In this week’s Calling the Clock we bring you news of six-figure bracelet bet losses from two of the games biggest stars; news of online poker bill progress in California and New York, and much more.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is pointy party hat time for professional poker players. It can also be an overflowing garbage can of the wrong type of emotion. It can be the birthplace of legacy and a place where livelihoods are sent heading to the sirens of mermaids.
Very often, the action on the poker tables pales into insignificance compared to the side action off it. Hundreds, sometimes millions, of dollars end up in someone’s little green book with only spit and a handshake acting as bond.
Earlier this week, details emerged of one such handshake between Jason Mercier and Vanessa Selbst. After Mercier had won his fourth bracelet in the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship, he told PokerNews that the victory earned him more through side bets than the $273,335 first prize. Later in that interview he also revealed that Selbst had offered him odds of 180:1 that he wouldn’t win three bracelets this summer. Mercier wagered $10,000 that he would.
The situation lit up like red hot lava after Mercier went deep in the $10,000 Seven Card Razz Championship a few days later. Social Media was raging after Selbst explained she had made the $1.8m bracelet bet after having a few too many drinks. Once the hangover had subsided she realised that she may have made a mistake and tried unsuccessfully to get out of her bet by offering Mercier a grand – he refused. Selbst later increased her offer to $100,000 – he refused.
I think it’s a step too far when professional poker players don’t allow other pros to buy out of prop bets agreed upon while intoxicated. Especially, when the pro immediately asks to buy out of the bet. I would even go so far as to state that I think it’s shameful even to ask for buy-out money.
Mercier eventually finished second but by this time Selbst and Mercier had come to an agreement a buyout clause. Selbst later told her Twitter followers that she had ‘lost almost $100,000 in buyouts.’
Selbst wasn’t the only player to lose big to Mercier in side action. There were plenty, and we don’t know the details of them all, but we do know that Fedor Holz lost $200,000 when Mercier won the Draw Lowball event. Holz lost the money in a week that saw him reach the pinnacle of the live tournament world replacing Steve O’Dwyer at the head of the Global Poker Index (GPI) Rankings, not that it will soothe his headache.
All of this prop betting has gotten Pierre Neuville a little hot under the collar. The 2015 November Niner finished runner-up in a recent bracelet event, and he has used that confidence to create a prop bet of his own. The #2 ranked Belgian on the GPI has offered even money bets up to a maximum of $50,000 that he will break into the GPI Top 50 by the end of June 2017. He is currently ranked #97.
Roberto Romanello has agreed to terms with partypoker to wear the patch during WSOP appearances. No sooner had the patch been slapped on his Armani shirt, the Welsh Wizard came third in Event #17: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $142,926, his largest WSOP score to date.
Had Romanello managed to climb two more rungs of that particular ladder he would have become the sixth player in history to win the Triple Crown (WSOP/EPT/WPT). There are five players capable of achieving that feat by the end of the summer, and one of them, Mohsin Charania, is on a mission to do just that after cashing in six of the first 20 events. Andrey Pateychuk, Moritz Kranich, and Harrison Gimbel are the other players in with a shout.
Phil Hellmuth has not made him mark on the WSOP as of yet, but he has extended his WSOP ITM record to 117, after finishing 15th in the $10,000 Seven Card Razz Championship. And former Full Tilt Director Howard Lederer returned to the WSOP for the first time since Black Friday when he sat down to play in the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship.
Daniel Negreanu is fine with the return of Lederer, but he doesn’t feel the same way about Chris Ferguson. During an interview with Pokerlistings, Negreanu said that it was ‘shameful’ that Ferguson had not publicly spoken about the Full Tilt scandal and then sat down to play at the WSOP.
“I’d expect that he’d have some remorse but the way he’s handled this, he’s shown none.” Said Negreanu.
And finally, two stars of the world of football have shown their faces at the WSOP. Neymar Jr. competed in a satellite for the WSOP Main Event and won a seat as Peru dumped Brazil out of the Copa America, and Germany’s Max Kruse was getting over his rejection from the national squad by cashing in the $10,000 Seven Card Razz Championship.
Boring Legal Stuff
Californian Assemblyman Adam Gray’s AB 2863 online poker bill’s progress through the state Senate hit a sticky patch this week. The bill was to be the subject of a vote at the Californian Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, but it was put on the back burner after legislators had felt there was further need of more chow down time before further progression.
The additional time was needed after several amendments to the bill were put forward by Committee Chairperson Lorena Gonzalez. One of which was a tweak to the bad actors clause that would find anyone who was accepting bets from Californian residents between Jan 1, 2006, and Dec 31, 2011, exempt from applying for a license until 2021, unless they stumped up a $20m fee in back taxes. Gonzalez also submitted changed to tax laws and you can read the nitty-gritty right here.
It was better news for residents of New York after Senator John Bonacic’s Online Poker Bill (S5302C) passed the state senate’s vote by 53-5. Unfortunately, it seems the majority has come too little too late. The Assembly session ends today, and that’s not sufficient time for the bill to be passed through the system and into the hands of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Time ladies and gentlemen.
Someone has just called the clock.