Archive for the ‘Poker News’ Category

Victor Ramdin Leaves PokerStars

Tuesday, 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.

Patrik Antonius Having Strong Year in 2018

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

patrik-antonius-pokerPatrik Antonius hadn’t been very active in live poker tournaments in recent years. But he’s returned to the live scene with a vengeance in 2018.

The Finnish poker pro has won over $4.5 million in tournaments this year. And what’s impressive is that we’re not even halfway through 2018.

Many people recognize Antonius from his online exploits and TV poker appearances. The Finn has over $17 million in online poker cash winnings, which is a record. But he’s been focusing a lot of his attention on tourneys this year and it’s paying off.

Antonius Started Out Hot

Antonius began 2018 with a victory in the €25,500 PartyPoker Millions Super High Roller Rozvadov. He beat Joao Simao heads up to earn the $520,610 top payout.

He then traveled to the HK$400,000 Super High Roller APPT Macau event and took sixth place ($204,378). He also finished runner-up in the HK$2 million Super High Roller Bowl to earn $3.15 million.

Antonius wasn’t done yet, because he also took third in the €51,000 Party Poker Millions Super High Roller Barcelona and collected $491,117 in April. He followed this up by finishing sixth place in the €5,300 APT Monte Carlo Main Event ($168,280).

First on Finland’s All Time Tournament Winnings List

Although he’s spent much of his career in live and online cash games, Patrik Antonius has managed to claim the title of Finland’s all-time leader in live tournament winnings.

Juha Helppi began the year in the top spot with $7,194,815 in winnings. But Antonius has surged past Helppi with $11,337,117.

What’s interesting about all this is that we’re only in May, which means that Antonius has over six months to continue adding to his big total. That said, it’ll be fun to continue watching the Finn to see how he performs the rest of the way.

Mark Cuban Sees Online Poker Benefiting from Legal Sports Betting

Friday, May 18th, 2018

mark-cuban-mavericksThe United States Supreme Court recently voted to repeal a federal ban on sports betting. This opens the way for states to decide if they want legal sports gambling.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes that legal sports betting is also a good thing for online poker. During an interview with CNBC, Cuban was asked if he thinks that sports wagering will follow the same slow regulation path as online poker.

“I’m not a constitutional lawyer, but, you can see online poker all of a sudden,” he said. “…Someone is going to start up online poker again.”

Cuban added, “It’s going to be a [gambling] free-for-all. I guess that’s the only thing you can say with certainty.”

Basically, Cuban sees sports betting as a gateway that helps many other forms of gambling be pushed through.

Cuban Excited about the Implications of Sports Betting

Mark Cuban doesn’t have much stake in the online gaming world. Therefore, he was just giving his honest opinion of what to expect as far as internet poker.

But he does figure to benefit from the Supreme Court’s ruling on sports betting. He noted that major professional sports franchises may “double” in value thanks to the decision.

Cuban’s Mavericks franchise is worth $1.45 billion. Assuming his prediction is right, the team’s net worth would increase to $2.9 billion in the future.

Why Does Cuban Think Sports Betting will Help the Mavericks?

The reason why Cuban believes that sports betting will help professional franchises is due to the increased fan interest. Sports fans are more likely to watch games when they have a vested interest. And legal sports betting gives them the option to put down bets and watch the games afterward. The end result will likely be more fan attention and revenue for America’s sports leagues.

You can watch his entire CNBC interview below, with the online poker discussion beginning around 7:20 mark.

Japan Floats Weird Rule for Poker Rooms

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

japan-poker-room-rulesJapan was flirting with a poker ban in their upcoming land-based casinos. They’ve since ditched this idea, but lawmakers have floated a strange rule for poker rooms.

Japan already has legislation in place that covers their casinos. But the government is currently hashing out a separate bill that would cover poker and other gambling related details.

The strangest rule that’s been proposed is one that would ban acquaintances from playing at the same poker table. The idea is clear: they want to prevent colluding among friends.

But it seems nearly impossible to identify friends and enforce this rule. After all, acquaintances can just pretend like they don’t know each other.

American poker rooms have tried to prevent buddies from sitting together in the past. But the same venues have given up on the concept for multiple reasons.

As mentioned above, it’s nearly impossible to enforce such a measure. Furthermore, keeping friends from sitting at the poker table limits the game’s appeal.

Why did Japan Want to Ban Poker?

japan-poker-roomsJapanese lawmakers didn’t offer a concrete reason on why they wanted to ban poker while allowing casino games. Perhaps they thought that it would be more difficult to monitor poker compared to house-banked games like baccarat, blackjack, and craps.

Another potential reason why is that poker doesn’t bring in the same type of revenue as traditional casino games. Therefore, government officials may have thought that it would’ve been easier to just ban the game altogether.

In any case, Japanese lawmakers have dropped the idea of banning poker from their new regulated casino market. This means that both locals and visitors will be able to enjoy poker in Japan’s multimillion dollar casino complexes.

Why did Japan Decide to Allow Poker?

According to the The Mainichi, the government liked the idea that casinos could host major poker tournament events. In turn, this figures to attract more tourism from other countries.

Anybody who’s watched the growth of poker in Europe, Asia, and Australia can understand how tournaments help tourism. This is especially the case with the World Series of Poker Europe, which draws thousands of players from around the globe.

As for Japan’s casino market, their “integrated resorts” are designed with tourism in mind. Foreigners can get into these complexes for free. Meanwhile, locals will need to pay an entry fee, much like Singapore imposes in their casinos.

Phil Ivey Plans to Play in 2018 WSOP

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

phil-ivey-short-deckPhil Ivey hasn’t cashed in a World Series of Poker event since 2014. But after a string of successful tournament finishes in Asia, Ivey is excited about competing in the 2018 WSOP this summer. The 10-time WSOP champ recently spoke with PokerNews about his plans.

“I plan on playing this year,” he said. “I want to start playing some more tournaments. I kind of announced that at the beginning of the year. I plan on playing the World Series of Poker.”

The 41-year-old primarily plays mixed games at the WSOP. And this year should be no different, as he looks to add to his bracelet collection.

Ivey Enjoying Short Deck Hold’em

Many poker players in Asia have gotten into Short Deck Hold’em, which omits deuces, threes, fours, and fives from the deck. This leaves just 36 cards in the traditional 52-card deck.

“I started recently with short deck in the last year and a half,” said Ivey, “It’s become quickly one of my favorite games.”

It hasn’t taken him long to become a star in this poker variation. He competed at the 2018 Triton Poker Series, winning a HK$250k Short Deck event (US$604,992) and finishing third in a HK$1 million tourney (US$1.66 million).

“I think the tournament was great,” Ivey said of the tourney that he won. “The structure was great, it allowed for a lot of play at the end.”

He added, “It was pretty crazy in the beginning, but I think it allowed for a longer final table and a pretty long head up match.”

Ivey Second on All Time Bracelet List

The big story when Ivey plays in the 2018 WSOP will be his quest for an 11th gold bracelet. He’s currently in a three-way tie with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, both of whom also have 10 bracelets.

Phil Hellmuth is the all-time leader with 14 gold bracelets. Ivey would need a record WSOP run to tie this mark in 2018.

Phil Ivey Wins Montenegro Short Deck Event and $605k

Monday, May 14th, 2018

phil-ivey-wins-short-deckPhil Ivey doesn’t play as much poker as he used to. That said, it was sweet to see the 10-time WSOP champion take down a high-roller tournament recently.

Ivey competed in a HK$250,000 (US$32,000) NL Hold’em Short Deck tournament at the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series Montenegro. The 41-year-old topped a field of 61 players to win a first-place prize worth HK$4,749,200 (US$604,992).

Ivey, who’s played live tournaments sparingly since 2013, said that he looks forward to playing more in the future.

“It still feels good, I am looking forward to the events with bigger prize pools and hope to win some more,” said Ivey.

Thanks to Ivey’s latest win, he’s now up to $24,461,025  in live tournament winnings. This places him 7th on the all-time live tournament list.

What is the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series?

The Triton Super High Roller Series is a high stakes tournament created by PartyPoker LIVE. They’re currently holding an event at the Maestral Resort & Casino in Budva, Montenegro.

And one of the most-interesting tournaments here is the Short Deck Ante Only event, which removes 2 through 5 from the deck. This leaves just 36 total cards, with ace counting as a 5 as well.

Ivey had no trouble adjusting to this new event and played very well on the final table to grab his top payout. He beat fellow high stakes pro Dan Cates heads up to seal his tournament win. You can see the full results below.

2018 Triton Super High Roller Series Montenegro HK$250k Short Deck Final Table

1. Phil Ivey (USA) HK$4,749,200 ($604,977)
2. Dan Cates (USA) HK$3,199,000 ($407,505)
3. Gabe Patgorski (USA) HK$1,937,000 ($246,745)
4. Jason Koon (USA) HK$1,334,000 ($169,932)
5. Furkat Rakhimov (RUS) HK$918,000 ($116,939)
6. Ivan Leow (MLY) HK$689,000 ($87,768)
7. Alan Sass (USA) HK$560,000 ($71,336)
8. Wai Kin Yong (MLY) HK$488,000 ($62,164)
9. Mikhail Smirnov (RUS) HK$473,000 ($60,253)

Gordon Vayo Sues PokerStars for $692k SCOOP Prize

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

gordon-vayo-pokerstars-lawsuitGordon Vayo thought he was in for a big payday after winning $692,461 in a 2017 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) event. But PokerStars has been withholding the money under grounds that Vayo violated their terms by playing from the US.

The online poker pro has filed a lawsuit against the world’s largest poker site in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Vayo claims that he actually won the event from Canada, and PokStars is acting in bad faith.

He offered the following statement:

“I am deeply disappointed it has come to this, but feel that taking legal action is necessary to protect my rights as well as those of other PokerStars players who are in my situation, but may not have the means to get their message out and protect themselves against the unwarranted bullying tactics that I have experienced during this ordeal.”

Vayo Accused of Winning SCOOP Event from LA

Vayo is a Los Angeles-based poker pro who’s won over $6.23 million in live tournaments along with another $2.43 million in online poker tournaments. He took down the PokerStars SCOOP-01-H: $1,050 NLHE Phased event last spring. The top payout was $1 million, but he worked out a five-way deal beforehand that paid him $692k.

Vayo lives part-time in Ottawa, Canada so he can play at PokerStars and other large sites that are off limits to Americans. But Stars believes that he may have used a virtual private network (VPN) to play from his LA home.

The 2016 WSOP Main Event runner-up, meanwhile, claims that he was indeed playing from Ottawa. Unlike Americans, Canadians are still welcome at PokerStars. The poker site states that they conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that he was using a VPN.

Vayo Claims PokerStars Harassed Him During Investigation

The 29-year-old’s civil suit claims that PokerStars froze his account on grounds of suspicious activity. They then launched an intrusive investigation that may have crossed the lines of harassment. Here’s more from the lawsuit:

“What ensued was a nearly year-long inquest, during which Defendant engaged in an appalling campaign of harassment, prying into every aspect of Mr. Vayo’s record, demanding Mr. Vayo produce detailed retroactive proof of his location, and even opening meritless investigations into his friends’ accounts, in order to gin up a pretext for not paying Mr. Vayo what he had won.”

America’s Cardroom Called to Deal with Cheaters

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

americas-cardroom-closes-accountsAmericas Cardroom has thrived under the United States’ unregulated online poker market. But lately, they’ve been taking heat from players who are unhappy with superusing, collusion, and multi-accounting.

Poker YouTuber Joe Ingram recently attacked this very issue, railing on how America’s Cardroom is home to rampant cheating. He made claims that a group of cheaters has been taking advantage of a loophole in ACR’s late registration tournaments.

ACR Claims that They’re Investigating Cheating Incidents

ACR is trying to protect their brand. And their network, the Winning Poker Network (WPN), is committed to “thoroughly investigating all claims recently brought to our attention through social media channels regarding alleged unfair gameplay practices from certain accounts on network brands.”

The WPN has also identified a player who clearly violated their terms and has had their account closed. Ingram claims that refunds could soon be issues for affected players:

“The Winning Poker Network Game Integrity Department has investigated and recently uncovered unfair gameplay practices carried out by a player on the WPN that breached our terms and conditions. While we cannot publicly disclose the name, specific activity, or account associated with this offense, we have closed access to this player’s account. This email reflects that we are currently refunding any account that was potentially affected, including yours.”

America’s Cardroom Also Dealing with DDoS Attacks

As if things aren’t bad enough for ACR, they’re also the target of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. These DDoS attacks are being carried out by criminals who want to blackmail the company into giving them money.

ACR is trying to avoid giving into these demands. They’ve done their best to keep tournaments running in the meantime. But they’ve also had to cancel other events. And this has drawn the ire of players who are already questioning the site.

Leon Tsoukernik and Matt Kirk Settle $2m Poker Debt

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

Last year, Australian poker pro Matt Kirk accused Kings Casino Rozvadov owner Leon Tsoukernik of failing to pay up on a $2 million poker debt. Tsoukernik allegedly borrowed $2 million during a high-stakes duel with Kirk and lost the money. He then refused to pay back the loan afterward.

Kirk filed a lawsuit against Tsoukernik in pursuit of the money. But luckily, the two sides have settled the debt out of court and are both happy with the result.

What Sparked Kirk’s Poker Lawsuit?

This dispute first arose in May 2017, when Kirk and Tsoukernik played each other in a high-stakes poker game at the ARIA. The casino owner was drinking heavily and losing to his more-skilled opponent. Tsoukernik, who didn’t have enough cash on him at the time, borrowed millions more from Kirk to keep the match going.

Kirk ended the game with a $3 million profit, but he only saw $1 million of the amount initially. Seeking the remaining $2 million, he filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s Clark County court.

A judge originally ruled that the verbal gambling debt didn’t count as an enforceable contract. Kirk then filed another suit against Tsoukernik for “fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment.”

Tsoukernik Blamed ARIA and Kirk

Tsoukernik believed that he was a victim in the case. He filed a countersuit against Kirk for $10 million. The document blamed two parties:

1) The ARIA for serving him too much alcohol.
2) Kirk for taking advantage of the situation.

Tsoukernik’s lawsuit alleged that he’d “been harmed and has suffered, among other things, damages, pain and suffering, humiliation, and emotional distress, in excess of $10 million.” A judge quickly dismissed the countersuit.

PartyPoker Big Game may Have Hastened Resolution

Both Tsoukernik and Kirk played in the PartyPoker Big Game at Montreal’s Playground Casino last month. And this likely sped up a resolution to their dispute.

They met before the Big Game to settle the debt for an undisclosed amount. A TwoPlusTwo thread notes that they made up and came to a mutual agreement.

Once the debt was cleared, Tsoukernik and Kirk got a chance to compete against each other in a $100/$200 NL hold’em game and $4k/$8k PLO game. Tsoukernick fared very well by winning $3.5 million from his opponents. This included taking down a $763,000 pot against Sam Trickett. Kirk, meanwhile, was a big loser in the game after dropping $4.7 million.

Bertrand Grospellier Signs with Partypoker

Friday, April 20th, 2018

bertrand-elky-grospellierFrench poker pro Bertrand Grospellier has signed a deal to represent partypoker. He joins an impressive roster that also includes Fedor Holz, Isaac Haxton, Phillip Gruissem, and Patrick Leonard.

His new duties include helping the brand launch their dot-eu platform, which will share liquidity between France and Spain. Considering that he has the most tournament winnings of any French player with 13,580,523, Grospellier will be perfect for this role. He’ll also interact with customers and see what features/changes they want implemented at partypoker.

“I am extremely enthusiastic about joining partypoker to actively support their efforts to bring back the ‘Poker First’ mentality, live and online,” said Grospellier.

“Our goal is to provide players and fans with an experience they deserve worldwide. Partypoker will be aiming to bring their ambition, expertise and successful model to the .eu market with some big announcements coming soon.”

Partypoker also Happy about Deal

Partypoker Managing Director Tom Waters is ecstatic about adding the top French poker pro of all time to his team.

“We are delighted that ElkY is joining us at partypoker. ElkY has a fantastic profile and has great experience both in France and across the world and this makes him a perfect ambassador for us ahead of the shared liquidity launch,” said Waters.

“We will be looking to translate recent successes we have seen in our dotcom market to the new .eu market and ElkY will be instrumental in helping us to achieve our goals.”

Grospellier Picks Up New Deal After Leaving PokerStars

Bertrand Grospellier has been playing poker for well over a decade. And he’s amassed some impressive accomplishments during this span, including a WPT Festa al Lago win ($1,411,015) and a 2011 WSOP $10k Seven Card Stud Championship victory ($331,639). He’s also won over $1.9 million playing in PokerStars tournaments.

But given that PokerStars has shifted its marketing strategy away from live tournament pro sponsorships, Grospellier split from his long-time sponsor. It only took him a few months to find a new sponsor in partypoker.