LAPC down to 18; WSOP Circuit Palm Beach and Africa; Poker After Dark returns

WSOPC-Africa-Poker-After-Dark-WPTPhil Ivey chose to make his return to US live poker at the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic, which didn’t sit well with some players whose Full Tilt Poker bankrolls remain in limbo. Since Black Friday, they’ve heard tales of Ivey’s $920k/month payouts from FTP pre-Black Friday and suggestions that Ivey has held up the FTP sale to Groupe Bernard Tapie not once, but twice. To these players, rightly or wrongly, the fact that Ivey ended up finishing one spot out of the money – sent to the rail by his opponent’s pocket kings, no less – was proof of the existence of a higher power.

There are 18 players left praying after the LAPC’s Day 4, and Noah Schwartz’s 1.77m stack just edges out Dan Kelly’s 1.75m for chip lead. Other notables in the hunt include 2005 WSOP champ Joe Hachem, Sorel Mizzi, David Pham and Jason Somerville. Day 5 gets underway at noon PST on Wednesday and will continue until an even dozen players are given their walking papers.

On the other coast, Jim Hamden earned top honors at the 2012 World Series of Poker Circuit stop at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Hamden outlasted 777 other players over three days to take the title and $226k. Not bad for the 58-year-old Canadian contractor’s first WSOPC cash. Heads-up opponent Rob Williamson consoled himself with $139k, while another Canadian, Matthew O’Brien, took third and $103k. See, global warming means the polar bears are coming further south, and that’s forcing the Canadians to move even further south to get out of their way. Thanks a bunch, science.

Across the Atlantic, Joe-Boy Rahme has taken the main event title at the second World Series of Poker Africa, earning $158k in the process. A field of 218 did battle at the Emerald Casino near Johannesburg, leading to a final table comprised entirely of South African players. Ivan Pakkiri ($98k) was the last to stand in Rahme’s way, with Jason Strauss ($71k) placing third.

Poker After Dark (PAD) was one of the many poker programs dropped by the major US networks like so many hot potatoes after Black Friday. Now POKER PROductions’ Mori Eskandiari has confirmed to PokerNews that there are five weeks of unaired PAD episodes from 2010 ready to air on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) starting March 5. We say ‘ready’ to air because first they’re going to play a bunch of re-runs, and Eskandiari was coy about precisely when you’d be able to see ‘new’ footage of Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan, Annette Obrestad, Phil Hellmuth and other big names trading pots and insults. Still, even the re-runs might be worth watching to see how well PAD’s digital editors managed to expunge all the FTP logos. Eskandiari has high hopes that dropping this taste will lead to a full-fledged PAD return. But even PAD’s temporary return will be significant in that online poker companies essentially paid the networks to air the ubiquitous poker programs. Now they’ll actually have to attract viewers.