Archive for October 2016

Jim "Pocket Bullets" ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

2016 WSOP Main Event Final TableAs hard to believe as it may seem to some of us, Day one for the Final Table, the “November 9” of the World Series of Poker Main Event, is in the history books. The day saw some back and forth swings of the chip lead between Qui Nguyen and Cliff Josephy. Josephy came into the first day with the chip lead. On the very first hand, Nguyen, who was in second place, came out swinging as he four-bet Josephy to 8,250,00. Josephy quickly folded, giving Nguyen the chip lead.

Qui Nguyen vs Cliff JosephyAlthough that chip lead was exchanged several times between these two guys, the night delivered some unexpected moves that saw almost half the field sent to the rails. First out was the Spaniard, Fernando Pons. When he shoved, Josephy snapped called and Pons was eliminated in ninth place and went home with a million dollars. Not bad for his first time! The eliminated players thus far are:

  1. Fernando Pons (9th $1,000,000)
  2. Jerry Wong (8th $1,100,076)
  3. Griffin Benger (7th $1,250,190)
  4. Kenny Haellart (6th $1,464,258)

Here are the chip counts heading into Day Two of the Final Table:

Seat 1: Vojtech Ruzicka – 62,250,000 (62 bbs)
Seat 2: Qui Nguyen – 128,625,000 (128 bbs)
Seat 3: Cliff Josephy – 63,850,000 (63 bbs)
Seat 4: Michael Ruane – 23,700,000 (23 bbs)
Seat 5: Gordon Vayo – 58,200,000 (58 bbs)

Our eyes and ears at the Rio Hotel and Casino are anxious for the Day Two action to start at the Final Table. It looks like Nguyen could be impossible to beat, but we all know that things can turn around swiftly at the poker table. My wife is pulling for Michael Ruane, however, and it doesn’t look too good for him right now. For both of their sake, hopefully Lady Luck will finally throw some good cards his way.

If you run into any of our guys there make sure to say “Hi” from the team at the Texas Poker Store.

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I have always loved poker-themed movies, even before I became a real poker enthusiast through watching and blogging about the Global Poker League throughout the year.  Let’s face it; there’s usually some suspense, some thrills, some humor, some paranoia and at least a few fascinating and/or dubious characters – you know, just like a high-stakes poker game.  The “Cincinnati Kid,” “High Roller,” “Rounders,” “Runner Runner,” and who can forget “Casino Royal”  when James Bond sits at the final table and defeats his arch enemy, LeChiffre,  are among the many films that come to mind as poker-based and fun to watch. Not to mention Negreanu’s documentary, “KidPoker,” which we have written about several times in this blog.

Molly "Princess of Poker" BloomSo it’s no wonder that I’m eagerly awaiting a movie on the horizon titled, “Molly’s Game.” First of all, one of my all-time favorite wordsmiths, Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, will be making his debut as the director of the film. He’s brilliant, and his dialogue is always spot on, so I know he’ll capture all the action at the poker tables with perfection.

The movie is based on former high-stakes “Poker Princess” Molly Bloom.  Never heard of her? Well, she came to L.A. at the age of 26 and rose from cocktail waitress to running the most exclusive, star-studded underground poker game ever seen in Hollywood, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, during the late 2000s. Her private games attracted a who’s who list of pro athletes, financiers, billionaires and A-list actors, including Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire, Leo and Matt. Eventually, the game moved to NY and was ultimately shut down by the FBI (but you can see all about that in the movie.)

Jessica ChastainIdris ElbaAs if that weren’t enough, the super-talented, two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Martian) has signed on to play Molly Bloom and the sexy, charismatic British actor, Idris Elba, (The Wire, Luther, Star Trek:Beyond, Beasts of No Nation) will play Bloom’s attorney.

As Sorkin stated, “They’re two of the greatest actors of their generation, paired for the first time, and their chemistry will be electric.”

Others in serious talks to join the cast are Kevin Costner and Michael Cera.

It’s scheduled for release in 2017 and I can’t wait. In my mind, this promises to be the next great poker movie.

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Jim "Pocket Bullets" ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

Since 1979, when the Poker Hall of Fame was established by the owner of  the Horseshoe Casino, Benny Binion, to honor the world’s greatest poker players, 50 world class poker players have been inducted. Johnny “The Grand Old Man of Poker” Moss was the very first inductee and with this announcement, the total is now 52.

Poker Hall of Fame

The Class of 2016 added a couple of new members, Todd Brunson and Carlos Mortensen, to poker’s most exclusive club, the Poker Hall of Fame.

Todd Brunson“It’s a true honor to be inducted by my peers into this prestigious institution,” said Todd Brunson. “I literally grew up attending these ceremonies and have always respected and admired its members. To join their ranks is the honor of a lifetime.”

Carlos MortensenCarlos Mortensen was heard saying, “I have been playing poker professionally for more than 20 years. This game has given me so many things that I have come to cherish. I’ve always wanted to be included among the great players who make up the Poker Hall of Fame. To be included with the legends makes me very happy. I want to thank my friends, the poker fans, and all the people who vote for me. I take this honor very seriously.”

The official induction will occur Oct. 26 at the Binion’s Gambling Hall in Las Vegas, kicking off the November Nine festivities just before the World Series of Poker Main Event final table at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Oct. 30 through Nov. 1.

The criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame is as follows:

  • A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
  • Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
  • Played for high stakes
  • Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
  • Stood the test of time
  • Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.

When Harrah’s Entertainment, now known as Caesars Entertainment, acquired the rights to the WSOP in 2004, it also assumed ownership of the Poker Hall of Fame. Currently, membership in the Poker Hall of Fame is handled directly by the WSOP.

Have any of you ever wanted to be known as a “kick ass” poker player? If you answered yes, then you best sit in on as many poker tables as you can to try to perfect your game. It’s possible, even if only remotely, that you could then be considered among the very best. Of course it’s a lot more likely that you’ll start to win more and, at the very least, have a helluva lot more fun.

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

Although I was a huge fan of the Global Poker League’s heads-up matches in the Cube this summer, apparently the matches failed to attract enough viewers or create enough buzz to be considered a success.

Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Mediarex Sports & Entertainment and the GPL postponed dates to begin the second half of the season and changed venues for the long-awaited playoffs and Championship matches. He noted that they were a small team and needed to “re-group” in order to carry out some of the new League’s most crucial initiatives. They weren’t ready to make good on some of the promises made, but Dreyfus was in it for the long haul and didn’t want to make any embarrassing moves.

Poker Stars and Global Poker LeagueThe timing was perfect, therefore, for this week’s surprise announcement that PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, has signed on to be the exclusive online poker sponsor of the Global Poker League. The much-needed cash infusion that accompanies the sponsorship deal is already beginning to pay off. It looks like they have begun to revamp the website, GPL-branded team merchandise is finally available and they’ve released the mobile app.

More importantly, the sponsorship deal with PokerStars will see the League through to a second season and provide the marketing/advertising that the GPL so desperately needed. What everyone is counting on is that cross-promotion with the world’s largest online poker site (controlling 70% of the online market) will be just what the GPL needs to attract the attention of casual and grass-roots poker players and a new generation of fans.

In early September, Dreyfus advised all GPL fans to get ready for some “transformative changes and risk taking.” He also said that they would consider possible partnerships with key online poker rooms (social, free-to-play and real money offers). Partnering with the most recognizable brand in the history of online poker sounds like a dream come true for the entrepreneur, who can focus on growing his innovative team poker concept and his vision to make poker “fancentric.”

Hopefully, with the large red PokerStars logo emblazoned on the Cube, the Global Poker League will get closer to achieving what Dreyfus envisioned all along: “developing their twofold strategy of connecting the league to the poker community and genuinely connecting poker to the mainstream entertainment sector on a large scale.”

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