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In an interview with Lee Davy from CalvinAyre.com, tournament director Matt Savage (pictured) discussed the demise of Federated Sports & Gaming and its pet project, the Epic Poker League. In it, Savage recounted his involvement with the group and, in particular, stated that the two major players in the organization, former World Series of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack and Annie Duke, were not to blame for the overall failure of the venture. The interview with Davy was sparked by a Tweet from Savage in which he stated he received a settlement check from the bankruptcy filing by FS&G. "Not what I was owed, but it was like finding money in the street," Savage chirped on Twitter. In the interview, Davy drew a bit more information out of Savage about the organization. "The events themselves were great," Savage said of Epic. "The fields were small, but the players that attended were well taken care of," including free rooms at the Palms Hotel and added money to the prize pools. He also believed that Epic was "something that could change the industry" and that the difficult fields made for great television. Savage recognized there were downsides of FS&G and Epic, however. "The up-front costs were massive," Savage commented to Davy. "From the set, the television time, production, and, yes, the added money to the prize pools… I knew the initial outlay was going to be tough to overcome." Davy asked Savage who was to blame for the downfall of the organization and Savage didn't lay that blame at any particular person's feet. "It was a great idea that didn't work," Savage remembered. "I don't think, like others do, that there is blame to be placed." At the end of the discussion, Davy broached the names of Pollack and Duke. When asked about Pollack, Savage didn't pin everything on the former WSOP commissioner. "(Pollack faced) lofty goals that were impossible to attain," Savage said. "Many businesses have attempted to succeed - and failed. Should he take the blame? Maybe. Should he be crucified for it? No." On Duke (pictured), Savage had similar sentiments: "Annie tried hard to do right by the players, but had a lot to overcome with her public opinion. Tarnished by Ultimate Bet and Daniel (Negreanu) slinging insults and negative comments about the EPL and how it would fail. Annie doesn't deserve the blame for the Epic failure." FS&G introduced the Epic Poker League in 2011 as a professional poker league that saw elite players come together on the felt. Originally supposed to play four tournaments with a $20,000 buy-in and a 27-player Tournament of Champions that was a $1 million freeroll, Epic was canceled after the third event in December 2011. Facing severe debt and revenue shortfalls, FS&G filed for bankruptcy in February 2012 and its components were sold in an auction to Pinnacle Entertainment in June 2012. Epic's parent reported $8 million in liabilities. After the purchase, Pinnacle sold the Global Poker Index to Zokay Entertainment and Alex Dreyfus, who has since taken GPI to greater heights with his management. When asked whether having Dreyfus in charge of FS&G and Epic would have changed the eventual endgame, Savage said he "didn't think that anyone could (have) made it work." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
Chino Rheem is about as polarizing of a figure as you’ll find in today’s world of poker, but for all of the issues he’s had over the years, there’s no denying his ability to perform on the game’s largest stages. Rheem has won three World Poker Tour titles, final tabled the WSOP Main Event, and amassed more than $10.5 million in live tournament earnings. Coming off a first-place score for more than $1.5 million in the 2019 PCA Main Event, Rheem recently became the 41st poker player in history to win more than $10 million from live poker tournaments. Here’s a look at the five biggest scores of Rheem’s poker career. 7th in 2008 WSOP Main Event ($1,772,650) Rheem had been around the poker world for a handful of years before the 2008 World Series of Poker, and he even had a second-place finish in a gold bracelet event in 2006 that earned him $327,981. He truly made waves in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, though, when he aggressively splashed his way through the 6,844-player field to reach the final table in what was the first-ever WSOP November Nine. Rheem entered the 2008 WSOP Main Event final table in sixth position on the leaderboard. His run ultimately ended in seventh place after he got the last of his money in with the [poker card="As"][poker card="Kc"] against Peter Eastgate’s [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qd"]. A queen hit the flop, and that was all she wrote for Rheem, who was sent to the rail with a $1.772 million prize. 1st in 2019 PCA Main Event ($1,567,100) The 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event attracted 865 entries. With six players left, Rheem entered the final day with the chip lead. He busted all five of his opponents to win the 2019 PCA Main Event and capture its $1.567 million first-place prize. This result proved to be, at the time, the second largest of Rheem's career, just behind his WSOP Main Event seventh-place finish. It also moved him to more than $10.5 million in live tournament earnings and he became the 74th player to eclipse the $10 million earnings mark, per HendonMob. 1st in WPT Five Diamond ($1,538,730) Rheem was one of 497 entries in the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic event at Bellagio in 2008. The event was part of Season VII of the WPT and featured a buy-in of $15,400. The prize pool was $7.231 million, of which Rheem got the most of when he scored the $1.538 million top prize. It was the first of Rheem’s three World Poker Tour titles and came just a month after he finished seventh in the World Series of Poker Main Event. At this final table, Rheem had stiff competition in the form of Justin Young, Evan McNiff, Steve Sung, Amnon Filippi, and Hoyt Corkins. 1st in WPT World Championship ($1,150,297) To conclude Season XI of the World Poker Tour, Rheem won the $25,500 buy-in WPT World Championship. The event was held at Bellagio in Las Vegas in 2013 and attracted 146 entries to create a $3.54 million prize pool. In the end, it was Rheem against Erick Lindgren for the title, with Rheem coming out on top to win a $1.15 million payday and his second WPT title. 1st in Epic Poker League Event #1 ($1,000,000) Currently standing as the fifth largest score of Rheem’s poker career is a victory in the now defunct Epic Poker League. Rheem won the EPL’s first title, defeating a field of 137 entries in the $20,000 buy-in tournament to score the $1 million top prize. At the final table, Rheem out-battled runner-up Erik Seidel and third-place finisher Jason Mercier en route to the title and million dollar payday.