Isai Scheinberg Wins UKIPT Isle of Man High Roller Event

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For years, Isai Scheinberg (pictured), arguably the most important man in poker, has stayed out of the spotlight. Over the weekend, though, he stepped out of the shadows, bellied up to the poker table, and took down the £2,200 High Roller Event of the UK and Ireland Poker Tour Isle of Man stop.

Scheinberg founded the online poker behemoth
PokerStarsin 2001 in Costa Rica, but later moved it to Isle of Man. It was not always the giant it is now, sitting behind the likes of PartyPoker and even the old Paradise Poker back before the poker boom took hold.

One of the worst moments in online poker history – the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 in the United States – actually helped PokerStars achieve its current dominant position. While many of its competitors exited the US market, PokerStars remained, scooping up loads of American customers looking for a new online home.

Things changed for Scheinberg in June when PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, by way of their parent company, were purchased by Amaya Gaming for a healthy $4.9 billion. The deal was officially closed on August 1. While he won’t be travelling to the United States any time soon, it seems that his new found riches and free time have loosened Scheinberg up a bit; he now has opportunity to do some more of the things he wants.

Which brings us to the UKIPT Isle of Man High Roller Event. Seeing Scheinberg in public almost feels like seeing Big Foot. We wanted to believe he really existed, we had heard unconfirmed reports of a blurry figure every now and then, but we never had proof. But there Scheinberg was, one of 15 players in a tournament which, while not particularly high-profile, was still one that people followed.

Scheinberg’s appearance was almost certainly not a coincidence. PokerStars is based in the Isle of Man, so not only is that probably his home, but because PokerStars also operates the UKIPT, there were a lot of PokerStars employees in attendance. It was as if Scheinberg was saying, “I may not own this company any more, but I’m still here. Let’s have some fun.”

Normally, PokerStars employees are not allowed to play on the tour, but that rule was lifted for this stop. After Scheinberg’s victory, at least a couple dozen friends, players, and PokerStars employees gathered around him for the traditional “group winner’s” photo, a great shot of a bunch of people who look truly thrilled to be celebrating with their former boss.

Brad Willis did an excellent job painting the picture (shown here) on the PokerStars Blog, writing, “All along, Scheinberg let others have the limelight, and even when it was time for him to step up and collect his trophy, he let himself be surrounded – engulfed, even – by the people he trusted enough to let them be a part of PokerStars. Yes, he is in the picture, but true to his way,it’s the crowd around him that gets the glory.”

Lee Jones, PokerStars’ Head of Poker Communications, who placed 14th in the tour stop’s Main Event, Tweeted about Scheinberg’s victory, calling it a “most epic story.”

He may have been overstating things just a tad, but it was certainly a cool moment and it was fun to see one of the pioneers of the industry have a moment of celebration.

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9 COMMENTS

    • Is it? There is more people in his picture than there was in the tournament…..

      Playing poker with one of the most prolific names in poker ever? Yeah pretty sick

    • Is it? There is more people in his picture than there was in the tournament…..

      If you actually read the article, you wouldn’t look like such an ass here dot dot dot dot dot dot dot

    • I read the article. It’s pretty cool that he won, but he beat out 14 people. Man, what an accomplishment. What is sick about winning a 2 table sit n go?

    • I read the article. It’s pretty cool that he won, but he beat out 14 people. Man, what an accomplishment. What is sick about winning a 2 table sit n go?

      Haters gonna hate

    • I read the article. It’s pretty cool that he won, but he beat out 14 people. Man, what an accomplishment. What is sick about winning a 2 table sit n go?

      I don’t think it’s about an accomplishment one way or the other. I think it’s novel to see a guy like Isai Scheinberg win a tournament of any size on an established tour.

    • I read the article. It’s pretty cool that he won, but he beat out 14 people. Man, what an accomplishment. What is sick about winning a 2 table sit n go?

      He beat out some of the best players out there in one of the first siting we have had of him. I think someone of his magnitude, showing up in public, then actually playing poker, then actually winning it is pretty sick. Just like I think Dan Colman’s run (he just won the Alpha8 event that had 17 players) is also sick considering all the background.

      We are entitled to feel differently, but my opinion on this hasn’t changed, nor do I think yours will. 🙂

    • If you actually read the article, you wouldn’t look like such an ass here dot dot dot dot dot dot dot

      Sh*t sorry man. Didn’t mean to offend you.