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!
by Joseph Smith Sr.
We are providing this handy service for the millions of poker fans that could not make the trip to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Even those that did have the opportunity to attend the big summer poker bash known as the World Series of Poker or more commonly referred to as the WSOP will find the TV broadcast of select events to be free poker lessons from some of the greatest players in the history of the game. It's also very entertaining viewing.
This year's coverage of the 45th anniversary edition of the WSOP began on July 15 at 8 PM ET with the first two 1- hour segments of 24 original episodes from the summer's WSOP tournament. These two episodes cover the WSOP National Championship Final Table played over the Memorial Day weekend on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. A first for broadcast poker was the coverage of the tournament for $1.2 million played in the great outdoors on the boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
After a one week break the WSOP on ESPN returns with the first two hour segment of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop charity tournament. Coverage of this maximus event will continue for the next three weeks (July 29, August 5, August 12) starting at 8 PM ET.
WSOP on ESPN begins on Sunday, September 28th at 9 PM ET and continues for seven consecutive Sunday Nights providing in-depth coverage of the fabled WSOP Main Event. Watch each Sunday night when ESPN will offer a two-hour block of the first Main event to guarantee the winner a minimum of $10,000,000. As in the past, Norm Chad and Lon McEachern will provide the commentary.
November's Main Event final table will be covered Live on ESPN2 beginning at 8 PM ET on November 10th and 9 PM ET on November 11th.
The following link takes you directly to the WSOP.com 2014 WSOP on ESPN TELEVISION SCHEDULE.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Dan Sindelar grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and went on to attend the University of Nebraska until his junior year when he discovered his talents at the poker table could no longer be denied. It was goodbye to the college degree leading to an 8 to 5 job and hello Vegas. After a brief stay in Council Bluff, Iowa near the river casinos and poker rooms the then 22-year-old Sindelar made the move to Las Vegas. During the ensuing years since he's racked up career poker earnings of $527,779.
Now, we fast forward to the present and find the 30-year-old Sindelar has added $730,725 to his bank account after his entry and play in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event gained him a seat at the November final table. As a member of the November Nine he now has a shot at adding $10,000,000 to his bank account and claiming the most coveted and elusive prize in all of poker, a uniquely styled gold and diamond championship bracelet. Dan Sindelar will then have his name added to the Main Event winner's list for all of time.
Sindelar has amassed 17 previous WSOP cashes which included 4 during his play in the 19 events he entered at the 2014 WSOP. His WSOP earnings prior to the summer's deep run in the Main Event total $227,791. He has played in the WSOP Main Event the past 6 years with this summer's cash being his first.
Dan Sindelar's journey to seat #7 of the November final table began on Day 1B when he held his own and finished the day with just over 40 thousand in chips. Day 2 saw his stack grow to almost 153 thousand and on Day 3 he continued the upward climb to 421 and a half thousand in play money.
Day 4 was the start of his rise to the upper levels when he accumulated 1.62 million in chips and Day 5 pushed him into the seventh spot on the leader board with 5.24 million. Sindelar enjoyed a most gainful time on Day 6 when he finished in the leader board 3 spot with 16.345 million. The upper spiral continued through Day 7 as Sindelar added to his existing total and finished the play at the summer event with 21.2 million which placed him right in the middle of the November Nine field and 5th overall on the leader board.
An avid golfer, Daniel Sindelar says he spends more time on the golf course than the poker room. The single poker professional plans to spend his time relaxing and enjoying life after what's already a major money hit. He also added that he believes Mark Newhouse is the player to beat and indicated he will play close attention to the first final table back-to-back repeater in the last decade.
We wish Dan Sindelar all the luck and pick him as our third choice to win it all.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Andoni Larrabe is the first Spaniard since Carlos Mortensen won the 2001 WSOP Main Event to earn a final table seat. The 22-year-old poker professional from Basque, Spain now makes his home in London, England.
A first appearance at the WSOP was in 2013 when the young player cashed in three events. Larrabe entered 5 events during the 2014 WSOP but failed to cash in any of them. His deep run in the Main Event was his first 2014 cash and the $730,725 awarded to each of the November Nine pushed the Spaniard's career earnings of $341,288 over the one million mark.
Andoni Larrabe gained the attention of the professional poker world in January, 2013 at the PokerStars' Caribbean Adventure held at the Atlantis Resort and Casino when he went heads-up with poker superstar, Justin Bonomo, and won a $5,300 buy-in event.
Main Event play for Larrabe began on Day 1B. He continued to end each of the following days in the upper percentile of players. The only stumble came when the final table was looking for its bubble. He went all-in heads-up holding A--A with Luis Velador holding A–K. The flop paired Velador's King and the turn paired the board. Only a King on the river could deny Larrabe a seat at the Main Event final table in November. The river was a Six and Larrabe became the youngest member of the 2014 WSOP Main Event November Nine.
During the post interview Larrabe told ESPN he was going to approach the upcoming November Main Event finish as calmly as possible and spend the long break thinking about the game ahead and relaxing.
Andoni Larrabe will come to the November final table fourth on the chip leader board holding T22,550,000 in play money. He will be sitting in the #5 seat with Mark Newhouse (T26,000,000) on his right and William Tonking (T15,050,000) on his left.
Considering the make-up of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event final table will the trend of having the youngest of the November Nine become the next World Poker Champion continue for 2014? Andoni Larrabe has the chips, he has the experience and he has a seat for the party at the Rio. A win for 2014's youngest player could be in the cards.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
It's been a decade since we have had a player claim a seat at two consecutive World Series of Poker's Main Event final tables. The last time was in 2003 -- 2004 when poker professional and 1995 Main Event winner Dan Harrington did the back-to-back trick. A major difference is the event field sizes for the two repeats. Dan Harrington had to out last the two-year total of 3,410 entrants while Newhouse faced a combined total of 13,029 players. That's a five times larger field.
When Mark Newhouse made the 2013 WSOP Main Event final table he was included in the Poker Player Newspaper bio's we published for each of the November Nine players. Check out the 2013 November Nine Mark Newhouse bio by clicking this link to go directly to the archived Poker Player Newspaper article.
Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 29-year-old Mark Newhouse now calls Las Vegas home because it puts him in the midst of legal high-limit live poker in both Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area casinos.
Following the 2013 ninth place finish when Newhouse collected $733,224 his WSOP cash totals just over $900,000. This does not include the $730,725 ninth place money awarded to each of the 2014 final players. His career poker earnings total $2,776,172. He has cashed in eight previous WSOP events and has played the WSOP Main Event every year since 2006.
Newhouse is known for his roller coaster rides through poker tournaments and the 2014 WSOP was no exception. He entered 17 events prior to the 2014 WSOP Main Event and did not score a single cash until his deep run in the Championship Event. He began his Main Event journey in typical Newhouse fashion on Day 1C when he finished with slightly less than the T30K chips he had at the start. He then began his climb through the ranks and on Day 5 he finished atop the chip leader board. Day 6 was another day of loss; but, Day 7 he could see the seat at his second consecutive Main Event final table and was not to be denied. He finished the day third on the chip leader board with T26,000,000 and seat #4 at the 2014 WSOP Main Event in November.
Mark Newhouse has positioned himself to make a run at the Championship and providing the cards break even he can makes this happen. Don't be surprised if the man with the coveted, rare gold and diamond bracelet is non other than Last Year's ninth place finisher, Mark Newhouse. I picked him as the long-shot to win the 2013 contest and neither the cards nor the chips went in his favor. This year I'm picking him as the co-favorite, along with the player with all the chips Jorryt van Hoof, to win it all. Then next year he can come back and win again so he can join Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Stu Unger as back-to-back winners.
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.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Sitting in the number two spot on the chip leader board we find Oslo, Norway native Felix Stephensen. Now living in London, England Stephensen has no previous cashes in the World Series of Poker and shows lifetime live earnings to be $22,118. With an almost non-existent live poker resume how did this 23-year-old end up with a seat and T32,775,000 in play money in the most famous final table in Poker?
Let us examine his path to his assigned Seat #2 for the November finale of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event. The journey began when Stephensen developed an affinity for online poker and playing under the pseudonym “FallAtYourFeet” he has amassed more than $300,000 in earnings since 2001.
Next, we follow his journey to Las Vegas with a group of friends to the WSOP at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Stephensen apparently had a plan and it was to enter (and win, obviously) the Main Event because that's the only event he played during the 2014 WSOP. He survived the inherent insanity of Main Event Day 1C to return on Day 2 with slightly more chips than his starting T30K.
Unlike the chip leader, Jorryt van Hoof, whom rode a roller coaster to his final table seat, Felix Stephensen spent the first five days of play making modest additions to his chip total. Finally on Day 6 he got the momentum engine fired up and began his climb up the chip leader board. Day 7 began with Stephensen in ninth place holding almost seven and three quarters of a million in chips.
Adding to his stacks throughout Day 7 he was sitting behind T14,640,000 when Tom Sarra Jr four-bet and Stephensen moved all-in only to be called by Sarra. When the T25 million pot was pushed to Stephensen he was suddenly the chip leader with T27.86 in the WSOP Main Event. The double up not only made him the chip leader but it guaranteed his claim to a seat at the final table and his rightful place among the November Nine.
Stephensen is a firm believer in the “Poker is a Game of Skill, “ philosophy. Considering the young player's smooth style and more than a decade of solid experience to back up his play he could be the next World's Greatest Poker Player.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Another first at the 2014 WSOP. For the second consecutive year we have a Dutchman at the WSOP final table and he's sitting in seat #3 behind almost 20% of the events total chips in play. Holding 38,375,000 in play money is Jorryt van Hoof of Eindhoven, Netherlands. The 31-year-old Dutch poker professional has 5,600,000 more chips than Felix Stephensen, second on the chip leader board.
Following the lead of fellow Dutchman, 2013 November Nine player and seventh place finisher, Michiel Brummelhuis, chip leader Jorryt van Hoof makes it two-in-a-row for the Netherlands. Jorryt van Hoof arrived atop the Main Event chip leader board after a rocky start following Day 1B.
On Day 2 he bagged less chips than he had at the start of the day. Day 3 saw him add to his total play money but once again, Day 4 had him showing another loss and bagging less. Day 5 showed a significant gain in chips. Day 6 had van Hoof adding even more to his stacks and finishing the day among the chip leaders. Day 7 belonged to Jorryt van Hoof when the WSOP Main Event starting field of 6685 runners was trimmed down to nine players. They were assigned seats at the World's most famous poker table, the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table. Jorryt van Hoof stands above the November Nine as the chip leader.
Like many of today's younger players Jorryt van Hoof began his journey into gaming playing “Magic, the Gathering.” Following the path of his peers he began playing poker. Jorryt van Hoof found he had a knack for the game and in particular, Pot Limit Omaha.
Jorryt van Hoff is no stranger to the WSOP and has cashed three times for a total of $27,956. He has career earnings of $358,580 which does not include the $730,725 ninth place money each of the November Nine have already received.
Jorryt van Hoof will lead the November Nine into the Penn & Teller Theater located in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on November 10, 2014. They will play until only two remain. The following day, November 11, the two will play heads-up until one is eliminated and a 2014 Poker Champion of the World is crowned. The winner will receive $10,000,000, a very special gold and diamond bracelet and perpetuity in the history of poker.
“I waited all night, but I got even with that idiot!” Tony announced at about 5 a.m., as he was leaving the poker room.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, as we strode side by side toward the parking lot. It had been a great night for me, so I was in a tolerant mood, willing to play along with Tony’s peculiar and perpetual need to always share his poker exploits as if nobody else mattered.
“So, I start at noon,” Tony began. “and everything’s going fine. After about an hour, this guy I’ve never played with sits down and bluffs me three hands in a row! He shows the hands. And he’s gloating. I can hardly stand it.”
He paused and walked in silence for about 20 seconds, then continued.
by Ashley Adams
I go to Las Vegas at least once a year – and have learned how to minimize my overhead while out there. Less money for expenses translates into more money for tournaments.. Here’s how I save.
Let’s look at the four major cost components of a typical poker vacation:
3. Ground Transportation (taxi, buses, rental cars)
Airfare – Save $150
I live in Boston, Massachusetts. My travel costs may be different from those of you who live elsewhere. Even so, I think the process of saving money is the same, regardless of your place of departure.
Many of my friends have frequent flyer cards and use one airline exclusively. I don’t do that. I use a consolidator, an internet service that scans all airlines for the lowest fare. Recently, I noticed a disparity of $150 between the most expensive seat and the cheapest seat on a round trip flight from Boston to Las Vegas. The best site for this, in my opinion, is Fly.com. It looks at all of the consolidators and finds the cheapest seat. It also shows you the cheapest days to fly, allowing you to further cut your costs by leaving a day or two earlier or later to qualify for the lowest fare.
2. Hotel – Save between $420 and $1,940
First of all, you should decide what kind of a place you want. Maybe you want to stay only in a first class place – five stars all the way. Fine. I just checked the rates through the site of a well-regarded 5 star hotel on the strip in Las Vegas. Their least expensive room was $2,050 for five nights including a Saturday night. I then went to my favorite internet site, Trivago.com – and booked the exact same room for $1,630 – for a savings of $420. But maybe you’re a little more flexible than I was – and are willing to stay in another 5-star hotel – just not that particular one. Using Trivago again, I found another popular, well known place, in roughly the same strip location, for only $750 for five nights including Saturday night – for a savings of $1,250. Same quality, roughly the same location – and over $1,000 less!
Of course if you’re willing to go down slightly in quality you can save even more. I found a well-known three-star hotel, near the northern end of the Strip for just $210 for those same five nights – for a savings of $1,840. Believe it or not, if you want, you can do even better than that in Las Vegas. I typically stay in a clean two-star place for $110 for those five nights – for a savings of $1,940. If you are a serious poker player like I am, you’re spending nearly all your waking hours in a poker room anyway. You’re just using your room for sleep. Who really cares how fancy the pillows and drapes are? So why pay top price?
3. Ground Transportation: Save $225
Many people take cabs wherever they go in Las Vegas. That can get expensive. With a $3.30 initial charge, $2.60 a mile plus $.60 a minute “Waiting time” plus $3 or so to use your credit card – a typical ride from casino to casino or casino to restaurant typically runs no less than $20 a pop including tip. Do that three or four times a day, five days in a row and you’ve out at least $300 to get around in Las Vegas.
Instead, consider renting a car. If you go through Hotwire.com, my favorite site for rental cards, you won’t know what rental car company you have, but I really don’t care about anything but the rate. Recently, I paid just $75 a week (including all taxes and fees) for an economy car –$225 less than using cabs.
4. Meals: Save $300 -- maybe
You can get a room with a kitchenette and cook many of your own meals – saving the cost of going out to eat. Groceries are a lot cheaper than restaurant meals to be sure. I used to do that. I saved a few hundred dollars. But I found that it often wasn’t worth it, since I so enjoy the experience of eating out while in Las Vegas.
All tolled, depending on the choices you make you could save from $795 up to $2,615 for your five-day vacation, airfare included. With the money you save you could afford at least the entry into the Aria’s recently announced $565 tournament with a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool. Not too shabby! For my money, saving the money is worth the slightly extra effort.
For information about finding poker games while on vacation or traveling, check out my other article on PokerStrategy.com.