LAS VEGAS (Feb. 11, 2014) – The 45th annual World Series of Poker® (WSOP®) – a set of poker tournaments open to anyone 21 years of age or older – officially puts cards in the air the day after Memorial Day, Tuesday, May 27, 2014, with an expected $200 million up for grabs, and play ramping up immediately with several new and exciting events early in the schedule.
But it may be what comes at the end of this year’s series that will steal the headlines, as poker’s world championship – aka the WSOP Main Event – will see the winner walk away with $10,000,000 and of course the diamond-encrusted bracelet. As was the case with the Millionaire Maker last year, the payout structure will adjust accordingly to accommodate the new Main Event wrinkle.
by Shari Geller
As 2013 draws to a close it is time for our annual reflection on the stories that made news, whether for good or bad, in the world of poker over the past twelve months. From a new WSOP locale to the continued scrambling over the future of online poker, the return of some notorious names and the introduction of some new ones, 2013 was another eventful year.
The return of online poker in the US was both the biggest story of 2013 as well as the source of great disappointment to poker players. By year’s end, three states have managed to get regulated online poker sites operating to serve their residents, leaving 47 states where poker players cannot enjoy their favorite game in the privacy of their own homes.
Nevada became the first state to license and regulate online poker and had sites up and running by mid-year. Two sites, UltimatePoker. com and WSOP.com, are servicing local Nevada players, but the number of participants is a mere fraction of what Pre-Black Friday websites handled. Delaware followed Nevada as the second state in the country with statewide real-money online poker. Delaware had a soft launch on Halloween and by November, players physically located within the state were able to log on to one of three state-sanctioned sites; Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway. New Jersey governor Chris Christie made a few friends for his expected future presidential run by finally signing legislation allowing New Jersey to allow online poker, and New Jersey has now outpaced Nevada and Delaware in the number of players who have signed up. But while those states overcame the many hurdles to bringing online poker to their residences, other states do not seem to be in any hurry to join them.
By Shari Geller
On November 4, the November Nine sat down at the final table of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event at the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. After sevenand- a-half hours of play, just two remained to return on November 5 for the ninth and final day of play, 23-year-old Michigan State grad Ryan Riess and chip leader 29-year-old Vegas club promoter Jay Farber. It took 90 hands of heads-up play for Riess to overcome the chip disadvantage to take down the title, the bracelet and the $8,359,531top prize to become the 2013 WSOP Main Event champ.
The Waterford, Michigan native and former poker dealer was the youngest player at the final table that was led by twotime bracelet winner JC Tran and included a talented field that boasted another WSOP bracelet winner, Amir Lehavot, former online phenom David Benefield, talented pros Marc- Etienne McLaughlin, who finished 30th in the 2009 Main Event, and Mark Newhouse, who has seven WSOP cashes and one WPT title to his name.
Lehavot took down the first hand to get the action started and it was an active final table right off the start with threeand four-betting pre-flop as well as the short stacks putting their tournament lives on the line, with first Newhouse and then Benefield going all in with the worst of it and sucking out. Just before the first break, Newhouse was all in again with pocket nines against Riess’s As-Kh but lost the race and became the first player eliminated. He was followed shortly by Benefield who ran a suited king into the Ace-King of Farber and missed his flush outs when the river blanked.
The penultimate day of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event is in the books and after seven and a half hours of play we're down to heads up. The only non-pro at the table, Vegas club promoter Jay Farber, has the chip lead on his side while 23-ywar-old pro Ryan Riess has confidence, some say arrogance, on his. Farber was responsible for three eliminations and Riess took the other four as the two completely dominated the final table in slightly different styles. Farber mixed it up more and was extremely aggressive, while Riess was more surgical in picking his spots before a loud crowd at the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Resort.
by Shari Geller
To talk or not to talk, that is the question. This Hamlet-inspired question has nearly the same life or death meaning if you are all-in with your tournament life at stake. A recent episode on ESPN of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event brought to mind the Shakespeare quote as an all-in player decided whether to engage her opponent in table talk while he considered his move. She decided to talk, and had what she said been picked up, she would have died right then. But sometimes, when you talk, your opponent doesn’t listen and you are given a new lease on life.
Texas amateur Beverly Lange was one of four women left in the field of about 150 players remaining on Day 5. Her opponent, 2010 Main Event bubble boy Brandon Steven, had bet 167,000 into a pot of 385,000, holding top pair on a 4s-Ks-7s-2d-2h board. She snap-raised all-in for an additional 260,000. Steven leapt from his seat when she made that bet, clearly surprised and irritated. If he called, it would be for one-third of his stack. What he didn’t know was Lange only had pocket Jacks, and if he called, she’d be knocked out of the tournament.
The biggest buy-in event in World Series of Poker history will return for 2014. The Big One for One Drop will take place over three days, from June 29 to July 1, 2014, with a field capped at 56 players (comprised of seven eight-handed tables). According to the press release, the first place prize has the potential to reach in excess of $20,000,000 if every seat is filled, with 16-20% of entrants receiving a portion of the prize pool, depending on the final number of entrants. Unlike the rest of the WSOP events next year, the Big One will be held at Caesars Palace, except for the televised final table which will be played at the Rio All-Suites Resort.
The WSOP issued the following press release with further details on this year's event:
On Saturday the World Series of Poker announced the names of the two new members of the WSOP Hall of Fame. Former world champs Tom McEvoy and Scotty Nguyen are the two members of the class of 2013 and will be formally inducted on Sunday, November 3rd, the day before the start of this years Main Event final table. Check out the WSOP press release with the Hall of Fame announcement:
1983 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Tom McEvoy and 1998 world champion Scotty Nguyen will become the 45th and 46th individuals to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. The two were nominated by the public and voted in by a 37-person panel made up of existing Poker Hall of Famers and members of the media, it was announced today by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council.
By Shari Geller
The television show Breaking Bad and its story of a milquetoast high school teacher’s transformation into a cold-blooded killer has become a cultural touchstone for a good segment of America. As the show wraps up its five-season run, many are looking at the main character’s arc in all its Shakespearean glory and ignominy. As with any great tragedy, there are lessons to be learned from the main character’s rise and fall, including some that can help you - not to build a meth empire, but to become a more successful poker player.
by Shari Geller
My last article questioned why so few women play in the WSOP. While card rooms are no longer men only zones, and it is not unusual to see two or even three women at the same poker table, the attendance stats for women at the WSOP are still disappointingly low. I decided, rather than continuing to complain about the low representation of women, I would put my money where my mouth was and play in my first WSOP.
I chose the $1,000 Ladies’ No-Limit Hold’em Championship to be my first foray into the WSOP. Through some ingenious planning, the event truly was ladies only – the buy in was earmarked at $10,000, but women received a 90% discount, ensuring that no male player would crash the party as they have in years past. In all, there were 954 of us starting with 3,000 chips and 25/25 blinds. The field was not soft, far from it. There were experienced players at every table, and any idea that aggressive play would easily take down uncontested pots went out the window quickly.
I started out strong. I three-barrel bluffed a nice sized pot, representing I had hit my flush draw on the river when in actuality my straight draw had missed. I made good reads and built up a nice stack. Then I made a big mistake; with blinds at 100/200, I was sitting with about 8,000 chips. A woman to my right was short-stacked, about 2,500 chips. She had just doubled up to that amount with king-jack a few hands before. She pushed all in again and I looked down and saw ace-ten. I thought she had a wide range of hands she’d push with and was eager not only for her chips but to see another player knocked out. So I ignored the cardinal rule – that you need a better hand to call an all in than to push all in – and made the call.
By Shari Geller
Garden City Group ("GCG"), the claims processor handling the distribution of funds to US Full Tilt Poker players, has named September 16, 2013 as the date that the official claims process will begin. There is just a short window to submit your claim, as the deadline is November 15, 2013. According to the announcement on their website, http://www.fulltiltpokerclaims.com: