What are cryptocurrencies? Why is half of my Twitter timeline clogged up with poker pros going nuts about Bitcoin? Why is the other half of Twitter whining about pros bragging about Bitcoin? And what the heck are CryptoKitties? Luckily, we have Doug Polk to get everyone up to speed on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The poker pro, popular YouTuber, and "crypto enthusiast" launched a CoinCentral.com, a news site for all things cryptocurrency. In addition, Polk launched a second YouTube channel to specifically discuss cryptos.
The poker room at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas got robbed… in broad daylight… without anyone getting injured. At 3:50pm PT, an armed and masked gunman robbed the cage in the back of the poker room. He quickly exited out the North Valet. The suspect is still on the loose. This incident occurred nearly seven years after the Biker Bandit robbed a craps table at 4am for a $1.5 million haul. The Bellagio Biker Bandit was eventually caught.
After five years, Phil Ivey finally lost his appeal to reclaim £7.7 million (or approximately $10.2 million USD) from Crocksford Club in London. Ivey crushed the Crocksford playing punto banco a.k.a. baccarat during a visit in 2012. The casino's parent company, Genting Casinos UK, refused to pay Ivey his winnings, so Ivey took them to court. The original ruling dismissed Ivey's case on grounds that he was indeed cheating the casino. Ivey claimed he was using "edge sorting" to exploit a loophole in the game. Ivey appealed his case to the Supreme Court, but those five judges ruled unanimously in favor of Crocksford.
Chalk up a huge score for Team Winamax... two times! The leading French online poker company announced the signing of two of the top pros in Europe – Mustapha Kanit and Adrian Mateos. The French online gaming market is on the verge of merging their player pool with Italy, Spain, and Portugal. In advance of this merge, Winamax locked up the top players in Italy and Spain. Mustapha Kanit and Adrian Mateos will join Team Winamax as brand ambassadors, alongside Belgian superstar Davidi Kitai and an impressive list of French pros such as Sylvain Loosli and Gaelle Bauman.
On Sunday evening, a shooter inside the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino and Hotel opened fired on a musical festival below along Las Vegas Blvd. Over 500+ people were injured and at least 58 people were confirmed killed at the Route 91 Harvest music festival across the street from Mandalay Bay. The shooting occurred shortly after 10pm local time at the end of the set by Jason Aldean. Authorities identified the shooter as Stephen Craig Paddock, a retired 64-year old from Mesquite, Nevada. Las Vegas Police officials said that Paddock died inside his hotel room with apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. This devastating incident is the worst mass-shooting in U.S. history. Investigators are still seeking a motive for the massacre.
Poker pros JC Alvarado and Angel Guillen have been busy with earthquake relief efforts in their home country of Mexico. Earlier this week, a 7.1 quake rattled Mexico City. Several Mexican pros and a handful of American online poker exiles living south of the border mobilized to help out any way they could. Stop by JC's twitter page (@JCalvarado1) for more info on how you can join/fund relief efforts. Also, check out a newly launched site – pokermx.life – to send donations for Mexico earthquake relief.
Whenever a tragic natural disaster hits like Hurricane Irma, most people are overwhelmed with a paralyzing feeling of helplessness. They want to help, but do not know the best way to assist those in need. Many charities are simply collecting for the "next" disaster, so the majority of your financial assistance is not exactly going to those currently afflicted. Luckily, PokerStars has lots of experience dealing with various charities. The online poker site recently announced how their players and other members of the poker community can assist with Hurricane Irma Emergency Appeal Fund. PokerStars teamed up with Helping Hands charity to make sure those in need get assistance. PokerStars will be matching their player donations, so every Dollar, Euro, or Pound counts.
The Poker Brat appeared on the Tim Ferriss Podcast. Ferriss, a renowned life hacker and best-selling author behind the 4-Hour Work Week, invited Phil Hellmuth on his show to discuss the tenets of his success. The 14-time bracelet winner shared how he set/achieved career goals, employed money management, and overcame rough times as a professional poker player.
Billy Walters, the legendary sports bettor from Las Vegas, got sentenced to 5 years in prison for an insider trading scheme. Walters also has to pay a $10 million fine. The Federal Government said the 71-year old pro gambler pocketed over $32 million in profits from illegal stock tips in a scheme that also included pro golfer Phil Mickelson. Walters also avoided over $11 million in losses due to insider tips as well. In all, the U.S. Government said Walters stacked the deck in his favor to the tune of $43 million.
One of the brightest newcomers in a very long time made a quick ascension before he abruptly returned from the poker grind... just as a brilliant career was getting started. Fedor Holz instilled terror into the high-stakes community and crushed games all over the globe... before he decided he wanted more in life than money. Whaaaaaa? Yes, Fedor Holz is an interesting cat. He sat down with Doug Polk for a Hit and Run session. Watch/listen here.
Several members of the high-stakes poker community were victims of hacking this past week. Vanessa Selbst, Vanessa Rousso, and Dan Smith were among the high-profile pros who had various encounters with hackers and identity thieves. Doug Polk posted a video outlining the details of the cyber crime, and he offered up tips on how you can protect yourself.
Breaking news... the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California (located just outside the Los Angeles city limits) was raided this morning by multiple government agencies including Homeland Security, ICE, the IRS, and California Gaming Control Board. The Bicycle Casino, a.k.a. the Bike, is currently under a criminal investigation for money laundering. According to a report by the L.A. Times, the scope of the investigation is unknown due to a sealed warrant.
Say hello to the newest PokerStars Team Pro, Igor Kurganov. The Russian pro is the latest player to get tapped by PokerStars to become one of their ambassadors. Kurganov has been dominant in both live and online poker with over $12 million in live earnings. He's been a regular on the Super High Roller circuit the last few years. Kurganov has donated a percentage of his winnings to charity, specifically Raising for Effective Giving (REG).
Degens gonna degen. Marc Klang claimed a group of poker pros conned him out of a nearly a half million bucks…playing blackjack. One of the villains is former WSOP November Niner John Racener. Here's the cliff notes according to Klang's 2+2 post: “Previous scumbag rightfully wins over $500,000 gambling against a conglomerate of local poker pros. After using every excuse possible, said group decides they are not paying out any money. After some time they pay out $43k of 500k. Winner warns community of the groups actions to prevent similar future scams.” Read the drama unfold over at 2+2.
Dan Smith a.k.a. Danny98765 online was on a mission to raise money for various charities in 2016. He agreed to match $175,000 in donations and hoped for the best. Just as the year ended, Smith announced that 134 individuals donated funds and he raised over $1.7 million. A generous donation worth over $1 million came from the Crowley brothers, Martin and Tom, both of whom are top-notch DFS pros. Martin Crowley helped get Smith over the $1 million hump with a donation worth over $525,000. Most recently, Smith announced that he received a donation of $500,000 from Tom Crowley, a well-known daily fantasy sports player known as ChipotleAddict. Some of these donations are earmarked for Against Malaria Fund, Give Directly, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), and MAPS.
In another weird turn of events in the never-ending saga of Amaya and PokerStars, former Amaya founder David Baazov officially withdrew his offer to buy PokerStars for $4.1 billion. Baazov and a group of investors based out of Hong Kong ready to bankroll his bid to acquire PokerStars from Amaya, but he changed his mind because he felt the shareholders were seeking too high of a price.
Baazzov back in play? After the William Hill/PokerStars buy-out talks fell apart, David Baazov threw his hat back in the ring once again. On Monday, the ex-CEO of Amaya offered to buy PokerStars for $6.7 billion or roughly $17.71 USD per share (or $24 Canadian Dollars). The ball is currently in Amaya's court.
Chalk one up for the casino. Phil Ivey lost an appeal that would have overturned the 2014 ruling on a dispute he had after playing baccarat at Crockfords Casino in London. Ivey claims he used “edge sorting” tactics to win £7.7 million back in 2012. The exchange rate was much stronger in 2012 and the casino disputed the $12.4 million USD win by Ivey, which is now worth approximately $9.6 million.
The votes have been tallied for this year's class into the Poker Hall of Fame. Out of ten initial nominees, only two made the cut: 2001WSOP Main Event Champion Carlos Mortensen and Todd Brunson. They will officially be inducted on October 26th at Binions in downtown Las Vegas. Brunson's father, the legendary Texas Dolly, is already in the HOF.
Donald Trump's Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City has officially closed its doors after 26 years of operation on the Boardwalk. Once dubbed the “8th Wonder of the World,” the Taj had gone into deep financial despair. Donald Trump sold the Taj casino in 2009. Despite attempts to revitalized the bankrupt Taj, the decision was finally made by owner Carl Ichan to shut it down. The Taj marks the fifth casino to close in Atlantic City, New Jersey since 2014.
PokerStars has been up for sale the moment Amaya acquired them in 2014, but we might finally have a legit contender. Have you heard the latest rumor that PokerStars and William Hill will merge? According to a Reuters article, Amaya and William Hill are discussing a potential merger. The union of the U.K. sports betting giant with PokerStars could be worth over £5 billion or $6.1 billion.
The largest storm in over a decade, since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, is set to hit mainland America. Hurricane Matthew is predicted due to reach the Florida coast on Thursday morning and the Carolinas by Friday. Governor Rick Scott of Florida, urged residents of South Florida to evacuate. Several casinos in Florida are shutting down and/or cancelling events including the bestbet WPT Festival in Jacksonville, Seminole Hardrock Hollywood, Seminole Coconut Creek, Palm Beach Kennel Club, Daytona Beach Kennel Club, Gulfstream Park, and the Isle Casino Casino Pompano Park.
So you want to be a poker pro...but what does that really mean? Kara Scott sat down to chat with Rupert ‘ruperte' Elder and figure out the nuts and bolts on what it really takes to be a legit professional poker player.
Did PokerStars just bail out the Global Poker League? The GPL got off to a fast start this year, but something strange happened over the summer when the GPL migrated to Las Vegas. The GPL were low on funds and had to borrow cash from deep-pocketed poker pros like Fedor Holz. The funds were paid back late (with interest) but the details sounded a bit shady. During the summer, the GPL canceled the finals at Wembley Stadium in London. Plus, they nixed an appearance at TwitchCon and insiders began to wonder if the GPL was imploding. The second half of the inaugural season kicked off this past week, but we got word this morning from a press release that PokerStars and Mediarex (the GPL's parent company) have entered a sponsorship deal. The details are still fuzzy, but safe to say that any cash flow problems have been nipped in the bud.
Daniel Negreanu has an opinion on almost everything so it's easy to dismiss what he has to say on a regular basis. However, Negreanu's most recent blog post about the 2016 Poker Hall of Fame nominees is a very interesting read. He gives his take on which of the nominees deserves a nod and gave Carlos Mortensen his full endorsement. Negreanu also listed a group of other pros Like high-stakes cash game player Ray Dehkharghani and David Oppenheim, who should be considered for meeting the requirements, but somehow were not as popular with the public.
David Einhorn, founder of Greenlight Capital, purchased nearly 4 million shares of Amaya stock (or approximately $53 million worth of stock at $13.77 per share). The altruistic hedge fund manager has a positive outlook on Amaya's future as a gaming company that already has verticals set up in poker, casino gaming, sports betting and daily fantasy sports. Einhorn is an avid poker player who holds his own against the biggest sharks in Vegas. Although the billionaire does not play in many WSOP events, whenever he goes deep, he always donates any winnings to charity. He donated over $5 million of his WSOP poker winnings which he earned from his deep runs at the 2006 Main Event and the 2012 One Drop. Einhorn finished in third place at the 2012 One Drop, which paid out $4.3 million… and Einhorn gave it all away.
Daniel Negreanu is the latest poker player to dive into the podcasting realm. He's been video blogging for several years and known as a high-volume Twitter user, but it's surprising that Negreanu waited this long to star in his very own podcast. The new Full Contact Poker Podcast is in conjunction with the re-launch of Negreanu's main site FullContactPoker.com. The first guest on the FCP podcast is Brian Balsbaugh, a poker agent and owner of Poker Royalty.
RIP Riviera Hotel and Casino. After sixty years of business, the Riviera is officially dunzo. The final tower was demolished last night and the event occurred without the fanfare and celebration that accompanied the initial demolition several months earlier. In June 2016, the majority of the property including the Monaco Tower was detonated amidst a rowdy celebration that also included fireworks. After struggling for almost two decades, the Riviera shut its doors in May 2015. The Las Vegas Convention Center purchased the land and will be utilizing the space as part of their expansion.