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  1. Badih Bou-Nahra (aka Bob) recorded his second WSOP cash during the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event. His first came in 2008, when he finished 51st in a $2,000 No Limit Hold'em event for $7,500. Talk about a repeat performance! He finished in seventh in the 2011 Main Event for $1.3 million after entering the 2011 WSOP November Nine with the sixth largest stack at 19.7 million.. In November 2008, Bou-Nahra took down a $1,020 No Limit Hold'em Second Chance tournament during the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour's stop in San Jose, Costa Rica for $30,000. The five-figure score was his largest live cash prior to the 2011 WSOP Main Event. He has also found success on the island nation of Aruba, where he banked $8,000 for taking 50th in the Aruba Poker Classic in 2007. Two years later, Bou-Nahra was back in the money in Aruba, this time finishing as the runner up to Renea Mahaffey in a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em preliminary event. Although he started Day 8 of the 2011 Main Event in Las Vegas with the second smallest stack, he quickly shot into the top ten. On a flop of 6-5-J, Bou-Nahra led out for 675,000 and online poker pro Phil USCphildo Collins moved all-in. Bou-Nahra called all-in for his remaining stack of 4.56 million and both players tabled their cards, with over 10 million in chips hanging in the balance. Collins showed K-J for top pair, but Bou-Nahra had him dominated with 6-5 for bottom two pair. The board ran out 10-4 and Bou-Nahra doubled up - talk about good timing heading into the 2011 WSOP November Nine. Collins' involvement in the hand may have been a product of an earlier pot where Bou-Nahra raised to 850,000 after Collins limped before the flop. Collins thought for a few moments before relinquishing his hand and Bou-Nahra flashed a woeful 10-5 suited. He told the table while raking in the pot, "Gotta make a bluff sometimes." Bou-Nahra hails from Belize, where he owns and operates a card room. He was seated at the ESPN feature table when the 2011 WSOP Main Event field was redrawn at 18 players and held the fourth largest stack of his tablemates. Throughout his live poker play, you can often catch Bou-Nahra wearing a blue Belize baseball cap.
  2. Several PocketFives members took home online poker tournament cashes of over $50,000 on Sunday, led by GiuseppeLeChiffre19 Pantaleo of Germany, who earned $114,000 for his 3rd place showing in thePokerStarsSunday Million weekly flagship tournament. ZilkarBaranow of Brazil cashed for $83,515 upon finishing runner-up in the Stars Sunday Warm-Up, as PetjeXLfinished 2nd in the TCOOP #17 for $74,896 following a three-way chop. Canadaian 1bigacehole won the Stars $100+9 NLHE Sunday Rebuy outright for $67,068. Congratulations to all PocketFivers who cashed in Sunday's online tournaments.Here are the final table results: --- PartyPoker "$200k Guaranteed Sunday" ($200+15 NLHE) 1,436 entrants - $308,740 paid out to 99 spots 1. LarsFrost $50,359.00 2. akaPman $45,350.00 *2-way deal 3. HELDENRUF $21,303.00 4. kkakk $16,826.00 5. p00cket00 $14,202.00 ( p0cket00) 6. Zgagac $10,651.00 7. M_Mancini2 $8,181.00 8. Faleb $5,402.00 ( Faleb) 9. ciudad101 $4,167.00 ( rfohrenbach) --- PartyPoker "$100k High Roller" ($500+30 NLHE) 326 entrants - $172,780 paid out to 40 spots 1. xAndorx_ $44,922.00 2. LukeFromB10 $26,694.00 ( IWEARGOGGLES) 3. IDBEAT $15,118.00 4. sirshipalot $12,094.00 5. SteveZolotow $10,366.00 ( inhoo) 6. Rofl_Lolboom $8,639.00 7. ObvIsObvImo $6,911.00 8. GylbertFD1 $5,183.00 ( GylbertFD) 9. spetsern $3,455.00 --- Poker770 (iPoker Network) "$200k Guarantee" ($200+15 NLHE) 975 entrants - $200,000 paid out to 153 spots 1. VnilaThndr $34,520.00 2. DownASpiral $25,000.00 ( daragh999) 3. evilteech $19,000.00 ( ryanghall) 4. MassEffect2 $13,920.00 5. SAQUELLA $9,900.00 6. ypomonoi $7,900.00 7. Fe1i4ita $5,900.00 8. Onadownswing $3,900.00 ( The Spewtard) 9. modjo3333 $2,200.00 --- Coral Poker,bwin "$250k Guarantee ChampionChip" ($190 buy-in NLHE) 1,313 entrants - $250,000 paid out to 220 spots 1. tom150a $39,214.08 2. Veganlion $26,755.44 3. JarethtGK $19,402.80 ( sufur) 4. mpookis $14,296.80 5. RA1nOv3rM3 $10,569.42 6. Owuor Arunga $7,842.82 7. AALH77 $6,331.44 8. TwistedFate- $4,942.61 9. grifsdik $3,849.92 ( Flush_Entity) 10. BBSpecial27 $3,022.75 ( PokerKaiser) --- Coral Poker,bwin "$100k Guarantee" ($100 buy-in NLHE) 582 entrants - $132,400 paid out to 82 spots 1. Se7eNt4 $26,690.89 2. AceSpadess11 $18,543.14 3. gheywolf19 $13,275.20 4. razenreraze $9,833.48 5. Campbell-Gee $7,269.75 6. mr28hotrod $5,394.37 7. Wilkly $4,354.83 8. 123jalla $3,399.58 9. gambywham $2,648.02 10. senterpied $2,079.08 ( Senterpied) --- Ladbrokes €100,000 Guaranteed (€100+10 with rebuys) 521 entrants - €105,670 paid out to 60 spots tQftQf - €26,418 _luckyr1ver_ - €15,851 dennisen - €10,567 daddymac - €7,397 zamp345 - €5,812 ELENA_HAPALI - €4,755 raats3l - €3,698 AceSpades11 - €2,642 giddeski x - €1,796 gombes64 - €1,268 --- 888"$100k Sunday Challenge" ($82+8 buy-in NLHE 1R) 866 entrants - $105,862 paid out to 140 spots LtMacNulty - $22,231 tgetgapuorla - $14,450 g3r4rrrr - $8,998 (g3r4rd0x) cosi88 - $6,352 m10fog - $5,293 caieta00 - $4,234 mendej - $3,176 astrocit - $2,117 kdpowwow - $1,588 Fylleborje - $1,059 --- PokerStars "Sunday Million" ($200+15 NLHE) *$1M Guaranteed 7,125 entrants - $1,425,000 paid out to 1,080 spots 1. Asprin1 $213,750.00 2. pnp23 $157,277.25 3. Ansgar2000 $114,000.00 ( LeChiffre19) 4. Gambler4444 $75,525.00 5. sigopi $58,425.00 6. Milana Jones $44,175.00 7. shibinha $30,637.50 8. tyxerakias $17,100.00 ( tyxerakias) 9. philipoo $11,043.75 --- PokerStars"Sunday Warm-Up" ($200+15 NLHE) *$500k Guaranteed 3,569 entrants - $713,800 paid out to 540 spots 1. RasA86 $112,067.77 2. vonBaranow $83,514.60 ( Zilkar) 3. 6Thor6 $58,888.50 4. respect82 $41,043.50 5. t6naver $30,336.50 6. fabi8913 $23,198.50 7. sevshi $16,060.50 8. neckbr4ke $8,922.50 9. salaliitto $5,710.40 --- PokerStars "Sunday 500" ($500+30 NLHE) *$250k Guaranteed 800 entrants - $400,000 paid out to 117 spots 1. ALIN76poker $64,500.00 2. Rocks_Strato $59,500.00 *2-way deal 3. ThePateychuk $38,800.00 ( aangierr) 4. southrnctowl $29,000.00 5. gugo117 $20,160.00 6. M.nosbocaJ $16,160.00 7. marroca5 $12,160.00 ( marroca5) 8. SGE1977 $8,200.00 9. hahila $5,000.00 --- PokerStars "Sunday Rebuy" ($100+9 NLHE w/rebuys) *$200k Guaranteed 1,071 entrants - $364,500 paid out to 126 spots 1. 1BigAceHole $67,068.00 ( 1bigacehole) 2. TheMagican $48,660.75 3. ronaldo_dick $36,450.00 4. lehout $27,337.50 5. Reraiseallin $19,136.25 ( Clairv0yant1) 6. Pokerccini $15,491.25 7. Tîmex $11,846.25 ( timex) 8. alexxi99 $8,201.25 9. fviana $5,103.00 ( fviana) --- PokerStars "TCOOP #17" ($100+9 Cubed 1r+1a) *$300k Guaranteed 3,357 entrants - $695,900 paid out to 432 spots 1. 8r0k34$$ $97,498.55 2. PetjeXL $74,896.10 ( PetjeXL) 3. prinssiuljas $76,056.81 *3-way deal 4. jonny9555 $40,014.25 5. cassiopak $29,923.70 ( cassiopak) 6. rickwaa $22,964.70 ( rickwaa) 7. JackobFish $16,005.70 8. Dcroquet $9,046.70 9. schultieboy $5,567.20 --- PokerStars "TCOOP #19" ($200+15 NLHE Hyper-Turbo) *$300k Guaranteed 2,724 entrants - $574,219 paid out to 342 spots 1. alberto ka $90,728.44 2. daitemillion $68,142.59 3. 1banditpanda $48,808.63 ( 1banditpanda) 4. StoyanB $33,591.82 5. Xcellent58 $25,552.75 6. TotalBiz $19,810.56 7. J. The Greek $14,068.37 ( kaskanter) 8. The Temple55 $8,326.17 ( thetemple) 9. YUD1006 $4,880.86 __________________ *As of August 1, 2011, PocketFives is no longer promoting U.S. facing poker sites. Any poker site that allows U.S. players will NOT be included in our tournament reports. ** Information is based on official feeds that PocketFives receives from each poker site listed above. Chop amounts may not be reflected in some tournaments.
  3. If you haven't heard by now, PocketFives Trainingprovides the top MTT instruction on the planet. Its instructors have piles of Triple Crowns, Monthly PLBtitles, and millions of dollars in online poker earnings. Don't take our word for it, however. Instead, we wanted to share a few testimonials from players whose games have changed courtesy of PocketFives Training, which you can get for free by signing up for a PocketFives Partnersite. These success stories appeared in a Training Forum thread. Late last year, one PocketFives Training member from Iceland posted on our site that the instruction he received was helping him inch closer to the $100,000 earnings badge: "Started this year with $50K in winnings, was going to get the $100K badge by the end of the year, up to $89K now, so I'm almost there now, def thanks to P5s Training. Assassinato's videos are the nuts." By the way, when the clock struck Midnight on 2011, the same user achieved his goal and sported $106,000 in tracked cashes. Well done. Another PocketFives Training member commented, "All the videos on the training site are great and give you an in-depth look at how professionals think. With so many coaches available, you get to see many different playing styles to incorporate into your own." He also lauded Assassinato (pictured), whose real name is Alex Fitzgerald. The same PocketFives user sought out Fitzgerald's PocketFives Training videos and also asked the longtime poker player for one-on-one coaching: "I thought I was pretty good at playing poker, but wow was I wrong. I quickly learned I really didn't have a clue. The humbling experience of having a personal coach was one of the biggest things that has helped my game beyond the coaching itself." "I just love the videos," another P5s Training member posted. "I watched videos from many pros to get a wider perspective on the game, such different styles and so much to learn from. Good thing you have lots of replayer videos; those are my favorite... Despite the downswing I'm facing, watching videos and thinking about poker in new ways keeps me motivated to play and try new stuff every day." Besides the library of videos available at PocketFives Training, and new ones being rolled out every week, the site features a forum where every question is answered by a pro. Every inquiry will get a reply from one of the top minds in the game, making the user experience at PocketFives Training truly one-of-a-kind. Alluding to his positive experience in the Training Forum, one poster wrote, "I love posting in the forum. Having the pros commenting on my spewy plays is a really big thing imo and tremendously helpful." Signing up for PocketFives Training is easy. Just click here and select your membership package. You can elect to get one month of PocketFives Training for $29.95 plus a $35 sign-up fee. If paying a sign-up fee isn't your cup of tea, you can purchase a six-month PocketFives Training subscription for $179.70 and the sign-up fee will be waived. A 12-month subscription, which also has the $35 sign-up fee waived, is $329.45. Alternately, you can check out our PocketFives Partners page and get one free month of PocketFives Training with no sign-up fee. Just create a new accountat one of the online poker rooms listed through PocketFives and make a minimum deposit. When you're done, e-mail us at support@pocketfives.com to let us know that you've signed up. We'll then double-check that your account is tracked to us and that you've made a deposit. On top of that, our PocketFives Partners offer exclusive sign-up perks, including special bonuses, additional months of training, and free money. Visit our PocketFives Partners landing page for more details. Learn more about PocketFives Training. We hope to be sharing your success story with the online poker community soon.
  4. Tulsa, Oklahoma native Ben BenbaLamb (pictured), a member of the 2011 WSOP November Nine, edged out decorated PocketFiver Chris moorman1Moorman for CardPlayer's 2011 Player of the Year title. CardPlayer posted the results on Monday showing that Lamb ended up with 6,036 points, about 150 ahead of Moorman's 5,875. Lamb recorded $5.3 million in tracked earnings in 2011, $4 million of which came after a third place finish in the WSOP Main Event. Lamb, who was also the WSOP Player of the Year, turned in a truly remarkable performance at this year's running of the annual tournament series. He took second in a $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament for $259,000 after falling heads-up to his Omaha protégé, Sam Stein. Lamb actually taught Stein how to play Omaha and entered heads-up play against his former student as a 2:1 dog. Nevertheless, the finish was worth 1,200 points towards CardPlayer's Player of the Year standings. Lamb's Pot Limit Omaha carnage wasn't done there, however. Eleven events later, he took down a bracelet in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha World Championship and banked $814,000. In the end, Lamb defeated Sami Kelopuro heads-up and claimed his very first gold bracelet. "The Year of Benba" was on and he amassed another 2,160 CardPlayer Player of the Year points for the victory. In Event #46 of the 2011 WSOP, the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max Championship, Lamb bowed out when two tables remained; his 12th place finish was worth $56,000. Moorman, the runner-up in the 2011 CardPlayer Player of the Year standings, placed second in the same tournament for $716,000, while the bracelet and over a million bucks went to Joe ender555 Ebanks. The $50,000 Poker Player's Championship was the next major splash for Lamb. The tournament attracted 128 players and marked one of three runner-up finishes for 11-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. Lamb exited in eighth place, added another $201,000 to his 2011 WSOP coffer, and received face-time on ESPN, which aired the all-No Limit Hold'em final table. Then there was the Main Event. Lamb recorded his fourth final table of the 2011 WSOP in the "Big One" and survived to see the final day of play. He went out in a blaze of glory after getting Martin Staszko's (pictured) chips all-in on the very first pot of three-handed play. When the cards were shown, Lamb held K-J against pocket sevens. Many in the industry questioned Lamb's 4bet shove as well as Staszko's all-in call with the wired pair, which eventually held on for the double up. Lamb went out three hands later in third place and banked just over $4 million. Amazingly, halfway through June, Lamb had zero CardPlayer Player of the Year points. He took third in Bluff Magazine's 2011 Player of the Year race behind PokerStarspros Eugene Katchalov and Bertrand ElkY Grospellier. Moorman finished eighth in Bluff's rankings. Moorman (pictured) is the most successful player in the history of PocketFives and is the only member of the community to log over $7.5 million in tracked cashes. To boot, he has a record-setting 11 Triple Crowns, an award that requires players to take down three $10,000 prize pool tournaments across three sites tracked for the PocketFives Rankings in seven days. Up until last year, the knock on Moorman was that he lacked any signature live scores. That all changed in 2011, however, when he went on a tear during the WSOP. Aside from his aforementioned $716,000 haul for taking second in the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max Championship, Moorman pocketed $271,000 for finishing third in a $2,500 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max event. That tournament drew nearly 1,400 players and went down as Moorman's very first WSOP final table. Once WSOP Europe in Cannes rolled around, Moorman was up to his winning ways once again. This time, he took second in the Main Event to New Yorker Elio Fox in a tournament that appeared on ESPN last month. Moorman fell just shy of his first bracelet, but still managed to pull out an €800,000 payday. He's up to over $2.2 million in career WSOP earnings. Lamb joins an esteemed list of former CardPlayer Player of the Year winners and becomes just the 10th recipient of the award ever: 1997: Men Nguyen 1998: T.J. Cloutier 1999: Tony Ma 2000: David Pham 2001: Men Nguyen 2002: T.J. Cloutier 2003: Men Nguyen 2004: Daniel Negreanu 2005: Men Nguyen 2006: Michael Mizrachi 2007: David Pham 2008: John Phan 2009: Eric basebaldy Baldwin 2010: Tom Kingsofcards Marchese 2011: Ben Benba Lamb Congratulations to Lamb on his 2011 CardPlayer Player of the Year honors.
  5. Sixteen players entered the AUD $250,000 Super High Roller Event at the 2012 Aussie Millions. The field was chalk full of brand name poker pros, including the likes of Jason treysfull21Mercier and Tom durrrr Dwan, but in the end, Phil Ivey (pictured) emerged victorious and collected a top prize of AUD $2 million (USD $2.1 million). Three players finished in the money and Ivey won his first major tournament since capturing a WSOP bracelet in 2010. Given the fiasco at Full Tilt Poker, it's been a tumultuous last nine months for Ivey, who reemerged onto the live poker scene in November. With five players remaining, Sorel Imper1umMizzi bet out on a flop of 6-J-J with two diamonds. Gus Hansen, who checked initially, raised and Mizzi responded by pushing all-in. Hansen called all-in and when the cards were turned over, Hansen showed J-5 for trips, while Mizzi held A-10. The turn left Mizzi drawing dead and Hansen doubled up. Shortly thereafter, Mizzi's run in the Aussie Millions Super High Roller Event came to an end. He was all-in with a pocket pair in his final hand, pocket nines, but ran into the tens of Ivey. Mizzi flopped a gutshot straight flush draw, but couldn't connect on the turn or river and left empty-handed. Ivey held the chip lead four-handed with 1.4 million, while Hansen was nursing the short stack at nearly 600,000. The latter doubled through Patrik Antonius with pocket eights against A-7 to stay alive. Not as fortunate was Daniel Negreanu (pictured). Bidding to become poker's all-time money leader with a win in the Super High Roller Event, the PokerStars pro bowed out in fourth place and was the tournament's bubble boy. Hansen was then all-in with K-8 on a flop of J-4-K for top pair, but Ivey woke up with J-4 for bottom two pair. According to coverage found on PokerNews, "Hansen rolled his eyes when he seen his predicament, and his cause wasn't helped by the Js turn, as Ivey made a boat." Third place was worth AUD $800,000. Ivey held a slight chip lead on Antonius as heads-up play began and extended it until victory was his. In the final hand of the $250,000 Super High Roller Event at the Aussie Millions, Antonius was all-in with K-3 against Ivey's A-Q. The flop of 3-6-5 made things interesting, as Antonius spiked a pair, but a queen on the turn propelled Ivey into the lead with a pair of queens. Ivey needed to fade a three or king on the river to earn the title, and an eight hit to end the tournament. Antonius took home AUD $1.2 million for second place. The win was significant for Ivey, who moved into second place on poker's all-time money list with $16.0 million, according to the Hendon Mob. Ivey now trails only Erik Seidel (pictured), who entered the 2012 Aussie Millions at $16.8 million. As if that weren't enough, at USD $2.1 million, Ivey scored the largest tournament cash of his career. In 2008, he took down the World Poker Tour's L.A. Poker Classic for $1.6 million. His final table in the 2009 WSOP Main Event was worth $1.4 million and, in 2005, Ivey navigated the field of the Monte Carlo Millions for $1 million. Others who participated in the Super High Roller were Winfred Yu, Tony Bloom, Dan Smith, Paul Phua, Nick Wong, Seidel, Sam Trickett, John Juanda, and Richard Yong. The high-octane tournament was designed to last one day and Seidel took down the event in 2011. Over on PokerNews, one reader gave his take on Ivey's win, his first major tournament victory following Black Friday: "Phil Ivey back in the saddle winning $2 million in Australia puts into the spotlight what life after Black Friday is going to be like for the top American pros: Large wins outside of the U.S. as the rest of the world's poker economy grows strongly while the U.S. poker landscape stalls, mired in the DOJ poker prohibition." Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest live tournament news.
  6. On February 1st, a variety of changes will purportedly take effect on PokerStarsfollowing a meeting between players and site officials, according to the former. After assessing the results of the summit, which was held after PokerStars made changes to its rake calculation in recent weeks, the original poster in a PocketFives thread commented over the weekend, "PokerStars shows again why it is number one." Let's check out the alleged results. After officials from PokerStars, the world's largest online poker room, met with several players, the results were posted on TwoPlusTwo for all the world to see. The statement led off with, "VPPs will continue to be awarded according to the weighted contributed system." It added, "Overall rake has been reduced by about 2% from the 2011 rates, which is giving more back to the players than the 1.5% loss in VIP rewards." PokerStars noted that the recent change from the dealt to weighted contributed calculation would mean a loss of 1.5% to players. Now, with a 2% reduction in rake, players could actually see a net gain going forward. In terms of what changes PokerStars Supernovaand Supernova Elite members could experience in 2012, players on TwoPlusTwo revealed that the following would take effect starting on February 1st, which is just a few days away: 1. Supernova and Supernova Elite kept for 2013 as long as monthly VPP maintenance requirements are met in 2012 (this year only). 2. Supernova and Supernova Elite lasts for 12 months instead of nine when monthly requirements are met and the right to miss one extra month is taken into account. 3. Supernova monthly VPP maintenance requirement lowered to 6,500 VPPs per month. Changes didn't just affect high-stakes PokerStars players. Instead, PokerStars' micro-stakes clientele could see a reduction in rake. Text found on TwoPlusTwo noted, "About 40% of the rake changes are associated with micro-stakes games. Every game at the micro-stakes has seen a rake reduction." As a tradeoff, rake increases will be introduced at $25/$50 games and higher. These rake increases will be funneled in part into rake decreases at lower stakes games. Why could PokerStars justify a rake increase at the higher buy-in tables? The same thread revealed, "Associated costs with these games are much higher due to detecting collusion, fraudulent deposits, monitoring games, etc." Essentially, larger maintenance requirements at higher-stakes games could warrant higher rake. At the lower stakes tables, PokerStars will introduce two new levels: $0.03/$0.06 and $0.08/$0.16. The same thread explained, "This will make it easier for players to move up/take shots at a higher level and should help to 'unblock' the micro-stakes. If these prove successful, new stake levels will be considered." PokerStars has maintained its billing as the busiest site in the world despite vacating the U.S. market following Black Friday and is also rumored to be increasing the maximum number of tables that its members can play. As part of its recently announced changes, PokerStars acknowledged that it might have erred in announcing its most recent rake changes. As a result, the site has vowed to keep the lines of communication open going forward: "It will invite player representatives to discuss issues with PokerStars twice a year in April and November." PokerStars announced that it would be switching from the dealt method to weighted distributed method on December 28th, with the changes set to be implemented just a few days later. On the TwoPlusTwo forums, posters reacted to the results of the meeting with PokerStars officials. One member of the poker community wrote, "First of all, wanted to thank all the reps for their hard work. Seems like a pretty intense group of sessions, a lot of time involved, little gain on your parts, and you're clearly looking out for the best interests of the poker community. Thanks a lot." Later this year, PokerStars officials will reevaluate their rake calculations. The same discussion thread included the following assessment: "PokerStars has agreed to revisit the rake figures later in the year and if the actual rake differs significantly from the projected rake, then they may make further rake reductions." According to the traffic watchdog site PokerScout, PokerStars is the largest site in the world in terms of cash game traffic and sports a seven-day running average of 25,400 real money ring game players. During peak hours, over 50,000 ring game players can call the site home. Year-over-year, cash game traffic on PokerStars is off 20%.
  7. Last weekend, Hungary's Janos szusza84Toth (pictured) chopped the PokerStars Sunday $100 Rebuy. A field of 999 players turned out for the tournament and after rebuys and add-ons were accounted for, a prize pool of $331,000 was up for grabs. The two-way deal saw selinantis officially come away with the win and land $57,000, while Toth collected a healthy $48,000 payday and finished in second place. He's on the verge of cracking $3 million in tracked online poker earnings and is at #92 worldwide in the PocketFives Online Poker Player Rankings. We caught up with Toth, who is a pro at the Hungarian-focused Pokerakademia, to break down his latest five-figure score. PocketFives: Thanks for joining us. Tell us how you're feelingabout your PokerStars Sunday $100 Rebuy chop. Janos Toth: It's really great. I had just come back from my holiday in Thailand and started the session when I got home. It was really unexpected. I was tired, so I only registered for a few hours, and it was one of the shortest sessions of my life. PocketFives: Do you think the length of the session played a part in your success? Janos Toth: Good question. Usually, if you play short sessions, you can focus better, but you can't expect short sessions when you're playing MTTs. The funny thing is that I grinded through October and November, playing like 10,000 MTTs and MTSNGs without any success; I didn't have a score above $10,000. Then, I took a break in December and a little bit in January, playing only the Sunday tournaments. I won the Second Chance in December and now the $100 Rebuy in January. PocketFives: Can you walk us through how the $100 Rebuy went in general? Janos Toth: It's usually one of the toughest fields; any regular can tell you that. I managed to build a great stack when there were only 30 to 50 players left. Many times I've been there, so I didn't expect much, and probably because of the holiday, I didn't stress at all. I didn't get any good hands or situations down the stretch and got to the final table as one of the short stacks. With my stack, I wasn't able to control the table; I just tried to survive. Luckily, the final table wasn't very tough. In a Sunday $100 Rebuy, it can get very nasty. We tried to chop when we reached the final four, but we couldn't deal. And when we reached heads-up, I didn't want to play for $17,000. I was a 2:1 dog and even though I'm okay in heads-up play, it's gamble, even in the long-run, since you don't play many times for that much money. PocketFives: You were once as high as #28 worldwide in the PocketFives Rankings. Are you excited to be back in the top 100 at #92? Janos Toth: It's good to be there, but I would prefer to be in the top 10. I'm pretty sure I will accomplish that this year, as I'm planning to put in lots of volume from now on. PocketFives: Can you tell our readers about the state of Hungarian poker, both live and online? Janos Toth: Poker is very popular. Live games are regulated and online regulations are on the way. I hope it won't affect the games too much, though. You can find many Hungarian players in different poker rooms all over the internet. On the live scene, there aren't many live events around, only smaller ones. Lots of players go to Austria for some action. PocketFives: Do you foresee poker growing in Hungary in the future? Janos Toth: It's hard to say. I think the great poker boom in Hungary is over, but it doesn't mean it will stop growing. The salaries here are low and life is expensive, so it's nice to earn some extra money if you have the talent or the luck. I know many students at the universities who cover their expenses from poker and there's nothing wrong with that. Visit PokerStarsfor the complete lineup of Sunday tournaments.
  8. Just a few days before Christmas, 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel (pictured) was tied up and beaten while robbers, allegedly including his ex-girlfriend, ransacked his house. Despite the ordeal, which resulted in a visit to the hospital and the loss of his Main Event bracelet, Duhamel came out swinging to open 2012. The first Canadian Main Event champion reached four final tables in five events at the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for a combined $1.2 million. In the three-day Super High Roller Event, which had a price tag of $100,000, Duhamel took fourth place for $313,000. In a $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Turbo tournament, Duhamel added to his war chest by grabbing fifth place for $17,000. His second largest score during the Bahamian poker festival was worth $239,000 and came after a win in the series' $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Eight-Max tournament. On Saturday, the finale of the $25,000 High Roller Event took place at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island and ended with Duhamel playing second fiddle to the Ukraine's Leonid Bilokur. Second place was worth $634,000, while Bilokur, 37 years old, booked a $1.1 million payday. The final table of the $25,000 High Roller Event was stacked with members of the online poker community. Randy NanonokoLew (pictured), fresh off setting a Guinness World Record for most poker hands played in eight hourswith nearly 24,000, took eighth place in the High Roller Event. He ran A-K into the pocket aces of Jason JAKoon1985 Koon on his final hand. Koon ducked a flush draw on the river to send Lew packing, $108,000 richer for his efforts. Shortly thereafter, another longtime online poker player, Mike telksTelker, exited the High Roller Event. Telker 3bet all-in before the flop with K-Q of hearts and Nicolas PokerKaiserFierro called with two tens. The Chilean flopped a set and Telker could not connect with outs to a straight, sending him away in seventh place for $145,000. Both are accomplished online poker pros, as Telker is the ninth player in the PocketFives Poker Rankings, while Fierro is 11th. Koon held the chip lead for a chunk of the final table, but doubled up Bilokur in a coin flip involving the two top stacks. Bilokur 4bet all-in pre-flop with jacks and Koon called with A-K in the game-changing hand. Neither player improved and Bilokur assumed the chip lead. Govert Metaal busted out in sixth place for $181,000. Fierro was the next member of the final table to go after running ducks into Isaac Haxton's pocket tens. Fierro picked up $217,000 and was soon joined on the rail by Koon. After a double up courtesy of Duhamel, the former World Champion called Koon's 5bet pre-flop all-in with pocket kings, dwarfing Koon's A-4 offsuit. The board ran out 2-6-6-Q-8 and Koon earned $271,000 for fourth place. On his overall performance during the tournament, Koon told PocketFives on Sunday, "Towards the end of the final table, I could have done some things differently in retrospect, but you just learn from those moments and get better. That's all I can do." Haxton, who finished second in the PCA Main Event in 2007, dropped out in third place for $380,000. Duhamel scored his second straight knockout with A-J against Haxton's K-Q and entered heads-up play as a nearly 3:1 chip leader against Bilokur(pictured). However, Bilokur would not be silenced and scooped a massive pot after spiking a straight on the river to pull ahead; he never relinquished from there. On the final hand of the PCA's $25,000 High Roller Event, Duhamel 4bet shoved before the flop with K-4 offsuit and Bilokur looked him up with A-7. Bilokur hit an ace on the flop and rivered one more for good measure to become the High Roller Event's winner. Here's how the final eight cashed out: 1. Leonid Bilokur - $1,134,930 2. Jonathan Duhamel - $634,550 3. Isaac Haxton - $380,730 4. Jason JAKoon1985 Koon - $271,950 5. Nicolas PokerKaiser Fierro - $217,560 6. Govert Metaal - $181,300 7. Mike telks Telker - $145,040 8. Randy Nanonoko Lew - $108,780 That wraps up the 2012 PCA. Up next for the poker world is the Aussie Millions, whose Main Event runs from January 22nd to 28th in Melbourne. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest poker tournament coverage.
  9. As the calendar turns from December to January, people around the world are filled with optimism. The new year is viewed as a clean slate, an opportunity to make the year the best one yet. Many of us stick to our resolutions for a while - eating healthy, quitting smoking, working harder, etc. - but as the weeks go on, it gets harder to stay committed and it's back to the same old, same old. If that were only the case for PokerStars. The world's largest online poker room has started 2012 in reverse by frustrating the most vocal portion of its customer base, backtracking on planned changes, and losing players. The good news, however, is that things can only get better. Right? The problems started just a few days before the end of 2011 when PokerStars announced that it was making changes to its VIP program and cash game rake effective New Year's Day. The changes centered on how VIP Player Points (VPPs) are distributed in ring games. For years, PokerStars had been using the Dealt method of VPP calculation, meaning that everyone who was dealt cards in a hand would receive an equal share of the total VPPs given to the table. On January 1st, it switched to the Weighted Contributed method, which distributes VPPs to players in proportion to how much money they put into the pot. For example, if a player contributes a total of $4 into a $16 pot, he would be allocated 25% of the VPPs for that hand. Unlike in the Dealt method, where even players who fold pre-flop receive VPPs, anyone who folds before putting any money in the pot receives zero VPPs under the Weighted Contributed method. PokerStars' decision, at its core, seems to make sense: reward those who give the most action. In a discussion on the TwoPlusTwo forums, poker room representative PokerStars Stevewrote, "The Dealt system has created in essence a sweet spot in our VIP system for players who play very tight. They are receiving a very high percentage of their rake back in rewards while playing in a style that many recreational opponents do not find entertaining or enjoyable to play against. The change to Weighted Contributed will more appropriately reward players based on the amount of rake they pay. It will also reduce the incentive to play a very tight style at the tables." The problem the poker community had with this is that the highest raking, most loyal players - the ones who reach the highest rungs of the VIP status ladder - tend to play tight, usually on many tables at once. As such, these players will lose out on loads of VPPs that they would have otherwise earned in the old system. That problem is compounded by the fact that the higher VIP status a player has achieved, the more Frequent Player Points (FPPs) he will earn per VPP. Those FPPs can be redeemed for cash and tournament entries. PokerStars also gives out Milestone Cash Credits for hitting various VPP marks, marks that will now be harder to hit. Players at the lower VIP levels will be rewarded more with the new system, according to PokerStars, as they are the ones who, on average, play looser and therefore contribute more to each pot. The result of the VIP changes, and to a lesser extent the rake changes, was a massive uproar from serious cash game players. People were so incensed that a protest in the form of a sit-out was held January 1st at Noon server time. In the protest, players sat down at as many tables as possible and promptly sat out. The goal was to get protesters to clog the tables, preventing games from being held, and not only cost PokerStars money, but also get the poker room's attention. PokerStars struck back in a hurry, almost immediately booting protesters off the tables and restricting them to a seat in a single game. The protest did grab PokerStars' attention, though, even before it started. Because of the outrage and heated debate, PokerStars decided to hold off on the rake changes until further discussion could be had, although it still went ahead and made the switch to Weighted Contributed. Additionally, a meeting is being organized between PokerStars and a few select players at the site's offices in the Isle of Man to go over all of the issues. In the meantime, it appears that PokerStars' cash game traffic has suffered as the result of VIP changes and the ensuing hubbub. According to PokerScout, PokerStars.fr was the only poker site to see its cash game traffic decline during the first week of January, losing 10%. The mother site, PokerStars.com, gained 5%, but that is still well behind the rest of the top ten. You can check out the top 10 sites worldwide in terms of cash game traffic in the adjacent chart. By comparison, French competitors PartyPoker.fr and Winamax each gained 10% or more. Winamax is now the top ranking French-facing site, with a seven-day average of 300 more cash game players than PokerStars.fr. Year-over-year, PokerStars.com has seen an 18% decline in its cash game traffic, although some of that can likely be attributed to the loss of U.S. customers after Black Friday.
  10. In a recent blog poston his website, Doyle Brunson (pictured) seemingly came to the defense of the figures allegedly involved with the downfall of Full Tilt Poker. On Monday, Brunson used his official blog to offer his opinions on the Full Tilt Poker fiasco and included inside knowledge he had regarding the situation. "I feel I was privy to things lots of people weren't because my best friend, Jack Binion, was interested in buying Full Tilt and did a lot of due diligence," Brunson stated in the post. Just as quickly, however, the two-time World Series of Poker Main Event champion emphasized what he wrote was simply his opinion on the issue. "Was Full Tilt guilty of gross negligence and terrible mismanagement? Yes, of course," Brunson conceded. Brunson then revealed that Full Tilt's Ray Bitar, who was named in the original U.S. Department of Justice Black Friday documents, seemingly took over control of the company in 2008. This was done at the request of the largest stockholder, Chris Ferguson, and allegedly put Bitar at the helm of every aspect of Full Tilt's operation. "The site under Bitar's direction started paying the stockholders huge dividends as the business grew," Brunson stated. Then, he looked to the reader for an explanation of what happened to the company: "If you were a stockholder, would you question the management of a company sending you hundreds of thousands of dollars each month? I doubt you would." According to "Texas Dolly," once the financial troubles began to mount for Full Tilt - seizure of money by the DOJ, processors not clearing deposits, and the loss of a way to get money to the site were all mentioned - Bitar (pictured) continued to issue payments to stockholders and attempted to work his way out of the situation. "Bitar might have worked things out, but Black Friday happened and everything came to the surface," Brunson wrote. When it came to the stockholders who received windfalls of cash, Brunson offered an explanation: "All of the stockholders said they knew nothing of the financial problems. I'm not defending nor persecuting anyone... Ferguson had a lot of faith in his friend Bitar. I've been in contact with Lederer and, when someone I've known for years, trusted, and respected looks me dead in the eye and says he didn't know about the financial problems, call me a big old Texas sucker because I will believe them." As a way to end his post, Brunson stated, "All of the Federal agencies will do a thorough and complete investigation. I believe the truth will finally come out when the DOJ signs off on the case." In September, Lederer (pictured), Ferguson, and Rafe Furst were all named by the DOJ as operating a Ponzi scheme. In the meantime, Brunson offered some sage advice to the poker community: "I know the majority of the poker world wants blood and believes they did know. I believe time will tell us the answer to that. I don't want to take a baseball bat and crush their grapes and I don't want to keep them from rejoining the poker world. Where do you stop the level of responsibility? The most widely read book in the world says, 'Let someone with no quilt cast the first stone.'" The final words are probably in response to fellow poker pro Daniel Negreanu, who has made his feelings on the subject well known through outlets like a British poker magazine (where he called the Lederer family "scoundrels"), his own blog at Full Contact Poker (where he said, "Ray is a buffoon, Howard is arrogant, and Chris is a liar") and in a video blog released last week (where he advocated old school Vegas justice in saying he would have no problem with Lederer being "bashed in the nuts with a baseball bat"). Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest Full Tilt Poker news.
  11. On Friday, poker pro Matt Glantz (pictured) closed out the week by giving his take on the proposed asset acquisition of Full Tilt Poker by Groupe Bernard Tapie. Glantz' blog has received a hefty amount of feedback and, needless to say, its contents are far from rosy. With nearly a year having passed since Black Friday, and nearly six months having elapsed since Full Tilt's operating license was revoked, Glantz concluded, "Unfortunately, I feel based on their recent actions, I believe it is inevitable that Tapie will be backing out. It looks to me that for whatever reason, they have no real interest in acquiring FTP. The reasons why they are hanging around giving the illusion that they are still interested are unclear." Glantz began his post by asserting that even though "there is almost no chance of this deal going through at this point," Full Tilt executives and pros continue to remain mute. With whispers of a March 1st re-launch permeating the online poker community in recent weeks, Glantz told readers, "Anyone making a public statement from the inside will be 'at risk' in being blamed for the Tapie deal falling apart. This is why nobody is speaking publicly." Although one shareholder involved in the negotiations between Full Tilt and Tapie was optimistic about the transaction eventually coming to fruition, Glantz wasn't convinced. He forecasted, "Without Tapie buying FTP, there is little hope of the U.S. players ever receiving their funds in their entirety. There are likely no other buyers on the horizon." Earlier this month, PocketFives published an exclusive interview with Tapie lawyer Behn Dayanim focusing on nearly $17 million owed to Full Tilt by several pros including Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, David Benyamine, Erick Lindgren, Barry Greenstein (pictured), and Mike Matusow. Dayanim told PocketFives why Tapie called out the group: "The reason we've gone public is because we've had limited success on our own. It's hard to say any one person is holding up the deal, but there have been people who haven't stepped forward to arrange for repayment." Why would Tapie string players and Full Tilt's management along? Why would it single out poker pros to pay back funds they owe? For the answer to those questions, Glantz turned to the Tapie-owned International Stadium Poker Tour, or ISPT. The ISPT currently consists of a €20 million prize pool, 30,000-player live tournament emanating from Wembley Stadium in London. Glantz speculated that Tapie "might be trying to use the publicity in the upcoming months to promote their stadium tournament in Europe, an event they have been working on for years." Meanwhile, Glantz claimed that he believes Full Tilt Poker has divided into two to three "distinct factions" and labeled Ivey's lawsuit against the company last year "the worst move any shareholder could have made at the time for the likelihood of a sale and thus for the players getting paid back." Ivey (pictured) has since dropped his lawsuit, which some speculated was filed so the former Poker Hall of Fame nominee could get out of his non-compete clause. After calling the impending deal with Tapie "implausible," Glantz relayed what he expects to happen to the now dormant online poker room: "I expect the company to shut down and for the U.S. Government to eventually disperse the assets under its control. A reasonable expectation under the circumstances is for the players to receive between 20%-40% of their account balances back from the Government somewhere down the line." You'll recall that back in September, the Department of Justice called Full Tilt Poker a "global Ponzi scheme." Glantz shared another possible outcome based on those allegations: "There is also a remote chance that the U.S. does not treat this situation like a poker site and sticks with its original assertion that it was just a Ponzi scheme. In this case, the account balances won't matter. You would only get your deposits back. Any money won on the site would be fake profits from the Government's perspective." The largely pessimistic entry generated quite a bit of discussion on PocketFives in a Poker Sites thread. One Colorado poker player wrote, "I think he's right that whatever money the Government currently has will eventually be turned over to us. If I get back 20% of my money sometime in 2013, I expect that's about as good as it can get." Another poster bluntly walked away saying, "Well that was a sad story." You can also read Daniel Negreanu's take on the situation, which involved saying that Full Tilt's Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer, and Chris Ferguson should all go to jail. Read Glantz' latest Full Tilt Poker blog.
  12. Several PocketFives.com members took home scores of over $40,000 in online poker tournaments on Super Bowl Sunday. Sweden's inhoocame out on top in thePartyPokerWinter Million tournament, chopping the $1 Million Guaranteed event three ways for $130,139. Big Huniof Costa Rica took down thePokerStarsSunday 500 outright for $68,780 while bananazoofinished 2nd in the Stars $100 Sunday Rebuy for $45,453. In the Sunday Warm-Up, Mad_Cibek placed 4th for $41,676. Congratulations to all PocketFivers who cashed in Sunday's online tournaments.Here are the final table results: --- PartyPoker "Winter Million" ($600+40 NLHE) 1,809 entrants - $1,085,400 paid out to 99 spots 1. SteveZolotow $130,139.00 (inhoo) 2. Stel_77888 $129,374.00 3. trixibelle1 $142,627.00 *3-way deal 4. THEKID_M8 $57,526.00 5. TheHoffmann $46,672.00 6. lindaa10 $35,818.00 7. Lnda19 $27,677.00 8. cor1958 $18,994.00 9. DrunkenRiver $14,110.00 10. untaktik $9,225.00 (untaktik) --- PartyPoker "$100k High Roller" ($500+30 NLHE) 340 entrants - $170,000 paid out to 40 spots 1. szusza84 $37,699.00 (szusza84) 2. JWPRODIGY $32,765.00 *2-way deal (JWPRODIGY) 3. KiinKiinGiin $14,875.00 4. jessica8 $11,900.00 5. barbarellam8 $10,200.00 6. spetsern $8,500.00 7. cocaine121 $6,800.00 8. Insomniac91 $5,100.00 9. dunkace $3,400.00 10. HungarysHero $2,550.00 (Belabacsi) --- Poker770 (iPoker Network) "$200k Guarantee" ($200+15 NLHE) 1,036 entrants - $207,200 paid out to 162 spots 1. KiinKiin $35,224.00 2. JimBeam22 $25,900.00 3. Ollieboy1 $19,663.28 (ollieboy1) 4. skuja85 $14,089.60 5. MyStapler $10,256.40 6. expekt3571965 $8,184.40 7. Sitoutpre $6,112.40 8. Bizbills $4,040.40 (supanova99) 9. chrismullins01 $2,237.76 --- Coral Poker,bwin "$250k Guarantee ChampionChip" ($190 buy-in NLHE) 1,319 entrants - $250,610 paid out to 220 spots 1. U R Donkey $39,309.77 2. fuzzbungle $26,820.73 3. Gagurgel $19,450.14 4. thaitai $14,331.69 5. birmpilis_gr $10,595.21 6. SweKusk $7,861.95 7. Falaffel35 $6,346.89 8. guligen $4,954.67 9. Linden00 $3,859.32 10. jinzo $3,030.13 --- Coral Poker,bwin "$100k Guarantee" ($100 buy-in NLHE) 554 entrants - $132,100 paid out to 82 spots 1. cooltwister1 $25,329.50 2. unicornkid $17,597.33 3. wuutti_x $12,598.09 4. Claxton123 $9,331.92 5. Sharapova. $6,898.95 6. MR.Smutsig $5,119.22 7. LOL_U_91 $4,132.71 8. SkEwElEd $3,226.18 (AKJMoscow) 9. Kenbatt00 $2,512.95 10. Curs3y09 $1,973.03 --- Ladbrokes €200,000 Guaranteed (€300+20 NLHE) 610 entrants - €200,000 paid out to 70 spots I_excel - €50,000 gazepoze - €28,500 HAITAI - €18,500 piet3 - €13,000 mrshowdown - €11,000 GrowAPairPlz - €8,800 Boz-Boz - €6,800 the4rules - €4,800 ujas_joki - €3,400 ChuckRunkle - €2,400 --- 888"$100k Sunday Challenge" ($82+8 buy-in NLHE 1R) 938 entrants - $116,686 paid out to 140 spots veeea - $24,504.06 Yegress - $15,927.63 alexm131 - $9,918.31 soosickk88 - $7,001.16 gusovo - $5,834.30 winbig101 - $4,667.44 Ladies_26 - $3,500.58 pedroarmenio - $2,333.72 JD9712 - $1,750.29 DezThomas - $1,166.86 --- PokerStars "Sunday Million" ($200+15 NLHE) *$1M Guaranteed 7,401 entrants - $1,480,200 paid out to 1,080 spots 1. MatejK992SLO $177,691.93 2. m0rtengud $116,420.69 3. fr0zZy $113,001.31 4. *C@LLMEM8* $119,780.75 5. GiegelGagel $85,118.20 6. sprenger62 $76,831.97 *6-way deal 7. grackhack2 $31,824.30 8. Eskapisten $17,762.40 9. MeirDa $11,471.55 --- PokerStars"Sunday Warm-Up" ($200+15 NLHE) *$500k Guaranteed 3,624 entrants - $724,800 paid out to 540 spots 1. MarinaBalbes $97,939.83 2. ms.bon-bon $77,931.43 3. Leviathan74 $82,521.11 *3-way deal 4. Tomascibak $41,676.00 (Mad_Cibek) 5. bergeroo $30,804.00 (bergeroo) 6. zackmorris99 $23,556.00 (zackmorris99) 7. PokerSavage1 $16,308.00 (Pokersavage1) 8. Salsicha $9,060.00 (Salsicha) 9. jenbizzle $5,798.40 (jenbizzle) --- PokerStars"Sunday 500" ($500+30 NLHE) *$250k Guaranteed 760 entrants - $360,000 paid out to 108 spots 1. Big Huni $68,780.00 (Big Huni) 2. cheb-achie $49,400.00 3. Ramux $37,050.00 (Ramux) 4. thecornerAA $27,740.00 5. veeea $19,570.00 6. noirduck $15,770.00 (noirduck) 7. Mamljk $11,970.00 8. Roma-Tilt $8,398.00 9. theNorfman $4,864.00 (theNorfman) --- PokerStars"Sunday Rebuy" ($100+9 NLHE w/rebuys) *$200k Guaranteed 1,021 entrants - $339,200 paid out to 117 spots 1. soydelmillo $62,752.00 2. Bananazoo $45,452.80 (bananazoo) 3. tbac1 $33,920.00 (tbac1) 4. pappadogg $25,440.00 (pappadogg) 5. philbort $17,808.00 (philbort) 6. molswi47 $14,416.00 7. guinor $11,024.00 8. 8r0k34$$ $7,632.00 (Chanmix) 9. Banderivets $4,748.80 (VanUA) __________________ *As of August 1, 2011, PocketFives is no longer promoting U.S. facing poker sites. Any poker site that allows U.S. players will NOT be included in our tournament reports. ** Information is based on official feeds that PocketFives receives from each poker site listed above. Chop amounts may not be reflected in some tournaments.
  13. In recent days, PokerStrategyreported that several well-known pros owe Full Tilt Poker sizable sums of money, a situation that if unresolved could potentially kill the deal that would see Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) purchase the assets of the beleaguered site. According to a report from iGamingFrance, GBT Managing Director Laurent Tapie has confirmed that the debt amounts to $16.5 million and is not a bill his company intends to foot itself. There's also a hiccup regarding money allegedly owed to Chris Ferguson. The original PokerStrategy article quoted GBT attorney Behn Dayanim, who said, "GBT doesn't want to acquire assets which will need to be litigated over later. In total, the sum owed to the company is between $10 and $20 million. Several of the players who owe money and have not yet expressed a willingness to pay their debts include Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, David Benyamine, and Erick Lindgren. Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, and others owe a smaller but still significant amount." He continued, "If the money doesn't come in, it creates a serious obstacle to completion of the deal. This isn't the only issue with the takeover, and the deal won't end on any one issue, but this is a substantial item." Following that report, the aforementioned Greenstein spoke up, explaining his side of the story on TwoPlusTwo: "I borrowed $400,000 to play on Full Tilt a few years ago, before PokerStars had high-stakes games. I didn't pay it back, hoping that some people who owed me and had money on Full Tilt would pay me there so I could use that against the debt (I'm only owed about $150,000 now). I have assumed when this case is resolved, the DOJ will allow methods for dealing with debt to FTP." Greenstein (pictured) went on to say that GBT's attorneys requested that he pay them the money directly, even allowing him to pay in installments or possibly less than the full $400,000 if U.S. players do not end up getting paid back in full. "I told him that I have never paid less than I owe on any debt and I would rather wait until the DOJ establishes a fund for the U.S. players," Greenstein said. "I don't believe my debt has any impact on the sale to the Tapie group as they have alleged. I was concerned about taking money due to U.S. players and giving it to the Tapie Group because it is understood that the Tapie Group won't be the one paying the U.S. players." The previously cited iGamingFrance article said that Tapie confirmed that 19 players owe a total of $16.5 million and several of them have already signed agreements to repay the money. He told the site, "The argument of the players who say, 'We will refund if the money goes to the players' is misleading since they know very well that the players will be refunded only if GBT goes all the way with the takeover, and for that to happen, it is necessary that the bulk of money owed by the pros returns to Full Tilt." While most members of the poker community appreciate Greenstein's openness about what he owes, some side with Tapie, feeling that Greenstein should not wait for the DOJ and should instead repay his debt immediately. Others on TwoPlusTwo sided with Greenstein, saying, for example, "Barry just wants to make sure players get paid and that any money he pays FTP/GBT/DOJ goes to what FTP owes players (U.S. and ROW) and isn't blown on lobsters." Tapie argued, "The poker community, and particularly that made up of former Full Tilt players waiting to recover their funds, deserves to know the reality of the behavior of some major poker figures who say they are sorry for the situation of Full Tilt players and want to do everything they can to help them get their funds back, blame the old management, but also refrain from saying how much they have borrowed from Full Tilt, and lost, playing on the site." Tapie added, "When you are a poker player, a great player at that, recognized and admired, the basic rule, it seems to me, is to honor your gambling debts."
  14. The online poker room Lock Poker is once again making headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time, the issue at hand is a potentially damaging password security flaw. The problem was brought to light on March 11th by a poster on the TwoPlusTwo forums who goes by the screen name deafeye. According to him, someone who is properly motivated would be able to see players' passwords. "Lock Poker is tightly integrated with their casino. A while back, that was the only way to deposit for non-Visa card holders in the U.S.," he began. "After you log into Lock's casino, right click and hit 'View Source' (on the non-flash part). You will be shocked to see your password in plain text inside the source. No encoding, no encryption, just plain text. It also means they store your password in plain text for anyone on the Lock team to see." A short time later, deafeye posted the relevant lines of code, which clearly showed entries for "user," "sPassword," and "IP." He had, of course, removed his password, while a forum moderator deleted his screen name and IP address just to be safe. Forum member "Whitelextown" disputed one point deafeye made, saying that the password is encrypted on Lock's end and that the site is an "https" site, meaning that the information is, in fact, transmitted securely. According to Whitelextown, the plain text that is seen in the code comes from a "generated cookie" on the player's computer. He said, however, it is akin to "having your social security number on your license plate." Further frustrating deafeye was the fact that he told Lock Poker about this in June of last year, but the issue still did not appear to have been corrected. A few hours after the original TwoPlusTwo post, Lock Poker Room Manager and well-known player Eric Rizen Lynch, responded, saying, "RTG (the casino side) pushed an update that broke our encryption. We have since pushed a software update out that fixes this. When it was originally reported (what OP in original thread is referring to), we fixed it and then when this new update was pushed, it broke it again." Lynch elaborated, "We have taken steps to ensure that future updates won't cause this to happen again. No one should be seeing it anymore, and if for some reason someone does, please let me know about it ASAP so I can have the appropriate people look at it." On Monday, Lynch(pictured) added that the Lock Poker security team has implemented one-time authentication tokens for all flash games. However, his explanation did not go over well. deafeye, in particular, got even more fired up. He announced that he would try to de-compile and then reconstruct Lock's casino games to show that the site can be hacked. If he accomplishes the task, he will test it only on play money servers, but will also release his solution on TwoPlusTwo so that others can not only take a look, but also use it however they would like. This is not the first time Lock Poker has been embroiled in controversy. Last year, sponsored Lock Poker pro Jose GirahMacedo won the Bluff Pro Challenge, which was co-sponsored by Lock Poker and held on its site. Soon thereafter, Lock disqualified Macedo, citing violations of Lock Poker rules, specifically including "computers at multiple locations logging in and playing on his account." Later, online pro Haseeb DogisheadQureshi admitted to chip dumping $100,000 to Macedo during the competition. Although the poker room had already disqualified Macedo, it never specifically said anything about the chip dumping, going so far as to say that he actually "won enough money from his own IP to have legitimately won the challenge."
  15. In an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journalearlier this week, noted gaming journalist Howard Stutz commented on the failure of the Epic Poker League (EPL) and compared it to the demise of an ambitious foray into professional football. Stutz pointed out that the demises of the EPL and the United Football League (UFL) due to financial difficulties have nothing to do with the popularity of either sport. "Football is America's #1 sport," Stutz noted. "But the UFL found football fans weren't interested in a league that played almost alongside the NFL." Stutz said that the UFL lost $100 million in its first two years. In comparing the UFL to the EPL, Stutz said, "The collapse of the Epic Poker League doesn't mean the game's meteoric rise in popularity is waning. Quite the opposite; poker continues to reach new heights." In making his case, Stutz pointed out that government regulation of online poker on both the national and state levels is likely and that the 2011 World Series of Poker set records for player numbers and prize money. The reasons for the EPL's failure, according to Stutz, are many. "It tried to grow too quickly and it couldn't attract enough participants," Stutz observed. "In an effort to spur attendance, the league added $400,000 in prize money to each of the three events [that were played]. That move only drained resources." Those three events, worth $1.2 million combined, along with the potential additional costs of a fourth tournament ($400,000) and the $1 million Championship Event helped to hasten the EPL's parent company's bankruptcy filing. Although some agree that the idea was a good one, the financing has always been the key question for the survival of the company. Daniel Negreanu (pictured) was one of those who doubted the EPL, stating soon after its first event that it wasn't economically viable and that it would "never work." After further details of the Federated Sports and Gaming Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedures became known (the company only had roughly $15,000 in liquid cash and owed almost $4 million to creditors), some have criticized it for its lack of foresight. "Surely no one is surprised that this has happened," TwoPlusTwo poster "madlondoner" stated. "If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. [Players] should consider themselves lucky that, although they had perceived equity to be stolen, they didn't lose any actual equity, as all the money put into each tournament was paid to the players. The tournaments were rake-free, included free hotel accommodations, and had guaranteed prize pools [worth] more than the entrance." On the other side of the equation, Matt Glantz, who once speculated that Groupe Bernard Tapie would try to back out of acquiring Full Tilt Poker, lamented the loss of EPL tournaments. Glantz wrote on his blog, "I do not feel that I got slighted by the EPL even if they never have another event after today. I played in all three events with the $400K added. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would do it all over again next year even if there were no added freeroll promised in the end." World Poker Tour reporter B.J. Nemeth noted on his Twitter feed, "From everything I can tell, Epic Poker took nothing from poker and gave a lot back. The money flowed in, not out. Really hope they rebound." Poker player Randy Dorfman echoed some of Nemeth's sentiments, stating on Twitter, "Feel horrible for the people that worked for the Epic Poker League. They were some of the nicest people and treated us well."
  16. Online poker players in the United Kingdom are falling in love with PokerStarsall over again this Valentine's Day, as the world's largest online poker room has launched a fully featured mobile version of its client for U.K. customers. PokerStars Mobile is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as a wide range of Android phones and tablets. While PokerStars Mobile isn't quite as robust as the regular software client, it's pretty close. All Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and Omaha Hi/Lo games are available for real or play money in ring game, sit and go, and multi-table tournament formats. The usual lobby filters and the "Find Player" function are included, as are a four-color deck and the ability to change seats. Hardcore grinders will not be able to massively multi-table, but multi-tabling on a smaller scale is still supported. iPhone and iPod Touch users can four-table, iPad owners can five-table, and those using Android devices can play on up to four real money tables and three play money tables at a time. Features that are unavailable on the Mobile version of the PokerStars client are the Cashier, Home Games, and note taking. Just like when using a standard PC, players cannot be logged into their accounts on more than one device simultaneously. Players can switch devices, though, simply by logging out of one and logging in on another, which can be a helpful safeguard. For example, if someone has to leave suddenly or their power goes out mid-tournament, they can just move from their PC to their smartphone and keep chugging along. Those moving from device to device during a cash game will have to stand up from the table and risk losing their seat, just as if they were switching PCs. "PokerStars Mobile is more than just the migration of the existing PokerStars game product to the mobile platform," said Jeffrey Haas, PokerStars' Director of New Platforms, in a press release. "It's an intentional product designed specifically for the form factors of mobile and tablet devices, and the different ways people play games on them. This is the best authentic poker experience available for mobile devices today." Early reactions have been extremely positive. PocketFives member mcandrews3rdposted in a Poker Sites thread on Tuesday, "Pretty awesome on first impressions. Can play anything you would on the normal site, can multi-table pretty easily." osborn99 agreed, adding, "Had a test on my A500 Android tablet. I can't believe how good it is." Heavy users of PokerStars Mobile might have to watch their data usage if they do not have an unlimited data plan. According to the PokerStars Mobile FAQ, someone who plays on a single table for one hour should expect to download "a bit less" than 1 MB and upload around 500 KB. As with any application that uses data, it is advisable to use a wireless connection when a safe one is available, as it will save mobile data usage and typically be more reliable than 3G service. As for using the mobile phone as an actual phone while playing poker, the PokerStars Mobile app will be sent to the background if a voice call is answered. The player will automatically sit out of any games when this happens and will be disconnected from PokerStars completely if he or she does not return within 25 seconds. All versions of PokerStars Mobile can be downloaded using the Download Wizard at PokerstarsMobile.com. The versions for Apple devices can be acquired directly from Apple's App Store. Sign up for PokerStars today.
  17. Although there may be online encyclopedias that offer information on the world of poker, there are major gaps of information in them. One online poker room is looking to help fill the void with its creation of a poker-specific Wiki. PKRannounced the launch of ThePokerWikithis week, a free poker encyclopedia whose goal is to provide the critical information that people might want to know about the game. ThePokerWiki will be built much like Wikipedia was, using information that the general public contributes to the site, meaning that there are a plethora of areas that could be covered. It's definitely still a work in progress and is just in its infancy. Anyone can access the site and you're encouraged to provide information that someone may feel is useful for the further development of ThePokerWiki. Players can write biographies (although it is encouraged that a player writes his or her own bio) and blogs, websites can add informative articles, and poker reps can add details about their individual rooms. The possibilities could be endless as to what ThePokerWiki may become. While PKR has been at the forefront of starting ThePokerWiki, the poker room is now at the point where it will be turning further development over to the general public. "PKR has worked with a team of writers to get ThePokerWiki up and running, but from now on, our involvement will be very hands-off," PKR Media Manager Dan Grant stated during the announcement of the new site. Grant continued, "ThePokerWiki's future is now in the hands of the poker community, who we hope will pick up the baton and contribute content to help create the world's foremost repository for all things related to poker." Some in the poker world may think that this is just another avenue for PKR to earn revenue, but that's not necessarily true right now. A quick overview of the site reveals no affiliate ads for any business, indicating that - like Wikipedia - user donations could be how the site will be funded. Having been up for only three days, ThePokerWiki's articles are currently small but expanding. Since the launch on Monday, there have been 123 articles added to the site. ThePokerWiki has the appearance of Wikipedia, with the latest news and information displayed on the main screen along with a list of recently added articles. A particularly interesting feature that ThePokerWiki has is a "random page" selection. After selecting this feature, ThePokerWiki takes you to a random entry on the site. Hitting the selection a few times took this author to such articles as the history of PartyPoker, a biography of 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel, and the complete background of the Aussie Millions from its inception in 1998. There are drawbacks to some of the information on the site right now, as the site is still young. An entry on the history of the currently dark Full Tilt Poker does not provide any background as to the actions of the company in 2011, when it collapsed. Additionally, there is not a definitive compilation of the aftermath of Black Friday, although several articles do mention the events of April 15th, 2011. Following the lead of Wikipedia, entries have a reference section to cite the source(s) that contributed information to the overall creation of the article, helping add credibility to each entry. How successful ThePokerWiki will be depends on the same people who would enjoy it the most, the poker community. If solid information is added to the site, it could be an excellent resource for users. If it devolves into an ashcan of misinformation, however, it probably won't gain traction as a reputable source.
  18. In just a few days, "Poker After Dark," which previously featured a sponsorship from the now-defunct Full Tilt Poker, will return to the NBC Sports Network. As reported by Wicked Chops, episodes of "Poker After Dark" will begin airing nightly on Monday, March 5th. There has been conflicting information as to whether the first episodes will be unaired ones originally filmed in 2010 or traditional reruns. As we said, the first episode is slated for Monday and according to Comcast cable, "Top professional players compete weekly in Las Vegas for a $120,000 first prize." Mori Eskandani of "Poker After Dark's" parent company, Poker PROductions, told PokerNews that the first week will likely be a $100,000 buy-in sit and go that featured John Juanda, Erick Lindgren, Phil Galfond, Huck Seed, Tom Dwan, and Phil Ivey. Priess indicated that unaired episodes would kick off coverage on the NBC Sports Network. Eskandani added that the series would be void of poker sponsors: "The show is coming back without the sponsors, that's one requirement they had. All we want to do is put our shows back on TV and I think it's good for the industry, for sure." No logos will appear on the felt itself and when asked whether player patches would be blurred out, Eskandani explained, "No one sponsors the players except the players, so they're pretty much standalones. If we talk about the show itself, any signage is gone." PocketFives caught up with Steve "Chops" Priess, who told us that if the initial run of shows performs well in the ratings, more episodes could be ordered: "If these shows perform well and get good ratings, it's something that could happen again." Who the sponsor of a new run of "Poker After Dark" episodes would be remains to be seen. Priess posted on Wicked Chops that previous episodes of "Poker After Dark," which aired late night on NBC, typically posted ratings between 0.4 and 0.7. Following Black Friday in the United States, shows like NBC's "Poker After Dark" and GSN's "High Stakes Poker" received the axe. Now, poker-related programming could cautiously be making its way back to the small screen. "NBC Sports probably needs programming to fill the hours," Priess guessed. "This is a quick fix and they've been airing the NBC Heads-Up from last year, which is probably getting good ratings. I don't think guys like Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson appear much in these because they weren't involved as much as the show progressed." Priess added that NBC's family of networks has historically been friendly to poker. Its flagship station aired the National Heads-Up Poker Championship each year until 2012, when the event was scrapped, while Versus showed programming that included one season of the Joe Sebok-led "Poker2Nite." Priess observed, "Versus has already liked poker programming, so this is maybe a way to feature themselves as a go-to source for poker programming if the law changes." In other programming news reported by PokerNews, Eskandani estimated that there was a "90% chance" that the National Heads-Up Poker Championship returns next year: "All these shows are coming back. It's just that things got murky out there and like I said, all of a sudden there were dark clouds up there. I know it's still there and all of us are hoping it'll go away. I'm confident, I have a lot of faith in our justice system, and I think things will get worked out." On the return of one poker franchise to television, a poster on TwoPlusTwo weighed in, "I would guess that there are a lot of folks who have not seen a lot of these episodes, besides the few unaired ones, so it's a good deal for them for sure. For me, it would be kind of creepy knowing what was going to happen on Black Friday and how the images of some of these guys have changed. All in all a good thing, and maybe something new will be added eventually if stuff gets better in the USA." Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest poker television news.
  19. It's been eerily quiet on the Absolute Poker and UB fronts. Like Full Tilt, UB and Absolute Poker officials have been relatively silent in updating the general public about the status of their funds, which have been frozen on the CEREUS Network rooms since Black Friday last April. A year later, discussions between the CEREUS Network sites and the U.S. Department of Justice could soon be coming to a conclusion. An Absolute Poker and UB spokesperson told PocketFives on Wednesday, "Our discussions with the DOJ are still in progress. We are confident that these discussions are nearing resolution, while legal constraints prevent us from making further details public or speculating on a time line at this stage." What the "discussions" entail and when a resolution could happen are not yet known. Last June, it was reported that the CEREUS Network was in debt over $50 million, but only had $5 million in assets. Absolute Poker and UB are largely dormant, as according to the traffic ranking site PokerScout, the two rooms' cash game traffic is down 99.8% year-over-year. In mid-December, Absolute Poker co-founder Brent Beckley told a Federal judge, "I knew that it was illegal to deceive the banks." Beckley and Absolute Poker's Scott Tom were both indicted on Black Friday, and Tom has not yet been brought into custody. Read more. On why the updates coming from UB and Absolute Poker have been few and far between, TwoPlusTwo poster "PokerAddict" speculated, "I too have wondered why AP/UB news has not existed, especially compared to FTP. I wonder if they are happy getting Brent to plead guilty and the amount of money they seized, realizing there is no other money." In a thread in the Poker Sites forum here on PocketFives, posters were largely disillusioned with the situation, with one member of the online poker community admitting, "My UB money has been dead to me for months." Another poker player echoed, "You don't know how many times I've thought to myself it'd be nice to have my UB bankroll IRL right now." In October 2011, CEREUS' parent company, Blanca Games, proposed liquidating its assets in order to repay players. The proposal, which was made to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), has not been referenced since, but PocketFives has heard rumors from credible sources that players could be repaid 15 to 20 cents on the dollar. The KGC commented at the time, "Over the past several weeks, we were advised of a potential solution prepared by Blanca and its representatives establishing a process to liquidate Blanca's assets and distribute proceeds to players. We understand that this process has been presented to [the DOJ] for consideration and approval." Meanwhile, player cashouts have seemed to grind to a halt. One member of PocketFives posted in late February, "The min cashouts stopped long ago, I have had one pending for more than six months or so. Pretty sure the shop has closed up now." Last month, Avoine, a subsidiary of Madeira Fjord that purchased Absolute Poker in late 2006 or early 2007, claimed it had no knowledge of any wrongdoing at the embattled online poker site: "During the period of 2007 to the present, neither Avoine nor its management knew of the allegedly wrongful conduct upon which the plaintiff's forfeiture claim is predicated." The natives are unquestionably getting restless when it comes to UB and Absolute Poker. One poster on TwoPlusTwo addressed how Blanca Games managed to shed seemingly all of its player deposits: "It is insane that they don't have money to pay. This isn't even counting their profits; we are just asking for the money we deposited. Even if the company was breakeven, they should be able to pay us back. IMO it is a joke that after everything that has happened, there has been absolutely no pressure on these criminals." We'll keep you posted with the latest news from UB, Absolute Poker, and Full Tilt right here on PocketFives.
  20. One of the most polarizing figures in the gaming community, Las Vegas Sands Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Sheldon Adelson (pictured), announced this week that he will expand his company's foothold into Europe. According to Reuters, Adelson is seeking to create a "mini-Las Vegas" in Spain, particularly the cities of Barcelona and Madrid. To achieve this, Adelson is looking to spend approximately $35 billion on the project, which, according to the CEO, will be entirely owned and operated by the Sands and the first such casino-style location in Europe. "We are looking at 12 integrated resorts (with) 3,000 rooms each," Adelson stated as he opened the doors on his new property in Macau on Wednesday. "It will be about half the size of the Las Vegas strip in Spain for the European market." The buildings, which Adelson did not go into detail about, will cost around $2.5 to $3 billion each. The market for such a resort in Spain would focus on drawing people from western and central Europe. Reuters pointed out that the current economical state of Europe, which is reeling from the bailouts of several of its member nations, might make building such a large complex difficult, even for the billionaire. For his part, Adelson didn't address that issue, but believes that the casino project will prove worthwhile by the end of its construction, which is estimated to take five to ten years. Analysts for Reuters believe that the proposed project would be dependent on tax breaks from the Spanish government, something that Adelson and the Sands are extensively looking into. The Las Vegas Sands Corporation announced in February that it was planning to erect a Spanish casino complex that would feature a 36,000-bed hotel, 18,000 slot machines, and three golf courses. The price tag: approximately €15 billion. Adelson's position in the gaming industry has often had him at odds with online gambling supporters and his fellow casino owners. He has been a longtime opponent of opening up online gaming dating back to 2006, when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed through Congress and signed into law. Since that time, Adelson has repeatedly butted heads with other casino operations that have supported a Federally regulated and licensed online poker industry. In December 2011, Adelson was a lone voice in expressing his opposition to proposed legislation from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (pictured) that would have made online poker legally available to the American public. In his opinion, Adelson said he didn't believe there were enough safeguards to prevent underage people from being able to play online. His opinion has drawn the ire of many of his fellow casino operators, including Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, and Boyd Gaming, all of which have signed agreements with online poker rooms should the legal environment in the United States change. With Federal legislation currently at a standstill, the state of Nevada has stepped up to take the reins of online poker for its citizens. The legislature and Governor Brian Sandoval passed legislation that could make the state the first to offer online poker to its residents. As such, many casino operations that support a Federal mandate have moved forward in an attempt to get licensed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. As of today, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation has not applied for a license nor teamed with any online poker service provider to enter the Nevada market. Adelson also has been a longtime supporter of the Republican Party. He has been a major contributor to several Republican campaigns in Nevada and has counseled UIGEA mastermind Jon Kyl (pictured). Most recently, Adelson earned national attention for donations he made to assist the Presidential campaign of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich through the pro-Gingrich Super PAC "Winning Our Future." It is estimated that Adelson donated at least $15 million to "Winning Our Future," although the gaming mogul himself admitted last month that Gingrich's presidential run was "at the end of its line."
  21. According to eGamingReview(EGR), Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, Steve Segal, and Todd tbt4653Terry have filed a new lawsuit against Full Tilt front men Howard Lederer (pictured) and Chris Ferguson. Both pros have already been accused of running a "global Ponzi scheme" by the U.S. Department of Justice, and the latest legal claim charges them with "conversion and of exercising 'unlawful dominion and control' over player funds," according to EGR. EGR quoted a portion of the latest lawsuit, which states, "Defendants approved distributions and loans to the other owners of Full Tilt Poker from funds directly traceable to the player accounts... The distributions and loans to Lederer, Ferguson, and the other Full Tilt Poker owners were from intermingled funds containing monies from the player accounts." Full Tilt allegedly owes $150 million to U.S. customers and was bucked from the American market one year ago on Black Friday. It purportedly shelled out over $400 million to its executives and pros. According to Vegas Inc., which EGR also cites, "The lawsuit claims Lederer received some $42 million in distributions and 'profit sharing' payments, some of which was loaned from Full Tilt and may or may not be outstanding, while Ferguson similarly received $85 million, some of which may have been in the form of loans." The suit was filed in a Federal court in Las Vegas, where Lederer lives and Ferguson(pictured) reportedly has "conducted substantial business." Terry and company already filed one lawsuit against Full Tilt executives under the RICO Act. Whether the newest legal hurdle will delay the finalization of a deal that would send Full Tilt's assets to Groupe Bernard Tapie remains to be seen. As one poster on TwoPlusTwo pointed out, "The purpose of the suit seems to be to get more than 100% of losses via an award of punitive damages." According to PokerNews, the original RICO Act lawsuitfiled by Terry, Segal, Hougdahl, and Hammer "was dismissed in January by U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand, who said he did not believe that charges alleged in the class-action complaint directly caused the confiscation of player funds." On TwoPlusTwo, players bantered about whether the lawsuit could adversely impact a sale of the former online poker giant. "If [the lawsuit]doesn't hold up the deal, then go Todd Terry," wrote one member of the poker community. "If it does, then he really needs to stop. I would assume [Terry] could get in contact with [Groupe Bernard Tapie legal counsel Behn Dayanim] if he wanted to, though, and discuss what his suit would do/not do to the deal." An e-mail sent by PocketFives to Full Tilt Poker lawyer Jeff Ifrah seeking comment on the most recent legal filing was not returned as of press time. There has still not been a resolution to the rumored sale of the room to Groupe Bernard Tapie, a transaction that will likely feature the U.S. Government as a middleman. Last week, PocketFives published a feature article outlining signs Full Tilt could be ramping up for a re-launch. For instance, Orinic Limited, a company associated with Full Tilt, reapplied for an online gaming license with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. Meanwhile, a variety of Full Tilt job openings are posted on Jobs.ie, including customer service representatives, team leaders, and supervisors. Quoting our original article, "The customer service jobs would pay in the neighborhood of £25,000 to £30,000 per year and the team leaders' and supervisors' salaries are listed as 'negotiable.'" Whether players would receive all of their funds back, or merely a percentage on the dollar, is not clear. We'll keep you up to date on the latest Full Tilt news right here on PocketFives.
  22. You've seen high hand bonuses at casinos throughout the United States and throughout the world. For example, if you get a Royal Flush in spades, you get $100, or if you make quad eights, you get $75. Napa Valley Casinoin American Canyon, California, just outside of San Francisco, is taking the high hand concept to a new level by introducing a progressive component. Plus, it is not taking money out of any pot to pay for it. PocketFives sat down with Napa Valley Casino's Chris Henderson to get the details. PocketFives: Thanks for joining us. Tell us about the high hand promotion. Chris Henderson: We're waiting for final approval from the state, but the idea is that the top 31 hands in poker will receive a bonus. For each of these hands, we'll have a progressive bonus. Depending on when players hit it and what the payout is, it could be worth a lot. PocketFives: Why did Napa Valley Casino decide to introduce this promotion? Chris Henderson: It's something new and creative, and it allows more bonuses and jackpots to be hit instead of the traditional monster bad beat and small bad beat jackpots. Our big one hits about three times a year, so only a few players can achieve it. This promotion has 31 hands, which allows players to receive a wider variety of bonuses and jackpots. PocketFives: Where will the jackpots start? Chris Henderson: I think we're going to start all of them at $100 or $200 and go up by $25 every day they don't hit. We don't have a jackpot drop like other casinos, either. Instead, this is something that's budgeted within our own budget. There's nothing the players need to pay for. We want players to play more frequently and longer. If quad fours is worth $125 and they hit it, now they have the opportunity to play for a couple more hours. It allows players to stretch their time because they have a higher probability of receiving free money from the casino. There may be some other nuances, but that's the basis of what we're going on. This is very unique within the Bay Area and Sacramento. No one has this kind of system anywhere else. Most casinos have two bad beats, a progressive Royal Flush bonus, a high hand jackpot, and an aces cracked jackpot, but that's pretty much it. PocketFives: Napa Valley Casino does not have a jackpot drop? Chris Henderson: We have no jackpot drops at all. If you think about other places taking $1 off a table for a jackpot, we don't have that here. We're not trying to be greedy. We just want our customers to come to our casino, sit down, and play their favorite poker game. They're not paying for drops. They're not paying for sodas or food. We appreciate them so much and want them to be in our facility. PocketFives: Is it too late for people to enter the Player of the Year race? Chris Henderson: No. All you have to do is make the top 40 by the end of the year. The way our system works, we have five tournaments every week and a deep stack tournament that is worth double points. If players show up, they can make the top 40 easily. PocketFives: We noticed a thread in the Live Poker forum here on PocketFives in which Napa Valley Casino is enlisting prop players. What personalities are you looking for? Chris Henderson: We'd like players who are friendly, like to play, and can play a wide variety of poker games to be part of our family. They need to love the game of poker. Visit Napa Valley Casino's websitefor more information.
  23. Rumors circulating around the online poker world on Sunday have the Merge Gaming Network site Lock Poker acquiring the Cake Poker Network. When asked whether there was any truth behind the rumors, a Lock Poker representative told PocketFives on Sunday, "I cannot comment right now, but I can say that we will be putting an official press release out this week." PocketFives has learned that the press release Lock alluded to is due out on Monday. An article on Gambling911 speculated that Lock Poker would be purchasing the entire Cake Poker Network, as opposed to just Cake Poker itself, and vacating the Merge Gaming Network. Whether the combined Lock and Cake network would be called Lock Poker, Cake Poker, or something entirely different remains to be seen. Our source at Lock Poker did not comment on the future of Lock's brand. Gambling911 reported that Lock would be "re-branding the [Cake Poker Network], driving technology, marketing, player rewards, implementing a more aggressive tournament schedule, and incorporating a new company philosophy, essentially restructuring the entire Cake Poker Network." An e-mail sent from PocketFives to Cake Poker seeking comment was not returned at press time. The original poster in a PocketFives threadshared his alleged inside information: "Had a Lock pro tell me Cake and Lock are merging, or Cake is buying them? Said this was all going down in June." In response to the thread in the Poker Sites forum speculating that Cake could be acquiring Lock, our source stated, "Cake is definitely not buying Lock. We currently represent 40% of the traffic on Merge, we are the largest room on Merge, and have been for the past five months." Other Merge sites include Hero Poker and Carbon Poker. According to the traffic ranking site PokerScout, the Merge Gaming Network's cash game traffic is up 6% year-over-year to a seven-day running average of 1,640 players. PokerStars, Full Tilt, and UB leaving the U.S. market on Black Friday helped increase its relevance, as Merge continues to accept American players. The failed Lock Ops tournament series could have been a catalyst for the rumored jump to Cake. On April 23rd, Lock Poker officials Tweeted, "We are sad to announce that Merge has officially canceled Lock Ops and revoked previous approval given to Lock to run the series." A visit to the Lock Ops website on LockPoker.eu reveals text that says, "Lock Ops: Coming Fall 2012." The series was originally scheduled for May 6 to 20. We should point out that PocketFives does not recommend playing online poker on sites offering rake-based games in the United States like Lock Poker and Cake Poker. Your money may be at risk. We feel more comfortable at this time recommending no-rake sites such as HogWild Poker. Stay tuned to PocketFives for more on this developing story.
  24. Major online tournament action was headlined by thePokerStarsSpring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) events, with BrazilianAllingomestaking home $282,240 for his outright victory in the High Stakes $2,100 NLHE 6-max Event #1. In the PartyPoker, WPT PokerPokerfest Main Event, PocketFiver AndyBonifiedWard of the United Kingdom earned $216,918 for his outright victory upon outlasting more than 1,850 opponents in the $640 buy-in NLHE championship. Fellow member tracyer placed 3rd in the Stars SCOOP Mid-Stakes $215 NLHE 6-max event for $86,456. Congratulations to all PocketFivers who cashed in Sunday's online tournaments. Here are the final table results: --- PartyPoker, WPT Poker "Pokerfest Main Event" ($600+40 NLHE) *$1m Gtd. 1,854 entrants - $1,112,400 paid out to 99 spots 1. TheSpider $216,918.00 ( Bonified) 2. xAndorx_ $119,583.00 3. Rakoneey16 $75,643.00 4. Duke_Silver $58,957.00 5. CrazyButcher $47,833.00 6. xalexmegasx $36,709.00 7. petvet33 $28,366.00 8. redsouppirate $19,467.00 9. vvirtue $14,461.00 ( vvirtue) 10. Bananazoo $9,455.00 ( bananazoo) --- PartyPoker, WPT Poker "$100k Gtd. High Roller" ($500+30 NLHE) *$100k Gtd. 335 entrants - $167,500 paid out to 40 spots 1. KARAOKE_PRO $43,550.00 ( Milana) 2. Dubya32 $25,878.00 3. j8chatz $14,656.00 ( JoeChat) 4. Sir.rui $11,725.00 5. KPitts34 $10,050.00 ( KJulius10) 6. urkburck $8,375.00 7. poopoo111111 $6,700.00 8. banditpandaa $5,025.00 ( 1banditpanda) 9. TonyCunst $3,350.00 10. b1gsl1ck $2,512.00 --- iPoker Network "iPOPS $100k Guarantee" ($500+25 NLHE 6-max) 230 entrants, $115,000 paid out to 30 spots chilenod - $28,175 trojanec - $18,515 generalshifty - $13,225 myyear2012 - $9,775 I0wnfunkyt0wn - $6,900 ipopyouup - $4,600 --- bwin "ChampionChip $250k Guaranteed" ($190 NLHE) 1,379 entrants - $262,010 paid out to 220 spots 1. elgrade1 $41,097.93 2. The_Fishest $28,040.77 3. Jonny200 $20,334.91 4. Farley008 $14,983.62 5. MORRISWEED $11,077.17 6. xximprovedxx $8,219.58 7. wellyxx $6,635.60 ( emeriaa) 8. Kotten_88 $5,180.05 9. KIKEA85 $4,034.87 10. alexcroco $3,167.96 --- bwin "$100k Guarantee" ($100 NLHE Rebuy) 519 entrants - $128,800 paid out to 76 spots 1. wellyxx $25,122.67 ( emeriaa) 2. CToft1985 $17,453.65 3. ArrrrPoorYou $12,495.22 4. 12jimmy16 $9,255.72 5. OMGTobyLewis $6,842.62 6. BetfFairy $5,077.42 7. armyvet42 $4,098.96 ( StatusUp) 8. gwka $3,199.83 9. Laban173 $2,492.43 ( Mrdawwe) 10. Explo_me $1,956.92 --- 888"$100k Mega Deep" ($200+15 buy-in NLHE) 489 entrants - $106,479.58 paid out to140 spots 1. slow_roller1 $27,696.00 2. 22jateko $17,310.00 3. BlackBrahman $10,963.00 4. xHitNRunnerx $7,812.58 5. EternallyYrs $6,000.80 6. beyond88com $4,616.00 7. lpoker64 $3,462.00 ( lpoker64) 9. daz_lockyer $1,961.80 ( gekophonic) 10. sheeba555 $1,269.40 --- PokerStars "SCOOP-01-H" ($2,000+100 NLHE 6-max) *$750k Guaranteed 784 entrants - $1,568,000 paid out to 90 spots Allingomes - $282,240(Allingomes) arturitooo - $211,680 raidalot - $156,800 Str8$$$Homey - $109,760 dirty.brasil - $78,400 yasunori66 - $47,040 --- PokerStars "SCOOP-01-M" ($200+15 NLHE 6-max) *$500k Guaranteed 784 entrants - $1,084,600 paid out to 720 spots 1. Heminsley $123,868.99 2. com 157 $116,365.99 3. tracyer $86,455.69 ( tracyer) 4. jonwayne69 $90,882.55 *4-way deal 5. SpeckBasu $30,748.41 6. mandza17 $16,269.00 --- PokerStars"SCOOP-02-H" ($2,000+100 NLHE) *$1m Guaranteed 966 entrants - $1,932,000 paid out to 108 spots 1. greezhool $220,517.13 2. @cey@lone $193,219.28 3. SamSquid $234,193.06 ( TheSquid) 4. LukeFromB13 $187,073.39 ( IWEARGOGGLES) 5. 7Be/eC7 $194,753.14 *5-way deal 6. pyszalek $80,178.00 ( Pyszalek) 7. 810ofclubs $60,858.00 ( 810ofclubs) 8. cassiopak $42,697.20 ( cassiopak) 9. pokerpro_kk1 $24,729.60 --- PokerStars"SCOOP-02-M" ($200+15 NLHE) *$1m Guaranteed 8,240 entrants - $1,648,000 paid out to 1,080 spots Isildur1 - $247,200.00 RaisingRay91 - $181,889.76 szwindel - $131,840.00 Fred_Brink - $87,344.00 ( Brink) vikAAAA - $67,568.00 rzr900rzr - $51,088.00 cloaknet - $35,432.00 Gusparo - $19,776.00 ( Gusparo) lubor74 - $12,772.00 --- PokerStars"Sunday 500" ($500+30 NLHE) *$300k Guaranteed 961 entrants - $480,500 paid out to 144 spots 1. probirs $75,056.42 2. montecarlo13 $69,958.48 *2-way deal 3. mypokerf $45,647.50 4. pezler06 $34,115.50 ( pez102) 5. Klebanov999 $24,025.00 6. nachobarbero $19,220.00 7. ElRupert $14,415.00 ( Rupert) 8. respect82 $9,610.00 9. tRaMp$d0PrAy $5,525.75 ( taypaur) --- PokerStars"Sunday Rebuy" ($100+9 NLHE w/rebuys) *$225k Guaranteed 1,239 entrants - $416,600 paid out to 144 spots 1. paulitschMC $76,029.50 2. zangbezan24 $55,366.14 ( Imper1um) 3. highdro420 $41,660.00 ( D Ro) 4. pappadogg $31,245.00 ( pappadogg) 5. Mafews $21,871.50 6. ThEcLaiMEer $17,705.50 ( TheClaimeer) 7. Skipper-dawn $13,539.50 ( Lihn) 8. Olembe $9,373.50 9. LiroLa $5,832.40 ( LiroLa) __________________ *As of August 1, 2011, PocketFives is no longer promoting U.S. facing poker sites. Any poker site that allows U.S. players will NOT be included in our tournament reports. **Information is based on official feeds that PocketFives receives from each poker site listed above. Chop amounts may not be reflected in some tournaments. ***If a screen name is not listed under a PocketFives member's profile EXACTLY as it appears in the final table feeds we receive directly from the sites, then his/her name will not be included in the report. The screen name must be entered in the player's profile by the time the event concludes or it will not register in this report.
  25. The very first tournaments of the 2012 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, or SCOOP, kicked off on Sunday. Each PokerStars SCOOP contest features three buy-in levels - low, medium, and high - meaning there's an event for every budget. The kickoff low-stakes event was a $27 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max tournament that nearly tripled its guarantee of $250,000, as over 25,000 entrants turned out to create a prize pool of $638,000. PokerStars member Blackbeatywalked away with the title and a bounty of $74,000, while PocketFives member estofesto finished as the #2 player on the final leaderboard and officially pulled in $53,000. Blackbeaty had offered a deal heads-up, but estofesto would have none of it, politely posting in the chat, "It's ok. Let's play. Thank you for the offer." Third place in the low-stakes kickoff SCOOP tournament belonged to Canada's Mtlboy, whose real name is Rayan Chamas. The $35,000 payday was his largest tracked cash on PocketFives, besting a $30,000 haul for winning the Sunday Kickoff on PokerStars in February. Last August, Chamas won the site's $162 Sunday Six-Max for $21,000. A pair of Danish poker players in Lund(pictured) and postenfinished in fourth and sixth, respectively, in the six-max tournament. They both sit in the top 60 in the PocketFives Sortable Poker Rankings for Denmark. Here's a look at how the final table cashed out: 1. Blackbeaty - $74,008.00 2. estofesto - $53,209.20 (estofesto) 3. zebest_666 - $35,919.40 (Mtlboy) 4. Lundsild - $18,687.02 (Lund) 5. darknikson - $10,737.54 6. posten - $6,788.32 (posten) The mid-stakes version of SCOOP Event #1 was a $215 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max tournament whose prize pool lapped $1 million. The rich tournament concluded with Heminsley bringing home $123,000 for first place. He was one of two players to bank six-figures, joining the runner-up, com 157, in that department. Hungary's tracyerlanded in third place and walked away with $86,000 from the mid-stakes event. The Hungarian's largest tracked online poker score to date came in 2010 by virtue of winning the PokerStars Turbo $30,000 Guaranteed for $16,000 and defeating three of the top 200 players in the PocketFives Rankings at the final table. The mid-stakes version of Event #1 of SCOOP ended with the following result: 1. Heminsley - $123,868.99 2. com 157 - $116,365.99 3. tracyer - $86,455.69 (tracyer) 4. jonwayne69 - $90,882.55 5. SpeckBasu - $30,748.41 6. mandza17 - $16,269.00 The high-stakes Event #1 finale was still raging on at the time of writing. When the $2,100 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max tournament had 41 players left, the chip counts were as follows: oncommand - 507,554 (norajean) Allingomes - 436,374 (Allingomes, pictured) busto_soon - 414,864 (busto_soon) Fiskin1 - 329,491 AJacejackAJ - 302,342 (Mutha Flushaa) StingsHUH - 298,793 FU_15 - 261,608 (fu_15) E1ephant - 260,108 LukeFromB13 - 252,977 (IWEARGOGGLES) Tagult - 246,852 (Tagult) By the way, PokerStars is holding a special freeroll on May 13th at 2:30pm ET for PocketFives readers. It's a winner-take-all freebie for a $1,050 ticket into the 27th event of the Spring Championship of Online Poker. We'd like to thank PokerStars for bringing this type of value to the PocketFives community. Sign up for PokerStars today.
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