May 30, 2012
The 2012 World Series of Poker is well underway, and the first gold bracelet of the year has been awarded to Event #1 Casino Employees Championship winner Chip Saechao. The 35-year-old Blackjack dealer from California, who came to the US from Thailand at the age of 15, beat out 731 other players, down from last year’s 850 registrants. Whether or not a slight decrease in participation will be a repeating pattern throughout the remainder of the series is yet to be determined.
Saechao, won $70,859 in addition to the coveted WSOP bracelet, while the $43,754 second place prize went to Floridian Patricia Baker, who would have broken the four-year run of all male bracelet winners since Vanessa Selbst won a WSOP bracelet in the Ladies World Championship.
Saechao said of his trophy, “I plan to wear it and show it off. Not too many can come over here to Las Vegas and go back home with this.”
At first, he only intended to play cash games during this year’s WSOP, but a last minute change of heart led him to go for the gold, and it’s a good thing he did.
Meanwhile, speaking of Selbst, she has the fifth highest chip stack in Event #2 $1,500 NLH and remains as one of the 15 left out of the 2,101-deep player field. The chip leader in this event is Jacob Bazeley. Also underway are Event #3 $3,000 Heads-Up NLH/PLO Mix and Event #4 $1,500 Seven Card Stud H/L Split tourneys.
May 26, 2012
The 2012 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, fondly referred to as SCOOP, was a record breaking tournament series with three Main Event winners across three buy-in levels (low, medium, and high), crowned last week. The tournament was a major success, even without US players, with countries from all over the world represented.
The $10,300 Main Event High winner was Costa Rican Nick ‘GripDsNutz’ Grippo, who won in a heads up play-off with Canada’s ‘sp00led,’ awarding Grippo with a first-place payout at just under $800K after a three-way deal was made. Second and third place, ‘sp00led’ and ‘sosickPL,’ respectively, both walked with $718K after 514 other players were defeated and a total prize pool of $5.17 million was divvied up.
The $1,050 Main Event Medium saw Bulgarian ‘suarez_BG’ make a huge comeback to win more than $500K after outplaying more than 3,500 players and his final heads-up opponent Denmark’s ‘ministerborg,’ event 21-high winner, who won $417+K for his second-place win.
And finally, the Main Event Low title, which featured a $109 buy-in, was taken by Greece’s ‘john_tri80,’ after he outlasted 22,128 players and earned a $198+K first place payout that was part of a split-deal with second-place ‘FrandsenDK,’ who won $187K for his efforts.
May 26, 2012
PokerStars was recently named as one of the Best Workplaces in the UK by the Great Place to Work Institute, the biggest consulting firm in the world specializing in workplace assessment and enhancement. To determine the best places to work, the institute surveys employees annually and performs cultural audits of about 5,500 organizations globally, representing some 10 million employees. Companies are then ranked within their country based on workplace values including respect, fairness, credibility, camaraderie, and pride.
PokerStars, which employs around 1,200 people globally, half of which are UK-based offices in London as well as the Isle of Man. Some of the factors that make PokerStars stand out include impressive employee benefits, as well as perks, a diverse workforce, and their high number of developmental opportunities for employees..
PokerStars director of HR Lynn Hunter says, “As a fast-growing company, attracting and retaining talented people is critical to our business, so we are dedicated to ensuring our employees are well supported, nurtured and rewarded. This is the first time we’ve participated in the Great Place to Work survey, so it’s especially gratifying to know that our efforts are contributing to the success of our business, and that employees consider PokerStars to be a Great Place to Work.”
CEO for Great Place to Work Tom O’Byrne says, “This has been a particularly good year for the Best Workplaces list. The standard of entry has been particularly high so getting a place on the list is a significant achievement. We assess and select the best workplaces by examining how management create trust in the workplace through various policies, practices and initiatives.” He adds, “But the real measure of whether an organization is a great place to work is whether employees say it is.”
With more than 49 million registered players globally and more than 80 billion poker hands played since it opened its virtual doors in 2001, PokerStars is the world’s biggest online poker site, breaking record after record (at this point they break their own records). The recently wrapped up 2012 SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) had more than half a million players compete for more than $65 million in prizes.
May 21, 2012
After the latest installment of PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker, also known as SCOOP, the series has officially become the largest online poker tournament series ever.
SCOOPS awarded a total prize pot of $65,332,179, beating the previous record from 2010 set at $64,230,010, proving that online poker may not have seen its best year in 2011, but its back in full force. The payouts at the 2012 SCOOP series went out across 120 tourneys with 40 events at each of three levels: low, medium, and high.
PokerStars reported that its own record for total registrants was also broken with 526,154 participants. The previous highest record was also from 2010 with 461,936 registered players. In this year’s SCOOP, players from a total of 156 countries participated.
The Main Event stats across the three levels follow: the Low buy-in for the Main Event was $109 with 22,128 registrants; the Medium Main Event saw a $1,050 buy-in with 3,567 registrants; and the High was a $10,300 buy-in with a mere 517 enrolled.
It looks like PokerStars survived Black Friday after all.
May 21, 2012
Jason Arasheben, jewelry designer, has been chosen by the World Series of Poker organization to design the new WSOP Main Event bracelet for 2012, as well as 66 additional championship bracelelts that will be awarded through the WSOP and WSOP Europe.
“Jason of Beverly Hills” has become the gold standard for jewelry design for sports and entertainment celebrities. He has designed two world championship rings for the LA Lakers as well as custom jewelry for stars like Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Diddy, and Katy Perry. Athletes Dwayne Wade, Matt Kemp, and LeBron James have also sported one-of-a-kind, lavish diamond masterpieces by Arasheben.
Jason of Beverly Hills has promised to produce the best yet to celebrate 2012 WSOP victors. Executive Director of the WSOP Ty Stewart says, “Blinger is Better. Jason grasped the heritage of WSOP bracelets, but was only interested if he could take it up several notches. This is a trophy that truly embodies the promise of today’s WSOP—seemingly unthinkable dreams are dealt each year. I challenge anyone to keep a poker face when they see this bracelet in person.”
After studying at UCLA, Arasheben began perfecting the art of jewelry making, and his talent and hard work earned him worldwide recognition for his outlandish pieces that have become highly sought after by those looking to make a statement through expensive jewelry.
Jason of Beverly Hills says, “We are honored to have the opportunity to create this masterpiece for the World Series of Poker and it will go down as the most expensive piece of championship jewelry across all major sports. We will tour this bracelet in our Las Vegas and Beverly Hills boutique so the world can bear witness to this historic work of art.”
The WSOP Main Event bracelet will include a collection of hand-picked round cut diamonds of the highest quality with the four card suits in rubies and black diamonds. The bracelet will consist of more than 35 carats of flawless diamonds set in 160 grams of 14 karat gold. Now the most coveted bracelet in poker will be even more precious than ever before thanks to Jason Arasheben.
May 14, 2012
The PokerStars 2012 Spring Championship of Online Poker, or SCOOP, has not been without its fair share of action. Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb has now won his third title, making him just one multi-title SCOOP winner this year. Just a few days ago, Viktor Blom won his second title of the year.
Deeb’s first win of 2012 came in Event #10 when he won $44,200 and the second in Event #19. Both games were stud tournaments. In the later tourney, Deeb beat out 67 other players, who collectively drove the prize pool up to $136K. Deeb walked with $41,600 for his first place finish. Other registered players included Team PokerStars players George Lind III, Bertrand Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov, Ville Wahlbeck, George Danzer, Anders Berg, Nacho Barbero, and Martin Staszko, all of whom Deeb outlasted.
After his victory, Deeb tweeted, “Another SCOOP title for me. Super tough and long three-hour match with Stevie and @EugeneKatchalov. Both played well, but turned down a +EV chop.”
Since Black Friday, 26-year-old Deeb, who is originally from New York, has continued playing online poker out of Mexico and has earned nearly $5.5 million in online tournaments alone, as well as more than $745K in live tourneys. He’s been playing poker since the age of 16, and like many other pro poker players, Deeb wisely dropped out of college to pursue a career in professional poker. During his first week of playing online poker, he turned $30 into $33,000. This is another great one to watch in the upcoming weeks as he prepares for the World Series of Poker. Like Blom, he will undoubtedly make at least a couple final tables and likely go on to win a bracelet or three.
May 11, 2012
PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, otherwise known as SCOOP, started up this past weekend, and PokerStars Pro and Swedish superplayer Viktor “Isildur1” Blom has already won two events and sits on a $407,200 payout thus far.
The 2012 edition of SCOOP is the biggest online poker tournament series anywhere with 40 various tourneys, each set up with three buy-in levels—low, medium, and high—to accommodate players of all bankroll abilities.
Blom’s first title came Monday night when he won the medium buy-in Event 2, the $215 NLH. He beat out more than 8,000 other players and won the $247,200 first place cash prize. His second win was on Tuesday night when he won the high-stakes Event #3 NLH 6-Max with rebuys. In this event, he beat 485 other players and won a $160K prize.
Blom is originally from Dals-Ed, but now he lives in London.
Another high-stakes poker player from Sweden, who is known only by “Sussie Smith,” was knocked out by Blom in fourth place, receiving a $60,800 prize purse.
Just before SCOOP started, Blom tweeted: “Gon bad in cash games lately, so looking forward to play many nice scoops now!” And that’s just what he is doing. With his PCA $100K High Roller win in January, Blom has a total of $1.3 million in tourney winnings for this year alone. Not bad for a 21-year-old. After sparking interest within the poker community with his mystery identity in 2010, and then revealing himself as a PokerStars Pro and appearing live at the PCA 2011 after much speculation over who he was, over the past year, he’s established himself as one of the top tournament players in the world.
Blom will be making his World Series of Poker debut in Las Vegas within the next couple weeks, where it is very likely he will win a WSOP bracelet or two.
SCOOP continues at PokerStars through May 20th.
May 11, 2012
It’s Black-Friday-esque in Belgium, as the country adds more online poker sites to a list of blocked service providers. In the latest campaign to tighten up on online gambling regulations, the Belgium Gaming Commission has blocked some of the most beloved sites providing online poker services to residents of the country such as Bwin, William Hill, Stan James, Betsson, Betfair, Betclic, and Bet-at-home. Previously blacklisted were Titan, 888, and Everest, despite the fact that some of the sites offer Belgium-specific gateways. Internet service providers are now required to block Belgian Internet users from accessing any of these websites, all of which offer real money online poker.
The Belgian government claims they are only acting in this way to protect the interests of the citizens of Belgium from unlicensed and illegal websites. By blacklisting these companies, it opens up opportunity for those brands that do apply for licensure to operate within the country legally.
May 11, 2012
Poker pro Barry Greenstein urged Barack Obama via Twitter to consider the rights of poker players as passionately as he has the right to gay marriage after the president announced Wednesday that he would continue to back gay marriage in the US. Greenstein tweeted, “@barackobama admitted he things gays should have equal rights. Will he also admit poker players deserve their personal freedom?”
Known as the “Robin Hood of Poker,” 57-year-old Greenstein is a three-time WSOP bracelet winner and three-time WPT winner, who has donated every penny of his winnings to various children’s charities—a sum that totals around $8 million.
While Greenstein believes that after Black Friday, politicians are not willing to publicly back Internet poker, though things are slowing moving in the right direction since the DOJ had a change of heart regarding online poker last year. But the slow go of the federal government is no match for the faster paced state governments looking towards intrastate poker to fulfill financial needs not met by current tax revenue.
Many passionate poker players will agree with Greenstein’s comments, but Stuart Hoegner, gaming solicitor and accountant, sees the other side. PokerNewsReport reported that Hoegner said, “My problem is with the implication that the two rights are somehow equivalent. I support both rights, but they aren’t the same, nor are they equivalent. One is a fundamental issue of civil rights and human dignity.”
Hoegner finds faults in comparing a discriminating law that is based on someone’s sexual orientation with the right to play online poker, though he does give merit to the economic and personal freedom rights of an individual to log on to an online poker site and play poker.
Hoegner also points out that he doesn’t think Greenstein really thought the tweet through before he posted it. On the other hand though, it’s a social forum in which people are urged to post their opinion. It’s not meant to be taken so seriously, most of the time.
May 8, 2012
PokerStars SuperStar Showdown has been a popular promotion over the past one and half years since it was introduced to get the attention of fans as these heads-up face-offs pit Viktor “Isildur1″ Blom against whoever feels confident enough to go heads up with the Internet poker sensation. PokerStars has now created a new high-stakes promotional feature, the Limit Hold ‘em Challenge to spark the interest of players in limit hold ‘em.
Unlike the SuperStar Showdown, though, in which players must step up and accept the challenge, in the Limit Hold ‘em Challenge, only invited players will get to take part in the high stakes action. The first installment took place over the past weekend when Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu took on mystery guest “rUaBot.” Both players began with a $75K bankroll and set down at two heads-up $200/$400 tables of limit hold ‘em. They were required to play 1,250 hands or until one player went broke.
Unfortunately the cards were not in favor of Negreanu, who has an impressive $16 million in lifetime tournament earnings, not to mention four WSOP bracelets and two WPT titles. Ironically Negreanu started out as a limit hold ‘em specialist, but he just didn’t have it Saturday when he lost to German player rUaBot.
rUaBot, a limit hold ‘em specialist himself, said on the PokerStars forum, “In my opinion, fixed limit is more strategic than no limit. In no-limit, you always have some guessing games like ‘would he bluff here or wouldn’t he?’ Of course, such situations often happen in fixed-limit, too, but there is much more space for general strategic adaptions than in no-limit. I think, setting up your standard game is pure math, but exploiting your opponents patterns is an art…and will always be!”
Negreanu made it through 937 hands when he finally lost the last of his bankroll. He chatted with rUaBot after the game. rUaBot said, “sorry for the sick run.” To which Negreanu replied, “its ok just glad its over!”