by Joseph Smith Sr.
A sad day for the world of poker. Well known poker player Chad Brown lost his battle with cancer on July 2, 2014 and moved on to the big game. He was a multitalented individual that had an ability to master most anything he attempted.
He was known throughout the entertainment world and he also made a name for himself in sports. Poker became his primary pursuit during his final years. He won a big event during the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker and finished second in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship invitational event. In 2014 he was awarded a WSOP gold bracelet for his contributions to poker.
Over the years I have photographed Chad in numerous poker events and circumstances. He always exhibited class and was a true gentleman without regard to the moment. He always had time to meet and greet fans.
Chad Brown was truly a class act and will be sorely missed.
by Joseph C. Smith Sr.
A poker tournament with a prize pool totaling $37,333,338. And that's after $111,111 from each of the 42 entrants $1 million buy-in which totals $4,666,662 is set aside for the One Drop Foundation. Arithmetically inclined readers will be quick to note when you add the prize pool and the One Drop donation you get exactly $42 million. So how much goes to the house? None! Harrah's WSOP is not taking any of the money.
This 3 Day event offered plenty of exciting and often humorous moments. Amazing how at this level of poker the players can be so casual about anything considering the amount of money at stake. The top eight finishers received at least $1,306,667 in cash. Even after deducting the original $1 million buy-in some serious money remains.
Day 3 saw the field of 42 cut to just 2 players with chips. A 23-year-old Daniel Colman from Holden, MA faced 5 WSOP bracelet veteran Daniel Negreanu. Going into the heads-up play Colman held the chip lead with 68 and a half million to Negreanu's 57 and a half million. Five hands later Negreanu had the chip lead with 73 and a half million to Colman's 52 and a half million. Nrgreanu continued to stretch his lead and was holding a 2 to 1 advantage then the momentum reversed and quickly colman was ahead.
Negreanu pulled ahead one more time then Colman pulled ahead and continue to pad his lead. He never looked back after that and finally Negreanu shoved his remaining chips into the pot holding Ace-4o and was called and covered by Colman tableing a K-Qo. The flop showed J-A-4 giving Negreanu two pair and the lead and Colman needing a 10 for a straight. The turn was a 10 giving Colman the lead and a straight and leaving Negreanu in desperate need of an Ace or 4. The river was a 7 and Colman was the owner of a very special WSOP bracelet and $15,306.668 in cash. He's also in the poker history book as the winner of the second largest cash prize in a poker tournament.
Daniel Negreanu received $8,288,001 for second.
By Wendeen H. Eolis
Until moments after the 2009 WSOP final table proceedings in the fall, Jeffrey Pollack was the public face of the WSOP. And then, suddenly, he announced his resignation and rushed off to take interviews that controlled the immediate spin on his departure. He said he was ready to survey opportunities in new pastures and pleased to have contributed to the growth of the WSOP brand.
Despite the happy state of affairs effectuated by the Pollack-Stewart collaboration, the collegiality between the two men had begun to wane at least a year earlier. A corporate reorganization of CIE was also afoot. Although Pollack had recommended a strong initiative in the online gaming market, and sought to add this responsibility to his portfolio, Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman was zooming in on Mitch Garber, the recently departed CEO of Party Gaming, to lead such an effort.
Mitch Garber Steps up to Bat
Pollack’s unveiled opposition to Garber as his potential boss made for an awkward situation once Garber was plainly in line to take the reins of CIE (initially Harrahs Interactive Entertainment), including Pollack's most treasured domain, the WSOP.
In the spring of 2009, Garber became CEO of CIE. With Garber's blessings, Pollack assumed the title of President of CIE, briefly. But, Garber was running the show and relying on others as he built his team. In the fall of 2009, Pollack resigned. Garber tapped Stewart as his replacement.
Stewart Shines Brighter under Garber
WSOP Branding Machine: The Players are the Stars - by Wendeen H. Eolis
The World Series of Poker: It's Our Woodstock! - by Shari Geller
World Series of Poker Events up to 52
AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!
Acquisition Creates World’s Largest Publicly-Traded Online Gaming Company
(MONTREAL, CANADA & ONCHAN, ISLE OF MAN – June 12, 2014) – Amaya Gaming Group Inc. (TSX: AYA) (“Amaya” or the “Corporation”) and privately held Oldford Group Limited (“Oldford Group”), the parent company of Rational Group Ltd. (“Rational Group”), the world’s largest poker business and owner and operator of the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands, announced today they have entered into a definitive agreement (the “Agreement”) for the Corporation to acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Oldford Group in an all-cash transaction for an aggregate purchase price of $4.9 billion (the “Purchase Price”), including certain deferred payments and subject to certain other customary adjustments (the “Transaction”). All $ figures are in US dollars unless noted otherwise.
KEY TRANSACTION HIGHLIGHTS
The Transaction will result in Amaya becoming the world’s largest publicly-traded online gaming company. The online poker platforms PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are collectively the world’s most popular and profitable online poker brands with more than 85 million registered players on desktop and mobile devices.
For calendar year 2013, pro forma combined revenue, EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA of Amaya and Oldford Group were $1.3 billion, $474.8 million and $473.8 million, respectively. For 2014, the Corporation is projecting pro forma adjusted EBITDA, assuming the Transaction had been completed as of January 1, 2014, of between $600 and $640 million.
The Transaction combines complementary businesses with minimal overlap: Isle of Man-headquartered Rational Group’s B2C poker business including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, live poker tours and events, and online and TV poker programming; and Montreal-headquartered Amaya’s B2B interactive and physical casino and lottery gaming solutions.
Under the terms of the Transaction, Oldford Group shareholders led by Mark Scheinberg, founder and Chief Executive Officer, will dispose of their shares to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amaya. Mr. Scheinberg and other principals of OIdford Group will resign from all positions with Oldford Group and its subsidiaries on completion of the Transaction.
Rational Group’s executive management team will be retained and online poker services provided by PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will be unaffected by the Transaction, with players continuing to enjoy uninterrupted access to their gaming experience.
The boards of directors of both Amaya and Oldford Group unanimously approved the Agreement.
The Transaction will be financed through a combination of cash on hand, new debt, a private placement of subscription receipts, a private placement of common shares and a private placement of non-voting convertible preferred shares.
Affiliates of GSO Capital Partners LP (“GSO”), the credit division of The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX), have agreed to participate in the debt financing, to subscribe for $600 million in convertible preferred shares, and to purchase $55 million of common shares of the Corporation with each common share priced at C$20 upon closing of the Transaction.
An investment manager (the “Investment Manager”), on behalf of its clients, has agreed to participate in the debt financing, to subscribe for approximately $270 million in convertible preferred shares, and to purchase approximately $55 million of subscription receipts.
No change related to this Transaction is contemplated for Amaya’s Board of Directors.
“This is a transformative acquisition for Amaya, strengthening our core B2B operations with a consumer online powerhouse that creates a scalable global platform for growth,” said David Baazov, CEO of Amaya. “Mark Scheinberg pioneered the online poker industry, building a remarkable business and earning the trust of millions of poker players by delivering the industry’s best game experiences, customer service and online security. Working with the experienced executive team at Rational Group, Amaya will continue that tradition of excellence and accelerate growth into new markets and verticals.”
WSOP Grand Pooh Bah: Ty Stewart From Las Vegas To Macau With Love Always In Mind by Wendeen H. Eolis
Mike Caro - Today's Word is PUMPKIN by Mike Caro
World Series of Poker Events 1 thru 7
Erik Velie Wins Bike’s Deepstacks Poker Tour Main Event
AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!
By Wendeen H. Eolis
In the days leading up to the opening of the 2014 World Series of Poker, Ty Stewart, the Grand Pooh Bah of the World Series of Poker, was beaming. A five day trip had taken the WSOP Executive Director from Las Vegas to Macau where he eyeballed poker action in the stratosphere. He then traveled onward to Atlantic City for the WSOP National Championship, and back to Las Vegas to open the 45th Annual World Series of Poker--with a bang.
WSOP—Checking Out the Action in Macau
While in Macau, Stewart drooled over the possibilities for a future WSOP Macau-based event. He more than hints at his plan to nail down a deal that moves the WSOP APAP from Australia to Macau, in 2016.
WSOP—Checking into Atlantic City: On Miss America’s Boardwalk
By the time Stewart arrived in Atlantic City, the WSOP Championship was underway. It was his concept to “reboot the Circuit competitions into a year-long platform, culminating in a nationally televised bracelet championship.” And, Stewart took delight in seeing his idea—a final table competition on the legendary Atlantic City boardwalk—come to fruition.
German hotshot poker pro, 23-year old Dominik Nitsche, nabbed the bracelet along with $218,000. He also brought the Championship to a finish, hours earlier than expected. So, Stewart toyed with the idea of ditching his scheduled reservation for the next afternoon and taking a red-eye flight home to Las Vegas that night instead—to gain one extra day of preparation for the opening of the 2014 WSOP.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
We are only days away from the opening of the 45th annual World Series of Poker at the Rio All Suite Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pinnacle and origin of tournament poker, the WSOP will run from May 27, 2014 through July 14, 2014 and offers 65 events with buy-ins ranging from $500 to $1,000,000.
Todays WSOP article will focus on the $1,000,000 buy-in event that not only offers a possible $20 million payout to the winner, but will fund sustainable clean water for people around the world through projects of the One Drop Organization. Event #57, aptly labeled 'The Big One for One Drop', is a charitable tournament limited to 56 players with each having posted the one million dollar buy-in for a seat in the June 29th – July 1 three day event.
The house will collect no rake or fees from the one million dollars and $111,111 from each buy-in will go directly to the One Drop organization that provides water resources for people worldwide. The remaining $888,889 goes into the prize pool and providing the field is completed the winner will receive in excess of $20,000,000. Click here for a structure sheet (PDF).
The unique weirdness has already begun with poker players entering the event. Well known professional poker player Jean-Robert Bellande strolled up to the WSOP cashier cage with a gym bag stuffed with bricks of hundred dollar bills and stacked $1 million on the counter to pay his buy-in.
The Big One for One Drop holds the record for the highest buy-in and may set a record for the largest winner's prize in a poker tournament. The winner will also receive a special edition diamond encrusted platinum WSOP bracelet. These nose bleed money levels attract the elite, deep pocketed players and characters from around the globe and has proven to be a fan favorite. Click here for a list of confirmed players.
Last year's winner, Antonio Esfandiari, will be defending his title. In the 2013 event he received more than $18 million dollars.
Another story coming from this event has highly regarded professional poker player, Vanessa Selbst, entering for her first effort at beating the boys and taking home the cash. Having followed her career at the WSOP, I would definitely say she is in the top five to take it all.
ESPN cameras will be present throughout the course of the event and will offer 6 hours of prime time TV coverage scheduled for July 15, 22, 29 at 9 PM – 11 PM ET. The first 2 hour show will cover days 1 and 2, the second show will be day 2 through the final table bubble and the third show will cover the final table to the winner. This promises to be some of the year's most exciting poker.
Poker Player Takes a Step Forward by Wendeen H. Eolis
Mike Caro - Today's Word is BURDENS by Mike Caro
Bryan Campanello Wins $175K at Harrah’s New Orleans Main Event
Eric Blair wins Lodge Casino WSOP-C Main Event
Kyle Bowker wins Harrah’s Philadelphia Main Event
AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!
by Wendeen H. Eolis
Last week, Stanley Sludikoff, publisher of Poker Player Newspaper, addressed card room personnel in an open letter saying, “For the past 30 years PPN has faithfully served card rooms across the country with a print edition available every two weeks." He continued, "Costs to provide this service have escalated past a point of feasibility in our current business model." He announced, "Accordingly, effective immediately, we will be publishing Poker Player Newspaper exclusively on the Internet at pokerplayernewspaper.com."
It was a painful step but also a potential winner for the MENSA man and member of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame. Make no mistake, about it—at 78 Sludikoff is still going strong, fearlessly and immensely confident about Poker Player Newspaper’s future.
A businessman and one time blackjack enthusiast, Sludikoff published diverse gambling books for decades. Among them are a collection of stories by Doyle Brunson “According to Doyle,” the ultimate “Book of Tells” by Mike Caro, and the pre-eminent work of gaming law professor I. Nelson Rose, “Gambling and the Law.” Sludikoff also brought blackjack expert Ken Uston’s tale of "Million Dollar Blackjack" to the public. A library of sixty five books have been published as part of his Gambling Times business.