Archive for the ‘What’s New’ Category

Antonio Esfandiari Kevin Hart Boxing Match Set

Monday, 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.

Leon Tsoukernick Wins European Poker Championship High Roller and €370k (July 29)

Monday, July 30th, 2018

leon-tsoukernikCasino owner Leon Tsoukernik recently traveled to Austria for the European Poker Championship High Roller. Tsoukernik battled through a 27-player field to win the top prize of €370,000 (US$431,361).

The European Poker Championship High Roller, which was held at Austria’s Casino Velden, featured a €1,025,000 ($1.19 million) prize pool. Aside from the 27 players who entered, there were 17 rebuys added to the prize pool.

Tsoukernik Gives Up WSOP Big One for One Drop Deposit

Leon Tsoukernik pledged a $50,000 deposit to compete in the 2018 WSOP Big One for One Drop. Strangely enough, he forfeited the money so that he could travel back to Europe and play in the High Roller Championship.

“I’m just a fan of this tournament,” he explained. “I have a very positive view on this casino [Velden] which is an absolute jewel, a pearl, of the possibility how beautiful gaming could be in front of this fantastic lake.”

Despite giving up his $50k One Drop deposit, it appears that Tsoukernik made the right decision by coming to the 2018 European Poker Championship High Roller.

Tsoukernik Wins Yet Another Big Tournament

The first time that Tsoukernik won a high roller was in 2016, when he took down the EPT Prague Super High Roller along with $782,453. He also won the Aria Super High Roller Bowl and $1.8 million last year.

Now, he has yet a third major tournament title. This isn’t bad when considering that Tsoukernik’s day job is owning and running Casino Rozvadov in the Czech Republic.

Thanks to his latest victory, Tsoukernik now has over $2.78 million in live poker tournament winnings.

2018 European Poker Championship High Roller

1. Leon Tsoukernik (Czech Republic) – €370,000
2. Manig Loeser (Germany) – €260,000
3. Maxi Lehmanski (Germany) – €185,000
4. Tony G (Lithuania) – €125,000
5. Niki Jedlicka (Ausria) – €85,000

Neymar Jr Finishes 6th at BSOP High Roller

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Neymar Jr. is coming off a semi-disappointing World Cup finish, where Brazil bowed out in the quarterfinals. But the legendary footballer is using poker to relax in the aftermath.

He recently participated in the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) San Paulo High Roller, which featured a R$7,000 (US$1,850) buy-in. The event drew 288 players, with none bigger than the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

Neymar has been playing poker off and on for years. And his experienced showed as he finished 6th place and collected a R$79,440 ($21,470) payout. This is a special event for Neymar, because it’s the first time that he’s ever cashed in a live poker tournament.

How the Final Table Played Out for Neymar

Neymar Jr. battled through the 288-player field to make the nine-player final table. This put him in a strange situation, because he was also supposed to be the best man at a friend’s wedding.

neymar-pokerstarsThe other BSOP Sao Paulo High Roller final table participants agreed that action could be suspended for a day so that Neymar could attend his friend’s wedding.

When action resumed the following day, the 26-year-old survived a few players. But Neymar ultimately busted out in sixth place.

This paved the way for Affif Prado to win the tourney along with a R$317,800 ($85,825) top prize. Prado managed to exceed his previous largest cash, which was a runner-up effort in the $3k High Roller Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) Uruguay for $43,380.

Prado commented on his victory and what it means to play with Neymar afterward:

“It was great to see him play, both for the illustrious person that he is and for the passion he has for the game. It was cool to see him making plays, because he studies, he watches, and to see the interest of a person like Neymar Jr. for this game is very gratifying. Not to mention the boom this has generated today, this is sure to reflect even more for poker.”

Neymar Had a Great Time at the BSOP High Roller

After signing a sponsorship deal with PokerStars, Neymar has been pretty active in the live tournament scene. And it appears that the BSOP Sao Paulo event is one of his favorite tourneys so far.

“It was great to take part in the final table with great players, and was a new and exciting experience,” said Neymar. “I think, for example, about Affif who I had already studied on Youtube. It was an honor to sit next to him.”

He later added, “I do not consider myself just a poker player but a poker lover and I want to improve as a player. The more I play, the more I fall in love. I want to be stronger and stronger.”

BSOP Sao Paulo High Roller Final Table Results

1. Affif Prado – $85,709
2. Oscar Alache – $67,423
3. Daniel Croce – $44,729
4. Bruno Marino – $36,085
5. Wender Oliveira – $28,307
6. Neymar Jr – $21,470
7. Alejandro Lopez – $15,737
8. Eyal Benshimon – $11,562
9. Lucas Tabarin – $9,588

Poker’s Ali Fazeli Pleads Guilty in $6.2m Sports Ticket Scam

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

ali-fazeli-pokerPoker pro Seyad Reza Ali Fazeli has pleaded guilty to wire fraud stemming from a sports ticket scam that earned him $6.2 million.

Fazeli set up a fake ticket reselling business and recruited wealthy investors.

The Californian lied and said that the money was being used to buy and resell tickets to sporting events like the 2017 Super Bowl and 2018 World Cup. Rather than using the money for anything business-related, Fazeli blew the funds at Las Vegas casinos.

FBI Reports that Fazeli Never Bought Any Tickets

Many eventual scams start out with some form of legitimacy, only to go full-blown when the perpetrator can’t afford to pay off debts. But this isn’t the case with Fazeli, because an FBI investigation reveals that he never bought any sporting tickets.

The Orange County resident was arrested on February 14 of this year and indicted in March. He was facing a maximum of 20 years in prison, but he’ll likely serve much less time following the guilty plea.

Sentencing is set for January 28, 2019. The judge has already ordered Fazeli to pay full restitution to the victims.

Fazeli Tricked Prominent Investors and Poker Pros

Ali Fazeli started a fake ticket reselling business called Summit Entertainment, which included an online website called OnlineTickets.com. He convinced investors to buy into the business, including Mel Sembler, a Florida real estate developer who sunk $5 million into Summit Entertainment.

Sembler eventually asked for his profits from the investment. But Fazeli convinced him to let the profits ride until the next payment round. When this money failed to come through, Sembler filed a lawsuit against Fazeli in July 2017.

Poker pros Erik Seidel and Zachary Clark are also believed to have invested as much as $500,000 into Summit Entertainment, while John Juanda contributed $300,000. These poker pros all filed lawsuits against Fazeli at Nevada’s Clark County District Court.

Court Records Detail Fazeli’s Deception

Court records show that Fazeli received investments via bank wire, hence the wire fraud charges. He then proceeded to spend the money on his own wants, rather than putting the funds towards buying tickets. Here’s more from court documents:

“Fazeli failed to provide any profit distribution. Fazeli falsely told the victims that the ticket sales went poorly because the NFL prohibited their resale and that he was negotiating a settlement with the NFL.. Fazeli never purchased large numbers of Super Bowl or World Cup tickets as promised. Instead, he used the money for gambling expenses at Las Vegas Casinos and for personal expenses.”

Chris Moorman Now Has $15m in Online Poker MTT Winnings

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

chris-moorman-15-million-online-pokerChris Moorman has been the all-time leader in online poker tournament winnings for a long time. But he recently outdid even himself by becoming the first player to pass $15 million in online MTT earnings.

The Brit, who currently lives in Las Vegas now, reached this milestone after winning the WSOP.com $25,000 Weekly Sunday event for a $16,929 cash.

Following his victory, Moorman tweeted: “Just won the @WSOPcom $500 6 max to eclipse $15 million in online cashes. Nice way to close out the summer grind @888poker #grindonthemind #6maxlax #888poker.”

From Recreational Player to World Champion

Moorman has won more online poker Triple Crowns than anybody else at 26. And he easily has the most MTT winnings out of any player. All of this is quite impressive when considering where he started.

The 33-year-old recently explained how he didn’t know anything about poker in the beginning. But he continued working on his game and improving to the point where he became a professional.

“I met a couple of players who coached me and gave me tips,” he told Essex Live. “I also read and researched a lot on the game so I could get better.”

Great News for Moorman’s Sponsor

Moorman recently signed a deal with 888poker to serve as one of their ambassadors. And it’s hard finding anybody better to represent your online poker brand than Moorman.

He’s continued his winning ways and has proven himself more accomplished than any other internet tournament player. That said, it’ll be interesting to see what he does from here on out.

Moorman recently took part in the 2018 WSOP and cashed in nine different events. He didn’t have any near wins, but he boosted his live winnings over $5.6 million. The live arena is another place where he continues adding to his tournament earnings total.

Justin Bonomo Becomes Poker’s Biggest Winner with WSOP One Drop Victory

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Justin Bonomo has won the $1 million WSOP Big One for One Drop tournament and a $10 million payout. He defeated fellow poker legend Fedor Holz to claim victory.

But winning the One Drop wasn’t the only honor that Bonomo took down. He has also become the biggest poker winner of all time, now boasting $42,979,591 in live tournament winnings.

Daniel Negreanu has held this honor since 2014. But “Kid Poker” now falls over $3.3 million behind Bonomo after the recent turn of events.

Hard Work Pays Off for Bonomo

Bonomo is ecstatic after winning the 2018 WSOP Big One for One Drop. And he noted that much of the credit belongs to the fact that he’s worked very hard throughout the summer.

“This year has been absolutely incredible. It’s more money than I’ve ever played for in my life,” said Bonomo.

“I buckled down during all my breaks. I studied. Took the day off the day before and studied all day. I took this as seriously as I possibly could and tried to stay as focused as possible. It paid off.”

2018 Has Been a Magical Year for Bonomo

justin-bonomo-super-high-roller-china-victoryAside from the 2018 One Drop win, Justin Bonomo is enjoying an amazing year. He’s also won the Super High Roller Bowl China ($4.82 million) and Super High Roller Bowl Las Vegas ($5 million).

Taking these wins and all other big finishes into account, Bonomo has earned $24,945,435 on the year. This is the most money that anybody has won in a single year of tournament poker.

What’s impressive is that Bonomo still has several months left in the year to continue adding to his total.

2018 WSOP Big One for One Drop Final Table Results

1. Justin Bonomo – $10,000,000
2. Fedor Holz – $6,000,000
3. Dan Smith – $4,000,000
4. Rick Salomon – $2,840,000
5. Byron Kaverman – $2,000,000

Shaun Deeb Wins Second Bracelet at 2018 WSOP

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

shaun-deeb-2018-wsop-two-braceletsShaun Deeb has become the first player to win multiple bracelets at the 2018 WSOP. His latest victory comes via the Event #74: Big Blind Antes $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Championship.

Deeb earned his second bracelet of the summer along with a first-place payout worth $814,179.

“This year has just been ridiculous. To win two tough events, you know,” he said.

“I said it after the PLO and I’m going to say it again. It still isn’t going to sink in until I’m home, but this is exactly the summer I came out here to do.”

This win comes shortly after Deeb was able to take down the $25k PLO Eight-Max tournament.

Deeb’s Path to Victory in Event #74

355 players paid the $10,000 buy-in to compete in this tournament, creating a $3.34 million prize pool. In the end, Paul Volpe and Deeb ended up as the final two players competing for the bracelet.

Each player was trying to win their fourth-career WSOP tournament. And it was a see-saw battle most of the way, with both players grabbing the lead at different points.

But Deeb finally managed to take control of the action. The final hand saw Volple move all-in with Ks-7c and Deeb call with Kc-4c. Volpe got nothing from the board, while Deeb paired his 4 to claim victory.

Deeb Moves Atop Leaderboard in 2018 WSOP

The win in the Big Blind Antes tournament not only gives Deeb multiple bracelets for the 2018, but it also puts him atop the leaderboard.

“I’ve always focused on leaderboards. It’s always been a pride of my grinding ability,” Deeb explained.

“This was an intense year. I still might have to go to Rozvadov because John Hennigan still has chips in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament. It’s like a boxing match.

“Every time I throw a jab, he counters back, and now he’s coming for first place in that horse. He’ll always be in striking distance.”

2018 WSOP Big Blind Antes $10k NL Hold’em Six-Handed Championship

1. Shaun Deeb – $814,179
2. Paul Volpe – $503,196
3. Romain Lewis – $325,842
4. Bin Duan – $216,370
5. Scott Margereson – $147,431
6. John Andress – $103,152

Phil Hellmuth Wins 15th Bracelet at 2018 WSOP

Friday, July 13th, 2018

phil-hellmuth-wsop-2018Phil Hellmuth’s lead in the WSOP bracelet category just got a little bigger. The long-time poker pro recently captured his 15th gold bracelet at the 2018 WSOP.

Hellmuth took down the Event #71: $5,000 NL Hold’em Turbo event to win. This victory now puts him five bracelets ahead of Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Ivey, who are all tied for second place with 10.

How Hellmuth Won Bracelet #15

The $5,000 NLHE Turbo tournament (30-minute blinds) featured 452 entrants and a prize pool worth $2.1 million.

Steven Wolanksy rolled through the tourney and final table, setting the stage for a heads-up battle between he and Hellmuth. Wolanksy held a 3-to-1 chip lead going into their matchup.

The Poker Brat needed some luck at one point. He was all-in with K-T, only to see Wolansky call with K-J. Hellmuth spiked a 10 on the river to take the lead.

The final hand saw Wolansky shove with A-9 and Hellmuth call with pocket 3s. The board was dealt 9-3-2-6-8, giving Hellmuth a set and the victory.

Hellmuth Bringing Positivity to Poker

Following the victory, Hellmuth spoke about grinding out the heads-up match with Wolanksy, despite being down in chips.

“I thought, I have to try and steal more pots against him to give myself a chance because he’s just not giving a chip away,” he said.

“I said ‘let’s not give up, these things can turn.’ When is the next time you’re going to have an opportunity where you’re heads-up for a bracelet? You just need to hang in there and stay strong and I stayed strong. And then, luckily, I hit some cards.”

The Poker Brat, who’s better known for his rants than anything, also talked about how he’s trying to keep things positive in the poker world.

“I’m trying to spread positivity to the world,” he explained. “I want to be remembered in two ways: one, having 24 bracelets and number two, starting the positivity movement and having a lot of influence on people lives.”

2018 WSOP Event #71: $5,000 NLHE Turbo Final Table Results

1. Phil Hellmuth (US) – $485,082
2. Steven Wolansky (US) – $299,807
3. Alan Sternberg (US) – $204,789
4. Aliaksei Boika (Bel) – $142,458
5. Ken Fishman (US) – $100,956
6. Matt Glantz (US) – $72,911
7. Paul Hoefer (GER) – $53,682
8. Ralph Wong (US) – $40,309
9. Eric Hicks (US) – $30,881

Jean-Robert Bellande Wins First Bracelet at 2018 WSOP

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

jean-robert-bellande-first-bracelet-2018Jean-Robert Bellande has managed to become a successful poker pro whose career has spanned over 13 years.

But up until now, the one thing that has always alluded him is a WSOP gold bracelet.

Bellande can now cross this off his list, though, after winning a bracelet in the Event #58: $5,000 NL Hold’em Six-Handed tournament.

How Bellande Won Event #58

The $5k NLHE Six-Handed tournament drew 621 entrants and offered a $2.87 million prize pool.

Bellande had a good run from start to finish, grabbing the chip lead before the final table started. He furthered this lead by eliminating multiple players and setting a heads-up match with Scotland’s Dean Lyall.

JRB held a 2-to-1 chip lead, but would eventually lose his cushion. Lyall even managed to grab a 3-to-1 lead himself at one point.

But Bellande charged back by winning eight straight pots. The final hand saw Lyall shove with A-3, only to be called by JRB’s pocket 3’s. The board gave Bellande an extra three and the victory.

“I had a blast. I had so much fun during this tournament, not just winning but mixing it up,” said JRB.

“Six-handed is cool because you’re always in action. The guys were all fun. We just had a good time. Every day we just had a blast.”

Bellande Surprised to Win in NLHE Six-Handed

JRB admitted after his victory that six-handed hold’em isn’t his strongest game. Nevertheless, he’ll take the victory and finally being able to end his WSOP curse.

“Winning a bracelet in no-limit hold’em is an extra big surprise to me because it’s not my best game,” said Bellande.

“I’ve worked a lot on my game but I know I’m way behind the top-level players in that game. I would never ever dream my first bracelet would be in no-limit hold’em, but it makes it extra exciting for me.”

2018 WSOP $5,000 Six-Handed NLHE Final Table

1. Jean-Robert Bellande – $616,302
2. Dean Lyall – $380,595
3. Andrew Graham – $254,684
4. Tay Nguyen – $173,598
5. Eric Blair – $120,669
6. Kacper Pyzara – $85,570

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

Friday, 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.