The World Series of Poker – at least, the online version – is coming to Italy, courtesy of Microgame. The Microgame-powered People’s Poker Network has announced a partnership with Caesars Interactive Entertainment to bring WSOP-branded poker product to the Italian masses. For Microgame, this deal might take the sting out of Unibet’s defection to Ongame. As for Caesars, they already operates a UK-facing site, so this is a nice addition to their ‘collect ’em all’ European expansion strategy.
Speaking of Italians, the final table at the European Poker Tour Prague main event will feature no less than three Italian natives. Despite our faith in 2010 EPT Berlin winner Kevin MacPhee’s capacity for performing well under pressure, he was eliminated in ninth place, leaving the final eight to do battle for the €640k first prize. When play starts at noon Saturday, the field will look as follows: Marco Leonzio (5.075m chips); Peter Skripka (4.010m); Marcin Horecki (3.29m); Emilliano Bono (1.53m); Roberto Romanello (1.220m); Roberto Nulli (745k); Manuel Bevand (615k); Jan Bendik (445k).
Moving even further east, the Russian Poker Series drew to a close Dec. 6, without having once set foot in Russia. For legal reasons, the Series restricted itself to stops in the Ukraine, Latvia and Egypt. Yep, Egypt. Because nothing says ‘Russia’ quite like pyramids. At any rate, Russian Dmitriy Gromov snuck over the border into Kiev and beat out 294 other players to take the $201k first prize and the Grand Final title.
Kiev also recently hosted the Russian Poker Awards, at which we assume they handed out little statuettes of King Tut. Alexey Zharko won both Best Russian Player and Breakthrough of the Year. Player of the Year honors went to Konstantin Puchkov, Internet Player went to Dmitriy Stelmak, Liya Gerasimova was dubbed Best Female Player and Alex Kravchenko earned induction into the Russian Poker Series Hall of Fame. All of them have probably been added to Russian security service FSB’s watch list, so best watch how you answer those ‘anything to declare’ questions when returning to the Motherland.