Here it is...2015 is already crashing through the first week of what we hope is going to be an incredible year for poker and an incredible year for all of us topped with peace and harmony, good health and wealth, and so many poker hands dealt out around the world that if you could line them up and walk them, you'd make it to the moon and back.
Let's jump right into the meat of the first topic in The Inside Shuffle. Yes, it's bigger than a bread box and starting to grow as the layers of Paul Phua are pulled apart.
Did Paul Phua Assist with Malaysian National Security?
High-Stakes Poker Player Paul Phua hit the news when he was arrested (along with others) for his role in an illegal World Cup betting operation at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas last summer. Phua was released on bail and trial was set for January 12th — that date has been delayed while US Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen decides if the fourth amendment was violated by state and federal agents in making the arrests.
In the meantime, a letter was sent by Malaysian cabinet minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to a senior FBI official that vouched for Phua's integrity, even stating that Phua had assisted with projects of national security.
That letter isn't going over well with Fahmi Fadzil, communications director of the opposition People's Justice Party. Apparently Phua "had been detained in Macau in a crackdown on an online betting ring that, according to Macau police, took HK$5 billion in wavers. He was deported from the territory."
Borgata Chip Counterfeiter Christian Lusardi
Almost a year ago Christian Lusardi managed to single-handedly ruin the Borgata Winter Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee tournament and literally skew the end of the event for the remaining 27 players. The casino faced a lawsuit over cancelling the tournament. Lusardi introduced counterfeit chips into the tournament several times and got caught because he tried to flush 2.7 million in counterfeit Borgata chips down the toilet in his room at Harrah's Resort and Casino.
Lasardi was arrested and charged with criminal attempt, rigging a publicly exhibited contest, and theft by deception.
Then Lusardi was charged with bootlegging DVDs from China.
Now Lusardi is out of jail pending sentencing, and has been since last summer. Lusardi submitted a plea bargain, which is sealed. He was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, January 6th. That date has been changed to February 17th, 2015, to allow his lawyers to do further research.
The Shark Cage Finale
If you haven't had the raw pleasure of enjoying PokerStars fantastic adventure into pitting an amateur or two against a field of pros that all have dorsal fins growing out of their backs, you have no idea how much you missed. But not to worry, you can catch up and enjoy each one of the season's shows.
Canada's Griffin Benger may have enjoyed the show a lot more than you will because he's the one that took home the FREE $1,000,000 when the smoke cleared.
If you went out partying and celebrating the holidays and missed the last two episodes of the season, we'll make it easy for you.
Episode 9, Final Table Part 1:
Episode 10, Final Table Part 2:
Will there be another season of the Shark Cage? We hope so!
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