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Poker Says Goodbye to Tony Korfman (1942-2014)

by Joseph Smith Sr.

The poker sphere lost one of the last old-school characters last Monday,  August 8, 2014.  Following a routine hip surgery, Tony Korfman succumbed to life-ending complications.  He was a man of many talents – author, casino executive, and poker player _ whom lived most of his adult life at his home in Boulder City, Nevada.  

The Bronx, New York native  is a graduate of The University of San Francisco.  In 1966 he married his lifelong wife, Linda, in Carson City, Nevada.

His career in executive casino management included the CEO position at The Gold Strike Casino and the Edgewater in Nevada.  He is listed as a working author of five books on Amazon.  Of Note, the 'how to gamble' series of books have one thing in common, thay all include the word 'humorous' in the title.

Tony Kaufman's poker resume shows a documented career earnings record of $355,320.  This includes the $217,503 he collected in the 2007 WSOP Seniors Event #41 when he finished in second place.  The photo with this article shows him at play in that event on Day 2.

At the poker table he could be one of the funniest people you had ever played with and never knew what he would say next.  He could also be one of the most abrasive, berating individuals you had ever run across.  There seemed to be no static state with Tony Korfman, he attacked life with a passion.

Having photographed Korfman on numerous occasions I always knew that going to his table would be an experience.  The other players would be close to tears from laughing so hard or plotting his demise.  The poker world truly lost one of the last of the true poker characters when Tony Korfman left us.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Tony Korfman this Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 2 PM at the Boulder Creek Golf Club,  1501 Veterans' Memorial Drive in Boulder City.

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2014 WSOP More Positive Facts

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Anyone out there remember when there were no poker tournaments, even for the high end player?  Can you remember the very first time you played in a poker tournament?  Did you win, anything?  How about the first time you heard of satellites.  What was this?  You play in a tournament and if you win you get a seat in a bigger tournament.  Who would want to do that?  Anyone remember Satellite Sam?

Did you know the first WSOP $10,000 Championship event won by a player that won a satellite seat was Tom McEvoy.  If you know that then you probably also know that McEvoy is the most prolific author of poker books.

Now for some more fun facts from the 2014 World Series of Poker.  The Big Poker Show dates back to 1970 when the World Poker Champion was decided by a ballot vote of the few players that gathered at Benny Binion's Horseshoe.  The 2014 summer event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino attracted 82,360 entrants representing 107 different countries all vying for some of the $225 million in prize money.

United States poker players won the most WSOP gold champion bracelets taking home 52 of the 64 bracelets offered this summer.  The usual second place country, Canada, was shutout of the 2014 meet.     

All fifty states of the U.S were represented at the 2014 WSOP while 10 Canadian Provinces sent players.  To date 8,730 players cashed during the summer tournaments.

Now's the best time to start planning your journey to poker stardom so get busy and schedule your trip to the 2015 WSOP.  Remember, you can't win if you don't play.

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2014 WSOP Generosity Shines Bright

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Beginning in 2012 the World Series of Poker has partnered with the One Drop Foundation and provided the world charity with $12,205,089 in donations.  The One Drop Foundation is dedicated to providing clean, safe water to people around the world.

Through the efforts of Guy Laliberté the world's most expensive buy-in poker tournament became a reality. In 2012 the $1,000,000 buy-in “The Big One for One Drop” poker tournament headlined the WSOP summer event at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Guy Laliberté is the founder of Cirque du Soleil®,  the live stage shows found at many of the major strip properties and filling seats with delighted Las Vegas show goers for years.

In addition to the “Big One” there is also a “Little One for One Drop” with a $1,111 buy-in.  The 2014 “Little One” raised $499,056 while the “Big One” collected $4,666,662 for the One Drop Foundation.  A third program, “All-In for One Drop” allows all players to donate a percentage of their winnings to the foundation and in 2014 they donated $107,329.  The total for the 2014 efforts amounted to $5,273,047.  Since 2012 the WSOP partnership with Guy Laliberté has collected and donated $12,205,089 to the One Drop Foundation.

Of note, Caesar's Entertainment, owner and operator of the World Series of Poker & WSOP brands does not take any of the revenues generated from the player's buy-ins. The entire amount goes to the foundation or into the prize pool.  Additional millions more are donated through the covered cost of for the tournaments, TV production, marketing and contributed time from poker dealers, floor supervisors as well as registration and payout clerks.

The World Series of Poker along with the thousands of players has proven to be an outstanding, caring citizen of the world neighborhood.  Providing a source of healthy water is just one on the good things that comes from this generosity.     

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2014 WSOP New Records Abound

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Most important fact coming out of the 2014 World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this summer?  The increase in the number of entries of the 2014 Main Event at 6,683 making it  the fifth largest Poker World Championship field of all-time and the largest seated combine of players since the 2010 Main Event attracted 7,319.

Some of the credit for the demonstrated growth in the latest WSOP summer meet must be attributed to the recent positive events surrounding the legalization of online poker rooms.  While this trend towards legitimacy is a small step when compared to the popularity poker enjoyed during the 2004-2006 era it is a giant step for the poker industry.  

There is no better barometer of poker's rise as the world's favorite game than the WSOP.   Throughout its 45 year history the World Series of Poker is the one that every poker player dreams of winning.  For many of poker's faithful just being able to say, “I played in the WSOP,” is more than reason enough to make the trek to Las Vegas and 2014 saw record numbers come to live the dream.

The following records from 2014 are now a point of fact in the WSOP history book:

  1. Largest single day attendance at 7,977 in Event #8 $1,500 buy-in Millionaire Maker

  2. Largest non-Hold'em event at 1,128 in Event #3 $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha

  3. Largest Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better at 1,036 in Event #14 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better

  4. Largest Seniors Event at 4,425 players in Event #17 $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em

  5. Largest Prize Pool for $1,000 Buy-in at $3,982,500 in Event #17 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em

  6. Most Players for non-re-entry at 7,862 in Event #51 $1,500 Monster Stack

  7. Largest Field for non-Hold'em $10K buy-in at 418 in Event 64 Pot-Limit Omaha

  8. Most Events with $1 million+ winner's prize at 5 (events #8, #46, #51, #57, #65)

  9. Most Events with $10 million+ prize pools at 4 (events #8, #51, #57, #65)

  10. Largest Main Event starting flight at 3,768 players on Day 1C

We will continue to offer WSOP facts, figures, records and tall tales in future articles so stay tuned.

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2014 WSOP Interesting Facts

by Joseph Smith Sr.

WSOP Main Poker RoomNow that the 2014 World Series of Poker has completed all but 2 days of play we can look back at the the Big Poker Show and be amazed at how far the game has come.  People in my age group that follow poker can recall with pride the pleasant memories of the WSOPs of bygone years.

The tall, thin man from Amarillo, Texas that not only won the $10,000 championship of poker (Main Event wasn't coined yet) but got himself an invite to the Johnny Carson Show.  The nation watched in awe as this poker player entertained us with tales about those people that would play a card game that required a $10,000 buy-in.  We were shocked they could find enough people to fill a single table and in 1972 the $10K championship event seated 8 players.  Amarillo Slim did win and left with $80,000 because it was “winner take all.”  Second place paid the same as last place – nothing!

It was the first time many of us young hometown poker players had ever heard the terms “freeze out,” or “Texas Hold'em.”  We played real poker games that were generally limited to Draw Poker or Stud Poker and occasionally we even played Lo-ball depending on how much we had to drink that particular Thursday night.  We also knew an indisputable fact, If you play poker with someone nicknamed after a city or state you would lose.  This was the era of Texas Dolly, Amarillo Slim, Tree Top, Puggy and The Kid.  

Now we move ahead forty-five years to the 2014 WSOP Main Event and realize there were 6,683 players with a $10,000 buy-in playing in same event.  And for complete Shock and Awe, 42 players paid a $1 million buy-in to play in the 2014 WSOP Event #57, The Big One for One Drop.

2014 WSOP Statistical Overview

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Will Amaya Acquire PokerStars’ Midas Touch?

by Wendeen H. Eolis

Now that Amaya Gaming has completed its purchase of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg and his son Mark, for whom he founded the company, are totally out. Daniel Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya, and the architect of the PokerStars deal, is totally in.  And today, U. S.  gaming companies are better positioned to compete against the online behemoth, than ever before.

Not coincidentally, the management change has put PokerStars  back in line for prompt licensing consideration by regulators in New Jersey. Less expected, however, are  the kind words a Caesars executive bestows on the Amaya CEO.   But, before a relationship between Amaya Gaming and American poker players moves forward in earnest, with plans to hook up online gaming in America from shore to shore, the Company  will need to go through more than a few hoops. 

PokerStars Train Rolling Across America

Things are  looking up  in New Jersey as PokerStars prepares to settle down, "suitably," in  Atlantic City. The PokerStars partnership with Resorts is the talk of the town. New Jersey regulators are reportedly convinced that Poker Stars now deserves a welcome mat and are all but drooling over $$$ projected for the State. Wise casino executives, from the marina to the boardwalk are past their frustration over the anticipated competition; looking instead for the silver lining.  Only die-hard naysayers are still warning, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings!"

In contrast, California is an unending battleground  in the igaming world.  Should PokerStars be admitted to the gaming party or should Poker Stars be excluded by a "bad actor clause;" that is the ongoing question.  Casino industry lobbyists and legal experts at opposite ends of the pole have been opining on how to proceed with online gambling legislation.  One side of the legal argument revolves around  the Constitution.  The other side invokes states’ rights that may effectively trump the Constitution.  For lawmakers it is a classic case of Fiorello’s song,   “Politics and Poker.”  One online poker bill has just died on the vine. A second one threatens to face a similar fate, likely to push the debate down the road into 2015. 

California, here we come—maybe

Earlier this month, longtime Whittier law professor and gambling law expert I. Nelson Rose took on Constitutional scholar and Harvard Professor, Lawrence Tribe.  Rose rebutted Tribe’s legal opinion concerning the two online poker bills pending in the California legislature. Tribe challenges the “bad actor” clause in proposed legislation. Rose defends it. Tribe is advocating for a client.  at Rose is engaged in  an intellectual exercise .  

Tribe relies on the Constitution  to assail the “bad actor clause.” He says it is a pointed effort to cut out his client, PokerStars, from the re-emerging industry in the U.S.   Proponents of the California-based  bills, generally, make no bones about seeking to bar Poker Stars from entering the U.S market, anytime soon. And California lawmakers seem have plenty of like-minded company from Nevada to Pennsylvania. But Rose’s article sidesteps pointing fingers. He looks at the subject matter academically. He zeroes in on states’ rights, and police powers that provide for a state to protect its citizens, to make  his argument that the bad actor clause is legally justified. 

Rose’s Grandstanding Makes Sense!

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Las Vegas Bellagio Resort Robbed

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Details are sketchy concerning an apparent robbery at the Bellagio Resort located on the Las Vegas strip.  Las Vegas Metro police are not releasing any details about the incident but a Bellagio spokesperson did confirm that a robbery did occur.

Bellagio employees are reporting that rumors around the property concerning the robbery say a man with what appeared to be a weapon was seen at the cashier cage early Friday evening.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

James Garner Dead at 86

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Los Angeles Police reported today that actor James Garner was found dead from natural causes in his  Los Angeles home Saturday evening. 

When I was growing up I knew one for-sure fact about poker, 'Don't play with Maverick because you  would not win'. Years later when I first saw the remake of the “Maverick” movie with James Garner as  the father of the next poker playing Maverick I thought it was a parody of the early WSOP. 

Poker greats from all over the globe gathered to trade chips,lies and bluffs while determining who  could do it the best. While photographing the 2006 WSOP Main Event at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas  I was thrilled to see Maverick himself sitting at one of the tables with a few stacks of chips playing in  the greatest poker game of them all. 

James Garner was no longer the dashing young man but he was definitely the older version. He was  most kind and easy going that day. No, he didn't win and was eliminated that day. I did win and I  wasn't even playing. Getting to meet James “Maverick” Garner sitting at a poker table was quite a  thrill and for a few moments I was again a kid in Texas watching the great Maverick take them all. 

Thanks for the entertaining memories Mr. Garner. R.I.P.

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Download and Read the Poker Player Digital Edition for July 14th, 2014 (Vol. 18 Number 2)

June 2nd, 2014 Issue of Poker Player NewspaperDownload the July 14th Digital edition PDF of Poker Player Newspaper.

Featured Articles:
Calling Out Sexism in Poker — Beyond Maguire, Molly’s Game, and “The Mouth” - by Wendeen H. Eolis

Featured Strategy - Mike Caro: Today's Word is Revenge

Tournament Results:
World Series of Poker Events 53 to the Main Event (#65)

AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!

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WSOP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP KICKS OFF ESPN TV COVERAGE ON TUESDAY, JULY 15 FROM 8-10 PM ET

Photo By: Joe Giron

LAS VEGAS (July 11, 2014) – While the final card of the 45th Annual World Series of Poker is likely to fall in the wee hours on Tuesday, July 15, it will be just a few short hours from then when television viewers will be able to get their first glimpse of the expansive television coverage from this year’s tournament.
 
On Tuesday, July 15 from 8-10 pm ET, ESPN begins their TV coverage of the 2014 World Series of Poker, with the first two of what will be 24 original episodes from the record-breaking event. 
 
The WSOP National Championship took place over Memorial Day Weekend on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey and featured 126 players, all of whom qualified based on performance.  ESPN cameras captured all the final table action, as notable WSOP gold bracelet winners Dominik Nitsche, Matthew Ashton and Athanasios Polychronopoulos faced off against the best of the best from the WSOP Circuit qualifiers. 
 
In a WSOP television first, the venue was outdoors, with the opening weekend of the Jersey Shore in full effect on the famed Atlantic City boardwalk.  In Tuesday’s back-to-back one-hour episodes, ESPN covers the finale where more than $1.2 million is up for grabs.
 
Following a one-week hiatus, ESPN coverage of the 2014 World Series of Poker returns with action from the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Tuesday, July 29 with coverage of the $1 million buy-in Big One for ONE DROP charity tournament.  For three consecutive weeks (July 29, August 5 & August 12), the WSOP on ESPN airs on Tuesday nights from 8-10 PM ET and provides Big One coverage.
 
Then, the WSOP on ESPN returns on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 9 PM ET, and airs for seven consecutive Sunday night’s providing WSOP Main Event coverage where this year’s winner will walk away with $10 million. The WSOP Main Event coverage will air consistently on Sunday nights in two-hour blocks from 9:00 PM ET to 11:00 PM ET.
Norman Chad and Lon McEachern call all the action. Dan Ochs and Steve Flower are the executives in charge of poker coverage on ESPN. 
The following page details all of ESPN’s World Series of Poker television plans for the 45th Annual World Series of Poker.
 
2014 WSOP on ESPN TELEVISION SCHEDULE
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Wendeen H. Eolis

World Series of Poker


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