Posts Tagged ‘Returns’

PokerStars Returns to its Roots; 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule Set

 PokerStars Returns to its Roots; 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule Set

Perhaps recognizing the error in their previous actions, The Stars Group has announced that their January tournament in the Bahamas will be returning in 2018, including a return to the name it was previously known as.

The 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will return to action at its traditional home at Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, the Bahamas, from January 6-14. Along with returning the original name of the event, PokerStars is also stepping out on a limb a bit in returning the buy in to its original amount. After spending several years as a $ 5000 buy in event, the 2018 PCA Main Event will be a $ 10,000 tournament, ensuring the tournament’s place in the pantheon of “must play” international poker tournaments.

The return to the PCA moniker was obviously on the minds of Stars Group officials. “We’re reviewing our live events and incorporating player feedback to ensure we’re delivering the highest quality experience and exceeding player expectations whenever possible,” Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars Director of Corporate Communications, stated during the announcement.

“This feedback included suggestions that we restore the PCA name and improve the quality of that event to reflect the great heritage and unique experience that made PCA one of the most-anticipated poker events of the year,” Hollreiser continued. “We’re restoring the name and reinvigorating the event to ensure it remains a premiere poker festival. We will also increase the promotions around PCA in order to bring even more people and make qualifying for packages as exciting as we can. We are committed to sending at least 400 players to this must-play event.”

There was plenty of outrage that came along with the 2017 tournament. Roughly along the same period as 2018’s play, the 2017 “PokerStars Championship Bahamas” featured over 90 events crammed into the timeframe. It seems that was too much, even for poker players who are always looking for action. Because of some of that criticism, PokerStars has streamlined the tournaments to a more sensible 30 events that will feature longer levels (40 minutes or more) and more play for the participants.

PokerStars is also looking out for the pocketbooks and wallets of PCA participants. Tournament fees have been reduced for the High Roller tournaments and any tournament with less than 19-minute levels will be reduced by 50%. These moves will allow the players to keep upwards of $ 300,000 in their bankrolls.

Finally, another complaint from the players regarding the 2017 tournament series was the treatment of those players. Many felt that they weren’t appreciated by PokerStars, especially after the decade-plus treatment by past ownership, with the parties and “SWAG” bags presented to the players. In response to this, PokerStars has set a large schedule of non-poker related activities and some “Q&A” sessions with Team PokerStars Pro members. Player parties are a key element of this change, including the aforementioned “SWAG” bags that will be valued at $ 200 each.

What isn’t being indicated by PokerStars nor The Stars Group is what will be the future of the “PokerStars Championship” or “PokerStars Festivals.” These events have been less than popular with players, including disappointing turnouts in Panama, Macau and Sochi. There isn’t any schedule beyond the final 2017 date in Prague, Czech Republic for the PokerStars Championship and there isn’t any indication whether the PCA will still be considered a part of the PokerStars Championship or whether the PokerStars Championship will continue to exist.

While a firm schedule hasn’t been set yet, satellites will begin running for the 2018 PCA in September. With the changes made, perhaps the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will return to its previous success.

Poker News Daily

WSOP November Nine is No More, Final Table Returns to Summer

 WSOP November Nine is No More, Final Table Returns to Summer

When it was announced a decade ago that the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table would be moved to November, rather than directly following the preceding days of the tournament, many jaws in the poker community dropped. To many, it was an intriguing idea, meant to allow ESPN to build up the excitement leading up to the final table, but to others, it was sacrilege. We have grown accustomed to the November Nine, though, which is why it may come as a shock to hear that it is no more. Starting this year, the Main Event final table will be contested in July following a two day break once the composition of the final table is determined.

This sudden change is the result of a deal between ESPN and Poker Central which sees Poker Central acquiring both the television broadcast and digital media rights to the World Series of Poker. ESPN will air the WSOP Main Event semi-live with a 30-minute delay, including the final table. Before this deal, the only portion of the Main Event that ESPN broadcast live was the final table in November. The rest of the Main Event was shown in weekly edited episodes leading up to the November Nine.

ESPN will also air a number of “original episodes” during the year.

“ESPN has been our home since 2002 and we’re delighted to extend the relationship into the next decade,” said Ty Stewart, the executive director of the WSOP. “Having every day live coverage of the WSOP Main Event is truly a huge commitment on behalf of ESPN and Poker Central and we look forward to delivering to our faithful audience wall-to-wall action from the outset for the very first time.”

The bulk of the WSOP Main Event will remain the same. Days 1A, 1B, and 1C will be July 8th through July 10th. The survivors of Day 1A will participate in Day 2A on July 11th; likewise, the Day 1B survivors will meet on July 11th for Day 2B, though in a separate field from those in Day 2A. Day 2C will be on July 12th. Starting July 13th, the remaining field will be unified through Day 7 on July 17th.

For the last decade, the tournament was paused at that point and then taken up again in November. No more. The November Nine is gone. Now there will be just a two-day break to allow the final table members to get some rest (and presumably do some interviews). The final table will then begin on July 20th and play down to six players. Those six will play down to three on July 21st and the champion will be determined on July 22nd.

Just like it did for the November Nine, ESPN will broadcast the entire final table semi-live. The rest of the live coverage of the Main Event will only be a few hours each day on ESPN and ESPN2.

Coverage that ESPN does not broadcast on television will be streamed by Poker Central online.

Poker News Daily

And The Other Shoe Drops: Howard Lederer Returns to the WSOP

 And The Other Shoe Drops: Howard Lederer Returns to the WSOP

A little more than a week after alleged co-conspirator Chris Ferguson returned for the first time in six years to the 2016 World Series of Poker, former Full Tilt Poker front man Howard Lederer stepped up to the felt in the Rio in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Lederer put down his ducats to enter Event #16, the $ 10,000 Deuce to Seven Draw Lowball World Championship, on Satruday afternoon with other deep-pocketed pros (there were 100 entries in the re-entry tournament), the first appearance he has made at a WSOP table since 2010. It didn’t go so well in the beginning for the disgraced pro, who was initially eliminated by Benny Glazer. Lederer just happened to have had another bullet in his pocket, however (rebuys were available until the end of late registration), and that one was able to get him through the evening.

Lederer chose to pick on Stuart Rutter to build up a contending stack with his second bullet. He would make a 9-7 low that Rutter couldn’t best to move up to 70K in chips and, as the clock struck midnight. Lederer would double up again through Rutter when his 9-8 was better than Rutter’s 10-7. At 102K with two more levels for the night, Lederer looked as if he would be in prime position to strike for Day 2.

Alas, the final couple of hours weren’t as nice to Lederer. He would slowly let the chips slip through his fingers back to Rutter, who doubled up with his 9-8 against Lederer’s 10-9. By early Sunday morning, Lederer’s stack had dwindled down to just slightly more than 20K. Within the first 30 minutes of Sunday’s Day 2 slate, Lederer was eliminated at the hands of Brian Hastings far from the money.

It was inevitable that Lederer was ginning for his return to poker at this year’s WSOP. When Lederer provided fellow poker professional Daniel Negreanu with a statement to Negreanu’s Full Contact Poker blog, it was obvious that was Lederer’s intent. In that statement, Lederer took the responsibility for the demise of Full Tilt Poker, pointing out that “I should have provided better oversight or made sure that responsible others provided that oversight. I was a founder in the company that launched Full Tilt, and I became the face of the company’s management in the poker community. Many of our players played on the site because they trusted me.”

The statement from Lederer, the first comments he had on the Full Tilt situation since the debacle that was “The Lederer Files” in 2012, was an attempt to smooth over the situation with a still-angry poker community that had already shut down a previous attempt by Lederer to re-enter the poker community. But a funny thing happened while people were waiting for the disgraced Lederer to return to the WSOP.

Last week, Lederer’s partner in Full Tilt Poker (and another player who has received a great deal of blame for the Full Tilt fiasco), Ferguson, decided to try his hand at the $ 10,000 Seven Card Stud World Championship, where he failed to cash. He has since gone on to pick up two deep finishes – in Event #12, the $ 565 Pot Limit Omaha tournament and in Event #5, the $ 1500 Dealer’s Choice.

The ire of many in the poker community is still there regarding both men. A Vine has been making its rounds where someone gets Ferguson’s attention at the tables to issue him a vulgarity, and it is reasonable to expect that Lederer hasn’t gone anywhere near someone to have the same situation develop. It could be due to the factor that neither man wants to elaborate on what they did previously.

While Lederer might be given a pass on this (he DID try to apologize through Negreanu), Ferguson waltzed back in, expecting to have no issues. All Ferguson would do is state, “I’m just here to play poker,” before running away from press regarding the situation. Such actions haven’t bought much sympathy from the poker community, although poker pro (and former Full Tilt stablemate) Layne Flack has attempted to take some of the brunt of the rage against Ferguson on Facebook.

Whether this becomes a normal part of the 2016 WSOP or not remains to be seen. It also is readily known that the poker world hasn’t forgotten 2011.

Poker News Daily

Chris Ferguson Returns to Play at 2016 WSOP

 Chris Ferguson Returns to Play at 2016 WSOP

After more than five years out of the tournament poker spotlight, one of the men involved in the demise of Full Tilt Poker and the “Black Friday” scandal returned to the World Series of Poker stage on Saturday.

Former World Champion Chris Ferguson, the man formerly known as ‘Jesus,’ entered the $ 10,000 Seven Card Stud World Championship on Saturday afternoon, marking the first time that either he or one of his alleged cohorts, Howard Lederer or Ray Bitar, have set foot in the Rio since “Black Friday” for the WSOP (meaning Ferguson hasn’t been at the event since 2010). The tournament was a natural for Ferguson to make his return at, with his first WSOP bracelet being won in 2000 in a Seven Card Stud event, but there were still titters as the lanky frame of the former World Champion ambled through the Rio’s tournament rooms.

About as quietly as possible, Ferguson entered the tournament prior to the closing of late registration and it appears that there is plenty of rust on the tournament game. His stack immediately plummeted after mixing it up with Stuart Rutter, where Ferguson admitted he misplayed his hand, but he was able to quintuple up a few hands later with only a pair of eights against Max Pescatori and Owais Ahmed, among others. That 10K in chips quickly disappeared and, slightly after midnight (roughly 90 minutes after entering), Ferguson strode towards the exits, eliminated from the tournament.

Ferguson wasn’t particularly talkative while he was “inside the ropes” at the WSOP, which has been his nature since the “Black Friday” incidences.’s Marty Derbyshire attempted to draw some comments from what WAS one of the more gregarious individuals in poker, but could only elicit a “I’m just here to play poker” comment from Ferguson. There were no comments about why he was away for so long, no comments as to why he chose the $ 10K Seven Card Stud event for a return nor any mea culpas for his part in the “Black Friday” scandal.

Derbyshire was able to draw comments from poker professional (and former Full Tilt stablemate) Layne Flack on Ferguson’s return, which seemed to surprise him just as much as everyone else. “People…don’t know the whole story,” Flack stated. “(Chris Ferguson) has done a lot of great things for poker. He’s a standup guy and all the decisions made by Full Tilt Poker don’t fall on him.”

There are plenty in the poker community who would perhaps like to discuss that issue with Flack and Ferguson. The indictments of “Black Friday,” in which eleven men representing the then-three biggest online poker operations in the industry – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and CEREUS ( and Absolute Poker) – were indicted for a litany of fraud and gambling charges. When the rooms were allowed to reopen in the United States to be able to pay back players, PokerStars quickly moved to settle all accounts.

The story was different with Full Tilt Poker, however (and the same would apply to the CEREUS Network rooms). The shutdown of players from the United States crippled the operation and, after investigation from several regulatory outlets, it was found that the owners of Full Tilt – players headed by Ferguson, Lederer and others – were taking frequent payments and loans from the business’ coffers. Basically, when it came time to pay the players in the U. S. with the money they thought was safe, the owners – Ferguson, Lederer and others – had left the safe empty. Full Tilt Poker would close its doors six months after the “Black Friday” indictments and its major players would go to court to negotiate settlements with the government; Ferguson’s settlement is reportedly to have cost him in the neighborhood of $ 40 million, while admitting no wrongdoing.

It was one of the big questions of the 2016 WSOP, but Ferguson wasn’t the player that people thought would make his return. Lederer, fresh off issuing a statement through Daniel Negreanu that he was responsible for the collapse of Full Tilt, was thought to be the player most likely to return to the WSOP felt. While Lederer may still make that foray, Ferguson might have cut the tension first by stepping up himself.

Poker News Daily

EPT Returns to Dublin for First Time Since 2007

 EPT Returns to Dublin for First Time Since 2007

The second European Poker Tour Main Event of the year got going Sunday, as Day 1A of the EPT Dublin Main Event kicked off with 147 poker players spending their Valentine’s Day hoping to end up flush with hearts (Do you see what I did there? Valentine’s Day? Hearts? Flush? That’s why they pay me the big bucks.). It is a packed leader board, as Germany’s Gilles Bernies leads with 189,600 chips, followed by Mike “timex” McDonald with 162,400, and then a whole host of players in the 130’s and 120’s.

While Dublin seems like a choice location for a European Poker Tour stop, this is the first time in a decade that the EPT has found its way to the Irish city. Dublin was one of the original seven stops on the Tour; the Irish Winter Tournament was won by Ram Vaswani in October 2004, just as the poker boom was really starting hit high gear. The  name of the tournament changed over the next few years, but Dublin remained on the schedule through Season 4, when it was renamed simply EPT Dublin in the fall of 2007.

But that was it. Dublin was replaced by Budapest, Hungary in Season 5 and though Budapest disappeared the following season (the tour stop, not the actual city OBVIOUSLY), Dublin did not return. It is back now, with the Royal Dublin Society serving as host.

The chip leader, Bernies, is relatively unaccomplished on the live tournament circuit, though with about $ 75,000 in lifetime earnings, “relatively” is the operative word. He is certainly more accomplished than the vast majority of people on Earth and I, for one, would be thrilled to have won that much money playing poker (in before “but how much did you lose?”).  He has picked up the pace as of late, as most of that total has come from a first and a second place finish in minor tournaments in October and December, respectively. Bernies also had a small cash in the Oktoberfest event at the World Series of Poker Europe in October.

One of the most significant hands of the day was the one that catapulted Mike McDonald into second place. At the end of the night, he and his tablemates saw a flop of Q♣-J♠-J, which prompted Daniel Shapiro to move all-in for 25,000 chips. Artem Litvinov asked McDonald how many chips he had remaining and when McDonald revealed that number to be 46,000, Litvinov shoved. McDonald made the call, showing pocket Queens for a flopped full house. Shapiro had A-Q for two pair and Litvinov had J♣-T for trips. Action flop!

The turn and river were both low cards, improving nobody and giving McDonald the hand while eliminating Shapiro. That took McDonald’s stack up to 150,000, close to where he ended the night, while Litvinov fell to 130,000, also close to how he finished up.

Day 1B of EPT Dublin will commence at noon local time Tuesday.

European Poker Tour Dublin Main Event – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1.    Gilles Bernies – 189,600
2.    Mike McDonald – 162,400
3.    Ian Hunter – 139,400
4.    Artem Litvinov – 138,900
5.    Victor Ilyukhin – 131,400
6.    Adrian Mateos – 128,800
7.    Anthony Zinno – 124,800
8.    Fabrice Soulier – 123,400
9.    Kamran Aliyev – 114,200
10.    Jean-Noel Thorel – 110,000

Poker News Daily