby he wanted to run $100 up to $10,000.

He played quite a bit in the beginning. But Polk grew tired of the challenge and stopped with his bankroll at just over $1,364 in November 2017.

However, Polk recently picked up his efforts again in July 2018 and has now reached $10,000. He made over $8,600 within the past month few weeks.

What’s amazing about this is that the long-time poker pro made his money through low-stakes cash games and tournaments. He also played exclusively on Nevada’s WSOP.com, which doesn’t get an abundance of traffic.

How did Polk Make so Much Money in Low Stakes Poker?

Polk became rededicated to the bankroll challenge after the start date’s two-year anniversary. He didn’t make much money in late July and early August.

However, things really turned around for him after an August 12 session, which saw him win nearly $1,000 (bankroll at $2,303). He followed this up with another $1k profit on August 14 (bankroll at $3,320).

Just six days later, on August 22, Doug went on a massive heater in 200NL and 500NL. He played 11 hours and was successful after taking shots at both higher levels.

What Happened on the Final Day?

doug-polk-bankroll-challenge-1Polk started his 57th session at $6,882 away from his goal. Few people expected him to finish the challenge when he began playing on August 22.

After playing well in 200NL, Polk took a chance at 500NL. He proceeded to win thousands of dollars over the next few hours.

Not wanting to get stacked and lose his progress, he moved back down to 200NL with his bankroll at $9,638. Polk was still able to win the remaining amount that he needed to reach his goal.

Polk finished the challenge with a $10,138 bankroll, thus giving him a $10k profit throughout the 2 years and 38 days. During this time, he only had to play 57 sessions to reach his goal.

Poker Pro Sues WSOP for Throwing Him Out of Main Event and Ruining His Career

August 23rd, 2018

joseph-stiers-wsop-ejectionPoker pro Joseph Stiers is suing the World Series of Poker, claiming that he was wrongly thrown out of the 2017 WSOP Main Event.

He also believes that the incident ruined his poker career and now wants “equitable and injunctive relief,” including punitive damages from the WSOP’s parent company Caesars Interactive Entertainment.

What Happened during Stiers’ WSOP Ejection

Stiers’ court documents describe how he was ejected from the 2017 Main Event on Day 3 with 630,000 chips, which put him in the “top nine” at this juncture of the tournament. The filings also note that he didn’t receive a refund on his $10,000 buy-in.

Why was Stiers Thrown Out of the Main Event?

In 2015, Joseph Stiers was ejected from Caesars Horseshoe Casino in Maryland after management felt he was counting cards. Stiers told the Baltimore Sun that he was thrown out multiple times and had $350 confiscated.

“I was grabbed, handcuffed, and quickly moved to a private room,” he said.

Casino officials said that he “trespassed from all Caesars properties.” They also explained that he’d been barred from their properties since 2014.

Stiers Has been Playing in the WSOP Main Event for Years

Attorneys for Stiers note that the poker pro has been playing in the Main Event since being banned from Caesars properties in 2014. He even cashed in the 2016 WSOP Main Event, finishing 640th place and earning $18,000.

However, he also used the pseudo name “Joseph Conorstiers” to enter, which is a combination of his last and middle names.

Caesars Interactive has since responded to the lawsuit by noting the extreme measures Stiers used to enter the 2017 ME, including changing his residence from “Maryland” to “Washington D.C.”

Stiers’ documents counters with the following:

“Caesars/WSOP had always accepted my money and retained my money when I was losing poker tournaments, which totaled to over $200,000, but only enforced this trespass eviction during a tournament when I was in a position to win up to $8 million and had around $150,000 in current chip equity,” Stiers wrote, acting as his own legal representation.

Stiers finishes by noting Caesars “freerolled” him by only ejecting him in the middle of a strong tournament run.

Borgata Files Motion Against Phil Ivey for $10.1m Payment

August 20th, 2018

phil-ivey-short-deckSix years ago, Phil Ivey won $9.6 million off the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa through baccarat edge sorting. But the Borgata sued him in 2016 and won $10.1 million — including the $9.6 million in winnings, plus another $500k in comps.

Ivey has yet to repay the money, though, which has caused the Borgata to file a motion for payment. The court document cites that Ivey cashed four times at the 2018 WSOP for around $140,00, and that he’s more than capable delivering the $10.1 million.

Borgata Brings Up Ivey’s Lavish Lifestyle

Phil Ivey has always had a taste for the finer things in life ever since becoming an elite poker pro. Attorneys for the Borgata have brought this up in their motion, which notes that Ivey’s extravagant lifestyle proves he can make payment.

“This case is about money, nothing more and nothing less,” the Borgata’s documents state. “Ivey already has Borgata’s $10 million and he is clearly not in danger of going out of business.

“Defendants did not and cannot demonstrate irreparable harm as a matter of law. They are not entitled to a stay pending appeal.”

Ivey’s Attorneys Argue that Paying the Borgata would Cripple Him

ivey-borgata-lawsuitLawyers for Ivey have countered with the argument that he can’t pay the full $10.1 million, because it would devastate his livelihood. Their court documents explain that Ivey relies on a large bankroll to make money from poker. And paying such a significant chunk of money would have a “devastating impact” on his job.

These attorneys have been asking for an extension on payment ever since the case ended in 2016. They cite how the Borgata makes over $800 million in annual revenue and doesn’t need the $10.1 million right away.

Brief History of Ivey vs. Borgata

Ivey originally won $9.6 million from the Borgata with the help of an accomplice named Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun. They used a technique called edge sorting, where one identifies flaws on card backs to guess the values.

The Borgata originally paid Ivey. But they later sued to recoup the money after citing that Ivey and Sun “cheated.” A New Jersey judge sided with the casino, noting that Ivey/Sun made odds requests like having the cards rotated 180 degrees (makes edge sorting easier) and that a (flawed) Gemaco purple deck be used for the entire game.

The Stars Group Sees Poker Revenue Increase in Q2, 2018

August 16th, 2018

the-stars-group-pokerThe Stars Group (formerly Amaya) had a very successful Q2 of 2018. They saw a 34.8% revenue increase to $411.5 million.

The company also made some big moves, acquiring the CrownBet Holdings and William Hill Australia sports betting operations.

“We continued enhancing our products and user experience across all verticals and executing on our cross-selling strategy,” said The Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi.

“The continued emergence of our sports betting and casino offerings and the addition of our 2018 acquisitions have transformed our business and greatly enhanced the foundation and diversity of our consolidated revenue base.”

Online Poker Up 7% in Q2, 2018

Internet poker traffic has steadily declined over the past several years. However, PokerStars defied the market by increasing their poker revenue by 7% to $271 million.

Online poker is still the big moneymaker for The Stars Group. It accounted for nearly 53% of the company’s overall revenue in Q2.

The Stars Group’s report notes that their revamped loyalty program and shared poker liquidity in Europe helped boost their poker platform.

Online Casino and Sportsbook also Up in Q2

The Stars Group saw even bigger growth from their online casino and sportsbook. The online casino revenue spiked 26% to $102 million. CasinoStars has added over 150 games since the start of 2018, which explains the increase.

BetStars saw the biggest increase of all, growing 122% to $19.6 million. This sportsbook’s massive rise can be explained by the boost they got from the 2018 FIFA World Cup. BetStars also benefited by adding over 200,000 new members.

Ashkenazi Looks Forward to Bright Future

Ashkenazi believes that The Stars Group is poised for even more growth as they continue transforming from a poker-only operation to more verticals.

“We are now focused on the next stage of our transformation—integration,” he said.

“While this will be a phased and measured process, we expect that it will prepare us to not only be a leader within the world’s largest regulated markets but to also leverage the strength of our combined platform to take advantage of new opportunities and markets.”

PokerStars Targeted in DDoS Attacks

August 14th, 2018

pokerstars-ddos-attacksPokerStars was recently hit with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. The attacks caused issues for PokerStars’ tournaments and cash games. Many Stars players were frustrated as they were forcibly disconnected from the site.

Making matters worse is that the attacks occurred on Sunday, which is PokerStars’ busiest day of the week. The site holds their Sunday Million tournament on this day, which was disrupted by the technical issues.

Disconnected participants were only able to log in later in the tournament. They found that their chip stacks were being blinded down or even completely gone.

DDoS Attacks are a Growing Problem in Online Poker

One of the players’ points of frustration is that PokerStars didn’t realize the DDoS attacks were happening until about an hour afterward. The world’s largest poker site was quick to apologize afterward.

“Please accept our apologies as we are currently experiencing technical issues,” they tweeted. “We are currently working on it and our services should be restored as soon as possible.”

Stars then paused tournaments across the site and began trying to figure out the issues. These actions caused further problems, though, when players from Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Romania were still connected and collecting other players’ blinds.

PokerStars Cancels Tournaments for the Day

Noticing the widespread problems, Stars eventually cancelled all of their Sunday tournaments while announcing that players would be refunded. The refunds were based on chip counts and how far players made it into the tourneys.

Stars tweeted the following:

“Apologies to all our players for the recent issues on PokerStars. The players affected by this morning’s issues have already been credited & we aim to refund players affected by yesterday’s problems, with their equity at the time of disconnection, within 72 hours.”

DDoS Attacks Becoming a Growing Problem for Online Poker

PokerStars isn’t the only site to be hit with DDoS problems recently. Americas Cardroom and partypoker faced the same dilemma just days earlier.

Cybercriminals who carry out DDoS attacks do so with the intention of disrupting servers with overwhelming traffic. Malicious people who use these attacks are often motivated by revenge and/or seeking a ransom.

Bruno Fitoussi Signs with Partypoker

August 5th, 2018

bruno-fitoussi-party-pokerPartypoker has been signing a number of pros to their roster over the past year. And you can now add Bruno Fitoussi to this list, because he’s signed on to become a partypoker ambassador.

The Frenchman has long been one of the most-recognizable faces on the live tournament circuit, thanks to his trademark long hair and strong results. That said, he makes a good addition to the partypoker LIVE team.

Fitoussi Excited about Bringing His Industry Knowledge to Partypoker

Bruno Fitoussi expressed excitement not only about joining partypoker, but also in being able to use his expertise to improve the site.

“I am thrilled to join the partypoker LIVE team – partypoker has always held a special place in my heart, so to be working with them is a great privilege for me,” said Fitoussi.

“I have a vast wealth of industry experience that I am excited to share, and I look forward to getting involved with all aspects of the business.”

Fitoussi Has a Long History with the Game

Fitoussi is one of the biggest French poker legends of all time. The 59-year-old has been playing poker for around three decades. He made his first live tournament cash in 1991 and has continued his tourney success ever since.

The Paris native has earned nearly $3 million in live winnings to date. He’s finished runner-up in WSOP events twice, including the 2007 World Championship H.O.R.S.E. event ($1.28m).

Aside from his live tournament success, Fitoussi has also been instrumental in driving poker popularity in France. He introduced Texas hold’em to Paris’ Aviation Club card room in 1995. He’s also commentated on a number of European poker tourneys.

That said, Fitoussi should bring a wealth of experience and ideas to partypoker as their newest ambassador. Additionally, he’ll also have a bigger platform to continue drawing more French players to the game.

Tom Dwan Says Staredowns are a Problem with Poker Tournaments

August 3rd, 2018

tom-dwan-poker-staredownsTom Dwan doesn’t play a lot of poker tournaments these days. But when he does, he’d prefer that you didn’t stare him down every hand.

Dwan was recently at the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series, where he spoke about what he perceives as the biggest problem with poker tournaments.

“The few tournaments I’ve played lately, even when I played Bellagio this summer…people have just taken the staring at you to a whole new level. Taking a long time on every hand.”

He added, “And I know I did some of that on High Stakes Poker. But I would do it when there were like 100 big blinds in the pot. And I was thinking about bluffing almost every time.”

Dwan Thinks Most Poker Tournaments aren’t Fun Anymore

The staredowns have gotten so bad to the point where Dwan no longer enjoys playing in poker tournaments.

“Now, I think people are taking it to an extreme, and it’s just kind of not that fun, not that sporting.”

Dwan also told PokerNews that he thinks the atmosphere of the tourney plays a big role into the lengthy staredowns.

“I think it kind of reflects in the makeup of the tournament,” he explained. “A lot of the people playing, you get less recreational players. And here [Triton High Roller Series], you get way more.”

Dwan Says Poker Needs to Remain a Game – Not a Sport

Dwan ended his interview by discussing his views on how poker should be treated like a fun game. This goes against a movement over previous years to “sportify” poker.

“Poker to me was always more of a game than a sport,” he said. “You know, this idea of trying to sportify it.

“Sports are when people run for miles or play football or something. And I thought it [poker] should be a more friendly atmosphere, and I think Triton’s doing that.”

You can check out everything Dwan had to say about the state of poker tournaments below.

Antonio Esfandiari Kevin Hart Boxing Match Set

July 30th, 2018

antonio-esfandiari-kevin-hart-boxingPoker pros have faced off in boxing and kickboxing matches in the past. But Antonio Esfandiari and Kevin Hart are set for the first boxing match between a poker pro and world-famous celebrity.

Esfandiari was stopped by the TMZ crew to discuss which celebrities are big (degenerate) gamblers. During this conversation, Esfandiari mentioned that he and Kevin Hart are set to have a boxing match in March.

Esfandiari Facing Long Odds of Winning

“The Magician” doesn’t stack up well against Hart when it comes to boxing. He’s currently getting 35-to-1 odds against the comedian.

Esfandiari declined to mention how much money is involved in the match. But having 35-to-1 odds means that he’d earn $35,000 for every $1,000 bet if he does win the fight.

Who Has the Boxing Advantage: Esfandiari or Hart?

Kevin_HartAs you can probably tell from the odds, Hart is the big favorite going into the March 2019 bout. Esfandiari even admitted so himself.

“Kevin is in much better shape. He’s an athlete,” he said. “He’s fast as hell. He’s giving me 35 to 1.

“I have the reach, I have a little bit of weight on him. But he’s fast, he’s quick, and he’s strong.”

Hart could Use a Little Work in Poker

While Esfandiari sees Hart as the superior boxer right now, he still fancies himself the better poker player.

When the TMZ interviewer asked about Hart’s poker abilities, Esfandiari offered a backhanded compliment.

“He’s pretty good. He’s still a little fishy, but he’s pretty good.”

Of course, this contest isn’t about playing poker but rather boxing. It’ll be interesting to see how Esfandiari fares against somebody who’s in better shape and seems to have more boxing experience.