Seniors Rule the Day at WSOP 2017: TJ Cloutier Still In It to Win It, While Ernest Bohn Wins $1,500 Stud Hi-Lo

TJ Cloutier Pot Limit Omaha WSOP 2017

T.J. Cloutier hopes to improve his $10.3 million war chest of wins on Friday, as he tries to conquer the remaining 17 players for his seventh career bracelet in the 2017 World Series of Poker at Event #41, the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha. (Picture: Antonio Abrego/pokerphotoarchive. com)

It is WSOP 2017, and super senior T.J. Cloutier can still play poker. The 77-year-old Texan, who is won almost $10.5 million over his life in live tournament cashes, is doing a small bracelet hunting in Event #41, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha in the WSOP.

His 449,000 chip stack is well above average, and sets him in 6th place out of 18 remaining players hoping to win $231,483. Cloutier will be going for his seventh career bracelet on Friday.

His final was at a $5,000 no-limit hold’em event in 2006. The Poker Hall of Famer is due for another takedown.

Cloutier competed against pros such as Johnny Moss, Stu Ungar, Amarillo Slim, and Doyle Brunson in his prime.

The former UC Berkeley football and baseball athlete does not play poker nearly as much as he used to, but he still makes a point to stop by the Rio every summer to school a few of the younger kids at the World Series of Poker.

Loren Klein, a 2016 WSOP bracelet winner, holds the chip lead heading into Day Three (719,000).

Bohn Crushes Stacked Final Table

When your final table includes Max Pescatori, Ted Forrest, and Justin Bonomo, and you win the championship, that’s a heck of an accomplishment. Hats off to Ernest Bohn from Whiting, New Jersey.

Bohn not just scooped his first career bracelet in Event #40, $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better: it was his first-ever win at the WSOP. The 68-year-old retiree came out to Las Vegas to play in a few events and now will head home with $173,228.

Bonomo (5th), Pescatori (6th), and Forrest (8th) have a combined 11 WSOP bracelets. But they were no match for Bohn on Thursday.

Carrel Leads $10,000 NLH 6-Max

Event #42, $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed, is stacked with dynamic pros. Charlie Carrel made it through Day Two with the chip lead (1,500,000).

Carrel does not have much on his WSOP resume, only four career cashes and no bracelets. But he is far from a fish in a sea of sharks. The London resident has been quite successful online and at high-roller events around the world. He’d like to put in a WSOP bracelet to his resume on Friday.

The competition will be stiff with 24 players remaining. That includes Conor Drinan (822,000), Eric Wasserson (600,000), and 2016 $1,500 Bounty No-Limit Hold’em    winner   Kristen Bicknell (504,000).

Player of the Year Favorites in the Mix

Daniel Negreanu and James Obst are in contention for WSOP Player of the Year. Just past the midway point, both are in the top five. And both made it to Day Two in Event #44, the $3,000 buy-in HORSE.

Obst bagged 62,100 and Negreanu left 44,900 on the table to start Friday’s play. Andre Akkari finished Day One with the largest stack (110,000).   The field coming back now includes poker power couple, the Merciers. That is Jason, the 2016 WSOP Player of the Year, with 76,400, and his wife Natasha, who’s 21,000.

Jeff Madsen (85,000), Scotty Nguyen (84,300), Josh Arieh (72,200), Mike Matusow (50,000), Shaun Deeb (43,000), Greg Raymer (41,200), and Phil Hellmuth (36,100) lead a star-studded cast of 156 remaining players coming back to Day Two on Friday.

On the Horizon

An exciting weekend is on tap in the 2017 World Series of Poker. Friday’s new events include Event #45, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em (30-minute levels) at 11 am PT time and Event #46, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better at 3 pm.

Day Two in Event #43, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout gets underway Friday with 120 players left in the area. A pair of 2016 November Niners, Vojtech Ruzicka and Kenny Hallaert, made it beyond Day One.

But the primary attractions on Friday will be watching Negreanu and Obst battle for the coveted Player of the Year award. And, of course, after T.J. Cloutier’s chase for that seventh bracelet.

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Choong Weng Wins 2017 APT Macau, Ending Malaysian Drought on Asian Poker Tour

Choong Kian Weng did not realize when he won the APT Macau 2017 on Thursday that he was making history. But he was the first person from Malaysia to win a major event on the Asian Poker Tour.

Choong Weng of Malaysia en route to winning the main event of APT Macau

Choong Weng became the first Malaysian to take down an APT principal event by winning the Macau main event earlier this week. (Image: APT)

Since its founding in 2008, the APT has held 70 incidents, with winners hailing from 19 countries, and today 20.

Weng earned $66,788 for the victory, his biggest tournament score to date. The tournament price HK $19,800 to enter, approximately US $2,500, and drew 118 entrants.

In 2014, Weng finished 10th at a HK$5,000 (US $650) no-limit hold’em event in Cebu City, Philippines. In 2011, he took fourth at a $750 no-limit hold’em tournament at the Macau Poker Cup and 37th in that string’ $2,500 (approximately) main event.

With his latest success, and as the APT’s first Malaysian principal event champion, Weng moves up to 60th about the Hendon Mob’s list of all-time money winners from Malaysia.

International Affair

Weng’s run to the final table began after finishing Day 1A as the chip leader. Although the top finisher in Day 1B held a slight chip edge, by the end of Day 2 Weng was back on top, with a dominating lead over his next closest opponent.

Weng would make his way to the 8-handed final table in fifth chip positon. Germany’s Kilian Loeffler had the lead at that stage, but also would go on to be the first person knocked out.

From there, over the course of two hours of drama, Weng patiently hung on to his stack and survived as the short stack once the final table was down to three. After removing India’s Shravan Chhabria, he was heads-up against Vietnam’s Dang Van Hien.

Weng’s play could be characterized as “assertive,” at one point winning five consecutive hands at showdown. He knocked out Hien with A♠ Q♥, when a Q♣ showed up on the flop.

Limited by Sharia Law

Playing poker professionally is a challenge anywhere in the world, but becoming a poker pro in Malaysia is very difficult. For one, the country has laws that apply differently to people of different religions. The country has strict laws against gambling for Muslims, who account for about 60 percent of the population.

But even for non-Muslims poker is legal only in limited places, so there are not a great deal of chances to play. There’s only one casino in Malaysia, Resorts World Genting, but it forbids players who are ethnic Malays.

With such prohibitions, an underground of private poker clubs is different, but authorities are vigilant and raids purportedly are common.

Several internet poker sites accept Malaysian players, and even process deposits and withdrawals in ringgits, the nation’s primary currency. But online gambling is still technically illegal, even though enforcement against has been virtually non-existent.

The best-known Malaysian players (#1 and #3 on the all-time money list) are Richard Yong, a regular in the Macau “big game” who finished eighth at the inaugural $1 million WSOP One drop championship in 2012, and Mervin Chan, who rose to prominence by winning the main event at the 2013 Aussie Millions.

The controversial high-roller Paul Phua also hails from Malaysia. Like so many others who call the country home, he does most of his gambling in Macau.

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WSOP Halfway Point: Bracelet # 2 for McKeehen, Kakhmazov Scores Second Big Summer Win, First-Timer Takes One Down

Wednesday marked the halfway point of the 2017 World Series of Poker, and to celebrate officials released some stats checking the health of the Series so far. Furthermore, three gold bracelets were awarded, including one to a former world champ, you to a WSOP newbie, and one to a Russian about a Las Vegas tear.

Joe McKeehen, winning the $10k Limit Hold'em Championship

Joe McKeehen, crunching the numbers in his head, en route to winning his second $10,000 buy-in WSOP event. (Picture: Melissa Haereiti / PokerPhotoArchive.com)

McKeehen to the Limit

Joe McKeehen, who won the 2015 WSOP Main Event for over $7.6 million, proved he had been no one-hit wonder Wednesday night by capturing his second gold bracelet.

Event #38, $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, started with 120 gamers to comprise a field loaded with experts. When all was said and done, McKeehen again ended up with every previous chip.

“I won a couple of hands right off the bat,” McKeehen, who started the last day short stacked, told WSOP officials following the win. “It is limit hold’em. You can get really short, but if you win some hands, you’ll have all the chips again. I just won all of the hands at the beginning of the day. I had a terrific run.”

The win pushed the 25-year-old McKeehen, a former world champion in the board game Risk, over $10 million in career WSOP earnings. It also put him in the same group as other recent Main Event champs Joe Cada, Jonathan Duhamel, and Greg Merson as gamers that have proven they’re able to win more than just 1 gold bracelet.

Final Table Results
1 Joe McKeehen (North Wales, PA) $311,817
Two Jared Talarico (Houston, TX) $192,717
3 Sorel Mizzi (Toronto, Canada) $135,985
4 Ben Yu (Henderson, NV) $97,904
5 JC Tran (Sacramento, CA) $71,949
6 Robert Campbell (Melbourne, Australia) $53,995
7 Ray Henson (Spring, TX) $41,399
8 Terrence Chan (Vancouver, Canada) $32,443
9 Aaron Sacks (Ridgewood, NJ) $26,000

Kakhmazov Ships Second Major

Before this summer, 29-year-old Russian Nadar Kakhmazov had just $162,144 in tournament winnings. Now, he has over $1.2 million. His heater started back in May, in Russia, when he finished eighth at the PokerStars Championship Sochi Main Event for $62,743. Subsequently, earlier this month, he won the MSPT Venetian for nearly $400,000.

With the confidence a few big bankroll boosts may give you, Kakhmazov jumped into the WSOP, where he continued his winning ways by besting a area of 574 gamers to win the 2017 WSOP Event #36, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed, for $580,338 and his very first gold bracelet.

“I’m very happy,” Kakhmazov told WSOP officials following the win. “I have wanted to do this for three years, but every time I lose two big pots, deep in the tournament. I played [some] other occasions, but had not [won] so much for prizes, but now it is good this year .”

Final Table Results
1 Nadar Kakhmazov (Moscow, Russia) $580,338
Two Chris Hunichen (Columbia, SC) $358,677
3 Kenny Hallaert (Hansbeke, Belgium) $238,855
4 Sam Soverel (West Palm Beach, FL) $162,257
5 Faraz Jaka (San Jose, CA) $112,484
6 Christian Rudolph (Germany) $79,611

Happy Wife, Happy WSOP Life

Event #37, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em, started with 2,020 runners. But following three days of play it had been 62-year-old accountant Thomas Reynolds, from Raleigh, North Carolona, scoring his very first WSOP cash by completing first for $292,880 along with a gold bracelet.

“I love playing poker and my wife is very understanding,” said the devoted UNC Tar Heels fan. “So, she lets me come and play. I told her I don’t know how many years I have left, but I wanted to try and do it.”

Final Table Results
1 Thomas Reynolds (Raleigh, NC) $292,880
Two James Hughes (Miami, FL) $180,919
3 Reginald Hampton (Canada) $131,061
4 Eric Blair (Las Vegas, NV) $95,899
5 Michael Gathy (Brussels, Belgium) $70,884
6 Vlad Darie (Satu Mare, Romania) $52,932
7 Chris Johnson (Las Vegas, NV) $39,937
8 Chad Eveslage (Ramsey, IN) $30,448
9 Joep Raemaekers (Swieqi, Malta) $23,460

WSOP by the NUMBERS

With 37 of 74 events in the novels, the WSOP released some stats.

So far, a record 61,616 entries have been logged, up a smidgen from last year’s total of 60,677 at the exact same point. WSOP officials note this is “not an apples to apples comparison,” as special events move around on the program from year to year. But the 1.5 percent increase does put this year’s Series on track to transcend the all-time entries record, set last year in 107,833.

Other numerical highlights:

1,665 — average number of entries per bracelet event
97 — number of countries represented
$81,480,871 —  prize money awarded
$2,202,185 — average prize pool size
9,253 — number of gamers to cash
21 to 94 — variety of ages among WSOP gamers
42.99 — average WSOP player era
2,944 — number of buy-ins from girls (Ladies Championship still forthcoming)
95.22 — percent of entries by men

16 Remain in Stud Hi-Lo

Event #40, $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, began with 595 players, and whittled its way down to 16 after two days of action. The top prize they are fighting for is $173,228. Among the contendes are chip pioneer Steve Jelinek (481,000), Ted Forrest (416,000), and Max Pescatori (324,000).

Those to drop in the money included Joe Hachem (21st for $4,891), Mike Leah (33rd for $3,550), and Jeff Madsen (40th for $3,550), just to mention a few.

Action will resume at 2 pm PT on Thursday and play right into a winner.

Chun Law Leads PLO

Event #41, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha, attracted 870 gamers to create a $1,174,500 prize pool, which will be divvied up one of the top 131 players, together with the eventual winner taking home $231,483.

After Day 1 action, 138 players remained with Chun Law and his stack of 179,100 leading the pack. Others that bagged healthy stacks included Toby Lewis (125,200), Ashton Griffin (83,400), and MasterChef third-place finisher David Williams (71,100).

Among the hundreds to hit the rail early were Annette Obrestad, Dzmitry Urbanovich, Brandon Shack-Harris, Phil Hellmuth, and Hoyt Corkins.

WSOP 6-Handed Championship Draws Big

There is a $3,120,800 prize pool up for grabs in Event #42, $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Championship, a tournament that attracted 332 players and will award $775,923 into the winner.

Heading into Day 2, Grayson Ramage leads with 527,700, well before his next closest competitor, Sam Stein, with 364,500. Others who’ll return on Thursday are Cliff Josephy (330,300), Kristen Bicknell (239,400), and Charlie Carrel (197,700).

Among those to see their tournament cut short were Dan Shak, Scott Seiver, Brian Rast, Jason Mercier, and Mike Matusow.

Shootout and HORSE Upcoming

Two new events begin on Thursday. The very first is Event #43, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, at 11 am PT. This tournament features a 2,000-player cap and late registration will remain open until the beginning of Level 3.

At 3 pm PT, Event #44, $3,000 HORSE will kick off. That tournament will begin players with 15,000 in chips and keep late registration open for eight levels, or until about midnight.

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Beth Shak Pennsylvania Home Broken Into, Hacking Horror Continues for Poker’s Shoe Empress

Beth Shak Pennsylvania home broken into

Beth Shak, she of this ankle-breaking designer footwear, is again the victim of hackers, this time via criminals who broke into her suburban Philadelphia home. (Image: Alchetron)

Not a lot would wish to be in celebrity poker player Beth Shak’s famously pricey shoes at this time.

After hightailing it from her Manhattan digs in early June to escape some significant hacking that pervaded her real and cyber lives, Shak’s Pennsylvania house, to whence she had escaped, was broken into on June 15.

Ms. Shak has a reported $1 million shoe assortment and possesses a wide supply of fancy purses. But the burglars did not touch those precious possessions. They had something less concrete in mind.

Her private information was again hacked, along with her security alarm, which was disarmed. She did not even realize her house was broken into right away. The criminals did not touch her possessions or bash in any windows. There was scarcely a trace.

So how did she find out someone entered her house illegally? She kept a diary that detailed the hacking incidents.

The journal and a book of passwords were lost. A random burglar would not have known to look for these items. They would have gone straight for the luxury closet. It’s somehow more frightening to not understand why someone is marauding into the inner sanctum of the existence, than to have an actual burglary take place.

Back Story

We first told you about this story on June 13. Shak, the ex-wife of fellow poker player Dan Shak, is going through another divorce, this time from Fox News Senior Correspondent Rick Leventhal, to whom she’s been married less than a year. Leventhal has already strongly denied having anything to do with any of the incidents, saying he only wants a peaceful and painless transition, and is not considered a suspect.

The 47-year-old was, initially, only the victim of cyber-hacking. Her social networking reports were broken into, and even some topless photos were swiped from her iCloud storage. She also reported that someone was stalking her in her New York City home.

Shak, understandably fearing for her safety, skipped town and found her way to her place in Wayne, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb. Hoping her existence would calm down, the divorcée learned you can run, but you can not conceal, from a sick criminal.

Police Investigating

Shak called police on June 17, immediately after realizing her home had been invaded. Investigators are on the case and possess seen her suburban abode several times.

It’s unclear if she’s the victim of a random hacker or someone who personally knows her. But we hope whoever is committing these crimes is brought to justice and the poker shoe empress sees this heel get jail time.

Shak, as a poker player, has made three WSOP final tables throughout her career. She is a former Full Tilt Poker pro and, in 2007, said she wished to be known “as a great poker player,” not as a great female poker player.

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PA Senator Says Online Gambling Isn’t Slowing Down Gaming Package, It’s VGTs

PA online gambling and VGTs

Senate and House leadership in Pennsylvania are having discussions to hash out their differences regarding legislation to expand gambling in the state, based on Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa.

“There have been a number of meetings take place in the past several days on trying to locate a solution reconciling a number of the differences between the House and Senate as it relates to an overall gaming proposal moving forward to the governor’s desk,” Costa told Online Poker Report in a phone interview. “Those conversations continue to take place, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to reach consensus before we leave on June 30.”

Video gaming terminals the more contentious issue

There were two major points of contention between the bills. Amending H 271, the House added video gaming terminals (VGTs), machines on which patrons of private taverns could play slots and video poker, and changed the tax rate and fee structure to make them more realistic for a successful online gambling model.

“The House added a couple things that are having a difficult time getting through the Senate,” Costa said. “Video gaming terminals is an issue I think lots of members of the Senate aren’t supportive of, and which has become a roadblock, quite frankly, to reaching a consensus.”

Costa indicated that, thus far, the tax rate has come up as the parties focus on VGTs.

“The bigger issue right now is what role VGTs play and whether or not VGTs and ancillary sites will be in the mix, and when they’re what the tax rate for every one of those will be in the future,” Costa said. “If we reconcile the VGT difference, that’ll lead to the following level of issues that need to be addressed. As you knock one off, you go to the next one. The tax rate for iGaming has been discussed, but nevertheless, it might not be resolved until we’ve some other aspects resolved.”

The anatomy of VGTs in PA

Allowing gambling machines to be put in many places with a liquor license is opposed by 10 of the 12 casinos in the state (two are involved in supplying the machines), which fear that people won’t make the trip to their casinos when they are able to gamble at the local bar.

Consequently, senators with these casinos within their districts are against VGTs. Costa, who has the state’s most successful casino, Parx, in his district, is one such senator.

There are senators who think it’s too big an expansion of gambling to make the machines widespread.

Pennsylvania is desperate for revenue that daily and iGaming fantasy sports aren’t going to fulfill. The state is looking to generate an additional $225 to $250 million from the activities added in this bill in the next fiscal year.

There’s an argument that these VGTs exist at many bars, or so the state might recognize and make money off of them.

Room for compromise on VGTs?

That the chambers have spent discussing VGTs seems to indicate the Senate is willing to consider their inclusion.

In a previous interview with OPR, Rep. George Dunbar, the gaming expert in the House, agreed that the VGT language in the bill passed by the House was not fair to casinos.

His solution was to increase the per-machine upfront fee from $100 to $10,000.

“I could observe that happening,” Costa said of Dunbar’s proposal. “It’s one of an assortment of things being discussed.”

Online gambling tax rate still needs resolving

There remains a huge gap in the tax and fee structures while VGTs are the topic being addressed first.

The House bill imposes an across-the-board 16-percent tax rate on online gambling, with a single up-front licensing fee of $8 million.

The Senate gaming package calls for a 54-percent tax on casino table games and online slots, with a 16-percent tax rate on online poker. The gaming licenses were split by the Senate in two, with a poker license as well as a casino license.

Costa introduced iGaming legislation that will impose a 25-percent tax rate on the other side of the board.

“I’m certainly willing to support a 25-percent rate on both items, but there’s been pushback on that as well,” Costa said. “Other folks want to see 16 or 19 percent on table games. I think 25 percent is a fair middle ground, but others think 54 and 16 is the right rate.”

A real deadline approaching

Dunbar had told OPR he hoped the Senate would make its changes to the bill by June 19. That didn’t happen, but since the sides are negotiating the parameters of the bill together, the House won’t need time to deal with the Senate proposal.

“We don’t want it to be ping-ponging back and forth,” Costa said. “We want to reach a consensus and wrap everything up by doing what needs to be done. We’ll send it over to the House for their concurrence, but nevertheless, it’ll be something which would be agreed to.”

The good news is lawmakers have given themselves a deadline till they go on their summer recess to reach an agreement on the gambling expansion. Though they’ve been known to go their last day before breaking is scheduled to be June 30.

The legislature won’t return until September, at which point Costa indicated the state wouldn’t be able to collect revenue until July of next year.

“I think there’s sort of a deadline in the feeling that we need revenue for the commonwealth,” Costa said. “The idea is to get it done by June 30 so we can have expansion of the industry up and running by January 1 to begin enjoying a number of the tax revenue coming in. If we don’t get it done before our summer recess, and we may go a couple days into July, we lost the opportunity to get the revenue we’re looking to get.”

Image credit: Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

A Good Omen For PA Online Gambling? Gov. Wolf Says He Wants ‘Real Revenue’ From Gaming Package

Wolf PA online gambling VGTs

Is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on board with online casinos in the state?

Wolf appeared to downplay the feasibility of video gaming terminals as a wellspring of revenue, and talked gaming on Wednesday. That could be good news for the prospect of legalizing online gambling in the state.

What Wolf says about PA gambling

Pennsylvania is coming up on the new fiscal year, which starts on July 1. State lawmakers are trying to get a budget plan together by then — including cuts to programs or new revenue initiatives.

Among the major moving parts in that discussion is a gaming package. Different versions are passed by the House and Senate. The House version included the legalization of VGTs at taverns round the state, while both contain provisions for online gambling.

When asked about the gaming package, here’s what Wolf needed to say, based on the Associated Press:

Wolf avoided borrowing against future state revenue saying that he opposes two key Republican ideas and legalizing gambling on slot machine-style games in a large number of truck stops, bars and other locations. He suggested that he is concerned by such ideas. …

“I want real revenue, and I want net revenue,” Wolf told reporters after appearing at an unrelated public event in the Capitol. “I don’t want anything that we do in gaming or gambling to interfere with the revenues which are already in place. If it just cannibalizes and takes from one bucket called gambling to another, the commonwealth isn’t doing anything more than it’s in the past.”

GamblingCompliance (paywall) also reported that Wolf’s office is actively working with lawmakers on the gaming package.

Reading the tea leaves from Wolf in the past

Wolf has been anything but silent when trying to communicate what he wants on gaming for PA:

Not everyone is a fan of VGTs

Where the gaming package is under consideration for a second time, opposition to VGTs remains the major point of contention in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa said the inclusion of VGTs slowed progress on the bill. Discussion other parts of it — like the tax rate for iGaming — have sat on the sidelines while the VGT issue is worked on.

The subtext of Wolf’s statement would seem to argue that VGTs will cannibalize land-based casino revenue, from which the state derives significant revenue.

Online gambling and VGTs are the only things that pay the bills

The major revenue-producing gaming measures under consideration online VGTs and lottery. The majority of those would provide a small amount of money for state coffers while there are lots of other provisions in the gaming package.

So that the bottom line is this: If the state wants to make some real money from new gaming measures, lawmakers have to include one or all these things.

And if VGTs don’t make the cut for the PA Senate or for Wolf’s camp, then that leaves everyone counting on iGaming.

That’s a good omen for proponents of iGaming regulation in the state. But none of it’s a done deal.

Money Laundering with Online Poker? British Tabloid Says Celeb Swindlers to Be Outed

You use an online poker site to make some money and have fun. But according to an investigation in the UK, at least one well-known athlete and other high-wealth individuals who got financially overextended have allegedly been using online poker to hide cash from creditors, all while taking tax deductions for their gambling “losses.”

Money laundering

A UK tabloid alleges that chip really has been a means for celebrities and wealthy businesspeople to launder ill-gotten gains. (Image: blogs.harvard.edu)

The source on this particular investigation might need to be taken with a grain of salt. The Sun is a British tabloid known for mixing National Enquirer-like trashy and sensationalism celebrity gossip with straight-forward news.

The Sun cites an unnamed “industry insider,” and one presumably reputable source in Kevin Mawer, a forensic recovery expert for the global accounting firm KPMG. He told The Sun he became familiar with the online poker tax evasion and money laundering scheme while investigating high-profile subjects, including businessmen and prominent athletes.

“We generally find there have been cases where someone who hasn’t really gambled before suddenly gambles huge sums of money,” he explained. “This happens in an incredibly short space of time and they lose everything and only stop when the money runs out. It can be over a long period of time.”

Chip Dumping to Launder Money

The scam applies to people that have accrued debts that are major. To avoid paying back creditors, the Sun “investigation” alleges, a subject goes online and meets a friend for a private or heads-up poker game. Money is intentionally lost by person A to Person B by playing like a complete donkey.

“If you know the people in [the game] you can effectively transfer money to them in the method of gambling,” Mawer said.

The purpose of chip dumping while playing online poker is to leave no trace when hiding money by transferring it to a different person. The person who won the chips would reimburse the opponent with cash, but as far as creditors know, that money is gone and never to be returned.

This really is being done by people that intend to file bankruptcy and are in debt. When filing taxes, it’s legal in the UK to write off gambling losses. The accused aren’t laundering money, they could be committing the crime of tax evasion.

The Sun alleges the supposed crimes aren’t being committed by just random Joes. “Wealthy celebs and businessmen” are the ones doing the purported illicit chip dumping.

Poker Sites Not Implicated

A spokesman for the UK Gambling Commission released a statement in response to The Sun’s findings.

“As part of our rules and regulations operators must have mechanisms in place to prevent collusion during poker games,” the UKGC said.

The Sun’s anonymous industry source also was sure to explain the online sites weren’t at fault.

“The gambling sites aren’t doing anything wrong and wouldn’t be aware it’d even be going on,” the source said. “They have systems that flag up huge losses and unusual play, but no system is foolproof and someone having a decent plan could use a period of time to lose money away.”

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Money Laundering with Online Poker? British Tab Says Celeb Swindlers to Be Outed

You use an online poker site to make some money and have fun. But according to an investigation in the UK, at least one well-known athlete and other high-wealth individuals who got financially overextended have allegedly been using online poker to hide cash from creditors, all while taking tax deductions for their gambling “losses.”

Money laundering

A UK tabloid alleges that chip really has been a means for celebrities and wealthy businesspeople to launder ill-gotten gains. (Image: blogs.harvard.edu)

The source on this particular investigation might need to be taken with a grain of salt. The Sun is a British tabloid known for mixing National Enquirer-like trashy and sensationalism celebrity gossip with straight-forward news.

The Sun cites an unnamed “industry insider,” and one presumably reputable source in Kevin Mawer, a forensic recovery expert for the global accounting firm KPMG. He told The Sun he became familiar with the online poker tax evasion and money laundering scheme while investigating high-profile subjects, including businessmen and prominent athletes.

“We generally find there have been cases where someone who hasn’t really gambled before suddenly gambles huge sums of money,” he explained. “This happens in an incredibly short space of time and they lose everything and only stop when the money runs out. It can be over a long period of time.”

Chip Dumping to Launder Money

The scam applies to people that have accrued debts that are major. To avoid paying back creditors, the Sun “investigation” alleges, a subject goes online and meets a friend for a private or heads-up poker game. Money is intentionally lost by person A to Person B by playing like a complete donkey.

“If you know the people in [the game] you can effectively transfer money to them in the method of gambling,” Mawer said.

The purpose of chip dumping while playing online poker is to leave no trace when hiding money by transferring it to a different person. The person who won the chips would reimburse the opponent with cash, but as far as creditors know, that money is gone and never to be returned.

This really is being done by people that intend to file bankruptcy and are in debt. When filing taxes, it’s legal in the UK to write off gambling losses. The accused aren’t laundering money, they could be committing the crime of tax evasion.

The Sun alleges the supposed crimes aren’t being committed by just random Joes. “Wealthy celebs and businessmen” are the ones doing the purported illicit chip dumping.

Poker Sites Not Implicated

A spokesman for the UK Gambling Commission released a statement in response to The Sun’s findings.

“As part of our rules and regulations operators must have mechanisms in place to prevent collusion during poker games,” the UKGC said.

The Sun’s anonymous industry source also was sure to explain the online sites weren’t at fault.

“The gambling sites aren’t doing anything wrong and wouldn’t be aware it’d even be going on,” the source said. “They have systems that flag up huge losses and unusual play, but no system is foolproof and someone having a decent plan could use a period of time to lose money away.”

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WSOP: Limited Negreanu, Rare Title Defense in Super Seniors, Quickie Bracelet Score in Super Turbo, Jaka and Madsen Leading

Day 21 of the 2017 World Series of Poker saw two players capture the other, as well as bracelets, one of whom did it in the same event. Find out how they did the unthinkable, in our daily WSOP recap below:

James Moore, two-time WSOP Super Seniors champion

James Moore cut through a field of 1,720 to win back-to-back bracelets in the WSOP Super Seniors event. (Image: Jayne Furman / PokerPhotoArchive.com)

Youngster Dominates Super Seniors

If James Moore were born he could be a three-time champion. Nevertheless, the Super Seniors event is open to players older and 65, and last year was his first year of eligibility. Moore won the 2016 tournament, besting a field of 1,476 for his first bracelet along with a $230,626 payday.

Naturally, he’d come back in 2017 for more. And incredibly, facing off against 1,719 other players this time, the 66-year-old physician from New Hope, Pennsylvania, would do it again defending his title, for 230 $259 and Super Seniors bracelet #2.

“I’ll tell you, starting out heads-up I tried to stay positive, but it was very tough and I ‘d so few chips,” Moore told WSOP officials following the win. “That was a lucky, lucky run.”

Moore began heads-up play at a significant chip disadvantage against Kerry Goldberg. He refused to give up during their three-hour battle and took the chip lead. In the last hand, Goldberg went with it and flopped middle pair. For him, Moore had flopped top pair. Goldberg failed to catch a lucky turn or river, and instead needed to settle for finishing second to a man who can claim this event is owned by him.

This tournament marked the third time since being introduced in 2015, the Super Seniors has been held.

Final Table Results
1 James Moore (New Hope, PA) 9,230
2 Kerry Goldberg (Jacksonville, FL) 0,120
3 John Isler (Winter Park, FL) 5,357
4 Veronica Daly (Carlsbad, CA) ,005
5 Ken Aldridge (Pleasant Garden, NC) ,842
6 Darrell Ticehurst (Hillsborough, CA) ,029
7 David Smith (Avon Park, FL) ,641
8 Daniel Favreau (Montrose, MN) ,365
9 Terry Stuhldreher (St. Charles, MO) $20,296

Palevic Makes $12,260 Per Hour

The one-day Event #39, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty, drew 1,868 runners, and 15 hours later just one remained in Sweden’s Rifat Palevic. The 37-year-old poker pro captured the bracelet as well as a $183,903 first-place prize, meaning he earned $12,260/hour for the win.

“I actually wasn’t even planning on playing this,” Palevic said in his tournament exit interview. “But I met a guy from Houston, Texas, and we played heads up for a long session in London and he told me the cash games [were] not good. And he said ‘Let’s play this. It’s a good tournament.’ So, my friends also told me it was a good tournament. I went into it and everything was good. I’m very happy to get a bracelet.”

Palevic’s win came after a six-year hiatus from the WSOP. But upon his return to Las Vegas in the summer, he decided to play the Super Turbo Bounty, which featured 20-minute levels and a $300 bounty for every single player.

“It was a perfect mix,” Palevic said. “It couldn’t be better. It was born for me. I like turbo tournaments. I really liked this tournament, although I like normal tournaments. It was nice with all the bounties. Everything was nice. I prefer to play tournaments over here in the US.”

Others who cashed the event were Caufman Talley (11th for $11,435), Rex Clinkscales (35th for $4,692), TJ Cloutier (41st for $3,862), and Bruno Politano (51st for $3,215).

Final Table Results
1 Rifat Palevic (Loddckopinge, Sweden) 3,903
2 Ryan Olisar (Naperville, IL) 3,581
3 Dean Blatt (Caufield North, Australia) ,227
4 Robert Heioorn (London, Germany) ,132
5 Rick Hollman (Encino, CA) ,424
6 Joseph Monahan (Yardville, NJ) ,160
7 Gavin O’Rourke (Portlaoise, Ireland) ,010
8 George Dolofan (Miami Beach, FL) ,063
9 Victor Kim (Lawrence, KS) ,685

Jaka Leads $5K 6-Max Final Table

Event #36, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed, began with 574 players to create a $2,669,100 prize pool. After Tuesday’s Day 2, just six remain in contention for the $580,338 first-place prize.

Leading the final table is Faraz Jaka with 3.15 million in chips. He faces some tough competition, though, if he wants to hold on to that lead, from the likes of Kenny Hallaert (2.96 million), Sam Soverel (2.2 million), Chris “Big Huni” Hunichen (1.86 million), and Christian Rudolph (1.31 million). Also at the final table is Russia’s Nadar Kakhmazov (2.93 million), who earlier this month won the record-breaking MSPT Venetian.

Among those to exit in the money on Day 2 were James Obst (7th for $57,550), Mike Leah (17th for $24,799), and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi (31st for $13,159).

The final six players will return to action at noon PT on Wednesday to play down to a winner.

Tran & Negreanu Still in Limit Championship

Event #38, $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, began with 120 players and a $1,128,000 prize pool. The tournament is down to its final 15.

Out in front is the only player using a seven-figure stack, JC Tran, who bagged 1.15 million.

Others still contending for the $311,817 top prize include Terrence Chan (831,000), Sorel Mizzi (641,000), recent bracelet winner Ben Yu (446,000), and Daniel Negreanu (425,000).

Just four players busted in the money on Tuesday: Michael O’Grady (15th for $17,894), Phil Hellmuth (16th for $15,385), Robert Mizrachi (17th for $15,385), and Martin Kabrhel (18th for $15,385).

Final 20 in Latest $1K NLH

After Day 2 of Event #37, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em, only 20 of the 2,020 starting players remain. The chip leader fighting for the $292,880 top prize is Chris Johnson, with a stack of 1.24 million. That’s significantly ahead of his next closest competitor, Vlad Darie, who bagged 902,000.

Others who’ll return for Day 3 at noon PT on Wednesday are Michael Gathy (672,000), Katie Swift (425,000), Allan Bieler (240,000), and also the short-stacked Ryan Smith (107,000). Among those to fall on Day 2 were Craig Varnell (21st for $9,209), Mark “Pegasus” Smith (33rd for $7,492), and bracelet winner Ryan Laplante (52nd for $5,131).

Madsen Leads Record Hi-Lo Stud Field

Event #40, $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, drew 595 players for a $803,250 prize pool, which made it the biggest turnout for the tournament in five years.

Day 1 after ten levels of play, 176 players survived. The chip leader is 2006 WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Madsen (79,900). He’s trailed by Adam Friedman (51,400), who won the $5k version of this event in 2012, 2005 Main Event champion Joe Hachem (40,000), six-time bracelet winner Ted Forrest (35,100), and Frank Kassela (33,200), who won his third gold bracelet earlier in the 2017 series.

Among those to fall on the first day were Cliff Josephy Andre Akkari, Matt Savage, Dan Shak, and legendary WSOP commentator Norman Chad.

The eventual winner of the tournament will walk away with $173,228 along with a gold bracelet that’ll likely add to somebody’s collection.

Coming Up: $1,500 PLO & $10K 6-Max Championship

Wednesday will see two new tournaments kick off.

First up is Event #41, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha, at 11 am PT. That tournament will start players with 7,500 in chips and play 10 levels. Late registration will remain open for six levels (until approximately 7:10 pm).

The other is Event #42, $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Championship, at 3 pm PT. Players in this event play 10 levels on Day 1 and start with 50,000 in chips. Late registration will remain open through eight levels (until approximately 12:20 am).

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APT Philippines Changes Venues After Resorts World Manila Casino Shutdown

The Asian Poker Tour is relocating next month’s APT Philippines 2017 series, which was scheduled to take place at Resorts World Manila before the casino had its gaming license unexpectedly suspended earlier this month.

Resorts World Manila tournament poker room

Longtime host of Asian Poker Tour events, the tournament poker room at Resorts World Manila, WOn’t host the APT tournament series in July. (Image: APT)

The new location for the event will be at the Winford Hotel & Casino, a luxury resort nine miles across town, in a different sector of the Philippine capital. That site also happens to be home to the APT Poker Room Manila, which opened.

Resorts World Manila’s casino floor remains closed ever since a lone attacker entered on June 2 and shot up the space while lighting fires that resulted in 37 deaths. Philippine gaming authorities suspended the hotel’s gaming license indefinitely as they investigate alleged safety and security lapses at the casino resort.

The sixth event of the APT’s 2017 season is scheduled to run from July 1927. Although the full schedule hasn’t been released, organizers did say they’d be dropping the buy-in for the main event, from $3,300 to $2,200.

New Home for APT

The stated intent was to offer an intimate setting for poker players in the north part of the city when the APT Poker Room Manila at the Winford hotel held its grand opening in April.

“We are the only five-star poker club which will be operating in this region,” Winford Chairman and CEO AlFonso Reyno, Jr., said at the time of the poker room’s opening.

The plan was to bring major poker tournaments to the Winford, according to Operations Manager Raymund Gamier. “This is what the Philippines needs, new players as well as a new market,” Gamier said. “Opening here may help create new players for the industry.”

However, when Resorts World Manila lost its license following the attack, the development timeline needed to be accelerated. It made sense to turn to the newly opened home of the APT Poker Room with the APT Philippines needing an alternative location.

Healing Hands

The APT’s relationship with Resorts World Manila has been solid since long before the June 2 attack. Over the course of more than seven years, the tour has staged 19 events there, including its latest major, the APT Championships Philippines, which was held at Resorts World in April and May.

In a press release tour officials insisted the venue-change was temporary, as well as their relationship together with casino and the hotel wouldn’t change. Resorts World Manila continues to be slated to host the APT Philippines 2017 II in September.

But the troubled resort is surrounded by uncertainty as the Filipino public seeks answers. Not only are executives fighting to get back a gaming license so that they are able to reopen the casino, but in addition the company is facing elevated scrutiny and pressure from government officials, in addition to lawsuits from victims’ families.

It is going to take a while before a poker tournament can begin to ease the stigma of an attack which has left an indelible stain on the facility.

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