October 28th, 2008
PokerStars European Poker Tour Heads To Budapest, Hungary
For the first time in the history of Hungary, the country will play host to a major live poker tournament. The European Poker Tour (EPT), sponsored by PokerStars.net, is making a stop in Budapest from October 28th through November 1st.
Ideally termed the “Hungarian Open”, four days of action will unfold at the Sofitel Hotel at the Las Vegas Casino. The event will feature a €4,350 buy-in, and the EPT is expecting a rather large field of participants, including s few of the EPT’s top players native to the area. Entrants are capped at 500.
The city of Budapest is arguably noted as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, home to the Buda Castle Quarter, Danube River, Millennium Underground Railroad and other historical wonders. If you’re curious as to what would draw poker fans to visit the country, the PokerStars.com EPT Budapest Main Event is certainly not the only attraction on the list.
The 4-day event will consist of a series of tournaments, including a €500+€50 on October 30th with one re-buy, a €2,000+€100 No Limit Hold’em event on the 31st, and a €1,000+€70 No Limit Hold’em event on the 1st of November. In between all of this, a host of cash games are expected to take place, involving mostly those who bust out early.
October 24th, 2008
Poker Pro Sorel Mizzi Receives 3-Month Ban From PokerStars
Canadian professional poker player Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi was recently handed a 3-month suspension from Poker Stars. Apparently, Sorel Mizzi allowed one of his friends to temporarily participate in a WCOOP $300 PL Omaha Event under Mizzi’s “Imper1um” username, which the site’s multi-accounting rules strictly prohibit.
According to the reports, Sorel was deep into the tournament when he had to leave in order to catch a flight from Barcelona, Spain to London, England. Not wanting to exit the tournament at this point, he gave his friend the heads-up to play the remainder of the tournament in his place.
When PokerStars got wind of the activity, the initial reaction was to impose a 6-month ban on Mizzi’s account. Apparently, after a multitude of lengthy emails between Mizzi and the online poker room, in which Mizzi admitted, explained his reasons and apologized for the incident, the ban was reduced to three months.
This makes the second time in recent history that the Canadian poker pro’s name has been splashed across the headlines. Just last year, Mizzi was accused and convicted of another multi-accounting controversy at Full Tilt Poker. Mizzi was found guilty of playing the online poker room’s monthly $1-million guarantee under the account of Chris “BluffMagCV” Vaughn.
As more and more acts of multi-accounting are discovered at online poker rooms, the consequences are becoming increasingly severe. A few weeks back, Josh Field was reprimanded with an extensive ban from PokerStars for creating a number of new accounts. A few accounts belonging to Field’s friends were also sanctioned for funding Josh’s account.
October 22nd, 2008
PokerStars APPT Auckland Crowns Winner David Craker
The Asia Pacific Poker Tour, sponsored by PokerStars.net, finished up its stint in Auckland, New Zeland this weekend as native local Daniel Craker brought pride to the city by taking the crown. In what became New Zealand’s largest live poker event ever, Craker was awarded $257,040 for the impressive 1st place win.
The SkyCity Casino in Auckland set the scene for the final table of nine, which had begun as a field of 306. A $3k buy-in boosted the overall prize pool to about $800k. Among the competitors were some of America’s top poker pros, who couldn’t resist the chance to get in on such a historic event. The enormity of the tournament was nearly overwhelming for New Zealand, who has never seen the game of poker to be so incredibly popular before now.
In what would become the final hand of the event, Craker was playing tight poker against heads-up opponent Matthew Konnecke of Australia. With Pocket 2s, Craker went for gold. Konnecke’s As-9s seemed strong enough, but by the end of the race, Craker’s twos would hold on to win the poker tournament.
Two final tablist, Craker and Wai Kwan Yuen of the UK, had been awarded seats in the PokerStars APPT Event via satellite competitions, making their 1st and 9th place respective cashes all the more sweeter.
Below are the final table results and cash rewards from PokerStars APPT Auckland.
1st - Daniel Craker (New Zealand) - $257,040
2nd - Matthew Konnecke (Australia) - $162,972
3rd - Wang Che Jung (New Zealand) - $85,680
4th - Dan Sing (New Zealand) - $59,976
5th - Luke Stanford (New Zealand) - $46,267
6th - Nathanael Seet (Singapore) - $34,272
7th - Jani Karke (Finland) - $25,704
8th - Michael Mariakis (Australia) - $19,706
9th - Wai Kwan Yuen (United Kingdom) - $14,565
October 20th, 2008
PokerStars EPT London Awards £1m To USA’s Michael Martin
It was a miraculous victory for American Michael Martin at the PokerStar’s 5th Annual European Poker Tour London Open last weekend. Martin made history last Sunday when, after a series of phenomenal come-back hands, he was awarded the highest 1st place prize in the history of PokerStars’ EPT London; £1,000,000.
Michael was grasping at straw as his chip stack had dwindled to an incredibly low 95,000 at the final table. To the astonishment of all spectators, in under ten minutes, Martin managed to claim several wondrous pots, one after another, that put him over the top.
From there, it was only a matter of time as Martin skillfully ousted American poker pro Eric Liu in 4th, followed by Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki in 3rd. Michael Martin would then go heads-up with Swedish poker player, Mike Tureniec, who earned his seat in the EPT London Open via PokerStars qualifiers.
It was Mike vs. Michael in a battle to the finish. The final hand pitted Martin’s Pocket 4s against Tureniec’s K-9. The Flop was no help to either, but a 4 on the Turn sealed Michael’s fate as the champion of the PokerStars 5th EPT London Open.
At 24 years of age, Michael Martin barely even made it into the event. Martin was 105th on the waiting list and about to hop a flight back home when he was given a seat to play in the sold-out PokerStars EPT event. This year’s triumph follows an impressive cash in the last season at EPT Monte Carlo, where he finished 5th. Martin also took a 2nd place finish in the Amsterdam Poker Classic.
After the big win, Michael Martin said, “It has been surreal. I had less than two big blinds and then, just three hands later, I was on 1.4 million. But I just knew I was going to do something here and having my family watching made me even more determined.”
When Michael made the final table, his Mother Nancy and girlfriend Jen hopped an overnight flight to London to cheer him on from the rails.
October 1st, 2008
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Returns, Jan ‘09: Qualifiers Open
PokerStars has finally announced the long-awaited schedule for the upcoming 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, scheduled for January 4th through the 10th on Paradise Island. Steps Satellites, along with Cash and FPP Qualifiers, are now running, giving members of the online poker room a much cheaper opportunity to land a seat in the $10k Main Event.
The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure features a number of preliminary NL Hold’em events with $1k, $2k and $5k buy-ins, leading up to the Main Event – a $10k buy-in – running from January 5th-10th. The live poker tournament will be held at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino on the Bahamas Paradise Island.
The newest addition to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will be a $25k High Roller event scheduled to span three days of the tournament. The poker world is expecting to see some of the most respected, high ranking pros and deep-pocket players taking part in the event.
The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure attracted 1,100 players last years, most of which qualified through the online poker room’s vast assortment of satellites and qualifiers, and this year’s PCA is expected to draw an even larger crowd.
Steps Sit’n’Go Satellites start as low as $7.50, or 500 FPP (Frequent Player Points), where poker players must win their way through a series of SNG tournaments to claim the ultimate prize – a seat in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Being SNG Satellites, these tournaments are constantly running at PokerStars. Cash Qualifiers and FPP qualifiers are also found in abundance on the PokerStars tournament schedule, offering a range of buy-ins.
The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event Prize Package is worth $14,300, covering the $10k buy-in, hotel accommodations and other expenses, with spending cash left over.
Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, winner of the 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, took home $2 million for the victory. “Competing and winning last year was such a great experience. The PCA playing field is always diverse and competitive because of the amount of PokerStars qualifiers - the location can’t be beat, and I can’t wait to go back.”
ElkY’s “great experience” continued throughout 2008, with a final table finish at the Grand Prix de Paris, two WSOP cashes and several finishes deep in the money at the recent PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker.
The 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will host a number of today’s top professional poker players, including many members of Team Pokers. Daniel Negreanu, Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem and of course Bertrand Grospellier are already registered for the event.
September 24th, 2008
Online Poker Traffic Skyrocketing In September
The results are in and the numbers speak for themselves – online poker is experiencing an enormous boost in traffic for the month of September. Across the boards, it seems every online poker room is seeing a boost in participation, but none quite so notably as PokerStars.
The world’s largest online poker room in regards to active players, PokerStars saw a massive increase in activity this month, jumping 34% from August with an average of 17,451 active players per hour over the course of each day. Not only is that an exceptional jump from last month, it makes September the most active month at PokerStars in all of 2008, thus far.
By far the busiest day of all for PokerStars fell on September 14th as an average of 20,406 online poker players took to the tables each hour. During peak hours of 4-6pm, those numbers rose even further to near 30,000.
One reasonable explanation for the increase at PokerStars has to be the ongoing World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), worth a guaranteed $30,000,000 overall. September 14th, PokerStars hosted Event #20 of the WCOOP, $1,050 NL Hold’em, attracting 3,467 alone.
The WCOOP can’t take all of the responsibility though as PokerStars is not the only major online poker room to see higher numbers in September. Full Tilt Poker came in second, jumping 28% since August with an average of 7,890 active players per hour.
Titan Poker, Mansion Poker, Hollywood Poker and Party Poker also experienced traffic improvements, ranging from 1% to 12% growth.
As a whole, we can safely assume that the return of college students has its hand in the cookie jar, as well. College students are infamous for dwindling away the first semester that should be spent studying, and what better way than to gamble those hard-earned tuition dollars?
September 18th, 2008
Sebastian Ruthenberg of Germany ruled the roost at Spain’s Casino Barcelona as he went on to win the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Title and an impressive €1,361,000 for the 1st place victory.
Ruthenberg, who won his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) Bracelet just a few short months ago in the Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Championship event, added the EPT title to his trophy shelf after going heads up against Irishman Fintan Gavin.
Ruthenberg held the clear chip advantage going into the final battle, and dominated Gavin straight through as it took only three hands emerge triumphant. Gavin went all-in with 4h-7c, immediately called by Sebastian with Kc-9c. The Flop came down, Ac-7h-2h, giving Gavin the early lead with mid-pair. Unfortunately for the Irishman, the Turn and River would fall in Ruthenberg’s favor as Kh-9d gave him the two-pair and the final blow to victory.
Over the 5-day Poker Stars EPT Barcelona event, lasting from September 10th through the 14th, Ruthenberg proved his incredible skill for the game of poker. Though his first two days of play went fabulously well, on the third day of competition, he found himself short stacked and aiming for the rails. It was a slow and tedious recovering, but Ruthenberg regained his position and continued to dominate the tables form there on out.
Sebastian outlasted a field of 619 players, including EPT San Remo Champion Jason Mercier, who was knocked out in 6th position by Gavin. Davidi Katia, the only other WSOP Bracelet holder at the final table, was eliminated in 3rd position by Ruthenberg to bring about the final three hands of heads-up play.
PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona Final Table Results
1st - Sebastian Ruthenberg - €1,361,000 (Germany)
2nd - Fintan Gavin - €792,000 (Ireland)
3rd - Davidi Kitai - €455,000 (Belgium)
4th - Daniele Mazzia - €351,000 (Italy)
5th - Dren Ukella - €292,000 (Germany)
6th - Jason Mercier - €227,800 (United States)
7th - Sam Chartier - €178,000 (Canada)
8th - Martin Nielsen - €119,000 (Denmark)
September 12th, 2008
Scott ‘dorinvandy’ Dorin Wins PokerStars WCOOP High Roller Event #5
The PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) was well underway this weekend when it hosted its high roller Event #5, a $10,000 + $300 NL Hold?em tournament with a guaranteed prize pool of $2,000,000. 22 year old Scott ‘dorinvandy’ Dorin of New York wasted no time in racking up nearly $618k for the 1st place victory.
A total of 321 participants bought into the $10k WCOOP event at PokerStars, enough to substantially raise the expected $2m prize pool to a whopping $3,210,000, paying the top 54 finishers. After a little more than 12 hours, a winner was revealed.
The final table slowly diminished as player after player found themselves watching from the rails. ‘Choron’ of Ontario, Canada, having already won more than $10,000 at Full Tilt Poker online tournaments last month for 1st and 2nd place finishes, left the table in 4th position, claiming an impressive $256,400 on his way out the virtual door.
Next to exit the PokerStars WCOOP Event #5 was Peter ‘#1pen’ Neff, a 22 year old poker player from Los Angeles, California. Neff, who?s already gained spotlight presence in the PokerStars WCOOP Event #3 with a 2nd place finish worth $54k, was eliminated in 3rd for $337,050.
Heads-up play ensued between Scott ‘dorinvandy’ Dorin and 29 year old Greg ‘DuckU’ Hobson of Portland, Oregon. Both professional poker players, it came down to a battle of skills, wits and of course that certain element of luck. The cards fell in dorinvadndy?s favor this time, awarding the 1st place victory and $617,925.
Just last month, dorinvandy made headlines for a second place finish at Full Tilt Poker’s FTOPS IX Event #1, worth more than $120k.
Hobson was awarded nearly $20k in PokerStars online poker tournaments just last month, including an 8th place finish at the $1k buy-in Super Tuesday on August 26th worth $10,000, and another $9,758 ten days earlier for a 3rd place finish in a $40k GTD. This PokerStars WCOOP Event #5 2nd place finish added another $459,030 to those esteemed winnings.
PokerStars WCOOP Event #5 Final Table Results
1st - dorinvandy ($617,925)
2nd - DuckU ($459,030)
3rd - #1PEN ($337,050)
4th - Choron ($256,800)
5th - gbmantis ($179,760)
6th - Money800 ($139,635)
7th - Jcardshark ($107,535)
8th - purplEUROS ($75,435)
9th - O. Hershiser ($54,570)
September 8th, 2008
Day 1A of the PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Macau got underway Monday, September 1, as 125 of Asia’s most prolific poker players took to the tables. Andre “HoRRoR” Wagner ended Day 1A with the chip lead.
There was plenty of notable action on the first day of the event, especially regarding the day’s ending chip leader – Andre “HoRRoR” Wagner, who hadn’t actually planned on participating in the tournament. Coach Wagner had only intended to “accompany the others” to the first day of competition. Instead, he ended up entering the tournament, only to find himself with a sizable lead as game play came to a close Monday.
Another noteworthy happenstance was the early elimination of the Poker Stars.com professional poker player Barry Greenstein. He check-raised with pocket 3’s, then called his opponent all-in when another 3 came on the Flop. Unfortunately for Greenstein, his opponent held pocket 5’s, drawing another 5 on the River, and it was all over for Barry.
Three other hopefuls were met with a swift, unlucky demise from the tables – Holger “Tonding” Kanisch, Moritz “trader” Schmejkal and Francesco “BAndelfAnIE” Gitz. Kanisch was eliminated by Wagner himself, adding to HoRRoR’s final chip lead.
In the Pro blog, HoRRoR commented on his early success and interesting derailment of “Tonding”, with whom he was actually sharing a hotel room with. “The first real key hand was when I came to a new table with about 40k and found KK in the small blind in my second hand. The button open-raised, and I re-raised of course. The problem was that I knew the button all too well. It was Holger (Tonding), with whom I also share the hotel room. He already knows from the SnG’s that I am very loose, and thus he had to really consider if I also play this aggressively against him in a tournament.”
Obviously, it worked out well for HoRRoR, who finished the day well above the average chip stack. Holding the lead with more than 100,000 chips to his name at the end of PokerStars APPT Macau Day 1A, HoRRoR and 44 other remaining participants will make their way into Day 1B Tuesday, September 2.
August 26th, 2008
No More “Cash Refund” Withdrawals At PokerStars
Last week, PokerStars announced that it will no longer offer ‘Cash Refund’ as a viable withdrawal method. An email went out to all members from the PokerStars Payment Services department, recommending that members choose another convenient option to request pay outs from their account.
According to the PokerStars email, viable withdrawal methods for their members now include ClickandBuy, NETeller, Moneybookers, Direct Bank Transfer and USD Checks, along with CFT (Credit Fund Transfer) eligible Visa, Solo and Maestro Credit/Debit Cards for Canadian and European players. The recommended withdrawal method for US players is still USD Checks.
PokerStars apologized for any inconvenience this may cause their customers, asking that anyone with further questions please contact PokerStars via email. The following link was provided for more information about current withdrawal methods still available at PokerStars: http://www.pokerstars.com/poker/real-money/cashouts
While many online poker rooms have been hit hard by payment processors dropping like flies in a bug spray testing facility – mostly attributed to the passage of the UIGEA in 2006 – it is comforting to US players to know that several highly reputed online poker rooms, like PokserStars, have maintained unwavering loyalty to their US customer base, continuing to provide feasible solutions to fund transfers and steadfast support in all matters.