The Weekly Round-up – 5 April 2021:
5 April 2021: The Tip Top Fox brings you the top poker and gambling industry stories of the week; World Series of Poker Announces 2021 Return; Hellmuth Beats Negreanu in ‘High Stakes Duel’; Poker Player Mike Postle Drops $330M Lawsuit
World Series of Poker Returns to Vegas in 2021
Live poker is beginning to make a recovery, as the recently completed record-breaking European Poker Tour Sochi proved last week.
Further proof of the live game’s recovery comes with the WSOP announcing its intention to return in 2021. Scheduled to run from September 30 through to November 23, the world’s longest-running international poker series will return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The full schedule is yet to be announced, but the $10,000 Main Event is slated for a 4 November kickoff. With plans for four starting flights instead of the usual three, the Main Event will run until 17 November.
The 2021 opening weekend will feature a special charity event to benefit frontline health workers, a $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. and a $5 million GTD No-Limit Hold’em event billed as “The Reunion”. The complete schedule will be released over the summer.
“This year, more than ever, we embrace our role at the WSOP to deliver memorable experiences and bring this community of poker lovers back together. In 2021, the theme is, get vaccinated and get back to Vegas,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director.
Online Events Scheduled For Summer
With live poker on COVID hiatus during 2020, the WSOP moved into the online arena. Events ran over two platforms, WSOP.com and GGPoker, the former for US-based players and the latter for international players.
WSOP.com’s domestic series ran 31 events in total, awarding nearly $27 million in prize money. The 45 WSOP Online 2020 events on GGPoker awarded close to $150 million in prize money. The WSOP Online Main Event also smashed the Guinness Book World Record for largest online poker tournament, generating a $27.5 million prize pool.
Owing to the success of last year’s series, WSOP.com will hold the domestic tournaments on its All-American Poker Network. Beginning Thursday, 1 July, and closing with a $1,000 championship, qualification will be available for as little as $1. Currently, entry is restricted to US-based players.
Complete information about the WSOP Online tournament schedule will be available on www.wsop.com on 15 April 2021.
WSOPE Set to Return in 2021
The World Series of Poker Europe is also set for a 2021 return. Running from Friday, 19 November to Tuesday, 8 December the WSOPE will take place at King’s Casino, Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Featuring a total of 15 bracelet events, highlights include the €10,000 Main Event and a €50,000 High Roller.
“We hope and anticipate travel restrictions will ease by the fall,” said Stewart. “It’s important to us that we have an excellent tournament schedule available to our European players.”
Of course, this is all dependant on COVID restrictions at the time. While the ongoing worldwide vaccination program continues there may well still be travel restrictions and social distancing in place.
Hellmuth Beats Negreanu in ‘High Stakes Duel’
The hotly anticipated first round of the $100,000 heads-up confrontation between two of poker’s iconic players, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, played out to a thrilling conclusion with Hellmuth staging a late comeback to emerge the victor.
Taking place on PokerGo, round 1 of the ‘High Stakes Duel’ between the pair proved to be an exciting affair. Both players began with 50,000 in chips with blinds starting at 50/100. Bookmakers’ favourite Negreanu took an early lead around an hour into the proceedings, his K♦9♦ out flopping Hellmuth’s J♦J♥ in a three-bet pot – much to Hellmuth’s chagrin.
Negreanu continued to apply the pressure, pulling into a commanding 95,000 to 5,000 chip lead. However, Negreanu was unable to close it out. The six-hour poker marathon saw Hellmuth stage a late comeback to close out the game.
Hellmuth had whittled Negreanu down to his last 15,000 or so in chips, though both players were shallow stacked. Negreanu committed the last of his chips pre-flop with 7♥6♥, with Hellmuth looking him up with 9♠9♦.
While the 8♥5♥J♣ flop gave Negreanu a sweat, the K♣ turn and 8♠ river saw Hellmuth clinch the match. This is Hellmuth’s fourth consecutive victory in ‘High Stakes Duel’, having bested Antonio Esfandiari three times in a row.
Rematch on the Cards
With the ‘High Stakes Duel’ format offering Negreanu a chance to double the stakes, a rematch seems all but certain. Something Negreanu confirmed when the pair shook hands at the end of the match. The buy-in doubles for every subsequent match, and should Hellmuth win three games in a row, he can opt to end the match and search for a new challenger.
Poker Player Mike Postle Drops $330M Lawsuit
One of the largest alleged cheating scandals to hit poker since the Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet Super User scandal involved poker player Mike Postle and his incredible run on the live-streamed StonesLivePoker cash game series.
While a lawsuit against Postle was dropped, the case took an interesting turn in October 2019. Hounded by accusations of cheating and numerous back and forth lawsuits, Postle filed a $330M lawsuit against several high-profile detractors in the poker world including ESPN, PokerNews, Phil Galfond’s Run It Once, Daniel Negreanu, Haralabos Voulgaris, Joey Ingram, Doug Polk, Jonathan Little, Todd “Dan Druff” Witteles and Stones Live commentator Veronica Brill.
Postle filed a request to dismiss the lawsuit on Thursday, 1 April, but still looks to be liable for both Witteles and Brill’s legal costs. The pair filed Anti-SLAPPs – Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, designed to prevent frivilous lawsuits designed to intimidate – against Postle. As Postle has requested the dismissal of his own lawsuit both Witteles and Brill are entitled to claim costs for their legal fees.
For those unfamiliar with the case, it all kicked off in September 2019 when US poker professional Postle went on a $250,000 heater in live-streamed $1-3 and $2-5 No-Limit Hold’em cash games over a 12 month period dating back to September 2018.
Several players and commentators in the game voiced suspicions that Postle was cheating somehow, sparking some online sleuthing from well-respected poker pundits Joey Ingram and Doug Polk.
Alleged cheating cases and gambling disputes are often difficult to prove in court, and the dismissal of Postle’s case leaves him innocent in the eyes of the law. While Postle filing to dismiss his own lawsuit is far from an admission of guilt, it looks as though a line may finally be drawn under a scandal that has been close to 15 months in the making.