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Online poker sites go to war over sponsored players

The major online poker rooms are acting like your favorite sports franchise; snatching up any big-name player they can get their hands on. In the past few weeks PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and even PKR Poker have added a number of big-names to their professional rosters.

Full Tilt Poker has been pretty quiet on the signing front since adding Annette Obrestad to their lineup prior to the World Series of Poker, but this week they did add Professional Boxer, and semi-professional poker player, Audley Harrison. Harrison will be fighting for the Heavyweight Championship against David Swaye in Manchester England in mid-November.

PokerStars has been very active; signing top Russian online poker player Maxim Lykov to Team PokerStars Pro, as well as Romanian Billiards Champion turned poker player Toni Judet this week. These signings come on the heels of the site adding Liv Boeree and David Williams to their roster.

PKR Poker decided to throw their hat into the ring as well, signing Scott Shelley. Shelley won the £1,000 No Limit Holdem tournament at the World Series of Poker Europe, and in the process denied JP Kelly a repeat win in the event, and a shot at the record books –Kelly would have bested Phil Ivey’s mark for the youngest player with three WSOP bracelets.

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Ladbrokes see poker revenue dip while sports-book profits soar

It’s not too often that a company would show any concerns when profits are up 128% –£51.1 million in 2010 compared to 2009’s £22.4 million– as Ladbrokes were for the Third Quarter this year, but hidden amidst those huge overall profits was a disturbing trend. Ladbrokes saw their poker revenue decrease by 27%, further evidence of a growing monopoly of online poker by just a few major sites.

Helping Ladbrokes more than double their 2009 Third Quarter profit was the fact that it was a World Cup year, as well as an unusually high amount of draws in the EPL –22 to be precise.

While Ladbrokes is mainly known for their sports-betting arm, the site has always had a steady flow of poker traffic, and saw good returns from their online poker room over the years. The 27% drop for Quarter Three comes on the heels of a 15.7% drop in poker revenue from Quarters One and Two.

Ladbrokes CEO Richard Glynn was confident the poker-arm of the site would rebound, and stated in a press release that “Ladbrokes has a great brand and a strengthened management team determined to drive operational improvements going forward. Though much remains to be done, I am encouraged by the progress we are making across the Group and I look forward to updating the market in February 2011.”

Poker News supplied by

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Maxim Lykov latest addition to Team PokerStars Pro

The arms race between PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker continues to heat up, with both rooms snatching up every top poker player available, as the two online poker powers battle for poker supremacy. The latest addition to the Team PokerStars Pro lineup is Russian online phenom Maxim Lykov.

Lykov has been playing at the PokerStars tables since 2005, and has turned two $40 deposits into an ever-swelling bankroll. Lykov has also started wetting his feet at live poker tournaments, and has had a string of good results, and is approaching $1 million in career earnings according to the ($944,804 to put an exact number on it).

Lykov’s biggest win to date was at the 2009 EPT Kiev Main Event where he finished 1st, earning a $468,000 payday. According to, Lykov has over $1 million in online tournament winnings, playing at a variety of sites including Full Tilt Poker (kaKeTKa), Absolute Poker (MuckAndLose), and of course PokerStars where he plays under the screen-name ‘justdec’.

Lykov joins Liv Boeree (formerly of UB), David Williams (formerly of Bodog), and Vanessa Selbst as 2010 PokerStars signings. Although the site has parted ways with 2008 WSOP Main Event champion Peter Eastgate, Hevad Kahn, and poker’s first Triple Crown Winner (EPT, WPT, and WSOP winner) Gavin Griffin.

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Durrrr and jungleman12 resume match with brief session

Before Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan and Daniel ‘jungleman12’ Cates sat down to play a single hand of their 50,000 hand challenge match, everyone expected the latest incarnation of the durrrr Challenge to be over fairly quickly –unlike the Antonius vs. durrrr match that started over a year ago and is still not concluded!

The two online poker phenoms held up their end of the bargain over the first weekend, playing almost 7,000 hands, but since then the two have played sporadically, logging only two short sessions since, including their most recent 20 minute,250 hand, session that saw durrrr cut into jungleman12’s lead by $31,000.

Cates still holds a $657,000 lead in the Challenge Match, but playing at $200/$400 No Limit Holdem that number could change very fast!

For those of you who are unaware of what the durrrr Challenge is, here is a brief explanation: The two players must play 50,000 hands, and the overall winner at the end of that period will not only keep the amount they have won from their opponent, but will also be entitled to additional compensation –if durrrr wins, jungleman12 must fork over an additional $500,000: If jungleman12 wins, durrrr loses an additional $1.5 million!

As far as the other rules of the challenge match: The number of tables that must be played during the session is set at four, and the stakes and game played are predetermined, but as we’ve seen in the Patrik Antonius vs. durrrr match the rules can be quickly changed with mutual agreement.

High Stakes Poker News supplied by

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Doyle Brunson talks Poker HOF candidates

Poker Hall of Fame member Doyle Brunson has already cast his ballot for the 2010 Poker Hall of Fame class, and he recently took to his blog regarding his selection(s) and critiqued each of the 10 nominees on the list.

Doyle heaped the most praise on Erik Seidel saying, “I gave almost all of my votes to Erik. Most people don’t remember his cash game play but he was in all of the games in his early career. He meets all the requirements and his exemplary conduct deserves a special accolade. He reminds me of Chip Reese.” You couldn’t ask for a better endorsement than that!

Doyle had kind words for all of the nominees –and they are all very deserving—and not surprisingly, after Seidel  it’s the players he tangles with day-in and day-out that get the most credit from Texas Dolly, Jen Harman and Barry Greenstein.

The most interesting point Doyle brought up is one I’ve mentioned numerous times regarding Scotty Nguyen: Basically Scotty set-back his Hall of Fame induction 5-10 years by his actions in the 2007 HORSE Championship –named in honor of the beloved poker player Chip Reese.

Doyle also shows his respect for Phil Ivey by summarizing his chances with just a single three-letter word: “Who?”

Poker News supplied by

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High-stakes action heats up on Full Tilt Poker in September

The high-stakes poker tables on Full Tilt Poker have been rejuvenated recently thanks to a slew of new competitors trying to make a name for themselves by taking on the best poker players in the world. Players like ‘cadillac1944’ and Andreas “skjervoy” Torvaldsen have been fixtures at the nosebleed tables, not to mention a few Isildur1 sightings, as well as perennial powerhouses like Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan, Patrik Antonius, Ilari ‘Ziigmund’ Sahamies and others.

Two of those players, Andreas “skjervoy” Torvaldsen and Tom Dwan had huge upticks this past week, both winning over $1.5 million at the tables in less than a day! ‘durrrr’, was stuck $800k for the month of September, but is now up nearly $3 million for the year!

Here is a look at the top 10 Earners in online poker for September 2010:

1.    skjervoy –$1.528.586,00
2.    Ziigmund –$619.615,40
3.    DrugsOrMe –$574.508,40
4.    deprimiert –$532.284,00
5.    superbaldas –$487.589,00
6.    David Oppenheim –$418.055,60
7.    IHateJuice –$406.956,50
8.    good2cu –$401.548,00
9.    La Key U –$396.687,80
10.    EazyPeazy –$375.999,80

And of course the top 10 losers for September:

1.    Cole South –$-1.397.665,00
2.    sbrugby –$-1.058.174,00
3.    durrrr –$-793.799,40
4.    Urindanger –$-633.258,30
5.    Esvedra –$-590.150,00
6.    Phil Ivey –$-567.053,00
7.    Fortuna PLS –$-449.760,30
8.    OMGClayAiken –$-373.284,00
9.    URnotINdanger2 –$-335.852,80
10.    luckexpress10 –$-299.700,80

Results and statistics are courtesy of and article supplied by

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Study shows playing poker staves off dementia

Here’s a bit of good news for all the losing poker players out there; even though you are losing your money playing poker, at least you won’t lose your mind in the process! A new study by noted Alzheimer’s disease researcher Dr. Jeffrey Cummings has shown that playing mentally stimulating games like poker can help stave off forms of Dementia. And some people consider poker a waste of time.

Cummings points to a French study from 2009 that followed 5,000 people and revealed a 50% decrease in cases of Dementia for people who engaged in card games at least twice a week. This goes along with Cummings own research that shows how people are better off remaining active –either from working or performing other mentally stimulating activities—than sitting around, relaxing, in their golden years.

“The logical extension of the data we have on dementia is that a person who is still capable of working, who is mentally stimulated with a strong sense of purpose is better off from the cognitive point of view continuing to engage in that position.”

So the next time a total fish is ready to quit poker make sure you explain to them how playing poker will help them avoid getting Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia!

Poker News supplied by

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Full Tilt still accepting Washington State poker players

After last week’s court ruling that upheld the state’s law banning online poker in Washington State, the world’s largest online poker room PokerStars withdrew from the market citing the recent ruling as the impetus for their departure. Fortunately for poker players in Washington State Full Tilt Poker –and other US-friendly poker rooms like UB and Bodog– have continued to offer online poker games to residents of the one state in the US that has banned online poker.

However, all is not sunny in Washington State: Many fearful online poker players have E-Mailed Full Tilt Poker seeking more information on the site’s current stance regarding the law and were sent the following response from Full Tilt Poker’s customer support team:

“In light of recent legal events, Full Tilt Poker notifies all of its players from Washington State that we are closely monitoring and have been assessing the recent legal developments that have occurred in Washington along with our advisors.

While the option to play real-money poker games of skill is still available on Full Tilt Poker, we will have further information about the status of real-money play by Washington residents in the near future.”

Not exactly the most encouraging message I’ve ever seen. You can be sure we’ll be keeping a close eye as this situation continues to unfold.

Full Tilt News supplied by

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Poker pro Tony Dunst to host WPT Raw Deal segment

When the World Poker Tour announced they were holding open auditions for a new segment on the telecast, known as the Raw Deal, the qualifications seemed to indicate that the WPT was looking for a non-poker pro, who would be willing to speak their mind and tell it like it is; unafraid to step on toes or ruffle a few feathers.

Well, today’s announcement of the winner, Tony Dunst, pretty much nixed that idea! Dunst is a talented poker pro –he goes by the handle ‘Bond 18’ at the online poker tables—who also does a lot of commentary, writing, and even acts as a coach at an online poker training site; everything the audition requirements spoke against.

Now, I’m sure Tony will do a fantastic job, he speaks his mind, is witty, and knows his stuff, but I don’t think he’ll be willing to speak his mind as much as a non-poker pro would. After all, it’s easier to criticize people you DON’T have to then work with!

We’ll have to see how the Raw Deal segment plays out on the WPT telecasts, to see what direction the show takes the segment –I have a feeling it will be scathing, but not directed at individuals, but more at the poker world as a whole.

Poker News supplied by

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John Juanda comes up just short at EPT final table

With his opponent crippled, and over a 4-to-1 chip-lead on two different occasions, Team Full Tilt Poker Pro John Juanda was unable to finish a very game young Brit, David Vamplew. Juanda’s best chance was when he had Vamplew all-in going into the river holding the nut flush-draw to Juanda’s Ace-high straight. A river club gave the recent Fife math grad his flush and from there he battled on to capture the PokerStars European Poker Tour London win.

Vamplew’s win capped off a spectacular month for the British on their home turf:

·    Jake Cody won the World Poker Tour London stop in early September
·    Sam Trickett captured the Party Poker World Open
·    James Bord won the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event
·    David Vamplew won the European Poker Tour London stop

This all on the heels of the Brits winning five World Series of Poker bracelets in Las Vegas this summer, as well as Toby Lewis’s win at the EPT Vilamoura tournament!

Here is a look at the complete final table results from the EPT London tournament:

1.    David Vamplew — £900,000
2.    John Juanda — £545,000
3.    Kyle Bowker — £300,000
4.    Artur Wasek   — £240,000
5.    Kayvan Payman — £190,000
6.    Fernando Brito — £145,000
7.    Tom Marchese  — £100,000
8.    Per Ummer — £66,800

EPT News supplied by

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