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2014 WSOP Event #28 $10,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold'em

by Joseph Smith Sr.

World Series of Poker Event #28 was a $10,000 buy-in World Championship of Pot-Limit Hold'em.  One hundred sixty players, including many well known professionals and WSOP bracelet holders, settled into their seats at the Rio Hotel & Casino for the run to the cash and gold.   

The top 18 players earned a share of the $1,504,000 prizepool with the winner taking down almost $400 thousand and one of those most sort after WSOP gold bracelets.

A few of the familiar faces at the final table belonged to Todd Brunson, Barny Boatman and Chino Rheem.  Another well known poker professional, Dan Shak, bubbled out of the final table and collected $30,516 for 10th place.

Alex Bilokur of Russia had to overcome a 9 to 1 chip disadvantage to defeat Matt O'Donnell in heads-up play to win the World Championship event.

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2014 WSOP Event #27 $1,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E.

by Joseph Smith Sr.

WSOP event #27 attracted 743 hopefuls vying for the top prize of a WSOP gold bracelet and the $230,744 winner's share of the $1,003,050 prizepool.  Each of the poker players put up the $1,500 buy-in for a seat in the H.O.R.S.E. Tournament.

Winner, Tommy Hang, collected all the chips when he rivered a Ten and completed his Queen high straight to trump all-in Jim Collopy's pocket Kings.  Tommy Hang's largest previous cash in the World Series of Poker  was $194,674 received for a 3rd place finish in the 2008 World Championship Limit Hold'em.

Hand will be returning home to Seattle, Washington with his first WSOP gold bracelet.  

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5 Great Restaurants in the Rio in case some of the poker-players have exhausted the Poker kitchen

by M. G. Smith

#1 Buzio's  Seafood
Fresh sea-food overlooking VooDoo Beach.
The average entree price is $25 to $40.
Hours are Sunday thru Thursday 5PM to 10PM
Friday and Saturday 5PM to 10:30PM

Reservations can be made at 702-777-7697
A fresh oyster bar over looks an open kitchen.
Casual attire is fine and remember to save room for the seven layer, chocolate cake for dessert!

#2 All American Bar and Grill
If you are craving an open mesquite wood grilled steak, chop or burger you won't be dissapointed.
The average entree price is $15 to $ 25.
Hours are Sunday thru Thursday 11AM to12AM
Friday and Saturday   11AM to 2AM
Known for fast "in and out" dining makes it a favorite for all the poker- players in the World Series.

#3  Martorano's
If you love to dance and party this restaurant is more like a nightclub. A full bar shows gangster scenes
and music videos.
The average entree price is $ 27.
The family style Italian portions are huge.
Hours are Sunday thru Thursday 530 PM to 10 PM
Friday and Saturday    530 PM to 10:30 PM

702 (777-7740) will make this an unforgettable experience.
You will be comfortable in business attire.

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2014 WSOP Event #26 $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold'em

by Joseph Smith Sr.

Another $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournament and another large field and prizepool.  Event #26  seated 1,594 WSOP gold bracelet hopefuls seeking a piece of the $2,151,900 prize pool paid to the top 171 finishers.  The winner walks away with $408,953 in cash and the champion's gold jewelry.

The dream came true for Andrew Rennhack of Seattle, Washington.  Rennhack's pocket Sixes outpointed second place finisher, Michael Katz's  failed flush and straight draw.  Katz was still alive and hoping for a flush on the river if a spade showed but a heart came and Rennhack wins his first WSOP gold bracelet and $408,953 in cash.

Michael Katz of Manalapan, New Jersey takes second place and pockets $252,826 for his efforts.  

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2014 WSOP Event #24 $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em Six Handed

by Joseph C. Smith Sr.

When 541 players pay $5,000 for a seat in a WSOP tournament they are expecting to reap a large cash prize and a priceless WSOP gold champion's bracelet.  Event #24, No-Limit Hold'em Six Handed, certainly met their expectations offering a prize pool of $2,542,700 to be shared by the top 60 finishers and a winner's share of $622,998.

The final table of six was reached a few minutes before 7 PM.  Finally in the early morning hours of Friday the heads-up came to a temporary end when after ten levels of play the two players were asked if they wanted to continue play for one additional level or adjourn for the day.  The younger Eyster had the momentum on his side and wanted to continue but an older and visibly fatigued Neuville chose to stop and pick up the following day.

Resumption of play on Day 4 began at 1PM and on the 24th hand of the level Eyster had all the chips and a chair.  The Lafayette, LA player came into today's heads-up continuation with an apparentattitude of ultra agression backed up by his 2to1 chip lead and relentlessly collected Neuville's rapidly disappearing chips.

Kevin Eyster is now the owner of a WSOP gold bracelet and $622,998 to add to his checking account while second place finisher, Pierre Neuville, will be cruising back to his home in Knokke-Heist, Belgium with $358,041 in his pocket.  

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2014 WSOP Event #25 $2,500 buy-in Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split 8 or Better

by Joseph Smith Sr.

And you think you're life is difficult and complicated.  How about those people that have to play Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or better.  That's right, Half Omaha then half Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better.

470 poker players threw down the $2,500 buy-in to secure a seat in WSOP event #25.  A prize pool of $1,069,250 would be divided among the top 48 finishers and the winner would also take home the most coveted, elusive  prize in all of poker, a World Series of Poker gold champion's bracelet.  The winner would also get $267,327 in cash and a comp to the Poker Kitchen.

When the dealing was finally done the winner was UK citizen and former WSOP bracelet winner John Kabbaj.  In the 2009 WSOP Event #45 $10K Pot-Limit Hold'em Championship Kabbaj won his first bracelet and $633,335.

Kabbaj's second bracelet wasn't exactly a walk in the park when the heads-up play included another WSOP bracelet holder and poker phenom, Thomas “Thunder” Keller. Considered by many to be among the very best poker tacticians, Thomas Keller is always tough.

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Amaya Agrees to Acquire Rational Group, Owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for $4.9 Billion

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.”

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2014 WSOP Event #22 $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. Championship

by Joseph Smith Sr.

H.O.R.S.E. Has a reputation of separating the wannabes from the players.  Each player must demonstrate his skills and knowledge of five different variations of poker.  Most believe the one-game Hold'em experts are greatly outclassed and will fall by the wayside as the different games are dealt.  Often that is the case and the Championship H.O.R.S.E event usually goes to an all-around experienced pro.

This year's world championship included many well know professionals among the 200 entrants that paid the $10K buy-in for a seat.  Max Pescatori, Daniel Negreanu. Bill Chen, Nick Shulman and Justin Bonomo all played in this tournament but when the final table was determined and played it was Christopher Wallace facing Randy Ohel for all the money and the coveted bracelet.  Ohel came to the final table with the chip lead but in the end the momentum changed and Wallace had the taller stacks.  The final hand came during Stud-8 when Wallace completed his full house, deuces full of treys, and left Ohel looking at his set of failed Aces and second place.  Randy Ohel left with $313,715 in second place cash.

Christopher Wallace collected $507,614 in cash, a WSOP Championship gold bracelet and bragging rights to what many considers the best of the best among poker peers.  

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2014 WSOP Event #21 $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em

by Joseph Smith Sr.

WSOP Event #21, a scheduled 3 day No-Limit Hold'em  affair with a $1,000 buy-in, attracted 2,043 entrants, all with the singular goal of taking home the WSOP gold.  Of course, the $335,659 winner's share of the $1,838,700 prize pool also offered some motivation to be the last player with a chip stack and a chair.  The event paid the top 216 finishers a share of the cash.

Winner, Dominik Nitsche, fresh off a win in the World Series of Poker Circuit National Champinship apparently brought his good luck to Las Vegas.  During the heads-up match with second place finisher Dave D'Alesandro it seemed that Nitsche never missed a flop, or a turn or a river.  Whatever he needed he got to stay in the match.  The heads-up lasted almost one hundred hands before Nitsche made a river flush against D'Alesandro's small pair and smaller stack and it was finally over.

Dominik Nitsche had his third WSOP gold bracelet and $335,659 in cash.  Dave D'Alesandro had to settle for second place and $208,931.

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2014 WSOP Event #23 $1,000 buy-in Turbo No-Limit Hold'em

by Joseph Smith Sr.

This scheduled two-day rapid-fire style No-Limit Hold'em event began with 1473 hopefuls running and gunning for a share of the $1,325,700 prize pool and a shot at an elusive WSOP gold bracelet.  Within six hours of the start there were 171 players remaining and in the money.  Another six hours of play reached the final table nine when Amanda Baker bubbled out in tenth place.

Don't let the low buy-in lead you to believe this was a tournament filled with unlnowns, in fact, just the opposite.  Among the players were well known professionals Phil Laak, Allen Cunningham, Tony Gregg, Greg Raymer, Vanessa Selbst and many more.

Day two saw the nine returning final table players falling like lawyers quail hunting with VP Cheney.  Soon the group was down to the final two going heads-up for the bracelet and just over a quarter million in cash.  David Polk and Andy Philachack went heads-up until Philachack went all-in when the turn gave him a set of treys, but the final river card completed Polk's open end straight and he had won his first WSOP bracelet and $251,969.  Philachack left with $155,756 in compensation to console his disappointment at coming so close to the gold bracelet.

The following lists the final table order of finish and money received.

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World Series of Poker


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