Catching you up on all the poker tourney news…
Kurt Jewell has won the World Series of Poker Circuit’s Tunica Main Event. It’s Jewell’s second WSOP-C main event scalp and his third WSOP-C gold ring. Three days of play in Mississippi saw 647 players reduced to Jewell and Chris Thompson, whose triple-10s ultimately fell victim to Jewell’s straight. Thompson took home $119k while Jewell earned just shy of $193k and a free seat at the WSOP-C National Championship later this year.
Matt Juttelstad has earned top honors at the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. The $3,500 buy-in event attracted a field of 295, taking four days to whittle things down to Juttelstad and runner-up Gigi Gagne, who fell short of her dream of becoming the first female to wear a WPT crown. Gagne earned $158k as consolation, while Juttelstad – who busted out on Day 1A and fortunately chose to re-up on Day 1B – collected $268k and a seat at the WPT Championship in May.
Also headed to the WPT Championship is Russian Rinat Bogdanov, who earned €229k for taking down the WPT Venice Grand Prix on Saturday. From a field of 155, the action at the Casino di Venezia Ca Vendramin Calergi came down to Bogdanov and Alessandro Longobardi, who lasted all of two hands heads-up. Fortunately, Longobardi’s indignity was smoothed by an €111k payday. The WPT’s next European stop will be in April in Vienna.
In upcoming tourney news, the Asian Poker Tour has signed on as major sponsor of the fourth annual China Poker Carnival at the MGM Sanya Resort in Hainan. The non-buy-in, invitation-only event with a 1m yuan (US $159k) prize pool gets underway March 18. Ten days before that, the Paradise Walkerhill Casino in Seoul, South Korea will host the Asia Pacific Poker Tour Seoul Festival of Poker. The Seoul stop had been a part of the APPT’s first two seasons, but was dropped for the next two, only to resurrect itself in 2012.
The World Series of Poker Africa will return to the Emerald Resort and Casino outside Johannesburg, South Africa starting Feb. 21. Hosting the event will be none other than Scotty ‘The Prince’ Nguyen, who is probably being coached on how to say ‘baby’ in both Zulu and Afrikaans as we speak. There will be six official Ring events, including the $10,400 high-roller that kicks off Feb. 23 and the $3,300 main event getting underway Feb. 24. As for Scotty, he’s got only one concern: “Just make sure the people at the Emerald protect me from any lions and I promise you we’ll have a lot of fun, baby!” The Prince meets the Lion King? Hakuna mababy?
Finally, we make passing note of the fact that Jason Somerville, who earned his first WSOP bracelet in June, has come out of the closet. Yes, folks, he’s [pause for effect] a winning poker player. Oh, and he’s gay. Kudos to Somerville for having the courage to out himself, and congrats to us heteros, who now have one less rich guy with whom to compete for the attentions of women.