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Found 18 results

  1. [caption width="680"] The World Series of Poker is making its return to Europe with a trip to King's Casino in October of this year. (WSOP file photo)[/caption] The long-awaited return of World Series of Poker Europe hits King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic this October and features 11 bracelet events and €17,000,000 in guaranteed prize pools. The official schedule, which starts October 19 and wraps up on November 10 with the final table of the €10,300 buy in €4,000,000 guaranteed Main Event, was announced on Wednesday. In total, there is €17,000,000 in guaranteed prize pools up for grabs starting with the always popular Monster Stack event. The three starting flight tournament carries a €500,000 guarantee for a €1,100 buy in and boasts a 20,000 starting stack, 5,000 more than its Las Vegas counterpart, along with a single re-entry. Among the other events on the WSOPE schedule is the €550 buy-in Colossus, €1,650 single re-entry Six Max, €25,000 re-entry High Roller, and the €111,111 buy in €10,000,000 guaranteed High Roller for One Drop. King’s Casino is owned and operated by Leon Tsoukernik and has grown to worldwide prominence since opening in 2003. With the capacity to fit 160 tables, King’s Casino is more than capable of performing on the game’s biggest stage and Tsoukernik is excited to host the biggest series in the game. “I’m so proud that that the WSOP Europe is coming to King’s,” said Tsoukernik. “I started off with a dream and my dream has come true and I hope poker players have their dreams come true too when they see the sheer size and facilities of King's. With the awarding of WSOP gold bracelets, we have brought a huge piece of Las Vegas to Europe and we aim to deliver Vegas standards with this event too.” More than just a businessman, Tsoukernik is an avid poker player himself and will be participating in this summer’s Super High Roller Bowlat the Aria. The “Fall Festival” at King’s Casino officially starts on September 28, with the World Series of Poker Circuit making a European stop. In total 84 events will be played out over the course of 44 consecutive days, making this stop a can’t miss for any player. The WSOPE Main Event boasts two Day 1s on November 4 and 5 and features a single re-entry option along with a 50,000 starting stack. The Colossus has ten starting flights, a €550 buy in and a €2 million guarantee, making it very likely that the field will eclipse 4,000 entrants and become the largest tournament in European history. The first flight for the Colossus kicks off on October 27. The anticipation is already starting to grow and the Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, Ty Stewart, expects this series to be the best European one yet. “WSOP Europe has struggled to find a permanent home since debuting in 2007 because we could never really find the venue or partner to replicate what we have in Las Vegas,” said Stewart. “But I truly believe in Leon’s vision, his passion and King’s Casino to execute the best WSOP Europe to date. We are bullish in this becoming the European equivalent of the WSOP in Las Vegas, something we have always dreamed of doing when we first began our foray into Europe a decade ago.” #EVENTBUY-INGUARANTEESTART DATESNOTES 1Monster Stack No Limit Hold'em (re-entry next flight)€1,100€500,000Oct. 19, 20, 21Three starting flights 2Pot Limit Omaha (Eight Max, re-entry)€550--Oct. 23, 24Two starting flights 3Super Turbo Bounty No Limit Hold'em (re-entry)€1,100--Oct. 25Two starting flights, €500 bounty on each player 4Six Max No Limit Hold'em (single re-entry)€1,650--Oct. 26* 5Colossus (one re-entry per flight)€550€2,000,000Oct. 27, 28, 29, 30, 3110 starting flights 6Pot Limit Omaha (Eight Max, unlimited re-entry)€2,200--Oct. 28* 7Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better (re-entry)€1,650--Oct. 31* 8Little One for One Drop No Limit Hold'em (re-entry)€1,100€500,000Nov. 1, 22 starting flights 9No Limit Hold'em High Roller (re-entry)€25,000--Nov. 1* 10High Roller for One Drop (re-entry)€111,111€10,000,000Nov. 3(111 player cap) 11WSOP Europe Main Event (single re-entry)€10,300€4,000,000Nov. 4-52 starting flights
  2. [caption width="640"] The latest episode of The Fives is now available on iTunes and Stitcher.[/caption] Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. GREAT NEWS: The Fives is now available on Stitcher. Check out the links below to start listening on your favorite podcast app. In this episode, Lance Bradley and Matt Clark get into the latest info the Matt Kirk vs. Leon Tsoukernik drama, wrap up WPT Montreal and get into Doug Polk's calling out of players bailing on high stakes televised appearances. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THE FIVES ON STITCHER
  3. [caption width="640"] Leon Tsoukernik, owner of King's Casino, battles high-stakes mainstay Matt Kirk in Nevada courts[/caption] Clark County's Eighth Judicial Court ruled for a partial dismissal in the ongoing court battle between high-stakes grinder Matthew Kirk and the owner of King's Casino, Leon Tsoukernik. The lawsuit, filed by Kirk, seeks to recover $2,000,000 of an alleged $3,000,000 loan Kirk gave to Tsoukernik during a heads-up battle at the Aria Hotel & Casino this spring just prior to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. According to court documents obtained by PocketFives.com, on the morning of May 27 2017, Kirk and Tsoukernik were engaged in a high-stakes heads-up poker game that seemingly was going Kirk's way. So much so that on four occasions during that session, Kirk “loaned casino chips to Mr. Tsoukernik so that Mr. Tsoukernik could continue playing the heads-up poker game against Mr. Kirk.” In total, Kirk handed over $3,000,000 in chips to Tsoukernik. At the conclusion of the match, Tsourkernik seemingly refused to pay the amount back and only after “repeated demands” handed over $1,000,000 on June 3 to Kirk. Looking to obtain the remaining $2,000,000 debt, Kirk filed a lawsuit in the state of Nevada will allegations of “breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraudulent inducement, and unjust enrichment.” Partial Dismissal & Nevada Revised Statue 463.361(1) Tsourkernik's legal team looked to have the entire lawsuit dismissed, mainly, on the back of Nevada Revised Statue 463.361(1). The basic breakdown of NRS 463.361(1) is that the state does not enforce gaming debts between non-licensed parties. For licensed parties (e.g. major casinos) there are legal remedies should someone opt not to pay back a gaming debt. But for two unlicensed participants like Kirk and Tsoukernik, their early morning heads-up battle and subsequent loaning of chips is classified by the state as a gaming debt as there was money won and lost. That gaming debt, and therefore the “contract” between them, is not legally enforceable. In response to the motion, Kirk claimed that the loaning of the physical chips was not, in and of itself, the gaming debt and therefore needed to be repaid. The court determined that, no matter the currency, it didn't change the nature of the debt. The court therefore dismissed Kirk's claims of “breach of contract” and “breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” Tsoukernik Not Off The Hook Even though Tsourkernik had counts 1-8 dismissed and had the debt declared a nonenforceable gaming debt, the court found the Kirk had enough to proceed with the lawsuit on the final two allegations of “fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment.” Fraudulent inducement is, essentially, the entering of an agreement by one party with no actual intent on holding up their end of the bargain. While the Court has deemed that it would not enforce an illegal or unenforceable contract, such as the gaming debt here, that it is not without exception. In this case, there was no illegality, no “serious moral turpitude” and Kirk's allegation that Tsourkernik had no intention of paying him back from the very start is at the very least viable, citing text messages from Tsourkernik to Kirk allegedly sent less than 20 minutes after the match, where Tsourkernik acknowledges that he took the money but stating that the debt is invalid. Here's a look at what constitutes “Fraudulent Inducement”, according to the court document: “First, a false representation; second, knowledge that the representation is false; third, an intent to induce consent to contract; fourth, justifiable reliance on the misrepresentation; and fifth, damages resulting from such a reliance.” Basically, Kirk is claiming that Tsourkernik represented that he would pay him back and took the money with no intention to do so because he thought that recovering the debt would be completely unenforceable. Finally, Kirk's claim of “unjust enrichment” was also survived. If “fraudulent inducement” is proven, then it stands that it could be found that Tsourkernik also had “greatest moral fault” in the incident and therefore, by not paying back $2,000,000 of the debt, has been unjustly enriched. In Summary The first eight counts relating to the breach of contract claims have been dismissed. The Court views the agreement as an unenforceable gaming debt between the two parties. That said, if Tsourkernik was banking on that when he entered the gaming debt, Kirk still has remedies available to him and therefore the final two counts of fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment can proceed. Matthew 'Aussie Matt' Kirk, is still playing in the Las Vegas high-roller scene having appeared on the reboot of Poker After Dark in August while Tsourkernik, as the owner of King's Casino, is preparing to host the World Series of Poker Europe in Rozadov, Czech Republic starting on October 19. The two have even played against each other on partypoker's high stakes cash games.
  4. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. GREAT NEWS: The Fives is now available on GooglePlay and Stitcher. Check out the links below to get listening on your favorite podcast app. In this episode, Lance Bradley and Matt Clark put a bow on WSOP Europe, including Maria Ho's close call and Chris Ferguson's POY win. They also dive into the latest from the Leon Tsoukernik vs. Matt Clark legal mess and begin to wonder why players and companies continue to do business with him. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES CHECK OUT THE FIVES ON GOOGLE PLAY GET THE FIVES ON STITCHER
  5. [caption width="640"] The 2017 World Series of Poker Europe at King's Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic has 11 bracelet events over three weeks of acton.[/caption] The 2017 World Series of Poker Europe schedule gets underway Thursday afternoon at King's Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. While there are 11 bracelet events on the schedule, there's a handful of events that, for one reason or another, you'll just have to watch over the next three weeks as the action plays down. Eight of the 11 bracelet events on the schedule are No Limit Hold'em and buy-ins range from €550 all the way up to the €111,111 High Roller for One Drop. Good news for poker fans wanting to check out the action is that all 2017 WSOP Europe final tables will be live-streamed for free on WSOP.com. Event #1 €1,100 Monster Stack This one features a 20,000 starting stack, three starting flights and players can enter each flight once. It's the tone-setter for the rest of the series. If this one draws well, it bodes well for the other 10 events. But if this event doesn't at least make the €500,000 guarantee, lower-than-expected field sizes could be the narrative for three straight weeks. It's not the first time that the Monster Stack has been on the WSOPE schedule. In 2015, Ryan Hefter topped the 580-player field to win $200,115 and his only WSOP bracelet. Event #5 €550 Colossus This one is ambitious. A €2,000,000 guarantee means they'll need 4,000 players to not have an overlay. The 10 starting flights spread over five days, with players able to re-enter once per flight, should help get to that number. If It does, it will be the biggest WSOPE field in history, beating out the €550 Oktoberfest which drew 2,144 entries. Event #8 €1,111 Little One for One Drop Another Las Vegas favorite making its WSOP Europe debut, the Little One for One Drop has two starting flights with the €111 entry-fee going directly to Guy Laliberte's One Drop charity. While the High Roller for One Drop (see below) is geared toward bringing together high roller regulars and a collection of businessmen and women in the name of charity, the Little One for One Drop gives every single player at WSOP Europe the chance to do the same. Event #10 €111,111 High Roller for One Drop This is definitely one that a lot of people will be watching with excitement. Some of the biggest names in poker have already paid their deposit. Fedor Holz, Patrick Antonius, Dan Cates, Dan Colman, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney have all paid a deposit to secure a seat in this event. Matt Kirk, who issuing King's Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik over the latter's refusal to pay back a $2,000,000 loan, has also paid the deposit for this event, adding another level of drama to one of the most high profile high roller events of the year. The list of players provided by King's Casino should be taken with a grain of salt though as Phil Ivey was one of the players listed and he's not expected to be at WSOP Europe at all. Event #11 €10,350 Main Event If you look back at the history of the WSOP Europe Main Event it's hard not to notice that some of the biggest names in the game have taken it down. Phil Hellmuth, Annette Obrestad, John Juanda, and Adrian Mateos have all managed to cap off their WSOP Europe experience with a Main Event title. This one also comes with an ambitious guarantee, with King's Casino promising a minimum €5,000,000 prize pool. Converting to $5,897,000, this will be the biggest WSOPE Main Event prizepool since 2011 when Elio Fox beat Chris Moorman heads-up to win his first WSOP bracelet. WSOP Europe Main Event History YEARLOCATIONBUY-INPRIZEPOOLCHAMPION 2015Berlin€10,450€3,067,400 ($3,479,316 US)Kevin MacPhee 2013Cannes€10,450€3,600,000 ($4,865,983 US)Adrian Mateos 2012Cannes€10,450€4,032,000 ($5,260,343 US)Phil Hellmuth 2011Cannes€10,450€5,692,800 ($7,604,798 US)Elio Fox 2010London£10,350£3,460,000 ($5,337,694 US)James Bord 2009London£10,350£3,340,000 ($5,506,372 US)Barry Shulman 2008London£10,350£3,630,000 ($6,583,733 US)John Juanda 2007London£10,350£3,620,000 ($ 7,404,476 US)Annette Obrestad
  6. [caption width="640"] Rob Yong tried to negotiate a deal between Kirk and Tsoukernik after multi-million dollar debt incurred.[/caption] Rob Yong, founder of UK card room Dusk Till Dawn, went on the record to reveal some behind-the-scenes details of the immediate aftermath of the now legendary late night high-stakes heads-up match between “Aussie” Matt Kirk and King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik which has led to, now, the filing of multiple million-dollar lawsuits. In summary, on May 27, 2017 Matt Kirk and Leon Tsoukernik played multiple hours of high stakes heads-up poker in which, by match’s end, Tsoukernik had been loaned and lost back $3 million to Kirk. After receiving $1 million of the sum, Kirk filed a lawsuit to claim he was still owed the remaining $2 million. Although he received a partial dismissal of the case, Tsoukernik is still technically on the hook for the alleged debt having to defend himself against the claims of “unjust enrichment” and “fraudulent inducement.” With litigation escalating and after being named in new court documents, Yong took to his own blog to discuss everything he can recount about what went down between Kirk and Tsoukernik. According to Yong, the day after Kirk and Tsoukernik played, Yong was approached by Kirk and told about the match against Tsoukernik. Kirk expressed nervousness about not getting paid supposedly telling Yong that the game had gotten “out of hand” with Tsoukernik becoming very drunk and taking then losing back the $3 million loan. Yong goes on to state that Kirk claimed that even though he knew Tsoukernik was drunk, he didn’t quit Tsoukernik because he didn't want to ‘hit and run’ and continued to play out of pressure from Tsoukernik himself. Yong, having been in that situation with Tsoukernik himself, advised Kirk to give Tsoukernik “a small discount as a goodwill gesture” if he felt bad about the situation. The pair then settled on a proposed sum of $2 million in cash with $1 million of debt as a purse for a future heads-up match. Kirk asked Yong to mediate and Yong agreed. Yong then states that upon meeting with Tsoukernik, the King’s Casino owner made assurances he would pay “whatever I lost” and when the original deal was offered Tsoukernik said something to the effect of “fine, whatever Matty wants.” Kirk and Tsoukernik then “hugged and shook hands” on the deal. Less than a half hour later, Kirk called the deal off. Kirk was on the phone with someone, who apparently had the authority to call off the deal and did just that. Yong had to break the news to Tsoukernik, who was left exasperated. Left at that, after the Super High Roller Bowl, Yong returned home to the UK. Days later both Kirk and Tsoukernik called Yong, together, stating that they came to a mutual understanding and that Kirk was willing to accept $1 million as a final payment to the whole ordeal. Yong said, “Eh, one million? Are you serious?!” but insisted that Kirk replied that it was all good and that he simply wanted to move on. Another reversal occurred when Yong says Kirk called him via Skype later that same night, furious at Tsoukernik for lecturing him like ‘a kid’ about the perils of loaning drunk people money. Kirk reportedly said he only took the $1 million deal because he was so mad at how Tsoukernik spoke to him and that he, allegedly, vowed to use the $1,000,000 Tsoukernik paid him to “ruin Leon’s reputation around the poker world.” Yong recounted his role in the affair to clear the air about his involvement and, in the end, stated that he would be happy to tell his tale under oath in a Nevada court on behalf of either party. With that, the story takes it's latest turn. On November 8, Tsoukernik filed a counterclaim against Kirk for $10,000,000 in damages asserting that Kirk did indeed ruin his reputation, among other charges including that Kirk played Tsoukernik despite it being open and obvious that he was visibly intoxicated to the point where Tsoukernik needed assistance in counting his chips, he was misreading his hands and was induced to play large sums for a longer period of time and in a manner that he wouldn’t have done if sober. Additionally, Tsoukernik has filed to include the Aria Resort & Casino as a defendant in his counterclaim for, among other allegations, providing Tsoukernik with the alcohol to lead him to play in the manner he did, preventing the game from being an honest competition as well as claiming that there were individuals who attempted to help him leave Aria’s high stakes Ivey Room, but agents of the Aria stopped them from entering or removing him from the situation. In addition to filing the counterclaim Tsoukernik released a statement about his latest actions: “I have endured a significant amount of criticism from the poker community over the past several months. Today we filed a counterclaim against Matthew Kirk and a third-party complaint against the Aria. I have been advised to allow this matter to be resolved in court and I will. However, it is important to state my reasoning in pursuing this matter. Before any legal pleading was filed, I chose to resolve this matter amicably, with the help of several of the most respected members of the poker community. But, as a result of the behavior of Matthew Kirk and the third party defendant, I was taken advantage of and can no longer remain silent. As a casino operator, I feel it is my obligation to never allow a patron to be treated as I was and to alert the poker community of the risks they take in situations like mine. I believe that my response shines light on some of the unethical practices that target poker players. It would be easy to remain silent and make a business decision but too much has been said and too much damage has been done for me to keep quiet. I have great confidence in the United States judicial system. I will allow the legal process to speak for me from this point forward.”
  7. [caption width="640"] Leon Tsoukernik, owner of King's Casino, has filed a counterclaim against Matt Kirk for million.[/caption] The wranglings in the high-stakes heads-up legal drama between “Aussie” Matt Kirk and Leon Tsoukernik continued Tuesday as lawyers for Kirk filed a motion to dismiss Tsoukernik's $10 million counterclaim. In the counterclaim, Tsoukernik, the owner of the Czech Rebuplic's King's Casino, is alleging defamation, civil conspiracy, and fraud, among other charges of Kirk. Tsoukernik's action, filed on November 8, is in response to Kirk's original $2 million lawsuit alleging non-repayment of high-stake poker debt. Kirk's Tuesday filing addresses each of the charges, asking for complete dismissal of the counterclaim, arguing that Tsoukernik not only does not have a claim that can be awarded compensation but his argument of fraud doesn't hold up to the higher standard required. The motion breaks down each of Tsoukernik's claims and tackles the “cause of actions”, or the alleged facts that enable people to bring action against one another. In addition to requesting the complete dismissal of the counterclaim, Kirk has simultaneously requested a denial in the motion to include the Aria Resort & Casino as a third party to Tsoukernik's claim based on the same argument that Tsoukernik's entire lawsuit is without cause. Among the allegations against Kirk is what Kirk's lawyers call Tsoukernik's “I was drunk” defense. The King's Casino owner claims that he was overserved and then taken advantage of by Kirk, causing him to play and lose as he normally wouldn't, leading to defraudment. Kirk's motion points to video surveillance by the Aria which, according to the court papers, provides no concrete evidence of Tsoukernik's intoxication level. “Considering that Leon Tsoukernik has the Aria video evidence and has failed to identify a single timestamp in support of his 'I was drunk' defense, the court should conclude that the claim is baseless.” They continue to attack “I was drunk” as a basis for action by using Tsoukernik's position as a casino owner against him. “It will be interesting to ascertain discovery as to whether or not Leon Tsoukernik refunds money as his casino based upon the “I was too drunk” defense. Or better yet, if Leon Tsoukernik has paid damages to people above and beyond the gambling losses for allowing them to play at his casino while allegedly intoxicated.” While the video from the Aria security cannot detail Tsoukernik's level of sobriety, it did apparently show him both accepting the loans as chips passed back and forth across the table as well as the infamous text exchanges detailing how high rollers document the loaning of money. “Text message at 5:07am 'Gave u 1 million', to which Defendant (Tsoukernik) replied at 5:08am 'ok'” Another one of Tsoukernik's major contentions is the damage he feels he's taken to his reputation at the hands of Kirk. Kirk asserts that any potential reputation for Tsoukernik as a “welcher” (someone who refuses to pay his debts after a bet) or a “stiff” (someone who cheats someone of what they are owed) was not brought about by Kirk himself by simply filing the initial lawsuit. If readers of the unidentified “blogs and/or articles” about the nature of the initial lawsuit came to any conclusions on their own that is not something that Tsoukernik can sue for and, to date, Kirk has reportedly not gone public with any statement. “...let's not forget that the truth is a defense and Leon Tsoukernik does not dispute that he received $3,000,000 from Matt Kirk and 12 minutes later claimed that he owed him nothing.” Kirk's lawyers argue in their defense against defamation." Perhaps new information was also revealed as the motion recounts that the day before the game in question, on or about May 26, Kirk and Tsoukernik played in a different game, still at the Aria, where Tsoukernik had lost $1,500,000 to Kirk. Kirk received payment in full for that game. The combined losses would put Tsoukernik $4.5 million in the hole to Kirk. In totality, Kirk's lawyers laid out Kirk's defense against the counterclaim and request that the $10 million lawsuit be “dismissed in its entirety.”
  8. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES It's Episode 25 and Lance Bradley and Matt Clark are talking about the latest news in the Matt Kirk lawsuit against King's Casino founder Leon Tsoukernik, the ins and outs of the player sharing agreement between New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, the Poker After Dark big game and the Triton Cup.
  9. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] Leon Tsoukernik found himself the center of the attention in the high stakes cash game world for all the wrong reasons.[/caption] As the final days of 2017 slowly tick by, it's time to take a look back at the year in poker. Over the last 10 days of the year, PocketFives is taking readers on a trip back in time to recap the last 12 months in a fun and unique way. We'll get things started by looking back at the five biggest off the felt news stories of 2017. #5 - Australian Government Bans Online Poker American poker players know all too well how it feels to have the government step in and take away online poker. In March, the Interactive Gambling Amendment 2016 passed through the Australia Senate and effectively banned online poker Down Under. Over the course of the next six months, PokerStars, 888poker, and partypoker all exited the Australian market, leaving grinders there to play on black market offshore sites, much like most of their American counterparts. There does appear to be some appetite from politicians to regulate online poker or at least carve the game out, but there's no real timeline for either of those options. #4 - The End of the November Nine & Launch of PokerGO A major shift in how poker fans watch the WSOP was announced just a couple of weeks before the 2017 WSOP started. In partnership with ESPN, Poker Central announced they had acquired the global television and digital media rights for the WSOP and would be launching their own subscription-based streaming service, PokerGO. The WSOP Main Event would be broadcast live on a combination of ESPN, ESPN2, and PokerGO, and the final table played out in July, ending the November Nine concept after a ten-year run. While the decision to take the Main Event back to its roots was met with praise from poker fans, one of the major complaints those same fans had was that not all final tables were live streamed, as had been the case in years past when WSOP.com aired them. PokerGO later added the Poker Masters series and brought back Poker After Dark as part of their original programming and signed on the World Poker Tour as part of their streaming coverage. #3 - UB & AbsolutePoker Money Returned to Players Most players who had money on UB.com or AbsolutePoker.com on Black Friday had long given up any hope of getting that money back. So to say the news that the Garden City Group had begun the remissions process for those players was met with delight back in April would be a massive understatement. With little to no fanfare, GCG announced that players could begin filling out the necessary paperwork to potentially get their money back. The process was nearly identical to the one used by GCG to pay Full Tilt Poker players back following the U.S. Department of Justice settlement with PokerStars. Most believe the UB/AP refunds process was only possible because of funds leftover from that settlement after all Full Tilt refunds were processed. #2 - High Stakes Drama: Leon Tsoukernik vs. Matt Kirk It’s rare that poker fans get any sort of reliable information out of the world of nosebleed cash games. So when Matt Kirk sued Kings Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik after he failed to pay back a $3,000,000 loan Kirk gave him, everybody seemed to salivate over the details contained in the court documents. According to Kirk’s suit, the pair were part of a high stakes game at the Aria Hotel & Casino on May 27 when the other players quit the game. Kirk and Tsoukernik both wanted to keep playing allegedly but Tsoukernik had lost his stake earlier and asked Kirk if he could borrow money to continue playing. Over the next hour or so, Kirk loaned Tsoukernik $3,000,000 and quickly beat him for all of it. According to the court documents, just 15 minutes after the two finished playing, Tsoukernik texted Kirk that he had no intention of paying the debt. In October, the Clark County judge overseeing the case agreed with Tsoukernik that under Nevada law a gaming debt between two individuals is unenforceable and threw out eight of Kirk’s 10 counts. However, Kirk is still suing Tsoukernik for “fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment.” #1 - Pennsylvania Legalizes Online Poker In late October online poker players in Pennsylvania were willingly watching the live stream coverage of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as HB 271 came up for vote. The bill, which regulated online poker, casino games and daily fantasy sports in the Keystone State passed by a 109-72 vote. Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law just four days later. While there is still no timeline for when players will be able to play legal online poker in Pennsylvania, some observers believe mid-summer to be a best guess. Those same observers point to 888poker, partypoker and PokerStars as likely candidates to be operating within the state. PokerStars applauded the legislation. "We applaud the Pennsylvania Legislature for taking decisive action to legalize online gaming," said Eric Hollreiser, VP of Corporate Communications for PokerStars. "This is common sense legislation that will protect consumers, help close Pennsylvania’s budget gap, and make the state more competitive within the regional gaming industry. The Stars Group looks forward to working with Pennsylvania and its gaming regulators and competing in the future marketplace."
  10. [caption width="640"] The rise and fall of the 'Hashtag King' is a WTF Moment in itself and one scene, in particular, stood out in the Salomon Ponte tragedy[/caption] As the final days of 2017 slowly tick by, it's time to take a look back at the year in poker. Over the last 10 days of the year, PocketFives is taking readers on a trip back in time to recap the last 12 months in a fun and unique way. To date we've gone over the top five off-the-felt news stories of 2017, the top heaters of the year, covered the game's newest characters, breakout stars and grudges. Now it's time to get weird with the top WTF Moments of 2017. #5 Leon Tsoukernik 'plays his own money' It wouldn’t be a year full of WTF Moments without an iconic quote thrown in. When Super High Roller Bowl live streamed on PokerGO in May, Leon Tsoukernik was the talk of the event for his playing style and table talk. The chat peaked when Tsoukernik took the verbal warfare to the chest of Jason Koon. The two exchanged verbal blows during a crucial part of the tournament with Tsoukernik boasting about his own wealth and the perceived lack of poker pros keeping their own action in a high buy-in event. “I play my own money” catapulted Tsoukernik to a polarizing status of antihero among the poker community. The moment lit up social media and became a catch-phrase for the entire summer. You either loved or hated Tsoukernik’s brash attitude as he gambled his way to a fourth-place finish. His legal troubles aside, Tsoukernik livens up the action when he plays and it will be interesting to see how many appearances he makes in 2018. #4 Salomon Ponte Tries to Sell his Watch Speaking of insane live stream moments, Salomon Ponte put a high bar in place with his antics on Poker Night in America this April. Already a villain in the poker world, Ponte took this live streamed cash game to an unparalleled low when PNIA visited Choctaw. Ponte’s dismal financial status became apparent during the show when, in an effort to accumulate $2,000, he tried with to no avail to pawn off his watches and passport to the rest of the table. The ‘Hashtag King’ quickly turned into a pauper in front of a viewing audience of thousands and the jig on his bit was finally up. Adding to a great year in quotes, Ponte’s “waiting on a wire” line is recycled to this day on Twitter, long after its originator managed to get banned from the site on numerous occasions. #3 Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer enter Tag Team event Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer made their return to the World Series of Poker in 2016 but added a new level of infamy to their second act of poker this year. The two faces of the Full Tilt Poker scandal made their formal entrance to this summer’s WSOP by joining together in the Tag Team event. Joining them was former FTP Red Pro and friend, Andy Bloch. The pair have been mostly quiet regarding their past, particularly Ferguson, and showed no qualms in being among the public who primarily despises them. Multiple social media reports of the two playing together were met with scorn and some laughter at the troll. Seemingly everyone got their say in on this matter and the poker community rallied around Schwartz as Kweli continued to levy allegations of racism. Schwartz is one of the best tweeters in the whole poker world and Kweli met his match in what was the WTF Moment of the year.
  11. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] 2017 saw it's fair share of poker players mixing it up both on and off the tables[/caption] As the final days of 2017 slowly tick by, it's time to take a look back at the year in poker. Over the last 10 days of the year, PocketFives is taking readers on a trip back in time to recap the last 12 months in a fun and unique way. To date we've gone over the top five off-the-felt news stories of 2017, the top heaters of the year, covered the game's newest characters and breakout stars. Now it's time to get into the he said, she said world of grudges Mike 'The Mouth' Matusow vs. Shawn Sheikan. Tom Dwan vs. Dan 'Jungleman' Cates. 'Jesus' Ferguson vs. The Poker Community at Large. Throughout the history of the game of poker, there's been no shortage of ill will, well-timed “needles” and downright disrespect among poker players. 2017 was no different with a number of hard-fought grudges developing over an assortment of disagreements. #5 - Maurice Hawkins vs. Tim Reilly An on-the-felt conflict led to a war of words off-the-felt this summer when 10-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner Maurice Hawkins clashed with Massachusetts grinder Tim Reilly. Deep in WSOP Event #23, The Marathon, Hawkins and Reilly played a hand against each other where Reilly spiked a one-outer on the river to give him a royal flush against Hawkins aces full, allowing Reilly to double through Hawkins with only 22 remaining. Then, depending on which of the two you speak with, the reported war of words not only spilled off the table but into the press with Hawkins claiming that Reilly said to him “This ain’t the circuit. Go back to the circuit.” and Reilly saying that Hawkins “literally lies more than anybody I’ve met in my entire life” and that his table talk was simply “trying to belittle him.” As the tournament intensified it seems so did their mutual dislike with the needles going back and forth. Finally, Reilly says he went up to Hawkins to try and squash the beef and apologize but, according to Reilly, Hawkins told “Hey man, you’re a piece of ***.”, right to his face. Both players ended up at the final table with Hawkins finishing in ninth for $54,000 and Reilly in fourth for $224,000. Both went home with a grudge that likely won’t soon be forgotten. #4 - Doug Polk vs…Lots of Players Doug Polk, the YouTuber who won the 2017 High Roller For One Drop for over $3.6 million, has never shied away from the spotlight of controversy and in 2017 he found himself fighting very public battles on many fronts. Not one to be without an opinion and an audience with an insatiable appetite for content, Polk tackled a number of issues troubling to him, firing shots at a variety of popular poker players in the process. Just some of the items Polk took issue with were players who may or may not have angled on Poker Night in America by not having his big chips visible (Alec Torelli), players who may or may not have agreed to appear at televised poker games and opted not to show up (Matt Berkey), players who may or may not have tried to argue the notion that “more rake is better” (Daniel Negreanu) and players who lost a ton of money at the high stakes games on PokerStars (Luke Schwartz). For, each of these issues Polk took to his Silver Play Button YouTube channel (or Facebook live) to call them out. But a good grudge isn’t one sided and Torelli, Berkey, Negreanu and Schwartz all shot back, either defending themselves or attacking Polk directly, on their social media platforms and in the media. Are the grudges real? There seems to be some very real disdain from each of these guys but for Polk, who every day is finding new ways to market himself, 2018 will likely find him embattled in brand new issues with a new cast of high profile players - and we’ll likely be watching. #3 - Phil Hellmuth vs. The Germans Is there anyone who would disagree that the current contingency of German high rollers are crushing the game right now? Yes. Phil Hellmuth. Whether it’s just his public persona or very real hubris, the 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner seems to think he’s a favorite against the field in just about any No Limit Hold’em game. After the 2017 Poker Masters, despite a lackluster performance, Hellmuth tweeted out he was “always the #1 seed” in NLHE tournaments and it started off a firestorm between him and Daniel Negreanu as to just how much of a favorite Hellmuth is in today’s modern high-rolling circuit. Negreanu accusing Hellmuth of constantly muttering how bad all the players are, especially the Germans, and how disrespectful he was to their games. For his part, Hellmuth claimed he was a “good guy” and even told Fedor Holz and, the eventual winner of the 2017 Poker Masters Purple Jacket, Steffen Sontheimer that "he liked them". When the war of words began to escalate into a big-time prop bet Hellmuth ended up easing off the gas but never conceding that he is always a huge favorite. Sontheimer, for his part, kept it classy. In the media he talked about how he liked Hellmuth, but is more than willing to play him, just about anytime, anywhere. #2 - Leon Tsoukernik vs. Matt Kirk A late night high-stakes heads-up match at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas between King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik and “Aussie” Matt Kirk not only ended up with Tsoukernik losing $3 million of money he borrowed from Kirk but after a confusing series of events, the pair have found themselves in a bitter lawsuit in the Nevada court system. Depending on who you listen to Tsoukernik, Kirk or even Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong, who ended up as an intermediary between the two parties, Tsoukernik was either was too drunk to know what he was doing, simply lost a massive amount of money and refused to pay it back, or the pair struck a deal for a lesser amount which Kirk’s “backers” refused to take. However you look at it, the situation is cloudy and now the lawyers are involved. The lawsuit at first was simply Kirk wanting his $3 million back but now there is a countersuit from Tsoukernik claiming that the reports in the media that he refused to pay has damaged his reputation and he wants $10 million from Kirk for defamation of character and he also wants the Aria Resort & Casino in on the lawsuit for over-serving. Someone is not going to be happy at the conclusion of this saga and it’s not very likely that the pair will be shuffling chips on the felt together anytime soon. #1 - Cate Hall vs. Mike Dentale A three month war of words between the two outspoken professional poker players, Cate Hall and Mike Dentale, reached its conclusion back in March after the pair booked a mini-HU4Rollz match on Poker Night In America, finally putting their money where their mouths were. Dentale, very publicly, called out the play of Hall from a hand during the December 2016 World Poker Tour Five Diamond. Hall, eventually having enough, issued the challenge and before long the pair sat across the felt from each other with $15,000 playing $75/$150 NLHE in a best two-out-of-three match. While Dentale may have started it with his comments online, Hall finished it off by sweeping the Brooklyn player in two straight matches, earning his $30,000 and, maybe, his respect? Not so much. “Remember you will always suck,” Dentale said to Hall during the match. In the end, Hall took home the cash, Dentale apologized to his fans and both raised money for charity. All's well that ends well for the pair as both went on to earn six-figures over the course of 2017.
  12. The legal drama surrounding last summer's high-stakes heads-up battle between King's Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik and poker pro "Aussie" Matt Kirk completed another episode on Tuesday. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, a Las Vegas judge dismissed Tsoukernik's counterclaims of defamation, fraud and civil conspiracy against Kirk and the Aria Resort & Casino. The back-and-forth courtroom battle between the Rozvadov casino owner and the high-stakes pro stems from an unpaid $2 million debt incurred by Tsoukernik after he allegedly borrowed millions from Kirk only to lose it all back to him in a late night heads-up poker game on May 27 at the Aria. It appears that all are in agreement that Tsourkernik has repaid $1 million of the initial $3 million loan. However, with the remainder left unpaid, Kirk took Tsourkernik to court. The judge ruled that while the debt was an "unenforceable gambling debt", but left the door open for Kirk to continue his legal pursuit on the grounds of “fraudulent inducement" and "unjust enrichment.” As a counter-measure Tsourkernik sued Kirk, also naming the Aria Resort & Casino. In his claim, he argued that he overserved and was too impaired to play on the night of May 27. Additionally, Tsoukernik says that Kirk didn’t disclose where his money came from, inferring that he was backed. District Judge Linda Bell apparently found little merit to Tsourkernik’s arguments, tossing out the claims against both Kirk and the Aria. “What does that matter, if he’s an independent poker player, where he gets his money from?” Bell said. “That’s not something that any person gambling is required to tell any other person gambling. How can that be fraud?” Lawyers for Tsoukernik argued that both Kirk and the Aria placed an inebriated Tsoukernik in a “vulnerable situation” and that the fraud was conducted in “how the game itself was executed, not the simple request of participating in the game.” Countering, Kirk’s attorney Richard Schonfeld said, “There’s no factual allegation that Mr. Kirk ordered him a drink or anything of that sort. Simply, Mr. Tsoukernik alleges that he voluntarily consumed alcohol and somehow that’s a fraud that my client committed upon him.” In addition to tossing the claim, Judge Bell also ordered that Tsoukernik’s team pay the legal fees for Kirk. While the rulings were a definitive loss for Tsoukernik, the judge did state that if Tsoukernik’s lawyers found a new argument, the door would be open for them. Lawyers for Kirk say that despite the previous ruling of the $2 million is an "unenforceable gambling debt", they are still proceeding with attempting to obtain payment in full. The judge also dismissed the charges levied against the Aria, stating that those issues should be addressed by the Gaming Control Board. In the meantime, Tsoukernik's King's Casino will be hosting the World Series of Poker Circuit Spring Festival from March 1-19.
  13. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. This week's episode is full of World Series of Poker news, including Jack Effel's decision to introduce the Big Blind Ante to a limited number of events and the brand's decision to continue to host WSOP Europe at King's Casino despite the legal issues that owner Leon Tsoukernik continues to face. They also go toe-to-toe on the topic of whether or not former #1-ranked PocketFiver Ari Engel should be considered for the Poker Hall of Fame, only to discover there's not much to debate. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THIS EPISODE ON STITCHER
  14. One look at #WSOP gives even those with the slightest interest in poker a severe case of FOMO. The first week of the 49th Annual World Series of Poker had it all. Big names fighting for multimillion-dollar scores and players mixing it up both on and off-the-felt. It’s impossible to catch everything that’s happening at the Rio in Las Vegas but here are some of the highlights we enjoyed that will make you feel like you’re in the thick of the action yourself. So Many Rings When you want to stretch your bankroll, perhaps a single table satellite is the way to go. Just beat a soft field of 9 other players and next thing you know you’re vying for a gold bracelet. Well, maybe the field isn’t that soft. On to week two!
  15. When he's not busy running King's Casino in Rozvadov, Leon Tsoukernik likes to dabble in high roller poker tournaments both live and online and on Tuesday night, Tsoukernik picked up a partypoker POWERFEST title and a cool $207,978. Tsoukernik beat out a final table in Event #16 Super High Roller ($5,200 No Limit Hold'em) which included eventual runner-up Mikita 'helicopterben82' Badziakouski, Michael 'mczhang' Chi Zhang, and #2-ranked 'C Darwin2'. Badziakouski, who has been on a heater in the live high roller scene lately, won $150,960 for his second-place finish. The second highest score of the day belonged to 'ch1ck3nrobb3rr' who took down Event #18 High ($215 No Limit Hold'em). He and 'PokerHerPlayerHer' outlasted the other 1,266 players in the field before chopping up first and second place money. 'ch1ck3nrobb3rr end up with $40,520.11 after the win while 'PokerHerPlayerHer' had to settle for $33,201.42. Third place finisher 'gutter.' ended up with $20,034.40. Other winners in the High buy-in level and above on Tuesday included 'MostaMi', 'PokerBrothersTM', 'CharredHoliday', 'ForMatherRussia', 'Ignent', 'iikori', and 'Jarildur1'. Event #15 High: $215 Six Max No Limit Hold'em Entries: 749 Prize pool: $149,800 MostaMi - $25,466.04 anti_pomba - $19,474.00 DanielNgannou - $14,231.00 Fenryr03 - $10,196.58 CooperKupp - $7,115.50 Mamaderatacheia - $4,494.00 Event #16 Super High Roller: $5,200 No Limit Hold'em Entries: 204 Prize pool: $1,020,000 Leon_Tsoukernik - $207,978 helicopterben82 - $150,960 Chelsea72 - $107,610 SplashThePot - $79,560 HellmuthTheGr8 - $56,100 mczhang - $42,840 Hahaha_Owned - $31,620 k2Schogori - $23,460 Event #17 High Roller: $530 Mix Max No Limit Hold'em Progressive KO Entries: 600 Prize pool: $307,500 PokerBrothersTM - $25,500.00 rudiqa1 - $19,500.00 niv2222 - $14,658.60 Chelsea72 - $10,500.00 PhileasFogg - $7,350.00 PieterPost - $4,500.00 Event #17 High: $109 Mix Max No Limit Hold'em Progressive KO Entries: 1,936 Prize pool: $201,344 CharredHoliday - $13,075.20 Giuglia-Docet - $9,873.60 coroderAAto - $7,502.00 very_addictive - $5,420.80 mohamedS15 - $3,591.28 Meaty23 - $2,081.20 Event #18 High: $215 No Limit Hold'em Entries: 1,268 Prize pool: $253,600 ch1ck3nrobb3rr - $40,520.11* PokerHerPlayerHer - $33,201.42* gutter. - $20,034.40 ChicoRaise - $13,415.44 Hal1Gal1 - $9,510.00 selouan1991 - $6,695.04 DiulioFantin - $4,666.24 MartinPro666 - $3,119.28 *Denotes deal Event #19 High: $109 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha Entries: 252 Prize pool: $25,200 ForMatherRussia - $5,200.00* jomaykel - $4,628.06* MINAMAX1 - $2,776.98 esteban9830 - $2,028.60 pearch123 - $1,512.00 unbeZieglar - $1,008.00 Event #20 High Roller: $530 Six Max No Limit Hold'em Progressive KO Entries: 284 Prize pool: $145,550 Ignent - $16,200.36 dartazz - $10,827.50 DeanMalenko - $7,810.00 Hahaha_Owned - $5,680.00 BuyThaPot - $3,905.00 senyorpou - $2,840.00 Event #20 High: $109 Fast Six Max No Limit Hold'em Progressive KO Entries: 1,020 Prize pool: $106,080 iikori - $8,032.54 Random_shot $6,138.36 tintirimintiRy - $4,717.50 Mocho_City - $3,238.50 JoaoMenthias - $2,116.50 ImSeriously - $1,307.84 Event #21 High: $109 Turbo No Limit Hold'em Entries: 382 Prize pool: $38,200 Jarildur1 - $7,410.80 YOUgoValhalla - $5,348.00 nsmirnov - $3,705.40 bossamtisch1 - $2,654.90 AsianrubNtug - $1,890.90 bjorn1965 - $1,401.94 Tartaruga13 - $974.10 WhoDatt. - $710.52
  16. February may seem like forever ago, but it wasn't too long ago that the second month of 2018 saw the names of Chris 'moorman1' Moorman, Mike 'goleafsgoeh' Leah, and Viktor 'isildur1' Blom capture the headlines. Below are PocketFives' top five stories from February 2018, plus a look back at the February's Monthly PLB winner. MILESTONES: Chris 'moorman1' Moorman Earns 27th Triple Crown Chris 'moorman1' Moorman is online poker’s leading all-time money earner with, at time of writing, $15.595 million in online tournament winnings. In February 2018, Moorman captured headlines when he won his record 27th PocketFives Triple Crown. Moorman achieved the feat when he scored first place in tournaments from three different sites in back-to-back-to-back days. Moorman then went on to win two more in 2018 and bring his industry-leading total to 29. READ: MILESTONES: Chris 'moorman1' Moorman Earns 27th Triple Crown Stephen Chidwick Wins Inaugural U.S. Poker Open Title The poker world was treated to the first-ever U.S. Poker Open in February 2018. The eight-tournament high-roller series took place at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas with buy-ins ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. An elite group of poker's best were in competition across the eight events, including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Justin Bonomo, Dan Smith, and Jason Koon. In addition to individual tournament scores for large sums of money, each player was looking to become the first overall U.S. Poker Open champion. At its completion, Stephen 'stevie444' Chidwick had cashed in four of the eight events to win more than $1.25 million combined and be crowned U.S. Poker Open champion. READ: Stephen Chidwick Wins Inaugural U.S. Poker Open Title WPT: Mike Leah Wins Fallsview Classic for First WPT Title The World Poker Tour once again made its seasonal stop at Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, back in February. With it came a record-breaking field of 517 entries for the event and a final table that included one staunch Canadian grinder, Mike 'goleafsgoeh' Leah, looking for his first WPT title. Leah entered the final day of play ranked third in chips among the remaining 20 players. From there, he went on to claim victory and his first World Poker Tour title worth C$451,821 ($359,001). READ: Mike Leah Wins Fallsview Classic for First WPT Title Viktor Blom Stages Huge Comeback to Win partypoker MILLIONS Germany If 2018 was the year of anything, it's likely the year of partypoker. The online poker giant’s live tournament offering, partypokerLIVE, delivered enormous prize pool upon enormous prize pool all across the globe, including February's partypoker MILLIONS Germany in Rozvadov. That's where Viktor 'isildur1' Blom grabbed the title worth €1 million, but not without having to overcome a greater than 6-to-1 chip deficit during heads-up play against Pavel Plesuv. READ: Viktor Blom Stages Huge Comeback to Win partypoker MILLIONS Germany Leon Tsoukernik's Counterclaim Against Matt Kirk Dismissed Speaking of Rozvadov, King's Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik was back in the headlines in February with another episode involving his dispute with high-stakes poker pro "Aussie" Matt Kirk. Three months prior, in November, Tsoukernik filed a counterclaim for $10 million in damages. That was followed by Kirk's lawyers filing a motion to dismiss. At the end of February 2018, a Las Vegas judge dismissed Tsoukernik’s counterclaim it what appears to have ended a highly publicized legal tug o' war. READ: Leon Tsoukernik's Counterclaim Against Matt Kirk Dismissed 'European' Wins February Monthly PLB Title With 4,133.54 points, 'European' won the Monthly PLB title for February. 'European' booked 48 cashes in February, including scores of $86,000 for 707.11 points, $58,160 for 584.38 points, $56,975 for 463.68 points, $49,574 for 383.28 points, and $46,418 for 415.33 points. The $86,000 win for 'European' came in the $530 buy-in partypoker Powerfest #46-M: $500K Gtd NLH under the username 'JHelppi' when he outlasted a field of 979 entries.
  17. On Thursday, the World Series of Poker continued with its steady flow of announcements regarding its 2019 events by announcing the dates for WSOP Europe. The festival returns to King's Resort Rozvadov in the Czech Republic October 15 and runs through November 4, 2019. The 2019 WSOP Europe schedule features 10 gold bracelet events, highlighted by the €10,000 WSOP Europe Main Event. The WSOP Europe Main Event is scheduled for October 25-30. Last year's WSOP Europe Main Event attracted a field of 534 entries for a prize pool of €5,073,000. The UK's Jack Sinclair bested them all to win the €1.122 million first-place prize and coveted gold bracelet. "We love hosting WSOP Europe and treating the game's best players with our one-of-a-kind hospitality," King's Resort owner Leon Tsoukernik said in the press release. "We hope players who have participated in WSOPE come back this year, and for those yet to make it out to King's, we strongly encourage you to make plans to join us for Europe's richest annual live poker festival." The 2018 WSOP Europe festival drew 6,028 entries across its 10 gold bracelet events. Those entries generated just shy of €21 million in prize money. Although the 2019 WSOP Europe schedule of events has yet to be announced, players can likely expect a similar slate to last year's offering, which included a €550 Colossus, €1,100 Monster Stack, and €25,500 High Roller. Stay tuned to PocketFives.com for more news from the World Series of Poker.
  18. The 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series London kicks off this week with the biggest buy-in in tournament poker history as the highlight. Deemed the Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity, the event has a gargantuan £1,050,000 buy-in, of which £1,000,000 goes to the prize pool and £50,000 goes towards charitable causes. The Triton Million takes place at London Hilton on Park Lane and is sponsored by partypoker LIVE. It is scheduled as a three-day event from August 1-3. Charitable causes to benefit include Caring For Children Foundation, R.E.G., Healthy Hong Kong, Credit One World Charity, and One Drop. Triton Million Provides Unique Twist The Triton Million has a freezeout format with a rather unique twist to it. It’s invite-only. Invited players were issued invitations from a committee, and these players are of the recreational or businessman or woman variety. Those fortunate enough to receive invitations can then issue one invitation of their own to a guest player. The guest player can be a professional poker player. This allows for the field to be at least a 50% businessmen. For the first six hours of tournament play, the two player pools will be separated, such that the recreational/businessmen and women compete against one another and the guests/professionals play against one another. Furthermore, players will be asked to dress in formal attire for the final table. The Triton Million field has 25 businessmen signed up. Let’s take a look at them. Paul Phua [caption id="attachment_625843" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Paul Phua (photo: Triton Poker)[/caption] Paul Phua has been around the ultra high-stakes poker scene for nearly a decade now, amassing more than $11,400,000 in live tournament earnings and cashing in some of the richest poker events in the world. He has two victories on record, first in the Aspers £100,000 High Roller in 2012 for £1,000,000 ($1,621,297) and second in the Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza €100,000 High Roller for €752,700 ($825,619). As for his business exploits that have earned him a fortune, Phua has been a well-known junket operator for some of the world’s richest and he’s been in the news as the "world's biggest bookie," having his Caesars Palace villa raided in July 2014 for running an illegal gambling operation. The raid came just about a month after Phua was arrested in Macau under similar charges. Phua's guest player for the Triton Million is Tom Dwan. Cary Katz [caption id="attachment_625842" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Cary Katz (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Cary Katz is the man atop the Poker Central organizational chart, having founded the company in 2015. Prior to that, he was founder and CEO of one of the largest student loan companies in the United States. On the felt, Katz has nearly $20,000,000 in live tournament earnings, including a career-best score of €1,750,000 ($1,929,203) when he finished fifth in the 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza €1,000,000 Big One for One Drop. In January 2018, Katz won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $100,000 Super High Roller to the tune of $1,492,340, and he placed eighth in the 2014 WSOP $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop for $1,306,667. Katz's guest player for the Triton Million is Bryn Kenney. Rob Yong [caption id="attachment_625844" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Rob Yong (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Rob Yong is the owner of Dusk Till Dawn Poker & Casino in Nottingham, UK. Under Yong’s watchful eye, Dusk Till Dawn was built into what is considered to be one of the best card rooms in the world, with top-tier brands such as the World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, partypoker, and UK & Ireland Poker Tour holding events there. Yong is now heavily involved with partypoker and partypoker LIVE, helping to grow these two brands in the online and live realms, respectively. Although his live tournament results amount to only a little more than $330,000, Yong has been a regular at some of the highest stakes in the world, specifically when it comes to cash games. At the table, he’s an entertaining competitor who doesn’t shy away from risk and will liven up any game. Yong's guest player for the Triton Million is Sam Trickett. Talal Shakerchi [caption id="attachment_625845" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Talal Shakerchi (photo: World Poker Tour)[/caption] Talal Shakerchi is a player from the recreational/businessmen category that could likely fit into the professional poker player category. He doesn’t have the most live tournament earnings, with more than $7,300,000 won in his career, but make no mistake about it, Shakerchi is a grinder. For quite some time, Shakerchi kept his online poker name a secret so others in the high-stakes community wouldn’t realize his ability or the amount of volume he was putting in. On the business side, Shakerchi is an investment manager, running Meditor Capital Management Limited, which he founded. Shakerchi's guest player for the Triton Million is Igor Kurganov. Antanas 'Tony G' Guoga [caption id="attachment_625841" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Antanas 'Tony G' Guoga (photo: Triton Poker)[/caption] Antanas Guoga, who is best known as 'Tony G' in the poker world, is another player listed in the recreational/businessmen category that could very well be considered a professional poker player. At least that’s what he used to be. Now a politician and Lithuanian Member of the European Parliament, Guoga is rarely seen on the poker scene these days. He is the founder of PokerNews.com and TonyBet. Guoga boasts more than $6,000,000 in live tournament earnings and became famous for his brash table talk. His biggest cash came at the European Poker Tour Grand Final €25,500 High Roller in 2009, when he took third for €420,000 ($552,239). He won the 2005 European Poker Championships Main Event for £260,000 ($456,822) and placed second in the World Poker Tour €10,000 Grand Prix de Paris for €339,930 ($414,478) in 2004. Guoga's guest player for the Triton Million is Fedor Holz. Additional Triton Million players from the recreational/businessmen category are listed below, with their guest players in parentheses. Richard Yong (Dan Cates) Stanley Choi (David Peters) Wai Kin Yong (Rui Cao) Bobby Baldwin (Jason Koon) Liang Yu (Mikita Badziakouski) Ivan Leow (Timofey Kuznetsov) Alfred DeCarolis (Stephen Chidwick) Chin Wei Lim (Wai Leong Chan) Chow Hing Yaung (Christoph Vogelsang) Pat Madden (Nick Petrangelo) Sosia Jiang (Sam Greenwood) Qiang Wang (Elton Tsang) Zang Shu Nu (Tan Xuan) Leon Tsoukernik (Martin Kabrhel) Orpen Kisacikoglu (Matthias Eibinger) Ferdinand Putra (Justin Bonomo) Rick Salomon (Vivek Rajkumar) Bill Perkins (Dan Smith) Winfred Yu (Danny Tang) Andrew Pantling (Andrew Robl) Ben Wu (Michael Soyza) How To Watch the Triton Million Fans from around the world can watch the Triton Million for free on PokerGO. Ali Nejad will call the action, with professional poker player Nick Schulman alongside to provide expert commentary. Action starts Thursday, August 1, at 8 am ET and PokerGO will have coverage for the entirety of the event. If you don't already have a subscription to PokerGO, sign up today using the promo code "POCKET5S" for $10 off the PokerGO annual plan.
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