In this week’s Calling the Clock there were wins at the World Series of Poker for Mr Angry and Mr Grumpy, Usain Bolt signs for PokerStars, and Kristen Bicknell signs for partypoker.
Let’s begin with the craziness that is the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the once a year poker marathon that turns everyone slightly schizophrenic.
14 bracelets have leapt onto the wrists of some of the most skilled and luckiest poker players in the world, and here is a run down of them all starting with, arguably, one of the very best, Adrian Mateos.
At 22-years of age, Mateos became the youngest player to win three bracelets when he defeated the 70-year old Purple Heart recipient, John Smith, in the final encounter of the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship. Mateos cashed in the same event last year; Smith was also the runner-up last year.
Mateos wasn’t the only person winning multiple career bracelets: David Bach picked up bracelet #2 with victory in the $1,500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed, David Pham earned bracelet #3 in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event, David Singer won his second in the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E, and Frank Kassella won his third in the $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw
At the other end of things, there were first-time bracelet victories for Anthony Marquez in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed, John Racener in the $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship, and Tyler Smith in the $565 Pot-Limit Omaha.
And some winners were grumpy and angry.
Ron “Grumpy” Ware took down the $1,500 8-Game Mix 6-Handed, and “Angry” John Monnette made it bracelet #3 in the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship.
We also had our sixth millionaire of the series after Pablo Mariz topped a field of 7,761 entrants to win the $1.2m first prize in the second-largest MILLIONAIRE MAKER in history. And quite a story when Shawn Buchwald, who is considering taking a break from poker, played a Limit Hold’em event for the first time in his life, minutes after a 25-hour flight, and ended up winning the damn thing.
Finally, two players from India won WSOP bracelets when Aditya Sushant and Nipun Java won the $1,000 Tag team contest. It was a first for poker in India. MILLIONAIRE MAKER winner, Pablo Mariz took second in that event after teaming up with his buddy David Guay.
Outside of the action, and players were warned to take extra precautions when two players were diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease in the Rio Hotel complex. There are cleaner ways to prevent an exchange of bacteria than to riffle chips, but so far the players are Legionnaires free.
And the WSOP is Salomon Ponte free after the Hashtag King failed in his bid to overturn a lifetime ban from Caesar’s properties. WSOP officials told Ponte that it wasn’t a good idea to allow someone with a gambling problem access to their establishments, and suggested he continue to have a deep think about all the problems he is causing.
Long before players like Ponte started spouting off, you had the Poker Brat, and this week Mr Hellmuth released his autobiography, including eight copies containing Golden Tickets to a home game with the 14-time bracelet winner. Copies of his new book are available inside the Rio.
North America Poker News
Drifting outside of Las Vegas but remaining within the perimeter of the most popular poker place on earth and New York’s Senate approved Senator John Bonacic’s online poker bill by 54 votes to 8. But don’t get too excited, the same happened last year and the Assembly refused to even vote on the subject.
No such problems exist for people dunking their ginger snap biscuits into cups of tea over in New Jersey. The online gambling industry set a new monthly gambling revenue record of $21.1m in May, up 27.3% (YoY). However, online casino games are responsible for the hike and not online poker, which was down to $2.1m, a 17.5% dip YoY.
Perhaps we need to buy the New York Judges an annual subscription to PokerGO? This month Poker Central’s new SVOD model launched a new series of Pokerography, featuring the legendary Johnny Chan, and announced plans to launch a six-part comedy series called Poker Nights starring former Saturday Night Live star Chris Parnell.
Online Poker News
PokerStars continued to rebuild their damaged reputation by affiliating themselves with some of the most loved personalities in the world after inking a deal with Usain Bolt. The world’s fastest man, who plans to retire after the World Championships in London, joins American comedian Kevin Hart as an ambassador of the world’s largest online poker room.
Partypoker also added to their ambassadorial roster this week when they hired Kristen Bicknell. The two-time WSOP bracelet winner will be their figurehead in the Canadian market. Bicknell previously represented partypoker during their MILLIONS event held at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal.
And the Asian-facing online poker room Natural8 added two more players to their Team Hot brand. Former PokerStars team pro Kosei Ichinose, and rising Australian star Adrian Attenborough. The Chinese poker player Sai Wu also joined as a Friend of Natural8.
888Poker didn’t hire an ambassador, but they did strengthen their partnership with the WSOP. 888Poker will sponsor the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) for the second successive year. The pair also announced plans to head to Argentina for the first time.
With PokerStars, partypoker, and 888Poker continually hogging the headlines it was sweet to see the Swedish online poker room Unibet celebrate their half a billion hand as a standalone entity this week.
To celebrate the landmark, Unibet hosted a €50k Guarantee, their largest to date, and when a technical fault failed to allow an add-on period in the tournament, the online poker room reacted swiftly by refunding the initial buy-in to every player who was still in the competition when the fault occurred.
That move by Unibet is the type of thing poker players love, and PokerStars took a step towards improving their customer service when they began operating a two-way communication channel with their fans on Discord.
The voice and text chat app is a big hit with video game users, and PokerStars is hoping to use it to listen in to the conversation. One of the first people to use the new channel was the VP of Communications, Eric Hollreiser, who hosted an AMA and you can pick up the nuts and bolts of that conversation right here.
There won’t be many Australian based PokerStars players on Discord after the legal eagles in that part of the world decided to ban online poker based on some mumbo-jumbo tarot card reading or something.
The divorce has already begun, but the Liberal democrat’s politician David Leyonhjelm is still fighting tooth and nail to resurrect our beautiful game down under.
Short of digging up some interest Polaroid shots of those who make decisions it’s going to be an uphill battle. But the senator is up for it, promising to go searching for the right support to launch an inquiry into the ridiculous law change that allows gambling on sports and horse racing but not the outcome of a flop, turn or river.
Time ladies and gentlemen someone has just called the clock.