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Monday, 27 February 2017 17:43

Darren Elias completes hat-trick WPT main event titles

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Darren Elias Wpt

Darren Elias won the 2017 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event to register a hat-trick of career WPT Main Event titles. He is now part of a select group of players that includes Anthony Zinno, Chino Rheem, Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen.

In November of 2014, Elias took down his first two WPT titles as he won the $3,500 WPT Borgata Championship for $843,744, followed by the $3,500 WPT St. Maarten for $127,680.

He completed a hat-trick at the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort in Canada, beating 489 players to take home a cool $335,436.

Six players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations, Elias and David Eldridge were left to battle it out with David Eldridge.

The final hand of the game was played when Eldridge moved all-in preflop holding J-6. Elias made the call with 10-9. The board ran K-10-5-Q-9 to consign Eldridge to a second place finish for $224,613.

Elias has now taken his live career earning to $4,474,155, adding to the $3,804,230 he has won online playing online poker.

Final Table Results:

1: Darren Elias $449,484

2: David Eldridge $300,982

3: JC Ferreira $193,583

4: Andrew Chen $143,199

5: Manig Loeser $107,399

6: Abdull Hassan $86,184

Ian Simpson

Unibet Poker is often represented by brand ambassadors who are synonymous with the nature of the company's brand. The three new names in that list also fit the bill to perfection. They are fun, witty and popular on social media networks. Unibet has signed the trio of Ian Simpson, Dara O’Kearney and David Lappin, who will now promote the site and its promotions.

UK player Ian Simpson has accumulated $965,357, while Ireland’s Dara O’Kearney has garnered $888,375 from the live arena and an additional $2,278,906 playing online. David Lappin has $400,501 playing live tournaments, and $914,630 playing online poker.

The three players will actively promote the brand via blogs, social media and also on Twitch. 

It remains to be seen how these new acquisitions will benefit Unibet, but one thing is clear that the company intends to leverage social media to draw a newer audience to the website.

With new players joining the poker mainstream, this concept of using mediums like Twitter and Facebook is indeed interesting.

Unibet's progress will have to be carefully tracked in order to understand the return on their investment.  

Maurice Hawkins

Maurice Hawkins equaled Alex Masek for the most World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) rings won after emerging victorious at the $365 WSOPC West Palm Beach event for $13,527. The 37-year-old now has 9 gold rings.

Speaking about his achievement, Hawkins said:

“Poker’s tough. Name one poker player that hasn’t been depressed. Because it’s tough. You have unreal expectations to win a tournament. You go city to city away from your family [but] to get a win is satisfying. It just makes for that good feeling again, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Hawkins beat a tough field of 167 players, including Waller Everitt during the heads-up, to claim his ninth ring. Hawkins has an impressive $1,042,917 in WSOPC winnings, and 3 Main Event titles, making his record a very impressive one indeed.

Hawkins is a tough competitor at the tables and is often accused of being arrogant. However, that tag doesn't bother him.

“People didn’t like Barkley on the court. People didn’t like Dennis Rodman on the court. I’m not here to be your friend on the felt. Now if I catch you at a bar, it’ll be a different scenario, you know? Where I’m from, your results speak for themselves. You don’t have to tell me how great you are. All you gotta do is pull up the results and see who wins," he said.

Hawkins now has $2,383,549 from live tournaments since 2005. He has enjoyed a great run in the last year, taking home $464,093 in 2014, followed by $449,975 in 2015, and $581,685 in 2016.

Thursday, 16 February 2017 09:07

LeoVegas secured sports betting licence in Ireland

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LeoVegas has gone ahead to expand its operations in the regulated Irish market by securing a gaming licence for sports betting.

The firm alreasy provides its mobile casino to patrons in the country and can now utilize their new licence to add sports to its portfolio.

LeoVegas intends to launch its sports service in Ireland before the end of March.

Gustaf Hagman, group chief executive and co-founder of LeoVegas, said:

“The fact that we have in a short time been granted licences in two regulated markets shows that we are delivering in accordance with our expansion strategy.

“But it also shows that we have high capacity and quality in our organisation and in the work, we do.

“I am convinced that our market-leading sport product will contribute to strong growth in Ireland.”

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 09:06

Russia's Igor Kurganov joins PokerStars as sponsored pro

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Igor Kurganov

The latest poker player to join the PokerStars ranks as a sponsored ambassador is Russian tournament pro Igor Kurganov. The 28-year-old has accumulated $12,042,540 from live tournaments. Interestingly, the legendary Liv Boeree, who has been a member of Team PokerStars Pro since September 2010, is dating Igor since the last three years.

The duo has also launched a charitable trust called Raising for Effective Giving, which aims to raise money for the developing world.

Commenting on the latest development, Igor said:

“I was kind of surprised when they contacted me. They suggested that I’d come to the offices, meet the people that work there and that I’d have the opportunity to give feedback. On top of that, PokerStars was interested in supporting REG as well, which is great.”

Kurganov intends to “donate a significant portion”  of the sponsorship cash to REG. In 2016, Kurganov won $2,309,313 at the tables.

Eric Hollreiser, Vice President of Corporate Communications, stated:

“As an outspoken advocate for online and live poker players, he’ll contribute to our products, our policies and our promotion of live and online poker in Russia, Germany and serve as a global ambassador for poker as a member of Team Pro.”

Bryan Paris

Bryan Paris added another feather to his cap after he became only the second player in history to enter the $10 million mark playing online tournaments. The only other player to achieve this feat is UK's Chris Moorman.

Commenting on his win, Paris said:

“I liken it to the all-time hits record in baseball; you don’t necessarily need the best batting average, but you have to show up to play consistently and put in a solid performance over a prolonged period.”

Paris has shown great consistency in the last decade with a strong of big scores, which included finishing the 2013 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) $1,050 NLHE event in 4th place for $111,792. Recently, the 31-year-old took down the $52k competing in the Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP).

Almost 60% of his winnings have come playing on PokerStars. Out of the 11,891 online tournaments that Paris has cashed in, 8,456 have been on PokerStars. The California resident has also fared well on Full Tilt, 888poker, partypoker, and Winamax. He has won 231 online tournaments and finished runner up on 274 occasions, and 3rd in 253 events.

Shurane Vijayaram Aussie Millions

Shurane Vijayaram emerged victorious at the Aussie Millions main event, beating 725 runners to take home A$1.6 milllion ($1,209,760 USD). The A$10,000 buy-in Aussie Millions event had a prize pool of A$7.37 million on offer. Interestingly, Shurane made it to the main event via an A$130 rebuy event held at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

Despite not having registered many tournament wins in his career, Vijayaram is now number 27 on Australia’s All Time Money List thanks to his latest triumph.“I’ve been cashing in some other pub poker tournaments in the last four months. That’s part of the reason it gave me the confidence to play this. I think I’ll play a bit more tournaments. I really like it now – I really enjoy it,” he said after the win.

Some of the big names that earned a return on their investment included Nick Petrangelo (72nd), Sam Grafton (60th), Matt Affleck (56th), Benjamin Tollerene (40th), Richard Ashby (37th), Jennifer Tilly (29th), and Mustapha Kanit (11th).

Seven players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations, Vijayaram and Ben Heath remained to fight it out for the coveted title. There were no surprises in the heads-up round as the local boy coasted to a win with Ben having to settle for a second place finish for $1m.

“It was tough.. He made it really tough for me. That call on the river in the last hand, that was a tough call and I had to really analyze the hand and think about what he was representing. He was a really tough opponent and he did really well,” Vijayaram further added.

Final Table Results: (A$)

1: Shurane Vijayaram $1.6m
2: Ben Heath $1m
3: Tobias Hausen $620k
4: Jeff Rossiter $440k
5: Fedor Holz $335k
6: David Olson $270k
7: Luke Roberts $210k

Donald Trump

The New Jersey General Assembly issued a resolution asking US President Donald Trump to oppose efforts to bring in a ban on online gambling in the country.

New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware are the only three US states that offer regulated online gambling to its residents. There are more states wanting to follow suit going forward.

This form of regulation has been legal since 2011 after the US Department of Justice stated that states could legalize online gaming for their residents.This decision was taken during the tenure of Barack Obama, and the anti-online gambling camp has now urged trump to resume a blanket ban like before.

New Jersey has now opposed this move and has asked president Trump to reject any such proposal.

The resolution said: “Recent measures in Congress, if pursued by the new Congress and supported by the President and his administration, would prohibit the transmission by wire communication of any bet or wager or of information assisting in the placement of any bet or wager, including internet gaming.

“In his confirmation hearing as nominee for US Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions indicated his desire to revisit the federal Justice Department ruling that currently allows the states to authorize internet gaming.

“These measures and actions would invalidate New Jersey’s implementation of internet gaming, which the state authorized in 2013 to be conducted by Atlantic City casinos in partnership with their internet gaming affiliates and under strict regulation and control by the State’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.

“A federal prohibition against internet gaming would directly and negatively impact New Jersey by dismantling the investments that the state and Atlantic City casinos have already made to implement and regulate internet gaming, taking away the economic and employment opportunities already realized by the state and its residents, and foreclosing the future potential of internet gaming to generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue, create high-tech software jobs, and foster valuable business ventures for Atlantic City casinos in this state.”

Arron Fletcher

Arron Fletcher took down the 2017 WSOP International Circuit (WSOPC) main event for first place prize of 1,400,000 MAD ($140,224). The event, which was held at the Casino de Marrakech in Morocco, had 6,668,500 Morocco Dirham ($666,513) up for grabs thanks to the 510 players participating.

23 players made it to the final day of the tournament and after a series of eliminations, nine players made it to the final table. After an intense battle, Fletcher and Pedro Rodero remained to fight it out in the heads-up duel.

Going into the final duel, Fletcher held a  3:1 chip lead over Rodero. Afte an intense fight, the Spaniard pushed all-in holding Q-10. Fletcher (A-J) made the call. The board ran J-5-2-9-9, which meant Rodero had to settle for a second place finsh for $91,146.

Fletcher was crowned champion and his latest win helped take his career earnings to $189,752.

Final Table Results:

1: Arron Fletcher (UK) $140,224
2: Pedro Rodero (Spain) $91,146
3: Fernandez (Spain) $63,602
4: Hamza NBaba (Morocco) $46,574
5: Mika Kakkonen (Finland) $35,557
6: Julio Sanchez (Spain) $27,544
7: Mohamed El Bakkouri (France) $21,534
8: Matthias Widmann (Germany) $17,678
9: Ricardo Manquant (France) $15,324

Christian Harder

Christian Harder emerged victorious at the inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas to walk away with a $429,664 first place prize. The event, which took place at the Atlantis Resort & Casino, had a prize pool worth $3,376,712 up for grabs thanks to the participation of 738 players.

The latest win helped Harder take his career earnings to $4,201,235. The 29-year-old has also won $3,248,456 online playing under the screen name Charder. The win in Bahamas was Harder's sixth career title.

“It’s pretty amazing, I’ve come full circle. It’s totally where it all started. I’d never played a big buy in until the 2008 PCA. It’s amazing. I’ve been playing for nine years really, never won a major tournament. To finally win one, here, it’s awesome.”

The $5,000 PSC Main Event paid out 143 money places with some notable names like Mike McDonald in 52nd ($11,560), Gaelle Baumann in 32nd ($14,760), Byron Kaverman in 28th ($19,000), Adrian Mateos in 18th ($24,640), and Jason Mercier in 14th ($32,200) earning a return on their investment.

Six players made it to the final table and after a series of eliminations, it was left for Harder and Cliff Josephy to fight it out in the heads-up round. Harder entered the final duel with a 4-to-3 chip advantage over Josephy and both agreed to split the cash $419,664 and $403,448 respectively. This meant another $10,000 and the title was what the fight was going to be for.

The contest ended eight hands later after Josephy (A-8) raised and then moved all-in preflop. Harder (A-J) made the call. The 9-5-4-K-9 board made sure that Josephy finished second, while Harder was crowned the 2017 PSC Bahamas main event champion.

Final Table Results:

1: Christian Harder $429,664*

2: Cliff Josephy $403,448*

3: Michael Vela $259,980

4: Aleksei Opalikhin $191,420

5: Michael Gentili $140,940

6: Rasmus Glaesel $103,780

Padraig Parkinson

Padraig Parkinson has become the latest high-profile name to join the Partypoker roster as a brand amabassador. The site has been actively signing up pros with Roberto Romanello and Sam Trickett being the others to join the bandwagon.

The 59-year-old first made a name for himself in 1994 and has since been a regular on the poker circuit. The Irish pro has accumulated close to $1,795,101 in winnings from live tournaments.

Thanks to his consistent performances, Parkinson sits fifth on Ireland's All Time Money List, behind Andy Black ($4,676,143), Marty Smyth ($3,878,675), Eoghan O’Dea ($2,801,127), and Dermot Blain ($2,188,976).

Commenting on this deal, Group Head, Tom Waters said:

“It is a pleasure to have Padraig join the partypoker team as an ambassador and we are delighted to have such a highly regarded and well-known professional representing us in the Irish market.”

Parkinson’s first appearance in his new role will be at the Northern Cup on January 21.

“I am proud to join the partypoker team of ambassadors and am extremely excited about the live opportunities that partypoker LIVE will bring to Ireland in 2017. With the support of partypoker I look forward to continuing my work to grow the Irish poker community,” Padraig Parkinson said after joining the online poker giant.

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