Sean Jazayeri has won the World Poker Tour Poker LA Classic, earning a handsome $1.37m, the biggest purse of the WPT’s tenth season. An amateur from Washington, Jazayeri outlasted a field of 549 players, including many of the biggest names in the game. Though he started final table play as chip leader, he found himself short-stacked against heads-up opponent David Sands. But Jazayeri would not be denied, relegating Sands to second place and $806k. The rest of the table finished as follows: Dan Kelly ($521k); Noah Schwartz ($355k); Jason Burt ($252k) and Jason Somerville ($202k).
Not to take away from Jazayeri’s triumph, but the main poker news of the day was the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of Federated Sports + Gaming (FS+G), the parent company of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT), the Global Poker Index (GPI) and the fledgling Epic Poker League (EPL). In a message posted to the FS+G website, exec. chairman Jeffrey Pollack said the company “needs a new start.” Pollack claimed that the company had the “full intention to complete, as planned, Season One of the EPL. However, we do not yet know when Event 4 and the Season One Championship will be staged.”
Pollack also stated that the company hoped to move forward “most likely … by entering into an agreement with another firm that shares our passion and vision – a process we had been working toward prior to the filing.” In January, Wicked Chops Poker reported that FS+G was hoping to be acquired by casino outfit Pinnacle Entertainment. Bankruptcy papers obtained by Vegas Inc. list Pinnacle as a major creditor, having lent $2m to FS+G. Speaking to PokerNews, Pollack would only say that FS+G was “talking to a number of companies.” Pollack also said it would be “business as usual” for the GPI and the HPT in the interim.
The EPL was conceived in January 2011, but born under a bad sign doesn’t come close to describing its troubled existence. Straight off, people criticized its PGA-style format and the criteria for inclusion on the pro roster. Black Friday certainly didn’t help its fortunes, even if it took five months for the EPL to suspend Full Tilt Poker board members Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer (brother of EPL commish Annie Duke). The winner of the EPL’s first event, David ‘Chino’ Rheem, was accused of not paying his debts, prompting an embarrassed EPL Standards & Conduct Committee to place Rheem on probation. The EPL’s second event was notable for the disqualification of a registered sex offender from the $20k Main Event seat he’d rightfully earned (and for which the EPL was subsequently required to reimburse him).
Daniel Negreanu, who once referred to Annie Duke as a ‘cunt’ (and has no great love for her brother, neither) had been predicting the EPL’s financial demise since August, especially given the EPL events’ $400k overlays and the $1m freeroll. On Tuesday, Negreanu tweeted “a poker world without Howard/Annie in it is definitely much closer to paradise. Time reveals the shady…” C’mon, Danny… Tell us how you really feel.