Poker Stars Looking To Purchase Atlantic City, NJ Casino

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It looks as though online poker giant Poker Stars is looking to branch out into land-based poker as well, with the revelation made in The Wall Street Journal last Thursday, December 6, 2012 that the site recently lauded for buying out beleagured former rival Full Tilt Poker and bailing out its debt with players worldwide is now about to make another big purchase in the form of a brick and mortar casino in none other than Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The state of New Jersey has been in the headlines a great deal, of late, with its nearly successful attempts at landmark passage of legal intrastate online poker. It’s widely viewed now that the success of one of these attempts is imminent.

So which Atlantic City casino is Poker Stars in the process of negotiating a deal to buy? How about the Atlantic City Hilton, aka The Atlantic Club Hotel-Casino, formerly known as the Golden Nugget. The estimated cost? Only $50 million. The sellers? Colony Capital.

In its deal with the DOJ, Poker Stars has agreed to pay $731 million to the U.S. government to settle a 9-count federal indictment. New Jersey’s gaming licensing regulations are notoriously strict. So it remains unclear whether Poker Stars’ recent settlement with the United States Department of Justice regarding the Black Friday seizures of April 2011 would affect the company’s ability to secure a gaming license from the state of New Jersey to operate that casino.

Phil Hellmuth wins WSOP Europe Main Event

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There was talk  that the game of poker had passed by Phil Hellmuth, but this year he showed the world that he was not done with the game and the game was still his to lose.  Hellmuth capped his great WSOP performance with a masterful game in the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event.

This win ups his record to 13 WSOP bracelets.  Earlier this year he bagged his only non-holdem bracelet in a $2,500 buyin Razz tournament at the Rio in Las Vegas Nevada.  The “Poker Brat” then traveled to Cannes in France for the annual European version of the World Series of Poker.  After his one million Euros ($1.3 million) win in the main event Phil said “This was the best I have ever played.  I was all in just once.”

Hellmuth defeated Ukranian  Sergii Baranov when Baranov took a stand with Ace-Four.  Phil called with Ace-Ten and the Ukranian got no help.  Before, Phil knocked out Stephane Albertini with a little river magic holding a 77 vs the Frenchman’s JJ.  That magical 7 on the river got it to heads up play where Hellmuth wore down his opponent with selective pressure until Sergii unwisely fought back at the wrong time.

Phil Hellmuth is brash, a bit of a complainer, and a shameless self-promoter but no one can say that he is not one of the best tournament poker players in the world.

Phil Hellmuth bracelets and years:


1989 $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship
1992 $5,000 Limit Hold’em
1993 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em
1993 $2,500 No Limit Hold’em
1993 $5,000 Limit Hold’em
1997 $3,000 Pot Limit Hold’em
2001 $2,000 No Limit Hold’em
2003 $2,500 Limit Hold’em
2003 $3,000 No Limit Hold’em
2006 $1,000 No Limit Hold’em with rebuys
2007 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em
2012 $2,500 Seven-Card Razz

2012 €10,450 No Limit Hold’em Main Event (WSOP Europe)


Phil Ivey Makes Big Splash At 2012 WSOP

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The 43rd annual World Series of Poke isn’t even over yet and already the poster boy of poker, Phil Ivey, is making if not a bigger splash than ever, then at least as big a one, with three final tables, including a second place finish. And if that’s any indication, he’s only just warming up.

We haven’t seen or heard much from Phil Ivey ever since the devastating end of Full Tilt Poker and the ensuing the fallout with U.S. players not being returned their funds. At one point, Ivey showed a $4 million negative balance on Full Tilt Poker’s ledgers and had even started pursuing legal action against his former sponsors.

But at this year’s WSOP, it was all back to business for Phil Ivey…or rather, not the business of poker but the game of it. He finished in second place in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em event, final tabled in two other events and cashed in a total of four. And the games are still going.

Ivey has already won eight WSOP bracelets in his career, so this year’s showing comes as no surprise. It’s just a refreshing non-surprise to Phil Ivey back in the game he loves and that gave him the fame he achieved and deserves, and not the notoriety and black cloud that had been hanging over him since the FullTilt fiasco. Hopefully this puts an end to that dark chapter and revives the young poker legend in the making that Phil Ivey has always represented.

Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier Wins EPT Berlin High Roller

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The EPT Berlin High Roller event finished out with a star-studded heads-up nail-biting climax featuring Bertrand “ElkY” Grospelier ultimately taking the game from tough competitor, and fellow poker star, Chris Moorman.

Grospellier stands atop a 57 player field after a two-day battle for the $301,992 grand prize in the $13,610 buy-in event. It happened at Berlin’s Grand Hyatt and say a total prize pool of $872,190.

When the eight-player final table dwindled down to the top two, Chris “Moorman1” Moorman of the UK had a 2 to 1 chip lead over Grospelier. Moorman happens to be the highest winning online tournament poker player in history, claiming over $7.9 million in winnings. He also claims $2,657,951 in live winnings, which he started bringing home only as of 2008. 2011 was a big year for Moorman, placing in both the $10k Six-Handed event at the 2011 WSOP and the WSOP Europe Main Event. Alas it was another runner-up finish in this latest event, adding $189,824 to his winnings.

ElkY of France beat out Moorman on 3 out of 3 all-ins heads-up, Moorman reported to his Twitter followers. This win brings Elky’s live career winnings to $9,092,892. He’s been ranked #17 on the ‘All Time Money List’ of poker and is one of a select few to achieve a Triple Crown, winnings the EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, 2008 WPT Al Lago Classic, and a 2011 WSOP bracelet.

Third place in the EPT Berlin High Roller event went to Marvin Rettenmaier of Germany while David Peters of the U.S. took fourth. The remaining final tablers, from 5th through 8th, were: Tobias Reinkemeier, Oleh Okhotskyi, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, and Martin Jacobson.

WPT Vienna Champion Crowned

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The current season of the World Poker Tour is winding down with just a few more stops on it, but the one that just came to an end featured some big names from the poker world, and also an eventual champion whose win here gave him his first major poker championship.  The WPT Vienna event was held at the Montesino Casino in Vienna, Austria, and it was the player who held the chip lead at the end of Day Two who got the job done in the end.

When the action was down to the final 69 players at the event, it was Morten Christensen who was holding the chip lead, but there were two incredibly well-known’s just behind him in the standings in Chris Moorman and Tristan Wade.  By the time the players had hit the money, only one player could make up enough ground to pass Christensen, and this was Goswin Siemsen.  Moorman found himself eliminated just outside of the money, while Wade was holding a top five stack though.

When players were getting set to push from 21 down to the final table, there were a few big names remaining who had a chance to make a star-studded final table, including Andrew Badecker, Eugene Katchalov, and Roberto Romanello as well.  None of those listed were able to make it though, and the final table kicked off with Christensen in second place behind just Ognjen Sekularac.

To go with Sekularaca and Christensen at the final table, we found Ben Wilinofsky, Norbert Szecsi, Konstantin Tolokno, and Siemsen all rounding it out.  It took just over an hour before our first player was sent home, and that was Szecsi, who was knocked out by Wilinofsky. Tolokno then pulled off back to back knockouts to send home Siemsen and Sekularac in fifth and fourth place, setting up three handed play between Tolokno, Wilinofsky, and Christensen.  This didn’t last incredibly long though, as Christensen sent home Wilinofsky setting up an interesting heads up match.

Tolokno and Christensen went at it for over three hours, but the aggressiveness of Christensen really kept Tolokno from being able to gain much ground from the four million chip disadvantage he started with.  Finally, Tolokno attempted to make a stand with a three-bet all-in with K-8, but was called by the A-8 of Christensen.  The board showed an Ace and Tolokno was sent home in second place with $251,166.  For his incredibly run, Christensen not only gained the crown as WPT Vienna Champion, but also won $410,519 for his efforts.

Numbers for Big One for One Drop Jumping Fast

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WSOP Big OneThe Big One for One Drop event is one of the hottest topics in the poker world right now, mainly because of the massive prize pool and the incredibly well-known poker players that this tournament is going to include when all is said and done.  The buy-in for it will be the largest of all-time, at $1 million.  There were questions of whether the tournament was going to hit the 22 player mark which would make it an official World Series of Poker bracelet event, but it has surpassed that number.  Even more impressive is the fact that it has hit 30 total players, and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

The event is capped at 48 players, and it’s looking more and more like it is going to hit that number every day.  If the tournament was to start TODAY, first place would take down an incredible first place pay day of $12.3 million, and even more incredibly is the fact that if the field hits 48 players then first place will get $18.3 million.  Either of these pay days would be the largest to go to a winner in the history of poker tournaments, surpassing the total that Jamie Gold took down back in 2006 for the WSOP Main Event.

The idea behind this tournament is that it won’t only give a great pay day to the eventual winner, but also helps a great cause in OneDrop.  OneDrop is a charity that is helping to bring clean water all around the world.  One ninth of each buy-in (right at $111,111) will go to the charity, and many are anticipating that multiple players who cash the event will be donating more most likely.

The winner of the event will also get a Platinum WSOP bracelet as well which is just another of the perks for taking it down.  The event kicks off on July 1st and while some of the names have been released, not all of them have leaked.  A few of the players who we will be seeing include players like Guy Laliberte (who is actually the creator of the event and founder of Cirque de Soleil), Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Patrik Antonius, Johnny Chan, Tom Dwan, Andy Beal, Jonathan Duhamel, Tony Guoga, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Erik Seidel, Dan Shak, and many others.

2012 Irish Open Goes to Kevin Vandersmissen

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Irish Poker OpenKevin Vandersmissen knew he had his work cut out for him from the start of the final table.  He was sitting in last place out of nine players with less than 500k in chips, and was looking up a tough leaderboard ahead of him.  He never flinched though, and simply remained patient in picking his spots to get nice double ups and win big pots.  The 2012 Irish Poker Open had some big names from the word go, and it also had an incredible final table finish as well.

To the enjoyment of Vandersmissen there was a double elimination on the fifth hand of the day, meaning that he was locked in for at least seventh place.  His eyes remained on that top spot though, as he doubled up through one of the original chip leaders in David Dean and was holding 1.4 million chips at this point.  Vandersmissen didn’t make much noise, but then saw two more eliminations happen when Samuel Chartier and Jordan Lewis were sent home in seventh and sixth places respectively.

Once again, it was time for another nice double up which sent him to 2.4 million chips at this point.  Vandersmissen’s stack remained just about the same until we were down to three handed play, and he had 2.88 million chips.  First place though was Thomas Beer, who had looked like a force throughout the day with 6.23 million, while Dean was in third with 919k.  Fortunately though Vandersmissen was able to pick up a monster in pocket Aces and send Dean home in third place, which set up a heads up match which was much closer than anyone really anticipated.

To start the heads up match Vandersmissen was sitting with 4.5 million, while Beer had 5.53 million chips.  It was trouble from the word go for Beer though, as his A-J almost left him crippled when he saw that Vandersmissen was holding A-K.  At the end of this hand Vandersmissen was holding a 2-1 chip lead, and was poised to get the job done.

He did just that, and when he flopped top pair and got it all against Beer, this signaled the end of Beer’s deep run.  Vandersmissen was officially the 2012 Irish Poker Open Champion and took home the nice pay day of €420,000 as well.

$1 Million Poker Tournament at WSOP Will Feature Satellites

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WSOPThe Big One for One Drop poker tournament is quickly becoming one of the most talked about tournaments that will be ran at the 2012 World Series of Poker, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that it features an incredible $1 million buy-in.  While this size tournament is really something that almost all poker players see as a pipe dream in terms of being able to play in, it seems that a few different casinos around the world will be offering ways for players to actually have a shot to be able to play in this event.

There will be 14 total casinos that are going to run satellites starting as early as April 5th (today), and running all the way through June 10th.  All players who take down one of the satellites will win a $25,300 seat into The Big One for One Drop Mega Satellite, as well as any airfare and accommodations.  The Mega Satellite for the big event will take place on the 30th of June, and will be held at the Rio in Las Vegas.  Many of the players in these first satellites will have won their way in, but if you are just interested in buying in, it will cost you $500 for your seat at the satellite which will be running at the 14 casinos.

As far as the Mega Satellite goes, if you are able to make it into that and find yourself just one step from the big event, then the layout is one that definitely isn’t impossible to take down.  For every 40 total players who are in the Mega Satellite, there will be one seat awarded into the $1 million event.  With the different satellites that are running, this could mean that there may potentially be a few seats up for grabs into the big one.

If you haven’t heard about the One Drop tournament yet, it is for the charity “One Drop”.  This charity was created by the founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, and the event will give one ninth of every players buy-in to the charity itself.  This total comes to $111,111, and the remainder of each buy-in will go directly into the prize pool and should make one of the biggest pay days in the history of poker.

Irish Poker Tour Kicks Off This Weekend

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Irish Poker TourThe Irish Poker Tour is the longest running poker tournament in all of Europe currently, and is set to get underway once again this weekend.  The anticipation surrounding the event is pretty impressive, and it should draw in quite the prize pool and many well-known players as well.  It will be run at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin and features a €3,000 buy-in.  Last year had some huge names including players like Doyle and Todd Brunson, Phil Laak, Dario Mineri, Dan Harrington, Roland De Wolfe, and many others.  In total, there were 708 players last year and they are hoping to surpass that number this year.

So far for the event running this weekend we have names like Daniel Negreanu, Carlos Mortensen, Phil Hellmuth, Eoghan O’Dea, David “Devilfish” Ulliott, Maria Ho, Faraz Jaka, James “Flushy” Dempsey, and quite a few other players who are expected to be in this event.  Another interesting part of this event is that it will be part of the iSeriesLIVE, meaning that poker fans have the option to bet on the events and who they think can take it down.  Negreanu is currently the favorite along with Hellmuth and O’Dea as they are 80 to 1 to take it down.  Some other popular choices to win it are Jake Cody at 125 to 1, and Barny Boatman at 200 to 1.

The Irish Poker Tour started back in 1980, and was won by a player by the name of Colette Doherty.  Doherty went on to make a name for herself as being the first European player and first woman to play in the World Series of Poker’s Championship Event, and even more impressive is the fact that she came back to win the event once again in 1991.  She is one of four people to do this, as Mickey Finn, Noel Furlong, and Liam Flood have all won the event twice in their careers.  “Mad” Marty Smyth is another well-known to win the event, and he is actually sitting with odds of 100 to 1 to win it all this year!

The event will be one to follow, especially if you are a sports bettor, so keep your eye out for the start of this event this weekend! LAPT Chile & ANZPT Sydney Winners

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Two big PokerStars poker tours just wrapped up major main events, which means there are two new names to add to the rosters of 2012 tournament champions. This time those names are Aliro Diaz and Gordon Huntly, for winning, respectively, the Latin American Poker Tour Chile Main Event and the Australian New Zealand Poker Tour Sydney Main Event.

First to the LAPT Chile and winner, native son, Aliro Diaz. This event was the first main event of Season 5 of’s Latin American Poker Tour and it attracted 651 players to Enjoy Casino and Resort in Vina del Mar. Diaz claimed $76,560 for his win. A fellow Chilean going by the singular name Leonardo took second and $66,000. Both players would have taken more had they not participated in a deal between the top 6 players at the final table to split up the prize pool based on the standings at the time. That gave 4th through 6th place larger prizes than they would otherwise have received. The next Latin American Poker Tour event is LAPT Uruguay, May 23 – 27.

Next we hop across the waters to Australia for the ANZPT Sydney, where Scotsman Gordon Huntly took the title and top prize of $226,812. The player field this time was 461. Liam O’Rourke took second place for $144,754. This is Season 4 of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour, with the next event being ANZPT Perth, May 2 – 6. is the free, play money version of the Poker Stars online poker site. It offers the same games but for play money (except in the case of satellites) and with no real money gambling taking place. Therefore, players from the U.S. are allowed to play at, where satellites for the next events on these and other regional poker tours are now taking place.