Epic Poker League Grants Lifetime Exemption to Doyle Brunson

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Epic Poker LeagueThe Epic Poker League has been surrounded by scandal at a few of its events to this point, but this news about the EPL is what many would consider good news.  While all players have to meet certain requirements to even earn entry into any EPL event, the news that came out today is that Doyle Brunson has earned a lifetime player card to any Epic Poker League event.  What this means is that Brunson can play in any EPL event, at any time that he feels, regardless of the entry requirements and whether or not he meets them.

It’s news that may not blow many people away, but it is definitely well deserved for one of the greatest players in the history of poker.  Brunson is known by almost any poker player or fan in the world, and his results speak for themselves.  This decision was made by Jeffrey Pollack, who is the Executive Chairman for the company who owns the EPL, Federated Sports & Gaming.  Pollack said that the decision was essentially made because of contributions that Brunson has made to the game in his career.

The membership cards that are given to players vary by their earnings and results throughout the years, and Brunson was currently holding a 2-year Category A card, and this means that his eligibility goes through the year 2013.  In order to get this card players have to have at least $2 million in lifetime poker tournament earnings, and a maximum of $1 million can come from a single poker tournament.

Now, it’s important to note that just because Brunson has received this lifetime exemption, it doesn’t mean that he will participate in any of the events.  Brunson has stuck with the cash game tables in the recent years, stating that poker tournaments are simply “getting too hard to come through”, and that he doesn’t plan to partake in many tournaments for the remainder of his life.  All EPL events feature $20k buy-in’s, which is definitely one of the largest buy-ins for a poker event out there today.

All in all, if anyone deserves this type of honor, it is definitely Doyle Brunson.

James Dempsey Takes Down WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic

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In what is definitely the longest tournament name out there, James Dempsey prevailed over a field that was star studded at the World Poker Tour’s Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic.  The final table itself drew some well-known names, featuring players like Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Selbst, Andrew Lichtenberger, and 2012 November Niner Soi Nguyen.  Esfandiari was looking to become the first ever player to become a repeat champion of a WPT event, while Selbst was looking to become the first female winner of one.

To start the six handed action, Nguyen found himself atop the leaderboard with over a 1 million chip lead (4.995 million), with Dempsey in second place (3.86 million).  Lichtenberger was in third with 3.605 million chips, followed by Selbst with 2.25 million, Esfandiari with 1.255 million, and Vitor Coelho with 560k.

When all was said and done through the first four eliminations, there was Dempsey and Nguyen, the two players atop the leaderboard to start the day, matched up to decide the championship.  Esfandiari went out in 6th, and was followed by Coelho in 5th place, Lichtenberger in 4th place, and Selbst falling just short in 3rd place.  The heads up play started with each player almost even in chips, and set up quite an interesting match.

It started with Dempsey up a bit early on, but it wasn’t long before Nguyen took a big pot and control of the game.  After Nguyen kept raising and re-raising, Dempsey found himself at a huge disadvantage of over 10 million chips, 13.5 million to 3 million.  He was able to get up to about 6 million before a huge hand went down.  The action started with a raise by Nguyen pre-flop, and a three-bet by Dempsey.  The flop came down with the Queen of spades, 2 of spades, and 4 of clubs; prompting Dempsey to bet out 1 million chips.  Nguyen called this, and the turn came with a Ten of spades, leading to an all-in from Dempsey.  Nguyen debated for multiple minutes before finally calling and turning over As-5d for the nut flush draw and a straight draw.  Dempsey had Ad-Js for a worse flush draw, but a higher kicker, meaning that he could either hit one of his straight cards, or have a blank come on the river.  It was the King of hearts, giving Dempsey the straight with no flush for Nguyen, and everything had turned.

It wasn’t long after that before Dempsey sent the knockout punch to Nguyen, as he called his opponents’ all in with K-Q, and Nguyen turned over K-J.  Nguyen actually flopped a Jack to take the lead, but the river gave Dempsey a flush, the championship, and a $821,612 payday.  Nguyen got a nice pay out for his run as well, taking home $517,478.

Doyle Brunson to Skip EPT and EPL for High Stakes Cash Game

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Doyle BrunsonWe all know Doyle Brunson.  The “Texas Dolly” is one of the most popular names in poker, and has some of the most impressive results among poker players today as well.  His overall winnings in his lifetime of poker playing are astronomical, and he has won over $2.8 million JUST from the World Series of Poker.  Brunson has hit quite a bad streak in terms of live poker tournaments recently though, and it seems like it has been since around Black Friday occurred.  With all of this being taken into account, Brunson has decided to skip some big time poker tournaments, in order to play in high stakes cash games.

Brunson has a seat at the $20k buy-in Epic Poker League Main Event, but has chosen to stick with high stakes poker instead.  Even more interesting is the fact that he was also offered to be the guest of honor at the European Poker Tour’s Prague Main Event, and that he chose to go with the cash game option there as well.

This may not come as a shocker to other players in the game, as Brunson has always been big at the high stakes cash game tables, and he also never really travels much in order to compete in poker tournaments.  Brunson did play in the European Poker Tour’s London event earlier this year, but soon after that he decided not to compete in the World Series of Poker Europe.

Doyle Brunson and his partners recently sold his namesake poker room Doyles Room to the up and coming America’s Cardroom.

Brunson tweeted that he would not be attending the Epic Poker League’s Main Event, but that he did “like the format, and will support it when possible”.  He went on to say that the reason for missing it is that he has an opportunity to play in a “very high stakes cash game”, and that “any pro would understand”.

This could potentially have something to do with Brunson hitting a bad run on the live poker tournament circuit as of late, but only time will really tell.  Regardless though, you can bet that Brunson will be on the high stakes poker cash game tables somewhere!  We’ll keep you updated on this story as more is released.

Doyle Brunson Will Play The 2011 WSOP Main Event

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The World Series of Poker Main Event is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, and also draws in some of the most attention, and the largest prize pool for any tournament.  The tournament begins this week, there will be thousands of players in it; one big named player has decided that he will play it after orginally saying that he would not.  Doyle Brunson is one of the biggest, and most well-known names in poker, after saying that he would sit out this years WSOP, he changed his mind and will be playing in this year’s Main Event. Brunson is one of the eighteen living members who make up the Poker Hall of Fame.

The flip flop decision for Brunson was not due to money, but rather his loss of passion for the game since Black Friday.  It has been obvious that Brunson hasn’t been the same lately, as he failed to cash in any event for the second straight year at the World Series of Poker.  He also played in the $50k Player’s Championship late last week, but busted out on day 2.  Brunson is also 78 years old, and it’s hard to imagine any poker player not having to mentally prepare for a grueling 8 day poker tournament (assuming it all goes well for him).  Brunson has had success at the World Poker Tour over the past year or two, but just not at the WSOP.

Doyle Brunson has taken home 10 gold bracelet’s in his time, leaving him tied for second place all-time.  He won his last one back in 2005, and is widely considered as one of the biggest names, and most popular players in the poker world.  Brunson has won over $6 million in live tournaments in his career, further securing his place in Poker’s Hall of Fame.  While Brunson does have a strong game, this could be the end of his live tournament career forever according to him.  Only time will tell how the loss of online poker will affect him over the next year or so.

Doyle Brunson leaves DoylesRoom

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Doyle Brunson, the Godfather of poker, has left his namesake online poker site DoylesRoom.com in the wake of federal indictments against the owners of 3 or the world’s largest online poker sites. The news comes just 2 days after DoylesRoom released a major software upgrade. Today’s news is no doubt on advice from Doyle’s attorney’s to get out of the spotlight.

Brunson issued this statement to Gambling911.com earlier today,

“Reluctantly, I have decided to terminate my endorsement contract with Doylesroom.com. It pains me to leave at this time. I have aspirations of reentering the online poker business when the United States Government passes legislation, that officially legalize online poker sites. Doylesroom management has decided to continue to serve U.S. customers. Although they believe they have the right to market the name Doylesroom and to use my name and likeness for a period of time, I have asked them not to.  Good luck-Shuffle up and deal.”

We contacted the DoylesRoom marketing team shortly after learning this news and they had no idea that Doyle was leaving.

Update: Doyle Brunson was a sponsored pro by DoylesRoom.com and he has left his endorsement contract. DoylesRoom has purchased his image and likeness and are allowed to continue to use it. Doyle will still continue to play in the Bounty tournament.

US Online Poker Pros Moving Abroad

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The crackdown of Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and UB on Black Friday took the favorite pastime away from millions of American poker players. Other poker sites such as Lock Poker, Bodog and Cake Poker are working around the clock to provide all US players with a new home.  They are doing a great job, most of the  casual players are happy to play at those sites. Some things are different though, the choice in games offered is lower and the waiting time for some sit and go formats is a bit longer. Does this mean the DoJ actions didn’t have an impact on the US poker players? No, there is a group of players which found itself in serious trouble: the online poker pro.

When we think of poker pro’s we usually picture the high profile players who we see on tv shows like High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark or the Big Game. These pro’s represent the big sites, live the good life and make millions in the process. There is however another complete different order of poker pro’s and they aren’t nearly as visible and high profile as the established pro’s like Doyle Brunson, Tom Dwan or Daniel Negreanu.

These online poker pro’s make their living playing or teaching online poker and they don’t make millions. Instead, they grind out the cash tables and sit and goes all day and most of them make only a modest salary. On top of that, grinding online poker can be a very stressful job. Playing poker is probably the only job in the world where you can end the day with less money then you started with. Variance is the one thing you can’t use when you are depending on your play to pay the rent. Variance is the enemy to the online pro and to limit it they play as many tables as they can, sometimes up to 24 tables.

Suddenly unable to play at the Big Three, they are in serious trouble now. Because they can no longer play the amount of games they used to, they don’t make enough money anymore to pay their rent. Some of these players played professionally for years and have considerable gaps in their resume’s, others decided to drop out of college to play poker full time. Their options are limited: Finding a job in the current economy is very hard, they can’t wait until the US regulates online poker and they also don’t have the time to wait until other sites and networks offer the games they need. On top of that their entire bankroll is currently frozen and they can’t touch it. This bankroll is not only money for them, they need it to make money, it is their livelihood.

Moving abroad has become a viable option for them and a lot of grinders are looking into that option now. Canada is the favorite haven to play followed by Malta. The UK is also amongst the top destinations because online winnings aren’t taxed there. The short term goal for the movers is to regain access to their frozen funds. For the long term they can keep playing at their favorite sites abroad until the US has figured their legislation out. The DoJ’s actions of Black Friday really had an impact on these people that nobody ever anticipated.

Is this a bad thing for poker? Not really. With a lot of these mass tabling grinders out of the way the game becomes more fun again. No longer waiting for the guy who plays more tables then he can handle to finally act and less grinders in the sit and goes means the casual player will most certainly see his ROI improve. People wondered when the next poker boom would be after the Moneymaker boom in 2004. Well, this might be it.