by Haley Hintze
EPL PARENT ANNOUNCES BANKRUPTCY PLANS
Epic Poker League’s parent company, Federated Sports & Gaming’s plans for a lengthy run suffered a severe setback when executive director Jeffrey Pollack announced they would be seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after lavish expenditures left the new operation awash in red ink. With only three events under its belt and its fourth tourney and season-ending freeroll already delayed, prospects for EPL’s survival appear dim, though not impossible. One known EPL investor, Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc., allegedly entered buyout talks, while the semi-autonomous Heartland Poker Tour, a new part of the FS&G family, was expected to continue with no change in plans.
FEDS SEIZE BODOG.COM, INDICT CALVIN AYRE
In a move that’s likely more show than substance, Maryland-based Department of Homeland Security officials announced the seizing of the Bodog.com domain and indictments against Bodog founder Calvin Ayre and three other Bodog officials. Bodog abandoned the bodog.com domain after moving US operations to the “Bovada” brand name and their global interests to domain extensions such as “.eu,” that are out of reach of US authorities. This was done in a series of business moves spanning the past two years. The Bodog. com domain name had been seized once before, in a 2008 patent dispute, precipitating the firm’s move to safer electronic waters.
GUILTY PLEA FOR BLACK FRIDAY’S RYAN LANG
Federal prosecutors in New York announced a plea deal with Canadian, Ryan Lang, another of the 11 people indicted on 2011’s “Black Friday” for online poker. Ryan pled guilty to a single conspiracy charge, working with all three Black Friday sites—Full Tilt, PokerStars and Absolute Poker/UB.com—in misrepresenting the nature of electronic financial transactions to allow them to be processed by American banks. Ryan issued an apology in conjunction with his plea deal and faces up to a 30-year sentence, though a much shorter term is expected.
SHUFFLE MASTER PURCHASES ONGAME NETWORK
The positioning of American companies in advance of any state or federal online-poker regulation continued with Shuffle Master’s purchase of the Ongame Network from prior owner bwin.party, according to several European reports. Shuffle Master is an established force in the live-casino market, with its shuffling machines and other electronic gambling devices and equipment fixtures in casinos around the globe. Shuffle Master is among a handful of firms that have already applied for approval in Nevada as an authorized service provider, in the event that state precedes federal regulation efforts with its own state-run network plans.
MICKEY PETERSEN BEST AT COPENHAGEN
A home-country boy winning life-changing money in his tournament debut? Denmark’s Mickey Petersen survived an international field of 229 players at the EPT Copenhagen main event to win US $460,000 at the $6,600 buy-in affair. The 22-year-old Petersen, with a formidable online resume to his credit, made Belgium’s Pierre Neuville a runner-up for the second time. Neuville, almost five decades Petersen’s senior, cashed for $287,718, while Steve O’Dwyer, the highest-finishing American, won $52,149 for finishing seventh. FIRST,
YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE IT TO AGE 97…
Then there’s the tale of Cyprus’ 98-year-old Eftychia Yiasemidou, who the Associated Press reported recently as the senior member of a group of approximately 40 elderly Nicosia, Cyprus ladies who were arrested in November 2009 (making her only 97 at the time) while playing poker and bridge for small stakes. Yiasemidou might be the oldest known arrestee at an illicit card game, which in Cyprus, according to the AP presser, can carry up to a six-month jail term and a 750-Euro fine. Still, Cypriot authorities have been reluctant to move forward with the trivial cases against Yiasemidou and her card-playing friends.
Veteran poker-industry writer/editor Haley Hintze is the author of an upcoming book on the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet online cheating scandals, to be released later this year.