Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for December 21, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Dec 21, 2018

Melbourne Poker Pro Takes Down High Roller Event In Sydney

Martinelli wins A$20,000 buy-in High Roller competition at the WSOP International Circuit The Star Sydney

Young Melbourne poker pro Luke Martinelli scored the biggest live tourney pay-day of his career this week in claiming the A$356,250 main prize in the A$20,000 buy-in High Roller competition at the WSOP International Circuit The Star Sydney. The event attracted a field of 50 entries.

Although he started the final day’s play as chip leader, it was an up-and-down day for the young pro as he battled to remain among the five players who would cash, moving up and down the leaderboard until he finally faced Ebori Bokody in the heads up, with the chip stacks pretty much even.

Martinelli wasted no time in grabbing the lead after calling his opponent’s bluff and securing several big pots that enabled him to put pressure on Bokody and ultimately eliminate him at second for A$220,210.

Other final table cashes were:

Qiang Fu A$155,330
Jan Suchanek A$118,845
Gautam Dhingra A$110,365

French Victory In European Poker Tour High Roller Competition

Corentin Ropert claims the biggest pay-day of his career at Euro 277,560

A last minute decision to enter a satellite poker tournament in the European Poker Tour series currently running in Prague ended in a celebration for French poker pro Corentin Ropert this weekend as he claimed the main prize of Euro 277,560 in the Euro 25,000 buy-in Single-Day High Roller event.

The win, Ropert’s best yet, followed a short but intense heads up against Japanese player Tsugunari Toma in which the latter fought valiantly against an aggressive Ropert holding a 4 to 1 chip lead.

Toma’s take-home for a hard day’s work was the runner up reward of Euro 191,840.

Third placed Australian pro Michael Addamo collected Euro 122,4503; Germany’s Dietrich Fast Euro 93,880; Norbert Szecsi of Hungary Euro 73,470 and Pavel Plesuv of Moldavia enjoyed another good day to finish with Euro 64,611.

Will Israeli Lawmakers Pass Poker Legalisation Next Year?

Following a recent Supreme Court ruling that poker is a game of skill rather than luck, there’s hope for a new bill in the Knesset

Optimism is growing in Israeli poker circles that poker tournaments may be legalised by the Knesset following a bill introduced at the end of November by Likud MK Sharren Haskel (see previous InfoPowa report).

The Haskel bill would remove poker from the list of illegal gambling activity in the wake of a Supreme Court decision by Justice Neal Hendel earlier this year that the game is primarily one of skill rather than chance. That will allow poker tournament organisers go about their business without the fear of a three-year prison sentence.

The Jerusalem Post reports that in recent times the Israeli poker community has been subjected to negative headlines, with the Unit for Combating Economic Crime also beginning to block unauthorised gambling domains, potentially affecting online poker operators in the foreseeable future.

But Haskel’s proposed bill could change all that. It will define poker’s legal status and outline solutions for the associated tax issues. The Israel Poker Players Association will be regulated and will be able to organise domestic and international tournaments under the oversight of the Finance Ministry.

The new bill could also mean changes in the poker players’ tax payments. Because it will be defined as a game of skill a new tax rate would have to be approved; currently players who declare their income as derived from lotteries, prizes and gambling” are taxed at 35 percent, and are increasingly being tracked through well-known international poker information sites by the Israel Poker Players Association and, it is believed, the Israel Tax Authority.

When passed, the Haskel legislation will have tax implications for Israeli poker players, some tax advisers believe. The recent 35 percent tax rate will become 50 percent because tournament winnings will be classified as business earnings.

Presently, the main forms of gambling that are considered legal in Israel are sports betting and the lottery. The Israel Sports Betting Board (ISBB) was formed in 1968 to provide wagering opportunities that will support Israeli sports activities through the revenues the wagers generate. The ISBB is licensed to organise “games of skills” but not games of chance.

Some 1350 retail betting outlets have been opened in Israel, a majority of which are focused on fixed-odds winner bets on basketball and soccer games. Toto, a pool-style form of betting is also on offer.

With poker now considered a game of skill, it will become a legal form of gambling in Israel once the proposed legislation is passed.

Poker Pro From Idaho Wins $1.6 Million In World Poker Tour Event

Biggest tourney win yet for Dylan Linde

38-year-old Idaho poker pro Dylan Linde hit the big money this week when he claimed the $1.6 million main prize in the $10,000 buy-in Five Diamond Championship main event, besting a quality field of 1,001 entries that generated a massive $9,709,700 prize pool.

Linde had to work hard for his money, making five re-entries in all in his determination to succeed in entering the WSOPC Champions Club.

Heads up Linde faced Milos Skrbic and immediately turned on the pressure of his 3 million chip lead, playing aggressively and giving his opponent little opportunity to fightback before sending him to the exit and the $1,087,603 runner up prize.

Third-placed Andrew Lichtenberger’s take-home was $802,973, with the rest of the final table cashing:

Ping Liu – $599,147
Lisa Hamilton – $451,880
Barry Hutter – $344,529

Local Poker Pro Wraps Up World Series Of Poker Circuit Sydney With An A$422,796 Win

Alex Lynskey bests a field of 1,191

Besting a field of 1,191, Australian poker pro Alex Lynskey has won the A$2,200 buy-in World Series of Poker Circuit Sydney main event to claim his largest pay day yet – A$422,796.

It was seven days of hard work at the Star Casino for the young pro, who beat fellow Australian Matt Pongrass heads-up to claim the cash and a coveted Circuit ring, along with entry to the season-culminating WSOP Global Casino Championship.

Lynskey laid waste to the final table, busting out five of the remaining players before he confronted Pongrass in the heads up with the latter holding a 6 to 1 chip lead and showing every intention of increasing the gap.

Lynskey battled on despite a dwindling chip stack, but then scored a huge double up which completely changed the game, enabling him to eliminate Pongrass within the hour and leave him with the second placing prize of A$ 262,020.

European Poker Tour Prague Main Event Goes To German Pro

Michaelis takes home Euro 840,000 after three-way chop

Young German poker pro Paul Michaelis as emerged as the winner in the 2018 Euro 5.300 buy-in EPT Prague main event after the final three survivors from a field of 1,174 agreed a three-way chop prior to the heads up stage.

Michaelis played strongly throughout the multi-day competition, flagging on the fourth day, where he ended up almost at the bottom of the list of 44 survivors at that point; however, he subsequently secured a significant double up that put him back on the road to victory.

Three-handed, Michaelis, Artem Kobylynskyi from Ukraine and Russian ace Alexandr Merzhvinskii agreed a chop which recognised Michaelis’ dominance at that point, after which the Russian busted out for Euro 631,500 and the heads up started, with Michaelis holding a 2 to 1 chip lead.

That enabled him to make relatively short work of Kobylynskyi, who earned Euro 571,910 for his time and trouble, and claim the main prize of Euro 840,000, along with a Platinum Pass to the 2019 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship valued at $30,000.

Other six-figure cashes at the final table included:

Laurynas Levinskas Euro 316,000
Carlos Branco Euro 242,560
Parker Talbot Euro 179,360
Liviu Ignat Euro 136,720

Top Online Poker Player Wins Euro 503,700 In EPT High Roller

Denmark’s “hhecklen” in the money after winning the Euro 10,300 High Roller at EPT Prague

Top Danish online high stakes poker player Henrik “hhecklen” Hecklen recorded the largest live tourney pay-day of his earning career this week by taking down the Euro 10,300 buy-in High Roller event at the European Poker Tour Prague for Euro 503,700.

It was tough competition against some of Europe’s most respected players in the field of 259, and ended in a gruelling 3-hour heads up against formidable German poker pro Ole Schemion.

Hecklen powered his way through the final table, eliminating five opponents on his way to the heads up.

That arrived when third placed Alexandre Reard of France was busted out by Schemion for Euro 244,950, leaving Hecklen with a slight chip lead over Schemion, but the German immediately went on the attack and secured two major double ups to take the lead and widen the chip stack gap.

Sadly (for Schemion) that was halted soon after when the cards went Hecklen’s way in a phase that put him in control, and ultimately enabled him to send Schemion home with the runner-up prize of Euro 334,900.

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.

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