Lee Davy takes a look back at a week in poker that was dominated by the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open; Winstar angers many by offering a $1 million first prize at the River Poker Series; the Heartland Poker Tour buck the recent trend and ignore the GPI ranking formula, the World Poker Tour Alpha8 announce a return to St. Kitts; Harry Arutyunyan wins the Legends of Poker; Elvis Joe the dealer is shot and killed in Las Vegas and poker and chess converge.
I have two words for you.
History is happening before our very eyes as the young Massachusetts man cruises to third in the all-time live tournament earnings list after taking down the $10 million Guaranteed Main Event at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open.
His $1.4 million reward means he has earned over $21 million in the first nine months of the year. That’s a feat that has never happened in the history of our game and I for one cannot see this abating.
Super High-Roller Confusion
Colman took advantage of a $2.5 million overlay, as the second year of the $10 million Guarantee didn’t carry as much spark as the first. 1,499 players turned up for this one, and Colman beat the lot, but to be fair to the Seminoles, they dug deep into their pockets and bit the bullet.
It wasn’t just the $10 million Guaranteed event that ended with the Seminoles forking out for more than they had planned. The $100,000 Super High Roller (SHR) also turned out to be a loss for the Floridian outfit after a cock-up with the payouts.
Scott Seiver—who was the chip leader at the time—asked the tournament officials what the payout structure would be, and was informed that <11 players would result in a two person pay out, and >11 players would result in a three person payout.
As the players were bagging up at the end of Day 1—and it was clear that only nine players had registered—the tournament officials told the players they had made a mistake and were now playing three spots.
Seiver complained, the tournament officials decided to keep the structure with just two payouts being distributed, some of Seiver’s opponent’s complained at Seiver’s meddling, and the Seminoles reacted by pulling $50,000 out of their own pocket promising to hand it to the player who finished third.
Ironically, that $50,000 now sits in the wallet of Seiver, who took third. Jake Schindler beating Ryan Fee, in heads-up competition, to take the first prize of $570,375.
The Heartland Poker Tour Prefer BLUFF to GPI
The Global Poker Index (GPI) have been doing a resounding job corralling all of the major poker rooms and live tournament organizers, into using the GPI rankings formula, but the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) will not be herded into the gate.
Instead of the GPI, the HPT have instead turned to BLUFF to power their ranking system. The relationship will also see BLUFF.com and BLUFF magazine providing extra coverage for the HPT, and that includes interviews with prominent players, live updates and live streaming of the final tables.
Winstar Upset Some With Their $1 million Guarantee
When Winstar decided to hold their 2014 River Poker Series at the same time as the Seminoles held their $10 million Guarantee it’s safe to say a few eyebrows were raised.
Perhaps, this is why Winstar went all out by guaranteeing $1 million for first. It was a decision that saw lot of amateurs heading to the Winstar World Casino & Resort but a very short sighted one in the minds of a few professionals.
“Congratulations @WinStarWorld on the worst payout structure ever made! Way to help the poker economy! #Winnertakeall,” tweeted party poker Team Pro Scott Baumstein.
So what’s the beef?
$1 million for first is wonderful…if you win it?
“Guaranteeing first place prizes is greedy and short sighted,” said Baumstein. “Because you are taking a disproportionate amount of money and giving it to one person, you are keeping fewer people in the game and damaging the economy.”
Baumstein believes that Winstar should have raised their overall guarantee to at least $5 million, to balance the payouts alongside a $1 million first prize.
“I am sorry you were disappointed. Thanks for the feedback. I will pass it along,” tweeted WinStar World Casino.
We think they got the message.
Jason Helder defeated 1,323 players to win that first prize, after beating Travis Rice in heads-up action.
The World Poker Tour Return to St. Kitts
The World Poker Tour announced their third event of Season II WPTAlpha8 and it’s the beautiful island of St. Kitts that gets the nod.
The event—which was the largest WPTAlpha8 field in Season I—will be sandwiched in between the current stops planned for London and Las Vegas. Sunday 2, Nov, has been selected as the date, and the $100,000 buy-in event will carry a 48-player cap.
Last year, Philipp Gruissem took the first prize of a million bucks, just a month after doing likewise at the event in London.
Harry Arutyunyan Becomes a WPT Legends of Poker
There was a barrage of high profile poker contests last week and the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker, is the third big event that was held.
The winner was a 31-year-old Armenian, Harry Arutyunyan, who won $576,369 after beating Mike Eskandari in heads-up action. Arutyunyan did it the hard way after entering the final table as the short stack, and now has his name etched next to the likes of Doyle Brunson and Dan Harrington as a former winner of this WPT mainstay.
Elvis Joe Shot and Killed in his Vegas Home
If you have ever played at the World Series of Poker, then you would have no doubt seen Joseph “Elvis Joe” Levine. The 56-year-old dealer has been working at the WSOP for three decades and the poker world was rocked by the tragic news of his death this week.
According to reports in the press, Levine was fatally shot and the prime suspect in the shooting was 30-year-old Marjorie Fiora.
Levine’s brothers told police that they had to disarm Fiora, who was holding a double-barreled shotgun, after she ran out of the house where Levine was staying, shouting, “I have to kill him.”
The poker world will miss a true star of the game.
Chess and Poker Converge
Is poker a sport?
“Yes it is,” says Dave Brannan, CEO & Founder of Mindsports International.
Brannan is getting fed up of answering the same question, but he will be delighted to read that poker is marrying up with the number one recognized mindsport Chess in more ways than one.
PokerStars have decided to include a hybrid poker/chess event at their United Kingdom & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) stop in the Isle of Man. The £220 buy-in event will take place Oct 4-12 and will involve five rounds of ‘blitz chess’ where players can accrue chips to be used in the final leg, which will be a Turbo poker tournament.
The UK’s top Grandmaster Michael Adams, World #9 Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Grandmaster Laurent Fressient have all confirmed their attendance and will be joined by poker’s chess enthusiasts Almira Skripchenko, Radoslaw ‘radoom’ Jedynak and Simon Ansall.
So poker is trying to gain off the back of the reputation of world renowned and respected game of chess, but there is much that chess can also learn from poker.
One person who has the vision to see this is 43-year-old Amy Lee, an entrepreneur from Vancouver, Canada, who is delving deep into her own pockets to create the first $1 million guaranteed prize pool for a chess tournament.
The event will be held in Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, and more than 500 chess players, from 39 different countries, have already signed up. That being said, Lee still expects to incur an overlay of at least $200,000 but will be dancing in the streets if that’s all she has to pay out.
We doubt the Seminole’s take the same view.