Sunday, December 27, 2009

TASER Foundation for Fallen Officers Raises More Than $550,000 From the 2009 "Hold'em for Heroes" Celebrity Weekend - 21st December 2009

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Dec. 21, 2009 - The TASER Foundation for Fallen Officers generated more than $550,000 in gross donations during its fifth annual "Hold'em for Heroes" celebrity tournament weekend held November 19-21, 2009.

The weekend's events featured three days of poker tournaments at the Fort McDowell Casino, including a "high roller" event filled with more than 35 celebrities from: the World Series of Poker(R) (WSOP), professional sports teams, television, movies, and artists from the country and hip hop genres. Many of these same players also participated in the charity's first celebrity golf tournament played at the beautiful WeKoPa Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

The returning hosts for the events were the 11-time WSOP Champion, Phil Hellmuth and Country Music Recording Artist, Mark Wills.

During the weekend's activities, local players had the opportunity to golf with celebrities like Richard Karn of "Home Improvement" and play their best poker hands against champions like Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Layne Flack, and local poker hero Tom Schneider for the chance to win a $10,000 seat in the 2010 World Series of Poker tournament held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mark Rubin, a local player, won the event, with Jeff Madsen, one of the WSOP celebrity players, taking second.

Kathy Hanrahan, the CEO for the TASER Foundation, commented, "The results achieved for the 2009 'Hold'em for Heroes' event was a great way to end the year. We were encouraged by the level of support achieved in such a tough economy."

"We would like to thank the local community for their continued support of this very worthwhile cause, and our premium corporate sponsors: Fort McDowell Casino, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona, Hillard Heintze, TASER International, the Poker Players' Alliance, and Hogue Printing Solutions for underwriting the key expenses and making the event possible," added Hanrahan. "A special thank you is also necessary for the men and women of law enforcement who attended the event, and to the very special family members of our fallen Arizona officers. This weekend was to honor these heroes, and to remind them that the TASER Foundation will be here to help law enforcement and its families in their time of need."

For more information on the event, or to see or purchase photographs from the tournament weekend, please email SupportingtheFamily@TASERFoundation.org.

To learn more about how you can assist the TASER Foundation in its mission to help these families during their time of need, please visit www.TASERFoundation.org, or call 1-800-978-2737, extension 2012. Every dollar raised makes a difference in their lives, and lets the families know how grateful we are for their sacrifice.

About the TASER Foundation

The TASER Foundation distributes financial memorial grants to the families of fallen officers in the United States and Canada through donations and an initial endowment of $1,000,000. More than half of the initial endowment came in direct contribution from TASER International employees with the balance contributed by the company. Onetime grants are available only upon request by chiefs of police and sheriffs as well as federal law enforcement executives in the name of sworn officers killed in the line of duty since August 1, 2004. The TASER Foundation's mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of local and federal law enforcement officers in the United States and Canada lost in the line of duty by providing financial support to their families. TASER International bears all of the administrative costs of the TASER Foundation in order to ensure 100 percent of all donations are distributed to the families of fallen officers. For further information contact Kathy Hanrahan, President and CEO of the TASER Foundation, at Kathy@TASER.com or call 800-978-2737, extension 2012. Visit the TASER Foundation website at www.TASERFoundation.org for facts and video.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

2010 World Series of Poker Schedule: Player Reaction, by Brett Collson - 20th December 2009

The 41st annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) is still months away, but the schedule of events was released this week. Poker players have been quick to give their opinions on the changes made by Harrah's and the Player’s Advisory Council for 2010.

The biggest modification to the WSOP schedule was the removal of the prestigious $50,000 HORSE tournament, which will be replaced by a $50,000 Mixed Event. The game will rotate among Limit Hold’em, Omaha High-Low Split Eight or Better, Seven Card Razz, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud High-Low Split Eight or Better, No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, and 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball. Then, much like the first year of the $50,000 HORSE event, the final table will be strictly No Limit Hold’em and broadcast by ESPN.

Harrah's also decided to do away with a mid-level buy-in for the Stud High, Stud 8, and Omaha 8 events in 2010, leaving only $1,500 and $10,000 versions of each game. The decision has generated negative feedback from many players, including poker pro and commentator Bart Hanson, who was upset with the lack of non-Hold'em events on the 2010 schedule. "Kind of sucks, I always like other game events at the WSOP," Hanson said. "Still had great value up to a $3,000 buy in. Now, the vast majority of players will only be able to play the small event where starting chips are a joke."

With the elimination of several of the less popular tournaments, a handful of No Limit Hold'em events were added. Last year's $1,000 Stimulus Special attracted 6,102 players, a record for a non-Main Event tournament. In 2010, there are six $1,000 No Limit Hold'em events on the schedule, including five on consecutive weekends from May 29th to June 27th and another on Thursday, July 1st.

Frank Calo, a poker pro who spends the entire summer in Las Vegas for the WSOP, seemed displeased with the changes. "I'm kind of unhappy that there's so many $1Ks and $1.5Ks," uttered Calo. "It causes the WSOP as a whole to be less profitable in terms of the hourly rate. I wish they stuck with one or two $1Ks, some other $1.5Ks, and then added more $2K to $5Ks.”

Two Plus Two member "fanliorel" had a differing view: "Last year, the $1K was new and novel and on the first weekend - everybody and their dog was there. I don't see them getting 6,000 entrants for all six $1Ks this year, just like they don't quite sell out all of the $1,500s either. Still, it's too cheap to not get at least 5,000 players per tourney. I'd guess they sell out the $1Ks on the first and last weekend; the rest range around 5,000 to 5,500. They'll be some great tourneys; last year's $1K was a blast."

Another issue that has the community concerned is the rake increase in the $1,000 and $1,500 buy-in events. Harrah's will take 10% from each of the $1,000 and $1,500 entry fees, compared to 9% from last year. "I guess Harrah's is operating in a different economic environment," said Zac "traction" Gilbert, who finished sixth at the 2009 WSOP Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Event. "I guess the only way players can voice their disgust is not play. Unfortunately, that won't happen."

The 2010 WSOP gets underway on May 27 with the $500 Casino Employees No Limit Hold'em Event and will culminate in November with the final table of the $10,000 Main Event. (Credit: Poker News Daily).

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

25 LUXURY AUSSIE MILLIONS PACKAGES GUARANTEED AT PARTYPOKER THIS WEEKEND

25 LUXURY AUSSIE MILLIONS PACKAGES GUARANTEED AT PARTYPOKER.COM THIS WEEKEND!

Gibraltar – 10th December 2009 – This weekend marks the last chance to qualify online at PartyPoker.com for the 2010 Aussie Millions in Melbourne. Seen as one of poker’s majors, the Main Event is a highlight of the world live circuit and the leading online poker room is going completely Aussie crazy this Sunday!

PartyPoker.com is offering the chance to win one of 25 luxury Aussie Millions main event packages. These fantastic dream trips will be up for grabs in two amazing $600+40 satellites on Sunday 13th December. One will be timed to suit Australia and New Zealand-based players at 02.45ET with FIVE packages guaranteed worth $12,000, while the other is scheduled at 14.30ET to give players from the rest of the world the chance to win one of 20 guaranteed packages worth $15,000.

PartyPoker.com Australia Ambassador Stewart Scott is the defending champion and there is a chance to emulate his success in Melbourne next year. Stewart said: “I’ve been playing at PartyPoker.com for five years. These great packages are an amazing opportunity for other players to play in this huge tournament. Claiming the Aussie Millions title has been the highlight of my career and I’d love to see another PartyPoker.com player take the title.”

Scott, 37, from Queensland, Australia, made history in January 2009 by becoming the first Australian in the modern era to take down the Aussie Millions Main Event, scooping US$1,865,724. Scott is a loyal member of PartyPoker.com’s VIP club the Palladium Lounge. He made his debut representing the leading online poker room at the PokerNews Cup in Melbourne earlier this month.

Scott is married with one daughter and started life as a gourmet chef in Adelaide, with a period running a small IT business as he honed his skills online. He made his first impact on the live circuit in 2006 by winning a satellite series at SkyCity Casino in Adelaide that awarded him a $30,000 package for the WSOP Main Event. Stewart is a popular figure on the Australian poker circuit and is well known for his relaxed attitude but killer instinct at the table.

® AUSSIE MILLIONS, AUSSIE MILLIONS POKER CHAMPIONSHIP and CROWN Device and associated trade marks are trade marks of Crown Melbourne Limited. No license, affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement, is claimed, or should be inferred from the use of these trademarks here. PartyGaming is not affiliated, licensed, by, or otherwise affiliated with Crown Melbourne Limited in any way.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Joe Cada Comments on WSOP Main Event Victory, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 12th November 2009

Poker News Daily: Congratulations on the big win in the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. How are you feeling after the victory?

Joe Cada: It hasn’t quite hit me yet, but I’m feeling really good.

PND: How were you able to handle the busy schedule prior to taking to the felts?

Cada: Before the final table took place, there was a long gap in between and I tried to not think about it too much. Instead, I tried to continue my normal lifestyle. Fortunately, I ran really well and, going into heads-up play, went from a big underdog to a big favorite.

Darvin was playing great poker and took over the chip lead relatively quickly. I came in with a game plan of playing a lot of hands in position and playing a lot of small ball poker waiting for him to make mistakes. It blew up in my face. He just wanted to play big ball poker, put me in a lot of tough spots, and played really well. It was rough at the start, but I tried to remain focused and turned it around.

PND: Darvin Moon took a 3:1 chip lead heads-up after re-raising on a board of A-5-3 and you folded. Tell us about that hand.

Cada: It’s one of those things that heads-up, you’re playing a lot of hands. More times than not, you’re not going to make a lot of hands. Darvin likes to trap a lot and check-raise a lot. I never played back at Darvin during the course of the heads-up match. I raised pre-flop, the flop came A-5-3, he decided to lead out, and I took a shot. I made a raise, but every time I tried to raise or bluff, it backfired. That was another example of that happening.

PND: You doubled heads-up after calling all-in with J-9 on a board of 10-5-9-10. Tell us about your thought process there.

Cada: I raised pre-flop to the standard two and a half big blinds and he called. The flop came 10-9-5 and he loves to check-raise, so I checked behind for pot control. The turn brought a ten. The board was 10-9-5-10 with two clubs and he decided to check again. A lot of the hands weren’t checked down to the river. I bet three million into a six million pot and then he jammed all-in. I took a lot of time to make decision and didn’t see him open-jamming the way he had been playing with a ten. There were hands like 7-8, J-Q, and clubs – random hands I could see him jamming with – and I opted to go with the correct call even though I wasn’t happy about it, but it worked out.

PND: What went through your mind when you realized you had become the 2009 WSOP Main Event Champion?

Cada: I was glad it was all over. I knew how important it was, but was happy to get the match over with. I gave as many props as I could to Darvin because he played great poker.

PND: Your father told us that he wasn’t completely behind your poker career to start with. Tell us about your relationship with him and how it’s evolved.

Cada: My parents weren’t totally against it, but they weren’t 100% supportive. I worked for a long time and had a job for four years, but decided to quit since I had made a significant amount in poker over a long period of time. Once I quit my job to do poker full-time, I continued to have a lot of success. Then, I traveled to tournaments in places I could play like the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Aruba. College interfered and I had to go one way, so I put money aside in case poker didn’t work out and decided to play full-time.

PND: How big was the crowd support at the Penn and Teller Theater?

Cada: Having the support of these guys was great. Some of them missed school and work and none of them have voices left. They cheered me on the whole time, whether I was down or had chips. It was great having all of that support.

PND: Tell us about signing with PokerStars and wearing a Poker Players Alliance (PPA) logo.

Cada: PokerStars is a great website. They’re the biggest known site out there. I was very grateful for the opportunity they gave me. I’m very supportive of the PPA being an online player. The least I can do is support the PPA. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Countdown To Mike Sexton Hall Of Fame Induction - Celebration Freeroll Is Already A Sell Out

Gibraltar – November 5th 2009 – The countdown is on to PartyPoker.com ambassador Mike Sexton’s induction into Poker’s Hall of Fame on Saturday evening during the dinner break at the 2009 WSOP Main Event Final table. PartyPoker.com is holding a special celebratory $10,000 freeroll to mark the occasion at 21.00 CET (15.00 EST) that day and 8000 have reserved seats for the special tournament which was at capacity one hour after appearing in the lobby!

A PartyPoker.com spokesman said: “Everybody loves a freeroll and we received so many questions about when the one for Mike would take place and all spaces were filled within an hour! It was a case of first come, first served for this celebration.”

Mike will be introduced at a dinner held in his honour on Saturday night by his brother Tom Sexton.

Sexton needs little introduction and is unarguably one of the most respected figures in the game. As the face and voice of the World Poker Tour and holder of a WSOP bracelet, Mike is truly one of the games pioneers. Sexton is in the top ten for the most cashes at the World Series of Poker and is instantly recognizable to all poker enthusiasts. Regarded as ‘The Ambassador of Poker,’ for years Mike advocated corporate involvement with poker to take the game he loves into the mainstream. Notably, Sexton also won the first $10k buy-in NL hold'em championship event at Foxwoods World Poker Finals in 1992 and in 2000 was the first American to win the championship event at the Euro Finals of Poker in Paris, which at the time was the biggest event in Europe. Through his role with the World Poker Tour Mike brought the game to millions around the world. In 2006 Sexton won the Tournament of Champions at the World Series of Poker, a concept he had originally created. He donated $500,000 of his winnings to charity and has since become a co-founder of PokerGives.org, which encourages players to make charitable donations.

The Poker Hall of Fame was established in 1979. Its membership includes poker's most influential players and other important contributors to the game. There are 16 living members, and to date 37 members have been bestowed the honour of entry. The WSOP Hall of Fame traditionally elects one or two new members annually. The enshrinement ceremony is now held during the final table of the Main Event of the WSOP. The criteria for selection was as follows:

A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
Played for high stakes
Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
Stood the test of time
Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results

World Series of Poker”® and “WSOP”®, WSOPE”® are registered trade marks of Harrah’s License Company LLC. No license, affiliation, sponsorship, or endorsement is claimed, or should be inferred from the use of these trademarks here. PartyGaming is not licensed by or otherwise affiliated with Harrah’s License Company LLC or the World Series of Poker®, in any way.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Phil Ivey Set To Start November Nine As Favourite?

Gibraltar – 4th November 2009 – Bookmaker PartyBets.com has had to cut the odds on Phil Ivey taking down the WSOP Main Event from 5/1 into 7/2 making him the new OUTRIGHT FAVOURITE to win. This is despite the fact that Ivey is seventh in chips and Darvin Moon has a monster stack that many believe should be big enough to roll his opponents over quite easily. Moon has drifted in the betting from 3/1 favourite out to 4/1.

Ahead of his induction into the Poker Hall of Fame on Saturday, PartyPoker.com Ambassador Mike Sexton said: “Phil Ivey is the most well known pro to the public and this has to be a sentimental bet for action on the tournament. It is hard to imagine, more astonishing, that a player can be favourite with just 5% of the chips in play. I regard Ivey as the best player in the world and it would be nice to see him win but as everyone knows chips are power.”

A PartyBets.com spokesman said: “Has the world gone mad? Ivey is a short stack and Moon is a massive chip leader with 30% of the chips in play. It just doesn’t make sense but the punters just keep coming for Ivey and we have had no choice but to make him favourite because of our large six figure liabilities and the consistent interest.”

“There will be a lot of punters out there sweating Ivey and a lot of bookies praying that he doesn’t get the early double-up that is essential for him to make a remarkable comeback from seventh in chips. If Ivey achieves what punters think he can it will be the worst poker result in bookmaking history.”

PartyBets.com - a sister site of PartyPoker.com and PartyCasino.com - chalked Ivey up at 175/1 to win the Main Event earlier this year. He was 100/1 as the Main Event got underway and his odds have plummeted since then. A big name on the final table of the WSOP is always bad news for bookmakers. 175/1 as a starting price for any player in a field of 6,494 players is short and his true odds could have been double that but bookmakers are forced to price him prohibitively short because punters back the name.

PartyBets.com currently has Ivey as 7/2 favourite, followed by the commonly regarded favourite Darvin Moon at 4/1. Eric Buchman is next in the betting at 9/2. Ivey only has 265,000 more chips than France’s Antonie Saout but Saout is a 16/1 shot. The UK’s James Akenhead, a recent participant in the PartyPoker.com World Open V alongside Saout has also been well supported but is still 14/1. A Shulman double, with Jeff joining Barry as a WSOP Main Event winner this year is priced at 6/1. Other markets available include winning hand and colour of the final river card.

See PartyBets.com for more odds and information.

** The story of how Jon Kalmar, a poker pro from Chorley in the UK made the final table of the 2007 WSOP Main Event is a poker fairytale in itself. Jon went to Vegas with a bankroll of $15,000 before getting down to his last $2,000 and qualifying in a satellite. He had been on a terrible run for a long time but ended up as the only UK representative making it to the climax of poker’s showpiece and won $1,255,000 for finishing in fifth place. It was also happy days for a poker pro from Skane, Sweden won $25,000 from PartyBets.com after placing a bet of $100 at 250/1 that Kalmar would make the final table.**

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

WSOP Extends Contract with IMG Sports and Entertainment, by Jessica Welman - 26th September 2009

Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment (HIE) announced Thursday that its World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand would be renewing its contract with IMG Sports and Entertainment for five more years through 2014. The two groups have worked together since 2005 and IMG has helped to bring major non-gambling sponsors like Jack Link’s Beef Jerky and Planters Peanuts to the popular tournament series.

Within a press release distributed by HIE, the company also placed emphasis on its efforts to grow the WSOP brand internationally into something larger than just an annual series of poker tournaments. “We are looking to emphasize the ‘World’ in World Series of Poker as our vision of the brand extends beyond the annual events in Las Vegas and London,” explained HIE Chief Executive Officer Mitch Garber. “By tapping the global reach and expertise of IMG, we are confident that together we can take the brand to new levels on the international stage through new international bracelet events and other WSOP licensed poker events.”

IMG has long been a power player in the representation game and has a client roster that includes Hollywood celebrities, Olympic and professional athletes, and several major athletic brands like Major League Baseball, the Ryder Cup, and the PGA. With offices in over 30 different companies, HIE is hoping IMG’s global presence will serve them well in the next five years.

“The World Series of Poker is an impressive property that we believe is well positioned to expand successfully into international markets given the increased activity in the online and offline poker business in key international markets,” said David Abrutyn, Senior Vice President and Global Managing Director of IMG Consulting.

Harrah’s has been taking steps to position itself for this transition into the international poker markets. First, it launched HIE earlier this year and hired former PartyPoker CEO Garber to run the operation. Earlier this month, HIE also announced it would be teaming with 888 Holdings’ business-to-business venture, Dragonfish, to develop online content for the casino conglomerate. Although the legality of online gambling remains up for debate in the United States, Dragonfish will supposedly create online gambling ventures branded for WSOP and Caesars Palace in European and other global markets. The WSOP’s longstanding relationship with ESPN was also renewed recently, with a contract guaranteeing coverage of the event on the ESPN family of networks through 2017.

HIE and the WSOP are not without their critics, though. Despite plans to make a grand entrance and participate in this weekend’s WSOP Europe, 11-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth recently spoke out against the company on the Hardcore Poker Show because of the steps being taken to expand the brand into online poker ventures. Hellmuth, like many other top pros, has a sponsorship deal from an online poker site and fears HIE’s attempts to create a WSOP-branded room will jeopardize lucrative television logo deals that players use to subsidize their income.

“You know, there’s going to be some mistakes made by Harrah’s and just mark my words - they’re going to risk losing the World Series of Poker, which is estimated at $200 million,” Hellmuth said in his interview. “It may actually become worth nothing if they force the players and all the great internet sites to say, ‘Look, we’re going to start our own deal because Harrah’s is restricting logos.’ They’re actually taking logo use out of the picture, or trying to press their position as a site owner.”

To date, there has been no official announcement of a WSOP-branded online poker site, but the hiring of Garber and recent steps taken by HIE lead many to believe that is the direction the brand is heading. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WSOP Europe On The Way - 21st September 2009

World Series of Poker Europe kicked off over the weekend at the Empire’s Casino in London.

The player line up includes:

Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Peter Eastgate, and Ivan Demidon.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Joe Hachem, Jeffrey Lisandro Featured on WSOP on ESPN Coverage, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 16th September 2009

Day 3 of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event hit television airwaves on ESPN on Tuesday night, with two hours of coverage dedicated to the festivities. Seated at the feature table were two Aussies, Joe Hachem and Jeffrey Lisandro.

Lisandro became the fifth player in WSOP history to take home three bracelets in a year and has logged 29 cashes since 2004. Hachem took down the 2005 Main Event and ignited a poker boom of his own in Australia. Joining the duo from Down Under was George Hardie, the former owner of the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. On the first hand, Lisandro raised to 3,600 with pocket eights and, after peeking down at pocket queens, Hachem made it 9,600. Lisandro called to see a flop of 10-4-2. Lisandro checked, Hachem bet 16,000, and Lisandro quickly released his hand, igniting chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”

ESPN announcer Norman Chad commented that, while Phil Ivey remains his perennial pick to win the WSOP Main Event, Lisandro’s heroics in 2009 make him a close second: “Let’s assume that aliens come down and lure Phil Ivey away to a cash game mother ship, then I must turn to Jeffrey Lisandro.” Ville Wahlbeck was the only player remaining in the field that could catch Lisandro for WSOP Player of the Year honors. However, he’d need a seventh place finish or better in order to do so. Wahlbeck was seated at Table Two during the 8:00pm ET episode alongside Kenny Tran.

Also found in the field were Ivey and Phil Hellmuth. “The Poker Brat” found that one of his tablemates, Lauchlin McKinnon, did not want to shake his hand. Instead, his opponent told Hellmuth, “I don’t respect anything you do. I think you’re a complete prick.” Hellmuth joked, “I think this is going to be a good day.” Elsewhere in the Amazon Room, Bodog pro Jean-Robert Bellande pushed with A-10 of diamonds for 20 big blinds and rivered a flush to double up. Chad labeled him a “survivor,” a reference to his appearance on the China installment of the CBS reality franchise.

Kent Senter, who is undergoing stem cell treatment for an incurable form of cancer, was all-in with pocket tens against Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier’s pocket jacks. The board ran out K-5-3-3-5, giving Grospellier the win and sending Senter home. He was met with a herd of television cameras upon his departure. Grospellier is a PokerStars pro; his site began sponsoring chip count leaderboard graphics on Tuesday night on ESPN.

The “Straight from the Pros” segment featured Daniel Negreanu battling against Sammy Farha in a hand during the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Negreanu folded a straight after a third spade hit the river to give Farha a flush. Negreanu, the captain of the Team Americas squad that will compete in the Caesars Cup, told ESPN cameras, “He’s either bluffing here or I’m dead.”

Negreanu’s comrade on Team PokerStars Pro, Hachem, was featured in the Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Wild Card Hand, in which the cards of one player are not shown so the audience can play along at home. Hachem raised to 4,100 pre-flop with the Wild Card hand and Claus Nielsen called with pocket threes. The flop came 8-2-5 and Nielsen checked. Hachem fired out a bet of 6,200 and Nielsen made the call. The turn was a deuce and Nielsen put in a check-raise to 32,000, causing Hachem to relinquish K-Q.

Also in the field was former November Nine member Dennis Phillips, who relived tossing out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. However, he wound up throwing the ball directly at the ground. Wahlbeck then hit the skids after running pocket queens into pocket kings, leading to an announcement from WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack that Lisandro had claimed Player of the Year honors. Ivey then moved to Grospellier’s table, leaving Chad to remark, “Poker’s superpowers clash.”

The second episode of Tuesday night kicked off at 9:00pm ET and continued coverage of Day 3 of the 2009 WSOP Main Event. David “Devilfish” Ulliott joined the cast at Table Two, while Hellmuth found himself flanking Josh Arieh. Former Main Event winners Peter Eastgate (2008), Greg Raymer (2004), Dan Harrington (1995), Hachem (2005), and Hellmuth (1989) all remained alive to begin the episode, but Raymer quickly found himself on the sidelines after running pocket tens into pocket aces.

Lunkin doubled up after rivering a straight, causing Chad to lament, “I know Lunkin has played good, but I can’t tell you how ridiculously good he’s run. He should be halfway back to Moscow on an Aeroflot flight in coach.” Meanwhile, Nielsen bet out on an ace-high board after raising pre-flop with just 8-4. However, Hachem laid down pocket queens and Lisandro released pocket kings, giving the pot to Nielsen.

The Full Tilt Poker sponsored segment “Deal Me In” featured Howard Lederer taking on Hellmuth in a hand from the 2004 WSOP Tournament of Champions, which was ultimately won by Poker News Daily Guest Columnist Annie Duke.

Hevad Khan cheerily smiled at ESPN cameras, leading to the following comment from announcer Lon McEachern: “That’s the first real sign of life from him we’ve seen in two years.” Khan finished sixth in the 2007 WSOP Main Event. His lively antics resulted in the “Hevad Khan rule” against excessive player celebrations. Elsewhere in the dwindling field, J.C. Tran and Joe Sebok doubled up, while L.A. Lakers Guard Jordan Farmar was eliminated. Also hitting the exits was “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander, whose opponent made trips on the river.

Finally, “The Nuts” featured Chad and Hellmuth taking turns in a dunk tank. After Chad, a southpaw, finally sent Hellmuth to a watery demise, he commented, “I took more pleasure out of dunking you than anything in my whole life. That was two honeymoons rolled into one.”

New episodes of the 2009 WSOP Main Event on ESPN air on Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET and are repeated throughout the week on ESPN’s family of networks. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Tiffany Michelle Gives the Inside Scoop on Amazing Race, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 16th September 2009

On September 27th, the 15th installment of the CBS reality franchise “Amazing Race” will kick off at 8:00pm ET. Appearing will be professional poker players Tiffany Michelle and Maria Ho, the last women standing in the 2008 and 2007 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Events, respectively. Michelle sat down with Poker News Daily to preview the season.

Poker News Daily: Congratulations on appearing on “Amazing Race.” Tell us how the opportunity came up.

Michelle: Maria Ho and I have been friends for a while and bonded even more recently. There was lots of talk of us doing a reality television show. We agreed that if we did anything, it’d be “Amazing Race.” We thought we’d be an interesting team. With the competition and challenge of the show, it’d be right up our alley. We could take our poker playing background and use it on “Amazing Race.” We had a chance to go through the casting process and were in Las Vegas playing tournaments when we got the call. It was definitely hard to head back to the tables during the WSOP knowing we’d be traveling the world soon.

PND: Had you watched previous seasons of “Amazing Race”?

Michelle: I hadn’t seen a full season, but saw the show on different occasions. It looked challenging and was out of my league. I think it looked fun.

PND: The cast features Harlem Globetrotters and a former Miss America. Talk about the competition that you’ll face on “Amazing Race.”

Michelle: We were surprised to learn that we were the only all-female team this season. We felt pressure to represent women and knew that no all-female team had ever won “Amazing Race.” We thought that our competition consisted of young, big, athletic people. That was going to be our weakness, but we knew that the race tests your mental and physical skills.

PND: Past seasons of “Amazing Race” have included stops in the four corners of the globe. Talk about being able to travel the world.

Michelle: It was a very life-changing experience. I live a wonderful and blessed life. I get to travel and stay in nice hotels. We have a life of luxury and don’t have to sweat it out. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, mentally and emotionally. I came home and had a whole new appreciation for my life. I feel like I’m so full after the experience.

PND: Talk about your relationship with Maria Ho.

Michelle: I wouldn’t have done “Amazing Race” without her. You have to trust and feel comfortable with your partner. I was excited to share this experience with her. We travel together on the poker circuit already. We’re 10 times closer now.

PND: Is there anything you can take away from Annie Duke’s appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice” that could have helped you on “Amazing Race”?

Michelle: “Celebrity Apprentice” is a different format than “Amazing Race.” You’re competing against different people on your own. On the race, you have a team. There’s not that direct competition and you have the opportunity to work together in a group. We wanted to represent poker well after what happened between Annie and Joan Rivers. We wanted to come off the best that we could. We wanted to play a clean game and give poker players a good name. Also for us, we’re controversial and wanted to show people a different side.

PND: You’re hosting a Hollywood premier of “Amazing Race” that will likely include Tammy and Victor, who won last season’s installment of the reality show. Did they provide any advice before you set out?

Michelle: We got to go to a Labor Day barbeque at Victor’s house. A lot of people who were on “Amazing Race” were there and you felt like a big family. These people know exactly what you went through. Within a few minutes of being there, I felt like I had known them forever. It’s wonderful being a part of something special.

PND: What preparations did you make before the show began filming?

Michelle: I ran out and bought running shoes. I got my cardio up because I knew there was a lot of running involved. Also, we learned how to drive a stick shift. Maria was much better than I was at that, so she was responsible. We watched past episodes and talked about them. We prepped for the unknown as much as we could. I got my butt in the gym and got in touch with the outdoors.

PND: You mentioned in a blog entry before you left that poker will always be around, but doing “Amazing Race” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Was it hard walking away from this year’s WSOP Main Event to film?

Michelle: There wasn’t even a doubt in my mind that I wanted to do the show. What I did last year in the Main Event was amazing. As hopeful as I could be to repeat that, I was happy with that punctuation. The Main Event comes around every year and poker is always there. Not only was this an amazing challenge, but it was also an opportunity to be a part of an Emmy Award winning show. To get to do it with someone else sounded like a fun time. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

ESPN To Broadcast Four WSOP Events

Now that the final nine competitors for this year's World Series Of Poker (WSOP) are known, American sports network ESPN has released its broadcaster schedule for the tournament with a total of four events set to be televised.

ESPN revealed that it would begin its coverage this Tuesday from eight o'clock in the evening New York time with a two-hour review of the $40,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament, which was held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the WSOP.

The following Tuesday, August 4, ESPN will broadcast all of the action from the WSOP Champions Invitational beginning from eight o'clock in the evening. This two-hour programme will feature Norman Chad and Lon McEachern commentating on all of the action including the presentation of a new car and the Binion Cup.

The third event ESPN has committed to airing is the successful Ante Up For Africa charity tournament, which will be broadcast over two hours from eight o'clock in the evening on August 11. This is the first time the sports broadcaster has featured this special event and viewers will be able to watch celebrities including Charles Barkley, Adam Sandler, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Ray Romano and Brad Garrett share the tables with some of the biggest names in poker.

Beginning on August 18 from eight o'clock in the evening, ESPN will begin broadcasting action from the WSOP's main event. The action will commence with coverage of the four Day One competitions every subsequent Tuesday evening from the same time with two hours of programming for each. Day TwoA will air on September 15 followed by Day TwoB and September 22 and this format will continue until Day Eight airs on November 3.

In Las Vegas, the main event will play down from nine players to two on November 7 with the final pair going heads-up on November 10. ESPN is due to run a one-hour preview show on the November Nine that day from eight o'clock in the evening immediately followed by two hours of final table action where the winner will be decided.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

2009 WSOP Main Event November Nine Features Phil Ivey, by Earl Burton - Poker News Daily - 16th July 2009

After 56 events and 13 days of play in the Amazon Room at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the final table of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event was determined.

A total of 27 players came back to the Amazon Room at Noon on Wednesday with dreams of being at the final table of the most prestigious poker tournament in the world. Everyone remaining would receive $352,832, but the true focus was on making the final table, which once again will be delayed until November. Leading the pack was newcomer Darvin Moon, a logger from Maryland, who held slightly over 20 million chips as play began.

Leo Margets, who came to the start of play on Wednesday as one of the shorter stacks in the room, was the first to depart in 27th place. She was followed by notable players including Antonio Esfandiari (24th place for his largest WSOP cash ever) and Day Six leader Warren Zackey, who dropped from the tournament in 22nd place after his pocket deuces were out-raced by Ian Tavelli’s Qs-Js.

Tavelli’s aggressive play eventually caught up with him after he ran pocket nines into Steven Begleiter’s pocket kings. After the board didn’t bring him either of his two outs, the 21-year old Tavelli was eliminated in 17th place ($500,557). Almost immediately after Tavelli’s departure, one of France’s top professional players, Ludovic Lacay, was defeated by Jeff Shulman in 16th place. After Lacay’s elimination, everyone at the tables was guaranteed $633,022.

As the field continued to dwindle down, both Moon and Begleiter used their chips to climb to astronomical levels at the tables. Moon never seemed to be in jeopardy during play on Wednesday and Begleiter, using the chips he had earned from Tavelli, continued his march up the leaderboard. For all of their work, however, most of the eyes in the Amazon Room followed poker professional Phil Ivey.

The perennial pick by ESPN commentator Norm Chad to win the Main Event, Ivey had come to the 2009 WSOP with his skills at their highest point ever. He captured two bracelets during the six weeks of preliminary tournaments and had been at or around the top of the Main Event leaderboard since it began. Starting the day with over 11 million in chips, Ivey seemed content to sit back and maintain his stack, scouting potential opponents should they reach the November Nine final table.

After over 11 hours of battle, the final table of the Main Event was determined. The unlucky Bubble Boy was pro player Jordan Smith, who fell in tenth place ($896,730) at the hands of Moon. Facing a raise to 650,000 from Eric Buchman and a call from Moon, Smith popped a 2.6 million bet into the pot, which was called by Moon after Buchman folded. The seemingly innocent flop of

8 Clubs, 4 Diamonds, 2 Diamonds

hit the table, at which time the fireworks went off. Smith checked his option to Moon, who put four million chips out, and Smith moved all-in over the top. Moon called and tabled pocket eights for top set; Smith dejectedly turned up

Ace Hearts, Ace Diamonds.

After the turn and river failed to come an ace, the November Nine was determined.

These are the nine players who will gather at the Rio in November to determine the next WSOP Main Event Champion:

Darvin Moon (Oakland, Maryland) – 58,930,000
Eric Buchman (Valley Stream, New York) – 34,800,000
Steve Begleiter (Chappaqua, New York) – 29,885,000
Jeff Shulman (Las Vegas, Nevada) – 19,580,000
Joe Cada (Shelby Township, Michigan) – 13,215,000
Kevin Schaffel (Coral Springs, Florida) – 12,390,000
Phil Ivey (Las Vegas, Nevada) – 9,765,000
Antione Saout (Paris, France) – 9,500,000
James Ankenhead (London, England) – 6,800,000

With such professional players as Ivey, Shulman (Editor of CardPlayer Magazine), and Ankenhead in the mix, some are concluding that this will be one of the strongest Main Event final tables of the past few years.

Play will pause on the Las Vegas leg of this year’s WSOP, but there are still four events to go. The 2009 WSOP Europe, which will be held in London beginning in September, will offer a chance for the survivors of the Main Event to tune up their games. The November Nine then will emerge from their respite. All are now millionaires, but the eventual winner takes the $8.5 million first place prize. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Shane Warne's poker ace, by David Hastie - Sunday Herald Sun - 5th July 2009

He conquered the world on the cricket pitch. He is rumoured to have reunited with his former wife. Now Shane Warne is taking the poker world by storm.

The spin king stormed into the next round of the World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas last night, finishing day one with more than $110,000 in chips.

Warne has been accompanied in Las Vegas by former wife Simone Callahan and their three children, fuelling speculation of a reunion.

And last night he was celebrating a windfall at the lucrative tournament, where he is set to go up against some big names, including actors Jason Alexander and Matt Damon. (Credit: Sunday Herald Sun)

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Harrah's Entertainment releases list of celebrity guest invited to 3rd Annual Ante Up For Africa Tournament

Harrah's Entertainment has released the list of celebrities playing in the third annual Ante Up for Africa poker event held at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino during the World Series of Poker.

The event will take place on Thursday, July 2nd at 2:00 pm and will gather some of the best poker players, actors, sports celebrities, musicians, etc. Stated to play this year are poker pros Howard Lederer, Team Full Tilt pro Andy Bloch, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, Peter Eastgate, NBA stars Dennis Rodman, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Reggie Miller, actors Matt Damon, 'Seinfeld' star Jason Alexander, Hank Azaria, 'Everybody Loves Raymond' star Brad Garrett, comedian Marlon Wayans, actress and comedian Sarah Silverman, 'Oceans 11' co-star Casey Affleck and talk show host Montel Williams. More celebrity guests will be confirmed in the coming weeks. For the first time since its inception in 2007, the Ante Up For Africa Celebrity-Charity Poker Tournament hosted by Annie Duke and actor Don Cheadle will be recorded and broadcast on ESPN sports network on Tuesday, August 11th from 8:00 to 10:00 pm ET. The event open to the public for viewing and admission is free.

"It is an honor and very exciting to have ESPN turn the cameras on for our event," said Annie Duke. "This will make great strides in raising awareness about this ongoing crisis."

Created by Oscar nominee Don Cheadle and Celebrity Apprentice star and WSOP bracelet winner Annie Duke, the Ante Up For Africa is a unique charity tournament created to raise funds and public awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. To date, Ante Up For Africa has raised close to $2 million for the cause.

"I am very pleased that we have raised almost 2 million to date and appreciative of everyone who has participated and donated to help us on our mission of bringing the plight of the refugees of Darfur to the forefront of people's minds," said actor and philanthropist Don Cheadle.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Mike Sexton Reviews the 2009 World Series of Poker, by Mike Sexton - Poker News Daily - 25th June 2009

It’s once again time for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) – the 40th edition. For poker players, the WSOP is the ultimate in “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” It’s where dreams come true and also where dreams are shattered. Many of us dote about the bracelets, the history, and the tradition that set the WSOP apart from other tournaments, but the beauty is that most players really can win life-changing money.

This year’s kickoff event was a $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament commemorating the 40th annual WSOP. Personally, I think it’s a dumb idea to ever have a bigger buy-in for a No Limit Hold’em tournament than the Main Event, so I wasn’t for it. I didn’t play in it because I missed the first week of the WSOP this year. I took a vacation with my wife Karen and son Ty (nine months old) to Yellowstone National Park – and it was great! It was a vacation for our second anniversary and Ty is the first child for either of us. It’s official - my priorities have changed from poker to parenting!

I do love the WSOP, though. I’m guessing I will play in 10 to 12 events this year. It may be their 40th, but it’s my 25th WSOP, my Silver Anniversary. One thing’s for sure: I will never forget my first-ever WSOP. It was 1984. I lived in North Carolina back then and had been a professional poker player for about six years. I always wanted to go the WSOP and play against the best. I never went, though, because I was an avid Little League coach back then (which, incidentally, was the greatest joy of my life). We started practicing in April and our season started in May – the same time as the WSOP in those days – and, therefore, I couldn’t go.

In 1984, I finally decided to take a week off from Little League and go to my first WSOP. Back then, they only had one tournament every other day. That meant in a week’s time, you could only play in three events. So, I entered three events, made two final tables, and was hooked for life on the WSOP. Because of my success in that first WSOP, I decided to move to Las Vegas a few months later and I’ve lived there ever since. I’ve often wondered where I’d be today if I hadn’t cashed in any of those three tournaments.

Here’s the bad part: 25 years later, I still remember how I was knocked out of those tournaments at my first WSOP – and it still hurts! Why can’t I just let it go? Because it’s my Silver Anniversary WSOP, I’ll relive the pain and tell you what happened (If you don’t like bad beat stories, skip the next couple of paragraphs).

With five players left in the Pot Limit Omaha tournament, I was average in chips and the leader was Tom McEvoy, who happened to be the reigning World Champion of Poker at the time. Noted author David Sklansky was also still there as well as a high-stakes Pot Limit Omaha player named Bill Bennett, the eventual winner.

McEvoy was playing extremely aggressive, too much so for Pot Limit Omaha, in my opinion. Even though he was the World Champion at No Limit Hold’em, I wasn’t convinced he played Pot Limit Omaha that well. Tom was raising nearly every pot and once again raised the max pre-flop. I was on the button and picked up a nice hand, A-K-Q-8 (A-Q of diamonds, K-8 of Clubs). I called, as did the big blind. The flop was Q-8-3 with two hearts and one club. The big blind checked and McEvoy led out and bet the pot. I was contemplating raising and going for it all right there. McEvoy must have sensed it because he blurted out, “If you raise it, I’m going to put you all-in.” After that statement, I decided to go with this hand for sure. So I then said, “Well, I guess you’re going to put me all-in then, because I’m raising it!” I raised, the big blind folded, and true to his word, McEvoy set me all-in. I can still remember how much my heart was pounding when I called him.

I was shocked and thrilled when he turned up his hand. He had a 3-4-5-8 and no heart draw! Yippee!! I had the top two pair and he had the bottom two pair. Then it happened - a seven came on the turn and a six on the river. Wham! Bam! He made a straight and won the pot. Instead of me being the chip leader, I was out. I won’t forget that hand as long as I live. That bracelet could/should have been mine!

Even with all the pain, I love the WSOP. I like that, for the first time ever at the WSOP, there are no rebuys in any tournaments. I’ve always campaigned for that because I think everyone should have an equal chance to win a bracelet. Rebuy tournaments are not equal to everyone; they favor the deep pockets.

Sadly, I must say that I can’t believe the $50,000 HORSE tournament is not being televised this year. In my opinion, this is a poor decision and not good for poker. And even though they’re doing it again, I still think it’s a bad idea to put the Main Event final table four months down the road. Whether or not I like the final table in November, however, you can be sure of this: If I’m breathing, I’ll be playing in the Main Event. Needless to say, it would be a dream come true to get to that final table. If it happens, I hope to meet you there! (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

PartyGaming to build first grassroots poker team; Signs Ian Fraser - 26th June 2009

PartyPoker is to create its first ever grassroots poker team to compete at major poker events.

PartyPoker.com has previously stayed out of the player sponsorship market with the exception of main site ambassador Mike Sexton, but has sponsored UK player Ian Frazer as the new team’s first member.

A PartyPoker.com spokesman said: “The sponsored player and grassroots team initiative will continue to grow, with all VIPs reviewed for suitability. We are looking for players that have shown themselves to have star quality in their play but who are also fun, humorous and possess a strong character and willingness to co-operate. Our extensive international television distribution gives players the chance of brilliant exposure.”

VIPs, loyal players and players with historic links to PartyPoker will form the basis of the team.

Ian ‘The Raiser’ Frazer, a 50-year-old building contractor from London with live tournament winnings of over US$1.3m, started playing online at the site in 2004, and has finished on the final table of five offline Party tournaments.

Frazer will host invitation-only private tournaments on PartyPoker.com and represent PartyPoker.com at events at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, on which he has started blogging on the PartyPoker blog.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cast of characters ready to entertain, by Joe Hachem - Fairfax - 20th June 2009

The world of professional poker is full of interesting characters, baby-faced maths whizzes, gnarled veterans, clowns, bombshells, good guys and villains.

It doesn't surprise me that the popularity of televised poker continues to grow. When you're not worried about your own hand, a live tournament is great entertainment - sweeping highs, crushing lows and nail-biting tension at every turn. As with all great TV, though, the real entertainment comes down to the characters.

From players looking to make an entry onto the main stage to the stalwarts who have a lot to teach, the following are some of players to watch during this year's World Series of Poker.

THE INTERNET WONDERKID - TOM "DURR" DWAN

An absolute internet phenomenon, 22-year-old Dwan has been training in poker online since he was 17. His earnings from online games last year are rumoured to be close to $US5.5 million - a phenomenal result for the young player, but how will Durr handle the pressure of facing off against some of the best in the world face to face?

Watch him to: See if the internet wonderkid translate his online success live wins.

THE STEADY CHAMP - DANIEL "KID POKER" NEGREANU

Don't let his baby face fool you, Team PokerStars PRO Negreanu has been making waves at the World Series since his debut in 1997. Negreanu coaches some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Spiderman's Tobey Maguire, and has recently starred in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Katy Perry's new video clip. Not just a famous face, Negreanu is one of the game's great strategists, and has penned several books and articles on the science behind his play.

Watch him to: See a consistent strategist in action.

THE TEACHER - GRANT LEVY

Sydney teacher Grant Levy is one of the most likeable local guys on the international poker circuit. A virtual unknown until 2007, the western suburbs boy rocketed to prominence after beating out myself, Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker and 550 other players to pocket nearly $1m at a 2007 Asia Pacific Poker Tour. A good humoured guy at the table, Grant can always be counted on to place well in tournament and provide a bit of Aussie pride.

Watch him to: Cheer on the home side.

THE MATHEMETICIAN - MARK VOS

Another young Australian player to watch, Vos is a mathematician rather than a physical or psychological player. The former Mathematics Olympiads champion excels at the calculations behind the cards. Vos is fascinating to watch as he continues to improve his live game play, bringing his physical skills up to the standard of his mental gymnastics. Watch him to: Learn how to play the numbers.

THE TIGER WOODS OF POKER - PHIL IVEY

Phil Ivey is generally recognised as one of the best all-round poker players on the circuits. Well versed in all forms of poker, Ivey has already scored two bracelets this WSOP, making him the sixth-highest bracelet winner of all time. All eyes are now on the master to see whether he can score another and match his 2002 record-breaking haul of three WSOP bracelets.

Watch him to: See history in the making.

Until next week, Pass the Sugar! (Credit: Fairfax)

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Watch the WSOP at PKR.com

PKR.com will be the only place to watch live coverage of many of this year’s WSOP events and the best thing is that it’s all available for free. The virtual reality poker site has signed a deal with Bluff Media giving them exclusive rights to 24 of the bracelet events at the 2009 World Series. Highlights of the package include the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E, $10,000 PLO and $10,000 Heads Up Championship. The events will be shown on a specific microsite at PKR.com.

PKR.com Marketing Director Simon Prodger said, "The World Series of Poker is without doubt the biggest event of the poker calendar and it fills me with delight that PKR has managed to scoop exclusive rights to be the official broadcaster for these 24 bracelet events."

If you’d rather be playing at the World Series than watching then there are still plenty of opportunities to qualify with PKR.com. At least 10 packages worth $12,000 apiece are on offer in the their WSOP Main Event Final with daily super satellites starting from just $1.20+6c.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

WSOP Sells Out Three of First Nine Events, by Tom Jenkins - Poker News Daily - 6th June 2009

The 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) has already been firmly cemented as one of our industry’s most epic events ever. Three of the first nine tournaments were sold out for the first time in WSOP history, including the $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Stimulus Special event, which attracted 6,000 runners.

The seventh event of the 2009 WSOP was a $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event, the first of that genre to take place following the Stimulus Special. In fact, the tournaments began just three days apart, meaning another record field was likely on tap. As a result, 2,791 players showed up for the WSOP’s second sellout of 2009. Harrah’s officials determine whether an event has reached its capacity based on the number of players surviving the previous day’s tournaments combined with demand for the new schedule of events. Last year, 2,706 players took to the field in Event #7, which was won by Vitaly Lunkin.

In the end, Travis Johnson banked $666,000 and his first bracelet from Event #7, defeating Steve Karp heads-up. Others reaching the final table included Michael Ciotola (third place for $273,385), Mark Salinaro (fourth place for $193,343), Craig McConville (fifth place for $145,721), Brian McInnis (sixth place for $116,234), Walter Wright (seventh place for $97,985), Jim McClain (eighth place for $87,013), and Kam Low (ninth place for $81,185). The top 296 players finished in the money in the sold out affair, which emanated from the Amazon Room inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Sin City.

Similarly, Event #9, the $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Six-Max tournament, drew 1,459 players, also a sellout. An e-mail sent to WSOP media this week noted, “With this event being six-handed, all available tables not being utilized for restarts were taken up by Event #9. Last year, this same event was Event #9 on the schedule and had 1,236 entrants. The 1,459 entrants represents a 223 player – or 18% - increase year over year.” The 2009 version of the Six-Max event, which wrapped up Friday night, was ultimately won by Ken Aldridge, who defeated Carman Cavella heads-up. The final table also featured Peter Gould (third place for $170,953), Bryce Yockey (fourth place for $115,230), Charles Furey (fifth place for $80,896), and Manny Minaya (sixth place for $59,049).

This year marks the first time that three of the first nine WSOP events have been sold out. Whether the numbers are a function of the placement of the $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament commemorating the 40th running of the WSOP remains to be seen. The event was the second on the docket of the 2009 WSOP and brought out poker’s biggest stars. Its 201 entrants generated the largest non-Main Event prize pool in WSOP history at $7.7 million. The aforementioned Lunkin was its winner and took home $1.8 million for his showing.

Immediately following the $40,000 buy-in tournament was a $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low Split Eight or Better event that drew 918 entrants, making it the largest Omaha High-Low event in WSOP history. The sizable field didn’t faze Thang Luu, who took down the event for $263,000. It marked a monumental feat for Luu, who became the first player since Johnny Chan to win an event twice and also finish as its runner-up in a three-year span. Chan accomplished the feat in the Main Event, winning the tournament in 1987 and 1988 before falling to Ultimate Bet’s Phil Hellmuth in 1989.

No discussion of tournament sellouts would be complete without mentioning the $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Stimulus Special, which attracted the largest non-Main Event field in WSOP history at 6,000 players. The tournament required two starting days and players were sprawled throughout the halls of the Rio, including several who could be found in Buzio’s Seafood Restaurant.

The 2009 WSOP will begin airing on ESPN on Tuesday, July 28th with the $40,000 No Limit Hold’em event. On August 4th, the WSOP Champions Invitational will air, followed by the Ante Up for Africa festivities on August 11th. Starting on August 18th, action from the $10,000 buy-in Main Event will hit television airwaves, concluding with its final table on Tuesday, November 10th.

Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest WSOP news. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Steve Sung Wins $1,000 WSOP Stimulus Special, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 4th June 2009

A record-setting 6,000 players turned out for Event #4 of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP), the $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Stimulus Special. In the end, 24 year-old professional poker player Steve Sung banked $771,000 for the win.

The nine-handed final table in Event #4 was originally scheduled to play out on Tuesday night. However, a last-minute decision by WSOP officials to hold the final table on Wednesday set up a mid-afternoon showdown featuring Dan Heimiller and Sung holding dominating chip leads over the rest of the table. In fact, the duo held nearly half of the chips in play. First to hit the exits in the No Limit Hold’em tournament was Danny Fuhs, the short stack entering Wednesday’s play. After a board of 10-A-J-2, Phong Huynh pushed over the top of a raise by Fuhs, leaving Fuhs calling for his tournament life. He flipped over A-J for top two pair, but watched as Huynh revealed pocket tens for a set. Every member of the final table earned a six-figure payday, as Fuhs took home $114,168.

Huynh was the next to go, coming out on the short end of a set over set situation against James Matz. Heimiller then saw his lead take a dive after dropping a 2.5 million chip pot to Pete Vilandos. In the hand, Vilandos rivered a six-high straight, trumping Heimiller’s flopped set. Jeff Oakes was then ousted in seventh place by Sung. Oakes was all-in pre-flop holding pocket fives in a race against A-Q. However, the flop came ace-high, sending Sung into the lead in the hand for good. Sung then caught fire, as over the next hour, he’d grow his stack to well over six million.

During the heater, Sung sent Heimiller to the rails in sixth after Heimiller’s A-K of spades could not hold up against Sung’s A-Q. The flop came 3-Q-6, sending Sung into the lead for good. Heimiller banked $145,000 for his efforts and was gunning for his second WSOP bracelet. He won his first in 2002 in a $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em and Seven Card Stud event for $108,000. In that event, he bested Ram Vaswani heads-up in the finale of the 144 player field.

Sung was also the executioner of Nathan Mullen, who was eliminated in fifth place for $175,851. Mullen was all-in pre-flop with J-10 against Sung’s A-7. The flop came K-Q-J, giving Mullen the temporary lead in the hand, but also giving Sung a straight draw. Sure enough, one of the three remaining tens in the deck hit on the river, and Mullen was sent packing in shock. According to official WSOP coverage, the hand gave Sung 60% of the chips in play. Shortly thereafter, Larry Sidebotham was eliminated in fourth place for $227,254 by Matz, whose A-7 held against Q-J.

Sung sent Matz out in third place. Matz pushed over the top of a bet by Sung with 5-4 after a flop of Q-5-10. Sung flipped over K-J for an open-ended straight draw, which promptly hit when an ace fell on the river. Sung held a 5:2 chip margin heads-up and won his first bracelet within an hour. On the final hand, Sung’s hot run of cards continued. Vilandos called Sung’s all-in for his tournament life with pocket eights, only to see he was up against Sung’s pocket kings. The cowboys held and Sung banked $771,000; Matz earned $473,283 for his runner-up showing.

The $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #7) wrapped up Day 2 on Wednesday. When the final cards were dealt, Craig McConville was the only player with over one million chips. Hot on his heels are Steve Karp (957,000 chips) and Jacob Kalb (894,000 chips). Still in contention is Jeremy Joseph, who ESPN followed religiously throughout last year’s $10,000 buy-in Main Event. Joseph took 57th in the tournament for $115,000 and now sits with a stack of 493,000 entering the final day of play. Thirty-three players remain; falling during Wednesday’s action were Justin “looshle” Pechie (42nd place for $11,505) and Sandra Naujoks (61st place for $7,390). In March, Naujoks became only the second female to win a European Poker Tour (EPT) event.

Finally, David Fox leads the way in the $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event after Day 1. A sold out field of 1,459 players entered and 105 survived to see Day 2. Among those still in the hunt for the bracelet are David Daneshgar (27th with 77,700 chips), Bill Chen (40th with 68,700), Todd Witteles (45th with 64,600), Rafe Furst (63rd with 47,400), Justin Young (72nd with 33,300), Joe Awada (74th with 32,900), Carlos Mortensen (89th with 25,600), and Isaac Haxton (95th with 21,700). Play resumes at 2:00pm PT. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Justin Bonomo Leads $40,000 WSOP Tournament Field, by Brett Collson - Poker News Daily - 30th May 2009

With a starting field rivaling the most talented ever assembled in a poker tournament, it was assumed that the final three tables of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event would consist of the game’s biggest names. That promise has now been fulfilled, as players cracked the money bubble late Friday evening and the final 23 will prepare to play down to the final table Saturday.

Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo quietly, but steadily climbed to the top of the leader board to end Day 2, holding a small chip lead over Ted Forrest, David Baker, Greg Raymer, and Lex Veldhuis. Bonomo began Day 2 third in chips with 738,000 and rarely got involved in any big pots, pulling in small pot after small pot to increase his stack gradually. His biggest win of the day came by way of Marco “CrazyMarco” Johnson, who was eliminated in 33rd place after his A-Q was overcome by Bonomo’s K-T. Bonomo also watched as Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond and 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker were knocked off his table short of the money bubble. Other notables falling out of the money were Nam Le, Kirill Gerasimov, Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro, and Team PokerStars Pro member Humberto Brenes.

Forrest, who was inexplicably missing for some time after the dinner break, returned to take out Galfond in 29th place and play then went hand-for-hand. Alec Torelli eliminated Neil Chriss in 28th place just after Midnight local time, sealing a payday for everyone at the final three tables. The bursting of the bubble came with less than ten minutes remaining in the final level of the night, so a card was drawn to determine that six more hands would be played before the end of Day 2. Vanessa Rousso (27th place), J.C. Tran (26th place), and Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi (25th place), all exited just minutes later and David “The Dragon” Pham departed in 24th place on the final hand of the night when he ran into Matthew Marafioti’s pocket kings. Each earned $71,858 for their two days of work.

The remaining 23 runners will resume play at 2:00pm and the last nine standing will return Sunday for one of the most anticipated final tables in memory. The winner will receive $1.9 million. Here’s a look at the chips counts heading into Day 3:

1. Justin Bonomo - 2,678,000
2. Ted Forrest - 2,586,000
3. David Baker - 2,367,000
4. Greg Raymer - 2,287,000
5. Lex “RasZi” Veldhuis - 2,103,000
6. Alec Torelli - 1,725,000
7. Keith Lehr - 1,257,000
8. Vitaly Lunkin - 1,166,000
9. Matt Marafioti - 1,003,000
10. Brian Rast - 912,000
11. Doshi Suresh - 771,000
12. Dani Stern – 762,000
13. Clark Hamagami - 691,000
14. Matt Glantz – 671,000
15. Brian Townsend - 671,000
16. Noah Schwartz - 541,000
17. Isaac Haxton - 539,000
18. Antanas “Tony G” Guaga - 481,000
19. David Chiu - 318,000
20. Neil Channing - 270,000
21. Andrew Black - 210,000
22. Frank Kasella - 167,000
23. Andrew Robl - 112,000

The $1,500 buy-in Omaha High-Low Eight or Better kicked off Friday afternoon and broke the record for the largest Omaha High-Low event in WSOP history. The $1,500 event attracted 918 entrants and generated a prize pool of $1.25 million. Defending champion Thang Luu is currently the chip leader with 73,600 in chips, but with 197 players still alive, the gold bracelet is up for grabs. Eli Elezra won a big pot toward the of the night to increase his stack to 55,000. Others returning on Saturday include Celebrity Apprentice runner-up Annie Duke, Ultimate Bet pro Phil Hellmuth, Todd Brunson, and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. Play is scheduled to begin at 2:00pm local time.

Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest WSOP coverage. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Friday, May 29, 2009

PartyPoker Lobbies for Mike Sexton to Join Poker Hall of Fame, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 27th May 2009

With news that the voting for the Poker Hall of Fame is open until July 2nd, PartyPoker has begun lobbying for its ambassador, World Poker Tour Host Mike Sexton, to be among those considered.

Nominations are open to the general public. Interested poker fans can submit the name of their chosen nominee plus up to 250 words describing why they should be the newest Poker Hall of Fame member. During the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, Harrah’s officials will announce the names of the top 10 nominees, which will in turn be voted on by the 16 living Hall of Fame members. In addition, select media members will receive voting rights. Each person will rank their top nominees, but “only those they deem worthy of admission in 2009,” according to a WSOP press release. In order to be enshrined, a player must accrue 75% of the vote.

Longtime players or those who have contributed to the game are eligible to be considered for the Poker Hall of Fame. Sexton, a Guest Columnist here on Poker News Daily, recently wrapped up the seventh season of the World Poker Tour (WPT). He has been the voice of the WPT ever since Season I. This year, he celebrates the 20th anniversary of his WSOP bracelet win in a $1,500 buy-in Seven Card Stud High-Low tournament in which he defeated Sid “The Kid” Herald heads-up. WPT Founder, President, and CEO Steve Lipscomb told Poker News Daily, “Mike is the consummate face of poker. He was making poker mainstream before it had a prayer of being mainstream. He helped launch the WPT – which changed the poker world forever. Then, he convinced the WPT to include PartyPoker in Season I, which changed the poker world again forever. Let’s get the man into the Poker Hall of Fame!”

Sexton recently re-signed with PartyPoker and will serve as the ambassador for the world’s fourth largest online poker site in Las Vegas during the WSOP. At the Rio, a bevy of rising poker stars will take to the felts. Many were first turned onto the game by watching Sexton and WPT Co-Host Vince Van Patten bring poker to life every week. Party Gaming’s Warren Lush told Poker News Daily that Sexton has wide appeal in the industry: “I intend to approach the media and influential figures in the game and lobby for Mike because he really deserves it – he qualifies on so many levels. It is extremely encouraging that a figure such as Annette Obrestad has already expressed her intent to vote for him because she is a representative of the new generation of players. Mike appeals to players both old and new.” Also lobbying for Sexton is Irish poker pro Padraig Parkinson.

In 2008, poker pro Dewey Tomko and hole card camera inventor Henry Orenstein joined the Poker Hall of Fame in a special ceremony during the WSOP Main Event final table. Orenstein is a producer of GSN’s “High Stakes Poker” and won a WSOP bracelet in 1996 in a $5,000 buy-in Seven Card Stud tournament. Tomko first cashed in a WSOP tournament 30 years ago and holds three bracelets, two of which came in back to back events in 1984. Other Poker Hall of Fame members include Puggy Pearson, T.J. Cloutier, Johnny Chan, Stu Ungar, WPT Founder Lyle Berman, Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, Bobby Baldwin, Jack Binion, and Johnny Moss. Two industry members have been enshrined every year since 2002; Barbara Enright and Ultimate Bet’s Phil Hellmuth served as the Class of 2007.

Sexton has 44 cashes on the felts of the WSOP, tied with Chris Bjorin for the 11th most all-time. He won the Foxwoods World Poker Finals’ first $10,000 buy-in event in 1992. Eight years later, he became the first American to take down the Euro Finals of Poker. In 2006, the WPT Host battled through the field in the WSOP Tournament of Champions, winning $1 million and defeating Daniel Negreanu heads-up. Sexton has also appeared at poker trials around the United States serving as an expert witness. Most recently, he testified in a case in South Carolina that poker is a game of skill by using hands that played out on the WPT circuit.

Vote for the 2009 Poker Hall of Fame class.

(Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Monday, May 25, 2009

PKR to Broadcast 24 WSOP Final Tables, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 25th May 2009

Independent online poker room PKR has announced that it will air the final tables of 24 World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournaments as the “exclusive sole live broadcaster.” The news comes on the heels of an announcement that ESPN360.com and BluffMagazine.com will also stream 24 events.

PKR has set up a free website dedicated to WSOP coverage from the Rio in Las Vegas. Of the 24 events that will make up PKR’s live coverage, the site is looking forward to the $50,000 buy-in HORSE Championship. Last year, it was infamously won by Expekt Poker pro Scotty Nguyen, who was allegedly inebriated during the festivities and visibly hostile to both his tablemates and Rio staff. Nevertheless, Nguyen became the third winner of the prestigious event, which awards the Chip Reese Trophy to the winner. The late Reese took down the inaugural 2006 version, besting Full Tilt Poker pro Andy Bloch heads-up. In 2007, the $50,000 buy-in HORSE Championship was won by Freddy Deeb, who defeated Bruno Fitoussi to earn $2.3 million.

PKR will also carry several final tables of the $10,000 buy-in events. The World Championship of Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em is Event #29 and was won last year by Kenny Tran, who outlasted Alec Torelli in the final match. World Poker Tour (WPT) Founder Lyle Berman took fifth in that contest, with a bevy of world-class pros finishing near the top. The World Championship of Pot Limit Omaha will also air on PKR. In 2008, Boyle Poker pro Marty Smyth captured his first bracelet in it and defeated Peter Jetten. Coming in third place was Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, who earned over $330,000 for his efforts.

PKR Marketing Director Simon Prodger commented in a press release distributed by the online poker site, “The World Series of Poker is without doubt the biggest event of the poker calendar and it fills me with delight that PKR has managed to scoop exclusive rights to be the official broadcaster for these 24 bracelet events.” PKR has also become the official non-U.S. sponsor of the WSOP’s official website. A large PKR ad now dons the top of the site. The gray menu bar, which in the United States is sponsored by Bluff Magazine, is sponsored by PKR outside of the North American nation. The WSOP Countdown is also presented by PKR and the site has information at the bottom of the page about its WSOP satellites and along with a host of ads.

Among those events that will be shown on PKR are:

Event #4: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em Stimulus Special
Event #17: $1,000 Ladies Championship
Event #18: $10,000 World Championship Omaha High-Low Split Eight or Better
Event #29: $10,000 World Championship Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em
Event #33: $10,000 World Championship Limit Hold’em
Event #35: $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha
Event #40: $10,000 World Championship Pot Limit Omaha
Event #41: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout
Event #45: $10,000 World Championship Pot Limit Hold’em
Event #49: $50,000 World Championship HORSE event

PKR was one of the first online poker sites to popularize the concept of 3D poker. On the last Sunday of every month, the room offers the $100,000 Guaranteed PKR Masters, a $250 buy-in tournament that pays out at least $25,000 to its winner. $27 direct buy-in satellites are available, as are a multitude of options starting as low as $0.52 or 900 PKR Points. PKR regularly offers a $30,000 guaranteed prize pool tournament on other Sundays that comes with a price tag of $88. Every day except Wednesday, the site offers an $18 buy-in $10,000 guaranteed tournament along with a Daily $17K.

According to PokerScout.com, which keeps tabs on online poker room traffic, PKR is the 14th largest network or site worldwide with a seven day running average of 790 cash game players. It does not accept U.S. customers. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Harrah’s launches interactive department for WSOP, by Amanda Finnegan - Las Vegas Sun - 22nd May 2009

Harrah’s Entertainment announced today that it has launched a new subsidiary, Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment, to oversee the global and online growth of its World Series of Poker brand.

Harrah’s has hired Mitch Garber, the former CEO of PartyGaming, the largest online gaming company in the world, as the Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment CEO.

"As the world's largest gaming company, Harrah's is taking a proactive approach toward international and interactive expansion," Harrah's CEO Gary Loveman said in a statement. "It is important we position ourselves to explore new markets as well as new technologies with our best in class brands."

Jeffery Pollack will stay as commissioner of WSOP and will add president of the subsidiary to his title.

The company said in addition to growing the WSOP, Harrah’s Interactive will explore the use of interactive gaming technologies globally, beginning with Europe.

The WSOP expanded to Europe in 2007 with the introduction of WSOP Europe held each fall in London.

The WSOP event starts Tuesday at the Rio. Last year’s tournament attracted 58,720 entrants from 124 different countries. (Credit: Las Vegas Sun)

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

WSOP To Offer Players Ability To Help Charities, by Earl Burton - Poker News Daily - 21st May 2009

Over the past five years, poker players have stepped to the forefront for a variety of charitable causes. Online tournaments have raised funds to assist the victims of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other deserving organizations. The Heartland Poker Tour makes contributions to the Disabled American Veterans. There is even an organization – founded by Poker News Daily guest columnist Mike Sexton, tournament directors Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher and philanthropist Lisa Tenner – called Poker Gives, that focuses on using poker to assist in fundraising for charities. Now the World Series of Poker will step up and take poker philanthropy to the next level.

For the first time in its forty year history, the WSOP will offer players who cash during each event on this summer’s schedule the opportunity to donate part of their winnings to an organization that the WSOP has aligned itself with. All that a winning player has to do is to ask the payout clerk to leave one percent of their winnings to the Nevada Cancer Institute and the WSOP will arrange to transfer the funds to the Institute. As with many charitable donations, they are tax-deductible and contributors will receive a letter from NVCI for accounting purposes.

During the run of the tournament schedule, a special VIP lounge will be set up for players who pay a membership fee to be able to use the room. The “Aces Club” will be donating a large portion of each membership taken for access to the room to the Nevada Cancer Institute. As of press time, there are still memberships available and anyone who wishes to access the “Aces Club” should visit the area during the first few days of the WSOP.

One of the most popular fundraisers during the last few years at the World Series has been the “Queens of Heart” that play during the Ladies’ Championship Event. Featuring such players as former WSOP Ladies’ Champion Jennifer Tilly, poker professional Kristy Gazes and actresses Mimi Rogers and Cheryl Hines, the team has raised large amounts of money for women’s causes over the past few years. This year, the WSOP has created a special line of poker clothing for women, available at the Rio and on their website, WSOP Shop. The proceeds from sales of the “Queens of Heart” merchandise will go to the Nevada Cancer Institute, continuing the tradition the team has driven while playing on the felt.

There will be two special charitable tournaments during the run of the WSOP. “Ante Up For Africa” – the cause promoted by actor Don Cheadle and poker professional Annie Duke – will be back for their third annual event. The $5,000 buy in No Limit Hold’em tournament is open to anyone 21 years or older and this year, for the first time, will be a part of the ESPN broadcasts of the WSOP. For the Media Charity Event this year, the players who reach the final table will have donations made in their name to the Nevada Cancer Institute.

Finally, the Championship Event of the World Series will also have a way for players to make their mark in a charitable way. Poker pro Phil Gordon’s charitable cause “Bad Beat On Cancer” and the Nevada Cancer Institute will both benefit from players who donate, much like earlier in the tournament schedule, one percent of their winnings to charity. All contributions are tax deductible and will benefit research into the cure for one of mankind’s worst diseases.

With the WSOP adding in this charitable aspect to their poker schedule, the poker world is once again proving that, while there may be no charity at the poker table, there is a charitable heart inside all who play the game. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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