Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for June 1, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Jun 1, 2018

World Series Of Poker Releases 2018-19 Circuit Details

More benefits for players in the fifteenth edition of poker series

Last year the World Series of Poker Circuit series attracted a record 133,892 entries and awarded $66,585,658 in prize money, and the organisers expect the 2018-19 series – the fifteenth edition of the popular competitions – to pull in even more players.

The new season will see more benefits for players, including more starting chips and new price points, with a record 28 stops planned, all linked by a points system tied to the WSOP gold-bracelet awarding, $1,000,000+ prize pool, season-culminating Global Casino Championship.

The 2018-19 WSOP Circuit officially gets underway August 2 at Harrah’s Cherokee in western North Carolina, and continues virtually non-stop until the season-culminating stop at Harrah’s New Orleans that begins May 9, 2019.

WSOP has introduced several new updates and offerings to the Circuit, including:

  • More starting chips – each official WSOP Circuit ring event now gives players many more starting chips than previously. The most popular price points, the $365 (now $400) and the Main Event (now $1,700) will increase starting stacks 50 percent each.
  • Price point polishing – both to ease customer and cashier process time and to help beef up the prize pools, the WSOP Circuit will introduce some new price points in 2018-19. Buy-ins will now feature $250, $400, $600, $1,125, $1,700, $2,200, $3,250 and $5,300 ranges. The new primary price points will be $250, $400 & $600, while higher buy-ins remaining the same at $1,125, $2,200, $3,250 and $5,300.
  • Introduction of Big Blind Ante – some ring events offered in 2018-19 will feature the Big Blind Ante format. The popular new innovation that replaces players anteing every hand, to anteing once an orbit when in the Big Blind, was tested at points during the last circuit season and has been introduced in some play at the 2018 WSOP. Gaining widespread approval and adoption, Big Blind Ante takes away the frustrations faced when players are slow or forget to ante, as well as eases dealer chip collection, thus making for a more fun and positive experience.

“For our fifteenth season, the time was right to take a hard look at our offering and refreshing it to give players a better experience all around,” said WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel in a statement Thursday. “Everyone loves more starting chips, and we think things like the Big Blind Ante and larger prize pools will be big hits for all players.”

In addition to the WSOP U.S. Circuit tour, the International WSOP Circuit will return, with a future announcement planned to detail the stops planned during the 2018-19 season. Confirmed already, is a new International stop in Montreal, Canada at Playground Poker from August 23 to September 4, 2018.

Belated Apology From Chris Ferguson

Plenty of social media criticism for former Full Tilt Poker director

Old wounds were reopened this week when former Full Tilt Poker director (under the old pre-PokerStars management) Chris Ferguson offered a belated apology for his part in the Black Friday 2011 debacle which saw the company go bust amid a welter of accusations of fraud and mismanagement and without paying many of its players (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Using his Vimeo channel, Ferguson gave a rather wooden and unconvincing perception to many on social media with his apology, titled ‘Chris Ferguson reaches out to the poker community,’ in which he said:

“I’d like to take this brief opportunity to address the poker community which I love and have been part of for a long time.

“I deeply regret not being able to prevent Black Friday from happening. After Black Friday, I worked relentlessly to ensure that all players got paid back, and I sincerely apologize that it took as long as it did.

“I also realize it has taken me a long time to make any sort of public statement and I appreciate my fans and the poker community as a whole for the patience and support. One day, the Full Tilt Poker story will be told, and like many of you, I look forward to that day.

“I hope to see you all at the World Series of Poker this summer. Thank you and good luck.”

See the apology here:

Zhou Wins Inaugural Oriental Poker Championship Main Event

$184,946 prize for Chinese poker pro

513 entries were recorded for the HK$ 16,500 buy-in Main Event at the inaugural Oriental Poker Championship at The Venetian Macau Resort & Hotel this week.

When the final table formed it was Malaysian Ivan Leow holding the chip lead, fresh from his $ 183,833 first placing cash in the HK$100,000 High Roller competition just four days earlier.

Leow continued to dominate much of the action through to the heads up, but he met his match there in Chinese pro Xiaobo Zhou who emerged at the three-handed stage as a strong player with a chip stack that enabled him to enter the heads up against Leow with a 5 to 1 advantage.

The finale did not start well for Leow, who lost a significant portion of his chips in the first hand of the heads up, enabling Zhou to administer the coup de gras just three hands later, sending Leow to the exit and a second placing prize of $129,589.

Zhou’s first prize reward was $184,946, whilst the other final table cashes included:

  • Chang Bo Feng $83,346
  • Wayne Zhang $61,652
  • Austin Walton $46,242
  • Sang Hwang $37,103
  • Yazhou Chen $30,922
  • Yuefeng Pan $24,638

Poker Ace Bonomo Wins The Super High Roller Bowl

Reprises his $5 million Super High Roller Bowl China victory to bring his 2018 live tournament earnings to more than $14 million… and he’s not done yet!

Justin Bonomo is one of the better known names on the international live and online professional poker scene, having amassed a fortune of over $32 million in career earnings and showing no sign of retiring or even slowing down.

This week he cemented his reputation with a $5 million victory in the PokerGO – Poker Central $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl, defeating fellow ace Daniel Negreanu in the heads up. It was a remarkable achievement, considering his take-home of just under $5 million in March this year in the $250,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl Macau.

Bonomo, originally an online grinder who went on to make a major impact on the live tournament global circuit, bested a field of 48 players in his latest victory to claim the lion’s share of the $14.4 million prize pool.

Negreanu and Bonomo duelled for the chip lead throughout the competition, and at one point on the third day of play Bonomo almost busted out just before the final table formed, but staged a remarkable recovery to start final table action on a par with Negreanu and Mikita Badziakouski as the largest chip stacks.

After winning some impressive pots, and following the elimination of third-placed Jason Koon for $2.1 million, Bonomo had a 4 to 1 chip advantage when he faced Negreanu in the heads up.

Negreanu put up a good fight and closed the gap, but in the end he was unable to best an on-form Bonomo and had to be content with a second placing take-home of $3 million, leaving the honours and the $5 million top prize to a delighted and perhaps relieved Bonomo.

Other final table cashes included:

  • Mikita Badziakouski – $1.6 million
  • Christoph Vogelsang – $1.2 million (former champion)
  • Nick Petrangelo – $900,000

Kamagames To Sponsor Poker Nights Show

Social mobile poker operator partners with “The Yogscast”

The Irish social mobile poker operator KamaGames is to sponsor six episodes of the Yogscast Poker Nights show following an agreement with media firm Yogscast.

The first episode will be broadcast on Twitch.TV at 17:00 on 6 June, 2018, with all episodes being made available on-demand on the Yogscast’s Games Night YouTube channel.

KamaGames’ director of communications, Sam Forrest, said that the objective was to grow the company’s audience through the rapid growth afforded via sponsorships. Last year the company partnered with the Poker Night In America TV show with good results.

“We are working with the team at The Yogscast to show that (our product) Pokerist is not just for seasoned players but that it is also a great way to learn one of the classic card games and have a lot fun doing it,” Forrest said.

The sponsorship includes promotional advantages such as branded tables, Pokerist app links through Twitch chat and screen overlays.

KamaGames will use dedicated trackable links through social media channels and during the show itself to assess the impact of the Yogscast sponsorship

KamaGames recently posted impressive Q1-2018 results (see previous InfoPowa report), recording revenues up year-on-year by 40.5 percent following annual revenue increases in FY 2017 of 63.4 percent to Euro 57.5 million. The company’s Pokerist Texas Hold’em app delivers around 75 percent of company revenues.

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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