Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

Poker Player who lost $300k gives Cabbie a Big Reward

Friday, December 27th, 2013

The most heartwarming poker story to come out of this holiday season involves a Las Vegas cabbie named Gerardo Gamboa. After taking a poker pro from the Cosmopolitan to Palms Place, Gamboa discovered that the player left a brown bag. Thinking it was probably just chocolates, the cabbie opened up the bag and was shocked to find six bundles of $100 bills – adding up to $300,000!

Gamboa proved to be a very honest man by contacting his cab company, Yellow Checker Star, and telling them about the money. The poker player had also been in contact with Yellow Checker Star and was very relieved when they told him that the cash had been returned. It took the police over four hours to verify the player, seeing as how he showed up with no identification. But once police were able to verify the “famous professional poker player,” the happy story was complete.

Only…it wasn’t truly complete until now, because the poker player gave Gamboa a $10,000 reward today. After the poker pro met Gamboa a few days ago at Yellow Checker Star’s main office, he got the cabbie’s contact details for the purpose of rewarding him. And it looks like the player came through in a big way after delivering the $10k reward!

This isn’t the only compensation that Gamboa got for doing the right thing. His company also gave him a $1,000 bonus and a steak dinner for two at a nice restaurant.

Beyond all of the monetary rewards that the cabbie received, it seems that he’s just as grateful for having the opportunity to do the right thing. “I don’t care from $10 to higher. My dignity is not for sale, and that’s the way I am. That’s the way our parents taught us when I was a kid,” he said.

Gamboa doesn’t exactly seem like the type of guy who returned the $300k while seeking fame and fortune. But the $11k that he did get certainly seems like a well-deserved reward.

Doyle Brunson’s Montana Summer Home featured on ESPN

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

For years the poker world has heard about Doyle Brunson’s Montana summer home. The 10-time WSOP gold bracelet winner visits this beautiful piece of property to get away from the craziness of Las Vegas. Now we get an in-depth look at Brunson’s summer getaway thanks to ESPN.

The world’s leading sports network featured the house on their coverage of the 2013 WSOP. During the segment, we get to hear about how Brunson got the idea to visit Montana from his best friend, poker legend Chip Reese. After visiting, Brunson fell in love with Montana and eventually decided to get his own place there.

One of his favorite things about going to the summer home is that he gets a break from poker and the world in general. As Brunson said, it’s rejuvenating to visit his Montana home.

Another thing that the Texas Dolly made sure to express during the WSOP segment is how important family is to him. “I think that people who don’t have family are really missing out on life,” said Brunson.

Those who watch the video will get to see plenty of lovely shots of the Montana countryside along with some views of Brunson’s summer home. If you’re a fan of the 80-year-old, it’s definitely worth checking out the following video. And seeing as how it is still summertime, you can bet that Doyle is probably lounging around his vacation home as we speak.

Mark Newhouse looking for Redemption at 2013 WSOP Main Event

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Eight years ago, Mark Newhouse was on the path to poker stardom. Three months after final tabling his first WSOP event, the 21-year-old went on to win the 2006 WPT Borgata Poker Open along with $1,519,020. With a bankroll worth well over a million dollars, Newhouse took his game to the L.A. Commerce Casino.

Newhouse’s plan was to spin his profits into an even larger bankroll through cash games at the Commerce. Unfortunately things didn’t work out quite as planned since the young grinder “lost his mind” and set his money “on fire.” As Newhouse attests to, he wasn’t very smart with his winnings and this cost him.

But the Chapel Hill, North Carolina native never gave up on poker. He’s continued to play professionally for the past decade through a mix of online games and traveling between L.A and Las Vegas. He’s sporadically played tournaments during this time as well and decided to enter the 2013 WSOP Main Event.

Throughout the 2013 ME, Newhouse looked like a determined man, never giving up on his bid for the final table. And Newhouse managed to do the unthinkable by battling through 6,358 players and into the November Nine. “I’m feeling great, it was a crazy day,” he said after making the final table. “Anyone who knows me and who plays poker with me on a regular basis knows I’m not a patient person, but there’s so much on the line, you just have to do it sometimes.”

With 7,350,000 chips, Newhouse’s odds of winning the 2013 Main Event aren’t the greatest. He’s miles away from chip leader J.C. Tran (38 million chips) and the second shortest overall stack at the final table. But win or lose, Newhouse has already accomplished quite a bit just by making it this far. And even if he busts out in ninth place, he’s still guaranteed a $733,224 payout.

Gus Hansen loses Passport, prevented from playing 2013 WSOP

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The 2013 World Series of Poker is one-third of the way finished and almost all of poker’s biggest names are in attendance…the keyword being “almost” every star player.

Gus Hansen has been one of the most notable absentees from the 2013 WSOP thus far, and he’s got a very good reason for missing the early portion. A couple of weeks ago, the Great Dane was in Macau to play the HK$1 million (US$130,000) buy-in GuangDong Ltd Asia Millions Main Event. After finishing up at the 2013 GDAM, Hansen was all set to travel to the United States for the WSOP. But there was just one problem – he lost his passport.

As PokerNYHederne reported, Hansen was traveling in a Hong Kong taxi and somehow lost his passport in the cab. Unable to recover this important document, the Danish poker star was prevented from flying to the US. He passed the time by playing high stakes FLO8 and 2-7 Triple Draw games at Full Tilt Poker and making $176,696 in profits.

After a week of being stuck in Hong Kong, Hansen obtained a new passport and has finally departed for Las Vegas. Now he’ll have a chance to build on his very impressive career, which includes $11,210,072 in live poker tournament winnings – $1,192,748 of which has come through WSOP cashes.

In proportion to his overall tourney winnings, Hansen’s single WSOP gold bracelet isn’t that great. So earning another bracelet will definitely be on the Dane’s mind when he takes the felt at the Rio.

Of course, you can’t measure Hansen’s career in terms of bracelets since he has some other very notable accomplishments. He became the first man to win three World Poker Tour titles, doing so in less than a year’s time. Plus Hansen’s $11.2 million in tournament earnings rank first on Denmark’s all-time list, which is no small feat when you consider that 2008 WSOP Main Event champ Peter Eastgate ($11.13 million) is also Danish.

Daniel Negreanu picks well on Millionaire Matchmaker

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

A few weeks ago, we discussed how Daniel Negreanu was set to appear on the popular Bravo reality show “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” Well that day finally came as KidPoker sought out the advice of show host Patti Stangler in hopes of finding true love.

In the video introduction that he sent to Patti, Negreanu let her know that he’d dated a woman for four years, only to find out that “she’d been getting around” with other men. Because he was still hurt from this relationship, Stangler nicknamed him “Wounded Wally.”

Next up was an interesting trip to an astrologist, where the four-time WSOP champ learned that he wasn’t supposed to find his soulmate until at least 40 years old. The cosmic alignments must have been right in this case because Negreanu is 38 and still looking for that special lady.

After visiting the astrologist, Daniel went to a mixer that was set up by Stangler. The goal here was for Negreanu to meet a number of gorgeous women and find the one with an “Anna Farris” type of personality. He was eventually able to find one girl that met this ideal, and he took her on a date to Las Vegas.

The two seemed to hit it off right away as they checked out the set of a Vegas show and played blackjack. The latter actually led to the couple’s first kiss, and they only become more enamored with each other from here. Negreanu and his new blonde lover ended up spending a sexless night (at Patti’s request)  together at his Vegas house – thus sealing their perfect match. If you’re interested in seeing a few scenes from the episode, you can check out the video below:

Howard Lederer blew Millions on Cars and Homes

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Howard Lederer is no doubt one of the most hated men in the poker world – and for good reason. Along with several other former Full Tilt Poker bosses, Lederer pillaged millions of dollars from player accounts and was a huge reason why FTP couldn’t pay back its members post-Black Friday. So if you couldn’t stand “The Professor” now, you’re really going to hate him after hearing where the money went.

According to an amended civil suit brought by the US Department of Justice, Lederer spent much of the $44 million he allegedly had access to on exotic cars and multi-million dollar properties. So those who’ve been waiting on their $10,000 bankroll can take comfort in knowing that their money went to a good cause.

Getting further into the details on Lederer’s purchases, he bought the following cars over the past few years: 2008 Maserati GranTurismo, 2008 Audi Q7, 2009 Audi A8, 2012 Audi A8-L and a 1965 Shelby Cobra. Being the bargain hunter that he is, Lederer traded in the Maserati when buying the 2012 Audi and made several expensive repairs to the Shelby Cobra.

As for his properties, the once-reputable poker pro paid $3 million to the Merlin Contracting & Development company to build his primary residence. Lederer gave another $7 million to various companies for additional work and upgrades to the Las Vegas mansion. As if this isn’t enough, he also owned six other pieces of pricey real estate.

Taking all of the ill-gotten assets into account, it’s no wonder why the US Department of Justice is seeking $42.5 million in retribution in their civil suit. Based on this high amount, it seems likely that Lederer would be cleaned out if he loses the civil suit. Other Full Tilt figures who might be paying up include Chris Ferguson ($42 million), Ray Bitar ($41m) and Rafael Furst ($12m).

Jesse Sylvia – 2012 Main Event Leader

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

A few days ago, we discussed how the 2012 WSOP Main Event final table has officially been decided. Furthermore, little known Jesse Sylvia currently leads this group with 43,875,000 chips, which puts him in the best position to win the $8.5 million first place prize. Taking this fact into account, it’s no wonder why much of the poker community is currently interested in Sylvia. We’re also pretty interested in him, which is why we’ve discussed the current 2012 Main Event leader below.

Strange Origins

Most people spend their lives trying to get a place on Martha’s Vineyard island in Massachusetts. However, Sylvia moved away from the beautiful vacation spot in order to further his poker career.

The Tisbury, Massachusetts native spent his high school days waiting tables and playing online poker on Martha’s Vineyard. Some time after graduation, Sylvia chose to move to Las Vegas because he wanted a better live poker scene. Following his move to Sin City, Sylvia has made a good living through live cash games.

First Poker Tournament Success

While Jesse Sylvia has no doubt proven himself in the mid-stakes cash games in Las Vegas, he’s just now coming into some poker tournament success. Before bolting into the Main Event final table lead, his largest cash of $15,078 came in a 2008 Mega Stack Series side event. He also took 175th in a 2011 WSOP NLHE tourney, which earned him $2,954.

The average grinder wouldn’t mind either of these cashes; however, it’s hardly enough to make one a poker star. But a Main Event title…..now that’s definitely a different circumstance. Of course, we may be getting ahead of ourselves here because Sylvia still has to win the WSOP Main Event, which has proven to be a tall order for chip leaders in the past. But Sylvia no doubt has the experience and skills to win if he runs good.

Ben Lamb, Tom Dwan 2012 WSOP Absences Explained

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Every year, the WSOP is a virtual who’s who of poker since the game’s top pros descend on Las Vegas to compete for gold bracelets, glory, and of course major cash. The 2012 WSOP has certainly been no different – save for the fact that a couple of very notable stars have pretty much been MIA.

One of the world’s top cash game players in Tom Dwan and the 2011 WSOP Player of the Year in Ben Lamb have both been noticeably absent in the headlines this year, which had some people scratching their heads about the matter. However, these absences were recently explained after both players showed up to the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament.

Why Dwan was missing

Tom Dwan has never been one who hangs his hat on poker tournament accomplishments or WSOP gold bracelets. That said, it’s no surprise that he was in Macau for most of the 2012 WSOP playing in the massive cash games there. While people are tight-lipped about what happens in Macau high stakes poker games, rumor has it that the blinds reached $3,500/$7,000 at one point. Apparently, the only thing that brought Dwan back was the $1 million buy-in tourney that he registered for. And it’s been a decent decision so far since he’s ranked 10th in chips (out of 37 remaining players) after Day 1.

Why Ben Lamb was missing

Of all the players missing at the 2012 WSOP, Ben Lamb is no doubt the most puzzling. Actually though he hasn’t really been missing, but rather just dividing his time between cash games and WSOP tournaments. As for the latter, Lamb has yet to run good and cash in any tourneys yet. However – just like Dwan – he too is fairing pretty well after ending Day 1 of the Big One for One Drop with 5.77 million chips (currently 8th).

Daniel Negreanu back in Online Poker

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Like many people who live in the United States, Daniel Negreanu has not been able to play online poker at PokerStars. After all, the world’s largest online poker site pulled out of the American market following the US Department of Justice’s crackdown. Fortunately though, Negreanu was only kept out of the online games at PokerStars for a few months since he moved from Las Vegas to Canada.

Negreanu talked about the big move in his blog at FullContactPoker, and he began the post with the following:

It took a couple days, but I successfully set up shop in Toronto so that I can play on PokerStars again. I already had the Canadian passport, but just like everyone else, I needed to attain the necessary documents then wait for the call from PokerStars security to verify the phone number, and voila! I’m back in action! I jumped right into some $25-$50 PLO 6 max deep with ante games, and within 5 hands I lost my first buy in HAHA.

The last well-noted instance of Negreanu playing online poker was when he took on Viktor “Isildur1” Blom in the PokerStars SuperStar Challenge; Kid Poker lost the first matchup after quickly blowing his $150k buy-in, but he came back to win a rematch after finishing with $25k more than Blom.

Getting back to the blog post, Negreanu got a little controversial as he discussed how little freedom the US is giving people by taking away online poker. The Toronto-born player wrote this excerpt about the subject:

During the Cold War, the “Big, Bad, Communist, U.S.S.R.” was seen as an oppressive regime, while the U.S.A. represented freedom. Who woulda thunk, that to enjoy the freedom of playing poker online you’d have to move away from Los Angeles and and head to Moscow. That’s just bizarre.

Poker has changed dramatically over the last 40 years, and in order to survive, you have to adapt to the newer forms of poker, as well as adapt to new locations. These days, that just means, stay away from the U.S. because poker is on life support, but there are tons, and tons, of games across the globe to choose from.

Seeing as how the US is still in the middle of working out possible poker legislation, it seems like Negreanu is making the right move by going to Toronto now.

Vegas Inc covers Online Poker Move to Canada

Monday, August 8th, 2011

As we discussed at the beginning of August, several prominent online poker pros like Phil Galfond, Cole South and Dan “Jungleman12” Cates have either moved to Canada, or are in the process of moving to Canada. This being said, the website Vegas Inc did a good story on this subject entitled “Exodus of Online Poker Players under way.”

This article revolved around how lots of Las Vegas poker pros are seriously considering going up north because the live poker game just isn’t the same. Vegas Inc wrote the following:

Las Vegas became a favored home base for many poker professionals because of the concentration of big-money poker games, tournaments and all-hours access to amenities and entertainment. Many online players also play poker in casinos — although those who make most of their money in virtual poker rooms have little use for the typically slower and more expensive games offered in Las Vegas casinos.

Tony Dunst, who not only plays online poker professionally, but also works for the WPT, had plenty more to say on why Las Vegas-based online poker pros hate the live game so much. He said, “Live (casino) poker is really slow and monotonous, and the casino setting is generally unpleasant. You’re sitting in a chair for nine hours around people you might not like or want to listen to.”

He finished by adding, “For people like us who play eight to 20 games at a time from the comfort of our own home … your buddies are around and you can watch movies and order food. You can talk strategy and communicate with friends from all over the world.”

Shaun Deeb was also featured heavily in this article, and he looks to be the next big-time pro to make the jump to Canada. Deeb told Vegas Inc, “I used to play poker for 100 hours a week. Every day I sit around I get more motivated to leave.” With over $6 million in online poker tournament winnings, it would be stupid for Deeb not to leave for the greener pastures in Canada.

Assuming you want to see more from the Vegas Inc article, you can check it out here.