Last week, the Asian poker community was stricken by a startling announcement – a ban on all poker applications in Mainland China. This was promptly followed by a decision restricting poker promotion on all Chinese social media such as WeChat.
This week also brings its share of unpleasant news with the closure of two poker rooms and the cancellation of what should have been the first event hosted in Macau by Alisports (an offshoot of Alibaba).
At the APT Macau Championships 2018 ongoing at Macau Billionaire Poker, Taiwanese pro Hung Sheng Lin dominated the Final 8 of the Main Event to capture the exclusive APT Championship Ring and the HK$ 587,000 (~US$74,700) first prize.
This has now become Lin’s single largest live tournament career score and his first major victory since 2011.
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If you’ve ever wanted to find your way into the mind of a great poker player, you certainly shouldn’t miss the most recent episodes of Joe Ingram’s podcast A.K.A ‘Poker Life Podcast’. Ingram has been putting out some fantastic content lately, interviewing several top guests on his podcast, including a four-hour interview with poker legend Barry Greenstein. All episodes are available to watch on YouTube.
German stars Dominik Nitsche and Fedor Holz both make an appearance during the course of these episodes, giving their thoughts on many interesting subjects, including Phil Ivey, who has been largely missing from the high stakes tables in the last couple of years.
The APT Philippines Championships 2018 witnessed what could possibly be the most engaging conclusion to the festival with Japanese pro Iori Yogo denying Filipino pro Lester Edoc the victory at the Championships Event. Both players had fantastic runs throughout the twelve-day event to earn them the top two places in the APT Player of the Series race. The festival ran from March 21 to April 2 at Resorts World Manila.
Iori Yogo seizes the Championships Event title
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After a first of its type Day 1B and 1C on the same day (more on this in a bit), Day 2 has completed action at the 2018 European Poker Tour Sochi Main Event. After a massive 861 entries were received, only 136 players remain – nine short of the money bubble – with Sergey Pichugin holding down the lead.
Saturday featured action that was unique for any poker tournament. While Day 1B began on Saturday like a normal tournament (with one rebuy for entrants), it was what happened later in the night that was intriguing for players. Technically a Day 1C, a “turbo” day was played with ten, 30-minute levels to make sure the players were playing to the same level as the previous tournament days. After those three-Day Ones were complete, late registration finished off with the start of Day 2 on Sunday in the Casino Sochi.
After a year of wandering in the wilderness branded as another tournament circuit, the European Poker Tour officially made its comeback on Friday in Sochi, Russia. The first day of the European Poker Tour Sochi Main Event is in the books with a contingent of (naturally) Russian players dominating the leaderboard.
For the official history books, this was the first time that the EPT had ever set foot in Russia, although technically the circuit came to the Casino Sochi last year when it was under the “other name that will not be uttered.” And, for one of the few times ever seen on the EPT, there was a multiple Day One format, with an odd twist. After Day 1A on Friday was complete, Saturday would see a Day 1B play out. If that wasn’t enough for the players, a “Day 1C” under a turbo format will be started at 8PM on Saturday night (the event also offers players a single rebuy during their start day). From those three days, the Day 2 field will come together on Sunday.
We’re a couple of months away from the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl and, just like previous years, the number of players wanting to take part is more than what will get in. Last night, former SHRB champions Christoph Vogelsang (the defending champion) and Brian Rast were selected to participate, but High Roller regulars Fedor Holz and Bryn Kenney so far are left out.
The 2018 SHRB will begin on May 27, but there are only 48 players being allowed into the tournament. Thus, officials associated with the tournament (the tournament is the creation of and sponsored by Poker Central) and ARIA, the host casino for the tournament, had to make the tough decision on who would get to participate. Just like last year, the decision was made to have a blind draw for 30 of the seats that were available. And, just like last year, there was a bit of hubbub over who made it in and who was excluded.
A few weeks ago, one of the latest cryptocurrency-based online poker sites, CoinPoker, had its real money tables go live and to celebrate, the site is running a couple of generous promotions. Unfortunately, according to GameIntel Managing Editor and PartTimePoker.com writer Alex Weldon, it appears that those promos are contributing to artificially-inflated player traffic at the site.
At most online poker rooms, a great promotion usually leads to boosted player traffic, so on the surface, the situation at CoinPoker might look normal. But when Weldon checked out the CoinPoker tables for an article topic for GameIntel, he thought the place looked even busier than expected. He ran it by the Gameintel’s owner, Dan Stewart, who agreed something was amiss.
Station Casinos has decided to discontinue the bad beat jackpot promotions at its casinos a month after the Nevada Gaming Control Board ruled that the company had to pay out a disputed jackpot.
The controversy dates back to July 7th, when a $120,000 bad beat jackpot was hit at the Red Rock Casino, one of Station’s properties in the Las Vegas area. Len Schreter had the top end of a straight flush while Avi Shamir had the low end. This would normally spell disaster for Shamir, but they were in a bad beat jackpot game, which meant that Shamir won about $60,000 for having such an amazing hand lose and Schreter. The more than 80 players active at bad beat jackpot tables at Station’s other casinos also stood to share in the rest of the jackpot.
On Monday, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) published its formal advice to the government regarding its review of brick-and-mortar gaming machines and responsible gambling measures. The 97-page document focuses on how to best make sure customers, especially those vulnerable to the risks of gambling, have an enjoyable and safe experience.
One of the most significant portions of the report has to do with the Commission’s recommendations on fixed-odds betting terminals, or FOBTs. FOBTs are computerized gaming machines like slots that many of us have seen at casinos. Other games that can be played include simulated horse racing, bingo, and roulette. They are “fixed-odds” in that they are programmed to return a certain percentage of the total wagers over the long run. Obviously, players can have sessions where they don’t receive a single penny in payout, but over the long haul, the odds are supposed to hold true.
I am an alum of the University of Virginia. As such, I was quite excited to see how my school’s men’s basketball team would fare in the NCAA tournament after completing such a dominant regular season (even if one of our best players was injured). Prior to the tournament, I purchased tickets for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in Atlanta, fearing they could increase in price, as the top seeds in the region all had strong fan bases in the area. At $311 a pop after fees, they weren’t cheap, but I was excited. My team historically failed in the first round, but on the bright side, I was able to resell my tickets at a slight profit (and prices have plummeted since). Now, I wasn’t trying to profit – I really wanted to watch my team march toward a championship – but I am relieved that I wasn’t one of the people who tried to profit from ticket resales by giving professional poker player Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli money in the last couple years.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced that Fazeli has been indicted on wire fraud charges for bilking ticket “investors” out of $6.2 million. Fazeli operated a ticket selling business called Summit Entertainment and from May 2016 through May 2017, allegedly promised people that he would use their money to buy tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and 2018 World Cup, tickets which he would flip for a profit, making investors money in the process.
Atlantic City is in the midst of a renaissance of sorts, as its gambling economy is recovering from a horrific years-long collapse that saw five casinos close in the span of two years. But the revenue graph isn’t always pointing upward, illustrated by February’s numbers released last week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), which saw total gaming revenue (or win) decrease 6.5 percent compared to the same month last year.
The seven Atlantic City casinos brought in $170.1 million in revenue in February 2018, and 8.9 percent decrease from the $186.6 million generated last February. It was actually the internet gambling revenue that made the overall loss a bit softer. Online gaming win was $22.0 million last month, a 17.5 percent jump from the $18.7 million in February 2017.
Although they have had the go ahead since last fall’s passage of the state budget to begin, lawmakers and gaming officials in Pennsylvania to this point haven’t done much of anything regarding opening the state for online gaming and poker. That changed earlier this week as the head of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced a timeline for gaming to begin in the state.
Tasked with crafting the regulations and licensing procedures, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole informed lawmakers on Tuesday that his organization was nearly ready for the licensing process to begin. In his report to lawmakers, O’Toole stated that the licensing process would begin on April 16. From that statement by O’Toole, the rest of the timeline regarding online gaming and poker in the Keystone State can be extrapolated.
With a referendum regarding gambling in the state being held during the 2018 midterm elections, the Florida Legislature had a final shot to make any moves regarding the state’s gambling laws. Instead, the politicians in Tallahassee punted the subject down the road, ensuring that there would be no further changes to the state’s regulations at least for the 2018 calendar year.
As the close of the legislative session loomed this week, both leaders in each chamber of the Florida Legislature revived the discussions on gaming in the state. Those two men, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron, would be facing starkly different roads to coming to an agreement, however. The job, at first glance, would have been easier for Negron, with a Senate willing to expand gaming where voters had approved of it, rather than Corcoran, who would have to convince fellow Representatives that have shown previously to be anti-expansion.
The Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Macau should have rolled out the red carpet for this recently concluded festival. Stars were born, four players earned a trip to paradise, and huge wads of cash flowed from start to finish. Below are some of the biggest winners of the event.
Lin Wu denies Team PS Pro Aditya Agarwal the Main Event title and Platinum Pass
Yesterday, the Asian Poker Tour added a new destination to their 2018 calendar season with the APT Vietnam Da Nang Championships announced. The twelve-day event is slated to take place from October 3 – 14 at Cocobay beach resort in the coastal city of Da Nang.
This is in partnership with Win Poker Club and the Bridge & Poker Association. The contract signing and official announcement was made at the ongoing APT Philippines Championships in Resorts World Manila.
With big events like the WPT Deepstacks Berlin, the PCA and the Aussie Millions in progress, it already looks like an amazing poker year is in store for 2018.
When the first week of February rolls around 888poker joins the fray with its first London Poker Festival at the Aspers Casino.