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.
Texas Dolly faded a potential bad beat! The legendary Doyle Brunson mentioned on his Twitter feed about a near-miss robbery at his home in Las Vegas last Friday morning. Apparently, a burglar showed up at the wrong house in Doyle Brunson's posh neighborhood and robbed one of his neighbors for only $500. Someone gave the thief a bunk tip about a poker player with nearly $1 million lying around his house, but the thief was given the incorrect address. Brunson reminded all his Twitter followers that he's been robbed five times and even though he's an 83-year old man… he's a heavily-armed old man and walks from his car to his house with a .357 Magnum pistol in his hand.
Amaya Gaming, parent company of PokerStars, announced that Rafi Ashkenazi will be their permanent CEO. In March 2016, Rafi Ashkenazi was tapped to become the interim CEO of Amaya after former CEO David Baazov resigned amidst an insider trading scandal. The news about the permanent CEO was made in conjunction with Amaya's quarterly earnings report and an announcement about a special PokerStars tournament series hosted at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey in late October. In case you own any Amaya stock, PokerStars had a very good fiscal quarter. Overall revenue is up 10% and online-gaming revenue is up 11%.
The Trump Taj Mahal will become the fifth casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey to shut its doors since 2014. Donald Trump built the Taj and its doors opened for the first time in April 1990. Carl Ichan is currently the owner of the Taj and the big dog decided it was time to pull the plug on an operation that had nothing but mounting debt and an ugly strike with one of its labor unions. If you have another four weeks to gamble it up at the Taj before they close its doors after Labor Day in early September.
A junta of Chinese corporations led by Giant will purchase Playtika for $4.4 billion. Playtika is the social gaming casino company owned by Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE). There have been numerous rumors over the last few months on whether or not Caesars would sell off CIE and their crown jewel the WSOP. Looks like Caesars sold Playtika instead, which is technically owned by CIE.
MGM Resorts Inc, will acquire Boyd Gaming's 50% share in the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey for $900 million. Boyd and MGM were joint partners when they opened the Borgata in 2003 in the Marina District of Atlantic City (away from the Boardwalk). Since then, the Borgata has been the swankiest and most successful casino in A.C. Despite the fact that four casinos have shuttered their doors since 2014, the Borgata continued to thrive during a down market. MGM is looking to strengthen their position on the East Coast, specifically the Atlantic City market.
This summer, the Treasure Island Casino a.k.a. TI on the Las Vegas Strip, will be catering to European poker players during the WSOP. Starting June 1, the TI poker room will spread 24-hour cash games including a special VIP high-roller section. They intend to spread Euro-centric games such as 5-card PLO, Chinese Poker, and other carious mixed games. TI will also show Euro Cup matches as well. TI is teaming up with Living It Loving It along with Bruno Fitoussi and Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Young to present this special summer-long event to help make sure European players do not get homesick during the WSOP.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Caesars Entertainment (CE) might be selling off Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), which also owns the World Series of Poker and their online poker site. Will this summer's WSOP be the last ever at the Rio ad the last that is run by Caesars Entertainment? CE is saddled with debt and they have to do something to general cash. The WSOP is one of their biggest brands and the sale of CIE is an obvious move. One potential bid for CIE has exceeded $4 billion.
The online poker world and the esports community just got a little closer. A couple months ago, Elky returned to the gaming world when he signed with esports behemoth TeamLiquid. Now this week, PokerStars announced that they will be partnering with TeamLiquid. Several members of Liquid -- Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen, Jeffrey "SjoW" Brusi, Dario "TLO" Wünsch -- will be sponsored into various EPT events and they will be live streaming their PokerStars action via Twitch.
The Godfather of Poker, Doyle 'Texas Dolly' Brunson, faded cancer for a sixth time. Brunson went to Twitter to announce to the poker community that his most-recent surgery was a success and he had beaten cancer once again. "Cancer #6 gone. Squamous carcinoma gone bye bye. Just another scar on an already scarred up face,” tweeted @TexDolly. So, if you're keeping score at home.... Texas Dolly 6, Cancer 0.
It's now Day 5 – the last and final day – of the record-setting Cash Game Festival at Aspers Casino in Stratford City, London. The biggest and juiciest cash game in Europe has been running nonstop since Wednesday. If you're in London today and having a lazy afternoon, then get down to Aspers and dive into the action. Watch the conclusion of the Cash Game Festival with three different live streaming sessions live from Aspers. Today's schedule includes… £1/£2 – “Cash Game Tournament”, £10/£25 NL, and £1/£1 RankingHero Special. Click here to watch via Twitch.
It's now Day 4 of the historic Cash Game Festival at Aspers Casino in Stratford City, London. The biggest cash game in Europe will be running nonstop through Sunday evening. If you're in London, then head over to Aspers and get on the wait list. Plenty of games running for a Saturday night of cash game mayhem. They are live streaming a high-stakes table right now at Aspers. Click here to watch £25/£50 NL via Twitch.
The Cash Game Festival is underway and passed its mid-way mark. The third day of nonstop action is off and running at Aspers Casino in Stratford City, London. The Cash Game Festival is a special 5-day celebration of poker, which attracted players from all over Europe and North America. The Twitch streams during the first two days were so popular that management added a third session (instead of two). Watch it live now!
The Cash Game Festival at Aspers Casino in Westfield Stratford City, London is currently underway. For the next five days, Aspers Casino will host the biggest cash game action in Europe. The Cash Game Festival has its own Twitter feed (@CashFestival) and dedicated Twitch channel, which is live right now. Watch it here.
The poker world never has a shortage of broke-dick degens and grifters who will do anything to scam good people out of money. After getting stiffed on a 250K loan for a high-stakes European player, Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond penned a detailed op-ed in which he asked his peers in the poker community to be more vocal about known-scammers and thieves. Will Galfond's call to justice work? Or is he just screaming into the void?
Another weird and wild week in the gaming world…. PokerStars introduced Duel, a new way to play specific heads-up matches, with the hopes that a highly-influential social media element will make the game addictive and lucrative… When in doubt, default to a bag of cash! The quickest way to resume discussions for online poker legalization in California is to dangle a boatload of cash in front of a crumbling institution barely clinging to power… The DFS world got taken behind the shed with a searing expose by PBS Frontline. Uh oh, real journalists digging underneath rocks makes everyone uncomfortable in the gambling world. As expected, there were a few absurd quotes from DFS execs, including one slagging poker.
Hangover time in America. It's the day after the Super Bowl but the poker world keeps humming along… The gang at the 2+2 Pokercast podcast announced the new Internet Pokers Wall of Fame (a.k.a IPWOF)… Last week, the CEO of Amaya declared his intentions to buy-up the rest of Amaya's stock and take the company private… Meanwhile, Full Tilt's traffic is down and its numbers continue to spiral… British pro Liv Boeree gave a great long-form interview and sounded off on why women in general do not play poker.
Annette “Annette15” Obrestad was hired by the Venetian to be a poker room ambassador. The former Norwegian online wunderkind notoriously won an online tournament when she was only 15 years old, yet she's now on the payroll of a casino owned by a notoriously anti-online poker billionaire. Yes, it's baffling move that irked online forum denizens and spurred a bit of debate in media circles. Then again, Annette15 has always been the center of controversy since the moment she splashed onto the scene at the apex of the poker boom.
Busy week in the poker world… A man who loved poker died in Puerto Rico, so his friends and family hosted a home-game poker-themed wake with the corpse in attendance… A much thinner and healthier Full Tilt founder and former CEO Ray Bitar got married and the online poker world nearly imploded… In less than six months, California passed a bill that will legalize daily fantasy sports. Yes, DFS got fast-tracked while online poker bills have routinely come up short for the last eight years.
Better late than never? Despite the recent DFS "insider" scandals and strong state-by-state opposition to the entire DFS industry, Phil Ivey is launching his own daily fantasy sports site… Katrina Sheary went into labor at the poker table and tagged in her husband Peter to finish her tournament at Aussie Millions (she gave birth to a baby boy and he finished in 25th place)… Online poker mastermind and renown instructor AEJones shipped $5 million in a tournament, but it wasn't poker: Jones took down a DFS NFL championship.
The FBI raided two card clubs in San Diego – Seven Mile Casino and the Palomar Card Club – and busted an illegal gambling and money laundering operation. The feds fingered David “Fat Dave” Stroj as the mastermind of the gambling ring, which has apparent ties to the Philly mafia. The nationwide sting netted 25 arrests in California, Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Iowa. The card rooms were used to launder proceeds from a prostitution ring, high-stakes poker games hosted in mansions around San Diego, and an offshore sports book that booked $2 million in bets every month.
Three random news items of note: Congressional hearing on RAWA (bill trying to ban online gambling) failed miserably, PokerStars announced four special $1 million freerolls in the wake of their VIP program controversy, and Portuguese politicians decided to segregate its (small) online poker players base from the (vast) global market.