888Live round-off another outstanding series after Andrei Racolta and Ana Marquez win the two big tournaments in Bucharest, and Itai Freiberger writes to the Pennsylvanian Gaming Control Board asking for some skin in the game.
I wonder who determines the number 1, 2 and 3 largest online poker rooms in the world?
Is there a Poker God somewhere, a crushed cigarette underneath a giant whorled and torn thumb, deciding the fate of the Big Three? If there is, partypoker got a smack on the bum this week, and 888Poker got a hi-five.
While partypoker had to suffer the ignominy of a server problem during their $10m KO Series finale on Sunday, 888Live was wrapping up another successful event, this time in Romania.
The €888 buy-in 888Live Bucharest Main Event attracted a healthy looking 469 entrants, and Andrei Racolta bagged his first career live win and €71,042 in prize money.
The Romanians dominated the event with seven of the final nine hailing from the land of vampires, including a two-time 888Live champion. Catalin Pop, won the Main Event in Rozvadov and the High Roller in Barcelona last season. Pop went searching for the weasel after hitting the rail in fifth.
Racolta faced the Pole Krzysztof Chmielowski in a very one-sided heads-up affair that lasted only 35-minutes. Racolta enjoyed a 6:1 chip lead and the man who qualified for the event via a $109 online satellite had to make do with a more than adequate €44,000 consolation prize.
The eventual winner has hardly any cashes on his Hendon Mob resume (nothing over €1,300). His first-ever cash was 19/317 in a €330 888Live Local event in Costinesi.
Final Table Results
1. Andrei Racolta – €71,042
2. Krzysztof Chmielowski – €44,000
3. Marian Strachinescu – €32,000
4. Sinisa Radovanovic – €25,800
5. Catalin Pop – €20,500
6. Madalin Cornel Petraru – €15,700
7. Bogdan Diaconu – €11,700
8. Radu Pitic – €8,500
9. Stefan Fabian – €6,900
The only 888Poker Ambassador to finish ITM was Vivian Saliba. The Brazilian finished 53rd for a €1,800 cash
The next event is in 888Live Barcelona May 23 – June 4
Ana Marquez Wins the 888Live High Roller
The former PokerStars Team Pro, Ana Marquez, had a successful festival. The Spaniard, finished 39th in the Main Event, before picking up the €26,080 first prize in the €2,200 High Roller.
The event pulled in 34 entrants (come on folks, you can do better than that), and Marquez walked away with the trophy after topping a final table that housed 888Poker Ambassador Sofia Lovgren.
The win was Marquez’s biggest since finishing 407th in the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. Her most significant victory to date remains the $320,189 she won when defeating 631 entrants in the 2014 Hollywood Poker Open. Marquez currently sits 12th in the Spanish All-Time Money List with $1.16m in live tournament earnings.
1. Ana Marquez – €26,080
2. Razvan Bordei – €17,650
3. Narcis-Gabriel Nedelcu – €9,800
4. Sofia Lovgren – €6,500
5. Danut Chisu – €5,250
888Poker Want Some Skin in the Pennsylvania Market
As the only online operator to have a presence in all three of the fully-regulated US States that offer internet gambling (including the only one to have an inter-state shared online poker network), you know 888Poker wants some skin in the Pennsylvanian game.
Flushdraw has gotten their mitts on a letter that the 888 CEO Itai Freiberger sent to Ms Susan Hensel, Director, Bureau of Licensing, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) paving the way for that eventuality.
The letter, addressed Feb 15 and available here begins with an outpouring of love for the Pennsylvanian market and 888’s eagerness to be a part of it.
“The purpose of this letter is to express our enthusiasm about the opening of the Pennsylvania market, in which we hope to be an important player.” Writes Frieberger.
And then onto the meat of this particular two-page sandwich, when Frieberger expresses his concern that the PGCB may be considering barring third-party operators like 888 from doing business in the state.
Frieberger writes about 888’s 20-years of experience in Internet gaming, how they have been a vocal and passionate supporter of the regulation of online gaming, and how it wouldn’t serve the best interests of the PGCB if they limited the ability to operate in the state to the land-based casinos.
What Frieberger wants is an open market, and the option for the likes of Parx Casino and Penn National to take advantage of the experience, platform and brand recognition of an operator like 888.
“We also bring to the table a world-renowned and respected brand name.” Writes Frieberger.
The fear of an 888 brand cannibalising the land-based casino also appeared in the letter, with Frieberger pointing to New Jersey as proof that these assumptions are false.
Finally, Frieberger talks about the significant costs of entering the new market, and how partnerships can lessen the burden, therefore helping to improve the likelihood that the new market becomes a successful one.