Calling the Clock: Ferguson speaks; PokerStars don’t, and more

Calling The Clock: Ferguson speaks; PokerStars don’t, and more

In this week’s Calling The Clock, Chris Ferguson finally speaks after a seven-year silence, PokerStars pull out of Hong Kong but don’t explain why, and much more. 

As I prepare to give my fingers a rest for two days, I have to say, poker has let me down this week, in so many ways. Let’s start with the most obvious first.

What the fuck is Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson thinking?

After seven years plus of silence, the much-maligned former Full Tilt Poker boss opens up to the poker community and his ‘fans’ in a 41-second video that is truly bizarre.

Watch it for yourself.

Chris Ferguson reaches out to the poker community from Chris Ferguson on Vimeo.

Fortunately, Ferguson isn’t the only cuckoo in poker.

As you can imagine, Hellmuth got his balls roasted over this ridiculous backing of his friend.

It’s clear by the pre-written statement that Ferguson didn’t want to do this, I mean, come on. You don’t remain silent for seven years and then release this garbage. What is he apologising for? There is no mention of him doing anything wrong. No answers. Nothing.

It comes across as a self-serving piece of promotion as he heads into the 2018 WSOP as the Player of the Year.

And Ferguson isn’t alone in driving me potty this week.

PokerStars Drive Me Potty This Week 

I’ve worked a lot closer with PokerStars in the past 12-months, including seeing them work at close quarters at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), and I can confirm that they are a bunch of people who love poker.


The corporate side is killing connection with the players.

You can’t have a brand story that exists in only a part of your organisation. It has to shine through every single statement you make.

This week, PokerStars released a new campaign where PokerStars Ambassadors think of creative ways to hand out Platinum Passes to the PokerStars’ Player’s No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) in the Bahamas.

I’m not a fan of the promotion for reasons that I highlight in my review, here. However, it’s clear from the publicity that PokerStars is intent on building fun relationships with their customers via routes such as live stream tribes.

So why then, did they cut off real money games to players residing in Hong Kong, without giving them a heartfelt apology and a reason why?

What is this shit?

The Stars Group frequently reviews commercial and regulatory developments around the world.” 

That’s not how human beings talk to other human beings.

Withdrawal from Hong Kong comes in the same week that PokerStars partnered with International Entertainment Corp. Stanley Choi’s outfit will take over responsibility for PokerStars Live events and poker rooms in the Asian region.

I have also heard on the grapevine that real money action has ceased in South Africa, but I haven’t heard anything back from PokerStars confirming this to be true.

PokerStars also released a new game called Showtime this week (where players have to show folded hands face-up), welcomed Portugal into the European Shared Liquidity gang alongside France and Spain with a €5m GTD online event called the Trio Series, and ended the 2018 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) by handing $1.1m to an Austrian based Italian going by the name of Tankanza after winning the SCOOP Main Event {H}.

Poker Central do a PokerStars. 

Calling The Clock: Ferguson speaks; PokerStars don’t, and morePokerStars wasn’t alone when it came to making serious calls without reasoning.

This week, Poker Central announced plans to create and trademark a High Roller Player of the Year series and called a potential future winner of The US Poker Open, The Poker Masters and The Super High Roller Bowl (SHRB) the winner of the High Roller Triple Crown.

Odd then, that they would choose NOT to invite Steffen Sontheimer into the SHRB considering that The Goose won the Poker Masters. What makes this decision even more outrageous, is they handpicked 17 players and chose to ignore him.

How do they deal with this oversight?

They ignore it.

Nobody, not even the Poker Masters Champion himself, has been given a reason why he was discounted from the running. Fortunately, for Sontheimer, Andrew Robl dropped out at the last minute, and Poker Central invited the German champion to play, only days after asking Larry Greenberg and Sean Winter to compete ahead of the champ.

Poker Central also announced that Ali Nejad, Lon McEachern and Norman Chad would front their 2018 WSOP coverage, and released their live streaming schedule.

Darren Elias Becomes a WPT Legend; Maurice Hawkins Chasing Vornicu 

Darren Elias has become the most successful World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event player of all time after winning the Inaugural Bobby Baldwin Classic at the ARIA.

Elias overcame a stacked final table that included four WPT Champions Club members and a former WSOP Main Event champion. Elias defeated Kitty Kuo, heads-up, to claim his record fourth title, moving him one ahead of the likes of Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Chino Rheem and Anthony Zinno.

And Maurice Hawkins showed Valentin Vornicu that he’s up for a scrap after winning his 11th World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) gold ring this week.

Hawkins had to watch from the rail as Vornicu extended his lead at the top of the All-Time WSOPC Ring Leader charts to 12 with back-to-back New Orleans wins, before pulling one back with a victory in the $2k High Roller. Jerry Monroe rounded out the WSOPC action ahead of the Global Casino Championships by winning the Main Event for $208,184.

And the successfully hit their guarantee on the first-ever Tri-State Online Festival: Coast to Coast. The $200,001 Guaranteed Event became the most significant online event since modern-day regulation kicked in after 526 entrants created a prize pool of $245,642. Pierre “P_aire_146” Deissler took the top prize of $61,411.

Triton Poker Series Ends 

There are not many niches left in the poker industry, but the Triton brand has found one.

All week, Triton Poker set up camp in the Maestral Resort and Casino in Montenegro, and millions of dollars have passed between the hands of the world’s greatest players and wealthiest business people.

Jason Koon rounded out an incredible week that saw him compete in the two largest No-Limit Hold’em cash game pots ever seen on live stream ($1.8m & $2m) by winning the HKD 1,000,000 Short-Deck, Ante Only event for USD 3,400,000, his most significant win to date. Koon overcame a final table that included the HKD 250,000 Short-Deck winner, Phil Ivey to take home the enormous prize.

Triton Poker returns in Jeju, South Korea at the back end of July.

Bits and Bobs 

I wrote about the savviness of Unibet in working with esports stars in a bid to build a connection with their tribes after they signed Alan ‘Hotted89′ Widmann as an ambassador, and Daniel Jacobsen beat a field of 272 entrants to win the first prize of €60,090 in the Unibet Open Malta Main Event.

Anton Wigg joined 888Poker’s 8-Team promotion as Wingman to Martin Jacobson in Team Sweden, as the WSOP Promotion gathers speed. And Eugene Katchalov wrote a Linkedin post advising his fans that esports has taken over his life, and if you do see him playing poker, it will be as a recreational player and not a pro.

Time ladies and gentlemen, please.

Someone has just called the clock.