Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for January 19, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Jan 19, 2018

Pokerstars Winter Series A Success

Online poker provider pays out over $38 million

The PokerStars Winter Series, which ran from 25 December 2017 to 7 January 2018, attracted buy-ins way in excess of its $25.4 million guarantee, with a total series prize pool of $38,013,576.

The series attracted more than 1.3 million entries and close to 203,000 unique players, and also awarded five Platinum Passes worth $150,000 to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC), PokerStars advised in a press release Friday.

The winners of each of the $2.20 Micro, $22 Low, $215 Medium, and $2,100 High Main Events all won a Platinum Pass enhancement.

Adrian “BadWolfOne” Nica from Romania was the first Winter Series Platinum Pass winner. He saw off a field of 38,253 players in the Micro Main Event for $8,170.56 and the $30,000 package. Nica, who has been playing poker for nine years and often plays online qualifiers, said, “I only registered for this tournament because of the whole Platinum Pass added value. Never been to the Bahamas so looking forward to that.”

Germany’s “smir9david,” who has been playing poker for seven years, took down the Low Main Event for $68,263.06, topping a field of 24,670 players. “The Haamer” from the Netherlands became the Medium Main Event champion, pocketing $221,965.04 for being the last player standing in a field of 8,218.

Philip “Freezeplay” Elliott from Canada won the High Main Event beating a field of 868 players to the $363,177.75 first prize. The Canadian has been playing poker since Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker got him interested during the poker boom in 2003. Elliott, the first Canadian player to win a Platinum Pass, has attended the PCA in the past and says he’s looking forward to his return to the Bahamas in January 2019. “Feels awesome. . . Can’t wait to parlay that pass.”

All-in shootout winner
Every player who participated in the Winter Series was also given an equal chance of securing a Platinum Pass in an All-in Shootout.

The lucky winner was Maksim “masik777325” Zakharchenko from the Ukraine, who has been playing poker for just two years after a friend introduced him to the game. This will be his very first time playing in a PokerStars Live event.

Jason Koon Takes Down P.C.A. High Roller For $421,080

41 top players in star-studded entry field

West Virginia poker pro Jason Coon (32) is $421,080 wealthier this weekend after taking down the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Single-Day High Roller, besting a stellar entry field of 41 in doing so.

The field included names like Nick Petrangelo, Chris Hunichen, Benjamin Pollak, Mustapha Kanit, Eric Seidel, Chance Kornuth, Igor Kurganov, Daniel Negreanu, Bryn Kenney, Timothy Adams, and Isaac Haxton who generated a total of 58 entries and re-entries.

In a competition that took just 13 hours to conclude, Koon started final table action near the back of the pack, but he burst into action to eliminate three of the top players around the table to enter the heads up against Belarus pro Mikalai Vaskaboinikau, but at a disadvantage of 3.46 million vs. 2.34 million.

Koon soon redressed the imbalance to take the lead, but then Vaskaboinikau staged a comeback, only to be again overtaken and finally bested, by Koon.

For Koon it was a second major High Roller victory in the Bahamas – just over a year ago he took down the $100,00 buy-in PCA Super High Roller for $1,650,300.

It was a commendable effort by the Belarussian, too who took home a runner up prize of $304,580, with the other final table cashes looking like this:

Timothy Adams $196,500
Nick Petrangelo $148,780
Benjamin Pollak $115,100
Chris Hunichen $89,840
Christopher Kruk $71,580
Isaac Haxton $56,140

High Roller Victory For Canadian Poker Pro

Mainly online player bests 144 entrants to win $25,000 buy-in PCA competition

Christopher ‘Apotheosis92’ Kruk, a mainly online poker pro from Canada, has proved his live tourney chops at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas after taking down the $25,000 buy-in High Roller competition in an exciting five-hour final table.

The event attracted 144 entries and a stellar field that included Ryan Riess, Bryn Kenney, Ben Tollerene, Dan Shak, Rainer Kempe, Benjamin Pollak, defending champion Luc Greenwood, Mike Watson, Liv Boeree and Daniel Negreanu.

US poker pro Jonathan Jaffe held a massive chip lead going into the heads up stage against Kruk, but the online specialist scored at least two major double ups that put him right back in the game, and from there on in he ground down his opponent’s chip stack until he had the undisputed lead, turning that into a $836,350 victory, and sending Jaffe home with a still impressive runner-up check for $569,760.

Other final table cashes included:

Richard Seymour $376,360
Justin Bonomo $310,150
Igor Kurganov $249,160
Mikita Badziakouski $195,150
Stefan Schillhabel $146,360
Felipe Ramos $108,030

Million Dollar Victory For Argentine Pro In P.C.A. Main Event

Maria Lampropulos earns her second seven-figure prize

Maria Lampropulos (36) from Argentina is celebrating a $1,081,000 win – her second career seven-figure prize in just three years of professional playing – after taking down the $10,300 buy-in Main Event of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas.

Lampropulos’ previous seven-figure score was in April last year, when she took home $1,255,004 after besting 1,2204 entrants in the PartyPoker Millions Live.

In her victory this week, Lampropulos started out against a stellar field of 582 players, emerging the winner after six gruelling days of action to become the first female champion in the event’s 13-year history. Her large cash award was augmented by a $30,000 Platinum Pass to bigger events.

In the heads up Lampropulos faced formidable online and live Canadian poker pro Shawn Buchanan, who held a 2 to 1 chip lead, but as so often happens when a player stays cool and calm, Lampropulos managed to fight back into the game, take the lead and then eliminate a truly tough opponent at hand 107, sending Buchanan to the exit with a runner up prize of $672,960.

Other final table cashes included:

Koray Aldemir $481,560
Adrian Mateos $372,600
Daniel Coupal $293,560
Christian Rudolph $229,760

Pokerstars First To Market With Online Poker Pooled Player Solution For France And Spain

Online poker provider celebrates with Euro 5 million guaranteed France Espania Hold’em Series and other special promotions

Using licenses from Spain and France, online poker provider PokerStars has become first to market with its shared player pools offer.

Poker players across France and Spain can now challenge and play each other at PokerStars, which today (Tuesday) became the first online operator approved to offer a shared player pool between the locally licensed poker markets.

Poker fans from both countries will now be able to compete for bigger prize pools, amped-up guarantees and promotions at the regulated online poker site, a big win for French and Spanish players.

“This will be great for players and great for the poker category,” said Guy Templer, chief operating officer of Stars Interactive Group, the gaming division of The Stars Group. “The French and Spanish regulators have done an excellent job in enabling a dramatic improvement in the gaming experience in their jurisdictions. Now French and Spanish players can access a larger player pool with bigger prizes, promotions and a better selection of games.

“Having a strong, competitive regulated offering – which comes from combining player pools – has proven to be attractive to consumers who might otherwise be choosing to play on un-licensed sites. We’re looking forward to extending this to Italian and Portuguese players, and offer our full support to the relevant authorities in those countries to do so. In particular, we would encourage Italy to resume their drive toward shared liquidity which after a good start has recently slowed considerably.”

To celebrate the coming together of French and Spanish tables, PokerStars is running a Euro 5 million guaranteed France Espania Hold’em (FRESH) series, which will be exclusively available to players based in France and Spain, from January 28 – February 11, 2018. Additional promotions surrounding this series include depositor free rolls, special Spin & Go FRESH Main Event qualifiers, second chance freerolls and opportunities to qualify for free.

PokerStars players across France and Spain will also enjoy a revamped tournament offering with new daily tournaments featuring guarantees of up to Euro 20,000. Existing daily and Sunday tournaments will now be able to offer bigger prize pools and guarantees, such as the Euro 150,000 guaranteed Sunday Special, the online poker provider said in a statement.

Further benefits to players as a result of increased liquidity include a boost to Stars Rewards, which will be offering instant €5,000 Chests from launch.

Additional information about FRESH can be found here:

German Poker Ace Wins World Poker Tour Championship Event On Home Soil

Ole Schemion takes home Euro 218,435 and a $15,000 Tournament of Champions seat from Berlin main event

German poker pro Ole Schemion (25) racked up another major win this week when he took down the inaugural World Poker Tour Championship main event at Spielbank Berlin in his home town, scoring a Euro 218,435 pay day, along with a $15,000 seat at the upcoming WPT Tournament of Champions.

The event pulled in 339 entries and was televised in Europe.

In the heads up, which took just 20 hands to play out, Schemion started with a 2 to 1 chip lead over Michael Mrakes, who has WSOP and PokerStars Prague main event cashes on his resume.

Schemion maintained control of the action, increasing his lead to first 3 to 1 and then 5 to 1 before finally eliminating a plucky but outgunned opponent, who headed off home with a runner up prize of Euro 143,845..

The remaining final table players cashed:

Patrice Brandt – Euro 93,105
Michael Behnert – Euroi 60,730
Han Kuo Yong – Euro 46,705
Amjad Nader – Euro 39,010

Online Ace Returns To Score Again In World Series Of Poker Choctaw Main Event

Jason Strasser proves he still has it in $332,539 win

Jason ‘strasser2’ Strasser was a force to be reckoned with in the early days of online poker before he started a new career in the hedge fund sector, but this week he proved that he still has what it takes by winning the World Series of Poker Circuit Choctaw main event to take home $332,539 in prize money.

Strasser bested a talented field of 1,249 entries to claim his biggest live tournament score, admitting that he no longer plays regularly.

Strasser had an up-and-down sort of final day, starting as one of the low stacks among 18 remaining players but then doubling up and continuing an upward trend through the field.

At the three-handed stage the action lasted for some time and Strasser hit coolers twice, each time managing to survive and rebuild his stack. It was third time lucky for the erstwhile online ace as he eliminated third placed Viet Vo for $151,248 and qualified for the heads up against Krzysztof Stybaniewicz.

With evenly matched chip stacks and two very competent players, it looked as if the heads up might take some time, but this proved not to be the case. The two were soon all-in for a 9 million chip pot which Strasser won, securing his second WSOP-C title (his first was at Foxwoods back in 2013).

Stybaniewicz picked up the seoond place prize of $206,085.

Pokerstars Site Down Briefly Wednesay Afternoon

Midday tournaments cancelled due to need for a server re-start

PokerStars has confirmed that it had to cancel midday tournaments on Wednesday due to an hour-long technical problem that required a server re-start.

“Our sincere apologies for the unexpected technical issues that occurred today. If you have any queries re. our cancellation policy then please email and we’ll do our utmost to assist,” the company tweeted.

Players affected by the cancellation who feel they were disadvantaged are invited to read the operator’s terms and conditions on tournament cancellations or contact support for further advice.

Pokerstars Set To Re-Brand TCOOP

Popular series will now be titled Turbo Series and take place a little later in the year

PokerStars has announced that its popular but ponderously titled Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) is to renamed Turbo Series, and will now take place in February – a month later than has become its traditional slot.

PokerStars has assured players that there will be no loss of momentum in the popular series, which started out with $10 million in guarantees across 50 events and grew to more than $19 million in total prize pools, escalating to $24 million. Current prize pools are well in excess of the basic guarantee of $15 million.

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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