Lee Davy breaks down this week’s poker news including a look at the European Poker Tour in Malta, the Global Poker Masters, the European Poker Awards, a Twitch security breach, and the news that 888 will be the headline sponsor for the World Series of Poker, and World Series of Poker Europe festivals, in Las Vegas and Berlin.
It’s not often that people are interested in a country that takes great delight in eating the cast of Watership Down, but that’s exactly the case, as the eyes of the poker world bore deep into the heart of Malta this week.
The European Poker Tour (EPT) decided to set up camp. The Global Poker Index (GPI) pulled up a sleeping bag. Thousands of poker players turned up with marshmallows in hand. Plenty of cold feet, but a lot of warm hearts.
It was the largest EPT festival ever held. 69 events in total, and partnerships with the aforementioned GPI, and the Italian Poker Tour (IPT), creating memories that will stick to the craniums of so many people.
The Main Event winner is yet to be determined, although we do know that he, or she, will walk away with a first prize of €810,400, but we already have the star of the show.
Polish player Dzmitry Urbanovich has made five final tables, won three of them (including the €25k High Roller, and €1k & €5k side events), and his results have catapulted him into the number four spot in the all-time Polish live tournament money list.
Keep and eye on that young man.
Italia! Italia! Italia!
As Urbanovich was kicking ass at EPT Malta, the Italians were doing the same at the inaugural Global Poker Masters (GPM). Dario Sammartino, Andrea Dato, Mustapha Kanit, Rocco Palumbo, and Giuliano Bendinelli making history as the first country to win poker’s version of the World Cup.
The feedback seemed to be positive. Only PokerUpdate scribe Steve Ruddock daring to pick up the pen and scribble a few notes marked under the heading ‘Suggested Fixes’.
Ruddock believes that the structure of the competition was a little too complex. Keep things simple. I have to admit; I don’t understand why the GPI team created a format that included a bye system. But in the main the experience seems to have been an incredible one.
Bendinelli, who was voted as the GPM’s Most Valuable Player, told PokerNews that the victory was more important to him than winning the EPT Main Event.
The Italians handed Russia a whitewash in the final. The British team picked up the wooden spoon. France were the only other team to be knocked out before the final began.
One of the reasons the GPM was so successful was the coverage it received courtesy of Twitch.
The video streaming platform has taken the thunderbolt from Zeus in recent weeks. The poker gods all bowing down to the thing many believe to be responsible for poker’s next boom.
But even the best in the world, fuck things up from time to time.
The Wall Street Journal led with the headline: “Amazon’s Twitch Site Hacked.’
The crown was slipping.
Fortunately, it didn’t fall to the ground. Online poker rooms get hacked, trees get hacked, and even Sheldon Adelson’s casinos get hacked.
Twitch weren’t very forthcoming with the details. They didn’t even admit to being hacked, instead preferring to say that they ‘may have been’ hacked.
Passwords were changed.
Everything moves on as normal.
The European Poker Awards
The only thing that was being hacked at the 14th edition of the European Poker Awards (EPA) was the fillet steak.
It was time for Europe’s finest to be honored for their excellence throughout 2014. It didn’t have the same bling as the American Poker Awards (APA) – more Fresh Prince than Snoop Dogg – but it was still one of the stand out events of the year.
The World Poker Tour (WPT) came away from the APA’s in fine fettle, but the same could not be said of the EPA’s. The WPT500 series was nominated for two awards, and Hermance Blum and yours truly were also nominated for individual awards.
We won the insides of a balloon.
But the rest of the poker community got their equal share. It was the most diverse delivery of awards that I remember in recent years. The EPT, Unibet, Raising for Effective Giving (REG) and PokerListings were all rewarded; as were Martin Jacobson, George Danzer, Pierre Neuville, Jack Salter, Leon Tsoukernik, Victor Saumont and Marc Convey.
The World Series of Poker and 888Poker Get Closer
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) gave everyone a reason to open an 888Poker account, after they declared their allegiance to the site, by rewarding them with a contract to be the official sponsor of both the 2015 WSOP in Las Vegas, and the WSOPE in Berlin.
Unless you live in British Columbia, Canada, Quebec, America, Italy, France or Mexico, you have to be playing on 888Poker software if you want to qualify online for either event.
And people will.
It will be interesting to see if 888Poker can close the gap on PokerStars in the coming months, as players try their very best to get a seat at the very best tournaments in the world.
888Poker will also help the WSOP with their live tournament coverage. The WSOP were always going to have to do things differently, after falling out with their long time partner PokerNews, earlier this year, and 888Poker are that ‘little bit of difference.’
Live reports, chip counts, interviews and stories will be contained within the 888Poker website, giving players that one stop shop feel, for everything WSOP.