Lara Brown

 

Mike Watson won the $5,300 PCA Main Event beating 928 players to win a cool $728,325. A prize pool of $4,500,800 was created for the event that was held at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in Paradise Island.

Thanks to his solid effort through the course of six days, the Canadian pro took his live career earning to $9,072,800 with that win. Playing under the screen name ‘SirWatts’, Watson boasts of $3,005,924 in online earnings.

Speaking about his latest triumph, Watson said:

“It means a lot to win a main event with a big field and especially the PCA being one of the flagship events of the EPT, and really a premiere event in the whole poker calendar. It has special meaning to me that Steve Paul-Ambrose won it ten years ago. He was a mentor to me and that makes it extra sweet.”

Some of the notable names that walked away with a return on their investment at the PCA Main Event included Steve O’Dwyer in 89th ($10,840), Jeff Gross in 68th ($12,880), Felipe Ramos in 45th ($14,900), Jason Mercier in 20th ($32,360), Fedor Holz in 18th ($32,360), and Stephen Chidwick in 14th ($41,360).

Eight players made it to the final table. And after a series of eliminations, Watson had to slug it out with the 2013 WSOP One Drop High Roller champion Tony Gregg in the heads-up battle.

The duo agreed to split the money $695,325 and $612,175, leaving $33,000 for the winner. Their duel lasted two hours and the final hand of the event was played when Gregg (As-8c) moved all-in on an 8h-6h-2h flop. Watson with 7h-4s made the call. The 7s and 5h on turn and river meant Tony Gregg had to be content with a second place finish, while Watson was crowned champion.

Final Table Payouts:

1 Mike Watson $728,325

2 Tony Gregg $612,175

3 Phillip McAllister $356,020

4 Toby Lewis $267,340

5 Vladimir Troyanovskiy $207,940

6 Randy Kritzer $153,920

7 Ken Demlakian $110,220

8 Timothy Ulmer $78,540 

 

Lookout Floyd Mayweather..Sorel Mizzi is in town!

After having earned a reputation for his poker skills, the poker pro showed his ability in the boxing ring recently.

In the last week of 2015, Mizzi took on Brian Rast in a boxing match in order to raise cash for charity. The poker heavyweights also wanted to determine the outcome of a personal wager they had agreed upon before.

So there we had it. The 34-year-old Rast was set to battle it out with 29-year-old Mizzi for a noble cause at the Syndicate Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas. To make matters more interesting, the bout was screened live via Poker Central. Pre-fight.

The shorter Mizzi was in shape and definitely more muscular than Rast. This turned out to his advantage in fight that was scheduled for a maximum of four rounds.

However, the bout didn't go the distance as Mizzi won in round 3. Rast was knocked down five times, which compelled the referee decided to signal the end.

Though both men were short on technique, their spirit and objective was lauded. The dup heaped praise on one another after the fight, which provided great entertainment to the spectators.

 The fight resulted in collection worth $8,500 for ‘Raising for Effective Giving’ (REG). Irrespective of who won on the night, it was wonderful to witness so many people coming together to contribute to a very worthy cause. Now that's what you call ending the year on a good note.

The iconic Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) of PokerStars is scheduled between January 21-31. The event guarantees $15 million in prizes and back for its fifth edition, which will comprise of 50 fast paced tournaments.

The 2016 season will kick off with a three-phase tournament, culminating in a $1.5 million guaranteed event.

January 7 – 21, players will have the chance to qualify for the Phase 3 of the TCOOP. This can be done by playing as many Phase 1 and Phase 2 events until they make it to the final Phase that will be conducted on January 21. In order to make it easier for players in the middle of a hectic schedule, the duration of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 events will be around one hour.

The biggest attraction of the poker series will be coveted $700 buy-in Main Event that is scheduled for January 31 and boasts of a cool $2 million guarantee.

Also, the event will feature a Progressive Ultra-Knockout Tournament (where 75% of the buy-in goes to knockout prize money) and a Hyper-Turbo, Deep, One Rebuy One Add-on tournament that have before been only seen in satellite games.

“The turbo structures, coupled with the range of games and formats, keeps things fun and interesting every day. Plus, with each tournament only lasting a few hours, it’s a great way to try and get a big score in a short space of time”  said Team PokerStars Pro Online member, Mickey ‘mement_mori’ Petersen in a media release.

You can take part in the online qualifiers to every event in TCOOP at a meager $0.11. The StarsCoin satellites are available from just 1 StarsCoin.

 

In a bid to further embolden recreational players online poker giant PokerStars implemented key changes to its policy on usage of third-party poker software.

The changes include prohibition on seating scripts, minimum use of HUDs and prevention of data mining on the PokerStars website.

According to Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars VP of Corporate Communications, the changes were essential in order to retain the basic nature of the game as “battle of wits and a test of heart.”

As the company continues in efforts to stop third party sites from datamining its games, Zoom games seem to have benefited from it, while the same cannot be stated with regards to the Spin and Gos.

A recent forum post on TwoPlusTwo by “1v1″ read:

“EVERY PokerStars Spin and Go within 30 seconds has 2 viewers appear and stay for the duration of the match from .50-100$. It is data mining 500%. PokerStars HAS acknowledged this indirectly with a boilerplate response regarding data mining as a whole.”

The user also urged the Amaya-owned company to issue an official statement as to why datamining was still rampant on PokerStars. The company had earlier made a public announcement on November 1 with regards to restrictions on use of third party software.

PokerStars Ring Game Manager Baard Dahl said ‘there are sites that collect data from all our games’, and that they are working towards finding a solution for this particular problem.

However, there appears to be no instant solution in sight as Dahl confessed that it isn’t “as easy as flicking a switch”. He also suggested that PokerStars was hoping to ‘roll out a solution for the Spin & Gos in Q1 of 2016.’

There is never 100% in the world of iGaming. Just like customers, brands too have to deal with evolving technology. PokerStars is now faced with another challenge and hopefully for them and their players, they will overcome it just like previous years.

Online poker giant PokerStars launched its new sportsbook brand called BetStars.

However, the company for now is offering sportsbook to only specific number of separate online platform on Betstars.com, Betstars.eu, and Betstars.uk, Android and iOS applications.

Customers of PokerStars can gain access to BetStars from the online poker client itself.

Speaking about this new launch, national Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said: 

“We’re applying the same dedication and passion we have for poker to sports betting, and intend to create an authentic, world-class offering. The BetStars brand will build on this passion and provide a safe, trustworthy and, most importantly, exciting environment for sports fans.”

BetStars for now is operational for specific markets like sports, including soccer, tennis and basketball. Other popular sports including horse racing and will be added next year.

The senior management at PokerStars is looking to leverage its huge player base to promote BetStars. Going forward, they also intend to run marketing campaigns to acquire new players to site. 

“The brand will also feature a range of in-play betting options and exclusive offers and promotions that sports bettors expect from a world-class online sportsbook,” read a company statement.

Many experts believe the Amaya-owned company stands to benefit from this new launch, as their customers are likely to try their luck at the virtual tables as well.

As the new year dawns, it remains to be seen whether BetStars will further enhance brand PokerStars or will it not make much of a difference to an already established market leader.

Online poker giant PokerStars announced has signed up Jaime Staples as a member of online pro team. Before joining the Team PokerStars Online Pro, the Canadian was a ‘Friend of PokerStars’.

The young gun has made $9,869 from live tournaments so far, but has turned out to be a sensation at online poker having accumulated $627,385. Most of his earnings online have come at PokerStars.

Having discovered his love for poker just five years ago, the 23-year-old wanted to pursue a career in golf to begin with.

In his short career as a poker pro, some of Staples' biggest wins includes a first place finish at the PokerStars Big $109 for $19,000 and a fifth place finish at the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up for $22,000. Both his best performances have arrived in 2015.

Following in the footsteps of Jason Somerville, Jaime Staples too has taken to Twitch like a fish takes to water.

His Twitch channel - PokerStaples - has 49,298 followers, and 2,755,677 views and is a certified hit amongst recreational players.

With the Amaya Gaming-owned site now shifting focus on younger audiences, Staples is being seen as the perfect choice by the company.

 “[Twitch Poker streaming] is simple to get off the ground. But to improve, you may need to outsource some of your work,” says the Alberta resident.

PokerStars announced their decision to sign Staples in Prague at the European Poker Tour. Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand Grospellier, Randy Lew, and Maria Ho were some of the site's top pros that welcomed Staples to the PokerStars family.

Staples will be in action next on December 19. Fans can tune in to this Twitch stream on Sunday to keep a table on his exploits as he begins his new journey at PokerStars.

In a development that could have widespread repercussions for online gaming in US, Nevada Gaming Commission is currently probing the illegal use of a HUD (Heads-Up Display) by a player while playing on WSOP.com.

As per rules that govern Nevada’s regulated iPoker sites, use of such is banned. Violation of this state law can be prosecuted under category B felony, carrying a potential fine of up to $10,000, or between one and six years in prison.

The incident in question occurred when Tommy Chen (‘Tcblade’) was live streaming action at WSOP.com on Twitch. Playing under the screen “BTCBLADE” at the time, fellow pro Randy Dorfman spotted Chen's HUD.

Dorfman then sought an explanation from WSOP, as he took to Twitter to question the company's Head of Online Poker Bill Rini.

Randy Dorfman “@billrini @Kevmath point is players r accessing 3rd party software. If u can’t police HUDS then u hv to make them LEGAL until u can detect it.”

Bill Rini “@RandyDorfman @Kevmath The NV GCB made them illegal. We can’t just make them legal because 1 guy was caught using one… Randy, we decided to warn. Again, you’re free to disagree.”

Nevada gambling statute NRS 465.075 also applies to land-based casinos as well as online gaming.

Citing violation of terms of service, WSOP suspended the Twitch account of BTCBLADE and referred the incident to the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC). Since November 22, Chen hasn't use his WSOP.com account.

This incident highlights how a trust deficit has led to a decline in number of recreational players at online poker sites.

“The image of a grinder using data analysis to make his decisions is not the experience we want to sell. We want to sell entertainment, and a recreational experience.. HUDs don’t provide that,” says Global Poker Index CEO Alexandre Dreyfus.

 

Ben Winsor emerged victorious at the 2015 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour Grand Final, as he beat a strong field of 321 players. Winsor earned a cool £178,600 ($269,597) for his efforts.

With solid participation, a prize pool worth £642,000 ($969,100) was created, which smashed the tournament’s guarantee of £400,000.

His latest win took the 27-year-old's career earnings to $557,626. Commenting on his victory, Winsor said:

"I thought I was going to have a big win this year and luckily it has come right at the end. I had been making final tables throughout the year but only really just ticking over. I had quite a downward patch in Las Vegas for a month over the summer but last weekend was great.”

With 30 paid money spots, notable names like Jason Wheeler in 29th (£4,500), Richard Ashby in 21st (£5,100), Sergio Aido in 19th (£5,800), and Adrian Mateos in 15th (£7,100) earned a return on their investment.

Nine players made it to the final table, with Winsor as chip leader with a stack of 1.8 million stack. After a series of eliminations, it boiled down to a face-off between Winsor and Alex Zervos. The former held a 3:1 chip lead over the latter.

The heads-up was a protracted battle and final hand of the game was played when Zervos moved all-in preflop holding 10-9. Winsor made the call with K-Q. The board ran A-6-Q-8-9 to condemn Alex Zervos to a runner-up finish for £118,100, while Ben Winsor was crowned champion.

“My Dad did not really get involved in the decision and has been supportive. My mum was more cautious. Until this win, I was probably going to have to start looking for a job. My family were really happy when I told them the news. They are already asking what presents I’m going to get them for Christmas,” Winsor further added.

Final Table Results:

1 Ben Winsor £178,600

Alex Zervos £118,100

3 James Akenhead £72,500

4 Patrick Frew £46,300

5 Ronaldo Amirahiri £31,400

6 Simon Deadman £23,100

7 Alex Zeligman £18,000

8 Mikhail Petrov £14,800

9 Will Davies £12,200 

 

Michael Dentale beat a strong field of 557 players to win the $2,700 buy-in Borgata Fall Poker Open Championship $336,331. Playing solid poker through the course of four days, Dentale took his career earnings to $1,246,138.

His previous best was a runner-up finish at the 2013 Parx Casino Big Stax II for $101,800.

The 2015 Borgata Fall Poker Open Championship drew a decent crowd to create a prize pool of a cool $1.3 million. Some of the notable names that managed to earn a return on their investment included Will “The Thrill” Failla in 36th ($6,754), Vinny Pahuja in 30th ($6,754), Aaron Mermelstein in 19th ($7,429), Joe McKeehen in 15th ($13,507), and Orson Young in 12th ($17,559).

Nine players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations, it was left between Dentale and Jason Paster to fight it out for the title. However, in an anticlimax of sorts, Dentale ended his opponents challenge in the heads-up in matter of just two hands.

With that crushing win, Dentale was crowned Borgata Fall Poker Open Championship winner, while Paster had to settle for a second place finish for $189,102.

Final Table Results:

1 Mike Dentale $336,331

2 Jason Paster $189,102

3 Henry Lu $121,656

4 Scott Matte $96,577

5 Chris Tryba $75,641

6 Sang Kim $62,133

7 Taylor Von Kriegenberg $49,301

8 Richie Tenenbaum $38,496

9 Theo Nerantzinis $27,015

The Borgata Fall Poker Open, now in its 5th year, was conducted from November 10-25. The 16-day event comprised of 20 events with buy-ins ranging from $230 up to the $2,700. Residents of the state of New Jersey were also given a chance to win their seats via the BorgataPoker.com website through online qualifiers as low as $5. 

Poker legend Phil Ivey, playing under his  “RaiseOnce” screen name, dropped $417,602 this past week on PokerStars

The American logged 6,100 hands during that period, as per HighstakesDB’s data.

Ivey wasn’t that only big name to perform badly, as the likes of Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (-$282,040), “ClockWyze” (-$134,579) and Ilari “Ilari FIN” Sahamies (-$104,440) too didn’t have a good week.

However, “Crazy Elior” ($346,429), Ben “Ben86” Tollerene ($166,108), “BERRI SWEET” ($154,714), “CrownUpGuy” ($132,546) and “Colisea” ($122,436) were the big winners.

Even Patrik “Fake Love888” Antonius ($82,481), Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky ($66,206), Dan “w00ki3z” Cates ($52,130) and Ronny “1-ronnyr3” Kaiser ($50,744) posted profits this past week,

The 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, BERRI SWEET and PokerStars account “fjutekk” were on Monday involved in one of the biggest hands during the week.

It was a $158,000 pot at $200-$400 pot-limit Omaha. BERRI SWEET got things going with a raise to $1,700 that prompted Kaiser to fold on the button. Fjutekk three-bet to $5,900 from the small blind and that was followed by a call by Ivey from the big blind.

BERRI SWEET four-bet to $23,000 and the dup called without having much behind. The flop was Qs, 10s, 2d.

Fjutekk and Ivey went all in for $24,000 and $32,000 respectively. BERRI SWEET made the call.

The turn and river were 7d and 7c respectively.

Fjutekk flopped mid-set, while Ivey had a second-nut-flush draw and gut-shot straight draw. BERRI SWEET was drawing just one ace in the deck to give him a better set.

Ivey is now down $1,250,806 and $2,381,013 on Full Tilt and PokerStars respectively in 2015.