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Tampa’s Derby Lane Poker Room: Future Home of Baseball?

 Tampa’s Derby Lane Poker Room: Future Home of Baseball?

One of the most popular destinations for poker in the state of Florida is the Derby Lane Greyhound Track, located in St. Petersburg. The fifth largest live poker rooms in the state (generating over $ 8.8 million in gross revenues for fiscal year 2015-16), the poker has been somewhat overshadowing what was supposed to be the draw of people, the greyhound racing schedule and horse racing simulcasts offered by the track. But could there be a new reason to head to the poker room soon?

The Tampa Bay TimesJohn Romano is thinking outside of the box, at the minimum, in a column he penned earlier this month. Romano looks at the situation that the local Major League Baseball franchise, the Tampa Bay Rays, finds themselves in as to building a new home in West Central Florida. “There is one important factor (for the Rays) that cannot be overlooked (as to a new site),” Romano writes. “The perfect site does not exist.”

Romano points out that the Rays would love to move to a downtown Tampa ballpark (the “downtown ballpark” fad hasn’t yet faded in baseball, where the new construction can have all the amenities of a new stadium but can include enough idiosyncrasies – such as non-symmetrical outfield grounds, smaller foul areas, etc. – to make them unique). The problem with that, as noted by Romano, is that there is nowhere downtown to build such a stadium. St. Petersburg would like to build a new stadium in their downtown area, but Romano cites the horrendous attendance record for the current stadium, Tropicana Field, as the reason that cannot go forward.

Romano puts forth a surprise – Romano calls it a “wild card” – choice in the lands of the Derby Lane Greyhound Track and, by connection, the Derby Lane Poker Room. Romano notes that it is close to Hillsborough County, the major population center for the area, and was looked at as a previous site to build. “So, would Derby Lane’s owners sell?” Romano asks. “In the right situation, yes.”

While the greyhound track might be in danger, Romano thinks that the poker room would survive the cut. Due to the decline in greyhound racing in the Sunshine State, the Florida Legislature has considered several bills that would “decouple” the racetracks from the poker rooms that operate on their grounds (under current Florida law, a poker room can operate only at a racetrack that offers an active racing schedule or simulcast operations). If the laws were changed, then the land around the Derby Lane Poker Room could be sold and the land used for the baseball facilities.

This isn’t out of the realm of thought. The current football stadium being built in Los Angeles for the recently-returned Los Angeles Rams (and potentially the San Diego Chargers should they be unable to negotiate a new stadium with San Diego politicians) is being built on the grounds of the old Hollywood Park horse racing track in Inglewood, CA, which was closed and destroyed in 2013-14. The Hollywood Park Casino and Poker Room wasn’t a part of the destruction, however, and earlier this year was reopened. It is planned to be an integral part of the new “Los Angeles Entertainment Complex” (which will include the football stadium) when it opens for business in 2019.

Romano figures the likelihood of the Rays moving to the Derby Lane Poker Room anytime soon as highly unlikely but not out of the question. “How enthusiastic are the Rays going to be about recommitting themselves to downtown St. Petersburg when it has become obvious that Hillsborough fans are not driving that far?” Romano asks. “Will Rays owner Stu Sternberg be willing to spend a boatload of his own money if there is little political clout to fund a stadium in downtown Tampa? Derby Lane is still a long shot and it is far from being a perfect site…but which site is?”

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Pavlos Xanthopoulos, Barny Boatman Take Home Bracelets at 2015 WSOP Europe

 Pavlos Xanthopoulos, Barny Boatman Take Home Bracelets at 2015 WSOP Europe

As the €10,000 Main Event prepares to begin today, preliminary action at the 2015 World Series of Poker Europe is beginning to wrap up. Two events have reached their conclusion, with Greece capturing its second bracelet of the WSOP-E and a veteran Brit making some noise in Pot Limit Hold’em.

Event #6 – €3000 No Limit Hold’em

Coming to the final table of Event #6, there were two players who had set themselves apart from the crowd. Mario Lopez (892K) and Pavlos Xanthopoulos (849K) were way ahead of the third place runner Samuel Chartier (670K) and fourth place Thierry Gogniat (502K). The rest of the table – Alex Rocha (298K), Sergi Reixach (197K), Fabrice Soulier (171K), Artan Dedusha (158K) and Farid Jattin (103K) – was going to have to catch a couple of double ups to be able to challenge for the crown.

Jattin was able to double up in the early going to keep his head out of the guillotine, but Reixach wasn’t so lucky. In a blind versus blind battle, Reixach shoved his stack to the center and Chartier, in the big blind, made the call. Reixach’s move with his short stack and pocket nines was expected, perhaps just as much as a deep-stacked Chartier’s call with a 10-7 to eliminate an opponent. Chartier caught a gut shot straight draw on the 6-8-A flop, but the five on the turn didn’t help him. One card away from a big double, Reixach saw the one card he didn’t want to see, a nine that gave him a set but gave Chartier a straight. With that crushing river card, Reixach headed to the rail in ninth place, while Chartier continued to charge by knocking off Dedusha in eighth.

Soulier couldn’t catch a hand throughout his stay at the final table and, when he did, it was run down. After three betting Lopez pre-flop, Soulier called an all-in four bet from Lopez and was leading with his pocket Queens over Lopez’s A-Q. In the window on the flop was an Ace, knocking off Soulier’s ladies and leaving him looking for a third Queen. Instead, a seven and a deuce came, sending the Frenchman home in seventh place.

After Rocha (sixth after losing a race to Xanthopoulos) and Jattin (fifth after he was outkicked against Lopez) had been expelled from the tournament, Lopez was holding a sizeable lead over the final four men. Gogniat tried to pull closer to Lopez in eliminating Chartier in fourth, but he would fall to Xanthopoulos in third to set up a heads up between Lopez (2.55 million) and Xanthopoulos (1.4 million). With the bracelet and the cash on the table, the two men…decided to go to dinner and come back in an hour.

After taking care of their hunger, Lopez and Xanthopoulos went to work satisfying their hunger for WSOP gold. Xanthopoulos came out of the gate fast, winning the first four hands to take over the chip lead from Lopez. Lopes, seemingly stunned by the aggression out of Xanthopoulos, was never able to get his feet under him as, on the final hand, he chose to make a stand with pocket fives and almost 1.5 million chips. Xanthopoulos made what some might view as a questionable call with an A-9 off suit but, when the flop came down A-9-3, it left Lopez looking for another five for survival. After an eight and a trey completed the turn and river, Xanthopoulos was the champion of Event #6.

1. Pavlos Xanthopoulos, €182,510
2. Mario Lopez, €112,785
3. Thierry Gogniat, €81,500
4. Samuel Chartier, €59,970
5. Farid Jattin, €44,920
6. Alex Rocha, €34,270
7. Fabrice Soulier, €26,520
8. Artan Dedusha, €20,860
9. Sergi Reixach, €16,685

Event #7 – €500 Pot Limit Omaha

One of the least expensive events on the 2015 WSOP-E schedule – the €500 Pot Limit Omaha tournament – also proved to be one of the more popular events. 503 players came out at the start and, by Saturday, the final eight were left to contend for the money and the bracelet. Canada’s Doug Lee led a truly international final table (only Poland had more than one competitor with three – Damian Pawlak, Grzegorz Grochulski and Pawel Bakiewicz) while the U. S.’s Shannon Shorr, the United Kingdom’s Barny Boatman, Germany’s Dominik Maska and Spain’s Jose Obadia completed the field.

The Lee freight train continued onward, knocking off Pawlak in eighth place after an hour of play while Boatman slowly began to climb up the rankings. He picked off some chips from both Lee and Maska to crack the 600K mark, but Lee would maintain his lead by taking down Maska in sixth place to keep his stack over a million chips. There would be a clash between the two men that would change both of their courses dramatically.

After a Lee raise, Boatman came along from the button and Shorr defended his big blind to see a J-4-3 flop. The action checked around to Lee, who fired out a 38K bet that was enough to get Shorr out but not Boatman. The duo checked two Kings on the turn and river and Lee showed a Jack for two pair, but Boatman popped up with A-A-Q-J for a better two pair to take the pot. After everything was squared up, Lee was sitting at 880K and Boatman was on his heels with 675K.

The loss against Boatman seemed to send Lee into a tailspin. His chips bled through his fingers until he was eliminated by Shorr in fifth place while Boatman continued to slowly mount his climb up the leaderboard. Grochulski was the stunner, however, as he went on a rush that saw him pull in more than half the chips on the table. Even after knocking off Obadia and Shorr in fourth and third places (respectively), Boatman still faced an uphill charge in taking on Grochulski.

After 30 minutes of heads-up, Boatman’s slow but steady strategy paid off as he pulled in front of Grochulski. Another half hour of jousting led to a hand that, although it didn’t end the tournament, basically sealed its fate.

After a Boatman raise, Grochulski potted to see Boatman four bet the play. Grochulski moved all in with his K-K-J-9 and was called by Boatman’s Q♣ J♣ 10 9. On the Q-J-3 flop, Boatman seized the lead and, after an eight on the turn, locked it up with a straight that left the river card meaningless. After the chips were counted, it was found that Boatman was actually at risk for elimination, but not after scraping in all but 106K of Grolchulski’s chips. The very next hand would end the proceedings, earning Boatman his second-ever WSOP bracelet.

1. Barny Boatman, €54,725
2. Grzegorz Grochulski, €33,910
3. Shannon Shorr, €24,520
4. Jose Obadia, €18,000
5. Doug Lee, €13,220
6. Dominik Maska, €9980
7. Pawel Bakiewicz, €7560
8. Damian Pawlak, €5780

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pokerstars home games question

 pokerstars home games question
anyone know how i can switch off people notifications that a new property match has been scheduled or cancelled?

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