Weekly Poker Roundup: October 30, 2015
PokerStars Spin & Go’s Passing Out Million Dollar Wins Like Halloween Candy
Last week we reported on the special million dollar promotional Spin & Go’s that PokerStars added to its lineup to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Spin & Go on the site. We showed you the insanely low odds of hitting the magical million dollar spin, let alone winning the three-handed match to claim it, saying, “Now before you start making a list of ways to spend your new-found wealth, keep in mind that the chances of winning are still slim to none. But hey, if you focus on the ‘slim’ part of that, might as well play if you were going to, anyway, because it’s not ‘none.’”
Perhaps we spoke too soon.
Shockingly, from October 21st through October 28th, the probabilities were foiled and six million dollar spins were hit on Spin & Go’s, four from two of the newly-added varieties. Here is the list of winners:
- ‘Samara Lúcio’ from Brazil – $5 tourney
- ‘wrawras’ from Brazil – $100 tourney
- ‘barrakuuda4’ from Estonia – $100 tourney
- ‘prophethicks’ from England – $5 tourney
- ‘handbt1’ from Germany – $5 tourney
- ‘ifipushud325’ – from Australia – $5 tourney
And of course, that also means that twelve other players won $100,000 each for placing second or third in those Spin & Go’s. According to PokerStars, one million dollar winner was expected by this point, based on the statistical probabilities, but the chances of six winners was just 0.05 percent.
Marco Rubio, Maybe, Possibly Could Deal with a RAWA Carve-Out for Poker
We can all agree that there is nothing at all appealing about any Congressperson who supports the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), right? They likely have poor taste in music, can’t match their socks, and don’t bother to use their turn signals. But perhaps one of those co-sponsors, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, still has a few brain cells left standing, even if he IS trying to become President of the United States.
In speaking with the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Rubio hinted that he might be ok with a poker carve-out in RAWA, noting that online poker does differ from other forms of online gambling. “On the issue of Internet poker,” he said, “the only difference between the poker games and the others is that it involves an element of skill associated with and compared with just a slot machine online. So that’s the one area that distinguishes it a little bit.”
Now, this is not to say that he is suddenly an ally of online poker, as he still supports RAWA (which is awful poker carve-out or no poker carve-out), but at least he is giving this whole “thinking” thing a shot. RAWA, of course, is the spawn of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, who also happens to donate million dollar stacks of cash to Republican political candidates. Rubio is one of the front-runners for the Republican nomination, so it will be interesting to see if this is as far as he goes in veering from Adelson’s wishes, lest he not get a chance to reach into the billionaire’s pocket for campaign money.
EPT Grand Final Main Event Buy-In Reduced by Half
After this week’s European Poker Tour Malta Main Event, there are four more stops on the EPT for Season 12. The last one, the always anticipated EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, may see a spike in attendance thanks to the EPT slashing the buy-in for the Main Event from €10,600 to €5,300.
“We’re making these changes to bring the Grand Final more in line with other stops such as Prague and Barcelona, which have created record-breaking fields over the last couple of years, by giving a large percentage of players what they’ve been asking for – the opportunity to play more tournaments within their bankroll, while also making the Main Event more accessible to a wider number of players around the world.” said PokerStars’ Director of Live Events Edgar Stuchly in a press release. “The Grand Final schedule will continue to have a wide range of buy-ins, all the way up to the incredible €100,000 Super High Roller.”
This year, the EPT Grand Final Main Event drew 564 entrants, down from 650 the year before. But that 650 figure was 119 more than the previous year, which itself was 134 fewer players then the year before that. Follow? Basically, while numbers were down for the most recent EPT, it is not really a trend and thus the EPT didn’t necessarily need to fix anything. At the same time, though, as long as the EPT can draw enough players to make up for the reduced entry fee, it shouldn’t hurt. In fact, more players could mean more entries into other tournaments on the tour stop.
Alleged WSOP Card Marker Cleared, Receives Winnings
This summer, Valeriu Coca finished fifth in the $10,000 Heads-Up Event at the World Series of Poker, but was denied his winnings because of allegations that he cheated. The WSOP initiated an investigation and recently released its findings, clearing Coca of any charges and granting him his earnings. In a statement, WSOP VP of Corporate Communications, Seth Palansky said:
“Once issues were brought to our attention, we immediately commenced an investigation and worked cooperatively with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The investigation that was performed has now been completed by all parties. At this time, the matter is considered closed and the 5th place finisher in Event #10 will now have his funds released for payment.”
A number of players, including Pratyush Buddiga, Connor Drinan, Aaron Mermelstein and Matt Marafioti, accused Coca of marking the cards during the tournament. Some of them lost to Coca during the tourney, noting that he made perfect plays and often acted strangely, as if he was checking cards at different angles. It was also later discovered that Coca had been banned from at least one casino in Europe for allegedly marking cards.
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