Poker Central Takes over Poker Player Alliance – Now “Poker Alliance”

June 29th, 2018

poker-alliance2018 has been a rough year for the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), a group that’s spent over a decade lobbying Washington for rounders’ rights. The organization was in dire straits after Executive Director John Pappas stepped down, and they began having funding issues.

However, Poker Central has stepped in and worked out a deal to acquire the PPA. Besides taking over the lobbying group, they’re also changing the name to the “Poker Alliance” — effectively dropping the “players” aspect.

Poker Alliance Goes from No Funding to Fresh Start

The PPA was in danger of closing, when temporary chairman Rich Muny couldn’t convince the poker community to ante up $25,000 for the organization. Muny was faced with a difficult task after many pros claimed that the PPA had become too close to PokerStars’ best interests.

Poker Central acquiring the PPA and rebranding it as the Poker Alliance gives the group a new start. This fresh beginning includes adding new leadership and including more funding. Here’s an official statement from Poker Central:

“Poker Alliance will be a dedicated voice for the millions of Americans who support expanding the sporting world of poker, in particular the players seeking to enjoy safe, well-regulated, and fair games in myriad locations and formats.

“The revamped association will prioritize advocating for consumer protection and states’ rights in the context of poker and internet gaming.”

A Look at the Poker Alliance’s Leadership Structure

Muny and Pappas will continue helping the Poker Alliance in advisory roles. Poker Central’s Mark Brenner will take over leadership duties as the new President. It hasn’t been reported at this point what will happen to the board of directors involved with the organization.

Brenner has the following to say about his new role:

“As gaming culture and the laws around it have shifted, so too has our focus. Poker players deserve to be able to play poker with confidence and safety, and we will expand the PPA’s incredible effort by strategically advocating for our members.”

Poker Central was founded by Cary Katz, a wealthy entrepreneur and poker player who owns the College Loan Corporation. Katz, who’s made over $14.6 million in poker tournaments, has the kind of keep pockets that can help the Poker Alliance succeed.

Tommy Nguyen Wins WSOP $1,500 Monster Stack and $1,037,451

June 28th, 2018

tommy-nguyen-2018-wsopThe 2018 WSOP $1,500 MONSTER STACK was once again a big success. The tournament drew 6,260 entrants, which created a giant prize pool worth $8,451,000. Tommy Nguyen successfully navigated through this field to win the first-place prize of $1,037,451.

The Canadian had only $195,851 in live tournament winnings before the WSOP began this summer. That said, he couldn’t believe his good fortune in the 2018 WSOP MONSTER STACK.

“I don’t know. I’m just taking it all in right now,” said the 28-year-old. “I dreamed of this and I believed I could make it. I came for a bracelet and I got it.

“I just final tabled the millions event not too long ago in Montreal. It gave me a chance to come here. I took my shots. I felt really good. I played really good.”

Nguyen Beats James Carroll to Secure Win

Nguyen certainly didn’t have an easy final opponent, facing online poker pro James Carroll heads-up. But he did have a 5-to-4 chip advantage to start with and a good run of cards.

The Toronto native quickly stretched his lead to a 6-to-1 chip edge. Nguyen shoved with A-K, to which Carroll called with K-2. The board was dealt J-8-4-J-Q, giving Nguyen the victory.

The WSOP bracelet comes at a good time for the former student, who sacrificed his studies for poker.

“I was actually supposed to graduate this year but I dropped a course in accounting to take poker more seriously,” said Nguyen.

“I knew I wasn’t a winning player but I was stubborn. Just in the last two years, I started winning more. I tried to fix my game and started learning more.”

2018 WSOP $1,500 MONSTER STACK Final Table Results

1. Tommy Nguyen – $1,037,451
2. James Carroll – $640,916
3. Frank Rusnak – $475,212
4. Chris Chong – $354,903
5. Daniel Corbett – $266,987
6. Michael Benko – $202,327
7. Shyam Srinivasan – $154,463
8. Harald Sammer – $118,802
9. Rittie Chuaprasert – $92,061

Phil Hellmuth Serving as Brand Ambassador for Decent Bet

June 26th, 2018

phil-hellmuth-decent-betPhil Hellmuth has signed a deal to represent Decent.Bet, a new crypto-related gaming platform. The 14-time WSOP champion will serve as a brand ambassador for the company.

Decent Bet brings an interesting concept to the online gaming world, where users can serve as both the player and house. 100% of profits from their “be the house” model are distributed back to DBET token holders.

Jedidiah Taylor, CEO of Decent.Bet, has discussed how the cryptocurrency’s name stems from the idea of “decentralized betting.” Taylor also touts how their platform offers transparent betting, meaning players can verify the authenticity of wagers.

Decent.Bet will run on the VeChain platform. VeChain has risen up the ranks of cryptocurrencies in terms of market cap. They currently rank 17th overall with a $1.42 billion market cap.

Decent.Bet Excited about Bringing Hellmuth Aboard

Decent.Bet is ecstatic about having one of the world’s most-famous poker pros serve as their ambassador. Here’s an excerpt from their recent Medium post on the subject:

“Hellmuth brings a lifetime of poker and gambling experience, expertise and relationships to the DBET family. He is aligned with our goal of changing the way people play online and committed to helping us make the best gaming platform in the world. He believes in what we’re doing and has been proudly wearing our gear at the WSOP and other premier poker events this year.

“Known as “the Poker Brat,” Hellmuth is a force-of-nature personality known for being disruptive. When you consider our goal of disrupting the gaming industry — there is not be a better fit to help us along the way than the Poker Brat.”

Few Poker Pros are Better for the Job

Phil Hellmuth is easily one of the most-recognizable faces in poker and beyond. He regularly makes television appearances, including mainstream media interviews.

Hellmuth has made a name for himself through a long history of poker tournament success and his infamous blow-ups at the table. Now, he brings his worldwide fame and gambling acumen to the DBET team.

Author Maria Konnikova Signs with PokerStars

June 25th, 2018

maria-konnikova-pokerMaria Konnikova originally began playing poker to research an upcoming book. But the bestselling author soon found herself experiencing success on the felt. Now, Konnikova has even more reason to hang around the poker world after signing a deal with PokerStars.

She was approached about being a brand ambassador this summer. Konnikova and PokerStars were recently able to work out a deal.

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the PokerStars team,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to be an unofficial ambassador with PokerStars for this past year, and I feel it’s a tremendous honor to be joining the team officially now.

“I never could have imagined poker becoming as big a part of my life as it has, and joining PokerStars offers me an incredible opportunity to take my game to the next level and to represent a brand that I’ve come to admire greatly.”

Konnikova Goes from Beginner to Poker Champion

Maria Konnikova didn’t even know how many cards were in the deck when she started playing poker. However, she picked up tips from 8-time WSOP champ Eric Seidel to accelerate her learning process. The psychologist also consulted poker pro Phil Galfond on the finer points of the game.

This training was originally supposed to be for a one-year poker foray that would culminate in The Biggest Bluff. But successes in a 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $1.5k NLHE event (1st, $84,600) and a 2018 Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau HK$5k NLHE tourney (2nd, $57,519) have motivated her to continue playing.

More on Konnikova’s Writing Career

With $207,050 in live tournament winnings in just over a year’s time, Maria Konnikova has already proven to be a poker success. But eventually, she’ll go back to what she does best – writing.

The Russian-American has written How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (2013) and The Confidence Game (2016), both of which are best sellers. It’s unclear when she’ll finish The Biggest Bluff, given that she’s now a sponsored poker player. But she’ll likely find time in between tournaments to finish the work.

Shaun Deeb Wins 2018 WSOP $25k PLO Max Eight – Earns $1.4 Million

June 25th, 2018

shaun-deeb-2018-wsop-25k-ploShaun Deeb has triumphed in the 2018 WSOP $25k Pot-Limit Omaha Eight Max event. He defeated a 230-player field to win the $1,402,683 top prize. Deeb also collects his third-career gold bracelet.

Following the victory, the long-time poker pro commented that nobody forced him into any dangerous spots.

“No one really ever put me in a bad spot,” he said. “I was able to control the pot sizes the way I wanted to almost every hand. That really helps, to not get in an inflated pot with a marginal hand.

“Everyone played their best game, I just ran the best. I think I have a great shot at Player of the Year right now so I think I’m gonna battle, hop in every event I can and just enjoy myself.”

Deeb, who’s been playing live tournaments since 2006, didn’t win his first WSOP bracelet until the 2015 $10k PLO Championship.

He was often featured in the ‘greatest poker player to never win a bracelet’ discussions back then. But Deeb’s most-recent victory now gives him three WSOP wins in the last four years.

Deeb Cruises through $25k PLO Eight Max Final Table

Deeb began the final table near the chip lead and never looked back. He personally eliminated Jason Koon (fifth) and James Calderaro (fourth), while Ben Yu ended tournament runs for Ryan Tosoc (sixth) and Scotty Nguyen (third).

Yu and Deeb both had two bracelets to begin the heads-up portion. The two were relatively close in chips, but Deeb has a lot of experience with mixed games. Therefore, he didn’t have too difficult of a time dispatching Yu in this matchup.

2018 WSOP $25k PLO Eight Max Final Table Results

1. Shaun Deeb – $1,402,683
2. Ben Yu – $866,924
3. Scotty Nguyen – $592,875
4. James Calderaro – $414,134
5. Jason Koon – $295,606
6. Ryan Tosoc – $215,718
7. David Benyamine – $161,020
8. Bogdan Capitan – $123,004

Michael Mizrachi Wins 2018 WSOP $50k Poker Players Championship – Third Career PPC Title

June 21st, 2018

michael-mizrachi-2018-wsop-poker-playeres-championshipMichael Mizrachi has won the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship (PPC) for a third time in his career. The long-time poker pro took down the 2018 WSOP $50k PPC after topping an 87-player field.

He battled through these elite pros over a five-day span. In the end, he triumphed over John Hennigan in a heads-up duel to secure his third PPC victory and a $1,239,126 payout. The prize pushes his career winnings up to $16,941,284.

Mizrachi reflected on the magnitude of his accomplishment after completing the hat track.

“When I won the first one, it was amazing,” he said. “The second one, it was great. I mean, the third one is so unheard of.

“This is quite an accomplishment and this is definitely my event. I’m already looking forward to next year.”

Mizrachi Built Momentum Throughout 2018 WSOP $50k PPC

Mizrachi didn’t have a hot start to the 2018 Poker Player’s Championship. But he was rolling by the end of Day 2 after grabbing the chip lead. He held this lead throughout most of the remaining days.

Mizrachi entered the six-player final table with 8.87 million chips, which was about 40% of the chips in place. Dan Smith was a distant second with 4.49 million.

John Hennigan made some serious final tables moves by going from fourth in chips (2.4 million) to the chip leader. He held a 4:3 chip advantage over Mizrachi when heads-up play began. But the latter had everything go his way during the heads-up portion.

“I never had big swings this whole tournament,” Mizrachi explained. “All the cards went my way. I hit a bunch of hands. Everything went my way. I just won every pot.”

2018 WSOP $50k Poker Players Championship Final Table Results

1. Michael Mizrachi – $1,239,126
2. John Hennigan – $765,837
3. Dan Smith – $521,782
4. Mike Leah – $364,197
5. Benny Glaser – $260,578
6. Aaron Katz – $191,234

John Hennigan Wins 2018 WSOP $10k HORSE – Earns 5th Gold Bracelet

June 17th, 2018

john-hennigan-2018-wsopJohn Hennigan has beaten a field of 166 players to win the 2018 WSOP $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament. This Event #27 victory gives the 47-year-old his fifth-career gold bracelet.

Hennigan now joins David Chiu, Allen Cunningham, John Juanda, Jason Mercier, Scotty Nguyen and Stu Ungar as other players who’ve won five WSOP bracelets.

In addition to joining these legends on another bracelet tier, Hennigan also added a $414,692 first-place payout to his bankroll.

Hennigan Survives Tilt to Take Down Event #27 HORSE

Following the tournament, Hennigan noted how fourth-place finisher Iraj Parvizi was really making things difficult on him and other players.

“It was a high-pressure final table. Iraj (Parvizi) yesterday was really putting everybody on tilt, me especially,” said Hennigan.

“The only guy I thought that held it together was David Baker. He played a great tournament in my opinion. It was a good learning experience for me because I was so tilted and kind of fell apart and got saved by the deck really. I had some very lucky situations when I was short, and it’s just a really nice win.”

Hennigan entered the final table eighth in chips. And he again brought up Parvizi, saying how the British amateur’s wild playing style kept everybody guessing.

“He (Parvizi) is getting in these big pots with not very good hands, and we’re all trying to play tight and last, and now he’s busting people out or killing their stack with kind of unorthodox, to say the least, plays,” recalled Hennigan.

“The tilt was born there and I was not immune to it. I can’t say enough about how well David Baker held up under that. He really played Iraj well and the rest of us didn’t.”

Heads-Up between Hennigan and Baker

Baker knocked Parvizi out in fourth, while Hennigan would deal the defining blow to Lee Salem (third place). The 5-time WSOP champion held a 5-to-3 chip advantage over Baker when heads-up play began.

Hennigan played well enough to reduce “Bakes” to one big blind. The latter was forced to shove with A-6, which actually put him ahead of Hennigan (J-3). But the latter benefited from a T-3-2-Q-Q board, which sealed his victory.

2018 WSOP $10k HORSE Final Table

1. John Hennigan – $414,692
2. David Baker – $256,297
3. Lee Salem – $179,216
4. Iraj Parvizi – $127,724
5. Randy Ohel – $92,808
6. Albert Daher – $68,783
7. Daniel Zack – $52,016
8. Michael Noori – $40,155

Brazil’s Roberly Felicio Wins 2018 WSOP Colossus and $1 Million

June 10th, 2018

roberly-felicio-wsop-colossus-1The 2018 WSOP Colossus was once again a massive event, drawing 13,070 players and featuring a $1 million top prize. Brazil’s Roberly Felicio was able to navigate through this huge field and on to the seven-figure top prize.

Felicio is just the fourth Brazilian to win a WSOP gold bracelet. He joins Alexander Gomes (2008), Andre Akkari (2011), and Thiago Nishijim (2015) in achieving this honor. But Felicio’s victory is the most high profile out of this group, because it came in the Colossus.

“I’m very happy, it was a tough final table with tough opponents,” said Felicio after the win. “Heads-up was very emotional. But I’m very excited to take home my first bracelet, I still can’t believe it.”

Overview of the 2018 WSOP Colossus

The $565 buy-in, no-limit hold’em Colossus offered 1,754 payouts. Some of the notable players who cashed in the tournament include Phil Ivey (533rd, $2,048), Eric Baldwin (165th, $3,754), Men Nguyen (108th, $3,754), Valentin Vornicu (77th, $6,366), Andrey Zaichenko (50th, $11,483), and Kurt Jewell in (26th, $22,003).

roberly-felicio-wsop-colossusSang Liu had the chip lead with 18.2 million when the final table commenced. Meanwhile, Felicio had one of the middle stacks with 4.7 million chips.

Seven Jones (9th), John Racener (8th), and Gunther Dumsky (7th) went out in quick fashion. Song Choe, who eliminated all three players, ran into trouble himself and was eliminated in 6th place.

Five-handed play lasted for three hours. But there was finally a break in the action, when Liu knocked out Timothy Miles (5th).

Another four hours went by before Scott Margereson went out in 4th place. Liu also eliminated Joe Wurtzel (3rd) to set the heads-up match with Felicio.

Heads-Up Play in the 2018 Coloussus

Despite making multiple eliminations on the final table, Liu was only even with Felicio when heads-up play began.The two battled for roughly 40 hands, before Felicio (A-J) and Liu (A-6) each went all-in. The board (5-4-2-10-Q) missed both players, ensuring Felicio of the victory.

“It was a wonderful experience,” said the Brazilian. “I studied a lot and had a great coach in Felipe Ramos.

“I remember sitting down with Andre Akkari for the first time, I was shaking. And now I have a bracelet, just like him, and I still haven’t comprehended it.”

2018 WSOP Colossus Final Table Results

1. Roberly Felício (Braz) $1,000,000
2. Sang Liu (USA) $500,000
3. Joel Wurtzel (USA) $300,000
4. Scott Margereson (ENG) $220,040
5. Timothy Miles (USA) $166,091
6. Song Choe (USA) $126,158
7. Gunther Dumsky (GER) $96,431
8. John Racener (USA) $74,178
9. Steven Jones (USA) $57,425

Victor Ramdin Leaves PokerStars

June 5th, 2018

victor-ramdin-leaves-pokerstarsVictor Ramdin is parting ways with PokerStars. The New York-based pro spent 12 years as a sponsored PokerStars player.

The news comes via Kevin Matthews, the forum community manager at PocketFives. Ramdin later confirmed that he’ll be leaving his long-time sponsor through the following message:

“PokerStars gave a lot back to me. They featured me at events and gave me great exposure on their blog. They were a major contributor to my favorite charities, including giving a lot of support to my medical outreach efforts in my birth country of Guyana.

“And overall, they made me proud to be part of a team of generous, smart, talented professionals who love their jobs.”

Why is Ramdin No Longer Sponsored by PokerStars?

Living in New York, Ramdin was hit hard by the events of Black Friday. Nevertheless, he worked hard to maintain his relationship with PokerStars by playing in tournaments across the globe.

But he’s been less into poker in recent years and has played in fewer tournaments. Ramdin also joked about the rash of other pros that left PokerStars this year. “If PokerStars comes by, tell them I’m not home,” he tweeted.

Other pros who’ve parted with the company in 2018 include Bertrand Grospellier, Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier, and Felipe Ramos.

Ramdin Has a Strong Poker Resume

Victor Ramdin first got involved with poker in 2002, after watching people playing at a bar. He dove head-first into the game and earned his first World Series of Poker cash in 2003.

Ramdin has accumulated $4,378,710 in live poker tournament winnings up to this point. He had a solid run from 2003 to 2012, where he often cashed for six figures. 2006 was Ramdin’s best year, when he collected $1,630,402 in winnings.

But he failed to break the six-figure mark from 2013 to 2017. It wasn’t until this year that Ramdin picked up his winnings again. He finished second in the 2018 partypoker MILLIONS North America High Roller, collecting $141,673 in the process.

Perhaps Ramdin’s solid streak of results lately made him rethink the sponsorship route. Now he can play poker on his own terms.

Entrepreneurs Excited about India’s Online Poker Market

May 22nd, 2018

india-poker-entrepreneursPoker is booming in India, and many entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the opportunity. This includes Amit Kanodia, co-founder and CEO of MadOverPoker.

Kanodia told Entrepreneur that the Indian poker market is beginning to take on many characteristics of the global game. This includes poker-dedicated media outlets, coaches, online affiliates, and backers.

“This boom has resulted in the rise of many ‘facilitator’ business models that contribute to the growth of poker industry and have created a poker ecosystem in itself,” said Kanodia.

Entrepreneurs Launching Multi-Gaming Platforms

Some entrepreneurs aren’t just offering online poker, but rather a multitude of gaming options. This includes Amin Rozani, who launched a mixture of skill-based games on Spartan Poker.

“This is where games of skill like poker come in and Indian entrepreneurs are looking to capitalize on this growing trend,” said Rozani.

“The online platform is especially useful in offering games like poker, rummy, fantasy sports and more because of the sheer convenience of game play.”

Rozani added that the convenience of Spartan Poker and other online poker platforms offer an attractive way to enjoy these games.

The focus is on giving players the most convenient and user friendly experience possible,” he explained.

“The goal of the entrepreneur is to popularize the sport of poker, provide means for players to improve their knowledge and skills along with the best possible online platforms which couple with great customer service will facilitate a satisfying gaming experience for the user.”

Expect Poker to Keep Booming in India

India still has a ways to go in terms of poker legalization. This being said, the entrepreneurs that are currently taking advantage of the limited market could seen an even bigger boom in the future.

Once internet poker is legal across the country, it’ll give businesses access to a market of 1.324 billion people.