World Poker Tour Announces Major Partnerships

World Poker Tour Logo

WPT Forms Partnerships With Amateur Poker League and Classic Gaming Cruises

The World Poker Tour has recently agreed to five-year contracts with the Amateur Poker League and Classic Gaming Cruises to provide even more fun WPT opportunities to a wide range of poker players.

The WPT partnered with the Amateur Poker League, to form the World Poker Tour Amateur Poker League, and one lucky player will win their way into a $10,000 WPT event through the WPTAPL. The Amateur Poker League is an organization that hosts more than 500 free poker tournaments weekly across a dozen states at almost 200 locations. With the partnership between the WPT and the APL, players who take part in APL events will earn WPTAPL points which will determine their place on the WPTAPL leaderboard. Through this leaderboard, players will earn their way into regional tournaments, the winners of which will play in the WPTAPL championship. The winner of the WPTAPL championship will be awarded a $10,000 entry into a World Poker Tour tournament.

This is not the only opportunity, however, as every month WPTAPL players will have a chance to receive an invitation to the WPT Celebrity Invitational tournament, which is a freeroll tournament where the winner will advance to the $25,000 World Poker Tour Championship Event.

Poker players will now have the opportunity to sail on WPT cruises, thanks to the new partnership between the WPT and Classic Gaming Cruises. Players can now sail from Miami to the Caribbean on board Norwegian Cruise Line, another partner of Classic Gaming Cruises, and enjoy fun parties, a vast array of cash games, and a WPT tournament which will award a place in a WPT event to the winner. The first of these WPT crusies is scheduled to launch in February 2008.

When commenting on these two partnerships, Steve Lipscomb, the president and CEO of World Poker Tour Enterprises, as well as its founder, said “These innovative partnerships are an exciting addition to our business and as they help create a broader experience for WPT fans and players of all level and locations. Poker is not just about the tournaments anymore. It’s a phenomenon that’s captured and held the attention of millions of people around the globe. and we want to continue creating these exciting opportunities for everyone to experience and enjoy the sport of poker.”


Eric Crisp Wins California State Poker Championship

Eric Crips Wins $324,815 at California State Poker Championship Main Event

The $2,500 buy-in California State Poker Championship Main Event ended Sunday night with a win by the relatively anonymous Eric Crisp of Arlington, Virginia. Eric Crisp had cashed in his first major tournament at the sixth event of this year’s California State Poker Championship, which was a $300 buy-in with rebuys No Limit Texas Holdem event. Crisp finished 11th in that event and continued his excellent play by winning the California State Poker Championship Main Event and $324,815.

The Main Event began on Saturday, September 22nd, and ran through most of Sunday, the 23rd. The tournament had 362 participants. with 27 players cashing in at the event which had a total prize pool of $878,000. The most notable name to make the money in the Main Event was poker professional Can Kim Hua.

The other 17 events of the California State Poker Championship were successful and had some notable moments, including former baseball player Jose Canseco finishing in 16th place in event number 6. Jose will still be known more for the Major League Baseball steroids scandal rather than poker though.

Congratulations to Eric Crisp for an excellent win.

Here are the final table payouts…

9th place: Stanley Fulton, Las Vegas, NV — $14,045
8th place: Jose Velador, Lake Elsinore, CA — $17,555
7th place: Abdol Vahedi, Encino, CA — $21,945
6th place: Dallas Jenkins, Los Angeles, CA — $30,725
5th place: Osmin Dardon, West Covina, CA — $39,505
4th place: James Doty, Canyon Country, CA — $52,670
3rd place: Louis Cohen, Denver, CO — $83,395
2nd place: Can Kim Hua, Las Vegas, NV — $166,790
1st place: Eric Crisp, Arlington, VA — $324,815


18 Year Old Annette Obrestad Wins WSOP Europe Main Event

Annette Obrestad Picture

Youngest WSOP Bracelet Winner Ever!

History was made yesterday at the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. Norwegian teenager Annette Obrestad defeated a player field of 362 players to become the youngest winner of a World Series of Poker bracelet and the first female to win a WSOP Main Event. This accomplishment was only possible for Obrestad in the World Series of Poker Europe, as players must be 21 to compete in the WSOP events in Las Vegas.

Annette Obrestad has already made a name for herself in online poker, despite being only eight-teen. In the online world she is known as Annette_15.

With her showing at the WSOPE Main Event she has now earned respect for her live tournament play as well. The final table was a grueling battle that lasted 211 hands, six more than the 2007 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas. Annette prevailed after a long heads up battle with runner-up John Tabatabai that lasted almost as long as the entire rest of the final table.

On the final hand, Annette bet out on a flop of 765, Tabatabai raised, Annette pushed all-in, and Tabatabai called all-in, putting his tournament life in danger. Tabatabai flipped 56 for two pair, but Annette held 77 for top set, and Tabatabai’s only hope was for a runner-runner straight to form on the board, forming a split pot. That help did not come, and the tournament was over.

Annette set several new records for a female poker player’s accomplishments, surpassing Annie Duke’s old records. Annie Duke held the record for most WSOP winnings by a female poker player and the record for the largest
tournament prize won by a female poker player. Annie had won slightly more than a million dollars at the WSOP and won a $2 million prize at the 2004 invitation-only WSOP Tournament of Champions. Annette broke these records with her win of £1,000,000, which is $2,013,102. Annette easily surpassed Annie’s money record at the WSOP, and beat her record of largest tournament prize by a smidgen over $13,000.

Here are the nine final table contestants and their prizes:

9th place: James Keys, Bury St. Edmunds, £61,540

8th place: Theo Jorgensen, Denmark, £85,070

7th place: Magnus Persson, Sweden, £114,030

6th place: Dominic Kay, UK, £152,040

5th place: Johannes Korsar, Sweden£191,860

4th place: Oyvind Riisem, Norway, £257,020

3rd place: Matthew McCullough, USA, £381,910

2nd place: John Tabatabai, UK, £570, 150

1st place: Annette Obrestad, Norway, £1,000,000


WSOPE Main Event Down to the Money

World Series of Poker Europe Main Event Update

Day 3 of the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event has brought the player field down to final 36, the players who will be heading home with money in their pockets.

Day 3 has been a hard-fought battle, with several players losing most of their stacks before recovering to get back into the tournament.

The winner, or possibly loser, of the bubble boy competition was Jeff Buffenbarger.

It took around 45 minutes to whittle down the field from 37 to 36, and Jeff Buffenbarger was the unfortunate victim. Buffenbarger had the second fewest chips of the remaining players when he called an all-in bet by the short stack, Marcello Marigliano. Marigliano hadn’t played very many hands in the previous hours, yet he still received an immediate call from Buffenbarger. Marigliano showed K10 offsuit and Buffenbarger revealed pocket aces. It looked like Marigliano would be the bubble boy, but the board cards still needed to come. The flop came KQ9, giving Marigliano six outs, the four jacks nad the two remaining kings. The turn was a 7, giving no help to Marigliano. However, on the river came a card that brought horror to Jeff Buffenbarger’s face, one of the two remaining kings, giving Marigliano a set of kings to beat Buffenbarger’s pocket aces.

This hand decimated Buffenbarger’s already small stack and he went all-in soon after. Buffenbarger had two opponents in this hand, Ian Frazer, and John Tabatabai. Frazer and Tabatabai checked the hand down and the board was 8-8-4-Q-2. Tabatabai turned over 4-5 for two pair, beating Buffenbarger’s A-9. Buffenbarger was eliminated as the bubble boy. Buffenbarger was also the bubble boy at a WSOP event earlier this year, so he has plenty of experience in the unenjoyable role he found himself in.

The players went on break and play will resume without stop until 27 players remain.


Jordan Morgan Wins WSOP Circuit Event in Tunica, MS

Jordan Morgan Picture

23 Year Old Captures Title at World Series of Poker Circuit Event in Tunica Mississippi

Jordan Morgan, a twenty-three year old poker player from Oklahoma, won the WSOP Circuit Event in Tunica, Mississippi to win his first major live poker event.

Morgan has been playing poker since he was 18. He would play against his buddies at the University of Oklahoma for small stakes. After a while, Morgan was winning and continuing to win, so he set college and his engineering degree aside to become a professional poker player at the age of 21. Online, he is known as iMsoLucky0.

After three days at the Grand Casino Tunica, and outlasting 137 other players, Jordan Morgan left the tournmanent as the winner, earning $213,288, an entry into the 2008 WSOP Main Event, and a WSOP Circuit ring. The win also brought Morgan’s live tournament winnings to more than $1 million over his short career.

To win the tournament, Morgan had to survive a tough final table filled with ups and downs for most players. Jordan played solid poker throughout, and overcame his losses to continue building his chip stack.

Three players were eliminated in the last twenty minutes before the dinner break, leaving three to continue playing after dinner. The tournament went to heads-up play shortly after dinner, as Jerry Saucier made a series of all-in bets until he fell to Terry Hawkins’s pocket aces. This gave Hawkins the chip lead heading into heads-up play. However, Morgan had his number and applied pressure to Terry Hawkins, winning a large number of small pots to regain the chip lead he had held earlier in the final table. Jordan Morgan continued to grind his opponent down until he earned his victory.

The final table ended in this order:

9th place: Mark Garner ($13,166)

8th place: Steve Hyvonen ($19,749)

7th place: Jeff Cohen ($26,332)

6th place: Brian Rutland ($32,915)

5th place: Glyn Banks ($39,498)

4th place: Gil George ($52,664)

3rd place: Jerry Saucier ($65,830)

2nd place: Terry Hawkins ($111,911)

1st place: Jordan Morgan ($213, 288)


US Poker Ban – iMEGA Responds to Justice Department Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit

Battle Over the US Online Poker Ban Heats Up

The battle over the US poker ban or as it’s better know Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is heating up.

The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association filed a lawsuit against that hopes to get rid of the UIGEA, and oral arguments are scheduled to be heard on September 26. The U.S. Department of Justice has made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and in response to this motion iMGEGA has filed its own brief with the US District Court of New Jersey.

The Justice Department request for the lawsuit to be dismissed is based upon two claims. One, iMEGA does not have the legal standing to bring a complaint against the UIGEA, and two, that because regulations for the UIGEA have not yet been created, the law is “unripe” to be challenged.

The iMEGA 50-page response rebuts the Justice Department’s motion for dismissal and can be found in its entirety at their website, To rebut the claim that iMEGA does not have legal standing, iMEGA’s response shows that iMEGA has met the legally accepted standard for review, that legal precedent has given iMEGA legal standing, and that the UIGEA “directly causes injury-in-fact to plaintiff’s members and the public.”

In response to the Justice Department’s second argument that due to lack of regulations called for by the UIGEA, the UIGEA is “unripe” for challenge, iMEGA stated that according to the Federal Administrative Procedures Act the government itself has made the UIGEA “ripe” for challenging by missing the 270 day deadline for setting up regulations called for by the UIGEA.

These are the main points iMEGA used to refute the Justice Department claims, but the 50-page response goes into greater detail, introducing a large number of sub-points and other evidence to support their right to challenge the UIGEA. Oral arguments will be heard on September 26 before Judge Mary L. Cooper, but before then, the Justice Department, along with its co-defendants, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Reserve, must respond to iMEGA’s request for a restraining order that will prevent the UIGEA from going into effect. The deadline for the defendants’ response is September 21.


Atlantic City Casinos Saying NO To Smoking

No Smoking Sign

Smokers now out of luck in 5 Atlantic City Casinos

5 Atlantic City Casinos will be making their entire gambling floor smoke-free in response to a law passed in February which required gambling floors of casinos to be at least 75% smoke-free.

Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns four Atlantic City casinos including Harrah’s Atlantic City, The Showboat Casino & Hotel, Bally’s and Caesars say they will be spending over $7 million to open 2000 square foot smoking lounges to accommodate their smoking customers.

The city’s 11 casinos must tell the state by Saturday how they plan to comply with the law.

Harrah’s Eastern division president J. Carlos Tolosa said today “I believe this smoke-free ordinance provides our industry with a fair transitional guideline for better workplace conditions.”

The City Council in Atlantic City had been set to ban smoking in all the casinos earlier this year but relented under fierce pressure from the industry and its lobbyists, which said it feared losing 20 percent of its revenue and thousands of jobs if it was banned. The law requires physical barriers to prevent smoke from bothering customers and employees in non-smoking areas.

Michele Holcomb, a spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society, said she is encouraged by the trend away from smoky gambling pits.

“People want smoke-free entertainment venues,” she said. “You go to a casino to gamble and dine. You don’t go somewhere to smoke.”

While Atlantic City seems to be getting most of the attention on this no-smoking ban, most casinos nationwide have already been cutting back quite a bit on smoking.

During the early part of the poker boom in 2003 many if not most casinos and poker rooms decided to ban smoking from poker rooms in part to provide a healthier work place environment for their employees and also in part to attract more players and take advantage of the rise in numbers of poker players.

Although smoking is currently banned in most poker rooms through the US, most card rooms allow smokers to simply enter a designated area right next to the poker room which makes it convenient for smokers to quickly get back to their game and also a more pleasurable experience for non-smokers.


Police Raid Private Poker Game in North Carolina

Pro Poker Players Chis Bell and Michael Gracz Part of Police Raid

Poker players had gathered together for a private poker tournament in a Johnston County, a rural area about 50 miles south of Raleigh, North Carolina, but their game would never be completed as twenty police officers from North Carolina’s Alcohol Law Enforcement agency raided the game charging 71 people with misdemeanor gambling.

Among the players charged were professional poker players Chris Bell and Michael Gracz, who won a World Poker Tour event in 2005. Chris Bell was also charged with engaging in a game of chance, operating a game of chance, and possession of gaming tables.

The poker players were in the middle of the tournament when police entered the building and stopped the game. Among the items the police seized were cards, chips, dice, a craps table, a roulette table, more than a dozen poker tables, along with $70,196.75. While Bell and Gracz refused to elaborate on what stakes they were playing, according to one source it was a $500 buy-in with re-buys that occurs every three months.

This wasn’t the first time Michael Gracz was present at a poker game that was busted. Two years ago, while playing in a cash game at a business complex in Raleigh, a group of around a dozen policemen burst into the building, bearing rifles as they busted up the game. All the money was seized and the players were led away in handcuffs. Michael Gracz said that in comparison to that event, the raid on Saturday was much more calm and peaceful, with business being handled in a pleasant manner.

Gracz did say that the authorities were just wasting the time of their twenty agents, as the misdemeanor gambling charge is just like getting a speeding ticket. Gracz said, “They could go catch sexual predators or something that has a real impact on society. If they had gotten two guys to come there, they could have asked us to leave the premises and we would have left.” Michael Gracz said that he would just pay the fine and move on.

All those who were charged were allowed to go home, and the entire operation took approximately four hours.