SEIVER TAKES SEASON IX WPT CHAMPIONSHIP
The World Poker Tour’s Season IX drew to a close with the prestigious $25,000 buy-in WPT Championship at the Bellagio, where Scott Seiver bested 224 others to collect $1,618,344. Seiver narrowly trailed early leader Galen Hall as the six-player finale began, and finished off Farzad Bonyadi ($1,061,900) during heads-up play for the win. Seiver dominated the late stages of the finale, while Hall exited in third ($589,355) following a bad beat to Bonyadi. Roger Teska, Tony Gargano and Justin Young finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
MARYLAND ONLINE STING OPERATION PRODUCES SEIZURES, CHARGES
POKERSTARS CASHOUTS RESUME
The largest of the three (formerly) US-facing online poker sites, PokerStars, has already found a channel for processing withdrawals, allowing American customers to retrieve their online bankrolls. The US Department of Justice restored access to PokerStars.com and fellow site FullTiltPoker.com just for this purpose, but has not reached a similar agreement with the third affected site/network, Cereus, which consists of the Absolute Poker and UB.com brands. Cereus parent Absolute Poker announced that they had retained US counsel and were examining the situation further before taking any action.
FULL TILT ANNOUNCES ONYX CUP Looking for a small series of ultra-high buy-in tournaments? If so, then Full Tilt’s planned new venture into live tournament play may be just for you. The online giant recently announced its ONYX Cup series, with six planned stops in the US, Europe, and Asia. Buy-ins will run from $100,000 to $300,000 per seat and the series hopes to siphon many of poker’s biggest names from other tours, with the planned events bumping up against various EPT, WSOPE, and new Federated Poker League stops. ONYX kicks off with a May 11 and 12 tournament in Las Vegas.
NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR VETOES ONLINE GAMBLING MEASURE
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in a somewhat unexpected move, vetoed a measure that would have allowed New Jersey’s casino operators to offer online poker to state residents. Christie cited potential legal obstacles as his reason for the veto, though the measure (S. B. 490) received broad legislative support. Christie’s veto may be subject to an override or to a slight reworking of language to eliminate possible gray areas.
BELLAGIO CHIP THIEF ARRESTED
The down-on-his-luck son of a Las Vegas municipal judge was arrested February 2, alleged to be the motorcycle-riding robber who burst into the Bellagio, brandished a pistol, and fled with approximately $1.5 million in casino chips grabbed from a craps table. Anthony Corleo, 29, has been accused of armed robbery and is also a suspect in at least one other Las Vegas casino heist. Corleo, formerly of Pueblo, Colorado, declared bankruptcy in 2009 after running failed disk-jockey and limo-service businesses, and moved in with his father, George Assad, a controversial Las Vegas judge.
Poker News: Isuldur1 Unmasked; Foxwoods Holds November Nine Reunion; Jersey Legislature Approves E-GamingFebruary 1, 2011 - 10:52am
‘ISILDUR1’ IDENTITY REVEALED
One of poker’s mysteries was recently solved when the identity of ultra-high-stakes cash-gamer “Isildur1” was confirmed to be Sweden’s Viktor Blom. The 20-something Blom had long been rumored to be the player behind the famed handle, with the “Isildur1” screen name figuring in all ten of poker’s all-time largest pots, some reaching seven figures. Blom’s brief career began with a $2,000 online bankroll and has already experienced several meteoric highs and lows, including overnight swings that exceeded $1 million.
Poker News: Hellmuth Leaves UB; Washington State Poker Fund Bank Seizures Continue; Borgata Sets 2011 Winter Poker Open scheduleJanuary 19, 2011 - 4:08am
HELLMUTH, DUKE DEPART UB, FRIEDMAN JOINS RANKS
Among the many business and legal matters to dominate poker’s year-end headlines were the departures of Phil Hellmuth, Jr. and Annie Duke as headliners for online site UB.com, formerly known as UltimateBet. The two pros, particularly Hellmuth, had been the faces of the site for nearly a decade, and their sponsorship deals were among the longest-running and highest-visibility of all pokerpro endorsement deals. The departure of the two continued a trend by Cereus of moving away from all faces from the UltimateBet days, and Hellmuth’s official departure came not long after he appeared at a major Vegas tourney sporting patches for the new Aria casino, rather than UB gear. UB promised several new signings in their stead, the first of which turned out to be Prahlad “Spirit Rock” Friedman, which in itself is strange, since Friedman is frequently mentioned as a player who was cheated out of large sums of money in that scandal.
2011 WORLD SERIES OF POKER TO RETURN TO RIO
Despite rampant speculation that the World Series of Poker would move to another casino in 2011, this year’s WSOP will once again be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The WSOP’s 2011 edition will run from May 31 through July 19, with the main event’s final table again pushed back to November. The 2011 WSOP’s complete schedule has yet to be released, though the main event will start on July 7, and feature four separate starting days. One wrinkle to be added this year is a “hard stop” for each tourney, meaning that no more than ten levels will be played on a single day in any given event.
SELBST WINS PPT CANNES; TEKIMTANGAC TOSSED FROM FINALE FOR CHEATING
Former WSOP bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst added another major title to her growing poker resume at the Partouche Poker Tour’s recent stop in Cannes, France. Selbst’s triumph was worth €1,300,000, equal to approximately $1,800,000. Selbst won the eight-player finale after dominating the play, with Raphael Kroll ending up second and winning €800,000, with Fabrice Soulier finishing third to take home €500,000.