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  1. The poker player who was disqualified from the World Series of Poker Main Event earlier this summer has been arrested and charged with making terroristic threats against a Las Vegas casino - a Category-B Felony. Ken Strauss has been indicted in Clark County, Nevada on a single charge of making threats or conveying false information concerning an act of terrorism. The charge apparently comes from a tweet the 45-year-old sent on July 27 where he threatened the Venetian Resort. Strauss was the player disqualified from 2019 WSOP Main Event after exposing himself and throwing a shoe at a player during a hand on Day 1C. Following his removal from the WSOP Main Event, other social media posts showed the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native exposing himself at other Las Vegas casinos. Strauss' bail has been set at $150,000. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"]
  2. Ken Strauss first came to the attention of the poker world after he was disqualified from the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event for exposing himself but his legal troubles continued throughout July and August and culminated in his arrest last week on terrorism charges. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrest report details a number of incidents beginning on July 5 - Day 1C of the WSOP Main Event - and ending on July 27 that lead to the charges. LVMPD originally received a phone call from the Trump Tower Hotel in Las Vegas after Strauss checked in on July 27 and told employees there he was "offering to pay an extra $300 to get a room for the night." He told hotel employees that he had been "kicked out" of the Red Rock Hotel. Despite concerns, Trump Tower management allowed him to check in to a room. LVMPD then contacted Red Rock Hotel management and obtained a copy of a security report regarding Strauss and learned that on July 24, Strauss allegedly "attempted to lure an eight-year-old child while at the pool". Red Rock security made contact with Strauss to hear his side of the story and he told them that "he was approached by the boy and provided him with his room number and told him to have his parents meet him in his room". Red Rock decided to have him trespassed from the property. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] Included in the arrest report was a detail about an unnamed private investigator who had informed Red Rock he had been hired to investigate threats Strauss made against a Los Angeles Rams reporter. The report redacts the name but Strauss has several tweets referencing or directed at Sarina Morales, an LA Rams reporter. The investigator told Red Rock security Strauss believes Morales is "his daughter from a relationship when he was 11 years old" and that Strauss had shown up at several events across the country where Morales had been working. LVMPD then contacted Trump Tower security to check on Strauss' location and learned that Strauss was pacing out front of the hotel and had told hotel staff that "he had a limo sent to Red Rock Hotel to pick up his daughter". A second name, believed to be Morales', was listed on Strauss' hotel room. Trump hotel management indicated they didn't want Strauss contacted at this time as he had not violated any laws or made any threats. LVMPD confirmed that Morales was not with Strauss and not at the Red Rock Hotel waiting for a limousine. Later that afternoon, LVMPD officials were alerted to several tweets from Strauss' personal Twitter account that referenced the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas and made threats toward Las Vegas properties. That same day, a "suicidal person" call was generated by the Venetian Hotel stating that Strauss, a registered guest, had told security that he "would harm anyone who comes near him and would also harm himself". The LVMPD sent two sergeants and several officers to the Venetian to find Strauss and diffuse the situation. Officers attempted to conduct a welfare check on Strauss in his room, only to find it empty. Surveillance footage showed Strauss getting into a taxi which took him to the Trump Tower Hotel. Strauss was arrested at Trump Tower Hotel and interviewed by LVMPD officers. During this interview, Strauss claimed his WSOP incident was the result of a bet he lost that required him to "he had to pull his pants down after losing a hand in the opening round" of the Main Event. He also told LVMPD officers that there were still other components to the bet that he needed to complete. After being removed from the Rio premises, Strauss said he went to the Aria Hotel & Casino to play poker before going to the Luxor where a second incident occurred. After climbing onto a craps table and again exposing himself, Strauss was removed from the premises by Luxor security. Once outside, Strauss was informed he would not be able to return to the casino. At that time, Strauss " pulled his pants down and urinated on the sidewalk of the hotel". At that point, he was cited and placed on a Legal 2000 hold - a 72-hour psychiatric observation period when someone is considered a danger to themselves or others. During his interview on July 27, Strauss told officers he was at a psychiatric facility in Nevada until July 15 and checked into Red Rock Hotel upon release. After being trespassed from the Red Rock on July 25, Strauss checked into the Venetian but was told they were fully booked for the July 27 and 28. Strauss told LVMPD officers that he chose the Trump Tower Hotel because "President Trump is his uncle". When asked about the tweets he had sent, Strauss admitted to posting them out of frustration but also claimed he was "trying to warn his friends about shootings and other natural disasters which were occurring through the country" while admitting he had no weapons with him in Las Vegas. During the interview with police, an LVMPD detective asked Strauss if they could look at his cell phone to clarify some of the tweets. Strauss pulled out his phone, deleted some contacts, deleted some tweets and then logged out of Twitter and informed the detectives present that he could not remember his password. According to the arrest report, Strauss can be heard saying "kill them all, kill them" and slice people's heads open, just slice people's heads open" on audio and video recordings of the police interview room. These circumstances are what lead to Strauss' being arrested and charged with a Class B felony for "making threats or conveying false information concerning an act of terrorism". His bail was set at $150,000 and he has a public defender attorney.
  3. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. Even though it was August, the WSOP Main Event was back in the headlines, as a player that was disqualified from the tournament had a terrorism charge brought against him and another player was being sued over a staking deal. Ken Strauss Arrested and Charged for Terroristic Threat Ken Strauss, who was disqualified from the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event, was taking into custody and charged with making terroristic threats against a Las Vegas casino. The charge stemmed from Strauss’ social media activity at the end of July. In a tweet, Strauss threatened the Venetian Resort. WSOP Main Event Seventh-Place Finisher Sued Another big story from August that had WSOP Main Event ties was a lawsuit involving seventh-place finisher Nick Marchington. The 21-year-old Marchington won $1.525 million for his result, but he was soon hit with a lawsuit from two men who claimed to have bought a 10% piece of his WSOP Main Event action. David Yee and Colin Hartley, partners in C Biscuit Poker Staking, alleged that Marchington attempted to back out of a staking deal after he had agreed to sell 10% of his action to them for the WSOP's $5,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em and Main Event tournaments. There were many questions surrounding the situation, most of which focused on the conversations had between the two parties and if the deal was on or off. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Aaron Zang Wins Poker’s Richest Tournament With a buy-in of £1.05 million, the Triton Million: A Helping Hand for Charity became poker’s richest tournament. It was also set to award some absolutely mammoth paydays. Topping the field of 54 entries was Aaron Zang, who won £13.779 million. But, Zang wasn’t the event’s biggest winner. A heads-up deal between Zang and Bryn Kenney saw Kenney take home £16.89 million. The conversion rate put the score north of $20.4 million for Kenney, making him the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. Triton Million Results 1st: Aaron Zang - £13,779,791* 2nd: Bryn Kenney - £16,890,509* 3rd: Dan Smith - £7,200,000 4th: Stephen Chidwick - £4,410,000 5th: Vivek Rajkumar - £3,000,000 6th: Bill Perkins - £2,200,000 7th: Alfred DeCarolis - £1,720,000 8th: Timothy Adams - £1,400,000 9th: Wai Leong Chan - £1,200,000 10th: Chin Wei Lim - £1,100,000 11th: Winfred Yu - £1,100,000 *First and second prizes as a result of a heads-up deal. For more on this incredible tournament, go back and read the PocketFives recap. Bryn Kenney Doing His Own Thing and Crushing Speaking of Bryn Kenney, PocketFives’ Lance Bradley had the opportunity to sit down with Kenney for an interview. Even though he’s younger, Kenney isn’t often thought of as the same wizard-like player that his peers are. Kenney would be the first to admit it, too, but with a style all to his own he put together a tremendous year of poker in 2019. Checking in on Kenney’s stats on Hendon Mob, we can see that Kenney has more than $56 million in live tournament earnings and is atop poker’s all-time money list. As we mentioned before, he’s also the holder of poker’s largest single score from a live tournament. In 2019, Kenney won more than $30 million. Take some time and read the special feature story on this special player. PSPC Going To Barcelona in 2020 The first-ever PokerStars Players Championship was a smashing success, becoming the largest $25,000 buy-in event in poker history. PokerStars wanted to run it back, only in a different location, and announced that the PSPC would be heading to Barcelona, Spain. Taking place August 20-24, the 2020 PSPC will be part of the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona that is ever so popular with players. Platinum Passes are back and currently being given out through a variety of promotions from PokerStars, and this event is anticipated to be even larger than the first. ‘Girafganger7’ Wins Monthly PLB in August 'Girafganger7,' a former top-ranked online poker player in the world, earned his second PocketFives Monthly PLB title by topping the leaderboard in August. He put in a ton of volume and accumulated 2,399 points from more than 120 results. He won just over $125,000 from those results. His August was highlighted by a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club: $530 Bounty Builder HR for $13,519.
  4. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. When July comes around, the focus of the entire poker world turns to the most prestigious poker tournament of the year, the World Series of Poker Main Event and 2019 was no different - for a number of reasons. This WAS the Main Event! "This is the best feeling that I’ve had in all my life and my entire career. I am so happy I am here with the bracelet in my hand. What can I say? What can I say?" That was what 55-year-old Hossein Ensan had to say moments after winning the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event for $10 million. Ensan defeated Dario Sammartino heads-up to finish off the three-day final table coverage on ESPN and PokerGO. Sammartino walked away with a $6 million score. 2019 WSOP Main Event Final Table Results Hossein Ensan – $10,000,000 Dario Sammartino – $6,000,000 Alex Livingston – $4,000,000 Garry Gates – $3,000,000 Kevin Maahs – $2,200,000 Zhen Cai – $1,850,000 Nick Marchington – $1,525,000 Timothy Su – $1,250,000 Milos Skrbic – $1,000,000 Massive Turnout Leads to Near-Record Field Ensan's win earned him just the third $10M+ score in Main Event history because 8,569 players made the 2019 Main Event the second-largest one of all-time. As the close of registration crept closer on July 7, tournament organizers were hoping for a last-minute rush of entrants that would allow it to surpass the 8,773-player field from the 2006 Main Event. The 344 players who did register on Day 2C pushed the total registrants past 8,000 for just the second time ever and helped create an 8.83% growth over the 2018 field. Flight Entries % of Field 1A 1,334 15.57% 1B 1914 22.34% 1C 4877 56.91% 2AB 100 1.17% 2C 344 4.01% "Truly an incredible cherry on top of a wonderful 50th World Series of Poker," Seth Palansky, Vice President of Corporate Communication for Caesars Entertainment, said. "The numbers this summer speak for themselves. Poker is alive and well and we can’t thank the players enough for continuing to support the World Series of Poker brand. Seeing an eight as the first number of the Main Event really did seem unfathomable with the majority of the U.S. shutout from playing the game online. But the WSOP Main Event has always been special and we’re incredibly grateful for those that came from six different continents to participate in this year’s Main Event." Player Disqualifications Steal Headlines The 4,877 players that packed the Rio on Day 1C almost guaranteed that things wouldn't go smoothly for tournament staff, but none of them would have predicted the chaos that ensued and eventually lead to two players being disqualified. The first instance involved a player, later identified as Georgii Belianin, moving chips from another player's stack into his own. Belianin admitted to being intoxicated and believes that a language barrier may have played a role in the disqualification as he claimed he was joking around with tablemates. Belianin took responsibility for his actions. https://twitter.com/GBelianin/status/1147717240445235200?s=20 The second disqualification ended up being much more serious and involved the eventual disqualification of Ken Strauss. Here's how PocketFives detailed the action at the time: According to those in the area, the player was all in blind and began yelling while standing next to the table, causing quite a scene. The player proceeded to pull down his shorts with his back facing the table and yell some more. Patrick Eskandar, who was involved in the hand, informed PocketFives that the all-in player had actually moved all in blind before any of the cards were dealt. According to Eskandar, once the cards were dealt out, the all-in player also briefly exposed his cards to reveal queen-three. A player to act before the all-in player, received a ruling and was informed that the all-in bet would stand if no raise was made ahead of the all-in player. This player then limped in forcing the blind all-in bet to stand. Action moved to Eskandar and he thought over his decision but told PocketFives that he was more concerned with the limper than the blind shove. He knew the player who shoved blind had queen-three, but, due to the ruling, felt the player who limped could be trapping. While Eskandar was thinking, the player who was all-in blind removed his shoes and socks and even threw a shoe towards Eskandar, with the shoe landing in the dealer tray. Eskandar then folded his hand, which was pocket fives. The player who limped exposed his hand to show that he had ace-three, which dominated the all-in player’s queen-three. Much to the surprise of Eskandar and those in the area who were watching, he didn’t expose his hand as a call. He folded his hand face up. This allowed the all-in player to win the blinds and antes before he was disqualified and promptly removed from the tournament and property. https://twitter.com/chanian/status/1147250112936067072 Strauss even went as far as to expose himself to the table before being removed forcibly from the Rio. "While these incidents are unfortunate, they do happen every year," WSOP officials told PocketFives. "We disqualify players who violate rules and in the case of the individual who stole another players chips, he’s lost the privilege of playing at the WSOP in the future, too. We have zero tolerance for theft of any kind." In the weeks that followed, more details about Strauss' behaviour that day, which also included him exposing himself once more at another Las Vegas casino, became apparent as he was charged with domestic terrorism. Negreanu Details WSOP Winnings Before the start of the 2019 WSOP, Daniel Negreanu offered poker fans the opportunity to buy a piece of his WSOP action. In an effort to be as transparent as possible, Negreanu published a complete balance sheet following the conclusion of the 2019 WSOP summer events. Negreanu made $2,042,752.92 during the summer, showing a 168.78% return-on-investment for those who were fortunate enough to secure a piece of the two-time WSOP Player of the Year winner. That came from 16 cashes and $760,000 worth of tournament buy-uns. The net return for his investors was $481,026.82 after all fees were removed.
  5. As 2019 draws to a close, PocketFives takes a look back at the year that was in poker news, going month-by-month through the biggest and most important stories of the year. In September, the long-rumored sale of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino was finally announced leaving players to wonder what's next for the WSOP. Caesars Sells The Rio, Retains WSOP The rumors that the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino would be sold came to fruition in September as Caesars Entertainment Corp CEO Tony Rodio announced that New York real estate company Imperial Companies purchased the home of the World Series of Poker for $516.3 million. For poker players, the immediate concern was what exactly would happen to the World Series of Poker summer series. “The World Series of Poker will be hosted at the Rio in 2020 and Caesars will retain the rights to the event. The site of future WSOP events will be announced at a later date.” “The retention of the World Series of Poker and retention of Caesars Rewards customers are all factors that make this a valuable transaction for Caesars,” Rodio said. Now that the Rio has officially been sold and the deal closed, speculation will begin as to where the WSOP will land when their deal with Imperial Companies is complete. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] Venetian’s ‘Total Prize Pool’ Scheme Earns Criticism The Venetian Poker Room in Las Vegas drew the ire of the poker community when they decided to try something new with their guaranteed in their upcoming Lucky Shot Poker Series and Drawing. Rather than offer a traditional guarantee, which can be exceeded if things go well for the poker room, allowing players to battle for larger prize pools - the Venetian rolled out a ‘Total Prize Pool’ scheme which locked in an amount no matter how many people showed up to buy-in. “Any funds collected above and beyond the total prize pool will be the sole property of The Venetian Poker Room,” the structure sheet read. This meant that while the Venetian was on the hook for the advertised prize pool, they were in the position to collect unlimited rake depending on how well the tournament did. In the end, the Venetian's Lucky Shot Poker Series and Drawing ended up with a $27K overlay. Ken Strauss Arrest Report Shows Troubling Tale After Ken Strauss’s wild display at the World Series of Poker, one that got him disqualified for exposing himself at the table, his legal troubles continued. In the end, he was arrested in September on terrorism charges. In the midst of his bizarre behavior at the Rio and a tabletop dance on a craps table at the Luxor, Strauss drew the attention of authorities based on some troubling tweets and that he told employees at the Venetian that he would ‘harm anyone who comes near him and would also harm himself.” Strauss was arrested, charged with a Class B felony and had bail set at $150,000. ‘BigBlindBets’ Wins WCOOP Main Event High stakes cash game player ‘BigBlindBets’ topped the field of 2,236 entries in the $5,200 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker Main Event to take home $1.665 million in prize money. Danilo ‘dans170’ Demetrio finished as the runner-up, taking home $1.187 million for second place while well-known high stakes pro Talal ‘raidalot’ Shakerchi added $846,528 to his already substantial bankroll by finishing in third place. 'LarsLuzak' Crushes In September For PLB Win At one time Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro was more well known for his battles at the nosebleed cash game tables. In 2019, he emerged as one of the best tournament poker players of the year, rising to take the worldwide #1 rank. In September, Kelopuro added to his accolades by winning the PocketFives Monthly PLB and scoring an astounding $4.275 million in a single month thanks to the high stakes tournament scene happening on GGPoker.

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