Calling The Clock: EPT Grand Final; WSOP Changes; And More

TAGs: Calling the Clock, Editorial

In this week’s Calling the Clock Ole Schemion is the star of the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo; troubled Amaya Gaming CEO, David Baazov, pleads not guilty to insider trading charges, and much more.

Displaced Amaya Gaming CEO, David Baazov, and everyone else involved in the same sticky mess has pleaded not guilty to the insider trading charges levied at them by the Quebec securities regulator Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).

There are 23 charges in total. If found guilty, Baazov could face five years behind bars and a $5m fine although these things rarely pan out along the most sensationalised route. The Quebec courts have begun the process of finding a judge and placing trial dates into Google Calendar.

Calling The Clock: EPT Grand Final; WSOP Changes; And MoreThe state of Baazov’s case seems like a decent spot for a bet. PokerStars BetStars has decided to avoid that hot potato, but they are offering odds on the PokerStars Team Pro they believe will have the most successful outing at this season’s Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP).

Over 30 PokerStars Team Pros will compete in the 2016 SCOOP festival.  They include the 2015 SCOOP Player of the Year (POY), Jason Mercier. Mercier won three SCOOP titles last season, and that’s the reason BetStars have made him the 9/2 favourite to be the most productive member of the team this time around.

Former World Series of Poker (WSOP) POY George Danzer is the second favourite at 7/1. Danzer holds the all time SCOOP cash record with 148, and both him and Mercier have made a gentlemanly $10,000 side bet on who finishes highest on the leaderboard. Naoya Kihara is 12/1, Jake Cody, Bertrand Grospellier, Andre Akkari, Randy Lew, and Jamie Staples are all 14/1.

Monte Carlo or Bust

The greatest card sharps in the world are in Monte Carlo for the Season 12 European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final. The gladiators in the €5,300 Main Event and €25,750 High Roller are still spilling blood into the sand, but everything else is done and dusted.

The undoubted star of the show has been Ole Schemion. The German made the final table of the €10,600 Main Event last season, finishing seventh place for €233,500, and this year he returned with a vengeance.

Schemion beat Mustapha Kanit in heads-up action to win the €100,000 Super High Roller and finished runner-up to Fabian Quoss in the €50,000 Super High Roller earning more than €2.4m. Kanit is the other player to take a million euros aways from the Grand Final earning €1.4m for that runner-up spot.

King of the Super High Rollers, Steve O’Dwyer, has had a quiet Grand Final, but his ninth place finish in the €50k has given him enough points to overtake Mike McDonald at the top of the Season 12 EPT POY Leaderboard. With Timex busting in the €25,750 Super High Roller, and O’Dwyer making it through to Day 2 he is now a dead cert to take the honours.

The EPT Grand Final was also the venue used to host the  Global Poker Index (GPI) European Poker Awards (EPA). Liv Boeree and Fedor Holz picked up the 2015 GPI POY awards for both genders. Other awards went to  Jesse May (Best Media Piece), Remko Rinkema (Best Media Guy), Neil Stoddart (Best Damn Photographer), Dzmitry Urbanovich (Best Shark), and Hermance Blum (Best Boss).

Other European Poker News

The French powers to be have passed three significant adjustments to the Digital Bill created by the gambling regulator ARJEL that the whole all of France is hoping will improve their dire situation.

The most important of the three adjustments concerns the question of shared liquidity. While it’s good news, it’s not the best good news. If the bill goes ahead, then online poker rooms operating within the new market will be able to share liquidity with poker rooms existing in countries that have similar rules.

In a nutshell, this means French players will be able to compete with Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese players, but won’t be able to join the .com global player pool working off the Isle of Man license. Joss Wood wrote an excellent summary of events at OnlinePokerReport and he believed we won’t see any sign of a multi-country shared liquidity arrangement this side of 2016.

Lithuania doesn’t want Unibet poking its nose in their online gambling business. Earlier this week the Lithuania Gaming Control Authority (GCA) blacklisted Unibet; and not for the first time. Ten different Unibet owned domain names now sit on the Lithuania blacklist of 99 domains that do not have a license to offer games in the country.

Unibet shrugged off their Lithuanian disappointment by adding the Finnish online poker site, Pokerihuone, to their standalone software making them the newest online poker network in the business. Both sites will operate independently, but will use the same software, offer the same games, and share liquidity. To celebrate the new union, Unibet reduced rake across a series of cash games and Sit n Go’s.

Stateside Poker News

Moving across the great blue yonder and the World Series of Poker (WSOP) continue to roll out the changes in preparation for the 47th Annual Series.

Last week they were fixing the issue of idle payout time, and this week they have turned their attention to reducing waiting time at registration points.

Players now have a wider range of options to register after the WSOP paired up with Genesis Gaming Solution Inc. to introduce the eQueue Payout Process. WSOP systems will mate with Genesis’s Bravo Poker Tournament Software to give players the opportunity to register online for events ranging northwards to $1,500.

Once a player has registered for a Bravo account and a Caesars Total Rewards Card they can then visit the Rio ‘Rotunda Area’ Fast Pass Total Rewards point to complete the registration process. It includes providing documentation to sign up for the Fast Pass system, and after that can access seating information via WSOP Fast Track Kiosks.

Players can also use a credit card to register for WSOP events, but will be subject to a 2.95% processing fee. There are also costs associated with registering online.

It’s progress. Slow, but progress.

The World Poker Fund Holdings (WPFH) acquired a 49% stake in Universal Entertainment Group’s online gaming assets this week. The net result means the WPFH now operates, the online gambling portal The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma are using to launch their online poker network both globally and domestically sometimes in the next three months.

This week was also the occasion that Michigan powers to be got together to discuss the contents of SB 889: “The Lawful Internet Gaming Act.” The Senate’s Regulatory Reform Committee held the tete-a-tete and representatives from Amaya Gaming, the Poker Player’s Alliance (PPA), and the bill’s creator Sen. Mike Kowall were on hand to tell the old codgers how marvellous an online poker market could be (Kowall indicated it could create 22,000 new jobs?!)

There was no vote.

Nothing much happened.


Poker Central, the 24/7 Poker TV channel, has launched a $10k freeroll disguised as a million dollar freeroll, to promote the upcoming $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl (SHR)

All you have to do is give Poker Central your e-mail address so they can bombard your inbox with crap, and in return, you get to choose the top seven finishers of the SHR in order of merit. Get every single one of them right and you win a million bucks. Unfortunately, you are more likely to find rocking horse shit with odds of several hundred gazillions to one. The person closest to the right pecking order will win $10k, and the 25 other top guesses will win a new MVMT watch.

Sticking with the million dollar theme and the Winning Poker Network (WPN) eventually beat its Sunday Major Million Dollar Guarantee at the eighth time of asking. To be fair cyber blackmailers have been holding them to ransom for the past few months, but with that out of the way, they managed to pull in 2,118 entrants this weekend to create a prize pool of $1,059,000.

Individual Praise

Fatima Moreira de Melo has once again proven that she is far from a one-trick pony after showing the world she has a top singing voice. The Dutch star appeared on the Dutch Reality TV show Take 2! belting out hits such as Chaka Khan’s Aint Nobody and Emeli Sande’s Clown. The former Olympic gold medalist didn’t win the event but did make the finals.

WSOP bracelet winner, David Williams will appear on the seventh season of Masterchef. The former Team PokerStars Pro will be vying for the $250,000 first prize and cookbook deal. In the first commercial for the show Gordon Ramsay can be seen talking Williams out of quitting.

Pierre Neuville has teamed up with his local dentist to create the strangest poker sponsorship you are likely to see. Neuville, his wife Claudine, and Belgian poker player Fabrice Halleux will become Team Dental Suite Cologne, and are currently wearing their new patch at the EPT Grand Final.

Brian Rast is $600,000 the richer after repeating the Dan Bilzerian bike bet, but with only three days training, one bike, and cycling 30-miles longer. Bilzerian and Bill Perkins put up the odds of 6 – 1, and Rast bet $100,000 that he would accomplish the feat. He made it with one hour to spare.

Bilzerian won’t be missing the cash. This week, Novasoft Games launched Save Dan, a video game where the players shoot the shit out of whore zombies hellbent on eating Bilzerian’s manhood in the Nevada desert. I am sure he will rake in a few bob from that venture.

Outside of the EPT, Paul Volpe won the 2016 Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship for $356,255; and Mikhail Zdanovskiy won the WPTDeepStacks Jacksonville Main Event for $106,780.

Time ladies & gentlemen, please.

Somebody has just called the clock.



views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of