Lee Davy gets you up to speed with a week that saw the poker community lose one of its founding members, Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott; David Baazov debut at number one in the 2015 BLUFF Power 20; Alex Dreyfus revealing more details surrounding the Global Poker League, and much more.
We start this week’s round up with news of sadness.
Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott passed away, at the age of 61, after losing his battle against bowel and liver cancer. His wife Anpaktita and his eight children survive him.
The media coverage of his passing shows what most poker insiders have known for decades. Devilfish was a true star. Very few poker players have the character to transcend poker. The knuckle-duster wearing entertainer was one of them to the very end.
Tributes have poured in from all sections of the poker community. Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, and Doyle Brunson calling for Devilfish to be posthumously entered into the Poker Hall of Fame.
Devilfish was an integral part of the movement that changed poker from a game played in the shadows, to one played to the tune of lights, camera, and action!
He wasn’t only a great poker player. He was a soap opera star. Personality made televised poker a success – talent was secondary. In recent months we have seen a lot of ‘talented’ poker players being dropped by their respective online poker rooms.
Times are changing.
The soap stars are returning.
Staples Joins PokerStars; Ibrahimovic Doesn’t
This week, PokerStars announced plans to add Jaime Staples to the team. He will function under the title ‘Friend of PokerStars.’ The Devilfish used Late Night Poker to spill his guts onto the floor. Staples uses Twitch. His signing means the two biggest poker related Twitch stars are now aligned with the biggest ‘Star’ of all.
I wouldn’t exactly call Zlatan Ibrahimovic a soap star, but his worldwide fame as a sports star, courted the attention of PokerStars this week. Ibrahimovic has a little bit of Devilfish inside of him. The non-conformity, the attitude, the filter less mouth.
There is also individuality. The Swedish star deciding to turn PokerStars down, to instead concentrate on what he is best at – playing mediocre football, whilst somehow confusing pundits into believing he is actually any good.
Baazov Debuts at Number 1 in the BLUFF Power Top 20
BLUFF have released their annual Power 20 rankings and it seems to be the year of the debutant: Jack Effel (20th), Jason Somerville (19th), Alex Dreyfus (17th), Chris Grove (16th), Isadore Hall III (12th), Michael Hazel (6th), Sheldon Adelson (2nd) and David Baazov (1st) all hitting the charts for the first time. The Amaya CEO’s Beatles like arrival, at the top of the charts, marks the first time that a debutant has hit the number one spot.
The Global Poker League to Debut in September
It was good to see Dreyfus entering the charts. I think he should have been positioned much higher. Perhaps, people are still not sold on his plans to ‘Sportify’ poker. He aims to change those views.
The next step in the master plan is – to use his own words – ‘the craziest and most ambitious poker project in years.’ This week, Dreyfus informed the press that the Global Poker League (GPL) will most likely start in late August, or early September.
The plan, for the first year, is to create a league that consists of eight franchises, each containing seven players that will run its course over a 10-week stretch. The GPL will not compete with the European Poker Tour (EPT), World Poker Tour (WPT) or WSOP, and will instead work in harmony with the big three.
Despite not releasing the names, Dreyfus has confirmed that four franchise owners are already etched in the cement. All are committed to the project long term. The GPI will invest $5m into the project. The Global Poker Masters (GPM) will also return for a second event in 2016.
The TDA Move Summit to The Aria
Dreyfus was one of the first people to offer his assistance after the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) were shot down in flames for planning to host their biennial summit at The Venetian. They didn’t take him up on his offer. They didn’t have to. The Aria stepped up and offered their venue for free. The event will take place June 26th & 27th, and will be streamed live on Twitch.
Lusardi Goes Down; Gann Goes Viral
We end this weeks round up of news with the tale of two bad guys. Christian Lusardi achieved notoriety, in poker circles, after he single handedly brought down Event #1 at the Borgata Winter Poker Open in 2014. Lusardi injected thousands of bogus chips into the tournament, savvy players uncovered the ruse, Lusardi fled to his hotel room and flushed a few million counterfeit chips down the toilet, a plumber was called, and Lusardi was tracked down and arrested.
It was an own goal of epic proportions by the man from North Carolina. The chipgate scandal led to the authorities searching his home, where they found over 35,000 illegal DVD’s. It seems Lusardi had raked in $1.3m in bootleg sales, and it was this crime that has since seen Lusardi being sentenced to five years behind bars.
The second villain of the week is a man who goes by the name Andreas Gann. The German’s name went viral after he appeared to slow roll Donnacha O’Dea at the final table of the Irish Open.
The drama unfolded after O’Dea raised to 100,000 (off a chip stack of 1.3m), holding [Ac] [6c], and the German Andreas Gann called in the small blind (off a stack of 280k), holding [Kd] [Qd]. The flop of [Ad] [8d] [6d] gave Gann the stone cold nuts and the rest of the hand should have been a mere formality.
O’Dea put Gann all-in and instead of snap calling, the German tanked for several minutes before making his decision. Ever the gentleman, O’Dea never muttered a single word of discontent. The same could not be said of his tablemates, who proceeded to put Gann through the mill for his apparent lack of etiquette.
Justice was served, however, as O’Dea spiked a six on the river to send Gann to the rail in eighth place amidst joyous roars. O’Dea went on to finish in fifth place, for €61,850, the Greek player Ioannia Triantafyllidis took the title, and €209,500 first prize, after cutting a deal with his heads-up opponent Kevin Killeen.
Time, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Someone has just called the clock.