Lee Davy brings you his usual weekly round-up of all the poker news, views and comments, including a round-up of the live tournament results, a lot of movement within PokerStars orbit and much more.
If you read the compost doing the rounds regarding sexism last week you could be forgiven for believing that females have such an erotic hold over men that they simply crumble at their feet, passing them sponsorship deals with the frequency of the bills that end up at the foot of your door.
This week, female poker players reminded everyone that despite all of that bullshit, they could compete in this misogynistic male dominated environment, and with style. Female players reached the final table of the three biggest live tournaments in the world, and two walked away with their respective titles.
We will start with one of the most talented, and recognized, female poker players in the world: Loni Harwood. In 2012, Harwood emerged from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) fog as one of the games rising stars – cashing six times, making three final tables, capturing her first gold bracelet and winning close to $900,000 in the process.
This week Harwood captured her second gold bracelet when she defeated 122 runners in the WSOP National Championships. Daniel Negreanu (6th) and Darryll Fish (3rd) also made the final table. Defending champion Dominik Nitsche finished a very respectable 15th place. Harwood picked up $341,599 for the victory.
Then we had female victory number two: this time in London. The partypoker World Poker Tour (WPT) National London Main Event attracted a hefty field of 667 players. One of them was the relatively unknown Irina Nikolaidi, who, after dismantling the stack of the overwhelming chip leader Jason Lam, went on to defeat Simon Green, in heads-up action, to capture the £25,130 top prize at Aspers Casino in Stratford. It was Nikolaidi’s best score to date.
Could the ladies make it three titles on the trot?
Mina Greco was hoping to become the first female player to win an open buy-in event at a WPT Main Event stop when she made the final table of the inaugural trip to Choctaw. Unfortunately, for Greco she came into the final table with the shortest stack of the six, and the misfortunate of facing WPT Champions Club members Darren Elias, Andy Hwang and the Super High Roller star Jake Schindler.
Greco’s title dreams would end in fifth place but her $167,691 score will no doubt be life changing for her. Schindler would exit in fourth place and the two WPT Champions Club members would battle it out with Jason Brin in the longest three-handed WPT Main Event action in history.
Eventually, Hwang destroyed Elias’s hopes of winning a third WPT Main Event title in 11-months, before falling at the final hurdle in heads-up action against carpet store owner Brin, who picked up $682,975 for his troubles.
In other live tournament news, Josh Marvin ended up playing heads-up for the title against his friend Chris Moon in the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Main Event at Soaring Eagle. Marvin went on to win the title and $166,565 first prize. Stephen Foster captured the Grosvenor United & Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) Main Event title in Leeds, after overcoming a final table that including Luke Fields and Richard Hawes. Foster walking away with £24,500 after cutting a four-way deal.
PokerStars have been all over the news again this week. When are they not? They extended their contract with the Isle of Man broadband and telecommunications experts Manx Telecoms. The pair has been in bed together since 2005, and will be doing likewise for a further three years.
$100 Spin & Go games are now available, one imagines due to popular demand, and Stars have also picked up an online sports betting license to do business in the Republic of Ireland. Team Pro Eugene Katchalov proposed to his girlfriend Anna on top of an Icelandic volcano, and they also launched their most ambitious marketing campaign to date with a Facebook release of TV commercials featuring both Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr., playing home games in Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Outside of the world’s largest online poker room the Winning Poker Network (WPN) announced plans to host five more $1m GTD events, with a GTD $200k first prize, in Sep & Oct; Guts.com joined the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN), 888Poker introduced a tournament pause button to deal with connectivity issues that are plaguing their players, and partypoker decided to appease their fans by ending withdrawal fees with as many of their payment processors as they could, whilst continuing dialogue with those yet to join the dance floor.
One of those payment processors still standing on the partypoker sidelines is Skrill, and that’s where we will end this weeks round up. Optimal Payments have been given the green light to complete there $1.2 Billion reverse takeover of their competitor, and the deal looks likely to be pushed through by August 10.
Time ladies & gentlemen please.
Someone has just called the clock.