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For years, Isai Scheinberg (pictured), arguably the most important man in poker, has stayed out of the spotlight. Over the weekend, though, he stepped out of the shadows, bellied up to the poker table, and took down the £2,200 High Roller Event of the UK and Ireland Poker Tour Isle of Man stop. Scheinberg founded the online poker behemoth PokerStarsin 2001 in Costa Rica, but later moved it to Isle of Man. It was not always the giant it is now, sitting behind the likes of PartyPoker and even the old Paradise Poker back before the poker boom took hold. One of the worst moments in online poker history – the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 in the United States – actually helped PokerStars achieve its current dominant position. While many of its competitors exited the US market, PokerStars remained, scooping up loads of American customers looking for a new online home. Things changed for Scheinberg in June when PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, by way of their parent company, were purchased by Amaya Gaming for a healthy $4.9 billion. The deal was officially closed on August 1. While he won't be travelling to the United States any time soon, it seems that his new found riches and free time have loosened Scheinberg up a bit; he now has opportunity to do some more of the things he wants. Which brings us to the UKIPT Isle of Man High Roller Event. Seeing Scheinberg in public almost feels like seeing Big Foot. We wanted to believe he really existed, we had heard unconfirmed reports of a blurry figure every now and then, but we never had proof. But there Scheinberg was, one of 15 players in a tournament which, while not particularly high-profile, was still one that people followed. Scheinberg's appearance was almost certainly not a coincidence. PokerStars is based in the Isle of Man, so not only is that probably his home, but because PokerStars also operates the UKIPT, there were a lot of PokerStars employees in attendance. It was as if Scheinberg was saying, "I may not own this company any more, but I'm still here. Let's have some fun." Normally, PokerStars employees are not allowed to play on the tour, but that rule was lifted for this stop. After Scheinberg's victory, at least a couple dozen friends, players, and PokerStars employees gathered around him for the traditional "group winner's" photo, a great shot of a bunch of people who look truly thrilled to be celebrating with their former boss. Brad Willis did an excellent job painting the picture (shown here) on the PokerStars Blog, writing, "All along, Scheinberg let others have the limelight, and even when it was time for him to step up and collect his trophy, he let himself be surrounded – engulfed, even – by the people he trusted enough to let them be a part of PokerStars. Yes, he is in the picture, but true to his way,it's the crowd around him that gets the glory." Lee Jones, PokerStars' Head of Poker Communications, who placed 14th in the tour stop's Main Event, Tweeted about Scheinberg's victory, calling it a "most epic story." He may have been overstating things just a tad, but it was certainly a cool moment and it was fun to see one of the pioneers of the industry have a moment of celebration. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
Last month, Daragh daragh999Davey (pictured) finished second in the 888 Poker Sunday Challenge. There were 844 entrants that day and Davey bagged $15,000 after coming up short on the final hand. "I'm feeling pretty good about it," Davey told PocketFives. "It's my biggest online result in a while. It's always nice to run good on a Sunday." He calls Dublin, Ireland home and said he really had no recollection of the first few hours of the Sunday Major. He explained, "I usually push myself to play 17 to 20 tables on a Sunday, which is my absolute limit, so it just blurred in with the rest. By the time I had stopped registering, I think I had 15 starting stacks approaching the bubble, so I probably ran pretty well up to that point." He kept chipping up after the bubble and said, "The amazing thing about the Mega Deep on 888 is that it's absurdly deep the whole way. The average stack stayed above 50 big blinds, so I was very rarely at risk. At the last two tables, I had a massive stack along with another guy who ended up sitting out, but he had such a huge stack that he laddered to third." We're never shocked anymore. He runs a staking and coaching stable called The Firm based in Ireland that has a bundle of Irish players in it and won the UKIPT Player of the Year last season. That was quite an award for Davey, so much so that it's the highlight of his poker career thus far: "It was an absurd amount of work relentlessly playing every single side and main event over something like 14 stops. I worked for and earned that one." For winning the UKIPT Player of the Year, Davey received packages to all of this season's UKIPT stops "and a lot of bragging rights. It didn't really affect me online, though. I'm always massively afraid that I will fall behind the curve and become -EV online, so my confidence level is never that high, which can be a huge positive, as it keeps me motivated to work hard." The Irishman started playing live cash games seven years ago and was instantly hooked. "I'm not really a gambler at all, but the strategy elements of poker instantly fascinated me. I was pretty bad for the first year or so, but then slowly started to win after reading some books and online articles as well as working stuff out myself. After a while, I decided to give playing full-time a try, as I didn't really have much downside at the time." Davey initially had a very small bankroll, but played 70 to 80 hours a week of live games and ran well, allowing him to build up his war chest and confidently call poker a career. He has $812,000 in career online tournament winnings, including a win in the Sunday Challenge in 2012. He has another $315,000 in live tournament winnings, according to the Hendon Mob. Away from poker, Davey is into computer gaming and cooking. He said of the latter, "I used to be pretty awful a few years ago, but think I'm at a reasonable level now, which is obviously great when I'm sitting down for long sessions since I can have a healthy and balanced diet. Also, the staking and coaching take up a decent bit of time." He is additionally involved with TheChipRace.com, so he's always busy. If poker eventually goes south and Davey goes broke, being a chef or otherwise working in the culinary industry could be an option. We'll hope, at least in the near future, that it doesn't come to that. If you don't already have an 888 Poker account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get an enhanced 100% up to $600 deposit bonus, $88 free in most locations, and one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training! Click here to get started. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.