Still No Guarantee of Full Tilt Player Refunds

November 30, 2011

Attorney Jeff Ifrah, representing Full Tilt Poker, says that US players still owed money by Full Tilt may be reluctant to make a claim to procure their lost funds due to the fear of taxation. Ifrah has requested on behalf of these wronged players that US authorities go easy on these players and to allow them to make claim to and receive their cash without being crazy taxed.

Ifrah says, “Players need some encouragement to submit their claims as some may be concerned about action from the IRS.”

Once the French investment firm Grope Bernard Tapie reached an agreement with the DOJ to allow the sale of Full Tilt Poker to go through, Ifrah says the US government will establish a fund to oversee the payback to the former US players of Full Tilt of the millions of dollars still owed to them. However, Ifrah says there are other issues that will have to be resolved before claims can be made. For instance, motions filed by Full Tilt Poker board members against the US government will have to be attended to, though these motions are expected to eventually be dropped.

There is still about $150 million in payment still owed by Full Tilt to its players, and it has still not been decided how much of this amount will be repaid, nor does the takeover of the company by Groupe Bernard Tapie guarantee any money will be refunded at all.

The terms of the deal state that some of the money still sitting in bank accounts that are associated with Full Tilt Poker will be returned to the buyer when the sale is complete. The intention is to “bring this matter to a complete resolution as soon as possible.”

Toby Maguire Settles in Illegal High-Stakes Poker Lawsuit

November 30, 2011

Earlier this year, Hollywood A-lister Toby Maguire was one of 22 people who was sued for winning cash while playing illegal poker games associated with convicted Ponzi Scheme con artist and Beverly Hills hedge fund manager Brad Ruderman, the CEO of Ruderman Capital Partners. The parties filed papers in bankruptcy court Wednesday that reveal Maguire has agreed to pay more than $80K in order to be dropped from the litigation that is ongoing in an attempt to collect money for those victimized by the fraudulent scheme.

Maguire was one of many Hollywood participators in the high-stakes poker games at the Beverly Hills hotel with Ruderman. Ruderman has since been convicted of investment and wire fraud and is serving out his sentence in a Texas prison. Meanwhile, a trustee of the company is trying to collect the $25 million that had been allegedly lost in the poker games.

Other celebrities named in the suit include Gabe Kaplan, Nick Cassavetes (director of The Notebook), and Cody Leibel (record label owner). Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio were tied to $50K buy-in games, but were not targeted by the lawsuit.

According to reports, Maguire won at least $300K playing poker, but according to the judge, the poker winnings were considered ill-gotten gains from the unknowing clients of Ruderman as the games were not licensed.

The agreement was signed by Maguire on November 18th and is subject to approval by the judge on December 21st.

10th Anniversary High Roller Event Announced at PokerStars

November 28, 2011

Another groundbreaking celebratory event at PokerStars has been announced to commemorate the online poker site’s 10th anniversary. This time it’s a very special $10k High Roller tourney that will take place on December 18th and feature a guaranteed prize of $500K for the first place winner.

The buy-in will set you back about $10,300, but the payout is worth the risk. The event starts at 15:30 ET, the same day that the $10 Million Sunday Million takes place. So play in one or both or just watch from the action from the sidelines. The High Roller event is sure to attract some of the biggest players in online poker.

Ten Years of WCOOP

November 18, 2011

When PokerStars saw its 100th sign up back in 2002, the excitement spawned the idea for an online tournament to the likes of the World Series of Poker. So was born the World Championship of Online Poker. PokerStars hosted the first WCOOP in 2002 which consisted of an impressive nine events. The first event, a $109 Limit Hold ‘em, attracted 656 players and was won by “fingaz,” who won the first ever WCOOP title and $15,000 for his efforts. A week later, Sweden’s “MultiMarine” won the first WCOOP Main Event, which saw a player field of 656 players. He took ho me $65,450. Those were the good old days of online poker.

Since 2002, when the total prize money divvied out totaled more than $266 million, the WCOOP has grown to substantial levels, with dozens of events hosted each year, and in 2010, the Main Event alone awarded more than $12 million. It is a force to be reckoned with, and these stats just prove that Internet poker isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Next year, the WCOOP will run for its 11th time, and this year, PokerStars turns 10. Both are impressive numbers, especially in this online gambling economy and considering everything the sport has been through.

Only three people in the history of the WCOOP have won three bracelets at the event. Those three would be Team PokerStars Online pro Anders “Donal” Berg, Daniel “djk123” Kelly, and Ryan “g0lfa” D’Angelo. It is one of the more prestigious titles in poker.

It is doubtful that the 2012 WCOOP will be any less than ever. Here’s to 10 years of PokerStars!

Don’t miss out on any of the 10th anniversary promotions going on at PokerStars right now.

PKR Signs Triple Crown Winner Jake Cody

November 18, 2011

On the heels of the Scott Shelley joining the team member, another player, UK’s Jake Cody, takes the title for the newest Team PKR sponsored pro. Cody, 22, is the youngest winner of poker’s Triple Crown. He has won first place titles at the World Poker Tour, the European Poker Tour, and the World Series of Poker. He is one of the most successful tournament players in the world and will now be representing the world’s first 3-D online poker room, the innovative PKR Poker.

Cody is actually only one of four players ever to hold the Triple Crown title, along with Bertrand Grospellier, Roland de Wolfe, and Gavin Griffin. Cody also placed 7th in the WSOP Europe Main Event this year.

Other Team PKR pro members include Sascha “locodice” Walter, Sofia “welllbet” Lovgren, Vladimir “Beyne” Geshkenbein, and Marc “Waswini” Bariller. Shelley, who was recently inducted into the PKR pro club, won a WSOP Europe back in 2010, who along with Cody, will bring some fresh attention to the PKR brand, especially at live events.

Cody says, “I’m very excited about joining Team PKR Pro. I’ve been patient with sponsorship, waiting for the right deal to come along. When I spoke to PKR I was really impressed with the whole setup and the ideas that they have going forward, and I knew straight away I wanted to be part of it! It’s a great site to be involved with right now and I think I can help take it to the next level.”

Intrastate License in Nevada as soon as February

November 17, 2011

Come February of 2012, Nevada will start accepting applications from Internet poker sites according to a Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) announcement. Investigations into interested companies will be conducted by the NGCB, and the process is expected to take several months. For those companies that already hold land-based casino licensure in the state of Nevada, the process will possibly be less drawn out.

One of the biggest requirements of the intrastate license will be to assure the NGCB that the possible online gambling site will not only prevent non-Nevadans from gambling for money on the site, but will also keep minors from participating in real money bets as well.

Despite the fact that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act prohibits online payment processors from processing transactions for online betting operations, there are loopholes for Internet transfers of funds for intrastate gambling operations.

This will be the first step in a long road that analysts believe will lead the rest of the nation in legalized and regulated intrastate Internet gambling, which many hope will ultimately lead to the merger of the possible US market as a whole with the global online gambling market. This will all be even more probable as the US government looks for more ways to increase tax revenue.

Who Is Pius Heinz?

November 11, 2011

When 22-year-old Pius Heinz became the first German to win the WSOP Championship title, he became an instant hero in his country. Since his win, he’s been bombarded with media attention in Germany, where they are referring to him as the “Poker Pope.”

Being compared to other German sports legends like Boris Becker, Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, and Martin Kaymer, Heinz is being hailed as a sports hero in Germany. Born in Swisttal, Bonn started playing poker about four years ago after watching it on late night TV. He was studying economic psychology in Cologne before moving to Vienna to take up poker full time in August of this year.

Online, Heinz is known as “MastP89,” and before he walked into the November Nine, he hadn’t had many tournament results. He did win the Sunday Mulligan at Full Tilt back in 2010 and won $61K for the first place finish, and he also won $29K for a PokerStars $150K Guarantee also in 2010, but that was about it. Despite this though, he managed to work his way through 6,864 opponents in the Main Event which started back in July.

To prepare for the final table showdown, Heinz worked out with mental and fitness coaches and went on a nutritional diet. He brought 25 of his buds to cheer him on in white hoodies in Las Vegas, and apparently all the preparation and good luck wishes worked.

While Heinz is the first German to win the WSOP Main Event, he’s not the first to make the final table. Back in 2001, Henry Nowakowski from Frankfurt lost to Carlos Mortensen (Ecuador). And Heinz is part of a new trend in poker that has been developing since the emergence of online poker—the young guns. He is the second youngest to win the championship title behind the US’s Joey Cada who won in 2009 just before his 22nd birthday. Other young guns to win the WSOP include Jonathan Duhamel in 2010, also from the US, and Denmark’s 25-year-old Peter Eastgate who won the title in 2008.
After winning, Heinz’s Facebook status read, “I hereby proudly announce that I am the 2011 World Champion of Poker!! I did it for Germany.”

In an interview, Heinz stated, “The feeling of course is unbelievably good—but sometimes difficult to realize. I am proud to represent my country, and the support that I received from Germany was overwhelming.”

When asked what he had planned for the money he won, Heinz said h hoped to help pay for his sister’s education, buy a house for his mom, and purchase a watch for himself. He’s likely to have a lot left over.

Just before winning the WSOP, Heinz signed a sponsorship deal with PokerStars and is now a Team PokerStars Pro and will play online and around the world representing the online poker site that apparently knows how to pick a winner.

Cake Poker Network Allows the Use of Poker Tracking Software

November 11, 2011

Cake Poker has announced that they will allow HUDs on the site, or Heads-Up Displays in spite of their previous opposition to poker tracking systems. After agreeing to test the viability of software used to track online poker stats back in July, the analysis has proved that they are in fact useful and have since been reinstated on the site as of November 9th. Now the online poker tracker software system that urged Cake Poker to do the viability test, PokerTracker, and Hold ‘em Manager, also a poker tracking system, will be allowed on the network by players.

The purpose of HUDs is to provide a multitude of useful data regarding online poker players’ betting patterns and other stats. These applications are used by many players, mostly by those who play a lot of online poker to keep tabs on the competition. These systems allow players to get more info in a short amount of time, so that they can play and bet accordingly.

Some online poker sites such as Bodog have been opposed to the use of these types of software and will introduce new software that will block the use of such systems. Bodog’s argument is that they are a recreational site and do not support professional poker playing; and therefore, there is no need for poker tracking by its players. Microgaming has also fought poker tracking systems by introducing anonymous cash tables for which player tracking systems are of no use due to the fact that players are not identified.

Despite the fact that the Cake Poker Network is allowing the use of HUDs, they also allow players to change their player names once per seven days, eliminating tracking for more than one week. Players can simply change their name and prevent an accumulation of data attached to their username.

Controversy Regarding PokerStars 70 Billionth Hand Winner

November 10, 2011

At precisely 1:01 a.m. ET on PokerStars at a $0.25/$0.50 NLH heads-up table, the 70 billionth hand was dealt at the online poker site, ending the 70 billionth hand promotion that had been running at PokerStars to commemorate the event.

However, it didn’t take long after the hand finished for a scandal to surface. PokerStars players DodgeUrOuts and koenigskeba both had $25 chip stacks, which they both immediately shoved, and koenigskeba’s A/J won out over DodgeUrOuts’ suited K/5. Players on the rail surveyed the table’s hand history, and as far back as they could see, the players in the small blind had folded to the big blind, making many believe that the two players were colluding in an attempt to rack up as many hands as possible in hopes of making the 70 billionth hand and winning the $70K promotional prize.

Promotion terms reserved the right for PokerStars to revoke the prize based on the following:

“During the Promotion, strict rules regarding player behaviour will be enforced. PokerStars reserves the right to take action against any player found to be abusing any aspect of the Promotion. Such action includes, but is not limited to, exclusion or suspension from the Promotion or from the Client, and the confiscation of rewards earned as a result of the abuse. The decision on what activity constitutes abuse of the Promotion lies with PokerStars management in its sole discretion.”

However, PokerStars rewarded koenigskeba with a $73,380 prize despite the allegations. DodgeUrOuts claimed less than $1,700.

When asked for a comment, a PokerStars rep emailed the following statement:

“We have reviewed the circumstances around the winning hand, and have determined that while this practice of ‘fast-folding’ may not be in the spirit of the promotion, it does not violate the rules and regulations of the promotion. As such, we have honored our promotional award. Please note, we are reviewing the format of the promotion to try to minimize this kind of activity in future milestone hand promotions. We’ll provide more information on this in the near future.”

iPoker’s Poker Encore Signs UK’s James Williams

November 10, 2011

iPoker Network skin Poker Encore has expanded its pro roster recently with the addition of UK’s James Williams. Williams is also known as LJAMESL at the NLH cash games who anyone who has played with him knows is a force to be reckoned with. The buzz is that the 25-year-old poker pro started his online poker career with a mere $20 deposit from which he built up his bankroll with more than $200K in winnings and now plays regularly at the $10/$20 tables. He also plays in live tournaments as well, but mostly plays online poker.

Williams’ biggest win yet was in 2009 when he came in second to Priyan de Mel at the GUKPT Blackpool Main Event and won £52,400. He also won the Sky Poker Tour Grand Final back in September taking home a £22,264 paycheck.

Poker Encore co-founder Karl Mahrenholz says, “I first played with James 2-3 years ago and recognized the raw talent he had. Not only is he a fearless player, but he plays the game with a great attitude, which is so important to make it in the poker world.”

Williams himself describes his play style as aggressive and admits he makes some crazy moves. It is harder and harder these days though to find a poker pro who stays humble and plays “with a great attitude,” so it is a refreshing treat to hear of a success story like Williams.

The Poker Encore sponsored pro team already includes Simon “Amatay” Jones, Paul “Action” Jackson, and Constantine Paparestis.

Also on the iPoker Network are William Hill Poker, Titan Poker, and ChiliPoker.

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