Archive for September, 2015

Poker Central Announces Programming Lineup

 Poker Central Announces Programming Lineup

After much hype, Poker Central, the world’s only round-the-clock poker television network, will make its debut on Thursday, October 1st. On Tuesday, it announced its inaugural programming lineup. Many of the shows, at least initially, will be pre-existing series that originally aired either in the U.S. or overseas, but Poker Central is developing original programming, as well.

“Poker Central is about to super serve the tens of millions of passionate and sophisticated poker fans in the United States and around the world. With thousands of hours of new, fresh content, Poker Central aims to entertain as well as it informs,” said Poker Central CEO Clint Stinchcomb in a press release. “Television and internet have made poker play global and universal, giving rise to a new set of stars outside of Hollywood and traditional sports.  We are excited that launch day has arrived and so has mainstream poker.”

Things kickoff on October 1st at 8:00pm ET with the popular UK show, “Premier League Poker.” It will air Monday through Saturday and is initially set to span seasons six and seven.

At 9:00pm will be the two-hour show, “Heads-Up Grand Slam,” which will feature 32 players competing for a $ 100,000 top prize. After that, Poker Central will show the now-classic “Poker After Dark,” a six-handed Sit-and-Go competition that originally aired on NBC.

On October 2nd at 9:00pm and 10:00pm and each Friday thereafter, the network will air the “Doubles Poker Championship.” This one sounds interesting: 32 players buy-in for $ 50,000 each, but are randomly paired and play as two-person teams.

Over the weekend, another former U.S. show, “Face the Ace,” will be shown at 8:00pm on Saturday. Sunday night will start with “100 Greatest Poker Moments” at 8:00pm, followed by the very popular shows “High Stakes Poker” and “The Big Game VI.”

Next week’s programming includes “Women’s World Open I” on Tuesday night, “The Big Game VII” on Wednesday, and the World Poker Tour’s “Alpha 8” on Thursday.

Later this year, on December 2nd, Poker Central will premiere its first episodes of the “Super High Roller Cash Game.” The related “Super High Roller Bowl” has already been showing on NBC Sports Network, with the newest episodes slated for this coming Friday night at 10:30pm ET.

Poker Central, despite promoting itself as the first 24/7 poker network, has yet to actually announce where on the television dial it will actually exist. As mentioned, the “Super High Roller Bowl” has been airing, but that has been on NBCSN, not Poker Central’s own channel. According to a Facebook post, though, it appears that Poker Central will reveal where fans can guide their remotes on the various cable and satellite systems on October 1st.

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Aaron Mermelstein Wins Inaugural WPT Maryland Live! Main Event

 Aaron Mermelstein Wins Inaugural WPT Maryland Live! Main Event

Aaron Mermelstein joined a select group of poker players Tuesday as he became just the 25th repeat winner in World Poker Tour (WPT) history, as he took the crown in the inaugural WPT Maryland Live! Main Event. Not only was it his second WPT title, but it was also the second he earned this calendar year, the first coming in January when he won the WPT Borgata Winter Open in Atlantic City. For his efforts this week, Mermelstein cashed for a quarter-million dollars and a seat in the season-ending WPT World Championship.

Mermelstein began the six-handed final table in second place with 2.295 million chips. As mentioned in a previous article, he was part of distinct upper-class of the final table, as 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Champ Greg Merson had 3.28 million and Xin Wang had 2.26 million, while the bottom three players didn’t even have as many combined as Wang did by himself. Here is a look at how the chip stacks “stacked” up going into the final table:

1.    Greg Merson – 3,280,000
2.    Aaron Mermelstein – 2,295,000
3.    Xin Wang – 2,260,000
4.    Andjelko Andrejevic – 775,000
5.    Cate Hall – 695,000
6.    Ken Holmes – 685,000

As expected, the two shortest stacks were the first to go. Ken Holmes, the lone non-professional poker player at the table, ended up all-in with J-7 ten hands into play and was outdone by Andjelko Andrejevic’s pocket Eights.

About six orbits later (thanks to for the updates), Cate Hall was all-in with K-5 and again had to try to defeat pocket Eights. This time, it was Wang with the pair that held up and Hall was gone in fifth place.

The next elimination was a shocker. Both Mermelstein and Andrejevic had taken big chunks out of Greg Merson’s stack and Mermelstein jumped into the chip lead, holding as many chips as the other three players did combined. He was the one to knock out Merson, using pocket Jacks to defeat Merson’s T-8 after a Ten landed on the flop.

A few hands later, Andrejevic was eliminated in third place, K-6 suited against Wang’s Queens. Thus, it was Mermelstein against Wang for the championship, with Mermelstein starting with an overwhelming four-to-one chip lead. It was a quick battle. Wang wasn’t able to put up much of a fight, surrendering most of the pots to his opponent with a wall of chips. Eventually, Wang had to try something, so he ended up all-in with A-8 suited, but couldn’t improve against Mermelstein’s pocket Sixes, giving Mermelstein the pot, all of the chips, and his second WPT title.

2015 World Poker Tour Maryland Live! Main Event – Final Table Results

1. Aaron Mermelstein – $ 250,222
2. Xin “Tony” Wang – $ 164,765
3. Andjelko Andrejevic – $ 105,981
4. Greg Merson – $ 78,449
5. Cate Hall – $ 58,589
6. Ken Holmes – $ 47,091

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2015 WPT Maryland Live! Main Event Final Table Set

 2015 WPT Maryland Live! Main Event Final Table Set

It was a fairly short day at the inaugural World Poker Tour (WPT) Maryland Live! Main Event as only fourteen eliminations were needed to determine the composition of the final table. Leading the charge into Tuesday’s action is the chip leader entering Monday, 2012 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Champion Greg Merson. With 3.28 million chips, he has a sizable million chip buffer over second place Aaron Mermelstein and third place Xin Wang.

The final table looks a bit like the “haves and have-nots.” After Merson (3.28 million), Mermelstein (2.295 million), and Wang (2.26 million), there is a huge drop-off to the bottom half of the final table. In fourth place is Andjelko Andrejevic with 775,000 chips, followed by Cate Hall with 695,000, and Ken Holmes with 685,000. Those three combined don’t even have as many chips as the third place Wang. On the bright side, they all have more than 20 big blinds, which while not a ton, is enough to not necessarily have to shove all-in immediately with any two cards. Plus, one double-up puts any of them back in the game.

Today is likely extra-special for Merson. Though winning the WSOP Main Event was obviously a day he will never forget, this is his first World Poker tour final table appearance. But on top of that, he went to the University of Maryland and is originally from Laurel, Maryland, so coming home and making the final table at the first WPT event at Maryland Live! must be a blast.

Despite entering Monday with the chip lead, Merson might not have ended up in that same position at the end of the day were it not for the final hand. According to, after the action folded around, Joe Cashen raised pre-flop to 65,000. Merson re-raised him to 180,000, after which Cashen decided to not delay the proceedings any longer and move all-in for 900,000 chips. Merson called and watched his A-K hold up on a board of T-5-3-8-T to eliminated Cashen.’s report is a slightly incomplete, as it only notes that Cashen held a Queen, but considering he was ousted, we know the other card wasn’t a Queen. He likely held Q-J, A-Q, or Q-K, none of which would have beaten Merson given the community cards.

The six-handed final table of the WPT Maryland Live! Main Event is about to get underway, as the cards are scheduled to be in the air at noon ET. We’ll be back tomorrow with a report on the conclusion of the tournament.

2015 World Poker Tour Maryland Live! Main Event – Final Table Chip Counts

1.    Greg Merson – 3,280,000
2.    Aaron Mermelstein – 2,295,000
3.    Xin Wang – 2,260,000
4.    Andjelko Andrejevic – 775,000
5.    Cate Hall – 695,000
6.    Ken Holmes – 685,000

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Conservative Political Group Publicly Denounces RAWA

 Conservative Political Group Publicly Denounces RAWA

United States Representative Bob Goodlatte hates, hates, hates online poker. Wishes it would die. And in the U.S., thanks to his efforts to get the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) passed, it almost did. Yet despite all that, Rep. Goodlatte is currently one of the poker industry’s strongest allies against Sheldon Adelson and the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), a bill which aims to ban online poker across the country. This is why conservative advocacy group the Center for Freedom and Prosperity wrote him a letter last week telling him to continue his opposition to the bill.

Why is Rep. Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, (possibly) on our side now? He hasn’t had a change of heart, but rather it’s an “enemy of my enemy is my friend” scenario. He is a one of the biggest supporters of states’ rights in Congress and has already conceded that RAWA would harm the ability of the states to decide for themselves whether or not they want to legalize online gambling. He hasn’t exactly completely against RAWA, but he knows it is a sticky situation.

In the letter, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity appealed to Rep. Goodlatte’s support of the Tenth Amendment (the states’ rights amendment) that even though he is against online gambling, “…politics and one’s personal views should not trump the ability of states to regulate their own affairs.”

The letter goes on to say:

RAWA is an outright assault on federalism. The legislation tramples on the Tenth Amendment by banning state regulation of online gambling – further chipping away at the balance between state and federal governance. The bill would overturn state laws already on the books in three states and would prohibit states from selling lottery tickets online for their own constituents – rolling back at least another six state laws.

The Tenth Amendment was designed to protect states from the unmitigated power of the federal government, because a government powerful enough to tell states they cannot have Internet gaming for their residents is also powerful enough to one-day force gaming on the states. Weakening the Tenth Amendment today will do permanent damage to it.

The Center also adds that any attempt at a compromise, such as somehow banning online gambling on a federal level, yet grandfathering in states that have already legalized it, won’t work. It’s defeat RAWA or bust.

The letter concluded:

We encourage you to continue to stand up for the Constitution, the Tenth Amendment, and the ability of the states to regulate their own affairs. We assume there will be a last ditch effort prior to the 2016 elections to see this provision enacted into law, perhaps as part of a larger spending package. We urge your continued principled opposition to the Las Vegas rent-seekers pushing for this measure. This bill is an assault on the constitutional values we all hold dear.

The letter was signed by a dozen representatives of different organizations, all collaborating under the Center for Freedom and Prosperity banner. They are:

Andrew F. Quinlan, President Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Michelle Minton, Fellow Competitive Enterprise Institute
Thomas Schatz, President Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Dan Schneider, Executive Director The American Conservative Union
David Williams, President Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Seton Motley, President Less Government
Andrew Moylan, Executive Dir. R Street Institute
Carrie Lukas, Managing Director Independent Women’s Forum
Bob Bauman, Chairman Sovereign Society Freedom Alliance
Norm Singleton, Senior VP Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty
Heather R. Higgins, President Independent Women’s Voice
Jeffrey Mazzella, President Center for Individual Freedom

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2015 WPT Maryland Live! Main Event Day 2: Greg Merson Holds Sizable Chip Lead

 2015 WPT Maryland Live! Main Event Day 2: Greg Merson Holds Sizable Chip Lead

The 2015 World Poker Tour (WPT) Maryland Live! Main Event has been a swift one, as after just two days (three calendar days because of the two starting flights), the field has been whittled from 337 to just 20 players. Leading the charge for the quarter-million dollar first prize is 2012 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Champion Greg Merson with 1.285 million chips. He holds a sizable chips lead as the only player with over a million, as his stack is about 50 percent greater than that of his closest competitor.

As mentioned, Merson’s most significant claim to poker fame is his WSOP Main Event win from a few years ago. Just before that $ 8.5 million cash, he had another seven-figure score, as he won a bracelet in the $ 10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Event that year. Since then, he has not had a whole lot of notable runs on the live tournament circuit. In 2014, he finished as the runner-up in the $ 25,000 High Roller Event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, winning nearly $ 1 million. He also finished fourth in a $ 5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Event at the WSOP this summer, good for $ 152,000.

Merson and everyone else remaining in this tournament have already earned at least $ 10,524, but clearly Merson is on track to do much better than that. With the relatively small field, the six-figure prizes do not kick in until there are just three players left.

One of Merson’s biggest pots, and the one that gave him the chip lead, came very late in the day. According to, there were a number of raises pre-flop, resulting in Fred Goldberg, the tenth place finisher in the 2006 WSOP Main Event, to end up all-in. Merson and Joe Cashen continued on to battle for a side pot of about 100,000. On the flop of 8-6♣-2♣, Cashen bet 100,000 and Merson called. Both players checked the 7♣ on the turn and after Cashen checked the 4♣ on the river, Merson bet 125,000. Cashen knew he was beat, showing his frustration with some choice words, but he wanted to see for himself, so he called. Merson flipped over J♣-J for a flush and Cashen revealed two red Kings. Goldberg had two black Threes, also good for a flush, but not good enough to beat Merson, so he was eliminated in 23rd place. At that point, Merson’s chip stack was elevated to 1.3 million.

Day 3 will begin shortly, at noon ET in Hanover, Maryland as the tournament plays down to the final six players.

2015 World Poker Tour Maryland Live! Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Greg Merson – 1,285,000
2.    Xin Wang – 850,000
3.    Andjelko Andrejevic – 825,000
4.    Cate Hall – 804,000
5.    Jerry Payne – 778,000
6.    Nicholas Palma – 692,000
7.    Joseph Cashen – 559,000
8.    Aaron Mermelstein – 536,000
9.    Craig Bergeron – 515,000
10.    Darren Elias – 457,000

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