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Poker News Brief: Harrah’s Tunica Plans June Closing

by Haley Hintze

The World Series of Poker Circuit Series will lose one of its venues next season, following the announcement by parent company Caesars Entertainment that the Harrah’s Tunica casino will close on June 2nd.  The Mississippi casino-report is the largest of three Caesars-owned properties in Tunica, but remained awash in red ink despite the success of the WSOPC Tunica stop.  Mississippi’s Tunica casinos have seen sharp revenue declines, with much of the region’s casino business shifting to the state’s resurgent Biloxi / Gulf Coast region.  The most recent WSOPC Tunica visit was in late January, with the stop expected to be removed or replaced on the tour’s 2014-15 slate.

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PokerStars Does Legwork in NY Legislative Bill

Wendeen H. Eolis

Wendeen H. Eolis

By: Wendeen H. Eolis

New York State has come to the party later than most, but this year it has its eye on gambling like never before. The necessary referendum to legalize commercial brick and mortar casino gaming passed more than a year ago; a Commission to oversee the issuance of a limited number of casino licenses is in place. And now we have a “poker only” bill floating through the New York State Senate.

NY Senate Bill S6913—Poker Only!

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Poker News Briefs: Twin Online Gambling Ban Proposals Introduced

by Haley Hintze

Twin Congressional measures seeking to reinvigorate the 1961 Wire Act and thereby make illegal most forms of Internet gambling, including poker, have been introduced in Congress. The bills, submitted by US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and US Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), originated with the deep backing of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which operates the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas. The preliminary forms of both bills were written by a federal lobbyist funded by Adelson, who hopes to curtail Internet-based competition to his existing land-based casinos. Both new Congressional measures, denoted as S. 2159 and H.R. 4301, respectively, have been sent to Congressional committees.

Matt Bond Wins First Ring Awarded at Lumière

The first-ever WSOP Circuit ring awarded at Lumière Place Casino in St. Louis goes to Matt Bond of Irving, Texas for winning the opening event,$580 No Limit Hold’em.(Matt’s first name is Justin,but he goes by middle name Matt.) He came to the final table second in chips and battled headsup for nearly two hours before getting the last of Peter Nigh’s chips with A9 dominating Nigh’s A3.Bond collected $17,779 for the win. Nigh, who was the chip leader at the start of the final table, picked up $10,989 for second place.

This event drew 127 entrants for a total prize pool of $63,500. The final 15 players got paid. Two time WSOP Circuit ring winner Tim Vance was in the starting field along with Palm Beach Kennel Club Casino Champion Jeff Gunnip and single ring owner DJ MacKinnon.They all failed to make the money. None of the player sat the final table owned any WSOP or Circuit bling.

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Susie Isaacs - Ladies Legend The 1998 WSOP - The Year of Dreams

Derrick Oliver-Dewan

Article by Derrick Oliver-Dewan

The World Series of Poker has produced a number of remarkable stories of fate over the years and two of the best ever come from the 1998 main event.   Perhaps, the most famous anecdote was delivered by Mike Matusow in his book Checkraising the Devil, when he opted not to play the world championship that year because he had a dream 'The Prince of Poker' Scotty Nguyen would win the event and the $1 million that went with it.

Confident his vision was accurate, Matusow gave half his buy-in, $5000, to Nguyen so he could play instead.  His friends and family thought he was 'Nuts' but 'The Mouth' was confident and maintains to this day he never doubted his decision for a second, not once, because he had seen the outcome vividly in his sleep.   The rest, as they say, is histoy; Nguyen defeated Florida's Kevin McBride heads-up to win, uttering one of the most famous quotes in poker history in the process, "You call and  it's gonna be all over baby."

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Poker News Brief: Ultimate Poker Signs Deal with Reno’s Peppermill Nevada

by Haley Hintze

Licensed online poker site Ultimate Poker expanding its reach into the state’s second-largest market in early March, courtesy of a major deal with Reno’s Peppermill Resort Hotel. The recently renovated Peppermill is one of the leading casino destinations in the Reno-Tahoe market, whose population is dwarfed by greater Las Vegas, but remains the state’s second most populous region. The deal also includes four smaller Peppermill affiliated casinos -- Western Village (Sparks), and the Rainbow, Peppermill Wendover, and Montego Bay (all in Wendover). Ultimate Poker is associated with the Vegas-centric Station Casino family, and lacked prominent landbased casino exposure before this deal.

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Thunder Valley: JC Tran Wins 2nd WPT Title

Tran has won quite a bit playing tournament poker over the years, and his career earnings now stand at $11,214,250 according to Hendon Mob poker database. He now has 14 cashes at WPT events and he has won $3,440,918 on tour (12th all-time), but this cash so close to home has to mean a lot, even to a poker player who has accomplished so much in his career.

At a certain point Tran began building a dominant chip lead and it proved too much to overcome, even after Harwell doubled up on the 198th hand of play. On Hand 207 Tran knocked Harwell below 10 big blinds, and a short time later it was over.

On Hand 211 Harwell moved all in preflop for 1,125,000 and Tran called. The two players tabled their hands and Tran had the lead with K4 over Harwell’s 85. The final board was dealt 642109 and Tran won his second WPT title. Harwell was eliminated in second place after a solid run in the tournament and he took home $200,030 for his impressive play at the final table.

Tran adds $302,750 to his sizable career earnings. He also gets a $15,400 seat in the season-ending WPT World Championship, a special edition pair of 24K Monster headphones, and his name will go on the WPT Champions Cup for the second time. Congratulations to JC Tran on the hometown victory. The next tour stop will be the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open that runs from March 21-25.

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Poker News Briefs: South Carolina’s Graham Seeks Wire Act Strengthening

by Haley Hintze

US Senator Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) has announced his intent to introduce Congressional legislation seeking to expand the US’s 1961 Wire Act to cover most forms of online gambling. Graham is among a handful of state and federal level politicians to speak out on the matter in recent months, aligning themselves with the philosophy of an anti-online-gambling push being funded by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. Political observers have speculated that some of the politicians are seeking to curry favor (and possibly contributions) from Adelson, a leading GOP donor who famously dropped at least $10 million into Newt Gingrich’s failed 2012 presidential campaign. Graham, in his statement, wants to strengthen the Wire Act’s reach, reversing a 2011 interpretation by US Attorney General Eric Holder that the law applies only to sports betting.

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Foxwoods Poker Classic - She Lok Wong takes Championship Trophy

By Rhue R. Reis  [Pictured left to right: Sam Hadded, She Lok Wong, Mazen Neshiwat]

3-Way Agreement Leaves She Lok Wong With Championship Trophy and $95,000

The $2,700 No Limit Hold’em Main Event at the 2014 Foxwoods Poker Classic had 226 entrants start play on Friday battling it out for a piece of the $548,050 prize pool. Eighty-two returned at noon on Saturday for day two action. Play continued for just over ten hours before the money was reached, and another two hours before play was over for the night with thirteen players remaining. Play resumed at noon on Sunday and in two hours, the final table was determined. Seven hours of final table action culminated with the final three reaching an agreement that gave Mazen Nesheiwat of Poughkeepsie, NY $84,125 for 3rd, Sam Haddad of Westwood, MA collected $92,434 and the Commemorative Watch for 2nd, while She Lok Wong of Forest Hills, NY garnered the Championship Trophy and Top Prize Money of $95,000.

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Poker News Briefs: Utah House Investigation Reports Probable Felonies Linked in Online Poker Matters

by Haley Hintze

Utah House Investigation Reports Probable Felonies by Former State AG, US Senators Linked in Online Poker Matters – A 206-page report issued by a Utah House-authorized investigative panel in mid-March has asserted that former state Attorney General John Swallow may have committed as many as eight different felonies in a wide-ranging series of allegations with ties to the “Black Friday” online-poker processing conducted through a St. George, UT bank. Central to the investigation’s findings are evidence obtained from indicted Utah online marketer Jeremy Johnson, an unindicted, but important figure in the Black Friday affair. A secretly taped conversation of a meeting between Johnson and Swallow includes admissions of suspect behavior by Swallow, who resigned in November, and also includes the Johnson-alleged assertion of a million-dollar bribe paid through back channels to US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) through back channels. The investigation into Swallow, led by two Utah county prosecutors, also includes the links to Reid and to US Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), but without formal federal assistance. According to the two Utah prosecutors, their request for the FBI to investigate Reed’s and Lee’s possible connections was blocked by the US Department of Justice.

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