In this week’s Calling The Clock Mike Sexton changes allegiance from the World Poker Tour to partypoker, Raising for Effective Giving recruits some new ambassadors, and Mike Noori fails miserably in McDonald’s chow down bet.
I missed the early part of this week, and you can blame 888Poker for that. The online poker room invited me to 888Live Barcelona and in a show of gratitude that’s where I will start my news round-up.
888Live Barcelona was the largest live festival since the 888Live brand came into being back in September, last year. The €500,000 Guaranteed €1,100 buy-in Main Event attracted 609 entrants, with Luigi Shehadeh taking the top prize of €110,000. The 888Live production team were in luck as Will Kassouf made a deep run finishing eleventh, and the Global Poker Index (GPI) Female Poker Player of the Year, Cate Hall, finished fourth.
The event also had a €2,200 buy-in High Roller and the 888Live King’s Festival Rozvadov Main Event winner, Catalin Pop, won the €40,000 first prize; 888Poker Ambassador Dominik Nitsche was ninth. The next 888Poker live tour stop will be the £220 buy-in 888Live Local in Aspers, Stratford playing out over the weekend.
888Poker was also busy in the online world. Their XL Inferno Championship online festival was a burning success. The team hosted 197 events and generated $7.5m in prize money making it the largest online event ever held on the site.
Austria’s Alien_Army shipped the Main Event for $291,007 and Cristian “progree69” Sampaoli from Argentina won the XL Inferno Champion of Champions event to secure a World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event package worth $12,500.
PokerStars Nail it With SCOOP; Launch New Rewards Scheme in Denmark; Announce PokerStars Championship Prague
With 888Poker celebrating their largest online festival to date, PokerStars went one better by hosting the biggest online festival in the history of the game, including smashing the record for prize pool distribution in a single day.
The three tired Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) amassed $93.8m in prize money, including $39m on the final Sunday of the festival – both new mile stones.
Charlie “Epiphany77” Carrel showed that he could win big money both online and live when he managed to defeat a dodgy Internet connection and Harrison ‘gibler321′ Gimbel in heads-up action to take the $1.2m first prize in the $10k Main Event.
One man who didn’t get involved in the SCOOP action was PokerStars Team Online member Kevin Martin. The Canadian Twitch star was busy winning Big Brother Canada for $100k.
Not one to rest on their laurels, PokerStars launched their new rewards system this week. Stars Rewards debuted in the Danish market before being rolled out internationally in the summer.
The new rewards program is more personalised with players earning treasure chests that contain a variety of bonuses linked to your preference of either poker, casino or sports. The amount of time and money you spend on the site does increase the likelihood that you will pick up something tasty – like a PokerStars Championship package for example.
And talking about PokerStars Championships, the live arm of PokerStars announced plans to host an event in Prague in December as well as announcing the guarantees for the major events in Barcelona.
€1,100 PokerStars National Championship (€4m GTD)
€2,200 PokerStars National High Roller (€2m GTD)
€5,300 PokerStars Championship main Event (€7m GTD)
€220 PokerStars Open (€100k GTD)
€1,100 PokerStars National Championship (€2m GTD)
€5,300 PokerStars Championship main Event (€5m GTD)
And in one final piece of PokerStars news, former Team Pro member Leo Fernandez won the $3,300 PokerStars Festival High Roller in Chile for $20,950. The event only attracted 15 entrants.
Partypoker Find a New Chairman; Withdraw From Czech Republic; Hire an Actor
It’s been another busy week for partypoker as they continue to chase PokerStars and 888Poker in the Game of Poker Thrones.
Poker Hall of Fame member, Mike Sexton, retired from his position at the World Poker Tour (WPT) to take up the role of Chairman of partypoker and immediately set about informing people of his intention to aim for the Iron Throne. Sexton leaves his position at the WPT after 15 seasons, and Tony Dunst replaces him.
Sexton wasn’t the only addition to the partypoker payroll this week. The Brazilian actor Bruno Gagliasso joined Joao Simao as a brand ambassador focused on the Brazilian market. Gagliasso will feature in live events throughout Latin America and online.
One place you can be sure partypoker won’t be hiring an ambassador is the Czech Republic. This week, Tom Waters and the crew withdrew their application to do business in the Czech market citing compliance issues with the new iGaming structure.
It seems loyalty program revision is the order of the day with all three of the major players in the process of a revolution, and partypoker has surprised a few people by reverting to a simple Rakeback system.
Speaking to PokerNews, partypoker Ambassador, Patrick Leonard, explained that this is what the poker playing community wanted, calling it a huge improvement for partypoker.
Under the new scheme, players can earn up to 40% Rakeback on a weekly basis.
Bits and Bobs
The WPT has released the final bits and pieces of their 2017 schedule, and you can read all about it right here. Likewise, the WSOP has released the domestic schedule for the 2017-18 World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC), and there will be a record 26 stops. You can catch the full breakdown of the tour right here.
Poker Central was also in the news this week after launching a paid subscription digital media channel called PokerGO. The new channel will be used to showcase the Super High Roller Bowl (SHRB), all the WSOP coverage you won’t see live on ESPN, and a whole host of new content. You can check out the full story, right here.
One man who won’t be playing in the SHRB is Bobby Baldwin. The multiple WSOP bracelet winner has had to pull out of the event because of an important meeting. His $30,000 down payment will go towards the coffers of the eighth place finisher, and Aria will announce a replacement as soon as they find someone with $300,000 to burn.
Raising for Effective Giving (REG) has had a good week. Both PokerStars and 888Poker raised money for the meta-charity during their online festivals, and the philanthropists also announced some new ambassadors with Erik Seidel, Cate Hall, John Juanda, Justin Bonomo, George Danzer, Christopher George and Martin Jacobson now spreading the wise old message of service throughout the poker community.
And we will finish our round-up with a view of the poker world from the land of stars and stripes.
The Las Vegas Strip will lose another poker room when the Luxor closes their nine-table room on June 18 leaving only 18 places to play poker. The Luxor is an MGM-owned property as is the Monte Carlo who also closed their poker room recently.
Mike Noori didn’t just fail his attempt to eat $1,000 worth of McDonald’s in 36 hours; he was nowhere near. 10 hours into the bet, Noori tweeted that he had only managed to eat $90 worth of food, including $50 worth of apple slices which he pounded into apple sauce. Noori aborted the bet at the $100 mark leading Twitter trolls to give him the once over. It’s reported that there were $200k in bets placed on the outcome with Noori getting 5-1 odds to get the job done.
Finally, Pennsylvania continues to raise hopes that online poker could one day appear in the state. An online gambling bill containing regulation of online poker passed the Senate by a 38-12 yes vote, the first time this particular hurdle has been overcome in the state. ]The buck now passes to the PA House of Representatives.
Time ladies & gentlemen, please.
Someone has called the clock.