Weekly Poker Roundup: January 15, 2016
Antonio Esfandiari Splashed the Pot
It will be hard to top this for the weirdest story of 2016. Antonio Esfandiari has always been known as a character, as a guy who aims to entertain at the tables in addition to playing some serious poker. He gets on some people’s nerves, but he is a lighthearted guy and whatever antics he engages in are always in good fun. This is why it was surprising to hear that he was disqualified from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event over the weekend for a “breach of etiquette.”
What did he do? Oh, not much except pee into a bottle under the poker table.
Now, before everyone goes crazy, let us say that he didn’t WANT to relieve himself right then and there. He wanted to get to the restroom. Problem was, he couldn’t. Esfandiari was on the second day of a 48-hour, $50,000 prop bet with Bill Perkins which required Esfandiari to do lunges whenever he walked. During the tourney, his legs hurt so badly from the constant lunges that he felt he could physically make it to the restroom. Thus, he blanketed his lap with a towel and discretely did his thing.
While he didn’t make a scene and some people at the table didn’t see what was happening, his actions were brought the attention of the floor staff, who disqualified him. Esfandiari later issued a public apology, saying that what he did was totally inappropriate, and has said he will donate the $50,000 to charity.
Portugal Poker Players Boycotting Nation’s Poker Sites
ANAon, the Portuguese Player Association, has declared that its members will boycott all online poker sites that only accept players from Portugal. The decision stems from a December announcement by Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) Director and Head of Online Gambling Manuela Bandeira in which she said that the country’s new online gambling regulations will keep Portugal separate from the rest of the world.
In a blog post, ANAon added that an online poker market with only Portuguese players will not work and that this boycott is meant to send a message to the SRIJ that these regulations are unacceptable.
Spain, France, and Italy have also ring fenced their online poker rooms from the world and as a result, traffic in those countries (poker traffic, that is), has gone way down. Portugal’s online poker industry stands to struggle mightily if these regulations remain in place, as its population is significantly lower than that of its neighbors.
Miami Poker Room Charged with Gaming Violations Following Strange Tournament
The Hialeah Park Racetrack & Casino has been charged with eleven gaming violations by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering after an investigation of an August 2015 tournament.
The tournament was a celebration of the poker room’s second anniversary, a $250 buy-in event with a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool. It was setup with five starting days with two flights on each day, allowing eliminated players to re-enter on any subsequent day. Players started with 15,000 chips and could add another 8,000 for a $20 dealer toke right away as well as another 8,000 as a $20 add-on. According to reports from both the Miami Herald and a player on Two Plus Two, there were all sorts of procedural problems and shady dealings that led to questions about the tournament and the eventual investigation.
Players were initially confused on Day 2 when they saw the posted prize pool of $215,000 but were told that there were 1,061 entries, a number that would have resulted in a much bigger prize pool before any add-ons. A staff member corrected the number to 961, which still didn’t jive with the prize pool figure. Additionally, the number of chips shown on the tote board as being in play was more than 27 million, whereas it should have been under 24 million based on 961 entries.
It was discovered that tournament staff allowed some players to enter the tournament for free in exchange for a cut of their winnings, which is why the numbers were off. Other procedural issues: some players were not seated randomly, re-entries were handled at the tournament podium rather than the cashier, and receipts were not given to everybody.
The investigation also found that security cameras did not cover all areas of the poker room, specifically areas where cash was handled, and that the poker room manager kept tournament money in his office, rather than with the cashier.
Global Poker League Team Names Revealed
The Global Poker League is set to launch this year and this week, it released the names and managers of its twelve teams:
Berlin Bears: Manager Philipp Gruissem
Hong Kong Stars: Manager Celina Lin
Los Angeles Sunset: Manager Maria Ho
Las Vegas Moneymakers: Manager Chris Moneymaker
London Royals: Manager Liv Boeree
Montreal Nationals: Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur
Moscow Wolverines: Manager Anatoly Filatov
New York Rounders: Manager Bryn Kenney
Paris Aviators: Manager Fabrice Soulier
Rome Emperors: Manager Max Pescatori
San Francisco Rush: Manager Faraz Jaka
Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Manager Andre Akkari
The GPL will be divided into two conferences. Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Paris, and Rome will compose the Eurasia conference, while Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, and Sao Paolo will make up the Americas conference. There will be at least 14 competitions this season at live venues, online, and at television studios. The GPL World Championships will be held this summer.
Each team will be comprised of five players. The manager is the first player on the team and will select the next three via a draft which will take place on February 25th at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills. The fifth and final member of each team will be a free agent “Wild Card,” chose during the week following the draft. The top 1,000 players in the Global Poker Index will be eligible to be drafted.
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