Amaya Gaming on May 16 announced its financial results for 2016's first quarter of 2016. The numbers showed a 6% increase in revenues to US$288.7 million from $272.29 million last year.

That figure was prevented from going up to 14% by unfavorable fluctuations in the Canadian dollar to the US dollar exchange rate, claimed the company.

Amaya Q1’s net earnings ($55.5 million) too rose by 138.5% as compared to last year.

Interim CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said:

“During the first quarter, we continued to execute on our growth plans despite unexpected challenges, including management changes and the ongoing strategic alternatives process. We attracted new customers to PokerStars, continued to introduce changes to improve the overall poker experience, expanded our online casino offering and continued to invest in our emerging online sportsbook.”

The company's business has witnessed a steady growth with last month's unaudited revenues estimated to around $96 million, an increase of 11% from a year earlier.

Out of that, 77% was accounted for by real-money online poker and 21% by online casino and sportsbook. The positive Q1 figures and April’s results made the markets very happy.

Amaya’s PokerStars product in New Jersey has already captured more than half the revenues of the state’s online poker market. The online poker giant entered New Jersey in March.

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US pro Seth Davies beat 416 other players to win the WPT Canadian Spring Championship main event for C$256,390 ($203,992) as first place prize.

The C$3,500 buy-in tournament was hosted at the  Playground Poker Club in Kahnawake, Quebec with a prize pool worth C$1,294,368 ($1,029,843) up for grabs.

During the seven days of high-action poker, some of the players to walk away with a return on their investment included Andy Frankenberger in 48th (C$5,860), Jeff Gross in 45th (C$6,880), Darryll Fish in 41st (C$6,880), Amir Babakhani in 31st (C$7,900), and Antonio Esfandiari in 24th ($10,330).

Six players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations Seth Davies and Ruben Perceval remained to fight it out for the title. Davies held a 6,780,000 to 5,680,000 chip advantage over Perceval as the two collided in the heads-up round.

Final hand of this duel was played after about 90 minutes when Perceval (8-7) went all-in on a 10-9-4-7-5 board. Davies (K-10) made the call, which ended Ruben's hopes of a win. He had to settle for a second place finish for $180,088 CAD ($115,598 USD).

Davis on the other hand took his live career earnings to $495,552. The 27-year-old's other notable performances have come at the WSOP Main Event where he finished in 123rd place for a $54,851 in 2001.

Final Table Payouts (US)

1: Seth Davies $226,893

2: Ruben Perceval $148,833

3: Joel Miller $95,512

4: Thomas Taylor $70,628

5: Guillaume Nolet $53,025

6: Tony Dunst $42,479 

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Chance Kornuth emerged victorious at the €10,000 WPT Grand Final High Roller, beating 213 players to take home a cool €351,108 ($394,992) for a first-place finish.

The event was held at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and strong participation led to the creation of a prize pool worth €2,075,800 ($2,335,246).

The US poker pro's latest win helped him take his live career earnings tally to $4,054,926. Chance has accumulated an additional $1,762,732 playing online poker under the screen name ‘Chances Cards’.

Commenting on his win, Kornuth said:

“I want to stop for a minute to thank everyone for the support and kind words. Times like these are incredibly enjoyable. I’m a lucky guy.”

Some of the noted players that walked away with a return on their investment included Ole Schemion in 29th (€18,270), Bryn Kenney in 25th (€20,340), Dan Shak in 21st (€22,420), Adrian Mateos in 27th (€27,610), and Isaac Haxton in 14th (€30,720).

Chance was the chip leader at the final table, but was almost on par with his opponents as the game progressed to three-handed. The trio then struck a deal.

Ultimately, Chance went home with lion’s share of the remaining prize pool and the title, while Philipp Gruissem and Sergey Lebedev won €299,162 and €292,750 respectively.

Final Table Results:

1st: Chance Kornuth (€351,108)

2nd: Philipp Gruissem (€299,162)

3rd: Sergey Lebedev (€292,750)

4th: Fedor Holz (€169,000)

5th: Murad Akhundov (€133,680)

6th: Anthony Zinno (€101,500)

7th: Felipe Ramos (€74,100)

8th: Dmitry Yurasov (€54,180)

9th: Christian Christner (€44,840)

 

Published in Poker Gossip

 

Farid Yachou emerged victorious at the 2016 WPT Tournament of Champions, beating 64 players to take home a cool $381,600 for first place. The Dutchman played solid poker over three days to walk away with several other prize than just the cash. Yachou also won a 2016 Corvette, a Hublot King Power Unico Titanium watch, and at Tiger Wood's charitable event, which is backed by World Poker Tour.

Yachou has only two live tournaments cashes to his credit. He took down both events for a total of $606,673. In May last year, Yachou won the €3,300 WPT Amsterdam for €201,000 ($225,073). This made him eligible to play the WPT Tournament Of Champions held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.

After a series of eliminations, only six players made it to Day 3. As more heads rolled, it was left between Farid and Romanian player Vlad Davie to fight it out for the title. The duo entered the heads-up round with fairly even in chips. However, the railbirds did not have to wait long as the final hand of the game was played when Yachou (A-2) moved all-in on an 8-2-2-10-8 board. Davie (K-7) made the call and had to settle for a runner-up finish worth $224,190.

Speaking about his latest triumph, Farid said:

“It’s something I cannot believe. I am sitting with only champions. I said to myself, ‘I will be glad finishing 30th or 35th.’ Then, slowly, day by day, hand by hand, it all came together. Everything came to me.”

Final Results:

1st: Farid Yachou – $381,600

2nd: Vlad Davie – $224,190

3rd: Michael Mizrachi – $140,450

4th: Jonathan Jaffe – $95,400

5th: Noah Schwartz – $74,200

6th: Darren Elias – $58,300

7th: Andy Frankenberger – $47,400

8th: Yevgeniy Timoshenko – $38,160 

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Chino Rheem created history as he become only the fourth player ever to win three World Poker Tour titles. Rheem achieved this feat after he emerged victorious at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $10,000 Finale in Hollywood for $705,885.

Thanks to this triumph, he is now part of an elite group of players comprising Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen and Anthony Zinno. This win also helped the Californian to take his career earnings to $8,082,134.

In superb display, the 36 year-old pro beat a strong field of 342 players over five days at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino to take home the coveted title.

Speaking about his win, Rheem said:

“With everything I’ve been through and where I’m at in life and where my head’s at, this probably would be the number one [victory], even though it’s not even a million-dollar score. It’s the smallest one I’ve done of the big ones, but this ranks as being up there as far as timing and everything.”

Six players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations, it was left for Rheem and Aditya Prasetyo to fight it out for the titel.

The final hand of the heads-up battle was played when Rheem (7-6) moved all-in preflop only to be called by Aditya with K-9. The board ran J-10-4-7-7, which consigned Prasetyo to a second place finish for worth $484,130. Rheem's previous WPT wins include the 2008 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1,538,730, and the 2013 WPT World Championship for $1,150,297.

Interestingly, Rheem's biggest scored arrived at 2008 WSOP Main Event when he finished 7th for $1,772,650.

Final Table Results:

1: Chino Rheem $705,885

2: Aditya Prasetyo $484,130

3: Richard Leger $311,305

4: Adrian Mateos $200,510

5: William Benson $154,585

6: Bryan Piccioli $127,905

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Ruslan Dykshteyn beat a strong field of 2,923 players to win the 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for a top prize of $184,705.

Event #9, a $570 No-Limit Hold’em Deep Stack Reentry, went on for four days and created a prize pool of $1,461,500.

Dykshteyn’s win was the second biggest of his career so far, taking his lifetime earnings to $789,314.

Some of the most notable pros to walk home from Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida with a return on their investment included Jerry Yang in 180th ($1,286), Kathy Liebert in 118th ($1,900), Aaron Mermelstein in 33rd ($5,188), and Asher Conniff in 12th ($14,615).

Nine players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations, it was left for Dykshteyn and Robert Mizrachi to fight it out for the title.

However in the heads-up battle, Dykshtey was too good on the night and Mizrachi had to settle for a second place finish for $174,700. His career earnings have nowed increased to $5,698,910.

Final Table Results:

1: Ruslan Dykshteyn $184,705

2: Robert Mizrachi $174,700

3: Casey Kaplan $134,700

4: Darren Rabinowitz $124,700

5: Safiya Umerova $76,144

6: Joel Dickerson $60,625

7: Jose Beznos $45,307

8: Ory Hen $30,692

9: Jonathan Ruiz $21,923

The 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown will conclude on April 24 with the $15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions. 

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Poker players to find a mention in the recently released list of wealthy and high-profile figures who used an offshore tax haven to deposit their wealth.

The lid on this was blown open by a whistleblower to show links of the rich and famous with world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

A massive 11.5m documents were leaked revealing names of 12 national leaders, 143 politicians, as well as some Swedish poker players.

Included among the poker players are three men who have previously served a three-year jail term for fraud back in 2011.

According to court documents, they operated a firm in Sweden, also registered in the British Virgin Islands, with Mossack Fonseca as their agent.

After the Panama Papers were leaked, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter highlighted the links of these men and their Nordic gambling site.

Following that, several other parties have now come under the scanner of authorities. These include several Swedish individuals, businesses, and the famous Scandinavian bank, Nordea.

Sweden boasts of one of the highest corporate and personal tax rates across the globe.

After the recent revelations, over 400 Swedish firms and people named in the Panama Papers will be investigated by Swedish tax authority.

Sweden's Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said:

“It is a crime – tax evasion – it is totally unacceptable. I mean, the whole of the Swedish model is based on the fact that you accept and pay taxes.”

The Panama Papers were first handed over to a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in August 2015. Journalists from over 80 countries across the globe worked on these documents to join the dots.

Interestingly, the full list of names is being worked on at the moment and is likely to be made public in May.

Published in Poker Gossip

Henrique Pinho took down the 2016 Marrakech Poker Open, beating 220 players over three days for a $40,400 first place prize. 

This win took the Portuguese player’s career earnings to $246,730.

Eight players were part of the last day’s action at Casino de Marrakech, with Abdenbi Abida as the chip leader.

The tables turned after a series of eliminations, with Pinho and Patrick Groppi making it to the heads-up round. Coming into the final battle Pinho held a 3:1 chip advantage over Groppi.

The final hand of the tournament was played when Pinho (Ks-10s) and Groppi (As-Ah) went all-in on a Qs-Js-5d flop. With 8s and 6c fell on the turn and river respectively, the Egyptian-Swiss pro had to settle for a second place finish for $253,422.

“Unfortunately, poker in Africa in general isn’t developed at all. Except in Morocco where some nice events are organized a couple of times per year,” he said after the event.

Final Table Results:

1 Henrique Pinho (Portugal) $40,400

2 Patrick Groppi (Switz) $36,250

3 Fahd (Morocco) $21,200

4 Abdenbi Abida (France) $15,400

5 Mathieu Papineau (France) $11,400

6 Ali Mechiche (Morocco) $8,900

7 Van der Ghinst (Belgium) $7,250

8 Mathieu Biague (France) $5,700

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Earlier this week, Amaya Gaming announced the launch of PokerStars' in New Jersey, following a brief soft launch. In order to help the government regulator take a closer look at the product, the company launched its services on a restricted basis last week.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement then gave the necessary approvals to PokerStars so that a full launch could be proceeded with in NJ.

The state's residents will now be able to access poker tournaments and Spin  & Go, but also a host of online casino games, which will accessible via desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

Amaya chairman and chief executive, David Baazov, said:

“We could not be more proud to bring PokerStars to New Jersey; working with our partner, Resorts Casino Hotel, we look forward to providing the most exciting, innovative and secure gaming experience to New Jersey.” 

PokerStars’ full launch plans will be bolstered by the NYX Gaming Group, which has rolled out several slot games along with the operator.

Two of which, ‘Judge Dredd’, ‘Irish Eyes 2’ and ‘An Evening With Holly Madison’, have been included in the early phase.

Matt Davey, chief executive of NYX, said: 

“It’s great to see PokerStars launching in New Jersey with over 20 titles from our studio NextGen; this is part of our six-year licensing agreement with Amaya, and follows the successful launch of our games on PokerStars’ global online casino.”

Sam Hobcraft, director of casino at PokerStars, said:

“NextGen slots have proven to be very popular with our customers in Europe and so we are pleased to be able to offer these games in New Jersey.”

NetEnt too announced that its desktop and mobile games will go live with PokerStars in state after having earned a transactional waiver from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Björn Krantz, managing director of NetEnt Americas, said: 

"I am confident that our portfolio offering will support their strategy to build sustainable long-term digital casino growth in New Jersey.”

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Harrison Gimbel beat 408 players to capture the Thunder Main Event in Lincoln for $275,112 first place prize. Gimbel played solid poker over five days in the event that comprised of a $1,308,800 prize pool.

The Florida pro first grabbed headlines when he won the 2010 PCA Main Event for $2.2 million. Back then, aged 19, he became the youngest player ever to win a PCA event.

Gimbel has been a consistent performer since then, taking his career earnings to $3,737,806.

At the $3,500 Main Event, held at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort, some of the big names that earned a return on their investment were Andy Frankenberger in 44th ($7,329), Alan Engel in 39th ($7,329), Paul Volpe in 33rd ($8,507), Olivier Busquet in 27th ($9,685), Taylor Paur in 13th ($16,360), and JC Tran in 12th ($20,025).

Six players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations, it was left to Gimbel and Mohsin Charania to fight it out for the title.

The final hand of the game was played when Gimbel (5-4) and Charania (K-Q) moved all-in preflop. The board ran J-3-2-5-5 to condemn Charania to a second place finish for $192,132.

After securing a runner-up finish, Charania took to social micro-blogging site to tweet the follow:

“If I was gonna lose heads up at least it was against one of my favorite Jews @Harrison_Gimbel #WPTRollingThunder #wpt”

Final Table Results:

1: Harrison Gimbel $275,112

2: Mohsin Charania $192,132

3: Russell Garrett $123,682

4: Markus Gonsalves $91,616

5: Hafiz Khan $68,712

6: Derek Wolters $54,970 

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