In this week’s Calling the Clock we round-up the partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final in Barcelona, cover PokerStars launch in India and much more.
The sun is out. The woman who looks like a cross between Alison Moyet and Toyah Wilcox is bent over, cleaning the tables. Across the road, the builders stop work and lean on their spades to collectively stare at the young girl’s ass.
Grinning great big grins.
I order my Matcha Latte and swallow hard at the added 50p for oat milk while considering telling her about the builders. I don’t, because then she’ll think I’ve been staring.
I take my number #42 and sit down to write this.
I’m going to begin my weekly round-up with partypoker. The MILLIONS Grand Final is no longer a concept. It’s a bona fide live tournament classic.
The players came (as they always do in Barcelona), and won more than $30m. Nobody won more than Pascal Lefrancois. The stud from Montreal outlasted a field of 1,175 entrants in the €10,300, €10m GTD Main Event to take the €1.7m first prize. Brits Adam Owen and Stephen Chidwick picked up €1.3m and €1m for second and third. Chidwick’s cash saw him overtake Adrian Mateos as the Global Poker Index #1.
After the Main Event ended, Pedro Cairat beat 1,163 entrants to win the €195,000 first prize in the €1,100 Finale a year after beating 4,557 entrants to win €432,178 in the PokerStars National Championships at the same venue. And Fahredin Mustafov topped a field of 194 entrants to bank the first prize of €400,000 in the €10,000 High Roller.
And as the scent of fly spray sticks to my nostril hairs, I have two more significant pieces of partypoker news for you.
partypoker ambassador, Patrick Leonard, managed to convince his leaders that it would be a wise branding move to remove the rake applied to the bounty element of the Progressive Knockout tournaments. The six-month trial begins during the $40m GTD POWERFEST tournament and will become a permanent fixture if the players support the move by exchanging the time spent playing on their roller skates for more online poker.
I wrote about the play here – Gambling Marketing Musings: The Hidden Message Behind Party’s PKO Rake Reduction.
And finally, as predicted by yours truly, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, is the newest member of the partypoker ambassadorial team and will spearhead partypoker’s move into the shared liquidity market currently being pieced together in Europe.
PokerStars open up tables in India; sign Muskan Sethi and more
PokerStars employees reliably tell me that they don’t spend too much time focusing on the shenanigans over at partpoker towers. Perhaps, it’s because they’re too busy?
This week, the largest online poker room this side of the ridiculously sized salt and pepper pots fucking up my table chi, opened up their cyber doors for business in India and hired Muskan Sethi to help them spread the word.
Sethi rose to prominence when she qualified for the PokerStars TV show, the Shark Cage, a few years back and was recently honoured by President Ram Nath Kovind for being an inspirational woman.
It’s 5,000 km from India to South Korea as a ballastic missile flies, and that’s where we head next with a brief round-up of the Asian-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Korea.
Two people, in particular, must have been touching the heads of deities made from cement.
Michael Soyza, Christopher Soyza, I don’t know what the hell is name is, but I do know he made money in four events; made three final tables, and won two trophies – the biggest of the two being the KRW 100,000 buy-in Main Event. Soyza defeated 449 entrants to win the $148,629 first prize before going on to also win a side event.
Yuki Ko made the final table of the Main Event, finishing eighth, and he also had a ridiculous run of form in Incheon. Beside his Main Event exploits, Ko won two events and banked over $100k in the process.
Moving sharply to Brazil, and PokerStars continues to receive more press coverage from Neymar Jr than when he worked for them. This time, the most expensive footballer in the world posted a photo on Instagram of him playing two PokerStars tables while watching football on TV.
There was only one problem.
The match on TV was Paris St Germain beating Monaco 7-1 to win the league, and Neymar was 8.8 km away in Brazil.
It seems the rumours that Neymar Jr may be on his bike in the summer may be true.
And on the eve of PokerStars second attempt to host a $10m GTD Sunday Million Anniversary special, I sat down with Severin Rasset to talk about that decision, and their newest game Split Hold’em. Check out the interview, right here.
World Poker Tour
The World Poker Tour (WPT) has also been as busy as a Los Angeles motorcycle cop this week.
Scott Margereson destroyed 1,306 entrants on his way to the most significant score of his career by winning the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Florida.
Margereson’s bank manager is going to have a surprise when $696,740 drops into the line of code. The payout is more than Margereson has earned in a live tournament career that spans more than six years.
The Brit beat Faraz Jaka in heads-up action. Brian Hastings finished third, Joey Couden fourth, Matt Stout fifth, and Jeff Fielder sixth.
Had Jeff Fielder finished five places higher he would have become the first player to win both WPTDeepStacks and WPT Main Event titles. And over in Amsterdam, another player also came close to achieving the same feat.
Chino Rheem is not everyone’s cup of lemon and apple cider vinegar, but he knows how to spin it up. The three-time WPT Main Event Champion finished 4/250 in the WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam Main Event. First time live tournament casher Christos Economides took the title and €75,760.
Bits and Bobs
Alex Dreyfus explained why he has been missing from the poker world for so long with a blog post on Medium this week. The French entrepreneur and owner of the Hendon Mob and GPI announced the creation of chiliZ, a fan-controlled esports experiment inspired by the Spanish socios movement. Dreyfus has managed to persuade investors to part with $27m and change, so it seems like a stickler.
The chiliZ project is one that embraces blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, and another horse in that race showed up in the news this week. CoinPoker, who last week announced plans to sponsor the Asian Poker Tour, this week added the 2018 Japan Poker Cup as a second partner.
Poker fans desperate for news of the emergence of RunItOnce (RIO) Poker received a Phil Galfond warble this week. Galfond announced plans to launch RIO Poker in two phases, the first – online cash games – will arrive in the summer. Galfond’s blog post shared the news that their rewards system would favour professional poker players; they wouldn’t cannibalise unused rewards and many other golden nuggets.
Check it out #1: An Update and a Plan right here.
888Poker announced plans to sponsor the Women in Poker Hall of Fame (WiPHOF) induction ceremony in Las Vegas this summer. One of the ladies on the shortlist is Lupo Soto, and this week Soto formed the Women’s Poker Association (WPA) in a bid to help the female of the species navigate the male-dominated poker industry.
Leon Tsoukernik was in the news again.
The owner of the Rozvadov Casino and the first person to commit to play the Big One for One Drop doesn’t want to pay the legal fees in his dispute with Matt Kirk over an unpaid $2m debt accrued after Tsoukernik had a few too many and lost the GDP of a tiny nation to the Australian during a heads-up cash game match at the ARIA. The latest court reports name Bobby Baldwin as Kirk’s primary backer, and fellow conspirator.
Despite Leon’s dubious reputation within the high stakes community, it hasn’t stopped the WSOP partnering with him. This week the iconic brand was in the news again, after deciding to alter the Player of the Year formula for the umpteenth time. The new way of doing things is similar to the way they do things at the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC), and so far the cry from the naysayers seems more like a whimper.
Time ladies and gentlemen, please.
Someone has just called the clock.