Weekly Poker Roundup: August 10, 2015
I hope nobody actually eagerly anticipates our Weekly Poker Roundups because you were sorely disappointed last Friday. I would like to blame Comcast for knocking out my internet connection or the KGB or something, but really, I just forgot. Think of it this way: you didn’t expect the article today, so it’s a nice surprise!
WPN Guaranteeing Millions this Fall
The Winning Poker Network acknowledged rumors that it will be bringing back its million dollar guaranteed Sunday tournaments this fall. There will be five tournaments in all:
- September 13th at 3:00pm ET
- October 4th at 3:00pm ET
- October 11th at 3:00pm ET
- October 18th at 3:00pm ET
- October 25th at 3:00pm ET
The buy-in for each tournament is $500 + $40; $200,000 is guaranteed to the winner.
The Winning Poker Network is one of the few that still accepts customers from the United States, though it is no longer in the Nevada, Delaware, or New Jersey markets, as those states require poker operators to be licensed in their respective states.
WPN’s first attempt at a million dollar guaranteed tourney in December had to be cancelled because of a nasty Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that rendered the poker games unplayable. The tournament was rescheduled for February and that, along with subsequent tourneys, went off without a hitch.
Full Tilt Cash Game Changes Hurting Liquidity
When Full Tilt Poker made the bold move to completely overhaul its cash game offerings at the end of July, it was assumed that the site’s traffic would take a hit. It did. Before the changes, PokerScout had Full Tilt’s ring game traffic at 1,000 on the nose. It quickly took a dive after the revamp and is now 20 percent lower with a seven-day average of 800 cash game players. Full Tilt is still in the top ten in PokerScout’s traffic rankings, sitting in a three-way tie for eighth with PokerStars.fr and partypoker.
The two most significant changes Full Tilt made were getting rid of heads-up ring games and eliminating the traditional cash game lobby. As to the latter, players now simply select a game type and stakes and are automatically taken to an open table by the Full Tilt software. No more table selection allowed. These changes, plus the removal of nosebleed stakes, stud, draw, and mixed games, have likely repelled professional players and high volume amateurs.
Full Tilt certainly knew this was going to happen. The hope is that the site will now be more recreational player-friendly and that the short-term pain will turn into long-term growth as more casual players sign-up and hang around longer.
Harwood, Brin Win Big
The post-World Series of Poker hangover has ended, so it is time to get back to major tournament poker. Loni Harwood took down the WSOP National Championship title, leading the final table almost the entire way. She went into the final table with more than a third of the chips in the tournament and only lost the lead for a few hands when Alexandru Masek eliminated Darryll Fish in third place to take the lead into heads-up play. It took Harwood just four hands to regain the lead and from there, she romped to her second gold bracelet and a $341,599 prize.
A few days later was the final table of the inaugural World Poker Tour Choctaw stop. It was a hell of a final table lineup, including Season XIII Player of the Year runner-up Darren Elias, former WPT winner Andy Hwang, and Jake Schindler, who has won $4 million on the live tournament circuit. In the end, though, it was Jason Brin who won his first WPT title and $682,975.
Brin was a prohibitive short stack going into the final table with just 2.390 million chips, compared to nearly 11 million Hwang had. It was a long, long final table which featured a 125-hand three-handed battle, the longest in WPT history. Heads-up between Brin and Hwang lasted over 60 hands. Brin once again needed to overcome a large chip deficit to take the title, but take it he did. It was his first-ever three-digit cash, increasing his lifetime winnings nearly seven-fold.
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