In this week’s Calling the Clock we bring you all the weekly poker news including the Asia Poker League setting up shop in Beijing, the Charity Series of Poker partnering with the Maximum Hope Foundation in Hollywood, and Matt Marafioti emerges to relieve everyone’s fears.
A short but sweet roundup of poker news this week and we will begin in China with the Asia Poker League (APL).
18-months ago, PokerStars sponsored the Nanjing Millions event that was stomped all over by the Chinese police. The rules and regulations surrounding playing live poker are a little grey in this part of the world, and it’s believed the organiser’s decision to make the event a re-entry upset those in power.
Underground games continue, but nobody has advertised an event on the Chinese mainland since that mess, until now.
The APL is hosting a 10-event festival in the Beijing Poker Club in Beijing, China. The piece de resistance will be a $1,100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Freezeout carrying a $500,000 Guarantee. There are plans to expand the APL community into other Asian countries.
Aren’t they afraid the police will come knocking truncheons in hand?
APL founder, Judic Kim, believes that won’t happen because they will not be hosting any cash games nor will they allow players to re-enter once they have busted.
Watch this space.
The APL and the millions of people who gamble illegally in China will be hoping President Xi Jinping is not following the ongoing discussion over online poker bots that’s been all the rage this past fortnight in the land of the west.
You may remember that during last week’s poker news round up we got you up to speed with 2+2 poster themadbotters revelations that the Winning Poker Network (WPN) was not only bot friendly, but it was in the business interest of the WPN to turn a blind eye towards the activity.
That assertion bothered WPN CEO, Philip Nagy, who earlier this week declared war on the poker bots and stated that his network would be the unfriendliest network for bots within a month.
Themadbotter also said in that thread that PokerStars had the meanest bot defences in the online poker community, and that’s good news with the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) on the horizon. Earlier this week PokerStars officials released version #4 of the draft schedule and also announced that there would be a Mini-WCOOP festival mirroring the Big Daddy with buy-ins set at 1/100th and 1/1000th of the price.
So we have a bot problem.
But it’s important that President Xi Jinping also understands that poker is also one of the largest donators of charitable funds in the world of sport, games, or whatever you want to call us.
This week the Charity Series of Poker (CSOP) announced plans to host a tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO). This year, Matt Stout and the team will be linking arms with actor and comedian Brad Garrett. The pair host a $300 buy-in event with $140 of each buy-in going towards the Maximum Hope Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides assistance for families who have to care for children suffering from life-limiting illnesses.
And hope ran out for the 4,000+ players who took part in the first event of the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open and had their tournament cancelled with 27 players remaining thanks to the antics of one Christian Lusardi.
You may remember, Lusardi injected 800,000 fake chips into the tournament in a bid to win the $300,000+ first prize. He fell short of his target, after cashing for a small four figure sum, and was arrested after he tried to flush 1.2m chips down the bog in a Harrah’s hotel.
Lusardi is currently serving five years in jail for his crimes.
Tournament officials and the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) decided on a course of action to make everyone whole that included players that didn’t cash, and who were affected by the fake chips, having their buy-in refunded, and the final 27 players having an equal cut of the remaining prizepool.
The players didn’t like this outcome and took Borgata’s parent company to court to demand more money. Earlier this week a Judge slammed that particular door in their face, stating that as poker is a game of chance, there was no way of determining what the final order of the tournament would be. The judge also commended the tournament organisers, and the DGE saying they did the best they could considering the shit sandwich they had to eat thanks to the idiocy of Lusardi.
The World Poker Tour (WPT) were sponsoring that event back in 2014, and James Mackey has just won the WPT Choctaw Main Event after topping a final table that included Craig Varnell and Benjamin Zamani. The event attracted 1,066 entries and Mackey earned $666,758 for the win.
Mackey wasn’t the only winner of a high-profile live event this week. Sam Acheampong took down 888Local Live at Aspers Casino, Stratford, UK. He earned £21,950 after defeating a field of 564 players.
And finally, Matt Marafioti is alive and well. The former WPT Ones to Watch star was reported missing recently after his parents contacted Randy Dorfman to lead a search party. Several weeks after Dorfman sent out a tweet asking people to contact him should they have any knowledge of Marafioti’s whereabouts, the young Canadian turned up on camera during a 16-minute YouTube video. Marafioti explained that he had been camping, that life was grand, and he didn’t care what his parents thought because the only relationship he has with them is ‘financial.’
Time, ladies and gentlemen.
Someone has just called the clock.