May was a jam-packed month in the poker world and there were plenty of major headlines that grabbed our attention. Here are PocketFives’ top five stories from May 2018, including a regulated online poker milestone, a lawsuit against PokerStars, and a handful of record-breaking performances.
It’s a new era for online poker in the United States, and the regulated online poker market has been growing slowly and continues to gain momentum. In May 2018, it received another big boost when Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware went live with interstate online poker on WSOP.com, allowing players from the three states to play against players in other states for the first time in the history of regulated online poker in the United States.
The game-changing development paved the way for more robust interstate online poker series and online gold bracelets events available to those in New Jersey and Delaware.
Gordon Vayo went on an incredible ride in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing second for $4.66 million, but his roller coaster 2018 was even more dramatic.
It started when news dropped in May that Vayo was suing PokerStars for confiscated winnings from a 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker tournament. Vayo’s score was worth nearly $700,000, but PokerStars denied payment of the funds based on suspicions he violated the site’s terms of service and played from the United States.
We’re going to cheat a little bit here and roll two stories into one, but they both involve the record-breaking success of Calvin ‘cal42688’ Anderson in the PokerStars SCOOP.
Anderson, a former #1-ranked online poker player, won his ninth and 10th SCOOP titles in 2018, both of which set records, and he did it in back-to-back days. Anderson first won Event #19 (High): $2,100 Six-Max No-Limit Hold’em for $126,659 and then he captured the Event #26 (High): $1,050 Omaha Eight-or-Better (Eight-Max) title for $26,305.
Anderson wasn’t the only high-profile player to have a record-setting victory in May, but this next player did it in the live realm. Darren Elias, one of the World Poker Tour’s most successful competitors, earned his record-setting fourth WPT title when he took down the WPT $10,000 Bobby Baldwin Classic in May. Elias topped a field of 162 entries to win $387,580. At the final table, Elias battled with an elite group that included Kitty Kuo, Joe McKeehen, Dietrich Fast, Sam Panzica, and Jonathan Little.
Justin Bonomo had himself an absolutely tremendous 2018 and the month of May was huge for him. Just two months after winning the Super High Roller Bowl China for more than $4.8 million, Bonomo won the Super High Roller Bowl IV title in Las Vegas for $5 million. Bonomo topped the field of 48 entries in the $300,000 buy-in tournament and defeated Daniel Negreanu in heads-up play.
The score was part of Bonomo’s $25.4 million year that became the most winningest year in poker history and vaulted Bonomo to the top spot on poker’s all-time money list.
Sweden’s ‘lena900’ Wins May Monthly PLB Title
From a PocketFives Monthly PLB perspective, Sweden’s ‘lena900’ had the best month ever for an online poker player, earning 7,135.57 points. His largest Monthly PLB point win was worth 1,414.21 when he won the $10,300 buy-in Powerfest #53-SHR: $2M Gtd [Championship Event – PKO] for $430,047. ‘Lena900’ also won not one but two SCOOP titles in May. His first was a victory in the SCOOP-25-H: $530+R NLHE, $400K Gtd $102,115 and 748.70 points. His second came in the SCOOP-39-H: $1,050 NLO8 [6-Max], $175K Gtd for $50,391 and 513.81 points.
*Photos courtesy of the World Poker Tour.