Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for August 31, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Aug 31, 2018

French Amateur Poker Player Wins Major EPT Tournament

Jean-René Fontaine from Reunion bests a field heavily populated by professional players

The Euro 1,100 buy-in European Poker Tour National in Barcelona has been taken down by French amateur player Jean-René Fontaine despite a professional-heavy field of 4,348, rewarding the Reunion resident with the main prize of Euro 547,000 and a Pokerstars $30,000 Platinum Pass.

In a four-hour final table, Fontaine and French professional player Julien Martini dominated the action to face each other in the heads up stage with similar chip stacks. Then Fontaine began to pull ahead, opening up a 2 to 1 chip lead that enabled him ultimately to eliminate Martini, whose runner up prize was Euro 323,000.

Martini was generous in his praise for Fontaine’s performance, saying he played in an unpredictable but skilful way that was hard to read.

Another player from Reunion, Alberto Ah-Line, finished third for Euro 242,000.

Other final table cashes were:

  • Claudio Di Giacomo Euro 197,000
  • Jerome L’Hostis Euro 155,000
  • Jan Teunis Euro 123,000

Ukrainian Lawmakers Re-Classify Poker As a Sport

After eight years of being defined as gambling, poker is reinstated on the national Register of Recognised Sports

Eight years ago, the Ukrainian government’s Justice Department decided that poker was not a sport but in conflict with national gambling law, and removed the popular genre from the national Register of Recognised Sports.

The unilateral decision triggered a storm of protest from poker clubs, which formed an alliance and took the case to the Supreme Court in 2013, achieving a positive outcome, albeit one restricted to tournament poker only.

Despite the court victory, little obvious change in the legal status quo appeared to take place, perhaps because the country was by then wracked by division as Russian-supported rebels tried to return to the Russian federation.

Subsequent reports revealed that the technically illegal status of cash game poker notwithstanding, games were taking place both online and at terrestrial venues.

In the most recent development, the government position was reportedly clarified by a document published by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, in which it listed “sport poker” as an authorised sport, presumably in terms of the Supreme Court decision.

It’s a hopeful sign, but local observers have cautioned that a properly structured and legal environment will be dependent on the introduction of new regulations…and there has thus far been little indication that government is working towards this goal.

Belarus Poker Pro On A Roll In Barcelona

Mikita Badziakouski takes down the EPT Barcelona Euro 100,000 buy-in Super High Roller for Euro 1,650,300

Belarus poker pro Mikita Badziakouski is on a roll this year with a series of big wins that make him second only to Justin Bonomo as a money-maker.

This week his roll continued with victory in the PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona Euro 100,000 buy-in Super High Roller, which boosted the poker pro’s bank balance by an impressive Euro 1,650,300.

The final table of the tournament was a truly international affair and took just four levels to deliver a winner and six cashes on the last day.

It initially looked as if Austrian pro Matthias Eibinger would be the man to beat. The Austrian dominated much of the last day’s play, only to run out of momentum at the three-handed stage, where he was eliminated at third for Euro 759,680 by Iranian pro Ahadpur Khangah.

That set the stage for the heads up between Badziakouski and Khangah, with the two players equally matched in chips and determination. The Iranian took an early lead, only to lose it and eventually suffer defeat. His consolation was a runner up prize of Euro 1,191,900 and the respect from his peers due an impressive performance that has seen him score four seven-figure cashes in as many months this year..

Other final table cashes included:

  • Timothy Adams Euro 576,300
  • Benjamin Pollak Euro 445,300
  • Rui Neves Ferreira Euro 340,550
  • Jean Ferreira Euro 275,050

French Poker Ace In Another Big Win At EPT Barcelona

Benjamin Pollack wins Euro 979,000 in Single-Day High Roller At EPT Barcelona

Only a day after earning Euro 445,300 for finishing fifth in the Euro 100,000 buy-in Super High Roller at EPT Barcelona this week, French professional player Benjamin Pollack added a further Euro 979,000 to his bank balance by taking down the Euro 50,000 Single Day High Roller competition at the same venue.

The event attracted a slew of top international players with 69 entries (15 of them re-entries) generating a prize pool of Euro 3,347,190, ensuring cashes for the last nine players standing.

When Alex Foxen was eliminated at third for Euro 456,000 Pollack faced fellow Frenchman, poker enthusiast and businessman Jean-Noel Thorel, who took a chip lead into the heads up.

The temporary disadvantage did not appear to concern Pollack, who over the next hour steadily eroded his last opponent’s chip stack before ultimately eliminating him as runner up for Euro 703,000.

Other final table cashes included:

  • Ryan Riess Euro 344,700
  • Mikalai Vaskaboinikau Euro 267,800
  • Seth Davies Euro 207,500
  • Jack Salter Euro 164,000
  • Jan-Eric Schwippert Euro 127,200
  • Matthias Eibinger Euro 97,090

Partypoker And World Poker Tour Agree Four-Year Europe And Canada Deal

Together again – partnership will see up to seven events, each with guaranteed prize pools of up to Euro 3 million

PartyPoker and the World Poker Tour have expanded their business relationship with an agreement to team up over a four-year period to deliver major live tournament events across Europe and Canada.

InfoPowa readers will recall that the two poker giants originally had the same owner; PartyPoker acquired WPT in 2009 for $12.3 million and sold it to Chinese conglomerate Ourgame for $35 million in 2015.

Since then the two managements have collaborated on various live and online poker events and promotions, and clearly enjoy a sound working relationship.

The new four-year deal takes that relationship to another level, with the companies committed to jointly creating up to seven major live poker events with guaranteed prize pools of up to Euro 3 million each across Canada and Europe.

WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a press release this week:

“The World Poker Tour is proud to partner with partypoker LIVE on this new, four-year global initiative. The partnership allows the WPT to continue its dedication of bringing world-class poker to people’s lives, and we are honored to have John Duthie and the entire team at partypoker LIVE sharing in this value. Together with partypoker LIVE, we look forward to elevating the game for all levels.”

The first event planned by the partnership will take place in October this year at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. It will be a WPT500 event, a WPTDeepStacks event and a WPT Main Tour all in one festival of poker at the famous Canadian club. That will be followed in 2019 by major events in Sochi, Russia and Nottingham in the UK.

PartyPoker players will have the opportunity to win over 300 seats in these big events via satellite competitions.

PartyPoker’s John Duthie said: “The WPT has always aimed to put the players first, and that is a mission we strongly adhere to with our partypoker LIVE events. Collaborating with the WPT on these additional events across Canada and Europe will allow us to continue to provide players with the tournaments they want across the globe.”

Malaysian Poker Pro Wins EPT Barcelona High Roller

Euro 302,000 pay day for Michael Soyza

Malaysian poker pro Michael Soyza maintained his 2018 winning streak this week by taking down the Euro 10,300 buy-in EPT Barcelona High Roller to claim the main prize of Euro 302,000

His latest victory follows a series of significant cashes in tournaments this year that have enabled the mainly cash game player to push his career earnings north of $2.2 million.

The Barcelona event attracted a star-studded field of 124 (31 re-entries), creating a Euro 1,202,800 prize pool from which 17 finalists cashed.

By the time three-handed play was reached Soyza had staged a major fightback from a major chip loss during the final day and was dominating the action with hyper-aggressive play which saw third placed Orpen Kisacikoglu eliminated for Euro 133,000.

Heads up, Soyza faced Finnish professional player Kai Lehto with an almost 2 to 1 chip lead, which he quickly leveraged to oust his last opponent, sending Lehto to the exit and a runner uip reward of Euro 204,500.

Other final tabole cashes included:

  • Bahram Chobineh Euro 110,100
  • Dario Sammartino Euro 88,800
  • Liv Boeree Euro 70,000
  • Goran Mandic Euro 53,500
  • Luc Greenwood Euro 40,300
Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

CasinoMeister heart Top 5 casinos


325% Slots Bonus on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Deposit

3Dice Casino

110% up to $110 Welcome Bonus


300% Slots Bonus up to $3,000 on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Deposits

Roaring 21 Casino

400% up to $4,000 + 100 Free Spins Welcome Bonus Package