Kuzmin wins WPT Biloxi; Ivey latest to leave Las Vegas; Carbon’s crumpet

wpt logoAlexander Kuzmin has taken the World Poker Tour Southern Poker Championship, earning $601k and a $25k seat for the WPT Championship at the Bellagio in May. Reportedly, Kuzmin only entered the tournament because his flight home to Russia from the Bahamas (where he took part in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) required a US layover, and Biloxi just seemed like a convenient point of entry. Kuzmin’s win spoiled 2009 champ Allen Carter’s hope of becoming the WPT’s first repeat champion when Carter was eliminated in third place. After Kuzmin, the final table paid out as follows: Leif Force ($315k); Allen Carter ($218k); Shannon Shorr ($145k); Pat Mahoney ($113k) and Ryan Hughes ($89k)

It’s not only the players that reap rewards from these tourneys. The World Series of Poker Circuit’s first ever stop in Durant, Oklahoma brought an estimated 15,000 visitors to the city, according to Steve Lloyd, the Choctaw Casino’s director of gaming and hotel operations. Lloyd says that beyond the boost the tournament provided to the poker room’s bottom line, “it brought incremental benefit to our food and beverage areas, our lodging environment and our gaming room.” Echoing Lloyd’s statement, the Durant Chamber of Commerce’s Janet Reed said that “the sales tax revenue that comes into the city help to maintain the infrastructure and helps us to build the roadways, other things that are necessary for a city’s continued growth.”

phil-iveyWhile Vegas will always be willing to reap the rewards of hosting mega-tournaments like the WSOP, the lack of regular high-stakes games is costing the city some high-profile visitors. Doyle Brunson has already expressed his dismay at the demise of high-stakes Vegas action, and now fellow Vegas resident Phil Ivey (pictured at right) has joined the chorus. Ivey told PokerListings.com that “once Chip Reese died it was pretty much over … There’s really no big game anymore, except during the World Series … So yeah, there’s no real reason to be there.” Like Brunson, Ivey thinks California might be the new stateside destination of choice for big money players, and the minute someone confirms that theory, “that’s where I’ll be.”

We’ll leave you on an ‘up’ note. Carbon Poker, part of the US-facing Merge Network, has signed Tina “Queen of Hearts” Wallman as its new arse, er, face. Nothing more to say, really…
tina wallman carbon poker