This week the poker community was stunned by the news that PokerStars had made a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice to purchase former rival poker site Full Tilt Poker (FTP) for $750 million. According to reports, $330 million will be used to refund FTP players, both in the United States and the rest of the world, while the other $420 million would supposedly bail out PokerStars from its legal issues with the U.S. government. In other news: the world’s most popular poker forum, TwoPlusTwo, was hacked on Thursday, April 26th, with the hackers stealing users' emails and passwords; Justin Bonomo won the EPT Super High Roller event in Monte Carlo raising his total career winnings to over $5 million. Get all this and more in the latest edition of the Inside Shuffle.
PokerStars Buys Full Tilt Poker
Of course the biggest news of the week is PokerStars purchasing Full Tilt Poker from the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) for $750 million. The news spread all over the internet on Tuesday via poker forums and Twitter – it was Chili Poker CEO Alexandre Dreyfus who first tweeted the following message : “Pokerstars buys FullTilt for a consideration of $750m, including settlement with DOJ and full balances of players (330m). I'm impressed.”
It was rapidly picked up by the online media and poker players worldwide and soon poker sites, forums, and social networks were filled with debates and discussions.
However, the only person from the inside to make official comments about the deal (still more about the one that didn't go through) was Group Bernard Tapie (GBT) lawyer Behnam Dayanim. For the past seven months GBT was negotiating its own deal with the DoJ to purchase FTP for $80 million and refund the players. However, the two sides could not agree on the time period in which FTP players would be able to withdraw money from their accounts and therefore the DoJ went for a much more generous offer from PokerStars.
“If accurate, we can only assume that PokerStars determined that it was willing to accept these legal and financial risks in order to resolve its own legal situation with DOJ,” Dayanim said in his statement. He also admitted that GBT was aware of the fact that the DoJ was considering other options regarding the FTP sale. “Clearly, we understood that they were negotiating with another party,” Dayanim said.
Read more: PokerStars Buys Full Tilt for $750 Million.
Yesterday, April 26th, the world's biggest online poker forum, TwoPlusTwo, went down due to a hacker attack. All forum members received emails with the announcement about the forum being hacked and the people who did it have obtained user-sensitive data including all of the forum members' email addresses and passwords. The announcement also urged people to change any passwords that matched the ones they've used on TwoPlusTwo.
Here's the announcement:
Dear Two Plus Two Members,
On April 26th at approximately 11:20 AM pacific time, the Two Plus Two Forums were closed as a result of a hacker who has displayed the ability to access e-mail addresses and encrypted passwords. He also indicated the ability to decrypt passwords.
While it is unclear the extent of data to which he gained access, e-mail addresses and passwords on the Two Plus Two forums should be considered compromised. If you have used your 2+2 password on any other site, you are advised to change it.
For your security, we are closing the forums until the breach is patched. Upon reopening the forums you will be forced to change your password – it is counterproductive to do so now.
We hope to be back up as soon as possible.
Two Plus Two Interactive
TwoPlusTwo moderator Noah Stephens-Davidowitz (NoahSD) made some suggestions about password security on his blog.
Justin Bonomo Victorious at the EPT Grand Final Super High Roller
On Wednesday, April 25th, Justin Bonomo added another €1.64 million to his career winnings and the second major title to his trophy case. Bonomo ended up winning the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final €100,000 Buy-in Super High Roller event. However, the road to victory was not easy – Bonomo got busted early in the game, but since the tournament accepted re-buys, he instantly pulled another €100K out to have another go.
The second one was much better – Bonomo quickly gained the lead and maintained it until the very last hand. When he was left heads-up against Tobias Reinkemeier, Bonomo had a 9-to1 chip lead which he successfully exploited on his way to victory.
EPT Grand Final Super High Roller Final Table Payouts
|3||Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier||€621,000|
Check out the winner's post-game interview:
Negreanu Rants in Monte Carlo
Daniel Negreanu went to Monte Carlo this week for the Monte-Carlo Casino EPT Grand Final where he played the €100K buy-in Super High Roller event. Although he busted in sixth place, Negreanu was pretty satisfied with his performance as he cashed €310,000. In his latest Vlog Negreanu shared video footage of the hotel room he's staying in while in Monte Carlo with the most impressive part of it being the view of the Mediterranean Sea from the balcony.
In the video Negreanu also puts much emphasis on the importance of the poker player's ability to manage their monthly nut – to know how much they can afford to spend and manage the stakes they're playing. One topic that Negreanu doesn't cover is the whole PokerStars buying Full Tilt Poker news, still Daniel kinda mentions it at least.
Check out this week's rant:
Lederer Talks About Business Ethics (Really, He Does!)
A joke, a flaw, or just an old video posted at the wrong time? This was the question everyone in the poker community was asking after watching a YouTube video uploaded this week by Big Think. Big Think is an online media sharing website where people can find videos and articles by various experts from different fields of life and business sharing their ideas on diverse topics. However, the latest video featuring the “poker business expert” Howard Lederer talking about the importance of ethics in the poker business can only be described in one word: FAIL! That is if it's not just a joke in which case it wouldn't seem very funny to all those waiting to cash out their Full Tilt Poker accounts.
Another theory is that the video might have been made before Black Friday and posted just recently. However, the reason for doing so still remains unknown. Anyway, the most likely explanation could be that Big Think was not aware of the current FTP situation and therefore decided that now is a good time to post the video.
Well, at least Howard had the decency to admit that deceit plays a crucial part in his business affairs. Here's Howard Lederer talking about the importance of ethics in the poker business.
Lock Poker Signs Annette Obrestad
A former Betfair Poker and Full Tilt Poker pro, the youngest-ever World Series of Poker bracelet winner and one of the most accomplished female poker players in the world, Annette Obrestad has signed a sponsorship deal with Lock Poker this week. On Tuesday, April 24th, Lock Poker announced that the site had inked a deal with Obrestad who will be joining a number of other well-known pros on the LockPRO ELITE team. On the team Obrestad will meet Melanie Weisner, Chris Moorman, Tom West, Matt Stout, Casey Jarzabek as well as other members of the Lock Poker pro team.
“I'd heard amazing things about Lock Poker from all my friends and pros who play there, and I was thrilled when I got an offer from them,” said Obrestad. “Being part of Lock is something I'm really excited about and it will be a great beginning of a new exciting relationship. Lock is the new generation of online poker where player experience drives the company with an incredible Pro team that I can hardly wait to work with.”
Obrestad currently ranks fourth in the women's all time money list with $3.7 million in lifetime tournament winnings.
Find out more on PokerFuse.com
Zynga – Not a Gambling Company?
Despite the social gaming giant's efforts in preparing to enter the real money gaming market, Vince Martin of CalvinAyre.com says it's not going to work out. During the first part of April it was announced that Zynga was in talks with Wynn Resorts on establishing a joint venture in order to enter the US online gambling market, although there are still no indications of when such a market may emerge. The best chance of starting an online business are obviously in the state of Nevada, which already accepts applications for online gambling licenses. But neither Zynga nor Wynn Resorts have applied for one.
Martin also names a number of other reasons why Zynga is unprepared for stepping into real money online gaming and why such a move would most likely cause more damage than benefits for the company. Poor software and security system, social gaming platform not being suitable for real money gaming, lack of experience, unfriendly legal environment, tough competition – these are just some of the reasons supporting Martin's arguments.
Read more about Zynga's poor prospects in the real money gambling market on CalvynAyre.
Court Holds Oral Argument in Ivey's Divorce Case
Phil Ivey's divorce issues are not finished just yet. On Wednesday, April 25th, Chief Justice Nancy Saitta required that the court set a date for oral arguments before the full court “on the next available calendar.” The request has been granted and arguments have been scheduled for 11:30 am on June 4th at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. “Based on our preliminary review of the record and the briefs, we have determined that oral argument would be of assistance in resolving the issues presented by the appeal,” Saitta said in the order.
Ivey's lawyers were satisfied with the decision to hold oral arguments and said they will answer all of the court's queries. “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has granted oral argument, and we look forward to responding to any and all inquiries of the court,” said David Chesnoff, one of Phil Ivey's lawyers.
Luciaetta Ivey's, (Phil Ivey's wife) lawyer Bruce Shapiro said that presenting oral arguments before the court doesn't mean that the final decision is going favor his client. “While the scheduling of oral argument is significant, and we appreciate the opportunity to more fully explain our position to the Supreme Court, it certainly doesn't mean that we will prevail,” Shapiro said. “What it does mean is that the Supreme Court is taking a serious look at the issue, has additional questions, and we have full confidence in the court to render the appropriate decision.”
Read more about Ivey's divorce on the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
ElkY on SCOOP
The PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) kicks-off May 6th with a guaranteed prize pool of $40 million spread across 120 events. PokerStars Team Pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier decided to share his thoughts and experience on one of the biggest online poker championships. ElkY went back to last year's championship and filled us in on what it was like to win his first SCOOP title.
“I felt exceptionally blessed to be able to do so well and pick up the SCOOP title that was missing from my resume,” ElkY said. “I'm definitely coming back for more this year. I'm sure it will be even harder this year than last. I'm counting on all of you guys to compete against me, and I definitely expect the series to have bigger numbers than last year. That is all the fun of it, though, and it will make it taste even sweeter if I succeed.”
Get more insight on ElkY's thoughts on SCOOP by visiting the PokerStars Blog.
You can win one of the 1,100 SCOOP Main Event tickets if you join PokerStars via PokerWorks. Find out more: Win a Free Ticket to the PokerStars SCOOP Main Event.
Celebrity Derby Poker Party to Raise Money for Children
On May 3rd, the Medallion Ballroom at The Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky will host Denny Crum and Robert Williamson III's Celebrity Derby Poker Party presented by Jim Beam and Bluff Magazine. The charity poker event will be co-hosted by Real Housewives of Orange County show star, Vicki Gunvalson. The event will raise funds for Blessings in a Backpack, a charitable organization that provides backpacks of food for the weekends for underprivileged public school children.
The guest list of the charity tournament already includes, Phil Hellmuth, Denny Crum, Robert Williamson III, Vicki Gunvalson, Tiffany Michelle, Dan Shak, Beth Shak, Antonio Esfandiari, Robby Albarado, Corey Lanerie, Layne Flack, and many other poker pros and celebrities.
Find out more about the charity tournament by visiting DerbyPokerChampionship.com