Daniel Negreanu and Shaun Deeb Argue Over Allen Kessler

April 27th, 2019

daniel-negreanu-seating-scriptsDaniel Negreanu and Shaun Deeb recently got into a social media argument over staking agreements. Their Twitter battle got pretty nasty and even resulted in a challenge.

Allen Kessler became the center of the debate when he was shopping a WSOP staking package on himself. Kessler showed that he’s earned over $900,000 in WSOP tournaments over the past nine years.

Deeb was miffed that Kessler didn’t also include his buy-ins and called out “The Chainsaw.” The former claimed that Kessler likely hasn’t profited much when buy-ins are included.

Negreanu Defends Kessler

shaun-deeb-2018-wsop-25k-ploThis is the second time that Deeb has recently blasted somebody for WSOP staking. He also ripped Johnnie “Vibes” Moreno for almost a 1.4 markup on his package.

Deeb claims that he’s trying to help fellow players/investors by calling out these “scammers.” However, Negreanu isn’t buying it.

Negreanu doesn’t want to participate in the proposed challenge, because he thinks that Deeb is an angle shooter.

Personal Insults Fly Between Deeb and Negreanu

Things would get much nastier between Negreanu and Deeb. Kid Poker’s fiance, Amanda Leatherman, even became a point of contention during the argument.

Based on these comments, it doesn’t look like Negreanu and Deeb will be sharing a room at the WSOP. But they did spark one of the best poker Twitter battles in a while.

As for the staking issue, Deeb might be doing some good in making the poker community aware of what is and isn’t a quality deal. But most pros seemed to be on Negreanu’s side in being against how Deeb has gone about the matter.

He’s publicly embarrassed several pros in calling them out over staking markups. Many have stated that Deeb’s actions amount to outright bullying.

2019 WSOP Europe Schedule Now Complete

April 24th, 2019

wsop-europe-2019The World Series of Poker Europe schedule is officially set. The 2019 WSOP Europe, which will once again be staged at King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, runs from Oct. 13 to Nov. 4. It’ll see 10 gold bracelets awarded and €14 million worth of guaranteed money.

Permanent Fixture for the 2019 WSOPE?

King’s Resort will host the WSOPE for a third straight year. Given what WSOP Director Gregory Chochon had to say, it doesn’t look like the event will be going elsewhere anytime soon. Here’s Chochon’s statement:

“We are eager to return to King’s Resort in October for the 11th edition of WSOP Europe. King’s Resort has become the center of the poker world in Europe and they are once again bolstering this series with €14 million plus in guarantees to ensure players find plenty of value and opportunity.”

Changes to the 2019 WSOP Europe Schedule

The 2019 WSOPE schedule is very similar to last year’s version. However, there are some minor changes to report.

First off, the €350 “Opener” no-limit hold’em tournament will start the festivities. The Opener is brand new and features the lowest buy-in of any event. The €1,350 Mini Main Event No-Limit Hold’em, which is the third tournament, is another new event.

Tourneys that were dumped from this year’s schedule include the €1,100 Monster Stack and €1,650 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Deepstack. Some players are big fans of these deepstack events, but they also can also wear on tournament organizers due to the longer length.

One more thing worth mentioning is that a WSOP Circuit event will take place just before the WSOPE kicks off. This allows players to take advantage of more tournaments and makes the trip more worth it.

Official 2019 Schedule for World Series of Poker Europe

Here’s a look at the finalized schedule for this year’s WSOPE:

  • €350 “Opener” No-Limit Hold’em – €220,000 Guarantee – 2 starting flights – 2 re-entry per flight – Oct 13-14
  • €550 8-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha — €100,000 Guarantee – 2 starting flights – unlimited re-entry – Oct 15-16
  • €1,350 Mini Main Event No-Limit Hold’em — €550,000 Guarantee – 2 starting flights – single re-entry – Oct 16-18
  • €1,100 Turbo Bounty Hunter — €200,000 Guarantee – each player is a €300 bounty – unlimited re-entry – Oct 17
  • €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha/No-Limit Hold’em Mix — €200,000 Guarantee – unlimited re-entry – Oct 19
  • €25,500 Platinum High Roller No-Limit Hold’em – €1,000,000 Guarantee – unlimited re-entry – Oct 20
  • €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed — €200,000 Guarantee – Unlimited re-entry – Oct 21
  • €100,000 Diamond High Roller – €5,000,000 Guarantee – Unlimited re-entry – Oct 23
  • €10,350 WSOP Europe Main Event – €5,000,000 Guarantee – 2 starting flights – Bust A, can enter B – Oct 25-26
  • €550 Colossus No-Limit Hold’em – €1,000,000 Guarantee – 9 starting flights – single re-entry per flight – Oct 28-Nov 2

Felipe Ramos Signs Deal with Players Come First

April 19th, 2019

felipe-ramos-mpn-sponsorshipBrazilian poker pro Felipe Ramos had a long-running sponsorship deal with PokerStars. But the two sides eventually parted ways, leaving Ramos open to sign with Players Come First, which is on the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN).

Ramos has gained quite a bit of popularity in the Brazilian poker community. He’s earned over $2.5 million in live tournaments and has become skilled in a variety of poker variations.

Players Come First obviously sees the value in having Ramos aboard as they look to increase their international presence. Brazil is a great place to target, given their population of over 210 million people.

Ramos at Forefront of Players Come First’s Mission

Felipe Ramos will be looked to as the primary ambassador for Players Come First. He’ll be tasked with communicating with players and relaying their messages to management.

“As a poker ambassador, I always have to look out for my community first,” he said. “We will have great opportunities for everyone who loves poker and wants an option where players can be heard.”

Players Come First Follows a Common Trend in Online Poker

Sites/networks like Players Come First are focusing on customers in an effort to increase their market share. Ramos will be vital to this new movement.

He’s respected among the community and can relate to players’ problems. Ramos can form relationships with the sites’ customers and pass on the overall sentiment.

MPN Looking for a Boost After Losing RedKings

According to PokerScout, MPN is currently ranked 15th in terms of online poker traffic. But they’re in danger of dropping further after seeing RedKings — the network’s biggest site — close after 13 years.

Players Come First is looking to help fill the void of RedKings closing. This newer operation not only offers online poker, but also a casino, sportsbook, and (soon) bingo room. But they’ll also be relying on their poker site and Ramos’ help to be successful.

Johnnie Vibes Moreno Blasted Over WSOP Staking Markup

April 14th, 2019

johnnie-vibes-morenoJohnnie Moreno recently offered a WSOP investment package, whereby he asked for a 1.38 markup. Fellow poker pros Shaun Deeb and Doug Polk took exception to this, because they don’t think that “JohnnieVibes” has the live tournament resume to back up the asking price.

Polk and Deeb were pretty nasty in calling out Moreno, even labeling him a “scammer” who’s trying to take advantage of “clueless” backers.

Normal Prices for Markup

Most pros charge between 1.2 and 1.5 markup for those wanting to back them. They charge a higher price than even-up (1.0), because they believe that their skills warrant doing so.

Moreno argues that his countless hours spent streaming on Twitch call for a higher markup. His live results of less than $67k in cashes suggest otherwise.

Is Moreno Really a Scammer?

It’s hard to call Vibes a scammer, per say, although Polk and Deeb had no trouble doing so. But he does seem to have an inflated opinion on how much he should receive for successful WSOP results.

Many serious amateurs have similar results to Moreno or better. They certainly wouldn’t be getting a 1.38 markup deal either. In short, this probably isn’t a great investment opportunity for somebody looking to profit from backing.

However, JohnnieVibes points out that the markup can be a way for his fans to support him.

“If you want to gamble with me, support the vlog, say thanks for providing you value through this group or my videos,” he wrote, “strike it rich with tournaments this summer, help me win a bracelet, etc., this is your chance to ride with me.”

Moreno’s argument sheds some light on why he’s thinks that he’s deserving of fairly high markup. Polk and Deeb, meanwhile, want to alert the poker community that JohnnieVibes doesn’t have the success to demand such a staking deal.

Wire Act Lawsuit Will Proceed – Legal US Poker Is at Stake

April 13th, 2019

us-doj-new-hampshire-wire-actLast month, the US Department of Justice reversed their opinion on the Wire Act. This decision would effectively ban online poker and other forms of internet gambling across state lines. Not surprisingly, the DoJ’s decision has been very unpopular among several states.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission actually leveled a lawsuit against the DoJ after their Wire Act reversal. This caused the Department of Justice to try and get the lawsuit dismissed. But a judge recently ruled that the case is valid and will proceed.

DoJ Tries Saying that Wire Act Doesn’t Apply to State Lotteries

new-hampshire-online-pokerBack in 2011, the DoJ originally released an opinion that the Wire Act only bans interstate sports betting. The reversal now puts all forms of gambling in the cross-hairs. But more recently, the DoJ stated that the act doesn’t apply to state lotteries.

They were hoping that the New Hampshire Lottery would drop their lawsuit as a result. Furthermore, the DoJ was trying to make sure that the Granite State wouldn’t feel threatened.

Judge Paul Barbadoro didn’t feel that the DoJ’s statement removed the chance that state lotteries could be targeted. He’ll therefore allow the lawsuit to stand.

Other states like New Jersey have joined this legal effort. The Garden State has a vested interest due to their thriving online casino market and a multi-state online poker agreement.

DoJ Given Deadline to Define their Wire Act Opinion

Judge Barbadoro has granted the DoJ an extra 14 days to clarify their new Wire Act opinion. He wants to know what forms of online gambling it will target and more on the specifics. After the DoJ provides this info, the judge will take a closer look at the opinion reversal and decide whether it’s valid.

States involved in the lawsuit argue that the 2011 take on the Wire Act paved the way for regulated online gambling. But it’s up to Barbadoro to decide once he has all of the information.

Rio Casino Could Be Demolished – WSOP Would Need New Home

April 13th, 2019

rio-casino-wsop-changeA new rumor suggests that the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino could be sold and demolished in the near future. If true, this would require Caesars Entertainment to find a new location for the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Even Caesars itself is reportedly for sale. CNBC reports that Tilman Fertitta and Eldorado Resorts are interested in purchasing the $24 billion company.

However, it’s worth noting that the same report claims no decision has been made on anything regarding Caesars or the Rio. In any case, the rumors are still flying. Here’s a tweet from Las Vegas Locally on the Rio matter.

Could This Be the Final Year the Rio Hosts the WSOP?

The Rio has served as a reliable home for the WSOP for 14 years. However, the casino needs some serious upgrades.

Some have wondered if the WSOP would need to be moved anyways. It’s now possible that this decision could be forced if the Rio is indeed demolished.

The WSOP was previously hosted at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino for over three decades. But Binion’s eventually stopped being a suitable home due to its shoddy condition. The Rio seems like it could be heading down the same path if something isn’t done soon.

WSOP Could Be in New Home as Quickly as 2020

The recent rumors suggest that something will be done quickly regarding the Rio. Assuming everything goes according to rumor, then the WSOP would be in a new location by 2020.

The new location would need to be big enough to accommodate such a large event. It would also have to be modern enough to serve as a host year in and year out.

There aren’t any current rumors on which casino could be the next location for the WSOP. Assuming Caesars still owns the WSOP by next year, they could use one of their Vegas locations to host the event.

Randy nanonoko Lew Leaves PokerStars

April 11th, 2019

randy-nanonoko-lew-leaves-pokerstarsRandy Lew has enjoyed a long sponsorship with PokerStars. But this relationship has come to an end, with both sides agreeing to part ways.

Lew doesn’t seem bitter about his sponsorship ending. But he did mention via Twitter that he wasn’t happy with PokerStars getting rid of the Supernova Elite VIP level in 2016.

Other than the Supernova Elite mention, nanonoko had plenty of good things to say about PokerStars. He was signed shortly before Black Friday (April 15, 2011) and has been with them up until now.

Here are nanonoko’s full tweets on the matter:

Lew Has Lost His Passion for the Game

Nanonoko first gained fame as one of the world’s best multi-tablers. He played an insane volume of hands and earned Supernova Elite status in five consecutive years.

In more recent years, Lew has made Twitch a larger part of his game. The addition of streaming made Lew a keeper for PokerStars at a time when they were ending sponsorships with many other pros.

Unfortunately, nanonoko began losing his passion for both streaming and the game in general. Lew became tired of being required to stream and living outside the US when doing so. After all, Stars is currently only available in New Jersey.

“I nod my head to all of the people who are capable of putting in the hours of streaming everyday,” Lew explained. “It truly is a unique grind in itself. It simply isn’t for me.”

PokerStars Parting with Many Twitch Streamers

Stars began valuing streamers in the mid-2010s, at a time when Twitch was rising as a poker viewing platform. This service is still very popular for players who want to learn by watching the pros. But it doesn’t seem like PokerStars is as enamored with streaming these days.

They’ve since said goodbye to Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Jaime Staples, and Jeff Gross — all of whom had notable Twitch presences. It seems like Lew could’ve possibly stayed on if he wanted to. But perhaps losing his passion for the game along with new contract circumstances convinced him to leave.

Partypoker Shuts Down 277 Bots – Gets $735k Back for Players

April 9th, 2019

poker-botsPoker bots are becoming quite a problem in the online game. But Partypoker took a big step towards fixing this problem at their site by shutting down 277 bots between the first of the year and March 31, 2019.

Many poker sites are currently battling AI programs. However, few have given specifics on their success rate like party has. This online poker room has returned $734,852 of confiscated bot winnings to the victims.

Could Partypoker Have The Bot Issue Largely Solved?

Poker pro Patrik Leonard spoke on behalf of his sponsor regarding the AI issue. He noted that those using bots might want to look elsewhere from now on:

“I’m very confident now that they can tackle people trying to play against the rules. In my opinion it isn’t worth somebody trying to bend the rules because, in the words of Liam Neeson: ‘they will find you, they will catch you and they will.. ban you.'”

Partypoker is asking players to help with this matter by reporting any suspicious activity. Doing so will give the party team a better chance of catching AI users.

Bots Still a Problem Across Online Poker

Party seems to be doing quite well at keeping AI at bay. However, the rest of the internet poker world still has a lot of work to do in minimizing this problem.

Several sites have had issues with monitoring bots. The key dilemma is that developers have gotten better at producing AI that can actually win at various stakes.

Many believe that bots are currently the biggest threat to online poker. Sites must develop better methods of catching these programs so that players don’t get discouraged.

Perhaps some poker rooms will take a cue from party on how to deal with the matter. After all, partypoker seems to be leading the pack in this area.

Tom Franklin Lists 1999 WSOP Bracelet for $50k

April 8th, 2019

tom-franklin-bracelet-wsop-ebayTom Franklin won his only gold bracelet in a 1999 WSOP $2,500 limit Omaha tournament. He earned $104,000 and the bracelet for this victory.

Franklin, who’s nicknamed “The Captain,” has hung onto this jewelry for two decades. But now he’s looking to unload it through eBay for the lofty price of $50,000.

Potential buyers can also bid on the item. However, the Buy It Now price is sitting at $50,000.

No Takers on Franklin’s Bracelet Yet

Nobody is interested in Franklin’s gold bracelet at this point. It has zero bids, meaning the $50k Buy It Now price is highly unlikely.

These items don’t have much collectible value among buyers. After all, poker pros aren’t looked at with the same admiration as famous athletes. Such bracelets especially have little value if they’re won by less-heralded players.

Captain Tom Franklin definitely had a good run as a poker pro. But his name doesn’t hold the same weight as, say, Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, or Daniel Negreanu.

Brief Look Back at Franklin’s Poker Career

The Captain started playing poker in the 1970s. He’s since cashed in dozens of WSOP events and has over $3.2 million in lifetime tournament winnings. His biggest career cash is $434,025, which came when he won a $5,000 hold’em event at the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

Franklin eventually faded from the professional poker scene. Case in point, his last tournament cash was a 114th place finish in a WSOP event. He’s mostly known today by old-school grinders and/or fans of the game’s pre-boom history.

The Captain hasn’t stopped playing poker. He can still be found on the Las Vegas poker tables in low-stakes cash games and tournaments. However, Franklin is no longer a serious grinder who earns lots of money.

Taking everything into account, his $50k asking price is a little crazy. It’ll likely only be purchased by somebody who’s interested in the bracelet’s gold value.

West Virginia Legalizes Online Poker – Fifth State to Do So

March 28th, 2019

west-virginia-legalizes-online-pokerWest Virginia has become the fifth state to legalize online poker. The State House and Senate both passed an online gambling bill that approves poker by wide margins.

The Senate had the last vote before the legislation was sent to Gov. Jim Justice for final approval. He took no action, meaning that the bill went into effect automatically after 15 days.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Gov. Justice is indifferent to poker. He also let a sports betting bill pass in the same manner.

What Will West Virginia’s Online Poker Bill Include?

The newly passed legislation will create five online gambling licenses, including one for each of the state’s casinos. These casinos include:

  • Casino Club at The Greenbrier
  • Hollywood Casino Charles Town
  • Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
  • Mountaineer Casino
  • Wheeling Island

Each casino can purchase their internet gaming license for $250,000. The license will last for five years, at which point it becomes subject to a $100,000 renewal fee.

Online poker, slots, and table games are all covered by licensing. Internt gaming revenue will be taxed at a 15% rate, which matches New Jersey.

What Impact Will West Virginia Online Poker Have?

West Virginia won’t make much of an impact on the US internet poker market by itself. They have less than 2 million residents, ranking them 38th in total population.

They also don’t have a lot of money to throw around either. The Mountaineer State ranks 49th in family income out of all US states and territories. With under 2 million people and low income across the board, West Virginia online poker won’t offer much from a liquidity standpoint.

Nevertheless, they’re making an impact on the market by becoming yet another state to legalize internet gambling. Furthermore, they could join in a multi-state pact with Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada to create a larger poker player pool. Pennsylvania will also become an option once their market is up and running.