Poker in the News — Weekly Round-up for November 16, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Nov 16, 2018

Moolhuizen Takes Top Spot On MPN’s UCOP Leaderboard

Named 2018’s Greatest Poker Player in the Universe

The MPN’s biggest UCOP tournament saw series regular Mateusz Moolhuizen crowned as the Greatest Poker Player in the Universe.

With €1 million guaranteed, 88 events and over 360 satellites, this year’s Universal Championship of Poker (UCOP) was the MPN’s biggest series to date.

A Betsson player, Moolhuizen took the top spot on the UCOP leaderboard collecting 2779.48 points to win the trophy, Euro 3,000 in cash and two MPN Poker Tour packages. Each package includes entry into the main event and one side event, in addition to accommodation and travel expenses.

“UCOP has made poker very exciting for me this year, every all in was an exhilarating experience and climbing the leaderboards added another layer of anticipation,” Moolhuizen said.

Alex Scott, Managing Director of Poker at Microgaming, adds: “This year’s tournament series was the biggest and most thrilling we’ve had yet, building on last year’s event with an impressive €1 million guaranteed. Congratulations to Mateusz on taking the coveted title as the Greatest Poker Player in the Universe!”

Iowa Tribe Of Oklahoma Online Poker Now Operational

GreySnowPoker has an Isle of Man licence

Almost as a footnote to the complicated and rather sad machinations of the infamous Fred Khalillian and his Poker Tribe and Poker Tribes disasters (see previous InfoPowa reports) the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma went fully operational with a new online poker site last week, titled GreySnowPoker.

The site operates under an Isle of Man licence with the operator listed as Ioway Internet Gaming Enterprise Ltd., based in Douglas on the Isle of Man.

InfoPowa readers will recall that ultimately Khalillian’s Universal Entertainment Group was acquired by the Monster headphones giant, which presumably supplied the technology to the tribe, dumping the tainted Poker Tribe brand for Grey Snow Poker.

In a press statement the operator pledges that online poker players will enjoy fair and rake-free play at GreySnowPoker, “a brand-new gaming site launched by the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma through its Isle of Man gaming license.”

GreySnowPoker is the first Native American owned site to operate under a gaming licence issued by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervisory Commission, the operator claims.

The new platform opened for real-money and play-money games after extensive beta-testing (see previous InfoPowa reports) and in an innovative pricing move, the site will be rake free. Rake is traditionally removed from every cash game pot, but GreySnowPoker has introduced a service-fee product called FairPlay.

Players pay just one flat fee equivalent to 3 percent of their stack when they leave the table.

This means that if two players sit down with $100 each in a cash game, the total service-fee will be $6 regardless of how many hands or hours are played.

“It is entirely possible then that these two players can play heads up indefinitely without rake eating up their stacks. Tournament fees are also targeted to be some of the lowest in the industry,” the operator promises.

In a second move towards fairness, GSP has introduced a FairPlay lobby, where a smooth seating logic automatically manages seating behaviour, prevents data mining, and restricts table observation. GSP believes that behaviours such as ‘bum hunting’ are against the spirit of the game.

The operator has brought in highly experienced management in the form of George McIntosh, an industry veteran who has worked in management positions with companies like Ongame Network, bwin and PokerStars; McIntyosh has been appointed managing director and said in a press statement:

“We hope to shake up the online poker scene by changing the playing experience for the better. Our FairPlay service fee and automatic table seating will make games more user-friendly for recreational players, leading the way in integrity, innovation, fairness and fun.

“All in all, our FairPlay model should lead to longer time at the table, giving longer to learn, and a longer time that your cash lasts for. Coupled with random seating, we think that the playing environment will make it more fun, more thrilling and a more level playing-field than other sites.”

The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma operates four land-based casinos in Oklahoma; Bobby Walkup, chairman of the tribe, said: “It’s time for a new type of poker room to come along, made by poker lovers, and recognizing what’s best for poker.”

The online poker site is unavailable in the United States of America, as well as individually licensed countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and others. It is available for real money poker in Latin America, Canada, Germany, Russia and other jurisdictions that fall under the Isle of Man Gaming Licence.

Taiwan Added To 2019 Asian Poker Tour Circuit

Joins Japan as new destinations

Taiwan has been added to next year’s Asian Poker Tour circuit just weeks after the organisers announced that the 2019 program would include a stop in Japan for the first time (see previous InfoPowa report).

The new destinations will see players visiting Japan in early February, followed later in the month by the inaugural Taiwan competition which is scheduled for Feb 20 to Mar 3 at the Chinese Texas Hold’Em Poker Association (CTP) room in Taipei… the city’s largest poker venue.

David Tai, president of the CTP said his organisation is excited to be hosting the inaugural Taiwan APT tournament, and promised visitors an interesting and entertaining time: “The vibrant city of Taipei has so much to offer: great food, site seeing, shopping, night life, we have it all,” he said.

It is understood that the still-to-be released schedule for APT 2019 will include a US$ 1,100 buy-in main event and a US$ 1,600 buy-in championship event.

Sochi First Stop Of Pokerstars European Poker Tour 2019

March 20 to 29 2018

The PokerStars-sponsored European Poker Tour (EPT) returns to Sochi from March 20 to 29, 2019, marking the first stop of the new year for the tour.

Casino Sochi will host a schedule of more than 20 events with buy-ins ranging from 6,600RUB to 375,000RUB, including the Main Event, which guarantees a prize pool of 150,000,000RUB (approx. $2.3 million).

Venezuela’S Guiseppe Iadisernia Wins Partypoker’S Caribbean Super High Roller Poker

$50,000 buy-in event attracted a slew of top players.

Venezuelan poker pro Giuseppe Iadisernia bested a field of 54 top players this week to claim the first prize of $845,000 in the $50,000 buy-in PartyPoker Caribbean Poker Party Super High Roller competition.

It was Iadisernia’s biggest career win to date, almost quadrupling his previous live tournament best cash.

Iadisernia really came from behind to win this one; much of the final table action was dominated by US professional player Sean Winter, who at the three-handed stage had more than two thirds of the chips stacked in front of him and looked like a sure-fire winner…so much so that he declined heads-up offers by Iadisernia to negotiate a chop.

In his run for the top spot, Winter dispatched talented players like Benjamin Pollak, Markus Prinz, Ali Imsirovic, Sorel Mizzi and Talal Shakerchi.

Given Winter’s strong performance, the expectation was that the heads up would be a brief affair, but Iadisernia dispelled that with some impressive and aggressive play. The duo battled it out for some time, with the lead changing before Iadisernia managed to put Winter away in a single critical hand, sending him to the exit and the runner up prize of $550,000.

Other final table cashes included:

Ali Imsirovic $400,000
Talal Shakerchi $299,000
Sorel Mizzi $225,000
Markus Prinz $175,000
Benjamin Pollak $125,000

Brit Poker Pro Claims Blackpool Honours

Yiannis Liperis comes out on top as boxer David Haye knocked out at GUKPT Blackpool

Third time’s a charm for UK Poker Pro Yiannis Liperis, who finally claimed the GUKPT Blackpool trophy after some close calls over the years.

29-year-old Yiannis is a familiar face on the GUKPT and 25/25 circuits and has accumulated an impressive poker cv with two second placings in this event; this year he shrugged the runner-up monkey off his back by besting his heads up opponent Ning Lu to claim the trophy and the main prize of GBP 84,250.

Ning Lu’s runner up prize was GBP 55.950.

Grosvenor Casinos reported healthy entries across all events, with cash games also running around the clock. This year the GUKPT Blackpool Main Event attracted 304 entries generating a GBP 304,000 prizepool.

During Wednesday’s GBP 150+15 Buy-in No Limit Hold’em side event all eyes were on one man, sporting giant and former world heavyweight boxing champion, David Haye. The Hayemaker and Grosvenor Casinos have joined forces in order to fulfil David’s ambition of learning the game of poker, all in preparation for next year’s Goliath.

Sadly for David his first GUKPT event didn’t get off the best of starts as he busted after just three hands! Luckily for him he has three formidable poker professionals in his corner; Jeff Kimber, Katie Swift and Joe Beavers, who were all present for a post-game analysis.

“He’s got loads to learn but he’s a champion sportsman and that competitive edge means he wants to learn more and get better” said Jeff Kimber.

The 12th season of the GUKPT will be coming to a close with the final showcase, the GUKPT Grand Final, kicking off this Sunday at The Poker Room on London’s bustling Edgware Road.

U.S. Poker Pro Wins $2 Million Main Prize In Caribbean Competition

Roger Teska bests High Roller specialist Steve O’Dwyer in heads up

After a tough and competitive 13 hours of final day action this week US high stakes poker pro Roger Teska emerged triumphant in the PartyPoker Caribbean Poker Party $25,500 buy-in Millions World event, having bested the formidable high roller specialist Steve O’Dwyer in the heads up.

His reward for a remarkable achievement was the $2 million main prize, by far his largest cash yet, whilst O’Dwyer earned $1,3 million as runner up.

By the three-handed stage, O’Dwyer was firing on all cylinders and racked up a monster chip lead, but after the dinner break Teska and Canadian pro Charles La Boissoniere made their presence felt, largely levelling the stacks.

The Canadian then snatched the lead, only to relinquish it in the face of a serious O’Dwyer fight-back. The Canadian then fell foul of Teska and was eliminated at third for $1 milllion, leaving O’Dwyer and Teska facing off in the heads up, with O’Dwyer holding a 3 to 1 lead.

It all went wrong for O’Dwyer soon after as he hit a bad patch which levelled the chip counts, and then suffered a further setback as Teska scored a double up. The two battled on with the lead changing several times until Teska caught O’Dwyer in a major bluff and doubled up again, enabling him to send the Irishman home with the second placing prize.

Other final table cashes included:

Paul Tedeschi $700,000
Andras Nemeth $550,000
Ben Tollerene $450,000
Ranier Kempe $350,000
Niall Farrell $300,000
Joao Vieira $250,000

Attention at PartyPoker’s Caribbean festival now turns to the mega-buy-in $250,000 Super High Roller Championship, currently in its second day with 31 entrants (the registration list reads like a who’s who of poker} and offering the likelihood of a multi-million dollar main prize.

Vayo Withdraws Case Against The Stars Group (Update)

Drama as poker giant files a motion with allegations of forgery

The much-publicised geo-location litigation filed by poker player Gordon Vayo against online poker giant PokerStars (see previous InfoPowa reports) made the headlines again this week when Vayo unexpectedly withdrew his action, filed in May this year with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

InfoPowa readers may recall that Vuyo complained that he was denied almost $700,000 in online poker tournament winnings back in May 2017 following claims by PokerStars that he had deployed technology to illegally play from the United States of America according to geo-location information.

Vayo vehemently denied this and claimed he was playing from Canada at the time and should therefore be paid his winnings.

The issue was characterised by acrimony between the parties and achieved wide media and social media coverage, however, news of Vayo’s withdrawing his case on November 12 has been followed by reports that PokerStars filed a motion with the court asking for $280,000 in attorney fees amid claims of Vayo’s “bad faith conduct.”

The court filing indicates that PokerStars legal representatives received a tip-off that Vayo had hired a “document forger” who altered his bank and internet records to help his case.

The PokerStars filing reveals that the company cited provisions in its T&Cs allowing it to file to recoup any costs in fighting litigation, that the Vayo action was “frivolous” and that once it “discovered the forgery and confronted Vayo about it, Vayo voluntarily and unconditionally dismissed this action, and his counsel withdrew.”

“Vayo’s swift voluntary dismissal here is effectively an admission of defeat,” PokerStars lawyers claimed in the motion, which will be heard by federal Judge Frederick Mumm on December 18 this year.

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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