Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for December 22, 2017

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Dec 22, 2017

Former Legendz Defendant Barred By Caesars Casino

Claims that Lay is being victimised and has been barred only after winning poker competitions

The infamous Legendz online sports betting case surfaced again this week after Caesars Casino banned a person formerly associated with the gambling ring, which was shuttered by the US government back in 2013 (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Robert Lay, allegedly a former employee of Legendz and one of the 34 individuals arrested in the federal bust, was barred from Caesars Casino apparently due to his involvement in the case.

Lay has now lawyered up and is suing the casino, claiming that he had been allowed to successfully compete in World Series of Poker Circuit events on Caesars’ properties only to be banned from the Global Casino Championships.

He claims that this was an attempt by the casino to save money on travel expenses and his seat in the championship.

Lay’s legal representative told local media reporters that his client is litigating against Caesars, alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices.

Andy Lee Wins World Series Of Poker Circuit Sydney High Roller

A$273,600 pay day for Aussie professional player

Australian professional poker player Andy Lee has claimed the A$273,600 main prize after winning the A$20,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Circuit Sydney High Roller event.

The two-day event attracted 36 entries and re-entries from a number of top international players, generating a A$608,000 prize pool and ensuring that the four top players would cash.

When Michael O’Grady busted at tenth to German ace Martin Finger a final table was formed and the action was brisk until the heads up was reached, where Lee, started with a 2 to 1 chip advantage, over Finger.

The German pro fought back fiercely, turning the heads up into a tough endurance test that lasted for five hours before Lee was able to finally send Finger away with the runner up prize of A$182,400.

A tired Lee said after the match: “That was the longest heads-up battle I have ever played in my life.”

The other two players to cash were Tolly Sakellariou (A$91,200) and David Wang (A$60,800).

The Stars Group Invests $9 Million In Inaugural Poker Championship

Massive guaranteed prize pool for $25,000 buy-in Pokerstars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship

PokerStars parent The Stars Group announced Friday that it is investing $9 million to provide tournament packages in the inaugural $25,000 buy-in Pokerstars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship.

The event will be the culmination of all PokerStars online and live promotions and player rewards throughout 2018. The year-long journey to the tournament, which will take place in the Bahamas January 6-10, 2019, will see PokerStars give away an estimated $8 million worth of free tournament packages and contribute an additional $1 million to the prize pool generated by entrants for first prize.

The online poker provider says it intends to make the tournament the richest-ever $25,000 live event in poker history, and it expects the event to bring the poker world together in celebration of the game while providing a one-of-a-kind immersive live poker experience and the chance for players of all skill levels to win millions of dollars.

“We expect the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship will set the new global standard for live poker tournaments,” said TSG chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi.

“We want to demonstrate and reinforce our commitment to the game, and give something back to the players by investing in our live events in a meaningful way. Our objective is to create an event that brings professionals and amateurs together, creating many winning moments and unforgettable stories.”

Throughout 2018, PokerStars will give away more than 300 tournament packages, known as Platinum Passes, on PokerStars live tours around the world, and online in tournaments, cash games, promotions, and via the Stars Rewards loyalty program.

Each Platinum Pass is expected to be worth around $30,000 and includes the $25,000 tournament buy-in, accommodation at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino Resort in the Bahamas, and $2,000 in cash towards travel costs. Like most poker tournaments, players can also buy in directly for $25,000. Tournament participants can also expect potential additional rewards, surprises and experiences.

Following on from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) earlier this year, PokerStars has also announced Friday the refocus of certain of its live tour brands, including the European Poker Tour (EPT), Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), and Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT).

At least one Platinum Pass will be given away at each EPT, LAPT and APPT stop, as well as at each PokerStars Festival and PokerStars Megstack event.

Recreational Player Wins Pokerstars Prague Main Event

French amateur Kalidou Sow soaked up the trash talk and kept his cool to win Euro 675,000

French recreational player Kalidou Sow showed remarkable discipline, control and skill in Prague this week, and was rewarded with a win in the Euro 5,300 buy-in Pokerstars Championships Prague main event following a chop at the heads up stage.

Shrugging off the trash talk thrown at him by his heads up opponent, Jason Wheeler, Sow played a classic game throughout the event, which attracted 855 entries, many of them highly respected names in the game and professional poker players.

When the action reached the heads up stage Sow held a small chip advantage, which perhaps persuaded him to accede to Wheeler’s offer to leave Euro 105,000 for the winner and equally divide the rest of the prize money.

Once the duo got down to business it did not take long – around 20 hands – to deliver a winner as Sow went on a showdown rampage that left Wheeler in the dust, neutralising his confident trash talking earlier in the game.

Wheeler took home Euro 570,000, and the rest of the final table cashes included:

Michal Mrakes Euro 332,000
Gabriele Lepore Euro 249,000
Harry Lodge Euro 196,000
Colin Robinson Euro147,000
Matas Cimbolas Euro 104,000
Valentyn Shabelnyk Euro 72,850
Alexander Mordvinov Euro 57,500

World Series Of Poker Sydney Main Event Concludes

Attracts a stellar field of 1,067 players

The World Series of Poker Sydney Circuit tournament has concluded with a main event in which 1,067 players registered, many of them professional international aces.

The competition was so intense that two additional days were required before a final table was reached, with an interesting mix of old hands and young guns making for some exciting exchanges.

When the heads up was reached Michael Fraser held the chip advantage over Michael Kanaan, and a competitive struggle ensued,

Just over half-an-hour later Kanaan had levelled the stacks and then took the lead. Despite a very creditable performance Fraser was unable to regain momentum and he was eventually eliminated at second place for $244,086 – by far his biggest pay day yet.

Kanaan’s reward was $394.837 and the prestige of a WSOP Circuit ring; he also gets to travel to the United States to represent Star Poker in the $1 million guaranteed Global Casino Championship.

Other final table cashes included:

John Pachos $181,390
Nabil Edgtton $136,362
Sean Lannon $103,691
Karam Bahi $79,768
Sam Alhassan $62,078
Vincent Huang $48,868
Daniel Embleton $38,924

Indian Online Poker Start-Up Raises $1.55 Million In Funding Round

9stacks attracts an eclectic mix of investors

Delhi-based online gaming start-up 9stacks has raised seed funding of $1.55 million in order to boost design and product headcount, improve its platform and prepare marketing designed to ramp up its Indian player base.

The funding round attracted an eclectic mix of investors that includes Swati Gupta (founder, IndustryBuying), Purnima Khandelwal (founder, INI Farms), Maheshwer Peri (founder, Careers360) and Kartik Sheth (chief executive, Wynk Music).

9stack has been developing its proprietary poker content, initially for poker coaching, but with an eye on entering the operator segment against rivals like Adda52, Baadshah Gaming and PokerStarts.

India boasts a high internet penetration rate thanks to the advent of smartphones. The continent has also become one of the biggest video gaming markets in the world, accounting for 13 percent of the global mobile population according to a recent Flurry Analytics study. The number of smartphone users in India is expected to reach 530 million by 2018.

The Indian online poker market is reported to be worth $120 million. Domain Up For Sale

But there’s a high asking price

The domain trading firm RightOfTheDot, assisted by domain auctioneer NameJet is currently offering the domain for US$20 million, along with less expensive internet addresses such as (US$ 5 million), ($30,000) and ($5,000.)

Unless a buyer comes forward with an offer, the domains will be auctioned live at the NameCon event at the end of January. is currently being used as an internet address for a poker information portal, offering links to leading poker sites and tutorials on how to play.

In 1999 Inc. obtained the worldwide rights to the domain for 99 years through a brokered deal with UniNet Technology Inc. which obtained the rights from AlaCorp Inc. In the years that followed unconfirmed rumours suggested that the domain had changed hands for between $22 million and $27 million.

If a sale is confirmed at $20 million, it will eclipse similar domain sales of addresses like and ($5.5 million) and ($2.5 million).

The highest known price paid for an internet domain? That would be the $35.6 million that a buyer paid for in 2010.

Partypoker Goes Big On Its Millions Online Project

Next year’s investment in the guaranteed prize pool will be a new industry record at $20 million

Go big or go home seems to be the motto for PartyPoker’s promotional team judging by the announcement this week that the company is to make an industry record investment of $20 million in its Million Online project next year.

The announcement come off the back of a very successful Million Online tournament just two weeks ago (see previous InfoPowa reports) in which the company pumped in $5 million in guarantees and was rewarded with an entry list that topped 1,046 players, generating a prize pool $135,000 greater than the guarantee. Jonathan “sordykrd” Van Fleet won the inaugural event for $1.027 million.

Next year the second iteration of this event will take place December 1 to 4 with the $20 million investment quadrupling and eclipsing this year’s inaugural online festival.

PartyPoker is planning to make satellite and feeder tournaments available where players can win seats, starting early February with a weekly Millions Online Leaderboard where the top 10 spots each week will be awarded entry to the $5,300 buy-in principal event.

$3 million will be awarded through this promotion which will also include mid and low leaderboards that will give out $22, $109 and $530 satellite tickets to the top 20 players.

PartyPoker is also planning to reward the best players in every Live Million Main Event with 10 seats to the Millions Online or $53,000 in value awarded to the top 10 players. This will begin at Live Millions Germany mid-February at Kings Casino Rozvadov in the Czech Republic.

Announcing the new investments, PartyPoker managing director Tom Waters said:

“Running the first Millions Online this year was an exciting time for us, bringing the concept of our live tour online. The feedback we had from our players was overwhelming, so what better way to say thank you than to run it again but this time making the guarantee a whopping $20,000,000.”

PartyPoker Live president John Duthie said the inaugural Millions Online has exceeded expectations, giving the company the opportunity to bring together Millions players from all over the world at the end of the year to compete for an unprecedented prize pool.

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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