Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for March 2, 2018

Iacofano Takes WSOP Main Event Rio

First live tournament win of his decade-long career

Kevin Iacofano has won his first live tournament title after a decade of play and certainly made it a notable one, the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, taking home a $259,463 main prize.

Despite accumulating over $1 million in live tournament earnings, Iacofano had never actually won a tournament.

“I feel absolutely amazing. This has been ten, twelve years of hard work,” he said.

Iacofano outplayed 886 entries over two starting flights and a 12 hour final day in which he defeated Nikhil Gera in heads up play.

1 Kevin Iacofano – $259,463
2 Nikhil Gera – $160,325
3 Boris Kasabo – $118,095
4 Jesse Cohen – $88,132
5 Yashvenn Mudireddy – $66,631
6 Brett Bader – $51,025
7 Jim Agate – $39,569
8 Mark Kaganovsky – $31,067
9 Matt Affleck – $24,694

Pokerstars Scores Shared Player Pool Success With French And Spanish Tournament Series

First shared player pool tournament series beats total prize pool guarantee

PokerStars has announced the completion of the FRESH (France Espania Hold’em) Series, the first joint poker tournament series offered to both French and Spanish players following the launch of the shared player pool between the two previously ring-fenced markets.

The FRESH Series beat guarantees and attracted thousands of French and Spanish players to PokerStars’ online tables.

The series ran from January 28 to February 11 and saw more than 30,000 unique entries and a total prize pool of Euro 6,149,751 across 50 scheduled events, which exceeded the Euro 5 million prize pool guarantee.

Gonzalo ‘gonzar32’ Robles, the FRESH Series Main Event winner, beat 4,304 other entries to take home Euro 114,073.35 and a Platinum Pass, worth around $30,000, to the previously announced PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC).

“It was great to see French and Spanish players challenging each other on the virtual felt,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, CEO of The Stars Group. “The success of the FRESH Series is an encouraging start as we look forward to extending the shared player pool to Italy and Portugal in the future.”

Regulators in Italy have reiterated and those in Portugal have recently confirmed their respective intentions to join the shared market with France and Spain. The Stars Group intends to seek approval to enter into such shared player pool markets if and when they become available.

Pliska Signs On For Another Four Years At World Poker Tour

Owner Ourgame International Holdings confirms extension of CEO appointment

Adam Pliska, the CEO of World Poker Tour, is to continue in the post for a further four years, owners owner Ourgame International Holdings confirmed in a media statement Tuesday.

Pliska has been at the helm of WPT for the past nine years, having originally joined the company as general counsel in 2003, and has successfully continued the development of the business through some trying times and major changes for the industry.

Pliska is responsible for the entire WPT portfolio, including live events, televised broadcasts, international distribution, online products/services, and strategic partnerships.

At a time when many thought poker tournaments were on a decline, Pliska restored growth to WPT – and the industry as a whole – by expanding the company’s footprint, delivering significant partnership deals, and fostering budding relationships with other gaming sites worldwide. Within five years of becoming CEO, WPT expanded from 14 to 70 tournaments and currently has a presence in more than 150 countries and territories. With content now airing in five continents, WPT connects more than 100 million viewers worldwide through its online and television broadcasts.

Pliska was key in orchestrating the sale of WPT in 2009 to digital entertainment plc for $12.3 million, and then only six years later, he directed the sale of WPT to Ourgame for $35 million – nearly tripling the value of the company.

“Adam Pliska’s tremendous leadership, successful track record, and proven strategic vision make him the perfect individual to continue to guide WPT Enterprises into the future,” said Frank Ng, CEO of Ourgame. “Adam has undoubtedly taken the company to new heights through expansion of the WPT brand into new and emerging markets, continued development and innovation in the digital gaming space, and unparalleled sustainability of gaming’s premier television product.”

“I look forward to building on the successful strategies that have allowed the World Poker Tour to continue to raise the bar of our industry,” Pliska responded.. “I believe we have only begun to unlock the full potential of the WPT.”

Among his many social responsibility achievements, Pliska can point to the WPT Foundation created in 2012. The 501(c)(3) charitable organisation is dedicated to utilising World Poker Tour’s unique global platform to influence positive change on a global scale. To date, the WPT Foundation has raised more than $11 million to benefit nearly 30 global philanthropic organizations, including Tiger Woods Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and Education Reform Now.

During his tenure as CEO Pliska has worked with some of business’s biggest names through developed partnerships with both network and commercial sponsors, including big brands like Fox Sports, Hublot, Dr Pepper, and JetSmarter. Most recently, WPT added Zynga, the social gaming giant, to its roster. Currently, Pliska is working to merge the world of poker and eSports, in partnership with sister company Allied Esports.