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Harrah’s Cherokee WSOP Circuit: John Bowman Wins Main Event

NC Native Collects Gold Ring and $250K in First Cash

If ever there was a poker fairytale with storybook ending, it happened April 15 at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort, nestled in the majestic Smoky Mountains.

The first-ever World Series of Poker Circuit ever held in North Carolina ended in spectacular fashion on Monday evening as John Bowman won the top prize of a quarter-of-a-million dollars to go along with Harrah’s Cherokee’s Main Event Championship. He stunned the poker world, his competitors, and even himself with the unexpected victory.

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$200,000 Guaranteed + Another Chance To Win An HPO Seat At Hollywood Casino Indiana

by Barbara Rogers

That's right,  Brad Hinson, the man in charge of the poker room at Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana is making sure you have the opportunity again. Just in case you missed out on the first chance, check out the Hollywood Spring Poker Open playing out from April 29th-May 5th on this dockside casino riverboat. There s a No Limit Hold'em tournament every day during this Poker Open. The main event guarantees a payout of $200,000 for a buy-in of only $375.00. 

Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg was first in the Penn National stable of casino's all across America to offer the chance to win a trip to Las Vegas in June, to play the inaugural $500,000 guaranteed Hollywood Poker Open.

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$250,000 Guaranteed - Opening Event of the Delaware Park Poker Classic

May 8th-11th is the the $250,000 guaranteed opening event of the Delaware Park Poker Classic at Delaware Park in Wilmington.   Play begins on Wednesday, May 8th at 11am (Day 1a) and Thursday, May 9th at 11am (Day 1b). Players will begin with $40,000 in chips.  You won't find many tournaments that offer this kind of a payout for such a small investment.
Visit the Delaware Park site for more information on the 2013 Delaware Park Poker Classic and this PDF detailing the event format.

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Well-Known Poker Pros Among Dozens Indicted in Federal Illegal Gambling, Money Laundering and Extortion Case

By Shari Geller
In an unsealed indictment filed in the US District Court for the Second District of New York, a notorious Russian businessman is alleged to be the ringleader of a massive criminal enterprise involving sports betting and illegal poker games that brought in some $50 million.  Poker pros Abe Mosseri, Bill Edler, Peter Feldman, Joe Mancuso, John Hanson, and Justin Smith were named in three of the twenty-seven counts of the 84-page indictment that reads like a movie script -- something like Rounders meets The Godfather.  But the star of this real-life crime drama is defendant Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, most notable for having been charged with, but ultimately never tried for, allegedly attempting to bribe figure skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City


Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Poker Community Reacts to Boston Marathon Explosions

By Shari Geller
Today was already a newsworthy day for the poker community.  April 15, 2013 marks the two-year anniversary of Black Friday, a day when online poker was taken away from U.S. players.  It was also the day that former Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar was sentenced, pursuant to a plea agreement, to time served and the forfeiture of assets in the amount of some $40 million for fraud, money laundering and violation of federal gaming laws.  Elsewhere, a popular player won a gold bracelet in the first ever WSOP Asia Pacific Main Event.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

Ray Bitar Gets Credit for "Time Served"

by Wendeen H. Eolis


In a video-link proceeding, from a California courtrooom, Ray Bitar, a founder of Full Tilt Poker, was sentenced today by Chief Judge of the US District Court of New York, Loretta Preska, to time served and an estimated forfeiture of $40,000,000.

 In keeping with the unexpectedly compassionate deal reached between Government Prosecutors and Bitar's counsel, Jack Baughman of Paul Weiss et al, Ray Bitar is now positioned to seek the heart transplant required to save his life.

 Bitar was previously represented by Attorney Jeff Ifrah. Ifrah is now the center of a malpractice lawsuit brought by Chad Elie, a payment processor for Full Tilt Poker  who pled guilty in the Black Friday case against him. Elie is now serving a five month prison sentence. 

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

Daniel Negreanu Nabs Fifth Bracelet Winning the 1st WSOP APAC Main Event

By Shari Geller

And that's a wrap.  The first ever World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) came to a close after midnight local time on Tuesday, April 16th.  The Crown Casino in Melbourne held the inaugural expansion of the WSOP to the land down under with five bracelet events, one high roller non-bracelet event, and, at its conclusion, the end of a nearly five-year bracelet drought for one of poker's most famous faces.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

The First WSOP APAC Brings New Gold to Phil Ivey

By Shari Geller
Phil Ivey added to his WSOP bracelet collection with a ninth win at the inaugural World Series of Poker - Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) this week in Melbourne, Australia.  But he was not the only US player who found gold on the other side of the globe.  Following on the heels of the WSOP's successful expansion into Europe, the WSOP APAC is awarding bracelets in five different events held at the Crown Casino Melbourne. 
The first bracelet event, a No Limit Hold'em $1,000 buy-in, five-day event, was won by American Bryan Piccioli, who defeated Aussie Jonathan Karamalikis for the $211,575 top prize.  It was a tough final table, boasting 2010 WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel and 2012 5th place finisher Jeremy Ausmus, who finished 4th and 5th respectively.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

American Gaming Association Continues to Poke PokerStars

by Wendeen H. Eolis

The battle for supremacy in the emerging online poker market, stateside, is in full swing with a series of gambits by the American Gaming Association (AGA). The AGA has effectively delayed PokerStars’ anticipated acquisition of the Atlantic Club Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City by its letter and legal brief in opposition.

PokerStars is perceived as a white knight among poker players but as a black sheep by members of the AGA.

The various bones of contention are coming into sharper focus but some relevant matters of fact are becoming more murky. Lawyers supportive of the AGA stance and of AGA members most likely to be affected sooner than later have become increasingly vocal in response to this reporter’s request for help in dissecting the issues—in plain English.

Questions and Answers

More than a dozen lawyers representing both sides of the issues contributed questions and comments last week. This week the AGA supporters (on condition of personal anonymity)  reviewed their position and various documentation in an effort to flesh out the general consensus among them. One of the participants stepped up to provide  a voice on behalf of the prevailing views of AGA supporters interviewed.    PokerStars supporters in the group are expected to provide enhanced responses with references to legal documents, shortly. In the interim some of their initial comments are repeated to remind readers there are two sides —if not more— in this evolving story.

Note: For the avoidance of doubt, readers are advised that both PokerStars and the AGA declined to comment   on the Q & A  for this article  through their respective communications offices and none of the responses reflect authorized comment by either organization.  

 1. Why did Poker Stars conclude affirmatively that their online poker fare was legal in America after enactment of UIGEA?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

AGA/PokerStars; Morality Play or Economic Warfare

by Wendeen H. Eolis

Over the past two weeks the American Gaming Association and PokerStars have sparred over the future of the online gaming company’s activities in Atlantic City. There is no end in sight for a battle that has AGA pressing the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) on behalf of its members into a long methodical examination of the merits of PokerStars’ entry into the United States casino market.  

While the plot thickens and the legal issues unfold, more than a dozen lawyers are responding to my call for help to dissect in plain English what is happening. Lawyer sources for this article have intimate knowledge of the online and live casino industry. Many have represented one or more of the following: PokerStars, MGM, Caesars, other brick and mortar casinos and online gaming companies and/or the AGA. They weigh in today on a few of the questions they have brought to the table for discussion. 

Author's disclosures: The  writer is a a legal consultant but not a lawyer and therefore does not offer legal advice and  does not express any legal conclusions in the matters presented in this article.This acknowledges without specific reference that the writer and/or EOLIS companies have had business dealings at one time or another with most of the businesses mentioned in this article and necessarily, have retained confidences provided in the context of those relationships.

Please also note: For the avoidance of doubt, readers are advised that no spokesperson for either PokerStars or the AGA was solicited for comment with regard to this article and none of the responses reflect authorized comment by either organization


The questions and the summarized answers provided as a result of consulting with a wide variety of gaming law experts and white collar crime specialists follow:

1. Why did Poker Stars conclude affirmatively that their online poker fare was legal in America after enactment of UIGEA?

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (11 votes)

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